Wednesday, April 22, 2015

tonight, with the possibility of frost

Tonight, with the possibility of frost hanging in the chilly air, I wrapped up in my gray wool and alpaca cardigan and stepped out into the twilight. I carried a bundle of old linens to my fledgling kitchen garden and tucked my herbs in for the night, the orange and white striped sheets making it look like a middle school campout, and I secretly longed for a campfire and starlight.

As I walked through my small garden, the black-capped chickadees came to visit, gathering seeds one by one in their tiny beaks. I hugged my sweater tighter and took in the work I've done over the past few days. The strawberry plants are blooming in their new spot. The peas are flowering too, and the lettuce seedlings in the raised bed are lined up like a parade, just waiting for a cymbal crash of sunshine to spring into action. The peppermint, lemon balm, and Kentucky Colonel spearmint are growing strong already, lush green growth stark against the cinnamon-colored soil.

I picked a handful of peppermint leaves for a cup of hot tea, crushing them just slightly between my fingers so I could breathe in their fresh scent. I lingered as the darkness began to fall, returning to the house only when the sounds of a neighbor and his dog broke through my garden reverie, scattering my thoughts like seeds for the chickadees.

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I hope your night is warm and filled with simple comforts like fresh tea from the garden and the work of your own two hands.

Monday, April 20, 2015

in bloom

{from top: Angelique tulips, Japanese maple, dogwood, Tom Thumb pea shoot, herbs--yes, two-thirds are lavender, violet cake}

We celebrated all the spring flowers this week with a violet cake, picking the violets before the rainstorms rolled through one morning and letting their petals dry on our kitchen counter. We used the vanilla cake recipe from Apples for Jam, which yielded a simple, buttery cake and a sweet vanilla frosting. Definitely a recipe to pull out again and again, adding in berries, peaches, lemon balm, and mint as the seasons progress.

We filled our raised beds with soil, and now they're just waiting to be planted. I've got beans, cucumbers, carrots, peas, lettuce, chard, and flower seeds ready to go, but I need to figure out what to plant where. I'm thinking Companion Planting for the Kitchen Gardener by Allison Greer might help out (I love Allison's blog, Homesprout, and Liesl recently recommended this book on her new podcast).

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What's growing where you live? Have you been doing anything special to celebrate the seasons? We've been eating outside every chance we get. It gets so hot and humid in Kentucky during the summer, so we're taking advantage of the mild weather right now.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

sunshine and clouds

In between rain showers, my boy and I spend hours outside. He rolls in the grass and makes flower soup in his bucket, adding wild violets and dandelions that stain his hands. He throws in rocks for good measure and stirs the pot with sticks he finds littering our yard. I seem to always be digging in the dirt or clearing more space to plant. The garden is going to be a magical place this year.

Those outside hours have seeped into my knitting basket. The other day when I pulled out my works in progress I saw sunshine in the Carrie's Yellow Chickadee yarn from Quince and Co. and clouds in the undyed yarns from Kentucky's own Littledove Farm and Ballyhoo Farm. An unconscious homage to spring, if you will.

The little hats were inspired by this one, which looks like a Barley hat with a pompom to me. I love the simplicity of it, the squishiness of the garter stitch, and the whimsy of the pompom. These two just need pompoms attached!

I've also been working on a yellow Livingston sweater for my boy to wear next fall. I've just gotten to the body section and love seeing each little bird appear as I knit.

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This year I told myself that I'd read more fiction. Somehow in the past few years I've strayed from my novel-reading roots and ventured into a solid habit of nonfiction reading. There's nothing wrong with that, but I'd like a little more balance in my reading. The Namesake has been on my to-read list for years, and it hasn't disappointed. Lahiri explores the lives of two generations of an Indian family living in the U.S. and finding different ways to define themselves. I'd recommend it!

Also, I just listened to "The Living Room" from the Love + Radio podcast (via Radiolab). Have you heard it yet? Oh my, it's good. Get listening!

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Linking up with the Yarn Along today. 

What are you making, reading, or listening to this week?

Monday, April 6, 2015


I recently spent many nights of monogamous knitting to make myself a Uniform cardigan. I actually love knitting miles of stockinette and garter stitch. It's like eating macaroni and cheese or curling up with a favorite book: so comforting.

As soon as this sweater was off my needles it did indeed become my uniform. It's serving as an ersatz jacket during these early spring days, which just means I'm wearing it unapologetically every single day. It's my go-to sweater for gardening, neighborhood walks, farmers' market trips, and everything else (except clearing brush--that was a mistake that left me picking brambles out of my stitches!).

My favorite parts of the sweater are the pockets (handy for keys, lip balm, and chilly hands) and the long garter stitch cuffs. I chose dark wooden buttons to complement the earthiness of the sweater.

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What's your uniform these days? Or do you mix it up? I'm happy to wear a black t-shirt, cardigan, and jeans every day, at least until it warms up a bit more. I'm such a creature of habit.

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P.S. Thanks to my mom for the daffodil for these photos. Ours are in bloom too!


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