Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mommas, don't let your babies ...

... grow up to be Cowboys!

But they never said anything about granddaughters becoming Cowgirls, did they?

My grands all came for a visit recently, and during that spell, we headed out to the fair in the next county over. The big draw for ME was that a gal had entered a quilt there that I had done for her.

I was as tickled as she was that it garnered her a blue ribbon. Woo-hoo, Sue! I just love the colors she used in this DWR quilt.

The kids spent hours and hours on the rides. (Ugh! I cannot believe the rides the boys went on ... they sure don't take after me! I get nauseous just watching them.) In the evening we drifted over to catch the rodeo, after grabbing a supper comprised of fair food.

(double-click photo to enlarge) The photo is blurry because I get woozy up high in the bleachers, and couldn't stand still enough no matter how many times I tried to snap a good shot.

That's an 8-year-old girl stunting with that pony, and the guy is riding a HUGE bull like a horse. We were all impressed with their tricks. They topped it off by riding up that ramp on their mounts -- to the top of that big rig, stood on top of the animals and waved their hats to the crowd.

The youngest granddaughter lost her shoes through the bleachers. There was some kind of "roof" between us and the ground. We couldn't retrieve the shoes from above or below. She had to be carried the rest of the evening, and that was a good reason to call it a day. We all had a good time.

My granddaughter (who is already horse-crazy) came home with her head full of ideas of what she's going to do "someday." She spent the rest of the week conning PaPa into letting her ride her trusty steed, Jesse, pretending all sorts of things. He is a good old horse, and seems to love her as much as she does him.

It was a great time having all the kids here, but per usual, I was pooped by the end of all that fun. Summer's about over ... didn't it go fast? We won't see much of them once the kids head back to school. I hate when school starts!

Quilting will jump into high gear now that Fall is fast approaching. And the knitting of warm, woolly socks ... I've already mentioned how I have a thing for socks, right? One can never have too many new socks.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Why didn't someone tell me ... ???

Apparently, there's a new fad I've been totally oblivious to. I am not real comfortable about this new thing.

I have a thing for socks. Warm socks. Wool socks are the best (preferably handknit in handsome colors.) And nice, clean and soft white cotton socks. Socks that fit well -- not too tight. In my ideal world, everyone would be able to open the sock drawer and find something new and comfy every day. Especially me. I would have MANY somethings new and comfy to choose from every day. (I'm a sock hog.)

In my real world, socks are a precious commodity. I can usually find one decent sock, but not a mate for it. I often wear mismatched socks. That drives my husband crazy. He once asked me, "How can you DO that?" (wear mismatched socks, that is). My retort: "Well, at least I'm not like YOU ... I don't wear socks with HOLES in them!"

I still cannot figure how anybody can stand to wear a sock with a hole in it. Ghack! I guess my feet are just too touchy. Yeah ... we'll blame it on the feet.

I cannot explain the distress I feel when one of the socks I've spent way too many hours knitting from wool gets a hole. It's a disaster that ruins my whole day. I've even sought out and purchased one of those antique darning eggs, hoping to resolve the dilemma of a sock gone bad. So far, it has not worked out well.

I can't even stand to know somebody ELSE has holey socks on. Or those cotton socks that get "hard" when they are old and have been washed a million times. I've sometimes been known to give my precious new socks to visiting children just so I don't have to look at their feet wrapped in those stiff things -- it just hurts me. I once sat next to a man in a meeting, glanced down and noticed the sock he had on had a hole the size of Montana. (No, it was not my DH.) I was totally distracted by it for the duration of the meeting. I could NOT take my eyes off it. It was at the heel, and was so large that the bare skin at his achilles tendon was showing beneath the top of his shoe. How is anybody supposed to pay attention to a speaker at the front of the room with THAT thing sitting in the next chair over?!?

So ... imagine the astonishment I felt when I opened my email yesterday and discovered a pattern being offered on one of my favorite sites:

I find this very unnerving. What is this world coming to? Now we're supposed to wear socks with holes in them ... ON PURPOSE?!? Ohhhhhhhh ... I don't feel so well.

And to think ... I could have been on the cutting edge of this new trend, had I only known. Do you know how many socks I've thrown out because I discovered a hole?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dozers to the left of me ...

... dozers to the right of me ... into the valley of noise and commotion rolled the 600 (dozers). Well, maybe not THAT many, but enough to create a constant rumble that sounds like one of those very long freight trains rolling down the tracks. Worse, the incessant BEEP-BEEP-BEEP. They can't POSSIBLY be operating those huge earth-movers in reverse all day, can they? Isn't that when the beeping noise happens? When they back up? Or was that only true of the little postal vehicles delivering mail when we lived in a town, long ago and far away?

Gas well pads are being prepared on the two farms adjacent to our property. We're like the filling in a gas well sandwich. I'll tell you what ... it gives people around here something to visit about! Absolute strangers stop on the road and chat about it. "Come, listen to a story 'bout a man named Jed ... " All of this will undoubtedly make my neighbors very ... shall we say "comfortable"? And me crazier than a loon. The noise. And I know the worst is yet to come. They drilled a well about 3 miles from here, and for the whole time it sounded like a jet engine roaring in my ears. Neither of these two new sites is as much as a half-mile away. Oh dear ... it may put me into orbit. I'm one of those people who cannot tune out background noise. DH doesn't even hear it.

They've pretty much finished the one pad to the east in less than a week. They've been moving their equipment to the farm west of us, a little at a time. Each time they're going to transport one of those huge machines, an escort pickup goes up the road. It returns, followed by a flatbed hauling the behemoth. I can only imagine the colorful conversations that must be spewing from the drivers when they pass our place. And pass it they must, to get from one place to the other. Every single time they come by, they invariably have to stop for a parade of geese crossing the road at an excruciatingly slow pace, or a pair of fuzzy kitties who pause halfway across to wrestle a bit. I do appreciate that the truck drivers stop, but I'll bet they'd like to just squash my menagerie and be done with it. I've got to hand it to them ... they're very patient men.

It rained today. Serious rain. A true blessing. Not only was it a welcome reprieve from the oppressive heat and drought, but it halted the dozers for the day. Quiet restored. Ahhhhh ...


Our son was here last weekend. He glanced into the corner of the dining room and asked, "What's that? A roll of linoleum?" (Umm ... do you think my roll of pre-printed hexagons on freezer paper for quilting convenience might be a bit much?)

I was able to get a new start on my 111-block quilt today (aw, shucks! no hexagons required). Someone kindly ironed out all the kinks for me, so the task does not seem as daunting as it did when I discovered the blocks were all coming out the wrong size. At this point, it is a challenge, but a fun one. I don't know how long the fun will last. Let's hope I find it amusing long enough to make at least a lap-size quilt from it. I'm choosing the fabrics randomly, and the fun comes from seeing the results of my combinations. Whew! Some of them are dizzifying. But I'm NOT changing them.

Speaking of hexagons ... Jo D was here today and had a top she pieced entirely of hexagons. She put a variety of motifs, each centered in a hexagon -- it turned out looking pretty clever, but my camera batteries died just as I tried to snap a photo. She said she'd forward one I took with her camera. When/If she does, I'll post it.

I can't wait to go to bed tonight. It will be quiet. No dozers. No fan running. No noise! I expect to sleep like a baby.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Out of context ...

I went to harvest some goodies for a colleague/friend this morning to surprise her with when I go to make a business delivery later today; got sidetracked for hours in the garden. I can't help myself. It's an addiction. I thought I'd just pick a few tomatoes and maybe some greens, a few berries ... stopped to pull a few weeds ...

Yeah, right! "A few weeds" turned out to be a few wheelbarrows full. They were overtaking a section of the garden that I've left unplanted this year. I needed to get them out before they go to seed. I've read that a weed left this year will plant seed for the next seven years. Hmmm ... I wonder if that's where this passage got its start: " ... it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order ... goes and takes along with it seven other spirits (read: GARDEN for HOUSE, and WEEDS in place of SPIRITS). I know I'm using the passage out of context, but either way, it's true.

I actually like pulling weeds in the garden more than I like harvesting the produce. Odd, but true, nonetheless. And it provides a true workout, complete with stretching, walking, sweating -- without a long drive to the gym. How can that be bad?


(I harvested a cabbage)

I'm in the process of starting my fall garden. Yeah ... in 90-degree heat. I know! Speaking of fall gardening ... In case you never realized this, I have a picture to show another example of where you remove one, 7 will come to replace it:

If you cut the cabbage head above the bottom set of leaves and wait, 7 more smaller heads will grow from what you've left. Easier and faster than starting new plants. Okay, so it may not be exactly 7 more heads, but you get what I mean, right?

I don't remove the broccoli plants after harvesting the large center head of broccoli, either. I leave them, and eventually there will actually be more harvest in broccoli sprouts than the main head provides. I continue to harvest broccoli from my original spring plantings -- right up until we get a hard freeze. It truly will require harvesting every couple of days to stay on top of it. We eat lots of it fresh; the excess is frozen for use in soup and casseroles over the winter months.

August is the month we get inundated with summer squash. I forced myself to exercise restraint in the squash department this year. I only planted 4 seeds of any summer squash I usually grow. Still ... tons! Absolute tons of it, even tho we've had very little rain. I think a garden is the place to learn thankfulness.

Patty pan squash is cute, but kind of a stupid vegetable. I mean, what's the point of that stuff, anyway? Last night I sliced a few up, sauteed them with onions in butter, sprinkled it all with salt, nutmeg and parmesan cheese and fresh chives. Now, that was tastier than it sounds. I will do it again some day. See? I've learned to be thankful even for patty pan squash.

It's always a challenge to use up squash when it's on a tear. If you have any good recipes, send them to me at

Monday, August 2, 2010

A stinkbomb of a day ...

No rain, for starters.
Lost files.
Too many things I don't like to do needing attention.
The tractor is out of commission.
And so on. Everything I touch goes haywire.

What really has me torqued is this: I spent a couple of hours last night printing templates for a quilt pattern I am challenged to make before next summer. I bought the book and fabric earlier this year, and decided I'd better get going on it or before I know it, I'd be facing a deadline with nothing to show for it.

It had already been pointed out to me that actual sewing directions are not provided -- just rudimentary diagrams. Not for beginners, I guess. I'm okay with that. I cracked open the book, intending to make some progress. My first thought was, "Why does this book not give rotary cutting directions for these patterns?" I figured I'd get around that little glitch by printing the templates out from the CD provided with the book and measure them. Or just use the templates, seeing as how they'd already be printed out. Oh ... what's up with this?!? Each little template is in a separate file, so must be printed on a separate piece of paper. How handy is that? Not at ALL handy. Okay, so bite the bullet and proceed.

I found it strange that the pieces are drawn in awkward sizes, like 3-13/16" -- is that really necessary? I find it annoying because the rotary cutting rulers are generally marked in 8ths, but NOT 16ths. Tsk! I went ahead and cut out these jerky templates and then carefully cut my fabric pieces, thinking that once I got them cut out it would all go smoothly enough. (Will I never learn?)

When I realized this day was heading South real fast and nothing I could do would remedy that, I decided to work on the quilt blocks cut out last night. (I'll worry about that other stuff tomorrow. Just call me "Scarlet.") But as I started feeling a little smug about getting a good start on this thing, I realized that the blocks were not coming out to the right size. I measured my seams -- they're an accurate 1/4-inch, just like they should be.

The dilemma now is ... do I continue, and just hope against all odds that the blocks will be SOME consistent size that will work out? Should I rip apart the ones I've finished, and make my seams smaller? or do I quit while I'm ahead? (Well ... that's not really possible at this point because I've already cut a lot of my fabric into little pieces that are otherwise useless to me.)

Decisions ... decisions. This whole day has been one big stinkbomb.

And ... here's the real story. We got word that a son of folks we know died unexpectedly and I can't get it out of my mind. Truth is, I can run the hose to water the garden, the lost files will be found, the tractor repaired. I can re-do the quilt blocks. But nothing can fix a hole that big left in our hearts. We keep trying, but the stuff that we do, trying to fill our days, sometimes amounts to nothing more than a stinkbomb day of futility.