Getting Stuff Done

It was a productive morning at the Three Cats Ranch yesterday. I did my housekeeping chores, finished off the laundry, and did my morning workout all before noon. After lunch, I filled the bird feeders and took a little walk around. There isn't much more to show right now, but several of the flower buds are being watched closely. One of these mornings, I'll go outside and find something big has popped open. For now, I'm keeping an eye on the dogwood, trying to watch these flowers transition to maturity. They seem to be getting lighter in color and softer.

Also the lithodora is putting on a show right now. It puts out a mass of dark blue flowers carpeting the area around it. The flowers are small...about the size of a dime...but they pack a visual punch.

The kitties went out with me. Sadie took a luxurious dust bath.

That looked good to Smitty too, and so he joined her.

Back inside, I went to work making the next embroidery block for the Domestic Affairs quilt. This one had some applique. It was a little tricky getting those pieces fused down. The lower part of the curtain on the left gave me some trouble. On my first try, I didn't cut out the area where a bird will go, and so I had to peel it up and start again.

After it was fused, I traced in the embroidery lines.

After that, I just needed to top-stitch the applique, and now that puppy is ready for hand embroidery. Of course, I still have several days work left on Pieces of the Past. At least I won't have a stitching emergency after it's finished.

And it was still too nice outside to spend my afternoon in the basement. I went out for another walk around. I noticed the thyme is blooming. It has tiny white flowers, not much bigger than the head of a pin.

And, finally, I spied a bud on the fifth of five peonies. There are two that are very close to opening, and so I was glad to see this one making some progress.

As I walked around to the front patio, I noticed these two popping their heads up from beneath one of our evergreen shrubs. I warned them to stay out of my flower pots or risk being relocated to a new zip code. That had them shivering in their squirrely little boots, let me tell you.

There are multiple Mans coming today. This is never a good thing for the kitties. The window washer guy is coming. It'll be nice to have clean windows again. Also, the tree-topper guys are coming, and so it's going to be busy with bodies and loud machinery for much of the day. I haven't done anything with my Animal Kingdom art quilt, and so I'll probably spend the day working on that. 

I've been busy reserving campsites for the part of our summer trip that begins before Labor Day. This morning I claimed a spot in one of North Dakota's state campgrounds. Score! They tend to be more scenic and less expensive than private RV parks, but it isn't always easy to snag a spot, especially in the week leading up to Labor Day. The parts of the trip are falling into place, and it will be here before we're ready, I'm sure.

But now I'm ready for breakfast. It will be a busy and noisy day. I'm looking forward to getting a good start on my art quilt this afternoon.


Getting My Vitamin D

It was too nice yesterday to spend any time in a windowless basement sewing room, and so my sewing projects went begging. I spent most of the day outside soaking up the sun. I'd already told you I was determined to weed the herb garden...which I did. It didn't need weeding so much as it needed whacking. The rosemary plant had died. I'd had this plant for two years, but generally, I can't keep them alive through the winter. Winter is no problem for the sage plant though. It has reached a stage where it has to be cut back to about 50% its size each year to give the chives some room to breathe. I probably don't have enough chives for vinegar this year, but they are making a comeback.

It was a job, but I finished off the herb garden and then took a walk around. I knew some warmer weather would bring out the rhododendron blossoms, and they are so pretty right now. This one is at the lower end of the herb garden.

It's flowers are so delicate and pretty.

The volunteer pansies are looking pretty robust for having been buried in several feet of snow just last month.

The golden chain tree is readying itself to become the most watched thing in the garden. I look forward to its time to bloom each year. This is our third try with a golden chain tree. This one is doing well despite having been knocked over by a deer using it as an antler-scratching post one year. We planted it somewhere in the neighborhood of 3-4 years ago, and it's still alive. That alone is saying something.

The kitties were out hunting squirrels with me. You can just see Sadie's tail in the image below.

You can see them both in the next image. Smitty on the left, Sadie on the right. They were in deep shadow...the better to be stealthy, you know.

I got wind that a package had been delivered to the mail box. It's about a half mile round trip to our mail box, but I decided to make the walk. It was such a pretty day, and I was enjoying being outside without a coat. Along the way I took pictures of all the wildflowers I saw. I believe the first ones are wild geraniums.

And I don't know the rest. These grow on a shrub.

This next one might be penstemon. I'm not really sure.

I think this next one is vetch. I'm probably getting them all wrong, but I know someone will correct me.

Oh yes, and this one I know...a trio of lowly dandelions.

This next one is common wood sorrel. I have sorrel growing in my herb garden. I've used it to make pesto and soup, and it tastes pretty good. According to Google, every part of the wood sorrel plant is edible, but I haven't ever used this wild stuff.

As I walked back, I looked up at the sky. I love how it looks when the sun is shining through the leaves.

Just at the beginning of our driveway, I noticed a Scotch broom getting ready to bloom. These are ubiquitous in the northwest. They're pretty when they bloom, painting whole hillsides with yellow. But, man, they are murder for people with allergies.

And, like I said, I spent most of the day outside. I took another walk around later in the afternoon and again marveled at how beautiful the rhodies are right now.

Oh! And happy, happy, joy, joy!!! I noticed two buds growing on the patio poppies. I didn't think they would bloom this year! Generally, when I see the first bud, I start seeing more and more. This makes me very happy.

Of course the lilacs are at their prettiest right now.

After so much walking around, Smitty needed to cool his belly furs on top of the cool china cabinet.

On Friday, I baked cookies for Mike to take along to the road rally. I ate only one and then sent the rest along with him. It seemed like a perfect opportunity to try out this Chocolate Chip Cookies for One recipe. It was so quick and easy, and it makes two cookies. Yum. I did not share these with anybody.

It's a recipe from America's Test Kitchens, and so I can't link to the recipe, but I'm sharing it anyway.  And, just between you and me, there are lots of "cookies for one" recipes on the internet. I tried this one, and it was good. If you wanted to make cookies for two (four cookies), you can easily double it. If I were to double this, I'd include twice as much of everything and the whole egg instead of just the yolk.

Okay, and then I was excited to see more seeds sprouting. Two cucumbers...

And more sunflowers.

I love when they still have their seeds attached.

No doubt, you'll soon be glad I didn't plant more seeds this year.

Smitty was 'zhausted by the end of the day. I put the Mumm's the Word quilt on the chair in my office, and this has become his new favorite place for his afternoon nap.

And just to show you I didn't completely abandon my sewing, I stitched up the next section of Pieces of the past. I'm coming close to the finish line with this. I expect I'll finish it before the week is over.

This being Sunday, I'll be linking up to 

So I made no progress on any of my other projects yesterday. Today I'll be doing laundry, and there's a little housework on the list. Then I'll make up the next block for Domestic Affairs, and I'll get started on my "Animal Kingdom" art quilt. Mike will be home later today. It's another lovely day outside. I might be tempted to get out for another walk.


Purrfect Start

There were Mans here yesterday, and kitties do not like invaders into their purrsonal space. They couldn't even show their faces until the Mans left for lunch. Then, they ventured out purrudently mindful of anything that looked out of place. Despurrate times call for good friends to stick together.

Nothing much happens around here until I get in my morning slow-stitching. Mans, or no mans, I will not be deterred from each morning's mission. Yesterday's was to finish off this section. The three English daisies were already stitched, but I needed to finish off the "scroll work" and the edge of the tablecloth. I'd run out of that yellow floss, but I'm now armed with a fresh skein.

I'm approaching the finish line with this. I'm probably more than three-fourths of the way there.

I'm close enough to finishing that I'll probably make up the next block for the Domestic Affairs quilt today. Goodness knows, I don't want to run out of stitching projects.

When that was finished, I filled the birdfeeders. For the first time this year, the evening grosbeaks have arrived at the feeders. And, while I thought the western tanagers had moved on, I saw another one yesterday.

Also, we have tons of the black-headed grosbeaks. The Pacific Northwest Birders on Facebook have been posting pictures of them as if they are something rare. Once they show up at our feeders, we have lots of them, and all season long. It's easy to become jaded.

Back inside, I noticed a seed had sprouted. This is one of the sunflowers.

Oh, and lookie there! A cucumber!

Oh, and look over there! Another sunflower! I know! This is every bit as exciting as watching grass grow!

Well. What else could I do, but celebrate by baking some cookies? No need to answer...I'm just sayin'. Any excuse to bake cookies is a good excuse. Actually, I made these for Mike and the rest of the family. They're heading out to the gorge to watch a road rally out there. I'm staying home. Camping next to the railroad tracks in Washington isn't my idea of a good time, but they'll have fun. And they'll have cookies. 

Okay, and so finally, I was able to get into the sewing room around mid-afternoon. I needed to piece together the thread spools the cat would be seated upon.

And I needed to top-stitch the applique and add in a few details. I wanted to do the top-stitching before adding the spools.

It took a lot longer than I expected, but I got it done. I used the triple stitch on my sewing machine to stitch the bird's legs.

And the stems on the strawberries. And, duh. I've been cracking wise about strawberries and tomatoes growing on the same vine. Just as I was looking at this picture, I realized the connection. It's that classic tomato pincushion with the attached strawberry! Okay...it all makes sense now. I'm a slow study, in case you hadn't noticed.

And then, I could sew it all together, and Section 1 of five sections is complete.

It was late in the day by then. I found the kitties upstairs basking in the afternoon sunshine. Kitties know exactly what to do when the sun shines.

We have at least a week of sunshine headed our way, starting yesterday afternoon. Today I'm going to make good on my threat to clean-up and weed the herb garden. It's the last of the winterkill. I don't know if I'll get the whole thing done today. It's a big knee and back killing job, and so I might do half today and half tomorrow. We'll see how my body holds up. There will probably be time for some sewing this afternoon. If so, I'll make up the next Domestic Affairs block, and then get a start on my next art quilt for the "Animal Kingdom" prompt. Mike will be gone overnight, and so my time will be my own.