Monday, June 07, 2010

May: Blink and You Miss It!

I don't think this is the first time that I have forgotten to blog in May. May is such a strange month here. Softball and baseball season seem to take up so much time, and it feels as if we spend the whole month in a frenzy of running to ballgames and practices. My car looks like we have lived in it for the past several weeks. We do our homework in the car, we eat in the car. I can't even count the number of meals we have gotten over the past month or so from our favorite "restaurant" (Wawa, since the kids have been thoroughly convinced that McDonald's is evil).

Then June comes, and we can take a breath and we realize that school is almost over. That's about where we are right now.

Mathboy was on a very good baseball team this year. They made it to the semi-finals of the playoffs, but sadly they lost in the last inning of this past Saturday morning. Mathboy ended the season on a high note personally, however, getting some really nice hits in the last two games. So he leaves the season without any real regrets.

Catgirl, however, is having a painful season. Their team has 2 wins and 13 losses. Enough said.

In other news, Catgirl and I picked up these little girls this past Friday afternoon:
Four bantam cochin chicks. The partridge (reddish color) is Audrey. The black one is Lily. The silver blue one is Melanie. The mottled one with the star on her head is a Barred Rock, and her name is Attila the Hen. They are also known as the Chickie-doos. They were from different families when we got them--you can tell, for example that Attila the Hen is a little bit older than the others--but they are clinging together like sister now. We hope (fingers crossed!) that they are all chicks and not roosters-to-be. We'll find out eventually.

Rich and Mathboy have been building an enclosure behind the shed to surround the coop we bought off craigslist. For the time being, however, the chicks are sleeping in a tub in the garage and they get to play in my fenced in garden areas during the day.
Chicks in the garden

It took Rudolph the Cat a day to notice that our family now contains another bunch of animals that he would consider to be prey. You have to wonder what is going through his head. First we bring a rodent, Hairy Potter the Guinea Pig, into the house and taunt Rudolph by keeping the pig behind bars where a cat can't get to him. Now we are adding birds to the household? He must think we are crazy. When the chicks were in the garden on Saturday, he kept running back and forth between the kitchen and dining room windows, whichever gave a better view.

Oh boy. It won't be fun teaching Rudolph that the chicks are "friends not food." You would think a cat who lost his vision in one eye after being pecked by a wild turkey would have the sense to stay away from anything with a beak.

In knitting news, I have discovered the joy of patterned sock yarn. Look at this sock:
Isn't it charming? It's so funny--there is so much beautiful handpainted sock yarn out there, and right now I am enchanted with this basic Regia Jacquard. I got this yarn as a giveaway from a company several years ago. I had no idea how addictive and fun it would be watching the pattern develop as you knit.

The other thing I am working on is my Brandywine Shawl:
It looks like a mess now, but I know it will be gorgeous. It's the perfect pattern for this beautiful hand-dyed alpaca silk that I bought several years ago. Unfortunately, the yarn leeches dye terribly, so the needles are pink, and my hands and fingers turn pink every time I knit it. This is the reason why I hadn't used this yarn yet, even though I've had it for so long: the color bleeding is just so annoying. But I think this shawl is going to be spectacular, and I can't wait to see it finished. I wonder how many times I will have to rinse it when I am blocking it, until it stops bleeding color?

The gardens and veggie planters are doing well in this warm spring weather.
Potted plants 2010
New Garden
The second pic is the new garden I dug this spring. I have lettuce, green beans, potatoes and zucchini growing there. The old garden, which I apparently forgot to photograph, is only tomatoes, peppers, carrots and herbs this year. Zucchini had been doing worse there every year, so I decided to do zucchini elsewhere this year. I also added new garden soil to both garden areas this year, because I was concerned that the soil was tired. We need to start composting--it will give us something to do with the chicken waste we are going to have and will be good for the gardens.

I have already harvested enough Swiss Chard for one meal, I had enough green beans for another, and there's plenty of lettuce. I have 9 tomato plants, which may be overkill if they all produce well! But I also have a good supply of jars and I want to can tomato sauce for the winter.

Anyone want to see what has been taking up my dining room for the past 2 months?
War & Peace 1
War and Peace. A game that averages 40 hours of game play. Rich and Mathboy started before Easter, and they still are only about 2/3 done. Somehow they have kept the cat from jumping on the table this whole time. It's a miracle.

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