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:


Saturday, September 2, 2017

CATCHING UP

or trying to catch up a little.  Two weeks ago my laptop crashed and I took it into to be repaired.  I got it back a week later and now will try to catch up a bit of what happened since.

I was very, very happy to sell my Nilius/Leclerc floor loom.  Years ago my friend Hilda bought this 36" floor loom and began weaving.  We were living in the same town at that time, and I did some weaving with her.  When she moved into a condo and didn't have room for the loom I bought it from her with the thought that when I turned 65 I would have a new craft to get involved in.  But by that time I was so completely into quilting that I never did put on a warp and start weaving.

I advertised the loom on Kijiji and had a few inquiries, and then someone who was looking for just that sort of loom called and arranged to buy it.  She came with her two sisters and took the loom, the bench and all the accessories and even agreed to take the whole stash of weaving and knitting yarns.


It JUST fit into her van.  Four women were happy! 

Craig, who helps us with cutting down trees and such, showed up for work one day with ragged jeans.  I was teasing him that he needed to do some mending and he replied that when the jeans get too bad, he gives them to his brother, who makes quilts from them.  Well, that gave me an idea!  I knew I had some 6" squares of denim, so I went and cut some more, and an equal amount of 6" flannel squares and made another raggy quilt!   This one is for the baby's big sister, so she doesn't feel left out.  Here are the sets of squares:
Here's the front of the denim quilt:
And here's the back:
 
That was all a lot of fun!

And it seems that one thing leads to another.  I had made lots of jelly and syrup lately and felt like there hadn't been enough sewing,  SO I picked another pattern:
This was originally used to make placemats, but I had an idea for a lap quilt using a few beige backgrounds and some nice fall coloured batiks.  The squares in the original pattern are just 1.5 inches.  For the lap quilt I enlarged them 7.5 inches.  For two days last week I sewed like mad, using what there was in the drawer of batiks.

Partway through the orange/green fabric row I ran out of that fabric.  I burrowed through every fabric in that drawer, and OH GOODY! at the bottom of the drawer was another hunk of the same orange/green!!!  what a relief!

It's paper pieced, and when the blocks were all made and the paper removed, I carefully pressed the quilt, front and back and hung it on the design wall to admire it.  OH DEAR!  As soon as the quilt was up on the wall it became evident that it wasn't complete!
When you look at the two-colour pattern, it looks fine.  But when you see it in this combination, it is definitely unfinished!  The problem is, there is not more of the orange fabric to make a few more squares.  I dug through the batik drawer again, but didn't have the same luck.  However, there is a piece of fabric that will be close enough, I hope!  So that's what I going to do now with my Saturday afternoon.  Wish me well!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

CHERRIES, CHERRIES, CHERRIES!!!

The early part of the summer is a good time to do repairs and painting around the "homestead" because by this time there is an huge of amount of picking, juicing, canning, freezing, making of jellies, juices, jams, syrups and sauces.  I used to do lots of freezing, but since I sold the big freezer and now have only a modest sized freezer, I need to do more canning.

S. picked and I juiced lots and lots of cherries this week.  The trees are just loaded.  It was the same with raspberries, Nanking cherries, red currants and it will happen again with apples this year.  Maybe everything is producing like mad because we started the summer with lots of ground water.  We sure notice that the weeping willow at the foot of the garden seems to have almost doubled in size this year.
The red currant bushes were likewise thriving.  We have lots of red currant juice put up already.  Enough for now....

Here's just a small portion of the cherry tree.  The branches are so loaded with fruit they are hanging dangerously low.  But that does make picking cherries easy!

What a lot of goodness!
                                  
Here are three ice cream pails of picked cherries.  This makes one nice big load for the steam juicer.

I wash them, load them into the juicer and steam them for three to five hours.  Depending on how ripe and juicy they are that will yield about 6, sometimes 7  quarts of pure juice.  Often I can the juice directly from the juicer.  It's perfectly hot and when loaded into a hot, sterile jar, will seal the snap lid very nicely, and store well until needed.  But sometimes I make something further and this is what I did yesterday.  Twenty pints of cherry jelly which includes one pint of cherry syrup.


This morning I made 15 pints of cherry syrup.  The first time that happened by mistake.  I like to make jelly with about half the usual amount of sugar.  That gives a nice, tart jelly.  And if I use "No Sugar Added" jelling powder, they turn out nice and firm.  But the local IGA didn't have the "No Sugar Added" so I bought the 30% less sugar kind.  With just two cups of sugar to four cups of juice it did not jell, but formed a nice sort of syrup.  Since I had bought several packets of that jelling powder, I simply made syrup from the juice.  The Dear One enjoys a breakfast now and then of couscous with fruit syrup.  This will fill the bill very nicely!

Next up are the apples.  I plan to can several pints of unsweetened applesauce, maybe make that quarts.  And also make maybe 7 or 8 pints of Apple Butter.  This is the Dolgo apple tree in the back area.  it's super loaded this year.  These apples will turn a very deep, almost a burgundy red.  They make a nice sauce, but these are going to go for the birds and coyotes, because there is a tree down by the greenhouse that makes really good unsweetened applesauce.  That's on the To Do List for tomorrow.

Our helper S. can help me pick,  wash, quarter and core the apples.  

That's what goes on at this time of summer.  It's too late for scraping and painting!  The neglected project of the downstairs door will have to wait one more year.  But it won't rot in the meantime, and all this fruit will if it's not taken care of promptly.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

A VERY SPECIAL PRESENT

Our daughter who just visited us gave me a very special present!  A few years ago she took up pottery, a creative activity that takes a lot of skill and training.  Last week she gave me a bowl that she had made, a very, very nice bowl:
It's placed on the sofa cushion to show how well it coordinates with the upholstery.  In this next picture it is on the coffee table, which will be its special place in the living room.


I really love anything made by hand.  Handmade objects show time and skill, and a willingness to use them to give something of value.  

In the 80's I taught Suzuki violin in Kelowna, B.C. for five years.  When we left for Regina, my students' parents got together and bought several pieces of pottery from a local studio as a goodbye gift for me.  I thought it was about the nicest present I had ever received.  There was a coffee pot, a sugar and creamer,  six smallish mugs, a dinner plate and rice bowl (for snacks) and 6 luncheon plates, all decorated with a "soft fruit" design, such a very Okanagan icon.  The Okanagan is THE PLACE for soft fruits.  Many orchards offer U-Pick and it's possible to pick, for instance, huge ripe peaches that come off easily into your hand.  It's just not possible to buy that kind of fruit in any grocery store!

Within a year I had accidentally broken the coffee pot, so I simply ordered another one from that pottery studio.  I also ordered 5 more dinner plates and 5 more rice bowls and a serving bowl.  We still have the coffee pot, the sugar and creamer, 6 mugs, the serving bowl, 5 dinner plates and 4 luncheon plates.  All the delicate rice bowls are history.  These are the dishes we use every day, and you can be sure that I think of all those good people in Kelowna and feel grateful very often!

I don't plan to use this new bowl that way.  It will hold place of honour in the living room for as a long as I'm here.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

TIME FOR GOODBYE

Sniff, sniff....they just left!  The Dear One is driving them to the airport for their flight home.  It was a wonderful visit.  I enjoyed them so much!  But a whole week has gone by and now it's time for them to leave again.

Usually the "goodbye" picture is taken by their car, all packed up and ready to go.  But this time the DSIL had to stay home for work reasons, and they didn't drive.  So here's an indoor goodbye picture, and that actually works better--no one's squinting into the sun.

Goodbye and God Bless!  For another year.

One of the sad things in my life is that we never have and probably never will live close to growing grandkids.  Some things in life are just the way they are and have to be accepted!

We did have another nice day out together yesterday.  We went to the Royal Tyrell Museum in Drumheller--the Dinosaur museum.  On the way we took a little detour through the country in order to cross the Red Deer River on this little ferry.  The kids had never been on a ferry before.  About 45 years ago the Dear One and I crossed with this ferry.  I should dig out the old slide of the ferry to compare with this new one.



The trip is SHORT!!!  Just 344 feet.  The kids comment was, "Why not just build a bridge?"  I mentioned this to the nice young man operating the ferry and he replied, "No one would come here if there were a bridge."  He's probably right.  We came just to give the kids a "ferry experience."


The weather was beautiful, the drive was enjoyable and the countryside looked quite lush, considering this is Alberta and the middle of August!

I had been to the dinosaur museum a few times already.  In fact, way back in the '70's the Dear One and I visited it when it was in a small building long before this "world-class" museum was built.

There were many exhibits I hadn't seen before and everything is very well done, but I have a few negative comments, and probably wouldn't have noticed these things except for our recent visit to the Telus Spark Science Centre in Calgary.

First: there aren't nearly enough ladies' washrooms.  There are just two washrooms for women in the museum, and there are long lineups whenever you want to use them.  They need at least twice the washroom capacity.

Second: The museum is laid out in one very long continuous gallery.  That's not very family friendly!  The Science Centre has all separate but connected galleries, so you can go from one to another, or you can return to the centre atrium.  The Tyrell does not have a central atrium, just a rather modest (considering the number of visitors) space beyond the entry kiosks.

Then when you want to take a break for lunch you need to finish walking through, go to the cafeteria and then try to re-enter against the traffic flow, unless you want to repeat the whole journey through the long, winding gallery.  The two grandkids were going to go ahead of DD. and myself, and were stopped by a "traffic police" and told they were not allowed to enter unless they showed proof of payment.  We were not each given a pass, we had just one for the whole "family."  So they came back and waited for us.  That could be dealt with in a better way.

And then lastly a minor "quibble": everyone must exit through the gift shop.  I rather object to that in principle, as it seems a little too pushy to me.  But just practically, it created a real traffic jam, as there was only a narrow aisle between displays.  Someone was trying to push a wheelchair through and had a tough time of it.  Someone else was walking with a cane and also could hardly manage the congestion.

I guess that was not "lastly" as I have one more comment: It's not really a good outing for young children.  Once a three year old has seen a few dinosaur skeletons, they've had enough.  They are just not good for two or three hours of the same.  There are no interactive displays, and I can understand why, so there really is nothing for the young ones to do.  The newer beginning area of the museum was a very "intellectual" display that children under 12 would not relate to at all.

It is a really excellent dinosaur museum, but it's really not a "kid-space."  There were quite a few unhappy children there--a complete contrast to the Telus Spark Science Centre in Calgary.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

BEEN BUSY

Saturday I picked up D.D.#2 and her two children, 16 and 12, from the airport.  We had a nice supper at Smitty's on the way home and got back to town early enough to pick up a few groceries for the next few days.  It's a treat to have a visit with these dear ones!  And we miss her husband but his job with the post office is too new for him to qualify for holidays in August.

Tuesday we went to the Telus Spark Centre in Calgary, a fairly new and exceedingly good science centre, with tons of interactive displays for children to learn about science. There are about 5 different galleries, organized around different topics.  There's also a theatre, but we didn't go there.  Outdoors there is a very "stimulating" playground, aimed at developing physical and mental abilities.

For me, one of the most enjoyable activities was in the large airy atrium where there were lots of big blue blocks made of some sort of rubbery substance, in several different shapes that made building things easy.  Young children were having a wonderful time with them, running around, building things out of their imagination.  Some made up a little "teeter-totter" with them.  Others created a pile to jump over, others made a sort of rocking horse. I saw so many happy children there--that was a treat for me.

In the "Being Human" gallery there was a fountain--as part of a toilet!!! Its purpose was to illustrate instinctive recoils.  There was a sign saying it was clean water--go ahead and drink!

That's the granddaughter overcoming her instinctive dislike of "drinking from a toilet"!

Yesterday DD and the grands went to town, visited the library and the very fine book/gift store in town.  The kids picked out a game each and DD found an interesting cookbook.  While they were away I finished sewing the binding on the quilt, "Entwined."  It's complete now, and she can take it home with her.




It's pictured in our bedroom where it would also look very good.  It's not quite as big as my usual bed quilt.  I like to make them reach to the floor.  But they have a dog who would chew on the quilt that reached the floor, so it's somewhat abbreviated.  To that end, I also rounded off the bottom corners which would otherwise "pool" on the floor.

This quilt was an enjoyable project from beginning to end.  I seldom make a quilt from all new material, but the materials for this top were all bought in one greatly fun, afternoon.  The Fabric Nook, our local quilting shop, was having their semi-annual 50% off sale and I found everything I needed for the top.  The pattern had the darker colours all one dark blue, but I decided I'd prefer using a mixture.  I love how it turned out!

Next up: sandwich and quilt the Picket Fence.  That will hang up in The Fabric Nook with a sign advertising a demonstration day in September at which Brenda and I will show how to cut and sew a Picket Fence quilt.  That will be fun!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A QUILTY DAY

No picking or juicing happened today because last night we had a thunderstorm that stayed around for a long time and dumped about 1" of badly needed water on our area.  While we were thankful for that moisture it made everything too wet to be out in the bushes picking cherries, etc.  Plus, it was a dark, gloomy day and one that stayed cold (not enough sunshine!).  The high temperature for the day at our place was a steady +15ºC, or 59ºF.  Not too inspiring for working in a garden!

It did seem like a good day to work on quilts!  The Raggy Quilt is finished!  Here are a few photos:
Snipping of seams finished, before washing and drying:
That's the special scissors there on the quilt.  It springs open after each cut, and that saves a tremendous amount of wear of your hand!  Here's a close up of the snipped but not washed and dried seams.

Here's what the quilt looks like after two trips through the washer and dryer:
And here's a closeup of the seams after the washer/dryer treatment:

I'm pretty happy with this bright, fuzzy quilt, and also happy that it's finished (except it needs a label on the back) so early.  It's for a baby due in November!

Later today I sewed the label on the Entwined quilt and am working on finishing the hand stitching of the binding to the back of the quilt.  This one needs to be finished before Saturday.  

With that and the cleaning that needs to be complete before the weekend, I'm giving up the idea of finishing the scraping and painting of the downstairs door and window frame.  It can wait a while.

Monday, July 31, 2017

A "FOODY" DAY

In the morning (and sometimes the night before) I make plans for what I should accomplish that day.  Today I planned to clean downstairs where the spare bedroom and bathroom are, because on Saturday DD#2 and her two children (16 and 12) are arriving for a visit.  We look forward so much to this as all our children and grandchildren live at least a day's drive or an airplane ride away.  I am blessed to see them once a year!

But after my friend M. and I did our 2 1/2 mile walk this morning she gave me some zucchini.  This year we have no zucchini in the garden--so my friends can "unload" some of their extra on us.  You always have extra zucchini when you have any in your garden!

I remember the first time we grew zucchini.  We had no idea!  We planted three long rows.  The harvest amounted to a few tons.  We finally used them for "green" fertilizer.

So I came home from the walk and started slicing and sautéing zucchini--for about an hour.  Then I added a can of diced tomatoes--we are all out of our own canned and frozen tomatoes--onions, garlic, loose-fried ground beef, oregano, basil and a little seasoned salt. Together with a few ears of delicious fresh corn from the garden, it made a very lovely dinner for us.

In the meantime S. had been picking the last bucket of raspberries.  There will be more, but no more bucketsful.  The rest we'll eat as they come.  That was enough for 2 1/2 quarts of freezer raspberry jam, bringing the total to 17 quarts.  That might be enough.  I gave away a large container of it on Saturday to the young couple who moved into the north house across the road as a "welcome to the neighbourhood" present.  They'll surely enjoy that.

Have you ever made freezer raspberry jam?  For four cups of crushed raspberries, put one and a half cups of sugar in a measuring cup, mix in one package of freezer jam jelling powder, add the sugar/jelling powder to the crushed raspberries and stir for 3 minutes.  It's ready!  Put it into containers and freeze it--makes about 6 cups, or just put it in the fridge and spread it on your breakfast toast.  DELICIOUS!!!  It tastes very different from cooked jam--a much "brighter" flavour, slightly on the tart side.  YUM!

Then she picked 3 ice-cream pails of Nanking cherries.  There's only one quart of cherry juice left from last year.  They went into the steam juicer and here's the result:

Six jars of ruby red cherry juice, all set to make syrup or jelly, or just use as juice.  YUM again!

Tomorrow, hopefully, there will be more picking and more juice making, storing up the summer's goodness to enjoy throughout the year.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

RAGGY QUILT

The sewing of the raggy quilt is finished just now.  It's a very quick quilt to make--up to this point.  Now it needs to have all those "on top" seams clipped, then it needs to be washed and dried at least once.  Because it's flannel it should fray quite well.  I will post a picture when it's finished.  So far I like it a lot.

I added an extra fabric, 1" wide, around the edges and then pressed it over.  That will give the edges the same amount of "rag" as the inner seams.

I sewed this quilt on my portable Janome, the School Mate that I bought when I first started going to the town quilting club.  The bigger machine that I had at that time was not suitable for taking to those meetings.  This is a mechanical machine and utterly reliable.  It was an excellent investment (a little dark in this photo as the sun was shining brightly behind it.)

Next up: My friend Shirley (one of three Shirleys whom I count as friends) was kind enough to make this label for the "Entwined" quilt for me on her embroidery machine.  I really like that she put the design alongside the letters, as the design is entwined!

I'll press this, iron on some wonder under, and apply it to the bottom backing of the quilt.  That needs to be finished before next Saturday, as DD#2 and the two "grands" are arriving for a visit that day.  Much to look forward to!