Thursday, January 30, 2020

Snowshoeing In The Woods

We went for a hike up into our woods this afternoon.

Papa Pea asked if I wanted to break trail or if he should.  I'm no dummy.  "Lead on!" I said.

This is a backward look at the trail and our tracks on the way to the top of our ridge, deep in the forest, miles from home.  (Absolute fabrication regarding the distance from home.)

Look at the "gnome dome" by the side of the trail.  Doesn't it look like that stump could be a sweet, little home for wee folks?  Can you see the door?  Hmmm, they must have gone to Arizona for the winter because there are no tracks going in or out of the little abode. 

Also saw this woodpecker condo in a dead standing tree.

Looking back up over my shoulder again to take this picture.  Although the trek up to the ridge is steep in parts, the leg of the trip on the return side is easy-peasy.  But one can't get over-enthused on this downhill portion or one will do a face-plant in the snow.  (Ask me how I know.)

We saw lots of tracks in the snow on our brisk jaunt.  Squirrel, rabbit, deer and most likely brush wolf as when you see a timber wolf track, it is BIG.  Never caught sight of any of the actual critters though.

Invigorating exercise and I could easily have settled on the couch and taken a little nap when we got back to the house.  But I was a good girl and dove back into the seed catalogs spread out on the kitchen table trying to figure out what seeds I need to order for this year's garden.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

How Can One Fit More Into A Day's Time?

First off, let me say I'm not complaining.  I know I'm at a stage in my life where I'm more and more appreciative of all I have in just about every single aspect of my life.  Papa Pea and I have both worked hard (some would say too hard, but that's been our choice because of necessity . . . or, well, . . . choice) to get where we are today, no doubt about that, but it's all starting to pay off and feel really good.

I truly can't remember a time since we were married (way back in the Middle Ages) that the days dragged by.  And now, by golly, just when we've both decided to relax a bit and start doing all the things we've "put off until later," something weird is happening which seems to be causing the minutes and hours of each day to fly by at double speed.  If not faster.

Why is this?  We wake in the morning, get that first-of-the-day cuppa into our systems, discuss and sometimes make lists (the memory isn't what it used to be either) of what usual chores must be covered in the day, what move-ahead projects need to be worked on (please, can't we skip this part? . . . this is our hibernating/down time of year), and what we would like to do for rest, relaxation, recharging, rehabilitation . . . or the feeding of our souls.

Then, almost before we know it, the day is drawing to a close (already?!) and both of us are always sorry to see it happen because there are so darn many neat, satisfying, fulfilling things we didn't get to of the day.

Wanna see my "want-to-do" list of things I'm chomping at the bit to get into?  No?  Okay, you're excused and may feel free to leave.  But for anyone still here . . . 

So many books - How could anyone ever read all the interesting books available?  Even though I always have an audio book to listen to while doing mundane chores during the day, I love sitting down and reading a good book.

So much quilting - I love quilting. And I have enough fabric, patterns and ideas that, in all honesty, I will probably never be able to wade through it all before I croak.

So much knitting - Knitting was my first handwork love before I discovered quilting.  And I still enjoy doing it.  I purchased the yarn for a bee-yew-tee-ful knit afghan several months ago and am getting twitchy with the yearning to start knitting it.  (Just gotta finish this pair of socks on my needles first.)

Valentine's Day is coming - That means I need to make several dozen heart shaped sugar cookies for my daughter's small tribe of kiddies to decorate.  I've definitely created a job for myself in that they all look forward to plain sugar cookies supplied by Mama Pea to decorate for Halloween, Christmas, Valentine's Day, etc.  I think they like eating them, too.

Blogs - there are so many really good, enjoyable, informative, funny, uplifting blogs that I want to read and comment on.  Lately, I haven't been keeping with them as much as I'd like to do.  Must change that.

Letters to write - Although e-mails and other means of computerized correspondence are fine and have definite advantages, there's still nothing like getting a card or letter via snail mail.  I've been trying to do more of that.  Not succeeding to a great degree.  But trying.

Garden to plan - I'm more excited about the garden this year than I've been in a few years now.  I'm thinking it's because I've made the decision (and did a bit toward that end last year) to cut back on varieties and quantities to grow.  Try as we might, we're finding we two can't manage to eat or give away all of the produce from the four acres I usually plant.  (Okay, not quite that many acres.  It just seems like it sometimes.)

Pantry to clean and reorganize - I have a beautiful, big pantry and I've had a bee in my bonnet to get in there and change things a bit.  I know I've talked of this for some time now, but really want to do it.  (Papa Pea won't see me for several days once I get in there and go for it.)

Plans for summer - My better half and I need to sit down with paper, pencil and our (sensible) thinking caps on to make a list of this summer's upcoming projects.  The list is always waaaay too long and insurmountable (sigh) but if we start with the first of the prioritized "A" items . . . at least we'll know where to begin.  There are also summer recreational plans (yay!) to make.

I'm betting I could think of many more things to list, but that would be an exercise in futility.  All of the above illustrates some of the things I really want to do.  I'm appreciative of and grateful I have the opportunity and freedom to pick and choose what I attempt to fit into a day's time.  And I do have the choice so I'm really not complaining.  I just want to find a way to fit more into each day's time.  That's all.

Friday, January 24, 2020

The Gray Potholders

A couple of posts ago, I mentioned I was making a couple of potholders for a friend of my daughter's, and M had requested I use gray fabrics.

She stopped in and picked out some fabrics from the (scant) grays I had in my stash.  I, personally, would never have chosen grays, but have been pleasantly surprised at the attractiveness of the finished product.

The fronts of the potholders.

And the backs.

Here's a close up to show the fabrics
a little more clearly.

M and her husband, J, share cooking duties at their house and J had put in a request for a smaller potholder than the first ones I had made for them.  We gals (M, my daughter and I) questioned why his "bigger hands" would want a smaller potholder . . . but we aim to please so his is the smaller one shown.

Gotta say the particular block M picked out for J's potholder was a bit of a challenge.  All those small triangles cut on the bias made for a not-so-square block when I got them all put together.  Another lesson learned that some old-fashioned blocks (this one is Aunt Mary's Double Irish Chain) don't go together as easily as others.  (In my opinion, Aunt Mary must have been a glutton for punishment.  Or a really, really good quilter who loved a challenge.)

I'm glad I was forced to use the gray fabrics, colors I would never have chosen myself as I tend toward brighter colors with more contrast.  Just shows to go, that working outside the box every now and then is a very good thing.


Tuesday, January 21, 2020


There are four mailboxes in a row across the road from our driveway.  The first two got relocated by the snow plow after our hefty snow this past weekend.  Ours is was the second in line.  Right now those first two boxes are securely (?) planted (dug in) in the top of the snow bank which is holding them up.  As Papa Pea said, "Well, we were due for a new mailbox anyway."

* * * * * * * *

A good friend of my daughter's received a pair of my quilted potholders a couple of years ago, and has politely asked if I might make her a new pair.  She requested I use gray fabric.  Hmmm, wouldn't be my first choice, and I don't have a lot of grays from which to choose, so I asked her to stop by to look at what I had and pick what appealed to her.  Thankfully, she picked a dark, medium and light out of my limited stash so I had nice values with which to work.  I got the top for the first one done today, and you know what?  Although I would never have chosen grays myself, it looks pretty good!  Yet another lesson on why it's important to work outside the box every now and then.  I'll post a picture of the pair when I get them done.

* * * * * * * *

Papa Pea went into town today to get gas in the Samurai.  It's his banging around in the woods vehicle and, boy howdy, riding in it gives one a real banging around.  (Have I given away the fact that it's not my favorite vehicle to drive or ride in?  Or to get in and out of for that matter.  The short leg syndrome strikes again.)  I did hitch a ride into town with him, though, for a quick run through the Co-op to pick up a couple of needed ingredients (a big kitchen cooking day planned for me tomorrow), and a stop at the library to pick up a book I had ordered.  We killed two birds with one stone.  Or perhaps it was 2-1/2 birds.  I'm not sure which.

* * * * * * * *

I'm down to my last pre-made pie crust in the freezer (the ball of crust, that is) so making another batch of crusts was on my list today.  But today, like most days, the hours zoomed by way too fast and I didn't make it that far down my list.  Hopefully, tomorrow when I'm simmering a big pot of Beef Vegetable Soup, I'll have time to do the pie crusts.  If any of you are interested, I did a post on how I make my crusts.  Click here and it should pop up for you.  The only change I've since made in the instructions is that instead of using the pastry cutter to incorporate the butter and lard into the dry ingredients, I found I can do that step faster and much easier (much!) using my KitchenAid mixer with the flat beater attachment.

* * * * * * * *

Time to sign off for the night.  I have a big beautification event planned.  Shower, shampoo, shave, pedicure . . . TMI?  Hey, we all have to do it every month or so.  ;o)

Saturday, January 18, 2020

We Got Snow, Ho-Ho-Ho!

Not a Christmas snow, but definitely a nice, mid-January snow.  Below pictures were taken when we were out doing chores this morning.

I made just a shovel's width test swath out onto the front deck to check the snow depth.  Looks like about 12" to me.

And that rings true by the topping on the bird feeder out front.

This was taken standing at our house's back entry looking to the right toward the wood sheds and storage building.  (I had already knocked the snow accumulation on that stump off.)

And then looking to the left toward the driveway out and away from the house.  (Still to be plowed.)

It's our biggest snowfall so far this winter.  Lots of shoveling, clearing and plowing to be done today.  Also lots of exercise in the clean, beautifully covered environment!

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

I Got Plenty of Nuthin'

Nothing important or earth-shaking to write about today.  Just miscellaneous thoughts traveling from brain to fingertips to computer.

* * * * * * * *

We got about 4" of new snow last night.  Very light and fluffy, easy shoveling despite the temp in the high 20s over night and up to 32° right now.  We've certainly had a mild winter so far.

* * * * * * * *

I'm so grateful for the wonderful organic co-op grocery store we have way up here in northern Minnesota.  My freezer is still full of vegetables from last year's garden, our root cellar holds cabbage, potatoes and apples, and the co-op produce section has more than we could want in the way of fresh fruits including wonderful grapefruits, oranges, lemons, tangerines, bananas, pears, etc.

* * * * * * * *

Speaking of good food to put in my tummy, I don't crave cheese as much as some others do, but there's something about the winter weather that has me standing before our co-op's intriguing cheese section contemplating new-to-me varieties of cheeses to try.

* * * * * * * *

Here it is nearly the midway point of January and I still have all our Christmas decorations up.  (Should I hang my head in shame?)  I'm sure I've never delayed putting them away so long after New Year's.  It's not my laziness fault this has happened.  Every time I casually mention I really must take them down and store them away, Papa Pea pleads for me to leave them up "just a little longer."  He says the color and lights bring him happiness and joy in what has for us, so far, been an extremely gray, sunless winter.  Okay.  I'll go quilt instead.

* * * * * * * *

Perhaps as my own way of combating the gloominess of the weather outside, these days I like to use candles for warmth, coziness and a sense of peacefulness.  I love that candlelight seems so perfect in many ways this time of year, especially in the evening.  Although it certainly wouldn't be the same of a summer's day.  An outside campfire to sit around, yes, but lit candles on the table and in other rooms then?   Nope.

* * * * * * * *

"Year by year, the complexities of
this spinning world grow more bewildering
and so each year we need all the more
to seek peace and comfort in
the joyful simplicities."

                                       Women's Home Companion
                     December, 1935

* * * * * * * *

Excuse me now so I can go light some candles.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

One of My Best Christmas Presents

I hate doing the dishes.  That's my very, very least favorite household task.  No, I don't have an automatic dishwasher so I do it the old-fashioned way using two plastic dishpans, one for washing and one for rinsing set in the bays of my double sink.

When we bought and remodeled this house, I did contemplate installing a dishwasher in the kitchen I designed, but decided against it (silly me) because 1) I didn't want to give up the cabinet space, and 2) all the units seemed to be exceedingly wasteful of energy.

That man I'm married to?  Papa Pea?  For years now, the wonderful man has (cheerfully even) volunteered to do any and all the dirty dishes I create each Saturday and Sunday.  That is one heckuva treat for me, and one I totally, absolutely, utterly appreciate.

But back to the title of this post.

To the left of our sink is where the rinsed and stacked dishes to be washed are set.  See that little rectangular frame above the counter?  That's where I've always kept a seasonal small picture or quilted wall hanging.  From now on, only one picture will occupy that space.

It is a framed saying given to me by my daughter at Christmas.  Here's a close-up of it.

Just in case you can't see the printing clearly, it says:


Truer words were never spoken, and I smile every time I look at it. 

Sunday, January 5, 2020

I'm A Success!

Here we are, a whole five days into the New Year, and I've done a good job of spending more time in my quilt room.  How long can I stay so disciplined?  And let all the rest of my multitudinous tasks I should be working on list go neglected?  No matter.  Nothing has come back to bite me in the posterior (yet), and I'm having a great time.

I made the center blocks (well, most of them anyway) for this baby quilt a long time ago and then they got stashed away in the land of unfinished projects.  Recently, I came upon them, dove into my (very large) collection of 30s fabrics, and made a few more of the blocks to finish out the center and then added the borders.  I finished the machine quilting yesterday and put on the binding.  This quilt measures about 33" x 39".  Done.  Done.  Done, done, DONE!

I'm also in the process of working on yet another UFO (where do they all come from?) which is this slightly larger baby quilt measuring 35" x 40".  

The center of the star blocks have different pictures of cute, yellow ducklings in various poses. 

Often I have to leave a quilt on my design wall where I can look at it for a certain amount of time before I figure out how I want to quilt it.  That's the stage this one is at now.

This decorating idea (using miniature quilts on shelves) is one I've seen in several books and magazines and have had a yearning to try myself.

Toward that end, yesterday I made this miniature quilt, measuring 12" square, and finished hand quilting it last night while Papa Pea and I were relaxing and chatting in front of our living room open fire.  I'm eager to see how I can incorporate it onto a shelf in my quilt room (and maybe a couple more?), but first the room (bookshelves, mainly) needs a good cleaning and a bit of rearranging.

It's a good thing Papa Pea always encourages me to leave the Christmas tree and other decorations up longer than most people do after the holidays because even though I was planning on packing it all away this weekend, I've gone completely off the rails and have been happily creating (happy hands, happy heart!) while holed up in my quilt room.  And it feels GREAT!