Sunday, May 03, 2020

Yard and Garden, Yarn and Fabric

Just over a month ago, I wrote that I was so glad to see the back end of March.  That month had been full of snow storms -- conveniently every Saturday, meaning getting to church the following day would have meant taking my life in my hands -- and then, COVID-19 made it's nasty presence known and church gatherings were cancelled altogether.   Just when we could have used the community more than ever.

Enter April...and the unexpected passing of a good friend, followed by a continual stream of COVID news, a horrific mass murder by a madman in Nova Scotia (Canada's largest) and more loss of life when one of our navy helicopters crashed into the sea near Greece while on a NATO mission.

Aaargh!!  Restoratives needed!!!  I've been finding it here...


Our priest -- a self-professed avoider of social media -- has taken on the challenge of recording mosiac services from each of his two parishes, helped by parishioners who are mainly over 60.  We've all had a bit of a crash course in recording and creating YouTube clips which he then turns into a wonderful mosaic and shares each week.  Each parish takes a turn; last week (April 26) it was ours and next week (Mother's Day) it will be our turn again.  (If you're really interested, you can see the links on our parish weblog.) 

The other surprise from our priest is his creation of a weekly "Happy Hour" for parishioners using Zoom -- every Wednesday afternoon around 4:30 p.m.  And yes, a bit of tipple is encouraged!  This began last week.  In addition, folks have been asked to share news in a weekly parish newsletter he sends out via e-mail to our parish list.  Then there are the parishioners who phone others who are elderly or might not be on the Internet, to ensure they're doing okay; still others who live in town (I'm out in the country) are making sure that seniors who can't get out get their groceries and pharmaceuticals.

It's all been a lovely way to practice what our faith calls us to do: to care for each other with love, patience and kindness.


Every day I try to get in some sewing.  The yard work has interrupted that because our weather's been unexpectedly mild, but my "Strip to Shore" quilt top -- from GE Designs -- is slowly coming together.  When I took this photo, I had 9 columns finished.  Now all 11 are done, and just need the last bid of joining together.  Now I'm trying to figure out if I have anything in my stash that will serve as a backing, or if I'll have to find an outside source:

As for the "Unity" project from Bonnie Hunter...well...I'm collecting the patterns and like how it's evolving, but I've not assembled any part of it past the first two "clues".  It may wait for the fall...or at least a couple of very rainy days!

And the sketch for my 2020 SAQA Benefit Auction piece remains on my cutting get on that!  It's got to be sent off in a week or two!!  Aaaack!!


There's always knitting.  😍

In an attempt to have some sort of routine, I begin every day with an hour (or two) of knitting as I check the weather, read my e-mails, catch up on Facebook and take in some of my favourite news commentators.

I finished my April Socks from Stash socks...

Pattern: "Hermione's Everyday Socks"
Designer: Erica Lueder
Yarn: Bouquet Sock & Sweater

And I'm making steady progress on the ones for May.  This month's challenge called for each participant to select 5 or 6 stash yarns and put them up in a poll on the Socks from Stash Ravelry group.  The yarn that won the most votes from the group members is the yarn that had to be used for the May project.  These ones will be given as a Christmas gift; getting them made early is a bonus! 😊

Yarn: Reinvent from Ancient Arts, Calgary, AB
Colour-way: "Calico Cat"
Pattern: "A Nice Ribbed Sock"
Designer: Glenna C.

As well...more progress is being made on the "Tegna" top -- the pullover I'm making using the pattern I won for participating in the March Socks from Stash challenge.  I've finished the lace hem, and am making my way steadily up the body.  In the photo, I'd done only about an inch above the lace, but I'm a good 3 1/2 inches up now.  There are 238 stitches to every round so though it's mindless knitting now, there's a lot of it!

Having discovered this week that my collection of dish cloths is getting very shoddy, I've picked up one I've had languishing on the needles for who knows how long, so that's added to the mix.  It's in a rather bland tan cotton, but I'll show it to you when I finish it and have a photo.

Further Afield...

(Or at least, out in the yard)...Some of you may remember that last October I purchased the vacant lots next door to my property.  At that time, they looked like this -- with a ginormous willow "bush" in the centre, and two other clumps of trees randomly placed -- on the left side and to the back.

I managed to get a bit of pruning done on one of the tree "clumps" before it snowed...but then it sat until last month, when it finally got warm enough for me to do more pruning.  Of course, that's when I discovered there was no way I was going to clear the mess on my own.  I have neither the equipment nor the strength.  So...I called Mike from "All Tree Care".   When he came out to give me an estimate, I decided to "go big or go home" so in addition to helping me prune the willow, I had him cut out a pesky Manitoba maple, had him remove two unhealthy branches from a Mountain Ash (Rowan) on the NE side of my house that were threatening to fall on my roof, and to remove entirely another Mountain Ash on the back end of my property that was getting more unhealthy by the year.

Willow trimmed!

In order to remove the stump of the unwanted maple (which I discovered was already rotting) I drilled it and each of the large cut branches surrounding it, and applied Epsom salts.  The whole thing is now covered with a piece of an old plastic tarp.  I'll check it every month or so; eventually I'll be able to dig out the rotted stump myself, and it won't have harmed the surrounging shrubs (those are lilacs you see at the back).

Maple extracted!

Here's all that's left of the Mountain Ash on the back alley...and yes, it's stump has been similarly treated as of this writing.

Meanwhile, my new lawn mower and my raised bed kit were ready for pick up at my LHS (Local Hardware Store) earlier this week.  It was an adventure fitting them into the trunk of my car, along with a new jerry can (this is a gas mower), two bags of topsoil and two of composted sheep manure!  The hardware fellows had to take the mower out of the box to do it, but it worked.  When I got home I blessed my neighbour across the street, because he came over and helped me heft it out of the trunk.

I've spent the last couple of days preparing a spot for the raised bed by removing sod from an area approximately 4 feet by 6 feet:

Assembling the bed was simple -- but not particularly easy for a small person alone.  Still, I managed to "git 'er dun" and (almost) filled.

Choosing to "make my own dirt", I layered a variety of things into it, starting with a layer of the sod on the bottom, followed by chopped branches, dead leaves (raked from the nearby raspberry bed where they'd been acting as mulch all winter), compost (I have a rolling composter), composted sheep and steer manure, and top soil.  I dampened each layer with water as I went.  Mike left me a beautiful pile of wood chips when he removed my trees, so I created a pathway around the bed.  First I took apart most of the box the kit came in and laid the cardboard down on the bare earth; then I applied a thick layer of wood chips.  Et voila!

I have a depth of about 6" that still needs to be filled in (more inexpensive top soil) before I can plant, but it's early days yet, so I have time to get that in place. 😊

The forecast for later today and most of tomorrow is rain -- which we definitely need! -- so I'm happy to take a break inside with my fabric and fibre...and some floss too.  Yes, in addtion to all of the above I've dipped back into an embroidery UFO -- the "Toronto Sampler" from Jeannette Douglas Designs.  Intended as a 25th anniversary gift for some friends who live in TO, I didn't get far along when life took over.  This year, they'll be celebrating 45 years together in late August; perhaps I'll manage to get it finished in time!

This is where I'll leave you this week, Gentle Readers...with hopes that this new month finds you healthy, safe, hopeful and happily creating...whether it be with friends, family, fabric, fibre, floss or field and stream!  I'm linking up with Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday, and wish you all a wonderful weekend!


HollyM said...

My goodness you have been busy! What a great idea for filling the raised bed (really nice btw) and for getting rid of stumps.
Your quilt is really pretty. Is the sweater a pullover? I’ve got some do cotton that I’d like to do a cardigan with and need to find a pattern.
Your pastor has come up with some really creative ways to keep the congregation together and reach out to those that need it. I sometimes wish I was religious as I could use it. Alas I just can’t do it. I am more spiritual though.

Kate said...

Belonging over here to the abstentionists ( in name, if not always in practice) our minister has been holding zoom coffee parties at one in the afternoon. We also have yoga, meditation, and bible study, via zoom. Something nearly every day, including church on Sunday.
You are keeping yourself quite busy, I see. I seem to be stuck in knitting mode at the moment, but I bought some fabric today, so maybe I will get back to my sewing.