I think this might be my longest blog hiatus ever. The last month of this semester has bogged me down like finishing a thesis or organizing cross country move (on top of a temporary international move) couldn’t. It’s been rough.

But! I finished the grading over the weekend, and minus some decisions that are currently outside of my control, all of my grades are calculated and submitted. Which means that I am now back to the usual level of work that must be done, rather than the craziness of the past few weeks. Thank goodness for summer.

Besides finishing the scarf that I was working on in the last post (which I finished a day or two after I posted about the hat, if I remember right), I have had no knitting on the needles since the last time I posted. That’s at least 3 weeks and possibly 4 with no knitting. At. all.

On Thursday night, a fit of insomnia gave me time to fix that. I cast on for a scarf with some of that mink yarn that I bought at Coveted a couple of months ago.

It’s nothing fancy; just a 4×4 rib on size 0’s, but it should be insurance against empty needles for quite some time. And, of course, it is mink. The yarn is very soft, but hasn’t started to bloom in the knitting yet. If I hadn’t seen this very yarn knit up in person in someone else’s project, I might be wondering what all the fuss is about. As it is, I’m pretty confident that it will bloom beautifully with the washing and wearing.

I wanted to make  a plain stockinette fabric, but settled on a rib pattern instead to reduce curling. I thought about beads, and then decided to just cast on, already, rather than adding extra delays. (I would have to go buy the beads, you see, and right now that level of personal decision-making is just not likely to happen for another week or so.) The scarf is narrower than I’d hoped because I had to reduce the width from my original plans, but I expect that the fabric will relax significantly with blocking, since even on size 0’s I’m knitting it at a pretty loose gauge.  I don’t have a black scarf in my collection, and have wanted one a few times lately. I think this will be just the ticket.

I doubt that I’ll be needing scarves much for a while, though. Spring has definitely come in full force. We drove into Boston for an appointment on the 23rd, and all of the willows on the Esplanade had gone yellow with new leaves. The fruit trees are flowering now, too, and the maple outside my window is unfolding its very first, oh-so-shiny new leaves. The garden has been exploding into life while I’ve been tucked away in my office working.

The hosta are up, and some of them are already half-unfurled.

My peonies are shooting up in the center of the garden bed; we moved them a month ago, and they seem to love their new location. (Hopefully that means that they’ll bloom this year…)

The clematis is greening up nicely, and I’m pretty sure it’s even started to set buds. Last year it barely flowered at all, so that’s exciting.

The bleeding heart all came up this year, even the plants that failed to emerge when we planted them last spring (Home Depot apparently doesn’t temperature-treat its bulbs well, and they probably just needed a real freeze-thaw cycle to wake up). A few of them even have tiny flowers showing up, hidden under the leaves.

The Solomon’s seal was completely invisible on Friday, but it’s off and running now.

And the front yard is a carpet of violets.

Looking at the pictures, it strikes me that the yard needs to be raked yet again, and that some of the beds are in serious need of mulch. There’s always something to be done when it comes to yardwork!

After a solid two weeks of 10-16 hour days and no weekends, I am declaring today a guilt-free day off. (By which I mean I worked from 9 until 12:30, and then decided to knock off and write a blog post…we professors are hopeless work-a-holics).

I’m thinking I might grab the nicer camera and head out into the yard with a macro lens. Or maybe I’ll just sit in the garden and knit. Who knows?