Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Mid-Week Already and the End of the Month

We've been in a definite wet spell for the last week.  It hasn't been solid rain, but lots of heavy dew and many sprinkles . . . plus a couple of storms like we had for a short while last night around bed time.  They say it's so much better for trees, plants and the soil in general to go into our winter season wet rather than dry, so our recent moisture is a good thing.

Papa Pea and I have been getting out for a couple of hikes and rides down back roads.  The unbelievably vivid colors this fall have had most everyone commenting that they can't remember such beautiful coloration ever before.  Lots of "ooohing" and "ahhhing" going on.

I still have a bit (probably until a hard frost hits, if I were to be realistic) of work to do in the garden.  Our potatoes are still in the ground as are the beets and mangels that will be simmered on the garage wood stove overnight, chopped and taken out to the poultry as supplemental feed this winter.

The vines of the pumpkins and Red Kuri winter squash (above) have just about given up the ghost, and I'll be harvesting the fruit soon.  Really soon.  I'm eager to place the jolly orange pumpkins around for decoration.

The onions (one shelf of red shown above) are still drying inside and under cover.

As are the bundles of garlic.

The guy who's in charge of our apple trees (aka Papa Pea) wants the apples to stay on the trees until just before a hard frost threatens.  A couple of days ago I made an apple crisp with some of the windfalls.  The slices of apples stayed kinda crisp and crunchy (not quite ripe?) which made the dessert taste "different."  Or at least we thought so.  Somehow, we struggled along and ate the whole thing.

In spare minutes, I've been happily stitching on a Thanksgiving-themed counted cross-stitch project.

I was in my quilt room doing so yesterday late afternoon when I changed thread . . . and then could. not. find. my. needle.   My very favorite needle.  I could not go on without it. (Insert theatrical sob.)  I was sure I had set it down on the table right next to my project.  Well, I spent several hours five minutes moving everything around on my work table, crawling around on the floor under the table, searching my clothing and driving myself half crazy before I found it.

Stuck to the blade of the scissors I'd been using.  Can you even see it in the above picture?  (Magnetization is not always beneficial.)

I have only one window in my quilt room but the view can't be beat.  Aren't I one lucky little ducky?

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Notes on a Misty Morning

What a glorious time of year!  I've heard so many people in our area say they've never seen such distinct, vivid colors in the trees and shrubbery as there are this year.  So many more splotches of red where red has not shown up before.  What's with that?  Even our own driveway, which boasts not one maple tree, is showing reds with the yellows and oranges along with the various shades of green.

We had a heavy thunder, lightning and rain storm last night just after dusk that dropped a full inch of rain on us in a very short time.  I feared I would wake this morning to the trees stripped bare of leaves, but am happy to see that's not the case at all.

We still have pumpkins strewn about their patches in the garden, and yesterday we had a visit from three very special boys we'd invited to come pick out a favorite pumpkin to take home and carve (not quite yet, but soon) as their own jack-o'-lantern.

The small dwarf apples trees (in their enclosed "cage") are coming along beautifully.  The coloration of the apples is straight out of the camera.  The apples on our big trees out in the open, however, are being pecked to pieces by blue jays.  Sigh.

The ducks and chickens seem to be enjoying this misty morn.  Looking closely in the center of this picture you can see Mama Chicken and her flock of thirteen "chicks" . . . who are actually ducklings.  She's a good mother and doesn't care one whit if anyone tells her that here babies look a little "different."

It's curious so many bloggers have indicated in their recent posts that they are "so done" with summer this year.  And, boy howdy, I'm right on the same bandwagon with them.  This feeling of being ready for a change and to go on to another season may just have more to do with everything else that is going on in our country (and world) than simply moving away from summer heat and the plentiful outside tasks of the season.  No elaboration needed on that.  

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Quilt Top Giveaway Winner!

So this is probably the last giveaway I'll be offering here on my blog.  Why?  Because when I see so many of you expressing an interest in having what I offer, and when I can draw only one name as the recipient, it makes me feel reeeally, reeeally bad.  Not for the winner of the draw, but for everyone else whose name wasn't drawn.

Not very sensible or logical, but there it is.  (Of course, you know I'm telling a great big fib about this being the last giveaway.  I mean how else will I get rid of other things benefiting no one by being stuffed away in dark storage in my quilt room?)

Okay, enough with all this blather.  On with the important announcement of the day.  Here's the one name that was drawn (the one and only one . . . sad sigh) as the winner of the holiday quilt top.

Drum roll, please . . . 

The winner of the drawing is:


Congratulations, Phil, and I hope you're pleased with the quilt top when you receive it.

Please send me your mailing address, and I'll get it off to you as soon as I can.

Thanks to all of you who entered the drawing.  Maybe we need a Thanksgiving-themed set of pot holders for the next giveaway . . . 

Sunday, September 20, 2020

A Think-Ahead-to-the-Holidays Giveaway

A couple of years ago (oh my, how time does fly) I made a quilt top that I was thinking of using at holiday time.

Got the top completely done and realized, nope, I'm never going to use it.  Not being one to act upon hasty decisions, I folded it up and stuck it away.

I've come across it a time or two including once this past summer when I decided it needed to go to someone who might want to do something with it. 

So I'm offering it here as a giveaway, if anyone is interested.  Just be aware that this is not a finished quilt, but only the top of a quilt.  It needs to be sandwiched with batting and backing and then quilted in some manner.

It measures approximately 60" wide by 70" long and was originally intended as a couch quilt.  It's not big enough to fully cover a twin-sized bed.  Could be used as a shower curtain!  Or how about a table cloth?  A hanging curtain for a closet with no door?

All the fabric has a bit of a sparkly glitter to it, even the white background.

You can see I didn't take time to iron it before photographing (bad, Mama Pea, bad), and it has been folded and stored for a while, but a good pressing will take care of any wrinkles.  (Oh, if that would only work for my body.)

If you would like to have your name entered in the drawing for this quilt top, just let me know in the comment section.

I'll collect names until Wednesday night, September 23rd (Yikes, how can it possibly be so close to the end of September already?!) and announce the name drawn sometime on Thursday.

Any creative minds out there that have an idea of what to do with this holiday-ish quilt top I made?  It's tired of languishing in a drawer and wants to go to a new home where it will be appreciated and able to see the light of day.


Thursday, September 17, 2020

This Is How It Always Ends

Up until this year, I haven't planted anything but cherry tomatoes for several years now.  Why?


Because this is how it always ends.

We had a low temp of 31° overnight last night and although the tomato vines fared much better than the squash vines (sob), I knew it was time to take the green tomatoes off the vines and find them a more favorable climate in which to survive.  They'll be covered with newspaper in some cool corner of the house.  It's just not going to be my house this year. 

Nope, I'm not keeping any of these for myself.  They're all going to a good friend who wants them.  Though not a gardener herself, in the past she's taken in green tomatoes, placed them in a single layer in a cardboard box, covered them with newspaper where they've gradually turned red for her.   Last year she had garden tomatoes until Thanksgiving.

I've done the same thing, but frankly just don't want to fool with them this year.  Our good neighbors grow tomatoes in their greenhouse and we've had more than enough to eat from their efforts for about a month now.

I'm pickled tink that my friend will make good use of these I harvested this morning.

By the by, global warming?  Ha.  In the past several years we've gone well into the month of October (October 14th last year) before having a frost.  Not so this year. 

Friday, September 11, 2020

The Rush of Fall is Upon Us

Our way-too-hot and humid summer is over.  We've even had a few nights of frost warnings to convince us of that.  Fortunately, the lowest overnight temp we've recorded so far has been 35° and although we saw a frost coating on the garage roof, nothing in the garden has been touched yet.

Like many of you, autumn is my very favorite season of the year.  It's also an action-packed time around this small homestead.  There's a feeling of pressure to finish all the outside tasks that are oh-so-much easier to accomplish before cold weather sets in.

And, of course, all of the garden areas need to be cleaned, fertilized with beautiful black compost and readied to be tucked in for the next seven months.

Another indication that we've moved out of summer and into our fall season is that I didn't hesitate to turn on the oven and roast a turkey yesterday.  No, I didn't have a big get together of folks seated around my table to help devour the fourteen pound bird.  It was just the two of us enjoying dinner last night although our daughter stopped by on her way from work and took a plate home with her to be warmed up for her dinner.

Several times during the year, I roast a turkey so I have the leftover meat packaged in the freezer to use for other meals.  I had avoided turning on the big oven over our hot summer months so this cooler weather was definitely the time for cooking another turkey.  Tomorrow I'll cut all the meat off the bones, put all the bones and scraps in my biggest stock pot with water, onions, carrots, celery and some herbs and start it all simmering for a couple of days to produce quarts of rich, nutritious bone broth.

I harvested carrots and onions today.  The onion crop is dismal this year.  I don't know exactly what happened.  I may post more about that later.

I planted only a 4' x 4' area in one of the raised beds to carrots this year.  Out of that small space I got 23 pounds of straight, long, nice carrots.

And also more misshapen, twisted, malformed, ugly carrots than I've ever seen.  (In the picture above, that is ONE carrot on the far right.)  Good grief.  I don't know what caused this.  Usually I'll find a couple/few that grow like this but never this many.  The soil was friable and free of gravel.  I thinned the carrots twice so know they didn't grow too close together.  If all of these ugly-buglies had been straight carrots, I'd have had more than the 23 pounds.  But what I did save will be more than ample for our year's supply.

Next to harvest will be the potatoes.  I may get my good gardener button taken away because I didn't have enough seed potatoes left this spring to plant as many potatoes as I should have and didn't want to spend the money to buy more from one of the seed company catalogs.  Penny wise and pound foolish?  We shall see.

Alas, my summer decorations are still glaring at me as I move around inside the house.  Just when am I going to pack them away and put out all the colorful fall decorations?  I'd better shift that project to the top of the list PDQ because the couple of months of fall are, indeed, upon us in our northern area of the country and it never, ever lasts long enough. 

Sunday, September 6, 2020

MORE Garden Pictures? Yep.

These pictures were taken exactly a week ago, but I've not gotten them into a post until now.  I'd be interested in knowing how they compare to your garden.

My lone cherry tomato plant that isn't a cherry tomato plant is proving itself worth the garden space because we've had three very nice, ripe tomatoes from it so far.  More to come if the weather cooperates.

These couple of Swiss chard plants obviously liked the fertilizer in their raised bed.  They are a good three feet tall.  I've also got plants in another bed that look much the same.  I planted too much Swiss chard.

The morning glory plants around this tepee trellis could hardly be more lush.  Has it produced many morning glory flowers?  Not one.  (Mangels for the poultry are planted on the left, beets on the right.)

The two standard sized little tomato plants I "inherited" have grown.  And are producing great big tomatoes.  In the week's time since this photo, that one on the right has gained a lot of color.

This is our largest jack-o'-lantern pumpkin.  It's about as big as a beach ball.

And here are some of the pie pumpkins.  I should have enough for making puree plus fall decorations for the window boxes.

With the luck of a bit more warm weather, we should harvest enough Red Kuri winter squash for ourselves and some to give away.  They're well on their way to turning almost red which will signal that they're mature.

Our weather has definitely transitioned from summer to early fall.  This next week's weather forecast is calling for highs in the 50s, maybe low 60s, but in the low 40s (eeep!) at night which will not help the last of the garden mature.  You never know this time of year though.  Mother Nature may be kind to us up here in the northwoods. 

Thursday, September 3, 2020


Our daughter and the 2-year old little guy she cares for each day were making their usual Thursday breakfast and morning visit with us a couple of hours ago.

I was just finishing making pancakes and bacon when a loud bang was heard on our small back porch.  Both Papa Pea and our daughter sitting across the room gave a slightly startled, "What was that?"

I had just turned from the stove and thought I had knocked something over.  But then dear daughter jumped up from her chair and pointing to the window over the sink exclaimed, "It's a bear!"

I looked back over my shoulder and, sure enough, there was a big, black head on the other side of the window not three feet away.

Papa Pea ran to the back door and yelled at which time (fortunately) Mama Bear and her three cubs who had all been crowded onto the porch, ran across our back yard and into the woods.

Mama Bear had apparently smelled the bacon even though the window was closed, came to the window, pulled the window box down, and I'm guessing would have torn through the screen and possibly even broken the window and climbed in.

We've all been warned that there have been many nuisance bears around recently as the wild berry crop was very poor this year and the bears are hungry.

One can't help but feel sorry for them (a mama with three little cubs to feed), but the damage they can do is well documented so we need to be watchful . . . and maybe give up frying bacon until the snow flies! 

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Life Beyond Gardening

Phew, the bulk of the garden harvesting and preserving is done.  All that is left is waiting for winter squash and pumpkins to mature (fingers still crossed) and the carrots, potatoes, beets and mangels to be dug.

This has given me a bit of a breather, and I gotta say, it has felt so good.  Just having the time and space to tackle some of the very much neglected inside household tasks has been welcomed.

Besides that, believe it or not, I've been finding time to do some handwork.  (Hip-hip-hooray!)  The one glitch with this is that when I get into my quilt room, I tend to get so involved in what I'm creating that I forget what time it is or if I should be making a meal or returning a phone call or doing the necessary things that are piling up on my desk.  Or, for that matter, going to bed!  Fortunately, life goes on and my husband continually encourages me to take this time for myself.  As he says, I'm much more pleasant to have around when I do so.  (Should I be looking for a negative side to that statement?)

This is the top of a summer themed wall hanging (28" square) I've just completed.  Ain't gonna be done to be displayed until next summer, but I'm still enthused about finishing it.  First step is to mark the quilt lines (I want to hand quilt this one) which will take a couple of hours, then sandwich it with batting and backing before the quilting can begin.

While the above piece has been on my design wall for me to think about and decide just how I want to quilt it, I've worked on a counted X-stitch decorative piece to use when I put up my fall decorations . . . which will be soon now.

It measures approximately 6" x 8" and will sit on a shelf somewhere.  With ears of Indian corn and a couple of small colored gourds around it, possibly.

That's all for today, friends.  Papa Pea is outside setting up for making more kindling to fill our kindling bin for our winter's supply, and I need to get ready to join him.  We're a smidge late doing this chore this year, but we have some dry (but crooked) rough-cut 2 x 4's that are magically (if only) going to be turned into kindling sticks.  That will be a good thing, and another project to cross of the list.