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


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


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


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 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


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.