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Again with the snow? I was not expecting this.  Neither were the flowers.  But they are hardy, and the snow will pass.

Very buzzzzy

Very buzzzzy

My mother was visiting recently and we went to the Bellevue Botanical Garden on what was, I think , the last purely warm and sunny day of the year.  The dahlia bed in front was quite astonishing in its wild colors and flower forms, and the bees were making the most of it.  Cathy has almost the same picture in her blog — bees clearly have the same agendas no matter where they live.

We also stopped by Olsen’s Scandinavian Foods in Ballard, where I saw bags of Lapskaus in the freezer,

But no Spotted Dog

But no Spotted Dog

showing the Scandinavian connection to the British dish lobscouse, as detailed in the excellent tome Lobscouse and Spotted Dog, by the multi-talented Lisa Grossman and Anne Chotzinoff Grossman.  If you don’t have a copy yet, you should!

The Baby Surprise Jacket is coming along well. I’m past the half-way point, and eagerly await turning this amorphous blob into a charming sweater.

Blobby knitting

Blobby knitting

Close-up of blobby knitting
Close-up of blobby knitting

I really love the way the yarn looks!

School Year Rose

School Year Rose

I call this the School Year Rose, because it blooms in mid-June, the end of the school year here, and again with a small second flush in early September, at the beginning.  Its blooms are signs of transition to me, opportunities opening and closing, change, new beginnings, and endings. It is sweetly scented, sunny yellow, round and generous in form.  A lovely rose.  It’s a David Austin rose — the tag has gone missing, but I think it’s Charlotte. It  grows in a pot on my back deck, and yes, those are wine corks as mulch.  They do a good job, although the crows keep picking them up and tossing them into the grass down below.

All summer in a jar

All summer in a jar

I’ve put up some raspberry jam to enjoy during the bleak mid-winter, perhaps with some Ginger Scones. It’s good to have tangible reminders of summer, sunshine, and harvest.

I took some measurements for Mary’s sweater — hard to believe we all wore sleeves that were 8 inches long at some point!

I ran into Jon Singer at Denvention, and asked if he could recall the name of the rose he gave me,  giving him the details: pink, striped, good scent, climberish in form. “Ah, Ferdinand Pichard!” he exclaimed, and so it is. He also promised me a cutting of another rose — my notes say  Von Steinforth, but I can’t find a rose by that name, so I clearly have written it down wrong. I’ll pass along a cutting of Ferdinand Pichard to our mutual friend Amy Thomson, along with a chunk of root from the rhubarb, another Singer gift. Thus does vegetation make humans submit to its bidding.

More Denvention reporting later . . .

Striped rose

Striped rose

I love going into the summer garden to smell the roses.  I don’t have many — the Seattle climate can kill a lot of varieties — so a rose that can do well for me is hardy, strong thing. I’ve forgotten the name of the one above.  It was gift from Jon Singer,  (yes, of course you know him), one that he propagated from a cutting.  I recall that it’s a person’s name . . . look familiar to anyone?  Very scented, just delightful, and the blooms always make me think of small cabbages; a Brussels sprout rose, perhaps, as it is not big enough to be a true cabbage rose. A vintage rose, climber-ish in form, but not wildly so. I love the stripes.
Tiny rose

Tiny rose

This is Evangeline, and the variety dates back to 1906. a vigorous climber that covers itself in these tiny single roses in July.  Lightly scented, the merest hint of fragrance.

There are a couple more roses, I’ll try to show them another time.

Besides weeding and pruning, I’m been working more on my first pair of socks for Summer of Socks.
Sock in the sun
Sock in the sun

The first one is now done, and I’m just starting the increases on the second of the pair. The colors are quite summery, aren’t they?  But the yarn is a bit too heavy to wear on a warm day.

I came up with a good quick dinner the other night:  Take chicken thighs, and loosen the skin from the meat.  Smear in a generous amount of Mustapha’s Harissa  — it’s not a wildly hot harissa, but use your own judgement here.  Slip a thin slice of fresh lemon under the skin, put into a lightly oiled baking dish, and bake at 350 till the meat is done and the skin is getting crispy, about 40 minutes. Spicy, tangy, with a citrus edge — really good!