03 October 2008

What I've been doing

It seems that it has been almost a month since I last posted. Shame on me. So what have I been doing? Well, we have been finishing up the garden. We got about 10 carrots, the longest of which was about 3-4", a dozen or so good sized potatoes (which is remarkable, since I never hoed them or did anything else with them), a handful of tomatoes, a boatload of cherry tomatoes (which we don't eat and I would have bought a different type of tomato if I had realized that one was a cherry tomato), a few peas, several cucumbers, several blossoms of broccoli and cauliflower, some lettuce and lots of lettuce seeds, a strawberry or two in the few days after we brought them home, some tiny onions, and a couple of radishes that never got big enough to even be a single bite. We are still waiting on the beans that I planted very late. The beans are growing nicely, but now I worry that they won't have time to dry properly before the season is over.

I learned some valuable lessons with this garden, though. First of all, I can actually grow something and not have it die as soon as it sprouts. That discouraged me for a long time. I learned that watermelon and pumpkin really do need sun rather than mostly shade. The potatoes did okay in the shade, producing a half dozen or so that were as big as my fist. We had nine potato plants. The "Atomic Red" carrots are really red and look neat. Tomatoes should definitely be caged, preferably with something other than a bent split cheap curtain rod. Trellises need to be securely planted in the ground for the peas and cucumbers so they don't continually fall over onto the peas and beans and squish them. Slugs really like strawberry plants. Inchworms really like broccoli and are nearly impossible to see there. It is a good thing I started working with the white cauliflower first and saw the green worm against the white flowers. Yuck. If I hoe the potatoes, I could probably get a lot more potato from each plant. Fences would have been nice so as not to lose baby plants to 3-year-old neighbors stepping on them to reach the first bright red cherry tomato or to 5-year-old neighbors playing lawnmower with a stick. I can really put a lot of stuff in a small space using the square foot method, but I really should do it right and not try to fudge it by eyeballing distances. My "feet" turned out to be closer to 14-15" rather than 12", thus requiring a bit more weeding. I already have nest year's garden planned out, and it will be roughly twice as big as this year's.

In addition to the garden, the school year has started up. Moira has done a block of mathematics and is now starting a block on farming, while Lauren started with a block on form drawing and is now beginning her letters. Oh, and we did a week on nature as well at the equinox. One day that week we harvested elderberries from a tree in the park nearby and made elderberry syrup for coughs and colds this winter. The people on the internet lie. Whoever would put elderberry syrup into yogurt is masochistic. The stuff tastes like Robitussin, which I suppose is appropriate. Ick. Even with extra sugar to try to make it more palatable. Now it tastes like a very sweet bitter flavor. Moira agreed that it did work for her the one time she took it, and is amenable to taking it again if she gets to hacking her lungs out again.

And finally, knitting. My order of yarn came in from Knitpicks.com and now I am slowly but surely working on Christmas presents. Since I know they will never read this blog, I will telly ou what I am making. For hubby and Eirik, I am making earflap hats (scroll way down to #37). For Cait I am making Pixie slippers since she is the only one in the house now without warm woollen slippers. I saw her Shrek slipper today but I don't know where the other one is, unless the one Rowan was using as a treasure holder is the other one and not the one I saw today. Moira is getting a lace cowl, Lauren is getting tights (no pattern or picture, but I am using this yarn, color Princess Multi), and Rowan is getting bloomers. My goal is to have them all done by December 1 so I don't get overwhelmed in December. We will see how that goes.

So that is what I have been doing other than worrying about the economy, the election, and all the other normal everyday worrying that everyone else is doing.

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