Mary Oliver

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?"

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Knitting? Nope, Yard Work

My blog has taken a shift toward home improvement, instead of knitting, because that's what's been occupying me lately. And as is typical for me, I think I may be overdoing it a bit. I worked steadily all weekend and today I raced home to do it again. Consequently, I'm sore and overtired. But things are looking better around our previously neglected little cottage. Want to see? Sure you do!

I power washed an old plastic chair, then spray painted it purple. It's not done because we had a little rain shower and I had to put it in the garage before I finished. The chair isn't comfortable, but I think it will look cute on our front porch, with the yellow siding behind it.

Next, I spray painted a section of our rusty gate. The color matches perfectly, not too silver or fake looking. Because it looks so good, I'm going back to Home Depot to buy at least ten more cans. Although it will be pricey, it's cheaper than replacing the fence, and it will definitely be an improvement over the rust (see the left section). I don't even care about the fence part, just the support poles.

Lastly, this is a before picture of the area in back that is kind of a dead zone.

And this is the after photo. Instead of trying to grow grass there, I planted hostas and daylilies and used river rocks. Because the hose and air conditioner drain are in this area, it's usually damp and/muddy, so I think the rocks will help control it. After looking at this photo, I see that I need to move one of the hostas, so that's on my to-do list for tomorrow.

I also cut a LOT of dead wood from our huge rosemary plants; the snow we had this past winter damaged them and it became clear that large sections had died, giving the front flower bed a really neglected look.

I worked until it got dark and even though I accomplished quite a lot, I still have so much to do! But that's the way it is with yard work, isn't it?

Oh, and one last thing; I must have had an episode of temporary insanity, because I ordered this from Alicia Paulson! I've never done this type of project, I don't have grandchildren, and I still have a little knit squirrel kit from Brooklyn General sitting untouched in my craft room, but it was so adorable looking, I just had to have it. I'll keep you posted on her progress.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Weekend Update

I'm so happy I deleted the games on my iPad. Even though I miss playing them sometimes, I feel like it has allowed me to be outside more, to knit more, and to read more. To satisfy the gaming itch, I just downloaded the Luminosity app, which is supposed to be good for the brain.

After picking a little over four pounds on Saturday, I went back to the strawberry field Sunday morning and picked twelve pounds of strawberries, which I put up in Ball jars. I froze some in water and some without, to test which method I prefer. I also have been eating them with yogurt and in smoothies. I can't wait until blueberry season and am planning to hit the pick-your-own farms as much as I can this summer.

I also worked in the yard a lot and sat on the beach a little all three days, reading and knitting. The ratio was a bit heavy on work, but I am pleased with how much I got accomplished. I am actually ready to get back to work, since I've exhausted myself doing yard work and power washing the house. I was able to sit on the beach long enough to finish The Book Thief, which is an amazing read. Although I want to read Middlemarch this summer, I'm sticking to shorter novels until school is out. My beach knitting project is the Triilian shawl, using a skein of Susan Schaeffer yarn I bought last year. Since the yarn is cotton and the pattern is easy, I think it will be a perfect beach knit.


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Feeling It

I went strawberry picking this morning.

Came home and ate farm fresh eggs with asparagus from our garden.

And painted a brown wicker basket a summery aqua to brighten it up.

I think my summer has begun!


Thursday, May 22, 2014


I think I'm becoming addicted to yard work. As I mentioned earlier, I've been working in the yard every night when I get home, and tonight, I actually left knit night early in order to get back outside! I think I'm enjoying getting all sweaty and dirty, because it reminds me of being a kid again. I was such a tomboy when I was little, always playing outside until it was dark, and getting as dirty as any of the neighborhood boys. Now I enjoy the feeling of pulling weeds, trimming grass, and getting physically tired, and then coming in and taking a bath. Seeing my legs, feet, and arms covered in dirt and grass and then washing them all clean, makes me feel like I did when I was twelve. And it's an especially good way to work off the stress of teaching during the last few weeks of school.

I can't wait for summer

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


We've been having some really wonderful weather lately, especially last weekend. The days were in the sixties and low seventies, and the nights were breezy and in the fifties. Consequently, we've had our windows open and I've been spending a lot of time outdoors.

I spent some time at the beach on Saturday and Sunday.
Went to an outdoor show on Friday after work, to hear my youngest daughter and her boyfriend's band, as part of the Virginia Arts Festival.
And I attended the Norfolk Greek Fest, which is a yearly favorite of mine.

I have been working in the yard every night after work since last week, and as a result, our yard is looking neater than it has since we've moved in six years ago. I've been keeping up with the edging (we have a very long side yard and sidewalk), digging up the dandelions (it's unreal how many we have/had), and just generally keeping it all tidy. I've also trimmed up some dead branches from a number of trees and shrubs, pulled weeds, and planted a lot of tomatoes, herbs, and flowers, using clay pots.

One reason for all this activity is the fact that I deleted all but one of my iPad games, because I was irritated with myself for wasting so much time playing them. The only one I kept was Words with Friends, because it imposes a time limit naturally, unlike Farm Hero and BingoBash. I had gotten to the point where I was spending so much time playing them after I got home, that I wasn't reading or knitting very much. Since I deleted them last week, I've read the book, Divergent, and am now half way through The Book Thief, even though I don't come inside until it's dark. Do I miss the games? Absolutely. Am I happier? Without a doubt.


I've also started drinking infused water. Although I've seen articles on it before, for some reason the latest one I read motivated me. Maybe because fresh fruit is so enticing right now. And also because I'm growing a few pots of mint. I froze an ice tray's worth of mint the other day and it just looks so pretty floating in the glass. Using my blue Ball jars makes it look pretty as well. I fill them at night and grab them whenever I leave the house. If I could consistently substitute water for soda, it would be a very positive change. This recipe sounds especially good.

I only have fourteen more school days, including two exam days, which seems unreal. Some of my students have been having a terrible time staying focused and/or staying out of trouble. I've written a lot of discipline referrals the past couple of weeks and last week found me getting upset every day. So much so, that this past weekend I was determined to change my behavior. I decided that instead of reacting with frustration, I would just back off and force myself to disengage enough to stop taking the negative behaviors personally. At this point, it really is out of my control, and the less emotional I am, the easier it is to maintain a positive classroom environment. So far it's working. I've had three very good days this week, despite having to have students removed from class every day.

I'm teaching the play, Julius Caesar, to my second block, and short stories and nonfiction to my third and fourth blocks. My second block is my strongest block, academically speaking, and since I've never taught that play before, I wanted to give it a test run, and I'm happy to say, it's going great. The students are interested in it, and we're breaking it down, scene by scene.

And just for fun, my friend, Lori, and I went to see the big duck that's floating in The Hague, also a part of the Virginia Arts Fest. Cute, huh?


Hope your week is just ducky!


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Almost Summer

I planted my tomatoes yesterday; I decided to use pots instead of the hay bale method I tried last year. I also planted some pots of cinnamon basil and lemon balm, as well as a few flowers. Our roses are gorgeous right now; Steve has only planted heirlooms, so they all have a wonderful scent.



I went out for an early Mother's Day brunch yesterday with my mom and Melissa. It was much less crowded than I assume it will be today.

Love this girl of mine!


Hope you have a happy Sunday!


Sunday, May 4, 2014

Yarn Weekend

My three friends and I had a fabulous weekend at Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival. The weather was perfect and we had no reason not to stay there all day, so that's exactly what we did. There was yarn bombing all over the grounds.

Isn't this a great collection?



I finally bought a skein of yarn from Seacolors; I love their muted, yet beautiful colors.

On the way home today, we decided to stop at Looped, in DC.

And we wrapped up the weekend at Fibre Space, in Alexandria, where they had a Brooklyn Tweed trunk show. All in all, a perfect knitter's weekend. Next time, I'll show you my purchases!