Quilting, Farming, Variety

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sisters ~~ Different Lives

Last week my sister had her 78th birthday; I don't think she minds me telling her age;  she's still in good health and sound of mind.  For some reason I began thinking of the different paths our lives have taken.

We were both born in the same room, in the little gray house on the rocky hillside farm; as Daddy used to say, "Wanda was born on one side and Charlotte on the other side of that room."  She was almost 6 1/2 years older, much more outgoing and made friends easily.  The word Daddy used to describe me was "timid", but I always had a smile.  As we grew up I know I pestered her too much, especially when she began dating a Marine and received letters from him; letters I wanted so much to read.

She met her cousin's brother-in-law and married him the summer after she graduated from high school .  He had just come out of  service and in about a year they moved to Michigan where he worked in the Buick plant.  As the years passed, they had four children; one sweet little girl died at age five.  She worked in various plants and at Wal Mart because now her husband had become a Baptist preacher.

I met my husband at college; he was a farm boy and that appealed to me.  We married and  moved away from our community; he taught school and worked first on a master's degree and later on his doctorate.  I went to college one more semester then dropped out to become a mother of three girls, and a full-time housewife.  We bought a small place and began our farm; he taught during the week and farmed on the weekends. 

So now she was a preacher's wife and I was the wife of a college professor/farmer.   She attended church functions, I worked cattle and chickens. 

She and her husband recently moved into a retirement center.  He is disabled and the upkeep of  the house and yard was too much for her.  This made me stop and think: could I live there and be happy?  Right now the answer is "no".  Even if the meals are prepared,  the rooms cleaned, and no grocery shopping, I believe I would feel imprisoned, isolated more or less, no place to go where there were no people. 

Here we are, ten years ago, sisters with different lives.  Yes, I'm the one with the white hair! 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Trip Around the World Quilt

Just how large do you think this quilt is?  Pictures can be deceiving you know.  Actually the quilt is about 11" x 9", just right for a Barbie doll, and is called A Trip Around the World.  Did I sew these tiny blocks together?  Well, yes and no.  This type of quilt is called a postage stamp or watercolor quilt.  There are a few steps to making it successfully and rather than take a chance I'd confuse you, here is a website with a tutorial explaining how it is made:

Go to Google, and type in "Tutorial for making watercolor quilts using fusible interfacing", then scroll down to Elizabeth's Fabric Focus ~ Quick-Piece Tiny Squares << Sew Mama...

I have interfacing; may try another with larger squares this time.


Friday, September 14, 2012

Baby Quilt ~ Scattered Dots

Will you believe I do other things besides complaining about the weather?  Actually, the drought has taken me from the fields and given me time to quilt more this summer.

This is a baby quilt made from a pattern tutorial on Amy's blog, www.duringquiettime.blogspot.com .  You may remember, I made a doll quilt by the same pattern.  For the baby quilt I simply made the strips longer and wider and the dots larger.  The binding is made from pieces of fabric like the dots.

Now I think I'll let the frames stand empty for a while and get out some WIP things, such as a topsy-turvy doll and a crochet project, maybe even another apron.  Can't let this old mind go idle!


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Is It Time to Just Give Up?

We've just come through one of the worst summers we can remember; hot days, dry days, no grass for the cattle.  The haying equipment has stayed in the shed since May; we bought hay for the first time in our lives.  We sold the calves which were big enough and kept on with the others, hoping each day for rain and a chance to cut hay one last time before winter.  And each time the radar showed rain coming our way, the clouds parted, like the Red Sea, and went north or south, east or west of us, and the grass browned and died.  We began feeding grain, and the dust almost hid the cattle as the hungry herd rushed to the troughs.

To make the hay go farther, we bought a grinder-mixer, grain, hay, troughs, tubs; the list went on and on.  When the ponds went dry we bought water for the cattle and had the big pond cleaned out.

The little rains finally came, first from tropical storm Isaac and later from a cold front moving through.  Not a great deal of rain, but it fell slowly, and the parched earth drank it in.  We were hopeful again; would the meadows have time for the grass to grow?  Would the cattle have grass to graze on until frost?  To help replace the lost grasses, Popa bought grass seeds and planted for two days until...

They came: army worms, the larvae of  small, brownish gray moths who had slipped in under cover of darkness and laid their eggs on the grass stems.  We know what the worms can do: we've seen them strip an area clean in a matter of days, and when they finished with that area, they moved in hordes, or "armies", eating and destroying vegetation as they moved.  Their meals are taken at night or on cloudy days and since they hide under the grass the damage can be done before being discovered.  Insecticides applied to nearly mature larva that have completed their feeding is a waste of time and money.

So discouraging; maybe it is time to just give up, or take the attitude of "Que sera, sera".


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Blue String Stars Quilt

In April I wrote about this quilt and how I had to piece a strip to make the lining long enough.  Then I put it in the frames, so it took me almost five months to finish it.

It's a really long quilt ~ why I ever thought it needed to be this long, I have no idea, since no one in my family is this tall!  I remember thinking it would take me all summer to finish it, and it did, even though the drought kept me from the hay fields.   But finally, it's finished!

I turned back one corner of the quilt so the row of lengthening strips can be seen.  Since the inner border of the quilt was a red print, I added red prints to border the strips and also for the binding; gives a real punch to the blue.
The quilt was machine pieced and hand quilted.  You gotta love blue to like this quilt!
We've been without chickens for about two weeks now, and won't get anymore for a few days, so I have a baby quilt in the frames, hoping to finish it before going back to work.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

September ~~ Little Quilt

September's little quilt, Underground Railroad, was made from the pattern in Kathleen Tracy's book, American Doll Quilts.   In searching through my quilt books I couldn't find this pattern, but as Ms Tracy says, "... (it) may represent the network of safe houses for slaves on their journey to freedom."

September also means it's "readin' and writin' and arithmetic time for Teddy (he's home schooled, you know) and we plan to include a little history of the Underground Railroad.
 Excellent sources of information about this subject are:
On Google ~~ Underground Railroad Quilt Code, and
Did Quilts Hold Codes to the Underground Railroad
Maybe you'd enjoy joining us in a history lesson?