Monthly Archives: July 2010

The Garden As It Is

So, I started an obsession with pickling things over this past winter. Something about trudging through three foot snow drifts made my brain start to crave books about canning. Luckily the library is well stocked and it was pretty easy to start researching whatever it was that caught my fancy (pickled grapes, anyone?). And, fortunately or otherwise (I’ll let you judge for yourself) seed catalogs started appearing in our mailbox. I always love poking through them and usually have no overarching planting schemes in mind… until this time. I flipped straight to the cucumber section and picked out a nice packet of pickling cucumbers and I even found a nice paste tomato that started a spaghetti sauce researching binge.

Now, several months later my cucumbers all died within three days of settling into real dirt outside. So, I trotted down the road to the Saturday Market and bought a flat of six for $1.50 (it was a flat of six containers but it turns out that each container actually held two plants… that’s TWELVE cucumber plants!). I didn’t want to plop them all back in the same place the last cucumbers met their untimely ends in, so I put half of them in an Ikea tupperware bin (the lids don’t lock onto the bins making them practically useless for cramming things into so I didn’t feel much of a twinge when I drilled drainage holes in the bottom) and crossed my fingers.

Here’s the mildly rag-tag “container garden” that’s camped out in the parkinglot. Basil on the far right, depressingly stunted cilantro next, tomatoes in the next container and the wee ones in front, and lastly, cucumbers climbing their way up a trellis in their cozy, useless-for-storage box!

The basil is doing just fine… so far.

Still achingly small tomatoes. I hope they do their tomatoey business before those snow drifts descend again!

And here’s the second half of the garden. Joe and I carved an area out of an old, overgrown vegetable garden on the other side of the parkinglot and planted the cherry tomato plant I bought from the Craftsbury Academy’s plant sale, two acorn squash ($1 for two at the Saturday Market!), three bell peppers (free from the Ag. Program at Sterling) and the other six cucumbers. Linus has been unwittingly indispensable, that blue bucket is full of bunny fertilizer just chillin until we need it! How exciting…

An acorn squash-to-be!

So that’s the garden. In other interesting news down at the lower dorms, Steve is keeping seven of the meat rabbits from the barn out on pasture to compare their weight to the ones still cooped up in the barn.

He refitted a chicken tractor with wheels and scoots them around next to the potato patch.

A California bunny with muddy-red paws… which are perfect foreshadowing. I was buttering my toast this morning and, glancing at the parking lot out the window, saw a delightful little white rabbit calmly meandering around. All seven bunnies had gotten out AGAIN. Between three people we caught six after about and hour of chasing and scrambling… the seventh is nowhere to be found but there’s a mysteriously large pile of white fur in the driveway. The rabbit above squeals like a wounded pig when you grab him. It’s an utterly terrifying sound.

Crafty How-To’s -The Beginning-

The more time I spend behind some sort of desk, the more time I have to dream up and research new crafty ventures. So, in appreciation of all the crafters who put up free tutorials and how-to’s on the internet, I’m going to start posting neat projects that I find so that you can marvel at all of the wonderful things we can make along with with me!

The First Tutorial -Knit Apple Cozy-

Once in a while, I’ll pop an apple into my bag and tote it around with me for a few days before I remember that it’s in there. By then the apple has been bruised, punctured and generally mauled. I still eat them, or feed them to Linus however I think it would be just dandy to slip them into a little knit apple jacket (say the words “apple jacket” and try to keep the smile on your face… bet you can’t!). I did a little poking around the grand thing we call the internets and found an etsy shop, Handamade that sells them and a free tutorial on how to make them over at the Vegan Lunchbox. I haven’t had a chance to make one yet but the tutorial looks pretty accurate and I’d love to see how the wee jacket turns out if anyone decides to knit one up!

Photo from Handamade

Apple Cozy

from Vegan Lunchbox

Materials:
100% cotton 4-ply worsted weight yarn, such as Sugar’n Cream or Lion
Brand Kitchen Cotton: one ball main color and a small amount of
contrasting color for the leaf.
One set of 4 double-pointed needles in size 7 (4.5 mm) or size to
obtain gauge.
Size H crochet hook.
One ½-inch (15 mm) button.
Gauge:
20 sts = 4 inches (10 cm) in stockinette
Size:
Designed to fit around a small (medium, large) apple.
Abbreviations:
K1: knit.
P1: purl.
M1: insert the working needle from front to back under the
horizontal strand between the stitch just worked and the next stitch;
place this strand on the holding needle and knit the resulting loop
through the back to make a new stitch.
K1f&b: knit one stitch through the front and back, making 2
stitches.
P2tog: purl two stitches together, making 1 stitch.
K2tog: knit two stitches together, making 1 stitch.
Sl1: slip one stitch knitwise onto the working needle without knitting.
PSSO: pass the slipped stitch over the next stitch.
Directions:
Cast on 9 (12, 12) stitches in main color. Divide evenly onto three needles
(3 (4, 4) stitches on each needle). Join in the round.
Round 1: Knit all stitches.
Round 2: On each needle, K1, M1, knit to last stitch, M1, K1.
Round 3: Knit all stitches.
Repeat these two rounds, increasing every other round and maintaining
stockinette stitch (knit all stitches) until you have 42 (48, 54) stitches total
(14 (16, 18) stitches on each needle).
Knit 2 (3, 4) rounds even.
Now it’s time to stop knitting in the round. Instead, turn the work and begin
knitting back and forth and decreasing:
Row 1 (wrong side): On each needle, P2tog, purl to end.
Row 2 (right side): On each needle, K2tog, knit to end.
Repeat these two rows until you have 15 stitches left (5 on each needle).
Cast off.
Make the Leaf:
Cast on 3 stitches in contrasting color.
Row 1 (right side): K all stitches.
Row 2 (wrong side): P all stitches.
Row 3: K1f&b, K1, K1f&b (5 stitches).
Row 4 – 6: P all stitches on wrong side, K on right side.
Row 7: K2tog, K1, K2tog.
Row 8: P all stitches.
Row 9: Sl1, K2tog, PSSO. Break yarn and BO final stitch.
Finishing:
Thread the tail yarn and use it to cinch up the bottom 12 stitches. Attach
the button near the top of the apple at one side of the opening. Use the
crochet hook to crochet a 10 (12, 12) st. single-chain loop and attach it
opposite the button. Attach the leaf along the top border. Weave in all
ends.
Pear Variation:
To make a Pear Cozy, follow the instructions above to the point where you
have 15 stitches left (5 on each needle). Add 4 (5, 6) extra rows of
stockinette (knit on the right side, purl on the wrong side). Cast off. Finish
as for apple.


*As with any and all free tutorials/patterns/how-to’s you should always read the designer’s notes about how they would like to see their design reproduced. Many designs are not for profit or commercial sale/use. If that happens to be the case, go ahead and make one or 100 for yourself or as gifties for other people, just respect the designer’s wishes. Thanks, and happy crafting!