Garden

As many of you know I have a big garden. Our section is made up of three lots. Most Kiwi gardens are made up of two, so it is slightly bigger than most. Thankfully the folk who built the house had the sense to put it at the top end of the section.  As a result we have lovely long slopping garden (yes we live on a hill parallel with the steepest street in the world).  I love having so much space and I love that Atlas the Airedale can rollick around. Admittedly not so much when he is gaining speed as he thunders down to the bottom of the garden to sort out a cat or bird, trampling any part of the veggie garden that gets in the way.  Good bye courgettes.

There is still a lot of work to go and it is slowly getting there. I routinely weed the same patches and I hope in the coming months to get some momentum on filling gaps so that hopefully next summer it will be less about the weeds and more about the plants.

The veg garden has come a long way from being a pile of rubbish kindly left by the previous owner. It has structure, which I love. One of my favourite things is being about to gaze out over from the kitchen window. It produces food, which I love to collect for dinner if the slugs, aphids and Atlas’s have not gotten to it before me (Yes I have caught him casually chomping on some broccoli before today).

So as a new year started and after visiting my parents over the Christmas break and seeing how stunning my Dad’s veggie garden looked (his comments well is should since he is retired and he has the time to focus on it) I set myself a wee challenge. Of course it is a 21st century slightly hipster challenge but hey this is the world we live in. Dad offered me some sage advice and like most wilful children it takes a few years sometimes before one will admit parents know best (yes I am finally going to get some waterproof pants for when I am on the bike about 20 years  after mum suggesting I need some when I was at high school). Anyway back to Dad. He said you need to visit the garden every day to check on it’s progress and he is right. You learn who has set up camp and shouldn’t have (I am on guard at the moment for those damn white butterflies). You can pick the spinach and coriander before it bolts. You can watch it grow.

To encourage this new habit I have taken to taking a photo a day of the garden  and putting it on Instagram . I have also been  encouraging myself to make sure we are eating what is there. I do sometimes get lazy and feel the 2 minute walk is to far and I can’t be bother washing the lettuce. So I am working on it.

Posting a photo is a good thing for me. I post cause I want to remember the season and how it progressed (so far incredibly slowly due to the wettest summer on record). I post so that I push myself to take better photos (I am a currently using the old iPhone but I have an online photography course that I want to do and I want to move on from the iphone to using the big boy camera). I also post because I think having a garden is important. It teaches you so much about the seasons, where food comes from. I think everyone should have a garden and as I wrote in my first post this year I want to be the change I want to see.

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Socks

This knitting lark was re started with socks. I hadn’t knitted for years. I think it was maybe 10 years ago when I went through a Rowan knitting pattern phase. I think I was still working in the library then. It is safe to say the knitting needles had been gathering dust.    Socks had been on my to do list for ages. Nana (knitting stories always seem to start with a Nana) had knitted the grandkids socks over the years. I still have my first pair. They are very worn. The sole is threadbare but every so often I wear them. I cherish these socks. They were knitted when the pre printed Fair Isle pattern was big. They are blue, white and pink. I love them.

So a couple of years ago I decided to get back into knitting. My idle time previously had been spent manically making Christmas ornaments.  When things started to shift and I realised that this hobby/business had run it’s course I was looking for something new to do when I sat in front of the telly.   I guess there was another shift starting to happen as well as I was becoming more conscious of my clothing spending habits. I wanted to be a bit more responsible about what I brought and ensure fair trade labour was involved in the making of things I wore. I was also becoming increasingly frustrated with the fact that as I was getting older I seem to fall in to a gap when it came to clothing style. Things in shops tended be either way too young or too old. I was somewhere in the middle and not really liking what I was seeing. So I decided to start thinking about how to make my own clothing. It seems this plan was to start with socks.

Over the past couple of years I have knitted a few pairs of socks. Last count there was 12 pairs. The pattern is the same. I purchased it from  Purl Soho. It’s based in London and if you ever feel the itch to start knitting socks this pattern is pretty good one to start with. The wool is from Uruguay. From a family run company who place a high emphasis on sustainability and happy sheep. The company is called Malabrigo  and the colours are multi and divine, just don’t wash in the machine on a normal wash or the beautiful colours will fade (socks number 2 and 4 meet this fate.  Socks number 6 one has gong missing). My favourite part was learning how to turn the heel. I am not the best at sticking to a pattern but while I made a few tweaks or in the knitting world hacks for the most part I stuck to the pattern and as a result I have some pretty happy feet. I went old school and knitted on four ridiculously small needles (1mm) with very fine wool and while the socks are beautiful it would take me a while to finish up these beauties. This was highlighted the other night when the other half commented on how fast I was progressing on my current jumper. Thicker wool and 3.5mm needles make a big difference man. I have moved on from socks and while there is a strong urge to continue making socks and I have collected a number of sock patterns which I wish to knit but for the moment I am going to put my ridiculously small needles aside and focus on a jumper whilst looking for a particularly fine green blue colours sock which seems to have vanished.  Aka sock number 6.

Slow

This is my word for 2017.

We have slow food, slow fashion why note a slow year.

This doesn’t mean I am going to start moving in a sloth like pace.

Rather I want to take a step back from rushing to get things done

and actually enjoy doing them.

Appreciate the simple pleasure of making a cup of tea.

Take time to read a book.

Just sit and eat freshly picked raspberries.

Slow leads me to this.

A way of keeping in touch.

An email would work just fine but….

I wanted to have accountability for what I do.

My list of things I want to learn is long.

I have plans of gardening, knitting, sewing, weaving and so on.

I wanted to record and share what I do.

This is a slow way of doing that.

A photo taken which is planned and created.

A considered word written.

Most of my friends and family live some distance away from me, so when

the last lovely lass left to follow her husband with the wandering feet

I promised to keep in touch.

To ensure we didn’t loose touch I promise to write

every time I finished knitting something.

This is the promise.

Keeping in touch a funny format.

I hope you don’t mind