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August 2012
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October 2012

September 2012

On the Way

A gardening tale.


Once upon a time, back in 2005, a Gardener planted a garden.


And it looked pretty darn good.

June 2007 030

But Gardeners have a tendency to tweak.

And plants have a tendency to grow.

And, over the years, the garden started to look a bit . . .





Plants were too crowded and no longer getting proper circulation.  Pests were a problem (thrips, in particular).  The garden path was completely obscured by plants and mulch -- and far too narrow to navigate comfortably. 

This garden was just plain tired. . . and in particular need of rejuvenation.

(Besides. . . the Gardener had an entirely New Vision.  It happens.)

So the Gardener and her Intrepid Digger spent much of the summer digging up and moving (and, in some instances, composting) many of the sad, sorry, overgrown plants.


It was not a pleasant task.  It was certainly Not a Pretty Place this garden season.

But, over the months, the garden space became more clear.


Daylilies and daisies and small, unidentified shrubs found new homes.  Peonies and roses succumbed to thrips and were, sadly, removed.  The survivors were pruned and trimmed and divided.


Newcomers joined the Improved Garden Space.


A new path.  A fresh layer of compost.  New plants. 

So much better.


The rejuvenation is taking shape!

Still a work in progress.  Not Happy-Ever-After quite yet. 

But the Gardener is definitely on the way!

A Sort Of Metaphor

Over the weekend, I sat on my patio and looked across my yard, and I saw this. . .


My pergola.

A cool and private oasis in my landscape. 




And it got me thinking. . .

because . . . well . . . it wasn't always like that.

Four years ago it looked like this. . .

Back fence design project 002

Nothing.  Just dead-ish lawn and a clear view to my neighbors' house.

I had always, always dreamed of having a pergola . . . or an arbor. . . or a gazebo.  With a swing.  And wisteria.  But I never really thought I'd actually have one.  Not in that spot, certainly.  Not anywhere.

But then I got cancer.

And needed to occupy myself during the four months of chemo treatments.

So I dreamed.  With landscape design books and gardening magazines open all around me.

Garden design process back bed 006

I decided I wanted to change my view.

I decided I wanted to create the spaces I'd always only dreamed of having.

I decided to make my dreams . . . happen.

Garden design process back bed 002

And I had help.

My friend, Sandie.  Who encouraged.

And Tom.  And Brian.  And my Dad.

They dug in.

Digging the new bed july 30 09 001

They plowed under.

Rototilling the new bed 001

They raised up.

Raising the pergola 001

They set down.

Raising the pergola 004

They hammered in.

Raising the pergola 019

My pergola.

More pergola 001

Because they love me.

And there it was. . .

More pergola 008




In need of planting.

No one would see the pergola and not know it was . . . new.  Raised from what used to be there.

Kind of like . . . I was. 

But now . . . 


Why, it looks like it's been there forever.

And always.

The structure is sound. 

The roots are deep. 

The edges are smoothed out.

Kind of like . . . me!


High on Believin'

Here's one that might take you back a bit. . .


Normally, I'm pretty thoughtful about what I knit . . . next.  I plot and I plan.  I check out Ravelry.  I think about yarn.  And colors.  And options.

Finally, I buy the pattern.  And start thinking about how it's all going to come together.


Every once in a while. . .

something happens.

Maybe I'll be working at the yarn shop. . . and a new shipment comes in.  And I happen to open the box.


And a new yarn catches my attention.

And a new pattern looks kind of intriguing.


And then. . .  I see that there's something kind of interesting in the putting together.

Is it a cable?



Could that be a braid????

Yep. That did it.  I was . . . hooked on a feeling . . . that this was the next knit for me!

(Ravelry details here.)


Buggin' Me!

Before the end of . . . bug season. . . I wanted to share these photos with you.  Bugs . . . from my world!

A dragonfly in my garden.


I seem to have had more visiting dragonflies this year than any other year I can remember.    (I didn't notice his damaged wings until I saw the photo on my computer.)

A spider (and shadow) on our pontoon boat.


This little guy was quite small, but kind of interesting there. . . in duplicate.

A cicada on the window screen.


While kind of creepy, nothing says "late summer" like the sound of cicadas.

I'm enjoying the "bugs" in my world. . . before the cold weather sends them into hibernation!

Have a great weekend.



It's Time for the Fat Lady to Sing

I have many knitting ideas . . . inside my head. . . waiting to becoming reality.

Only one thing (well, technically it would be four. . . )  is holding me back:  unfinished projects!

Yes, my friends.  It's time for the fat lady to sing!


So, before I can begin any new projects, I need to wrap up these bad boyz. . .

Yeah.  There's this mess.


(Bet you're jealous now!) 

And this adorable little nearly-finished bag. . .


that's been hanging around since it fell out of favor during my March Madness rampage. (Stalled out due to running out of yarn.  If you look closely, you can see where.)  Blocking.  Lining.  Futzy braided handle.

And this waiting-to-felt bag . . .


that I got roped into making kindly volunteered to make as a shop sample for my local yarn shop (where I work on Wednesdays).  The knitting was quick; the finishing?  Not so much.  Felting.  Hardware.  Lining.

And my only current project on the needles . . .


is a lovely lace scarf.  The pattern is un-memorizable (for me, at least), so this is rather slow-going.  (But lovely.)

So.  Onward then.  To finishing!  So the fat lady can sing.  And I can knit something new!  (September = Fresh Start, even when it comes to knitting.)


The Pull of September

I have always loved September.

When I was a little girl, I loved school.  In fact, the first day of school was right up there with Christmas Day for me.  (That -  and my family's annual trip to the Kiddie Land amusement park.)  Big excitement!  It was all so fresh . . . and new! 

I loved summertime, too. . . don't get me wrong.  But by the time the end of August rolled around, I was ready for the NEW and the CHANGE that September represented.  I was ready for structure.  I was ready for school.  I was ready to get to work!

Come September, I had a new teacher and a new grade and a new classroom.  I got new shoes and a new lunchbox and some new dresses.  Best of all . . . I got new school supplies.  I loved buying - and then organizing - my new school supplies.  Crayons.  Big Chief pads.  Pencils.  A big eraser.  A ruler.  A new pencil box.


The academic calendar -- September through May with a restorative break for the summer - has resonated with me since first grade.  Even when I was out of school (finally. . .) and working (before I had kids on their own academic calendar), I felt that Pull of September!  For me, September seems to be the most appropriate time to launch new goals and plans and resolutions.  I understand the whole New Year's thing. . . the turning over of the annual calendar and the fresh January feeling that comes with it.  But. . . it's still the middle of winter.  Nothing is changing, really.  Except the number of the year.

So. . . for me, September = Fresh Start.

Or. . . it DID.

Until 2008.

In 2008, September started to represent something altogether different for me.  It was in September 2008 that my cancer nightmare grabbed hold and wouldn't let go.  It was in September 2008 that I entered the horrible period when I knew that something was terribly wrong with me.  But I didn't know what . . . yet.  But words like. . .biopsy . . .  and malignant . . . and lymphoma . . .  were in the air.

September 2008 . . . offered no diagnosis.  No idea of possible treatment options.  No doctor.  No notion of extent or prognosis.  (That all came in October.)  Just the awful. . .



clawing at the air for answers

kind of agony.  Through all of September.  It didn't feel like a Fresh Start.  It felt like a nightmare.

In the Septembers that have followed . . . 2009, 2010, 2011 . . . I've slowly come back around.  Those first couple of Septembers were pretty tough.  I went to The Edge.  I plunged over.

Last year, I was much better.

And this year?  2012?  Four years later?

I'm feeling the Pull of September in a very strong way.  A good way.  This year, I feel like dancing at The Edge.

So I bought myself a new box of crayons. 


Just to open them up and see their colorful, fresh points . . . all lined up in the box.  


My new crayons . . . are a symbol of . . .

new beginnings

a time to set goals

an opportunity to re-group and prepare myself for the next nine months

life . . . moving forward


For the first time in a few years . . . September = Fresh Start!


Dancing in September


Because this song has been running through my head since turning the calendar over on Saturday. . .




My.  That was fast!


This week, Carole has us thinking about Ten Things We Love About September:

  1. Gotta love a month that begins with a 3-day weekend!
  2. The weather is generally wonderful -- still warm and summery, but with an edge.
  3. And the nights are cooler, and comfortable for sleeping.
  4. It's a great time to garden!  This is the best time of year for dividing perennials, thinning things out, and moving plants around.  (Planting perennials now gives them plenty of time to establish a great root system for spring.)
  5. Also. . . all the nurseries are having everything-must-go clearance sales on their remaining plant stock.  This is the best time of year to shop the nurseries!  (And not only for plants.  You can also get great bargains on "hardscape" -- benches, sculpture, furniture, etc.)
  6. A return to the Empty Nest.  I love my kids.  But I love my life when they're tucked away on campus . . . or busy with grown-up life.
  7. I even love it when other people's kids are back in school. . . and the gym locker room and the library and even the grocery store are, well, kid-free!
  8. The bounty of the season explodes in September!  So many fresh vegetables and fruits and herbs are available in September.
  9. September always heralds a return to routine - getting back to my "regular" schedule.  I'm usually ready at this point in the season.
  10. September = Fresh Start for me.  I guess I'm deeply aligned with the academic calendar, but September seems like a beginning point for me, much more than January.  (And you're going to hear more about that in the weeks to come!)

How about YOU?  What do you love about September?


 Join the fun!  Sign up for Ten on Tuesday here.