Wednesday, March 31, 2010

First Lettuce Plants in the Ground

Joel planted out the first flat of little lettuce plants today in one of the hoophouses. Hopefully this will give us lettuce a couple of weeks before the outside planted ones (which haven't been planted yet).
These flats have 9 plants each of 15 varieties. We plant around 50 different lettuces each year. Partly for practical reasons, different reactions to bugs and weather, hope that customers will buy several heads if they are really different in looks and texture. But also because Joel loves lettuce and cannot resist trying that new one. Farming is hard work and you have to love it to do it. Part of what we love is learning about different plants and trying them out to see what they look and taste like.

Santa Ships over the Years

A friend on San Juan Island is helping to compile a history of the Santa Ships in the islands. I've been going through my family photos looking for Santa Ship pictures. This one is from 1972, our first year on the island. There are several more on my Flickr site. The Santa Ship came from Victoria, BC every December bringing Santa, presents, oranges and candy and festive cheer to our kids. Everybody crowded onto the dock waiting for the ship to appear. Then we would traipse up to the Post Office for present distribution and goodies provided by the islanders. The school kids learned to sing Oh, Canada as a thank you.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Onward with More Rugs

After turning out all those rag rugs and rag potholders it's time to turn to weaving up the yarn Joel has spent the winter spinning from the wool from our sheep. It will be nice to work with the soft neutrals of the wools after all those bright and lovely rag rugs.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

More Daffodils and More

After the main flush of daffodils are in bloom some of the fancier ones start in. This is Thalia, a long time favorite of mine, delicate, pure white with a touch of green on the back.
I love all pink daffodils and this one is from a selection of pink rimmed ones I got last year.
And with the later daffodils come the big flush of grape hyacinths. Last evening, walking back from the barn I noticed how the blue color just glowed against the green grass in the dusky light. I'm not sure this picture captures that incredible blue very clearly. And yes, there are dandelions in the grass. Our lawn is full of them and of field daisies. I love the brightness of both flowers and they both have the advantage that you can tell a small granddaughter that she can pick all she wants of either one.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Rainbow Rugs

I did another series of what I call rainbow rugs in this last bunch of rag rugs. They consist of 9 colors, blue, blue purple, red purple, red, orange, yellow, yellow green, green and blue green woven in double binding. In the past I have used cotton/poly sheet material for these but this year I found 8 of the colors in flannel sheets. I ended up dyeing the yellow. There just doesn't seem to be a lot of yellow flannel sheets around. Actually I was surprised to find a whole set in orange.
I set up the loom to do 7 rugs on a warp so I played with various ways of using the 9 colors. This one is made with small blocks. In both I used a navy fabric to set off the brighter colors. I am very happy with this series. Now to see if I can collect enough of the colors to do it again.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Daffodils Again

I have to post another daffodil picture as somehow they are especially beautiful this year. Or maybe it is just that it has been a bit rainy and grey and no matter how much nicer sunny weather is, grey skies seem to bring out the colors. The grass is extra green the flowers extra bright. They make me happy.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Stocking up for the Season's Sales

While Joel has been outside tilling beds and planting onion plants, I've been chained to my sewing machine finishing up this year's batch of rugs and potholders - 26 more rugs and 64 potholders. Getting them off the loom is not the end. there are hems to be sewn, tags to be put on them, pictures taken for my Etsy store. I love this old sewing machine. I've had it since the 60's. It is actually an old Singer electric but I took off the motor and attached it to a treadle base. That way I don't have to turn on the generator to run it and I get LOTS of exercise pumping the treadle.

Now I need to wash and weave up the wool from our sheep that Joel has been spinning all winter. After all those bright rag rugs working with the soft neutrals of the wools will be different.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Little Plants

Spring is here. The greenhouse and cold frames are full of little plants. Above are several flats of lettuces,
and here a cart full of onion seedlings on their way to the hoophouse for a bit of further hardening off before being planted out. Our seedlings go from the greenhouse to the cold frames to the hoophouse and then out into the open. Every day we are planting more and more things. Today I planted 3 flats of statice and Joel planted cabbage and leeks. We're off to a great start.

Monday, March 15, 2010


Weeds are defined as plants growing in the wrong place. This spot of ground near the house has growing on it all sorts of little plants that I would rip out if they were in the garden. But I was charmed by how pretty they looked. I'm not sure what they all are, there is some vetch, wild strawberries, cress, hairy cats' paws, Queen Anne's lace, and some grasses. Click on the picture to enlarge it and see the plants close up.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Daffodils and More

The daffodils are beautiful right now. We had a very warm February and although it has now cooled down to more normal, the flowers are in full bloom. This bed under the birch tree is lovely all spring. It starts out with snowdrops, moves to daffodils and grape hyacinths and finishes up with bluebells.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Local Drummer

The other day we heard this really load drumming sound coming from the barn. I figured it was a woodpecker of some sort but couldn't find it until I looked up and saw this flicker drumming on the metal roof. He had a found a place to make a really big noise.

Friday, March 12, 2010

James Helping

Okay, I'm back to my blog. I've been working at learning how to locate my pictures on this new computer. They are all there but finding them and then uploading them is a learning experience.

So I managed to find this picture of James" helping" me wind a warp for a series of potholders. I've finished three batches of rag rugs and have a basket of scraps of leftover cotton flannel fabric. These make lovely potholders that sell well. Yes, in spite of the help, I got the warp wound and on the loom.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Back Online

Thanks to my new fancy MacBook I am back online and loving it. I don't yet have the camera software figured out for this new computer so no pictures yet. I have to laugh at myself as I have been very unhappy and downright whiney for the last week without my internet access. When I moved to this island in 1972, that's 38 years ago, there were no phones. A few people had marine radios for emergencies, but one of the things people came here for was to "get away from the phone". Then came cell phones. We had the first one on the island. I had an increasing frail father and a teen age daughter living off island with family and the chance to be able to talk to them without a trip to town was too much to pass up. We took messages for lots and lots of people on the island for years before bit by bit everyone had their own cell phone, and now internet access. I have to admit that I love the internet and highly prefer email to the phone. While I was computerless this last week it seems the phone rang and rang. I would charge into the house from the studio grumbling, "I love email!" The thing about email is that you can send a message when it is convenient for you and the recipient can get it when it is convenient for them. It doesn't interrupt dinner, force someone to run into the house from the garden, or interrupt an interesting conversation.

So, while I was suffering internet withdrawal we were planting lots and lots of seeds in the greenhouse, yanking the quack grass out of the peony bed, tilling up soil in the garden, and planting early mustards in the hoophouse. I've been weaving lots of beautiful rugs and knitting more hats. Spring seems to have sprung with lots and lots of daffodils in bloom.