Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I R Not a Hippy. I R a Geek. Therz a Difference.

Sunday my parents came over for dinner (and so we could rescue some files from an old .zip disk for them). We'd spent the weekend working pretty hard -- got the pad dug for the shed, etc., as per previous post -- so it was a low-key evening.

As she was going out the door, Mom told me that someone at Dad's birthday dinner, back in mid-April, thought that K. and I seemed like hippies, but that she told them no, we're reenactors. (Which is, in and of itself, very funny -- but that's a subject for another post.)

Um. WTF? Hippies? I think I gave some bemused answer to Mom, but have been reflecting about that comment since then. We got the same thing a few years ago from our very, very clean-cut Southern Baptist neighbor across the street (whose son, I'm happy to note, is now sporting two diamond earrings, one in each ear). Reactions are a) I can't be a hippie, I work way too hard; and b) what a presumptuous asshole. (And, btw, I was dressed very conservatively for Dad's birthday party -- makeup, dress, heels, panty hose -- I even shaved my legs!)

Yes, I know the hippie movement was a very diverse one (I was born in the late 60s, so only know this second-hand), but that's not what this guy meant, I'm sure. Hippiedom has become a shorthand (deservedly, in many cases) for muddle-headed semi-mystical self-serving navel gazing. The dirty hippie trope has also been used by the Right to smear legitimate concerns about global warming.

When I ran the comment by my knitters' group last night, the reaction was, "Huh? You?!?"

I suspect that, given the very conservative nature of my parents' current church, this guy sees anyone the least bit to the left of himself as a hippie. So, ultimately, his comment says way more about him than it does about me.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Making Mudpies

Saturday we rented a backhoe to dig a hole for the new shed's gravel pad. Our land is borders an old river bed, so it's mostly hard clay mixed with river rocks -- even if the ground is soft after a rain, your shovel or pickaxe is going to hit a rock. We checked out backhoe rental and decided that it was worth the money. We will still have to fill the hole with gravel and stone dust and tamp it down, but at least the hole for the pad is dug.

While we had the backhoe, I had himself dig a hole for a pad for our rain barrels (the downspout diverter is on backorder, due in June), and clear a corner of the front yard for a new flower bed. I should have had him dig up the dirt a bit while he was at it. The apple tree in the picture is a very old variety called the Lady apple.

Sunday, despite a soft rain, I put topsoil, peat moss and humus in the new bed, dug it in as much as possible (see above re rocks), and got it planted. I bought a few plants: one coral bells, one white bleeding heart, one blue hardy geranium, and two lavender plants. The other plants -- irises, roses, columbines, bletilla, white hardy geranium, white salvia or veronica, and meadowsweet -- were moved from the bed next to the porch, where the korean boxwoods have gotten big enough to start choking off the other plants' water and nutrients. It's a bit risky moving some of these plants this late in spring, but they were already suffering so I didn't have much to lose by moving them.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Estonian Garden Shawl

I love Evelyn Clark's designs. The Estonian Garden shawl has been on my "round to it" list for a while, and I finally got around to knitting it this spring, as a gift for my younger sister.

The Swallowtail Shawl (Interweave Knits) uses the same Lily of the Valley pattern, and when I knitted that shawl this winter the nupps gave me fits. However, I found a few blogs that mentioned using a crochet hook to do the nupps, so that's what I did on this shawl. MUCH less frustrating. I used the crochet hook as though it were a knitting needle, knitting five stitches into one stitch then pulling a loop through those stitches and moving the nupp to the right hand needle. This way the nupp is done on one row, and you can purl all the way back on the reverse row.

Once I'm done with another project or two, I think I'll have to knit myself one of these shawls too.