April Showers

We’ve had such lovely weather in March but now it seems that the old April showers trope is true. Luckily I got quite a lot of the garden dug and ready before the rains hit. The peas and spinach are coming up now and I’ve been harvesting kale buds, corn salad (mache) and chives. In the greenhouse the baby seedlings are waiting until they are a little bigger before being transplanted into the garden. The tiny Japanese indigo plants are still being brought in every night since it’s warmer under the grow lights.

They won’t be going out into their bed for awhile yet. Neither will the coreopsis, marigolds or sulphur cosmos.

The cosmos (the very similar looking plants in the back) are new for me this year. I’m testing to see how well they do in my garden and also how well they do in the dyepot. A yellow to orange dye, depending on pH., similar to the dyer’s coreopsis. They can grow quite large and need sun so it remains to be seen if I can give them what they need. Nowhere in my yard gets full sun all day anymore thanks to all the big trees but most things do OK with less. We shall see, won’t we? At least they don’t need a lot of water or fertilizer.

The rest of the biannual and perennial dyeplants are already perking up in the garden. The madder seems to have survived being dug up, root-pruned and divided into a different part of the dye garden. So did the rhubarb. I keep digging out part of the clump of dyer’s chamomile but it keeps looking just as large. I have a couple of volunteer weld plants which I’ll probably allow to go to seed this year just to freshen up my seed supply. Though I don’t need more than one or two plants a year anyway for the small amount of dyeing I do with weld. It’s a large plant! And very easy to grow just about anywhere.

It’s kind of nice to have a bit of a break from the digging. Though I’m especially happy to be finished with days and weeks of sorting out all the stuff for the craft supplies sale tomorrow. I have books, magazines, a bit of yarn, some sewing patterns (uncut), and beads-beads-beads. I only packaged up about 2/3 of the bead stash and there’s still lots left. For this go-round I concentrated on the beading, doll-making, paper arts, and embellishment stuff. I didn’t even go through the fabrics or fibres at all. Plus there’s still plenty of sewing, knitting, spinning, dyeing, crochet, weaving and braiding books and mags left! So I think I’m all ready now. Maybe. I have way too much stuff for a single table (18 boxes full!) but that’s all the sale space I’ve got to work with. And this was just the first pass through the stash too. Yikes. I’m certainly going to be very aware of anything new that comes into this house in future. Remind me of this when I get antsy to buy any new stuff, won’t you?

Uh-oh. Glad we already loaded up the van in the garage with the sale boxes during an earlier dry period because now it’s raining quite hard! If this continues tomorrow it’s going to be equally exciting unloading without getting vulnerable books wet. I am so not looking forward to this. Wish me luck finding new homes for it all! Or at least some of it.

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Stuff & More Stuff

Baby plants catching some rays

Hello! It’s been awhile, huh? I’ve been alternating digging in the garden, planting and repotting wee little seedlings, and sorting bead supplies. It’s all very tedious! Present Me is wondering what the heck Past Me was thinking when I bought all those beads. (Although to be fair I was teaching classes at the time.) Now I’m just trying to figure out how to get rid of most of the collection in a reasonable way. These are just the 11/0 seed beads and not even all of them at that!

Ooh…pretty…

And there’s more. A lot more. I decided to keep the larger seed beads that could conceivably be used in knitting and I’m definitely getting rid of the tiniest ones that I know I will never ever use. But I had trouble deciding what to do with this most common but still pretty small size. I might need them for something? Call it Dragon-On-Her-Hoard Syndrome! So I dreamed (literally!) up a solution that will work for now – keeping a little packet of each colour and letting the rest go. This will reduce the stash to about a quarter of its former size. Hopefully it will then actually fit into the Chest of Many Drawers along with all the other bead supplies that I’m not quite ready to part with. We shall see.

So I only have one more week to fuss about before the sale that I’m involved in. (Reminder: “Bargains in the Basement” at the Silk Purse, West Vancouver, April 6, noon-4pm.) Where I’m hoping to unload at least some of this stuff on people who might actually make use of it. I have no idea how it will go and I’m a bit anxious about it. I only have a single table and way too much to get rid of. I’ve never been to this particular sale before so it’s all a complete unknown. Team Introvert here! Not good at selling. At least Thom promises to assist as he is able. Plus I am acquainted with at least 3 of the other sale participants so it’s not a totally strange experience for me.

Unfortunately I haven’t had any time or energy left to knit or sew. However my biggest Grandbeastie came over while she was on her spring break and I helped to get her familiar with her new sewing machine which now temporarily resides in my studio. She immediately went to town creating a mermaid costume completely on her own! Lucky girl gets to use all my equipment including the big table and rotary cutters and pattern paper to work with. No commercial pattern for her! It’s all in her imagination. She brought a pair of leggings to trace and some black french terry and by the end of the afternoon had what looked like one-legged tights. Next she plans to embellish it by hand with scales and fins. I can’t wait to see how it ends up! Of course Bad Granny didn’t take any photos of the process. I’m sure she’ll be back soon for more though. That was her first time coming by herself on public transit all the way from Port Moody. Now that she’s taller than me I forget that she’s only 14.

Otherwise not much else has been happening around Damselfly’s Pond. Spring has been sprunging up like crazy now that the weather has improved. The cherry blossoms are coming out, the dandelions are flowering and the birds are starting to nest. We have another Anna’s hummingbird nest in the arborvitae just outside our living room window. So tiny! Thom has a sore knee so I’ve been doing most of the gardening right now. So far I managed to get 3 veggie beds dug and the peas and spinach planted. Yay, me! And I need one more done very soon for the majority of those baby mustard greens up there to go in. I’m trying not to push it too hard because I definitely don’t want to strain anything. We official Little Old Lady types have to take care of ourselves, right? Unlike Little Old Man who ouchied his knee doing who-knows-what.

Happy Spring!

Or alternatively, Happy Autumn if you are on the other half of the planet! Must be spring here because today I picked the first of the kale buds from my overwintered plants.

Wee kale bouquet

The weather has been unseasonably warm and sunny for the past few days. Just to make up for having been unseasonably cold for February and the first half of March, right? Plants are speeding to catch up. The crocuses and snowdrops are fully out now and the larger daffodils are just starting to pop. I even saw some plum trees starting to flower finally. They usually come before the cherries do anyway. Such a beautiful time of year.

Yesterday we took advantage of the good weather and went on a day trip over to Bowen Island on Skytrain, bus and ferry.

Coming in to Snug Cove

Back when we had two small children and a sailboat we used to spend quite a lot of time over here since it was just a hop, skip and a jump from where our boat was moored in Fisherman’s Cove, West Vancouver. We took a look about the shops in Snug Cove and noted all the changes since we had been here last and then had a yummy lunch in the Bowen Island Pub, including a locally brewed Snug Cove lager. Thus well-fortified we hiked into Crippen Regional Park and around Killarney Lake.

Killarney Lake, Bowen Island
The farthest marshy end of the lake

It’s a good hike, some of it on smooth trails and across boardwalks and some scrambling up and down on the more rustic parts. We finally made it back down to the salt water at Deep Bay.

Deep Bay, Bowen Island

The snow is still quite low down on the mainland’s mountains but where we were standing it was very warm! A little more walking brought us back to Snug Cove, watching the ferry coming from Horseshoe Bay.

That little white dot in the middle is our ferry, the Queen of Capilano, on her way to Bowen

After we got home, very tired after the day’s adventures, Thom checked his FitBit and found out we had walked more than 14.5 kilometres in total! I think that might be at least a 10-year record for us. Whew. No wonder I lack much ambition today, huh?

Meanwhile, back at the Spring Cleaning, I’ve got 14 boxes of magazines and books ready to go bye-bye. And a bag of paper recycling and another big bag of non-recyclable trash. Not done yet, but I’m finally feeling like I’m getting somewhere at least. Unfortunately nothing else is getting done while this is going on. Apart from starting some baby seedlings under the grow-lights which can’t wait. Now I’m committed to their care and can’t leave them for more than a day. Hence the reason for the day trip to Bowen. Otherwise we might have run away for at least a week. Oh well. Can’t do everything!

Still Learning

My new blog is going to take some tweaking to get it the way I want. Some things are easy and some things are definitely not. I hope the old brain is up for this! But you have to start somewhere, right?

From the garden yesterday

The weather had forecast cold and perhaps some snow coming so I picked these bites from the veggie garden.

Snowdrops & snowdrops

So the weather was correct and it did snow. And hail. Glad I tucked the more vulnerable pots into the greenhouse. Now the sun is out!