The Saturday Update: Weeks 35 and 36, 2021

The heat is hanging on and the cats and I are totally over it at this point. Yesterday we set a new heat record in my state: 99 degrees Fahrenheit. The sun is a sullen red ball in the sky and the sky is slate white with smoke from the west. The heat is unrelenting, there has been almost no rain, and fire season is still going on, and on, and on… Should summer be ending soon?

“Not yet!”, say the plants and wildlife in the yard. The cats have been busy chasing late season houseflies and the trees are abuzz with pulsing cicada sounds. There seems to be wildlife everywhere all of a sudden as the lawn and garden recover from the intense sun (but not the heat) of July and August. I even had to chase a little garter snake out of my garage yesterday! Summer is being especially tenacious, but I am seeing some hints of fall as flocks of geese fly over my house and the first leaves on the trees are turning.

The baby bunny is now hanging out in the front yard entertaining the cats as they watch from the front door. Do you see all of that debris on the sidewalk and street in the picture of the bunny? That is the mess being left by the squirrels as they harvest the Russian olives off of my neighbor’s tree. There is a really cute squirrel with an exceptionally fluffy tail digging holes under my trees to stash food for later… not nice, little squirrel!! Speaking of fluffy tails, look at what is happening to Mateo’s tail!! This kitten is getting a lot fluffier than I thought he would…

Garden

Everything that is pink is just flourishing at the moment.

My Autumn Joy Stonecrop is just covered with bees and other plants in containers on the deck have decided that they want to bloom too. Even the roses by my driveway have decided to get a last bloom in. For some crazy reason it is all of the pink plants… even the hydrangea is putting out some new blooms with pink edges. It makes me happy to see all that color coming back even if it will be drowned out by all the fall colors in the trees and shrubs in a week or two.

Knitting

I had several quiet days following my right heart catherization procedure last week (okay, I also slept a couple of days afterwards) and I ripped right through the next clue on the Snark-O-Meter. If you haven’t been keeping up with all of the snark, the Snark-O-Meter is the latest MKAL shawl by Sharon from Security (Casapinka) and I am having a blast this time.

It is getting too big to show off the fun stitches in this project in one picture so I settled for shots of each clue. The top left is clues 1 and 2, the bottom left shows clue 3, and the picture on the right is clue 4. Look at all of those great and interesting stitches and use of color!! I’m going to get a ton of use out of this shawl.

Since I finished the shawl in just a couple of days after the clue was released, and because Sharon is taking a week off to let people catch up on their knitting, and since I was admiring all things pink in the garden, I pulled out my new Rock It Tee that is being knit in a pinky/rusty colorway called Cinnasizzle. The actual yarn isn’t quite as hot pink as it appears in the pictures, but it is full of clay, pink, and rust colors that are just too fun to ignore. I’ve been binge watching Billions on Amazon Prime and knitting like crazy this last week with a nebulous thought that if I really apply myself I can get this sweater done before Sharon releases the next Snark-O-Meter clue in another week. Ha! This is clearly impossible, but that never stopped me before! To try is all. I’m below the armholes now and it is just knitting in the round for the next 15 inches or so…

Mateo is now 5 and a half months old. Isn’t he getting handsome?

I’m still waiting for my cardiologist to contact me with the next steps in the ongoing Blue-Lipped Zebra project. Things are really slammed right now in the health field as there are lots of Covid-19 patients and Covid long-haulers who need help, and my cardiologist is pretty overwhelmed with the case load at the moment. (How do I know? My pulmonologist, who is also slammed, told me. I feel so bad for them.) It is a little hard to be patient and to wait my turn, especially since some of those people who are bumping me back in the health-care line are the unvaccinated.

Last week I was mocked in public by someone for wearing a mask. Umm… retired high school teacher here. I called him out on it and he immediately stopped.

But still, it’s a little shocking that it even happened.

This is the 20th anniversary of 9/11. What a sad, horrible day that led to unpredictable outcomes that were far beyond my imagination at that time. How sad it is to reflect on all that has happened, and continues to happen, in America.

I plan to knit my way though the reflection, waiting, and sadness this week. You all be safe out there!

Have a great week everyone.

Read a little, knit a little, and garden like your heart can’t live without it.

A Little Wednesday Sunshine #4

The last few days have been beautiful and sunny. My neighbor mowed my front lawn over the weekend and I got out there to plant my new roses and to clean up the front flower beds. Things are starting to look pretty good out there!

This is the view that I see as I look out my front window in the morning.

How can I not be happy looking out at the new growth on my dwarf mugo pine ? Seriously, the colors of my pot of pansies and the phlox groundcover beyond is making me feel pretty darn good in the mornings. I reseeded the little bare patch in the picture and now it looks even better. Wait until the new grass emerges!!

My dwarf mugo pine is doing well even though we had a pretty dry winter. Look at all the new growth that is emerging and the sweet little baby seed cone.

I see lots of robins and squirrels in the yard, and there is a really persistent squirrel that kind of keeps track of me while I’m working out there. Have I been able to get a picture of this little guy? No, I have not! He has the bushiest tail I have ever seen, and he watches me from the peak of the garage roof as I work. Every time I raise the camera to grab a shot he flips that tail at me and vanishes over the peak of the roof.

So let me offer this picture of a squirrel. This is not the squirrel that is my current outdoor companion, but if you imagined an immensely fluffy tail on this one you would have a good picture of him in your mind. :-).

All of my plants are now outside and going though the transition of adapting to the stronger sunlight out there. New leaves are starting to emerge, and lots of the old leaves are getting burnt by the sun and dying. The lantana especially is not happy with me. Suck it up little guys! Life can be brutal; you can’t hang out under the indoor grow lights any longer. Summer is coming and out you go to get ready for it! The perennials in the yard are starting to come back and there are lots of buds on the plants. Good times are coming.

Before long the shrubs will be blooming again and the wildlife will be back. This is a picture from last year because, well… doesn’t it make you feel happy?

Good days in a sad time continue.

Have a good week, everyone. Be safe.

Knitting in the garden

Yesterday was a quiet day for me; I was recovering from the long days in the heat at the alpaca ranch last weekend and had entered basic slug mode. What could be better than to take some finishing tasks out to the garden swing to finish off. 🙂

Mitts without thumbs
Why do I keep doing this? I have 5 pairs of mitts all ready to go except… the thumbs need to be finished. Ugh. Basic boring knitting. Here’s the project page for these mitts at Ravelry that also has the pattern written out in the project notes. 

Luckily it was a nice day. All my flowers in pots continue to bloom like champions. Both cats moved out to hang with me. I started the sprinkler on the lawn which always draws birds. There was a lot of wildlife that stopped by to entertain me. OK, since I was bored I snapped some shots. Here they are!

Spider
This orb weaver spider had set up shop between two of my trees! I really like these spiders with their huge elaborate webs and insect catching habits. I had one on the deck last year that spun her web every evening and then took it down in the morning. OK, I’m a geek, but I was a biology teacher so what did you expect?

Squirrel
I ate some pumpkin spice mini-muffins with my latte while I was knitting. This squirrel started barking at me from a branch above the garden swing. I guess he felt that he was entitled to the muffins too!

Cat
Yellow Boy was snoozing in the garden swing with me. When the squirrel came down the tree trunk he finally chased it off. Sometimes he can be brave.

Buterfly
I haven’t seen many of these lately but as the morning warmed up more a Swallowtail stopped by the lantana. I love these guys. Luckily Yellow Boy was busy with the squirrel and left this one alone.

By noon is was getting too hot to stay outside. My mitts were done and the wildlife was disappearing. The cats and I headed inside.

Woohoo! Time to knit the Drachenfels shawl. I’m making progress on it and hope to show it off at the end of the week.

Have a good week everyone.