I wiped away the weeds & foam. / I fetched my sea-born treasures home... Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, February 3, 2023

Growing Winter Flowers

Welcome, on this frigid Friday. Mo and I are wearing our down vests and praying that the power survives gale winds. Just between us all, I am a bit frightened. How long can we survive 5* temps, -20* windchill if the heat goes out? 

Last week I planted my winter into spring bulbs. But I started planting at Christmas, with the amaryllis bulbs.

The red amaryllis, now in its 7th-ish year, I think, was raring to go. I trimmed the dried leaves and replanted with fresh soil in its blue and white pot. Sequence below from December 30 to today, February 3. Well worth the minimal effort of summering outdoors on the deck.

Then a Christmas gift to myself, post-holiday sales. This is the blue amaryllis.

It arrived from China, squashed and pitiful, very small. 

I started it in a water forcing vase, but it just sat there, brown and sad.

Replanted it second week of January. Put it on the cool but sunny windowsill. I see a green nubbin, but noothing more.

In late December I planted these tulip bulbs. They were saved for a friend who never got to plant them--- grocery store Easter tulips, as I recall, red and yellow stripes. I had planned a longer colding off but they were happily sprouted! Planted and kept on the deck til the weather got super cold.

Last week  was the big planting session. So many sales, I got carried away.

Some I started in water, like the hyacinths I bought last fall and left to chill in my unheated entrance. They too were very early to sprout.

One large vase, the recycled Costco forcing vase with most of the hyacinths, 

The blue hyacinths have very beautiful deep purple papery bulbs.

and one a plain but functional glass hyacinth vase. I do love watching the bulbs grow in the clear glass vases.

The usual paper white narcissus, BIG batch of bulbs--I only expected six. For some reason this year, I wanted them in a crock, but then later as they grow, will put the crock in the  big beach found belljar.

Nicer crock than it looks at first glance, a Macomb butter or lard jar from Illinois. 1910-1920?


Gathering the saved sea glass that anchor the bulbs grown in water. Also a bag of not used marbles.

All were planted! So far just tiny sprouts, the house is very cold, less sun than usual.

Final sales after the hols tempted me to add a few more new things to try. These bulbs were planted in soil in my McCoy flower pots. Tiny tete-a-tete daffs, again so many! I hope they are late bloomers and are Easter flowers.

Fringed tulips, I ran out of fancy pots! The tulips went in everyday garden pots, then out on the deck for colding off. Again, hoping for a later bloom.

Here is Mo supervising the planting and settling of pots outdoors.

Some I loaded in the sink to get well-hydrated,

...now they are by the [cold, drafty] back door. A cold period is needed, though I am a bit dim about exactly why, since as mentioned, all the bulbs except blue am were well sprouted.

It will be so interesting to watch what blooms and when.  Have a great weekend.

other years:



gone to the beach......

We are not thrilled with the Snowy Owl paparazzi! Owl has disappeared, I am pretty sure he disliked the crowds on our usually empty beach,. Too bad of these people!

PS a tiny quilty note: lately I'm attracted to the simple, often brown 4Patch and 9Patch quilts I see on Instagram. Utilitarian or beginners'' work? Scraps used? So charming. Maybe something to make?


Saturday, January 28, 2023

January is Flying By!

Hello hello, how fast the winter days go by. It's almost February. Last year at this time a huge blizzard was arriving and my eye surgery was January 31, as I recall. In many ways things have not changed much---like the movie Groundhog Day, events keep repeating, repeating. We are again, still? in a cycle of cancellations and fears of Covid and other illnesses. Three--3!-- special celebrations were canceled this week, due to non-Covid/ non-flu related respiratory illnesses; one of my dogwalkers has Covid, blah blah blah. We have to wear masks in public. Again. And I still have severe double vision! 2022, below

The good news, in addition to the warmish temps, is that there has been a sudden shift in the sun's setting time. Mo and I can go out at 5 PM and not be in pitch darkness.

January has not been a productive month, time just slips away. Too much time spent reading trashy free offerings on Kindle Free Books! 

This week was mending, not quilting. Do any of you mend undergarments? Since Covid lockdowns made it so hard to shop in stores--and buying bras and panties online is a real crapshoot, loser's game!--I find myself ''making do'' and mending underwear. Nuff said. And my beloved Eileen West nightgowns cost a fortune, are never on sale, so, yes, I patch and repair. Eileen West

I also patch the elbows of my work sweaters. I have a thing for cashmere turtlenecks, my winter uniform. Lest you think this is hugely extravagant: 1-I am always very cold and they're warm but not bulky; 2-I look for sales and specials; 3-some I have since before my mom died that were gifts from her---and she passed away in 2009. Value per wear? Pretty good, pennies per wear I am estimating. Then I have a method: every few years I buy a new sweater for going out and I retire a sweater to a home wear sweater. These are the ones that get elbow patches. 

When these finally have shrunk to baby size from machine washing, I recycle the arms as leg warmers and the bodies as cuddle blankies for Mo.

This year's new sweater, very much on special when I bought it.    Lands End Sweater Today LE asked for a review. I love the sweater, was willing to say that. But then the questionnaire asked for age, gender, height, weight, size. These are not bits of info I wish published for millions of shoppers to see and also spyware to have. Deleted that page real quick.

More mending of household stuff. Some shells do better with a coat of white paint!

Scribble journal and try-out perpetual journal. The PJ will ostensibly have better more perfect illustrations, not cartoons like the SJ. Hmmmm...

I mulled over a few possible ''this looks fun'' sewing projects:

This is adorable, but all so tiny. 1" squares in the center, tiny applique motifs, most 2" or less. Needle-turn app gets harder the tinier the bits and pieces are, as does piecing actually. And really, how many tiny placemat sized quilts can a person make? I made way too many last year, I notice. Useless after the fun of making is done.

Or this one? Just that I can't seem to break it into approachable blocks of now-and-then segments. Must think more, so I set aside this one too.

Mo as always cozily supervises.

Undecided and unfocused, I just went back to making Flying Geese for Winter Marsh. I need about a hundred more. And the Sun, a snow day project, if indeed it ever snows? Fine with me if not.

Here are the huge skeins of geese that inspire my Flying Geese quilts. 

Seen in giant flocks yesterday, not just on the marshes but overhead driving home from Target. We also saw flocks of brants [smaller geese] and cormorants, and rafts of pretty winter ducks in the water.

I did cook this week, Mongolian Beef, seen on Instgram.

Mine, below, looked so pretty, just like the vid, tasted gloppy and bland. Gave me a stomachache too, so I tossed the rest. Had planned it to be meals for three days.

The premise of the IG story was that the recipe is cheap and fast. Okay it didn't take long, but the steak for a double recipe cost * $23.99! Horrifying. And so wasteful. Pretty sure the local Chinese carryout could deliver for a LOT less. [*I had asked for one small ribeye steak, grocery sent pre-packed two rather large steaks! Wish I had only used one. Steak is a big treat for me, hard to throw this dish out.]


All my spring forcing bulbs have arrived so I am collecting flower pots. Hopefully that's our next post here. Lots of prechilled bulbs, very on sale, look on line if you want to grow spring flowers with me. Even an on sale, leftover from Christmas amaryllis bulb is fun in deepest winter. 

Have a good week, welcome February! Dry hands and feet suggestion, smells so good:



gone to the beach.....

longer days means longer Mo walks despite the gale winds.

And the beach ball--so sad, so evocative of summer gone by and not returning for 6 months still....

PS back from walk, we played out on the deck and noticed many people [20? 25?] on the shoreline of the beach. Long zoom, lenses. Probably not a wedding, in January.....Something in the surf? A body, a buoy, a seal, a whale? I hope not the Snowy Owl, as they are looking in the shorebreak. 
Too far and too dark to walk out though.