4/22/18

A Full Day

There was a little of everything on my agenda yesterday. First, I finished off the fifth of the dresses for the Sundress quilt.


After that, I traced out the sixth of nine blocks for the Home and Heart quilt. It's kind of hard to see what's going on here.


The block is called "Peace and Plenty Farm." You'll just have to wait patiently while I stitch it to get a good look. This morning I started down there in the southwest corner.


Also yesterday, I committed to pulling some more weeds. The object of my desire was the culinary herb garden. Of course, I'm never alone when I'm in the garden.


My furry friends are always close at hand. Sadie is so short, she barely rises above the grass. She was trying to scare up a mouse, I think.


Before starting on the herbs, I repotted the tomato starts. They're looking good. A couple of them appeared to need stakes, and so I obliged them. Demanding little buggers.


Also, I transplanted the cherry tomato to its whiskey barrel planter in front of the house. It shares this spot with one lonely tulip (already bloomed out) and a couple of intrusive strawberry plants.


And then I was ready for the hard work of weeding and cleaning up the culinary herb garden. First, I got busy re-establishing the theme.


At one end of this strip of a garden are some wild strawberries. I planted them intentionally, and they make a nice ground cover. Also, they produce tiny little strawberries, and the birds love them.


Nevertheless, they are weeds, technically, and so I've labeled them as such.

Want to see what else is growing in the herb garden? There is both English and French Lavender.


And lots of Chives. These come up at various places in the garden, and I just let them grow wherever they want to. They're lovely as fresh chives, but I use the blossoms to make chive blossom vinegar. You can see that there are some flower buds already.


Also Sage. This is a very robust plant and has to be whacked back every now and again.


Then there's the poor Rosemary. It often dies over the winter, and so I think of it as an annual at our elevation and climate. Nevertheless, this one is doing pretty well right now. It's even blooming, and so I think it will be with us for another season.


This next one is Sorrel. I'm never quite sure what to do with it, but I have used it in soups, and it makes a pretty good pesto.


There are three kinds of thyme. This one is Silver Thyme.


This one is French or Common Thyme. I use this one the most.


There's a tiny little patch of Lemon Thyme. It's leaves are delicate, and I don't use it often...unless the dish features lemons. Then, it's very nice.


Finally, Italian Parsley. I planted this a couple of years ago. It reseeds itself each year, and I have to make sure it doesn't get too carried away and take over the whole garden. Usually I pick a patch and let it grow where it wants to. The rest gets pulled up.


The one herb I neglected to photograph was the oregano. I don't have a lot of use for fresh oregano since I think dried oregano is better, but I still like having it in the garden. The one I'm often missing is tarragon. It always dies back in the winter, and has to be replanted in the spring. It's surprisingly hard to find, but I'll keep looking.

Weeding and cleaning up the herb garden was a job of many hours. There were plenty of weeds, but there was also just a lot of winter kill to clean up. Now it's done for another year.

When I was finished with that, I walked around the house so I could show you every blooming thing. Here's the newest tulip. It grows alone in the same whiskey barrel with the hyacinths.


Around the front of the house is another whiskey barrel with these fellows. I wasn't sure of the color before, but now it's obvious what they will be. I expect they'll be fully open within the next day or two.


Also, the Bleeding Heart is making its comeback. This one blooms almost all summer.


After that, I was pretty tired. I had some lunch and sat for a while. I was highly motivated to get the small quilts sandwiched for quilting. After I'd rested for a while and iced my aching knees, I got to work. Now I've sandwiched "Working for Peanuts." I'd like to get this one finished for this year's Oregon State Fair.


And this one is another one I'd like to get finished for this year's fair. This is the Summer Holiday quilt. You can see the binding strips I've cut for these quilts lying along the left side of the image.


I like the pieced back for the Summer Holiday quilt. I used a couple of orphan blocks, scraps from my stash, and leftover pieces from the quilt top to make it.


Next was this "Welcome Home" mystery quilt I made last summer while following along on Kathleen Tracy's Facebook page. This is not a favorite of mine, and it reminded me why I rarely make mystery quilts. I'm never happy with my choice of fabrics. I still want to finish it, however, but I'm guessing it will end up a kitty quilt.


Oh yes, and this recent finish...the one is "The More the Marinarier."


And this one I made while we were traveling. I call this one "Lucky Charm." I haven't yet cut binding strips for it, but I think I'll use that same green stripe pictured in the image above.


Finally, the Chinese Zodiac. This will be the next one to get quilted. I thought I had a piece of batting that would be just the right size. Alas, it was not big enough. I'll have to piece something together for it.


When I realized I was going to have to piece the batting together, I was suddenly and overwhelmingly exhausted. It was a full day. It seemed completely appropriate to let this one wait until this morning

So, that's where I'll start...after I've had some breakfast, of course. I'll piece together some batting, and then I think I'll get started on the quilting. No weeds for me today. We're expecting good weather all week, and so there's no rush to get back out there. My knees and my back will thank me.

4/21/18

The Green Green Grass of Home

My friend Sue and I got out for a walk yesterday morning. It was the first time we'd walked since last August. We had lovely weather for it, if just a bit chilly. The chill was nice for exercising, and eventually, we were both too warm. The recent rains have certainly been good for the countryside. The wheat was coming up, about 8 inches tall now.


Rounding the first corner of our loop, we came to my most-photographed barn.


And how could I resist taking pictures of every blooming thing? This rhododendron is in bloom. Ours at home (and higher elevation) are barely getting started.


Recently, I upgraded to a new iPhone. The new one has more features on the camera, and I did some experimenting. It still isn't as good as my Nikon point-and-shoot, but it fits conveniently in my pocket, which is an excellent feature.


Take a look at this apple tree. Apple trees are in bloom all over the valley right now.


Here's a close-up.


Also, the tulips are at their best right now.


I'm not sure what kind of a tree this is, but it was lovely.


One of the valley neighbors has added a herd of cows since we last walked this loop.


As we rounded the third corner of our loop, we were treated to this view of the valley and Mt. St. Helens in the background. You can barely see Mt. Rainier to its left. Walking on, we could also see Mt. Adams.


Why did the raccoon cross the road? I don't know, but he left his muddy footprints behind.


Sue had gifts for me from Christmas. I had a few things I picked up along the way for her too. She gave me these kitty slippers, which is kind of a tradition between us.


Also, remember this sign I saw on a bench as Mike and I walked the Cliff Walk in Newport, Rhode Island?


If I'm remembering correctly, I texted this image to Sue and told her I hoped someone would do something like this for us some day. Sue just took the bull by the horns and went ahead with it. Who says you have to die to honor a good friend?


Now I'm thinking we'll get a park bench for our field, which is something I've wanted for a long time, and hang this plaque there.

There was no sewing yesterday except to make a little more progress on the latest Sundress block.


There's just that little bit at the bottom to finish. I'm hoping to finish it up this morning. That tiny chain stitch takes forever.

Now I'm about to tell you a little secret I've been holding on to. Remember that RV we looked at in South Carolina? If not, you can click on that link I just gave you. Well. When the jack on the current RV broke for the third time while we were in New Orleans, Mike called the dealer and put in a special order for a new one.

This morning, he left to drive back to South Carolina to pick it up. Why South Carolina, you ask? Because they gave us the best deal...like a really, really super deal...and so it was worth the drive to purchase it from them. It's a long drive for Mike, but it was the most efficient and cost-effective way to get it back home. Of course, he'll have the RV on the drive back, and so it'll be kind of fun for him to have the whole place to himself on his drive home. (Besides, he can get the kinks worked out while he's at it.) And that means I'll be a feral woman for the next few weeks. I expect I'll get lots of sewing done.

4/20/18

Winning Weather

It was bordering on warm yesterday when I went outside to pull some weeds. Oh my gosh...there are so many weeds. I told Mike it was difficult to tell the forest of weeds from the weeds as big as trees. My goal was to pick three bucketfuls and call it a day. I have the whole summer ahead of me, right? No need to kill myself on the first day. Of course, no session of weed pulling can be complete without the assistance of one's cat.


He kept the squirrels and mousies at bay.

When I committed to three bucketfuls, I should have chosen a smaller bucket. I was using this big industrial-sized bucket, and it was a lot of work. You can see the weeds awaiting my attention there. Yikes.


On this first day out, I took a good long break between each bucket, drank some water, walked around, and by the time I had filled my third bucket, the whole area in front of the house on the left side of the sidewalk was relatively weed free. It was a good day's work.


There's still plenty more to do, but I called it quits for the day. My original plan was to do the culinary herb garden, but that part of the yard gets the afternoon sun. It was a little chilly to be out doing it in the shade, and so I opted for the sunny side of the house. The herbs will have to wait for another day.

After that, I showered and ate some lunch, then got out for a walk around. In my wanderings, I noticed this dark purple hyacinth. This is another one courtesy of the squirrels.


Also, I noticed that the cherry blossoms are just starting to open.


The birds and raccoons always beat us to the cherries, but the tree will be gorgeous when it's in full bloom. Most all the trees are budding out right now, and so we should have some pretty blooming trees within the next week.

After that, I finished up the April block for Tuxedo Tales. This entailed top-stitching and some machine and hand embroidery.


Finishing this block was my April OMG, and so I'll link up when the time comes.


Here are the four blocks I've fini...oh...wait...that's a problem.


We had to review the rules of the sewing room. You stay in this little bed.

I know your rules...I purrfur my own.


I will comply, but only because I'm getting very sleepy.


Okay, so let's try this again. Here are the four blocks I have so far.


Today, I'm walking with my friend Sue. We haven't walked since last August, and so we're both looking forward to meeting for our bowl of oatmeal and then taking a walk around the rural countryside. It's going to be a beautiful day, and so I should have some nice pictures from our walk for you in tomorrow's post.