Quilting, Farming, Variety

Friday, May 31, 2013

Spring Farm Update

Spring here on the farm has gone so fast!  We had cool weather for a long time and good rains; in fact, it still isn't really hot yet. 

Last fall, when our hay supply was short, the farmer planted grass seeds in the hay meadows and pastures.  When the hay was almost gone, the grass came up and gave the cattle a little extra to eat.  They didn't leave much sign of that grass, but in the meadows it was a different story.

This was a variety of grass called "rye", and as you can see it grew to almost six feet tall.  We think this hay will make good feed for the cattle when it is put through the grinder/mixer next winter.
Arrow leaf clover was mixed with the rye.
These rows of stubble make the field look like there wouldn't be any more grass all summer, but with a few good showers, new grass will make the field green again.
We have had rain in the forecast several times in the past few weeks, making a time to cut the grass uncertain.  But if we can get two - three days in a row without rain, the farmer cuts and we bale the next day.  Of course the grass isn't completely dry; therefore, we use this machine to wrap the bales in plastic.
The damp hay has to be wrapped the same day it's baled, otherwise it will rot; the plastic seals out air, turning the grass into a type of silage.  As the bales are put onto the machine, they're pushed forward into a chamber where the plastic wraps around the bales as they move.  The long rows are sort of an outdoor barn.  Having to haul and wrap the bales as soon as they are baled, makes for a long day of work.  We can haul as many as fifteen bales at a time from the field, taking about an hour for the road trip and the wrapping.  Some nights we aren't finished until eleven or twelve p.m.; long hours for old people.
We've put up almost 450 bales so far, as compared to a total of 501 in last summer's drought. We are so thankful for every bale!
On top of working in the hay, our chickens are in their last week on the farm, which means "there's work on every hand!"  I keep wondering, how many more years will we be able to work?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

29 Days Between Posts

What a thrill to know I've been missed!  Some have asked if I'm o.k.; I am ~ just a little weary and wondering if I should continue blogging.   My daughter started this blog site and asked if I would like to contribute a story now and then and show some of my quilts.
It was fun and exciting to read comments about my work and soon, every stitch I made was examined and carefully done so I could write about the quilt.  That was the way it was for all the years I entered quilts in the county fair: what will the judges think of this or that, and soon it almost became a chore, rather than an enjoyment, trying to be perfect.  Now I almost feel burned out with quilting, because the last one I put up stayed on the frames for about six months, just sitting there, covered up to keep it from fading.  Yesterday I took it off the frames, folded it up with its batting and lining, and put it in the cupboard.
Does this make me a failure?  I don't think so; I feel relief that it's out of sight, and now my frames are open for baby quilts and doll quilts, and I can still piece tops when I want to. 

Many hours were put into paper piecing the top.  I just didn't feel up to trying to hand quilt through all those seams and didn't want to take a chance of ruining it by machine quilting it, because it is a pretty top.

The pattern is a Marcia Hohn design from the Spring 2003 edition of the Quilt magazine, called Flowers of Friendship. 
Now of course, this set-back in my creative spirit isn't the reason I haven't blogged.  I'll try to find time to post that story tomorrow.  I have tried to find time each day to read your words and look at the beautiful pictures you post. So, let me thank each of you who looked for my words and wondered about me; makes me feel special...

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May Apron

Can you believe it's time for the May apron, the fifth one! 

This apron gives good coverage: crossed in back, buttoned forward shoulder line, and a big, generous pocket.  It is made in a soft green and pink cotton print, with edges bound in pink homemade bias tape.

The copyright date on the pattern envelope is 1971.  It appears to have been used more than once.
Only two pattern pieces are needed to make this one, so it might be an easy "first" apron for someone to make.