Saturday, July 20, 2013

What a difference 16 days can make & yarn help!

My sister asked me what time I woke up.  
5:00AM everyday (almost) for the past three weeks.  I wake up to the alarm in order to wake up Cassie for her 6AM strawberry picking job.  I'm usually arriving back home by 6:10 to start my day.  Blogging, reading email and crocheting have been my early morning hours routine.  Love it!

It's a GORGEOUS morning out there today!  The heat has broken even more than yesterday.  So, for those of you on the East coast.....relief is coming!  62 degrees at the 5AM alarm.  The sun crested our neck of the woods around 5:45.... and I had a perfect opportunity for taking updated pictures of the garden that we all worked so diligently on yesterday.  Despite the HOT temps this past week, the rain we received a week ago, combined with the warm temps..... wonders for everything in the garden!

Garden (left) - July 4
Garden (left) - July 20
Garden (right) - July 4
Garden (right) - July 20
Paul, Caitlyn, Candace and myself spent the morning hours yesterday cleaning up everything in the garden.  In addition to the plants, the weeds also took off during this past week!

Inspired by Cassie's strawberry-picking method of pay, Paul and I came up with some "work incentive" for the other two as well.  For each row of corn they weed, they would receive $1.00.  We really aren't choosing to do so based on bribery.  There are parents who give out allowances;  we don't.  I don't think we'll ever start, either.  However, we are very open to 'paying per duty' -- and for the girls to learn a work ethic and to realize they can't simply get paid for doing nothing.  OR for doing a poor job.  Now, sure..sure..sure.  There's the argument that they will only be completing jobs with the sole purpose of earning money.  Well... is that really a bad thing?

For instance, Candace was a GO-GETTER yesterday, outweeding Caitlyn 2-to-1.  She completed 4 rows where Caitlyn only did 2.  Candace weeded her rows clean, where Caitlyn needed to go back and reweed some areas of hers.  Sure, there were tears by Caitlyn....and she may hate weeding forever because of this.  BUT, when the dough was dished out to the girls later in the afternoon, I kinda wonder if Caitlyn regretted not doing a better job, seeing Candace earning more than her.

Anyway... I know there are PROs and CONs about paying kids for working in a garden that they themselves will reap the food benefits from... but.  I'm hoping they learn the PROs of getting paid :)

And in the end, all but 3 rows of corn were weeded.  Works for me.

And they were all smiles when they could pick some early peapods...

and raspberries.

Enjoying her raspberries, Candace couldn't believe the size of some of our tomato plants already!  Almost as tall as her.  And they are growing beautifully!  All 18 in the main garden have oodles of blossoms and many tomatoes growing already.  The 14 in the upper garden are also in full bloom, but no tomatoes yet.

Sadly, we also had some bad news when walking around inspecting everything over.  The potato bugs have swarmed in in droves.  Six plants were completely infested; so infested that it would have taken oooodles of time to pick all of them off.  Therefore, Paul said to just leave them and that he would spray them once the wind was calmer.  Neither of us are big on spraying pesticides or herbicides, but he picked up an organic pesticide specific for potato bugs and we are hoping it'll do the trick.  Note: The weather calmed down nicely by 8:00 PM after our full day of garden and boating; the plants have been sprayed.

Going back to the raspberries for a moment..... OMGoodness!  The three rows we transplanted two years ago are LOADED with berries this year!!!  The four rows that were transplanted last year have some berries, but NOTHING like this.  We picked our handfuls of ripe berries.  I predict in this next week, full-swing berry picking will get underway.

Our Wisconsin grasshoppers must be in full reproduction phase too, because they were jumping all over the place in the raspberries.  I couldn't resist taking a picture, all the while thinking of Judy in TX and her monster grasshoppers!  Golly gee!  I don't know what I would do if I came across a grasshopper the size of the ones down by her.  This lil' guy pictured here could easily fit on a dime.

Other good news!  A few of Paul's tree grafts have budded nicely :)  He took a class on tree grafting earlier this spring, and as part of the class fee, students were give some rootstock and ..umm.... well, the tree-branchy-thingies that you graft onto the rootstock (I can't recall the technical term).  Four different apple tree varieties have successfully been grafted.  Yay.  It was an exciting moment to find this good fortune.

By noon, we were hanging up our garden tools for the day.  I. Was. Poooooped.  WAY more pooped than I had been in a long time.  Maybe these 11PM bedtimes and 5AM mornings finally caught up with me.  I certainly give credit to Cassie for working her long hours in the sun day-to-day!  6AM to noon most days, with some days going until 1 or 2PM in the afternoon;  all depending on how quickly the pickers reach the daily quart goal established by the owner.

By midafternoon, the girls were getting antsy and wanted to go boating.  Goofball Caitlyn here used her creativity and problem-solving skills to create some scuba gear.  She never did end up trying it out in the water.  I think she simply forgot once they all started jumping off the platform into the water, doing different twists, flips and turns.

And me...?  I crocheted.  And Paul read a magazine.
I have added the dark teal to the project.  And a silly story to tell...
This will be my first project where I'm reading off a pattern;  the other projects I've done were all created from watching videos on YouTube.
The pattern calls for making "bobbles" - little puffs of yarn.  Cute lil' things.  BUT, shortly after starting the bobble row, I started making the " this right?" face.  I wasn't seeing any cute lil' puffs of yarn! :\
But I persevered...and when I went to turn the project for the next row of simple single crochets....

I saw the bobbles!!!  I didn't realize they were going to be on the other "right" side of the project and that I working on the "back" side.  Ha.  Learning loads of new stuff with this project.  This pattern is having me front and back post double-crochet, create bobbles, and to do a criss-cross as well.

HOWEVER.  This yarn....grrrr!  I certainly LOVE how easy it is to see all of my stitches, BUT, I'm not smiling very much on the bobble rows.  Having to pull through 7 loops, doing the best I can to keep the yarn loops loose...  it's just not happening all that easily.  It's not as 'flexible' as the Simply Soft by Caron I used on Slanted Shells.  And no where NEAR as soft.  Therefore, I'm changing the pattern from here on out.  No more bobbles until I get to the other side; I do like to keep some form of symmetry.   I really don't know if Candace will like snuggling with it as much as Slanted Shells if it stays this 'coarse.'   OH, and BTW, she stole Slanted Shells again to sleep with last night.  LOL.  Caitlyn has already called dibs on it for tonight.
So yeah.... knowing that this afghan may not be as soft, I am making a design call to remove the frustrations in order to keep my sanity.  I'm sure I'll try bobbles again... just not with this yarn.

Being so new to yarn, can any of you assure me that the Red Heart super saver worsted yarns will get softer over time?  After washing maybe?

Happy Saturday!


Judy D in WA said...

Your garden looks fabulous. I think there is nothing wrong with paying your children to do certain jobs. It teaches them so many things. I did it with mine, do it with the grands still. Bugs-eewww. Grafted trees-yeah!
Love your yarn colors. Red Heart will become soft after washing. It's the only kind I used forever.

JB said...

Garden looks great! I think it's perfectly okay to pay the girls for working I the garden. We get paid to work at our jobs. Obviously, I can't comment on the yarn. ;-)

Angela Neff said...

The garden looks absolutely fabulous...what a difference a few weeks makes! I say you are the parents and you can do allowance (or not) or pay for certain work (or not) as you see fit! I am sure your girls will all have (if they don't already, lol) a strong work ethic regardless of the pay!!! Love the scuba gear and crochet too!

Amanda said...

Isn't it exciting when all the hard work starts to pay off and harvesting begins. We've had lots of lettuce and radishes, and the first of the swiss chard and peas. Several potato plants have been dug too, luckily to bugs there. Much as I'd like to garden organically I'm afraid I'm very anti snugs and snails eating my hard won plants, so I dig out the slug pellets. It sounds as if your girls are growing up wonderfully well, so whatever you choose to do seems to be working for them.

Kevin the Quilter said...

Your garden is absolutely beautiful! I wish I had your daughters here to help me weed! I would be HAPPY to pay them for their work. I think it's great the way you are teaching them!