Friday, September 11, 2015

autumn in the air

Crisp fall day. Blue, blue skies. Fruit trees grinning with their offerings.

Don't you just love September?

Saturday, September 5, 2015

catching up

Been absent from my own blog for a bit, though I have been faithfully following yours. I do so enjoy sharing in what each of you has been up to.
Days are full here and since the calendar has turned to September, Mother Nature has been up to her old trick of bringing on the heat once school is back in session. I admit, I do NOT enjoy the heat, humidity and bugginess of summer. Outside I prefer layers and long pants, and sturdy shoes with sox inside of them. I've been wearing a tank top at night because our second floor bedroom in this century plus old house is pretty warm for sleeping and wearing it I got a good look at my "farmer's tan." Face, neck, hands and lower arms brown as one of Minerva's eggs, with all the rest of me pale as a moonbeam. Laughable.
Managed some canning and freezing this week and have taken to working in the gardens only before 9:30 in the mornings and after 4:30 in the afternoons. Dinners have been later than I like because we try to take advantage of the early evenings outside. Once dishes are finished it's time to put the chickens to bed. The babes are nearly 13 weeks old now. Of the 16 chicks, only one has grown up to be a cock and happily it's one of the Arauconas. I've named him Cinnabon and he is becoming a very handsome rooster.

always in motion, already watching after the safety of all "his" hens
Lately he's working on perfecting his quintessential cock-a-doodle-doo. Each morning this week he and Big Guy have called back and forth to each other before any hint of dawn, still inside their respective houses. I can only hope since they're still inside their volume isn't enough to reach any near neighbors at that hour. Sound tends to travel very far in the still air on the ridge. I say it's lucky he's an Araucana because next year I'd like to try letting one of our hens hatch out a clutch of eggs and it will be easy to choose only the blue/green eggs no matter which hen is willing to do the job. Not all breeds will be broody.
Once the chicks are tucked in and we have closed up the pole barn for the day, it's nearly dark and the clocks amaze us that it's before 8pm. We are definitely getting close to the equinox now.
We're in a moderate drought here in SW Wisconsin. The meadow is dying back in places though the goldenrod is ablaze and wild asters are surprising us here and there. There are many apples on the lawn beneath the mature Cortland in the mornings and our first cookie sheet loaded with sliced apples is in the kitchen freezer getting ready to be packed into ziploc bags for the deep freeze. There are already 20 quart bags of sweet corn kernels in the basement freezer along with the blueberries, strawberries and raspberries I set aside to enjoy in the heart of winter. Hard not to eat all that beautiful fruit while it's fresh, but will certainly be a delight when the thermometer struggles to rise above freezing.

Lots of events this month to look forward to. Anne and Matthias lent me their old iPhone and for the past couple of days I've been trying to join the rest of you in the 21st century. It has all the capabilities of any iPhone except for the phone part which I don't really need. I love having a tiny camera and connectivity to the internet right in my pocket. Since I'm learning by trial and error it's slow going, but I'm too stubborn to give up. The little grey cells need the challenge. It'll be a big asset when I'm out at Quilt Expo next week or at any of several art shows and the county fair this fall. One thing is for sure, that tiny little keyboard is not easy in my hands. How do you all manage it???

Speaking of challenges, my new Bernina (already one year old) went to the Bernina doctor last week and is now home and better than new as she also got an update. Our quilt guild season begins in just over a week and the annual quilt show and silent auction is just around the corner. Each of us has been asked to make and donate a table topper this year and determined not to be working on finishing my offering the night before the event, I put together this little piece making use of my paper piecing practice blocks. I'm doing a paper piecing demo for the guild in January and promised myself I would work hard at it before the deep distractions of autumn and their holidays. I did make a mistake in assembling the finished blocks, but too late to do anything about it. There is something about the dyes in these fabrics that make the colors change radically in differing light. Under fluorescent light especially.

I'm getting back to doing hand work in the evenings when we turn on" the tube." Sometimes I forget just how much I enjoy cross stitch and crocheting. It's getting harder to see with artificial light and harder to keep even  tension with arthritic hands but those are annoyances and not deterrents.

waiting for its final border of chicken fencing fabric

little cardigan dress jacket waiting for the buttons to be added

Well, best be about the business of the day. It's been good to catch up a bit. Hope you each find something to enjoy this Labor Day weekend.