Friday, September 30, 2011

More seeds, proud of my body, proud of Partner

My seed collection has doubled or maybe even tripled; every kind of seed I can find now rests in a little paper packet in my cupboard. I'm particularly excited about my lobelia, nicotiana, and cosmos. I don't know if they'll actually grow, but I can't wait to find out.

I'm so happy it's actually been warm this week. Hot, even. Franklin and I had a chance to wear our summer clothing, finally! We played in the hose for the first time in his entire life; no sprinkler, but I set the hose up so it sprayed an arc at about my waist height. We then proceeded to run through it, and under it, jump into it, and splash in the subsequent puddle. I wore my bikini; Franklin wore his birthday suit.

My bikini, which I have not worn since I got married, is about ten years old. I'm no more than five pounds heavier than I was then, so it fits me pretty well; however, I now have a mummy tummy, so I bulge a bit around the navel. Still, I am proud of the fact that I grew a new person myself, so my mummy tummy is a medal of honor.

I have some fabulous end-of-season flowers like this magenta dahlia. Perhaps I'll see if I can let them go to seed for collection.

Partner has been looking for a place in a band recently. I'm not sure how many bands he's seen: maybe four so far. He used to be a full-time rock'n'roller, back when he didn't have to pay rent. He wants to play part-time now, to have fun (90%) and to supplement our income (10%). I think he wants to play bass, but he's also excellent at guitar, both lead and rhythm (listen to our song, "Hopscotch", on youtube: Partner wrote and performed all the instrument parts in the music track: electric guitar, acoustic guitar, bass guitar). Oh, and he plays the mandolin, piano, trombone, and sings. And did I mention he composes orchestral music as well?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My life is essentially just like your life; I like to make stuff

I thought I'd like to explain that while I normally blog about the cool stuff I do (you know, all that cool weeding and statistics and pooey bums), my life is far from perfect. Take my house. My neighbor came over to visit me and Franklin last week and I was so embarrassed by the state of it--normally it's moderately tidy, but I had two days worth of dishes, laundry everywhere, and only one chair without piles of stuff on it. She was very diplomatic about it, but I worry she'll never come over again; this is the neighbor with the fruit trees so I need to stay in her good books!

And my child gets whiny, and I lose my temper with my dog, and Partner and I occasionally have disagreements. When we actually see each other, that is. Mostly I'm drowning in schoolwork and he's at work. So you see, my life is just like anybody's life. I just happen to make stuff in between.

Now then, onto making stuff: once I take my two exams, I'm sewing a winter coat for Franklin. We have a charity shop in the nearest town that sells everything for £1; I bought a big wool coat which I will cut up for it. I actually had a choice of about four different wool coats at that shop; I chose the one with the biggest panels and fewest seams--and it's a wool/cashmere blend. Fancy! I don't think a little boy's coat should be too hard to make, and I'm hoping to make it a bit large so it'll fit next winter, too.

More thoughts on keeping warm this winter, as it's now equinox and the temperatures fall: I want lots of warm clothing for myself and Franklin. And Partner if he desires, though he doesn't get as cold as me. I already knitted this woolly vest. Woolly socks are definitely on the list--I've got some, Franklin doesn't. And maybe a few nice woolly blankets for our beds (I will probably not knit these, however). My mother sent me an amazing alpaca blanket last year; I love it. And I bet a sheepskin would keep Franklin cozy in his bed; it'd certainly keep me cozy, but Partner doesn't seem too keen--he says he likes a cold bed; last winter I got out the down-filled quilt but he didn't want it on top of him.

This paving stone is surrounded by little cabbage seedlings, from where a cabbage plant expired last month. I gathered a little paper packet of those seeds, but it looks like I shouldn't have bothered!

Partner made a disparaging noise earlier when he saw the photo of himself in the previous post. He told me it's a page three item--implying it's about time I put up a new front page. Done.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Pond, plums, homemade frozen yogurt

One of the other jobs Partner managed on our week off: he drained the pond and pulled out the liner. We now have a deep hole where the fish used to swim. I'm committed to filling it with garden trimmings--hopefully it'll be full by next spring, and I can put some dirt down on top of it, and maybe grass or decking. As shown in the photo, the hole is about three feet deep, and at least six feet across--that's a lot of filling.

I submitted my last two assignments for the year, and now only have two exams to look forward to. Huge weight off my mind, though one of the exams I'm quite nervous about (the math). Still, all I need is a pass.

Partner and I were lucky enough to have a neighbor over to babysit while we went to a wedding last week. Only the second time we've been out since Franklin's birth, it felt nice to have some grown up time together. I wore a new dress and even danced a few dances. We came home early, and the neighbor said she would be happy to come over again.

That was the neighbor with the plum tree. I ended up making about ten jars of plum jam--not my favorite but it's not bad. We'll eat it. I also made four big jars of whole plums in syrup; I haven't tried them yet. And to finish off the last of those pesky plums I made a crumble. I have a feeling if I go visit my neighbor again she'll offload some more onto me. But then again, she's also promised me apples, which should be just about ripe now...

To go with the plum crumble I also made some frozen yogurt. I read about a method which involves a large outer ziplock bag filled with salt and ice, and a small inner ziplock bag filled with flavored yogurt. After tumbling the bags around till the ice melted (I wore gloves), the yogurt was partially frozen but not quite ready, so I popped the small bag into the freezer to finish, and gave it a squeeze every half hour to break up the big ice crystals. It took half an hour of tumbling and an hour of freezing to be perfect. Oh, and this was yogurt I made myself, too.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Household accomplishments, turnips

This week while Partner's been off work, we've been so
  • Franklin's bedroom and the office have now been switched--mostly Partner's work, but I helped a little.
  • Partner tiled above the bathtub in the bathroom.
  • I made two jars of wild blackberry jam and bottled four jars of plums (from a neighbor's tree).
  • We (all three of us) picked another batch of blackberries to make more jam--hopefully tomorrow.
  • I razed 3/4 of the weeds in the vegetable patch.
  • We had a full day of shopping in York where we bought some new clothes.
Altogether it's been fun, especially spending so much time with Partner. Since I work weekends and he works weekdays, we never have full days off together.

I've kind of neglected my garden for the past month or so. Franklin and I still go out and play there, but this time of year I always seem to get very bored of weeding; I've only deadheaded my flowers and harvested my vegetables these past few weeks.

I got a lovely surprise when I went out to check on my turnips earlier; the leaves have been partially eaten by beetles, so I was worried about the roots. My quick look turned into an amazed goggle: my turnips are huge! I can't believe it--I only planted them ten weeks ago and already they're at least the size of golf balls. Why couldn't my beets have done that? My biggest beets, first planted in March (so at least 20 weeks) are only the size of marbles.

This week's bouquet includes rudbeckia, sweet pea, dahlia, honesty (seed pod), and peony leaf.