Big winds keep on blowing….

So this summer will be remembered, by me anyway, as hot, windy and wet. Last Friday we had yet another fabulous storm blow thru–I love watching the lightening and hearing the thunder but at the front of that storm was quite the wind. One of my privacy poplars had its roots lifted and it is now leaning quite precariously over my drive. It is thirty years old, a tree I transplanted from the airport where I worked. It’s tall–at least 50 feet–and wide. The perfect privacy screen for my yard. But it has to come down. It’s hard to see in this last picture but the roots have lifted that rail a good foot off the ground. The fellas who were roofing for me said they would take it down for me. It’s not a terribly technical drop but I would like it if it didn’t take out my little rail fence or crush my other pine tree. Boo hoo. I’ll miss that tree.

This week my stay-cation trip was out to Cutknife. This is a little community where I drive school bus. There is a pioneer museum there and every time I drive by I say I have to visit this one day. My tour guide was one of my bus students and her summer job was touring tourists around the site. Most of the artifacts are from several close by communities which no longer exist. When the railway went thru there was a community every ten miles or so. Naturally they all didn’t survive. I learned some very interesting things about the interactions between settlers and the natives–and was surprised to hear the same story I’d just read about at the museum re-told by a descendant of the Indian chief on the radio later that day. What a coincidence. There were numerous buildings filled with the usual items. In the old railway station, there was of course living quarters for the station master. The was a full time 24/7 job. But the original flooring was still inside as was the beautiful stove. Both in great shape!!This building is apparently haunted, as is one of the other buildings. The ghost lives upstairs so I was quite happy not to be allowed to go up to the second floor.

The doctors office was complete with a state of the art pre-mature baby incubator!!The tin ceiling in the general store was beautiful!!Outside the yard was well kept and the display of horse drawn farming equipment was amazing. The levers look so complicated and imagine spending all day on that metal seat in the hot summer. Those men were tough. This roller was incredibly heavy and was pulled by six horses to either flatten the field or press the seed into the soil.

So all in all quite a pleasant morning. There is a nice park adjacent and a lovely little pond with resident geese. Back home, the beans have just started. I had a bowl full for breakfast the other day. And believe it or not, I think I’ll actually have peas too!!The parsley and tomatoes are keeping me in tabbouleh. I make a big bowlful and snack on it till it’s gone then make another bowl. Yummy!!I’m keeping busy reading and looking after my son’s dog. The good thing is he’s making me get out and walk. We walk down to the highway and back every morning. This morning was quite misty. And all the ditch flowers are out. So pretty. Summer on the prairie.

Stay-cation

Well it seems I’m going to be staying home this summer. I had really hoped to get away for a bit to go pick cherries in the Okanagan but it may not happen. I found a u-pick orchard in Kelowna and signed up for their cherry alerts. They have some twenty different varieties in their orchard and I thought I could just take a week and do a road trip. But I’m apparently chief dog watcher for my son who is off on his own BC adventure for the next two weeks. I may head out when he gets back but I’m not sure if the cherries will still be on.

In the meantime I’m trying not to feel to sorry for myself. This is where I would be saying, Nobody loves me, I’ll just go to the garden and eat worms. But why eat worms when things are really starting to happen in the garden. Just look at that lettuce!! And my bean picking stool!!I had to take the cages off cause I was afraid the lettuce would rot with no air circulating. It’s as tasty as it looks. The guineas, now that it’s available, have turned their little beaks up at it and leave it alone. With the rain and heat we’ve been getting, everything is going gang busters. The potato’s are blooming which means there should be potatoes big enough to eat but I haven’t checked yet. The Styrian pumpkins I planted are blooming and have little pumpkins already. It is just me or is everything really early?Now that I covered the strawberries they are producing really well too. The scarlet runner beans love their trellis–thanks Ric!!I started milking those free loading goats. First in the agenda was a big pot of yogurt. Breakfast was strawberries and yogurt. Yumm. Supper will be one of those beautiful zucchini in the background. I had one the other day, dipped in egg then flour and fried in butter. Even my picky daughter liked it. But it was too small so I’ve been watching for another one. Today I found these two. They must have grown overnight cause I swear they weren’t there yesterday. So part of my stay-cation plan is to visit places close by that I’ve never seen before. First one was the Fred Light Museum. I’ve lived here 56 years and have never visited this little gem. It was all very interesting but my favourite part was getting one of the girls to pull a paper from the archives and flip thru it. I just happened to pick the year the First World War broke out. Absolutely fascinating. Everyone jumped on the war bandwagon including this shop that declared war on prices. There were old pictures!! My favourite thing to do is look at old pictures, even people I don’t know. These two young girls must be dead and buried for years but look at them–I wonder what their lives were like!!And these milk bottles!! Read the fine print. Who could make a guarantee like that today. Just imagine the back breaking labour going into clearing the land. But it was theirs, perhaps something they would never have had back in the old country. And from the paper–something that wouldn’t be out of place today. So I’m looking forward to seeing many more small town museums and sites I haven’t seen before. A stay-cation may not be such a bad thing after all.

Home ec… or life lessons

When I went to junior high I took home economics. Cooking and sewing. My mom was a bit of a whiz on the old sewing machine and made clothes for my sister and I when we were young. She taught me how to sew, and while I never really loved it as I loved knitting, I could sew. I think I may also have taken sewing in 4H but as I can’t remember my projects, maybe not?!?

Anyway, there was to be a new baby in my daughters’ circle of friends. Her best friend of many years was expecting and I wanted to make something but what? This picture popped up on my Facebook feed quite a while back and I took a screenshot to archive it. No pattern, no other info except the picture. Well, how hard could it be? I went to our local fabric store, showed the clerk the picture and began to choose fabric. The baby was a girl christened with the most beautiful name, Eloise. So girl colours.

I chose quite a few as I wanted some options as to how fit it together. I thought I could just make a second one with the left overs.

After I got home my daughter helped me to create and cut out a pattern. We used colourful pages torn from a magazine and backed them with brown craft paper. My daughter doesn’t sew and didn’t quite grasp the importance of having a 3/4 inch seam allowance so some of her pieces were, somewhat imaginative, to put it nicely. But we cut it out and then began to cut out fabric. My mother always kept her sewing scissors in a special place and god forbid anyone dare to cut paper with them!!! You can see the pattern pieces in the top left corner. Then we placed and replaced squares until I liked how the colours fit together. I was glad I chosen extra colours cause some I thought would fit just didn’t. This whole exercise was somewhat traumatic so after we had recorded our final set up I put everything away to recover and get my courage up to tackle the sewing. I really don’t like sewing. I have my moms sewing machine. It’s really amazing how I haven’t touched it for years, 20+ maybe, but the muscle memory is still there. I didn’t have to think about winding the bobbin or threading the needle–it just happened. So I began to sew the pieces.

This project is called a rag quilt. Talk about your first world issues. Our great grandparents had these but they were truly rag rugs. Now we cut up pieces of perfectly good material to make them look like rags.

But I digress. Each piece is lined with a third piece of flannel, so three layers, and “quilted” to keep the layers together. Then at the end, all the exposed edges are snipped and the whole project is washed several times to “full” the piece and fray the edges, making it soft and thick.

And I sewed…And then I got to the head. Well everything had been straight seams and smooth sewing up to this point. This is where the inaccurately cut pieces caught up with me. It took me almost as long to piece the head together as it did to sew the main part of the bear. This is also where I began to drink. Bourbon. Sour mash. Copious amounts. In my little whiskey glass I brought back from Cumbria last summer. But I finally got the head pieced together around midnight. Then I had to trim, and trim, and trim but finally got it to fit. Notice the empty whiskey glass? Then I snipped edges. And snipped. And snipped. And then I washed it. And washed it again. I found the perfect buttons for eyes and nose in grandma’s button box and embroidered a smile. I was quite tickled with the final result.

Look at these two little mutts many years ago. And now they are grown up beautiful young women!!! Look at my daughter touching a human baby!! Maybe I will have grand babies some day!!

Happy birth day Eloise!!