so you stole my watermelon

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…and then came back for the pumpkins. When you found they were already harvested (by me) you decided to take a knife, cut off a perfectly emerald green pumpkin (one of the only two left) and leave it where I was sure to see it. Right at the entrance to my garden.

Fun.

The buttercup squash all came home. Like, right then and there. Unfortunately, the butternut is not ready yet, so all I can hope is that they took out the frustration on the pumpkin, and will leave the squash alone.

I can’t stop gardening. Fresh beans? Huge, homegrown cabbage that cost me pennies? Juicy garden tomatoes? All the stuff that I love anticipating for harvest. So, even though that last passive/aggressive retaliatory action really did feel like a slap to the face, it’s still my garden and I’m going to keep doing it.

The rest of my day will be spent enjoying my other hobby. I’m off to a wool/fibre festival to learn about sheep fleece and do some shopping. Bizarrely enough, I have a love/hate relationship with these sort of gatherings, because while I love the farming and sheep aspect, and the end product, the concept of “artisan” encapsulates issues and an attitude that I’m not altogether comfortable with. I just want to knit. And spin. And learn, and love what I make.

Which is why I think I have to start being more accepting of the artisans, and the obsessive knitters. They love what they do…they just take it to another level. Can’t exactly attend wearing a t-shirt that says, “Moderation is the key to happiness” while another person sport a shirt that says, “I knit to stay sane.”

In other ramblings, and happy mom-news, Sonja has actually flat-out said that she finds her university agriculture courses interesting. I’m thrilled, of course. Applied science is always interesting, but she was, I suspect, worried that it would bring her to tears of boredom and be a complete slog for the next three years. And with a new focus, I hope she will be happier with university in general.

The weather has suddenly, drastically turned to fall as of yesterday. It feels horrifyingly cold and it makes me feel like I should frantically bring all my tomatoes off the garden. Of course, there was that one year where September was crap weather and October was glorious, so I think I’ll just cool my heels and put on a sweater for now. On gloomy mornings like today, I am going light my incense, and plug in a good audio book while I clean the kitchen. And then it’s off to all things wooly before a very busy weekend.

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now september

I have been doing, doing, doing, chipping away at to-do lists, and still feeling like so much to be done. I don’t know if that is a September thing or not.

A subsequent trip to the garden revealed that someone else had been doing my harvesting for me, and they walked away with almost every watermelon and cantaloupe. Harsh, but realistic for where I garden. I cut my losses and took my three pumpkins home with me that day. They were completely orange, and a large, easy target.

The squash are untouched, so far, and they usually stay that way. When we were in Italy last October, the girls ended up taking them off the garden for me; worried about frost.

With the day’s getting shorter, it feels like there is so much more to do, and so much less time in which to do it. The clear off date for the garden (October 15) seems to come faster every year. Of course, it doesn’t help that the tomatoes are just ripening in September.

Just to think…the tomatoes are ripening in September, and the pumpkins are already off the garden. What a strange summer.

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this day

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*** A beautiful day for a bike ride with Elena. I took her a little over half-way along my bike ride to work. It was the first time she got to ride my commute, and she was impressed with me; yes, there are hills on that route!

*** The asters are not quite blooming, but the pumpkins are turning orange. The squash at the garden is amazing. My plan to minimize weeding at the garden was successful…the squash plants got huge!

*** The fireworks at the baseball game on Tuesday were spectacular. And our team won the game in a nail biter, too.

*** There was so little rain this summer, but the tomato plants still did well. That fresh, garden tomato flavour is indescribable.

*** One more week of beautiful summer!

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with wool

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I love making these crochet animals! There is just something about a homemade baby gift that I can’t resist. Baby quilts are lovely, too (and a bit more practical) but these cute creatures are so quick and easy to make. This chimpanzee (and as such, no tail to make!) was given to a friend of mine for her grandson.

I’m getting a bit more involved in spinning these last few months, and because I’m extremely inconsistent, I’m happy to use it to make animals. Crochet hides a multitude of sins! The first batt that I spun was called a “felting batt,” which was kind of coarse and had a lot of nubbly bits in it. I’m not sure if most of the inconsistencies are a result of the quality of batt, or skill of the spinner (leaning toward the latter) but at least I know what the end product will be. One of the things that turned me off of spinning a few years ago was that frustrating question, “So what do I make with it?”

Waste makes me feel guilty, so to have left-overs in the yarn bin, or worse, whole skeins of good wool with no purpose really bother me. Just…waiting there for inspiration. Guilt no more!!! There are going to be some very quirky animals crocheted in the next little while!

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tussock

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I probably should have been an entomologist, what with the strange fascination for weird and beautiful bugs. Isn’t he great? He’s going to turn into a tussock moth, but he shouldn’t be on my Nanking cherry bush; supposedly he prefers apples.

My apple tree is on the way out, though, and maybe he knows it. That poor tree has girdled roots and now root borers at the base of the trunk. I’m only keeping it alive long enough to harvest the apples that are on it, and then it’s replacement will go in. Although I have no guarantee that the borers will not move into the new tree, I’ll take my chances. We had a saying at work this spring; there are no gardening mistakes, only experiments.

Time to try something new! (And if the apple doesn’t work out, there is always plum!)

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love

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The girls don’t cook independently. I’m not at all concerned about this; cookbooks are great for learning from, as the ones that I’ve purchased most recently (Scandinavian Comfort Food) read as though someone is in the kitchen right with you. Almost more art than cookbook.

And Elena has decided to transcribe my everyday cooking into a book of recipes just for herself. Since our “favourites” were sourced from cookbooks new and old, magazines, Internet and friends, it’s a sweet idea to have them all in one place; however much a work in progress it may be!

Sonja cooks as inspired. Most recently, it was this bee cake for her cousin’s 20th birthday. She made all the parts, including three different types of icing; the buttercream, the drizzle, and the royal icing bees. Hours of labour, and sweetly turned out.

Cooking really is an act of love sometimes.

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season

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The lilies have finished for the season, but they were pretty glorious. Even though the leaves did end up with quite a few holes from the lily beetle, I managed to “pick and squish” my way ahead of that hoard. Orange fingers were the result of that, but I’m happy to do them in with that satisfying crunch.

Bugs are fun; and I had more ladybug larvae this year than I’ve ever had before. That was neat to watch, as the infestations of aphids were devoured by those helpful garden friends.

It’s been so very dry this summer, and I don’t enjoy hauling out the hose, so the plants have (for the most part) been surviving on their own. And so, we’ve enjoyed saskatoon berry season, raspberry season, and sour cherry season. All from the backyard. The only harvest that seemed affected by the lack of rain was the raspberry, but even it did well enough that I’ll be able to make a batch of jam.

And then I’ll be inspired to make scones to go with it!

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