Friday, August 18, 2017

97 and fall

Bobby laughed at me last night when I declared it was fall, reminding me that it was to be 97 degrees today. And yes, we are under a heat advisory here in NC today, BUT my surroundings are saying otherwise. The poplar tree has been shedding its leaves for over a week, and the grapes are ready for picking. I was too busy yesterday to take pictures, but I now have 3/4 gallon of muscadine juice in my refrigerator waiting to be made into jelly later today (and I only had time to pick 1 side of 1 row). Grapes are ripe in the fall.

And, as if that wasn't enough, school is starting back this week (or starts back next week for the last track of year rounders) in our area, and I had my dry run for fall elections training. (Trainers teach the class to elections staff to make sure we understand the process before classes begin.) So everything around me, except the temperature, is screaming fall.

So happy fall, y'all, sweat and all.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

twice in one day

Today I attended a presentation for Quilts of Valor for a Navy vet who served during the Vietnam War. He talked about his introduction to basic training, and how excited he was when he saw the line for food. He had never seen that much food, and thought if this was Navy life, it had to be good. No more hunger. He said that evening and the following days were tough, but having enough food to eat was always a good thing.

Tonight our church was full for a Wednesday night and buzzing with excitement as 25 people had just returned from serving at a camp in Haiti. Two people shared a testimony and some things that happened (the rest will share Sunday morning), and as they spoke about the bathing and bathroom conditions, as well as the food (good but they got tired of eating the same thing), I couldn't help but think about how spoiled many Americans are, and how deprived others are. I know these things will always be, but it made me think again of how the church should respond, and how do you assist without drowning yourself or enabling?

My Mom always said when God points something out to you more than once in a short period of time, you better take heed! It's given me a lot to think about.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

brushes

When I hear the word brush, I think of a hair brush.
When I hear the words brush in a motor, I think of this:


the brush found in a vacuum cleaner. So all these years when mechanics said "we need to replace the brushes" (in Bobby's wheelchair), that was the image that came to mind. So imagine my surprise last week when the mechanic came out with a piece smaller than my finger, and it looked almost like this:
This is a wheelchair motor brush. The bottom piece is the size of your thumbnail, and looks like a jump drive. The end of all the pieces are different, based on the model of chair. Bobby's had wires sticking out of it. The metal pieces near the bottom had snapped and burned, and we fear it may have caused the circuit board (the chair's brain) to short circuit. So even though we've found the parts (thank you Sean the sales rep guy!!!!), and are willing to pay out of pocket (insurance won't cover it since they're covering part of the cost for a new chair), there's a very good chance that this minute piece may not solve our problem for now. I'm so praying that it will. I'd love to photograph his hand and arm and other parts and send it to the insurance company along with my dr bill from last week to let them know the havoc and danger their delays and denials have created for us. But they really don't care. And it would simply be a waste of my time. But a chair is coming...I feel like a kid with Christmas two weeks away!!!!

Friday, August 4, 2017

a blur of a week

It's been a good but hard week. Sometime last week I did something to my back. Unlike muscle pain I've had in my neck and shoulder, this has been intermittent. One moment I'm fine; the next minute has me gasping in pain. Afternoons/evenings seem to be worse.

So I went to the dr today and was told I'd over-stretched a muscle between my ribs, and am to not do any major work in my garden for about a week. I guess that also means I won't be deep cleaning behind some of the furniture I didn't get to last week, either.

Meanwhile we found out Bobby's chair had NOT been ordered, so the ordering process began Tuesday evening - which means we're still 3 weeks out from having a chair he can use. I hate it for him even more than I hate it for me. I'm realizing more and more how difficult  it is to maneuver with manual chairs. We're still waiting to hear from the sale rep whether or not he can find us a "black market" part for the old chair or if we can get a loaner chair (meaning he can still get around on his own, but not drive) until the new chair arrives and goes through the modification process.

Tomorrow is Melba Lauver's funeral (the wife of one of Bobby's close friends). He wants us to stay and eat with the family after the funeral, and I have very mixed emotions about that.

I was also offered a unique temporary job this week. I have until next week to make a decision. It's an honor to be asked, but the hours are long (12 hr work days...on top of housework and caregiving...for 2 different 10 day stretches) and I'm not sure we're up to that right now. Praying for wisdom.

And that is Friday. Not quite ready to believe that it is August, nor that this week is almost over.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

week's recap

Monday - dr's appt; tech remembered Bobby from 2 yrs ago and laughed about unless he starts eating a lb of bacon a day and smoking then he shouldn't have problems; delivered Bobby's van to the auto body shop for repairs

Tuesday - drove an hour to pick up old farmstyle kitchen chairs (yeah, re-arranging and sorting is what I do best when I'm supposed to be cleaning house for company)

Wednesday - meeting with wheelchair company rep (last step before officially ordering the chair!!!). Order placed. Discussed his current chair issues. Confirmation parts cannot be obtained for this chair but found out a loaner may be a possibility as we wait the 3 weeks for the chair to be made and customized on our end.

Thursday - laundry and garden week (pulled up corn and tilled and fertilized with my shovel since my car is too small for the hardware's store rental tiller and ours won't be ready from repairs for another week)

Friday - wheelchair died...dead as a doornail will not move; Melba Lauver died; Hank, her husband, en route to dr with problems

Saturday - pulled out the manual chair; housewarming for a friend; still cleaning

and tomorrow...we have about 12 people coming to our house for our church's periodic "home gatherings". And it's our 18th anniversary. Not the week we had planned, but we're still feeling very blessed.


Friday, July 21, 2017

Original Sewing & Quilt Expo - Raleigh

The quilt expo came back to Raleigh this year, and I had the opportunity to go yesterday with a friend. It was really cool running in to people from classes and stores, but we also enjoyed looking at the vendor booths, but mainly enjoyed the quilt shows/exhibits themselves. I didn't take many pictures this year, but here's the few I did capture:

 This one was in a modern quilt/ black& white challenge. I'm not a huge fan of most modern quilting, but this is one of the several that I liked. I love the background (strips merging into solid white strips), plus the subject matter.

 I think this one would make a good scrap quilt, as well as a great Quilt of Valor quilt. Here's a close up of the block:

 The basic block is two four patches with two half square triangles. The placement of the dark and white and the consistent use of the reds is what creates this pattern. This one may be added to my mental list of quilts to do one day!

And this one amazed me. I photographed the quilter's description beside it. She used the basic house pattern and then diamonds placed on point to create the landscape. I'd love to see the landscape in gradations of beige (for wheat) or green, and the houses in actual house colors. Guess that's the realism in me coming out. Can't venture too far outside the norm! ;)

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

pics and more pics


What Bobby has dubbed "the annex"...peas, 4 tomatoes, 1 okra;
a rabbit ate most of my lettuce and spinach.

Zipper Cream Peas, growing in hay bales,
which a yellow biddie is picking at.
Main garden.
green beans
Geese are eating the bottom stems and leaves on my green beans,
to my chagrin and Bobby's delight.
Corn didn't produce much, and is mostly gone.
Momma hen outside the garden,
waiting on the biddies to come back out.

Momma hen pointing out a bug to the yellow biddie, with black biddies coming out of the garden fence.
Carrots, which the chickens keep trying to dig up.
Sweet potato

And where the geese are eating the sweet potato leaves...

The first time I've seen the hummingbird actually perch.
Usually he flies in and out over and over, never landing.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

hodge podge of life

These last few weeks have been both pleasant and hard, fun and yet full of work. 

Insurance has agreed to pay for repairs caused by the tire blowout, so the week we had reserved in hopes of celebrating our anniversary is now dedicated to getting the van repaired and celebrating at home.  And while it wasn't exactly what we had in mind, it really does turn out to be the best of both worlds. Still no word on the new wheelchair and what insurance's refusal on a key component will do to the whole process.

The garden is still producing, and there is a small part of me that will be glad when it is over. I'm not to the "how much longer is this going to last?" stage yet, but the first inklings of that attitude began to creep in yesterday. Today is another day to work outside and then come inside and can tomatoes. It's also the first day this summer I've had to remind myself that in a few months I'll be thankful for my canned stash.

Jimmy Aldridge, a dear family friend, died a week ago yesterday. I'm thankful he's no longer suffering and that he never reached the point where hospice had to give him the heavy doses of medicine. My heart hurts for Janie and the adjustments she has to face right now. Other than that, it's simply too close and personal to write about right now.

A hawk has been hovering in the back yard, so we've been anticipating losing a few of our 4 biddies. We did have one scare one night where we thought they were gone, only to be shocked to suddenly see a head stick out of the momma hen's wing. The other two were still present, just in hiding. It was such a funny sight.

The former owner of the snake skin made an appearance in my garden this past week, prompting me to work in the heat of the day instead of early morning or evening.

Our humming bird at the nectar feeder has made us laugh on more than one occasion. Maybe one day I can get it on video.

And quilt expo is this week! I'm excited to be going with a friend. No classes this year (those are at local shops in August), but the exhibits and shows will be enough.

My first meeting with elections is the last day of the month. So I'm trying to get some projects and things done before then, as I know my schedule will quickly start filling up once that hits. 

And that's a brief summary of the last two weeks.

Friday, July 7, 2017

and it's now July

Since my last post, we got the van driveable, made it to AL where my brother and brother-in-law attached the side fender that kept folding back while driving, helped my parents with the garden, watched fireworks over Smith Lake (and all the boats and car horns started honking in appreciation when it was done...kind of cool) and drove back home. We "celebrated" the 4th by trying to catch up on some sleep, washing clothes, and going out to Five Guys for hamburgers. While we watched Garner's traditional July 3rd fireworks from home, someone nearby was shooting off some nice fireworks on the evening of the 4th, so we got to see a few minutes of live fireworks that night as well. Oh - we've also oohed and aahhed and cleaned up the small chicken house where we had 4 biddies hatch while we were gone. Big chickens are now happy to have one of their egg laying spots back.

The remainder of this week we've taken care of garden stuff (though I still need to weed), a doctor's appt (all is good), a long-arm rental day, and have tried to tackle some projects in my sewing room. I can't help but laugh sometimes at how different my husband and I are. He's one of those people that starts a project and finishes it. He may have 2 or 3 things going, but he'll be working on all of them until they are done. The very concept of having 30+ projects in various stages laying around in one room is enough to make his brain short circuit. So this week I moved 2 of those projects into the next phase, took care of 90% of the mending pile on the floor, and actually cleaned up a small bit. 

And since our lawnmower is still in the shop, we asked to borrow my mother-in-law's mower again. When my brother-in-law brought it to the house, he also CUT THE GRASS!!! So I canned tomatoes and rejoiced not to be out in the heat. :) I am blessed.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

another day delay

Tuesday we were not quite halfway between Garner, NC and Jasper, AL when the van started growing crazy on I 20.  Thankfully there was almost no traffic around us, and Bobby was able to get the van over to the side before the next wave traffic came. I was expecting a typical flat tire, and was more than shocked to get around and see a total blowout with parts of the van hanging out underneath.
We called AAA, and was thankful for the breeze and no rain while we waited. The Sheriff came by, and when he found out we were headed to visit my parents in AL there was some good natured ribbing about the Crimson Tide not quite being the best team in the US anymore, then when the Highway Patrol came he was teasing Bobby about getting reports about a man in a wheelchair racing cars up and down the side of the road. (He was sitting by his ramp so he could see when the tow truck came over the hill.)  The Sheriff went to get water so Bobby wouldn't get too hot, without us even asking. When the tow truck driver made it through the gridlock down the road from two tractor trailers wrecking and one overturning, he took us backroads to a different repair shop than AAA said because he said they would have the parts we needed plus we would have two hotels and fast food places in walking distances. Turns out his daughter in a senior at the University of Alabama. We were thankful he made the choice he did. The pipe hanging below in the picture is the severed fuel line that takes the gas from the area where you pump it to the fuel tank in the back of the van. So there's no way we could have made it to the next city anyway. We talked about renting a van and heading on while they did repairs, but the rental place in the next town wasn't willing to deliver and the cost was exhorbitant. So we've been in a hotel since Tuesday night. The mechanics at the first shop replaced the tire, sawed off the busted and twisted pipe, and capped off the gas tank so we wouldn't loose what gas we had. Everyone is basically telling us to "hang tight".  I've enjoyed the cable and rest and internet, but I've been almost chomping at the bit to get on to my family. My brother, who is a mechanic, was wanting to take off work and come find a way to get us either to Atlanta or home to AL, but since the part was on the way we told him to wait. We went to the dealer today, only to find out that Bobby's fears were confirmed, and this part they overnighted was for a regular van and not a modified van. So we're back in the hotel for another night. I wish I could say I was all nice and appreciative and cheerful, but I have to confess I flat out cried.  Our original plan was to leave AL Sat morning. Since we now (hopefully) won't get there until late Friday night, we'll head back Monday. That means I only have a day and a half (Sunday messes everything up) with my parents, but at this point I'll take what I can get.

Meanwhile, our nesting hen hatched at least 4 of her 5 eggs the day after we left. So they'll still be cute when we get home, but not the total fluff balls. I can't wait to see them. Just hoping they're not more roosters!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

postponed...again

I had two quilt tops I hoped to finish in May. That got pushed back to June.  And since I'm with my parents for a few days and only one of them was completed before I left, I think that means #2 and the different top I started but not quite finished before leaving will now become July projects. (along with trimming up the grape vines and cleaning off the back porch and cleaning all the wasp nests out of our grill, and finished adding fill dirt to the edges of the driveway). But my mantra is to keep working at things, and be satisfied with what IS finished and completed, and keep working on the things that aren't. They may (or may not) be finished in my lifetime and that's okay.  I think I'm getting better at finishing some things...I think.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

cabbage

I removed the fencing from around the cabbage beds to do some weeding and didn't put it back up. Within 24 hrs, 2 of my 4 cabbages were devoured, courtesy of chickens and geese. It was clearly a fowl crime.


Monday, June 26, 2017

a crazy, but good, Monday

This morning I had several projects that I needed to finish. One of them was cleaning out a corner of the garage where some of the chickens have nested and been laying eggs. It was getting to be a very bad mess. I decided while I was at it, I would go ahead and dispose of some boards and sweep. Basic housecleaning. So I would move, sort, sweep, then repeat the process. As I neared the area where the chickens had been hanging out, I went to move an old garbage can and pick up a board behind it. As I tilted the can and reached down, I was startled to see a black snake (chicken snake) about 3" from my hand. Needless to say, I dropped the can and shrieked.

When a snake is in the hen house, if school is not in session and no one is nearby, I shoot it. But this was in the garage, not out in the open. After having a not so pleasant experience toward the end of last summer with a snake, I'm a little more fearful of removing them. Thankfully a young man from church was doing some yardwork at the house, so Bobby went and got him and asked him if he'd mind assisting. He took the hoe and I took the shovel. He stunned it and paused, so I smashed as hard as I could with the shovel and wouldn't let up. Since I had it pinned, he finished it off. Thankfully it was not resistant (I'm thinking it was full) in any way.

I moved on to the garden area to weed before it got any hotter. At one point I needed something out of the small shed, and I was putting the hoe up and reaching for a bag, I jumped back. There was a not so small snake skin wrapping up from the floor, across the pot of hay strings and onto the second shelf. After I got Bobby to come out and see it, we pulled it out with the shovel. He said it wasn't as big as I made it out to be. It was nowhere near as long as the snake Jake killed, but it was long enough to creep me out, especially with it stretched out over the shelves and my supplies like that. I know it was NOT there two weeks ago. I had never really examined a snake skin up close before. I was amazed to see that the skin even covered the eyes. My dogs, who are scared of snakes, even dead ones, where not so scared of the skin, and I'm not sure where Freckles carried it off to.

I got a lot, thought not all, of my outside stuff finished today. Put up one quart of tomatoes, cleaned most of one bathroom. Still working on the laundry, and the floors may wait until early tomorrow morning, but all in all, it's been a good but very crazy Monday.






Friday, June 23, 2017

Poof!

Tomorrow will be 6 months until Christmas Eve. Normally that statement would cue the holiday gift list making in the back of my brain (I inherited that gene - my Grandma White would already have presents WRAPPED and hidden by this point in the year). But this year, sigh, is different. I've finally concurred agreed to abide by my siblings wishes and only do presents for parents and children. SIGH. They have no idea how many times this year I've already pulled things off a store shelf with them in my mind, and then put it back. I LOVE to shop for other people. And this year, I almost can't. It's a bit sad, really. But a promise is a promise.

And that is not where I was headed with this post, but I guess the date has my brain whirring in all kinds of crazy directions.

Highlights from this crazy week:


  • Quilted a full size quilt top in 2 hrs at Thread Waggle Quilting (a long arm rental place in Raleigh)
  • Spent yesterday cutting grass on a borrowed zero-turn lawnmower (ours broke down and goes back to the shop Monday).
  • I stupidly did not apply sunscreen and am slightly pink.
  • Uncovered the cabbages to weed in their bed and left them uncovered for less than 24 hrs. We are now 2 heads less. One is totally devoured; the other halfway. Oh those dear, stupid chickens.
  • We're checking daily now for little heads to be poking out from Momma hen. Monday is the official day, and next Wednesday is don the gloves and throw out eggs if nothing has happened day.
  • E5 bp readings are becoming a trend in our household again.
  • Bought a LulaRoe shirt that I LOVE!!!
  • Finished some sewing/store samples for a friend/quilt shop owner.
  • Spent a lot of time browsing on CraigsList this week. 
  • Potential training slots for election schedules came out this week...so not ready for it to be that time of year again.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Monday, Monday

With all the rain we've had I've not been able to get my usual yardwork in, so my yard and garden look horrible. This morning I was able to put in a couple of hours before getting ready for a Quilt of Valor presentation. The recipient is 100 years old, served as an Army Nurse during WWII, and lives by herself. When we arrived, there was no one home. As we were about to leave, her neighbor pulled into his driveway. I let him know we had an appointment with her and that I had left my contact information  in the mailbox. He said an ambulance had picked her up around 11am. Our appt was for 2pm. So we're hoping that she'll make it home, and that even if she doesn't return home to live that we'll be able to give her the designated quilt soon.  I find that half of the requests we get go unfilled. Either the nominator doesn't give us correct contact information, or else the person simply refuses to return our phone calls or e-mails. It can be a bit frustrating. But on the flip side, it makes it even more rewarding when we are able to complete a request.

So now I'm alternating between housework and projects. All in all, it's been a good and semi-productive day.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

the same but different

I didn't attend the lecture, but BWOS recently had a lecture on color choices and layout. All the blocks in the quilt below are the same pattern, but the fabric choices make them totally different.

And because this has been on my mind a lot lately, this reminds me a lot of faith. People can have faith in only Jesus Christ, but that faith can be lived out in different ways and look totally different. It has always bothered me when people say someone can't really or truly be a Christian because of x, y, or z. It really boils down to what we believe about Jesus. It reminds me of the disciples going to Christ and telling him about another group of people who didn't hang out with them performing miracles in the name of Jesus. They wanted Christ to tell them to stop. And his response? "I have disciples you know nothing about."  Maybe I'll do a one block pattern quilt one day with different fabrics like the one above to help me remember that.  I can't wait to get to heaven and see how diverse the backgrounds and thoughts and former doctrines will be.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

stripping

There's a technique in quilting called stripping. It's where you take small strips of fabric and sew them together, as opposed to piecing, where you cut shapes and sew them into a pattern or design. For the last several months I've been eyeing a quilt hanging up at Bernina World of Sewing that is created using the piecing method. My scrap basket was overflowing, so I decided that would be a neat pattern to try and use up all my scraps. HA!!

I will say, I've thoroughly enjoyed the process. For this pattern, you start with either a 6.5" square of muslin or foundation paper, then sew a 1.5" strip of white or another solid color across it diagonally. From there, you simply add strips on either side. Once it's done, you trim to size, and a square is done!  I did a full size, and my scrap bin was STILL not depleted. So this week I've been working on eradicating some of that. I may actually get a 2nd quilt top out of the bin with only adding white fabric for visual interest. But that will have to be another post.

Here's my latest top:

My white strips don't line up on everything, but only someone
closely looking would realize that.
I can't wait to get this one quilted and finished!!



Tuesday, June 13, 2017

skinny houses

There's a new subdivision being built in Raleigh that just totally amazes me.


I would love to go inside and see what they look like on the inside. Bobby laughed and said the ones in the top pictures would mostly be stairwell. And we debated whether or not you could really count the top floor as a third story since the with the slanted roof you don't get full rooms. I'd love to know how these are priced. I suppose it's a step up from a town home. I love the look. It's just so different. Although the yellow siding on the bottom makes me think of storage containers with windows that are stacked one on the other. I imagine the width isn't much different than the 12' wide trailers. My parents' first home was an 8' wide trailer, and this seems to be wider than that. I don't think I'd be that crazy about living so close to my neighbor that you can throw things through each other's windows if they're both open, though. As a kid, I would have thought that wonderful. As an adult...meh.  There's some home similar to this on the way to Cary, except the back half of the home on the bottom floor is the garage. It's nice to see something that's not the standard box houses going up around us.

Friday, June 9, 2017

frog houses

When I was a child, my grandmother would let us play in the mud. Well, for North Alabama, that meant the red clay. One of my favorite things to do would be burying my hand or foot. When you'd pull it out, it would leave a little mound. My grandmother would always laugh and say we were making frog houses. I thought she was being silly.

This year in my garden, despite planting marigolds (which is supposed to naturally deter moles or voles from digging up your plants), I've been seeing a lot of holes between a quarter to a silver dollar in size. I've wondered if it was still the moles, or if it was the bunny rabbit, field mice, or snake. And this week while cutting grass, I saw something. I inched closer, then realized the animal was sitting on top of another animal. I ran in to get my camera, and when I got back outside, they were side by side, but still sitting in the hole.


So here I am, 35 years later, realizing that my grandmother was right all along...frogs DO have houses in the ground!!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Farmer's Market Restaurant

Bobby has a former coworker that we occasionally meet at the Farmer's Market Restaurant in Raleigh. Sometimes it's for breakfast (and I opt out of those half the time), and other times it's for lunch. Monday was a lunch day. As one of his 3 veggies on the vegetable plate, Bobby got a sweet potato. It was so big, that he ate half of it, and we split the remainder of it for lunch yesterday. I'm not kidding.
This picture doesn't do it justice. It filled up the ENTIRE large section of a normal size take-out tray. What is left above amounted to a cup of sweet potato, maybe a little more. And it wasn't just his. We noticed at least 3 or 4 other people on the way out who had sweet potatoes that covered over half the plate. I'm thinking these had to be 4-5 pounds. It was unreal. So if you want a meal...sweet potatoes at the NC State Farmer's Market Restaurant. If you leave hungry, it's your own fault.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

one and only

This morning we got up early (for us), and by 7:30am I had three small tables worth of stuff outside and waiting for people who like to get up early on a Saturday morning and search for small treasures. Except no one came. Not one. I probably saw 30 cars fly down our paved road, and only one slowed down. But no one stopped. So at 10:00am I slowly started packing things up. A little after 11am, we headed toward the Raleigh Rescue Mission thrift store and dropped the majority of our things off, then stopped for lunch.

It wasn't a bad experience. The weather was fairly cool in the shade where I was sitting. Bobby likes that he was able to spend time outside before it got hot, and I finished the last few chapters of a book. But I don't think I'll ever have another yard sale. I've learned my lesson.

Monday, May 29, 2017

NC Quilt Symposium

I think this was last weekend, but to be honest, my brain is so tired that it could have been two weeks ago. Bobby and I went to look at the quilt show only. We didn't attend any lectures nor did I sign up to take any classes. This was a visual pleasure trip only. There were many quilts I liked, especially some of the landscape ones (oh my word, the tiny pieces!!!), but the following are the few that prompted me to pull out my camera:
This colored blocks in this quilt are called "one block wonders", where you take a fabric and cut it, then sew it together, creating a kalediscope-style pattern. I love they layout of this quilt because the blocks are offset with black, creating a unique pattern on top of a pattern. I also thinks it enhances the "wonder" of the cut pieces. My Gatherings class will most likely finish our 2017 quilts early, and Sonja, our teacher, has suggested this quilt, though not necessarily this design of it, as something to do for the remainder of the year.

 I have a variety of chicken fabric that is waiting for me to settle on a quilt design. This was an interesting and unique concept. They basically put their chicken fabric in strips, offset with printed or solid color strips, then used chicken wire fabric as sashing between all the strips. It's still not quite what I have in mind, but it's a possibility if I never settle on anything.
And last, a chicken and grape vine applique. This quilter did an incredible job, though I'm not sure I would ever have the patience for this. It's a lot of cutting and a lot detail work, plus small stitches!!! I'm not sure I could ever be that exact. 

And even though I had hoped to finish two quilt tops by the end of May, that is simply not going to happen. I do have the background for one finished (but the applique that goes on top of it will take just as long), and I'm halfway through the second top (a scrappy quilt pattern{uses up scraps of fabric} that I've had my eye on for several months). Maybe by the end of June I'll have something to show.

Friday, May 19, 2017

beginning the faster twirl

Since coming back from AL on Monday, it seems we've been on the go non-stop. I'm not quite caught up on everything yet, but we are back in the swing of things.

Today I opted out of getting up early for an estate sale, and I don't regret it one little bit. We finished out Quilts of Valor meeting early, so we were able to swing by (and I got some small canning jars for a very good deal; some of the boxes were unopened) but that was all we left with. We've finished running errands, and after supper I'll be heading outside for more yardwork.

The hen nesting in the brooder box is pushing the time limit. Her eggs should have hatched this week. She tossed out one rotten one, and I know she's got at least one more rotten egg under her. So if we've not seen or heard chirping by next week, she's going to be forced off the nest. The garage is starting to smell.

Since I didn't weed the garden before we left (the tiller's not working), and we were gone when it rained, the weed population is a bit out of control. (That seems to be a theme in my life.) I was able to do some emergency work last night, and hope to finish almost all of it off tomorrow morning.

My niece Ellen graduated from Welch (FWBBC) today, and since I was in the monthly QOV meeting, I missed it. I don't know if I can go back online and watch it or not. (My younger sister was able to watch it live.) And my nephew (in-law) finished his master's degree. He's waiting to hear back from Oxford University about acceptance into a doctorate program. He does have some backup plans in case he doesn't make it, but for his sake, I hope he does.

Meanwhile my scrap quilt it slowly progressing along, and the background for one of the quilts on my quilt list is finished. Now I just have to figure out all the applique pieces and layout before the top is finished. So while I'm not making monstrous progress in that room, I am slowly getting closer to pulling three tabs off the "projects started" area of my sewing room door. And that is progress indeed.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

the month of repairs

We kicked off May with wheelchair repairs, followed by van repairs. Then last week we realized our tiller isn't working correctly, and last night...my specialty sewing machine died. So my tiller is sitting in the shed while I debate whether or not it's worth the money to get it fixed this year. At this time of year it will take about 3 weeks for it to be repaired, which is about the same amount of time it would take me to hoe all the weeds out if I spend an hour or two every weekday morning out in the garden. We've had this problem once before, two years ago, where it would crank, but every time you activate the blades it shuts off. I don't remember what the part/problem was, nor how much it cost to repair it. But right now I'm not sure that's where I want to put my money. But my sewing machine...the large one I use on quilts...that went to the store today. The repairman will pick it up tomorrow and I should know sometime soon what the problem is and how much it will cost and whether or not that part is still under warranty. I know that in the scheme of things my sewing machine is the next to the bottom of the totem pole of things to break, but I use that thing...a lot.  I'll probably pull out my classroom machine soon (it's small and lightweight, costs little and doesn't sew quite as well, but does the job) so I can hopefully keep inching some projects along toward the finish line. Otherwise I might go into cleaning/creating mode, which means I'll only prepare even MORE things that need to be finished. Janome 9900, please come home soon!!!


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

say what?

This afternoon while running errands, the lady checking receipts commented on how cold it was for May. (and while the high 60s/low 70s are cool for this month, it's not unheard of either) Then she said "You know what the Bible says about that, don't you?"  And for the life of me, I couldn't think of anything she could possibly construe about the weather, so I asked "No. What?" And she told me the Bible said in the end times the seasons would all be the same and houses would burn, and that we were seeing that now. I was so speechless, I couldn't ask her where the Bible said that, and I couldn't figure out a polite way to tell her I've never come across that anywhere when I've read the Bible. As we were leaving, I commented to Bobby that I wanted to know what version of the Bible she reads. He nodded, then said he'd heard things like that all his life growing up, and was surprised to find out it wasn't in the Bible.

I'm continuously amazed at how people make statements that "The Bible says..." when it really doesn't. Which tells me there are a lot of people who simply don't read it. From people becoming angels when they die to "God wants me to be happy"  I'm flabbergasted at the made-up theology people have. I wish I had said something, or invited her to our church, but I was just so shocked. And she was so sincere, which is even scarier. As my older sister told her high schoolers once, "You can be very sincere, but still be sincerely wrong."

Friday, May 5, 2017

Just put one step in front of the other....

I am tired.  That is actually not my normal lament, but a simple statement. I am happy. I am blessed. I am excited. I am very grateful. But it does not change the fact that I simply have no energy. I don't remember which animated movie has that song Just put one foot in front of the other... but that has been my mantra this week. It's okay if everything doesn't get done. It's okay if we cancel on some things...just keep moving.

Wednesday night Bobby's van overheated on the way home from church. Thankfully we have AAA, which has free towing within so many miles, and their service is 24/7. After three phone calls (or was it four?) and a 2.5 hour wait, we finally got the van to the mechanics and unloaded (loading and unloading were problems due to the lowered floor and the gas tank being in the back), and Bobby and his chair home and unloaded and re-united. Our dogs were very puzzled and confused the last two days. They'd come sit in the garage where Bobby's van parks and lay at the door. When he'd come out to pet them, they'd act very puzzled indeed. I think they were happy when the van came home this afternoon. All is as it should be.

And we had our meeting with the physical therapist AND the representative from the wheelchair company at the same time this afternoon. It was simple; both she and the company rep understood and agreed with his concerns. So now we wait on them to prepare their reports to insurance for approval and then send to the doctor for a prescription. Once that is received, they'll start making his chair. They seem to think we'll have his chair within 2 months. Did you just feel that fresh air rushing by you as you read that? YES!!!! Two months! :) Not 5-6. Not a year. This whole process, start to finish, could conceivably happen in less than three months. Such a different scenario than what we'd been promised several years ago. Granted, a lot can happen between now and then at any step of the way, but having cleared this first new and unknown to us dreaded hurdle (therapists didn't pick out your wheelchair 12 years ago) I'm feeling a lot more optimistic about the whole process. The company rep was familiar with the things Bobby was saying, and didn't act like we were crazy for saying "we specifically need this in a chair".

We even fit in a very brief visit to the library book sale at the fairgrounds. We only had time to browse most of the history/biography section, but we found several books. We joked about going back, but truly, the last thing we need right now is more books.

The rabbit has eaten some of my green bean plants that had sprouted. Not thrilled with that. If it's not raining in the morning I hope to get a little bit of work done there before we head out for an afternoon event.

And a sad but quite funny conversation this week with a friend who is in hospice care in a nursing facility now: I've heard many elderly people make comments when in the hospital or a nursing home about where they are (renting rooms out in their house, a hotel, a family reunion, at college, on vacation, left when a family member had car problems and they're getting the car fixed, etc). But this women asked me why I thought the government was moving everyone into apartments and doing away with the family unit. She was convinced she was there to work (she's bedridden) and that the government is no longer allowing her to live with her husband. That was a new one to me. She was convinced that was how people lived in Russia, and didn't really believe me when I told her that families had apartments or houses in Russia. She informed me that Russians lived in communes because they were communists, and she didn't understand why America was doing the same. It must be because we stopped teaching Home Ec in school. I didn't tell her they still teach Home Economics, but that it's now called Life Science, or something like that. I figured there was no point. And five minutes later she would be totally lucid and asking about a conversation we had four months ago. It still makes me shake my head.

I'm not sure how it got to be the end of the first week of May (achievement tests for homeschoolers came and went this week!!!), but it's here. I don't know if I'll get the grill cleaned, or a quilt project finished and the new one started, or the flower bed re-done. I'm trying my best to simply focus on today.

So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. ~ Matthew 6:34

Monday, May 1, 2017

Lazy 5 Ranch

Over the weekend we went to an historical symposium (where historians give lectures), and we left half a day early so we could swing by the Lazy 5 Ranch. Bobby has always wanted to go there, and I think we both enjoyed it very much. Once you enter the ranch, you have the choice of driving your car through the trails (the animals run free in the enclosure) or riding a horse-drawn wagon. Bobby enjoyed it to so much that he's toying with the idea of how to make something like that work here. I think his brainstorming is along the same lines of me opening a quilt shop - nice to think about but realistically not going to happen in the next five-ten years, if ever.

We don't know if these are Emu or Ostrich eggs (or both), but they made our geese eggs look tiny.

The emus were funny. They would peer inside the windows, looking
 to see if we had a bucket of food. If I didn't have the food
bucket covered, they would peck at the window. And yes,
I was a chicken and did not roll my window down for any of them, but
would wait until they were ahead  or behind us and throw some out onto the ground.

On the left of this picture is an ostrich. Young emus are in the middle
of the road and a large emu is to the right. I'm not sure what kind of creature
is at the van window. My only dislike was that there was
no picture id of the animals in the brochure.

Young birds that we're guessing are emus, but not sure.

Bobby was amazed by the horns on the cows...a lot of different variety.
And we laughed at all the pot bellied pigs of all sizes running around everywhere.

No idea what kind of deer this was, but we saw quite a few.
It was amazing to see spots on a full grown, or nearly grown animal.

And this llama made me laugh. There's a new quilt
pattern out that are llamas, and there was a
discussion about what color they were. And
this one is multi! :)
They had giraffes and zebras, peacocks, guineas, exotic birds, and I'm not sure what all else. It was totally worth the visit.

Friday, April 28, 2017

our newest baby

It's not uncommon for church kids to ask me: Any new animals? after visiting my house. If they ask this Sunday, I can say YES!

Not the best pic, but shows them both.

close up of the chick

strange angle with both

The crazy thing is that at least 2 of the 3 eggs this bird is hatching is not her own. I'm hoping the others hatch tonight or tomorrow morning. And we have a different bird sitting on a different pile of eggs now. So I'm thinking I may close her off and force the others to start laying elsewhere so we don't lose all the eggs. This is only the 2nd time we've had a hen hatch out eggs naturally (and the first one only had two hatch and neither survived past 3 days), so we've got optimistic hopes for this go around.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

flooding

With every major storm (hurricane or tropical storm), or even torrential and long-term downpour, we can expect water to overcome the pond drain and head over the spillway (which is how it's designed so the water pressure won't break the dam). This week's 5+ inches in two days was no exception. Our pond level didn't get quite as high as during Hurricane Matthew, but came fairly close. 

Water rushing from the spillway down the hill.

This doesn't do the spillway justice. The water was a little over my ankle and moving fairly fast.
I thought this was a turtle, but as I got closer to snap the pic, I thought it resembled more of a frog. As I went around Bobby to zoom in, I saw the body and quickly backed away, which he found quite funny. As we returned from our walk it was actually out on the dam a little ways out of the water...a brown water snake.  I'm not sure but we think we saw an eagle take one off while fishing last week. 

Over the new drain pipe...it was actually swirling in slow motion like the water going down the bathtub drain!

And water gushing out the other side of the pond drain. We could actually hear it halfway from the house.

and silly me, even after seeing the snake, waded through the water on the spillway to see the other side. I was able to save a few of these guys (about half of them), but I tossed them downstream instead of back into the pond. We've got enough bream without saving any.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

the rains came down and...

In our new church building, one of the artists has painted/illustrated children's songs along the walls. One of them is "The wise man built his house upon the rock".  Before two of our three year olds moved into their classroom, they had a LOT of questions about that song. Evidently it was new to them. And with all the rain we've had the last two days, I found myself humming it this morning. Which then made me think of the kids from church, which had me smiling.

 On either side of our driveway is a HUGE puddle. The geese are using it as their pretend pond, and instead of bathing in the real pond, they did it beside the driveway this morning.

 And all this rain has helped the first planting of green beans to come up. This one's little head is barely poking above water.
 Above is the whole row...in their river.
 And a few of the beans planted Friday didn't stay submerged in the ground, or else I missed some while covering them. But it was cool to see the few that were above ground but underwater sprouting.
And we have a few gullies beside the new driveway. I'm hoping once the grass seed takes root this won't be a problem anymore, but we'll see.