Monday, October 16, 2017

NOT GOING ANYWHERE

We learned something about living in Arizona yesterday.  Something about car batteries and high temperatures that we weren't aware of.

Our church has three services on the weekend,  Saturday evening, 8:30 a.m. Sunday morning and 10:30 a.m. Sunday morning.  Usually Chancel Choir sings at one service on Sunday morning and Celebration Choir sings at the other service.  The first two Sundays of the month it's Chancel Choir's turn to take the 8:30 service and the last two Sundays of the month Chancel takes the 10:30 service.  Of course, Celebration Choir's schedule is the opposite.  If there is a fifth Sunday, one of the choirs takes an extra turn or there is other "special" music.  Because not all our "snowbirds" are back yet, the two choirs are now
combined and yesterday the combined choir took both services.

We arrived at church just before 8 a.m. because the choir reviews its music before the service.  We were ready to leave close to noon, and were one of the last cars in the parking lot.  It was scorching hot there--the temperature was in the high 90's and that meant in the full sun on a paved parking lot, things were really roasting.

I turned the key and heard just that ominous "clicking" sound that means the battery has died.  Oh, oh, what to do?  I went back into the church to find someone, anyone, who could help us.  It turns out that the most knowledgeable person around is the senior pastor, Pastor Steve.  Fortunately he was still there--pastors are generally about the last person to leave the church!

He came over with his car and jump cables and gave us a boost that got the car running.  Thank you so much!!!  I said, "There's a sermon illustration in there!" meaning something about being dead and needing life power from some other source.  Wonder if he'll use that.

That afternoon Jim took the car to Walmart, bought a new battery, had the oil changed and the tires looked at.  They take care of tires free if you have bought them at any Walmart.  And by any, I mean any--U.S. or Canada.  They will rotate and balance them free for the life of the tires.

We were very, very grateful for the boost, and now know that batteries do not last long in a hot climate.  I don't know why, but it is evidently true.  I'm just thankful it happened yesterday when people were around to help and not this morning when I went to practice organ.

Monday, October 9, 2017

SINCE THE LAST TIME

The day after my last post we left for AZ.  It takes us three days, two nights to get here.  And the trip was true to form: it rained in Salt Lake City, not as hard as last year, and actually a little bit north of SLC.  Can't quite figure that out.  Why does it always rain during the hour we are driving through SLC?  Other than that, it was a good trip, and we do enjoy taking the shortcut around Las Vegas.  We actually went through that area Sunday morning, and then heard on the t.v. on Monday about the horrendous shooting there.  How discouraging this whole trend is, more and more of these terrible happenings!

We had decided to replace the sofa bed that came with the condo, which we bought furnished.  None of our guests have actually managed to sleep on it; instead they've hauled the mattress off every night and slept on it on the floor.  I wasn't looking forward to the shopping involved in finding a new, good sofa bed.  

While we were at the pool on Thursday I went to look at the residents' bulletin board where we may post ads for selling or renting condos, vehicles, furniture, etc.  And there was an ad for a sofa bed, in great condition, asking only $125.  I called and went to see it. It was in absolutely new condition, offered by someone who had bought a home here and didn't want the sofa bed.  So I was thrilled!  No shopping, no hassle and about 10% of the new price.  It's due to be delivered here anytime.  He said late morning, but I know how that goes when you're trying to get a lot of things accomplished.

In the meantime Jim hauled the old sofa bed out onto the patio in preparation for receiving the new one.  Then he had an idea:  why not enjoy the comfort on the patio. 
 Works great for him!  But we are still going to get rid of it.  Maybe the next thing we'll look for is some comfortable patio furniture.  What we have now are two of the wicker chairs that I bought two years ago for $5. each, painted them and made cushions.  But they are not the most comfortable seating and really don't compare with a sofa  --  or, what I'd like to get now is a comfortable love seat and two chairs, or maybe just two nice lounge chairs.  We'll see what turns up.

This past week was busy: three big grocery runs to stock up on everything.  Need a few more things yet.  The condo needed cleaning--dust builds up over the months.  I also had the treat of going to orchestra (Wednesday morning), church choir (Wednesday afternoon), quilting (Thursday morning) and art group (Friday morning).  I finished a "lesson" painting of a basket of fruit--although I might do a little "adjusting" on it yet.

It's on a stand on the kitchen counter.  Jim commented that it was awfully light, but that is the way the lesson was.  Still, I think the lemon in the left front side should have the colour deepend, and the apple? next to it needs to have a little more work done.

We both were very happy to attend the Evangelical Lutheran church that we belong to here this Sunday.  Such good preaching, such a good liturgical service, such wonderful music!  In the evening we went to a candlelight service on the Sun Village patio, to pray for the victims of the summer floods, fires and the shooting in Las Vegas.  It was very touching.  Part of it was the singing of "Let There be Peace on Earth"--words by Saint Francis of Assisi.  It was very touching.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

BEAUTIFUL FALL COLOURS

A friend who has a drone/camera took a few pictures of our place showing the absolutely gorgeous fall colours this year:


Credits to Tim Arnold.  THANKS!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

FALL EQUINOX

I had in mind that today was the fall equinox, but discovered it is actually tomorrow.  However, I was a bit shocked to get up to this sight this morning:

There had been rain overnight and it turned to snow this morning.  I thought that "Fall" not "Winter" followed the fall equinox!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

MORE PICKET FENCE FUN

It was fun for me to buy the fabrics for the new picket fence quilt, but it was probably even more fun to spend the day at The Fabric Nook in IDA yesterday demonstrating how to make a picket fence quilt.  I was all set up by 9:30 and began sewing blocks.  As women stopped by to see what was going on I showed them how to cut and sew the blocks for a picket fence quilt.  Twelve women were interested enough to pick up an instructional hand-out.

By 5 p.m. half of the blocks needed for a lap quilt were already finished.  One row of blocks was sewed together.  I think it will be quite attractive:

But now take a closer look at the block on the cutting board.  Can you see a difference?  This is something that puzzled me earlier.  I made about three blocks for this quilt before yesterday, and noticed that the "pinwheel" or "star" or whatever you call that gold figure slanted in a different direction.  I wasn't sure what made that happen.

Yesterday I figured it out: it just depends on how you lay the cut pieces.  If the 45º cut slants to the left, you get one sort, if it slants to the right you get the other figure.  It's the same piece; there's only one way to cut it.  But when you lay the first piece down you are deciding which way the pinwheel will slant.  Thus or thus:


The  instructions will have to be rewritten to include this important information.  I suppose that this is a problem only with batiks.  One sided material would be obviously unable to slant either way.

So the upshot is that I will be making two of these lap quilts, since there are already 3 blocks finished with the left hand upward slant.  There are 6 blocks finished with the right hand upward slant, and that's half the number of blocks needed for the quilt.  Now it's time to purchase more of the deep yellow fabric (looks orange in this picture) enough to complete a second quilt.  

Again, one quilt leads to another!

Oh, and the "Autumn" quilt is finished and being machine quilted.  I hope to complete it this coming weekend and leave it for a "comfort quilt" donations to the local group.  When it's all quilted and bound I'll post a picture.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

SOME FUN TODAY

I had some fun today!  It's always fun to buy some new material.  Usually I make quilts from my stash, but today I bought 9 fabrics to make another "Picket Fence" quilt.  Brenda and I are planning to demonstrate making that quilt on Tuesday, the 19th of September in the local quilt store, the Fabric Nook, part of IDA.

We're doing it to promote the 2 1/2" strip sets for sale there, but this time I bought yardage.  A while ago I made a Picket Fence from one of their strip sets, plus some left-overs and it turned out very nice.  It's hanging up in IDA to advertise the demos we plan to do.  But I will need more material to sew on the day of the demos, so I looked for something today and this is what I found:

The gold on the left will be the "pinwheels" or "stars" and the other fabrics will be the darks.  You need twice as many darks as lights.  See July 8 of this year, where I talk about this same quilt.

I was eager to start cutting 2 1/2" strips from this new fabric and putting together a few of the blocks.  Most of the blocks will be made during the 9:30 to 5:00 demos, but there should be a few ready ahead of time, and most of this fabric should be cut up into 2 1/2" strips.

But I restrained myself and went back to the "Tessellated Leaf" pattern that needed about 10 more blocks made to complete it visually.  So here it is with all the blocks.  The right hand vertical row and the bottom horizontal row are the new blocks.  All made, and I'm happy with them, but just not sewed together yet.  I hope to do that sometime this weekend.

I plan to add a narrow border of the red material and then a wider border of the lightest background fabric, and then bind it with the red.  So I did buy another 1/2 meter of the red this morning, along with another 1/2 meter of a nice batik to bind the very large quilt I was working on earlier.

On another front, here is what Jim and I accomplished with a harvest of tomatoes last weekend: 18 jars of stewed tomatoes, all ready for winter suppers.  As we eat our hot meal around 2 p.m., supper is simple: a piece of bread and cheese, or a bowl of soup.  Stewed tomatoes count as soup!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

HARVEST TIME

Harvest is well under way here.  We've had unusually warm weather for September, with one day this week predicted to go over 30ºC (close to 90ºF).  That, combined with very little rain the last month, means that everything is very dry.

When my friend and I were going to a walk recently two huge combines rumbled up the road.

She snapped a picture of me to give some idea of the size of this equipment.  We should have one of her standing beside the wheel.

Here's a field of swathed canola across the road from our place.  Last Saturday evening we had a time of heavy winds and that really messes up these nice neat swaths.  I wrote about canola a few years ago back in '11.  You can check that out in two posts, one on July 8, 2011 and the other on September 6, '11.

Here's this year's harvest of canola, swathed and ready to be combined.
 
Yesterday afternoon we had a visitor.  We've seen him several times recently.  He's quite at home here but will quickly disappear if he notices us.  He's in the driveway just outside the back door and I took these photos through a window.  In the first photo he checks his surroundings while eating a mouse he found in the shrubbery.

He then goes back to see if there are any more where he found this one.  It was a dead mouse that I had thrown out earlier.

Nothing there.  If we catch a mouse I usually throw the body between the spruce and the rosebush just behind him.


So he gradually moves off.  He went down into the garden area, scratched himself leisurely with his hind foot and then trotted away.


He's not very red, but you can tell by his tail and also his size that he is a fox and not a coyote.  We're hearing their choruses most nights lately.  Sounds like at least six of them out there.  We do enjoy the wildlife that takes advantage of all the food available here, both the berries and the small critters.  This is the time of year when the mice are trying to find a warm winter home and we appreciate the help of Mr. Fox in keeping the mouse population in check.

Some years ago we had two young fox kits that came and played on the bark chip pile in the parking lot every morning around 5 to 6 a.m.  What beautiful animals they were!  And what a treat to see them grow that summer.  I posted about them also, but will just repeat one of the best photos of them: