Friday, April 30, 2010

So hi!

Just figured I'd stop in to say "Yup, I'm still alive."

I also wanted to let you know that my re-upload of the sweater pattern didn't help - it still isn't printing properly.  My guess is that the new version of Flash they're insisting on really is required in order to print it correctly, but I don't blame you if you don't want to upgrade.  That version is still being tested and tweaked and I don't know about you, but I'm averse to installing things on my computer that might make a mess of things.

However, if you sign up for a (free!) account on Scribd, you can download the pdf and print it out to your heart's content.  It works fine (go figure).  Alternatively, you can send me an e-mail and I will say HI and forward you the pdf as quickly as possible.  That's my favourite option, as it is quite fun to receive mail. 

Speaking of receiving mail, it turns out that a good many of you took my yoga post to heart and are now well on your way to getting out there and trying it.   

YES!  MY QUEST FOR YOGA WORLD DOMINATION IS FINALLY COMING TO FRUITION!!!  MWWWWAAAAAAAAAHHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Ahem.  I mean, that's great.  Seriously, I'm really happy that you've started thinking seriously about taking charge of this part of your lives and making the change.  That's so great.  And especially nice is the fact that you even read the entry - I had no idea if it would even be of any interest to you.  Awesome.

So, I'm on my lunch break and I have no photos here at work to upload, so this is a really boring post, but I'll be back this weekend with more.  I haven't really managed to finish anything of note.  I've been tired and trying to just stay on top of everyday tasks.  But I have done about 3 more inches of the left sleeve of my sweater and have more fabric cut out of my new mystery project.  (How many times can I bring up this mystery project before you get annoyed and start demanding some action?)  It's supposed to be nice on Sunday, so maybe we'll get started on some raised bed construction...  See you soon, friends. 

Have a good weekend!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Not-so-magic-raglan download

Uh oh.

It has come to my attention (thanks, Ladies!) that the Scribd site is giving people headaches, when they try to print the Magic, Custom-Fit Raglan pattern.  Turns out that pages 3 and 5 aren't printing properly, so I just went back and re-uploaded it, to see if that would help.  I don't have my printer set up at the moment, but I'll try it out tomorrow to see if that worked.  I'm not sure if downloading works, so you may want to sign up for a free account and try that, if you're having problems...

In the meantime, if you want to use the pattern (or just print it out for future use - I understand, I'm a pattern hoarder....oh if only you knew how much knitting stuff is stored on this poor little computer of mine...), please don't hesitate to send me an e-mail request, ok?  I will send you the pdf file, no problem (it's working fine).  My address is atmymothersknee[at]gmail[dot]com.  I'll check it often and get back to you asap - just one more excuse to have my iPod Touch with me at all times...like I needed any more excuses.

In other news, I am working diligently on some projects that have been festering in my to-do pile and taking up precious mental capacity.  I had a little discussion with myself last weekend about why it was taking me so long to finish my cardigan and I came to the conclusion that there were two things holding me up:

  1. The nice weather and spring.  After spending so many hours indoors this winter and working crazy hours at work for the past three months, I just want to be outside.  Gardening, walking on the beach, driving around taking photos...whatever.  Well, there's nothing I can or want do about that - I'm going to enjoy it and not feel guilty.
  2. Too many ongoing projects sitting around that I should have finished a long time ago.   That one I CAN do something about, so I spent last Saturday going through my project stash, my fabric stash and my (gasp) yarn stash.  I weeded, I sorted, I culled.  I came up with a looming pile of sewing that needs to be done (can anyone tell me why I have 3 pairs of pants started, yet to be finished???) and a fair bit of fabric to donate to Lori, my partner in knitting and sewing crime.
 Ooh, this is a horrible picture.  I know I said I'm an Interior Designer, which likely leads you to expect my house to look something like this (and I wish it did), but in reality the combination of overwork, crazy commuting, obsession with cooking/knitting/sewing/gardening and lack of funds means that my house looks more like a hovel.  I really can design interiors, it's just that they take money, time and energy.  I'm working on it, slowly but surely.

Once I had pulled all of this out and sorted through everything else, I felt much better about things.  I still have a bigger stash than I am comfortable with, but we're getting there.  I spent Sunday cutting out fabric for my new project (to be revealed shortly) and I was able to use up a fair bit of scraps on it, so that made me happy.  Well, except that I don't have a great cutting surface, so I got a bit sore from leaning over awkwardly.  And all the dust I found while I was cleaning grossed me out (spider webs *shudder*).  Other than that though, I was happy.

Anyway, suffice it to say that I have my work cut out for me.  I was hoping to make a dent in the to-do list today, but it was too nice out (see item #1 in list of sweater-obstacles, above) so I spent a good portion of the day pecking around in the dirt.  I WILL get to it tomorrow, however.  I WILL.

In the meantime, I'm off to watch Avatar again (just watched it for the first time last night - yes, I KNOW, I am the last person on the planet to watch it - I kept trying to see it at the cinema, but they kept selling out and I wasn't able to pre-order tickets, so I lost patience and stopped trying...it's not my fault that I live in the middle of nowhere and they only had one theater capable of showing the film in 3D).  Where was I?  Oh yes, I'm going to watch it again tonight and I'm going to knit at the same time.  So, I shall have approximately one extra inch completed of my second sleeve by this time tomorrow.

*Sob*

PS:  Have you watched "The Young Victoria", yet?  Those sets and costumes?  Yum.  Also, Emily Blunt is lovely and wonderful.  I wanna be her when I grow up.   Except that she's younger than me, so I guess that won't work.  Drat.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Welcome to my cult.

Anyone who knows me even a little knows one thing about me.  I do yoga.  I practice yoga.  I love yoga.  Someday, I will be a yoga instructor.  I wish I could quit my job and just practice yoga all day long.  I commute for 7 1/2 hours per week, so it makes doing yoga difficult.  If I worked closer to home, I would probably implement a mandatory daily yoga-hour, starting at 4:00 pm.  That's my yoga time.

I have tried to convert everyone I know to yoga, because I really feel that the world would be a better place if everyone practiced this art (just like it would be a better place if everyone was a knitter).

I was reading a recent blog entry by one of my favourite knitters/photographers, Knitorious.  She mentioned that her back was acting up and talked a little bit about how she's been struggling with it.  People left comments about different therapies she should try and I chimed in with something really pithy like "yogayogayogayogayogayogayoga", which I thought was so witty and cute.  Lame-o.  Well, I guess it caught someone's attention and I got a message a few days later, from a woman named Melanie.  She wanted to know more.

I figured I would let you in on it, in case you could use the information:

"Well, hello there, Melanie-from-Boston!

You have no idea what you're getting yourself into, by asking me about yoga.  This is a subject near and dear to my little heart and I could go on and on and on and on and on.....and on about it (and I'm about to).  And don't you dare feel bad asking for medical advice from someone you "met" on the internet - if I didn't talk about my physical ailments with strangers, I wouldn't know that I have Celiac Disease and I'd be popping pills for the rest of my life, thinking I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  So, how's that for honesty?

Ok.  So.  Yoga.  Yes.  But first, I'm going to give you a bit of background (I'm sorry in advance - I am terribly long-winded):

I am an interior designer.  This is only important for you to know because of context: I work in an industry where we are expected to sit still for long (LONG) hours (like 10 hours/day, in many cases) and don't have the energy/time/money to do any sort of physical exercise on our down-time.  Plus, many of us are kind of artsy and don't like the physical stuff, even if we do have the time/money.  You see, I would prefer to peruse knitting blogs at home than go for a walk.  You also, yes?

Sometime about oh...6 years ago, I was helping a friend move and something "snapped" in my lower back.  It took a long while (2 years) to figure out that the damage was serious and that I really had to do something to fix it.  {I once hurt myself just reaching down in the car, for the lever to pop the front hood.  WHO does that?}  It wasn't just going to go away.  I wasn't very old and I refused to contemplate the idea that I was going to have to live with this for the rest of my adult life OR get surgery.  Nope.  Not gonna happen.  I saw a physiotherapist and it seemed to get better, but I couldn't stick with the exercises she prescribed me.

I moved to the country when I turned 27 and my life slowed down a bit.  I heard a story on the radio about "power yoga" and it was the first time in...ever...that I could relate to the idea of exercise.  I hate sports, I hate sweating, I hate sacrificing my craft-time for exercise.  Hate those things.  But, I figured I'd better get my health in order, or I would stop being able to enjoy the things I do.

So, I called up the instructor I had heard on the radio.  Joined her class and started attending two 90-minute classes per week.  I walked in, having ABSOLUTELY no idea what I was doing.   I also had no physical strength, was a good 40 lbs overweight and couldn't even REACH MY KNEES, nevermind my feet!  I had been too afraid to move for the past 4 years, that I had lost the ability to move. 

We started slowly and I was very conservative in the amount of pressure I put on myself.  I was just happy to work up some sweat (OMG, there is A LOT of sweat, but for some reason, I love it - for the first time in my life) and was ECSTATIC to find a form of physical exercise that didn't bore me to tears, make me feel stupid or turn me into a competitive psychopath.  In fact, I really really really enjoyed it.  I still really do.  I beg for the punishment.  It has helped me in so many ways:

  • I sleep better
  • I digest my food properly (see note about Celiac Disease above - my yoga teacher is the one who figured it out for me...after I spent 4 months seeing specialist-after-specialist, to no avail)
  • I am less stressed-out
  • I have energy
  • I am less emotional (I'm referring to the bad kinds of emotions, of course)
  • I WANT to move around
  • I have lost 20 lbs without even knowing how I did it
  • I'm not afraid of getting hurt anymore
  • I feel connected to my body in a way that I had not in a very very very long time
and, most importantly:
  • my back has only troubled me once (for a couple of days) in the past 3 1/2 years - other than that, not one little twinge
So, if you're serious about getting better, here is my advice to you (and these are just my opinions - please don't take offense to anything I'm suggesting):
  1. See a physiotherapist.  Physiotherapists are better than chiropractors - they teach you how to heal yourself.  Also, if you want to see someone, try to find someone who specializes in spinal injuries.  Get your acute pain in check before you even THINK of starting a yoga practice.  You won't get far if you're in agony.
  2. Do your research.  I didn't, but I was very lucky.  You will likely want to experiment with a few different types of yoga so you can find the one that's right for you.  You can also practice many different types, simultaneously.  And you may start out with one and evolve into others.  Yoga is all about evolution.  Here are some examples that I know of (and I've tried most of them):

  3. I study Ashtanga Yoga.  On the radio, they described it as "power" yoga, but I'm not sure about that description.  It makes it sound like a hardcore workout, but it's not about physical power.  It is an intense practice, but it's also incredibly relaxing.  It's more about mental focus, balance and alignment.  It's about using your breathing, your mental focus and your core muscles to move your body in intentional ways, instead of the wimpy flopping around that most of us do on a day-to-day basis.  Here's my teacher's website.  And her teacher's website. 
  4. If you have the opportunity, go and test out several studios.  Don't expect to luck out on the first try and don't get discouraged.  It's kind of like house-hunting, that way.
  5. Don't try yoga without an instructor.  I know there are a lot of videos and books out there that claim that you can learn it on your own.  I doubt that strongly.  There are so many ways that an uninitiated person could get hurt (especially if she's starting out with chronic pain, as it is), I cringe to think of the potential disasters.
Once you know where you're going:
  1. Don't spend a lot of money on gear.  A simple, inexpensive mat is fine at first.  Some snug-ish leggings/sweats/shorts are fine, and a long t-shirt (too short and you'll be tugging it down all the time - don't do that to yourself!).  Bring a towel.  Or two.  No additional gear is needed.
  2. Breathe, breathe, breathe.  Yoga is. All. About. Breath.  In the case of Ashtanga, it's one movement per inhale, one movement per exhale.  If you're out of breath, slow down.  Take a short break.  Get your breath back and then continue.  Some yogas require breathing through the nose, some through the mouth.  Ask the instructor before you start.
  3. Don't eat for 2-3 hours before class.  Drink a lot of water the day before and the day of class.  Stop drinking about an hour prior to class and ask your teacher about drinking during class.  If you're hydrated, you shouldn't need it (some types of yoga are different in this aspect - just ask the instructor).  Always drink plenty after class.
  4. Don't wear perfume or use scented (regular) detergent.  Use only unscented.  When you're working out like that (and breathing through your nose, most likely), your scent will be magnified.  You will irritate your mat neighbours.
  5. Don't be hard on yourself.  Yoga is a practice, not perfection.  Everyone is different and everyone's yoga is different.  You have to be honest with yourself and you have to forgive yourself for your limitations/challenges/weaknesses, just like you have to celebrate your strengths.  You'll stick with it a lot longer if you feel good about it.
  6. Listen to your teacher.  Do not do more than you are being asked to do.  Having said that, if the idea of doing something in class scares you, DON'T DO IT.  Wait until you feel ready.  {At the same time, don't be afraid to try small, simple things that might have a big impact on your practice.}
  7. Do NOT, under ANY circumstances EVER let an instructor push/pull/tweak/twist/yank you into position.  They will sometimes gently place their hands on your to correct your alignment or subtly guide you in the right direction and that is fine.  But, physically torquing you into place is incredibly dangerous and if anyone ever tried that on me, I would tell them off.  Loudly.  Right there, in front of everyone in class.
  8. Warm up and cool down properly.  At the end of class, there is often a posture called "Corpse Pose".  Self-explanatory, no?  You lie there for a good 10 minutes and play dead.  It allows your body to take it all in and recharge before you run off to do the next chore/activity/whatever.  Very important.  Don't skip that one.
I just Googled "Boston Yoga Studio" and there seem to be a lot of options available to you.  I've never been there, so I have no idea what you should try first.  I would call around and see if you can pick an instructor's brain for a bit before you commit.  A good instructor will want to help you, so you shouldn't have any issues finding some that will explain their form of yoga and help you find the one you need.  And don't get scared off.  Remember, I couldn't reach my knees, three years ago.  Now, I can *almost* get my feet behind my head.  Almost!  And I can do this.

Ok, so that's all I have.  OMG, I can't believe how long this e-mail is.  I'm sorry to talk your ear off like this - I just love this topic and it has completely changed my life, so I'm super keen to encourage others to do it, too.  So, go forth!  Yogafy!

And don't hesitate to e-mail me back if you still have questions or if you want my opinion about anything you've found.  As you can *probably* tell, I have no problem sharing my opinion.

Good luck!  And namaste!!

dw"

Monday, April 19, 2010

Ugh.

I am hereby boycotting viruses.

I am sick.  Again.  For the third (fourth?) time in six weeks.

Plus, it snowed all weekend.  What's UP WITH THAT???

It was a soup-and-juice-and-vitamin-C weekend (can you directly inject vitamin C into your bloodstream, 'cause that would save a lot of time):



Anyway, it turned out ok, because I discovered something really exciting last week and I got the chance to try it out.  Behold (and don't hate me because I'm a geek):

You're thinking: "Rolled oats?  Really? You got excited about rolled oats?  Get a grip, woman."

And you'd be right, except for one tiny detail you may not have picked up on:

"Wheat FREE".  For a Celiac, those words are golden.  Oats are almost always contaminated with gluten from other crops, regardless of whether or not they are processed in the same facilities as other grains.  There is cross-contamination in the field, which makes gluten-free oats incredibly difficult to produce.  I've been hunting high and low for a very long time and suddenly my local farmer's market has begun carrying them.  Without me hounding them about it first!

Hence my excitement, people!  {Well, my excitement was somewhat squelched by the price tag, butletsnottalkaboutthatok?}  Imagine!  I could make apple crisp!  Oatmeal!  Date squares!

For the first time in over 3 years, I broke out my awesome oatmeal cookie recipe (though I didn't have oat bran, I just used rolled oats in lieu).  And they were good.  Are good, I mean.  'Cause I didn't eat them all.  Yet.

Check this out (it really made me laugh):


No, the cookies are not meant to be lacy.  Gluten-free cooking is tricky.  Wheat flour has natural binding properties (from the gluten) which is lacking in other flours (rice, garbanzo bean, potato, etc).  You have to add starches and gums to the mix in order to avoid what you see in the above photo.  I forgot to add the xanthan gum for this first sheet of cookies.  I used some for the next batch and they turned out great:


I used sweetened carob chips instead of chocolate, as the hubbie is allergic to chocolate.

Also, a shout out to all the vegans out there (or veggiesauruses, as my hubs like to call them): the milk in that there glass is not your average dairy.  It is the absolute best milk alternative I've ever tasted (and I've tasted a few, given that we are low-dairy {asthmatic} in this house and try to avoid the real stuff).

It is this:


We use the Original Unsweetened for cooking/baking and the Vanilla Sweetened for drinking with cookies.  Yum!  The Vanilla Sweetened is also really good to use when making things like sweet scones (with blueberries or raisins....oh my...I'm getting hungry) or crepes.  It doesn't have that woody soy milk aftertaste and is easier on the system, at least in my opinion.

If I suddenly start complaining about gaining weight, just ignore me.  I can't seem to control my stomach.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

TADA!! The Magic Raglan pattern has arrived!!!

UPDATE (2012-11-29): This is now available as a free Ravelry download.  If you aren't on Ravelry and don't want to sign up for a free account (though I must tell you: you're missing out!) and you want a copy of the pdf, please send me an email to the address on the right of this page and I will send it to you as soon as I can.

I have received some good news, peeps.  Samantha, the lady who kindly offered to test-knit my sweater pattern, has informed me that we're a go.

A go.

This is something I've been working on for a while and I'm quite proud of it.  It all started over 10 years ago, when I didn't even own a computer (and didn't really know how to use the Internet - oh for shame!).  I had decided that I was going to knit something more substantial than just another stupid garter stitch scarf and didn't know where to start.  I went to my local craft store to find some affordable (read: hideous) yarn and chatted up the saleswoman.  She told me about this online pattern I should look up.  I ended up on the computer at my boyfriend's (now husband) house and found this pattern online that gave a very detailed explanation of how to design a custom-made raglan sweater, with some ideas for modification.  Here it is, in case you're wondering.

I've used this pattern a few times over the years (no, I never finished that first one - the yarn was just too appalling, but I was happy to have done a test run with something that didn't break the bank).  The only problem I could see was that there was no real diagram and my mind just couldn't wrap itself around the instructions, sometimes (even though I had knit it before!).  So, I got it in my head last fall that I was going to see if I could soup it up and add some additional information.

I had no real way of reaching the original author of the pattern, apart from her name and location from 10 years ago.  Through the miracle of the Internet, I managed to track her down and e-mailed her to ask her permission to make these modifications.  I couldn't believe it when she wrote back that very day saying "Yes!  Of course!"  Turns out, her husband was the one who had posted the pattern waaaaaay back in the early/mid-90's, based on this pattern she'd been using to teach knitting classes.  Hence the lack of images/diagrams.

There you have it - your very own how-to on designing and knitting a custom-fit top-down raglan with whatever yarn you want to use, whatever gauge you like, the size/length/style you want, in the stitch pattern of your choosing.

Almost too many choices, come to think of it...

PS: If you use it, I'd love to see the results!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Homemade Garden Obelisk

We had some more beautiful weather this weekend, so it seemed a shame to sit indoors at the computer, putting together my new pattern (I promise, it's coming!).  In between appointments for haircuts and trips to the grocery store, we took a nice long walk on the beach with the canines and spend the rest of the time out in the yard, cleaning, cutting and digging.

I've been meaning to start collecting some willow branches to make some garden structures (I make my tomato cages out of branches, instead of wasting money on the cheap metal ones that always break).  It seemed as good a time as any to get out there and do it!  So, without further ado, here is the story of my Sunday afternoon:

I grabbed my trusty-rusty (not really, on the "rusty" part) Fiskars cutters and set off to find branches along the ditches and marshy parts near our house.




I cut about 14 long sturdy twigs - they're actually young birch trunks, which grow like weeds at the back of our property (see photo above).  Then, we ventured further out with the car and found a whole whack of dogwoody/willowy shrubs and did a bit of selective pruning to get an armful of skinny, flexible branches (if you leave 2/3 of the shrub intact, you won't do any damage to it...besides, these are considered weeds 'round these parts and they get totally mowed down every few years):


Then, I grabbed some hemp string:


And I took a few minutes to clean up my branches (snipped off the twigs and cut the ends at a sharper angle, making it easier to ram them into the ground):


The next step was to take a small branch (any one, it doesn't matter) and tie the string to it, leaving an 18" tail hanging from it:


...which I attached to a second branch...


...and used them to score a circle in the ground (I guesstimated the size of the circle - it all kind of depends on the length of the sturdy branches...you'll see what I mean in a minute):

Magic!

That's when I took 12 of my sturdy branches, all nicely trimmed and "sharpened" at the bottom, and stabbed them into the ground, spaced like the numbers on a clock face (I told you to collect 14 of them because you never know if one is going to break on you or be too bendy to work right...):


Next up: take a length of the twine and tie those babies up in a teepee.


This is where I stood back and hemmed and hawed about whether or not my circle was too big (it was) and what I should do about it (decided to do nothing, as I was losing the light and wanted to hurry so I could show you my work):


Then I took one of the thicker willow branches and started the weaving part:


I started layering more twigs on top of it, alternating them and inserting new ones as needed (use only the sturdier ones for this - the little skinny weavers are best saved for the top).  I had to constantly shift my bodily position to see and access the entire perimeter of the structure.


When the bottom branches started to peter out, I had to add new ones to the top of the ring:


Here's what it looked like after a few rounds:



I kept going for another round or two and then started "snaking" the weavers up in a spiral.  I started using slightly thinner weavers, but ganging them two by two to get good stability out of them:


...and kept going...


...and going (giving the bottom portion a haircut along the way)...


...until I got all the way up to the top, where I wound all the weavers around the bundle and jammed the ends back down inside the knot (let me know if you need clarification on that part - I couldn't take a good photo, as my hands were busy):



At that point, I could untie the string and crossed my fingers, hoping it would all stay together (you can always retie it if it seems like it all wants to fall apart - take more weavers and jam a couple down, fat end first, into the top of your knot, twine them around and jam the ends back down through the top of the knot, pulling it as tightly as you can):


The branches got a little trim (but would also look nice, untrimmed):


And PRESTO:


Now, this is a sturdy little bugger and it's stuck in the ground really nicely, but I can always yank it out and move it if I want to.  They travel well in the back seat of a car (hint: Mother's Day is coming!) and can be re-installed, as long as the person doing to installing takes their time and goes slowly, gently pushing each branch down, one at a time.

This is a great structure for sweet peas or other climbing plants.  It also looks good, naked.  It's up to you, really.  I make simplified versions of this for my tomato plants.

So, there you go!  Now you can do it, too.  Happy weaving!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Progress!

I just checked my Google Analytics, and it seems that, against all odds, you are still with me.

So, here's your treat for sticking around:


Well ok, it's not much.  'Tis but a humble sleeve cuff.

I still have a whole 'nother one to knit.  Drat.

But, it's SOMETHING, right?!?

And though I am valiantly (and vainly) trying to fight off a particularly insidious stomach virus, I have a few other little treats for you:


Chives, coming out to enjoy the sunshine.

My sedum is already growing!  In April! 



And these are my Hens and Chicks, with a little "hippy dippy Pioneer-Woman-Photoshop-action" action.

I am totally diggin' (HA!  Diggin'?  Get it!?) the garden activity!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Let it grow, let it grow, let it grow...

I finally have some stuff to show you.  Before you get all excited, I must admit that it isn't much.

I hope to have more for you at the end of this long weekend.  I plan to spend most of my time out-of-doors, as this is our forecast:
I assume that even if you don't understand Celsius, you can appreciate that this is very unusually warm weather (and I also assume that you can appreciate how rarely we see the sun, in this seaside corner of the world).  So, you can probably understand why I am so excited right now that I am wiggling in my chair...

I am going to get down and dirty this weekend, in that I will be crawling around on the ground and there will undoubtedly be mud involved.  My garden is a mess and though I could never have imagined it, things are already growing.  It's a MIRACLE, friends!

So, without further ado, here is what I have to show you:

{Scrapbookers, avert your eyes.  The complete lack of attention to detail in the following photos will horrify you and possibly give you nightmares.  The rest of you may look, but this shall be proof that I have never gotten into scrapbooking and that it is probably best that I keep it that way.}

I have a page (or a few pages, in some cases) for each *type* of garden area in the yard.  We have an acre and there are all sorts of different little ecosystems that I would like to landscape.  The spring bulbs are going to get planted in the woodsy portion at the front end of the property and I want them to naturalize, so I don't have to think about them.

The meadowy-ornamental-grass-and-coneflower-and-gaillarda garden is going right next to/over the septic field (sexy, huh?), where the best earth is (gee, I wonder why).

We already have a wetland-type garden started in our swale and it seems to be thriving, so I'm going to add to it.

We are going to build some raised garden beds because we have only crappy earth next to the house and I'm tired of fighting with it.  The herbs (and other edibles), sweet peas, and small perennials are going in those.  I already have approximately 100,000,000 hostas that I either received for free or paid a pittance for, so I'm going to put those in raised beds at the front of the house.  My daylilies will stay in their existing spots, as they seem happy and the earth there is more-or-less ok.

This is my garden plan (I say "my" plan, because my hubbie couldn't care less and just goes along with anything I say anyway):
I can't WAIT to get started, friends.

Now, before you ask me about what my favourite references are for gardening, I'm going to tell you:

I'm not sure.

I mostly hound my friend Ruth for advice (you'll be meeting her and her garden for real in the next few months...I shall spare no expense to get you the goods on how she does things over at her place).  I also have a friend (former employer) who is a wonderful landscape architect and who is happy to answer my incredibly redundant and ridiculous questions, over and over again.  My grandmother loves to garden and we gossip about plants whenever we talk on the phone (she sends me garden porn on a regular basis - God bless the internet and e-mail).  I read Canadian Gardening voraciously (thanks to aforementioned grandmother, I receive a subscription as a birthday gift, every year...I think she does it so she has someone to gossip about gardening with).  I do a lot of snooping around on the internet.  I don't really have a gardening book collection to speak of.  I have one really gorgeous guide on ornamental grasses (buy it here, if you'd like) and a french-language book on vegetable gardening.  I don't refer to either one for actual gardening, though (just to look at the pretty pictures *I'mficklecoughcough*).  I learned about gardening from my mom (surprise!) and it was just something we always did.  I'll admit, my gardening is really just one long exercise in trial-and-error.

Lots and lots of error.  And trial.  Lots of that.

I will leave you on that note with a promise to post some nice photos a little later this weekend.  This photo is from a little series I took of my kitchen window, earlier this week (in anticipation of beach-walking-weather):

PS: I haven't touched my sweater in a week.  It's a sad state of affairs, people.  I warned you that gardening was going to turn my brain to mush, right?  Well, I hope you like mush.