how to grow a pear in a bottle

Last year I grew pears in bottles (original post) then filled one bottle with clear brandy and the other with vodka.  They've been resting for a year and this spring or summer we'll have a party and drink them up.  In the meantime they're pretty to look at!  The bottles I used are recycled Balvenie Single Malt bottles.  My husband used to drink Balvenie and I was able to save a dozen or so bottles because I thought they were too pretty to put in the recycle bin.  It's easier than you think to grow a pear in a bottle.  On your tree, find a healthy young pear that will fit into the neck of your bottle.  Remove the surrounding leaves and pears if any, leaving just the one pear.  Insert the pear and branch far into the bottle and with string or strips of fabric, tie it to the strongest surrounding branches making sure the bottle opening faces downward so it won't collect rainwater.  Allow Mother Nature to take over and with a little luck, at the end of summer you'll have large, ripe pears in each bottle.  The survival rate is fairly decent; if the pear sees it through the first week, the chances are excellent that it will continue to thrive.  Last year we did 3 bottles and only lost one.  We are trying for the same odds again this year and one even has two pears inside!  Oh, I really hope those will thrive!

Warning: this is a two person job; one is the steady bottle holder while the other person engineers the secure tying.  It takes a wee bit of thought and a few cuss words, but when it's done, you don't have to think about it again for months.  Other than your regular tree care duties, your only job throughout the summer will be to check on the lashings every once in a while to make sure they are still secure.  Plus you'll want to stop by and admire them every week or so, you know, to cheer them on. 

It's a super fun project and I hope you'll try it. You may have seen last year's post and thought you might try it but never got around to it.  Try it this year!  If you don't have a pear or apple tree, maybe you have a kindly neighbor with a tree?  Just make sure you make an extra one for him!

Can you see, this bottle has TWO pears!


Well over half of our roses are blooming now,
with the others following in a week or so. 
Look at them!

Lovely Anja, AKA IamSnowfox, one of the German Rowan Ambassadors is visiting California and is with us for the week.  She cannot get over our beautiful weather and beautiful roses!  Here she is with my son, who is over 6' tall, so you can see how very big this rose trellis is!  These two found they had a lot in common and ended up spending a lot of time with each other!  We're all going to miss her!

Climbing Eden, lovely frangrace and perfect form.

Two more pictures of Climbing Eden.
These pictures were taken over a week in my garden.

I'll share another picture of Climbing Blaze next week, when it's in FULL bloom!  Here it's just started.

Happy Chappy is a great ground cover rose, but here it is trained as a tree.

Cottage Maid, David Austin, also fragrant.  I picked this one to sit at my desk with me.

Gertrude Jekyll, a David Austin with an extreme apple/rose fragrance.  If I put a small bouquet in our bedroom, we'll come in at night and the entire room will smell of roses!
Gertrude Gekyll again.

Graham Thomas is lightly fragrant, massive and bushy, with glossy leaves. 

A David Austin, but I don't have the name.  It's beautifully fragrant with a tight crimp of petals.
Pink Peace Roses has massive blooms.

Iceberg is one heck of a rose.  It's a repeat bloomer that just won't stop!

And then I picked a fragrant bouquet!


my kidsilk haze obsession

Below is a modest sample of my Kidsilk Haze stash, which numbers in at about 40 skeins.  Yep, it's a small fortune in yarn I admit, but luxury yarn is my vice, no, my obsession.  Calling KSH a vice makes my innocent collection seem depraved.  You could never make me admit that posessing a large quantity of this sweet yarn is depraved!

So, here 'tis a sample below, with enough of each to make a sweater:  Clockwise from top right is the gorgeous hot magenta Candy Girl; I have five skeins.  Next is the sequined discontinued Glamour in that gorgeous shade of Heavenly Blue; I have eight.  The next one is sparkly Eclipse, also discontinued, in Aquarius and I have ten of those.  Top left is the red ripe Strawberry, and I have five here too.  Top center is Heavenly and I think I have eight of those.  But...that's not all of my KSH stash.  I have numerous single skeins and odd balls.  I keep it all in a *special* box, my most special knitting stash box: The Kidsilk Haze Box!  My obsession for KSH is well documented; on my Ravelry project page I have 20 plus completed projects.  I always like to have at least one KSH project going on and right now I don't have nary a one.

So here's my dilimma; what pattern should I knit next?  What color?  I'm in no hurry to finish and don't need a darn thing.  It's just when I pick up my knitting, sometimes I feel like picking up tiny needles and working with a spiderweb-like strand of softy silky mohair.  I always have to have an on-going KSH project or I feel...sad.  So many of you feel the same way, I know.  See my choices below and give me your input!  Help!  What next?

Bow Cardigan by Sarah Hatton, Rowan Studio 12 has been on my to-do list for ages.  I'm thinking the red.

I've already made Jamie by Sarah Hatton from Rowan Loves.  I love it so much I want to make it again.  I'm thinking the sequined Glamour in pale blue.
This is Kate also from Rowan Loves.  Above it's knit with Felted Tweed but it can be knit with KSH too.  I think it would be pretty in my gray Eclipse, plus I have 2 skeins of Eclipse in Topaz that would be so pretty as the contrast.
Captivate from Kim Hargreaves North book combines KSH with Rowan Fine Lace.

Garnet, Kim Hargreaves.  I made a similar one, Effie, by Kim and love it.  Must make this (maybe the magenta?)

Annis by Kim Hargreaves uses Mohair Haze, and while I love that too, Annis would also work beautifully with KSH.

Drift, from Kim's new Echos book also uses Mohair Haze, but wouldn't this be pretty in KSH?

Kiki, another Kim, would be great using up my oddballs.

Mystic by Kim Hargreaves. 

I've always adored Anna from the very first Rowan Studio publication. Would love this in KSH Stipe.

A sweetheart neck makes this simple cardigan a beautiful classic.  Sweetheart Cardigan, Sarah Hatton, Studio Twelve.

Ella, a fitted tunic with a drape neck is from Kim's Touching Elegance book.  I have loved this forever and think this would look great in the gray Eclipse, don't you? And don't you wish you had hours of knitting time every single day?

So those are the ones I'm zeroing in on.  What do you think?

The links:
Kidsilk Haze Stripe
Kim Hargreaves
Rowan Loves
Rowan Studios are out of print, but easily found at your Rowan stockist or the internet.

I have a secret.

Rowan can usually be counted on to offer up a KSH surprise every year or so.
This fall be prepared to be BLINDED by bling!
I cannot wait to get my hands on it and show it to you!