01 July 2015

Yarn Along/KCCO: 1 July 2015

I've begun the trim!  *happy dance*

The little line near his shoulders is a lifeline I put in
just before splitting for the sleeves.  The stray yarn on the
arms is holding the sleeve stitches.

Bub's Gramps sweater is coming along very nicely.  Yesterday I started knitting the contrast color trim at the bottom of it. (Also Knit Picks Gloss DK - in the Robot colorway. Originally we considered just using a lighter blue, but Bub loves robots and I thought that would be fun, plus it still matches.  Obviously he chose that option.)  I don't think this ribbing will take very long - I need about an inch and a half before I bind off.  I was able to do several rows last night, so I rather expect to have that portion done today.  Then it will be time to pick up a sleeve ~ woohoo!

No picture of books today as I'm between reads again and I've not quite decided which I'll start next.  I did pick up Chad Daybell's Martial Law from the library and read right through it; it was a very fast read!  I still have The Minecraft Guide for Parents from a previous library run.  I also picked up Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl (a Staff Pick on the shelf out front) and Exodus: A Memoir by Deborah Feldman, which was in their new arrivals area.  I think I'll read that next, but we have family in town so I doubt I'll get much reading in again for a few days.

Joining up with Nicole at Frontier Dreams for Keep Calm Craft On and Ginny at Small Things for Yarn Along.  Thanks for stopping by!

27 June 2015

In the Garden ~ 26 June 2015

Today's blueberry harvest - more than two cups!

Happy, happy sunflowers

TriColor Pole Beans

Harvested 3 purple beans today

Purple and green beans growing in

Wee junco nest hidden up under the cabbage leaves

Harvested most of the first sowing of spinach, lettuce
and mixed greens earlier in the week.  This weekend
I will fertilize these containers and re-seed.

One wee carrot trying to come up.  *sigh*

Dill starting

Violet was slightly less than helpful when
she ran to the fence and knocked over
several planters I started seeds in a couple
of weeks ago.  *double sigh*

The herb and strawberry beds are good -
harvested two more strawberries today.

The eggplants have bloomed!
Joining Amanda at Soulemama for a quick garden update.

24 June 2015

Worthwhile Pursuits

Knitting this week:
Last night I cast on one of my go-to patterns for donation: a Baby Amanda hat.  Since the Flashdance Shawl is officially hibernating, I think this is a much more worthwhile project when I need a break from Bub's sweater.  These knit up so fast, even for a fairly new knitter like me, and they are lovely to see on.  This one will come out to be a newborn to three months size and hopefully next fall and winter it will keep some little one in need nice and toasty.  I'm using a spare ball of Soya wool/soybean yarn that has been floating around since I got my knitting board kit back in 2011.  I just read that it's discontinued, which is too bad, as it's a rather nice yarn to work with.

Reading this week:
I finished Thriving During Challenging Times (shown in my garden update) and read through The One World Schoolhouse by Salman Khan very quickly.  The Khan Academy is a resource that is mentioned a lot in homeschooling circles, so it was interesting to read the how and why of its beginnings.  On my Kindle I tackled two books by Chad Daybell, the last of the Standing in Holy Places series and the first of the Times of Turmoil series.  I had requested book two through the library (the only one they had) and it should be in any day now as the library site says it's been shipped.  I'm down to one library book in the basket (oh noooo!), a Minecraft for parents book, so I'll have to grab some more to read when we head over to pick up the hold request.  Last night I started reading Worthless: The Young Person's Indispensable Guide to Choosing the Right Major.  Another quick read; in part because he's preaching to the choir with me.  (Disclosure: I do have a college degree along with several professional/technical certifications, but each step was paid for without debt or student loans.) While I can see a lot of folks disagreeing heartily with what he's saying in Worthless because it's so counter-cultural in today's society, it's VALID and I will definitely be recommending it to anyone (teen or adult) who is looking at post-secondary education options.  

Obviously I've been reading a lot more than I've been knitting, so Bub's sweater doesn't have any progress to show since last week.  I'll get back on that soon.

As for the green things all around, I decided to have a little fun with this shot and put everything in the herb bed of our garden.  Holding up my Kindle is the curry plant and holding the yarn and hat is one of the lemon balm plants with peppermint in the background and left foreground.  If nothing else, they'll both smell soooo good the rest of the day!

Joining Nicole for Keep Calm Craft On and Ginny for Yarn Along.  Stop on by and say hello to them as well!

21 June 2015

Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments ~ 22 June 2015

Joining The Prudent Homemaker for frugal accomplishments wrap-up.


  • Joined Costco - declined the "opportunity" to buy the more expensive membership.  The benefit of getting a percentage back didn't justify spending twice as much on the membership. (If I find us spending enough to really make it worthwhile, I'll consider upgrading; but right now I only plan to go every 3-4 months.)
  • Bub and I found organic ground beef and organic chicken that beat the commissary price by over $1 a pound.  We also saved the surcharge that we'd pay on base - our 5% surcharge is paid on ALL items purchased at the commissary, versus only paying sales tax off base on prepared foods and the vitamins I purchased.
  • Free entertainment: Manly, Bub and I went to the archery range to shoot for a bit.  [Frugal fail: I split an arrow with another arrow while learning to use the bow.  Um, oops?]

  • Went to the library to pick up holds.  While I was there, I found a big handful of magazine back issues to read as well.  They are all things I used to read years ago and enjoyed quite a bit, but not enough to justify the expense of continuing to subscribe to them.
  • Found out our library participates in Hoopla's free lending program for movies, TV shows, audiobooks and music - will investigate this further since we are considering changing internet providers.  If we do change, we won't have to count our gigabytes of usage like we do now, and can take advantage of such programs.
  • Washed bedsheets and hung them on the clothesline to dry.  Hung out our bedspread for airing out instead of running it through the electric dryer like I usually do.
  • Harvested three strawberries.
  • Resisted the urge to stop for lunch or drinks on our way back from the library. 
  • Used peppermint from the garden (dehydrated and frozen a couple of weeks ago) in my water.
  • Harvested peas and spinach from the garden; used them with leftover rice and our last few eggs to make fried rice.
  • Washed Bub's clothes and line dried them.
  • Harvested 1/3 Cup of blueberries from our bushes - YAY for first harvest!

  • Used more mint in my water in the afternoon.
  • Overcast but the day is supposed to be warm - opened the blinds on the shaded side of the house in the morning for light to read and work by, and kept everything else closed up.
  • Free entertainment: went on a hike on a trail area on the base; Bub, Violet and I had been several times before but Manly hadn't seen it yet.  Along the trails I found what I think are elderberry bushes - will go back to verify in a couple of weeks.
  • Visited family for my mom's birthday and Father's Day; picked up some books that Bub requested from library on our way there.
  • Manly fixed a hose for me - we have a backup but this one is the perfect length to water the whole garden without lots of extra hose knocking into things so I hoped he'd be able to fix the issue I was having.
  • Renewed a couple of library books online so I make sure I don't go overdue - they are due later in the week but I'm not positive I'll get them read in time. 
  • Two loads of laundry hung on clothesline instead of electric dryer.
  • Ran out of shower soap and started using a decorative soap from the bathroom.  It's a glycerin (melt-and-pour) soap that I purchased a pack of for Bub's stocking last Christmas because it's a shape of something he enjoys, but no one likes the scent of it and it's not being used for hand washing by anyone but me.  Since everyone is using the pump soap instead, I gave it a test run to make sure I wouldn't have any skin issues - didn't think I would since I haven't had an issue on my hands - since all is well, I've been using it and since it's just a little glycerin thing, the bar is almost gone in just a week!  I confess I'm not a huge fan of the scent myself, but it doesn't really "stick" for very long after I shower anyway; I figure I'll alternate between the leftover bars and other bars I've stocked that I like more and just get it used up! 
  • Harvested 3 strawberries and almost a cup (!WOOT!) of blueberries.
  • Manly took Bub swimming and for a super long bike ride. (Both free - with the joke being that it ended up more like a Mother's Day than Father's Day, since I was home alone. LOL But they had a great time together and we don't usually exchange gifts anyway.)

19 June 2015

In the Garden: 19 June 2015

Baby spinach, tiny lettuce seedlings, and some "Army guys"

Peas in white buckets, spinach in front round container and lettuce in rear round container (these are about done for the season), and Miss Violet "helping"

Regular sage and pineapple sage - the pineapple sage really goes bonkers!

Lemon balm (front left), some herbs I started recently (front right), Bub's plants in rear: strawberry mint to left, fennel and basils in his repurposed wheelbarrow

Strawberry bed with rosemary in the center

Tiny bud on eggplant #1

More buds on eggplant #2

All of the tomatoes have flowers on them - this plant has the most so far

Bub's Nootka Rose garlic seems to be doing well

Huge berries on our new-this-spring high bush blueberries (we bought two seven-year-old plants and two more younger low bush blueberry plants; now we have eight bushes total)

Hopi Blue Dent corn

Onions in the left corner; sunchokes; Painted Mountain corn; Bub's plants
One of the new low bush blueberries; several containers of tomatoes; lemon balm and herb seeds

Blueberries and tomatoes - I net the berry bushes with strips of tulle netting I bought on sale at JoAnn's last summer

Violet LOVES blueberries!  With our vet's approval (and encouragement, really), I feed her a few each harvest.

Might as well do some training if she's going to get her berries.  Working on the WAIT command - she has to WAIT for the food and can only take it from my hand (or another family member, we just don't want her taking food from strangers for safety reasons).

Shelling peas are doing MUCH better this year as I was told to get them going while it was much cooler.

My birthday mint - the peppermint has doubled in height in less than 3 weeks

What I'm reading right now from my library pile and today's blueberry and pea harvests

At first I thought the holes in those two pods were from an insect, but now I'm wondering if it's powdery mildew - this is what the insides looked like.  Anyone familiar with this?

My Meyer lemon flowered once already and started making tiny lemons; now it's flowering AGAIN!  The porch smells soooooo good and the bumble bees are flying back through again to visit it.

Tricolor pole beans climbing the tomato cage I trained them up - they are reaching for the porch railing too.


Bub's apple tree - I think I might have to thin out these apples, but I hate to "waste" fruit that way.  Will consult with our nursery about whether colonnades have to be thinned like regular apple trees.  His will bear red apples.

Chatty's apple tree - hers is a yellow.

Calendula, yarrow, lavender and sunflowers.  The goal/hope is that the sunflowers will grow nice and tall and shade this portion of the house as the days get hotter.

Herb bed, spreading out a little with new growth since the first harvest a few weeks ago

Strawberries are coming in a few at a time so we won't get a big bumper crop, but at least the new spot isn't killing them from heat like last year's spot!

Lavender and purple sage between the kids' apple trees
Joining Amanda for a garden tour.  Have a lovely weekend, and happy father's day to the dads and grampas out there!