An Overdue Milestone

It could have been a little warmer yesterday, but at least it didn't rain. The cooler temperatures made it easier to clean out the greenhouse, however. Now it's ready for a new generation of seeds. Mike dumped that half bag of potting soil into its bin after I took that picture. Today I'll get out and plant some seeds. It always feels like a fresh start to the year when we get last year's dead stuff pulled out.

So, it always seems like a big job when we look at the mess, but we had this finished in less than an hour. Each year we do it a little faster. Next year...maybe magic wands will be the only tools we'll need.

As for the rest of the yard, the cherry trees are looking marvelous right now. Let's just hope the bees are out doing their jobs.

This is the lily we finally got into the ground last year after it spent years sitting neglected in a pot. I'm surprised the thing is still alive. After all the abuse it took, it deserves a chance to grow. Fortunately the winter was relatively mild, and so it's looking pretty good.

The Andromeda is starting to get its red foliage.

This ground cover is getting its blue flowers. These are about the size of a dime. Every year I ask my friend Marei to remind me of their names. Every year I forget.

The tulips that are in with the poppies are looking so pretty right now.

Some new ones have appeared at the front door too.

I needed to fill the bird feeders, and I threw out some cracked corn for the ground-feeding birds. The birds are not picky...they'll eat whatever they find. I'm trying to attract some quail we see running around up on the main road. Many years ago I was able to get them to come to our yard, but only just that one time. Nevertheless, I remain hopeful. Besides, it makes the squirrels happy.

The blue jays take only a few seconds to notice when I fill the peanut feeder. I can barely walk away before they're after them.

Even the hummingbirds got new food yesterday.

About this time we get swallows passing through. It's so much fun to watch them zooming around. Yesterday, we saw them for the first time this year. I'm never really sure whether we're seeing swallows, or swifts, or martins. It's hard to say for sure. I was wishing this one would have faced the camera, but I think he was looking critically at the moss on our roof. As I've mentioned, anything that doesn't move gets moss growing on it in Oregon. Looks like a job for the resident engineer. It's been a while since he's been up on the roof to clean the moss. As he gets older, he's less and less willing to get up there, and so this job might get hired out this time around.

Finally, we turned on the shower over our bird bath. When we first put out a bird bath, we weren't getting many birds, and so we consulted one of the employees at the Backyard Bird Shop about it. They told us birds can't see water that isn't moving, and suggested this shower. It runs full time from one of the garden hoses, spraying a thin stream. The birds took to it instantly. We turn it off in winter because freezing temperatures will break the little nozzle. Mike hooked it up and turned it on yesterday and the birds were using it within just a few minutes.

We also hacked back some branches from certain trees where certain you-know-whos like to lie in wait.

Sadie gets pretty mad when we thwart her evil bird-murdering ways.

She's all business when she's outside.

After lunch, I got back into the sewing room, and here's where the "overdue milestone" comes in. I finished all 60 blocks for Mulligan Stew. Yay!!!!! These were the last ones. This first one isn't as sinister as it sounds.

Here's the associated story:

And here's the block I made.

Two more to go. First, this one:

And, finally, this one:

Here they are all laid out. There are four cornerstones. When I finish this quilt top, I'll add a border pieced to look like a railroad track.

So, phew! That was a long time coming. I started this quilt on April 15, 2013. So more than six years on, I finally have the blocks finished. The quilt top won't get sewn together until the end of the year, and so it still won't be finished before next year sometime.

Now, I don't know about you, but Spring always puts me in the mood for self-flagellation. I've decided my next project will be this Pansy Mosaic from Jane Kakaley. I purchased this pattern some time ago, and never made it, and so this project falls under the PINS category (Projects I Never Started).

The pixelated grid consists of 28 rows across and 40 rows down for a total of 1,120 1-1/2 inch pieces. Yikes. It sounds grueling, but they really are completely engrossing. Once I start one, I tend to work on it feverishly until it's finished. I've made a couple of her quilts before. You might remember the Blooming Sunflower, made for an "Initially Yours" challenge from my former guild. We were to make a quilt using our initials (BS for me). It was tempting to do something truly tacky and tasteless, but I ended up with this one:

For purposes of the challenge, I cut off the bottom portion of the pattern where there were more leaves and a stem. Also, you probably remember the Cardinal mosaic I did recently. I'll be quilting this one next month.

So anyway...that's my next project. Sadie loves a new project.

She helped me choose the fabrics. I needed five values each of green, yellow, purple, and blue, and one value each of black and brown.

I'll be sewing this one together in grids of 4 x 4 pieces. I just barely got started on it yesterday before deciding I'd had enough sewing for one day. It's kind of fun because many of her patterns begin with rows and rows of background. This one gets into the flowers right away. They keep propelling me forward because I'm wanting to see how it will look with the next addition.

Finally, there's a new challenge in town. You might remember when Amy Ellis used to do her One Week, One Thing challenge. She ended it some time ago, but she's back now with a new one. For now, it seems to be only on Instagram, but I think she's still considering how to make it work for everyone. Anyway, the hashtag on Instagram is #onethingwithamy and my goal is to finish up this May heart.

The challenge runs Monday through Friday, and so these are little goals. That's where I'm headed next. Today I'll be running some errands in town and planting some seeds. I expect to have some time for sewing this afternoon.

8 comments from clever and witty friends:

Vicki W said...

Your relationship with cleaning the greenhouse is how I am about pulling together the taxes. I spend 10x longer dreading it than actually doing it! I love the pixel quilts!

Quilting Babcia said...

Those blue flowers are the same as some we had in Oregon, can't recall the name right now, but I believe it begins with L. Helpful aren't I?! Sadie really does have a murderous glare in her outdoor eyes doesn't she! That cat is all business, whether she's helping choose fabrics or outside ridding your yard of all manner of vermin.

Marei said...

You're welcome. :)

piecefulwendy said...

I'm not sure I'd want to be under Sadie's stare as a little mouse or mole or whatever. She definitely looks like she means business. You've been busy, both in the yard and at your sewing machine! I'm determined to get a little more caught up with Moda Blockheads today, after I have coffee with a friend -- gotta fuel up, y'know!

Natureluvr57 said...

You're Blue Jay is so different from ours here in the Midwest. Do you get Cardinals? I just assumed everyone did but several people in Colorado said they don't. I quit putting out seeds except safflower and thistle because we have FLOCKS of Grackles and Starlings. I know everyone is hungry but they're so greedy and mean to the other birds. I don't like bullies! Today I decided to go off the bird food hunger strike since they are mating and need energy to gather bugs and stuff for the babies that will be coming. Sadie is so scary looking! I've been busy prepping garden beds as it's too early to plant most stuff. I would love a grown up green house. I have a cheap $ 60.00 one from Amazon. It serves it's purpose-keeping plants happy until I can plant the last week of May (last year it was the first week of June due to rain). It never blew over the last 3 years but it blew over 4 times this year. I decided to set it up around my potting table and put garden staples on the bottom rods -so far, so good.

QuiltGranma said...

I'm glad that at least it wasn't an overdue MILLSTONE! Though when contemplating it, that may have been how it felt.

Careful, not ALL of Oregon is wet, just the west side ... er, WET side of the state. Here in NE Central Oregon it is VERY dry, normally, but not his year. God finally heard my prayers and we have had a lot of rain this year, but no moss here.

That pansy mosaic looks beautiful! It will be a lovely for the wall!

Brown Family said...

Congrats on finishing the last blocks! The Pansy colors are lovely!

quiltzyx said...

Oooh! Just look at those Cherry blossoms! Go bees go!
The lilies do look pretty healthy, other than the munched on bits. Pretty pretty plants & birds too. GORGEOUS cats as well.

Congrats on finishing the last of the Mulligan Stew blocks - yay!

The colors of the mosaic pattern are pretty close to your Blooming Sunflower quilt, aren't they. Just lovely. Have fun!