Monday, August 23, 2010


Today - for the first time in a long while--I held a quilting needle in my hand. And quilted. It felt so good. Like putting on a pair of old comfortable shoes. Like riding a bike. Like an old song I used to know. There is something about the rocking motion of a needle in a sandwich of fabric and batting that is incredibly relaxing. So relaxing that I wonder how I could have possibly given it up.

I have so much information swirling around my head. Nothing urgent. All work-related. Quilting takes me away from there. It takes me away from just about everything. The kids have told me that they like when I quilt. Quilting makes me slow down because there is no way to speed up the process.
Handquilting allows me to connect with every square inch--sometimes every square quarter inch--of my quilt. I certainly understand how people may choose to machine quilt their work. I assume those are the people who enjoy putting together a quilt top. I don't like putting the top together. My favorite part is the quilting.
I remember several years ago on a couple quilting forums to which I belonged, every so often there would be a huge debate as to what was more authentic, better, real--hand or machine quilting.
I don't think it really matters. It's not the quilt, it is the process that allows us to reconnect our creative selves. It doesn't matter how we get there, just that we get there indeed.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ba-Bye for now

This may very well be the only time I write this week. We are coming up on Grange Fair and virtually all time out of work will be spent in preparation.

I'm hoping to get a little bit of quilting done - especially now that I'm back into it after a several year long break, I don't want to lose my momentum. I must say that I am looking forward to some cooler weather. I really wish that autumn would last longer - at least the true autumn weather - warm days, cool nights, bright colors . . .
So unless I have a break and am able to post over the next week or so, I'll be back in September.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Storms of Life

Such a dramatic title for a blog post. But the photos are of storm clouds moving closer to the island on which we camped last week. It was awesome but it was scary.

Things are building up here - you can feel the excitement in the air! Our little stores are swirling into a frenzy of anticipation! This time next week we will be on day two of the County Fair! And it is not just a county fair - it is the Grange Fair - an encampment fair. People tenting at the fair as they have done for over 150 years! These tents have been passed down from generation to generation and are willed to family members. Folks will start moving in on Tuesday and will stay in their little temporary community for over a week.
From cow shows, to horse dress-ups, to checking out how we did in our exhibits (I'll be entering bread and photos, my kids will be entering various artwork), to eating all of our favorite meals - we will have a blast. We will end the fair with a great deal of happy exhaustion, a trip for back-to-school shopping, the first college football game of the season, and a resigned readiness to get back to school.
Grange Fair marks the start of cooler weather, soccer, football, and sweatshirts. It is when we begin stacking firewood that we should have started on months ago. It is when we realize that we don'thave all the time in the world and the summer that we thought would last forever, is gone.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Gone in an instant!

I wish I were here again.

I thought I was ready for work, I really did. I love what I do but I think as I am approaching the status of being an old fart, my expectations have shifted a bit.

Like everyone else in the world, I've encountered a challenge or two along the way. I like to think it has made me a better person: more empathetic, kinder, more tolerant. But I've found that I've become a little irritated with how so many of the people with whom I work assume no responsibility for themselves. At least in the area in which I know them.

I've actually had counseling in the area of assuming too much responsibility which is just as bad. And I'm sure that I've po'd many people as a result. But holy crap!!! if you want something done, do it! If something isn't being done that you feel should be done, check on it. Ask questions. But don't wait for something to happen and then bitch and moan because someone else hasn't acted on it.
I deal with depression constantly. Many people do. I try to recognize when I'm sinking again into that black hole and do something about it before it affects everyone around me. But I'm lucky because I understand how it works and what I need to do. I need to realize that not everyone has had that experience.
So in reading back what I have written, maybe I need to chill out. And just suck it up and deal with it.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Being wrong

It is nice to be wrong sometimes. Like now. This is the basketful of tomatoes without end rot that I picked when we returned from vacation.

I picked more today but I am so thankful that it looks like I won't have to buy my tomatoes this year. The Romas are looking good as well as the others. My cabbage is growing well, I've got cantelope, and the mystery melon is looking good.
The kids are healthy, the dogs are good, Dolly Llama hasn't escaped in over an hour, and my new little sewing machine chugs along just fine.
Life is good. Life is great.

Friday, August 13, 2010

A Gift

There is such a story behind this little sewing machine.
Last Friday, the day before heading out on vacation, the valley was having its annual yard sale days. Members of our church had set up and someone was selling this little Kenmore complete with the sewing table and chair.
Unknown to me, my son had tried bartering for this sewing machine so that he could give it to me for my birthday. He wasn't able to schmooze enough money from his dad so he went back to try to talk the price lower. He was told that if the sewing machine hadn't sold by the end of the yard sale, he could have it. All along, I had no idea.
For the week we were on vacation, my son kept insisting to call his dad~always on the sly. I didn't know that he was checking to see if he had gotten the sewing machine.
So when we returned from our vacation, my baby boy was really, really excited and could hardly wait to show me what was on the front porch. I had seen it but had assumed that it was something that my oldest son had brought home while waiting to move into his new apartment.
But it wasn't. It was the most beautiful, most wonderful sewing machine ever. It will create the best quilts of all~starting with my boy's quilt which I have been working on for years. This new sewing machine has sparked new interest in quilting but most of all, it has shown me what a sweet, kind, thoughtful son I have.
And yes, this is the same boy who was determined to be Jesus this past Palm Sunday.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Out of Commission

I'll actually have an excuse for not writing. I'll soon be on vacation - to one of my favorite places in the whole world.

No phones, no cars, no electricity . . . we loaded up at our local library with good reading books and interesting audio books for the ride We are prepared to make our snacks. . . we are good to go.

See you when I get back. Or maybe one more time before I go.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

What a day!!!

As a rule, I'm generally not a big fan of competition against anyone but one's self. But I have to say that I am extremely proud of the kids who showed cows - red & whites, Holsteins, Jerseys--at our district show this weekend.

For my two showmen, it was their very first. And my son was the first to show in the entire weekend. They were nervous. My son told me that his stomach was fluttering more than it had when he waited in line for the 'Ring of Fire' at the fair last year!

But he did a fine job-as did my daughter. They both won Master Showman and will move on to the state competition with their calves.

I just loved watching the kids with their calves--whispering to them, talking to them, encouraging them. And the cows seemed to respond back.

It was reminiscent of the fair every August where we see people from the community who may not have seen since the previous fair. But on a much smaller scale. The local church sold food at really really reasonable prices-where else can you get a healthy slice of homemade cherry pie for $1.50? Or shoo-fly pie or apple pie or fresh peach!!!

It was a long fun day that started early for these kids. It was day of learning that they could succeed at something new with a lot of practice and truly caring about the task. It was a day of experiencing the camaraderie of being with other kids who enjoy the farm life. And after all the barn chores early, early in the morning and showing and supporting their peers during the day, it was off to the cow barns again to milk. I say, you can't get the same kind of fun, the same kind of satisfaction spending the day at an amusement park as you can get at a day in a dairy show/farm work.

Oh, and the peaceful, deep sleep curled up in the warmth of a calf!

A torrid love affair

 I've written about the ducks quite a bit. It's a little like Peyton Place around here I think. A couple of months ago, the male d...