Tuesday, March 29, 2016


On Monday I saw my first robins this spring, always a treat and a promise of better weather coming.  It's not been a bad spring, weather-wise.  It's pretty typical of Alberta spring weather to switch back and forth between warm, sunny days and dark, overcast days with a cold wind from the north.  The forecast for the next few days is very mild.

I also heard birdsong in the morning this week for the first time.  And pretty soon the frogs in the dugout will begin advertising themselves.  That's another spring time chorus that's so delightful to hear.  They sure make a racket!  I like to toss a stone into the water and induce the sudden silence.  A few seconds, at most a half minute and one anxious frog can't stop himself from singing out: Choose me!  Choose me!  And they all join in again.

Saturday I went to a funeral of a good friend, a farmer, just 63 years old who went out to feed his cattle, was struck from behind by a young man hurrying to hockey practice and died when he was thrown from his tractor which then rolled on him.  So Sad!!!  Such a waste!  It's called an "accident" which, from its Latin roots means "something that happens," but really, it was something that didn't have to happen.

It was a very positive celebration of his life.  It had been a good life.  He loved his family, he loved and served God, he loved farming.  His three children (all grown, with children of their own) took turns talking about him and what a loving, patient father he had been.  They shared a few good stories that had us laughing.  We will pray for his family, especially his wife who now has to adjust to living without him.  We're thankful for our assurance of our life in God, which we believe will unfold in the most wonderful way for us when we leave this life for the next life.  It's still a tragedy when a loved one dies, but there is a path through the hard times.

This funeral was such a contrast to the last one I attended, at which the family and other mourners felt they had to prayerfully beg God to admit the deceased to heaven.  It was an even greater contrast to the funeral I went to over a year ago for a dear friend and art teacher, at which God and our future was not mentioned at all.  A beautiful, empty ceremony created by people who believe that when you die, that's it.  You're gone and have no more existence.

Monday, March 21, 2016


I had a very happy birthday on Thursday.  We went to Rosebud for a lovely buffet dinner with Saskatoon pie for dessert.  Delicious!  I visited the little gift shop across the street where I was able to buy a bar of my very favourite home-made soap, Prairie Sage.  Wonderful for complexions.

Then we had the great fun of attending a matinĂ©e performance of "Wingfield Unbound."  If you ever have a chance to see one of the plays in this series, don't pass it up!  Rod Beattie is extremely good at portraying all the different characters in this very funny series of plays about a Toronto stockbroker who "retires" to take up farming on 100 acres in rural Ontario.  It's just full of laughs, and we enjoyed it thoroughly.

Friday we moved many trays of small plants from the growing benches in the basement out to the #1 greenhouse.  Things are gearing up for the greenhouse season.

Saturday Jim went to Morrinville to pick up many boxes of small plants.  When he got back at 3:30 p.m. S. and I were already in the greenhouse preparing.  We took all the boxes from the van into the greenhouse and started transplanting the geraniums into individual pots.  Today we were busy transplanting all sorts of annuals.  I did about 900 very small pansies into the 4 packs.  That was two trays full of plugs finished.  There are three more of pansies.  S. worked on other plants that went into single pots.  So we have a very good amount finished already.  The greenhouse is starting to look so nice with the shelves and tables filling up with green plants.

I did finish a quilt over the weekend: the "Picket Fence" which I've showed along the way.  Here it is, all complete:
This was a pattern that I found in a 1994 copy of Quiltmaker magazine.  Although I give away most of the quilts I make, this one is a "keeper."  It will go with us to Arizona next fall and reside on the back of the white sectional sofa there.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


I finished the Disappearing Four Patch quilt top this morning and laid it out on the sewing room floor.  It measures 37.5" x 52.5".  It didn't look balanced with a layout of 5 blocks by 7 blocks.  The first solution that came to mind was to make another row of 7 blocks, making the quilt 6 blocks by 7 blocks.

The trouble with that is finding enough coordinating fabrics in about the same colour range.  It was hard enough to get this many that looked pretty decent together.  I doubt there are enough in my stash to make another seven.  The background is not a problem.  There's enough of that fabric left.

Another solution: take the end five blocks off and add them to the short side, making the quilt six blocks by six blocks, or 45" x 45", with the addition of one more new block.  It would have to be a dark blue block.  I think I could manage that.

Then I looked at the quilt from another angle:  This doesn't seem so bad.  Maybe I can just add borders and be done with it.  Maybe even do three borders on the "not long enough" side.

Anything goes in quilting!  It's just up to the quilter.

Monday, March 14, 2016


After some really beautiful, spring-like weather and the first bloom!!!--a snowdrop, (maybe that name is significant) we are back into the white stuff.

Statistically, our region receives the largest amount of snow in March and April, and we do like that snow.  It gives needed moisture.  Plus, somehow fresh white snow falling always look beautiful to me.

It also creates just the right atmosphere for spending an afternoon in the sewing room!

Sunday, March 13, 2016


Not much going on here lately, just the regular activities, including meetings of the two quilting groups, the town and the country.  I was teaching "Disappearing Four Patch" at the town group this past week.  When I demonstrate a technique I like to make a lap quilt, at least 40" x 50" as a sample.  These blocks were started in Arizona and came home to Alberta with me to be finished.  This afternoon I made the last one.  The blocks are sticking to my "design board," a batting covered 7' x 3' piece of foam insulation that I nailed to the wall--very handy.

This week I'll sew them together and add borders.  Probably a narrow dark red, then a wider beige, same as the background, and then bind it in either a dark red or a dark blue. This quilt will go back to AZ with me in the fall to be a donation quilt from the group there.  We make quilts and give them to the Fire Department and to The Love House, a refuge for abused and abandoned children.  I love it that they receive a quilt that is their very own, to keep for good.

I also finished the first of a pair of socks, shown recently being "ravelled" back one more time.

Dear Son #1 called this past week for a chat.  I asked him what he'd like for his birthday this year--his birthday is in January, so I'm pretty late with that.  But he promptly answered, "A hat," meaning a knitted hat.  His sister made him one for his birthday, but he'd like another.  He already has a few that I've made for him, including one made for our trip to Chile in '11, made from Chilean wool that my friend M. brought back from her trip there.

So I went to my stash and picked out two coordinating greens and started knitting.  At this point it doesn't look anything like a hat.  I suspect it's a proto type and not the finished version.  I won't publish a picture until after he has it, so it will come some time in the future.

My birthday comes up this week and a real treat is planned: we have tickets to go to Rosebud for a performance of "Wingfield Unbound," one in a series of very funny, one- actor plays about a fellow who moves from Toronto to a rural farm and the trials and misadventures he finds there.  We've seen a few plays in this series and find them very enjoyable.  They are available in DVD format also.  I'm really looking forward to that.

Saturday, March 5, 2016


Our property is at the low point on the road in a section of a little over a mile, so all the spring melt runoff is heading our way.  That's good news: it will fill up our dugout, the manmade pond near the greenhouse, about 1 acre in size and about 12 feet deep.  We water our plants during the selling season, and our landscape all summer from that source.  It's free--except for the electricity for the pump; and it's agricultural runoff so it contains fertilizer.  Plus, it has not been treated so it's free of chlorine, etc.

Today, late in the afternoon the culvert under the road could no longer handle the amount of running water.  It's quite a sight.  Here's the area just south of our driveway.  Just to the right of the tree trunk you can see a slight disturbance in the surface.  That's where the culvert is, and the water is slowly swirling into it.

There's a lot of ice around yet, and that's probably why the water is so slow going through the culvert.

Here's a view of the end of the driveway with the water running across the road.  I took these pictures shortly after the sun had set, just a little while ago.

A closer view:

Another sign of spring--today during our morning walk M. and I saw a flock of geese winging north.  Next up: that first early robin.

Of course, we are aware that, statistically, this area has the highest amounts of snowfall during the months of March and April.  That snowfall is a significant contributor to the amount of moisture we get for our growing season.  Will these warming trends do away with that?