knocking out gardening chores one by one

We have finished planting the bulk of the vegetable garden. There's still a few things in the greenhouse waiting to bulk up, but the watering system has been repaired and/or replaced and the beds are dug and waiting for the last transplants and seeds. The weather has been so fine. After Carter leaves we like to sit outside with a glass of wine or a cup of coffee and enjoy the quiet. The garden represents a lot of work on our part and we enjoy a moment to relax and admire our progress. Whenever I have a chance to sit my knitting is on my lap. I've really been loving working on my striped Felted Tweed afghan inspired by Kaffe Fassett. I've got two test knits going--a child's unisex pullover with a wonderful plaid detail and a cotton test knit for me that's not due until the end of May. I also have three things finished that I hope to get photographed soon: one shawl and two sweaters. 

One good thing to come of the shelter in place order is that certain jobs that have been put off are now getting done! I am almost to the end of the monumental job of scraping moss off our brick paths. About half our bricks see zero sun in the winter and so grow a thick covering of gorgeous green moss that turns an ugly brown in summer. It hides the pretty brick and it's slippery and I hate it. I get on my hands and knees and for several weeks I scrape away working on several feet at a time. More than that and my back will cry for mercy. I think there is probably a chemical I could spray on it, but I have always removed it by hand. Not that I love getting on my hands and knees but it's become a garden chore that is just part of spring and I must be used to it. For various reasons I had unfortunately let it go for three years and parts of the path were inches thick with the stuff. It was actually incredibly beautiful and I wish I had taken pictures, but it had to go. I'd look at it and my heart would sink knowing the big job ahead of me.  But could I ignore it for a third year? Nope, three years of moss ignoring is apparently my limit. The good news is, it's almost done! I almost always have a little buddy at my side "working" with his trucks and shovels. He likes to think he is helping me, and he is definitely not, (more like anti-help) but I let him think I couldn't possibly do it without him. Sweet sweet dear little boy. He loves helping. You should see him fold laundryđŸ˜‰. When he leaves at the end of the day I always ask him if he'll please come back to help us again tomorrow and he always shouts YES! My heart melts.

The oranges are ripe and juicy and perfect. Over two days my husband picked 70 pounds and we juiced 18 quarts of orange juice for the freezer. By next week the tree should be fully picked and we will have 40 quarts in the freezer. I carefully dole out precious jars over the course of six months and make sure to save a half dozen quarts for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

We have spring herbs popping up everywhere. I've been putting handfuls of whole mint leaves in our salads, snipping chives on anything and everything and the pretty chive flowers adorn even the most mundane of meals. Chive flowers on a turkey sandwich? You betcha. I can come up with some crazy combos when I'm left alone for months on end. We like lots of chopped baby oregano and sage leaves on a buttered baked potato or sweet potato. In another month the herbs will be too strong to eat fresh like that so it's a short spring treat here at Casa Knitionary.

We are still a month away from a ripe tomato but they are looking good. These are the varieties we have planted this year:

Mortgage Lifter
Arkansas Traveler
Giant Belgium
Old German
Kellogg's Breakfast
Purple Cherokee
Big Rainbow
Brandywine, (Black, Red, and Pink varieties)
Better Boy
Genuwine (new for us this year, a cross of Brandywine and Costoluto Genovese) 
Purple Boy
Purple Russian
Chocolate Sprinkles (cherry)
Sungold (cherry)
Sweet 100 (cherry)

We have planted 24 plants total which is not as many as we've had in the past but is PLENTY for us!

I hope you are getting along well during these terrifying times and that illness and loss of income are two things that have not horribly affected you. Sending virtual hugs to you my friends.

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peonies and wisteria

These pictures were taken on Easter Sunday and the week after. Now, two weeks later the peonies are mostly gone but the wisteria is magnificent. It's a type of Japanese wisteria that has very long racemes, some as long as 48 inches. We are picking oranges daily and the first iris bloomed this morning. Next week, roses. Spring!

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