Monday, November 5, 2012

I hope Heidi does go to Washington

Hi Mary and Jeni,
Jim was being a good husband and  taking my quilt up to Faye's Henhouse where it lives in the winter.  And because he was going up to Mayville and Heidi Heitkamp was traveling through town on a last day turn out the vote trip he had her hold the quilt and he took her picture.  
Unfortunately he then had to explain to her that (for some reason) he wasn't giving her the quilt, just taking her picture with it.  
Heidi has to give it up.
He emailed me to explain why I had to give the quilt to her if she gets to Washington as the new Senator from North Dakota.
The race is supposed to be close, but Heidi is considered the underdog.
Tomorrow we will find out.  If she wins it would be amazing.

Update:Uh-oh.  It is AMAZING!  She WON!


Dear Nancy (and Jeni and Deb),
I liked your post about the Halloween pumpkins.  I believe that last time I had the leisure to carve pumpkins was in Minneapolis.  In Missoula, we only had 2 trick-or-treaters on Halloween.  This is not a neighborhood full of families.  But as Elliot will tell you, there are a lot of dogs.  There are also at least 4 other cats we've noted, one of which is a smallish gray tabby who looks a lot like Elliot, and even wears a collar with a bell, just like Elliot, except it is blue while Elliot's is red.  They sound exactly alike with their little "jingle, jingle, jingle."

The last six weeks have been hectic.  First, applying for a new job.  That necessitated an in-person interview, thus: a 5 hour drive to Missoula, spending a night on Christy's couch, a 3-hour interview next day, and then the drive back to Billings before noon so I could go to work.  But I got the job!  That meant another drive to Missoula to find a place to live, 

                    Clark Fork River in Missoula from the California St. walking bridge - 4 blocks from my house.  I can walk over this bridge to get to Ben and Amanda's in about 20 minutes.
then back to Billings to pack, 

Billings garage during packing frenzy.
then back to Missoula with the truck, unpacking, trying to stuff everything into a different space, then starting my new position at Missoula Public Library with a nice, steep learning curve.  But we like challenges, don't we?

So here is where we live now.

I miss the trees we had in Billings and so does Elliot, but he is getting used to the neighborhood. 

Missoula is an exciting place to live.  It has tons of arts, small funky businesses (like Alpine Canine, that takes your dog on an "adventure hike" while you're at work), and creative non-profits; The Innocence Project, for example. That's where Ben Darrow just got a new position - he started last week.  And they love markets.  They have four open-air markets in the summer, and now they're having two in the winter months as well, at the fairgrounds and in an old barn on the edge of town.

The thrift stores can't compare with the Goodwill in Billings.  I guess that too many people are into recycling here and so the competition is fierce!  In my vast experience (Whitefish, Kalispell, Billings, Missoula, and any I happen to get to visit), the Billings Goodwill on King Street is the best in the state.  And I'm thinking of writing a book, necessitating my visits to every thrift store in the state, heh heh.  Don't you think people would buy a book like that?    Would you like to finance my project?

However, I really can't complain regarding thrift stores - there is a thrift store right around the corner from my house AND I went to find my polling place today, at the Sr. Citizens Center - and there is a thrift store in there too!  Look:

They sell quilt blocks!  And material!  And Yarn!
I found some 84% wool/14% alpaca there!

I finally got my bike out and went exploring along the Riverfront Trail.

Looking south across the Clark Fork at Kiwanis Park.

Clark Fork Natural Area along the Riverfront Trail.
Snowboarders working hard to build a ramp at Caras Park.

I found that it's only 10 minutes riding time to get to work using that trail.

And there's been some leisurely hiking taking place too, in the Blue Mountain Recreation Area that's on the edge of town: 

 This  might be happening quite a bit, because now Christy has a dog!  Her name is Scout.
Brian, Christy, and Scout walking in Blue Mountain Recreation Area.
Much love to all of you.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween 2012

 I was worried that we wouldn’t have any trick-or-treaters. So I put out Jeni’s ceramic pumpkin with a candle in it. It is on the porch steps.  I couldn't find any matches but I looked up in the bedside table in the spare bedroom and thank goodness there was a match book in there.
Jeni's pumpkin
I also carved a little pie pumpkin and put it on the table by the door.
Tiny Pie Pumpkin

I had 3 bags of fun size candy bars. Butterfingers, Snickers and Nestle’s Crunch. I have 3 left. YES! That is about 70 bars.
I will leave the lights on for a little longer. Maybe till 8 and then blow out all the candles and keep the rest of the candy. 
While I was getting supper for Dad, Mom was in charge of the door. If she saw someone on the porch she was supposed to ring that bell. My it is loud! But it worked.  

First Halloween with trick or treaters for many years.  The farm hardly ever had any.

One mother was waiting for her kids and walking her standard poodle. A big white one with a lion cut around her face. I said “Nice dog” and she said “It’s really a Lab”. It took me a minute to figure that out. Too funny.

My favorite girl costume was a black handlebar moustache.  My favorite boy costume came as a leaf pile.

Mom made me give her one of the leftover bars.  She took a Butterfinger.


Friday, October 12, 2012

Cleaning out the Camera

Hi Jeni and Mary,
I have been down here in Minneapolis for about 2 weeks now and have finally got around to putting my farm photo's up on the blog.  These are the last pictures before freeze up 2012 which was about normal for this year.  The third week of September.
Grandpa Ott's morning glories on the front lattice.
Englemann's Ivy which is taking over where ever it wants, the Flickers love it.
I love the sunlight through the back of this morning glory.
Mourning Cloak Butterflies were numerous this year.  Usually I only see one or two.
One of Jim's Zinnias
And another
A few more morning cloaks.  The oranges were there for the Orioles, but were co-opted by the Butterflies.
Orange Zinnia
The rest of these are from Minneapolis.
September morning moon
Clouds over the morning moon.
The tree in the back yard.
That's all for now.  Have to go, as it is almost time for Mom's nap.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Half Square Triangles and Challenge Fabric

5-Batik Quilt
This is what I am working on right now.
I got 1/2 yard of 5 different batiks and was allowed to add one coordinating fabric.  That is the dark which has stars with all of the other colors as the design.  IT WAS IN MY STASH!
I ended up with half square triangles (4-1/2" finished) and used up all but about 2 inches of the fabric.  Then I had to decide what to do with all my half square triangles.  So many choices...

I found this pattern on the Surrounded by Scraps blog by Linda Nussbaum.  Her post was from September 14, 2011.  It doesn't look anything like this quilt.  Here is her block from that blog.
I wasn't sure if I liked it, but once I started laying it out I loved it.

This is the middle block from the top row.
I intend to add the 3" black border, shown on two sides in the picture, and then (illegal for this challenge) I shall add another border in one of the identical fabrics that I found at Faye's Henhouse.  That will bring it up to a small queen size.  More useful to me than the twin size.

The best thing about half square triangles is I used up almost every bit of the fabric.  I cut 6 inch squares to start with and did the mark the back and sew on both sides of the line system.  I had to add 5 squares of an almost the same chartreuse fabric to finish the border. (the ones on the bottom)

I recommend this block highly.  Thanks Linda!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Exciting times

Our burned meadow.

Monday morning looked nice.  Blue sky.  Slight breeze.   So Jim decided it would be a  good time to burn up some of the stuff I have been liberating from the closets.  Out he went to our old rusty burning barrel.

Did he have the hose hooked up and close? No.
Did he stay and watch it? No.
Are we in a severe drought?  Yes.

He went inside to do something.  Luckily he did keep an eye on it from the house and noticed right away that the fire had escaped the barrel.  Out he ran in his slippers to stomp out the fire.  Then just after he tore out of the house I decided to go out for some unknown reason and noticed him losing the fight.

I raced for the hose that was in the garden with the sprinkler attached.  The sprinkler wouldn't come off for the longest time and I had to stop and go slowly.  Finally it came off and I dragged it over the fence to Jim and ran inside to call 911. After a few minutes I didn't hear the Clifford siren going off so I called them again.  They said they had notified everyone but since I still didn't hear the siren I called the Brandsted's who now rent our land.

Then I thought I should try to help.  I was going to bring out an ice cream pail of water and pour it on the part of the fire that was licking towards the woods, but realized that even 5 quart ice cream pails full of water would not make much of a dent.  I remembered reading in a book how the pioneer women would fight fires with blankets soaked with water so I went to fight our fire with a bath towel in my ice cream pail of water.

Jim was still watering it and still in his slippers.

After a few minutes the little Clifford fire truck drove up with Mike Elliot in it.  Mike's son Kevin, one of our local firemen, who was vacationing in Tennessee, had been paged and he called his dad.   Since Mike was in Clifford he got the fire truck and with Kevin instructing him on the cell phone got lots more water onto our fire.

Then Joel and Ed Brandsted came up with shovels and then it was all out.

While the men were all standing around admiring their work the fire departments from Mayville, Hillsboro and Galesburg all turned up as did our other neighbors Alton and Marilyn Anderson.  What a great group of neighbors.

So we have a big burned spot in our east ‘meadow’ and Jim's hair is a little less long on the top but other than that and his slippers, being scorched, all is well.  Jim put his totally soot black slippers through a wash cycle and says they are as good as new.  (Almost)
Scorch marks on laundered slippers.
If you think you might need some fire proof slippers Jim recommends Carol Wright catalogs.  They are on sale right now!


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Early Swallow sighting

Dear Mary and Jeni,
It is Swallow time at the farm.  It seems very early this year.  I was sitting on the back deck this morning watching them cruise our skies.  It is my favorite time of the year.  (After the day the Orioles return in the Spring).  That is only one day though.  This goes on, if I am lucky, for several weeks.
Swallows on the wire. (No longer electrified)
Swallows in the Box Elder tree.

Joy riding on a breezy day.
 View from the north or back deck....There is a woodpecker tapping on our downspout also.

View from the front (west) porch...

Every year I get a lot of swallows.  Some years more than others.  This year the gathering is early and makes me think there might be an even larger gathering, after a second nesting.  Here is a link to a big swallow year.   That was taken in late August so this sighting, still in July, is abnormal.  (Well, so was everything else this hot summer.)

Thursday, May 31, 2012

What I've been doing.

That is a nice bag.  I've been thinking of sewing a bag so I can sew some of Chris's Art Patches onto it.  

But I don't sew much so I'm sticking with the project I'm in the middle of: mittens for everyone!  Of course, I'm just knitting with the yarn in my stash and I'm not swatching, so the mittens will just turn out the size they turn out.  Here's what I've got so far - modeled by Elliot.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sewing again

Hi Mary and Jeni,
I have been working on this during my Tuesday quilting nights at Faye's Henhouse Quilts up in Mayville.
Finally finished a project today.
 The body is made of a laminated fabric.  Sort of like oil cloth but more flexible and softer.  I will be easy to wipe it clean if (when) it gets dirty.  I was supposed to put a magnetic snap in the pink top but I have heard lots of stories about how they pull out so I just left  it open.  The bag is 15" x 13" in size.
The yellow floral is a laminated fabric so it will just wipe off if it get dirty.
It has three pockets inside.  The lining is made of the green batik that is on the handles.  The pockets are made of the bright pink.  Two on one side and one slightly larger on the other.  This bag is called the Bella Bag by the designer, Heather Mulder Peterson of Anka's Treasures.
My job today is to find some really cute buttons to replace the pins holding the straps in place.
So I am off to buy some buttons today to make the handles look really cute.  Jim thinks we are going to Fargo so I can go see my nephrologist, but I know why we are really going.

The purse with buttons.

Monday, May 21, 2012

My Singer Model 12 handcrank with a fiddle base.

Singer Model 12, handcrank (with bentwood case.)
Dear Mary and Jeni,

These are before pictures. 

I am not going to do much cleaning as I don't wan't to ruin the lovely decals.  There is some oil around the pillar that I will carefully clean up and I will try to do something about the nickle plate as it is dull and a little rusted on the hand crank lever.   Otherwise I will leave it as it is.   

It is so beautiful that I can't stand it.  It moves perfectly quietly so I feel that if I can only get it threaded and get the shuttle in correctly I will be able to sew with it.  

Right now it is the earliest machine I own.  They were made up until 1902, so this machine is older than 100 years. It looks pretty good for it's age doesn't it?

How many other machines made over a century ago are still working.  These machines were made to last!  Here is a link to more info about the Singer Model 12.  

detail of decals on front of Singer Model 12.

detail of decals on center of the 'fiddle' base.
face plate decals.
decals even on the handcrank!
The bentwood case.
The top number is the serial number.  8296094
It dates the machine to 1888 according to the Singer Co. records.
Cindy Peters says it takes a #23 needle and she has them for sale.  I will be ready to go once I get a few new ones.  The one in it looks as old as the machine.
Yes it is a beauty!


Thursday, May 3, 2012

May 2nd 2012

Hi Mary and Jeni,
Yesterday was one of those rare perfect days.  The breeze was soft the sun was shining and the lawn was full of dandelions.   The dandelions were full of Red Admiral butterflies.  When you walked across the lawn they billowed around you like a cloud.
Red Admiral on Creeping Charlie
Even what was left of the crab apple tree was starting to bloom.   When you walked near it you could hear the hum from all the bees that were nectaring there.  It also had a share of the Red Admiral butterflies.  
Red Admiral on Hopa Crab Apple Tree.
It was a great day for gardening.  Jim planted potatoes, peas and strawberries and has plans for beets and lettuce today.  
It is sure nice to be back at the farm.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

April first

Hi Mary and Jeni,
Last night was World Wildlife Fund's Earth Hour and at 8:30 I put out the ice luminary Jeni made way last winter.  We took a class at the Linden Hills Co-op and made a sample one in the downstairs freezer.  Then I waited and waited for a good old fashioned Minnesota winter to make some more.


So tonight, in honor of earth hour, and to clear out the freezer I put out our only ice luminary.  I finally used the special drill bit I bought just to make a chimney in the ice globe.    The luminary was really  pretty and I think that making one in the freezer for use on special occasions is a great idea.  So what if it is warm.  Last night it was lit at 8:30 and I showed it to Jim at midnight and it was still looking good.  Sometime in the middle of the night it melted and burned out.  Nothing lasts forever, so I enjoyed it while it was there.

Here is a video made about midnight.  The hole in the top was originally less than an inch so it has melted a lot but it doesn't make it less beautiful.  Thanks Jeni.


Monday, March 12, 2012

Alice's puzzle

This is a wonderful portrait of Alice M. Johnson by Andrea Gianchiglia.  She did this in pastels.  I think it is beautiful and it even makes a great puzzle.

Click to Mix and Solve

Somehow it looks better without the lines on it.   :-)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Monica's leaves as a puzzle

Click to Mix and Solve

Obviously I am feeling better after the stomach flu.  And, feeling a little guilty that I haven't posted in a while.  I did take lots of pictures of my stash in order to show Mary what she should aspire to but lost the photo's drat it all.  Now it will have to wait until I am in North Dakota again.