Saturday, June 23, 2007

Today is Rachel’s birthday.

And we’re back again.

We were lucky with the weather. Despite poor forecasts, much rain elsewhere, and rolls of thunder from up the glen, we were fine, tee-shirts and sunhats even, and got a fair amount done.

The ten days away had been cold and wet. The grass and the weeds grew prodigiously; the vegetables, on the whole, have been biding their time.

It was sort of sad. a) because the summer solstice is the saddest day, and b) because I had to face the fact that I have other enemies besides rabbits.

Someone has been tweaking up newly-sprouted runner beans and French beans, and leaving the little plants on the ground to wither and die. Who would do that? It sounds like pigeons, but we haven’t seen them about. I don’t think it’s happened in other years.

It even happened while we were there. On Thursday afternoon when we arrived, I admired a little group of three runner beans, rare survivors from the many seeds planted. When I went back out after tea, there was only one. The other two were lying there, and since the deed was so fresh I tried planting them, protected with a sawn-off soda bottle each. They looked more or less OK yesterday morning.

We ate some spinach, after this picture was taken, and some cime di rapa con cecatelli, without the cecatelli. That’s cime di rapa in the lower right-hand corner. Turnip-tops, in English. I ordered several things from Seeds of Italy this year, for the fun of it and without much hope that they would be up to the rigours of Strathardle, but they’re all going great guns, including even an Italian courgette. I’ll get more, next year.

The peas have recovered surprisingly well from The Night of the Rabbit. Peas enjoy cold and wet.

As for knitting…

I knit a few rounds of Ketki’s second gansey sleeve – not enough to be worth photographing.

When we got back last night, I admired Sam the Ram from across the room, while making a start on the Melon Stole from VLT in the Yarn Yard's delicious new merino lace yarn. As I thought, the pattern is easy and fun. I am a firm believer in Franklin's second Observation on Lace Knitting, so I just picked a suitable needle size and started.

It looks, so far, as if my results will be much smaller than the object illustrated in the book, although of course the eventual edging and the blocking will change things. Since no particular size is needed, that’s fine, except it would be nice to have something that’s easy to spread out over the shoulders. I feel sort of sad when my fancy knitting gets scrunched up and worn as a scarf as seems to keep happening with my attempts at rectangular stoles.


  1. I thought the Italians called courgettes "zucchini". That's what we call them here in the States, at least, though we're not always known for using the correct term.

  2. Oh, and I would only swatch a lace pattern to get a rough idea of what the stitch pattern would look like. Who in their right mind would ever expect to get an accurate gauge sample?

  3. Anonymous1:25 PM

    Here in Minnesota USA what does that dig and leave is squirrels. It's the primary reason for the anti-squirrel campaign at our house. My husband saves all the long branches he has trimmed off of the roses and lays them over newly planted items. He call it 'concertina wire' -- I'll be looking forward to hearing if the bottle technique works.

  4. Franklin's Lace observation list is bang on! Except #1, I never swatch lace, no need whatsoever. If a stole comes out a little small, who cares, it's now a large scarf, LOL. Like you said Jean. I couldn't agree more, swatching is such a pain in the bum anyway, a waste of fibre too!


  5. I swatched for my first ever lace project (she blushes and ducks her head). That was in the days when I didn't realise just how futile it was!! I've since learnt better.

    Our starlings will dig out all the new growth unless we have its roots/bulbs/etc well and truely buried!