Quilting, Farming, Variety

Monday, June 24, 2013

I'm Almost Giddy..

with relief!  Three months ago my dermatologist wanted to do a biopsy on a tiny spot on my nose.  She had removed a skin cancer there before and thought it might be returning, but she allowed me to wait another three months.  I have worried myself to death over it, not because of the seriousness of it, but because of the possibility of needing a skin graft, which would mean having to go out of town; you know what that does to a person who is somewhat agoraphobic!  Anyway, this morning I kept the three month appointment and she thought it looked o.k. now.  It's like a burden has been lifted from my spirits; no more visits until January!

I am fair-skinned and a doctor told me once I should have been a princess instead of a farmer's wife.

So, let's put a little humor in here with portions of my Frank and Ernest cartoons:



 
Click on the cartoons and have a little laugh!
 
Charlotte

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

One Apron a Month? No Way!

I know, I know ~ there's only suppose to be one apron a month, but I just couldn't wait to share this one with you:

 
This is a child's apron, and what little girl doesn't like cats and the color purple!
 
Aprons made like this used to be called clothespin aprons because of the big pocket in front, but since most little girls don't see their mothers hanging clothes with pins anymore, why not use it for crayons, papers, small dolls, etc.  I've used this pattern several times; it's so easy to make, you'll probably see more later on in the year.
 
Charlotte

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Hollyhocks


have always been one of my favorite flowers, but I've never had very good luck in growing them.  The seeds usually germinate quickly, then the weather turns dry and the seedlings perish.  And if they do live, whenever their long stems are heavy with blooms, and a strong wind and rain comes, they fall over and are ruined.  It seems they do best growing up next to something, like an old shed or fence, anything to give them a little protection.  This year I had a clump growing in a corner between a chimney and a wall.  As you can see they grew really tall and we tied a cord to support them.

These were a beautiful, dark red; definitely going to save seeds from them.  I just knew from the shapes of the flowers and leaves that they were a kinfolk of the okra plant, and after a search on Wikipedia, found I was right; they are both members of the Mallow family, as is the hibiscus.

 
Perhaps the most common pest to a hollyhock is the leaf miner, which is the larva of an insect, such as a moth.  The larva lives in and eats the tissue of the plant.  They're protected from predators since they feed inside the leaves.  I had a choice between dusting the leaves, making them white and possibly killing bees, or leaving them as is; I chose the second.
 
 
Speaking of bees, hollyhocks are known for attracting bumble bees.  The farmer has told me this quick story many times:  He had a city cousin who knew how to fold the petals of a bloom around a visiting bumble bee, catching it inside.  The country cousin wasn't so lucky; the bee put out a powerful sting, right through the petals!
 
Have you had luck growing hollyhocks?  Have you ever tried to catch a bumble bee inside a bloom?
 
Charlotte
 
A little note added this Monday morning:  Judy left a comment referring us to "hollyhock dolls" on Google.  What a cute thing to do with a child!  So easy, and a lot of memories to be made.  BUT watch out for the bumblies!
 


Thursday, June 13, 2013

The View From My Office....

the office being the cab of a tractor.  Our weather has been hot and dry this past week, perfect haying weather.  So, as the old saying goes, "We made hay while the sun was shining."


Thick swathes of dried grass spread out in front of me,



and behind me the rake rolls two of them into a large mound, ready to be picked up by the baler and turned into big round bales for next winter's feeding.

This isn't a very large field but we made over 100 bales from it;  so thankful for each bale!  And since the hay was dry, we didn't have to wrap the bales in plastic, only with a netting material which holds the bales tight enough to shed water when stored outside.

 
I had lunch in the office since we left to get an early start.  Actually I didn't have time to eat much of mine: potato chips, ham and cheese sandwich, pear halves, fig newtons, and of course, two miniature Hershey bars.  We baled until around 6:00 p.m. and then there were chores to do before supper, so I was beginning to feel light-headed and unsure on my feet.  I usually carry peppermint candies with me to ward off the effects of low blood sugar, but forgot them.
 
Baby chickens will come next week so we won't bale more until they're settled in.
 
And that's a day from my office; hope you enjoyed the visit.
 
Charlotte

Monday, June 10, 2013

More Kitchen Quilts


Another set of kitchen quilts: Little Aster (upper left) and Bow Tie (lower right) made from orphaned quilt blocks, one paper pieced crazy patch, and one courthouse steps pattern.  Two of these have a product called Insul-Bright and a layer of cotton batting inside, making them suitable for use as a potholder.  The Insul-Bright is a needled insulated lining recommended for hot pads, oven mitts, tea cozies, etc.  These are a cute addition to a country table.
 
Charlotte

Sunday, June 2, 2013

June Apron

 
The June apron is another one from my Denise Clason book, Sewing Vintage Aprons.  It is a "full" apron made in a blue cotton print, trimmed with black bias tape.  There are ties, sewn into a side dart above the pocket, to fasten the apron around the waist and the neck straps fasten with buttons; it will give good coverage.
 
Somehow this apron, and the print,  make me think of the farmer's grandmother;  I seem to remember she usually had on an apron when we would visit her.
 
To quote Ms Clason, "Sew an apron for yourself...bring back the nostalgia of the past...bring out the inner chef in you as you make your own memories..."
 
Charlotte