Wednesday, March 05, 2014

A Better Recycled Rug

The Denim Braided Rug tutorial post is one of the most popular posts I ever composed.  In fact, it's got the most hits of any post I ever wrote.   I've got a confession to make, after a while I wasn't crazy about the way it was coming out.  Truth is, I eventually abandoned the project.  It just didn't look the way I felt it should.

In fact, after taking a rug braiding class, I realized I hated the whole process.  I was actually a little shocked by how much I hated.  I also discovered along the way that I disliked crocheted rag rugs.  Oh I like the way they look but I can't stand the lack of symmetry in the ones I've made.  I get that the lack of symmetry is all about my lack of crocheting skills and that I'd likely get better with practice but its not enough to make me want to keep trying.

So have I given up on rug making?  No way!!  I just found a raw material and technique that worked better for me!  Here's a sneak peek

Can you tell what I've used?

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Yearning for Spring

I'd talk about the weather but truth be told, there's not much to say beyond what these mittens say. It's been a long winter here in Ithaca. I've done a great deal of knitting this winter, no surprise there.

Spring must be around the corner though because the local CSA fair is this Saturday. We are fortunate to have many CSA options here. There are so many that once a year they gather in a school auditorium so people can compare their offerings. How cool is that?

We joined a fruit CSA and a veggie CSA and I love them both.  Interestingly, the past two growing seasons, my little city yard has easily been home to the most productive garden I've ever tended.  That seems crazy when you consider that I left behind a little more than 1 1/4 acres but its true.  It will never take the place of our CSA but its a great way to augment the CSA's offerings.

Here are a few pics, taken at the beginning of last spring.  This first patch had strawberries, onions, lettuce and green beans.  You can see pots on the stairs holding mixed baby greens.  This whole area was a fairly epic success in my opinion.

This is my raspberry border.  There are several different varieties mixed in there.  Raspberries were the perfect choice because that side of my yard borders a parking lot and I was looking for some privacy.  Also the landscaping isn't always tended to on the neighbor's side and raspberries are bossy and don't care.

This pic shows my abundant Jerusalem Artichoke patch in the back.  This is another crop that doesn't give a hoot if your neighbor has crazy, vining nonsense growing untended nearby.  It is nearly indestructible, prolific, tasty and has lovely yellow flowers in the fall.  The trellis in the back had scarlet runner beans on it, the one in the front tomatoes.  In between I grew eggplant, kale, swiss chard, zucchini (although the squash beetles really took a toll on them much to my non-zucchini loving sons' delight) and brussel sprouts.  I tried peppers but had no success.

This is me in early spring last year at the spot where city residents can go to pick up free wood chips.  My son has climbed to the top of a giant mountain of wood chips because we only brought one shovel and climbing a slippery wood chip mountain is fun.  This picture is here because there is a lesson that goes with it.  We've got a bit of a slug problem where I live and if you have a slug problem you really don't want to make a super slug friendly environment by adding wood chips to your garden, especially not around your newly planted seedlings.  It's like inviting slugs to a buffet, drawing them a map and offering to drive to make it easier.  Don't do it!!
I'm itching to get out there and see how everything made it through the winter.  Of particular concern is my newly planted asparagus bed, and my hardy kiwi plants.  The kiwis (you have to have a male and a female) made it through last winter and I even got one teeny, tiny kiwi.  Isn't it cute??  The asparagus that I planted the prior year did not make it so I had to replant.
I'm still planning this year's additions.  What's going in your garden this year?