Eyeballing it
Sunday October 10th 2021, 9:56 pm
Filed under: Knit,Knitting a Gift

This is definitely one that needs a daylight photo. I’m wincing a bit at this one but it’s what I’ve got.

On the right, the redwood was growing into the fence and the roots had tunneled underneath towards our house maybe four feet away.

I had k3, *(yo ssk k1) doing the diagonal on the right with a knit 1 at the center and then (*k1 k2tog yo) doing a reverse of that diagonal on the left–which meant that when they met up at the center bottom where I did a double-decrease every other right side row three times, it was going to push the fabric upwards visually and physically a bit in that spot, pointing an arrow at the tree above. It was where the roots lifted our sidewalk. But that change of direction at the center also balanced the side edges climbing pointing upwards towards each other, and I wanted that.

With no boughs nor needles nor hawks nor squirrels nor fog the stump is just a bit bare so far. But man does it feel good to be making serious progress.



Happy Birthday, Anne!
Tuesday October 05th 2021, 10:14 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knit,Life

Early last year, I picked out a mug online from Mel and Kris Kunihiro and rather than having them bother with shipping it to me from Oregon I told them I’d pick it up at Stitches West, since we were going to see each other there shortly anyway.

That was the Stitches that I ended up missing because I had, as my doctor told me later, a clear-cut case of covid. (No tests at the time for blue states, as Californians well remember.) I could have turned that big knitters’ convention into a super spreader event all by myself had it been held a few days earlier, before I knew I was coming down so sick.

So. Anne admired and even owned some of Mel and Kris’s pottery and she volunteered to pick it up from them there and drop it off at my house. It meant a great deal to me that she was going so far out of her way to make life a lot easier for everybody.

And that’s what started it all. We’ve known each other for years as passing friends at the yarn store, but she set the stage for a far deeper connection than that.

All these many months where, like most of us, I saw only a very few people in real life at great intervals, it seemed like whenever I most needed it to save my sanity one of them, standing outside, masked and at a distance, was Anne, totally putting up with my deafness that the masks make worse. Popping by to say hi after fair warning to make sure I’d be there. (Like we were going anywhere. Like anyone was.)

Two? Three? years ago? Before we had any idea what was about to hit us all, she gave me a box of yarns that she wasn’t ever going to knit, no matter how pretty they were–and told me not to knit her a cowl or hat.

Totally on to me. Busted.

And yet…things change.

I’m both excited for her and more than a bit devastated for me that she and her husband are moving to Portland in, unfathomably, two weeks. I’ve been covering that up to myself by looking at houses, sending her links, going, Isn’t this one so cool! Or, Can you even/what were they thinking/can you believe nine bedrooms/2 baths seven fridges taking up what was left of what used to be a living room, extension cords everywhere, with a trapdoor in the closet to a gun safe/wine stash in the otherwise nonexistent basement. A frat house maybe?

When she commented on this cowl picture I posted a month ago I suddenly knew why I’d bought that color combination that was a bit too yellow for me. At the last Stitches I’d gone to, from the Yarn Truck parked inside at the edge of the convention center floor.

If only she’d let me.

So I asked.

And she admitted that she had been hoping that, before she leaves, I would knit her something.

She stopped by today. I pulled out a bag of finished projects: purple wool, blue baby alpaca, ecru cashmere, the finished wool cowl she’d admired, and one in a similar colorway but with more blues and almost no yellows.

She went straight for this one. Still her favorite. “I like the yellows,” holding it up under her chin for me so I could see for myself that she was right, that was the one. She asked me the yarn and I didn’t remember, so it’s a good thing I wrote it down while I still had the label at hand. Yarnloveyarn.com’s Magic Forest.

It had been for her from its beginning and had been waiting for the two of us to figure it out.



And now I need the brand names
Thursday September 30th 2021, 11:03 pm
Filed under: Knit

The Washington Post did a story on diminishing fire risks for those of us who live with such.

Who knew there were air vents that swelled shut in heat to keep embers out of attics and garages?

They talked about roof types, but not the one I already have a signed contract committing us to. I have questions. (On second thought, Professor Google says that foam roofs are highly fire resistant. Okay, that feels much better.)

Reading the comments, someone in the paint industry talked about fire-resistant paints, saying, “A few and I mean very few of high quality water based products are actually non-toxic and can pass stringent NFPA tests for smoke production, optical density of smoke and toxic output” and said they were the best for residential use. And that if you buy the cheap ones you have to do two coats and haven’t saved any money.

Since I’m getting my house painted after all the termite repair and roof work is done and I’d never heard of such a thing, I’m really glad I read that. Sometimes you have to know what to ask before you can ask.



Chez trees
Tuesday September 21st 2021, 9:12 pm
Filed under: Knit

Someone took a huge, exquisite piece of live-edge wood (oak?) and turned it into the countertop for their kitchen island. It’s gorgeous–but does that kind of finish survive all the kinds of substances that could land on it? I have no idea and would love it if someone who knew anything about it could fill me in. Pictures #6-9.

Meantime, I finally worked out the math (for the third time), went through my stash, decided after a package arrived that I seemed to finally have what I needed for the thing and in relief that I no longer have to wait to see how the new shades work out with the previously-bought: I picked up the long-neglected start of the redwood afghan. The living tree was stumped and then so had I been. And now I could run with it.

It felt great to finally arrive at where the only thing that slowed me down was needing to give my hands a break.

 

*Chez: French for “at the house of,” pronounced “shay.” Also, above, a pun on smiling for the camera.



Set in stone
Saturday September 18th 2021, 10:11 pm
Filed under: Food,Knit

So we did, we went to Mutari, and I got their Costa Esmeraldas bar because that’s long been my favorite (Dandelion buys beans from that farm too) and those two put in chocolate and sugar and nothing else, whereas the Manoa we tried has some cocoa butter. They’re all great.

As we headed out I picked up a long-stalled hat project and saw why it had been on timeout so long–hadn’t I ever counted those stitches? How did that happen? I ripped it out, cast on again with the single-ply wool arguing with the bumpy road, and with great satisfaction finished the ribbing for the new hat at about Scotts Valley. I considered what kind of patterning–but, nah. I wanted to keep looking at the redwoods we were driving through. Mindless stockinette it was.

Meantime, remember how I love stone houses?

Someone made their kids a stone tree house. With stained glass (-ish) windows no less. Photos 28-30.

The perfect place to retreat with a good book or yarn while keeping an eye on the kids. (Hey Mom that’s MY tree house!)

The perfect little cool-grandparents retirement cottage, both of them.



No chocolate allowed
Tuesday September 14th 2021, 9:48 pm
Filed under: Family,Knit,Life

Me: Man, what a lousy night. Couldn’t get warm, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t find the wool blanket (the extra layer on my side.)

Him: That’s because you tripped and spilled hot cocoa all over it.

Me, slowly: Oh. Right.

So I am here to report that dabs of unscented laundry detergent on day-old cocoa on white wool, left to soak in for an hour or two and then rubbed a bit, did indeed get the whole thing to come completely clean. Gentle cycle or no, running it through the washing machine didn’t help its pilling whatsoever, and it did shrink slightly as one would expect, but the merino came out all the softer for it.

And we’re talking 1:1 ratio cocoa/sugar in the milk, not some half-fake commercial mix. But it came out.

Spending the day that tired, I sat down, propped my feet up, and knit. After 75 minutes, my hands demanded a break from the needles, which at 6.5mm were a lot bigger than I usually use but that the scoured and floofed-out chainette Piuma from Colourmart really needed. (The light beige.)

The closer I got to the end of the ball the more the stubborn side of me had to see it through. Intermittently as needed. I let the amount of yarn dictate to me when I was done, and after dinner, it was.

I gave it a bit of water for the lace to settle into place and it is now hanging to dry. Right next to that sweet soft Irish-made blanket.



Just the right colors
Sunday September 12th 2021, 10:53 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knit,Life

The teacher in Relief Society asked, How has some small act of kindness made a difference to you?

Heather raised her hand and said, When we were changing the ward boundaries, it was a two year process and there was a lot of feedback and pushback from people who didn’t want any changes, because who does. But it had to happen.

I nodded, remembering that time a few years ago: one ward using the building had had a lot of people move out and was sparsely populated. The other one, situated where the housing was cheaper (that would be ours) had way more people than could fit in there comfortably and they just plain needed to be balanced out, along with the others in the stake. I didn’t know that she had been one of the ones having to deal with it. All I knew about her was that I’d once asked her after a biannual stake meeting where she’d been one of the speakers if by wild chance with that unusual last name she was related to one of my husband’s old college professors.

She was stunned. She was thrilled. She sought him out, badly needing to talk to him: her dad had been diagnosed with cancer two years after we’d moved away and had died of it fairly quickly, and since she’d moved to California and that had been something like thirty years now, she needed to know someone here who had known him, someone she could talk to about her father. She missed him so much. It was a great comfort to her, and I can’t tell you how glad I was that I’d asked.

Richard had had no idea his memorable old professor was gone.

So here we are a few years later and she blew me away by saying, And I was one of the people who had to do that change to a new-to-me ward. And I wasn’t sure how (basically, how she would be received.)

And then here comes Alison on my very first day here and she’s giving me a hand knit cowl to welcome me. (Me, thinking: I did? Yeah, sounds like me.) Heather described the multiple colors and how much they were her favorites, and at that point I remembered thinking that this matches what she’s wearing–it’s definitely for her.

Heather: And she knit a scarf for every woman in the ward!

I was suddenly doing a little bit of a cringe there, because well yes I did but it took me almost two years and then so many new people moved in at the end of one summer–it’s a college town, after all–that, being in the middle of a baby blanket project and then another, I felt like I could never catch up and gave it up. Plus by that point I was so, so bored of making cowls.

My wanting to is starting to come back to me now, though, and I think it was seeing the one in my hands and needles before the meeting started that sparked her memory of that winter-friendly warmth on this hot day.

She showed me a picture of the baby hat she’s knitting for one of her colleagues who’s expecting and a sweater she’s looking forward to finishing before the weather turns.

She’s one of ours. But then I found that out the day I gave her her cowl.



Another big pandemic afghan
Saturday September 04th 2021, 8:40 pm
Filed under: Knit,Knitting a Gift,Life

I was most of the way there before the seven and a half miles of stop-and-go between here and Morgan Hill. A platform tow truck went speeding by on the shoulder. By the time I got to the damaged bus on the left, whatever the truck had come for was long gone but the cops and firemen were hands on hips at the scene.

Made it to Andy’s.

They told me people celebrating the holiday had picked his shelves clean of peaches two hours before, meaning they must have been there right when he opened, but when one can get green gauge plums and his nectarines one really cannot complain. And his slab Blenheims! Best dried apricots ever.

Turning off his road at the T on the way back, there was a wide straight length with no side streets and nobody around but me.

Along with a magnificent red-shouldered hawk on the light pole above, guarding the far edges of Andy’s trees.

I double checked in case anyone had turned back there, nope, and then simply stopped to observe for a moment. I never do that. But there was nobody, and a great deal of room to go around me: a road built for development that hasn’t happened yet. (And yes that breaks my heart. I want that farm to stay so bad.)

The hawk turned in no particular hurry and looked back over its shoulder down below at me with a bird’s best impression of a cocked eyebrow, like, Uh, okay? Tell me what’s so interesting here?

But at that, someone did turn onto the road back there a ways and I nodded good day to it and moved on.

On the freeway, two identical privately owned buses now, moving stranded passengers over.

Came home, crashed a moment (wait. That might not be the best word today), ate a bite, revived–and, looking at the calendar and the idea of not being able to get that project off the ground before Tuesday, got back in the car and headed north this time. Cottage Yarns in South San Francisco. And yes Katherine does mail order. She recently got a big shipment of Malabrigo everything and is well stocked, but says they warned her that with the pandemic it could be months before they could get big shipments out again.

The great wool apocalypse that knitters tease each other about? This right now is what a good stash has been for all along.

And mine was lacking in that particular washable version.

Now, at long last, I think I have enough Mecha colors and enough variations on those colors to knit what my eyes need to make it come to be.



To a better company
Thursday September 02nd 2021, 9:54 pm
Filed under: Knit,Life

I’d been asking for weeks, but there was only one person running the office: the others were out sick. “Not with covid,” I was reassured by the woman trying to hold down the fort. Well, that could be a relief or, given the length of time at that point, for their sakes I was in no way sure that it was.

But deadlines help with the business at hand and mine was next week.

And so the agent sat down and by appointment, she at her computer and me at home at mine, we figured out how much coverage and how much I wanted to have to pay, in endless detail, with the occasional this-okay-by-you? in Richard’s direction.

Earthquake coverage with a $166,000 deductible? We’d seriously have to fork over that much cash first before they’d pay a dime? I, I, just, no. Ok, so, this much more a month even if it’s a truckload.

She told me the companies are all expecting The Big One and prices have risen accordingly. Well then. The rest of you heard that here first, right? You cannot buy earthquake insurance for so many months after we have one–they’re not paying for aftershock damage to people who didn’t come on board earlier, which makes sense. I remember lying in bed after the 7.1 Loma Prieta with it feeling like we’d somehow gone back to having that terrible waterbed from early in our marriage back when those were a big thing: endless, endless ripples passing through underneath. The earth playing skipping stones from here to there across the surface.

I knew I was very fortunate to even be having today’s conversation as the fires rage a few hours north. But we are in the only part of the state whose statistical chance of wildfire was pegged at zero last year, though I’m less sure they would say so this year.

Any other customers emailing or calling, she had to deal with them, too, any lags in the insurance company passing on my questions, that was another wait that had to happen. Gold and silver? I laughed. We got married when gold and silver hit the highest in history (at the time). There is no silver. We have no gold. We were students. Our wedding bands were a bunch of my father-in-law’s melted-down 22k tooth fillings that had fallen out and been saved–he’d always wanted to see if he could recast them and so he and his dentist friend did. Jewelry? Does a little bit of turquoise count? We do have stainless steel cutlery.

She had blocked out two hours in her day to get this account done.

I had no problem sitting quietly waiting for, looking up and noticing, and answering each new email as it came in. Potato-chip knitting is good for that.

Yarnloveyarn.com’s Magic Forest color way in dk merino. Bought from the yarn-stocked delivery truck that was driven right onto the convention center floor at Stitches West two and a half years ago. Choosing that skein was a declaration that next year’s event, moved to Sacramento or no, was going to happen and I intend to go. Clearing out my Stitches stash, one skein at a time, is my insurance plan for that.



Light as Eyre
Saturday August 28th 2021, 10:14 pm
Filed under: Knit

Usually, when I’m going to make a generous sized cowl with lots of–how would you describe it? Tree ring layers? I start narrow at the top and widen as I go down.

This time, it was pretty clear early on that I was going to need to do the opposite. Not early enough to talk me into frogging and starting over–besides, I had forgotten that, much as I love knitting baby alpaca, when it’s spun fine it’s going to have a lot of bounce in it and it’s going to want to jump off the needles. Which it did a few times. The mill was trying to balance between the merino’s need for lots of twist and the alpaca’s need not to. It was soft, it was pretty, and it’s a tossup whether my eyes or my hands fell in love with the skein first but it was not the most fun knit ever and I wasn’t going to do any extra stitches I didn’t have to–done wanted to stay done. So I improvised.

MadTosh’s Eyre Light, it turns out, is discontinued. It’s on sale in the link; I didn’t find any other current sources. Our Local Yarn Store where my skein came from might yet have a few.

What I did was that after double-decrease-finishing the tops of triangles, then on what would have been a wrong side row had I not been knitting in the round I did the two decreases per ten stitches without their matching yarn overs, ie, by not having a rest row before going straight to those decreases I made it look as if the previous yarn overs flowed right in there as much as possible.

The narrowing was less drastic than I’d imagined and I have to lay the cowl flat to see which way goes up. It flows well, even if it changed how the colorwork moves.

It looks a bit of a hodgepodge lying there but you put it on and see the tree rings and it’s just perfect. And so soft. I’m glad I bought it and I’m glad I made it and I’m glad I don’t have to do it again.

I think it’s okay to cut the yarn and run the ends in now.



Life above stuff
Wednesday August 18th 2021, 11:18 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knit,Life

Yellow shadows from the windows, yellowed outside. So strange and by now so familiar. Reports that the fire near South Tahoe had burst ten-fold overnight.

I knew how lucky we have it–in places closer to the flames it’s all orange. All we have to deal with is the breathing.

My dyer friend Lisa Souza and her husband had had a pre-planned go bag ready by the door and today they were out of there. I try to imagine, if I had to put my whole life into our little car, what would I take? I can’t fathom it. But they had family they could go to and that is no small comfort.

I met her years ago with her yarns on display and her wheel steadily, peacefully whir whirring away inside a fairy ring of redwoods at Kings Mountain Art Fair and I knew I wanted to learn how to do that, too, and did.

She told me later, her colorway–I want to say Sky Drama? The colors of radiant blue sky and brightest sunrise–was a new thing and not her usual and she wasn’t sure her customers would like it until I showed up, exclaimed in delight, and made a beeline right for it and happily took it home. Well then.

So she dyed up more and it sold very well.

When her husband retired, they sold their house in the Bay Area and moved into the foothills where they had a small cottage built next to the house where they could take care of her mother. When her mother passed, Lisa’s dye work and shop moved in there.

I can only hold my breath and hope it’s all still in place when they come home. And that they can. And that so many others can.

Update: they’ve just arrested a woman they believe to have been the arsonist.



Kindness is everything
Wednesday August 04th 2021, 10:45 pm
Filed under: Knit,Life,Lupus

Got the state auto fee bill in June, paid it pronto, but it came with the every-other-year requirement that the car be smog-checked.

It’s a freaking Prius, guys. It’s a ULEV (ultra low emissions vehicle), it’s not… Okay, arguing with them in my head, now c’mon, has that ever worked out yet? Alright then.

It’s also still a pandemic, and I knew my husband couldn’t take the time off work and I knew it meant I would be sitting outside for far longer than I ever, ever do, especially in summertime. I was just mentioning to the cardiologist yesterday about going completely blind on the left for two weeks after five or ten minutes of June sun exposure years ago.

So I put it off till I couldn’t anymore.

At least the place has a–what do you call a drive-through metal pavilion the size of a small school bus? You’d park under it to keep the snow off your car in, say, Wisconsin. You for sure don’t see a whole lot of those around here, but this place had one.

It was up against the building and there were four distanced chairs and a bench set up under it. Three people were already waiting, but my only other option was going to be somewhere with no roof whatsoever. The sign said “Be seated and an attendant will be with you shortly,” so, okay then.

There was only one guy. And he was not coming shortly nor was he attending to anyone.

About 45 minutes later he did finally finish one guy’s car, then two more, and at that point I was next and two more had joined the wait.

At which point I was the only one wearing a mask.

The worker did walk past us a few times because the door to the office was behind us.

He avoided eye contact. He avoided conversation. He was covered in tattoos, all but his face. And to say he was not happy was an understatement–one of those times coming out of that office he looked like someone you’d be afraid would suddenly pull out a gun, he was that angry. At what, I have no idea.

But I do know the two who came after me had struck up a conversation about cars and the one guy was making roll-his-eyes comments about the wait. This was after he’d had some frustration about not being sure if he should comply with the sign, go to the bay and announce his presence, just wait, or what, while the new arrival had assumed he knew when he didn’t either.

I figured, you come to a place that doesn’t do appointments and you take what you get and you plan on that. You read the sign and sit like it says. RTFM, guys. And yes this place used to have a TV blaring in the office for your wait but, covid.

All five of the others looked at my MadTosh knitting (thank you Our Local Yarn Shop in Olympia, WA) during their waits like, oh if only…

My heart went out to the guy trying to take care of everything with no help and people kibitzing as if he couldn’t hear over the traffic. It’s not that they were being terrible or mean, it’s that the previous set had done a bit of that too and it can’t be fun to have to listen to that all. day. long. while you’re working hard, alone. It didn’t help that his dog was there with him (it was apparently in the room behind the office) and the dog was barking almost nonstop while he periodically tried to quiet it while the machinery did its thing. Sometimes he even succeeded.

The grandmother in me totally kicked in. I wanted to give the poor guy a break, so I made a point of looking up and noticing him with my eyes, smiling a bit when it felt right, simply acknowledging his humanity every time he went past (which was only a few times.) I had no idea if he even saw that.

When it was my car’s turn about 80 minutes in, I apologized about the deafness and he had no idea about facing the person so they can lipread (no, no mask) and he didn’t but we muddled on through.

But here’s the thing: when he handed me my paperwork and car key a half hour later there was this moment of

I’ve been sitting here staring at the monitor

I don’t know how to describe it

like he was acknowledging my humanity back and trying to figure out how to say thank you but there were no words so he was just silently glad for having been offered a bit of an emotional break in his day. Something had eased.

And I have no doubt he did better at dealing with his other customers after that because he’d felt that and felt seen in that moment.

To my surprise, so did I.



Bar none
Sunday August 01st 2021, 10:14 pm
Filed under: History,Knit,Life

Another plain hat waiting for the moment when I’ll want the ends to already be run in. Soft and warm and wool and washable.

I woke up feeling fine this morning but church by Zoom was clearly the only way to go, just to be sure.

And then we got an email: the (unnamed) unvaccinated boy who was reported last week to have tested positive after going to Scout camp had carpooled there with another unvaccinated kid, who is now sick with covid.

Between them they’d exposed a whole lot of people. (The email didn’t say that. It didn’t need to.)

It asked that, of the kids who’d attended that camp, only the vaccinated ones come to in-person church.

Those two would have been old enough to have gotten at least their first shots–I do not understand why vaccination was not a requirement, although, on second thought, it may well be that it was.

I read a comment today where someone saw a long line of young people and went around the block out of curiosity to see what it was they were lining up for.

It was a pop-up vaccination clinic.

They noted that the bars in town had with one accord decreed that you must now be vaccinated to enter.



Which color do you want?
Saturday July 17th 2021, 8:32 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Friends,Knit

I gave Phyl and Lee their choice of Andy’s red peaches or yellow as a thank you for driving us to the airport. (I’d waited a few weeks because the later in the season, the more flavor.) The reds were marked as cling; they opted for the yellow Santa Barbaras and I sent them off with not quite a whole case, since that seemed like a lot to them. (Then I tried one of the Sierra Rich reds and the pit came away like what was the big deal supposed to be.)

A few hours later my doorbell rang: the friend who’d watered my garden while we were away, surprising me with a small box of plums and peaches after a trip to, you guessed it, Andy’s Orchard. The first white peaches we’d tasted this year. Loved it.

On the knitting front: when I booked the trip, I wasn’t sure of the kids’ work schedules so I scheduled our flight home to arrive in the late evening. Tuesday the holiday was over, their normal life took over and we were on our own, free to play tourist and wander around for the day.

So we did. I’ve mentioned the drawbridge in Seattle.

But the other thing is that we stumbled across a yarn store, parked the car, and went in.

(Side note: it’s a good thing us good little Mormons Googled when we saw this other place as we drove by because “Skep and Skein” was NOT a yarn store. It was a tavern and none of us would have had the faintest idea what to do with each other had we walked in.)

So we drove on (wait–we’ve already been on this road, hey, Waze!) and saw another sign.

There is always room in the luggage for a souvenir skein, I told Richard as we were getting out of the car, but it was going to be tight. We walked into a charming little brick Tudor and met just the nicest owner.

Hmm… I went to see if I could find something to show her shop to you and discovered that she has the same name as my sister’s best friend growing up. Here’s the article. Our Local Yarn Shop, OLYS for short. I’m not seeing a date on when it was written–but Laurie told me that a pandemic three months after she opened had not been in her business plan.

Wow. I absorbed that a moment. And you’re still here! I pronounced in triumph.

Yes, I am! she answered happily. But she allowed as how it had been a near thing for awhile there.

Meantime, she had a steady stream of customers, some of them clearly old friends, and each time someone wanted to ask something or stepped behind me in line to be rung up I stepped out of the way and waved them forward and let her chat with them and take care of them because they were going to be in a position to come back and I wasn’t and I wanted her to have every success. I really liked this lady.

She gave her store its name from the fact that she sells yarn from sheep from local farms with the name of each animal on the skein. Which is cool–but they were in natural and muted colors, and they were lovely, but right now I needed color color color to entice my fingers to get back into really knitting again.

I came away with this Manos and a Madeline Tosh that hit just the right notes and they just barely managed not to fall out of my overstuffed purse in the airport.

I told Laurie the story of visiting my in-laws in Texas and having one of my readers here ask if she could come pick me up and take me to her knitting group night while I was in town. Sure!

And how I was absolutely gobsmacked to find us pulling up to the doorstep of the original Madeline Tosh shop. I met the owner. I got to meet her! Turns out that wasn’t her name, she’d named it in honor of her favorite aunt. I tried not to be too embarrassing in my fandom.

Anyway. So here’s the Manos in a potato-chip-munching mindless-knitting stitch that works so well with multicolors by scattering each little shot of color hither and yarn.

(Edited to answer Anne’s question for everyone: it was this yarn. My skein was a little more saturated than the one they show.)



Tree geodes
Thursday July 01st 2021, 10:04 pm
Filed under: Food,Friends,Garden,Knit

Dani, whose cheerleading enticed the planting of my mango tree, grew up with two Alphonsos in his yard in India.

They died a few years ago and he told me his mother was devastated.

When I said in a conversation yesterday that we had to get her a new one he said an unseen seed had survived and is now growing back and she was quite happy about that–and I am, too.

That got me to go look. Here’s what you get when you do that. Mangoes come in two types, monoembryonic and polyembryonic. Polyembryonic seeds produce multiple seedlings out of one seed and all will be clones of the parent–except one, and it will be visibly weaker or stronger than the others depending on whose experiences you’re reading on the ‘net. But mostly you get to straight-up replant what you’ve already got and experiment with the outlier. Turns out citrus do that, too.

Alphonsos are monoembryonic. You know what one of the parents is, you know how good it is, but there are no guarantees.

The nearest mango tree to mine that I know of is in Fremont and I’m sure there are no bees making that grand leap across the San Francisco Bay to my yard way over here–I’m pretty darn sure my sweet little Alphonso is a virgin. Still, it apparently means that whatever could sprout from its single-plant seeds could be anything from the tree’s genetic history.

His mom’s seedling is almost old enough now to fruit and soon she’ll find out. I’m really hoping she gets a great one.

Mine tried to fruit in December, lost them to the cold, but bloomed some more and persevered and now it’s covered with them. It takes months longer for them to ripen here than in their native climate but they’re getting there.

But darn if I’m not sitting here after all these back and forth emails wondering what kind of seedlings I might get, too. To find out, I could grow one in a pot, on the patio, on wheels to pull it out from under the awning to full-on sun and back again against the house at night, you know, what I’d originally envisioned as a way of managing a tropical here before Dani insisted I must, must let it grow in the ground and allow it to become what it’s meant to be.

We were both right. It’s much more of a tree and far more prolific that way. Mangoes are deep-taproot types.

So–if I kept and planted an Alphonso seed (space-wise, one would be enough) I could do it planter-on-wheels style, and then gift the tree away once I know the fruit is good. Because by then I’ll be more than happy to give away the impossible amount of excess from my own tree as it is. Hopefully.

Since our rainy/dry seasons are reversed, I asked Dani about watering it, I mean, I’d been doing it once a week all this time so I must be doing something right? He asked his mom.

Oh okay. Twice a week for the summer it is, then. Maybe that’s part of why it took them so long to ripen.