Returning to Normal

We were able to get the entire camper unpacked and things put away yesterday. After that Mike went to whack down some of the branches that have grown out over the driveway while I took a walk around the garden to inspect things and see what's new.

The first thing I noticed is that the hydrangea Erik and Mae gave to me for Mother's Day last year is blooming. We weren't sure it would hold its nice wine color, but lookie there. I think it might be a little more purple than it was when they gave it to me. Still, I've never seen one this color. So pretty.

And that sent me running around to see if any of the other hydrangeas have bloomed. Of the four remaining, two have bloomed. This one was pink when it started out. You can see that it now has both pink and blue flowers on it. The color change has occurred naturally. It indicates a fair amount of iron in the soil. The probably accounts for the darker purple color in the one above as well.

Also, this one, whose color remains something of a mystery. Is it pink? Is it green? Is it pink and green?

It's planted in a place where it gets too much direct sunlight, and it has always struggled. It looks the best it's ever looked this year.

Now here's something: this rose in the image below. This is a tree rose that was given to me for my 50th birthday. I think I've told you before how little luck I've had with roses since we moved in here. The culinary herb bed was a rose garden at one time. Then, I got tired of pruning, watering, tending, and caring, only to have the deer eat every last blossom before it ever had a chance to open. Believe me when I say we tried everything to discourage them. 

Then someone gave me this little tree rose. It was beautifully fragrant, and so we planted it around the front side of the house. Of course, the deer made a meal of it right away. If Mike had been less busy, we would have dug it up long ago. And now...look at this! The main stalk appears dead, but it put up more canes all around the center stalk. Some are suckers, but it is absolutely covered in blossoms this year. Who would have thought it?

And since we've always planned to dig it up, it has been neglected terribly. Once the flowers die back, I'll give it a good pruning and we'll see how it goes. Of course, once I start taking care of it, it will gain more stature in the eyes and tastes of the deer. Of that I have no doubt.

Also blooming prolifically right now are the daylilies.

When I looked a little closer at this, I noticed this Goldenrod Crab Spider. I got a little too close when I snapped this picture, and so it's a little blurry. You can see a better picture if you click on that link I've given you.

The only other time I've seen these spiders is at our friends Greg and Jan's property out toward the Oregon coast. These spiders like to lie on their backs mimicking the center of a flower. Then some unsuspecting bee comes along and gets caught. Then the spider sucks it dry, discards it, and then readies itself for its next victim. Yummy. 

The daylily has more flowers on it this year than I've ever seen. It's amazing what a mild winter and a warm wet spring will do for things.

As you know, I've planted sunflowers in the culinary herb garden this year. I have six different varieties and so I'm excited to see them bloom. They are beginning to head up, and so it won't be long.

Also, the lavender is in bloom. Time for some Bees Knees cocktails!

And lookie here...another Goldenrod Crab Spider! It's interesting that I've never seen these in our garden before, and yet, I saw two within ten feet of one another yesterday.

The tomatoes are growing taller and they did just fine while we were gone. Also check out my basil plant there in the middle, taller than the rest because it's sitting on a cross beam.

What's this? It's bat guano. That's how we know there are bats in our belfry.

Look up there at the tippy top peak in our garage roof and you'll see the bat house we've given them. We hung the bat house the first year we moved in, but we've only had actual bats living there for the past couple of years. We like our bats. They eat the bugs.

Here's my little garden companion. He's been sticking close to me ever since we got back. The last two nights he snuggled up to me in bed, and we had a purrgasm and a petstravaganza. He couldn't seem to get enough, and that meant a nap for me yesterday afternoon. I'll probably take another one today. I don't mind. I missed him too. He's still a little too active for daytime snuggling. When we get in bed at night, all bets are off.

Gracie's just happy to have us home to deposit treats in her bowl again.

Her fur is very nearly grown back. The owie doesn't even show any more.

While Mike was whacking bushes, I decided to get a little organizing done in the sewing room. While we were gone, the fabrics for my next little baby quilt were delivered. I have quite a pile of fabric to be washed now with these fabrics and the ones I purchased for Hocuspocusville.

I took advantage of the time away from home to take Big Bertha in for her annual maintenance. I can pick her up today, but I decided to set up Pfelicity in her place and use her this week. I have a class next Saturday and I haven't sewn on Pfelicity since I took her to Tacoma last summer. Since she's my take-along girl, it seems a good idea to spend a little time with her this week.

Yesterday I got out the manual and had to completely reacquaint myself with her. I couldn't remember how to thread the needle, wind the bobbin, or anything. Then, once I had her all set up and ready to sew, I realized the feed dogs were down (because the last thing I did with her was free motion quilting), and I had to figure out how to raise them again. I think we're ready to sew now.

She sure has a pretty straight stitch. Now that I'm re-prioritizing my work for June, I'm going to finish up my paper-pieced blocks and focus all on blocks until I have all the ones I need to make for June finished. Then, I'll probably quilt the Dream Machines quilt before doing the Doors of Ireland. It was tempting to just not finish the Dream Machines quilt since I dislike it so much. I've decided to go ahead and quilt it, however, because it will be good practice. Then, I'll most likely donate it to a charity I have picked out. I'll say more about that when the time comes.

For today, I'm picking up Big Bertha and purchasing a few groceries. I don't want to buy much until I see what's in this week's CSA share. Tonight is my guild meeting and we're showing off our challenge quilts. It's the coming out party for Block Party.

 I hope it does as well as the Blooming Sunflower did in last year's challenge when I won $50!

So...lots to do. Time to get going.

13 comments from clever and witty friends:

Teresa in Music City said...

Isn't it SO nice to get back home to your familiar life and start the process of getting things organized again? That's what I'm doing today too. Looks like your yard and garden were both ready to welcome you home - and those purr-babies were ecstatic I'm sure!!!

Dora, the Quilter said...

When I lived in northern Arizona, there were bat caves a mile or two away. Two of the bats preferred to gather a good portion of their nightly feast in the covered entry way to my house. (I too welcomed them because they were eating insects.) However, what I learned from that experience is that while they eat crickets, they don't eat cricket legs. It took me a while to figure out that's what I was sweeping out each morning!

barbara woods said...

my lily's are doing great this year to. The deer loves my rose bush they eat all the leaves off , don't bother the blooms

WoolenSails said...

Your gardens are beautiful, I am finally planting things and trying to make our yard nicer.
I know you leave the kitties for short periods, we will have our son come in and keep an eye on them, so we will make sure they have more food and water and wondering if there are things we should know or do since they will be left for a few days at a time.


quiltzyx said...

At my guild meeting last week, another of our members was our speaker. One of the things she showed us were 2 lavender sachets that she made from scraps - and she grew & harvested her own lavender for them! Maybe I should send her your cocktail recipe!!
Seems like cats can go either way when you're gone. Some of them get mad at you, and the others, like Gracie, Smitty & Zzyzx, welcome you home. First time I went to Australia, I was gone for 10 days. When I got home, the first couple days she had to be touching me almost constantly (& she wasn't normally a lap cat before then), then had to be in the same room for the next couple of weeks.
As usual, all the flowers are gorgeous! Love all the different colors of the hydrangeas.
I think everyone at your guild should like Block Party as much as I do - and give you the prize again!! (I won a $15 gift card for my local LQS at my last meeting!)

gpc said...

I've never even heard of goldenrod crab spiders! I wonder if we have them here? So many wonders to explore! I love the idea of a bat box, I will have to give some thought as to where I could put one . . . You are lucky to have such forgiving kitties. Mine used to snub me for days on the rare times I dared leave them behind.

Lynda Halliger Otvos (Lynda M O) said...

Your flower pictures are the prettiest on the web, Barb. And of course, the kitties are stunners.

Betty said...

Glad you had a nice trip and are safely back home. Sounds like you had a very purry furry welcome!

Doreen Auger said...

Welcome back! Your hydrangeas have done well. Mine are still leaves. Getting back to normal is, sometimes, a very pleasant thing to do!

Sandra W said...

It's interesting how many quilters are also gardeners. I am not one of them. I have no interest in gardening, although I like liking at flowers. But, oh my, those spiders are really unusual and a little creepy. I've never seen them before.
I assume Bertha is a Bernina. Details please.
I have a very old Pfaff, a 1229, about 40 years old. And it does do a beautiful straight stitch.
Last year I bought a Janome 8900 and then a few weeks later a Janome 4120--my traveler. It has made a huge difference in that I can easily go to workshops and retreats.It only weighs lbs. It's easy to move between the two machines--same feet and many of the same features. The differences aren't enormous and it makes moving between the two machines effortless.I took my small machine on a road trip to Hilton Head and to FL and TX. If you have cash to spare, a traveler is a great investment for any quilter.

Dar said...

Your flowers did amazing things while you were gone. They were welcoming you home too along with the furr babies.

Kelsey said...

I saw this pattern today, and thought of you and your sweet kitties. https://justquiltin.wordpress.com/patchkats-bom-coming-in-2015/

Brown Family said...

I always enjoy a walk through your garden. Apparently your pictures are only messed up in Firefox, not in IE but only on my desk top computer!