So I've been on a strange sock knitting kick (ha) these days... I think I decided to give it a try, remembering how frustrated I was with fingering weight yarn and the repetition of knitting socks (all those tiny stitches, a second matching sock) a little over a year ago...and decided this time I was going to give it a try. Back then I'd barely touched fingering weight yarns, but since then I've worked with them a number of times, and I was particularly thinking of bigger projects like shawls. So, yeah, I'm gonna try fingering weight socks again!

First up - Dream in Color's Everlasting Sock in Tidal (the blue with bits of green, purple, gray, etc) and Malabrigo's Sock in Chocolate Amargo (with some very subtle differences in the browns).

Notice how I always seem to have helpers when knitting?  That means there's always pet hairs in what I knit....more fiber!  ;-)

Top side of the sock, where I decided to go with ribbing for extra stretch, just in case it was needed...

Bottom side of the sock - plain old stockinette stitch....

And the finished product?  Fun in color, a bit masculine with the blues and brown...and definitely a bit baggy.  Will need to go smaller next time.  I like the stretchiness on top, but it wasn't really needed.  And I DEFINITELY made these guys too long up the calf - all future socks should avoid bordering on knee-highs!

Did I just say next time?  I thought I didn't like knitting socks, especially in fingering weight!?

And here's a link to the socks on Ravelry...
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So many things in the garden trying to green up, leaf out, open buds etc...and then we had snow and ~20F temps early this week... So let's take a look at who's trying to green up when it's a bit too cold still:

Tip of an apple tree branch:

Raspberries - and these aren't where they're supposed to be.  They began invading the asparagus patch a year or two ago, and there's no fighting 'em!  (Take note: NO asparagus tips yet - just raspberries)

Plum tree - the three different 2-n-1 Japanese plum trees are all starting to look like this - each at slightly different stages.  Let's hope the cooler temps slow them down just a bit in case we get any more freezes - I'd love to have homegrown plums finally!

Clematis - I'm impressed with how early these guys start budding out!

Catnip - everywhere...and rarely where intended!  This is actually a pile of small volunteers, all in last year's broccoli bed (how'd they get all the way over there?).  I dug them all up the other day, piled them, and buried them in leaves until I decide where I actually want them.What you see is just the top of the pile of plants.

The top of one of the other apple trees - in this case, where I'm trying to espalier the trees on wires, and I'll attempt to keep them really really small (hey, I've seen it done!)

Garlic.  Lots and lots of garlic!  This is the 12'x4' bed, and then there's a little more at the end of one of the other beds.

Wow, there is no stopping this honeysuckle!

Pussy willow all fuzzed out...

Forsythia's about to bloom, which means I need to be treating the lawn with corn gluten or other pre-emergent weed control right now!

Asian plum tree...hard to focus on the closer buds, but you get the idea here...

Ok, these last two aren't green buds just developing or trying to open - just couldn't resist more pics of the hellebores as they're opening more.

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...and grabbed the phone just in time.

There's nothing like watching your cat's head come unhinged! I wish the pictures were a little more crisp, but I had to zoom in from halfway across the room with a cell phone camera...
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We went from temps in the 70s and lots of sunshine to a big temperature drop and the return of snow for the start of the week.  Now I'm well known for loving an extreme winter that goes on forever with super low temps and deep snow...but now that the fruit trees are budding out and I've got the first seeds planted in the garden,I guess it's time to move on from winter to spring.

The snow that fell yesterday is already melting, and I don't think there's anymore in the extended forecast... 

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Check out the eeeeevil thorns on this climbing rose!

And seriously, you have to be careful when walking by after wind storms have knocked some of the vines/branches loose from the trellis.  This guy was reaching out just waiting to grab whoever walked by.  Ouch!

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Winter is over, temps are on the rise, and there's more green showing up in the garden every day. Here's a quick round-up with some pics taken over the last week.

First, a teaser of the Hellebore pics that are further down this post...

Each fall/winter I SUPER heavily mulch the strawberries with leaves, figuring there's a risk of smothering and killing off some.  Since I always read about how you're supposed to rejuvenate your strawberry patch every few years, kind of "re-booting" it, and I've had no real signs of disease yet, this seems to be working out well.  I don't know if the heavy mulching / thinning of the herd / giving younger plants room to fill in is what's working out, or if I've just been lucky about disease so far...  Anyhow - just uncovered all the strawberries last week, and while there aren't many showing much green yet, there are signs of growth.

Here's the Serviceberry, loaded with buds that are plumping up quickly.  This is an early bloomer, and will be covered in white flowers before too long.

Something else greening up (and even blooming) all over the place?  Weeds!  There's two here - I know the larger leaved weed is Creeping Charlie.  I'm not sure what the stuff with the tiny leaves and white blooms is.  No matter how much I try pulling this stuff out, it always makes a comeback.

The crocuses are definitely doing their thing...first were the yellows, and now the whites, purples and stripes are opening up around the yard.

This fruiting cherry (I forget which variety) looks like it's ready to have flowers burst open all over real soon.  We're supposed to have some freezing night time temps in the extended forecast, so hopefully the tree's paying attention and will hold out on those blooms.

Here's another shot of those buds...

Dip down too close to something on the ground (like when taking pics of crocus blooms), and Daisy assumes there's something to eat or hunt and might come running over to investigate.

Sorry Daisy - really nothing too exciting here just yet...

Here's the Alpine strawberries around one of the cherry trees.  Looks like they survived the extra cold winter just fine under their leaf mulch blanket.

Something's peeking through the leaf mulch at the based of this big Butterfly bush.  I THINK it's Delphinium?  I don't know why one is planted right on top of the other, unless perhaps the Delphinium reseeded itself a little ways over?

Couldn't get the cell phone camera to focus on this little guy - the lone Snowdrop.  I think I need to plant more of these this fall - love them!

And here come the Hellebores!  These guys were under HEAVILY matted leave that I'd piled on last fall.  Some of them looked a little rough at first once I cleared the leaves off, but I think the buffering of those leaves (plus cold temps, obviously) also set back the blooming just a little bit more, and considering just how cold the winter was, protecting the buds and delaying their bloom was a good thing.

Dark purple Hellebore...

Sort of a mauve-y Hellebore...

See how black some of their leaves got?  I came back later and trimmed off all the old leaves, making more room for the blooms to show off, and for the new leaves that are starting to come up.

These next pics were taken a few days later.  The Hellebores are really starting to open up now!

It's so cool that you can have such vibrantly colored flowers in your garden so early in the season!

And finally - more crocuses!

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Had to wash my fingers more than once before I could take this picture.  No bake cookies, following a standard recipe, but using 50% regular cocoa and 50% Hershey's Special Dark cocoa, and then right at the end stirring in mini marshmallows. 

The recipe I found says to use a cup of marshmallows.  It didn't look like enough, so I stirred in another half cup or so.  During the brief period of re-opening the marshmallow bag, the original marshmallows continued to melt, so some are way more melty than others in the final cookies.  I guess I could have stopped at a half cup to let the cookies have a bit more stability and firmness, but they sure do taste good!

When you make no-bakes, do you use quick oats (finely chopped) or old fashioned (whole)?  I've done both over the years, depending on what's on hand.  This batch got a mix so I could finish off the carton of quick oats, and then the remainder was old fashioned.

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Had to chase Daisy away from these long enough to dig them up and get them in the house.

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We had twice baked potatoes the other night, and there were plenty leftover... I've read they recover really well from being frozen, so most are going to get wrapped and frozen for quick dinners later, but in the meantime...

Brett was off at a charity event for the day, so I was flying solo on a dreary, windy, rainy day at home - just me, the critters, some reading, and some knitting.  What for lunch?

I took one of the smaller twice baked potato (which was a half potato shell), which was was still very firm while cold from the fridge, carefully cut it into 8 pieces, and rolled them around in some flour, then fried in a little butter.  YUM!!  This seems like fair food!

(Most of) those got wrapped up in a tortilla with some shredded cheddar, a quickly fried egg, and two leftover pieces of bacon (not shown here) from when I made the twice baked potatoes.  (Leftover cooked bacon?  Strange concept, right?)

That all got rolled up nice and snug, and then put back in the skillet for a few minutes on each side.  This warmed the tortilla a bit more, plus sort of set the shape.

Lemme tell ya, this was so good!!!  Nice, warm and comforting on a cold, icky day.  It was so good that I was bragging about it to Brett when he got home, and we made more for a late breakfast the next day!!  MMMM good!  About the only real slow down here was that I wanted to stir up and fry each egg individually (I only used one egg per wrap) to keep them more tidy.  It would certainly be faster to go my usual route, just scrambling all the eggs together, breaking them up as I go, and then distributing evenly between the wraps.

Oh, and like I said, most of the fried twice baked potato pieces went in the wrap.  Some I couldn't resist snacking on while I was working on the rest of the stuff.  ;-)
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