Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Ranting & Raving

OK I’ve seen it all now. This is The Most Expensive Skein of Yarn I’ve ever seen — $61 US for 145 yards of nice-but-not-too-exciting-with-a-few-beads. There’s only ONE ball in existence apparently. Not enough for a whole sweater. Awww…

Oh wait. There’s more — skeins of handspun funk yarn that are smaller but also super expensive. How about this one that looks like first-effort yarn from my beginner spinning class only multicoloured for a mere $31 US for a whopping 60 yards. Check them all out and wonder.

No-no-no, THIS is The Most Expensive Skein of Yarn — $125 US for 56 yards. Of course it weighs 6.6 ounces so it’s pretty fat stuff. The spinner known as Pluckyfluff is the queen of the wild yarn spinners and she does have a following who will pay her prices. I’d like to get her book demonstrating her techniques but even that is too expensive for me. Though I’ve contemplated it a time or two.

People, it would be a whole lot cheaper to pay me to teach you how to spin your own! After a few skeins even the price of a spinning wheel will be recouped. Of course, more power to those intrepid entrepreneurs who can get that kind of money for their yarn. I wonder if the market is limited though. Time will tell. Knitting is hot right now with the young-’uns who would be attracted to the funkier one-of-a-kind yarns but they tend to have a short attention span. Maybe my view is warped because I’ve been spinning myself for 30 years or so? Anyway I’m much more impressed with the marketing than the actual spinning involved.

Such lovely weather we’re having today. It snowed on the daffodils and cherry blossoms. I’m not inspired to do anything in my garden, which looked like this:

Yeah, I know that’s not much snow but it’s wet and dark and cold and windy. Ick. A big storm is on the way right now so even worse weather is expected later today. So I gardened inside and got all my earliest seeds started. This included broccoli, rapini, onions, leeks, peppers, parsley, cilantro, lettuce, mixed baby greens (arugula, mizuna, several more lettuces, and endive), and flowers (marigolds, ageratum, lobelia, and coreopsis). T-Man kindly washed out all the flats for me yesterday. What a guy! See the seedlies all tucked into their little beds with their blankies (newspaper) on top:

Oh yeah. You can't see them because they're underneath the Georgia Straight newspaper. (I've been reading this free weekly since I was 17.) I took this photo without the light on but it stays on to give them some heat. Later when they sprout I’ll take off the blankies and leave them in their little plastic-covered mini-greenhouses for awhile until they’re big enough to uncover all the way. I take out chunks of the supporting wood under the shelves as they grow to keep them below the lights, which go off at night when the seedlies are up so they can have a nap. When they outgrow their little seeding flats, I replant them in bigger pots (or in the same ones except deeper and farther apart) with potting soil instead of starter medium. In a couple of weeks I’ll start the next bunch: tomatoes, eggplant, basil, more cilantro, and dill. Later there’s cucumbers, summer squash, and sunflowers. The only things I plant straight into the garden are peas and beans. And I have to cover the peas with nets or the birds eat them off as they come up. I’m not bothering with potatoes this year since we don’t eat many any more and they never do as well as they should thanks to flea beetles.

It seems like a lot of work, but mostly it’s not a big deal. And we get to munch on the yummies in the garden all summer. “Pick ’em and eat ’em before they scream!” You can grow things that aren’t easily available in the grocery stores and you know they are fresh with no nasty pesticides. I only consider my produce as “semi-organic” because I do use a wee bit of artificial fertilizer when the seedlings are growing in the flats. Other than that they get fish fertilizer, some chicken and steer manure, and lots of compost.

We also have blueberries and blackberries and rhubarb. You can see the nicely pruned blackberry bushes on the back fence in the photo. Those suckers grow 12 feet in a summer! They attack cars driving by in the lane and eat small children and dogs…wait. I just wish they’d eat dogs. Particularly the large noisy ones next door that get let out right near my bedroom just when I’m trying to go to sleep every night. But I digress. (Learned that phrase from the T-Man.) The neighbours get much of the fruit on the outside of the fence except for the ones that are hard to reach. Why is it that picking somebody’s flowers without asking is frowned upon but it’s ok to pick their blackberries? Not just a nibble as they walk by, but with buckets? Some kind of hunter-gatherer remnant in our back-brains? So where are these people when T-Man is out there trying to prune back the prickly things, eh? Nowhere to be seen. But I again digress. We also have two blueberry bushes that give us plenty of yummy berries to eat and freeze and occasionally give a bag or two away. The nut trees (hazelnut, walnut, and chestnut) are a write-off thanks to the darned squirrels. And more neighbourly snitching in the case of the chestnuts. So much for my “city farm” attempts. But at least we get to enjoy a few fruits of our labours.

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