Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I totally get it.

Road rage. I totally get it. Yesterday, I made the journey to go fetch some of my grandkids to spend some time with me. The round trip was a little over 9 hours of driving if you count the side trip to stop in at a quilt show I was alerted to. (How could I NOT go?)

Anyway, en route there is a place where the two-lane road narrows to one lane. Within the last few yards, two (not one but TWO) vehicles zoomed past to get in front of me before the left lane ran out. Heaven forbid these people should drive behind someone else for a stretch of one-lane roadway on our side! The second car had to squeeze me nearly off the road to make it before the oncoming car in the opposite lane of traffic would have whacked him head-on, and in the process pushed me off to the shoulder. Ugh! The urge ...
Then, on the PA turnpike, there was a terrible accident just a short distance up ahead of me. All traffic came to a complete stand-still while we waited for the emergency crews to do what they could. By the looks of the car that was run up against the guard rail and ended up on its roof, I fear the worst for the folks in that one. Once the road was opened back up, you'd have thought we were on the Indianapolis Speedway! Cars were zooming in and out of each lane, jockeying for position to get wherever they were going, apparently now in a desperate hurry because of the delay, to do what? Meet someone for dinner? See a show? What? WHAT is so important to these people that they put everyone at risk just so THEY can get where they're going? (Hopefully, they WILL get there without incident, but their risky driving in infuriating!)

And THIS just in from the "YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST" Department:

(first, a little back story on this item) DH, aka Snoop The Scoop, has been intrigued by some goings on down the road a piece. A crew of men have been digging a hole, sifting dirt, and doing other curious things. It has been driving him crazy because he cannot figure out what is going on. I glibly told him they were digging for gold, which was obvious due to the sifting of the soil. That was just an effort to shut him up because I really had NO clue what it is all about. Well ... (and I want a gold star for getting this tidbit before STS) ... the digger guys were jumping into their vehicle to leave as I went by this rainy morning. I got up my nerve and stopped right in their way, preventing them from backing their vehicle out until I got a chance to speak to them. They both got out and looked pretty friendly, so I asked if they would mind my asking a question. They were happy to tell me it's an archeological dig! Seems the site is the location of a couple of buildings from the 1700s. So far, they've found some pottery and a few other things. I asked where it would eventually be taken for preservation, and learned it will be at the State Museum in Harrisburg. Cool!

Now that my ornery camera is in a cooperative mood, here's the photo of Paula's sock monkey quilt with a close-up of the "sock" fabric. Doesn't it look like it's actually the knitted sock fabric?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Lea'me alone!

"... they don't bother anybody what's tetched in the haid," loosely quoted from some movie I once saw. Might it have been Dances With Wolves? or Jeremiah Johnson: Mountain Man? Anyway, the characters were discussing the fact that the natives didn't bother the Pioneer woman none because she'd gone plumb crazy after her children died and her husband did what? Died? Ran off? I don't remember that part.

So this afternoon, a young woman drove up to our place in a fine, sparkly SUV and asked if I own the barn and poultry she saw (geese were waddling across the road). I told her I am. She allowed that she is sent by the Conservation District, and handed me a 36-page booklet on manure management, and 3 full-color brochures on agricultural environmental regulation compliance. Also, 19 printed pages of a document they want me to complete stuff for. Now, that is because they sent her driving around to discover where people are keeping animals and she spotted my geese.

After she handed me that %&*#, she asked if those were the only animals I have. I said no, so she asked for my name. I asked her if she wanted a free cat. She said no. So I told her, “then go away.”

Bwhah-ha-ha-ha … Why don’t they hire these college kids to do something useful, and use our tax dollars efficiently to do it?!? Can you believe they pay her to drive around in an shiny new SUV to do this? Who should I send my complaint to?

I hope she goes back to her office and tells them I'm tetched in the haid!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I'll sue.

I've read that exercise is of utmost importance in preventing osteoporosis. If I get that crap, I'll sue. And isn't it too bad gardening hasn't yet become an Olympic sport. Where does one send a petition to have THAT reviewed? Seems to me it requires plenty of strength and stamina, discipline and hard work to get a garden to grow. And it's the ONLY thing that you can get me to do that keeps me in constant motion for four hours at a time. One trip down a ski slope is plenty for me. Swimming in a pool gives me the creeps. Playing ball? Ten minutes, max. Ice skating? I'm done at the first fall. Yep ... gardening is my sport of choice.

The crazy-early summer weather is causing me to work in overdrive trying to have a decent garden. My plan is to go out early to get things done before the sun gets too hot, then spend the rest of my workday quilting. Hard to do when it's already nearing 80 degrees by 7:30 a.m. I don't do well in the heat.

 I really, REALLY wanted to get a particular section mulched, but it nearly did me in. My trick for being able to stay out long enough to accomplish the days' gardening? Douse my head with water from the hose repeatedly. It's a little startling the first shot, but as the temps rise and desperation takes hold, I start feeling like I could stay under that spray of cold water all day. I can happily report I met my goal for the day. I'm starting earlier tomorrow. I can't take this heat.

Once I had a chance to cool down, I got some major quilting done. I've fallen behind schedule a bit in the studio due to circumstances beyond my control. Granted, I'm easily distracted, but something went awry and had to be addressed.

Speaking of quilting ... I finished my Paint Chip Challenge by the time it was due for a special activity at guild last week. Here's a photo (ta-da!):

Pinned on the right is the paint chip card I received in the random pick. The challenge was to use all the colors in a quilt. The dark browns are more varied than they look in the picture. I plucked all the fabrics from my scrap pile.

It's truly a wonder that it got finished. Everything that could possibly go wrong in making this little quilt: did.

For starters, I trimmed the background square in the center too small, so had to add a piece to fix it. I scorched the fabric with the iron and had to add something to cover the burn. Then the borders didn't fit and had to be re-done. I lost the binding and had to make another at the last minute. And that's only half the story. If I told you the rest, you'd think I am lying. I am just glad it's over.

Tomorrow I'll show you one of Paula J's quilts I finished today. She finds all sorts of fun fabrics for her quilts. You'll see what I mean when I post the pictures.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Hopping Hell ...

... otherwise known as Flea Beetles. I am at war. The unusually warm weather allowed me to get lots of stuff out into the garden much earlier than usual this Spring, so I put my eggplant seedlings out with high hopes. They were looking fine for about a week, and then one morning appeared to have jillions of shotholes in the leaves. That's the certain sign that the flea beetles have discovered where I was hiding them.

I have always followed organic gardening practices, so spraying with deadly concoctions is out. Crop rotation and continually building the soil seems to deter most other pests for me. But these stinking flea beetles drive me crazy! I should have used row cover until the beetles life cycle turned the page, but I didn't. I don't know why, so don't ask. I guess it just slipped my mind, until the battle began. Seeing as how I put the eggplant in an area where no susceptible plants were growing last year, and the creeps hang out in the soil awaiting their newest victim, I cannot figure out how they got there. Will they hop hundreds of feet? Or do they actually smell food and fly to it? I don't know.

Another question: can you over-do the use of DE (diatomaceous earth)? I seem to have good success using it as a method of ridding the beetles. Until it rains. Then it needs to be re-applied. Did I mention that it has rained here every day for about a week and a half?

Fortunately, the plants seem to be able to survive in spite of repeated attacks from the little ba%&rds from hell, and are developing flowers already. I will continue my daily surveillance and be armed and dangerous for as long as necessary. Supposedly, the attacks will end in July, according to reliable sources of intelligence on the enemy.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

a brief tour ...

I took my camera with me when I went out to investigate the garden this morning to decide what needs my attention the most. I'll give you a glimpse of what's going on at my place this week. None of this may seem astounding to you where you live, but here in Outer Siberia, it's a rare thing to find tomato or zucchini blossoms the first week of June. In a normal year, we'd be lucky to even have been able to plant the seeds or set the plants out! So we're just tickled by the sight of such things.

Here, I'm trying to show the tomato blossom:

Here's a little zucchini plant putting out flowers already. I hope it can support the fruit by the time it develops.

... and the clematis is still blooming its head off:

You probably can't tell from the photo, but this antique climbing rose is absolutely loaded with buds. My sister and I "rescued" small pieces of this bush from oblivion years ago. It was growing near an old, caved in foundation in an abandoned field. It proved to be quite an adventure getting a piece of the plant, as the first attempt stirred up a nest of ground bees. (DS took off on a run, but I was determined to stick it out. No, I did not get stung in the process, but it's truly a wonder.) I'm not sure what variety it is, but it makes clusters of little deep pink blossoms and is very fragrant. Each cluster is like a little bouquet. Any guesses?

... and here's another rose that's putting out more blossoms than usual. The bush needs some serious pruning, but the flowers are very pretty -- don't-cha think? We normally have a big problem with Japanese beetles on the roses, but maybe they didn't get the memo on the early summer.

I've gotta say, tho, I've never seen so many slugs as we have around this year. Doesn't anything eat those things?
Oh, and the mama and papa Orioles were both sitting on a branch singing their hearts out this morning. I watched for a few minutes and they revealed the location of their nest. It's in the same tree every year, and our family has a "contest" to see who can find it first each Spring. I win!

Now I need to get back out and do some mulching. When I become fully exhausted from that, I'll head over to the studio to catch up on some quilting. I need to quilt my Paint Chip Challenge piece before guild meets next week. We're all going to display them. It was a fun group project.