Sunday, April 25, 2010

oh, dear ...

I was walking down the road this drizzly morning, when my elderly neighbor came up his driveway in his car -- from his house down the hill to his mailbox right near me at the road's edge. (This is always a little bit of a concern, as he sometimes ends up in the ditch across the road because he hits the gas instead of the brake when he tries to stop at the mailbox.) My husband and I were recently wondering if he's been okay, because we noticed someone else has been fetching the mail and there seem to be cars coming and going, as if maybe there are visiting nurses changing shifts or something.

When he stepped out of his car, I said to him, "Are you dodging the raindrops today to get the paper?" His answer: "No. I haven't got anything planted yet."

okaaaaaaay ...

He then asked me if my husband is okay -- said he hasn't seen him in a while. I told him that my husband was doing pretty well, and that he was, in fact, right up there working at the top of the hill. The answer? "Oh, so he's just taking it easy, eh? Do you need a ride?"

"Oh, no. I'm just out taking my plants for a walk" (carrying the clump of irises I plan to deposit in the flower bed outside the quilting studio).

I guess everything is okay, after all. This is the kind of conversation we always have when we meet at the road's edge. I always walk away shaking my head, and can only wonder what he's thinking of our conversation?!?

Anyway, it's a great day for transplanting things -- so that's what I'm up to today.

Friday, April 23, 2010

How about now?

Didn't think that last post looked much like pie? How about now?

Even tho the crust looks burnt in the photo, in real life it isn't. Did I hear someone say they don't like rhubarb pie? When my guys were teens, they didn't like rhubarb, either -- so I dressed it up a bit. I mixed it with apples and walnuts, told them it was R.A.W. pie, and it became a huge favorite in our house. (Not sure which was their favorite part: the pie itself, or telling their friends they like RAW pie. At any rate, try it -- it's yummy. (And yes, it's in a foil pan. It's a good gardening day here -- no time to wash dishes.)

More Quilts 4 Kids done. (Well, almost. One still needs its binding. That should be done this evening.)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Does this look like pie to you?

Yeah, me too. But it will have to wait till this evening. We're having a full house in the quilting studio today, and I'd better get my behind in gear!

BTW, is anybody else a little concerned that it's this dry in April? This is how it started out here last year. We were tickled to be able to work in the garden so early (usually have to wait till late June for things to dry up enough). Our high hopes were dashed when it started raining mid-May and never quit till October. The garden literally drowned -- worst year we ever had. Let's hope we don't have a repeat. Or a drought, either. Old farmers say, "A drought will scare you, but a rainy year will starve you to death." Seems there's always something going on to keep you on your knees, eh?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Squatter's Rights ...

... or, It Takes A Village.

This nervy lady is demanding Squatter's Rights in my hoop house. I use it to provide a warm, sunny place for my plantlings to grow until we have the right conditions for setting them in the garden. She must have been watching me, because she's decided it would be just the ticket for providing warmth and protection for HER nestlings. Just look at her scolding me! In my own territory!

These, however, apparently feel it takes a village. That one on the far left is sitting on a nest of about 10 eggs. The rest spend much of their time hovering around her, awaiting the blessed event. Seems that could take a while, considering the fact that it takes about a month for a nest of goose eggs to hatch.

And here's Joanne D in the studio. (Why are all my pictures so dark lately?) She finished up two quilts that day, and will be returning with more soon. I think she's on a mission to get all her tops out of storage and show the world what she can do, given some time and a sewing machine. And it's a fine thing she does, indeed! She has a good eye for color -- her quilts I've seen so far have all been very pretty. And as if that were not enough, she's also a gardener! Last time she was here, she shared a slew of beauties from her perennial beds. I am now the happy recipient of her generosity -- peonies, hyacinths, and more! Woo-hoo!

Monday, April 12, 2010

'Aha' moment ...

Knowing that nothing was ever created without purpose, I've often been guilty of wondering what the Creator was thinking when burdocks were placed on this Earth?!? They have been the catalyst for much spewing and sputtering around here. They are the bane of my life! Even my dog hates them. When he gets burdocks stuck on him, he behaves like he is ill until I get them off. Has been that way since he was a pup. (I've also been known to fuss a tad about having paid $100 for sneakers that have laces I can't keep tied. Wouldn't you think they could provide ... Don't get me started, or I might go on a two-day rant.) Well, this may not be the original intention for their existence, but it works for me.

This, then, gives a reason for budocks -- besides providing little boys an amazing way to torment their sisters by zinging them into the girls' long hair -- AND keeps my sneakers tied:

Have I not always said a gardener is nothing if not an optimist? How's THAT for finding a positive side of things?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Honey ... I'm home!

I know it's been a while since I last posted -- but I was honestly surprised to see HOW long it's been when I opened this up and started this entry. Time flies ...

The trip to Lancaster was followed by a week with my grands and their friend visiting. Now, that's a houseful of fun! The mother cat was very accommodating -- had kittens in the barn just in time to be admired by all. Mother cat didn't have a name, so one granddaughter dubbed her "Mommy," and informed baby sister "that's 'Mommy' ." The little one said, "Oh." Then she came back into the house with me and told her grandfather, "My Mommy turned into a kitty!" That didn't seem to be overly startling to her. Kids just crack me up. Oh ... did I mention that this child has a little trouble pronouncing her Ks? She pronounces them as Ts. Now read it again -- it's funnier.

Everybody left, and I headed up to New England for a training seminar. Caught up with a long-time friend there, and touched base with some acquaintances -- made some new ones. A good time was had by all. I popped in for a brief visit with a brother while I was in his area just to throw a bit more commotion into the mix. The trip home was a bit much.

In the slightly-more-than-a-week during which all of the above transpired, we went from having six inches of snow one day, to having nearly 90-degree heat. A few of the plantlings in the hoop house bit it while I was gone. (Forgot to ask anybody to babysit them. Rats!) Some of the trees are blossoming, spring bulbs and forsythia are going great guns. And I'm thinking it's about time to start planning for the return of the hummingbirds.

I'm not sure if it's exactly correct in a scientific way, but I always expect them to return on the 2nd of May. I once made a quilt that has all the colors of the hummers in it. (Hand-pieced and quilted it in the car while DH drove the family to and all about Boston for a vacation one year.) I didn't start out with the hummers in mind, but that's what it made me think of. Being a nut-case who always names my projects, I called this one "Hummers Return on Mom's Birthday" and hung it on a wall. And that is now I remember when to start filling the feeders for them.

Last year I made a true scientific discovery. Or at least I think that's what it was. Namely, I think the center of the Earth is actually made up of sugar and boiling water. Here's how I figured that out: I put an old glass coffee pot of sugar and water in the proportions needed to create the syrup used to fill the hummingbird feeders. I started it on the stove, went to check my e-mail while I waited for it to boil, and promptly got engrossed in my messages.

After a while (I have NO idea how much time had passed, but I'm thinking it was a LOT!), I sniffed the air and thought, "Smells like someone's baking cookies." Now, a minute or two later it smelled like the cookies were burning. I realized how bizarre that was because I was the only one home, and the nearest neighbor is about 1/4-mile away and not likely to be baking cookies at 6:00 a.m. So I decided to go investigate. When I got to the kitchen, I was totally freaked. It was filled with a thick smoke. It took a few seconds for me to remember the pot on the stove.

I turned off the fire under the pot, let it sit there whilst I opened windows and flagged the door open and closed to draw the smoke from the house. Then I took a look. The stuff that started out as sugar and water had become lava. It had oozed up and out of the pot, down the side of the stove, onto the floor -- you would not believe how much lava can be made from a few cups of sugar and water! Shoot -- it probably wouldn't take more than a five-pound bag of sugar and a gallon of water to fill the entire planet!

Here's the pot, removed to the grill outside because I was afraid it might next burst into flames: