You and Me and Rain on the Roof

We could have picked a week with better weather for this trip, but it is what it is. After such beautiful weather on Sunday, the day we arrived, it was kind of surprising to have an entire day of rain yesterday. If we were the die-hard tent campers of our younger years, we would have packed up and headed for home already. In the RV, it just means plenty of time for slow-stitching. During yesterday morning's deluge, I turned the first two corners on my quilt binding.

There's also plenty of time for lap-sitting...

and napping. Where's Smitty? Does anybody know where Smitty is?

When the rain stopped for a couple of hours, and we were able to get out on the lake for a bit yesterday afternoon.

As we pulled away from our slip, we could barely see our camper through the trees.

With such gray skies, there isn't a lot of color in these pictures.

We just kind of motored around, appreciating our boat that now floats with its brand new fiberglass hull. It also got a new propeller out of the deal, and it goes faster than ever. Mike had to test this, of course. In our wanderings, we came across this seagull convention. It's a little bit surprising to find them this far inland. Must be storms at sea.

When the drizzle started to turn into more of a sprinkle, we headed back to the RV. Along the way, I took pictures of every blooming thing.

They have the most incredibly beautiful purple clematis here. Back home, we managed to kill our wisteria this spring, and so now we're considering whether to replace it with another wisteria, or perhaps one of these.

We kind of like the wisteria at the front door, and so I expect that's what we'll do. On the other hand, we may also plant one of these on a different wall. Now that Mike has seen this one in the flesh, he's convinced too.

We were planning to barbecue yesterday, but with such crappy weather, we stayed in. Still, we were in the mood for the skillet cookie I brought along, even though that was reserved for the barbecue day. This was an experiment since I was baking it in the convection/microwave. It looks good on the surface, but it was cookie dough inside. Still, it was delicious with vanilla ice cream, and we exhausted ourselves with man-this-is-so-good moaning. Definitely an O-O (oral orgasm).

So we're expecting better weather today, and no rain. As I write this, it's still quite cloudy. I turned the third corner on the quilt binding this morning. The binding is a little more than halfway complete, but the corners are 75% finished.

Smitty was napping peacefully in his cubby when the refrigerator alarm went off.

We've been having trouble with things freezing in the refrigerator. As I've been writing this, Mike has been trying to figure out what's wrong with it. Just now, he muttered, "Well, it looks like this thing fell down." Apparently, the thermostat fell down to the bottom of the refrigerator. It's supposed to be at the top where the warmest air is. Now it's been put back where it belongs, and hopefully, that will fix our problem.

So today's plan is to get out for some more boating. It may be the only day for it since we're expecting more rain the next couple of days. Oh well...we don't mind. There's plenty to do in the form of slow-stitching, consuming tasty refreshing beverages, eating good food, petting cats, and enforced relaxation. Despite the rain, we're having a good time.


We Be Camping

It's time to relax. It always feels as if things speed up in the last days before we take off on a trip. Upon arrival, there is an hours-long period of unwinding before we can truly feel as if we've arrived. It was a beautiful warm day when we set up yesterday. This is our view of the lake:

We're so happy to have our boat back. We were prepared to drive down to Portland (about two hours away) to get it while we're here, but we won't have to. The John Deere tractor man came and helped Mike launch it into the lake, and it now sits at a slip awaiting a day's fun.

While he was doing that, I was getting things set up for the kitties. They traveled like champs this time around. No one was panicked when we arrived, and no one tried to storm the door. All they need is their catio and their food dishes...oh yes, and their potty box...and they are happy campers.

They took turns on the catio. We have to use that rubber spatula to hold the screen open. The window clicks open and stays up, but the screen doesn't. Obviously, the designer of this window doesn't know what its actual purpose is.

Also, on every trip, I've enticed them to use the cubbies over the bed, and this was the first time they've actually done it. Sadie was first.

Later, Smitty gave it a go.

Later yet, both of them took naps. They had a hard night ahead of them, keeping everyone awake.

On the decorating front, I think this space at the end of the cabinet near the door is sadly in need of a little quilt, don't you? I know just the thing, and when I get home, it'll be the first thing that happens after things are unpacked.

Before leaving, I finished the first of three of the I Believe in Snowmen blocks. There are 16 blocks total, but I'm working them in groups of three right now.

Also, I baked a loaf of zucchini bread. 'Tis the season, after all. Our own zucchini is barely getting started, but I had two from our CSA share.

We brought that along, and I prepared some other foods ahead. It took most of the day, but I had all the food packed on Saturday, and then it was quick work to pack up our clothes and take off on Sunday morning.

Now here's something. The down side of traveling in the truck camper (aside from having to wash dishes) is that we haven't been able to figure out a way to transport the kitties safely unless they're confined to kennels. The slides in the truck camper close up tight, like pieces of a puzzle, but there's room for kitties to move around between the slides. There's also a place where they can access their litter box. When we travel in the fifth wheel, we put them in the bedroom and close the door, but they have access to their litter box and water dish in the bathroom.

When we first tried taking them in the truck camper, we realized there was no way to confine them to the bedroom (no interior door), and when we closed up the slides, Smitty jumped over the kitchen counter, out the door, and escaped to the outside. Fortunately, we were sitting in our own driveway, and so no harm done. But it was then and there we decided kennels were going to be the only option. But I HATE that. And they hate it, and it really isn't ideal.

Well, yesterday, I figured it out, and it was one of those smacks-head-to-forehead moments, where I wondered why I didn't think of it sooner. So, a picture being worth a thousand words, this is what I think is going to happen. Here's the situation with the exterior door. The yellow arrow pointing to the left shows where there is a window in the door that opens. The arrow pointing down shows where the three switches are that operate the slides.

In the old fifth wheel, we used to close up the slides, and then pass the kitties through that little window and into the living space where they were free to roam while we were traveling. They always headed straight to the bedroom and rode on the bed. So while I was closing up the slides yesterday, I realized that I can open that window and stand outside to operate the slides, keeping the door closed and avoiding escapes. Then, we can pass the kitties through the door like we used to, and they can be free to move about the cabin while we travel down the road. I imagine this isn't making a whole lot of sense, but you'll have to trust me. We're going to give it a try on our way home this trip. If someone rushes the door upon arrival, we'll be in our own driveway, and it won't be a disaster in the making. And I'm going on about this at some length because we're planning a longer trip in a few months, and I've been agonizing about keeping the kitties in kennels for extended periods of time. Fingers crossed this plan will work, and everyone can travel a lot more comfortably.

So we've been visiting Lake Mayfield almost every summer since the kids were babies. Originally, we were die-hard tent campers, and we bought our first RV when the kids were teenagers. On a visit a couple of years ago, I blogged a whole tour of the lake, so I won't do that again. If you'd like to read about days gone by and see the area, you can find that tour right here.

The kitties have been great travelers this trip, but they decided it was time to get up at 4:30 a.m. We thought we might be able to go back to sleep, but rain on the roof kept us awake, and, well, the kitties were having none of it. As I'm writing this, I've been drinking coffee and nibbling on a slice of zucchini bread. When camping, however, we live by this rule:

So for this morning, breakfast needs making, but then...one never knows. It's still raining this morning, but we're expecting it to clear up around noon. There won't be any boating until then, but sleeping...now that sounds like a good theme for a choose your own adventure novel.

Before I go, I want to thank the many of you who have left such sweet comments on my Blogiversary Giveaway post. There's still time to enter, so if you missed that post, head on over here and see what's up.


To-Do's and Ta-Da's

All the items on yesterday's to-do list were checked off, which is always a good feeling. As I mentioned #1 on the list was to get the binding sewn on the Solstice to Solstice quilt and, well, Ta-Da!

It was hard choosing a binding for this quilt because of its many different colors. Even the back is quite different from the front. But this quilt is a commemorative quilt of so many things that happened over the six month period from winter to summer solstice, and so I settled on this "Celebrate" fabric. It was used in the quilt, and it was my best choice for a binding...unless I wanted to go out and buy something else. Tempting, but no. (Slaps hands at the threat of buying more fabric.)

The quilt was nervous about having its edges cut off and squared up. Smitty held it down while I did the cutting.

And let me just tell you...it takes a long time to sew on a binding that is 344 inches long.

But we couldn't rest there. Other items awaited us, and so it was time to suit up for some canning.

This is the first canning I've done this year. The carrots from our CSA share were piling up in the vegetable crisper and planning a revolt. I laid waste to them by turning them into four 12-oz. jars of Spicy Dilled Pickle Spears. You can find the recipe for these right here.

They're good right out of the jar, but a friend suggested using them in Bloody Mary's, and I think that would be a great way to use them. I might just give that a try very soon. If you're not into canning, you can also put these straight into the refrigerator. If that's your pleasure, just wait impatiently for 24 hours before eating them.

After that, the only items on my to-do list were household chores, and who wants to hear about that? So I'll just share with you a visitor who came by to check out the condition of the rose bush. Finding no ripe rosebuds (because she'd already eaten them), she ambled on, grazing on dandelions as she went. She was in the field for quite some time, which makes me think there must not be many coyotes around.

Speaking of coyotes...we believe they've moved on for the season. Coyote Man turned out to be a big disappointment. The only thing that happened quickly was him collecting his fee for service. After that, everything ground to a very frustrating near-halt. He finally set traps about two weeks ago. He came back to check them on the third day, but then not again for another six days. We decided that kind of flakiness was unacceptable, and so we've fired him. He was instructed to remove the traps, and not to return. So ends the saga of Coyotes 2019. The kitties are still confined to the house, but we'll reassess in a couple of weeks. We haven't seen any coyotes for awhile, and so we're beginning to think the danger has passed.

As I've been saying, we're taking off for a few days for a vacation at a lake up in Washington. And good news! The repairs to our boat are finished! Mike is heading out this morning to pick it up, and just in a nick of time. But all of that to say I'll be taking a few days off from blogging. I'll have the laptop with me while we're at the lake, and I'll blog if I have something to say...and you know I almost always have something to yak about.

While I'm away from the blog here's something to keep you busy. Today is my Ninth Blogiversary, and I have a giveaway for you. I'll be giving away this eight fat quarter bundle of Kauai Sunrise Aura by Mister Domestic for Art Gallery Fabrics.

If you'd like to win them, visit my giveaway post from earlier this morning. You can find it right here. To be clear, do not leave comments for the giveaway here. You must visit the giveaway post to leave your comments. Good luck!

Nine is Fine Blogiversary and Giveaway

Hey there! Thanks for joining me today on this, my Ninth Blogiversary!

The pawty's just getting started, and propurr attire is a must. The kitties and I were discussing how to celebrate the day, and we all decided it was a good day for a giveaway. The kitties voted for an economy size box of Temptations in the "Catnip Fever" flavor.

And, well, who am I to disagree? After a lengthy discussion with our board of directors,

we decided to give you your choice of prizes. We're getting ready to take off on a vacation, and so how about traveling to the Island of Kauai in Hawaii with this eight fat quarter bundle of Kauai Sunrise Aura by Mister Domestic for Art Gallery Fabrics. See if these will put you in the mood.

And we're not really going to Hawaii, but a cat can dream, right? And the choice is yours! A box of Temptations or a fat quarter bundle. You can let me know if Mr. Random chooses you.

Okay, so here's what you need to do to be a winner.

1. Just leave a comment...any comment will do. If you can't think of anything, then tell me about your summer vacation plans.

2. Since this giveaway is to thank those of you who have followed along over the years, prizes are reserved for followers only...new, old, salty, sweet, bitter, and twisted...just step on up and tell me how you follow. If you want to become a follower, you can find lots of ways to do it there in my left side bar. Also, I will ship internationally, so all residents of Planet Earth are welcome to join in.

3. If you're no reply, be sure to leave an email address. You can't win if I can't contact you.

So good luck, and a big thank you for helping us celebrate the day! I'll leave this giveaway open through Friday, July 19th and announce the winner sometime on Saturday, July 20th.


No Stitching But Slow Stitching

It was a rare day of no sewing yesterday, and it was probably just as well. After spending hour after hour for the last three days quilting the Solstice quilt, it was good to take a day off. I'll get back to it today because my top priority and #1 on my to-do list is to get the binding sewn on by machine. After that, I'll pack it into the camper, and it'll be ready to journey across state lines for whatever fate awaits it there. Think of it as QT (Quilt Trafficking).

But a day never gets off to a good start without a little slow stitching, and so I started on the first of three blocks for the I Believe in Snowmen quilt.

There was grocery shopping to do, along with the whole long list of tasks to finish for the day, and so I stopped there. It was time to fill the bird feeders and take a tour of the garden. This purple hydrangea has been covered with flower buds, but somehow I couldn't quite believe they would all bloom together. The plant doesn't care what I believe. It just goes on blooming, and there it is. It's really quite magnificent.

It has the darkest purple flowers I've ever seen on a hydrangea.

It's neighbor to the right is the bluest of blues. The blue was planted by the previous owner of our home. It was a much larger plant at one time, but I got the bright idea to cut back some branches of a tree that shaded it, and it never really recovered. Hydrangeas are not full sun lovers, but prefer some shade during the day.

It's doing better this year than previously, however, and it seems to like the shade provided by the dappled willow we planted last year. The dappled willow has been very showy, and it has grown to about twice the size it started just a year ago.

Around the back side of the house, this hydrangea has flowers in three colors blooming on the same plant.



and blue. And how does it do that?

Its variegated pink neighbor to the right is also covered in flowers.

And I'm thrilled with the echinacea this year. I've had trouble getting these to go, but they seem to have finally taken off this year. The bees love them.

The cherry tomato has some tomatoes very close to ripe now. It shares its barrel with some volunteer pansies and strawberries. One might think the volunteers would affect the growth of the cherry tomato, but it just keeps humming along.

The pansies are prolific, and they've taken up residence in the pot with the marigolds too. They're so pretty, I just let them grow where they will.

I was expecting Matthew for dinner last night. Ever since I made the Banh Mi sandwiches a couple of weeks ago, I've been wanting to make them for him because it seems like something he would like. I warned him they probably wouldn't taste like authentic Banh Mi he's used to, but he liked them anyway. He suggested calling them "Mom Mi" sandwiches.

So, knowing my kiddo was coming for dinner, I figured I should make something for dessert. I'd been listening to a story about peaches on the radio. Apparently peaches are early this year, and the season will be here and gone before we know it. It had me thinking peach cobbler was a good idea, but the peaches were green here locally. Apple Crisp seemed like a good substitute, and so I adapted one of my crisp recipes for the 8-inch iron skillet acquired recently.

It worked out pretty well, but I think I'd turn the oven temperature down a little next time. This was baked in my toaster oven, and the topping burned just a little bit. It was still tasty, and we enjoyed it.

Okay, so, like I said, the binding comes first today. Then, I'm going to lay waste to some of our CSA carrots by making dilled carrots. It'll be my first canning of the season. If there's still time left in the day, I'll get after the housework I was planning to do yesterday. Our camping trip approaches, and it's looking like we'll have our boat back for that. We might have to drive down to get it on Monday, but it'll be worth it to have it with us at the lake. I'll say more about that in tomorrow's post. Also, my ninth blogiversary is tomorrow. I'll be celebrating with a giveaway, so check back tomorrow for all the news of that.


Quilting Marathon

After three days of nearly non-stop quilting, I'm ready to sew the binding on the Solstice to Solstice quilt. On this last day of quilting, I got back to a more curvy "C," but honestly, looking at the quilt, I can't see where one day ended and the next day started. It all blends together when seen as a whole. This was the final block. It's the one I made for Earth Day:

When I get the whole thing finished, and I have someone (or maybe two people) to hold the quilt upright, I'll give you a key that tells what each block represented. For now, the quilt is so large (86 x 86 when finished), I can't get a good picture of the whole thing without help. Even risking my life standing on something tall won't help, and so I just took a few pictures from different angles.

Here's how it looks from the back:

Okay, but that wasn't my only finish for the day. Also, and as expected, I finished the embroidery on the next Dancing Chickens and Flying Pigs quilt block. This one is called "Butterflies and Hares."

There was more help available that one really needs for this task, but I had plenty of assistance measuring and cutting it to size.

With butterflies and hares, you can expect that quilt block to hop around, and so Sadie helpfully held it down.

Smitty assisted in keeping everything straight while I took a picture of all three blocks together. Wait for it...

There we go. These are all the blocks I have so far for this quilt. It's so whimsical and fun. I can't wait to have all the blocks finished.

Yesterday afternoon, both kitties were taking advantage of the catio to harass the squirrels. I'm not sure who's harassing who, but the kitties would claim the high ground here.

Why does she always tap on the glass like that, Smitty?

I don't know, Sadie, but it's exaspurrating. Just ignore her and go back to making faces at the squirrels. When you turn around, she'll be gone.

Today I'm going to try to get an early start (read that: "before noon") and get my grocery shopping done. I have a couple of other errands to run, but then I'll get going on the binding for the Solstice quilt. There are some other things to do, but I expect I can have it ready for hand-stitching by the end of the day.