about altered routes

taking a break


The garden is filling out so nicely. Nearly everything is in the ground, save for potential nursery purchases and the sowing of additional crops for later in the year. It is all coming together quite nicely. I had big plans for other things last year, like putting in a back door and creating a more permanent outdoor room. I don’t know that we’ll get the door in this year, but I shall continue to upgrade our outdoor living spaces.

I’m thinking about throwing a garden party this summer. Maybe I’ll do it to celebrate 10 years of blogging (in August).

Fences aren’t too common in our neighborhood, so we installed a privacy barrier on the alley side of the yard last summer. The space underneath has a nice variety of shade to partly-shady plants, including hostas, ferns, bleeding hearts, butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii), and Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia). I have something else out there too, yet I can’t recall the name right now. I’ll have to check my gardening journal from 2011.

The spot is great for sitting with a book or craft, and it’s also a cool place to take a break from working in the garden beds. Although, above, I’m under the maple next to the stacked herb bed. It was a good place to do a little oregano taming.

I still have to fill my pots with some herbs and self-sowing flowers, the latter coming from the raised beds where they proliferate unless most are moved to other contained spaces.

Of note, but completely unrelated, there’s a new Kilian Martin video. It is totally worth watching.

cell phone tower deaths on frontline

lamium + oregano

Tonight, Frontline is airing the episode for which we contributed some footage. It is about cell phone tower deaths. They contacted us in April after seeing some of our tower climbing footage. After that, we went out and shot a bit more. It should be airing at 10PM on most PBS stations. (There are two short clips of our footage. If you watch the online video, our winter scenes from the tower are shown at the 7:12 and 15:12-minute marks.)

Otherwise, just puttering in the garden.

slanted light

robins following me about

pallet pea trellis

robin by pallet pea trellis

as it darkens


listen + watch at whipup

notes + sketches

As always, special thanks to Kathreen Ricketson at WhipUp.net for her support and promotion of fellow crafters and artists. Today, she is running listen + watch, a little piece that I wrote about my own creative process.

more, lately

 rainbow afghan + sweet dreams pillow

This spring is so different from any that I’ve known for the past 20-plus years.

I haven’t been working in the garden at all, save for one day in March, when it was technically winter but felt like summer. I’m glad that I have a good many perennials, be it herbs or flowers or asparagus and rhubarb, to provide sustenance and beauty during this downtime. My tomato plugs arrive late next week. I have ordered many of the varieties from last year, as well as a few new-to-me heirlooms. Otherwise, I haven’t planted a thing and it sort of haunts me. I shall be sure to toss some seeds in the soil while establishing the tomato plants.

I haven’t completed (or started) too many projects around here. I made a beach tote. I like it better for linens.

The shawl is coming along slowly. I’m at over 60 motifs and I’m thinking that I might need 150 or so. I try not to think about that and just focus on one stitch at a time, as I did with the rainbow granny stripe afghan that I finished last spring. I finally took a somewhat proper photo of it, and I also snapped it with a granny stripe pillow that I fashioned this winter.

I hope to be back on track with gardening and basket weaving and crocheting and cooking and other household projects soon. There won’t be a lot of quantity with regards to activity, so I will be, as always, focusing on the quality.

totally square beach tote

lately, around here

bike basket form

weaving in various stages

garlic in the 'hood

prepping for seeds

seed-prepping manager, kin

for rent

lately, around here



linkage :: week 12

twiggy hangout

Spring has been buzzing in at a dizzying pace. Suddenly, almost everything is coming up or coming out. I made peace with summer last year, but I really didn’t think that it would attack the last few weeks of winter. Basically, it has been hot all over so I won’t lay out the record-breaking way that things are specifically here, except this:

In recorded history, Wisconsin has never had an April without frost. Heck, the average low temperature is below 32 degrees this time of year. That said, the apple trees are budding. If it freezes, it’s going to significantly impact this year’s apple harvest and, even more sadly, the apple farmers.

The green and quickly-becoming-lush yard makes it tempting to get an early start on planting, but I am holding myself back and remembering my priorities, like spring cleaning and garden planning and seed starting and yard tidying. We did a lot of the latter on Friday, when my husband was off of work. Things that were safe to move, like ferns and ugly bushes, did a little switch-a-roo to make a twiggy hangout by the bird feeders on the north side. Some trellises have been pulled and will be relocated to allow for crop rotation.

Some of my spring activities include starting these two groups on Flickr…

  • Crafting in Community — I got a bee in my bonnet to start a community crafting photo group on Flickr. Indeed, I am an introvert by nature. Yet, in a classroom environment or with the company of a good friend, I feel something blossoming while learning and teaching and just working together.
  • Craft Wisconsin — After that, I felt I had another row to hoe, so I looked for some kind of Flickr group about crafting in Wisconsin. If it’s there, I didn’t find it. I’m not sure about how to find people to invite to these groups, so I guess that I’ll start by inviting the few that I know and hope that others discover (and are interested in!) these groups.


march 25

early to bed, early to rise

hen + chicks

a long engagement

wild blue flax

i can not recall


i'll take it all

red russian kale

Through my blog reader, most especially, I have noticed the discernible lack of winter throughout the US this year. I don’t know about other countries and continents, although curious, and whether they too experienced the winter of less-than. It has never been a secret that the coldest season is my favorite and I rarely pick a favorite of anything. I’m too much of the mind that variety is the spice of life and I’ve spent my life trying not to ever have to select just one. That said, winter trumps the heck out of nearly everything else for me.

So, this lack of that we’ve experienced in most of the states has been rather confusing, for plant and beast alike. I mean, of all things, I find myself ready for spring. That completely shocks me. Of course, last year I was determined to find a place in my heart for summer, and I did. I am finding a balance in the seasons again, not that I don’t wish we’d had a proper winter. It’s certainly not too late, by any means.

One of my favorite variables in gardening is the structure of the cold-season garden. You can’t completely plan that. Solid structures can be counted upon to some degree, as well as trees and other plants with some heft or strong stems. The birds and bunnies might peck and pat. After that, the biggest influence upon the architecture is the weather itself. So far this season, I have been unimpressed with the display until I realized that it is nearly March and not only does the Red Russian kale grow, but the Five Color Silverbeet Swiss chard too.

I am so used to a gray scale winter garden that this shock of color nearly threw me off of my gait and onto the wet, muddy path. This isn’t the winter of my Scandinavian-heart dreams, but, oh, I will certainly take it.

five color silverbeet swiss chard

a walk in the november garden

I like that in the spring and summer, I can work the garden to get what I want from it: vegetables, herbs, flowers, beauty. What I might like even more is that in the autumn and winter, the garden gives back to me in the form of lovely surprises. In November yet, there is unexpected color. As winter arrives and the snow packs things down, the architectural nature of the space will become more defined. It is not so much what we have planted or built, but more dependent upon the weather and plants.

I took a little garden walk this morning, stopping to look at this and that.



stacked raised bed

aw, heck, i forgot

sweet peas

creeping thyme

rainbow swiss chard

russian kale

an early end to gardening

sweet peas

Journal, it is with much sighing that I admit this: I’m going to take my focus off of the gardens now.

Yes, early. There is much to be done no matter what, things such as garlic planting, harvesting food, transplanting perennials, and seed collection. (With the one random hollyhock plant that sprung up in an herb bed, I will have enough seeds to recreate my old hollyhock patch, with great-great-great-granddaughter-seeds.) There is also a small greenhouse to build and other outdoor spaces to be prepared for the spring. A certain blueberry bush is patiently waiting for a permanent home. I might get a hankering and toss in yet another row of radishes and lettuce, like I have twice a month since April. Or maybe more kale, especially since it can take the frost and snow. I’m not promising myself anything as far as extra plantings.

This decision was heavily mulled. Time is finite. My level of energy can not be predicted. I have much to do inside and I need to shift my focus back to tasks like painting, styling,  purging, and personal projects.

The weather is so lovely and it has been for all of August. I can’t imagine what sweet September will bring for us, besides trees on display, honking geese, waning light, and the promise of a cadent journey toward the end of the year.