Showing posts from May, 2013

How I Suck The Joy Out Of Everything

... On Sunday, between sweating inside of a bee suit, and tearing apart my vegetable garden, I put on a pretty dress and went to a very nice garden party. I brought along two sweaters, that I had knit as gifts for the twin boys of my friends Star and Nick.  Somehow, in the process of making these two garments, I failed to weave in an end of yarn, and left it hanging.  This was remarked upon by all of my sharp-eyed knitting friends. That one loose thread ruined any happiness I might have had in those little sweaters.  Any joy or pride was crushed. It's not that I have cruel friends. Far from it.  They said nice things about the two sweaters. But all I heard was the criticism. I grew up in a very unhappy family. My mother was violently abusive, and my parents lost no opportunity to let me know that they considered me an utter failure, someone who would never amount to anything.  I was a shy, clumsy child, and my family took never failed to miss an opportunit

A Good, Hard Look at Bees and Garden

...   Yesterday, I opened up two of our three beehives.  The Mera colony (pictured above) seemed to be lagging, and I was curious about what was going on.  These were bees I had at a neighbor's house last year, but took back because it turned out that she was, in fact, terrified of bees.  (I'm not sure what that was all about, and it isn't really worth speculating.) These bees are remarkably small and wonderfully docile.  They were easy to inspect, totally ignoring my activities. I saw a fair amount of capped brood, and just a little bit of larvae, but no evidence of eggs at all.  I suspect that these bees had lost their queen, or that a new queen had not yet started to lay.   I went into the Camelia colony, looking for a frame of eggs that I could "transplant" into the Mera colony.  Bees will accept "donor" eggs, and can raise a new queen from another colony's eggs. The Camelia colony has been doing well, since the d

How Does Our Garden Grow?

 ...   The garden has, for the most part been going really well. Our strawberries finally gave us some ripe fruit.  We've been really frustrated because the berries go from white to rotten, in the blink of an eye. Having never seriously grown strawberries before, I have no idea what I'm doing wrong.  We shoved some more "straw" (meaning, unraveled rope fibers) under the berries, and hoped that would appease the Strawberry Gods.  Everything looks really lush and healthy, with the exception of our chard which is infested with leaf miners. (Does anyone have any advice for dealing with leaf miners, without resorting to insecticides?)  The gigantic plants in the middle of the garden are our fava beans, which are producing massive pods.   Our brugmansia continues to struggle.  I don't really know what it wants.  It alternates between looking terminally ratty, and bursting into astonishing blooms.  I'm considering giving it a haircut, to see if a

How To Make Lavender Wands

... A few years back, someone in my handspinning guild brought in a huge harvest of lavender flowers, to share with everyone at the meeting.  I took home a handful, because they smelled so very lovely.  And  I got to thinking about how I might preserve the delicious fragrance of these flowers.  A little sifting around in my memory of time spent in the South of France, followed by some internet wandering led me to try to make lavender wands.  They're meant to perfume clothing, and to deter moths, but I found them so pretty that mine stayed on the mantlepiece since the time that I made them. Lavender wands are incredibly easy to make. You get some long-stemmed lavender, tie it in a bundle, bend the stems around the flowers to form a sort of a cage, and weave a ribbon through those stems.  Simple. But of course, nothing is really all that simple, so here are my observations on how to make lavender wands. What You'll Need Materials are basic: a bunch of lavender, t

Learn Something New!

... This Sunday, I'll be one of three teachers offering classes through the Spindles and Flyers handspinning guild . I'll be demonstrating the making of handwoven lavender wands, while the other folks will be showing how to weave yarn flowers, and reclaim luxury yarn from thrift-shop sweaters. Classes are free (although the reclaimed yarn class has a $5 materials fee, to cover the cost of the sweaters). The guild meeting starts at 11am, we take an hour for a brown-bag lunch (and general chitchat)and then the classes start at 1pm.  We meet in a little community center at 715 Lexington Avenue in El Cerritto, not far from the BART station.

A Sticky Subject

... I've been a rotten blog-writer, of late. I'm not really sure what's going on. Allergies?  Depression? Sheer stinkin' laziness?  Being burnt out?  All I know is that I've been feeling deflated and unmotivated for far to long. My main activities have been moping around the house and going to bed early. Even when I do something fun, like organizing this make-your-own-dressform class, I fail to share the photos on my blog.  I've got a backlog of things I want to share, and I'm feeling like they're all too stale and old and not worth writing about.  I've gotten myself into a rut that I can't seem to pull myself out of.  What the hell is wrong with me?