17 Apr

Field trip with the quilt guild

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Yesterday was a whole lot of fun!  My quilt guild took a trip up to Mama’s Log House, which is a couple of hours from us, and we all worked on a Laundry Basket Quilt, appliqué table runner.

I’m not a fan of batiks, but I’m hoping to tie in some more traditional fabrics when I put a border on this. I love the table runner itself!

I even plugged my machine in an sewed a bit this morning, and since it’s going to rain forever, I might go ahead and finish it before it gets added to my growing UFO pile. One of the ladies at the shop suggested a super teensy blanket stitch, on my Bernina the setting was 1.3 in width and 1.3 in length, and I have to say I love it!  It never occurred to me to try such a small stitch, and I’ll likely never do it any larger again.  This was done with 30wt. Sulky thread, and an 80/12 Microtex need.e

Unhappily, once again the thread spool on my machine was broken off, which happened to me last time I did a group project with the guild and took my machine.  I am not pleased about this at all, and it’s one of the main reasons I rarely join groups where a computerized machine is required.

We didn’t get much time to shop either, but I did snag a nice selection of fat quarters, which are my weakness.

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I started collecting them back when we were living in our RV full-time, and that’s all I had room for.  Now, it’s my favorite way to buy fabric because I love scrap quilts and it makes for a wonderful variety… and eye candy too!

We’re supposed to have a couple of hours of decent weather this morning, before the rain moves in for eternity, so I am going to try to finish planting the garden.  I have my new wheel hoe to try out!  I bought a furrow for it so that will make the planting easier.

13 Apr

A new garden patch!

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For the last couple of years, I’ve been asking Jim to help me dig out all the blackberries, pull up the posts they’re trellised on, and turn that into a garden patch.  The soil is fabulous there, and it’s wasted on blackberries.

We did cut all the blackberries down to the ground last spring, but a lot of them filled back in pretty quickly.  Since I didn’t harvest any of them last year, I’ve decided to let them grow this summer, but this fall they are coming out!

Jim did till up a small patch for me, between the fruit trees and the blackberries, it’s about fifteen feet wide and about seventy or eighty feet long.

DSCF6129But, I could more than double that space with the blackberries out of the way!

The real question is, do I have it in me to keep it weeded? We have all that equipment for gardening with the tractor, but there isn’t room to turn the tractor around and still have a garden in here, so it will have to be done by hand.

I did order a wheel hoe, so hopefully that will make it a bit easier.

Several years ago I purchased a handful of comfrey starts from an organic farmer, with the intent of growing them, splitting them, and eventually planting them as understory plants under all the fruit and nut trees.  This year is the first year they’ve finally grown enough for me to start splitting them and planting them, and it’s been quite a project!  Those roots are nothing short of amazing!

On the left is a comfrey I didn’t get to in time to divide it, and on the right are some small splits around a tree.  Comfrey is a fantastic plant to have and very interesting reading if you’re unfamiliar with all of its uses.  My main purpose for it was an understory plant, for its deep tap root which brings minerals to the surface, shade for the fruit tree roots, and for the leaves themselves, which make the best compost ever.  The bees also love it, but I think everyone knows most everything we plant has to be bee friendly!

It is very fragrant around our house right now, so much is blooming and the bees are in heaven!  I so love to watch and hear them while I’m out working in the yard, with them buzzing around.  I would really notice their absence if there weren’t a hundred bees flying around me all the time :)

12 Apr

March 2015 dutch oven gathering

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With the Big Piney Dutch Oven group again, this time up in the mountains in the gorgeous Sand Gap area.

The weather was beyond perfect, a breezy, cool seventy degrees.  We had pork loin rolled up with cornbread stuffing, red cabbage, rice and beans, a cheesy potato and veggie medley, asparagus bundles, apple crisp, sherbet, wine and beer!

Next month will probably be the last event Jim and I do until fall however, you’ve all heard me whine about the heat and I can’t imagine adding hot coals to a ninety-five degree day… sounds literally just like hell to me! :)

May’s gathering will be held at the beautiful Haw Creek falls campground, and we’ll be doing a breakfast event.

Today, I’m crossing my fingers that the rain will hold off long enough for Jim to get the backhoe off of the tractor, lube up the tiller attachment and dig a patch out in the orchard for me to plant some tomatoes, beans, okra and peppers.  I stole all of the raised beds this year and am moving blueberry plants into them, although three of them have asparagus, and one has two new varieties of blackberries that I wanted to try that are erect varieties… supposedly.  I’m tired of trellising my berries and hope these are as productive and will stand on their own.

DSCF6124I really let this area get out of hand last year.  I’m determined to get it back under control before summer, and I’d dearly love to finish tearing down that stupid fence.  I started on it… three years ago I think?  Then we went to New Orleans and I lost interest.  It goes away this year!