I’m trying to do the math on this latest knitting endeavor and am so thankful Sarah is helping me, being patient while I knit swatches and actually learn gauge. This sweater is going to fit, dang it. And I’m going to wear it in Seattle in three weeks! I need to get going. (And thanks to that link, now I’m wishing I was planning on doing it in stripes. How cute is that?)
In the meantime, I’ve been knitting beanies. They are mindless and I am enjoying using up the bits of leftover yarn from other projects. Because apparently I’m incapable of sitting still until the moment I fall asleep.
What projects are stretching you to learn new things?
We took the canoe out this weekend and the weather couldn’t have been lovelier. White, puffy clouds scattered across the blue sky, with Red Mountain towering in the distance. The mild temperatures were good for everyone — the tubers with their styrofoam coolers of beverages, the life stock — with wild horses and cattle coming down into the water to eat green grasses and algae, and the birds. We saw bald eagles, including one in flight, cardinals, black birds with red under their wings, herons and more.
It was so peaceful to paddle along, hearing the water trickle past the bow of the canoe, and see the fish below, swimming along. In some parts, the water was shallow enough to see electric green feather-like weeds growing around the rocks. It gave the river an otherworldly feel.
Those pickles are going to be delightful. Refrigerator pickles. Who knew this was such a simple thing?
As for the garlic, rosemary, tomatoes and spring onions — I roasted them with olive oil, salt and pepper. After 30 minutes, I threw them in the food processor and made a rustic sauce. I roasted the kale, placed two fried eggs on top, and then added the sauce. It was such a delicious way to eat what was ready in the garden, and a great way to avoid going to the market for another day.
Next round to be planted soon: cucumbers, pumpkins and watermelon.
The garden continues to thrive thanks to a couple of weeks of cooler weather and a bit of rain. The tomatoes are going bonkers. The beets have been roasted and pickled:
The carrots are still delightfully tiny and perfect for the rabbit. (Nutmeg is becoming quite the spoiled bunny. Organic greens only, please.)
We’ve got zucchini for days. The kale, basil and rosemary are still going strong. And the spring onions and garlic are ready too. These cukes are going to become pickles later this week:
Next up: I’m planting pumpkins with my 5-year-old neighbor Jeremiah. And we’ve got heirloom watermelon, pickling cucumbers and squash headed our way for the hot summer months.
What are you growing?
Hey! Guess what? I finished that damn sweater.
I’m knitting another cardigan at the moment for a coworker. But next up for me is this baby in a kelly green wool blend. With any luck, I’ll have it done in time for our upcoming visit to the Emerald City next month.
The month of April was dedicated to biking to work in Arizona. I took the challenge with a few coworkers. I ended up riding/taking the light rail some 533 miles. (Some will argue that the light rail miles are cheating. I am not on the highway and I wasn’t a regular user of this form of public transit before this month, so I’m calling it a win. I definitely cycled more than I rode.)
So, this morning, with the last day of the challenge looming, I decided to take my time riding in to take as many photos as I could.
There was that yard in Tempe that is now overgrown with spring bushes nearly covering their pro-vegan hand-lettered messaging:
Rock on, hippies. And the community garden nearby, with the maze of pastel painted tractor tires:
The birthday cake house! As my brother and I always called it as kids:
It is actually the Tovrea Castle. I’ve never been inside, but it has quite the history. Can you imagine landing in Arizona and constructing that house amid a sea of saguaros and adobes? Chutzpah.
There was also the odd landscape, including beheaded palms, a Mary Poppins fence, and a park with a creative state flag:
The Sheriff Joe protesters — who may be getting somewhere.
And then there was the practical I also documented. I’ve become good friends with Aleve, and lesser friends with my right knee. Also, the heat today was serious. It was close to 100 and for the first time, I could feel it coming back off the black pavement toward me as I road with my head down toward home.
And just when I thought I wasn’t going to have anything really funny to share photo wise, this guy got on the my train home:
He said it takes him just a few minutes to do, and then he goes back to bed for an hour to let it dry. It. Was. Mesmerizing. The entire car of people starting chattering.
A full month of riding in. If I learned one thing I’d like everyone to know it is this: get off your phone and pay attention to the road. Please.
One of those days that it was so classically beautiful outside, you expected John Wayne to ride by with a group of cowboys. From Sunday to Friday this week, our temperatures will go from a high of 70 to 100.
Hold me, Lucille. Summer is here.
Saturday, I met my friend Blair, who is a member of the Phoenix Junior League. She asked if I would share my experiences vegetable gardening with a few members. My friend Duda came too. It was a great couple of hours talking tomatoes, and looking at a fantastically diverse example of community gardening. We met at the South Scottsdale Community Garden — which has plots available, if you are interested.
Ever start talking about something you love and realize how much you’ve learned over the years? I have been trying to garden in Arizona for a decade and I am finally starting to get the hang of it — or at least can talk the talk.
A few resources I mentioned which are worthy of repeating:
1. Starbucks grounds for gardeners are gold for our high alkaline soil in the Phoenix area. Also, you don’t have to compost, but saving your egg shells and working them into your soil is a great free resource for better veggies, especially calcium heavy tomatoes.
2. Buy your seeds from Native Seeds if you want to start from seed. You’re supporting generations of farmers by doing so, and the heirloom gardening movement, which is important. Plus, their seeds work in our soil and climate.
3. Best organic (and cheap) pesticide? 1 tablespoon dish soap, 1 tablespoon cayenne and the rest water in a squirt bottle. Go to town. You won’t hurt the plant, but you will send aphids and caterpillars elsewhere.
4. Plant what you want to eat. A great calendar for what to plant and what to harvest in the Phoenix area can be found here.
A friend recently posted a photo of a children’s knit cardigan that was adorable. I wondered if I could modify the pattern for an adult? Specifically, for my friend Kerrisha.
Here is the result:
Now, I’m adjusting the pattern for another coworker who also wants one, but wants it a bit longer and with seed stitch around the bottom edge. It will be called “the Jane.”
Remember four years ago when I signed up for that “knit your own sweater” class in Denver at Fancy Tiger?
Well, I’m finally finishing it. I’m not sure what the mental roadblock was on getting this sucker done, but it is coming together. I finally tried it on yesterday and it is too big. (I may be the only person who moves to the country’s healthiest state and gains weight.) It is still a beautiful shade of purple and I’m sure I’ll wear it all the same.
Three cheers for finishing projects!