Where did the June days go? Be well and safe.
Where did the June days go? Be well and safe.
June is my favorite warm weather month. Generally the days are warm but not oppressively hot and humid. The garden green promises sun-ripened tomatoes and fresh cucumbers. Herb and flower beds are mostly free of weeds and insect pests. Long evenings of light are a balm for our weary souls. This week we ate several evening meals on the deck and caught sight of a yellow swallowtail butterfly on the flowers of the Japanese Lilac Tree.
After last night's thunderstorms, this morning is cool and bright. I walked in a long sleeved tee with sun warming my back. Basil in pots thrives. Most of the transplanted strawberry plants are surviving the rabbits and squirrels. I replanted the cucumber hill. The front yard with the patch of winter-kill and over grown bushes needs attention but that is why I tend the yard and garden. It needs tending and the changes get me out of my rut. Well - sort of. I am a creature of habit.
I do enjoy the Wednesday routine of writing a post and linking with Kat and the Unravelers. This week I knit some fingerless mitts from leftover self-striping sock yarn. The cable was fun and kept the knitting interesting. Color-wise, the mitts aren't an exact match but fairly close. I played yarn chicken with this project and was happy to have enough to finish the thumbs. Knitting up leftovers is so satisfying. Do you feel that way or do you give away and/or toss the leftovers?
When I toss the stash in January, I create the "up next" bin and put it on top for easy access. Sometimes I knit from that bin and sometimes I don't. Right now, the contents appeal to me so I cast on another Forager Sweater. This is the only sweater yarn I have in stash and I'm happy to knit with it. Time and knitting will tell if the yarn/pattern combination works well together.
I read The Ghost Orchard: The Hidden History of the Apple in North America by Helen Humphreys. I found this little work of nonfiction more cohesive than The River. I also learned a great deal about apple varieties and orchards. I had never considered that Native Americans tended apple orchards. Humphreys counters the Johnny Appleseed story with one about a woman named Ann Jessup. She also wrote about Robert Frost's orchard as well as watercolorists who were part of the USDA's effort to disseminate information about apples to prospective growers. Plates of the watercolors are included in this book. They are beautiful. My library didn't have this book so I found a nice used copy online. I am also reading The Painted Drum. Interestingly, Erdrich writes about an apple orchard in the novel.
As I finish this post, a wee (young) chickadee hangs upside down in the birch. House finches feed youngsters at the feeder. The little ones with tufts of down remind me of typical toddlers. They make me smile. I hope you are enjoying these rare June days.
Before we left town, I listened to The Henna Artist, a novel my local group is discussing soon. The reader was great. The descriptions of Indian cuisine, fabric, and Hindu customs were lush with sensory detail. The characters were very human. I could predict some plot turns but the armchair travel to India made a great audio book for me.
Since I end with knitting and reading, I'll link with Kat and the Unravelers. May this new month of June bring warm sunny gentle days.
Rain falls from a gray sky this morning. Earlier I took a walk in a light mist. A lovely much-needed soaking rain fell all day yesterday and will continue today. After some quite warm days, the temperature fell to the fifties. Sunday to Monday the overnight low was 36 degrees. I dragged the basil pots from the patio into our walkout basement and pulled the petunias close to the house to shelter on our small front porch. Yesterday I wrapped up in a shawl and knit on a charity project.
My knitting is not terribly inspired this week. I knit a few more rows on the second sock of a pair. Sunday I pulled a skein from the "up-next" stash bin. I love the soft blush pink of this locally dyed yarn. I thought about casting on a hitchhiker but decided on a lace sampler scarf. I knit one several years ago in a deep teal and have worn it often. I'll follow the same recipe but vary the lace patterns.
Sunday was a beautiful day. Before working in the yard and garden, I read for an hour or so on the deck. This little guy kept me company. He didn't know enough to be afraid of me. My current daytime read is The House of Life: Rachel Carson at Work. The author, Paul Brooks combined information about Carson's methods of writing and research with excerpts from her books. Brooks served as editor for a number of her books. The excerpts are long enough to give the reader a sense of her prose. I read one about a shore in the Artic and was struck by the way she conveys the interconnectedness of life along and in the sea. This wouldn't be a book for everyone but I am enjoying it. I ordered an inexpensive used copy as it was first published in 1972 and reissued in 1989. The book was cost one dollar but the shipping was more.
I also read a used copy of The River by Helen Humphreys. In The Lost Garden, a novel by Humphreys, the main character wrote several letters to Virginia Woolf. As I read The River, I wondered if Humphreys was influenced by Woolf's style of writing. The book meanders (as the river) between history, physical description of the area, and short pieces of fiction. It is beautifully illustrated with photography, a few old photographs, and art work. Once I noticed the change in background color that denoted the short fiction I found it easier to follow.
I am off to write a note to my Congressional representatives to request gun regulation. It isn't much but it is what I can do. I'll leave you with this message from my slightly askew kitchen.
Finally, look at this basil. Last year, the basil in pots produced well. I hope it does as well in this location again. Here's to the hope that comes with Spring.
Warm hot days have arrived this week. The trees are the brilliant shade of Spring chartreuse-like green. Soon they will deepen into summer's green but for now the color looks so fresh. The ninety degree temperatures feel warm. In two days, I went from walking while wearing a light jacket, cowl, and fingerless mitts to T-shirts and shorts. During May, I hang an oriole feeder with half of an orange in the back yard. Yesterday two pairs of Baltimore Orioles vied for spots on the feeder. They are so brilliantly colored and fun to watch.
Our son came to attend a funeral and is working remotely from our home. He came to support a good friend but it has been grand to have him around. On Mother's Day we made dinner together, a veggie lasagna, salad, and his "killer garlic bread." We had the nicest kind of Mother's Day.
As we barrel toward summer, I link with Kat and the Unravelers. The best knitting news is I finished the Prairie Shawl. We took photos yesterday morning in 84 degree weather. Except for a few strands of leftover cream and the swath of the deepest blue, the yarn is handspun. The Polworth is warm so I won't be wearing it until Fall. I used the shaping and some stitch patterns from a commercial pattern calling for fingering weight yarn but this yarn was slightly heavier. The shawl is a generous size and may not be perfect but I was able to incorporate much of this spinning project. I like it.
Although my wool sock wearing season has ended, anytime is a good time to knit socks. I finished a speckled sock and cast on the second one. I also knit a little on the Guernsey Scarf. This advent set was a birthday gift last year. I'm enjoying the knitting and adding colors in the order in which the dyer numbered them. The DK wool is wooly and warm so this project may rest over the summer months.
I'm in a reading lull. It's time to make my summer reading list. I recently ordered two used books by Helen Humphreys. I am waiting for a few holds from the library so I picked up an older book by Terry Tempest Williams. An Unspoken Hunger: Stories From the Field was published in 1994. This collection of essays weaves together William's personal experiences with her passion for the natural world. For me, her writing stands the test of time and is worth rereading.
I hope May is treating you to some bright colors.