Farming, quilting, variety

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I Promise ...

not to make you look at this quilt again ! I know you must be tired of it; however, some had asked to see it when finished. So----

here it is, all quilted and bound,

with two little bears on the back, covering up those bothersome holes. No one will ever know, because, you won't tell, will you?

Smiles, Charlotte

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Work In Progress ...

This is my work in progress, a doll quilt top, designed by Amy ( . She has an excellent tutorial for making this Scattered Dots quilt in her May 30, 2010 post. Mine is a little smaller than hers, made to fit my doll beds. Amy's work is so precise and neat; all points match, etc. She machine appliqued the dots on her quilt; I used the blanket stitch for mine since I don't do machine applique that well.

I'll probably put this back and quilt it later. I had a woman tell me one time, "I don't know why you make these doll quilts, no one wants them." But it didn't stop me; little girls like quilts for their dolls, and they make nice table toppers or wall hangings for big girls.

Wouldn't you like to try this for some little girl?

Smiles, Charlotte

Monday, August 29, 2011

Good News ---

I just got word from the dermatologist: the spot on my nose was a basil cell carcinoma, skin cancer, but the good news is, she got it all and it's been treated, so as the nurse told me, "You don't have to worry about it anymore." Granted, I had done enough of that, especially after looking at pictures online of what was involved in doing a graft. Now believe me, I offered up thanks to the good Lord!! Now I need to buy a big, old woman style hat!! I might not be as lucky next time.

Thanks to all you good blogging friends who were concerned about this.

I'll go now and do more on my "work in progress"; maybe tomorrow I can show it.

Smiles, Charlotte

Thursday, August 25, 2011

This was the quilt

I had planned to take to the fair. I didn't have a fair schedule to know when entries were to be made, so I'll just put it back and wait for next year. The center blocks are hand pieced, then hand appliqued onto the white, and the flowers are also hand appliqued.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Let's Pray She Got It ----

Today I had a visit with my dermatologist. In January, I was given an "all clear" to go for one whole year without another check up, a great relief for me. Soon afterwards I noticed a little place on the side of my nose, and then, every time it was bumped it would bleed a little; I knew it was time to have it checked. As expected, it was skin cancer, so it had to be removed. Now we'll wait for the lab work to see if she got all of it. Let's pray she did, otherwise she said I would have to have more removed and then a graft. I always thought my nose was too large but I don't want it made smaller one snip at a time. :)

I try to wear sun screen lotion and a cap or hat whenever I'll be in the sun for any length of time. I don't know if the damage to my skin happened recently or in all the years I've worked outside on the farm. (A doctor told me one time I should have married a prince rather than a farmer) As girls, my sister and I hoed in the cane fields with our parents and when I married and we bought our farm, I worked in the hay fields for a time on an open tractor. Trying to get a tan as a teenager never worked for me; I just got sunburned and stayed fair, so I gave that up. On the other hand, maybe the sun isn't to blame; both my parents had skin problems so perhaps it was passed on to me.

I worry about people who purposely get tans in a tanning bed, or cook themselves in the sun without protection. Is is really worth the risk? After all, beauty is only skin deep.


Monday, August 22, 2011

My Callie

Let me introduce you to my calico cat, Princess Calico. aka, Callie; aren't all calico cats called Callie at one time or another? She's very affectionate, as long as it's on her terms; she likes to be petted, but "don't pick me up!" Last spring she had five kittens; one solid black, one calico, one black and white tuxedo, and two gray and white tabbies (one tabby disappeared). She kept them hidden for a long time, but finally brought them to the barn. They expect food from me, and used to scatter like crazy when I went in with them, but they are beginning to be less afraid. Maybe being afraid will help them live longer. The cat-killing dog in our neighborhood was at the barn a couple of days ago, so I stay in constant fear they'll get caught.

There is a solid black male cat who stays at the barn with them. He doesn't have a tail. I think Callie's looking plump around the middle; could it be? I wonder what her adolescent children will think of new siblings!


Sunday, August 21, 2011

This and That

I love surprises! Especially when they come in the form of flowers, whose blooms have been hiding in the ground all summer. This year I kept their place mowed and I wasn't completely surprised because I saw their points sticking up through the ground. This is a pink flower; I believe they are the first of the surprise lilies to bloom. These bulbs were on the farm when we moved here forty three years ago.

Now as if the hot temperatures and dry weather weren't hard enough on the garden, this is what has happened to the tomato plants: grasshoppers!! Just stems -- even after we've had rain, and it's cooler, there's no way these plants can produce anything.

This picture was taken not long before sundown. See the moon? I used to not really understand the phases of the moon, or maybe I should say, I didn't care. Now I watch for the tiny sliver of the new moon in the west around sundown, the full moon, and the tiny sliver of the fourth quarter in the east right before sunrise. I've often wondered, on a prairie, with no trees or hills to block the view, can one see the moon on its last rising in the east, and then see its first setting in the west the next day? Do you know the answer?

Just curious, Charlotte

Friday, August 19, 2011

Ninety Five Horses

You've heard the quote; "Build a better mouse trap, and the world will beat a path to your door", a phrase attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson. On a farm, the same holds true whenever a new piece of machinery shows up. For instance, this morning Popa's new tractor was delivered, and immediately there were men waiting to look at it, walk around it, run their hands across the shiney New Holland blue paint, feel the deep unused tread of its tires. Two sat inside the cab on cushioned seats, covered with plastic, and started the engine, listening to its power and feeling the cold air swirling from air conditioning vents. "Does the radio work? Let's run it through its shifting cycles, and what about those sparkling, dust-free windows?"

And then it's back outside to raise the hood and look at the engine; there's a ninety five horse power engine in there you know, with no dust or oil drips. Now to wrap my mind around what that really means, I see this: ninety five sleek, muscled work horses, harnessed to the hay cutting machine, come charging out of that hood whenever the engine starts, and around and around the field they go.

This evening, about sundown, I'll take my turn looking and touching, for I want to know if anything is different in the way to start or stop those ninety five horses.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Summer Memory

This afternoon, I read about how desperate people are in parts of Texas for water, even to the point of having bottled water trucked into towns. I knew from reading your blogs it was bad; and to think, how I complained!

I can remember a summer, when Daddy and Mama became worried about our drinking water. I was probably nine years old. There had been a few weeks of really hot, dry weather; the branches had almost dried up and Daddy was sure the water level in the well had dropped. The well was a dug well, only eight feet deep anyway, and was in the pasture next to the branch, so it must have had a lot of run-off water in it. So when men at the store began talking about cases of typhoid fever around the communities, and that it could be caught from drinking unclean water, he said, "I guess we ought to take typhoid shots."

The shots weren't something we looked forward to, but we all went to the health office on the second floor of the county court house. I had been there before to get my smallpox vaccination before starting to school, and I remembered the building: the smell of cigars and old, musty papers, big, wide marble steps up to the office, and the tall, red-haired woman, with buckteeth and crossed eyes behind glasses, who sat at her desk, ready to speedily type information onto our cards. She explained the shots to us: "The first time a person is vaccinated, we give a series of three shots, one each week. Then he gets a booster shot each year. They may make you have fever and your arm will be sore for a couple of days." Then we went into another room where the county health nurse was waiting, amid the jars of cotton balls and tongue depressors and the smell of medicine and rubbing alcohol, to jab that sharp, stinging needle into my arm.

The sore arms and fever, combined with the hot, sticky days, made us cross, and each trip to the health office a dread. Wanda and I went to the library each time to check out books, and in the afternoons, when the house with no electricity got too hot, and we had no aspirin to calm the fever and soreness, I took a pallet quilt out to a shade tree, and read the stories to take me away into some adventure where there was no pain.

Daddy, Mama, Charlotte, and Wanda

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Camera

I wanted to go to town. I had been saving my money, a nickel from Grandpa at Christmas, and another one from a Sunday afternoon visit, and a dime from an uncle. With the twenty five cents I already had, this made forty five cents and now I could buy something at the Ben Franklin store. New store-bought paper dolls would be nice, but I had lots of dolls cut from catalogs. Jigsaw puzzles were better put together in the wintertime. My jacks weren't bent and the ball stilled bounced straight, so I didn't need those either. Wanda suggested that I get new barrettes for my hair, but since Mama had cut my hair short, I didn't need them.

I went around the ends of the shelves at the store, and there it was: a camera! It was perfect! When I asked Mama how much it cost, she said the tag had forty nine cents written on it; four more cents than I had, so Mama said she would pay the extra pennies and the sales tax for me, but did I understand that the camera wasn't real? I didn't care; it looked real, and what fun I could have with it, because whenever the button was pressed, a silly little face popped out! I wouldn't tell anyone it wasn't real, and when I "took" pictures it would be a surprise.

I took pictures of everyone I saw, and each time the ugly little face popped out on its spring and wobbled around in people's faces. After a while, Wanda got tired of it and asked Mama to make me put it away, saying she couldn't believe I used my money to buy the thing! Maybe it was foolish, but it was my camera, and it always went to the play house along with the dolls and dishes, and when school started, Mama let me take it to school where I had a whole new bunch of people who didn't know about the silly face.

And then one day, the spring that popped the little face out of the camera broke. It couldn't surprise anyone anymore, but it still looked like a real camera. So I took the ugly little face and the camera and put them inside my trunk in the smokehouse with the rest of my special things.

Do you have a special toy you remember?


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Haste Makes Waste ??

Stitching is coming along pretty fast on the string quilt; I think there are two full rows and one wonky house left to do. In my haste to put it up, this is what I missed:

I had forgotten to take the paper off the backs of two houses!! No big deal however; they were on the last portion of the quilt to be stitched, so I just took the pins out, folded the top back, lifted the papers off, and pinned it again. Whew!! at least they weren't on the first row! If you paper piece, have you ever forgotten to take off the paper? We've always heard, "Haste makes waste"; in this case, only a waste of a little time.

We continue to get rain showers, so far around 1 3/4 inches, with bad lightning and window-rattling thunder; the grass seems to be holding up their little blade cups to catch it all. The air is much cooler too, so now I must start my walks again! There seems to be a change in the season, but we could be fooled.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Happy Anniversary

On this day, in 1952, my sister and her husband were married. It was a simple wedding ceremony, held after morning worship services in our little country church. And it seems I can remember the congregation singing, "When They Ring Those Golden Bells for You and Me." Afterward, we went home with friends and family invited to eat the noon meal with us. She was a month short of being eighteen and he was five years older; I was eleven.

Their meeting was not really by chance, since he was a brother to our cousin's husband, and at the time was in the Marines. He had worked for Daddy in the hay when he was a young boy, and later said he remembered seeing two little girls playing, but of course never dreamed he'd be marrying one of them. Their courtship had to be mostly through letters, which came often; and I wanted to know what was in them! What a pest I was to her, always sneaking around trying to find the letters! Now I didn't realize she was worried that he wouldn't be discharged from service, since the Korean War was getting into full swing, so when he did get a chance to come to the house to see her, there I was, nudging my way into their together time! For instance, in this picture, see how I've managed to get myself included in the photo? No one knew I was in the picture until it was developed!

At the time I was glad she was getting married; the bed would be mine -- all to myself! Now Mama wouldn't have to roll up a quilt and put it between us; someone, I'm not sure which of us, didn't want the other touching with her feet and legs (it was probably me!). In spite of all this nonsense, she still loves me and I love her too. So, here's wishing you the happiest of all times, big sister!


Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Last night I heard it!! Loud thunder, fierce lightning, and then, raindrops falling on the rooftop!! "Oh thank you, Lord!" I uttered. It was only 1/2 inch, but the grass seems to have responded and already looks greener. At least I'm somewhat revived! and thank each of you who have pitied me after my complaints. :)

Now I have a flower question: in this picture, a few of my irises are in view. They look really tired, and as in most summers, their fronds turned brown on the tips. If I cut them back will they still bloom next spring or do they need the fronds to make food for their corms in order to bloom? How do you manage your irises each year after they have bloomed?


Monday, August 8, 2011

Feeling Defeated

I took off a few days, hoping to have a new topic to write about other than heat and drought. It didn't work; I feel so defeated, crushed by this summer's history making temperatures, the sun's burn, the crackling grass. We watch the radar each day, watching for possible relief, and as the clouds approach our map circle, they divide, one to the north, east, or south, and other than a slight drop in numbers on the thermometer, we're left high and dry. Trees are putting up their defenses against the drought by ridding themselves of their greatest source of water loss, their leaves, and we hope they can retain enough moisture to save their roots.

This is our dogwood tree,

and leaves fell this afternoon, making it look and feel like fall.

We're feeding hay now; the grass in the pastures is brown and too short to be eaten by the cattle. These pictures were taken after sunset, when the cattle came out from the shade of the trees to eat. The blurred effect is from dust kicked up by the cattle.

The water in the ponds is very low, green and turning red around the edges. They really should have well water available to them, but the chickens drink from the wells -- what would we do if the wells went dry? As long as we can keep electricity and water for the cool cells, the chickens should be alright for a couple more weeks; at six weeks it will be more difficult to keep them cool.

I put the string quilt in the frames; a little joyful work to help take my mind off this summer. I'll try to not post about this anymore -- :)) My faith is still strong -- God loves us.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Same Song -- Second Verse

For those of you who have been reading about the hot temperatures we're having, these posts are probably becoming like the words to an old song: "Same song, second verse; could get better, but it's gonna get worse!" So I might as well say it and get it over with -- 114* today!! And that's on the front porch, in the shade! When I rode in the Kubota to check the chickens, the air blowing on my face felt like I was in front of the wood burning furnace: parching hot

Around 5:00 p.m. we were on the fringes of a shower while the sun was shining. There's an old saying, "Rain while the sun is shining, and it'll rain this time tomorrow." We'll see -- hope.