Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ack! It's Nearly December!

The year is flying by.  I still have a few Christmas gifts to make or buy, but I'm not too far behind on those.  I AM far behind on Christmas cards.  Really need to get busy on them.  Not sure I'll write a Christmas letter to go along with the card or not.  Seems like we mostly have un-fun news to share this year.  Three surgeries, the return of the termites, involuntary bathroom remodeling projects, a broken water heater we had to replace, and a furnace threatening to break down at any moment.

On the other hand we did get to take two really fun vacations this year, to the Olympic Peninsula and the week at dance camp in Portland, OR.  I wish we'd been able to go camping, but time just got away from us.

Still, December will be busy with a fun events.  On Saturday is our Scottish Country Dance group's St. Andrews Ball & Ceilidh.  We're doing it as a potluck this time, so I'm making pumpkin pie from scratch.  The picture is the pies I made for Thanksgiving. Our theme is "tartan", so I'm going to wear my silk Black Watch tartan ballgown skirt and bodice, complete with hoops.  I even have a shawl I crocheted myself to go with it.  Then Sunday Ken's band is playing at a local church's annual St. Andrews service.  It's nice music and I get to sing along, so it'll be fun. 

Saturday Dec 8th is the monthly contra dance.  They always do a nice event for Christmas and Ken's band is playing.  On the 9th I'll spend most of the day making Christmas cookies.  I'm sending some to my parents for Christmas, since it's one of those low-budget years.  I'm planning to make a double batch of Kourabides, which take 45 mins in the oven and have to be rolled in powdered sugar.  They're labor-intensive and really do take most of a day.  But they're wonderful, so it's worth it.  On Dec 14th the new LOTR movie is coming out, The Hobbit.  I've been looking forward to that for ages!  On the 15th our dance group is having a quarterly board meeting.  Not exactly a social event, but we still manage to have a nice time.
Ken's son is planning a party for Dec 21st, an End of the World theme, of course.  Might be a good night to go see The Hobbit!!!

And then we're into Christmas week!  I only have Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off this year.  Then New Years Eve and New Years Day.  Two four-day weekends with three work days in-between.  It's going to be a struggle finding work things to do.  I'll be surprised if anyone I need to interview is actually at work that week, since most of them are Federal employees.  Maybe I'll be able to save up some typing to do.

I hope we get some snow.  I'd like to go to the Botanic Garden 'Garden Aglow' one evening.  Lots of pretty lights, decorated trees and plants, and it's much nicer with snow.  They have caroling and hot cider too.

Anyway, I've got to get some organizing done...

Monday, October 8, 2012

Holiday Weekend in eastern Oregon

Ken and I went to a SCD dance workshop in Redmond, OR, this past weekend.  This was the first time I could actually dance (as opposed to just walking) since my foot surgery.  I still can't do everything, dancing in tight curves is more painful for instance, but I'm getting some spring back in those toes.  Of course, having been far less active in the last six months than normally, my legs are really out of shape.  And after taking most of the weight on my right leg for so long, my right knee is fussing a bit.  I need to tone up those muscles again.  Part of the problem I had on Saturday at the workshop was pain in my right knee when using it to spring upwards.  I was having more trouble with that then with my left foot!  Argh!!

We here in the Treasure Valley think of our climate as being very dry.  And we're right in that, since our humidity levels are quite often in the twenties this time of year.  But the higher elevations around Burns and Bend, OR (3,200 ft), are even drier.  Just during the day we drove over there I got three new splits in my fingertips - for no apparent reason!  I had bandaids on half my fingers all weekend.  Slathered on the moisturizer but that was only barely keeping up with the dryness.  It was noticeably different.  So now I'm back in the humid tropics of western Idaho, and hoping to repair my poor hands.

 These are pictures of a gorge in the mountains east of Bend, along highway 20, formed when a prehistoric ice dam broke.  I was too busy dancing to take pics of the workshop, so these are the only pictures I got. Fortunately Ken took some of the workshop.

 This is a tiny lizard we saw looking for a place in the shade.  You might have to click on the picture to enlarge it to see the lizard clearly.  He's slightly up from center.

I've been making progress on the cowl I'm crocheting.  I've reached 14.5 inches.  5.5 more inches to go.  I hope to finish stitching this week.  Then I can block it and sew on the buttons.  It's meant as a gift for someone, but I don't know when I'll give it - for Christmas or sometime next year.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Nearly October!

I guess I don't make blog posts often enough lately.  I can't believe it's going to be October on Monday already!  It has started to cool off a bit, although we still get up to the low 80's by mid-afternoon.  But the nights are usually down into the high 40's/low 50's, so you can tell Fall is here.  The trees have started to noticeably turn colors now, with the equinox past.

I still have a few raspberries coming in, mostly the Fall Gold.  But it's getting close to time to cut them all down for the year.  This time I want to cut them back close to the ground and rake out all the dead litter beneath.  I'm not sure what I'll use yet, but I want to put some kind of bug killer there, to cut down on the shield bugs.  They've been a real pest this year.  I also have a number of small Italian peppers coming along.  I don't know how ripe they'll get, but I'll keep them going as long as possible and we'll see.

What I'd really like is a rainy Friday and then a sunny (but not too hot) Saturday.  Then I could get out in the veg patch and dig out a lot of the weed roots.  We got out there a few weekends ago and cut back/pulled out the giant weeds.  But it's been so dry the ground was really hard, and some roots just would not come out.  My other option is to run the sprinkler for a few hours one evening and get out there the next day.

But it won't be this Saturday.  I'll be at the local Highland Games all day.  Our dance group is performing twice, in the morning and then mid-afternoon.  We also set up a booth, so we're all pretty much "stuck" there for the whole day.  A lot of us are fiber-crafters, so we sit around and knit or crochet while we talk to people coming by.  One person is going to bring her spinning wheel, which is always popular with the kids.

My foot is feeling about halfway normal.  I can stand about halfway up onto the ball of my foot, and I'm walking almost without a limp.  So the Dr. has given me some exercises to increase the range of motion.  It could be another three months or so before it feels the way it used to.

I'm just over halfway done with the cowl I started a few months ago.  I measured it the other night and it was 11" long.  I need to get to 20".  I did some last night, so it might be up to 11.5" by now.  I found some great buttons for it online and they arrived last week.  I think they're going to look really nice.

I hope to have some Highland Games pictures to put up here after tomorrow.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Stumbling Into the Current Century

It's September already!  It was so hot this summer I thought Fall would never get here.  Now it's here and I hardly know where the Summer went.  I'm a bit disappointed and discouraged about my garden this year.  My foot surgery at the beginning of June really restricted what I could do.  So I have some tomatoes and raspberries, but not much else.  I want to get out into the vegetable area to clear the weeds, but we haven't had a free weekend day for a while.  Maybe next week?

This weekend is Art in the Park, in Boise.  I still remember the first one I went to, when I visited my sister for the first week of September 2001. (I flew home the morning of September 10th, after my flight was bumped one day.)  If you're into arts and crafts (mostly crafts), Art in the Park is a lot of fun.  This year I'm looking for things like buttons, shawl pins, soap, fabric, yarn, and things that look like good Christmas presents.  It's become my weekend for starting Christmas shopping.  I'm meeting my sister and niece there about 2pm.  We'll walk round the stalls for a few hours, then we're meeting my cousin Don for dinner.  He's here in Boise for work.  He lives in Florida so we hardly ever see him.

Tonight is the Boise Contradance, and Ken's band is playing.  I probably won't go this time.  He'll get home pretty late, and I expect to be on my feet all day tomorrow.

Last weekend my husband took his son out to practice driving. And somehow they ended up at the nearby Verizon store.  I'm not sure how that happened - not like it's on the way to anything.  Anywho, Ken  asked the guy about cellphone plans, and figured out it was cheaper to have an unlimited voice/Data plan on an iPhone than to pay for his cellphone voice plan and a separate business landline that he uses for the credit card machine.  So he bought an iPhone!

If you don't know Ken, you probably don't understand what a shocker this was!  He's no Luddite, but he's never liked the planned obsolescence of most electronic devices.  All that stuff in landfills, and heavy metals.  So he had one of those clunky "brick" phones for years, then went to an LG Envy about four years ago.  He'd forward the landline to his cell when he was out, but most of the time at home he kept his cell turned off.  It was nearly impossible to send him a text and expect he'd get it in any relevant time frame.

Anyway, Dad's new iPhone has been the topic of conversation all week.  And the more I thought about it, the more I started leaning towards getting one myself.  The timing seemed right.  The old iPhone 4 is going out, so you can get one for around $100.  I was paying about $40 a month for a voice-only plan.  It cost the same to add my new iPhone to Ken's plan - and that includes unlimited Data!

So here I am, with an iPhone.  Black, with a rubber pastel-lavender case.  I've found I can even stand to wear the ear buds.  I hate those in-ear kind, but these sort of hang on your ears rather than getting stuck into them.  I downloaded iTunes onto my computer, and have successfully started loading some music CDs into it.  I'm on the 4th CD right now.  I've also managed to sync with my phone.  I'm not sure how much I'll use the music on the phone, but it'll definitely be more convenient in the car, over all the CDs knocking around.  I'll have to get one of those auxiliary cords to plug it in.

I've made progress on the cowl, as you can see.  I bought some buttons yesterday.  I think the bronze ones will work.  I liked the Celtic interlace ones, so I bought those too.  They'll work for something sooner or later.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Falling into Autumn

Autumn is coming.  The days are noticeably shorter, and we've had cooler nights since the beginning of August.  The earth is inexorably tilting us away from the sun.  In just a few weeks we'll pass the equinox and be on the downward slide to winter.

It's one of my favorite times of the year, except for the dryness.  It's really dry in Idaho at the end of summer.  Sure, it's a drought year, but it's always dry here in August.  It's not even that fun to go up into the mountains because it's dry there too.  Dusty trails, no more summer flowers, low water, and it still gets hot during the day.  I much prefer going a bit later in the season, when at least the leaves have started to turn and the nights are crisp and cool.  I'm hoping we'll get out there in September or October, even if we stay in a hotel rather than camping.

Hubby and I did some much needed work in the yard on Saturday.  It got really jungle-y out there this year, mostly because of my foot surgery.  I just couldn't do as much.  So the weeds are tall, and the weed trees are starting to get annoying.  I cleared the weeds from one flower bed, and Ken chopped out some of the weed trees and did some pruning.  Took all morning and we were beat.  Just as well since it got too hot for comfort in the afternoon.  There's plenty more to do in other areas, but at least we made progress.

I finished my first crocheted shawl last weekend and got it blocked during the week.  It turned out really nice, and I'm looking forward to cooler days when I might be able to wear it.  I was fairly aggressive in blocking it, as you can see.  And I'm not sure I'm completely happy with that.  I may eventually re-block it to be a bit less stretched out.  We'll see.  It's amazing the difference that blocking can make.

This is the new project I started on Friday.  It's a cowl.  I'm using Tosh Merino Light in "Magnolia Leaf".  It's one of those yarn colors I didn't like as much when it was in the skein.  But as it gets stitched into fabric the colors are pooling in a really pretty way, and I like it much better.  I'm not sure who it's for yet, although I have a few ideas.  It needs six buttons.  I'm thinking I'd like some in brass or copper.  But they can't be too heavy, or the cowl won't stand up around your neck.  So I'll have to start keeping an eye out for just the right ones.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

TAC Summer School 2012

Hubby and I went to Portland State University in Portland, OR, the last week of July, for the Teachers Association of Canada (RSCDS) Summer School.  Basically dance camp for Scottish Country Dancers from all over the world.  We had a great time.  Portland was cooler than Idaho until the last day, and it was fun to see old friends I hadn't seen since the last time I was there in 2010.  Altogether there were seven of us from the Thistle & Ghillies group here in Idaho who went.  I couldn't actually *dance*, but I went to classes anyway and walked though everything.

Aside from going to morning dance classes and evening social dances, we also got out to do a few things in downtown Portland.  On Tuesday was the Yarn Tour.  Four of us took the afternoon and went to three different yarn shops - Knit Purl, Happy Knits, and Yarn Garden.  We did pretty well at supporting the local economy.  I bought four skeins of yarn,

two of Malabrigo Arroyo in 'Jupiter,

And two of Tosh DK in 'Spectrum'.

Is that not the most gorgeous color blend ever?  And I managed to get myself to choose multi-ply yarns, rather than singles.  I tend to be drawn to the color saturation of single-ply more, but they aren't as practical.  I already have a few ideas for what I'll make with both yarns.

On Wednesday afternoon all seven of us went on an organized bus tour to some local wineries, Duck Pond and Erath.  We also stopped at a Christmas ornament store, which was not really a hit with most of the people on the tour. We would've rather gone to another winery.

Here we are, setting off on our Powell's bookstore adventure on Thursday...

well, except for me since I took the picture.  We're waiting for the Portland Streetcar to arrive.  We rode up to Powells and ended up mostly looking at knitting and crochet books.  Then we stopped in at Le Sur d'Table and Whole Foods since we were there.

On Thursday evening the social dance was the Red & White dance, a celebration of TAC's 40th Anniversary (ruby).  Almost everyone dressed in some variation of red and white.  It was very impressive to see on the dance floor.  I did not take any pictures, but Ken did.  Here are four of us in our red and white...

The red scarf I'm wearing was knit by Diane in a red yarn I chose - Madeline Tosh lace in 'Tart'.  It turned out beautifully.

On Friday hubby, myself and Cheri rode the streetcar up to Deshutes brewpub, near Powells, for dinner.  That was a nice change from the cafeteria.  And Cheri got to try a gluten-free beer.

On Saturday the Portland Farmers Market sets up in the park you can see behind us.  It's amazing!  Wonderful fresh veg and fruit.  I had a very yummy ripe peach, as well as some good pastries.  It really makes you wish you lived there just so you could shop at the market every weekend.

As for the dance classes, I had a reasonably good time, in spite of not being able to dance.  I sat out more than I wanted, but when I did get into a set I focused on good technique from the waist up - posture, phrasing, handing and teamwork, and eye contact.  It was annoying to have to wear my trainers for dancing - even at the Ball on Saturday night - but at least I could walk without the boot!

On Sunday we drove home.  Cheri rode with Ken and I.  We stopped at Multnomah Falls, and then had lunch at Full Sail Brewery in Hood River, OR.  Yum!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

July is Here Already!?

How did that happen?  Two more months of heat - ergh.  But I've been doing some fun gardening, and thank goodness we have the sprinklers working well again.

I planted the new weigela yesterday and did a bit of weeding in the new bed.  There are more plants I could move out there but it's hard to dig right now and the weather is getting hotter.  Not the best time to move things.  This is the new dianthus I planted back in May.  The white spots are minerals from our water.  It's a low cushion of leaves type, and the flowers are nicely scented.  The purple sage is going nuts this summer.  I don't know what got into it.  I nearly lost it over the winter.  In fact it's getting a bit too large.  I may have to cut half of it out in fall.

I've started sewing a red skirt for Red & White night, the Thursday dance at TAC Summer School. It's in honor of TAC's Ruby anniversary.  Found a relatively simple pattern and of course immediately made it more complicated than I needed to.  But that's ok.  It's rare that I use a pattern 'as is' anymore.  I'm in love with the fabric and I'm hoping it will turn out reasonably well.  Now if I could just figure out what top to wear.

I started out making view E, then changed my mind and went for view B, the three-tiered one.  Which meant I didn't have quite enough fabric left, so I had to unpick a sideseam on the sewn-together view E pieces and re-cut them to get two more tiers.  Yes, mistakes were made, but all of the tiers are gathered.  So I don't think the extra seams are going to be very noticeable in the end.  I'm also making it lined so I don't have to wear a slip.

Next I want to sew another three-tiered or four-tiered (view A) skirt using this wonderful blue and yellow paisley I found two or three years ago.  I've been wanting to do something with it but can't decide how to use it.  As you can see from the picture, it's sort of a strange border print.  So I've been puzzling over how to best cut into it.

 The side garden is looking good - or at least half of it is.  I'm not sure what to do with the front part.  My ground cover is kinda wimping out.  So I put in a new one but it's very wee yet.  Still, the back half looks nice.  And I'm liking the weird rudbeckia I didn't intend to buy more and more.  They don't live long, but it's putting on a good show this year.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Shawl Progress

I started a new shawl a few weeks ago - think I've mentioned it already.  So I just wanted to show off my progress so far.  I'm on row 20 now.

I really like how the colors "pool", rather than striping, using crochet stitches.

I've not been overly excited about long self-striping color yarns used for crochet, so far.  I guess if you have the right pattern it looks good.  For instance, the striping on the long-wise stitched scarf I made for my sister worked out really well.

Monday, June 18, 2012

June Garden

Well, I have not had the opportunity to do as much in the garden this year as I'd like, especially with the foot surgery keeping me from doing things.  I'm pleased with how this bed is coming along.  I've moved and changed a few things, and I'm considering more changes.  I have a new veronica, the tall kind, in behind the lychnis.  The lychnis, that red flower you see on the right, is too big for its position and tends to fall over.  So it's getting moved to the new bed, and that blue veronica will get moved up so it's visible.

I got at least one big project started - the new garden area I chopped out of the weeds a few weeks ago, just before surgery.  So now I have the fun of finding things to put in it.  I dug up two more self-seeded things in other areas to move, as well as buying another plant, Weigela florida.  The local good nursery had a new variety of the variegated form for $35 in a 10-gal pot.  Uh, no.  So I hunted around and found the older variegated kind, weigela florida, in a 5 gal pot at a Home Depot, for $6.  Greenhurst definitely has more interesting/less common varieties of things - they had the particular rose I wanted for instance - but sometimes all you want is the good ol' regular stuff.  Of course I can't dig a hole for it right now, so it's waiting until hubby can help me get it planted.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


I made a cake this morning for the T&G Board meeting at our house.  Used a box cake mix, Lemon, but added juice from a real lemon as part of the liquid, and substituted a 1/2 cup of plain yogurt for one of the eggs.  I made lemon pudding for the filling between the two layers and used lemon juice and zest in that.  Then I wanted a creamy frosting, so I tried substituting plain yogurt in the butter cream frosting recipe instead of the milk.  It turned out ok, but wasn't really the creamy taste I was looking for.  I'll have to experiment with that a bit.  Anyway, everyone said it turned out very nice, so that's good.

 I wish I'd thought of taking pictures of it before we ate half of it, but oh well.
Tomorrow night is the first T&G monthly summer party class.  We're not having regular classes until Sept 10th, but to keep people going we're doing a party night one Monday a month in June, July and August.  In the past we've continued classes into late June, then taken a complete break until late Sept.  So this is an experiment for us.  We're hoping we'll keep our newer dancers and our experienced folk more interested this way.  People bring easy finger foods and we do about six dances for fun, no teaching.

At the board meeting we decided to plan on performing at the Trailing of the Sheep in October 2013.  In 2013 they are focusing on Idaho's Scottish sheep-herding history, as opposed to the Basque, Polish, and other ethnic groups that came over to work sheep in Idaho's earliest days.  It's a big event that's been around a long time, and they have lots of good groups there - pipe bands, and professional folk dance troupes.  So if we commit to doing it, we have to prepare a much bigger show than we usually do.  At least five or more dances, plus our great kilt demo, and perhaps some Scottish Ladies Step dance.  We're hoping The Bru can play as well, for us and on their own, to give us little breaks.  With all of that we should be able to fill a decent amount of time.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

New Crochet Project

On Wednesday I started a new shawl.  I'm using Tosh Merino DK in the 'Cathedral' colorway.  I bought it at Happy Knits, Portland, OR, when hubby and I were on vacation in March.  Happy Knits has sooooo many Tosh yarns in all weights and most of the colors.  It was really hard to choose.  But this is a gorgeous, gorgeous yarn.  I couldn't wait to do something with it.

So I was thrilled to find the First Love shawlette pattern on Ravelry.  It's a small half-circle shape with bands of different lace stitches, and a very nice border.  I'm not sure how much of a shawl person I'm going to be.  I hope I can find ways to wear shawls that will make it worth all the time and effort they take.  When you find a beautiful yarn and a great pattern you want to at least get some wear out if the item, as well as show off your skills.  The picture above is my progress as of today.  I'm already on row 11, but of course each row gets longer and takes a little more time.

My friend Diane is making me a beautiful knitted shawl in Tosh Lace in the 'Tart' color - a tonal yarn in shades of deep red.  Another time where I found this amazing yarn and then had to look for a pattern that I thought would do it justice.  In this case the shawl is knitted lace, well beyond my ability.  So Diane kindly agreed to make it for me, in trade for me making her something.

I finished the crocheted cowl Diane chose earlier this week.  It's pinned out now, being blocked into shape.  I think it turned out well.  The pattern was well written and turned out the way I imagined - except that it's a bit smaller overall than it appears in the picture.  I hope it will work for Diane.  This is a picture of it before blocking.

Friday, June 8, 2012


I've been having trouble with my left foot since early this year.  At first it was just occasional pain under my second toe, but it didn't go away and became more and more constant. Around March it got so I couldn't dance on the balls of my feet for more than a few minutes in class.  So I went to a podiatrist.  After various tests, including an MRI, he figured out it was probably an injury to the plantar plate, that area under your foot at the base of your toes, where all the ligaments and tendons attach.  Evidently the tendons attached to my second toe were starting to degenerate.  In addition, the long bone inside my foot that's part of the second toe was too long.  So that bone was taking most of the impact when I danced.

On Wednesday this week I had surgery to hopefully correct these things.  He shortened the bone and repaired the tendons. This was the first time I've experienced a nerve block.  It worked great.  I had no pain at all until early this morning - sort of like walking on a block of wood.  It took at least 32 hours to wear off.  I have a walking boot, but I'm supposed to stay mostly off my foot until Sunday.  After that I can be a bit more mobile, but I'll be wearing the boot for six weeks.

I washed my hair in the bathroom sink today.  So I'm happy we replaced our bathroom faucet last month.  The new faucet spout is arched, with separate hot and cold taps.  So I can mix the water temperature and my head fits under the flow.  It would have been much harder with the old faucet hardware.

In other big news, I picked the first raspberries of the year today!  Just a few days ago they all looked pretty green.  It really feels like June when the raspberries start ripening.  Summer is here.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Much Ado in the Garden

 A busy holiday Monday.  I cleared the weeds from a section of ground to extend the cottage garden area, dug in some compost, and put in some new plants.  Ken burned the weed pile, along with scrap wood, odd logs, sticks and boxes lying around the place, a hot job on any day.

Yesterday I bought 5 plants from Greenhurst, and today I found a few more at D&B.  Then I went around the existing garden beds and dug up some "volunteers" that weren't really in ideal situations.
I bought a rose I've been wishing for, 'Strike It Rich', aster horizontalis 'Prince', sedum 'Plum Perfection, geranium sanguineum 'John Elsley, a volunteer campanula and a self-seeded caryopteris. I also dug up a rudbekia, and geranium 'Phillippe Vapelle' that were both in the wrong place.  There's still some self-seeded lychnis chalcedonica and yarrow to move, but I ran out of steam.  I'll get them another day.  I planted a tomato, 'Chocolate Cherry', and got four peppers, 'Gypsy'.  I'll put in the peppers later this week.  They're the kind that's nice for roasting.

It was a good day for working outside, not too hot, partly cloudy, with a nice breeze.  We started early and by 1:30 we were done.  Even so the sun wore me out.  After a shower, we drank a bottle of Moscato and ate ciabatta with olive oil for lunch while we watched 'Much Ado About Nothing' on the Roku.  Just the right amount of silliness after a day in the sun.  So....

Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more;
    Men were deceivers ever;
One foot in sea and one on shore,
    To one thing constant never;
        Then sigh not so,
        But let them go,
    And be you blithe and bonny;
Converting all your sounds of woe
    Into Hey nonny, nonny.

Sing no more ditties, sing no more,
    Or dumps so dull and heavy;
The fraud of men was ever so,
    Since summer first was leafy.
        Then sigh not so, 
        But let them go,
    And be you blithe and bonny,
Converting all your sounds of woe
    Into Hey, nonny, nonny.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Which Era Would You Choose?

A somewhat frivolous question I guess.  But if you could go back to any particular period of time in human history - to stay - where, or rather when, would you go?

No going back once you're there.  So you have to think carefully about it.  You'd be giving up a lot of important things, lots of advantages we have now that didn't exist even 50 or 60 years ago.

I'd like to say I'd go back to some romantic period, like the Renaissance, or La Belle Epoque, or perhaps the time of Eleanor of Aquitaine, or the 1920's.  But all of those are before antibiotics.  If I'd been born before WW II, I would not have survived early childhood.  I had pneumonia before I was a year old.  Then I got Whooping Cough about age 5, badly enough I spent time in the hospital.

Soooo... the rules for my little mind experiment also say that when you go back to your chosen time period you will be the same age you are now.  You could still die from a cut on your finger, but at least you'll be immune to all kinds of diseases that would otherwise have killed you before the age of 10.

Let's see, other rules...
You'll know who you are and where you came from, but you'll be able to speak whatever language existed in your chosen time.  As for your anachronistic behavior and clothing, and less-than-complete knowledge of local customs - you'll just just have to choose carefully!

In other news, I'm due to have surgery on my left foot on June 6th.  The Dr is going to repair a worn and stretched tendon under my second toe, and shorten the long bone inside the foot, so that toe joint doesn't extend quite so far beyond the two neighboring toe joints.  Hopefully that will reduce the impact of dancing on the ball of that foot.  And hopefully I won't be back in the podiatrist's office a year or so from now complaining about the other foot!

It's odd to think but the left foot does get more impact when I'm dancing.  That's the foot you hop on when you start moving, and it bears more of the load in tight turns and sudden accelerations.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Iris Pictures

Just wanted to put up some pictures of the mid-season iris.  The blue and yellow ones are in full bloom and there are now flower stems on the orange ones.  They usually show up later.  The iris variegata is also flowering now.  Nearly everything else has flower buds on it.

Here's a picture of the new clematis in flower.  I'm please I judged its flowering time correctly.  It comes up and flowers before all the larger things around it get tall and over-shadow it.  I don't remember how long it flowers, but at least it has a good start.

The driveway garden is progressing well too.  I'm happy with the new aqualegias I put in last year.  They're doing much better than the previous one that didn't make it through last winter.  The other new plants seem to be doing ok so far.  I don't know how long they'll last, but right now things look good.

My only disappointment so far are the ipheion bulbs.  They've put up some leaves, but no flowers.  I'll have to look them up again and see when they're supposed to flower.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mid May Already?

My Dad turned 80 yesterday.  80!  E.i.g.h.t.y.!!  Imagine being 80 yourself.  Finishing 8 decades.  It's strange to think of Dad having been around that long.  And I suppose as odd as that seems to me, it must seem odder to him, in introspective moments.  How things have changed since he was young

It's starting to get more reliably dry and sunny around here.  I always regret losing the rainy weather in Spring.  Now I really have to start thinking about making sure everything gets watered.  The iris are coming along quickly.  The yellow and blue ones opened this week.  The dark orange ones will be next, and after that we'll be into the earlier perennials.

I have a tomato start, Siberian.  I grew it once back in 2006 and it did pretty well for us.  Tasted good too.  It's an earlier one.  So maybe we'll have a few tomatoes ready before the end of July.  I want to start some seeds as well but I haven't had time yet.  Maybe next week.  I do have most of the pots planted up now.

I had a MRI on my left foot this week.  I go in on Monday to see what the podiatrist has to say about it.  Hopefully we can finally decide on whether I need surgery or not.  It's so frustrating to have this going on right now.  I've been having trouble with this foot since August 2010 after TAC Summer School.  First a year of plantar fasciitis, and now this.

I haven't done much crocheting this week.  My right hand is achy from weeding more often than not.  Not a good sign, but I'm trying not to worry about it.  One appendage giving me fits is quite enough.  I really need to change how I hold the yarn.  It would make a difference to my thumb joint.

I have so many crochet projects I want to get working on, but I'm making myself finish the two important ones I have in progress before I start another one.  It's interesting to see how your tastes change as you learn about a craft.  I've been back into crochet for a year and a half now.  I'm really more a Beginner-Intermediate, but on the other hand I haven't made any fitted garments yet.  I do have one or two in mind I'd like to make - some socks, and a cardigan made up of square motifs, but I want to do some other things first.  Improve my skills.  I'm already getting very opinionated about what I like and don't like.  I'm not into the "grandma" type projects at all.  I don't like granny squares, bobbles, or hats.  I'm not really interested in baby clothes.  I don't want to make any more triangular shawls than I already have in progress.  I've come to prefer crescents or half-circles.  Except for the truly amazing shawl Diane is knitting for me.  It's gorgeous.

Anyway, time for some sleep.  Hope you all have a good weekend.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Welcome Spring

Happy Birthday to me!
The hawthorn (May Flower) is in bloom, the oak tree's little green "flowers" are in full swing, it's overcast, and promises to be a rainy spring day.  Nice to have rain on my day.  It's going to be busy, but that's ok.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Out in the Garden At Last

I am so out of gardening shape!  But I struggled through it.  Didn't get all of the weeds in the veg plot, but at least a third of the area is cleared.  Cut back the raspberries, moved a few self-seeded things, and pulled a lot more rhubarb.  I grew maltese cross from seed some years back and they've been really good about self-seeding.  Might have to start potting them up to give away.  Same for the yarrow 'Terracotta'.  I have at least four more plants than I used to.

Ken was kind enough to mow around the cottage garden.  You can see from the picture that the weed crop is doing well this year.  I'm trying to look at this as a romantic path mown through a meadow...ahem!

Knocked the cottage garden area into shape a bit.  Cut off the rest of the old stems, pulled dead leaves out of the iris, weeded a bit, watered, and admired.  The dwarf iris are in full bloom.  They really put on a show.  If you want a good ground cover in full sun here in Idaho, dwarf iris are a great option.  I was really pleased to see the upright clematis made it through the winter and has put on some size.  I'm very interested to see how it behaves this year.  Haven't seen it in flower yet.

My Dad sent me a tall dahlia (well, tubers), 'Vancouver', for my birthday.  So I've put those in the half barrel where I have primroses now.  I've never grown them before, so we'll see how they go.  The next big job is pulling weeds in the driveway garden and figuring out where to put the three new plants.  I just don't have the energy today.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Garden Calling!

Wow, the end of April already and I've barely touched the garden.  Time to stop resting on my bulbs - er, laurels, and get out there.  All I've done so far is pick rhubarb, pull the odd weed and admire the daffs and tulips.  Time to start digging over the veg plot and putting in some plants or we won't have anything this summer.  I'm not going to go crazy, as we'll be gone a few times and the sprinkler timer isn't working.  But it's always nice to have our own tomatoes.

At least the sprinklers are pretty much back in shape.  Now I'm hoping to get some of the other areas back in shape.  I've lost a few plants over the past years because I was down to hand watering everything in the backyard border.  I'm lucky to have any roses left.

The iris are coming into bloom now the tulips are nearly finished.  The rhubarb is going crazy.  I'll have to start giving it away.  I've missed most of the asparagus due to my inattention.  Was out there this morning and found some very tall fronds well past being edible.  Ah well.  I may get a few more.  I'll just weed, fertilize and hope to bulk them up for next year.  The raspberries are going to be the real challenge.  I never cut them back this spring, so I'll have to get in there and do some chopping.  Leave some tall and cut back the rest.  That way I can spread out the season.

Lots of digging and weed pulling ahead.  But I also have some spaces to fill where a few things have died.  I've put in Penstemon 'Dark Towers' and Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm' already, and I have a new geranium, veronica and dianthus waiting in the wings.  And the new peony survived.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Olympic Peninsula III

It was hard to leave our cabin the next morning after breakfast.  We sat over our coffee as long as possible, looking out at the ocean.  The waitress brought us a carafe and we went through the whole thing.

After checking out we drove north along the coast and stopped at Ruby Beach to see the rocks.  It's one of those beaches you frequently see pictures of in calendars.  You might even recognize some of my shots.  It was raining, of course.  But it's a beautiful place and we were happy to putter around taking photos and climbing on rocks for a bit.

After that the road turned east and we took a right onto the side road that went to the Hoh River Rain forest.  It was POURING with rain, of course.  We went to the Visitor Center, thinking foolishly if we waited a bit and saw the little information film first the rain might let up a little.  No such luck.  This time Tachy got left in the car.  Not only did I not want a thoroughly soaked little dog to take care of, he wasn't allowed on the trails.  We put on our hiking boots and rain coats and headed out on a 2 mile trail near the Visitor Center.  It was like walking through a green sponge.  One of the coolest things was the Roosevelt elk.  There were five or six of them grazing in the water meadow right next to the restrooms.  We kind of came upon them unexpectedly and were only about 25 feet away.  We felt like we shouldn't startle them, so we stood still for a bit (taking pictures of course), then backed off.  They were blocking the beginning of the trail, so we found the other end of it nearby and walked it backwards instead.

I like the temperate rain forests of the Northwest.  It's a very odd environment, especially after living the the arid Intermountain West for so long.  You feel almost like you're in a jungle, and you expect to hear exotic bird cries and see animals swinging through the moss-draped trees.  But in fact, there isn't a lot of wildlife in rain forests that's close enough to the ground to be easily seen.  Evidently most of them hang out in the tree canopy far above your head.  And we were there in March, so there weren't any wildflowers either.  But it was good to walk and see things, in spite of getting wet.  My little rain jacket, bought in 2003 when I visited England after my year in Korea, decided it was no longer waterproof.  I was wearing it over a fleece jacket, so my clothes didn't get really wet, but I was definitely not as dry and warm as I'd expected.

We passed through Forks, drove along the shore of Crescent Lake, and arrived in Port Angeles in the afternoon.  We found a hotel near the water.  Another dog-friendly room with a little balcony looking out onto the water.  There was a nice little park and a pier not far away, so we walked down to the end and back while it was still light.  PA is getting towards the rain shadow, so it wasn't raining quite as much as the previous days.  Tachy liked getting out for a walk without getting wet.

We found a restaurant on the pier.  Ken had something with oysters.  I had something that was supposed to have scallops, but there were only two or three.  Again we had local beer.

Port Angeles seems like a nice town, but the real reason we stopped there was the hope of driving up to Hurricane Ridge for a walk and a view of the Olympics.  The next morning it was pouring rain again.  We drove up to the Park Visitor Center to find out what conditions were like "up the hill".  The road was closed.  They were having a hurricane (with snow) on Hurricane Ridge.  So we watched the movie, poked around their exhibits and left.  We unexpectedly had most of a day when we'd planned to be in the mountains.  So we re-arranged our plans a bit, and drove west.

Port Townsend is a little town on a peninsula at the northwest corner of the greater Peninsula.  It's built on a hill over the Puget Sound, but its smaller peninsula sticks out of the larger Peninsula pointing east, like your right thumb when you look at the palm of your hand, with Whidbey Island just across to the right, and Victoria, Canada north and to the left.  It's a nice little town, with a lot of beautifully-restored Queen Anne/Victorian houses.  In fact there was a yellow one on the hill with great views of the ocean that was for sale.  $500,000.  We took one of the fliers from the Realtor box out front.  I could definitely have lived there.

It also has Fort Worden, a former military base turned retreat/event center.  There are all kinds of interesting things going on there for much of the year, including a well-known Scottish Dance weekend and a fiddle workshop.  We both hope to attend these in the future, but meanwhile it was interesting to walk around a bit and see the place.  The fort was very similar in architecture and lay-out to the old Fort Huachuca in Sierra Vista, AZ, where I spent a month on detail last July.  In fact, if you've been to the Presidio in San Francisco, you've seen pretty much the same thing.  White clapboard buildings, rectangular parade ground, etc.  But somehow it all looked so much nicer surrounded by pine and cedar trees and lush green grass.

We found a hotel, and made reservations for the ferry to Whidbey Island the next morning.  It was raining, but we wanted to see the town a bit.  So we drove into downtown, parked the car and walked along the main street, which is just on the water.  I found a yarn store called Diva Yarns.  It had some of the new Malabrigo colors in DK weight.  I'd been wanting to see the Indiecita colorway in real life, and it was there.  There was also a new color called Jupiter that I really liked - a variegated red, but I ended up with two skeins of Indiecita.  I already know what I'm going to make with it.

By this time it was early afternoon and we were getting hungry.  I found a little pub called Sirens.  It was upstairs in one of the old downtown buildings, and the back windows looked out over the water.  We had a very nice lunch with local beer from Port Townsend brewery.  In fact, we should have gone there again for dinner.  But instead we took someone's suggestion and went to another place because it has good seafood.  I got a dish that was supposed to have scallops in it, but there were only two.  Two.  It tasted ok, but I was under impressed.