Week 24 Check-in: Staying Busy; A Garden Check-In

Summer is just a few days away.  How did that happen?

What a glorious spring we have had around here with lots
of rain and cooler temps.  But we got spoiled.  And hubs and
I just came back from a short trip to New Mexico where we
enjoyed temps in the 60's while in Santa Fe.  The heat has
struck here and suddenly I'm way behind in the garden.
Everything needs pruned!  And most of the old section is
solid weeds that are starting to go to seed--bad, bad, bad!

I've missed quite a few Tuesdays and I'm feeling it.
First, it turned out that we had to replace the 2011 (grrr!) A/C
upstairs which is where my studio is.  There was a 3-week wait
for the unit delivery so once the temps went up, I stayed down!
Add in a lot of golf, travel and the kids being over a lot to swim and
well, somehow the weeks flew by but absolutely nothing was sewn
except the quilt jobs I did a few weeks ago so I will just start with
a quick check on my last to-do list from way back when.

* * * Week 21 Priority * * *
Completely finish Pepitas II.
Nope.  No way was I climbing under a hot quilt up there.

2) Quilting jobs:   All 3 were completed.

This first one was done for a first-time quilter.  Excuse the bad
lighting but as I mentioned there was lots of rain and darkness at
that time.  (Oh, to have a few of those days back now!)
With these dinosaur prints, I couldn't resist this quilt design!
Zooming in, you can see the dinosaur tracks mixed in the swirls.
Dino Tracks is by My Creative Stitches

This next one is 109.5x109.5 and took most of the day to quilt.

The design is Riviera by My Creative Stitches

This one is 98x98 so not quite the long-haul 
but check out this beautiful quilting design:

Forest Walk by My Creative Stitches

3) Choose next quilt:  probably something patriotic
Lots of ideas but really haven't had time to look through
my stash for help in making my final decision.  I'm probably
too late for patriotic though so might just move on to fall.

Other news

An LQS wanted to thin down their clearance section so for $5/yd,
I felt that was worth an hour's drive.  So, yeah I added another
27+ yards to my stash.   Plus, I've allowed myself some online
shopping so I really, really need to get back to work.  Previously,
I was keeping up very well but, alas, I am in the red again.
I need to chew through about 50 yards right away.
I can do this, right?!
Though my sewing break was mostly forced, it was probably
good for me, though the timing isn't great.  I should be building
 fall/holiday inventory but the sewjo has taken a bit of a dive.
Likely a combo of the heat and not getting anything done up there,
but I now have a bunch of new fabric/projects that I'm excited about
so a new to-do list is in store!

First a few other things:

I'm still spending lots of time golfing.

I had a lovely little streak where I played amazingly well.
I was hoping to beat my best (85) but I only tied it...and then
my streak ended (you golfers get me there) but it felt great to
play that well again.  I'm already picking it back up and
 I feel it's going to be a really good golf summer.

We played two rounds in New Mexico--not my best, but with all
that travel plus new courses, I'm not surprised.  But I had fun!

We're going to play in a couple's tournament next month and
 have a BIG golf trip coming up in a few months so I really
need to get as much playing time in as I can--but I also need to
sew lots of quilts!  I'm telling you, the struggle is real!
Do you have other things that really pull at you like this?

Enough golf.  How about a garden check-in?  If you will recall,
we're doing this in phases.  Phase 1 was the fence (last year).
Phase 2 has been putting the first half of the garden into new raised
beds--and yes it would be helpful if I had some before pics so
I pulled up a few old ones I've had on here over the years: 

I started this garden with just one bed around '03 or so
and quickly added more beds over the next few years.
(This side, above, is actually going to be Phase 3)

In 2014, hubs raised the beds just a bit with landscape timbers,
knowing some day we'd do something more permanent.
Note in the top right corner, there was a long row of cedars?
We had those torn out before starting (the Pre-Phase??) so that
left a large strip needing grass and landscape, including trees.
A nice example of how a project quickly escalates and always
takes longer than imagined.
(I still need to add one more tree to it this fall.)

(The back half of this is where Phase 2 is now mostly done) 

We were amazed they lasted as long as they did but in the last
two years the timbers have really begun to fall apart so the
re-do could not be put off any longer.

Last year, we started with Phase 1:  The Fence.

Phase 2, this year, has been replacing the first half of the beds with
these containers which hubs got off of Amazon.  I'm very happy with
them but hubs can tell you that with a bajillion screws/wingnuts,
 they're horrendously time-consuming to put together.

I did my part by tearing out the old beds and then I insisted that
I fill every single new bed because I want to know exactly what
went into each--compost, cardboard, mulch, soil, etc.
Yes, that was a lot of crazy work for someone with a bad back
but I did take my time, doing it over a few weeks.

I've been a little worried about the compost being too potent.
I tried to keep it fairly minimal but I also did not want to buy
soil to fill them so I just did the best I could.
It is fortunate that we've had so much rain and such a mild spring
because there is a bit of "burn" showing on a leaf here and there
but nothing too bad.  So far, even in the heat, they're doing fine.

I've been making refrigerator pickles almost daily.  

We love them, especially with jalapeno tossed in so I want
 enough to last until next summer, plus a few jars for the kids.

I have tons of dill growing elsewhere but for fun
I planted a few around these cucumbers.

Now that it's just hubs and me, I don't have to plant such
large amounts of crops.  I instead, I can be more creative
with the individual beds.  They can have themes like
The Pickle Garden (cukes and dill) and the
Ratatouille Garden (squash and eggplant).

I am happily picking green beans almost daily.
First, it's a joy to pick when they are a few feet off the ground
but they're also one of my favorite veggies.  Hubs find it
extremely odd that I can enjoy a lunch of just green beans.

Most of these pics are a couple weeks old but the
 tomatoes are now ripening nicely. 
I mentioned in an earlier post that hubs  also ran water lines to
each bed.  The short soaker hoses are also from Amazon.

 Even now this is so much easier for me but once the re-do is
complete and the water is hooked up to the lawn system,
summers will be even better!  And pruning the tomatoes
when they're up high like this is almost fun.

I've also been getting weed block and mulch down on the pathways.
It's a mix of trying to take my time so I don't get too sore but I also
want to stop any weeds from coming in because that saves me
from more work down the road.  To add in a little extra weed block,
I'm layering cardboard under the actual black landscape paper.
(Why not make use of all those boxes from online orders??)

I'm really enjoying having my little sitting area back.
On mild days it's great for a little reading, working on computer,
or just taking a break from the garden work.   Occasionally,
we've even eaten out there and/or just enjoyed a glass of wine.

The latest addition has been the grape arbors.

In the front entrance are the Concord grapes;
in the back are the green.

I'm not sure if Phase 3 will be this fall or next spring but
knowing how much work it's been so far, I'm in no hurry.

Except for the fact that some of it is solid weeds!
Above are my acorn and butternut squash in one of the
old beds.  I did a nice job of cardboard/straw weed block
but behind me as I took this pic?  WEEDS!!!  I have a lot
of work to do there, especially before I get the pumpkins
and gourds in.

I'm not sure if Phase 3 will be this fall or next spring but
knowing how much work it's been so far, I'm in no hurry.


The goal has been to have it done for our retirement
and that is years away yet.

I never like for a project to drag out but for some reason, I'm
enjoying the slower pace of this one.  Perhaps it's simply that
I've come to learn that it is just how gardening works:
a good one takes years to build and grow, and really?
A garden is never finished.
While I struggle with unfinished housework and chores,
an unfinished garden just means promise in much the
same way my stash cabinet holds promise.  I'd love to
figure out how to look at housekeeping like that but
right now, let's move on to the promises of fabric...

* * * Week 25 Priority * * *
Completely finish Pepitas II.
Quilted, labeled, bound, pictured and listed.
 (I can do this!!)

2) Choose next project(s)

Happy quilting!

Linking up to:
Monday Musings by Songbird Designs
Tuesday To Do by Quilt Schmilt
Sew & Tell by Melva Loves Scraps


Linda said…
Your post is like reading a Martha Steward gardening book - so much eye candy for me. Your garden is glorious! I especially love the arbors and the little wine/rest area. How do you prune your tomatoes? I've never done that, and mine are going crazy, can't even see the tomatoes they are so thick.
Every time I've ever been in New Mexico, I did not want to leave. Glad you got to spend time golfing there!
piecefulwendy said…
Pretty quilts, and gorgeous looking garden. You two have invested a ton of work on that lovely space, and it looks great! I'm with J on eating just the green beans - unless they are slathered in buttah. Then I'm good.
Your garden space is amazing! Those new beds are beautiful!
Chrisknits said…
Girl you wear me out! I could barely take going to the fabric store today, but then I did have foot surgery and have been house bound and restricted to couch surfing for recovery. But man, I'm more tired after reading your post. LOL!! Love the quilt patterns on those quilts!! They are all so lovely.
Your garden looks awesome, Cheree! Of course, your quilts are too! LOL I really like the motifs you chose!
Kate said…
It does seem like summer just popped into being after all those days of rain and cloudy skies. Your garden is looking great. Lots of work in all of that, but it's paying off. Good luck with the balance between golfing and stitching, sometimes we all get off kilter on way or the other. Happy stitching.
Nancy Lane said…
I envy your garden. Mine always seems to be more weeds than plants.

Can you tell me is the name of the pattern for the quilt with the star in the middle with the frame around it? I need to make a quilt for my daughter's wedding next summer and haven't found anything yet that catches my eye. The quilt I'm inquiring about catches my eye! Thanks!