Monday, May 25, 2015

It's Been One of Those Weeks

   We are still getting so much rain here-almost every day it seems or off and on since April and very little sunshine-that really gets to ya after awhile-just as bad as when there is no rain and no relief from the sunshine for weeks or months. That's just mother nature and life.

     I have also known that for the last couple weeks my Mom was failing. She has been so ill with severe dementia this past year especially.  Difficult for me as I live 12 hours away from where she was living. I also have not been able to talk to her this past year cause she just was not able. Instead I would make handmade cards and send them to her each month as the staff told me they do read the mail to their patients so that was my only connection. I would pray for her every day, it always seems so unfair to me when some more than others suffer so much in the end-could never understand that at all-but that's life that is just the way things are.
     I did get the phone call this week that God called her home. I struggled with my emotions-so thankful she would no longer be suffering, but an empty feeling for me too and feeling very Alone. 
    I was hoping to be able to fly to save the 14 and 17 hour Greyhound ride but I live too rural to get a good flight. So Greyhound it is. The only close family I have left is my brother (and my husband)  Brother's days are pretty filled so I decided to rent a hotel this time right near the station which is also at the airport their in South Bend, In. The services will be mid June. My brother did clear his schedule to spend most of my last day with me since check out time 11 am and my bus leaves at 8:30 pm. I may also be able to connect up with a blog friend that lives in the area that last day as well.
   . This will most likely be my last trip "home" which really is not home at all as the family farm has been sold now. 
      So today being Memorial Day: a day to reflect and thank our soldiers for giving their lives for our freedom-I have lots to contemplate on today.
    
      We are both finally on the mends. Larry was soooo ill when he came home from the hospital that first weekend in May but he is now more on the mends. He is still quite weak for doing anything major-like trying to get a mower to work here, but finally no more coughing or wheezing. I am much better too, although allergies are still so bad with the very high pollen and mold we have had all spring.
   Next weekend we have another friend driving down from northern Illinois to visit so that will lift our spirits and he loves my cooking and baking lol   
       
    Since it has been so wet and rainy here and I was having a tough mental week I decided to start reading the Twilight 4 books series again-and these are thick books. The first time I read them I was so captivated by the author's writings that I could not put them down and would read them til early in the morning. So I knew I needed to read them again to "catch" everything. I am reading things I had missed and am still reading them all day and into the early morning hours-I am on the 4th book now. This author is just that good.

Mom made allot of quilts after she retired, I looked for one that I had taken in the past All of her left over fabrics went to charity quilts

Mom hand tieing baby quilt photo Momtyingherbrightbaybquilt-06.jpg

three years ago when I realized her dementia was getting worse I had brought this big quilt project to make together and I had to put it all away as her mind no longer understood how to quilt-that was wake up call for me and very sad

aug 2012 photo HPIM6645.jpg

Mom and her cousin Charlotte made a "day" out of picking me up and taking me back to the Greyhound station at the South Bend airport when I visited each year. This photo is probably 8 to 10 years ago

Mom and Charlotte with my luggage at airport ot catch bus photo 90d9.jpg

10 years ago my brother and I when we still had the family farm (over 150 years)

Jerry and me, jeep on farm photo 8664.jpg

This was the last family gathering we had together at our favorite restaurant in Shipshewana Indiana just before she moved off the farm and into a little house across the street from my brother--that was a good memory day

aug 2012 photo photo-1.jpg 


  aug 2012 photo photo.jpg

Sunday, May 17, 2015

I Worked in the Garden Over the Weekend with Lots of Photos

    This was the weekend I wanted to get all my transplants in the ground-according to the moon signs. I figured since we are having a wet and cool spring for the most part I would plant this way this season.

   So, I planted all my paste tomatoes that I grew in those plastic jug-greenhouses I made up last March. Sooooo pleased with these that I will definately be planting my own seeds this way from now on. Also planted my yarrow, tansy, Japanese indigo-which I am so excited about-for dye, sweet peppers, heirloom eating tomatoes, eggplant, and more. 
    I also planted my own sweet potato slips. Two years ago these took over my little garden space-so this year I will be hilling up the vines as they grow in a designated space and then clip off the rest. We really enjoy sweet potatoes and they are easy to store lasting up two years-and we do not have a cold cellar-just wrap each in newspaper and store in a cardboard box in cool room.

    I didn't think to buy the seed at the time, so I did need to purchase two heirloom cherokee purple eating tomatoes which we love, and the red bell peppers. I also picked up a couple different basil plants, and flowers to fill up some hanging baskets and big pots of impatients.

     So I am ready now to plant seeds-lots of beans especially, cucumbers, herbs, a few flowers, and what squash I can fit in the little space I have-next moon sign for planting seeds is this wednesday and thursday and also the following week same two days-we are getting into the 40s this week at night but I think I can still plant my beans.
   I have also been working on clearing a couple spaces outside of my fenced in area-to the right of the garden and in the back of it. We have had soooo much rain that I am having a difficult time killing off these field weeds and the ground of course is horrible-solid clay. I did work on it last fall and added in some lime, and compost but will need allot more. I put up two long old hog fence panels and will use those for the trumpet vines-for the hummingbirds. In the back of the garden between the garden fence and the hog panel fence I planted my Japanese indigo plants and the tansy and the yarrow that I grew from seed-hoping the deer don't find these til they grow larger.
    I did plant one sweet potato slip in the side area outside of the veggie fence. Once I can get the rest cleared I want to plant lots of wild flowers for the birds, and the butterflys. will see if I can get that done before end of this month-when the rains usually end. Would also like to plant the hopi dye plant too
   I was pleased with myself-I needed about 12 new fence posts to put up the hog fence panel and to add to the veggie garden-that was a do what you have around project-so it has been needing more posts to tighten it up. We don't have a truck to go into town with any more so I asked a friend to pick them up for me-and he was going to pound them in as well. With all this rain we have had, and him being so busy I decided to do it myself. I dug out the fence pole pounder thing-a heavy deal-and proceeded to pound them all in but one-I gave out on the last one and Mr L happened to be around and got that one if for me-I surprise myself sometimes lol

    Our wisteria is so gorgeous now-it took 10 years to fill out and get these lovely blooms-and the hummingbirds love them-they seem to sit in the wisteria and then fly to the feeders. I will work on getting better photos of the hummers.
     With all the rains we have had and cool temps, the mints, lemon balm, and thyme are just spreading and a lush green-I need to harvest some and dry for teas etc. before it gets too hot and dry.
    Here are a few photos I just took around the gardens-click on photos to enlarge

      amish paste, and a borage plant in front which grew from last years seed on its on own. In the back a pond and to the right also a pond and on the other side and back side of the garden I planted comstock paste and also an Italian paste need to can salsa this year, and more tomatoes too


                                Lemon balm, shallots

                 Sweet potatoes with straw, to the left onions, in front of ball I just planted some lemon thyme


I don't like to use noisy machines-so this is one of my tools

         Wisteria I planted last year behind my veggie garden

         In the back Japanese indigo in front trumpet vines

Same view of fence-but looking into back of garden-shallots, rhubarb, peas on old sears gate inside garden

             an old wheel barrel filled with chocolate mint


                                      Miss Calico

   One of my heirloom tomatoes I grew from seed-Pineapple tomato

                      Ginger mint and to the left lavender

The gate to the fence around house even has wisteria now, there is maple at the end of fence-the wisteria has now grown into the maple tree-all the way to the top, in a few years it will cover the tree branches-very cool indeed.

Hummingbirds tonight





Tuesday, May 12, 2015

I Had my Bear Piece Framed

  Last November during "deer camp" one of our friends saw my bear fiber art piece and loved it-he said you need to get that framed. I was thinking of it but probably too costly for me to do was my reply. 
   So he says I want to buy you the frame as a gift and will bring it down in the spring. I suggested a barnwood frame and to look for a sale price. So our friend had brought the frame down last month when they came for a visit and a couple weeks ago I took it in to be framed
   We have a very very old paint and glass business in the nearby town that also does framing and a neighbor here said she has always been pleased with the price and their work.
    I picked it up today, and I must say I love the way it came out. I did a good job choosing the matting color which took me a bit of time to do when I dropped it off. I also upgraded the glass to a non glare glass, and I love love the frame it is in.
    All the fabrics except the wool bears I hand dyed. I added in lots of needle felting with wool, cotton, and silk noil for embellishments. This was an applique quilt pattern that I changed up a bit with my fabrics and needle felting.
      This is my first ever framed art work and I must say it makes me happy. (photo will enlarge)




   I also spotted this beautiful bird outside our bedroom window. I think this is a thrush We have a couple pairs here that nest but they are a shy bird and don't usually see them up close like this.



Geesh going to town for the monthly supplies is getting to be quite the job. Takes allot of time to shop and then just as much time to get all put away. 
       Lots more rain coming in wednesday evening through the weekend-I have much gardening to do so hoping I can work over the weekend and the following week.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Happy Saturday and Still Wanting to Destash-or Swap More Items

  Good morning Saturday, a lovely cool and welcome rainy kinda day.  
   I got hit really hard with allergies a couple days ago, so was still slow moving getting up and at'em-the "Royals" were waiting for their morning corn and the Hummingbird's favorite feeders were empty. 
   What I love about the geese is they never over eat, they don't gorge and eat all of it like the deer, raccoons, and squirrels do. We have three large plump red squirrels that park themselves on the stump in the afternoon and eat all of it-amazes me how much food they put away. lol Soon we should be seeing some does and their fawns arriving.

   After their breakfast the Royals were enjoying a swim in the pond up near the house. I really enjoy having them here.

   The other night when I was so stuffed up and coughing when I tried to sleep I decided to sew up blocks for one of the Turning 20 quilts. The block design is super easy which I love for a quick quilt, and there are 16 blocks all the same and then 4 slightly different. So the 4 odd blocks are going to be the embroidered blocks. That night I got all 16 sewn up, and then last night I started embroidering one more that I need for this quilt. I decided to use two blocks with the bears and two blocks with the man in the canoe-I need allot of the canoe blocks embroidered up-to make the 3 quilts. So I started on that yesterday-a good project when I want to accomplish something but don't really feel all that great. Today is a good day for me to work on that again and watch pbs quilt shows, food network Pioneer Woman, and then switch over to Hallmark channels. We are also to have rain off and on through Monday.

    Any of you that weave or quilt I still have items in my shop I really want to find new homes for Here is the link to the supplies section in my Etsy shop.
      I am very negotiable at this point-so I am willing to bargain down prices or swap for weaving yarns, handspuns, or beads and such just contact me.
     I have the very last box of organic cotton perfect for stuffing baby toy animals and such, quilt fabrics, and weaving patterns, and soap molds. I have Lots of soap molds I want to sell. these are quality Milky Way Molds that I can ship cheaper if you buy more than one. and I have lots so if interested contact me for what I have. I am selling the  molds for around $5.00 each plus shipping they sell for double that. These are perfect for melt and pour glycerin soaps, but can also be used for hot or cold process-just need to oil the molds well and watch your pour temp. so as not to warp the molds with that soap method. I have allot of guest soap shapes which make nice bath bombs too.
    I also have Lots of fragrance oils too-way too many for me to be able to use up-so contact me on what I have of those too.

I was able to harvest lots of lovely greens for steaming and freezing this morning, and another batch for fresh salads and eating. We have had the perfect spring for growing the mini bok choy and spring greens.



Enjoy your weekend-and to all you Mothers-Happy Mother's Day

Friday, May 8, 2015

Hummingbird Feeders-My Experiences

  I thought I would share my opinion on hummingbird feeder designs this morning.

  As you know I feed allot of hummingbirds seems like more each year but I think the young may return with their parents to the same area, and we live right in the migratory route as well.

  Over the years I have tried lots of different feeders. They can be expensive too, but I search out garage sales and flea markets. I have found a few handmade pottery ones that they love, and also those beautiful handblown glass balls they love as well. They seem to really like the single port feeders but nothing with very large and deep flowers.

   I have changed the location of our feeders now, I used to scatter them out and about in the trees but between the raccoons and the large woodpeckers I was getting too many feeders destroyed. So a couple years ago I had hubby put in plant hanger hooks along the edge of the overhang of our front door area. 
     This has reduced the amount of feeders getting destroyed  each year and easier for me now to clean and re fill, as by mid summer with more babies hatching I can refill 2 or 3 times a day.

    The last three years now I have needed to buy at least one more large feeder and have run into major design flaws-at least these have not worked for "my" hummingbirds  
     These feeders have been made by major brands so that makes me more unhappy-and feeders are expensive when I have bought brand new. So I wanted to share what I have learned in case you have moved to where you can enjoy the hummers or just wanting to start feeding them.

    I just bought this feeder at Lowes by Pennington and something about it I don't think they can get the nectar out-the angle of the flowers is wrong, the flowers are too deep, and the nectar does not flow well. I have even loosened the bottom as much as possible hoping that would give more air flow-that helped a bit but the Hummingbirds just do not like this feeder design-at all



Last year I bought a beautiful handpainted glass one-same problem for some reason the birds just can't seem to get to the nectar-and the year before that I bought a lovely copper one-total design flaw again. I really don't know why this one did not work-but the hummingbirds just did not use this pretty glass one.



Last year we searched out some garage sales for feeders and Larry found a big strawberry shaped one-they love the small flowers and it holds lots of nectar-a whole days worth I took this photo a couple evenings ago trying to capture all the hummers lol we get lots just before dark comes in



(photo will enlarge)

We also bought this feeder last year at a garage sale-and this is the one they love the best. The flowers are flat to the surface, has a little perch, and easy access to the nectar.



I searched online last night and found this same one at amazon   Our hummingbirds love this design, I usually prefer glass to hold the nectar but where these are now the large woodpeckers don't seem to fly in and use them-thank goodness lol they love to peck a large hole in the side to get the nectar. I ordered two more-this style caters to lots of little hummers at one time-if you go to the amazon link you can see a close up of the flower design.
   This is the flower design I will be purchasing going forward-simple, the flowers can't be pulled out by other birds or animals, and the hummingbirds just love these. My pottery one is the same style a flat flower to the base.

I do love the hand blown glass feeders and the hummers seem to love single port feeders allot too (but not those large flower styles)  does anyone know where to purchase replacement tubes and the little rubber ends? Mine all need to be replaced now as they have gotten destroyed by critters and woodpeckers over the years.

They adore these feeders too, which I need to find more of-again a flat flower and they love the single ones like this.


Those of you that feed hummingbirds-what feeder style have you found that works best??

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Total Awesomeness From Across the Ocean

Don't you just feel really special when you live in the States and get a parcel in the mail that says Royal Mail?? I always treasure that.

My friend Shroo and I did an art swap-I am in love with all of Rachael's art, and my favorites are her handmade journals She recently posted several in her Etsy shop and I just really fell in love; one especially. I am not shy-lol-and asked her if she would like to do a swap instead of exchanging money-and she said yes and would add some surprises too. 

So I set up a package for her filled with my art dyed cloth and nature printing, hand dyes etc. and today my parcel arrived.

   This happy mail arrived on a day where I really needed to feel the love-Larry will be recovering for some time now, he was really sick with the pneumonia, and I got hit with an allergy attack yesterday. 
    We are both on the mends now-but I can see this will be slow going.

  I knew this package would be filled with awesomeness, love, and surprises so I grabbed a cup of mullien tea, my camera and I really took my time to enjoy everything-no rushing. 

     Here are the photos and I just loved and really enjoyed all the packaging details. I also wanted a photo record so I could go back and enjoy and absorb all this loveliness again.


(photos will enlarge)



A too sweet teddy bear and beautiful packages waiting to be opened:



Inside: this lovely skein of silk yarn-so soft-and the perfect colors for my up coming saori weaving project on my  mini loom




I love this little cat bead-sorry picture not super clear (I may need to update this photo)-this bag filled with awesome beads and charms, many of the beads look handmade too 



Inside: handmade jewelry by Shroo-love this too 


Inside: this lovely journal I fell in love with, Shroo also made me a handmade pouch to protect my journal when carrying in my purse or bag.







Yep still more surprises in my awesome parcel



Inside: pieces of her art work for me to "play" with-adult coloring pages-


This piece is sooo special-I will be looking for a frame



and inside this parcel: Shroo made me an art tile from one of my photos that I had shared of our deer-she sent along a stand for it as well-It already is sitting in the perfect spot for me to enjoy every day-too awesome my friend!



So this was just all so amazing-I now feel like I am a Royal-big hugs and love to my friend Rachael and the Colonel

Monday, May 4, 2015

Rough Weekend and Surprises from Greece

Happy Monday everyone.  We all go through it, a loved one ill and in the hospital but things are getting back to normal today.

   Husband has been ill for awhile now, just not himself, not feeling well and we just didn't know what it was. Friday around supper time his temperature had gone up and I decided it was time to go to the ER which we do not use very often.
    We have not had to use this for 5 or 6 years now and I was so greatful that things were so much more efficient and more professional unlike our last visit. The ER doctors were excellent, read the information we gave the first nurse-and acted wisely on it. Larry gets pneumonia instead of a cold or flu type illness, do to his scuba diving experiences in his youth. 
    I stayed with him til almost midnight when they finally got him in admitted to the hospital. He got released late yesterday afternoon-took a shower-and finally got a good nights rest.
    He should be taking it more easy today for sure-but he is catching up on work-sigh Another week of antibiotics and steroids to get his lung cleared.

   On a fun note for me, I have been doing a couple trades for items I wanted to destash but not selling. My friend In Greece  Ariadne chose some packages of clear stamps I had for sea glass she has collected-so when her package arrived today all I could say first was WOW !  and I can see some of these pieces going into my stone work on the walls around our bathtub too (search tool rock shower for photos) Thank you so much again I am totally thrilled, hope you love your stamps as much as I love what you shared with me.




This season I decided to plant my veggie garden and flowers according to the moon signs. The last few days were for planting root crops and transplanting-so early mornings I worked on getting flowers into their pots. Finishing that up today. The 1st of May was good for planting the garden with for above ground veggies and plants but it is too dry here and with the weekend as it was decided not to do that.
      Next moon dates for planting root crops is the 7th and the 8th, 11th and 13th for vine crops and transplanting, and late root crops. 16th and 17th for transplanting, or root crops, and the 20th and 21st a big planting period for above ground crops-we should be getting some much needed rain end of this week which will make for better planting. 

    We have turned quite hot and humid now over the weekend-and our ac broke end of last season so will need to look into that soon for Larry.

As to the Royals, I am thinking today they are back from their little mini vacation to try another nest of eggs. They have checked out their nest this morning, and are staying on the property today too, swimming in the ponds and just "hanging out".  I may need to have a talk with them, as I think they pulled out my impatients out of their pots that I just planted late yesterday-just the right height for them too.

How have you all been? Gardening??  Happy Spring everyone.



   


   

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