Join Janet on her adventures as a designer, writer, maker, and farmer in montana. no two days are ever the same. you might even see a bear or two.

Taming the Raspberry Patch

Taming the Raspberry Patch

It’s still in the 20s in the morning and a bit too cold to get out in the garden. I ran errands yesterday morning because the chicks have been hoovering down feed like there’s no tomorrow and needed a resupply. By the time I got home, just before noon, it had warmed up into the high 40s. I ate lunch, put on my boots and my gardening apron—the one the husband calls my “kitchen nail bag”—and headed out to work on the raspberries.

One of the problems with our garden is that things grow really well. (It used to be a horse pasture.) Things grow so well that some crops get away from us. The raspberries have steadily invaded places they shouldn’t, and what started out as three rows of plants has turned into an overgrown briar patch that provides great cover for marauding ground squirrels. The ground is soft enough to dig up the canes to remove them and I wanted to tackle that project.

I got quite a bit done:


That triangle of ground to the left had gotten overrun with raspberry canes. I dug all of those out. I approximated the original rows of plants and thinned a couple of paths between them. We haven’t been able to get to the middle of the patch for a couple of years now. I raked out all of the dead canes and tip pruned some of the obnoxiously tall ones.

I still have to come at it from the other side, but that will have to wait until the rest of the snow melts. I was thrilled to get this much done. And it feels great to get out and move around and soak up some fresh vitamin D.

I briefly considered pruning the lavender hedge, but I am going to wait on that:


I usually do it as soon as I see new growth—which is there—but it will be better to wait until the plants have had a chance to stretch back into shape. They get bent after being buried under three feet of snow.

I am going to have prune the fruit trees at some point, too. The big fire department fundraising auction is next weekend, though, and this is going to be a busy week taken up with preparations for that event.

While I was working in the garden, the husband was hard at the new shop project:


He gets very focused and single-minded when he’s working. He tells me that is a good thing because it means he can concentrate on not falling off the rafters. (How comforting.) I understand that kind of focus—don’t talk to me while I am wrestling with a sewing project—but I do have to go out and remind him to take breaks periodically and eat lunch.

I am at the point in the Ultimate Travel Bag project where I am making pockets. The side pockets are bound and done. Next up is the front slip/zipper pocket. I am undecided on the interior pockets. I am not one of those people who is obsessively in love with pockets. In fact, I am likely to pass on a bag if it has too many nooks and crannies. If I need to separate items inside a big bag, I prefer to use a selection of smaller, zippered bags to contain things. Also, the interior pockets in this bag are all constructed of that stretch mesh material. I am not a fan. I don’t think it’s very durable and it’s difficult to sew. The Ravenwood Messenger Bag featured a small mesh zipper pocket and making that pocket drove me batty. (I had to do it twice.) My inclination at this point is to skip the interior pockets and make some matching small zipper pouches later.

So far, I’ve used three machines to construct that bag. I was going to try to do it all on the Janome, but it was easier to make the smaller bits on Vittorio, the Necchi BF. When it came time to make the straps, I turned to the industrial Necchi because I don’t have another machine that topstitches as well as that one does.

And—look what Anna at Noodlehead released this week!

It’s called the Redwood Tote and it will be next up in the bag-making queue. I’ll pull out some waxed canvas for this one. The only change I may make will be to leave off those grab handles. I can deal with a zippered top, but I’m currently using the Fremont Tote that has those same kind of grab handles and they make me nuts. They get in the way of me getting into the bag. I wouldn’t mind so much if they were floppier and hung down instead of sticking up, but I’d just as soon leave them off altogether.

Lots to do.

[Also, Heather, if you’re reading this, I’ve tried a couple of times to leave comments on your blog, but Google gets mad at me and kicks me out. I’ll try again with a different account. I just wanted to let you know that I liked yesterday’s post.]

Don't Bleed on Your Sewing Project

Don't Bleed on Your Sewing Project

The Blind Spot in My Brain

The Blind Spot in My Brain