Friday, August 18, 2017

Summertime is....

Winding down - thank goodness!  Everyone knows I am not a fan of the heat and this has been a very hot summer for our area.  There are some things that go on in the summer that I do like, however, and the Fair is one of them.

If you grew up in a rural area, the fair is the culmination of the summer.  If you were in 4-H this is when all of your projects needed to be completed and were judged on merit.  If you were older, this is when you might take everything from your quilt to your collection of antique salt shakers, your homemade jelly to your garden fresh produce, your cakes and pies, which are also judged and awarded ribbons that are bragged about for the next year.  Then everyone in the surrounding area comes to see and be seen, the kids ride the carnival rides and everyone eats 'Fair Food' which includes everything from chocolate covered bacon and deep fried Twinkies to funnel cakes and corn dogs.  As a former 4-H kid I always figured if you didn't go home from the fair with at least one stomach ache you must have missed something!

l-r  Judges Marilyn and Judy, Anita, Myself and Hubby
 Imagine my pleasure when my friend Anita was asked to be the Superintendent for the 'Needle Arts' section of the Canyon County Fair and replied that she would do it only if I would help her.  I was so excited, and we had so much fun!

We assembled a team of helpers and Judges and we were off to the fair for a week!

 I gained a new appreciation for how hard it is to be a judge watching these two examine seams and 'points', deciding which workmanship was in some cases just a hair better.

 We appreciated too, the young ladies who climbed up and hung our quilts when the judges were done.

That purple quilt in the center was done by a 75 year old gentleman who sews the quilts himself, but does let his wife help him with color combos!  He won the 'Peoples Choice' award the first day.

Needle Arts is 'sew' much more than quilts!  (sorry the pun was just waiting there)  It includes anything that is made with a needle; clothing, crochet, knitted items, home decor, toys, doll clothes etc.. (two categories: youth and adult)
That American flag in the corner was crocheted by a young lady in the under 17 class and won the 'Peoples Choice' award on the last day of the fair.

The ribbon for 'Best of Show' in the youth category went to a lap quilt by a 12 year old young man!  Some of our youngest exhibitors are doing lovely work already. 

I am pleased to see young people still doing this sort of thing.  So many of our youth are making headlines for reasons that make me despair of the future.  The kids who came to the fair made me think things will be OK!

This beauty won Best of Show in the adult category, and is completely hand stitched - the applique, the piecing and the quilting!  Oh my...the time and patience involved!  The finished product is so worth it to look at though!

l-r Angie and Pearl ( Pearl is Anita's mother)

 The section had to be monitored all the time so Anita and I were there for the whole fair.  We did have help on several occasions.  Hubby came and helped out 3 days, and we had a few friends that gave us a break here and there. 
These two characters were arguably our most popular 'docents'!  They came and let Anita and I see the rest of the fair for about 4 hours. They were a big hit with everyone.

It was fun but probably a good thing it is only a week, we were tired!  We got back to our normal lives and are looking forward to next years fair already!  (Okay it took a couple of days to start looking forward to it!)

In the meantime, at home....

The garden is exploding, and not just with weeds.

Hubby's tomatoes are producing at an alarming rate!!

Hubby has finished the new planter in the front yard....

...and dispersed and raked 12 yards of 'road mix' gravel in the lot area.

And now you also know what he does while I sit in an air conditioned office 4 days a week!!  (this may also be why he has lost more weight than me this summer!)

Football season is starting and fall cannot be far off!  WooHoo!

Monday, July 10, 2017


Funny how things happen isn't it?

 In my last post I wrote about having the arborist come out and see if the Corkscrew willow could be saved.  Two days later half of it broke away and fortunately fell away from the house, did not crush the barn and only slightly bent the fence.  We now just had the guys come out and cut it up....and after seeing the base of it we made the appointment to take the rest down as well.

This is part of the wood from the first half, Hubby has worked very hard at wood for the last month!

The second and larger half has now come down.  Can you see how much shade we are going to be missing?

And there is much more wood for Hubby to work on.  We had to order a new chain saw chain already!

We found two nests in the wreckage, this one was the biggest and made of mud and large sticks.

This piece makes a nice place to take a rest in the garden, yes?

Last year I was fairly sure the echinacea was dead and I needed the pot.  Since I wasn't sure, I stuck it in a small pot very roughly and forgot about it over the winter. It is obviously a hearty plant!

We did go fishing, this is on the Snake River looking at a place called Lizard Butte.  When the light is right the rocks look like a lizard sunning himself on the hill.

The geese were friendly - I think they were the ones scaring the fish away!!

And this egret seemed to have the best fishing spot...

We did not catch any fish but we had a lovely day with our friend Anita.

I did process the garlic scapes and this vinegar smells wonderful now.  It is a mild flavor and is very nice on salads.

And just this evening I harvested the garlic.  I am very pleased with the size of the bulbs.  I planted 45 and harvested 45.  I will let them dry and then clean them up.

It finally got hot this last week and we are suffering through a heat wave in the western United States.  It has been 106F here (41C) and of course with no AC except in the bedroom, it is not fun!  The good news for me is that I am working 4 days a week again for awhile in air conditioned offices.  Hopefully these clients need me at least until the heat wave breaks!  I am trying not to complain too much....we used to live closer to Death Valley and it was up to 127.7F (53C)  there could be worse!  We will survive...winter is coming! (for all the Game of Thrones fans)

Monday, June 12, 2017

Garlic, Strawberries and Fish (not together!)

We have been busy this month, doing things that need doing and doing a few things that we just want to do.  The garden has been front and center - this years rains and the wet winter left me with a bumper crop of persistent weeds!  I am trying not to complain, there are folks not too far away that do not have gardens this years because of the flooding that is still going on.  I am grateful for the weeds...sort of...I'm working on it!

 Finally got my beans planted, so I have two kinds of cucumbers, two kinds of squash (trying an acorn squash this year) multi-color bell peppers, corn, onions, tomatoes and garlic.  The whole garden is weeded for now, but it is raining tonight again, and then the sun will shine.....sigh!
It is good exercise!

 The herb garden is going great, the mint, lemon balm, oregano, sage, chives,  feverfew, and edible lavender are already having to be harvested.  The strawberries (in the front and right of the photo) are ripening at a very satisfying rate!

I managed to be in California for the strawberry season and now they are ripening here.  I love strawberries!  I eat a few and then freeze a few.  There is an angel food cake on my counter that is waiting to be a bed for strawberries tomorrow.  Yum!

My great garlic experiment continues.  I have harvested the 'scapes'.  These are the center stalks of 'hardneck' garlic that would become a bloom and seeds if left on the plant. The theory is that the plant will put all of its energy into the bulb (a good thing) if there is no bloom to steal the nutrients.  They are interesting looking and I cut them all off this week.

Here is my bag of scapes.  I had been reading about this and all of the web pages talked about eating them.  Apparently they can be used either like garlic or like a green onion, one page even roasted them like a green bean.  I have now tried them in an omelet and they were very good. A milder taste than the cloves. I am going to save some to use fresh, freeze some and use some to infuse olive oil.  This is almost as exciting as having the garlic ripen!  Isn't it fun to try something new?!

Our beautiful, gnarled, corkscrew willow is developing cracks.  We have an arborist coming out to cut on him and see if he can be saved.  I hope so as it is a lovely tree.  It is, however, too close to the house to just let it be.

The rains have made for a lush yard this year as well.  This particular day it was overcast and the whole place looked green and beautiful.

I'm not complaining - it hasn't gotten hot yet!

Hubby and friend went fishing this week and caught these lovelies!  I put the full size fork there to give a sense of the size.  One of our goals this summer is to do a lot more fishing than we have in recent years.  Hopefully putting a few more packages of this sort in the freezer as well!

Hubby is busy with his rapidly growing tomato crop and we are planning two new raised beds this summer that we hope to have done for fall planting.  One in the front yard for bulbs and perennial flowers and the other on the far eastern side of the garden to have perhaps asparagus and a few pollinator friendly flowers.  We may even have enough time to get the house painted this year - it really needs it.  It is the busy season and after the long winter even I was ready for it.  I should be complaining about the heat though in a month or so! 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Recovering from Vacation!!

It always seems that I take a vacation, and then feel like I need a vacation to recover!!  I have returned, just yesterday, from two weeks in California to celebrate Miss Lily's birthday and spend Mother's Day with my mom.  I drove down by myself as Hubby stayed home and kept things going.  (and fed the cats)  Two days down and two days back in the car - I was pleasantly surprised by the audio book I had gotten at the Library, "The Complete Sherlock Holmes" vol. 4, which was very well read and very entertaining.  This volume included a set of short stories so it was well suited to the trip.  The car got over 40 miles to the gallon for most of the trip, and the two hotels I stayed at were reasonable and comfortable.

During the trip down I ran through great swarms of gnats and mosquitoes, due (I was informed by the lady at one gas station) to the large amount of rain and snow we had gotten during the winter and recently.  The front of my car was covered with their little dead bodies!  Miss Lily came over and helped me wash them off...

... which led to fun with water and hoses on a warm day!

Grandma (me) and Miss Lily had spent about 3 hours playing with the Lego's that Grandad and I had bought her for her birthday.  After she went home I continued to work on it and was able to finish the outside...

...and the inside, and the characters involved.  In case you haven't guessed this is Belle's castle from 'Beauty and the Beast'.

By the way this is a lot of work!

However the look on her face when she could see the completed castle was worth every minute!

I had fun with my mom (and Miss Lily).  We never seem to have enough time for everything, but we have a good time with what we have!

Number one son and his wife came over often and we had fun playing games, I even learned how to play two new games this trip.  Both were table top role playing type games and a lot of fun.

Number two son and his wife both got jobs working for the contractors that run the concessions in the National Parks this year so Mom and I took a beautiful drive to the Sequoias to take him back to work after a short visit.  It was still snowing in the mountains where they work when I left!

Son number three seems to have settled into his role and is not at all upset when we ask if Miss Lily can come over and then belatedly invite him as well. 😉 It is an awesome thing to watch your child become a good parent and he is a wonderful Daddy to our special girl.

Hubby seems to have missed me just enough to be gratifying but not so much that I can't go anywhere ever again!  The suitcases are unpacked, things are put away, the cats appear to have remembered me and the garden is calling me to come and plant some more stuff!

Maybe after just a little nap....

Sunday, March 26, 2017

It's not hoarding if it's books....

I am not a minimalist.  There it is, I've said it out loud now for all the world to see.  In a world where people are making fortunes on books detailing how to fold your clothes and 'spark joy', whole websites are devoted to de-cluttering ones home and living with no excess 'stuff' laying around, I am the equivalent of the neanderthal!!  I have collections of everything from glass animals to stuffed animals, yardage and fabric scraps, everyday dishes and Christmas dishes, 2 sets of China handed down from grandmothers, enough yarn to carpet my house with crocheted rugs, files and notebooks of family history and census reports and birth certificates, beads new and vintage, and literally hundreds of books of all genres....well you get the picture.  The really horrible thing is I am not even sorry for being a packrat - I love it!  I love having stuff to make a project that pops into my head on hand, love having things that remind me of my family members who are no longer here - I guess my 'stuff' meets the 'spark joy' test!  Anyway let's be real honest, the reason Marie Kondo's clothes fold up into little packets that spark joy is because she is a little person.  Try getting the 3X sweatshirt to fold into a little stand alone packet!  I dare you!  This post was originally going to be my ode to 'clutter', but I looked up the word and it really means things that are disorganized, or disorderly. No, I don't like that.   I guess I will just share my craft room/office organizing project that has just been completed.

Understand, when I start the project and am visualizing how it will end up I see this in my head!

I go to the store and look at the prices of all of those little baskets etc. and then I come home and cover shoe boxes with contact paper!

Sigh...organizing with a cheapskate!

I took everything out of the room including the stuff in the closet, Hubby was looking a little amazed that "all that fit in the room" and then "do you think you can get it back in?"

The living room was full of my treasures and I did throw away quite a bit of trash.  The only expense was the black rack that was on sale at Lowe's for $29.00.

The rack in the corner has genealogy binders and boxes, photo albums and boxes of photos that still need to be scanned.  I have all of hubby's parents older photo albums circa 1950's that I am scanning as well as our own photos before digital cameras.

My craft table is a big metal table we bought at the company garage sale from hubby's work.  They built rocket engine parts on them!

Craft books and patterns and boxes of fabric. 

Gotta love the shoe boxes!

The other half of the closet looks the same, at least it is all organized and it is not technically clutter.   It could still be junk...eye of the beholder and all that.  ;)

And everything did fit back in the room!

 Spring is here outside as well as inside.  The grass is greening up and the willows have that little hint of green in their branches when you look at them from here....

I am so excited about my garlic crop!  I made a map of all the bulbs so I would know what kind were where and all but one of the cloves I planted came up.  There are over 40 plants and 3 different types.....

The chives are coming up as well....

The corkscrew willow has leaves too.  The willows seem to be the first to put their leaves out...

Another exciting moment as 2 of the peonies that I planted last fall have started to come up...

 A group of us 'girls' (more like golden girls!) took a day trip to Twin Falls to see the Shoshone Falls. With all the snow and rain we are at flood stage and above on all of our rivers but it sure makes a gorgeous waterfall.  They say it is half again as much water coming over as usual. 

We had lunch and stopped at historical markers and had an altogether lovely time.  Nice after a rough winter to get out and do something again!

Hope you are enjoying the seasons changing wherever you are...