Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Late Winter (January through March)

Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden

        Winter has been very cold, windy and rainy this year (2014-2015), but early indications promise a warm and sudden Spring unfolding before us. In my back yard, blooms are appearing in the form of apple blossoms on the trees, Daffodil shoots in the dirt, crocus in the patio flower pots and the beginning budding of Rhododendron and Azalea bushes.  Smells of Magnolia were especially pungent when I hiked through the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden yesterday.

Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden

The gravel pathways undulate throughout the gardens and are perfect for walking dogs, on leash.  What a wonderful place it would be to let small dogs roam freely, if it were allowed. I'm sure they would take off for the water. Ruby enjoyed walking on the rock walls, more so than on the pathways.  She was very well-behaved around the duck pounds and was more curious about the smells on the ground and the barking sounds of dogs in the distance, as well as the honking Canadian geese.  The park is open to the public and free until March 1st, where the fee is $4.00 per person.


The vast number of ducks and Canadian Geese on the ponds were quite amazing, too. Many of the ducks were quite colorful.


    Walking through the gardens I realized that even though the sun was shining down upon us, the weather was still quite chilly.  As walking has become my new exercise routine now that Ruby has come to live with us, her preferred walks through the woods and hikes up steep terrain requires keeping dry and warm.  I find the need to cover my head to keep from picking up one of the nasty flu viruses that are on the news these days.


So, in that regard, I finished my new stocking cap, made from the Bernat Sheep(ish) brand yarn that I have come to enjoy.  I love the entire line of the soft yarn with its many pastel colors and matching variegated yarns.  My next project will be a sweater in the softest seafoam green shade that is in the variegated yarn. The mix and match idea is exciting.



From a wonderful blog, little woolie, comes this amazing explosion of color, from designer and crochet instructor, Julie Harrison. She has the most incredible sense of color design that I have seen in any designer since Kaffee Fasset. I'm truly impressed. 


Julie's work makes me inspires me and awakens all kinds of creative ideas for knitting. I have never learned to crochet past single chain but am willing to learn.  Too bad Julie teaches in Pennsylvania, instead of here in Oregon. I would definitely signed up for her classes.


Valentine's Day

      Recently, I've thought about getting back into my cross-stitching craft. Since it's close to Valentine's Day, what better time to start a new stitchery project?  Here are some pretty art pieces that I am interested in starting.

For those of us to are into Valentine's Day parties, or just want something festive to grace the dinner table, here is a lovely craft idea that highlights the Valentine Day theme.





When the sun peaks out in the following months, my thoughts will turn to flower beds and hanging baskets of cascading foliage. But first, ground prep is a must, as well as sticker removal and pine boughs from the windy and rainy season of the past few months.

Although clean up is my least favorite gardening activity, the results are so satisfying that I just want to keep moving along, just to see the results unfold.
And there's nothing quite as satisfying as knowing that your toil and trouble has produced a wonderful area to not only share with your pets and the occasional birds and squirrels that pass through, but you also have a place to relax and enjoy some down time.

Knitting or reading are both favorite pastimes of mine, under the protective shade of the plum trees. Or better yet, a covered porch, preferably in a rocking swing. With a glass of fresh strawberry lemonade.

    As the weather dries up, gardening will become a very integral part of my Spring activities.  With the blooming of various plantings around the yard, there comes a multitude of containment ideas. Recycling old cast off items into flower or vegetable containers is intriguing. There are so many creative ideas that I can hardly wait to see what develops. Here are some ideas that are especially intriguing.

1.  Old tires that are laying around can be jazzed up with a bit of color.


 2.  Old rain boots make a wonderful and colorful idea for a fence.

3.  Simple soup cans are great for starter plants or young growth.


Have a wonderful and Happy February - share some love add some brilliant colors into your life. 

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