Saturday, July 11, 2015


G'day all!

Long time no post.  I have the nasty feeling I didn't post because I'm a bit stupid and got too hot.

Yes, it got hot in Seattle.  I seem to remember saying last time that there are two things I never thought I'd say in Seattle:
1) It's too hot, and
2) We need rain.

Well I have a third thing to say:

3) Too much sun.

The tomato and the eggplant at the ends of two raised beds are going great guns, as is the tomato by the house.  They are setting fruit like crazy.  I've got hopes of even getting one ripe eggplant, which will equal the record of anything I've grown in Melbourne.

This isn't meant to be a shot of my bust but
it does show how tall my huge tomato is.
BTW, that is not a euphemism.

But the rest?  I had to go and get shade cloth for the vegie patch to get things growing.  I know that sounds absurd but they were in full sun from about 8am to 7pm and apparently between that, the northerly wind and the complete lack of rain (artificial rain is supplied to them, from the tap), none of the seedlings were growing.  None of them.  Three weeks of sun.  15 days in a row over 80F (26.666' C), the first five days of July were 90F (32C) or more and everything got too hot.   A bit of shade and suddenly they got their grow on.

Charming, eh?  We have bamboo thinnings
and umm, yeah, very Robinson Crusoe...

I couldn't blame the plants because I could not credit how hot I got.  I guess it isn't properly dry heat here - it's a maritime climate and tends to have a bit of humidity to it generally.  Am I not from a warmer climate than this one?  How will I cope when we go back home?

I suspect air conditioning will be my friend.  My bestest buddy.

Smoky skies freak me out because they mean
big bad bushfires.

There's not been too much sun though for most of this week - big bushfires up in British Columbia smoked us out between Saturday and Thursday, when a cool change blew through and blew the smoke back to BC.  It's been cloudy and cooler for two days and it will be cloudy and cooler for another couple of days at least.

Smoky sunrise - they do look pretty.

Never thought I'd say it being cloudy is nice.  The only problem is that it is wrecking our long days - sunset is back to just after 9pm again now.  I want to be able to appreciate the light that lasts in the sky until nearly 10:30pm.

The other good thing about it being cooler and now not smoky is that I can get things done.  I was getting very sluggish on the warm days and not doing much more than pottering in the yard.  Then when the smoke kicked in, I could barely manage that - smoke and me don't get along.

Tomatoes!  Yay!  Lots more than these too.

But in the last couple of days I've pretty much fixed up the wardrobe/closet - we decided to fix up the plastering cos it was a bit of a rush job and of course it ended up being me doing the finishing cos DH works and is busy on an important project.  I only need to wipe the dust off it and prime it and then the insides can be populated with the closet system.  I have to paint the outside, which means trying to replicate my fancy paint job but I have the paint and the technology (brushes and rollers) so I reckon it will happen.

One of the shorter sunflowers.
Didn't expect the many flowers on one stem!

The garden is puttering along.  I've had to put in drip (well leaky hose) irrigation.  I fear the water bill when it comes along... but dripping water into it is a lot more efficient than me standing and watering it.  Less spray, less loss, and I can do other things apart from holding the hose.  I'm having a lovely time collecting Flanders poppy seeds from various of the plants that I've marked as being non-standard, along with seed from the normal plants.  Now that I've grown some poppies, I have the feeling I will be growing them for years to come - they do naturalise rather well.  I would show off some current pictures but it turns out I don't have any current pics - they are all more than a week old or are of single flowers.  Better remedy that tomorrow.

I've also been quilting, knitting and spinning!  Suddenly I'm going through my spinning stash and turning it into yarn.  Dunno what is up with that, possibly something to do with having about 8 fleeces to process and avoiding them by spinning up my pretty pretty already dyed stash.

Current project all ready for quilting.
I also discovered a number of quilts in a box, all basted and ready for quilting.  Sigh.  I get bogged down on the quilting because my sewing machine is difficult to quilt with as it is a standard size machine and doesn't have a big harp/wide throat.  Doing sorta straight lines is okay (they are never perfectly straight cos I always screw something up) and doing fancy patterns is okay if the quilt is a lap quilt or throw but anything bigger is a challenge and a half.  This will change though soon :-)


Tuesday, June 09, 2015


G'day all!

It is a year since we flew off to London to get our new visas.  A whole year!

Sunset is now almost as northerly as it goes.

It's been a good year, a year with a fair bit of travel - London, New York (twice), DC and most recently Boston.  Family visited.  Family grew in size with a baby born, and more distant family has also grown.

But it's been a year!  How did that happen!

Since my last blogging, the days have stretched out further - the sun is setting after 9pm now and rises not long after five.  Twilight lasts a good hour.  I always wanted to go roaming in the gloaming and it seems I don't have to go to Scotland to do so.  The light outside tonight at 9:30 was an amazing pearly mauve.  It won't last, it doesn't last long, not all night, but it is lovely whilst it lasts.  (We are still southerly compared to London, but London is surprisingly far north.)

Prettiest house in the area.

I'm trying to make the most of the long days but it has been a bit difficult recently because we've had a mini heat wave.

Such a big ship it had to be guided by two tugs!

Yep, temps in Seattle got to about 30C and we all died, or felt like dying.  Pathetic, eh?  The sun is high in the sky and when you are out in it, it is really hot!  We are contemplating getting a shade sail or similar for the deck because it is uncomfortably hot.  LOL

Things I never thought I'd say in Seattle no. 1: I'm hot.

Frogged. Looks like a sack on me.

And of course we haven't had any rain for some time and no meaningful rain for over a month.  I'm having to water the garden with good potable water because we build some rain water tanks just when the rains dried up.  In April.  Normally it doesn't stop raining until sometime in June.  We installed raised beds and all so that we could grow lots of vegies and they are drying out!  The coriander I planted went to seed before it had grown three leaves!

Things I never thought I'd say in Seattle no. 2: We need rain.

Our house is in that shot.  Good luck finding it!

One good thing about the lack of rain and the temps heating up is that now I don't have to cut the grass as often.  Once a week isn't that often I guess but it is annoying!

Romeldale/CVM fleece drying.

I've been busy knitting, spinning and washing fleece recently.  I've even done a bit of quilt top making.  The weather recently has been great for washing fleece - I got a good 2-3kg of fleece washed in the last week.  This leaves me with just one dirty fleece to go, though it will be a doozy as it is a quite greasy Corriedale so it will take a bit of washing.

Pretty sock heel.  Now part of a full sock.

Hmm, wonder if I've got any pics of the current stuff in progress...

A lurid quilt top.

We had visitors on Sunday and will have different visitors tomorrow (oh crap, I'd better clean! I can tidy by tossing stuff in the study I guess...).  We show them the same stuff - they want to see stuff around here so we go to the Locks and then we go either to the beach or to Sunset Hill.

Smolt flumes.  Lots of little fish (smolts) in the water!
Plus we saw two harbour seals.

At least it is meant to be a little cooler tomorrow but it will still be sunny so this time DH had better remember to wear sunscreen.  I did but he got a fearsome burn on his neck...


Saturday, May 16, 2015

Whatever happened to the Big Apple?

G'day all!

We recently spent a week in New York City.  It's mighty convenient that DH's work is based there and they like him to visit because $400 a night for a hotel room is more than I want to pay!  Anyway, something I noticed is all the tourist tat no longer mentions the Big Apple.  It's all I heart NY.

These guys made me yummy Pad Thai.

So whatever happened to the Big Apple?  Did that advertising campaign got boring?

Lots of redwood water tanks!

Ornate buildings near the Flatiron

May the Fourth be with You!

I don't buy tourist tat because I don't like buying tourist tat these days.  Fridge magnets and occasionally a t-shirt that is irresistible are about as far as I go.

Anyway, I spent a lovely few days walking the streets of Manhattan between about 25th up to halfway through Central Park.  Over seven days (including a day where we spent six hours on a plane), I walked almost ten kilometres a day.  On a couple of days, I walked more then 20,000 steps.

Looking south on the Hudson River

Nifty murals seen from the High Line

Looking south from Sheep Meadow in Central Park

Red eared sliders begging for food, Central Park

Spring blooms

The Mall in early Spring livery

Sunset from the Air Train.

I admit that my feet were a bit tired after that but walking did feel very normal.  One of my hips started whinging too but with a careful gait change and some squats, I got on top of that!
School buses, tulips and skyscrapers

A quieter part of town

People always encourage me to go shopping in NYC and go to shows but you know what I like doing?

I like going to Central Park.  Now that I've discovered the Ramble, I go there and well ramble, and I've found the bird feeding area so I sit there and watch the birds and take pics of them.  I could do that for hours.

More Narnia

Cardinal bathing.  Exciting to me!
American Goldfinch.  Exciting to me!

I have done that for hours.  Ahem.

Yep, I go to the densest city in the United States and go to the park to find the wildest bit of it to sit and watch birds.

I did do a bit of shopping but nothing of any note.  I also moaned about how hot it was.  It was 28 C, people!  We've hardly gotten above 20 C in Seattle so far this year, and 28 C and a bit of humidity was too much!

Whilst we were on the east coast, we did a side trip down to DC to visit friends who live just outside DC.  We caught the train down, and that is an interesting trip in itself.  It was lovely to see them because it's been years, and lovely to see their girls (who are growing up, as kids are wont to do).  We got to see a bit of the area in which they live and...

Philadelphia from the train

Everything is bright green.  Except the lamp.
Makes me think of Narnia

Lake, fountain and moon!

I got to go to Maryland Sheep and Wool!  Yay!  (Thanks to a very kind Ravelry contact and her husband.)

I've wanted to get to MDSW for years and years and years.  Ever since I heard about it online through blogs.  I have to say it was worth the wait.  It's a smorgasbord of wonderful fibery stuff.

(And for those who are not in the know, it is not Mary land, it is merrillend all blurred together.)

I bought yarn at MDSW.  Duh!  And some lovely tops, one of which I've already spun up, the other is on the wheel at the moment.

I saw some interesting sheep.  I saw some interesting stuff and bought from new and well-established dyers.

My haul.  The front and centre yarn is already a sock
Don't you take your sheep for walks?

Some of the food stands are pretty fancy

Cool markings, bro!

I bought fleece.  This was an indulgence and naughty, given I've hardly touched the fleece I got nearly three years ago at OFFF in Oregon.  I got that fleece commercially washed and some of it came back greasy and a mess, and the rest is disarrayed and needs to be picked and carded, and I have neither picker nor a drum carder.  Actually, I don't think I've got hand cards here either.

I bought lovely fleece.  I spent part of yesterday washing some of the fleece so I can play with it.  It is lovely lovely stuff - CVM/Romeldale (a favourite since my time in Colorado when I first came across it), all bouncy and yummy.  I'll have to deal with the Corriedale fleece some other time.  Actually I have to deal with the rest of the CVM fleece too.

CVM/Romeldale fleece pre and post washing

Holly's fleece.  She's a CVM sheep

Luscious black Corriedale fleece

The day after I went to MDSW, we went to visit Great Falls on the Potomac River (latter is National parks link).  That was an interesting trip because of it
a) having cascades, white water and some actual waterfalls
b) being a place with a bit of history about it.

The falls on the Potomac got in the way of boat traffic, so the obvious thing to do in the late 1700s was build a canal around it!  George Washington was a major supporter of the canal.  It was on the Virginia side (the other side of the river is Maryland!).  It was doomed to fail as the Potomac is very seasonal and suffers highs that stopped boat traffic going upstream and lows that stopped all boat traffic, literally.

Looks smaller than it is.  Wibbly waterfall

Tie dye at Great Falls

All of the excitement

This canal once led to locks that went around
the waterfalls and rapids

If this looks like a lock, there's a reason for that

I can see why a lot of people go there - water and history - but alas swimming is strictly verboten above the falls.  It gets warm and a dip in the water would be grand but there's a little issue - people regularly get washed into the main part of the river or fall off the rocks in the gorge and get dashed to death in the cascades.

We also discovered that after a cold winter and manky April, we were lucky enough to see the start of summer in the DC area.  Yep, the weather was glorious on Saturday with enough breeze to temper the sun, on Sunday it started getting humid and when we hurried through the National Mall on Monday morning on our way to get our Amtrak train back to NYC, it was starting to get horrid!  DH was dripping sweat and even I was feeling sweaty.  Sorry, I was glowing.  A lot.

As close to the White House as I've ever been

Fishface!  Washington Monument in background

Truth in advertising.  The National Mall is not always pretty

Spring on the east coast of the US is apparently about two weeks long and involves the earliest Spring flowers and the start of the trees leafing out.  Then when enough trees have greened up, they pump so much moisture into the air that it goes humid.

We got to experience a brief moment of Spring and then the start of summer.  Ugh.  We were so glad to get back to Seattle, even if it means getting into the low 20s at best and a slow ramp up to summer.  I think I prefer five months of Spring than two weeks of it and five months of summer followed by three weeks of autumn, five months of winter, two weeks of mud season and two weeks of Spring...

I've got plenty more I want to say about the train trip but this is getting long with a gazillion photos...  Oh and I have to show off two shawls I've made recently, though I haven't blocked one yet.