Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Strawberries

One cute chick and one old mama went to pick strawberries today.  You'd think with a family our size there could've been more pickers, but it worked out for only Tara and I to go when we needed to go today!  We were hoping for 140ish pounds, knowing I'd gotten 142 pounds last year.  I knew we didn't need quite that many since we still had some left, but I decided to see how the picking was.

When I called the strawberry owner the other day, the message said they were beginning on Friday at 9:00.  I didn't plan to go then.  I left her a message, saying to please call me and let me know when would be a good time to come picking, as it was a bit of a drive for me, and I wanted to get 100-150 pounds on one trip.  She called me back that afternoon and asked if I'd like to come on Wednesday, before she actually opened to the public!!!  I felt like one lucky girl:)

We had the whole field(s) to ourselves.  She didn't care where we went.  She first showed us one field of berries, and told us we could also go into a different patch.  We started out and our first 3 buckets (each) were taking us about 10 minutes a bucket.  It felt long and tiresome and 28 buckets sounded like something far off in the future!!!  I decided to walk over to the other patch.  I got a handful of berries that were MUCH larger and seemed darker . . . more ready to be picked.  We decided to head over there to try it out.  We stayed there the rest of the time.  Our average went down to a little over 6 minutes a bucket.  It felt like we were moving so much, that it didn't seem nearly as long.  I just got so sore.  I'd try to stand over a row and bend down.  Then my back would get tired.  Then I tried to go on my knees . . . and they'd start hurting.  And finally we were done.

When I was on my last bucket, the lady had walked by and said she'd be right back.  I hadn't realized it, but Tara saw her get into a vehicle and leave.  After we filled our 28 buckets that we were shooting for, I went to the van, opened up the doors and windows and laid my seat back to rest.  Tara went to get another bucket to keep picking!!  I told her not to pick too much, as I'd already gotten what I wanted.  When she was finished she came to wait, too.  The lady finally came back and we were able to weigh and pay for our berries and leave.  We'd gotten 148 pounds in 1 3/4 hours!!

This is what 28 buckets of berries look like, lined up in the shade of our van.

And this is what 148 pounds of berries looks like in containers.  I had every container filled that I'd brought with me!!

And this is what supper . . . Swedish pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream looks like:)

I wish I could say they were all done, but they're not!!  I have a bunch to do tomorrow, including all of my jam.  Rachel, Aimee, Tara, me, and even Clint for a short while, worked on the berries tonight.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Yard Work

I wish I had "before" pictures, but I don't.  Nobody thought to tell me I should've taken some until it was all done:)  They probably didn't know how much I was really going to get it changed!!!

Last year before Pappa and Grandma's house was sold, Clint and I took a few things to transplant at our house.  Clint took a couple Rhododendrons and I took a Hosta, Lily of the Valley and Lilac.  We'd also planted a few plants up there that we received when Pappa and Grandma died.  We basically dug holes for them to get them in the ground and they were planted on the grassy hillside.  I knew I wanted it changed, because it was pretty hard to mow around everything, and I really wanted it to be a flowerbed.

Last fall my big camellia plant was stripped of everything green by the deer!  It's still looking pretty sad, but every week it gets more leaves opening.  I think the flower buds must start the prior year, too, because there was only one blossom . . . and the deer got that, too, after about a day of being partially open!!

Twenty years ago when we moved here, David built a rock wall and I had about 2-3 feet wide of petunias growing there every year while we lived in our trailer.  During the digging and building of our house, the rock wall was partially buried and hadn't been kept up anymore.

Christopher and Clint helped me dig up and turn over the hillside.  We dug out all the rocks from the wall.  There were tons of ferns growing out of it and they have severe root systems that had to come out!  David didn't seem to want to have anything to do with my project, so we were on our own.  I knew he'd get tired of watching us building the wall (probably not the correct way) and come give his two cents worth after awhile.  After getting about 3 feet done, he came and did a couple feet and then said it was our deal.  The boys didn't like all the digging, but they did enjoy prettying it up, by building the wall with me.  After we got the wall done, I put down landscape fabric and then covered it with barkdust.  Tara helped me with most of that.  I think it turned out really nice:)




I always hate it that grass grows up into the rock wall and it needs weedeating, so I dug out along the front flowerbed and added barkdust along it so we can mow easier.

We've had this for many years.  Just cleaned it up a bit and added barkdust after redoing the rock work.

Our neighbor sells Clematises, and Tara gave me a couple (that I got to pick out) for Mother's Day.  I planted them along our pumphouse.  I need to get a couple trellises for them.  The one on the right is ready to bloom and will bloom again in the fall.  The one on the left will bloom during the summer months.

I know for all of you fancy landscapers out there, this probably doesn't look like much, but for us it is:)  I'm glad to have it done and hoping, hoping, hoping I can keep the deer out of all of them.  We just scared off three this morning!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Where Do You Sleep?

Kids fall asleep in funny places.

It was pretty quiet and I hadn't saw Tanner around for awhile, so I figured I better find out where he was.  I checked outside first as I though he had probably made an escape.  I didn't see him anywhere and finally found him on the nursery floor!  He knew where to go when it was time for a nap :)


A month and a half ago I was babysitting one night while Mom and Dad were gone.  The other kids were all in bed, but Morgan was going to stay awake until they got home!  So she fell asleep sitting next to me at the counter.

A few days later Morgan fell asleep "reading" on the couch.


 This one dates back to last October.  I think Dad was reading a story and she was falling asleep.

She woke up soon after :)

Rachel


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Another Science Experiment - Absorption

 Not so easy to take a picture of these kids!


To start with, the left cup had red water and the right cup was empty.  One end of a piece of rolled paper towel was placed in each cup.  It took a LONG time, but the water transferred to the empty cup.

Here we put yellow water in one cup, blue in the other.  They mixed into a little bit of green in the middle, but that was all.  Since there was the same amount of water in each cup, it wouldn't continue to the other side.

This part was really interesting!  We made brown water by adding red, green, blue, yellow, pink, and purple food coloring.  Green came through to the empty cup first, and then a pinkish color.  It eventually turned the water in the previously empty cup a more brownish color, but it stayed greener than the brown water.  Once each cup had the same amount of water, no more water transferred between cups.

Hunter said all they did that day was watch!  I may have thought it was more fun than them. :)

Rachel

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Band Box and Sampler Quilts

In January, with Christmas gifts and bazaar crafting done with, I was ready to begin something new.  About 3 years ago several ladies in my quilt group decided to each make a sampler quilt.  I really liked the pattern and saved it, but it was bad timing for me.  I was just about due with Morgan.  The pattern took so many different fabrics that I was overwhelmed.  I didn't have a "stash" of fabric to choose from and it seemed nearly impossible to try to go and buy that many different fabrics.  Then about a year ago my friend sold me a set of fabric.  I bought it just because I liked it, but after I got home I realized that it could be the "beginnings" of my sampler quilt.  I was able to look through my fabric and find almost everything to go with it.  I just had to buy a few small pieces to get some more reds and greens to go with it.

Also, as soon as I saw the pattern, I had one person in mind for it . . . my dear sister-in-law, Anne.  Last year when I was showing the pattern to a friend, she told me she didn't like the chicken in it and that I should do a teacup and saucer.  Anne may like chickens, but I for sure knew she liked teacups, and I didn't really like the chicken anyway, so I decided to go with the teacup.  The only sad thing in the process was that after I had all my fabric, one of those Facebook getting to know you things was going around and I found out Anne's favorite color was blue . . . which I was using precious little of!!

I've never done a quilt with so many different kinds of blocks, but it was really fun.  When I only had the applique and "picture" blocks left, a friend asked me what my plan was . . . was I hoping to do a block a month or??  Haha . . . I had the top finished a week later:)  I was having too much fun to stop!!

Tops get done and tend to sit for a bit for various reasons.  I didn't have the fabric for backing for this one.  I was so excited to find the fabric I found.  I wanted to use flannel because it's more cozy, but printed flannels are more difficult to come by.  Then I went to the fabric store and the fabric I chose was just about the only printed flannel (in the quilting section) there.  It had all of the colors I wanted in it!!  I was hoping not to have to choose a solid, because I didn't know what I would choose.

When I made the label, I wrote "April, 2014" on it, so I had a deadline for it to get done!!

When it came time to do the actual quilting, I was kinda scared.  I laid it on my bed and would keep coming to look at it, wondering what I should do!  I've never quilted anything like this and I usually just do an all over quilt design, but this was calling for something different.  I'm happy with how it turned out.  The whole quilt was just a new experience for me!!


 Some closer up pictures.

And I just remembered when I was looking at this picture . . . in the block on the bottom center left, the two green fabrics are from your Mom, Anne:)  I used them throughout the quilt.



The back of the quilt.

All folded up and ready to send off.

When I was almost finished with this quilt top, we had our annual Stitch & Chatter Quilt Retreat.  When looking for fabric to buy for the "Band Box" quilt we were doing, I was looking for a "layer cake" (10" squares) to buy.  I wasn't really finding anything I wanted, but knew I could make a quilt for Bronwyn (even though it wasn't at the top of my list of quilts to make), so I bought fabric hoping she would like it.  I figured I'd just feel her out and if she seemed to like it, it would be for her.  Of course, she loved it.

For this quilt, we could make all of the blocks the same or a combination of small rectangles and squares.  We could also set them straight across in a line, or "on point", which I chose to do.  Another option was to cut the blocks "wonky", which I chose not to do.  All in all, we had lots of different choices on it.  Marcella taught it to us, and she did a great job and had lots of pretty examples.

I also put "April, 2014" on Bronwyn's quilt, so it was finished in a timely manner:)  Actually, I don't like unfinished projects sitting around anyway.  I was very pleased to find the flannel backing I got for her.  Our local quilt shop has a big variety of flannel, so I went there to look for some when I couldn't find anything at a large fabric store.  I was sooo happy to find the print I did . . . although it's not from the same line of fabric as the quilt top, it's made by the same designer and had the same colors in it.


A close up.

The backing.



The happy recipient:)


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Birthdays

April is our biggest birthday month.  We have four birthdays from the 7th to the 17th.  Clayton turned 11 this year.  A couple days before his birthday he'd been to a store with David.  He was dearly wishing he had enough money to buy this ax.  David  bought it, but Clayton had no idea it was really for him.  He was so pleased when he got it!

Clayton had an ice cream cake.

This was Tara's "sweet sixteen"  birthday . . . and she's very sweet:)

Her cake was an angel food cake with chocolate whip cream.  Delicious!!

I got a few pictures with smiles from Reid on his 20th birthday, but as I was taking them he asked for them not to be posted.  As usual, he asked for apple pie.

Morgan turned 3.  She is my big "baby girl" now.  She was so pleased with each of her presents.  It's so easy and fun to shop for little girls!!

Rachel made Morgan's cake . . . the only normal cake of the four.  It's nice they all want different kinds of "cake".

In three more weeks, we get to start on our next round . . . but only 2 of them in May, 6 days apart.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

When The Cat's Away . . .

. . . we craft!!  David and the 4 middle size boys went away for a couple days/nights to sell their fur.  We decided to have a crafting party when they were gone.

Aimee was in the process of making a small scrapbook.  (She didn't allow me to photograph her!!)

Bronwyn made MANY scrapbook pages.

Rachel asked Hunter, Walker and Morgan if they wanted to scrapbook, too.  Of course, they said "yes!", so she set them up in the middle of the living room with old pictures and papers.  They had a wonderful time!!

Rachel was in the middle of working on a page here.

Tried to keep Tanner out of trouble by feeding him cookies:)

Tara's "crafting" was cinnamon raisin bread, cookies and some soup for dinner.  Nummy, nummy!!

I managed to finish one scrapbook page and then got busy reorganizing my ribbon.

In my head I was thinking they were going to be gone longer, so it didn't really feel like I accomplished much because I had to be gone on Friday.  Oh, well . . . it was fun while it lasted . . . and another craft day is coming soon!