Oh I remember this one!
Thursday February 28th 2013, 11:00 pm
Filed under: Knit

Unearthed in the emptying of the closet, safely inside a ziploc bag that only got wet on the outside (I cannot tell you what a relief that was) was this shawl, the precursor to the Wanda’s Flowers one in my book. I had been saving it so well and so long that I’d forgotten it. My Rabbit Tracks pattern starts and ends it and goes up the sides (with an extra stitch or two added at the edges) and I remember now, I knitted a rectangular shawl of just the flowers part for a dear friend twelve, fifteen years ago or so and afterwards wished I’d jazzed it up a bit more, which got me to try again with the flower part framed by my little feather-and-fan variant.

Grignasco Merinosilk. In a 100g skein, all of it used up.

I haven’t knitted a big project in a fine laceweight like this in a long time. I’ve missed it.

Egg drop soup
Thursday February 28th 2013, 12:05 am
Filed under: Wildlife

Four peregrine falcon eggs in the nestbox on the 33d floor in San Francisco, and as of today, four on the 18th at San Jose City Hall.

Only–there seem to have been five laid up north.

Peregrine eggs arrive 48-50 hours apart, and at the time everybody was expecting the second on the PG&E building, the female flew off camera for a goodly while–and laid her next right on cue two days later.

The biologist on the list chimed in: sometimes a peregrine will lay outside the nest. He had no doubt there had been one on time. It could be anywhere, and who knew why. She would not be done till there were four actually in the nest, and so, now there are, and the parents have begun incubation time, north and south.

I guess the second in SF was the bird equivalent of  a miscarriage, if she felt something was wrong with it?

He told us it was quite possible it could be somewhere where it could roll and then all the way down…. Gives new meaning to the falconista’s phrase, Keep looking up!

Meantime, I walked in the family room today just as the hunt was happening, unintentionally distracting the Cooper’s hawk so that his dinner got away. My apologies. He stood on that one favored spot on the fence awhile, watching Michelle and me, then swooped low towards us and up over the roof and away. I saw him fly by later, too.  I hope he’s got a nest full of eggs to guard and then feed this year himself–it’s been a couple of years since I’ve seen a Cooper’s fledgling toddling around my amaryllis pots, exploring its brand new world the way children do. But at least during nesting season I always get to see more of the papa.

So close
Wednesday February 27th 2013, 12:08 am
Filed under: Friends,Life

We have friends selling a ’99 black S80 Volvo. It’s a beautiful, beautiful car.

We have an ’00 Minivan Of Doom (per my kids) that, after all the money we have sunk into it, ungratefully blew through most of its transmission and an axle not to mention the crack that is now all the way across the bottom of the windshield and the side door that, the third time the kids crunched it in while they were learning to drive, we gave up on it. T’ain’t pretty. I have babied it, I have kept that transmission going for over four years since it first started grumbling but its time has come.

The mileage was high on the Volvo (183k, yow) but the car “is in good shape, as far as I know,” said the owner, showing us a tall stack of yellow mechanic’s reports from over the years. And his price was less than the estimate on my van.

So I took it to my mechanic, who was dubious over those miles and for $47.50 gave it a good checking out for me.

Always take it to a mechanic.

Turns out the estimate on their car was within a few hundred of their asking price and the minivan suddenly doesn’t look so bad; I finally asked what my windshield would cost–$225?! Is that all? Why didn’t I do that long ago? and I gave our friends their car back. Reluctantly.

So for $47.50, I came away grateful for what I have and my friends have the favor done them of knowing exactly what they’re dealing with and my mechanic had a little extra pocket change for the day. Everybody wins.

And now I will still have a car after all that is big enough to haul all the stuff out of here that’s going to go away after the Great Closet Crash of Saturday’s flooding.

But I admit to a mixture of keen disappointment with that sampling of gratitude.  It was not new (well, the detailing was) but that wood-burled heated-leather-seat side-impact-airbags sunroofed-but-my-tall-Richard-could-still-fit-in (that was a first) Volvo, it was a beautiful, beautiful car.

“And I’m not talking about the nonmechanical things, like the sunroof that won’t open,” said my mechanic.

“I have lupus–I’m not opening the sunroof,” I countered.

But it would be cool to know I could if I wanted.

“Are you disappointed?” I asked my sweetheart.

“Yeah,” he admitted. He liked that Volvo too.

Olympic ballerina
Monday February 25th 2013, 8:25 pm
Filed under: Wildlife

While the cleanup continues…

Movement caught my eye about 4:30 and got me to look up.

The dove was pumping pell mell and away across the yard–then suddenly dodged left and thought it could escape the hawk through the objects that were–in my family room? Here they come!

My eyes were on the Cooper’s coming straight at me so that I barely saw his prey: those big wings were beating at hummingbird speed, no easy coasting here. Then suddenly he spun in a tight U, again just inches from the window just as the dove hit it and fell back stunned between the shoes put out to dry from the burst water heater, a foot (heh) from the glass door between them and me. The hawk, not needing one extra wing beat in his perfectly-timed choreography and knowing exactly where everything was even though glass is clear and there were new objects in front of it, reached back with his feet, wrapped talons around his just-fallen prey just so, lifted it in towards his body for better aerodynamics, all in the blink of an eye, and flew out to the lawn, successful.

Intelligence in the wild is an awesome thing to behold.

The unwary
Sunday February 24th 2013, 11:33 pm
Filed under: Wildlife

The San Francisco peregrine falcon nest now has four eggs and the San Jose, three as of this evening.

But closer to home. Third flower!

When my car’s transmission blew, right on cue on a day when I needed the comfort of seeing him my Cooper’s hawk did a fly-by within feet of me, a dramatic three-beat wide-winged U-turn inches from the window, its talons in sudden wrapped attention to the dinner I could not quite see.

We were up till quite late last night washing, sorting, lifting, tossing and of course this was after two days of Stitches for me and of all day of this for Richard and by the time church was over today I was desperate to collapse before I barfed, the first warning sign of Crohn’s.

A long nap later, feeling a lot better for it and quite relieved, there was a low bird call and I thought, Wow, I heard that? Where was that? Cool!

Coopernicus flew in. There is a particular spot on the fence he likes, that the squirrels also like to sun themselves on, redwood real estate that seems to hold particular appeal.

He wasn’t hunting–he was announcing. Calling. To his new mate (I hope!) I couldn’t see? To the crows in the neighborhood? He stayed there being conspicuous for quite some time, owning the place. Richard got to see him too.

And then there was movement in the nearby leaves to the right that startled me but not the Cooper’s.

A black nose sniffed in the hawk’s direction. Pulled back. Reached forward and sniffed again. He’d been waiting and he was tired of it. (Note that the camera angles make the hawk look quite a bit smaller than he is.)

The squirrel seemed to harrumph, and ran deftly through the branches above the raptor’s head and over to the olive tree, where he turned and  considered his options and I snapped their picture.

Down a bit. A bit more. Forward. One step at a time. The hawk finally turned and stared him down. While I thought, we’ve seen this movie before and it does not go well for urban squirrels not used to being challenged.

The bushytail stepped onto the fence, still shielded by leaves (he’s in there). The hawk lifted a wing and a foot in warning.

Closer. And the  hawk, who had already demonstrated he wasn’t hungry by his utter lack of stealth, flew straight down into the neighbor’s yard and away.

That squirrel played king of the hill, all but shouting Mine! I did it! in that coveted spot and then peered down the fence in the direction the hawk had flown. Turned the other way to see if he was over there, just to make sure that bird knew who was boss around here. While I thought, you’ve just given a large hawk a perfect chance to come at you from behind from both ways.

Darwin awaits.

It tried to put a damper on things. And then we got soaked.
Sunday February 24th 2013, 12:01 am
Filed under: Family,Friends,Knit,Life,LYS

Sam saved the day and picked me up again this morning. Go Sam!

Usually, when I go to Stitches, I zip around the whole place, chat, see who’s got what, avoid temptation for the first day and figure there’s less around to buy the second day so I’m safer that way, right?

I’m torn between guilt, minor innocence, and being really glad I bought the yarns I did my first day this time, which were not a lot but which I really love and can’t wait to knit–because I didn’t know and the car transmission was bad enough, but today…!

We woke up to no hot water. None.

Richard was wondering whether the pilot (is there a pilot on that thing?) had gone out and was about to get to it to check at the time Sam came.

I had a grand day at Stitches all over again. It was Saturday, lots of people were there, friends I’d been looking forward to seeing. Got a few texts from Richard–we’re working hard here. Hot water heater blew. Plumber wants $1400–and I bought not one single ball of yarn.

And all the while I was reassuring myself that the last time this happened, it flooded out the master closet and the laundry room that it sits between, so the whoever-he-was plumber had charged us extra to set it up so that should it go out again, it would drain to outside. Far easier to deal with.

Towards closing time, I was chatting with Rod and Lisa Souza again and a friend of theirs they introduced me to, Heatherly Walker. Heatherly got to asking me about my pattern writing; did I use any software?

No, I just hash it out on my own.

Was I interested?

Did she know of any good ones?

Sure! and she told me about how she and her husband had come up with what she’d wished were out there so that now it was, and she told me a bit about it as she reached for a copy in her backpack.

I had visions of transmission and plumber estimates dancing in my head as I asked her how much I owed her.

A direct quote: “Nothing! I LOVE your book!”

(Jaw. On. Ground.) Wow. Thank you!!!

I talked to Melinda and Tess at Tess’ Designer Yarns, and I apologized for my lack of buying this year; I so love their yarns. Next year, as I explained why.

They offered me to just have a skein of yarn, whatever yarn. Everybody at some point has a week like mine had been; they wanted to make it easier. I thanked them but told them hey, they have to make a living. (And there will be more customers who might want it tomorrow, so.) But I very much appreciated their generosity, and I love the softness and the colors in their yarns and I wanted to give them a shout-out here. Good folks.

Time to go. Richard was stuck with the plumber. Sam had something else going on but still offered to come get me, good man that he is. I told some of my Purlescence friends and they conferred: when Dannette’s husband arrived, Kevin and other-Richard lifted the scooter into her minivan. Dannette had been about to go out to dinner with the others but they all decided to work around taking care of me (they invited me too but I was just too tired and too broke) and Dannette, her husband, and adorable baby drove me the ten miles home.

The plumber who had set the water heater in a pan with tall sides and an overflow pipe to outside? Balderdash. That pipe was spraying all over the inside of the heater enclosure nonstop as more water pumped in, which is why Richard sloshed through standing water going past the closet after I left. Michelle helped him try to rescue our things.

At some moment of stupidity in my life I had put some of our older family photos back in there. He thinks they’re dryable.

There was a zipped cotton bag on the floor full of handknit sweaters: the infamous 86″ wingspan Aran I made him when I was newly back into knitting 23 years ago, the cabled Kaffe Fassett in llama where every half of every cable is a different color against a background of navy (wet, and next to that white aran, and I haven’t been able to bring myself to inspect the aran quite closely quite yet), the handspun handknit baby alpaca/silk cardigan with the wooden buttons, five other handknit ones…

A pound of 90/10 cashmere/nylon cobweb weight that I’d bought at $15/lb years ago, pounds and pounds, and had plied a lot of it up into thicker yarns; nope, still had a cone back there. The bag was wet but the yarn seems okay.

And on and on. We are running the washer nonstop. If it was near the floor, it’s wet.

I wonder if homeowners will replace that wall?

(Edited to add in the morning: the white aran seems to be okay. Phew.)

Correction, Monday morning: I got the details wrong. It was the *top* of the water heater, somehow, that rusted out and was spewing at the wall. The plumber’s setup was good for your much more typical failure, and the new guy made good use of it.

Stitches West 2013!
Friday February 22nd 2013, 11:37 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Knit

I edited last night’s post to say I thought I’d found the problem.

Partly, it turns out; the battery still just doesn’t hold a charge as long as it used to and I had to stop and plug it in awhile and wait three times, but hey. Thanks to Sam, I got to go!

Disneyland for knitters: we get to see friends we only get ever to see there and to catch up on each other’s lives while surrounded by all the best yarns any of us could ever hope for.

Four and a half years ago I was at Stitches East and met Karida Collins, the dyer who runs Neighborhood Fiber Company, her color inspiration being various neighborhoods around Washington, DC–back home for me–and Baltimore, where my daughter now lives. Karida decided to do the Stitches West show for the first time. And so there she was! Cool! And she recognized me!

She had exactly THE fiber with the perfect amount of yardage and twist, the exquisite softness, and the perfect color (Charles Village) all wrapped up in one sublime skein of silk yarn. She had come all this way to make it possible; there you go.

The owner of Wild Orchid Knits was there with her daughter: camel/silk, cashmere, mink; she uses only natural dyes. I had met the mom two years ago, been unable to find her work online since, didn’t see her there last year and wished for two years I’d bought a particular yarn from her to cheer her on in her good work. Well now.

A note from Jan helped me pay more attention than I might have to the softness and inherent baby-friendliness in some  James C. Brett Marble Chunky acrylic from Yarn Barn for Parker’s little brother to drag around the backyard and playground someday, and so now I can get to work on his first afghan.

Years ago, when Signature was just starting to make needles and they came in straights only, they brought their new product to Stitches West and I wasn’t interested. Now they have circulars but they weren’t coming–but my friend Anne just happened to email me to say she would be working at Southern Yarns’ booth and there would be Signature needles there, just in case I wanted her to reserve me a pair.

I read that just dumbfounded. How did she know?! I have a particularly well-loved pair of rosewoods 3.75mm that had somehow gotten a divot clipped out of the tip. I needed a new pair, and I’d wanted to try out the Signatures. They are green.

And then. There was my dear friend Lisa Souza and her husband Rod, reason alone to come. I was wearing the Julia shawl in her Pacific colorway from the book and I had people stop me constantly, all day, wanting to touch it, telling me how gorgeous it was, to ask where I’d gotten that yarn. Lisa!

A friend kept me company while Sam and I waited for each other in different places at the end of the day till we finally texted–oh there you are! Just because she wanted to, and when I apologized over the cold outside there by the drive-around, she laughed it off, telling me about the snow she’d traveled in from and that this was warm. Ah. Okay. So you know Real Weather, that’s right. We watched a flock of geese fly overhead against the darkening sky.

And a fabulous day was had by all.

I can’t believe I had the energy to type all that out.

Oh and: a bar of good Valrhona chocolate, other than the length of it, feels just like an Iphone when you’re groping blindly through your purse. Reception is ec static.

Three k
Friday February 22nd 2013, 12:05 am
Filed under: Family,Friends,Life

It’s not even Stitches yet and I’m exhausted. Got up early, drove everybody to work, ran the errands, did the dentist thing, had my fob fall off my keyring and had some stressed minutes retracing my steps with help from the good folks at Trader Joe’s till I found the rest–and at dinnertime got a surprise of a note from a friend saying he’d hesitated to say anything because you don’t want to jinx a friendship if something goes wrong, but he knew we needed a car and as far as *he* knew, his was in great shape, just old…

And he’d just bought a new one to celebrate a new job.

He was asking less than our van’s estimate. If only we’d known sooner.

It was gorgeous. And a tight fit for my 6’8″ husband, who didn’t want to test drive it with a migraine but was willing to sit in it and let me drive it and fall in love with it. Volvo makes nice vehicles. It’s got a ton of miles, I wouldn’t use it for a major commuter car like our friend did but then I only putter around a bit–and Michelle will be doing her own car shopping Saturday.

Quite reasonably, Richard didn’t want to pay for a car till he had actually driven it. And I have Stitches the next few days and another couple is (as one should) taking it to a mechanic tomorrow to have it checked out: the only way to be sure we could claim it was to hand over a check on the spot. With regrets on the unintended, unwanted pressure.

I think that quite reasonably means we won’t get it, but it was a nice dream. At least now we know there are possibilities out there.

And did I mention the battery on my scooter for Stitches, after lo these many months of my testing the scooter and not keeping it plugged in because the batteries need to be run down and of running it deliberately downwards, doublechecking the charging, and of the scooter being fine, is being iffy only starting today? Not last week, not Monday, not all those times in the whole year when I tried to keep it babied so it would behave when I needed it, just and only today? That needle dips into the yellow warning when I go halfway across the house. It’s supposed to stay firmly, solidly green. It did it did it did it did and now it doesn’t.

What could I do? Tomorrow’s the day, so, I plugged it back in and could only hope it would recharge all the way just because, please oh please, oh pretty please, I need it to.


(Edited in the morning to add, after the first few comments were already in: as we were going go bed, Richard said, Try unplugging and replugging.

I did, twice.

Try again; couldn’t hurt.

I did, and that time found out that the cable between the chair and the power box plugs in to both of those, it’s not built into the power box side like I thought. Guess what had come loose? Saved! That seems to have done it.

Bag it
Wednesday February 20th 2013, 11:58 pm
Filed under: Wildlife

Chocolate torte: baked.

Saw a squirrel starting to climb a tiny twig of the new blueberry–which immediately broke–while pulling down the main cane to try to reach the buds at the end.

I yelled and stomped and ran and chased him off and put the paper bag over the blueberry’s head that it had come home from the nursery in, not sure what else to do. The handles stuck out at the sides and dared him to try that again. It was Something New and therefore not to be trusted for the first day and the squirrel stopped raising–no, lowering cane, even after I took the bag off a few hours later and put it next to the pot so the fresh air and sunshine could do the plant some good.

There are pop-up tent-type things with bird netting and the like that I could put over those two pots, once I buy one.

Everything keeps coming back down to the one-car dance. While I am at Stitches Saturday (thank you Sam!), Michelle will be car shopping.

Lost in transmission
Tuesday February 19th 2013, 11:23 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Life

“The oil light flickered on in your car, Mom, just as it was stalling out.”

And so Richard drove an extra almost two hour commute time today to take her to work and then to his own office and later back while I took my car in. I haven’t driven it in a long time, and it felt very sluggish going those few blocks to the mechanic. I walked home and waited to hear.

The engine is fine.

The transmission is toast, and so is one axle. The car is an ’00 with 116k miles.

Stitches West is this weekend, the one time a year I need a minivan and the only reason we still have it: so that I can set up the ramp for the electric scooter.

You put a hundred fifty vendors of balls of yarn and thousands of people in one convention center with someone who had the connections between the balance and visual centers of the brain severed by a speeder, and you have the neurologist who looked at that five-day brain EEG and warned me, “You’re not epileptic yet–but you’re real. close.”

My balance is tactile and visual and when the visuals are on extreme overload and I’m trying to walk through it my brain feels like water droplets skittering across a smoking pan. Scooter. Period. Not worth the risk.

You can take the machine apart and put the pieces in the trunk of a car but the heaviest part still weighs 60 pounds; I wrote on Facebook, I can’t ask anyone to do that.

Jasmin says that Sam offered. I wrote back that I already had the manufacturing cream bought to make a chocolate torte in thanks.

And I’m quietly marveling over that: with no plans in mind, and certainly not with any idea of what was about to happen with the car, I had splurged and bought some at Milk Pail on Saturday. Because it just felt like I needed to be able to make chocolate tortes right now. It wouldn’t be anywhere near what I owe in thanks, given how much going to Stitches means to me and what his generosity does, too, but it’s a start.

Tuesday February 19th 2013, 12:31 am
Filed under: Knit,Life

Our beautiful spring weather–it was 72F on Saturday–is gone. Alaska who pushed it away and it’ll get back to us later.

I woke up this morning and refused to believe it and put on two layers of 3/4 sleeves, the second a fairly warm sweater and only because I had to.

That should do it.

But no.  I got out the wool knee-highs.  It’s not winter! Stop it! Do you see the green on that plum tree? (Embiggen photo. Squint hard.) Does that not insist spring? I did not pull my get-well afghans over me, although I should have.

A few hours later, still unwilling to concede but being just too chilled to knit and finding that motivation to get up and do something about it, I went and got a handknit hat and that helped too for awhile. But.

And then at last I put on my fingerless gloves, but it was a little hard to maneuver silk around wood in them–ergo, I took my thumb out and pushed them back onto my wrists. Full length sleeves now! There you go!

This particular pair of the several I’ve been gifted with has thumb gussets and they did look odd dangling off my wrists like the back of a raptor’s claw, but hey–not only was I visually reminded with every stitch of my own of all the people who have knitted to make me happy, by golly I was finally warm at last.

The cart before the forest
Sunday February 17th 2013, 10:48 pm
Filed under: Life,My Garden

And it’s open! And it looks like we will have flowers on all three peach trees this first year. Cool!

If you missed Monika’s comment yesterday, go see the link she offered about keeping critters out: so intuitive, so obvious, so wishing I had thought of it, so glad someone did. Just collect those clear plastic clamshells that grocery store fruit often comes in–with those airholes so rain won’t collect, the guy points out–and snap one around each piece of fruit on the tree.

I wonder if a twistie tie to thwart raccoons will be needed too, but hey. Cool. Easy!


Wednesday, when I encountered all those men buying roses at Costco? What I didn’t say was that I shared an atrocious pun with one of their workers and he stopped right there in his tracks and just roared with laughter. Couldn’t ask for better than that. New employee. Didn’t know him. We parted with both of us chuckling.

Friday night , with other plans for Saturday, Richard and I got a little more grocery shopping done there.

Now, at Target or at least the one here, they have an electric go-cart that they hook up all the carts in the parking lot to in a line that then pushes them all back to where they want them with no more human muscle involved than a single cart’s worth at a time. Beep beep beep flashing light flashing light. Seems like a great idea to me, and I’ve never liked that Costco, which uses bigger, heavier carts, doesn’t do that; they have their workers attach a long leash to the one at the end and then pull, pulll, pulllll a long bunny-hop of them line-dancing back to the front of the store, with extra pains for where the tarmac is uneven.

As we got out of our car, it was dark and the guy on cart duty just ahead of us had on an orange vest with yellow reflective stripes. Good thing; his face, unlike mine, would not be one to glow in the headlights.

Same guy.

He got to the safety of the overhang and out of the way of potential oncoming cars (not to mention not wanting to lose his momentum) before he turned around to see what on earth was going on.

This time he was suddenly laughing out of surprise. There was that lady again with the bad pun, the gray hair and the cane, and this time she was at the other end of those carts.

Dude. I’ve got your back.

Lucked out
Saturday February 16th 2013, 11:00 pm
Filed under: Family,My Garden

At this stage, that little flower reminds me somewhat of a mountain laurel blossom back East, my most favorite tree flower ever and something that grew wild and lovely in our yard, growing up. Light pink edges, dark pink inner part and those stamens just so–it is achingly beautiful to me. Tropic Snow is supposed to be the most ornamental of the peach trees I planted and I put it where you can’t see it from the family room window, thinking I might regret that later, and I just might–all I knew at the time was that Dave Wilson Nursery says these are pretty.

And how.

I found a source for the mylar ribbons to scare critters away from the fruit: put it up just before things ripen, they say, take it down after. Five bucks a roll. Hey!

Only, my squirrels have never waited for my Fuji apples to ripen before they’ve stripped the tree. This may take some working out.

With my sun sensitivity and my lupus, it’s been twenty years since I’ve walked around Wegmans Nursery in Redwood City–but it was still there and still had good reviews, they still know their stuff. I had done okay with the sunblock and the hat at the funeral and it was past time the two of us had an adventure of a day, and so add in a sun-protection jacket, wait till near closing time, and off we went.

“So what are we going to get?” Richard asked on the drive up.

“Uh, I was going for that birdscare tape,” says me.

“I thought you were going to get a second blueberry plant.” (They are much more productive with a second variety next to them.)

Me, unspoken: (YES!!!)

We got there. The guy totally knew what I was talking about when I said limb spreaders, plastic thingies with v-shaped ends for keeping the youngest plum limbs from overlapping. Those will be in on Wednesday, he told us.

Richard went hunting for the stuff to protect from peach leaf curl. Organic only. He told me the variety of blueberry was totally my choice, and although the O’Neals were pretty picked over, that’s what I wanted and I found a healthy one–and a whole lot bigger than the little one-year-old plant Stark’s had changed my mail order to (without telling me) after I’d ordered a larger two-year-0ld one: I was perfectly willing to trade a very few dollars (maybe six?) for a year of waiting for berries. Lesson learned. Stay local.

What about the soil type, Richard asked the guy, who took us to where there was blueberry-specific potting soil and put a bag in our car. (Earthworm castings are particularly important for O’Neals. Man, I sound like a real gardener. I assure you, it’s still all pretend at this point.) What about staking the new peach trees, my sweetie asked me, and I had something at home already that I thought would do. The guy told me they had a product coming in that would help support the weight of the peaches while protecting them from wildlife.

Richard had another thought. Did I want some annuals to put along the front of the house?

I was amazed. He was really getting into this. Cool. (I’ll plant some seeds for that, was my thought, trying to hold today’s costs down.)

I asked the Wegmans guy whether letting the Tropic Snow grow a few peaches now would stunt the growth of the roots? I mean, I’d only just planted the thing.

No, and he told me with a grin that I’d lucked out.


Got home. Snapped the picture up there. Found out that the reason that big pot always wobbles when a squirrel jumps up on it is that by golly one bit of the underside was broken off–who knew. Propped it up with a broken piece from a small pot the squirrels smashed off the table, and steady as she goes.

I finished planting the O’Neal in it, ran some water over my hands with the hose, checked on the plum tree–it was dormant Tuesday, it’s totally covered in tiny growth buds now–went inside, closed the sliding glass door, turned back to see…

…And there was a little house finch perched on the new blueberry plant, the one that was happily big enough to support its doing so, watching me watching it as if thanking me for all its blueberries to come.

Maybe I should plant a cherry tree to the birds in thanks for their entertaining me.

My hands still smell of rich soil with a side of sunblock.

And I even got some knitting done too.

All anew
Saturday February 16th 2013, 12:10 am
Filed under: My Garden,Wildlife

The first peregrine falcon egg has arrived on PG&E’s 33d floor in San Francisco, a full week earlier than last year, which was earlier than any year before it, as was the year before that, to the point of being a month earlier than it once was. Eyes on our San Jose nest, often just a few days behind.

Meantime, the neighbors did some tree trimming, and with our permission they cut back some random stuff that was leaning over from our side of the fence. The trimmers did leave one big bushy thing alone: it had a bird’s nest at the top, and it may be February but it’s nesting season now.

I’m pretty sure that’s the jays’ nest. And there have been two, and in the last week they’ve been cooperating like a pair rather than chasing each other off from the peanut offerings tossed when the squirrels aren’t looking.

Two Bewick’s wrens likewise have begun dancing lightly together across the top of the large wooden box that gives me such a good viewing platform as I scatter suet across it. The kind with chili oil in it: birds only. (And don’t rub your eyes!) I haven’t seen one wren feed the other yet, but it will be soon.

There is new light and space opened up for our fruit trees now, thank you, neighbors.

And Phyllis, I know you said it takes several years, I know it takes several years, but no one told the Tropic Snow peach that it takes several years: definitely pink there (flash notwithstanding) and definitely a flower about to open up. Probably several. When it starts to fruit I want to put a metal cage around each one, prop them up somehow and let that baby tree do what it wants to do.

They say that letting it fruit in the first year or two will stunt the growth, which I’m choosing to think of as not the roots but rather the future height of the tree. (Right?) And this is a problem?

Maybe just one peach?

Welcomed back
Friday February 15th 2013, 12:15 am
Filed under: Family,Knit,LYS

Richard worked from home today, still under the weather; it was clear we weren’t going out tonight. He encouraged me to go to knit night, get me some Purlescence time in.

I took the Manos Allegria project with me, made from the new yarn the shop had just gotten in the last time I went four weeks ago, and time after time it got a sharp intake of breath and “Oh, that’s GORGEOUS!” Two knitters asked, “Is the pattern out yet?”

“Not yet!”


Did my little ego great good, I tell ya. (Thank you, guys, I needed that–I frogged today’s new project five, count’em five times trying to get it just so, killed my whole afternoon.)

“You’ve been missing awhile, haven’t you?” asked Juanita.

The funeral, the cold from the guy on the plane, yes…

And I won’t be there next Thursday either because neither will any of them: one more week till Stitches!