puttering, or if you’re British, pottering

Black coffee and rain. Sleepy cat, laundry piles, Mr. Husband packing to go away for a business trip (which includes a 24-hour marathon relay through the Arizona desert, and a visit to spring training); the girls are in various states of sleepiness as they arise and go about their day. Raindrops against the window behind me.

Yesterday was sunny-ish, and almost warm, and since it was forecast to rain today, I took advantage of the weather (I know — there I go, taking advantage again. I’m such a user.) and puttered a bit. Puttering turned into a little bit of huffing and grunting when I moved a couple of pots I probably shouldn’t have — one was my new rosebush, Olympia (red), yet to find a proper home. The other was a water-logged vat of mint that needed to move out of my way. So I moved it. All is well. I just won’t do that again soon.

Everything else that I moved was on the scale of the above photo contents — lots of little pots and tomato cages and bamboo stakes. We’re moving stuff from one side of the veggie garden fence to make way for a chicken coop. As yet to be built. For chicks as yet to be hatched and come live with us. However, that day approacheth, so the puttering/decluttering hath commencethed.

I’ve been reading lots of books about sustainable living, city farming, and the like, and recently picked up Judith Moffett’s Homestead Year: Back to the Land in Suburbia. I found it hard going at first, not because of the topic, but because she’s boring. BORING. No dialogue, the characters (her husband and friends) are just walk-ons with names, no personality, and her book reads like a massive to-do list. Here’s what the Library Journal said about it (just so you know I’m not exaggerating): “…her meticulous recording of varieties of seeds started makes for slow reading at the beginning of the book, [but] the pace soon picks up, and Moffett’s account culminates at year’s end with more successes than failures.” The pace picks up because the topic gets interesting, but the pictures (hers and neighbor’s photos) are boring, and how she tells her tale is boring. There is so mch potential here — where’s the pathos?

Nevertheless, she talks on and on about the ducklings she raises for their eggs and meat (I haven’t gotten to the part where she eats them yet), and it sounded so interesting that I began to yearn for a duckling or three to have about the place here. In fact, my dreams last night were all about ducks. I kid you not. This is why I need to be kept in a small padded room with no credit card or Internet access. However, for those of you who’ve read this far, I am not likely to get a duck anytime soon, because chicks and ducklings ought not to be raised together. Ducklings are very wet creatures and chicks need to be kept dry. I don’t rule it out for the future. But for the moment, the duck question has been answered with a firm but gentle no.

I soothed myself from that brief duck fever this morning by purchasing a compost aerator (the one I owned was lost in the divorce). This is a tool much needed because our compost heaps (there are 3 at present) are packed down and as stinky as stinky can be. Part of the puttering yesterday involved my combing through compost with a pitchfork to get rid of vines, sinewy stalks and twists of crabgrass, peas and beans, and weeds. They need to stay out of the compost. Into the green bin (for city pick-up), I said. Begone.

Raining in earnest now. There are some very cute repro-retro napkins yet to be sewn over there on the sewing table. That’s on my list today. I would like to mention that very similar napkins were selling for $5 each at chi-chi Sur la Table in San Francisco as I type these very letters.  I saw them the other night when we went into SF for my birthday, for oysters at Hog Island. The price tag of those napkins was enough to convince me that a couple of hours at the sewing machine was a good way to spend a morning.

So off I go. Photos later.

Project Funway update

1. Ombre socks: one done, the other about 1/4 done.
2. Ring scarf: untouched by human hands since photo was taken.
3. Scrappy sweater: See #2
4. Black, white and red skirt made of strips: finished but for the button and ironing. Waiting for a spot of nice weather to induce me to wear a skirt.
5. Aqua/green/plum quilt: See #2
6. Pink, brown, cream yarns to be made into pillow for living room: Slowly working a panel of basketweave stitch in the salmon pink.
7. Tahoe afghan: A couple more rounds will finish this; ergo, it will sit in the purgatory of a basket in my bedroom til I rediscover it and finish it in a fit of manic inspiration. Until then, see #2.

8. BI Scarf: Unmentioned in previous posts was the 2-stranded stockinette with purled edging scarf I started for myself in September, out of one fat tweedy cream and a gorgeous ombre called “Meadow” that is aqua, cream, brown and army green. Delicous! Together, this was going to be The World’s Most Beautiful Scarf Ever Knit. Ever. However, this came to be known as the (insert inappropriate and politically incorrect words of your choice for bumbling idiot) Scarf, since, with my stress factors, I couldn’t manage a single row without a mistake, and pulled out more rows than I knitted and how easy could I have possibly made this project? Here it is, nearly spring, and the BI Scarf was no more than about 18 inches long, and the tweedy wool just made the whole thing stiff and scratchy. And it curled. The purl edging was supposed to prevent that. I kept knitting my purls and purling my knits, and then it was just no fun anymore. So Sunday, Simone and I frogged the whole stupid thing, and it is no longer on my to-do list. In fact, it’s on its own To-Don’t list.

Very good. Carry on.

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