When the bold branches bid farewell to rainbow leaves - Welcome wool sweaters. ~B. Cybrill

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Five years later I'm still here...

January 22, 2011 I started my blogging journey.  I worried that I would run out of material.  Would anyone care what happens in my little corner of the world?  Is it possible to do a garden blog when I really only have 3-4 months of gardening weather?
After five years, I'm not worried anymore.  There always seems to be something going on.  I have enjoyed learning about what is happening at other ends of country and people seem to enjoy seeing the world from my porch.
I want to thank you all for your contributions to my life.  I look forward to your comments and suggestions.  I am lucky to have met such wonderful people.  My life is enriched.

I plan to continue my journey and am anxious to see where the next five years takes us.  Thank you again for our chats on the porch.   I am adding some of my favorite photos over the years and links to my top ten favorite posts.

Are there any posts that you liked best?

Sunday, January 24, 2016

A little of this and a dab of that...

 Well, I have been doing a little of this and a dab of that.  I finally made it to town (I hate leaving the cabin) and found supplies to turn my bear claws into jewelry.  I have never made jewelry before, but thankfully there are many tutorials on the internet.
I am very pleased with the finished product.  It is a feeling of accomplishment to create things from my harvest.  Most of the bear has now been used for something.  I have a cape on the back of my chair.  The front is at the taxidermist.  The meat is in roasts, summer sausage, and jerky. The lard, unfortunately, I'm almost out of my bear lard.  It makes the best pie crusts and bread.  Ella got some bones and the skulls are being prepared for European mounts.  

I haven't been completely stuck inside.  The weather has warmed up some and Ella and I got to spend some time on the porch.  Both of us enjoyed a morning on the porch immensely.  

 On the garden front, I need to find some potting soil and pots.  When I used the worm compost in my houseplants, there seems to have been a few stowaway tomato seeds. They showed up in the Rosemary and are really starting to get big.  I guess I had better repot them and see what happens.  It is going to be difficult keeping them in check until May.  

I am still dancing with my quilt.  I thought I was finished with the border, then realized I was two inches short. Backwards I go again.  I did get the rest of the supplies and once I get the border on, will be ready for basting and quilting.  I am determined to keep at it.  With it's numerous issues (or should I say, my numerous issues),  I would like to set it aside and walk away for awhile, but I will do a little every weekend.   

That is it on the cabin front.  Just trying to keep busy until spring.  Not an easy tasks as winters are long up here.  What projects are you working on?  Anyone ever have tomatoes started in December?  

Sunday, January 10, 2016

One step forward and two back...

I'm trying to keep content this winter by working on a quilt for my parents.  A nice soothing project to make time go by.  Unfortunately, for every step I take forward, I take two back.  Soothing is not the word I would use to describe this quilt.

I hate picking out the material and patterns.  I just enjoy the repetitiveness of the sewing. This time was different.  I found the perfect material that reminded me of my parents ranch.  There was a quilt on the wall that provided the perfect platform to showcase the panels.  It looked like a simple pattern.   From there it was easy to find material that included barbed wire, flying geese, leaves, and grass.   My father collects barbed wire and one of my fondest memories of home is the geese flying from the river to the fields.  Everything just fell into place.  Little did I know that the part that is normally the easiest for me (piecing the pattern together) would end up being the hardest.
The nice lady at the fabric store warned me that the flying geese material would be my bane and to be super careful when I cut it out.  I thought I was, but when I completed the flying geese blocks with the flying geese material I realized too late that something was wrong.  My husband figured it out.  The pattern now had to be completely reversed.  This was not as easy as it sounds.  

The pattern is very complicated.  It looks repetitive, but isn't.  The panels make piecing difficult.  I laid the quilt out on the bed downstairs, but somehow by the time I take a portion upstairs things get switched around.  Those darn light colored triangle blocks kept getting turned around.  I bet I had to re-do about 5 of them.

Many ripped seams later it was done.
At least that is what I thought.  My husband took a photo of me holding the 'finished' top. That is when I saw it.  Can you see the mistake in the pattern?  Again with the ripping.  I fixed the wayward block and thought I was down the home stretch.  Just add the border, batting, and backing.  Any dummy can do that.  Then I would finally get to my favorite part: quilting. Drat, no such luck.  I am short of border material and didn't allow enough material for the mitered corners.  More ripping.  I'm getting quite good at it.

Did you find the mistake?  On the right side two of the flying geese blocks are facing the same way instead of alternating.

I am very happy with the way the top turned out.  It is by far one of the most complicated quilts I have ever done.  Because of that, I have a feeling it will take the full two years to complete.  I am not off to the best start that is for sure.  I will keep you updated on my steps forward and the steps back.  Until then, the sun sets on another winter day.
Have you ever worked on a project where you went backwards faster than forwards?  

Friday, January 1, 2016

2016 here I come...

I have come to the conclusion that New Year's is my favorite holiday.  I enjoy setting goals for the upcoming year and reviewing my progress from last year.  2015 treated us very well.  I can't wait to see what 2016 has to offer.
My aspirations for the upcoming year are:
~As always, the goal is to make time for family and friends.  Last year we were extremely busy on the weekends and wasn't able to host guests.  Now that we have most of the big projects out of the way, I am hoping we can slow down and share our little piece of heaven with others.  
~Get a strawberry bed this year and focus on my fruits and berries.  An early frost caused almost no production last year.  About the only thing that produced was the apples, crabapple, and raspberries.  I have an orchard here and one out on the prairie, so I will have plenty to keep me busy.  
~Finish a quilt that I'm currently in the middle of.  Here is a teaser of the materials. 
~Do more fishing with my husband.  I really enjoyed our bear hunt/fishing trip last year and now we have our own fishing hole out on the prairie.

~On the flower front, make a few more perennial beds and get control of my slug problem.  I was also pretty successful with annual flowers I started in the greenhouse last year, so I would like to expand my use of annuals.  
~Always try to be creative.  Pinterest, other blogs, family, and my husband are always giving me new ideas of things to try.   
~Slow down.  I'm always in a hurry or too busy to do things I enjoy.  More picnics, more yoga, more exercise, more reading, more quilting, more time on the porch. These are all things that keep me balanced and when I don't make time for them I become stressed.   Life is too short to be unhappy.

That is about it for the new year.  How did I do last year.  Not too bad really.  I accomplished eight out of my nine goals.  Last year was a wonderful year filled with good memories.  
~Go on a bear hunt with my husband. ~Done!  We both got very nice bears.  The meat is delicious.  The fat is great for baking.  The fur is amazing and I'm trying to create jewelry from the claws.

~Be a good host as I anticipate many guests at the cabin this year.  ~We didn't have a lot of visitors, but I spent a week spoiling my nieces and that was a great time.   
~Go on Jeep adventures like we did when "we were kids" (That is code for when my husband and I were first married). ~We had a lot of projects going this year, especially on the property we bought, so we weren't able to relive our youth.
~Redoing the front flower beds.  I don't mean plants I mean the actual beds. ~We got one of the two done.  It was a lot of work, but it looks amazing.

~The veggie focus will be sweet corn and tomatoes from seed.  After last years poor showing, I will never buy tomato plants.  My challenge will be to grow an egg plant and a giant pumpkin.  ~My vegetable garden was amazing this year.  I had tons of tomatoes.  I grew egg plants and a loofa.  I didn't grow a giant pumpkin, but one did magically appeared in my pumpkin patch.  I never did find where it came from.
~Relax on the porch with family and friends. ~The porch is the best part of our cabin and was well used this year.  Especially, after we built a picnic table and we could enjoy meals outside.

~Expand my blogging community.  Become inquisitive again and visit new blogs.~I did get out and find several wonderful blogs which I am now following.  
~Stay on top of my wine making.  Which means keeping notes, labeling, and keeping on track.  You forget to take some notes and don't label a few things and chaos ensues. ~I was much better this year about keeping up.  Despite a poor year for berries, I was still able to make a batch of wine every month.  
~I haven't given up on the orchard fence.~It got a major makeover this year and that seems to have kept the deer out.  It isn't exactly what I planned, but then what ever goes exactly as planned.

Check things off the old list and start with the new.  I hope everyone has a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year!  I can't wait to read about your adventures and keep you apprised of mine.  

Sunday, December 27, 2015

It's all about family...

To me Christmas is all about family.  We open presents together.  We are all in the kitchen working together to create a delicious dinner.  Then we all go sledding.   This was a fabulous Christmas.  Everyone had a great time.  The food was great and nobody got hurt sledding.  Well, maybe somebody got hurt sledding, but they are recovering nicely.  
From our kitchens to yours a belated Merry Christmas!
Thanks for the aprons, Mom!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Weekend wanderings...

 I took Ella for our weekend walk.  I felt a little like Dorthy in the 'Wizard of Oz', when I realized the woods were filled with lions and lions and more lions.  Our resident mountain lion wasn't just passing through.  From the look of the numerous tracks in the area, it is homesteading for a while.  
Despite looking behind me every few seconds, the views around me were amazing.  The clouds, the sun, and the beautiful hills made for a wonderful wander.

I am ready for the holiday's and that was another thing that made a wonderful winter walk welcome.   Ella was happy to be out and oblivious to our peril.  Ok peril is probably pushing it. Still, I kept one eye to the beauty and the other on what was going on behind me. 

Any dangers to consider when you walk?  What do you get to see on your walks?  I probably won't post again before Christmas, so "Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night."

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Peach ice cream...

I tried to take it easy this weekend, after a busy vacation.  I worked on my newest quilt project. Sorry, no photos.  Since the quilt is for someone who is dutiful about reading my blog, I will only post the project after they receive it.  Please do not expect this as a Christmas present, as it takes about two years for me to complete a quilt.  

It was beautiful out today and I took advantage of it to bundle up my roses.  I am very late this year.  Normally, I do this around Thanksgiving.  The main thing is to get them protected from the spring freeze thaw cycles.  I am a little worried, because my compost pile was frozen solid.  Normally, I put a bucket of compost around the base of the roses.  Then I wrap them with a cage and fill it with protection.  I have tried straw, leaves, and this year evergreen boughs.  I will never use straw again.  That stuff was always full of weed seeds and then I'd spend the next summer trying to get that mess under control.  The leaves worked great last year, but I was too slow this year.  We shall see how the pine and spruce boughs do.

My only other project for the weekend was to make some peach ice cream for my husband.  He asked for it a long time ago.  It took awhile, but I got around to it.  The peaches were canned this year.  It turned out fabulous.

Summertime Wintertime Peach Ice Cream
1 pint of canned peaches in juice                                       1 (3.75) oz. package of instant vanilla pudding
1 c. sugar                                                                           1 can sweetened condensed milk 
1 can evaporated milk                                                        4 c. half and half

Pour the sugar over peaches and let sit one hour.  Blend pudding and evaporated milk then add rest of the ingredients.  Pour into ice cream maker and let her go until she stops.  Pour into an old ice cream container and freeze.  
I got the recipe from:  MyRecipes.com

What is your favorite homemade ice cream?  Do you wrap your roses?  Hope everyone had a peaceful weekend.