Quilting, Farming, Variety

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Orange and Green

Two lovely fall colors, orange and green; a little mixture of what's left of warm weather and the coming of cold weather. Today I'm freezing turnip greens for the winter meals; picking, washing, cutting them up and cooking,

what started out as a big bowl full, and hoping for at least two boxes to put into the freezer.

And the old maple tree throws in her version of green and orange once again. Pictures don't capture the true beauty.

In between other chores, I work on my own version of orange and green, finishing the edges of the "white ribbon quilt".


Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday Morning Walk

Fog was so thick this morning I could barely see the neighbors dwelling place. When I took my morning walk I could almost feel the droplets on my face and all through the woods, these little tents were sparkling with the moisture. Tent spiders, I think they're called,

nestled among the twigs and dry leaves, or attached to grass. I tried to entice one to come out by tickling the tent with a blade of grass.

That was the pleasant thing I saw this morning; these things were not so pleasing:

the armadillo made its rounds again last night digging deeper and deeper and throwing more and more dirt out. I'm going to haul some dirt and fill up the holes, then put a layer of chicken wire over it, in hopes he won't dig there again. Now he'll probably start over under something else. We had one inch of rain Saturday night, making the ground nice and soft, so he took advantage of the situation.
Do you have this problem with animals? How do you deal with it? I'd like to know.

After posting this, I did some research on the spider. I think these are called grass spiders rather than tent spiders.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

This One Surprised Me !!

This little quilt surprised me; when it was just a top it didn't impress me much, but the more I quilted on it, the more I grew to like it. It seems to be just what a quilt represents to me: a pieced block, quilted by the piece, set together with strips, pretty enough for a bed, or sturdy enough to be played on. And I didn't feel pressured to make every stitch the same length or every seam a perfect quarter inch; I just enjoyed it.

The backing came from my stash; I've always liked the print but had never found a use for it until I saw how well it matched the red border. The binding, from the same print, and which always is just like "the frosting on the cake" hugs it all together.

So, that's another WIP out of the cupboard; on to another!

Enjoy, Charlotte

Thursday, October 20, 2011

What I Learned From Watching

Have you ever hit your thumb with a hammer, or stubbed your toe, and a few choice words slip unbridled from your tongue, in front of a child? Then, unexpectedly, the child uses those same words while playing. My mother-in-law used to say, "Little pitchers have big ears." It's so easy for us to pass on things to little ones because they are watching us and learning from us.

Daddy smoked most of the first ten years of my life, and although I didn't grow up to be a smoker, I probably could have, for I like the smell of tobacco. I don't ever remember Daddy smoking bought cigarettes; most men we knew "rolled" their own. And that is what I learned from watching; I think today, if I had the materials for a cigarette, I could roll one.

Men wore bib overalls, Big Smith being the favorite brand, and inside the bib pockets they carried either a little cloth sack of tobacco or a tin of tobacco, matches, and a packet of thin, tissue papers.

To roll the cigarette, he would take out one tissue and cradle it between his left thumb and the next two fingers. If the tobacco was in a little cloth bag, he would take it from the bib, catch a corner of the top of the bag in his teeth, open the bag and carefully pour out the right amount of tobacco into the tissue, catch the drawstring of the bag with his teeth, pull it shut, then put the bag back into the pocket. Then he carefully rolled the tissue around the tobacco, licked the tissue to seal it, put the cigarette into his mouth, and lit it with a match. (Of course, filling the tissue from a tin would have been much easier.) Now if he happened to be with a friend who had no tobacco, but wanted to smoke, the friend might say, "Can I bum a cigarette?"

Daddy has told us several times how he stopped smoking: "I had the flu; one morning I rolled my cigarette and sat down by the heater. When I put the cigarette in my mouth, it didn't taste good, so I threw it in the heater, and never smoked again!"

Hopefully we can be good examples to those little ones who learn from us.

Smiles, Charlotte

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The New Coat

Oh it's so cool this morning! A cold front went through last night, dropping four tenths of an inch of rain over us; we seem to be in a weather sandwich where not much meat was put inside, meaning the heaviest rain always borders us on the north and south and we get the sprinkling in between. But -- we'll take every drop that falls and be thankful for it.

The cooler air makes us need our jackets whenever we go out to do the chores and it also brings to my memory the new coat Mama made for me when I was six years old. It went something like this:
If you have read my posts for a while, you are familiar with our Aunt Rhody, and how she gave us many of the things we had as payment for work Daddy did for her. Now and then she would send a bag of dresses she no longer wanted and Mama would use them to make things for herself or us girls. One such bag contained a coat, and although it would have fit Mama, she knew I needed a coat so she decided to cut it up and make one for me. I'm not sure of its color, but that doesn't matter; what was important to the coat was the black fur collar.

Since the coat was wool, it couldn't be washed, so Mama carefully ripped out the seams and pressed the pieces flat. The backside of the fabric was clean and bright so she used it for the front sides when she cut out the parts for the coat. Each day, after school, the coat was a little closer to being finished and the winds were also a little colder; I needed the coat.

Finally, Mama had the new blue coat all sewed together; she held it up for me to see. It was pretty, except--there around the neck was that black fur collar! Well, I just wouldn't wear it! Why had Mama put that ugly thing on my new coat! And I told Mama I wouldn't wear it; she said, "That makes the coat pretty and it will be so warm up against your face and neck!" Wanda took advantage of the situation and suggested maybe the fur came from a skunk and then I threw the coat across the bed and onto the floor.

The next morning I needed more than just a sweater so Mama made me put on the coat before leaving to catch the bus. As soon as I got out the door I pulled it off and left it lying on the front porch. Mama had been watching from the window; I struggled as she put the coat back on me and jerked it off, dropping it on the ground. Patiently Mama picked up the coat again and put it on me. All the way to the bus stop we battered back and forth with the coat, and when Mama picked up a little switch, I kept the coat on; once inside the bus, I held my book satchel tightly against my chest, hoping it would hide the black fur, and when my chin touched it, I was sure I could smell skunk.

At school, I hurried to the cloak room and hung the coat up before anyone had a chance to see it, but at recess the teacher made me put it on, and so I was forced to wear it and now everyone could see the ugly black fur. My best friend liked the coat and when I told her I didn't like it, she asked if she could wear it. Then other girls wanted to touch the fur and wondered from what kind of animal it came; maybe a bear or a black panther, or a rabbit? I was surprised and slowly touched the fur; it was soft and warm and Mama had brushed it until it shined.

Mama was surprised to see me wearing the coat that afternoon; she didn't ask any questions or mention the trouble we had that morning. "Mama, the girls at school thought my coat was so pretty and they all wished their coats had fur collars too," I said, "and it sure is warm around my neck! I like the coat now!"

Stay warm, Charlotte

Thursday, October 13, 2011

This One's Finished!

Do you remember the quilt top with the embroidered primitive nursery rhymes? It's finished!! I quilted the patchwork blocks by the piece,

and quilted circles in the embroidered blocks. The backing fabric is the same design as the sashing strips, but in yellow. Even though it's set together with blue, the patchwork blocks make the quilt look soft and sweet enough for a baby girl. I like it!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

It Doesn't Always Pay to Reach for Greener Grass

We awoke this morning to lightning, thunder, and the wonderful sound of rain! So I wasn't in a hurry to go to the chicken houses and proceeded with the housework. I looked out the window, as is my custom, and saw this "fence", such as it is, lying on the ground. For months (more like years now) I've wanted this make-shift fence to be taken down and a permanent one put up. Anyway, all these panels were down, except the orange one. It was being held up at the far end by one of the heifers.

I hurried to the chicken houses to get Popa, (no time to take pictures of this part) and when we got closer we could see that her head was stuck inside the bottom "leg" of the panel. It's easier to get into trouble than out; she had been reaching for greener grass.

Popa chained the panel to the truck, and in the midst of close lightning and rain, he finally managed to cut the leg off with a reciprocating saw. Very dangerous work: a terrified heifer and standing on wet groud in a lightning storm! There's always something interesting to do on a farm! I wonder, do you think she learned it doesn't always pay to reach for greener grass?


Monday, October 10, 2011

Being a Little Too Neighborly

We have seven deer who have taken our farm as their home. We see them in the late afternoon grazing in the pasture, and at night resting, not far from the house. There are three does and four little ones that come into the yard, scouring the ground for acorns or nibbling on my flowers. We like to watch them, and in turn, they watch us, with their heads held high and tail flags waving.

But last night they became a little too neighborly, eating off all the new growth my rose bush had put out after the hot, dry summer. You can see by looking at this picture, made in the spring, why it really didn't make me too happy; will the bush recover and have blooms next spring? I sure hope so!

I wonder if the deer will be able to find enough food this winter; the fruit on this persimmon tree might be an indication of what will be available to them. The persimmons are the smallest I ever remember seeing, just about the size of a big marble. I suppose the drought caused this.

So, if the rose bush puts out new leaves before frost, I must try to protect it somehow from our four-footed neighbors.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

An Early Halloween Tale

I know it is still several days until Halloween, but I'll get an early start with my own spooky tale:

When I take my walks I stay on the farm; our road is graveled, a little isolated in spots with thickets where one could be picked up by strangers, and so I play it safe. I walk over to the south forty, past three barns where Popa keeps his tractors and equipment since we don't put hay in them anymore.

On one particular day, as I approached the first barn, I heard what I thought was someone talking and wondered if someone had come to look over a piece of equipment Popa was going to trade off. But I hadn't seen anyone drive past the house. Then I heard music coming from inside the barn.

Oh, Popa must have forgotten to turn off the key and the radio is playing; I really should turn it off or the battery will run down. Instead of taking the time to unfasten the chain on the gate I will just climb over.

When I lifted my leg over the top of the gate, the music stopped at once! Fear swept over me, for you see, this was only a few days after Katrina had struck New Orleans and we had heard that perhaps prisoners had escaped. Besides the two tractors inside the barn, there was an old truck; maybe someone was using the barn to live in.

No, surely not and if it was just a key I needed to turn it off, so I went on into the barn. The new tractor didn't have a key in it and the older tractor had a key but it was turned off. Now I began to feel like someone was watching me, so I climbed back over the gate and quickly walked back to the house, turning now and then to see if anyone was following me. I locked the doors and waited for Popa to come home.

Of course he was afraid too, and when his brother came, they got the shot gun and drove over to the barn to investigate. They found nothing, not even so much as a footprint. The person must have left.

The mystery continued to puzzle us, until a few weeks later. One morning when I went outside, I heard music. This time the new tractor was parked in front of the shed behind the house and the music was coming from it. The key was off; why was the radio playing? And many other times afterwards, when I was feeding the cats in the shed, the radio would just start playing as if my movements triggered it. Popa finally decided the radio must have an alarm set to go off. But whatever, it gave me shivers just to think about the first time it happened.

Boo! ! ! Charlotte

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Climbing the Hill

Do you see the hill in the center of the picture? It is on the east side of our community and is called Tator Hill by people who have lived here all their lives. It can be a spectacular sight whenever the sun is in a position to rise directly over the top.

A few years ago Popa took our older grandson to climb Tator Hill. I packed a sandwich for them and off they went for a climb that must have been like climbing Mt. Everest for the boy. They chose the side that was less steep, but they still had to sit and rest now and then. I asked Popa what it was like on the very top; he told me there were some rocks but also some flat places.

Memories were made that day, climbing the hill.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Hay Season Is Finished -- Maybe?

Shadows stretched long by the time I left the hay field Saturday afternoon. There weren't many bales this time, but many trips around and around the field anyway. This mountain rises on the far side of the creek that borders this field, and many pretty wildflowers grow along its edge.

I have no idea what this plant is; it has little hanging seeds (?) that make it look like a grass, but the leaves look like a weed. I think I'll pick some for a dried arrangement.

Butterflies really like this bright yellow-flowered weed. In a way it resembles a cone flower.

I think this is a tiny-flowering aster.

This delicate little purple flower is an ageratum.

Several deer were beginning to come out to graze when I left the field. It was the first day of bow hunting season; watch out little deer!

Now, if Popa doesn't find another little spot to cut, and when we get this hay hauled home, I'm ready to start quilting more.


I think many of you misunderstood about the comments made concerning pictures of cats. The comment wasn't made to me, but rather it was sent to the blog site that had the post about ways to improve a blog. The comment made me laugh because we do see a lot of cat pictures; however, I like seeing these pictures, especially since my cat was killed and I don't have one I can bring inside anymore. But, thanks anyway for all your kind thoughts for me.