Archive for August, 2010

Black-eyed Susan

This has been a wonderful summer for plants and the Black-eyed Susans are no exception.  The perennial mounds are covered with abundant flowers so thick it is hard to see the green plant below.  The name black-eyed Susan came from the lovely dark brown gum drop shaped center in the middle of the brilliant golden rays of petals.  It’s a funny name for a flower and it makes me wonder if there was a story in the naming of it.

It reminds me of a funny little family story.  I’ve always loved wildflowers and I often try to identify the ones I see.  My husband is much more interested in other things but has always been very tolerant as I stop to see what is growing along the road or wooded path.  Once, I pointed out the delicate Queen Ann’s Lace to him, showing him the little purple “queen” in the center of all her lace.  He looked a little incredulous, thinking that I had made all that up.  He turned to a yellow flower growing nearby and quipped, “and I suppose that’s King Henry’s yellow pockets!”  It wasn’t actually but it got me to thinking:  I wonder how these lovely blooms got the common names they have.  I found some information on Queen Ann’s Lace but none on the Black-eyed Susan.  If you know, I’d love it if you’d share it with me.

Nature’s bounty

It has been a  wonderful summer here in Vermont.  We’ve had lots of sunshine, plenty of rain, warm days and no deer (or other varmints) , and all that adds up to excellent garden production.  Everything is producing well.  Most of our beets are good sized and yummy.  The tomatoes are covered with ripening fruit, even the full sized ones that typically haven’t done that well.  Our single planting of green beans has produced tender pods consistently for weeks.  Zucchini and yellow squash plants are huge and producing well.

But perhaps the most exciting crop for us is the corn.  We have never grown corn before; I’ve always been put off by the challenge to grow full ears in a tiny plot.  Even after a strong wind blew all the plants over, we were able to prop them up and they now stand straight and tall.  We have two varieties, mostly because we ran out of seeds and couldn’t find the same kind to finish the plot. That is probably good because they have two maturation rates, one sooner than the other.  The first ones are coming in now and the ears are sweet and young.  It will be another week or two for the other variety to mature.

Flowers in deck pots and the garden are lovely as well.  Some zinnias are adding vibrant color and the Fritillaries are enjoying the Ligularia that is in full bloom.

And what is that lurking in the parsley?  Look, it’s a black swallowtail caterpillar.  As far as I’m concerned, he can eat as much parsley as he wants.

Old World Crochet

Recently a friend asked me if I knew anything about Old World Crochet.  She had seen some wonderful little bags and wondered if I could show her how it was done.  Not knowing how Old World was different from regular crochet, I googled it and found an article by John Yerkovich in Spin Off magazine, the Summer 2001 issue that showed some small bags with color work patterns.  It turns out that this is where my friend saw them originally and she had the issue at home.

Old World Crochet is very dense because it is done with slip stitch.  Depending on whether you slip into the front or back loop, you can achieve wonderful textures that give the fabric interest and dimension.  I had never done color work so there was a little bit of a learning curve with that, but once I finished the sampler chart, I felt confident to begin one of the charts for the bags with a rounded bottom.

This little treasure bag is worked in Hempathy, a mix of cotton, hemp and modal and measures about 6″ x 3″.


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