That's Me In the Corner

(Click here for a soundtrack to accompany today's post.)
(In case you're not already singing along. . . )

I've knit a lot of sweaters over the years.
But I've never knit one sideways before.

Until now . . . 

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Yep.

That's me in the corner.
That's me in the spotlight.
Losing my religion. . .

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It was kinda weird to knit a sweater from cuff-to-cuff, sideways. I had to wrap my brain around it a few times there . . . on the fly. Row gauge was a huge issue for me (on a sideways project, the stitch gauge determines length; the row gauge the width), so that had me flipped around, too. It's a little like knitting origami.

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As I was knitting this sweater, I really liked the "wrong side" better than the "right side" (I blogged about that here) . . . but, in the end, I went with the "right side" out. I tried with the "wrong side." But the seaming was a nightmare. And the decreases/increases didn't looks so hot from the "wrong side" either.

I thought that I heard you laughing
I thought that I heard you sing
I think I thought I saw you try
But that was just a dream
That was just a dream . . . 
 
Overall, not a bad way to lose your religion!
 
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(If you want the details, you can find my project notes on Ravelry here.)
 
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How about YOU? What are you making this week?

 

 


Read With Us: The Wrap-Up

Usually, after we've read our latest Read With Us book selection and finished up the discussion, Bonny, Carole, or I will write up a wrap-up post to share. A way to kind of . . . bring closure to that book; to put it to bed, so to speak.

Well.
It's my turn this go-round.
And I wrote the post.
And then, somehow, it got "lost" in the blogosphere.

And I'll be damned if I'm going to write it again.

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So consider this . . . a different kind of Read With Us wrap-up post!

After our Zoom book discussion last week, I got to thinking about . . . just that: Our Zoom book discussion. Because back when we launched Read With us -- in the fall of 2019(!) - that phrase, even the concept of some sort of online discussion, was never part of the plan.

But, of course, along came Covid . . . and now most of us are completely accustomed to and comfortable with Zoom gatherings and meetings. (I would say that being able to meet up with people across any distance is actually one of the silver linings of the pandemic.)

What's happened with Read With Us . . . is that the Zoom book discussion has evolved to become a "real" book group (without the wine). We come together to discuss a book we've all read . . . and we sign off with a deeper understanding about that book. Sometimes we see things a little differently after the discussion. Sometimes we like the book even more -- and sometimes we like it less. Things make sense in new ways. We ask questions. We share thoughts. It's a communal experience, for sure. (And that's something we can all use more of these days.) Our discussions - about the book and about life - are engaging and interesting. And becoming more so with each meet-up.

We also laugh a lot. 

And while we do have a core group of Read With Us stalwarts regularly participating in the Zooms, the group is fluid and accessible and welcoming. If you have felt hesitant or somewhat intimidated about joining our Zoom discussions, or if you're not sure what it might be like to be part of a book group, I'm here to encourage you to give it a try! We don't have intellectual, literary discussions. We don't put anyone on the spot. We just speak from our hearts . . . and listen to each other.

We'll be announcing our next Read With Us selection soon, so stay tuned!

(And in terms of a wrap-up of Unsettled Ground? We all liked the book quite a lot, some more than others. None of us liked Dot - at all - and we all thought she was a terrible mother with some serious, untreated mental health issues. When it came to the supporting cast of characters, most of us were on "Team Saffron" -- but others were firmly on "Team Bridget." We all agreed that music and gardening elevated the book from the total doldrums of bleakness. And we were generally in agreement that the ending seemed . . . about right.) (Oh . . . and there was great relief that nothing bad happened to Jeanie's dog.)


Top Five: Best of My Summer Reading 2021

While today has a definite summer feel, there were some decidedly fall-ish days (mornings, especially) when we were up north last week. In fact, there were a few times when I needed to put on a sweater!

It's coming. . . 
A change in the seasons.
(The fall equinox is on Wednesday - the 22nd - this year.)

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And you know what that means?
It means its time to share my Top Five summer reads with you!

(The book links below will take you to published reviews of each book.)

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First up, I've got Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer. I've had this book on my to-read list for quite a while, and I'm so happy that I finally took the plunge and dove in earlier this summer. Because this one, friends, is truly a book to savor! This smart and savvy collection of essays brings a bit of everything: nature, ecology, science, storytelling, indigenous wisdom and spirituality, history, the environment. It is engaging to read, informative -- but not overly technical, with beautiful writing that strikes a perfect balance between science and poetry. This book is a gift: Life affirming; possibly life changing. I loved it!

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Then, I've got The Five Wounds by Kirstin Valdez Quade. This book has all the ingredients for a truly enjoyable read: a compelling storyline, excellent pacing, a setting that you can walk right into, and believable characters with heart -- oh . . . and flaws. (Lots of flaws.) The author does a brilliant job balancing the big hearts and deep souls of her characters . . . complete with all of their delusions and all of their (many) bad decisions. This is a rich story of redemption -- tenderly told and definitely worth reading!

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Next, I've got one that's a little . . . tougher, a little darker. In What Strange Paradise, author Omar El Akkad invites us to witness the world refugee crisis through the eyes of children. This short, impactful novel is tender and brutal, hopeful and horrifying. The writing - spare and precise - is so effective and the story so compelling I couldn’t put it down; couldn’t get it out of my head. This book cracked my heart wide open.

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Then, I have one that I finally got around to reading . . . The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich. (This one kept coming up in my library holds last year . . . when I didn't have the "reading capacity" to get to it. Sometimes it works that way with library holds.) Anyway. I'm so glad I finally had a chance to get to it. Y'know, every time I read a book by Louise Erdrich, I think . . . THAT’s my favorite. Every time. So now that I’ve recently finished The Night Watchman, well . . . you can guess where my loyalties currently lie. Erdrich is such a gifted storyteller. Her characters are wonderfully drawn and her settings are so vivid that it always feels like you just walk right into her stories. She weaves a kind of magic with her words. It’s all so good -- and definitely worth my wait.

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And, last, I bring you a two-fer, both re-reads for me: My Name is Lucy Barton and Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout. I decided to re-read both books sequentially in anticipation of Strout's newest novel, Oh, William! (which continues the series), coming out next month. I am a total fangirl when it comes to Elizabeth Strout. I have read every book she's written, and many of them more than once. No one does love and tension in familial relationships quite like Elizabeth Strout. She is simply a master . . . at putting together a series of "snapshots" or little vignettes to tell stories that go so much deeper than the words on the page. I love her spare writing style, the intimate connections present in her stories, the delicate family dynamics she highlights, and mostly just . . . the human-ness she writes into her characters. She breathes life into what might seem to be bleak settings and lonely people. She really does show us that, indeed . . . Anything is Possible! (And now I can't wait for Oh, William!)

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How about you?
What books would make it to your Top Five list of Summer reading?

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If you want to see what I'm reading now, or check out my recent reviews on Goodreads, just check out the sidebar here on my blog.  You can find me here on Goodreads.  And you can read my past Top Five lists by clicking the links below:

Top Five: Best of My Spring Reading 2021

Top Five: Best of My Winter Reading 2021

Top Five: Best of My Fall Reading 2020

Top Five: Best of My Summer Reading 2020

Top Five: Best of My Spring Reading 2020

Top Five: Best of My Winter Reading 2020

Top Five: Best of My Fall Reading 2019

Top Five: Best of My Summer Reading 2019

 


C'mon In!

We're up north at our cottage for a few days this week, and plan to stay through the weekend. The dock and boats are already out of the water for the year, so there will be less time at the lake; more time up at the cottage. This week, we've been focused on clean-up. There was a nasty storm here a couple of weeks ago, and while we were lucky to avoid much direct damage to our property (there was hail the size of golf-balls -- although not round; the hail had jagged edges, more like asteroids apparently), there is still a lot of . . . mess . . . from a storm like that in the woods. (Lots of big branches down, leaves pelted from the trees, broken patio lights, that kind of thing).

It's also time for a good inside-cleaning (I do have to tackle that every now and then . . . ), and especially since we're expecting guests for the weekend. While things are looking all spiffed up inside, I thought you might enjoy dropping in for a "look-see."

C'mon in!

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Our cottage is small (under 900 square feet) and quite utilitarian, but cozy! It's also full of "relics" -- cast off furniture, old lamps, former appliances that made the shift to cottage-use when we upgraded at home . . . that kind of thing. Most recently added . . . is the couch you may remember seeing from past blog photos. When we re-configured our library at home, we moved the couch up to the cottage (replacing an absolutely ancient sofa bed that we're glad to see go). The couch looks so much better up here than it ever did at home!

Anyway. When you enter the cottage, you come into a large(ish) open living area.

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This old recliner (it was once in my Mom's living room, long long ago) is "my spot" when we're up north. (And, yeah. That's my beer there on the table with my knitting.)

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There's a little dining area (which also serves as Tom's home-office-away-from-home-office at one end of the table) . . . 

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and a quite-functional kitchen.

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Upstairs . . . there's a loft that serves as our guest room. It's also where I set up my computer when we aren't expecting company.

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Although the loft looks kind of boring from that angle, it really does offer the best views of the cottage when you turn around.

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The loft also gives great overhead views of the space below. (Back in the days when our kids "ruled" the loft, we had to institute VERY SPECIFIC RULES about what could and could not be launched from the loft onto unsuspecting people - or pets - below.) (Bonus points if you spot Jenny on the porch, waiting to be let in.)

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And then . . . down the dark hallway . . . there is a closet (under the stairs), a small bedroom for Tom and I, a bathroom, and a utility room (including a stacked washer/dryer -- the smartest thing we installed when building the place way back when). The back door leads out onto the deck . . . and the views of the lake I often share.

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And that's it!
Compact, but cozy. A perfect place to get away for awhile.

Thanks for stopping by. 
I hope you have a wonderful, restful weekend . . . wherever you are and whatever you have planned.


Fall Gardening Week 2: Now Is the Time

As I explained last week, on Thursdays for the rest of this month I'll be bringing you tips and advice for . . . 

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Yeah. You may be ready to just clean'r'up and close up shop in your garden by this point in the season. But I'm here to tell you . . . there's some work you can do now to lay a foundation for a healthy and happy garden next spring.

Last week, we de-bunked the cutting-back-in-the-fall thing. This week, we take on planting/transplanting! Because, gardening friends, fall is most often the BEST time of year for digging a hole in the ground and sticking a plant in it!

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Why plant/transplant in the fall, you ask?

Conventional wisdom used to be that fall was the time to cut back and spring was the time to plant. But conventional wisdom is really just . . .  following tradition; doing what's always been done. And you know when the whole clean-up-in-the-fall/plant-in-the-spring thing started? Well, a hundred years ago when people in England and Europe were most interested in carefully sculptured topiary gardens and growing exotic plants collected from all over the world, it was important for them to tidy up in the fall and plant in the spring. And those practices stuck around - even though most people these days don't have turn-of-the-LAST-century gardens.

In other words . . . "garden fashion" dictated the horticultural practices of the time, and those practices carried over through the decades -- where they hold firm as conventional wisdom even now. More recently, though, horticultural scientists have researched and discovered better ways for gardeners of today . . . to garden. So, unless you happen to be into carefully sculptured topiary gardens and exotic plants, it makes a lot more sense to switch those gardening tasks around: clean up in the spring, plant in the fall.

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Benefits of fall planting:

  • A growth headstart. In the spring the soil is cold, so the roots of newly planted perennials grow slowly. In fall, though, the soil is already warm, so roots grow faster. And since the plants won't be producing flowers in the fall, they'll have more energy for sending vigorous roots into the soil. By the time spring rolls around next year, your new plants will be happily settled -- and will grow faster and bigger than if you waited to plant in the spring.
  • Take advantage of the dormant period. In the fall, most shrubs and trees are heading into their dormant phase -- which makes it an excellent time for transplanting. Rather than continuing to transfer energy into new foliage and aboveground growth, plants will transfer energy into their roots and be able to store nutrients and resources for the cold months ahead.
  • Easier care. Plants just require less fuss-and-bother when planted in the fall -- and you're less worried about their "performance." They still need plenty of water, of course, but with lower temperatures and shorter days, they'll need less water -- and no fertilizer. (And you'll be able to stop watering altogether once the soil freezes.)
  • You know what you need. This season's garden is still fresh in your mind, so you can easily recall (and maybe still even see) the "holes" in your in your garden and easily identify all the areas that need a bit more "pizzazz." You know what made you crazy this year. You can still remember plants in other people's gardens that caught your eye. Fill those holes now -- before you forget about them in the spring!
  • Bargains. This is the time of year to pick up great bargains at nurseries. You can find big mark-downs on perennials right now. Sure, the plants may be "leggy" and they most likely won't be blooming. They may look a little worse for the wear. But in the fall, we don't care so much about the tops of the plants -- we care about the roots! So take advantage of lower pricing on perennials in the fall. I have "rescued" many a great plant from fall clearance tables -- including a sad little Japanese maple ($8) that is now a star performer in my garden.

Know your gardening zone . . . and pay attention to the weather.

Successful gardeners know their gardening zone. The USDA publishes a plant zone map (or hardiness zone map) for the United States. Here's a handy interactive plant zone map -- you just plug in your zip code and the site will tell you your zone. Once you know your zone, you've got some valuable information at your fingertips! Plant information (on tags, websites, in catalogs or books) will always tell you which zones a particular plant is appropriate for. (Local nurseries will usually only carry plants appropriate for you local zone.)

Your zone is also helpful for targeting the general frost date for your area -- and will help you pinpoint when it's the best time to do some fall planting. For example, in Zones 6 and 7, the cool-down period starts around the end of September, about six weeks before the first fall frost. This is the ideal time to start your fall plants. In Zones 3 to 5, you’ll want to plant earlier if you can. And of course, Zones 8 to 11 can pretty much plant year-round without a problem. You want to get an early start to give roots time to get established before the hard frosts hit.

Sure . . . frost might seem like your biggest fall planting challenge, but it’s actually not a huge problem. Yes, frost will kill the tops of your new plants, but it won’t affect the root growth. The roots will grow until the soil freezes solid (a hard frost), which is often weeks or even months after the first frost hits. In temperate regions—everywhere but the far North and the high mountains—soil usually doesn’t freeze until after Thanksgiving.

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I hope you can see . . . that NOW is a great time for planting and transplanting.
In fact . . . what are you waiting for???

(And be sure to check out the excellent resources below for tips and how-to advice on doing the actual planting/transplanting. I've even included a special link for hydrangeas -- because fall is THE BEST time to transplant hydrangeas.)

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Additional Resources:

Here's a Frost Date Chart to help you figure out your area's first frost/last frost date. (Really helpful information for gardeners.)

Looking to move a hydrangea? Here's the scoop: Moving Hydrangea Bushes: When and How to Transplant Hydrangea.

Here's a bare-bones article with information to help you determine the best time to transplant perennials, shrubs, and trees from GardeningKnowHow.com.

Wondering how to successfully transplant perennials in the fall? Check these tips from Horticulture Magazine.

Here's an engaging discussion about dividing and editing your perennials with Margaret Roach and her guest Toshi Yano on this episode of A Way To Garden. (There's a link to listen - 25 minutes, or you can read the transcript.)


Finishing A Little Something

Just in time for the end of summer, I finished my very whimsical little embroidery project.

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I loved everything about this project.
The design.
The colors.
The stitching.
The whimsy and charm.
The getting back to my crafting "roots" as an embroiderer. 

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I think what I loved the MOST about this project . . . was just working without a net. Not really following directions. Just kind of . . . free-forming it to see what would happen IF.

I loved that.

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This little project awakened my desire to keep embroidering; to do MORE of this kind of thing.
So stay tuned! (Because now I'm kind of inspired.)

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And how about you? What are you making these days?

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PS - For details about this sampler, you can read this post from earlier in the summer when I talk on and on about it.


Read With Us: Let's Talk About It

RWU Summer Logo

Welcome to Read With Us book discussion week!

Bonny and Carole and I are each posting a different question (or questions) on our blogs today about our latest RWU book . . . Unsettled Ground. Join the discussion (which you're welcome do even if you didn't read the book).  I'll be answering your posts within the comment section for this discussion -- and you can comment on other people's comments, as well. Y'know . . . like in a real book group. (Please know . . . that because of the limitations of Typepad, I can't "layer" or "stack" the comments in my comment feed. Sorry. Bear with me.)

Let's begin. . . 

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First . . . I'd really like to know what you thought of the book. How did it make you feel? Did you like it? Do you think it deserved to be one of the Women's Prize for Fiction finalists this year?

Next . . . There is a strong connection to the land in book -- from the title, to the gardening work Jeanie does, to the family's way of life. In what ways do you think the gardens and the landscapes in Unsettled Ground make the characters who they are? Did you see the cottage garden as a refuge for Jeanie -- or as a prison? And what about Jeanie's gardening job for Saffron -- refuge or prison?

Last . . . What three words would you use to describe Unsettled Ground to someone who hasn't read the book?

I can't wait to hear what you think!

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Don't forget: We'll be discussing the book on Zoom tonight - 7:00 pm Eastern Time. There's still time for you to join us! Just let me know of your interest either with a comment or by sending me an email (see sidebar, above) -- and I'll send a Zoom invitation. 

PS - If you have signed up for the Zoom, but you haven't received an invitation from me by noon today, please let me know so I can re-send the invitation to you.

 


Sometimes Mondays

. . . are scrambled.

Sundays . . . have always been my get-it-together day of the week. The day I wrap up the week just ending . . . and plan for the week that's coming. I have Sunday Chores (laundry, for example) and "calendar-ing" (where I get my schedule for the coming week set in my head) and Planning (meals, blog posts, etc.). I like my Sundays to be neat and orderly so I can hit the ground running on Monday.

But. . . that was not to be yesterday.

In fact, I lost the whole Sunday! I was down for the count after getting my 3rd Covid vaccine dose on Saturday (part of a carefully orchestrated plan to be able to get me in a place where I can safely get an infusion treatment for my RA next month) (it's complicated). I didn't have terrible reactions to my first 2 doses, but this 3rd one did knock me out of contention for the whole day.

I'm feeling just fine today. But scrambling.
Because I didn't (at all) get-it-together for the week ahead yesterday.

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“You don’t get explanations in real life. You just get moments that are absolutely, utterly, inexplicably odd.” 
    — Neil Gaiman

Let's see how well I recover this week! (Because, often, when I miss my Sunday . . . I never quite get-it-together and end up flailing all week long.)

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A Reminder:

Tomorrow is our Read With Us book discussion day! Join Bonny, Carole, and I for blog book discussion questions (we'll each be posting questions for you to ponder on our blogs). And then -- tomorrow night we'll have a Zoom meet-up where we can talk about the book together. Please join us -- it's a lot of fun, and always an interesting discussion, too. 7:00 pm Eastern time. If you'd like to join in, please let me know in the comments -- or send me an email (see sidebar) -- and I'll add you to the Zoom invitation list.


Introducing . . . The Museum of Me

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately . . . about blogging. Why do I do it? What might I have left to say after 12 years of doing it? Why does anyone read it anyway? Should I continue this blogging gig or give it a rest?

That kind of thing.

And I came to the conclusion that . . . I really don't have answers to any of those questions, but I think I'll keep showing up anyway. It's sort of weird to think about blogging. It's very . . . personal, really. It's all about . . . me. What I think. What I'm doing. What I'm thinking about doing. 

Me.
Me.
Me.

It's like I'm curating . . . a museum about myself.
Or something.

Ultimately, I decided . . . to just go with that. To continue on . . . talking about myself . . . in much the same manner as I have been for 12 years now. And to embrace that whole Museum of Me concept by . . . creating it. Like with actual, occasional EXHIBITS in the Museum of Me. You know . . . like in a real museum.

So. Welcome to  the . . . 

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And its inaugural exhibit:  The Oldest Thing From My Childhood Still In My Possession

Meet Billy Bear.

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He's the much-beloved, fur-loved-off-him teddy bear from my childhood.

I don't know much of his backstory. He was a gift, but I can't remember from who, and I have no idea when he arrived in my life. But he certainly became a favorite early on. Here he is, for example, at Easter in 1961. (I would have just turned 2.)

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I'm not sure when I started calling him "Billy." But I can tell you that I named everything "Billy" when I was a child, so it's not surprising. Many of my toys were "Billy." When I made up stories, "Billy" was often the main character. I even had an imaginary friend named "Billy" who worried the crap out of my mother. (Thankfully, Dr. Spock said it was "normal," which comforted her somewhat.) (Billy-the-imaginary-friend disappeared not long after my sister was old enough to play with me, by the way.)

Anyway. Billy Bear was a constant companion for me, and appears in many of my childhood photos. Here I am, in the fall of 1964. Still wearing the sweet coats. Still clutching Billy Bear in my arms. Now with an added pocketbook! (My obsession with bags began early in my life.)

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At one point, Billy Bear wore a satin yellow ribbon around his neck. And he has a music box inside. There was a little key in his back, and when you wound it, he played The Teddy Bear's Picnic. As you can see, I wound the key (lost for decades now) quite often . . . 

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As I grew older, I parted ways with most all of my toys - even other favorites like my Barbie dolls and my Liddle Kiddles collection. I'm not terribly nostalgic about my childhood toys, really. I don't need to have them in my possession; my memories are enough for me. But Billy Bear? He managed to avoid all my purges.

He even went to college with me! 

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My kids thought he was pretty creepy. He's very . . . flat. Kind of stiff. Not terribly cuddly in the ways "modern" stuffed animals are cuddly. And I'll admit . . . those eyes are super vacant. But he certainly had staying power for me.

These days, he sits atop a bookshelf in my sewing room . . . keeping an eye on things for me.

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That Billy Bear . . . he's seen it all!

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Now that I've officially created The Museum of Me, you can watch for new exhibits . . . maybe once or twice a month. And if you're a blogger and you'd like to create a Museum of Me along with me on your own blog, let me know. I'll send you my "exhibit schedule" (a list of my prompts) and we can talk about ourselves together. (It might be fun?)

 

 


Fall Gardening Week 1: Less is More

It's September.

Time for a lot of gardeners to just . . . be done with it. To stop angsting about what's blooming. Or not blooming. Or what needs weeding. Or why the planters look so terrible. Because gardening is A Lot Of Work. And no matter how much we love our gardens, my goodness . . . we're ready for a break.

But.

We're not finished yet, my gardening friends!
Fall . . . is THE best time to get your garden in shape for . . . next spring. (When - trust me - you'll be thirsty for it!)

So . . . for the remaining Thursdays in September, I'll be bringing you tips and advice for . . . 

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Let's get our gardens in shape . . . for spring. Shall we?

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When I first started gardening . . . in the way, WAY back days . . . fall was a super busy time in the garden for me. Because back then? It was ALL about "good garden sanitation." You know . . . cutting back ALL the perennials. Raking up every last leaf and bit of old mulch. It was very much about leaving no debris behind.

But then, I got smarter! I became a Master Gardener in the early 2000s and became fluent in The Gospel of the Messy Fall Garden. Now I know that being too tidy in your garden when fall rolls around . . . is actually bad for the environnment, for your garden, and for its inhabitants. (Please note: I'm talking about perennial gardens here, NOT vegetable gardens which require a thorough "cleaning up" in the fall.)

When it comes to a fall perennial garden cleanup, doing less . . .  is much more effective.

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According to Margaret Roach (my very favorite gardening expert and author) (if you like gardening books, do check out her recently reissued A Way to Garden - one of my favorites), fall gardening cleanup should be an "editing job" -- rather than a "wholesale, wall-to-wall regimen like vacuuming the living room."

Why? Well . . . guess what's living just under the leaf litter and leftover mulch that accumulates in your garden in the fall? Unseen life, that's what! Overwintering insects, ground-nesting bees, pupating caterpillars, detrivores (millipedes and the like), spiders. These guys - all beneficial to your garden and our environment, in general - shelter under the leaf litter all winter long, so if we mow or shred or rake everything up in the fall, we're doing more harm than good. Same goes for our fading plants. If you cut all your perennials back in the fall, you're harming the birds and other pollinators by depriving them of food sources, hiding places, and sheltering spots.

Horticulturists will tell you to follow "nature's example" and let everything lie where it falls. That's not always feasible in an urban garden or home landscape, but there are lots of things we can do to let things remain a little looser - and a little messier - in the fall. For example, I get the leaves off my lawn, but I leave them lie in my flower beds. I cut back perennials that flop over entirely onto the ground, but mostly, I just leave my perennials to "just be" for the winter. (If I suspect any plants have disease issues, I do cut them back or rip them out entirely in the fall. I don't want to overwinter diseased plants if I can help it.) I also . . . continue to weed. Because "messy gardening" does not mean "full of weeds."

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Yeah, you'll have to do the clean-up in the spring. But it's actually easier then. And, besides, you'll be WAY more excited to get back out there and garden again in March . . . than you will be in October. (Don't rush out there to garden too soon in the spring, though. Ecologists at Cornell University recommend waiting until after at least five consecutive 50-degree days before you begin working in your garden again. If you start too soon, you risk squandering all your fall "messy" efforts.)

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Fall is a great time to take stock of your garden-year just wrapping up, too. Take notes. Document what worked and what didn't. Maybe take a few photos to remind you of areas you'd like to work on next year. Fall is a great time for planting and transplanting (stay tuned: that's next week's Fall Gardening topic), and as the leaves begin to fall from the trees, you'll be able to assess your future pruning needs, too. 

So.

As you begin putting your garden "to bed" for the season, remember: Less is More. Less work for you this fall . . . will translate to a healthier garden - and environment - in the spring.

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Additional Resources:

Read up on The Habitat Network's guide to Messy Gardening and take the Pledge to Be A Lazy Gardener. This site lists action steps you can take to encourage a "messy garden" and create a healthy environment for pollinators.

Margaret Roach's list of September garden chores is helpful as you prepare your garden (both perennial and vegetable) for winter.

Here are Six Reasons NOT to Clean Up Your Garden This Fall from The Savvy Gardener.

Looking for information about how to prepare your vegetable garden for winter? Check out this comprehensive list of fall vegetable garden chores.