With a tiny, tiny scythe….

The tomatoes that Chris planted in the little peat starters are looking great!

Their first true leaves are starting to appear – and they’re getting a little crowded.  Soon, they would be to the point where they would compete for light and root space, and they would end up leggy and weak.

So, sad though it is, it’s time to thin the seedlings.   I didn’t actually use a tiny scythe – I used tweezers.

So many tiny lives, wasted…. but, that’s the way it’s  done.  Strongest, healthiest seedling lives, extras have to be culled.  Unfortunately, tomato leaves aren’t edible, or we’d have the world’s cutest little salad.

This one looks odd; is it two plants in there, or three?

No, that one plant really does have THREE cotyledons.  There are two kinds of vascular plants that I know of… monocotyledons have one, dicotyledons have two.  This one has three.  I made sure that it survived, to see what happens with the rest of its development.  I’m assuming that it’s the same kind of divisional error that yields four-leafed clovers (and I’ve found clover leaves with up to seven…) – but I’ve never seen what happens if it begins this early in the plant’s development.  I’m wondering if the true leaves will come in sets of three?

So now we have thirty-six little tomato plants.  Probably still a lot more than we’ll be able to find garden soil for…. but I’m the kind of freak who thinks that home-grown tomato seedlings would make nice gifts.

The Better Boy plants that my Dad started around the first of December, and which we’ve been babying since New Year’s, are doing well.  A little leggy, perhaps, but we’ll just plant them deep and they’ll get extra root growth that way.

These are the peppers – we actually saved seed from a Holland Bell pepper that we enjoyed from the Asian grocery.  If the plants take after their parent, they’ll be huge, sweet, and orange.

Where I stand on the Science-versus-Jesus culture wars

I don’t often get into political or cultural issues in my blog – it’s yarn, and bugs, and the yard, and snippets of my life… pretty easy stuff.  This post is a little angrier than most, because it hits a nerve with me.  I’ve lived in Texas since I was five, and sometimes it’s an embarrassment to be associated with the “average Texans” and their backward, gullible thinking.

I firmly believe in modern science.  I don’t believe in the Bible.  I’m not a Christian.  It’s rarely an issue, but the other day while I was doing a school program, a teacher kind of pulled me to one side after I was done and waiting for the next group, and told me what marvelous creations silkworms are, and how she and I know, but we’re not allowed to teach the kids about God making them any more, they have to teach all this evolution nonsense in science… it just about turned my stomach.

And now, there’s thisSERIOUSLY, Texas?  According to a poll by the University of Texas, thirty percent of Texans believe that humans and dinosaurs walked the earth at the same time.  Because, you know, the Earth is only six thousand some years old.  Fifty-one percent of Texans surveyed disagree that humans evolved from earlier species.  Young-earth creationists make my skin crawl.  I think that teaching this BS to your kids is child abuse.


One of the things that Chris and I both really like about the new house, is that it has a good space for a big vegetable garden.  We’re at the stage where we’re trying to balance pre-season enthusiasm with the realization of how much labor it can be as things get big.

Tomato and pepper seedlings are taking a sun bath today; it’s sixty degrees and only a light breeze – perfect weather for tiny baby plants.

The big tomato plants are Better Boy that my Dad planted from seed; we have been babying them since Christmas. They sit on the kitchen counter under a high-output full-spectrum light when it’s too cold outside, and they go outside on any sunny day.  They’re almost five inches tall now.

The little seedlings are half peppers, half tomatoes.  The tomatoes are a “heritage cherry tomato mix.”  The peppers are from a beautiful big orange Holland Bell pepper that we both liked from the grocery store.  We will probably get a grape tomato or two – Chris and I both love those.  We’re planning on some spaghetti and zucchini squash, rainbow chard, bush and pole beans, beets, onions… and something I’m sure I’m forgetting.  And lots of herbs in the holes of the cinder blocks.

Tomato seedlings.

The garden will be in these raised beds.  They’re roughly three by nine, and we’re going to lay them out square-foot gardening style.  You can’t really tell from this photo, but they’re already about two-thirds full with a good sandy loam; we’ll top up with peat, vermiculite, and compost.  Back in the corner there, is where my BEES are gonna go!

Knotwork necklace – finished!

The knotwork necklace, finished.  I’m hoping to get some shots in natural daylight, to see if they will make the weird coloring of these beads show up better.

Ironically, the best way to see the color of the beads, is to force it out of focus.

Specs: The weaving is approximately twenty-four inches long, but with the folding to make the center front, and the closure in the back (which is a magnetic clasp, sewn on to the ribbon) it’s more like a 22-inch neck size.  The weaving is 1.25″ across, worked on 61 four-hole tablets for a total of 244 warp ends, and an effective epi of 195.  The thread is a 40d3x3 organzine, about the weight of a Size C sewing thread.  I made every single inch of silk, including the thread used for the beads and the construction.  It has nine of the large square iridescent Czech beads, nine dagger beads, and more of the Size 8 seed beads than I really want to count, but it’s somewhere between 300 and 400.  The seed and dagger beads are carried on the structural weft; the large square beads were sewn on after weaving.

Weaving, and still snowy!

I finished the ribbon last night.  This is an in-progress picture; I’ll get more once I have it all hemmed up and beaded and finished this evening.

The sunlight through the window was good for the color of the beads, but a little harsh for shadows.  The surface beads over the knotwork on either side of the front don’t normally cast stark shadows like that.

There’s still snow on the ground at our house.  Here’s the view of the creek:

And here’s the back of the house.  See the big pile of snow by the garage door?  Those dark stains flowing down the driveway from it, are puddles of slick ice.  It was nearly fifty yesterday, but 29 again overnight.

and the view down the street.  Notice the piles of broken limbs in front of many of the houses!

I’ve never had snow stay on the ground like this.  I know that for many of my northerly friends, this is just a drop in the bucket – but snow worth shoveling is something that I have never experienced in my life, and snow that stays on the ground more than overnight is something that happens to other people.

More about our snow

We ended up with a total of 12.5 inches by official report; here, we had an accumulation of about 11.5.

Lots of people lost tree branches. Some lost whole trees.

This poor tree tried to lean both ways, and split down the middle:

Slashed and Burned, Again

Thank you to several of my friends for pointing this out – my blog got hacked.

Since then, I have uninstalled and reinstalled WordPress three times, deleted all of my databases… and still kept getting hacked. I’m hoping that this time, I’ve got it sorted. If you see this come up in your news reader with something like “Buy C*alis” (not starred out) as a header, please let me know. It SHOULD say “Slashed and Burned, Again” at the top.

Weaving on the Knotwork Necklace

I’ve warped up and started weaving on the knotwork necklace ribbon.  The knots are coming out a little bulkier than I had thought – I’m going to end up with fewer of the big square beads on it, but it should be fine otherwise.

I’m very pleased with the beads along the edge.  The photo doesn’t show their color well – they’re a “purple iris” that changes from purple through bronze and green to blue, as you turn them in the light.

SNOWPOCALYPSE – the Dallas version

We woke up this morning to a Winter Wonderland outside. This is the view from our bedroom window.  It’s lovely living in the treetops.

After the morning brightened a little, this is the view across the creek from the back yard.

The house looks really at home in snow – this Cape Cod style with its steep roof is really built for it.

They’re predicting an overnight accumulation of four to six inches – I’ve never seen snow like this in the 15 years I’ve lived in Dallas.

Preparing for the Knotwork Necklace – making yarn, sketching

I’m still in the sketch-and-make-yarn stages on this one.

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The “sketch” – this is a paper strip of roughly the width I’m aiming for, with a knotwork pattern. The knots won’t be quite like this one, but this is as close as I could get with Celtic Knot font.

I’m debating whether the dagger beads (the dangly, pointy ones) should go all the way around (like they are on the right, but the whole length) or if they should be only on the front V part, like how they are on the left.

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The yarn: this is 820 yards of 40d3×3 organzine; the background is going to be black, and the knotwork part gold.

Hopefully I get it skeined up, boiled off, and dyed tomorrow.

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The yarn, it is tiny.