Saturday, October 28, 2017

Monsoon season

We've entered what I quietly think of as fall monsoon season in western PA. The non-stop rain ; sometimes a pour, sometimes a mist but always coupled with cold.

Today it rained all day. As in, we woke up to rain in the middle of the night and it hasn't stopped.  The high today was about 45 degrees.  I'm sure it pretty much ruined Trick Or Treating for the little kids in town. 

I took some pictures this evening while I was in the yard.

Sunset hitting the back tree line.

Maple leaves.



Mushrooms and a stump.


The season is coming to an end and winter is not far away.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Vintage fabric & treasures for sale

Continuing with my effort to de-clutter the house, I've decided to let go of some more of the vintage fabric that I've collected over the years - feedsacks, bark cloth, silks.  I've also listed some fun playing swap cards.

Here are some of things that are for sale.

I'm sad to see this one go. I still remember the farm sale I found this at. 

Vintage sheet scraps, including an uncut full sheet.  There are some BEAUTIFUL quilts out there made of vintage sheeting from this era.  The sheets are kind of hard to come by and I've been cutting squares for a quilt for years, these are some of my extras.

A grouping of vintage children's playing cards.  These are so fun, I've set aside some to frame up for the little man's room but these are some of the extras.

Time to move some of these treasures on.  If you're curious about what else I've listed here's a link to my seller page.  There are bins and bins of this stuff still to go through - mostly 1930's and 1940's fabric but also a set of bark cloth drapes and some vintage quilt blocks.

Monday, October 23, 2017

A Day Away - a trip to the zoo and Lake Erie

Saturday was such a beautiful day that we packed a cooler, threw sand toys in the car and went to Erie for the day.  Unlike our last trip to the zoo, which started with the car battery dying and ended with a power outage this trip went off without a hitch.  We didn't know when we got to the zoo that apparently it was "ZooBoo" day so our little guy was one of the few that wasn't wearing a costume.  Everything was pretty tacky with Halloween decorations all over the place but the animals were out and there was trick or treating to be had. We had so much fun. 

I'll take a couple of these for Christmas, please.

This cat would eat one of our kitties as an appetizer.

As would this one.  Little man was stuffing a Reese's peanut butter cup for this picture.  He doesn't really like sweets but I think it was the novelty of it.  Sparrows were playing in the stream in the tiger enclosure.  I wonder how often the tiger pounces a sparrow in front of visitors.

I don't remember what this is but they were adorable, cat-like with long faces.

Beautiful carnivorous plants.

After the zoo, we went to the lake for the rest of the afternoon.  The little man dug in the sand, my husband closed his eyes and I hunted up beach glass and pottery.

View from our quilt.  When it came time to pack up to go home I could not, for the life of me, find one of the little man's matchbox cars.  He had buried it in the sand and it was completely lost.  This made me terribly, unreasonably sad for the little toy.  It was an older Matchbox car, from the 70's maybe.  We had brought it home on one of our "thrift store exchange days" so it had already lived a full life before we found it. Then it came to our home.  Then it got lost on the beach.  Maybe some day some other kid will find it or someone with a metal detector will come along and scoop it up. Or, most likely, it will still be out there alone long after we all are gone.

Ridiculous things like this make me think about how fleeting life really is. 

But, these are the good days. The days to enjoy while we can.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Photos/what's been going on around here

There were so many pictures clogging up my cell phone that the poor thing was barely working.  I moved them all over to the laptop today so it's a good chance to share some of the things that have been going on.

We are STILL getting alpine strawberries! 

It was really hot last weekend, around 80 degrees.  We went to a corn maze/farm park with friends. It was a lot of fun, though a bit pricey; $14 admission for a 2 year old, seriously. You had to admire the ingenuity of the people that owned the place though.  There were so many things for kids to do.

The maze.

The weather turned colder for a couple of days. We had our first frost, a light one, during that time. Now it's warmed up again.

Elyse has been doing this to both the refrigerator and the dish washer.  Bless her adorable soul, she is useful for exactly one thing around here but it's a very important one: telling me about mice/bugs/snakes in the house. (Yes, snakes.  That actually happened once, no idea how it got in.) Elyse was afraid of everything when we got her from the shelter including her own reflection so this is a huge show of bravery. She must have been some kind of pointer in a previous life but I've learned never to ignore her when she's "telling" me about something. Traps were set and one mouse has been killed so far. A massively pregnant one. I felt terrible. 

There was one day this week when I went into the chicken yard and almost stepped on a duck egg.  We haven't had duck eggs since most of them got killed in the spring (possibly a fox) so my female Pekin must have started laying.  Spent the day making fresh pasta with that egg and a chicken egg.  Just flour, the eggs and a bit of olive oil.  We had some leftover roast potatoes and winter squash from the night before so I pureed those and made tortellini.

They looked clumsy but tasted delicious and I learned a lot about filling and shaping them.

After I ran out of filling I made some noodles with lemon zest and thyme and put them in the dehydrator.

These little plain squares were cut out of scraps.  They're the size of postage stamps and they'll be used in soup this winter.

What else went on.... we sent 12 Cornish Cross chickens to the butcher and I butchered 4 chickens myself along with 10 quail.   Been doing a little bit of crafting, not much but trying to get back into things.  There are some projects I've started that it would be nice to finish this winter.  Thinking about reading. Looking forward to slower days as it gets cooler.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Best Friends

Photographs of two best friends taken over the last 24 hours.

Bee has adored the little man since we brought him home from the hospital.  I think in a way she considers him to be her baby too. The two times he's had a major boo-boo (a terrible splinter and stepping on a piece of glass), oh, the crying.  From both of them.  Little man would cry. Bee would cry and pace back and forth, eventually crawling up to swat my arm as I held him "someone, do something!"

She spends most of the day outside, killing small critters and making mischief, but when she's in the house they're inseparable.  He feeds her his snacks and leftover cereal. She lets him pat her too hard and try to pick her up by the tail.


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

These days

The other night I made dinner as usual; sweet potato fries, quinoa with corn and tomato and shrimp. The little guy has been on a hummus and hard boiled egg kick so he got some of those too. Everyone was hungry by the time the fries came out and we sat down to eat as a family.

The little guy had some sweet potato fries and checked out all the other stuff on his plate with suspicion.  He had brought his toy dinosaur to the table with him so I dramatically fed a piece of shrimp to the dinosaur hoping it would convince him to eat one.

I had just picked up my fork when I heard a "GRRROOOOOWWL!" and the dinosaur when flying past me into the quinoa where it bounced and ended up in the kitchen.

It had been a long day.
I was tired. I couldn't help it.
Wasn't I supposed to act like an adult?
I put my head in my hands. My shoulders started shaking.
I was biting back my laughter so hard the that the tears started flowing.

I heard my husband gently correcting our son as he yelled "AHAHAHAHA!" and I couldn't do it any longer. I totally lost it. My husband started laughing too.  "Pumpkin, are you done with eating? " I asked the little man. "TRUCK!" he replied. "OK then, go play."

My mother died way too early from cancer. With my family history if I make it to old age I'll be staring down the barrel of dementia.   If that happens to me, when I am old, I hope these are the days I remember.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

The garden in October

Dinner in a bucket.

Even though it's October, there's still a lot happening out in the garden. Let's take a tour!
I've always called the this part of the garden the "spring side" but I'm working to make it the perennial vegetable/fruit bed.  Some of these plants are and some of them aren't but we're getting there. 

That tall, feathery mass on the right hand side is the asparagus bed.

Between these bottles, I've planted lots and lots of garlic.  It got planted in waves so some of it has already sprouted. This is where the potatoes were planted this year so if we missed digging some and they grow in the spring, no big deal.  Garlic is tall and potatoes are short-ish.

We still have a nice bit of greens.  Had salads for dinner tonight and maybe BLTs later in the week.

I finally did this!  All of the perennial herbs (oregano, thyme, rosemary & sage) are now in one spot! Why did this take years to do? Will have to remember to cover the rosemary because it's not always cold-hardy here. The oregano is planted in a sunken pot to keep the growth under control.  This was a lesson learned the hard way as I was into growing herbs as a teenager and the oregano I planted took over every single one of my mother's flower beds.  Whoops. Sorry. But the bees love it!

The parsley is on the other side of the swiss chard.  I think parsley is a biennial, I know it's come up again in the past.

Plenty of these beauties.  Not a perennial but delicious.

I'm going to do a post on this soon.  All of the Alpine strawberries that spent the summer growing in pots have been transplanted into a dedicated spot.  I think I ended up with 35 plants.  We are thrilled with these plants and I don't know how we lived without them before.  They started fruiting in July, it's October and we are still eating berries when we are outside.  Just a couple here and there, sure, but they are DELICIOUS.  And growing in our very own back yard!  In October!

Some rhubarb.  The one plant is twice the size of the other one, no idea why.  

We're not eating much from the garden these days but it's still providing.  For dinner tonight we had big salads with lettuce, tomato and hard boiled eggs, along with roasted Brussels sprouts and potatoes.  Kinda odd combination but it was good.

What other kinds of perennial vegetables and herbs are out there?  It will be fun to research before the seed catalogs get here.  I think the plan will be to fill it in as well as I can, and then plant edible flowers, herbs and greens in between the permanent areas.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Thoughts on flowers

I'm really sad to find that I didn't take that many pictures of flowers this year, or bring a lot of them into the house.  Not like last year when I was bringing in vases of them.  I wanted to get some things in my notes to remember next spring.

Dedicating a portion of the garden to flowers was a wonderful idea.  It looked so beautiful and brought in a ton of pollinators.  Next year, I would like more sunflowers; both the branching kind and those big mammoth ones that have flowers a foot across.   They did well on the north side of the garden.  

Cannas lined the east and west sides of the garden and there were some on the north side and also in the poultry section. I didn't buy any this year just planted what came out of storage.  Even so, I'll probably lift a hundred tubers this fall.  They did better on the west side of the garden and the poultry section where they weren't competing with the tomatoes for sun.  These would look fantastic in the chicken yard next year. I don't *think* they'll eat them.

I loved the blue morning glories.  They grew so quickly up the sides of the garden tepee.  

None of the nasturtiums got very tall.  Next year I'd like to use these as ground cover both in the kidney shaped flower bed and the one by the garden shed.

The shed area got no attention at all this year after my husband "helpfully" weed wacked it. 

The anise hyssop I grew from seed grew nicely.  Planted in the kidney shaped garden. It's a perennial so we can enjoy it next year too.  It would be worth growing more of these from seed and I should remember to plant them in those biodegradable pots because the seedlings were delicate.

These are the dahlias that were grown. I was trying to be frugal this spring at just plant what I had but should round out the colors next year. The two big ones are dinner-plate sized and the smaller ones about the size of an orange.

Possibly my favorite flower.

Also to remember for next year: any annuals I buy should be limited to white.  I love a riot of colors in the garden but didn't have anything white and that would help to calm it down a bit.  I remember baby's breath did well here one year.  Maybe white zinnias, white marigolds. white dahlias.  Will have to get out the seed catalogs and start dreaming.