Where to start? – ah, with ChinaDoll’s question. We had a spectacularly wonderful week, as sometimes happens, blue skies, sunshine all day, both of us outdoors all day. No cloud of ash overhead, no smell of sulphur, no smarting eyes, no spectacular sunsets, even. It is hard not to veer towards the conclusion that the Snark is a Boojum. My sister and her husband were meant to fly from Boston to Nice on Sunday evening for a meeting connected with their recent work in Africa, to be followed by some long-awaited family visiting.
At the moment, they are still in CT, re-booked to fly from Boston to Paris tomorrow. Fingers crossed.
There had been a great storm in Strathardle in our absence. We lost a venerable and beloved tree. It was a gean, prunus avium, and we will replace it this fall. It comes under the heading of native woodland, and my husband is anxious not to get something from a garden centre, grown in Holland. I think that won’t be difficult.
From our west lawn -- it fell rather neatly outwards:
From outside. Everything beyond that gate is our neighbours' land:
After scrambling through the tree, looking back towards our bit:
I got a lot of preparatory work done for the ’10 vegetables. The ground was very workable, but it was still cool to the touch, and there is no sign yet of this year’s seedling weeds. Both of these symptoms mean not to press ahead too fast with one’s own seeds, but I put in some radishes and spring onions and spinach and beetroot, just because the sun was shining. And a few potatoes. Plenty of seed left to re-do it all next month.
When we were there in February and March, you will remember, the ground was literally frozen solid. For the February visit, I had taken along some newly-purchased sea kale thongs and also some luscious-looking Jerusalem artichokes given me by the Fishwife. (And if you want to see what a vegetable plot should look like in April, just go have a look at hers.)
All I could do was collect earth from the many molehills – for some reason, not frozen – and store the things in two big flowerpots. The sea kale, last week, turned out to have turned to mush – a rather expensive failure with which to kick off the vegetable-growing year. I’ll put peas in the spot prepared last autumn for sea kale. But the artichokes, in their pot, were happy as Larry, perhaps happier, with roots and sprouts. So I planted them.
Yesterday morning, we woke up to this.
As for knitting, I pressed on, but not very hard, with the Araucania sweater. I’m now an inch and a half short of the shoulder in the back.
And last night, I started casting on for the VK Chevron Scarf, 411 stitches. Most of the experience of knitting it – if I persevere; no guarantees at this stage -- is going to consist of casting on and binding off, so I might as well try to enjoy it.
I got a look at this year’s Games Programme while we were in Strathardle. The knitting classes are “knitted toy” and “article for a premature baby, to be donated”. I won a Knitted Toy class with Sam the Ram in ’07 – it’s far too soon to have that again, and there’s no point in my entering. The thing for the baby is worth doing, and will be quick, and do-able from stash. So I’ll do that. My husband’s sister, who had the bad luck to be present in Sam’s year, thinks I am fiercely competitive. I think I am entering because the Games are more fun if one participates, and so that I can set the grandchildren an example of grace in defeat. Who is right?