Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Final Push

I'm tired.

I've been in school for a full year now, no summer semester off; just a couple of weeks break between second and third. I am worn to the bone.

I am tired of always having huge assignments looming overhead. Of having the feeling that I ought to be studying even when I'm taking a break. Of waking up in the middle of the night, obsessing about coding assignment details. Of getting screwed over on team coding assignments by team members who lack the same ability/ attention to detail that I have. Of new profs who really have no idea how the system works and give ridiculous exams on material we spent 20 seconds on.

I'm tired of trying just to get assignments done and leave the understanding for later, no time for that now. I'm tired of morons in the back of the classroom who talk all through class and then interrupt the prof to ask a question that he answered two minutes ago but how would they know, because they weren't listening? I'm tired of walking that extra few hundred meters that OC Transpo added to my day when they moved Baseline Station.

Classes are done except for finals: Monday - Thurs next week. Thurs night after our final final I have invited some friends over and we shall celebrate the end of the third semester, two weeks of holidays, and the beginning of our co-op adventures in January. I wish I could be excited about my upcoming opportunity, but, well, I'm too tired to care at the moment.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Can't Prove it By the Poppies

Here it is, mid-November, but my front garden is seemingly unaware of the fact. These pictures were taken about a half-hour ago.





This is my first year growing poppies and I am utterly charmed by how fragile they appear, yet how hardy they actually are. Every night I sit out on the front stoop for a bit, taking in the air and clearing my head before turning in for the night. There have been nights when the grass was crispy and a cautious poke at the poppy petals revealed them to be frozen solid; as delicate (I would imagine) as a glass potato chip. However, the morning dawns and they raise their cheery little heads and sing once more.

Thank you, God, for poppies. I hope to grow up to be one.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Love Thy Neighbor

My friend Arzu wrote a really interesting post today. My post is in response to her musings... you should go over and read it, otherwise this post will seem pretty random.

I'm not Christian... I used to be but there were too many loose ends that didn't make sense to me. I don't really know what I am at the moment; I believe God exists in one form or another but I really don't think It cares about us on a personal level.

This being said, I don't think that lessens our calling to care for one another. In the end, God is intangible; we are all we have. I think our highest purposes are found in helping others, in doing what we can to ameliorate someone else's pain.

I also know that I fall short of that standard. A friend, a neighbor recently suffered a death in the family. I found out immediately but could not bring myself to cross the street to console her or to offer my apologies. I was awkward and helpless when it came to facing death in my own family when my father died a couple of years back; I was awkward and helpless when it came to dealing with her loss. Even though I loved her and knew that my silence was hurting her, I could not go over.

I'd like to think that I'd be there if a friend needed me, but in reality, I'd probably be "too busy", or help out but feel put-upon and inconvenienced at the same time. How to reach the selfless spirit that Arzu's friend S demonstrated when the neighbor he barely knew requested his help?

I also know that if the shoe were on the other foot, I would suffer alone and in silence rather than ask anyone for help, thereby inconveniencing them.

I love the idea, the ideal, of community... where we all take care of each other. It seems like such an impossible goal, though. How do we get there from here?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

In My Brother's Shadow

As a child, I lived under different rules than my older brother. Jim was allowed freedoms I never enjoyed; stayed out late with his friends, went places I wasn't allowed to go, did things I wasn't allowed to do. At the time, I chalked it up to my parents learning from their mistakes; my brother was permitted much and was a constant social, legal and academic disaster; the way I saw it, they would never allow me the latitude to make the same mistakes. I thought it rather unfair, as I was a very different person than my brother, but of course completely at the mercy of my parents until I moved out from under their control at 17.

I developed into a strongly responsible and motivated woman, while my brother smoked dope with his friends and lived at home with my parents until his early 30's. I managed a store and joined the Army while he worked as a seasonal labourer in silvaculture and drew unemployment all winter. He has been, until very recently, purposeless and without ambition.

It was within the last decade that I realized that I was, and would always be, second best. No matter what I did, he would always come first to them. My victories, my medals, my awards, my commendations would be politely applauded and then put underneath the scanty pile of his achievements. Every success I have, every mountain I climb, I call up my mother, excited to tell her, thinking that maybe at last I will have won her affections. I tell her and she makes the appropriate happy noises, and then tells me that she has to go because she's expecting my brother to come by. She sees him every day but his visits always trump our phone calls.

I know that there's absolutely nothing I can do to change the dynamics in this relationship but it pisses me off and breaks my heart every time I get shelved for him. It probably always will.

9 Weeks Down, 6 To Go

I'm closer now to the end of the semester than the beginning. It's been a rough go; two profs are giving us massive assignments on the assumption that a) we know more than we do; and b) we have all the time in the world to work on them. Either one of those assignments was enough to make me weep, and trying to excel at both at the same time had me considering dropping a course. All I can say is that I'm glad the Student Success Specialist took the week off that she did, because I'd be down a course right now.

Both of the assignments are finished, one to perfection, the other a bit short of that mark, and breathing room has been gained. I think I can make it to the end now with a full course-load intact.

I also get the sneaking suspicion that this is like the punchline from that old adage "if you're not scared you're not paying attention." There's another (group) assignment on the go now, which I think will get quite nasty towards due date. We'll see.

I accepted an offer for my first co-op work term. I had originally thought that working for RIM might be my optimal co-op job, until I saw the other placement. As sexy and cool and hip as RIM is, I think this tops it (inasmuch as it is possible for a Federal Government department to be sexy, cool and hip.) I applied on Monday, was told on Tuesday that I had an interview on Thursday at 1330, and I had been offered and accepted the job by 1600 Thurs. These people waste no time.

It will be a challenging job, no doubt;I'll be doing largely UNIX based coding, which I am good at but by no means an expert. I feel that it will benefit my career arc as a whole to sharpen these skills, so I'm up for the challenge. I'm really quite excited about working there for my first term, and I think I have something else interesting nailed down for the second work term.

I usually have a lab on Wednesdays, but it's in Web Programming, and our Prof has switched to electronic assignments rather than checking them in lab. This means that I essentially have the day off... okay, not off, exactly. It means that I can do schoolwork at home in my PJ's. (yay!)

Off to make a pot of tea and plow through a few hours of coding goodness. I hope November's treating you well thus far.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

In Sheep's Clothing

This one's for all my fellow fiberphiles.

This is a simply beautiful bride photo, no? Check out that dress.


Wait a minute. Notice a certain resemblance between the dress and the bride's companion?

You're right. Glory of glory, a wedding dress made of fleece.

Click on the picture to admire other lovely photos of it (and her) and read the story behind her amazing gown and how her and her husband met. No matter what's wrong in your world, you'll feel a little better after you read it, I swear.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I Love a Challenge.

Mum Linda and I compared notes last weekend, and realized we were both out of steam in our work-out routines. Seeing how she's in Lacombe and I'm in Ottawa, you wouldn't think there'd be much we could do to motivate each other, but with a little bit of scheming, we came up with a plan to keep us honest and engaged in our work-out routine.

Between the two of us, we agreed that our ideal week was comprised of 180 minutes of cardio in whatever form we desired, 120 minutes of strength-training, and an hour of yoga. We also agreed to cut the "whites" out from Sunday to Thursday... no white flour, pasta, rice, or sugar. Friday evening and all day Saturday are "within limits" treat days. Red wine is unlimited, with the caveat that for each glass, we perform 100 crunches or equivalent ab exercises.

Last week was technically the first week of the challenge, but it was messed up due to Thanksgiving, and besides was absolutely a horrible week for me on almost every level... evil school assignments/exams met up with personal turmoil etc etc. It was not the week to begin such a serious undertaking... much therapeutic eating was required, and schoolwork left not much time for heading out to the gym.

However. It's Sunday night of a new week and I declare the games open. I took some time tonight and set up a mini-gym in the basement.


Although my "real gym" is only a five-minute walk away, I need to change, don winter clothes etc etc... a simple 20-minute cardio break during studies becomes an hour-long event when I have to leave the house. This looks like a much better option, and it also buys me guilt-free TV time!

I can now watch Glee and Grey's Anatomy while virtuously working out. I love me some multi-tasking.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Philosophy of Loss

A dear friend, persistent commenter, and in fact the reason that this whole blog even exists has just been handed a death sentence: lung cancer, with multiple mets to the brain.

Although we're a part of each others' daily online lives on Facebook and through our blogs, we've only seen each other twice in the three years since we moved to Ottawa from Kingston. That's actually an improvement... when we were in Kingston, we really didn't know each other at all, just *of* each other; my husband being the common link. (She was his daughters' day-care provider for many years.) It doesn't matter, though. We've found that face-time is nice but the lack of it doesn't stunt a friendship from growing.

And now, she's been given 4-12 months to live, and I can't think of much else these days. It feels so unfair... she's so young, so big-hearted, and beloved of so many. I suppose it's a reminder that it's all so very random. I am so sorry, Miss V.

Whatever has happened to anyone else
Could happen to you & to me
And the end of my youth was the possible truth
That it all happens randomly.

~Indigo Girls, The Philosophy of Loss

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I Take It Back

As compared to the first two semesters, this one started slowly. The first few weeks trickled past, and there was a little homework, but nothing to make me wish I could knit time, as happened in the first two terms. The words "This is going to be a light semester!" may have crossed my lips.

I know not what vengeful homework god I pissed off when I said that, but I'm really, really sorry and I'd like to know what I can do to make it right. You see, I only have 24 hours in the day, and by the time I get the lab and assignment and study for that little midterm in web programming, read 300 pages in that utterly bone-dry Systems Analysis textbook and study for that exam, read 100 pages of online design papers and design a coffee machine in Java (I kid you not), and finally code a massively complex (or so it seems to me now) and completely unintelligible application in C#.... well, you see, there's not a lot of time for the little pleasures in life. Like sleeping. Or enjoying a stable, balanced mind.

Which I don't have at the moment so it's just as well I have no time to enjoy it.

Anyhow. You get the point. I profusely apologize for the sin of hubris. Not that it will make much of a difference, because I can't be un-smoted... unsmitten?... but I have been properly put in my humble meek place again. Thanks for the helpful reminder.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Daddy Issues

I envy and hate my step-daughters.

Not for their age and potential. Not for all the money in this week's lotto jackpot would I subject myself to the vagaries of being a young hormone-ridden teen girl-child, and as far as potential, well, I don't think the life I carved for myself lacks in any aspect. I've done what I set out to do and I have no regrets about my trajectory.

Instead, I envy them the loving, doting father they possess; my husband. I envy them his presence in their lives, his active interest in all they do, and his obvious love and concern for them. I envy how he spoils them rotten with attention and material goods. I envy them the chance they have to express their love and thankfulness for all he does.

I hate them for their uncomprehending reception of his largess. They accept his love and attention and gifts and devotion to their well-being as if it simply is their due, and no thanks is required. They have no idea of the sacrifices and care he takes on their behalf, and if they knew they wouldn't care. It's simply his job, you see. I hate them because they won't realize what an amazing man their father is until they're much older, and maybe he won't be around for them to tell him how they appreciate him. I hate them for the words that may remain unsaid; that should never remain unsaid.

I hate them because they're me at that age, and I hate myself for not saying what I should have to my father before he died. I always thought there'd be more time... more time to get to know the man he was; more time to tell him what he meant to me. I hate them because they don't understand what a wonderful life he's given them. They've never known want, or pain, or hunger, yet they think their spoiled little self-obsessed lives are sooo hard. I hate that they let him slave on behind the scenes in complete self-abnegation, without recognition, aside from the occasional kiss on the cheek.

Somehow, for him, this is enough. Not being a parent, I don't understand how it can be, but he is content and is quite puzzled at my indignation on his behalf. I can only hope that my own father took his own kisses on the cheek as payment in full for all his efforts on my behalf.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

All She Wants To Do is Knit

You probably didn't know it, but August was the Month of Noro, at least in my world. That entrelac scarf I began for my mother-in-law charmed me so much that I marched to the yarn store for more Noro for another scarf.

These have been done for a short while now; actually long enough that I got to show them off at this month's knitting guild! These are the first things I've knit that I felt good enough to show off in public. This weekend I finally got around to blocking them, so I thought I'd show them off while they're on the wires, and then maybe get other pics of them in use.

The one I made for my MIL:


The scarf I made for myself:


Side by each:


The "bonus" hat I made, reclining (blocking) gracefully in a soccer-ball:


I soaked the knit-wear in hair conditioner for a half-hour before I soaked it in... well, Soak. Noro's eye-sizzling colours come with a price: the yarn is as disappointing to the fingers as it is pleasing to the eyes. For a wook-silk-mohair blend, it isn't as soft as it should be, so I'm trying to encourage the yarn to bloom. I'll know when it's dry if it worked or not.

I am determined to clean my WIP pile before I cast on something new. I need a fresh start, and rather than burning a pile of aborted and defective knitwear on the rear lawn, I've decided to wade in and finish what I've started. For instance, I've pulled the cuff off a pair of socks that I knit for hubby; the top ribbing became rather floppy and needed a cuff re-do, so that's my travelling project at the moment. At home, I've finished one sleeve of the long-suffering Rainbow cardigan and have begun the second sleeve. I'm also re-knitting the angora liner for mum's mittens; they felted horribly last winter so I'm re-knitting them a third larger, pre-felting them and sewing them in. They need to be to her soon, as winter is soon to close on Alberta (not to mention the rest of us.)

The burning desire to cast on something new and pretty should keep me sufficiently motivated to burn through my WIP's, at least for a while. :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Crisis Averted

I have a crisis of confidence every semester. I know (to the point of arrogance, perhaps) that I'm smart enough to handle anything that comes at me, yet in Week Two when we're given our first significant assignment in a new programming language, I panic. I flip wildly through textbooks, Google twenty related topics, email friends, click through menus, and generally have a little melt-down. "THIS language will do me in. I'm really not smart enough to be a programmer and this moment is proof!" moans my internal wimp.

Then I get frightened, and determined. I make a pot of coffee, fix some snacks, do a little knitting to clear my head, and sit down and tackle it again, banishing that negative voice in my head. Failure is not an option; giving up even less so. Hours pass, my shoulders and neck and wrists ache, but I have written something that, while not perfect, gives me hope.

I ask a friend in class about some issues still remaining, and he points to an innocuous line of code and says "Why is that there?". I comment it out, and suddenly my major issues are solved. I don't know whether to laugh or cry, but I feel as if I'm slowly climbing on top of the language.

Then in class, the prof stops by my laptop to answer a question I have, and comments that I'm doing everything right and this is what he wants to see. I know then that the panic and fear was unfounded and that this is not the language that will finish me. Yes, it will be hard. Yes, I will stay up late and code early and obsess about it, but knowledge will reward those who earnestly seek it. C# shall be mine.

PS... I'm looking for interesting co-op opportunities for the winter and summer semesters, Jan-Aug. Do you know of any companies that could use some cheap programming for the duration? Especially in the tropics? *grins*

Monday, September 14, 2009

On The Run Again

My first week of classes is over and I'm hyped about the new semester. I have four core programming courses: Object Oriented Programming II (Java), Systems Analysis and Design, Web Programming (HTML, CSS, Perl, PHP, Javascript) and Graphical User Interface Programming (C#), as well as an elective (Wine, Food and Culture... tough gig, no?) and an hour a week for Co-op prep, as our co-op work terms will begin in January. I already love all my classes and I think I have truly wonderful profs in all of them.

I finished my homework on Saturday and had the luxury of spending Sunday in the sewing room, finishing two blocks of "Storybook Farm", Room to Breeze and Wooly Good Friends. This quilt is cuteness epitomized... the tiny little quilt on the clothesline is actually a real quilt, made separately, machine quilted and then pinned on the clothesline with wee clothespins. Pics to come!

I also finished knitting a hat and scarf set in Noro. Again, pics on the way after blocking. I am working my way though my "ugh" knitting pile before I will allow myself to cast on something new... perhaps this, or maybe this? I certainly need to cast on a sock for easy school knitting.

Now that DH is all officerized, he's away on course until February, but not so far away that he can't come home on weekends. The house is rather quiet, which makes for excellent studying, but the kitties and I miss him.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Just Rewards

From the utterly trivial to matters most important. Today at a rather informal BBQ, my husband received his commission. As a nod to the fact that the wife is always the higher rank in a relationship (!), I got the task of actually putting his new rank up.


My husband, who is usually so composed, was noticeably jittery this morning. It was kinda cute, but I wasn't surprised. It's the biggest career move for him since he joined the military 22 years ago. I am so proud of him for having the guts to make such a major change at a point in his career when it would be so easy to just ride it out until quittin' time.


Wayne with two of his proud girls; myself and daughter H.


Where he's come from, and where he is. Where he (and by extension, we) are going is a big mystery now that we're stepped into the whirlwind, but I am his biggest fan and we can handle whatever comes.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Do You Want To Date My Avatar?

If you've been around for five minutes or so, you'll know that in my down time I am Aishaii, hammer warrior, Legendary Cartographer, and soon to be Elona Vanquisher and Holy Lightbringer. I also roam around as Puck, a hot necromancer, but I'm concentrating on getting my titles for Aishaii.

Most of you are probably going "WFT?" about now. It's okay not to know what I'm talking about. You see, I'm addicted to Guild Wars, an MMORPG. As a female programmer and avid gamer, this makes me uniquely geeky.

Then, I found this through a contact in my guild.

Aaaah. My love of gaming and alternate reality set to a catchy pop beat by a hot girl who is WAY nerdier than I am (check out her education!). I have a new heroine. :)

Monday, August 31, 2009

Mum and Grandma Come to the Big City

I got home from Ste. Anne's at 1600 Weds, went for two hours of dance lessons with hubby followed by dinner at the Keg and then straight to the airport to pick up my mum and grandma. From utter relaxation to pandemonium in one smooth step.

They're not usually high-maintenance people, but I got the distinct impression that I was staff in the house while they were here. They sat and reminisced about dead people they used to know while I cooked, cleaned, tidied and chauffeured them around to fun places in the area. It was exhausting but fun.

We cruised the 1000 Islands, lapping Boldt Castle since Mum and Grandma didn't have passports so couldn't we go land.





We went to Rideau Hall and toured the GG's residence and came out feeling very patriotic at the end, and a little giddy that we had walked in the footsteps of Presidents and Queens.



We toured show homes, a time-honoured family tradition when visiting out-of-towners. And finally, I treated mum and grandma to their first-ever spa pedicure, which they both pronounced divine.

It was a busy six days, and it went by in a flash. Now they're gone and I can begin my real holiday.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Anna Karenina

It is finished, signed, admired, and given away. The colours and size were dictated by it's recipient, my adoptive mother; all else was left to my whimsy. The name was dictated by the audio book I listened to it as I sewed it up.

Draped artistically over the shed... (don't ask.)


The "B" side:


On the bed:



Mum laid down to have a nap under the quilt the day I gave it to her, but she got too busy admiring the stitching to sleep. I'll take that as the best compliment I could receive.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

It Is Finished!

Six courses, five finals, five days. Holy crap, it was a stressful week. However, it's all over now for a precious three weeks. I should know my marks next week... although I recognize it's completely arbitrary, I fought like hell to stay on the Dean's List. Time will tell. I should know that in mid to late Sept.

"Finished" not only refers to my mental state, but Mum's quilt. 3 hours in the sewing room saw the border put sewn on and down and the quilt signed and named. "Anna Karenina" will show up on the blog soon for your viewing pleasure.

And now, tomorrow comes my reward... four days, three nights at Ste. Anne's. No laptop, no coding, no stress... just good books, good music, good knitting, wine, food, pampering and relaxation. Bring it on.

See you next week!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Earthdancer Comes Home

After literally years of waiting to be framed, Earthdancer is done up right and on the wall. She is spectacular!

Close-ups of the piece and framing:



And on the wall.



She's perfect, and has been well worth the wait. I had her framed at the Framing and Art Center on Merivale, and I am well pleased with their services. Now that Cross-Stitch Cupboard is closed, it's nice to know there's a good option for needlework framing.

(I've since pulled off that ridiculous light-switch cover (who puts a switch in the freakin' middle of a feature wall, anyhow?) and painted it to match the wall so it won't be so obtrusive.)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

When The Stars Fall

I had heard on CBC radio that there was to be a meteor shower last night. Despite my good intentions to remember and perhaps drive out to the country to watch it, I didn't remember until it was late and I was performing my nightly ritual of checking that all the doors and windows were locked for the night before I went to bed. Not sure if it was even clear enough to see anything, I cupped my hands against the cool glass of the back yard's sliding door and peered out.

I was immediately rewarded with the blaze of a shooting star across the sky. Excited that it was still going on and conditions were clear, I raced around downstairs, finishing my "security" rounds, turning off lights and grabbing a blanket from the couch. I eased out of the screen door, careful not to let a very disappointed Ginger-cat squirt out into the night air with me.

The grass was cool and dew-wet. I wrapped myself in the blanket, more for protection from the whining mosquitoes than anything, and lay back on the grass, looking expectantly up. For long moments, there was a good deal of nothing in the sky, and annoyed by the mosquitoes pestering my face, I almost went inside immediately.

Then I laughed at myself. Here I am, positioned to watch one of the great natural wonders of the universe, and I want it delivered to me like a Fox news soundbite... condensed into 30 seconds or less, thank-you-very-much, so that I can return to my self-obsessed life as regularly scheduled. The guest on CBC said that the light from these meteors burning reaches us 43 minutes after they have already expired in the atmosphere... the least I can do is grant these celestial travellers more than a minute of my time. I laid back in the grass, now a little more stoic about the insects and dampness. I breathed in the cooling air, redolent of smells from my garden; there a touch of wet garlic; here a waft of cilantro.

I was soon rewarded with a magical streak of light that travelled directly above me. More time passed, and then another graced my vision. Time slowed, the mosquitoes seemed to disappear, and I existed simply to watch the night sky; the thrill of witnessing the meteors had me in a spell. I made deals with myself that I'll wait until I see one more, and then I'll go in... but that one more was always so incredible it kept me there for just one more again.

Finally, after witnessing 8 or 9 meteors, I saw one so bright and glorious that I involuntarily sucked in my breath in awe as it raced across the sky. A shiver went down my spine, tears came to my eyes, and I knew that it was the one I had been waiting to see. Slowly, reluctantly, but concious of the lateness of the hour and my upcoming exam in the morning, I got to my feet and went inside. As I closed the patio door, I saw one last shooting star streak the sky, as if a wave goodbye. Though I peered out windows intently as I readied myself for bed, I saw no more.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A New Flame

I've long meant to make a scarf for Wayne's mother, and it made it's way to the top of my knitting queue last week. The scarf would teach me a new technique, entrelac, which has a reputation in knitting circles as fiddly, complicated, and tedious. Be that as it may, entrelac done with a scrumptious variegated yarn has the potential to be outstanding, and I decided to make my first foray into this technique with some luscious Noro Silk Garden, a silk-mohair-wool blend from Japan that comes in simply amazing colours. I chose a colourway that I thought Wayne's mum would like, and began.

...And haven't stopped since. I'm almost 3/4 of the way through the scarf, despite exams, despite studying, despite everything. Prying the needles out of my hands just isn't going to happen any time soon. Not only does the technique entrance me, but the colours (oh the colours!) and the overall finished product amaze me.



Isn't that just about the cleverest thing ever??! I'd be totally in love with this project, but the colours aren't *me*... I am making it for my mother-in-law, after all. However, I think I shall achieve scarf perfection with this...


...don't you? (Yes, I fell into Wool-Tyme on my way home... I needed holiday knitting!)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Hello, Stinking Rose

Last time we checked in on momma's little garlic patch, we saw this:


That was in mid-June. This is what the same patch looks like today:


However, this is my basement:




I harvested just over 100 bulbs of beautiful garlic last week; half-and-half Siberian and Fireball. I lost a few to sheer wetness; the stems rotted through in some plants; but I harvested well over 90% of what I planted. I think those are pretty good numbers.

Not that I wasn't worried. A strange pest killed off my chives last year, and I thought nothing of it until it returned again this year, and started abusing my garlic, too. I identified it as onion maggot, and mentally kissed my garlic patch goodbye- the maggots are unstoppable through any means of control and will overwinter in the soil for two years. I was just hoping to save some out of this harvest.

It turns out I was alarming myself more than necessary. I headed out to the Carp Garlic Festival last weekend to chat with the experts, and the very-helpful Dave from Ashton Station Garlic showed me that my problem was leek moths and not that serious in the grand scheme of things... yes, they'll come back next year, but they can be controlled through various means and rarely harm the bulb itself, just the leaves. Relieved and overjoyed that I could plant another crop next year, I bought some organic garlic from him in a variety of... varieties, so that I may plant my favourites in the fall. I will also probably use some of the crop I just harvested as seed.


For those who are wondering what on earth I'll do with that much garlic. Well, at last year's festival, I bought about 50 bulbs, and as of today, this is what I have left:


We plow through the stuff like there's no tomorrow... roasted, baked, fried, raw, minced, grated, sliced... if we're serving something savoury in the house, odds are pretty good it's got (loads of) garlic in it. However, I might still have lots left over, providing it all stores well... the damp harvest conditions had me worried and a few of the bulbs showed early mould. I think we'll be fine now, though.

If you've never been out to the Carp Garlic Festival, or tried garlic that isn't from the supermarket, I strongly urge you to roam out there. It's open for a final day this Saturday, and is a beautiful drive and a fun outing. You may never look at garlic the same again.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Gloves and Gardens (and socks, too)

DH and I have been watching Tin Man over the last couple of days, so I've snuck in some quality knitting time and actually finished two projects.



These wretchedly colourful socks are made from the Harlot's basic sock recipe, out of some funky Opal yarn that a girlfriend brought back as a souvenir from Europe for me.


These are Nereid fingerless gloves, round two, for Momma Linda. They're made from Estelle Arequipa that was left over from my Whisper Cardi. If you think the colour balance in this photo is a little wonky because my skin looks orange, you're not wrong... I henna'd my hair again a couple of days ago without gloves, and my hands look like I lost a fight in a carrot factory.

Some glorious shots of my garden, sans knitwear. Hope your long weekend is going swimmingly!





Sunday, August 2, 2009

Holy Mole-y!

I keep a couple of bird feeders in the back yard. Not only am I trying to court some bird wildlife into strip-mined suburbia, but it's good entertainment both for myself and the cats. They love watching "TV" out the window; the fat mourning doves drive them insane.

A side-effect of the hand-out of free grain is, of course, rodent life; which the cats find equally amusing. There's something small and furry which lives somewhere in the yard; it scampers along the fence-line and drives Ginger-cat insane and keeps her staring intently at the tall grass for hours. Earlier this week she managed to get her paw in the rodent under the fence; she couldn't get the beastie out but neither could it get away. The shrill squeaks from the back yard brought hubby and I running to see what was happening. Ginger eventually backed away and everyone went their own way.

Yesterday we heard the squeaking again, and ran out to see what was happening. This is what we saw.




Can you see it? In all three shots you might be able to see the dark grey furry form of her rodent "friend". Here. Here's some better shots, courtesy of hubby.




We've positively ID'd this handsome fellow as a mole. They're handy to have in the yard, as they'll eat up to 30 lbs of grubs a year. Hubby caught him to rescue him from Ginger (who was puzzled and annoyed that we took her (uninjured but terrified) toy away. We released the mole back into a protected place, where it will live another day to eat grubs and tantalize the cat.