May Days Tomato Plant Sale

Tomato plants go on sale this week!

Monday-Wednesday!  Facebook and Blog Friends Special  Come out between 10am and 6pm, the gate will be closed but we’re right out in the front in the Market Garden.  Give a quick toot on your horn and we’ll come open the gate.  Get the early bird price of $3.00 per plant. (Don’t wear nice shoes! you will be going out to the Market Garden it will be wet and muddy.)

Thursday – Sunday (or until sold out)  Open to the Public. drive down to the Market Shed,  $4.00 ea. 

We don’t have an endless supply of any one variety so if you want certain ones make plans to come early!  When they are gone they are gone!  

We only start tomatoes that we intend to plant here at the farm, in order to make sure we have plenty for producing lots of tomatoes for our produce customers we start about twice as many as we need. 

They start on the propagation bench, and are up potted twice.  The last time into half gallon pots using our own mix of farm compost, vermiculite, perlite and fishbone meal.  Once they are in the half gallons they go out to a cooler hoop house to begin their hardening off.  Now they are sturdy strong plants, ready to be planted out in garden beds or big containers.

We appreciate good ol’ hearty tasting tomatoes and we like to sell what we love, so you don’t need to worry that you are going to get boring lame box store type tomatoes or whacky worthless weirdos.  Most varieties that we offer we have grown here at the farm for several years.   

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These are the tomato plants for sale this year at VF&G:

Cherry Types

Yellow Pear open pollinated, indeterminate, 75-80 days.  “A great tomato just loaded with hundreds of small 1-2 inch yellow pear-shaped fruit. A good cage or trellis is recommended for heavy production. An old-time favorite from Grandma’s garden. F1, F2, V”

Hartman’s Yellow Gooseberry open pollinated, indeterminate, 75 days. “Believed to be the same yellow cherry as listed by seedsmen since pre-1930′s, was reintroduced by John Hartman Seed Company. The very long vines bear clusters of 1″ “Gooseberries” that are sweet, mild and tasty. Light golden-yellow in color. One of the largest yielding tomato.”

Chocolate Cherry  open pollinated, indeterminate, 70 days A Victory Farm & Gardens’ favorite!  Many years it is our only cherry size tomato.  Better than a chocolate covered cherry. Very attractive in a dish, or your hand.  Super productive, plants produce trusses of 1 inch round fruit nonstop.

Early Slicer Types

Stupice  open pollinated, indeterminate, 60-65 days Another Victory Farm & Gardens’ favorite!  Very early, very reliable even in minimal sun situations, deals with chilly nights.  Sweet, red, slightly oval, 2 inch fruit that slice up for sandwiches, dice up in salads, or peel and can for stewers. A very good tasting early tomato and it continues to produce all summer on very tall vines. Bred in the former Czechoslovakia it is a potato leaf variety.

Glacier  open pollinated, determinate, 55 days.  Another VF&G staple.  Amazingly, days earlier and about a half inch bigger than Stupice and every bit as tasty.  A nice sweet all around useful tomato. Get it in the ground now and give it a little protection and you could have a nice tomato salad for Independence Day! Many of our plants already have nice flowers on them.

New Hampshire Sure Crop  open pollinated, determinate, 78 days. “This tomato has a rich history and some valuable traits for today’s gardener. Using wild species from Mexico, it was developed by Dr. A.F. Yeager in 1957 to be resistant to late blight (Phytophthora infestans).  4-5 inch tomatoes full of rich old-time tangy flavor. Excellent for canning and slicing.”

Sauce & Paste Types

Oroma open pollinated, determinate, 70 days. “Oroma peels easily to make thick tomato sauce and paste. One of the earliest to mature, the fruit sets early in clusters of 4-7 and keeps very well on and off the plants. The smooth, cylindrical tomatoes are gradually tapered at the blossom end. The 1 1/4 inch wide by 5 inch long fruit average about 4 ounces and have a thick, meaty wall. Parthenocarpic. V.”  Everything the catalog says about this one is true and then some.  I will always grow it for its earliness and flavor. Way better than other open pollinated determinate romas.

San Marzano Gigante 3  open pollinated, indeterminate, 90 days. The catalog says it is “A heftier version of any San Marzano tomato that we have trialed with a magnificent, robust flavor to boot.” and it is all that and more, have a good support for this one, you want to make sure you don’t loose any on the ground!  They are fantastic and my favorite tomato for processing and dicing for salsa.  The fruit measures 2 1/2 inches wide and 7 inches long, is a beautiful ruby red with green streaked shoulders and very few seeds.

Super Marzano a hybrid (oops, make that two hybrids offered this year) cousin to the one above, just a few because they were seeds left over from a couple of years ago in daughter’s garden.  Any Marzano tomato is what spaghetti noodles were made for.

Plum Dandy hybrid, determinate. 82 days. The only hybrid I grow, but I love it.  If other plants are done in by the crud Plum Dandies just keep producing – Catalog description tells why: “Early blight can be one of the most daunting challenges for the home gardener, and a release from Dr. Randy Gardner at North Carolina State University makes the challenge easier. Very tolerant of this devastating disease, Plum Dandy bears heavy yields of blocky Roma-style fruit. Firm, and deep red through and through, they are perfect for saucing and cooking. At 3-4 inches, they are a great size for fresh eating, too. The compact, plants are ideal for small gardens, raised beds, and container gardening. EB, F1, V.”

 

Beefsteaks!

Kellogg’s Breakfast open pollinated, indeterminate, 85 days. Planted these for the first time last year and they will now be a permanent fixture in the hoop house!  They were easily bigger than any burger we served up last summer.  Beautiful orange.  Like a giant sun on a plate! and for a beefsteak really produced a lot. And they weren’t just another pretty face, the taste was sublime.  I even put them in several sauces.  What a trip, a deep tomato sauce flavor, but orange!  This was the tomato that made me willing to try other beefsteaks!

Gold Medal open pollinated, indeterminate, 75 days.  New for us, but a daughter has grown it and says what the catalog says is true. “This whopper is unbelievably early for its size. The large yellow fruit have an interior blush of red and weigh over 1 pound, some reaching 2 pounds. They have a classic heirloom look: round and lobed with big blossom ends that some think are ugly. We see the beauty and enjoy the full, sweet, low acid tomato flavor. The plants grow well in cool nighttime temperatures.”

Delicious open pollinated, indeterminate,  77 days (though here it may take longer) “An excellent slicer, with most fruits over 1 pound – many 2 to 3 pounds – and still holds the world record of 7+ pounds for a single fruit! Produces smooth and solid fruits that seldom crack, with small cavities, nearly solid meat, and excellent flavor. Developed from Beefsteak after 13 years of careful selection.”

Mortgage Lifter open pollinated, indeterminate, 95 days. “As the story goes, a tomato farmer facing bankruptcy selected a tomato that produced so well, he was able to sell one crop of fruit and pay off the mortgage. We’re not sure that would be the case today, but Mortgage Lifter certainly produces an abundance of 1-2 pound fruit. Not the prettiest in the world, but meaty and full of heirloom flavor. “

Beautiful Colors

Japanese Trifele Black open pollinated, indeterminate but not crazy long vines, 80-85 days. I liked this one last year and look forward to growing more.  Like the catalog says, it is: “A truly transcendent tomato. Pear-shaped fruit has green-streaked shoulders, deepening to a burnished mahogany and finally to a darkened, nearly black base. The meaty interior has similar, opulent shades and an incomparable, almost indescribably complex and rich flavor to match. The fruit reach 2 1/2-3 inches long and wide and are very crack-resistant. Despite the name, this thoroughbred has its origins in Russia. potato-leafed plant.”

Indigo Rose open pollinated, indeterminate 80 days.  The catalog says:  “The 2 inch round fruit have nearly blue skin that occurs on the portion of the fruit that is exposed to light, while the shaded portion starts out green and turns deep red when mature. Inside, the flesh reveals the same rouge tone with a superbly balanced, multi-faceted tomatoey flavor. Bred at Oregon State University.
Our Indigo series is creating a new class in tomatoes, and changing the face of the tomato world. Not only are they extraordinarily colorful and tasty; they are extra nutritious. Developed with traditional breeding techniques, the fruit of these unusual varieties contain high levels of anthocyanin, a naturally occurring antioxidant found in blueberries, and is reported to combat disease. Anthocyanin reveals itself in the vibrant indigo pigmentation of the fruits. Each of these varieties has unique characteristics, and all are stunningly beautiful. For the best flavor and texture, harvest when the colors have deepened and the fruit is soft to the touch.”  We found that this tomato was a bit trying, it took a really long time to ripen for such a little tomato, but it was a great addition to sauces, really gave a lot of depth without having to over cook the sauce.  If you want it to have good flavor you have to be patient and leave it on the vine.  And provide good soil nutrition.

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Tomatoes | Comments Off

More of May Days!

Please!

If May first and second are any indications of what this month could be like most of the time, more please mum!

Blogging Report

I have to apologize for the whole comment situation.  I am under, have been for quite a while, spam attack.  I even accidentally erased some comments from a couple of friends, sorry ‘bout that, going through 100-200 spam deletes a day. 

I must admit it has been one of the dampers on blogging this winter and early spring.  I know the spam are here ‘cuz they show up in my e-mail, the ones that my grey mail doesn’t sift out.  So I come over here to my administration page and spend all my bloggy time erasing spam – fun.  But I am determined to do more than deal with spam and I need to find a way to actually deal with the spam before I have to see it.  To bad it isn’t edible.

Market Garden Report Part Two –Tomato Plants & Corn

So what have I gotten done?  In spite of record rainfall? 

I have been able to get tomatoes started and some hoop houses moved over the beds they will go in. 

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All the tomato plants I started have been up potted twice and since being in big pots, have been hanging out in my tool hoop.

DSC_9197 Apparently they are very happy, some have begun to put on flowers.  Time to go to their summer homes!

The daughters, and a husband or two, are converging on the farm tomorrow to pick up their tomatoes, watch the Derby, eat tacos (Cinco De Mayo) and other such nonsense like grandsons driving tractors, eating cake (maybe cuz it was an Auntie’s birthday today and lighting bon fires.  I’ll plant mine or at least set mine aside, by Sunday.  Then the rest go on sale, starting Monday.  Hopefully they will all be gone by next Saturday.  But if they aren’t Happy Mother’s day and come buy a tomato plant!

If you are local Dear Reader, I’ll post a list on Sunday of what will be available and the hours that I will have the gate open for biz. 

It is Derby Day tomorrow, so yep, the corn was planted today, two forty-by-four foot raised beds under a hoop.  Not sure that they will need a hoop but just in case and to give them a chance to actually mature at the estimated maturity date (nothing does here in the Puget Sound region) they have been hooped.  The rest of the corn beds will be al a naturel  I’ll get those in next week to ten days time, depending on the weather, which has gone back to rainy as of this evening.

Time for the head to hit the pillow, thanks for stopping in Dear Reader.  Happy Derby Day tomorrow, wear a big hat, drink Mint Juleps and plant some corn (weather willin’ in your area)

One more photo before I go

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It’s the wisteria from yesterday’s pic, from the other side. 

In the foreground is a lilac.  Both frame the doorway into our laundry house.  The fragrance is amazing, heavenly for sure.  But notice the color match?  A week ago it was not such a good match, the lilac has changed color and now they match perfectly.  I always forget.  When the lilac first blooms, I always wonder why I thought it was a good match and then, it is. 

Good night Dear Reader!

Categories: Corn, Daughters, Flowers, Spring, Tomatoes | 24 Comments

May Day Report

May Day and Mid-Spring Report.  (This next week is smack dab middle of spring and full of some of the bestest silly holidays!)

Spring so far… what a wild ride! We’ll start with the Market Garden…

 

Market Garden Report Part One

Here in the Puget Sound region we had one of the strangest winters.  It was oddly mild.  And yet,  the resident ice skater managed to get in two big skates and have a skating party with her nephews and friends. 

This meant death to the winter brassica (broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts etc.)  They just weren’t ready for the two surprise deep freezes.  Both freezes followed exceptionally mild – warm – trends and then stuck around long enough to ensure frozen ponds and dead plants.  They rallied after the first freeze and I was sure I could nurture them over the shock, but then, in spite of the protection I gave them the second deep freeze just plain took them out.  After that I was just nurturing molding piles of mush. 

Things looked up after that and the mildness continued including mild rainfall, this spring was looking good…back in February, before spring started.  At the end of February, the holding ponds around the Market Garden were empty!  And then March began.  And the rain came.  Record rainfall March.   It seemed to never stop.  Then it did stop for a few days, mid April, and when it did rain, it didn’t seem like a lot of rain at once.  I even smoothed out the tractor tracks on the access road to the garden.  Things began looking up, again.  And then it rained, really rained, putting this April into the record book right along with March.  And the tractor ruts are so deep a large child could get lost in them.

The Market Garden has remained too wet to till the empty beds; too wet to move season extenders to their next spot; the over winter beds have been too wet to weed; the interior of the main hot house and other season extenders have been flooded; the Gardener has had massive bouts of depression. 

Chaos has ensued.  Plans have been rewritten and rewritten and hands have been wrung. 

This was not the year to decide to reconstruct the Market Garden and have a productive year (and yes, I did the former and wanted the latter).  So yes, next year will be better because even if it rains the same amount or more. 

And hopefully these last three days of April and this incredible first day of May is a sign that not only will next year be better but this next month will be as well.

The overall mildness of this last winter and early spring has sent things into bloom well ahead of time.  And that Dear Reader, along with sunshine, always picks up my spirit.

The wisteria is in full bloom, the apple trees are on the back side of bloom time, the pear and cherry bloom is over, service berry is in full bloom, lilacs are blooming, the tulips are done but the lupine buds are coloring!  It was a fragrant heaven stepping out my door this morning!

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Categories: Just Now (Phenology), Spring, Vicktory Farm and Gardens, Weather | 1 Comment

Temporary Abundance of Eggs

We’re getting all the girls and boys (poultry) lined up for producing some incubatable eggs – breedings that will result in meaty birds or replacement layers and brooders. 

In the mean time, waiting for indiscrete fertilized eggs to pass, we’re being forced to consume a lot of eggs.  Ultimately it isn’t a problem, but so far as food monotony goes, we’re almost there…

Bet reminded me that we had come across aged eggnog too late for last year’s egg glut but we were going to try it for this year’s.  We were nearly out of eggs by the time the holidays and “eggnog season” rolled around or at least so low that using a dozen to make eggnog seemed extravagant.   But using the glut we have now, to make an aged nog, that supposedly only gets better with aging…  Merry Christmas!

I’ve done my research, there are a few recipes out there, some use only the yolk and then next winter when you use it you add in whipped egg white.  Yeah, the point would be enjoying eggnog when the hens are enjoying not producing.  Next.  Then there are the ones that add dairy and the ones that don’t.    

My head began to spin with the multitude of combinations until I found a couple of folks who stated that as long as the alcohol content is 20% then spoilage is of no concern.  Perfect.  Now I can just come up with my own recipe for eggnog and we can decide if we want to add the dairy now or when we serve it.  The resident Dairy Princess is very temperamental, some holidays we have milk still and some holidays she decides she is drying the crew up. So she will have to decide.

Just about to get up to start the process but the reluctance to get out of my cocoon on a chilly rainy day and I allowed my mind to wander to other milky eggy alcoholly concoctions.  March!  Irish month!  Bailey’s Cream! 

I hate the prebottled stuff and the idea of ingesting manufactured sweetened condensed milk and chocolate syrup (which is fake chocolate, just in case you didn’t know that little tidbit Dear Reader, I didn’t for a long time) does not interest me in the least.  Okay, it would interest me if someone came over with a cake and a bottle of Bailey’s premade or “homemade”, either one.   But since that isn’t going to happen, not wanting to go out and get those less than desirable items not to mention the instant coffee, I push back in the recesses and remembered someone had posted somewhere that they made condensed milk.  Perfect.  And I know I can make chocolate syrup like no body’s business. 

So off we go to the kitchen Dear Reader!  I am done outside for the day! 

I did my bit in the garden already, weeded a few beds, firmed up some hoops, rolled up one side for ventilation on another hoop, moved things out to harden off, tidied up, consolidated baby pea plants that came up sparsely, thinned out carrots, and made a muck mess digging a trench to drain water off a couple of beds.  Returned to the barnyard and moved some turkeys over the asparagus beds, tidied up, looked in on things in the Hippy Hot Hut and finally couldn’t stand the soggy feet I was sporting. Hosed off the mud from my boots, my legs and my butt.  My boots are drying, my pants are drying, my coat is drying, hopefully my brain is drying.

To the kitchen!  To come up with some delicious ways to preserve the egg harvest! And have eggless Bailey’s by Saint Patrick’s day and an egg version for Easter!

Categories: Christmas, Easter, Eggs, Thanksgiving | Comments Off

Raising Grain

Did you read that as raising cain, Dear Reader? Well usually, I am, but today it’s just grain. Yup, I’m off on another horticulture adventure. This time I’m attempting to be a grain grower.  Today was the big shove off, the bon voyage party happened.

3 – 160 sq. ft  beds planted, one to barley, one to oats and one to spring wheat.  Not sure I’ll see any production from the spring wheat, but we’ll see. Not many folks in this area are into growing grains, none that I have come across any way.  So I’m figuring things out from info that is out there for the general growing audience.  The Puget Sound Basin is a funny little area though, so I know I’m up for “failures” in some aspects and lots of tweaking in others.

Even after more years that I could count (or more like wanna count out loud) I still have yet to figure out what the heck other gardeners (in books) mean by “early spring” or even late spring, fall, summer, mid summer, they are all bizarre vague references to times I’m not sure really exist on a calendar.   So even though the “directions” say early spring, and it isn’t spring yet, I went for it.  One book said, “early spring, even as the snow is melting” Uh, yeah, that could be January or April here. Or even January AND April, so I just decided today was the day, before it rained so much more that I needed the canoe to get to the garden. 

Because of the sogginess of the soil just under the surface of the beds, (my feet were in standing water several places on the path today while I worked) I just barely scuffed up the surface. (the beauty of raised beds) I didn’t have weeds to contend with because all the beds had been previously tilled and shaped, back when it was dry enough to handle the tractor and tiller. 

Instead of doing as the book on small scale grain raising suggested, planting in tidy rows across the bed, I broadcast the seed for each.  I had Elisabet help me cover the 4 foot wide beds with floating row cover.  Mostly to keep the birds from eating all the grains and it will help the seed germinate and grab hold of the soil without being beat to death by the rains that will continue to come I’m sure.

All totaled it took two hours, a basic garden rock rake, a previously tilled garden bed, and a day that didn’t pour down rainm and a half pound of each of the grain seeds purchased from Johnny’s Select Seeds out of Maine, .  The barley is the Conlon hulless variety, the wheat, Glenn Hard Red Spring Wheat and the oats, just an unnamed variety of hulless oats.

Well lunch break is very much done and I’ve got some more shifting to do down at the Hippy Hot Hut so that I can start some more seeds.  I moved out more flats of onions and the lettuce and brassicas, took them out to the Center Hoop in the Market Garden.  But more on those later. Have a great day Dear Reader, I’m enjoying the momentary absence of rain.  Greatly.

Categories: Farming, Grain, Row Cover, Winter | Comments Off

Winter Knitting

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I just now used this potholder. It was knitted up this last month and I was fairly disappointed in the design so it just sat by my knitting waiting to undergo scrutiny on what all needs to be changed.  But just now I needed to grab the tea kettle off of the wood stove and it was handy and thicker than my shirttail.  I love it!

I loved using it so much just now that I had to stop doing what I was doing Dear Reader, and tell you all about it!

There are lots of things I will be changing when I make another one very much like this one.  But the thickness (it is knitted in the round, so it is double thick) and the flexibility over stuffed quilted fabric…I love! 

I knitted several potholders over the last three months and I truly love the whole process of creating them.  Today was the first time I actually put the one I am keeping (because it is a bit of a mess) to use.  Well, other than flapping the ones I did make together, pantomiming actual use, kind of like testing it out before I gave them away.

 

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These are three of my first potholders I made from a pattern found on Drops Yarn.   These snowmen all went out as Christmas presents to my three married daughters.  Two more snowmen, not shown, also went out: my first one and the only one done exactly (okay, nearly) as the pattern said, went to a niece; and one made with a bright lime green hat went to our friends the Bowermans. Those two not pictured had the crocheted edging that was called for, where the ones above have attached i-cord for edging.

It was fun to give them as gifts and so pleasing to knit, most likely I will make more again next year, but the whole point to making these potholders has been to learn colorwork.

I’ve been meaning to learn color stranded knitting, especially after having learned how to do Swedish twinned knitting, but push came to shove when Bet posted, er, pinned on Pinterest (I do not pinterest, I have enough magazines with hoped for recipes and patterns and DIY’s marked with post-its to last an actual “Completer” a short life-time) these amazing mittens and claimed that she would have them by next year. You can go see her “pin”, I can’t for the life of me get an image here of it.

If you went to see it, you can see where the pattern for the top potholder came from.  As I made up my first snowman potholder all I could think of was making up my own stranded colorwork patterns.  As I worked more and more I went right past the fantasy of making Bet her wished for mittens and right on to sweaters.  Oh, I’ll make the mittens, the gauntlet has been thrown down.  If you went to Bet’s pin page, you may have notices that she said, “These will be my mittens for Next Year”.  She did not accidentally capitalize the “N” in next and the “Y” in year.

We have an ongoing joke around here Dear Reader, I may have even wrote about it out-right or you may have picked up on it, Bet’s and my anthem that often rings out around here after a  perceived failure or on the heals of realizing an idea that comes too late for right now, “Next Year”.  Our constant repeating of our anthem finally culminated in our promise to ourselves to make a “Next Yearbook” (pun on Yearbook intended) filled with all the things we promise to do better or just actually do.  Apparently the making of said book should be the first page!

My first attempt at a my own stranded color pattern were three evergreen trees like the three snowmen. (No pics, it too went out quickly like my very first snowman to another niece.) Learned a lot on that one about translation from the chart into actual knitting.  In the sky above the trees, the gold stars turned into several small flocks of gold birds.  Yikes!

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The robin that I did was slightly modified and with something completely different on the back.  And as you can see if you went to the picture of Bet’s-wished-for mittens, I changed up the branches for an all over background pattern.  Yeah, don’t like the “check” so that  will change back to branches.  I also tried a three color cast on, wow doggy did it get tight tension.  The pulled together top isn’t a photo distortion, it is a knitting tension distortion.  That will need to be fixed.

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This is the back of the robin. The pattern was a compilation of some stranded colorwork motifs that I wanted to try and a few I invented.  Most stranded colorwork is done with two colors, but of course that can’t do for me, I wanted to tackle three colors all at once, nearly immediately.  No one said it couldn’t be done (as if that would have even stopped me) and the original robin on the mittens were clearly done working three colors across the rows that included the robin and his branches.  So, of course I figured I could too.

Between learning stranded color knitting, three stranded colors, attached i-cord, attached two color i-cord and making my own patterns, I’ve learned a ton, and made myself a little tool as well.

Somewhere in the whole learning stranded colorwork, I did read about how you need to keep your background color and your image color in certain positions.  Side note: Most people do stranded colorwork (often just called fair isle, incorrectly) using both hands to hold the two working yarns.  I cannot, without completely ruining the flow of my knitting, use my right-hand, and I am supposedly, right handed.  When I first began knitting again as an adult, I taught myself pik knit or continental knitting, simply because I knew if there was not a better way than “throwing” the yarn, I would not be able to become a real knitter.  Trust me, I take that word “throw” to a whole nuther level Dear Reader, throw usually includes the needles as well.

I could not for the life of me figure out even from tutorials on Drops on stranded colorwork continental style, how to keep the two colors separate for background and image.  And my first snowman taught me that I really did need to.  It wasn’t until I read someone’s blog about some other knitting problem that I came across a tool called the Norwegian Thimble.  I actually found a couple of styles on Amazon, but even ordering speedy get here as quick as possible, it wouldn’t get to me that night so… I made my own.

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Ta-da.  I cut the finger off of a dollar store knit glove in our Glove Box and put stitch markers into the fabric to act as my thread holders.  How do I remember where the background thread goes?  Blue = B = background yarn. The pink and white are insignificant colors, just different from B.

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The potholders are knitted in the round, my preferred method of knitting.  The sides then are closed but the bottom and top are open, the original pattern called for stitching them together with a yarn needle and then bordering the whole pot-holder in a crocheted shell.  I don’t mind doing either but…

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I figured since I like putting an i-cord loop in the corner for hanging, surely I could put i-cord all the way around.  So I searched until I found attached i-cord.

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Sure enough, it’s doable.  And because you pick up stitches, to make the i-cord attach, you can pick up two stitches, one from each side of the opening, and make the attached i-cord also close the openings.  My adventures into attached i-cord and certainly-there-must-be-i-cord-using-more-than-one-color musings, I found candy-cane i-cord and attached it!

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All pretty much making my latest design pretty Christmassy with the whole Scandahovian Dala Horse thing going and yet,

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very St. Valentiney as well.  Which works great in my world since several certain selections of my Christmas décor stays out until after St. Valentine and the burning desire for snow. But, all that quirky business for another post if, I haven’t already told you about my crazy trickle out decorations and slowly put away bit by bit, thing I do.

Well Dear Reader, I loved telling you about what I was doing all November, December and January instead of writing.  But now, I really must get back to making sense of all my seed packets and deciding how many of what tomato and pepper seeds varieties I plant the day after tomorrow when it warms up enough for the Hippy Hot Hut to get my seeds off to a good start.

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I think the petunias I planted January 26th are a fail, in spite of bottom heat mats,

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wood stove going twenty-four hours and a propane heater at night right next to the seed bench.

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The onions came up fine and

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even the begonias are bustin’ out (little pink nibs in the center of the pic).  But all that for another post, soon Dear Reader, soon.  I admit, I gotta get this no-writing bus turned around and turned around quick.  I don’t like not writing.

Categories: Christmas, Fiber arts, Propagation, St. Valentine, Winter | Comments Off

First Days of February

A Joyus Candlemas Day

to to all those who have come to see the Light. 

I love the day’s Candlemas moniker, it always reminds me that He is my light.  Not being born Jewish, I am by the original meaning, a Gentile.  And even though I was born to believing parents, a strong Christian heritage, I was still a Gentile and in need of His Light, very much the Gentile Simeon spoke of when he said,

“Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,
According to Your word;
For my eyes have seen Your salvation
Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”

Truly through Christ I have come to and become able to understand the Father.  The path was lit and the pages of His word illuminated, with Light.

 

Farmin’ News

A few rhymes for the day:

If Candlemas day be dry and fair
The half o’ winters to come and mair
If Candlemas day be wet and foul
The half o’ winter’s gane at Yule.

You do know that really it only means that no matter what we are half way through winter today?  Oh that crazy Ground Hog Day tradition, sometimes it is fun to join in all the silliness and maybe watch the movie at least once, (if it isn’t Super Bowl day and your team is in it for the second time in the team’s life).  But really for here in the Puget Sound area, we don’t really have much of a winter.  What is winter here actually stays far beyond the six weeks it has left according to the calendar  or the ground hog.  We don’t have a pack of snow to melt, though we may finally get some about April 13th or later.  Our first snow is as likely to coincide with our last frost date as any other weather oddity.  But it is fun to note the weather today and wonder what the next six will be like.

Here is a poignant, if not another terribly obvious proverb for the day:

Half your wood,
Half your hay
You must have
On Candlemas Day!

If I get the whole prediction thing, it goes something like, whatever today is like, the rest of winter won’t be like that.  Well today is a pretty nice day, started frosty and foggy, it is still overcast, thirty minutes to game time, (gotta get this finished before the game starts) but I love it, ‘cuz for me I love starting something on a great note and February is startin’ on a high one.

Yesterday, was a great first day of the month.  February is always the month that I really get into winter gardening.  And here, in the Puget Sound region winter gardening most certainly can include weeding.  As long as the soil isn’t too saturated, that you disturb it as little as possible it is a great time to weed. 

And weed I did! 

The asparagus bed is so neglected.  Certainly not because we don’t absolutely love asparagus but more likely it gets buried at the bottom of the roundtuit pile, then when thought of it is too late to do any vigorous weeding because the crowns have been awakened and the tender tips are so vulnerable to being broken.  Then once the tips are up and a little emergency weeding is done and weeding while harvesting is over, it easily slips onto the roundtuit pile once again.

I have determined that everyday that the ground isn’t frozen, I will be weeding for no less than four hours in the asparagus beds and then I will turn that same time to the raspberry beds once the asparagus is all done.  Based on what I’ve already done I have approximately 22 hours of weeding left in the asparagus and I would imagine that the raspberries will take about 27 hours of weeding.  Hopefully I will have enough nonfrozen days (I’ll need about 13 if I’m by myself) to get it done, because I also need to relocate all our strawberry plants, and move an oak tree… .

Frozen days will be devoted to starting seeds, up potting as needed, taking cuttings from fuchsias and geraniums, and dividing, repotting and stooling chrysanthemums.  

All this while helping Dirt and Bet with lambing and kidding, and that ain’t no joke.  Especially when it happens in the middle of the night. 

I do believe I am grateful for the blessing of rest during the lovely relaxing holiday months of December and January, where the biggest farm biz pressure was getting seeds inventoried, organized and ordered.  Done.  Well a bit of organizing is still needed, but mornings will be cold, chilly and dark this month and more time is freed up this month with the end of the holidays, the end of football and decidedly the end of watching most of the tv programs we have watched in the past.

Lent doesn’t start for another month but Bet and I decided that we didn’t need the conviction of Lent to cause us to stop watching the garbage that Hollywood keeps feeding us.   Actually I barely watch when I do, mostly I’m “working” on something, I’ve become and obsessed knitter, or the whole seed project. or emails (ugh), but we figure our work might actually be more productive without the distraction of the pure foolishness that is television.  Nothing like reading other people’s in depth facebook discussion of a popular show to place a glaring light on how stupid watching tv or even movies can really be.

Well I’m wrappin’ this thing up so I can settle into the game, now that I have suffered through all the pregame nonsense.   Gotta make sure the body is ready to sit for an hour and a half before it has to get up.  And then for the last half of the game.  Because yes, I am a fan!  A Twelfth Man.

See you on the other side Dear Reader, I hope your team wins, (as long as you’ve picked the Hawks)  But most of all,  a glorious Candlemas Day to you and yours.

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I’m Cold, Working, Thirsty…

I don’t want to drink coffee while working,

I don’t really want cold water while I’m outside – I’m cold enough.

I’ve been putting a cinnamon stick in my Earl Grey, just the right amount of spice for a chi-hater-spice-appreciator.  But like the coffee, I’m not wanting to drink tea while working.

I actually like drinking a mug of just plain hot water. (My mother did this when I was a child but most of the time she put just a touch of cream in it – I’m not there yet.)

So all those wants and needs, and not wants, and I’m  liking the idea of slightly flavored water, and hot for being out in the cold.

Cinnamon water in skinny thermos, turns pink quick, later cupful is a lovely warm tawny color and not to pungent.

Cinnamon water in skinny thermos, turns pink quick, later cupful is a lovely warm tawny color and not to pungent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m going to stick a piece of cinnamon in my skinny thermos and stick it in my vest pocket.

The first sips were great, now to see if leaving it in will be too much….

 

 

Well Dear Reader, I left the whole stick in the little thermos, stuck it in my pocket, and drank from it frequently over the time span of two hours.  It never became too strong, though it was finally very dark in color, and certainly deeper in flavor.  I’m thinkin’ I have a hit on my hands.  Well, a hit with me any way. And I love that I am finally using my little thermos for something constructive.  Now to try a chunk of whole nutmeg…

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I Knew It!

I would just like to pat myself on the back once again, for being intuitively ahead of the game…

The Best Time for Your Coffee.  an article from NeuroscienceDC blog.

 

My Findings

Over a year ago, I switched from drinking coffee as soon as I got up, (or better yet, getting up to someone handing me coffee in bed) to having a coffee break at 10 a.m..

It has made some surprising differences:  I drink less (coffee), am more awake earlier, have a profoundly natural sleep schedule.  All things I greatly lacked until a year ago.

I have no idea how much to attribute to my new coffee time, or if eating clean, real food also contributes to the changes.

Since I’ve committed to eating nearly 80%, or better, seasonally and locally, avoiding nearly all commercially processed foods, including ingredients for homemade foods, eating naturally home fermented foods like pickles, sauerkraut, relishes, going to bed at nine p.m. (or earlier), eating regularly scheduled meals, and having my daily coffee at 10 a.m..  I feel way better, my skin is clearer, less aches and pains, less gut aches and bloating, and the big two changes – no more asthma attacks and no migraines.

Let me clarify on the two big changes. I have had headaches and in the whole year, I think I have had two migraines, but back in the good ol’ days I would have one or two migraines a week, if I was real careful I could get down to maybe only three a month.

I did have a slight asthma attack just recently, I walked into a small building that had just been drywalled. Considering that this summer I was chuckin’ bales of hay over my head and only became slightly out of breath and wheezy, when before I always had to have my inhaler with me, in case I ran into some bothersome particulate like dust, mold or smoke, or worked to fast, I say that was a remarkable change.

And again, I can’t contribute all the changes to having a scheduled coffee break at 10, I have made lots of changes.  But I do love that science backs me up on one of the changes that I just intuitively knew would be beneficial. 

 

Some Other Related Differences Noted

I also recently read on a coffee-haters blog that deferring your first cup of coffee to later in the morning assisted in actually eating breakfast.  A nasty habit I certainly had, I have always been a breakfast lover (I love all food at all times) and a breakfast skipper.  My old self would skip breakfast and lunch, as long as I had a cup of coffee somewhere handy to sip, hot or cold or typically luke warm.

I knew it was a horrid habit.  And often I would go on diet regimes that forced me to eat at least three scheduled meals.  And those diets were good, I always lost weight. And felt better.  But in all the years of changing my diet and changing my schedule none of it caused my asthma and migraines to go away. 

Another interesting finding: on the weekend when Dirt causes me to sleep in and lounge around, I like having my coffee early, in my morning groggy state, in bed, while I go over seed catalogs, or listen to NPR Puzzleman.  Dirt doesn’t drink coffee by the way, but loves to indulge my habit and happily makes my coffee and brings it back to bed while we continue to lounge and listen.  Along with the whole backflipped schedule and drinking coffee in bed, when we do get up, Dirt makes breakfast.   We’ve done this weekend thing for nearly ever, and in spite of the awesome weekday schedule, continue to do this.

I used to think I couldn’t eat certain things in the morning – his weekend breakfasts always wiped me out and made me perfectly non-functional for hours.  But I am beginning to think it is the coffee too early in my system.  Bet, is the usual breakfast maker and coffee-break meal fixer, and she can make the same stuff for early weekday breakfast as I thought I couldn’t deal with.  And no repercussions.  Especially if we also do not have a black tea with early breakfast but instead have an herbal tea or just hot water.

So, I’ll give Lil’Miss Coffee-Hater that one for sure, coffee apparently is not good in my gut and system first thing in the morning, and now with this NeuroscienceDC article scientifically backing up the better time for coffee as far as brain function, I’m thrilled I have already made the change and maybe I need to ask Dirt to bring me a lovely light tea for weekend mornings in bed, then I can dive face first into his hashbrowns, eggs and pancakes. And come up working!

 

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Jesus, Captain of My Soul

I know and hear daily of huge historical strides having been and being made by self-directed men.  Men who lean on and live by the words and concept, “I am the captain of my soul.”  We’ve probably all heard that quote a few times, especially this week.  Life coaches and self-improvement masters from all walks, quote and requote and expound self mastery.

How crazy it is then, to continue to lean on God’s understanding, and reflect daily on “Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.”  “.. do all things, though Him who strengthens…”

I am satisfied if most all the world thinks me crazy.

I’m concerned and believe we play with a dangerous fire when we try to weave the two together.  I’m sure that “Christian Self-Mastery” books are skilled at making it sound like you can.

Certainly, if our soul is found shipwrecked and torn apart we can look at our own navigation and steering then, the Word warns us so,  “holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith,”.  And certainly there is plenty for us to “do”, the New Testament is a fairly good sized book, filled with commandments and directives for us to heed. But the captain?

Jesus is the Captain of my soul. 

I am nothing without him.  Helpless and alone.  Lost, afraid, naked. But in Him? Paul says, and we should all be able to say, “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound.  In any and every circumstance,  I have learned the secret of facing circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

I’m quite certain that we can trot through life thinking that we have done all that we have done. That our education, our upbringing, our job, our determination, our drive,  has gotten us all the good we have.  Some of us think this harder and more adamantly than others.  But in reality? In truth?  Our very flesh, the air that we breathe, the food we eat, is held together, exists and feeds us, only by the grace of God.  And He is full of grace.

 

 

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