Sunny and Cold

It's a pretty morning out, despite the cold temperatures. We're at 27°F. right now, and it's not expected to get above freezing today.

Mike was home from work yesterday, but he went in this morning. Often when we have snow on our hill, there is none in the valley. It's cold everywhere right now, however. If you look off in the distance in that image above, you can see that there's snow all the way to the valley floor. By now, the roads have been sanded, and so he was able to drive in safely. I expect him home early, however. The five o'clock commute is always horrendous on snow days.

In the image below, you can see my boot tracks. I ventured out yesterday to fill the bird feeders.

It was terribly cold, and my hands and fingers were frozen within just a few minutes. Nevertheless, I took a few pictures while I was out. The snow decorating the landscape is always beautiful to my eyes.

It was cold enough to produce hoar frost on things. Here's some of the dried up catnip from this year.

It was also on the peanut feeder.

These are bunny tracks. I spotted them near the bird feeders, and then again as they headed off over the field. I suspect the bunny was visiting the compost pile.

Even the catio had a little bit of frost, but what I really wanted you to see is how the snow has drifted on the floor. Also, you can see the little kitty house on the middle right edge of this image. There were kitty tracks all around the opening, and so I'm pretty sure Smitty is spending his time in there. With that in mind, we decided to invest in a little indoor/outdoor heating pad to put inside. That should arrive in a few days...weather permitting. The UPS man is a weenie and won't come up our hill when there's snow on the ground. 

Getting a heating pad will probably ensure the warmest winter on record from here on out.

So, it was a good day to stay inside and quilt the last block on Gingerbread Square.

When that was finished, I took it downstairs where I could spread it out in front of the living room windows. Here are all nine quilted blocks.

Of course, it was only about 12 seconds from hitting the floor when the quilt inspection crew showed up.

Saaaaaaaddddddiiiieeeeeee!!! Come look at mom's quilt! We have work to do!

Geez, Smitty, you don't have to yell. I'm sitting right here.

Sadie, I've looked all over this quilt, and it's just as I suspected. There's not a single cat on the whole quilt. I'm pawsitive our mom overlooked this impurrtant detail.

Smitty, I care less about the pawcity of cats than I do about the purrpawderance of snow. Kitties who have lived outdoors full time do not care for snow. Why, I used to trudge barefoot three miles in the snow just to catch a single mousie to feed my furmily, and it was dreadful.

Besides...you're not supposed to touch the quilts. It's considered impurrlite.

What? Who says so?

Smitty, haven't you ever been to a quilt show? 

In purrnt of fact, I have been to many quilt shows, and I never touch a quilt without furst putting on my white mittens. 

After having quilted almost non-stop for days on end, I thought I might be finished for the day. But then I decided to practice the candy-cane stripes for the inner border, and one thing led to another, and then...

They aren't as consistent as I would like, but this is free motion quilting...emphasis on the "free," as in, free hand. If I had a computerized machine I could make them perfect, but these will have to do. It's the best I can do, and I live by this motto: My best is good enough.  Besides, I figure when I see them all the way around the quilt, they'll be perfect in their imperfection. Hopefully, the blocks will be the focal point of this quilt. I didn't do any more quilting the rest of the day, but I'm hoping to get this border finished today, and perhaps get a start on the green border. It's getting very close to being finished.

This morning I took the "firm starter" from the refrigerator in preparation for baking sourdough bread.

Being a "firm" starter, the dough is the consistency of spackling paste, and so I was instructed to cut it into ten small pieces and allow it to warm for an hour.

They remind me of "little piggies" as in, this little piggie went to market, and this little piggie stayed home.

After an hour, I added flour, water, and salt, and then mixed it into a ball in my electric mixer.

Then I switched to the dough hook and kneaded it for a total of 12 minutes with two periods of rest in between. (The book advised me to let the dough rest, but I actually think the mixer is getting a rest. The dough is stiff, and even at a low speed, the motor heats up.)

As I'm writing this, the dough is proofing. That will take about four hours (or maybe longer at our cold temperatures). Then I'll shape it into "batards" and give it a second proofing before baking it in a very hot oven. Tune in tomorrow for the exciting conclusion.

For now, let's get back to some slow stitching. I filled the first hoopful on Hocuspocusville. 

I've moved the hoop now and tomorrow I'll start with a new blank canvas of stitching. Today I want to catch up on a little bit of housework, and then I'll get back to quilting. It's another good day for staying inside, but the sunshine might draw me out for a few minutes.

18 comments from clever and witty friends:

Vroomans' Quilts said...

We were -9 last night with high winds - brutal!! This morning my doors and windows were all frozen tight so guess I am staying home (as in hibernation time). The quilting is going just fab - don't stress. I am fighting furkids of my project - hard to move a quilt under the needle when a heavy weight is on it.

Lana Ku said...

Your winter wonderland looks so pretty......but cold! Brrrrr. Where I live we'll have crazy weather this weekend. It supposed to be 80 for a high Saturday and then drop to 40 as a high Sunday. How confusing for the wildlife. And your quilt is coming along beautifully. Quilt inspectors are doing a good job. Lol. Are you starting to feel like your barm is taking over? Ha!

Marie Duprey said...

I don't know how you operate with temps so low. Being a thin-skinned Californian, I freeze when temps drop below 60 :). Not to mention snow and hoar frost! So used to drought conditions down here, we could barely handle the 3 or so inches of rain we got yesterday. Love the gingerbread house quilt and the bread making adventures! Stay warm!

gpc said...

Oooo, I love batards . . . and hoar frost . . . which I am sure makes us all wonder why we are so judgey about their similar sounding counterparts. Too deep for me. But I can tell you for sure, bunnies eat bird seed. I have watched them sucking it up on my snow covered cement patio. So they might be after more than the compost pile.

claudia said...

I'm a transplanted Californian. I heard about your rain from my daughter who still lives in the Bay Area. I am enjoying these cold temperatures...and I never thought I would.

Quilting Babcia said...

Great photos of the hoar frost. Looking forward to hearing how your bread turned out. Nothing better than the aroma kof fresh baked bread!

Ani said...

Great post! Has a bit of all my fave things- kitties (funny commentary), quilting, beautiful snow pics and baking too! I found your blog when searching for bread starters and Peter Reinhart recipes via Pinterest. I live in a 'Sandy Wonderland' on the southern coast of NC, in Wilmington. No snow here most of the time, except for the blizzard of 1989 when we received 16+ inches over three days, Dec 22-24. It's a wonder any of us are still alive! LOL!

WoolenSails said...

Everything looks beautiful covered in snow. We are getting a few inches, then rain, so just a mess. My kitties would demolish a quilt if I put it on the floor;) The quilt looks beautiful.


Brown Family said...

We finally got out of the 40's late today. That will last till lunchtime tomorrow when it starts a rapid dive to the teens! Mot looking forward for that! At least they say it will be dry.

Debbie said...

Snow photos are so pretty....but I can feel the cold cold air.
You do so spoil those kitties.....but they are so cute.
The sourdough is looking good.....and it will smell and taste good too.

Wendy Tuma said...

We have less snow than predicted, but now we have the dangerously cold weather and warnings not to be out in it (of course some of us have to be out in it). Loved the kitty inspection of the gingerbread quilt. Looking forward to seeing the bread! Wendy at piecefulthoughts@gmail.com

Dana Gaffney said...

I always see a cat on the Gingerbread quilt when it's spread out, maybe you need to bring out a mirror for Smitty.

Natureluvr57 said...

Enjoyed all the photos and you're making me want to make some bread. Here in the Midwest we have sleet and expecting more snow with a high of 26! But it will dip to 1 with a wind chill of 25 below tonight!!! Brrrrrutal. I have no where I plan to go this weekend. Baking sugar cookies today and tomorrow I'll be watching Christmas videos while I sit for hours making Pizzelles. I love the Winter Wonderland as long as I don't have to drive in it. I'm always fascinated by the hoar frost. Our two feral cats have been seen going in and out of the shed where we have straw in boxes and one was cuddled up in a dog house we stuffed with straw. We have 2 kittens and 2 cats in the house (my dog is not happy) and 3 cats in the heated garage. I wish I could find most of the cats good homes. On the news, people were sending in photos of their chickens that they took inside their houses with crates, keeping them in utility rooms! I filled all the bird feeders and the gluttons have ate most of it up already. Stay safe and warm

Deb said...

Thank you for sharing the snow wonderland photos being a northern transplant to the south I long for snow all winter. The gingerbread quilting is just lovely. have fun with the Hocuspocusville.

quiltzyx said...

The Gingerbread quilting looks like a Winter wonderland itself!
I can almost smell the sourdough from here. I think I will have some sourdough toast for breakfast.
Those snowy photos are so beautiful! It's a relatively toasty 47' here right now.
Smitty and Sadie do show off the quilts very well. I can imagine them snuggling together with the new heating pad when it gets there!

The Cozy Quilter said...

I love taking pictures of frost too! Your cats have lots of personality...so glad they are there to provide moral support for your quilting habit!

Quilter Kathy said...

I totally agree with your motto and proudly delight in things imperfectly made by human hands. Perfect things can be made by machines, with stitch regulators and computerized programs, but that's not my preference. I love your border design.
And I really love your stitchery project!

Kate said...

Snow and frost is so pretty as long as you don't have to be out in it. It's been really cold here, but we are due for a warm up today. The quilting looks great. It's such a pretty quilt, the blocks really do shine.