Monday, December 8, 2014

time tumbling toward the terminus of 2014

remembering to use the camera on our late afternoon walks

watching to catch the rhythms of the universe

loving assistance with the seasonal decorating

Graces abundant at every turn. Nature's restoratives always on offer.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

on the eve of our day of gratitude

The light is fading. The air is still but with the sounds of rifle shot echoing from our near neighbors' properties. Intermittent reminders that life is fragile. It is the middle of deer season here.
Last night just as we were tucked under our covers reading before sleep beneath our bedroom windows the coyotes passed through the garden, calling to one another in quick conversation. The baby moon had already slipped below the horizon and there was no light to see them by. Walking this afternoon along the meadow paths, stepping into our recent snow we read of their passing, and that of deer, mice, and more in the night.

I feel deep gratitude that our children live near. I am almost embarrassed by the riches we have planned for our meal tomorrow.
On the eve of Thanksgiving I pause to think of each of you as I count my blessings.
May sweet healing energy envelop us all as we pause to give thanks.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

a break in the weather

Ahh, a sunny November day. Perfect for a long walk in the drifted snow of our meadow path.

And a good day to finally harvest the fragrant lemons all ripe at once on my last year's Christmas present from Jerome.

Hope you were blessed by sun today as well.

Monday, November 24, 2014

thoughts on a snowy day

When I've been away from my blog for a while my first inclination when I return is to explain, where I've been, what I've been up to, fill in the gaps in a rush to justify ignoring this space for so long.
Well, not this time. LIFE has been happening in the interim, some good, some not as good.
And now at the precipice of the last week of November I am stunned to see the tail end of 2014 in the near distance. It is so very hard not to give in to the old habits of self imposed pressures and demands for the holidays. Yet that is exactly my goal. I want to be calm, peaceful, grateful. I will tell those I love that I love them. I will reach inside myself and forgive me for often losing my way.
For today that is enough.
Thank you for continuing to check for signs of life over here at sallymomsprouts. I feel the dormancy shifting.
Be gentle with yourselves. I care a great deal about each of you.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

a mini quilt and a commission

On Saturday Oct. 11 our quilt guild presented a show in a local senior residence called Maplewood. It was the 10th anniversary of this show and my 2nd year exhibiting work of my own. This year we also held a silent auction of mini quilts, each donated by members of the guild, to raise funds for our treasury. 35 quilts were donated in all.
I donated a mini quilt made of 4 log cabin blocks and three outside borders embellished with raw edge appliqu├ęd leaves on front and back.

Jerome fell in love with the colors and decided he wanted it for our own. When we arrived at the auction table an hour before the close of the auction Jerome was surprised to see that there were several bids on "his" quilt. What we discovered, much to my dismay, was that the director of Maplewood was determined to have the last bid on my quilt and was willing to stand at the table until the close of the sale to do so. Each time he added his name, she added hers below it! Before the close of bidding Jerome had left the building to attend the harvest parade in town with Anne and Matthias, instructing me to be sure to get the quilt for him. What was I to do??
Two of my quilting buddies came to my rescue. Mary quietly took the director aside and explained the situation, suggesting she inquire if I would make another one just for her. Verda took me aside and suggested I offer to make the director one of her own. And that's what we planned.
Jerome bought the original quilt, that shown above, and we took it home. I immediately went through my stash and realized I had almost all of the original fabrics, but not quite. Well, I went right to work on the second quilt and as I sewed and quilted it discovered I liked the new one better than the first. Since we planned to keep this one we felt I could make some changes, and so left the front unembellished.

In the end, Jerome got the new quilt and I sold the original to the director. I brought it to her at Maplewood yesterday and she was like a little girl on Christmas morning. And then she handed me a check. Amazing.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

a new year

Been on the farm for 50 months now.
Been blogging 4 years today.
Sallymomsprouts has not essentially changed in format from its beginning. But my reason for doing it has.
No longer alone… Jerome here full time 16 months now, Anne and Matthias in town a year this weekend, Phil at the farm mostly since June, I'm writing it primarily for me now.
It helps me a great deal to look back through prior posts and see that I actually do accomplish things. That life is beautiful. My new blogging year's goal is to post more often and by doing so be more frequently uplifted by sharing the graces that surround me.

This amaryllis has bloomed 3 times in 2014.

 First full bloom on plant grown from cuttings from Anne's plant.

Two orchids in my collection that have been in continuous bloom since April.

Thank you for wandering over in the past and please continue to do so.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


our guild's annual quilt show
mini quilt for silent auction

and one of 3 I entered 

tail end of eclipse

and moon rise 12 hours later

gem of a church on St. Mary's Ridge Cashton, WI  that hosted a most enjoyable concert

on a newly restored 100+ year old instrument

we discovered they say a Latin mass every Sunday at noon... now that would be a treat for both of us.

drying and shelling beans for winter meals

checking out the town's harvest festival

keeping an eye on the beauties just outside my window

a week of blessings 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Hello, October

Snow yesterday

which melted as soon as the sun shown.
Then later preparing for a predicted frost by picking all we could and covering the tenders

and early this morning the house temperature falling below 60 and jump starting the furnace despite our determination to resist so early in the season.
Yesterday apple upside down cakes from some of the last of our windfall apples to be delivered to two neighbors who've been in the hospital.

And in the moments between, despite promises to myself not to, having to rush with projects for our guild's upcoming quilt show

Ah, October.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

a play day

Jerome treated me to a day out for my birthday. We agreed on Dubuque, Iowa with stops along the return trip. Our weather couldn't have been more agreeable.

First stop, an all volunteer garden that just keeps getting better as the years pass.

That sweet husband of mine asked one of the gift shop volunteers to take our picture. On the way back into the shop I told her it was my birthday and my husband was treating me.  She told me I was probably quite a bit younger than she. Her guess at my age was 47! I told her I had applied for Medicare recently and that we'd been married for 42 years.
We had lunch at Vinny Vanucchi's  Little Italy on Main street in the old downtown. Absolutely divine. Jerome: chicken marsala, me: fettuccine seafood.

Then an attempt at riding what is described as the "shortest, steepest scenic railway",  but alas, it was down for repairs. It would have provided a stunning panorama of the Mississippi and a view of 3 states. Fun just to glimpse from below.

Just up the street there was Yarn Soup. I was on the hunt for Tunisian crochet hooks. So hard not to stroke every fiber in the place. One of those shops, where if you worked there by the end of the week you'd have little left of your pay.
My buddy Mary had recommended we stop at the new co-op in town. We did but agreed our co-op is still the best.

Along the road home Jerome's eagle eye spotted a billboard for a quilt shop in the town of Fennimore. We were charmed by the town but I was delighted with the quilt shop, The Quilt Peddler. Only 18 months old, it is beautiful, spacious, fully stocked and a joy to visit. Though 50 miles from home, it is definitely going to be a destination.
In Dickeyville we walked the grounds of Holy Ghost parish which contains the Dickeyville Grotto. It's actually called the Dickeyville Grotto, but I have a hard time calling a town Dickeyville, let alone what appears to be a pilgrim destination. In the mid morning as we drove past it on our way to Dubuque it was crowded with people, women in dresses, men in slacks.

We stopped for an ice cream in Lancaster and a quick shopping in Gatherings in Boscobel, a gift shop with a tiny but good quilt shop tucked in back. Good to get home in time to close up the chickens for the night and lavish attention on the cats who wondered why they were alone all day.

Thank you Jerome.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

sunrise on my last day of being 64

Looking east:

looking west

I've promised myself some improvements to my daily habits in my new year ahead. Already I've been rewarded.
And another thing….. for the past year I've had a specific Beatles tune running through my head nearly daily. Can I change that now??

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

autumnal equinox

This evening summer will slip away. I'm not in the least sad about this. I am deeply rooted to the American midwest and love all four seasons. I vibrate with the cycle as each season shifts, sometimes with quiet subtlety.

It has become a tradition, standing in the middle of our road looking west as the sun sinks to the horizon on the last day of summer. A way to honor Mother Nature's rhythms, so deeply a part of my own.
And the night sky is amazingly new now, stars and planets moving into view.
It's sweater weather,  steaming mugs of tea, soup on the stove, bread in the oven. Wishing you the joys of autumn.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

whatever happened to what's her name?

The discussion at a Rogaland Rosemaling class with Ruth Green this week went something like this: "I wish I could retire so I'd have time for everything I want to do."  "That's what I used to think. I'm retired now but I don't have time for anything anymore." "You've got that right!" "Man, is that ever true!"
The dream that woke me early this morning was my brain's way of saying, "Enough already, girl. Time to slow down or else."
So, the desk is nearly cleared, the lists are written for my trip back to the city for a family event I can't miss this weekend (what to bring, stops to make along the way and while I'm there, birthday gifts and canned goods to share, etc.) the laundry is started, library items organized, garden produce mostly processed, time for a bit of the county fair in town… I think you've got the idea.
Just a quick visual idea of some of the things that kept me joggin' since my last post:

Quilt Expo, Madison:

Last year's best of show was awarded to Betty Ekern Suiter. Just an example of how interesting life can be, I sat with Paula Ekern at the rosemaling class. Betty, this world renowned quilter, is her sister-in-law!

harvesting and processing garden bounty (freezing, canning, pickling):

surprise overnight visitors (Jerome's two brothers and nephew) out for  "ride" on their bikes:

a class at the local quilt shop, Rapid Fire Hunters Star, a single finished block done in class and then a second done at home and joined to the first while I still remembered how to use the fancy ruler

Jerome's new B, a John Deere 1947 B

my new B, a Bernina 750QE with stitch regulator so I can do free motion quilting and have every stitch be uniform (well that's the theory, anyway!)

a time or two that I remembered to stop and take a photo of the beauty that is every where around me:

a rainbow caught just as the sun was setting

And that cute photo of our little Mya on the header??? She knows how to take cozy time. Thanks for the example, dear one.