It was a three mountain day yesterday, and gorgeous, if a bit chilly. Since I've been itching to get outside for a walk, I headed down the hill to the lower part of our road. We live on one of those weird roads that makes a 90° turn from another road and then winds all around. You keep thinking you've turned off onto a new road, but nope...it's the same road. So the mountains in the distance are from the left, Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens (which, prior to 1980, was taller and peakier), and at the extreme right is Mt. Adams. When you get down to the bottom of that road, there's a brief moment in time when Mt. Hood also comes into view and so, technically, it was a four mountain day.
As you might know, I've been on a quest to photograph every blooming thing this spring, and I make no distinction among flowers, whether they be weeds, or something else. Here, we have a weed known as purple dead nettle. Supposedly it is edible, but I'm told it tastes like grass. If you feel a need to graze like sheep, I suggest mixing it into a green shake.
I'm not sure what this is. It looks a lot like a morning glory, but not quite.
I've already shown you lots of pictures of our state flower, the Oregon grape, but this one was so pretty with its red foliage, I couldn't resist. Don't you love digital photography? No need to be concerned about the cost of film and processing, and we can just snap and snap and snap to our heart's content.
Here's a red leaf in the rushing stream of a draining ditch. It just caught my eye.
And then there were these ladies. Sometimes they aren't out when I walk by, but they were right next to the fence yesterday. If you've never spent much time around cows, you should know that they are extremely curious. A few of them were a bit timid and ran a few steps as I approached the fence. Others stood their ground.
I just kept talking to them, using my sweetest cow whisperer voice, and they came closer and closer. Each time I started to walk away, this same one would run a few steps as if to say, "Oh...don't go!" I stayed about five minutes, but then bid them good-bye and walked on. Bye, bye, ladies! These might actually be steer, but they're all ladies to me.
Then there are these things growing in the drainage ditches that look, for all the world, like wild asparagus.
They open up into these sort of ferny-looking things. I'm being very horticulturally accurate this morning in my terminology, so try to keep up.
Here's my favorite barn, only from the back side.
I like this one up higher on the hillside too.
Here it is again from the other side. The second barn is just outside the frame on the right in the image below.
Oh yes, and the lowly dandelion. It's blooming everywhere. Dandelions were one of the first edible greens before grocery stores came along and folks had to worry about that sort of thing more than now. Were it not for dandelions, many of our ancestors would have starved to death, so show a little respect.
Okay, so, not blooming, but these are the rose hips of wild roses.
Flowering plums lining my neighbor's driveway.
Now here's something I hadn't noticed before. There are often bird houses mounted on public utility poles. Look on the right side of the house there.
It has some sort of number. When I saw this, I noticed the others did as well. No doubt, this is for some kind of research or statistical data. I tried to find out more via Google, but could find nothing that told me who or what data is being collected here.
On the other hand, maybe this is how bird mail is delivered.
Here's some sort of blooming fruit tree...I'm guessing cherry. It's a little early for apples.
Several of you helped me to identify this as forsythia while on a previous walk.
And by then, I was just about back to my car.
Now here's something: The previous night, I received via email my guild newsletter. Inside was a description of this year's challenge quilt, called "Page and Patch". Here's the challenge:
Oh wow...that's a tough one. Before heading out on my walk, I'd perused a whole shelf full of photography books and found nothing that really turned my crank insofar as the challenge was concerned. Then, I picked up this book right in front of me on my coffee table.
When I turned to page 9, I saw this Snail's Trail block. Okay, now there's something I can work with, I thought.
So, while I was walking, I was thinking about possibly using a 9-patch in the center of the block. Okay, but then how do I get the number 9 in there? And what else am I going to do with it? So then, I started thinking about an actual snail, and how it's shell is shaped, and I thought....hm, I could use the shape of the shell for the number 9, and maybe I could put some 9-patch flowers around it or something. Then, I stopped dead in my tracks and looked up images of snails on my phone, and I found this one:
All of a sudden, I had it. I can easily recreate the sunflower using applique. If I can do a cat, surely I can do something as simple as a sunflower. And I can put the 9-patch in the center of the sunflower. I didn't like this snail, however. For one thing, I wanted to use sparkly thread and tulle to actually create a snail's trail, and so I need the snail to be higher up on the flower. And I'd want to reorient him so that the nine is clearly visible. Then, I found this image:
Use your imagination and see the #9 right in the center of his shell spiral. So...there you go. That's my challenge quilt in bits and pieces.
I printed off and posterized these images, and I'll be using my overhead projector to create a pattern for my quilt. I was so excited in the moment that it took all my restraint not to shove everything else off my sewing work space and onto the floor to make way for this new creation. It isn't due until June 20th, however, and so there's no big rush. Isn't it exhilarating when you get thinking about a project like this? Now I'm excited to start. I'll probably hold off for a week or two, however. As my friend Dana says, I need to "circle" around this one for just a bit.
So one of the projects that would have ended up on the floor would have been Written in Thread, which still needed the embroidery design traced onto it. It was easy enough to do with my light box. I just lined up those seam lines and pinned it in place.
A little hard to see, I know. Block #9 is probably a little easier. I'll do both of these before moving on.
For now, I'm working on this block for the Live, Love, Teach quilt. I should have it finished by tomorrow.
Before I go, I wanted to update you on the recipes I tried for our St. Patrick's Day dinner last night. Recall that I was making Colcannon.
We loved this dish. It's basically mashed potatoes mixed with shredded savoy cabbage and leeks. It was delicious, but you probably need to be someone who likes cabbage to appreciate it. Also, this Mustard Crusted Pork Loin with Apple-Cabbage Slaw.
It too was delicious. You could leave out the apple-cabbage slaw if you wanted and just do the pork loin. But if you like the idea of the slaw, I'll just say that it is shredded cabbage and a grated apple (I used Granny Smith). It's very lightly seasoned with a tablespoon each of butter, white wine vinegar, and golden brown sugar. The seasoning was surprisingly forward given the strong flavor of cabbage on its own. But if you don't want the cabbage, the pork loin was delicious all by itself, and this recipe is extremely easy. In my ignorance, I didn't realize that a pork loin and a pork tenderloin are two different cuts of pork. I used the pork tenderloin, and I prepared it just as written in the recipe, with one exception: I need my pork roasted to higher than the stated 145°F. I can't eat pork if it's still pink, and so I roasted mine to 160°F. It was tender and delicious. Mike loved it.
So there you go. I endorse both recipes.
The day isn't as nice as yesterday. It's dry, but cloudy and windy, and so I probably won't go walking outside today. I have some housework to do, and then I'm going to get started on the next section for the Mumm's the Word quilt.
I've had it out on my work table for over a week, and other things keep getting priority. Now its time has come. There are 25 small blocks to make for the next section, and I started cutting them yesterday. This will probably be my project for the next couple of days.