Saturday, September 19, 2020

Growing things, making things

In the middle of a pandemic I managed to grow the least productive garden ever. It was a bust. We did eat a lot of fresh fruit and I canned some tomatoes but that was about it. The most productive thing by far was the gourds. Which I did not even plant and don't know where they came from. They somehow sprouted in the chicken yard and took over like a big green monster. I picked them this week and collected well over 100, not including the ones that grew into the fence or the ones that grew together and resemble gourd testicles. Those ones are pretty funny.

Here are the plants back in July.  The gourds are decorating our porch and the some went to my in-laws, some to my dad's lady friend and the rest I sent over to my sister's house where her kiddos are going to set up a little stand and sell them from the front yard. 

Here are tiny sweet potatoes.  Back in the spring we had one sprout on the counter and we planted it for fun. Something special should happen with these, maybe they will be cooked for a pie?

We sent some dalhias to school with the oldest for his teacher.

These perennial sunflowers have gone from a 2.5 inch "sample" pot given to me by my mom 6 years ago to having taken over large parts of the yard. Oh well.

They are pretty.

Probably the last thing to do in the garden besides digging the dalhias is freezing the rest of the peppers. I wish I could remember what kind I bought because these little bells are sweet and productive. 

This little leafhopper is beautiful. 

Here are my star blocks. I did take them to the fabric store last week looking for a backing but did not buy anything. I need a wider width fabric and the only solids they had were red and tan. Let me add that OB appointment was a disaster. I had that doctor again that for whatever reason she and I just butt heads, she showed up to the office 45 minutes late (as in the staff didn't know where she was) and she spent my 5 minute appointment asking me how big I "thought this baby was going to be" and trying to get me to schedule an induction so I didn't have "another big baby". After me politely pressing her as to wtf she was talking about it became clear that she had me confused with another patient and insisted my oldest son was 10.7 lbs at birth which I am *pretty sure* I would remember. What the hell. I've had three visits with her and they've all been a waste of time. This woman is a mess and I am frankly worried to give birth on her shift at this point. 

Back to the quilt, for the background I am leaning to using a sheet that a friend gave us for the camper. It's an unusual purple/blue color that might just look perfect with these. Sorry for the night picture.

Another night shot, this time of some hexagon blocks.  These are fun to baste.

There was a day this week where we were really low on groceries so I baked bread.

And made doughnuts.  With milk and coffee we happily called them lunch.

We've been fluffing the nest a bit. My dad gave us this funky little rocker he picked up at a sale. Apparently it is handmade and spent the last 60+ years in a hunting cabin. It's super low to the ground and comfortable.  Toys have gone from this corner and we need a little lamp. I've also thinned the books off the shelves that haven't been read yet. 

The Tracy Chevalier book is probably getting donated as I still just can't get into it. The William Gay book came this week and looks exciting. 

Because the Tracy Chevalier book is about fossils, here is a picture of one we found in the driveway this afternoon:

Isn't that fascinating, look at that perfect star.  I think it's a cross section of a crinoid stem, part of a prehistoric water lilly type plant. 

My FFF fall subscription box came this week. I'm just in love with these copper canisters, one is already holding coffee and the other tea. The sleep spray smells wonderful and I've had these shower cubes before and they're the best. I cannot figure out how to wear "scarfigan " in a flattering way but it really doesn't matter as I picked it out intending it as a nursing cover.

I'm sad that blogging has become sporatic for me. I do enjoy writing and seeing what everyone else is up to. At 35 weeks most of my "free" time is being taken up by eating and napping.  I did go have coffee with friends on two occasions this week, very fun! And my mother in law is treating me to a pedicure this week as I can't reach my feet. Hope to get a couple of things done tomorrow like bedding the chicken coops and fixing the door to the goose pen.  The oldest and I have not slept out for 2 weekends, it is too cold. We had a frost warning last night and have turned on the furnace for the first time today.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Saturday sleep out, weekly roundup

This has become Saturday night routine for the oldest and I. We love it and I look forward to it all week. It's so peaceful out here surrounded by cool air, crickets and cats. We talk, read a couple of books and most nights he tucks in early. Leaving me to:

Journal and paper piecing by lantern light.  There are only 2 more blocks to go, out of a whopping 7. This has taken forever as a couple of them have been picked apart and resewn multiple times. I have an OB appointment next week, conveniently located by the fabric store, so will go and check out background fabrics then. I don't know why I'm leaning towards grey linen for the background? Is quilting linen difficult? Probably it will not be sold in a wide enough measure anyway so this decision might be out of my hands. 

What else? Well, what the heck, let's continue on with cats.

This is Bee's new favorite spot to sleep; perched like a scoop of ice cream on top of a pail of potting soil. Please notice the soft, totally available, pillow not 5 feet away. She also likes to nap in the middle of the gravel driveway.  

I finished By Nightfall this week. Michael Cunningham has such a beautiful way of exploring ordinary lives. Poor Peter. Poor Rebecca. I've noticed a theme in Cunningham's books; while going through the motions of the rut and routine of our lives a person will catch a glimpse of some greater possibility, something more strange and wonderful than what they have (which might be a line from The Hours) These possibilities are never realized and you're left wondering if the memory of possibility is enough to carry the person forward. 

I'm going to try reading Remarkable Creatures for my next book. This was started and abandoned last summer and it seems fair to try to give it one more try. It's about a young woman who discovers a fossil that conflicts with the science and religion of mid? late? 1800's England if I remember correctly.

This card came from Holland. It's adorable. And Marlene suprised me with a pack of London coloring cards in the mail! That was such a wonderful suprise!

The youngest doodling. 

And making a playdoh and dried spaghetti hedgehog. 
I've decided to say "screw it" and have taken him to a couple of shops this week, nothing big just a shoe store and the hardware store for mums. 
It's the first time he's been in stores since probably March and he could not be happier about it. 

The tomato hornworm caterpillars from awhile back hatched. I thought they were supposed to turn into sphinx moths? What the heck is this?

Here it was last week. Huge!

Dalhias are blooming.

These sunflowers are the best.

And hey, look, we grew some peanuts.  This plant looked dead from neglect so I pulled it to plant a mum and look! Three pods! This is pathetic but will be filed under "success!"

I've never had a fresh peanut before. They taste like the boiled peanuts you can buy at roadside stands in the south or canned up north here if you can find them. A real treat.

My dear husband had a birthday and the oldest and I made a cheesecake.  It was good, the best part was the crust with lemon zest. It was from the new Martha Stewart magazine and we somehow ended up with twice as much batter as pan. I friend thinks we used the wrong size springform and she's probably right. Some unbaked batter was frozen to be added to future cakes and brownies and some, sorry, was eaten directly from the mixing bowl with a spoon while on the phone with her.  It was a good birthday day. Did you know a cheesecake calls for 2.5 lbs of cream cheese? Yikes. I don't know if I'll make it again.*

..... and for anyone not familiar with the town we live in, I took this picture over the weekend. That my friends is a lawn tractor poorly parked in the handicapped space outside of the Dollar General.  For anyone not familiar with western Pennsylvania you might see this and think "disabled and without a proper vehicle " but around here it, like driving your farm tractor to the liquor store or kid's pink bicycle while carying a 12 pack, it most likely means "got one too many DUI's and am probably drunk or high as we speak". It's a fine line of luck and choices we balance on, isn't it.

Time to journal a bit, handsew and get some sleep.


I don't know what these will be about but they are fun to baste to the papers.

* it's 4 a.m. and I've just woken from one of those terrible nightmares where you can't move or breathe for awhile afterwards.  It was a very vivid dream about cheesecake. A man crossing a baker and being baked into a large cheesecake. It's going to take awhile to get back to sleep.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Kindergarten, conspiracy theories & other random stuff

The big news this week is that the oldest started kindergarten! He absolutely loves it and looks like such a little grownup in his uniform, especially when I sent him today in an actual sweater vest. He seems to have grown up so much in the last couple of days, it just doesn't seem possible.  He's even a tinier bit more polite to his little brother.


My mother came from a large Catholic family.  This school is the same one that she and her brothers all attended, probably her cousins too. I went there myself but only until second grade. My mom tried hard, very hard with my sister and I. We went to church every Sunday, confession, religious education.  None of it exactly stuck. We both ended up with an interest in Buddhism. 

So there's been a running joke between my sister and I that mom caused this pandemic, or she and her Aunts called in some favors, to ensure at least one of her grandchildren was forced into a Catholic education.  A global pandemic affecting millions? Just so that one of her grandkids would learn the Commandments, go to Mass every Friday and her daughter would quit saying the eff word so much?

Yeah, sounds like something she would do.
At the least she would be very, very happy.

So it's been the youngest and I all by ourselves during the days and it's been a blast. I love 2 year olds. He's so adorable,  his new thing is saying "of course!" instead of "yes". But he says it with his voice full of wonder as if someone has just asked him if he'd like to feed cupcakes to a unicorn or something.  After feeding the chickens every morning we clean up the house and then go upstairs to try to get organized for this new baby. It's going slowly.

We take naps.

We don't have near the flowers we usually do due to lack of rain (although it is pouring today!) These sunflowers drop pollen all over but they cheer the place up.

I took some roosters to Surgeons this week to be put in the freezer and also have been canning tomatoes. 

Anyone local want a pair of these as garden ornaments? They're too pretty not to try to find a home for. L? Less work than a cat and they make groceries?

Still deeply in love with Postcrossing.  Here are some fun recent cards. Can anyone translate the one was with  the sheep? Google tells me it means "cute pit". I think something is getting lost there.

These came in the mail today from Etsy. My sister is a huge fan of the Podcast My Favorite Murder and I can't wait to send them to her. 

Here's Bee in the camper with us over the weekend. I want to remember that Elyse came home this morning having apparently been in a fight last night. She's missing a nickle sized patch of fur and skin off of her haunch. No idea. Bee and Elyse have been having the neighborhood cats over every night to sit on the porch (an orange tabby and a grey and white cat, both look well taken care of) so maybe she got in a cat fight but I have a really hard time picturing this. Elyse is delicate flower, not a scrapper.

I finished The Devil All The Time and it was fantastic. Before buying another Donald Ray Pollock book I've pulled this off the shelf.

It's funny how many book have been picked up over the years that are sitting up there still waiting to be read.

I think that's about it. Going to take the youngest to visit Papa, buy umbrellas at Walmart (apparently we own 2) and hit the post office before school lets out. 

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Another waiting post

31 weeks? Turned sideways,  I look like an elephant.  A pregnant elephant.  
So here we are, waiting for a scan. It's nice to have some quiet time. It's been a nice week. My husband has started teaching again and the oldest absolutely cannot wait to go to kindergarten next week. He is SO excited. We somehow need to, I don't know, give a crash course in Catholicism over the next couple of days. He has no clue, I was raised Catholic but religion isn't talked about around the house and it's a conversation we have no idea how to start. It would be much easier for me to explain how this baby in my tummy got there and how he's getting  out.

This conversation happened this morning. I immediately texted my sister:

My sister and I found this hilarious.  My husband did too although he was trying to be the mature one.

What else this week....

The book The Devil All The Time came in the mail and I started it. It is so, so well written. I've finished the first section with Williard, Charlotte and Arvin and am taking a break before I keep reading. It's a noir novel and the violence doesn't bother me but, oh boy, the suffering of these characters.  The way it's written this section also feels like it could have been a complete short story so I'm eager to see where Arvin goes from here. 

The oldest and I (and Elyse) spent another night in the camper. I'm glad I didn't read this out in the camper. 

Bee never joins us out in the camper. She prefers to sleep in the mulch. I don't get it.

Tomatoes are coming on enough that I made a tomato pie this week. It was delicious and we devoured half of it before I took a picture. The leftovers didn't make it through the next day. 

I did manage to can 2 jelly jars while making the pie. This was a doable way of getting it done since I was in the kitchen anyway.

The neighbors shared some zucchini with us and the kids and I made this bread. It's a winner.

We didn't have instant coffee but that was ok. They baked at 350. The pan of tiny ones took maybe 12 minutes? The mini loaves maybe 15. Everyone loves this bread. We currently have a big glut of yellow crookneck squash in the refrigerator.  Surely I can make this bread with those too? It would be nice to freeze these for lunches.

I've been waiting on the doctor forever, looking at food pictures and now am starving so here are some pictures of flowers and chickens.😂

I hope this is done soon. Maybe I'll sneak into the fabric store before going home.