Quilting, Farming, Variety

Thursday, May 31, 2012

This Is What I Found This Morning...

a big hole, dug right in front of the steps!

Needless to say, I'm not feeling very forgiving.  I try so hard to have a nice area around the house, and along comes The Dog.  How do I reclaim the dirt?  It's scattered out into the grass, so I'll have to bring in enough to fill up the hole.  For now I've put a piece of poultry wire over it.  Urrgh!!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Fruit of Our Labors

We were up bright and early this morning to load cattle to sell.  A truck from the livestock auction came to pick them up.

We are in a very dry spell drought and the pastures are getting very low on grass for the cattle to eat.  We're already feeding hay that we have just baled.  We have a small area to bale this afternoon and that will be it until we get some rain and the grass can grow again.

It was a little sad this morning, for in that load was Mead, the calf I fed on the bottle last year.  I couldn't see him mixed in with the others; maybe it was best, but I would have told him "Goodbye and you'll have a good pasture somewhere else." 

And in case you're wondering about The Dog, well, he was right there this morning, barking at the calves and even went inside the truck and had to be run out!  Some have suggested that God sent him to me ~ no, surely not, unless it's to try my patience.


Monday, May 21, 2012

The Dog

It's been about two weeks since we first heard about the dog, apparently left on the isolated part of the road we live on.  It was assumed he was a Pyrenees sheep dog because of his appearance.  He must have checked out all the farms between the drop-off and our farm; there were other chicken houses, and even a farm with sheep, but for some reason he kept on the move until he found us.

Now I'm no lover of dogs (see my post for Feb. 13, 2011, A Terrible Emptiness) and it has been several years since we have had one.  So I ignored this dog, hoping he'd move on, but finally fed him; after all, he didn't seem at all interested in the cats,  just their food.  I thought he was an old dog, but the men said his teeth seem like the teeth of a younger dog; that squashed my hopes that he wouldn't be here that many years.  He adopted us, mostly me; we had no say!  With a full stomach and a cool porch to rest on, his manner has changed: he chased one of the cats and now they have no place where they feel safe to eat.  Well!  that did it for me!  He annoys me: always drooling on my jeans,  following me every time I leave the house, running right in front of the Kubota and I can just imagine the ticks he's going to drop off in the yard!

So, he's just The Dog, no other name, and maybe, if he saves my life sometime, I'll come to like him, but not for now.  Sorry...


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Have You Missed Me?

In bloom now

I'm b-a-c-k!!  I usually try not to complain about my work since I feel so fortunate to have good health which allows me to work at my age.  But tonight, I'm exhausted!  We're having dry weather and it makes for an excellent time to cut and bale hay.  My mornings start early; I always like to do the housework first, not thorough cleaning, but making the beds and washing the dishes.  I'm bottle feeding another calf, so he comes next and then on to the chicken houses to walk through them and see that all the equipment is working properly.  Today we ate a quick lunch and went to the hayfield where we baled 75 bales for ourselves, then on to our son-in-law's field to bale his hay.  But work wasn't finished yet!  The calf had to have his supper, the chickens had to be checked again, and our supper had to be cooked and the dishes washed.  I have to wash dishes by hand; I have a dishwasher, but, that's a whole other story about drain problems!  So, if you don't hear from me again for a few days, just know we're "making hay while the sun is shining".  I'll still try to have time to read your blogs.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Prairie Quilt

This is a story I wrote to go with the cloth doll, Willow, and her own patchwork quilt:

The Prairie Quilt
For-w-a-r-d --Ho-o-o!!! The command echoed across the early morning air, and with a jingling of harnesses, movement rippled along the teams of horses as each wagon lurched forward and started another day's journey across the worn pathway.  Dust began to rise and circled the sojourners.  Our wagon was at the end of the train.

The Clay plantation had been home for our family for three generations.  Granny had been Miss Becky's mammy, raising her own children alongside the frail little girl.  She and my ma were the best of friends.  Mrs. Clay allowed Ma to study with Becky from her books, and Granny had taught them to sew.  So it was no surprise to anyone, when Becky's husband died in the war and the plantation was almost in ruins, that she told Ma, "You and Peter take the children and go find a better life.  You're free to go now."  She gave them a covered wagon, a team of the best horses left on the farm, and a milk cow.

Ma could barely hold back the tears that morning when we all got into the wagon to head west.  Miss Becky took a pillowcase from the porch and put it in Ma's hand.  "This is a bag of scraps I have saved from the dresses we made.  Take them with you and maybe there will be some good use for them in your new home."

We had been on the trail for a few weeks before Ma realized that she had time to spare while riding in the wagon, and she decided to make a quilt.  She had told Pa if things came to the point that some of their belongings had to be thrown out of the wagon, she would walk and carry that pillowcase full of scraps!  She measured and tore squares from the scraps, sewed them together, and made a lining from a new piece of fabric Becky had bought for a dress.  An old blanket went inside for a batting.  Each day, with the quilt scrunched up in her lap, she quilted when the wagon train began to roll.  Most of the time her stitches were straight and small, but when the wagon wheels rolled over rough trails, they were uneven and large.

Each square held its own story: brown pieces from Pa's work shirts and tan ones from brother Tom's shirts.  Big sister, Tess, had pink squares from her dresses, and Baby Rosie's pieces had lilac flowers on them, and in the fourth row was a faded blue and pink square taken from the ruffle on Granny's old garden bonnet.  There were squares from Ma's brown paisley Sunday dress and blue stripes from my dress.

As Ma quilted, she came closer and closer to the blue chambray square at the top of the quilt; next to it was a red plaid.  She wiped a tear from her eye and turned away from me, looking out over the vast, empty land we had just crossed.  I knew she was remembering the little pants and shirt made from those pieces of fabric.  Pete only wore those clothes one time before that terrible stiffness came into his neck and his jaws were clinched together tightly.  Ma always said she should have given the clothes to some other little boy, but Pa had said, "No!  When my little man walks up to those golden gates of heaven, I want him to be dressed in his very best!"  So Ma had put the chambray pants and the plaid shirt on his little limp body and let Pa lay him in the wooden box.  It had been hard to leave Pete behind.

Ma folded the work and laid it away for the rest of the day.  "Willow," she said to me, "I'm going to give this quilt to you; we'll call it the prairie quilt."


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

May ~ Little Quilt

Can it be possible?  Is it May already, the fifth month of  2012?
The April showers have brought beautiful May flowers
and today we find Teddy with his basket full of blooms and his gardening tools, surrounded by butterflies of every color.

The butterflies are hand appliqued onto a little quilt, sized 18" x 18"

and echo-quilted by hand;

it's perfect for Teddy.

Have a good day, Charlotte