Thursday, October 12, 2017

finally...

Last Friday I turned in my quilt to the state fair. Judging was this past Tuesday. The first time I entered into the fair, I didn't know they posted winners on line, and it was several days after opening before I could go, and one of my friends told me on Facebook. I was thrilled beyond measure to find out I had placed (that was a 4th place in first time entry/beginner category). I had not expected anything at all. And several years have passed and I've not managed to enter anything since. So I've been stalking the website waiting for an answer. Tonight only the fair opened from 3pm until midnight and tickets were $1.50 in honor of it being the 150th anniversary of the state fair. So we went tonight, hoping it wouldn't rain and wouldn't be overly crowded, as we really didn't want to pay full price nor go on a weekend day with all the crowd. Not all the exhibits were open, nor some of the competitions (great pumpkins and watermelons were still being weighed, and pumpkin carving hadn't started yet, nor were flowers open), but I was glad we went, especially since when we got home I found out winner competitions on the website have not been updated yet. So had we not gone I would not have known anything...at all.

I could tell my quilt had a ribbon while we were standing in line for the cake decorating exhibit (thanks to my crazy binding!!) And here it is hanging... 2nd place in Original Pattern Category. First place was machine appliqued owls which was wonderful.
The man showing the quilts didn't pause long between quilts nor move out of the way much so it was hard to get pics. There were many incredible quilts, but I was only able to capture two others of the many that I liked.
 This one was so bright and cheerful, and I love that they used traditional blocks in solid colors, and yet it looks so modern.  So many of these quilts used the flying geese blocks, and I could just hear Mary Booth saying "OHhhh! TRIANGLES!!! NOT for me!! I simply cannot do them!" Conquering the flying geese block (the triangles pointing in one direction) is on my list for 2018.

I don't know what category this is in (wall hanging section), but I absolutely loved it. I've never seen anything like this. It's a mixture of applique, piecing, art quilt, and I imagine it's an original pattern. Everyone loved it that was watching as the quilts were turned.

So we've been, ate all the foods we could stomach (frog legs, Amish donut, Thanksgiving dinner egg roll, collard bites which I don't recommend, and a deep fried candy bar. I'm tired, but glad we went.

Monday, October 9, 2017

nnnnnoooooo!

Friday afternoon I took photographs, then we drove to the educational buildings of the state fairgrounds where I turned in a quilt. Hooray!!! I've been waiting to upload pics and and information ever since then, and thought I'd be able to tomorrow afternoon/evening since the judging takes places tomorrow morning for the category I entered. Today I just "happened" to check the website, and it says competition results will not be posted until the fair starts Thursday afternoon. WHAT?!?! I am SO disappointed! I thought I would know something tomorrow night and would be able to show pictures then as well!!! So I guess you'll have to wait until Thursday evening.

Meanwhile, Bobby got a good report from the foot doctor today, and that's one less visit we'll now have to make.

We lost a young rooster (one a momma hen hatched earlier in the spring) last night.

Visited a 2nd woodwind shop this morning only to find it was closed on Mondays...one of these days I WILL get my clarinet checked out!!!

And that's all the exciting news in our household.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

change

 Stats:

 90 homes      Glenn Creek Subdivision
212 homes      Royal Oaks Subdivision
115 homes      Clifford Grove Subdivision

  41 homes      Unnamed Bryan Rd Subdivision

215 homes      Unnamed Ackerman/Hebron Church Rd Subdivision
112 townhomes

785 "new" families within 2 miles of our house within 2 years

And there's still part of a farm up for sale. (No, not my mother-in-law's).

Our world will not be the same.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

hopping

We came home from an appointment this morning to find a dead chicken in the turn lane. I imagine some parent was running late and flying either into or out of the school and the chicken was crossing the road. So we lost a bird, but then this afternoon Bobby came to get me. A hen that has been sitting had abandoned the nest, and with her was one chirping, black ball of fluff with a white spot on its backside. I left the remaining eggs the rest of the day, but the mother never returned to the nest. So this evening when I realized she had totally abandoned everything but the biddie, I pulled out the incubator and placed the remaining eggs inside. I'm hoping she'll adopt whatever hatches. I really don't want to prep the brooder box and go through all that again.  Of course, there's always the possibility that nothing else will hatch. I know 4 of the eggs are less than a week old (I marked the newer eggs about a week ago). So I'm putting Oct 10 on the calendar as disposal of any unhatched eggs and clean-up date of the incubator. Those marked last week may go out next week if unhatched.

Somehow the last week I've overlooked a piece of okra. Today when I found it, it was about 10" long. Probably to hard to eat, but if so, I might save it as seed for next year.

Green beans continue to put out in an amazing fashion. I think they're as excited about the cool weather as I am.

We replaced two blueberry bushes today (hoping they survive), and planted a fig tree and one ornamental crepe myrtle over the weekend. I can see my father-in-law shaking his head over the last one. He thought every plant should produce some type of food or it was a waste of time and energy.

I'm officially finished with making grape jelly. There's still a little bit of juice in the fridge, but not enough to fool with (plus I'm out of sugar).

Hopefully tomorrow I can actually work on my fair quilt. I did go to the longarmers for three hours last Thursday and have most of it quilted. I still have the borders, the poison ivy, and the turtle left to quilt, and I may do some handwork embellishing the fish eyes. Then there's the border. I'd really love to have this finished within the next week. Deadline is the 8th, so it's starting to loom over my head and not just in the back of my mind.

We have appointments every day this week, plus I need to prep for 1st-6th graders on Sunday morning. For some reason I was thinking it was in November that we had all of them, but it's this month instead.

And I'm hoping tomorrow to get an assessment on my clarinet. It's in desperate need of a "spa" treatment. If the price is too high to replace all the pads and some of the corks, I may look at some used student instruments. We'll see what the cost is.

Bobby's sister Brenda received very good news back on the biopsy they took from her tongue, and my friend Joni came home from the hospital today. They won't know until all her tests are back, but they think they got all the cancer.

And Dad's hand continues to heal from his surgery. Returns to the doctor in a month. So all is going well on the front. They went to vote in AL's primary today after the doctor visit, and the entrance door was jammed with a chair and wouldn't open.  They finally saw a note that said to use the side entrance, as there was a yellow jacket's nest in part of that door frame that had been sprayed twice and they still had not gotten all of the insects. Dad was more than happy to oblige once he saw the note.

And that is all I can update on now...Hope to have lots to share next week.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

the die is cast

Thursday night I went online and submitted a form and printed out a receipt. I am now officially registered to enter a quilt in the state fair, and it is due at the fairgrounds no later than 5pm Oct.9.

And as I finish typing that sentence, I feel like I am back in a dorm room at Free Will Baptist Bible College my freshman year, and Charity Van Winkle has walked in the door to see how I've finished my Ancient History timeline that is due the next day. She had been working on it for WEEKS, and I had no clue we even had such a project. She looked at me strangely, and informed me it was on the syllabus. I remembered getting one of those the first day of class, and it simply looked like a class outline. Silly me didn't realize that it actually listed assignments and due dates on it.  I stayed up almost all night working on that project, and I was quite pleased with my C, and no one other than Charity knew it was a last minute frenzied free-for-all. The next day after classes she drove me to Target (I didn't own a car) and helped me pick out something called a "planner". When we got back to campus, she stopped in my room and showed me hers, and how to list everything from every syllabus AND to backtrack several weeks and write in when to start working on it. At the time I thought it was just another bump in life, but four years later I was still using that method to keep up with things. And for the most part, it worked.

And unlike those days, I actually have STARTED this quilt. I've even scheduled an appointment at the shop that rents the long arm quilting machines. That appointment is this coming Thursday. I estimate I'm about 2/3 finished with the top, and I have a few hours tomorrow and half the day Monday and Tuesday reserved to work on it. So there's no turning back. No more thinking about patterns and colors and ideas. It's now do or die. Okay. So it's really not THAT severe. If I don't finish it'll just mean they'll have an extra spot reserved for a quilt that doesn't show up.

I will probably always be one of those people rushing to meet a deadline. It seems to be how I'm wired. I think the day I actually have a project complete more than a day ahead of its due date might very well be the day the earth stops spinning on its axis. Or else it will make my "do it immediately the second you know about it" husband have a heart attack.

So if you don't hear from me much the next two weeks, you'll know why. And with that, I'm off to applique a catfish.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

turning a corner



Back in August one my many cousins was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia. To be honest, I didn't think too much about it when she was first admitted. I figured a day or two in ICU with breathing treatments and she'd be home within 3-5 days. But then the texts and calls and e-mails got progressively worse. One lung no longer contained infection but was severely damaged from the infection. They were concerned if she picked up a secondary infection it would kill her. All visitors outside of immediate family was banned. I cannot even begin to fathom what her husband, who is a pastor, was/is dealing with as he tries to see about the congregation as well as make the 45 minute drive to B'ham to see his wife.

Fast forward three weeks:
Earlier this week doctors informed the family that if she continued to progress, she might be home by the middle of October, though Thanksgiving might be more realistic. They ended the conversation with a comment along the lines of "We didn't expect her to make it." Today they removed the vent for the first time with the plan to leave it off as long as she could handle it, and as of supper time, it was still of. They also put in a piece that would allow her to speak...a first in three long weeks.

She's not out of the woods yet, but just that little ray of sunshine today was huge. My prayers go out to this dear family who has suffered SO much heartache the last several years. They've seen God work miracles; they've seen God say no. My prayer is that soon she'll be singing with her family again, and testifying yet again that God has sustained her through yet another trial.

May you run and not be weary, Angela!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Cambridge bound

My niece and her husband are moving to England today.

Zach has been accepted into Cambridge. He plans to spend 9 months getting his second master's degree, then apply for the doctorate program. I think this degree will focus on a comparison/contrast of the Hebrew writing and Greek translation of the book of Ruth (his first master's degree was the same thing but on the book of Amos). Then his doctorate program would involve learning Aramaic, Urdu, Sanskrit and either French or German as part of understanding the translations of the early Scriptures. I think his ultimate plan is to teach at a Christian college, but at the moment that is many years down the road.

We spent Saturday with them since this week is full (I'm teaching today and doctor's appts tomorrow). I'm sure their departure will not be forgotten, as their tickets had to be credited due to Irma impacting flights out of Atlanta. So last night they headed to Washington DC so they could fly out from there today. They'll arrive in Heathrow, England at 7:30am, then take a bus to Cambridge. Someone from a Baptist church there will meet them in a "people carrier" (we think that's a minivan, but aren't sure), and then will drive them to another member's house where they'll stay for 2 weeks until they can move into campus housing. They have to come early to sign paperwork, but the dorms don't open until October. Someone in authority wasn't thinking through those logistics very well if you ask me.

And 2017 is staying true to fashion, and we had another flat tire (but no blow out!) halfway home. We called AAA at 4:30. A little after 6 someone showed up, only to look at the van and all its modifications and tell us we needed a tow truck as there was no jack that could elevate our van enough to change a tire. And of course with it being 6pm on a Saturday night every tire place nearby was closing or closed, so there was nowhere we could be towed. And since Bobby isn't legally supposed to stay in a van while it's towed (shout out to all the common sense tow truck drivers who shrug and say "we can make that work") and I'm not able to lift him high up into a tow truck and stick the chair back in a loaded van and secure it, we were grasping at straws. When the AAA guy came back after spending about 40 minutes on the phone trying to find options, and the best thing he had involved the police, an ambulance medical transport AND a tow truck, I started making my own phone calls. No way I was going to pay $700 in transport fees and then have to pay for a new tire on top of that. Thankfully my sister knew someone who had an accessible van, and an hour later they were there, Highway Patrol helped us get Bobby's van to a location where he could load and unload, and then we sat for another hour and a half waiting on the AAA guy to get back with a tow truck. I was not the happiest camper to find out he was taking other calls while we were sitting on the side of the road waiting. He loaded up the van and took it to his shop, and delivered it to our mechanic in Garner Sunday morning. I felt really bad for my sister and brother-in-law, as their time with Em and Zach is very limited, AND they then had to turn around drive back home and return the van to their church member. So by the time I climbed into bed from tending to Bobby's medical stuff in the wee hours Sunday morning, they would have just been arriving home themselves. I think it will be a weekend none of us will forget, and my thoughts and prayers are with Em & Zach today as they start their new adventure.

Monday, September 11, 2017

fowl mornings

I've never actually seen the heron catch a fish, but I know it does as it leaves a pile of scales in the area where it perches.





And much closer to the window, one of our little hummingbirds. These three birds are on their third container of nectar this summer.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

class # 2

I feel like I sneezed and August was here and gone. My allergy med quit working, grapes began ripening, I hurt my back (and still struggling some), began training stuff with Board of Elections, and fall gardening. Oh, and the quilt class I signed up for back in January arrived! (I try to take one or two classes a year.) Jacqueline de Jonge, from the Netherlands, was teaching her methods of paper piecing at the state fairgrounds for 2 days (organized through Wish Upon A Quilt store in North Raleigh). Below are a few of the quilts she displayed during one of the breaks (called a "trunk show" when done during a quilt fair or show). Our teacher is the lady on the left and the one hiding her head on the right is Cathy, the owner of "Wish" (what many local quilters call it)



I think this was one of her earlier patterns, but I think it's just as fabulous as the newer ones.


One of her new patterns, which I'm almost tempted to purchase!!

Several of the more advanced students were working on this pattern, and it was amazing watching it come together.

The teacher with the Alabama crew
During a break on one of the first days, I heard Jane, in the beige sweater (the lady I shared a table with) talking to Ella (the girl in white next to us) about where they were from. I almost dropped my scissors when I heard Ella say "Forestdale, Alabama" and heard Jane reply "I know where that is! I lived in Alabama for 7 years" and then proceed to name a lot of small power plants located in small towns. On day two of the class we discovered one the girls working on the pattern above was an Auburn graduate!! I think there was one other lady who lived in AL for several years, but I don't think it was something she enjoyed or wanted to talk about. Ella grew up in NC and actually went to UNC but has lived her adult life in AL, which is where her husband grew up. Talk about a small world!!!

And hopefully by this time next year I'll have my quilt top finished and quilted. I think it's going to be gorgeous, though it is a lot of time consuming work. She may be coming back in 2019, so I'm seriously keeping that in the back of my mind as a class possibility!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

the new chair

Tuesday of last week we drove to North Raleigh to pick up Bobby's new wheelchair and receive instructions on how to operate both it and its accessories. It was more than a little overwhelming for both of us. I think the mechanic was surprised and disappointed/concerned that we weren't thrilled (these chairs are non-refundable). It's a lot to take in. This chair is not identical to what the sales rep brought to the house. Two inches here and two inches there make a world of difference.

The chair we received has a head rest, which presents a small challenge in our morning routine and trying to get him buckled in the van, but nothing I can't live with. We hope to meet with the van company today to start overcoming the biggest hurdle...whether or not this chair is too tall/too long for him to drive. Every time you get a new power chair the van and the chair have to be modified slightly, but this one is so drastically different there's a good possibility it will be equivalent to having a new van upfitted. If that's the case, then it would actually be cheaper to purchase a new wheelchair similar to what he had. If we go that route, then anytime that chair has issues, we pay out of pocket for every part and all labor. Insurance will only cover the chair they provided, which the physical therapist suggested.

There are other issues/concerns we have that I think can be overcome if we get the right people putting their heads together (and I have a few in mind). But for now we're taking every issue one at a time. As Bobby had to remind me last week, there's no point in immediately trying to correct everything as sometimes one adjustment can solve multiple problems. That's hard for me. I want him to like this chair and be happy and I want to just take care of everything all at once. But I know he's right and that we need to resolve the larger issues first.

So even though it's been a week, we're now on day four of adjustments/appointments all chair related. I'm more than ready for us to find a new normal.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Monday, August 21

Last Monday we drove to Sumter, South Carolina so we could view the eclipse in "totality". (My uncle was laughing that he had never heard that word in all his life and in the span of a few days he'd heard it so many times he was tired of it.)  The public park there was having a special event, but the traffic to the park was quite long so we drove on down the road to Lowe's hardware store and parked. Evidently quite a few other people had the same idea. :)

Due to the heat, we headed inside, and would walk back to the garden center every 10-15 minutes to see how much it had changed. About 15 minutes before totality, Bobby came out and joined me. The lights in the parking lot that were on sensor came one, as did the ones in the garden area. A few workers slipped outside (despite the announcement not to abandon their posts) a few minutes before, and it was amazing. A worker who had glasses told those without when it was safe to look. A HUGE cheer went up from the parking lot. We were able to spot two stars, even with the night lights on around us. And the temp dropped at least ten degrees.




As the sun begin to be uncovered once again, we suddenly realized all the birds had gone silent. They began to chirp again. The lights slowly flickered back off, and we headed back inside to finish looking at a few things and check out somewhere between the 2nd crescent shape and bitten cookie shape.

It was a great day, and I'm thankful we were able to go where it was totally darkened. Bobby wants to know where we're going to visit in 7 years when it passes over the US again. :) It's not often he mentions wanting to go somewhere or do something, so I think this might be something we have to do!

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.