chilli from the kitchen bench

Potting seedlings

Yesterday when I checked on my beloved seedlings, their roots were starting to pop out from their mud-cakes, so I figured the time had come to start potting them.

Red cherry tomatoe seedlings

Red cherry tomato and chili seedlings

So I mixed soil and perlite and started potting!

Repotting

But I have to say, I’m not sure how smart it was getting these pots. They will have to survive two months indoors before I can take them outside. The upside is that I can just plant the whole thing and it will decompose, but I have a feeling they will be a wee bit moist and soggy by then, perhaps even mouldy (the horror!). So I will have to keep a watchful eye on these things.

Obviously I’ll have to get more plastic pots as well, considering I have a lot more seedlings to grow – after easter!

My little yellow cherry tomato seedling are looking rather long and gangly. I’m not sure they are supposed to look like this. The other seedlings are shorter, but looking more stout and healthy. I guess we’ll just have to wait an see how it goes!

Yellow cherry tomatoe seedlings

Yellow cherry tomatoe seedlings

IMG_1758

The Garden – Doing things I don’t know how to do – seedlings

Well, we got a house. With that house, there came a garden and I finally get the opportunity to fulfill my gardening dream. The only obstacle is that I know virtually nothing about gardening!

I have had some houseplants. They usually don’t survive very long. Possibly because most of them seem to be orchids, and the ones you get at Christmas. After their flowers fall of they shrivel into nothing and I throw them away. Then there are the pots of herbs for cooking that you get in the supermarket. For some reason they don’t seem to survive very long either. They get light, they get water, but they just die.

Mind you, I seem to be pretty good at potatoes, onions and garlic. I just leave them in the refrigerator, window sill, or in the food cupboard in the basement, and they start sprouting!

Garlic sprout

Sprouting elephant garlic

 

So I’m hoping things will turn out better outdoors!

We recently got a lovely housewarming present. A miniature green house, peridite, some awsome packages of seeds, a silter, a stomper, a thingymajig to make holes for the seeds, and a seed box. Apparently two wonderful young men at Gardenliving.no had put together this family-friendly-beginners kit!

The seed collection is just amazing, several kinds of carrot, atomic red, cosmic purple and solar yellow. Then there is the rainbow mix of rradishes. Amongst other things we were given flower seeds like monks cress (Tropaeolum majus), baby-blue-eyes (Nemophila menziesii), and golden marigold (Tagetes tenuifolia),
I was so impressed I had to order some more seeds, including white pumpkin!
After our daughter had seen the kit, she wanted to get started right away. But since it was a bit early for the seeds we were given, we went and bought some tomato seeds (red and orange cherry tomatoes), and we took some seeds from a chili in the kitchen. February is the indoor-start-season for these little babies.
We also got some garden cress as it will grow on pretty much anything as long as it gets water, and it’s fun for the little one to observe the daily changes.
Growing cress in egg shells - looks good!

Growing cress in egg shells – looks good!

So we got some of those dried mud bricks that expand when you put water on them, and started sowing. We put our little mini green house in the bathroom, where it is nice and warm, and within a week the tomatoes started sprouting. After two weeks we moved them to a room with less heat, but more light. After 2-3 weeks the chili seeds started sprouting, and now, a month later, they are all still alive. Now I just have to keep them that way for another two months – that’s when they can go outside!
A baby lilac flower in the making

The Garden – Doing things I don’t know how to do – pruning

At this time of year in Norway it is still a bit to cold to do serious things in the garden. The ground is still frozen and everything still looks rather forlorn.

So now it is a matter of getting the garden ready for spring. One of the things that needs to be done, is pruning! I know nothing about pruning, but after having checked online resources on the matter of pruning, I realized it can easily be simplified. If it has buds, you don’t cut it during the spring, you wait until is has deflowered (that sentence sounds like a rather bad semi-erotica novel…). If it doesn’t have buds, start snipping.

You prune to make room for new leaves, or to give shape to the greenery in question.

So I grabbed my garden shears, went outside and started looking. First I cut offending branches, buds or no buds. Offending branches are branches that just stick out too far. They go into pathways or tangle themselves into your hair when you are having a rest in your chair.

Then I went for the fruit tree, or what I think is a fruit tree, and cut the branches sticking upward. You don’t want fruit trees to grow so far up that you can’t get to the fruit without a ladder. I was fairly gentle, after all, I’m still not sure wether it is a fruit tree or not. Then it was inspection time and I just pruned a little here or there where it seemed appropriate.

Lilac

A week after I brought the branches inside, spring has arrived in my dining room. Outside the same branches still only have tiny buds

 

I brought some of the branches inside, just the ones with teeny tiny buds!

The chopping of trees

A couple of weeks ago I did some pruning in the garden. Then my husband did the same, just he did it with a chain saw.

I had looked forward to a Saturday with no plans where I could clean house (not something I long to do, but something that needs to be done), relax with some knitting and be outside doing ‘things’.

After the four-year-old has kicked us out of bed (literally) at 7 in the morning, we were ready to leave the house at 0845. The supermarket opens at 10 and is 10 minutes away, so instead, we went to the builders store. Apparently my husband needed a chain-saw!

We got a chain-saw and a few other bits and bobs (including pink gardening gloves for the little one).

My dearly beloved started his pruning by taking down some long stubs. I think someone started pruning this bush-tree several years back, the stumps died and now they were just standing there looking silly. So down they went.

Then it was time for the Apple tree. The apple tree is a huge apple tree living next to our garage/shed. It is growing right next to the wall, and mice can easily scramble up the tree and onto the garage roof. We know for a fact that there have been mice in that shed, we’ve seen them wrestling with magpies on the roof. Not surprisingly, the magpie won…

My husband borrowed a ladder from the neighbour and then went up on the roof and started cutting off the large branches which I then pulled away. When that was done and dealt with, down came the top of the tree.

Those responsible for HSE please skip the next paragraph.

During this escapade my heart was beating wildly as I was rather scared he would step through the roof, chain-saw and all, and be maimed for life. But all went well, despite the lack of security clothing. Evidently sunglasses, gloves, Jodhpurs and winter boots work well enough.

The chopping of trees

The chopping of trees

After the tree came down, my work begun. This big apple tree had to be decimated into tiny transportable bits. The tree was rotten inside, and as such (according to my husband), cannot be used for fire-wood. Personally I think as long as it dries well, it can be used. But the love of my life has decided that the whole tree must go!

The cutting of branches was then left to me. So that is what I did, I chopped branches, all weekend long! I filled 8 big boxes of twigs… In other parts of the country you would just find somewhere to dump the lot, but no such luck in the flat country of Follo, it all has to be taken to the recycling centre. In order to transport what was once an apple tree, all the bits and pieces have to take up as little room as possible.

The result after days of hard labour

The result after days of hard labour

 

I managed. Also I got a proper upper body work out! I did not get any house cleaning done (Buhuu). Only the perfunctory bathroom and kitchen clean ups, and a quick nonchalant vacuuming around the dining area.

Of course, after doing this kind of hard labour, there is a reward. The reward after the tree annihilation, was light. Suddenly there was so much more light into that corner of the garden, and with more light, the more options you have for flowers and veggies!

Stac Shoaigh shawl

Ysolda shawl club – Stac Shoaigh

Stac Shoaigh shawl

Stac Shoaigh shawl

A few weeks back, a 150 g skein of wool appeared in my post-box. I was thrilled, I had anxiously been waiting for this particular package for a week!

With an appropriate amount of decorum the package was quickly opened and it’s contents inspected. A skein of wool wrapped in yellow silk paper and a postcard with some pretty looking sheep decorating its surface.

Blacker Blends Soay Bronze

Blacker Blends Soay Bronze

Needless to say, the picture of the sheep were of the same sheep that had shed it’s wool for this exactly my skein of wool.

Blacker Blends Soay Bronze

Blacker Blends Soay Bronze

Stac Shoaig. That’s the name of the sheep, the island from which they originate and the pattern from which the yarn will be knit.

The sheep are old fashioned sheep, from before the merinos came along. Apparently they lived on this sparsely populated little island, both feral and domesticated. Being old fashioned they shed their wool rather then being in need of a shearing. Their wool reminded me a little of the wool you get from Norse Short Tail Landrace (now there is a mouthful for you!). But my new skein of yarn, especially blended with Shetland and Alpaca, is a lot softer!

Stac Shoaigh shawl

Stac Shoaigh shawl

My slightly feral yarn From the Norse Short Tail Landrace (Spælsau) was used to knit a toddler woolen suit. My daughter used it at least 5 days a week for two winters when she was sleeping outside in her pram. That’s what we do in Norway when it’s nap-time. We dress up our little darlings in woolly clothes, and put them under a nice warm duvet or baby-bag in their prams and they sleep ever so sweetly. This is not only what mums do at home, but it is also what is done in kindergartens and nurseries. The point of this digression was that the wool itself, although a bit rough to knit with, turned out to be very durable, very warm, and with use, quite soft!

Stac Shoaigh shawl

Stac Shoaigh shawl flower detail

Having now knitted the shawl, I’m thinking it will be an extremely durable scarf. It’s also very warm. It has been tested in proper Norwegian winter with its cold snow and sleet!

Stac Shoaigh shawl

Stac Shoaigh shawl fan detail and piquet edging

The pattern was easy to read, not that I expected anything else from Ysolda, and the knitting went along smoothly. I was never worried that I wouldn’t have enough yarn – there was plenty left when the shawl was complete.