04 August 2020

Busy as a Bee & To-Do's!

Hello again!

Last week, spiders.  This week, bees.
As in:  busy as one.

Let's hear it for August!!
Usually this means the outdoor garden work is
 lessening and I'm doing more work in the kitchen
I think I might now be there.  Maybe.

Did I stay on top of things this past week?
1) Make log cabin blocks for West Point quilt

 The hardest part about these West Point quilts is
getting the gray and tan to work together so as
always, I made a trial.  The dotted gray fabric was not
my first choice but because it actually has some
gold-tan tones in it, I decided it was my best option.

Does it work?
I hope so because I got all my blocks made!

2) Play around with Sew-Can-She's hexi-hotpads
This just didn't happen.

 3) Finish kitty quilt top.

Last week, I didn't list the fabrics I was using so there it is.
I got the charm pack on a MSQC daily deal and then
not long after found the yardage on clearance elsewhere.

My picture is a little dark but there it is, top completed.
A simple but fun project.  I also have the backing
pieced (the green) and the batting ready.  The whole
thing is laying out on the long arm but I want to 
get the West Point quilt top finished before I quilt this.
I'll bind it with the coordinating black yardage I have.

4) Make a pincushion to keep at longarm.
Absolutely no time for this one.

5) Continue working with herbs, preserving etc
Everything I had drying last week is put away
and more has taken their place.

 With so many cucumbers, I made up some spicy pickles.

No canning, just a few minutes of work and
into the refrigerator they went.
Both the cayenne and jalapeño flavors are a hit.

I couldn't let all those cayennes go to waste so, just as
quickly, I had them strung up for hanging in the pantry.
There will be tons more to come.

The garden is wonderfully green still for this time of year.

On a beautiful morning like today, you can stand still and
hear the busy hum of those bees working on the fall crops.

Their work here is done.  A baby turk's turban gourd.

And here.  A jack-o-lantern pumpkin.
He has a LOT of growing to do.
Will this be the year to top my personal pumpkin
weight record of 44 pounds?  It has been 7 years
and only a few 30-plus pounders have come close.

With all the rain, it occurred to me that I hadn't pruned the
tomatoes in a few weeks and they were an absolute forest!

I wish I'd taken a before but if you see the overgrown area
in the left pathway there...

...that's how the WHOLE THING looked before I spent 8--yes,
EIGHT--backbreaking hours pruning and tying up branches.
I broke it up into 4 sessions over 2 days.
When I went to sleep at night, all I could see were
tomato branches.  True story.

After I had hacked away just that first side of the first row
I stepped back to survey my work.  Oops--a little too snippy
with the pruners but holy marinara, Batman, I haved one heck
of a tomato crop coming up.  And THERE will be the canning.

Perhaps one of the best things to come out of summers
around here is homemade marinara sauce.  I get so
spoiled with it that I cringe at tasting purchased.
After many years of searching for a good basic recipe,
I came across Emeril's from his deep-dish pizza recipe
and have used it ever since--but with fresh tomatoes and
herbs, double the wine and I like to add in a little Mür Glenn
organic tomato paste. This stuff is all I use, btw.
It really makes a difference.

A few nights later, that sauce joined some homemade pasta
and together, they made up a nice lasagne that we enjoyed
al fresco--oh my goodness it was a beautiful evening!
Barely a breeze, about 74° and the sun setting.
I don't think we're in Kansas [in August] anymore!

Oh wait.  There are chickens.
Yeah, we're still here.

This is the latest sign to go up inside the coop.
The girls just love it!
Just kidding.  They could care less.  In fact,
I give it a month and they'll have poo on it somehow.

About those older chickens...
Hubs and I avoided the issue for a couple weeks but the
deed is now done.  It's ugly, messy, unpleasant work.
And then came the broth-making.  
(At their age, that's all they were good for.)
For DAYS!  And nights!  ALL HOURS! 
All was seasoned with the basics:  carrots, onions, celery,
garlic, peppercorn and mushrooms but in the second half
I also added in fresh herbs; in just a few quarts, I also
added lemon grass (for lemon-chicken orzo soup).
With over 10 GALLONS of super-healthy broth,
we're now set for the Zombie Apocalypse.
Crazy, and blessed.
And I'm never, ever doing that again because
after it all, I feel like a zombie myself.
This morning the last batch is simmering on the stove.

So, what am I up to doing this week after all of that?

1) Finish West Point quilt top
I think I can handle this.

Put those blocks all together and add a couple borders.
Thinking something like the above.

2) Make a pin cushion
I really really need to get this one done this time!

3)  Step up the Christmas gift work.
I mentioned last week that I was starting to think about
thinking about (yes, I meant to write it that way) Christmas.

This morning I flipped over to August in my organizer and my
own Christmas note met me.  In January, when the holidays
are still fresh in my mind, I make helpful notes
and reminders for next year's holidays,
 whenever and wherever I think I'll be needing them.

For some possible Christmas gift ideas, I'd like to see
what all I can make out of these cute feed bags that
I've collected.  We go through plenty and though I use
them for any garden refuse that can't be composted,
I still have plenty saved up.  There are so many
fun ideas on Pinterest but at the very least I'll probably
make myself some shopping bags.

I think that had better be it for me this week.

Happy quilting!
Today I'm linking up to:


Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

your garden is just so large and lovely I would never be able to care for one like that - and I'm supposed to prune my tomato plants? I didn't know that - what do you do cut bits and pieces off - will they produce better tomatoes that way? I love homemade marina sauce as well but haven't gotten enough tomatoes to make much of it this summer - I have lots of green tomatoes but barely any ripe and my Roma tomatoes have lots of blossoms but not a lot of tomatoes and they are near the flowers so I know there are bees about

Home Sewn By Us said...

Hi Cheree! I definitely think the polka dotted fabric works well in the WP blocks - from a distance you don't even know there is a dot at all. Gosh, that Meow Forever is c.u.t.e. and what a fun quilt top. Those spicy pickles look delicious - they make my mouth water. Do you use any tomato in your marinara sauce? I imagine not Roma - but does it matter otherwise? I'd like to try to make some once . . . I love the idea of thinking about thinking about Christmas gifts. I have that on my mind as well. Thanks so much for linking up today. ~smile~ Roseanne

For the love of geese said...

Wow you have a lot happening. Love the West Point quilt, it will be cherished.

Rebecca Grace said...

Oh, Cheree -- I think you NAILED the West Point quilt. It looks really, really good. The string of cayennes is beautiful, and I would be tempted to wear it around my neck, like a witch doctor. I would need a Plague Mask to go with it -- the 14th century kind with the long, pointy beak, not these dainty little masks we are all wearing today. As for the chickens... Oh, my! Sometimes my husband muses about how nice it would be to have fresh eggs from chickens if we had more land with our next house, but neither one of us was considering the unpleasantries involved in the end of life decisions for elderly chickens! :-(. I'm glad you got some broth out of it.

Needled Mom said...

Yes...the West Point Stars definitely make a beautiful quilt. Your garden will keep you busy for quite awhile yet, especially with all of those tomatoes.

LIttle Penguin Quilts said...

Your West Point quilt is really coming together! And the little charm pack quilt looks great, too. Amazing the different growing seasons around the country - we have a pumpkin that has already turned orange! He's not very big, though - but fun to grow!

Frédérique said...

West Point is beautiful, nice mix of pretty fabrics.
Thanks for sharing!

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