Farming, quilting, variety

Friday, April 27, 2012

Shel Silverstein Poem

This has become a favorite poem of mine; as I have reached the winter of my life I can definitely relate to it:


Said the little boy, "Sometimes I drop my spoon."
Said the little old man, "I do that too."
The little boy whispered, "I wet my pants."
"I do that too," laughed the little old man.
Said the little boy, "I often cry."
The old man nodded, "So do I."
"But worst of all," said the boy, "it seems
Grown-ups don't pay attention to me."
And he felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand.
"I know what you mean," said the little old man.

(To find more Shel Silverstein poems search Google)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Hay Season ~ Already?

Can you believe it's time to cut hay again?  It seems so early.  This is one thing I had to adjust to when Popa and I started putting up our own hay; we cut early and on through summer.  When I was a child, Daddy and my uncle only baled hay one time: late summer.  All acres that could be planted for crops were not used for hay; only the meadows in low-lying areas, where the ground was too wet for spring planting, were cut for hay.  The grass was not as tender as spring grass and there weren't many bales; but oh the work it took to get those bales!  Also, Daddy didn't have very many animals to feed in the winter.

So, on this first day of hay season, things started off with a phone call before our breakfast had a chance to reach its destination.  A cow was out!  Popa went to try to get her back in our pasture, and while he was wading through tall grass, he stepped into a deep hole, (stupid armadillo!!) and fell down, twisting his knee.  At first he thought he had a "I've fallen down and can't get up" moment, but made it up and called me to come help drive her back home.  With all the work of getting equipment ready to go to the field, another unexpected job was at hand: fixing the fence.

With two Aleve tablets under his belt, he's been able to bale this afternoon and a friend came to help him haul the bales home to wrap them.  Whew! I got out of that job!

These are pictures taken through my tractor's windows:

A big wild rose growing on the fence
The field ahead of me; our fields are not long and vast like prairie fields.  We're surrounded by creeks and timbers, with all sorts of curves and bends  to follow, and small in comparison to the prairie hay fields.
Beautiful, tender leaves of an oak tree, blowing in the wind.  It's amazing to me, how many different oaks grow here along the creek.

We take the work that is ours to do, and thank our heavenly Father for health and strength to continue that work.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Observations of the Mouse in the Drawer

He came to live in the old house out of necessity on a cold, wet night. It was empty except for a few dusty canning jars and old clothes. He made it his home for the winter, and being a field mouse, he planned to move on when spring came.

Then the little old lady moved in. She came with boxes, dishes, some furniture,and things that indicated she was going to make the house her home too. He resented her presence and tried to make her as miserable as possible by chewing on papers and leaving droppings on the kitchen cabinets. The ill will she felt for him was obvious too whenever she chased him with the broom. She even began leaving rat poison out in places where he was sure to poke around.

His attitude toward her began to change somewhat as time passed, and he found that the balls of thread and the books and papers she had brought with her to the house made excellent bedding materials. Sometimes he peered around the doorway and watched as she flicked a tiny steel hook back and forth and something lacy and soft was made from the threads. He watched as she went to the front door and looked out across the road to the house that had been her home for so many years before. She told the story aloud to herself: she had cared for both her mother and her father there in the big house. Then she would sigh and say, "It's what Papa wanted." She went back to her chair and picked up the hook and thread again; she let it drop onto her lap and hid her face in her hands and sobbed. Her shoulders shook for only a while. She wiped her eyes and picked up the work.

The mouse soon learned that she was a very caring person. If people needed help, she did what she could for them. When company came to her door, they seldom left without something, either a piece of her handiwork or a bottle of sweet smelling perfume. Her nieces and nephews became her children.

As the years passed, the woman stopped chasing the mouse with the broom. He even teased her by running across her bed in broad daylight. She merely scolded him and told him not to do that when she had company. He watched her as she aged and knew her mind did not react as quickly as before. But then, neither did his. She had started to work with larger thread now; her eyesight was failing. It was soft, fuzzy yarn and she made stack upon stack of crocheted squares. She put them together into lovely, warm afghans and laid them, one upon the other, on the back of her couch. She seemed to glow whenever she showed them to her guests, and with much love, she gave an afghan to some very fortunate person.

When she reached the age of eighty years, the woman stopped driving and put away the keys to her car. Now she became dependent on someone else to take her to church or to town. Her world grew smaller. Each day she picked up the yarn it looked more blurred than it had the time before. The mouse noticed that she didn't open the chest drawers as often. She only stuffed things in now and then and never took anything out. He snipped bits and pieces of the soft yarn and carried them to cushion his bed. He was aging too. It was becoming more difficult for him to find food because she cooked very little. She crocheted one last square, and rather than compromise the quality of her work for quantity, she put away the steel hook. Using the excuse of being lazy, she covered up the fact that she could no longer see well enough to catch the yarn in a loop. It seemed that a part of her pride went then too.

Life around her became somewhat unreal as she reached the age of 92. It was evident to family members that she didn't always know them. Her condition worsened and she had to be cared for like a little child. And then one night the long journey of life was over for the woman.

As some members of her family sorted through a lifetime of memories, there in a drawer, on a soft mat of shredded paper and yarn, lay a mouse. His journey had ended too.

In loving memory of Great-aunt Inez

Monday, April 16, 2012

I'm Making a Little Progress

The spider web quilt is finally finished! I started working on it in November, 2011, so that is about five months of off and on quilting.
The backing is a small tan and brown print from Connecting Threads. I like to use prints for linings; they cover a multitude of quilting "sins".
This is how I fixed the backing for the Ohio String Stars top. Since the sides of the top had a thin strip of red for the inside border, I attached a red strip to each side of the insertion which was needed to make the lining long enough. It worked! Now since this is such a large quilt, it will probably be much longer than five months before I finish it, especially since hay season will soon begin. I sorta dread looking at it for that long. lol


Saturday, April 14, 2012


I treated myself with a floral arrangement today ~ from my yard. We have rain in the forecast for tomorrow; the flowers will probably look forlorn afterwards, so why not bring some of their beauty inside. It's a simple arrangement of azaleas and ferns in a trash dump, bright blue bottle.

Enjoy and have a blessed Sunday,

Friday, April 13, 2012

Spring Berries

We are fortunate to live in an area where we have fresh produce, to either pick ourselves, or in this case, buy it already picked. In the spring there is a choice of several berries: strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. Early to mid summer brings the peaches and melons, and fall provides us with apples and pumpkins. Some "pick your own" farms also have tomatoes.

When I was a child, Daddy and Mama had a strawberry patch and sold the berries in town. We picked the berries ourselves. I can remember coming home from school and going to the berry patch where I could sit in the shade and eat that "fresh from the vine" goodness. Today berries have been bred for shipping; they keep longer than the berries we raised. But ~ their flavor isn't anything like those old berries; sometimes I can almost remember their taste.

Since we had no refrigeration, of course we didn't have ice cream to eat with the strawberries, so I grew up eating my berries with milk and sugar. I still like strawberries with milk and cereal.

I'd like to have a row of strawberries; but, oh my! It is a terrible job to hoe them! I remember that too! Do you grow your own strawberries, or do you have a farm where you can pick your own?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Preparing a Quilt Lining

This week I brought this quilt top out of the cupboard to put on the frames, after being stored away for a few years. It was made from a design by Becky Goldsmith and Linda Jenkins, collectively known as Piece O' Cake Designs. The centers of the star blocks are made from four, small, paper pieced string blocks and they are set together with a beige on beige print. I had already purchased enough of the beige print for a lining. Now this is a large top and when I laid out the lining fabric for measurement, it came up a few inches short. What to do? No way could I find more like it. I had seen pieced linings on quilting blogs, and thought, "why not?" And then I found an article in a quilting magazine about artistic additions on the backs of quilts, resulting in "backstage" productions, simply by piecing different fabrics or inserting extra blocks from the quilt top for a surprise on the back.
The borders of the quilt are made from one inch pieced strips, so I decided to piece together strips to go across the lining to lengthen it:

The pieced strip will be inserted into the lining fabric, making it long enough for the top. Problem solved? I sure hope so; if not I'll simply piece another row of strips and insert it. I think it will be as entertaining as the main performance!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Standing the Test of Time

Forty four years ago we moved onto our own land, ten acres, with plans to build a new house. The Farmer was just finishing work on his doctorate at the university, and after feeling more or less as a stranger in the big city, I felt happy to be in the country again. We rented a trailer to live in while the house was being built, and had it put in the shade of this mulberry tree.

The month was May, and the berries were at their peak of ripeness, falling and covering the ground underneath. We set up a swing set for our three little girls who now could run and play without the confinement of a fenced back yard, and their beautiful childish voices echoed across the land as they sang "Jesus loves me, this I know; for the Bible tells me so." And every night their little feet and the seats of their panties were stained purple from the mulberries.
I have no way of knowing how long the tree had been here before we bought the land, but it's weathered many storms; perhaps the three trunks give support to one another. It is just outside the yard fence and the cattle take shade underneath its branches in the summer, wearing away the dirt from the roots on that side of the fence.

The dead limbs are signs that the old tree is under stress; most of the time, before I mow the yard, there are several sticks to pick up.

But the roots inside the fence must be providing moisture for the tree, because once again, the limbs are full of green berries, and when they get ripe there will be a mass feeding for the birds, raccoons and terrapins, not to mention the flies who come to drink in the intoxication of the souring berries.
I guess old-timers used the berries for making jelly, but I don't particularly like the taste of them.
I wonder how long a mulberry tree can stand the test of time. Do you like mulberries or do you have a tree on your property?

[This was originally posted in 2012; watch for an update tomorrow]

Friday, April 6, 2012

April ~ Little Quilt

April's little quilt, called Bachelor Buttons, was designed by Darlene Zimmerman. The pattern was in the February, 1999 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting magazine; the fabrics are from Connecting Threads. The blocks are 3 inches square set together with 1/2 inch sashing strips, and the finished size of the quilt is approximately 17 1/2" x 20 1/2". It was machine pieced and hand quilted.

The little doll stroller was a Christmas present from Santa, some sixty plus years ago.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Surprise

I want to tell you who know me personally, this is not a new story for you; just bear with me. And for others who read it, please think how different things are now. Also, it is has been posted before, so there are some older comments at the end.
On the morning of April 5, 1941, Daddy took Wanda to spend the day and night with her Aunt Marie. Of course she was thrilled because there were two cousins to play with, and being the only child, she didn't have anyone to play with, except on Sunday mornings after Sunday school. Daddy seemed in a hurry and fussed at her for slowing him down. After visiting with Aunt Marie only a few minutes, he left to go back home.

Daddy, Mama, and Wanda

Early the next morning he came for Wanda and as they walked on the dusty road toward home, they met Mr. and Mrs. Allen. "How are Easter and the baby?" asked Mrs. Allen. Daddy told her they were doing well and that the doctor had guessed the baby weighed close to nine pounds. Wanda thought that was awfully small for a baby calf! As they came closer to home, she ran ahead of Daddy, clutching some wilting wild flowers in her hand, and when she got to the door, Grandma was there. She told Wanda to be quiet because Mama was asleep. Now that was unusual; Mama didn't sleep in the daytime. She must be sick. So Wanda tiptoed up to the side of the bed and Mama opened her eyes. She told Wanda to get up on the bed with her. "I have something to show you," she said and then Wanda saw a baby, cradled in Mama's arm. Wanda pulled back in surprise! No one had told her about a baby coming! Why did they need a baby?

Mama told her to get a box from behind the settee; it was full of little baby clothes and sweet smelling powder. Wanda looked through the clothes and Mama asked her if she would like to hold the baby. Grandma put the baby in Wanda's arms; she could smell the powder and felt the softness of the baby's skin against her cheek. "Her name is Charlotte," said Mama, and Wanda said the name over a few times. Maybe having a baby sister wouldn't be so bad.

And so, that's how my life began, 71 years ago.


Wanda, Charlotte (me), and Mama
Daddy, Mama, Wanda, and Charlotte, our family. No more children were born