Quilting, Farming, Variety

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Embroidered Blocks Set Together

The embroidered blocks are set in the middle, surrounded by the churn dash pieced blocks. I separated the blocks with a one inch strip of a little blue print. It turned out to be larger than most baby quilts would be, at 51 1/2" x 41 1/2". Maybe it will make a better quilt for a toddler anyway since mom or dad can recite the nursery rhymes to the child. If I give this as a gift, a Mother Goose book would make a good companion gift. There is a doll quilt in my frames now, so I want to finish it before quilting this one. Thanks for all the nice comments you've sent my way concerning the embroidered blocks. I always see mistakes; however, my quilts are not made to hang up on the wall to pick out the crooked places, but rather to be scrunched up around a sleeping child.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Prayers Were Answered

Our prayers were heard and answered, for we had a good rain today; almost 1 1/4", and the dry, parched earth soaked it up in relief. It came a little too late for a lot of the garden things; for instance, I pulled the corn up the other day because it was so shriveled up and short, and I harvested the potatoes, which were mostly small, as in egg size. This morning I pulled the beets which were also smaller than usual.

Now I don't care for beets unless they are pickled. To me, beets taste like what I think dirt would taste like, so when pickled with a brine of vinegar and sugar they lose that flavor. I cut their tops off and left them to compost in the garden, then washed them twice before I brought them to the house. Beets need to have their roots left intact while being cooked, otherwise they will "bleed" off a lot of their color. So I washed them again before cooking them. I don't think there's ever been a time when I cooked beets that they didn't boil over a little and make a mess on the stove top; but it doesn't stain.

After filling the jars I put them in a water bath just to be sure they sealed good. I've already heard the "POP" indicating they have sealed. So now I have seven pints; Brittney will get most of them because she loves beet pickles, and we don't need something that sweet.

Do you like beets? They are a good source of iron, ascorbic acid, fiber, and low in calories; that is until they're pickled with all that sugar!


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Quilt for a Baby Boy

This is a quilt for a baby boy with choo-choo train, kite, and animals. I like to make quilts from bright colors for babies; don't you think they respond to bright, basic colors best? I do most of my applique using the blanket stitch since I can't seem to get the hang of needle-turned applique, and I do hand quilting.

Have a blessed Sunday, Charlotte

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Final Block

Farmer meets up with Mother Goose; "Good day, Ms. Goose." He bows and tips his straw hat. "Good afternoon, Farmer McDonald. How are your children today?"

"They're doin' better, considerin' the calamity they had yesterday. Did ya hear? Ma sent them up the hill to fetch a pail of water. Jack filled his pail too full and on the way back down -- you know how steep that hill is -- well, that pail begin hittin' him on the leg and first thing he knew, he was stumblin' and his feet just flew plumb out from under him! He fell down! Jill didn't have time to step aside, so she just tumbled down right after him!"
"Oh my! were they hurt?"

"Oh yes! broke Jack's crown! But he got up and trotted home as fast as he could. Ma plastered his head with vinegar and brown paper and sent him to bed so his head could mend. Jill laughed when she saw the plaster; vexed Ma so bad she scolded her for causing Jack's disaster."

The final embroidered block and the patchwork blocks are also finished; one row is set together. There are places on these blocks which look dirty in the pictures; this is caused by shadowing and aren't that way in person.

A footnote to yesterday's post: this afternoon I drove by the killdeer's nest. She wasn't there and only one egg was in the nest! (sniff, sniff) We imagine either a skunk or a raccoon found the nest last night. I didn't find any feathers so maybe she escaped but I don't imagine she will come back to the nest. Now I feel bad about putting the bucket there; maybe it just drew the predator to the nest. Maybe I should have just let Mother Nature handle it all; however, I doubt that they would have survived the traffic without the bucket. I'm sorry-


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wednesday -- Around the Yard

This week there will be no flower pictures due to the fact we're so dry the flowers are looking pathetic. So, I'm posting pictures of a little surprise in the road to the chicken houses.

Are you familiar with a bird called the Killdeer? We usually see them near the stock pond but when it comes time to raise young they seek out places with low vegetation or no vegetation at all. They spend their time walking along, then running ahead a few steps, stop to look around, then run again, and when disturbed they will circle overhead, calling repeatedly, "kill-deer, kill-deer". Besides their cry, their coloring also helps to identify them: brownish tan on top, the white chest has two black marks and the face has black and white patches. They frequently make their nests in gravel, with no lining, and the eggs look like stones. If the birds feel something is too close to the nest, they go into a broken-wing display, acting as though they can barely walk, and when they feel the eggs, or young, are safe, they fly away.

Killdeer babies are precocial, meaning they are born able to run. Precocial birds stay in the egg twice as long so it has time to develop, 24 to 28 days.

After hearing and seeing a killdeer a few days ago, on the road to the chicken houses, we began looking for her nest and this is what I found:

Do you see the three eggs? They are almost in the center of the picture,just to the right of the shade of the bucket. Even though I know where to look for them, it's difficult for me to find them immediately. The mother bird is very tolerant of us; she runs off just a little distance when we pass, but comes right back.

Another view of the nest. The bucket is there for a reason: when trucks come in with loads of feed, they have to drive around it, and that keeps the eggs safe -- for now. The chickens will be going out in a little less than three weeks and that won't give the birds time to hatch. Since there can be as many as five or six big trucks here at a time, I hope they can manage to miss the bucket; I'll leave it there and hope for the best.

Last summer she made a nest in almost the same spot. The days were dreadfully hot and she sat there in the burning heat, day after day. In the hottest part of the day, she would stand over the eggs, shading them, instead of sitting on them. That was real motherly love!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Another Colorful Baby Quilt

A baby quilt, very colorful, from scrappy, paper pieced, 3" blocks with pale green strips running diagonally across each block, tying them all together, and enclosed with the same green for a border. The backing is from the same fabric as the outer border; it was hand quilted and bound with the green. The strips were pieced on 3 1/2" squares of newspaper which is cheap and tears off easily. These string quilts have to be a favorite of mine; they're so bright!

Wouldn't you like to try string piecing? It's a good project for these hot summer days.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Quilted Game

If you've been following my posts about the embroidered quilt blocks, you know by now that I don't take all my quilting seriously; in other words, they don't have to be beautiful works of art, just a colorful covering. Or, in this case, a quilted game:

This toddler quilt is called "I Spy", and with a parent's guidance can become a game. For instance, mom or dad might say, "I spy Winnie the Pooh; can you find him?" and the toddler crawls over the quilt and finds the hexagon with a picture of the friendly little bear. But, that's not the end of the game; I put two hexagons of each picture to make a matching game too. A wonderful way to spend one on one time with a little one.

Enjoy, Charlotte

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Fifth Block Finished

Farmer comes running in, out of breath. "Have you seen those three mice? My how they can run! And the way they dart around you'd think they are blind! And -- I don't think they have tails!"

Mother Goose answers, "They ran after your wife this morning, so maybe you'd better talk to her: after all, I heard she's the one who cut off their tails! I feel like there's more to this story than we know about; I'd like to know the whole story!"

(Fifth block finished)

If you're interested in knowing the whole story, this delightful little book tells all.

Enjoy, Charlotte

Friday, June 17, 2011

Let's Go To the Creek!

These hot days make me think of the times we went to the creek after working in the cane fields all day. I guess even Daddy enjoyed it, otherwise we wouldn't have gone. One of our favorite places to swim was called the Slide Hole, a pool of water on Rock Creek. The car was parked on the side of the road and we meandered down the hillside path, trying to avoid touching weeds where chiggers would be waiting for our naked legs. The hole of water got its name from the fact that algae grew on the big rock formations above the deeper water, and long before we knew anything about water slide parks, we had our own slide. The algae made the rocks very slick and the water had carved out a passage just big enough for little hind ends to fit inside and slide into the deeper water to swim.

Another swimming hole we went to a lot was named King's Canyon, called the Cane Hole by locals. It was on a much larger creek with huge boulders jutting out over the water and a high bluff enclosing the stream on two sides. There always seemed to be a mystery to this place: what big event in time caused all those big rocks to be there?

The grown-ups took inner tubes for us play in and it wasn't long before my cousin and I were learning to dog paddle. My sister, Wanda, was a very good swimmer; she could dive off the big rock (on the left, above) and swim underwater. I was never that brave.

For several years this hole of water was used mostly by people in our community. Then one day, someone saw the potential for making money from it and built a concession stand, toilets, a dressing room building, and a shed for dancing. City folks came, folks we didn't know and now we had to share this somewhat private place and we felt pushed out.

In more recent years, with the buildings all gone, the grounds have become deserted and used mostly for inappropriate activities. But we'll always remember it for the relief it gave us from the heat of the fields.

Do you remember a favorite swimming place? Creek or pool? Do you still swim?


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Good Help Is Hard to Find

The farmer comes rushing in: "Where's that boy I hired to watch the sheep?"

Mother Goose answers, "He came in late last night; Little Bo Peep lost her sheep you know, so he had helped her look for them. He ate a quick breakfast and I haven't seen him since. More than likely he's under the hay stack, fast asleep."
Farmer goes out, slamming the door behind him, and calls, "Little Boy Blue!! Come blow your horn!! The sheep are in the meadow and what's more, the cows are in the corn!" Then he mutters, "Good help is hard to find!"

The fourth embroidered block for the baby quilt.
I enjoy doing embroidery work but I get impatient with it.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wednesday -- Around the Yard

Looking at the yard today, it is hard to remember the pictures taken earlier in the spring when it was covered with water. We've had practically no rain since the 25th of May; I know for some of you that's not very long ago, and I really feel for you in the drought stricken areas. I've had very little luck with planting seeds this year; the ones I had saved have done best: foxglove and oriental poppies. I'm babying them, along with some little columbine plants I had started inside the house, watering them and trying to protect them from squirrels and armadillos. So I'll post a few pictures of what's blooming now and hope for rain to keep things going.

Yellow tiger lilies, started from an ordered bulb; they make little black bulblets on their stems, which, if you're patient enough, will make new plants for you.

A red-hot summer Asiatic lily

Deep red day lilies
The vegetable garden is pitiful; after starting out too wet and now too dry. I'm hoping to be able to water the tomatoes enough to keep them going. We have to be stingy with the well water since we use the wells to provide drinking water for the chickens.

How are your gardens holding up during this hot weather? Will you be able to harvest much from your garden?

"...behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man's hand...and it came to pass that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain."

Have a good evening, Charlotte

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Day in Town

If you will remember, I posted a while back about our family not having a car when I was little. This was somewhat troublesome for us, because Daddy had to ride with his brother to work at the cream station on Saturdays. Since Mama didn't drive, whenever she needed to go into town, she and the girls had to ride in with the men and spend the day, waiting until they got off from work. So our day could have gone something like this:

The streets were always busy on Saturday mornings. Folks had come from far and near and visited with people they hadn't seen for a while. On the courthouse square, a preacher had parked his car, with loud speakers attached to the top, and now he could be heard for several blocks. Few people stopped to actually listen but now and then there might be some old men, leaning up against a store front, cigarettes in hand, listening but not understanding.

Today Mama took the girls shopping for new school shoes for Wanda. "Would you like an oxford or a slip-on?" the clerk asked, and Mama told her we'd take an oxford. Wanda wanted a pair of slip-on shoes. She had always had "good, durable" shoes, but when she stood in front of the little mirror on the floor, and pointed her toe and turned her foot to one side, she had to agree, the shoe did look nice. Mama paid for the shoes and asked, "Now, how can we spend the rest of the day?"

Charlotte was hungry, so Mama bought some crackers and a few slices of cheese for their lunch, and when Mama suggested they sit on the steps of a church building, Wanda was embarrassed. "No Mama! Let's go eat in the car or inside the cream station. Some of my friends might pass by and see us here!"

"I don't want to eat in there," said Charlotte. "It stinks like steamy milk!"

Mama said there was nothing wrong with friends seeing us there, and anyway, the day was so pretty it would be like having a picnic. So Wanda ate quickly and waited for Mama and Charlotte to finish. Mama combed their hair and took them up the steep flight of stairs to Anderson's Photography Studio to have their picture made. Afterward she counted the change in her coin purse and said there was enough to buy tickets to see a movie. The lobby smelled like fresh popped corn and they bought one bag to share. Charlotte soon fell asleep and before she knew what had happened, Mama was waking her up. "The movie is over. Let's go meet Daddy and go home. The old milk cow will be waiting at the barn for me."

A lot has changed around the courthouse square since those days. A few fires took out some of the old buildings which were replaced with big, modern ones. With the arrival of Wal Mart, businesses like the Sterlings store and the Ben Franklin store closed completely as new business owners felt the need to be in the shadow of the giant and moved off of main street. But I miss meeting up with people I know and having a little chat while I'm shopping; too much hustle and bustle for me now and I hardly ever see anyone I know when I go to town.

Has your town migrated from the town square to be near a Wal Mart store? Do you remember the crowded streets on Saturday mornings? I'd love to have you tell me about your town.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Some Sewing Today ...

I got a chance to do some sewing today;

These blocks will be alternate blocks to go in the baby quilt with the embroidered nursery rhyme blocks. They are made by the simple, traditional pattern, Churn Dash. I looked at the dash in my churn this afternoon and the block really does look like that. They go together quickly once the pieces are cut out. I used this paper piecing pattern, which I ordered several years ago, to make the half square triangles:

First I enlarged the pattern on the copy machine so my half square triangles would be 3 1/2" including seam allowances. To make the units, a printed piece of fabric is laid right side together with the white piece, then the paper is placed on top of those; sew on the dotted lines, cut on the solid lines. This eliminates the stretchy bias seam of the half square triangle which usually gives me trouble, and there's practically no wasted fabric.

Do you have trouble with bias seams? Have you ever used these papers for making half square triangles?

Hope you have a chance to do something you enjoy,


Saturday, June 11, 2011

News Flash!

NEWS FLASH: Humpty Dumpty Sat on a Wall

Reporter: Do I understand your name is Mother Goose? Can you tell me what you saw today?

Mother Goose: It all started a while back; Humpty Dumpty got it in his head he wanted to sit on the red brick wall. I told him it wasn't a good idea, but I could tell by the way he looked at me with those beady black eyes of his, he would do as he pleased. So, today he talked someone into putting him up there on the wall. Things went fine for a while, then his confidence grew and he began swinging his blue stockinged legs back and forth. The next thing I knew, he tumbled off; took a great fall! They called in the king's horses and the king's men, but you know, they couldn't put him back together again. Now he's just a pile of shattered egg shell among the spring flowers. So sad!! sniff, sniff

Have a blessed Sunday and make it a point to smile at someone,


Friday, June 10, 2011

Could Your Walls Talk?

Have you ever wondered about the life stories lived out in some old house you've seen in passing? I always wonder about the family: mother, father, how many children, how they earned their living, good times and bad. And maybe, just maybe, if I could go inside, there would be some items left to answer these questions: a chipped plate or bowl, a little table or iron bed, and sticking out of the wall, a note written in faded ink.

In past years I have enjoyed the program, If Walls Could Talk, on the television channel, HGTV. Usually the clues, to the mystery of the past, would be found in the attic, or behind a hidden wall panel. Our house was built in 1968, so maybe it doesn't qualify as an old house, but ten years ago, when we did some remodeling, I wanted to leave something of its history for the next residents, for whether we like to think about it or not, we'll be lucky to be able to live here for twenty more years. The house was built by my uncle and his son; we found the walls and corners to be perfectly plumbed and when it came time to tear out the kitchen cabinets, well, they were built to stay! We had put wood paneling on most of the walls, the "in" choice for houses in those days, and now we decided to tear it off and replace it with sheet rock that could be painted white and lighten up the rooms. So, while the walls were naked, I put together a little collection of memorabilia, stuck it between two studs, and watched as bead boarding was nailed over it. Now my walls will be able to talk during the next renovation. In the plastic bag I put pictures of the original kitchen, a piece of vinyl floor covering, a few pages from a catalog to show the fashions of the time, a little history of the actual building of the house, and pictures of our family.

Sometimes I wonder about who will live here when we're gone. If they don't like the condition of the house and decide to remodel, will they find the bag filled with history and listen to what the walls have to say? Will it matter to them?

Could your walls talk? Charlotte

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wednesday -- Around the Yard

Another little show and tell from the yard:

This is a big hosta, in bloom; I don't know how it has survived since an armadillo dug a really big hole under it last summer. It doesn't take hot sunshine too well, but the redbud tree has grown big enough to shade it some this summer.

These flowers are considered to be wildflowers. The yellow one, commonly named Brown-eyed Susan, when found along the roadside, was actually started from seeds I bought called Gloriosa Daisy. They are a little larger than the wild version and have double petals on some plants. The orange flowers are those of the Butterfly Milkweed plant. These pop up here and there in the pastures and come back every year in the same place. Their seed pods are filled with feather-like fluff that is carried off by the wind at the end of summer. I dug up a plant to get it started in my flower bed; they're very hard to transplant because of their long tap root.

This is not in my yard, and the picture doesn't do it justice. It is a wild rose, single-petaled, growing along the edge of the woods at the hay field. (I don't know if I shake too much to get a good picture or if the camera is a dud.) Anyway, wild flowers seem to take the heat and dry weather better than garden flowers. My yard flower beds are beginning to need rain; it's been two weeks since our last rain.

Today we finished hauling all the hay that was baled; tomorrow we will bale again and for now, nothing else is cut. I'm ready to piddle in the sewing room!!

Are you busy with summer chores? I'd like to have you tell me about your work.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

More of the Hay Harvest

I've missed visiting with my friends the past couple of days. The weather is hot and dry, perfect for putting up the hay, but not so good for the garden.

We baled two afternoons in this field, and one afternoon in another field, for a total of 200 plus. We baled this afternoon too.

On Monday we hauled a little over half of it. It only takes a few minutes to unload the twelve bales we can haul on the trailer, but that is a few minutes I wait, so I took my Bible to read a few verses. Psalms 90 was where I opened the pages and how well verses four - six went with the day's work: For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night. Thou carriest them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: in the morning they are like grass which groweth up. In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up; in the evening it is cut down and withereth.

Although I have been absent, I read your words before ending my day.


Friday, June 3, 2011

The Smell of Sunshine

After a long winter, shut up inside with no fresh air, I begin to crave the smell of sunshine on my bedding. With pillows and lightweight quilts flapping in the breeze, those musty winter smells just whip off into nowhere and when they're put back on the bed, what a pleasure to lay my tired self down to rest. People used to drag their mattresses outside to soak up the sunshine; I'd like to do that too.

There is a wonderful poem, about hanging clothes outside, on this blog: www.eggsinmypocket.blogspot.com (May 2. 2011 post) and her other blog, www.yesteryearembroideries.blogspot.com has beautiful needlework and embroidered pieces. Check these out; I think you will be very impressed!

So, do you "sun" your bedding, or hang out your laundry to dry?

Have a good day, and remember me in the hay field again today.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Back to Some Needlework

No hay work for me today; Popa is cutting again, and there's grass drying, so we'll be back in the fields Friday and Saturday, taking advantage of the hot, dry weather. However, I have been very busy, washing up dirty jeans and shirts, and trying to cook something to eat rather than sandwiches again; I have to eat vegetables to keep going.

This afternoon I picked up the needle and embroidery floss and finished two blocks for the baby quilt I posted about earlier.

Who would think Jack could jump that high! and not catch his pants on fire?

And who knew Miss Muffet had copper-colored hair and wore red shoes?

This is a sampling of the 1930s reproduction prints I'll use for the patchwork blocks.

Just a stitch now and then will finish it someday.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wednesday -- Around the Yard and A Recipe

I feel a little tuckered out this morning so I've got to rest up before going back this afternoon to rake more hay. The picture above shows the result of yesterday's baling; it will take much more to feed the cows through winter.

The purple cone flowers are beginning to open up. Butterflies like to sip nectar from them, although I can't for the life of me figure out where they get it, since the "cone" is pretty rough.

This is a bed of June lilies, sometimes mistakenly called tiger lilies. They're often seen on the side of a road where, over the years, a road grader has carried a clump away from some old homestead. (I can't for the life of me take good pictures. I suppose it's because I can't see what I'm taking a picture of. :()

These are blueberries, waiting for about a month to pass before ripening. I usually give away as many or more than I keep for ourselves. Wish I could share with you!

Now I can't believe I'm sharing a recipe with you. Recipes are just not my thing! I rarely try a new recipe unless it's something I have eaten, and liked, or know my husband will eat. You may have already tried this; it's quick and easy, cool for a hot day, and satisfies a sweet tooth.

Easy Jello Salad

2 small boxes orange Jello

1 large carton cottage cheese, drained

1 large can crushed pineapple

1 large Cool Whip

Mix dry Jello with cottage cheese. Drain pineapple until dry. Mix all ingredients together and chill.

(Other fruits can be substituted, just make sure they're drained completely)

Put the salad into a pretty bowl to chill.

Now I can scrape the mixing bowl and lick the spoon!

Enjoy! Charlotte