Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Dogs and cats.

Every once in a while I write about my orange cat Sox: Sox the upstairs cat, Sox the bathroom cat, and now, Sox the outdoors cat.  A few weeks ago Sox bolted out the back door when I was busy feeding the cats on the back porch.  Aside from his great adventure 10+ years ago when he stayed outside for 3 days, Sox has had absolutely no interest in the great outdoors.  Until just a month or so ago.

Sox is very, very, very old and I assumed that he ran outside (as cats do) to die.  I expected this and felt sad about it but that is what I've known cats to do when the time is right.  I was thinking about burning some sage in his honor and never got around to doing so.

So imagine my surprise one day when I was sewing, I looked outside and saw an orange cat drinking out of the goats' water bowl.  It was either Sox' ghost or Sox hadn't died.

Sox was alive.

It is odd. He wants to be fed out by the goats. He won't come to me, he won't come back in the house or even to back deck.  Odder still, he really likes Casper the boxer.  He sashays up to Casper and rubs and purrs and hangs all over him.  He always hated Casper. In fact, if it even sounded as if Casper was walking into the kitchen, Sox would retreat into the bathroom as quick as a wink.

Weird things these cats are. 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Chill in the air.

Alletaire - designed by Bonnie Hunter
I love this weather - it is sunny, a bit breezy, and cool enough to wear a sweatshirt. I l-o-v-e sweatshirts.  I remember a tie-dyed white/blue sweatshirt I got for my birthday when I was 12 or 13, I think. It was so soft inside and I felt so warm and protected in it.  I wanted it to always be that fluffy and soft on the inside.  Of course after a while, it piled and flattened like all sweatshirts do, but I loved it still. After all, sweatshirts age just like everything else.  I had another sweatshirt - I can't remember if it was before or after - but it was fern green.  I remember it because I hand-embroidered my name on it. I don't know if I knew at that early age that I would never have a varsity jacket with my name stitched in gold on it or if I just wanted to make sure that my brothers didn't steal it but I loved that one nearly as much as my tie-dyed sweatshirt.  And they were sweatshirts - NOT hoodies.  And they zipped up the front, I didn't wear pullovers.  It is funny but I think of those sweatshirts often. They remind me of happier times and of fall and of campfires, hot dogs, leaves, pumpkins, and ghosts.  I always feel better when I'm wearing a sweatshirt but these days, my favorite is a grey pullover. It is huge and warm and thick. It feels like an armor for some reason and I always feel protected in it.

Odd, isn't it? How simple fabric can provide such comfort. I guess that is why I quilt.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Music and fairs and the end of summer.

This photo makes my back yard look like a fairy-land. Anyone who has ever met me knows that is definitely not the case. But still I love this photograph.

This week has been the county fair and I've been to it all but one day. I will be there tonight and tomorrow too.  I'm not ashamed at all.  I entered a wallhanging and a quilt and won 4th place for both! There were some very, very beautiful quilts entered.

I love the fair, some of my fondest, early memories are of the Crawford County fair.  I can still remember that my mom loved the egg rolls and the fudge. Just yesterday I was talking to her and we both could remember the locations of the pie stand even though neither of us had been there in years!  Well, to be honest, I was there only 5 years ago and it was just as I remembered. It was like stepping back in time.

I remember these clear balloons that had a pastel colored bunny balloon inside - I loved those.  I remember my dad taking me on a pony ride and the pony started bucking.  I remember cotton candy (which I hate), I remember the smell of the cow barns (which I love), I remember the 4-H milkshake stand and so many other things. 

So as I am listening to music from the 70's and thinking of my childhood in the 70's, I can't help but feel happy. I was so lucky to have the childhood I had. I can remember the end of August back when I was still in school - the bittersweetness of Labor Day which brought the beginning of my favorite season but also brought an end to the carefree summer days.  I do mean truly carefree - my mom didn't work during the summers so I never needed to go to daycare or have a babysitter.  I could sleep in a bit and didn't need to keep to a schedule.  We had a local summer playground program and all of the kids in town would go to the playground weekday afternoons and participate in games and activities and have snacks.  Our parents didn't drive us, we rode our bikes. It was a different time.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Back from the beach

What a week!  My mom, daughters, and I went to the beach for 4 days last week.  This year we decided to drive straight through to our destination instead of staying at a motel.  It was a tough 11 hour drive but so much better than having to unpack for an overnight stay only to repack and head off again.  It was so nice to have that quiet time with my mother and daughters. We never have that opportunity to just be ourselves and laugh and tell stories and just enjoy being in each other's company.  We spend time in the ocean and on the porch of the beachhouse just soaking in the sounds and smells of the sea.  As always, it was really difficult to have to bring a close to such a perfect week.

I also took my youngest son for move-in weekend of the school he will be attending for the next 4 years.  That was tough.  I'm so proud of him - it would have been so easy for him to decide not to go. He has a ton of skills in machining and had several places offer a job.  I knew it was going to be hard to leave him but I so hate that feeling that my heart has been ripped out.  I now have no babies at home.  In a few days, I won't miss him quite so much and I'll be able to focus more on the fact that he is where he needs to be - that I've done my job - after all, I've been through this 4 times before.  I'm so thankful that this will be a really busy week at work so I won't have time to stew.

I had a lot of plans to sew today but I prefer to hang out with my daughter before she needs to go back to college tomorrow. My other daughter who is in college will be returning from a trip to the beach and will leave for school next Sunday.  So all five of my kids will be away from home and I'll have to figure out what to do and then actually do it.  Maybe tomorrow I should actually start on that quilt!

Thursday, August 3, 2017


This is the duck that we nursed back to health. She is now back and part of a pack of three.  At the first crack of dawn, she and her duck buddies congregate in front of the porch and quack loudly until a toss some dog food out to them.  I love watching them waddle over to the side yard to eat their breakfast.  From there, they go out on the front road.  I know this because as I'm getting my lunch ready for work - a neighbor honks their horn at them.  After they get chased off the road, they waddle out back to hang out with the goats, cats, chickens, and pony.  
 It has been beautiful in central PA. We had a few days of unbearable, sticky heat but it has been rather tolerable lately.  As much as I complain about the heat, I do love that between the rain and the hot weather, my garden is growing like crazy!  I didn't plan nearly as much as usual because it is always heartbreaking when my garden doesn't produce as I expect (which it never does).  I have 3 tomato plants with lots of tomatoes - they should be ripe in another couple weeks, I've had a good bit of lettuce, peas, and am currently picking yellow squash.  My pumpkin vines are looking good - hopefully I'll have some baby pumpkins before long.

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...