Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Blown Away

Not much has been happening, partly because I had cosmetic work done on the house, but mostly because I've been so distracted by the wind I can't do any activity requiring thinking. The mundane gets done, so the house is relatively and consistently clean; not only our clothes but towels and bedding get laundered frequently, (and are hung inside to provide some moisture albeit imperceptibly;) and I've not accumulated ironing.
With 2.5 repeats to get this piece over 150cm, I decided my life is too short to continue weaving on this warp so I cut it off. I had to unpick the last half repeat, as well as the plain weave at the start to make the piece symmetrical, so it's 142cm plus fringes. As I foresaw, it is a cute, pretty, gentle piece, and I'm quietly amused/amazed I wove this much on a hand loom. The broken warps were numerous only after 110cm, so I left the warp on the loom; I have to decide if I'll have another go or throw the rest into the compost bin.
Why fight good taste for a chance to get a pleasant surprise, or a rude one which is always possible, right? The third piece has the mocha brown weft that was popular in the last post. It obliterates the coolness of the achromatic warp, but the lovely texture I will get from these scaly wool won over the sharpness of the blue weft candidates I like. (The colors are pretty accurate in the last post; here, not at all, though I like the warp values in this pic better.)
The last bit, slightly shorter than what I need for a shawl/scarf, is going to be a fabric with three browns, same as the last long piece from the last similar warp, but I have enough undyed also in case I run out of browns and have to change the color schemes part of the way.

Two things I hoped to have finished by now are: 1) design/draft for the fine navy merino on the big loom. I've been doing some research as one of the pieces will be a special B-Day commission, but I seem to be reading the same paragraphs over and over without taking in much, and I've gazed at a blank draft on the screen many nights, but nada; 2) tax returns, of course. I got started early in December, I've been mentally working it since the start of November, but no real progress was made. Ben finishes work for the year tomorrow, and I'd love it if I can finish it tomorrow, too. Today looks promising, the wind is not galey, we have some clouds when I started this post, (though the rain forecast probably won't come true,) and the temps is almost "cold", so I'm not going as crazy.

I haven't been outside as often as I like because of the wind and all I see are the weeds, the seedlings still not in the ground, (because the temperatures have been low, some seedlings have been unusually slow in appearing, but also because of the wind, if I have them all in one place rather than planted all over it's easier to water;) about half of my sunflowers either dug up by birds or broken by the winds, and lo, aphids on my beloved hellebores. Aphids love hellebores but I never had any for the first 15 years and I surmised the wind and the many garlic I plant in between and don't harvest did the trick, but alas, I have 15-years' worth now.

Still, there are small things that weren't here before, and when I discover them I tell myself my efforts of the last two years have not been all in vein. Here are some reminders to myself:  
We had to prune our two miniature kowhai trees, (one is not finished,) and to be on the safe side I saved some seedpods and tried germinating. Out of the gazilion,  I have at least four seedlings, but both pruned trees look healthy, too, so I'll have to find somewhere else to put them or give them away. Acanthus, on the other hand, I bought a packet of 15 seeds but only one has come up so far. And I so prefer propagating from what I have because they feel more precious, so I'll collect my own acanthus seeds this year.
Zucchinis were extremely slow to come out this year, and I had put them in the "probably dead" group, but gradually they made their appearances, and yesterday I noticed some were flowering already. They'll go into the ground as soon as I finish my tax returns.
I don't remember Mom putting in spuds in her garden when we were young but apparently she did regularly for the grandkids because it's so fun pulling them out. I didn't intend to, but we had two in the kitchen basket rearing to go so I cut them up and got between 6 and 8 (or more?) plants. I'm worried as this is not a deep-soil patch, but we'll see how it goes.
As I mentioned in a comment, cosmos to me are autumnal flowers, and incidentally Dad's favorite possibly because he was born in last September, but I mistook these seeds for marigolds this year so they have been out in force. Except they are pink. Good thing they are annuals. (I also read how easily carnations can be propagated so I'm successful I'll replace the pinks with dark reds and some whites, I think, but keep the peachy/orangy one.)
One of the endives chicory grow especially well in our shallower veg patch, but Ben doesn't like to eat them so I've been pulling them out one by one as I put in other things, like spuds. One shot up very early in the season and because it was so handsome, I left it and now in the mornings we have beautiful blue daisy-like flowers. If I can collect the seeds, (along with the last few left in the patch,) I hope to plant/move them to a flower patch. It goes especially well with the pale yellow Elena rose, which coincidentally I propagated last winter and have three more waiting to be planted.
In the past I've only bought cheap lupin seeds as soil improver but this year I got a packet of 10 seeds of dark blue ones. They are darker in their web pic, but I like mine, and I got three. The funny thing is, I don't let the soil-improver lupins flower, so I have no idea what colors they are.
I think I got three tubers of dark red lillies. I wanted another, much darker, kind but they were always sold out and I got these only because they were on sale. Two came out rather majestically and I love that I can see them from my kitchen sink. Very hard culling of alstroemeria in late winter did wonders and I have so much this year, and some I thought died have returned. But I can't stop the wind damage in the front.
I have been bringing in allergy-inducing amounts of flowers inside for over a month.
Ah, heliotropes. In the 19 years we've been in this house I don't know how many I bought. (I know, same as cyclamens, freesias, hellebores and heucheras.) They are winter-tender and sold as annuals around here, (that's what a woman in a nursery told me years ago,) and I tried to find sufficiently sunny and suitable positions and have kept a handful for a few years. Still they got choked by more robust plants, not always weeds but for e.g. one purple sage that grew over 2m sideways, and at one time I was down to three. I moved them all here two years ago, a sunny, windy-and-dry-but-easily-water-able position. I prune deadhead and prune hard and stick the cut pieces in the moist ground to propagate, and some have grown, though I've not been successful when I put them in proper soil mix in small posts.

This year, when I go outside on not-so-windy days, the scent permeates the patio, and if I have to choose one, this is what tells me my garden is being transformed, no matter how slowly, in the right direction. (This used to be a freesia patch, but birds dig out the bulbs so it was a constant fight, so I'm going to move them to a safer place and propagate more heliotropes.) To the right I have a breath-taking dark purple heliotrope but it doesn't have a scent and don't propagate well. I will keep trying, though.

There are a few more nice things in the garden, but this is enough for this morning.

EDIT: Oh, I got my tickets to Japan, too; I'm there most of Feb. I'm wondering if I can weave four more before I go.

5 comments:

  1. I've been tempted to buy more seeds to sow and put in the ground in the autumn as this spring was strange and some of the seedlings didn't do well, and I'm hoping the autumn/winter will be more stable. So far I'm just recalling in my head the plants with blue flowers I didn't buy or didn't do well this year. I told myself I can't look at catalogues and websites until I finish my taxes, but this time I'm really going to buy only black, purple and blue things so I can establish a background with these colors and then add smaller numbers of other things. Well, that's the plan as of today.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Here in Texas, bluebonnets (a lupine) are our state flower, and we get all excited when the first ones begin blooming in the spring. In a good year, you can see whole hilltops covered in blue. To plant them for yourself, they need to be scattered in early fall, if you want to see them bloom in the spring. Every year, I say I'm going to plant them, but haven't so far.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well, now that I know they look so cute, I might let some flower instead of using them as soil improver in the future, you know. They are super easy and robust here.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow, Meg, you even chose the flowers to go with Angela Merkel's jacket!!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Well, of course, I did! :-P Are you here, assuming I guessed correctly who you are?

    ReplyDelete

I love comments. Thank you for taking the time!