Saturday, September 01, 2012

It’s good to be back, and I’ve missed you, too. This has got to be the year when I learn to reply to comments individually. Each one is always individually enjoyed.

I made a pretty good start on Life yesterday. In the afternoon we went to Dundas Street, to the Bourne Gallery, to see the Jock McFadyen exhibition. We recently bought a print of his. I can’t remember when we last walked to Dundas Street – it couldn’t have been all that long ago – and was struck with how weak and slow my husband seemed. How much weaker and slower than before.


I will probably finish the Italian socks today, and I find myself rather stuck. I’m ready for something new, different, wonderful. But since there has been no mental preparation, there is nothing for it but to start another pair.

Our niece liked her red socks, even if the judges didn’t. Thomas-the-Elder, who has a trained legal mind, said that if a pair of socks were judged to be the “Best Use of 100 gr of Yarn”, as they were; and if only one other competitor had entered socks (me); those socks should, logically, have come second. One sees the point, but that’s not how the judges think. They’re looking at the actual knitting.

Two years ago, on Games Day in the evening, Hellie’s lovely boyfriend Matt said that he wouldn’t mind a pair of socks. I knit him some for Christmas that year and have peered hopefully at his feet at all subsequent meetings. Here at last they are. Perhaps a bit too big.

Alexander and Ketki were wearing their husband-and-wife socks, the Van Gogh “Restaurant de la Sirene” and “Bedroom at Arles” from this year’s production.


Some oddities from this odd year:

I normally have lots of opium poppies, growing as weeds, and always allow some to mature and flower because I love them. None this year.

I’ve got some broccoli in the vegetable cage, doing all right. Usually any attempt by me at anything brassicacious is shredded by cabbage white caterpillars. None to speak of, this year.

The broad beans, pruned by deer, are producing a small, late crop. It looks to me as if a lot of flowers on their stems are not maturing into beans. That’s never happened before. Lack of pollinating insects?

On Sunday afternoon, my son-in-law Ed (one-time winner of the Webster Cup) wanted something to do. I set him to digging over and manuring the bit from which I had lifted potatoes. He found almost as many again as I had just harvested. He also cleared my future garlic patch – my perennial vegetable book says that garlic can be treated as a lift-and-replace. I then limed it. Garlic is said to like that.

He did more that afternoon than I would probably have achieved all winter.


  1. Happily we have had a sparse year for cabbage white butterflies. Sadly, there have been very few of any other sort around either.

  2. we are even cursed with cabbage white butterflies here. I wish I could train the neighbour's cat to catch them!

  3. parsleyplease1:08 PM

    In the same vein, I decided I must make comments and not just enjoy your daily posts. Knitting progress and methods are always of interest. Gardening too. Here in Connecticut I have lost much to slugs this year and have been inspired by you to plant garlic again. Perennials may be the way to go here as well.

  4. Anonymous1:23 PM

    In New Jersey, (suburban NY City area) we rarely saw any insects. Here in rural New Hampshire, we see beautiful dragonflies, some so big I think they are birds at first glance! I am convinced it is because there is a lot less fertilized lawn with the accompanying herbicides here.

    welcome back, Jean!

    Barbara M in NH

  5. Anonymous3:22 PM

    I love planting garlic! Pretty much trouble free and almost as fun to dig up as potatoes. And fresh garlic is sooo much tastier than store-bought.

    So glad you had a good time, and so very glad you're back.

    Beverly in NJ

  6. I do the same with the opium poppies in my yard. Some years they do better than others. This year was slim. Perhaps I'll scatter some seed around. They arrived some years ago via a Hmong neighbor who grew all sorts of medicinal plants.

  7. =Tamar6:11 AM

    Perhaps the beans require more actual sunlight than they received late in the year. Many plants require a minimum number of hours of full-spectrum light to bloom and bear. I know that gardenias and pumpkins are fussy that way.