Wednesday, August 16, 2017

around the yard

August is one of my favorite months.  The angle of the sun changes a little...still warm and bright but not as glaring and merciless as in July.  The nights are a bit cooler.

I realize once again that I will not win the race to get the yard and flower beds all nicely groomed so that I can just sit back and enjoy the season.
But really, doing the outdoor work is how I enjoy summer.

Here's the flower bed just off the back porch.  That purple heart vine is huge this year.  It didn't die back completely in the mild temperatures last winter, so it had a good head start in the spring.

That's Sedum and Portucula near by.


Here's looking the other way.   Zinnias in the foreground.  I really like Zinnias and made a note in my garden journal to plant more next year.


Pink Zinnias and yellow Marigolds.  So gaudy...but appealing to me.



Last summer (or the one before) I noticed some Purple Passion Flowers (Maypop) blooming in the field next to our property.  I tried digging a couple of  the vines and moving them to our yard. They promptly died, but I needn't have bothered...

Like every other weed growing over there they ended up coming up in my flower bed anyway.

I left one to grow and I hope I haven't created a problem for myself. I sort of have a feeling it might try to take over the area now that it has a toehold.

Pretty blooms though and there are a lot of the little passion fruits too.


Black Eyed Susans...so reliable and long blooming.


One lonely Purple Coneflower there on the left. I want to get a fresh start of those next spring too.



I keep plugging away on my 9 Patch quilt.  I'm considering that red fabric at the bottom for the outer border but not sure if is the "right" red.    It has a gold print in it so it coordinates with the gold background, but my mind's eye thinks it should be a darker, truer red.


Oops! One of these things are not like the others!  That's what happens when your mind wanders.


At least I noticed it before I sewed it up into the quilt!




Tuesday, August 8, 2017

garden veggies, closet cleaning, quilt progress

A recent sunrise after a rain....


Much prettier in person, of course!


No new recipes this week but the Sasquatch did bring over a couple of things for us to try.

First, this bottle of concentrated drink mix from the clearance shelf at Kroger.  It's a drink made from bark and it came from Trinidad and Tobago.

When you lift the glass to your mouth you get a wiff of a wonderful spicy combination of licorice and root beer...but when you take a sip...BLECH !   It is bitter with a bitter after taste.
We just couldn't drink it.    A definite 'thumbs down' on this one.


The other thing he brought was  'thumbs up'. 
 A Lemon Cucumber from his garden, named that because of their size and color.  They don't taste lemony but they have a good cucumber flavor - better than an ordinary cucumber, we think.

Their skin has a scattering of stiff little whiskery spines...



He brought a regular cucumber too and sliced both up a plate to go with Sunday dinner.  He said his garden is fizzling out for the season.


Our little gardens are fading fast too...except for Lonnie's tomatoes, which are producing like crazy.
He has to pick them when they first start turning red because crows or other birds have started pecking holes in the ones ripening on the plants.


He has dehydrated a few of them. We may just skin and freeze some of the rest.


During the recent rainy spells  I've been reorganizing a couple of closets.  I ordered and put together this wire shelf.


It's for the closet (below) in my sewing room.  This closet was never finished by the builders/previous owners...probably due to bad planning, because the central air vent comes up through it, as well as the vent pipe from the downstairs bathroom.

So there was no real way to hang a closet rod or attach shelves in there.  We have just used it to pile our suitcases in.  A lot of wasted space in there until now.......


I took measurements to be sure the shelf would fit and it's about perfect.
  That's my suitcase (dark blue) and travel bags on the top shelf - then 2 shelves of quilt books and magazines.
Next, more tote bags and bedspreads and comforters.  To the side is a quilt wrapped around a pool noodle (no wrinkles) and a wheeled folding table that I use to help support a larger quilt when I'm quilting it on my machine.

I might still hang some hooks from the ceiling in there - to hang some of the tote bags and free up shelf space.

I did cull a few items...like these plastic zip bags that comforters and bedding comes in.  There were at least 12 or 13 of them tucked back in that closet.  Some so old that the plastic had developed an unpleasant sticky feel.

Must. Fight. Hoarding.!


Lonnie's suitcases went into the hall closet (below). Now, he won't have to hopscotch through the mess in my sewing room to get to them!  They are on the top shelf, then toilet paper, extra towels, beach towels, light bulbs and bedding.

 I read a tip, that storing extra sheet sets inside their pillowcases will help keep things tidy, so I did that and also put a couple of wool blankets in pillowcases too (with some cedar blocks).  
I labeled the pillowcases so I won't have to rummage through them all when I need something.


In the bottom, next to the laundry bag, I finally found a place to store my upstairs vacuum cleaner (yes, it is a shop vac).  In all the years since I decided to have a second vacuum for the upstairs - it's never been put away anywhere.  It's just been hanging out in one bedroom or another...any empty corner.
Now let's see if I will be good about returning it here each time after I use it!

I would have bought wire shelving for this closet too, but the attic door is in the ceiling in there. Occasionally, someone will have to go up there and the closet has to be emptied.



Well,   You are probably beyond excitement after that tour of my closets but I'll also show my progress on the 9 patch quilt. Blocks not sewn together yet, just doing a layout.



I like it so far but now I'm not sure if  it's the right thing to give to the person I intended it for.
I'll keep working on it and thinking about that.



Tuesday, August 1, 2017

this and that

The Naked Lillies (or Resurrection Lillies) have sprung up around the yard. I have only planted them in a couple of places but squirrels must have replanted a few for me, because they come up in random spots.

There's always a few stalks that fall over or get knocked over by animals so I sometimes bring those inside and put them in a vase.   Now some varmint broke off one of my Zinnias at the ground, so I stuck them in the vase with the Lillies.  


Flower arranging is not my forte. I did work for a florist for a while but not doing floral arrangements!

Now here's what I like better...stuff to plant in the ground.  These are my three new Holly trees to plant in place of the pine that fell.  I ordered them from Evergreen Nursery in Tennessee.   
I wasn't even sure if they would ship them at this time of year, but they did and thanks to their careful packaging, the plants arrived in good condition.


I have them planted already...and I'll have to remember to keep them watered.


This is a little embarrassing...delivery trucks lined up in the driveway!  Am I too lazy to go to the store?  Well,sometimes.


I tried a new muffin recipe...Almond Poppy Seed Muffins.  They are good!


The recipe is from my quilt group's fundraising cookbook.  When I saw the recipe was one that Pat contributed, I knew it would be good. She always brings such yummy dishes to the potlucks.

I cut the recipe back to 1/3...and it made nine medium sized muffins.  Quick to put together and no need to even use the mixer.



I also tried a Greek style chicken recipe...Chicken Souvlaki, but I forgot to take photos.  It was okay...Lonnie did a good job with grilling marinated chicken breasts...but it seemed a bit lacking in flavor.  I've only eaten Greek food a couple of times so not a lot to compare it with.
I will probably try again with a different recipe.

Monday, July 24, 2017

sailboat quilt finished

Here is the binding going on the Sailboat quilt...


And here it is...all finished.  It might seem familiar looking...because, for the alternate blocks,  I used the same simple pattern that I used in the Ninja quilt.

Don't think I was getting off easy with those quick-to-sew blocks...the paper pieced sailboats were very labor intense!   A good challenge for me though.



This quilt is toddler sized too...about 41" x 50".


Sail away!


And there is that nautical fabric backing again - perfect to use with the sailboats.


I'd like to go ahead and give this one to the expectant mother, but I need to wait until I know baby's name to put on the label. So. I'll hang on to it for now.

I've had enough of the red,blue and gray color scheme for awhile. I'll be glad to get back to working toward my next finish...the scrappy nine patch quilt.
That one will take a while to finish.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

another tree bites the dust


Earlier this year, when we had some really windy days, I was talking about how we'd had such strong winds in spring of 2016...that one of our big healthy pine trees had broken off at the base.

As I was saying that, I looked out the front window and noticed that another of the pines (planted at the same time) looked like it was leaning a lot more than it was before.

I thought it might be my imagination but over these months I've been trying to pay attention to any changes in the slant of the tree. Then, last time I was mowing out there I could see a big difference.  One side of the tree (forked trunk) was leaning way away from the other side.

I called our tree company, who said they might be able to cable both sides of the tree together and keep it from falling...but it would be Monday before they could look at it.

Well, Monday was too late.  Sunday evening when my sons were leaving they actually saw the tree falling like slow motion...or half of it anyway.

 I was hoping the other half could still be saved, but no, it was leaning the other way.
This photo taken from the opposite direction.



When the tree guy came to the door on Monday, he had a funny look on his face. He must have  thought I was expecting them to put the tree back in position!
He seemed relieved when we just asked them to finish taking it down and haul away the mess.

They did it the next day....

I guess we were lucky it didn't fall on that Spruce there on the right and damage it too.

Those two tiny trees in the center of the photo are 2 hollies I put in last year to replace the other pine that fell.  I'm thinking about getting 3 more hollies now to fill in this space.
The pines are pretty and fast growing though...hmmm...and Giant Thujas are another possibility.

We need something there though, not just for privacy, but to block noise and pollution from the highway.


Here's the same view from 2014...much nicer than seeing that neighborhood across the street - and the telephone pole- and the gas company thingy.

Time to start shopping for new trees!



Saturday, July 15, 2017

cool summer beverages

My sons are getting pretty good a spotting recipes that I might be interested in trying. Here are a couple of refreshing summer drinks.


First off - the Sasquatch has been suggesting that I try making Cold-Brewed Coffee.

Instructions HERE

He's the only one of us that isn't a coffee drinker, but he thought he might like it this way since it results in a smoother brew.  Nope, he still doesn't like it, but I think it's a great way to have coffee ready to make iced coffee at any time.

All you do is soak the coffee grounds in room temperature water for about 12 hours. (1 1/2 cups coffee grounds to 8 cups water).  Strain the grounds...first with a strainer - then through a coffee filter.
It's done!


The instructions say that this makes concentrated coffee, so it's just right once it's poured over ice and cream is added (and sweetener if you wish).

A nice pick-me-up on a hot afternoon!


Next up is a recipe Chopper found...something we had never even heard of...Horchata - a Mexican beverage.


Chopper found this recipe online after a friend posted a photo of himself drinking this at a Mexican restaurant.  

The ingredients are simple so I told him I'd try making some.  Strangely enough, you get it started by soaking uncooked rice in water, then later straining it and adding sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and milk.

Serve very cold or over ice.  Sweet and creamy like a milkshake but not thick and heavy.


You can sort of see that the cinnamon sinks to the bottom of the glass.  Some who commented on the recipe said they use cinnamon sticks during the rice soaking step to get the flavor without making that last swallow a mouthful of ground cinnamon. Good idea.

It's always fun to try something different in the kitchen!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

ninja crib quilt finished

I finished adding the binding to the ninja quilt.

No, it's not a quilt for a Ninja...it's a quilt with ninja print fabric.




As I mentioned here before, I only had a small amount of that fabric so I had to do some figuring to get it spread evenly around the quilt...and I wanted to keep the design simple, so the fabric would be the focal point.


It measures roughly 41" x 50".   Not sure who this one will go to yet.  There are a couple of babies due to arrive before the end of the year.


Might as well add a photo of it on the swing too.
One of the other fabrics is a print with Japanese letters/characters on it.  I'm curious if it actually says or spells anything.  If so, I hope it's something nice!


This may seem like sort of a strange choice for backing...a nautical print.  I had pulled it from my stash for the sail boat quilt and noticed the colors would work good with this quilt too.
I had enough for both quilts with about 6 inches left over.



A different theme altogether but it will give some wee toddler a lot to look at.  I could even see using it for a matching game...for example asking the toddler to "find another lighthouse like this one"

Now, to get the binding on the sail boat quilt...then back to work on my main quilt project.



Monday, July 3, 2017

catalpa worms and outdoor stuff

I have written about Catalpa worms here before and to this day, there have more visits to those blog posts than any other pages I've posted.

(Here  ,  and here )

This time it's a little different.  This is the first year my own Catalpa tree has attracted Sphinx moths to lay eggs on the leaves.   Now I have a multitude of small Catalpa worms!

Let the leaf munching begin!


These must be the older cousins...larger but not quite adults.



This is how the tree looks now. I'll show another photo once the worms have moved on. It doesn't hurt the tree and it's an interesting cycle to observe.

I grew this tree from a seed off  The Sasquatch's Catalpa tree...it's the one I have shown in the previous posts.  
This one will make a beautiful shade tree in a few years.





I couldn't resist starting another one this spring.  Not sure where I will plant it, but I'll move it up to a bigger pot for now while I am deciding.




Also around the yard...
I saw this tortoise one morning after a rain,  He was so shiny he looked like he had been through a car wash!



Back in May, Bullitt County Soil Conservation was giving away free tree seedlings.
Image may contain: one or more people, tree and outdoor

They had several kinds. I asked for 2 Pawpaw trees and they gave me about half a dozen.
At that time they were leafless and dormant...dead looking really.

I planted two in the field and the rest in the woods.  The ones in the field are doing great and the good thing is - deer don't seem to bother them.
Pretty leaves!


I haven't checked on the ones in the woods. It may be too shady there for them to get a good start.

If they have the give-away next year I'm going to get there early and get some Persimmon trees. They had ran out of them this year.


Our gardens are doing good.  Lonnie's on the left...full of tomato  plants.  What will we he do with all those tomatoes?

I planted zucchini, eggplant, and Armenian cucumbers...and grape tomatoes.


The zucchini blooms are the most beautiful perfect yellow.  I'd like to paint my kitchen this color..."squash blossom yellow"!


Some nice blooms on the Russian Sage out by  the driveway.   Oops...someone keeps knocking her rock border apart with the riding mower.



I should have photoed these Hostas last week...the blooms are a bit past their prime today.

Well, I can't show any other flower beds right now - they are much too weedy and I'm inside in the A/C!