The World Widens and True Spring

The world widens with the arrival of true spring. Not only has the weather become warmer, but the COVID vaccine is also making it easier to go out. Of course, we must still use precautions as advised, however now we can go out with less fear of becoming ill or spreading the germs of COVID. We marked the end of the 14 day waiting period, after getting both doses, about a week ago. We got the Moderna 2 dose vaccine and fortunately did not suffer any side effects. No worse than the flu vaccination that we got for the first time ever last fall. YaY!!! Now if everyone would get on the bandwagon, I can see quilt shows and guild meetings resuming around the world.

  • Some Quilt Show dates!!!
    • The Heartland of Kentucky Quilt Show in Elizabethtown, KY will have their show this year! September 10 & 11 at the new Extention Office on Opportunity Way!
    • The Houston Quilt Festival is also on for this year, October 28-31
    • Paducah has set the date for April 27-30, 2022.

Farm

Gardening

True spring has arrived on the farm too. Life on the farm is once again busy, as I mentioned in the last post. We, (by we I mean “HE”) is busy! He is clearing some brush in what used to be a field behind the pasture and preparing the garden for the veggie seedlings we have growing in the basement under grow lights. Prepping the garden actually took a bit more time than was planned. The tiller we purchased at a yard sale in 2015 died. So we spent a day getting a new one.

Rototilling the garden
It was easier with a new tiller

As you can see the new tiller worked very well. We already have garlic growing, (those green stalks) because we planted that in the fall and we put the potatoes last week. They are growing in potato bags, (not visible). As soon as the ground reaches 50° again, we will begin moving the plants to the garden. We had snow earlier this week so ground temperatures have been set back a bit! So far the seedlings have done well, but next year more lights!!!

True Spring at the Pond

Springtime at the pond is a noisy affair in late March, and off and on through May. The toads start calling in the pond, sometimes it is just a single toad and sometimes many more. They puff up their throat and vibrate to a really high pitch. A little 33-second video of them singing, below. It begins with several unseen toads singing, and ends with just the one toad singing.

The results of the singing are these pollywogs. Soon those pollywogs will be little toads just like the one on my hand from last year, hopping through the grass. They were so tiny!!!

Pollywogs in the pond
Soon to be American Toads
Baby toad
Isn’t this cute? A baby toad from spring 2020

New Critters Also Arrive in Spring

The world widens in the barn too. Right after Sir Loin settled in we added two pigs. Both of the pigs are barrows, (neutered males). We have decided on Little Piggie and Pinky Pig. When they arrived they were sunburned. Their ears are still peeling. We are keeping them confined to the barn until they are a little older. Here is a cute 20-second video of them eating and talking.

They are half the size of last year’s pigs, less than 20 pounds, but they have arrived almost 6 weeks earlier. We don’t want to grow them as large as we did last year. However, we have found homegrown pork and beef are tasting amazing and the cost per pound is fabulous! Of course, we are not eating all this meat ourselves. We offer the other 1/2’s or 1/4’s to others. We are eating homegrown pork for $3.50 a pound and beef at $4 a pound, (that includes processing and packaging), a much better price than what is available at the store and I know everything that went in!!!

The World Widens Locally too

The local quilt world widens as well. Tomorrow one of the local guilds will be getting together at a park. Socially distanced and masked still. I plan to go. The other guild has planned on a sew-in at the weekend. I am planning to go, however, I am afraid our guest/visitor season may be beginning too. So, I may not make it to the sew-in. I had planned to sew a scrap quilt, but have already started sewing. It is at that uncomfortable stage of “I don’t think I will really like it”. Since I have it started, I will keep going and see where it ends up. This is mixed scraps and totally uncontrolled… and not my style!!!

Under the needle
Scrappy half square triangles

In what ways has the world widened for you? What kinds of things are spring and the COVID vaccine bringing back to your life? Tell, me I am so ready for BLOOMING EVERYTHING!!!

More Later! Beth

March means Spring and Change

March means it is spring and means change! For me, spring means we can go outside without many layers. The days are getting longer, the sun shines brighter and it feels warmer. It also brings us the change of season with the first day of spring and glimmers of summer fun. Depending on where you live; it often seems like spring arrives and stays for exactly 1 day.

Spring Begins in March

The month of March also the beginning of the wildflower season. This week the daytime temps are in the 60s and the blooming begins. The Spring Beauty is blooming. It appears to be the very first flower and the second is ready to bloom too -the Toothwort, but we have a weather change of rain and storms coming first.

Spring Beauty flower
Spring Beauty

Spring Treats

The cats are all doing very well. In recent weeks neighbor dogs were invading their space. We have secured the cat space once again for them. Senior Uno has decided to change where he lives. He is staying at a house up the road. He comes home when he feels like he needs a scratch and some loving. But he is a cat and will choose where he wants to be. I still count him as mine… though. Each evening I give them all a big handful of treats from their auntie Linda.

5 cats
Treats

Cow Days in March

Speaking of spring and change. Mr. March has left the farm. We will miss him. He had a rough year here. He was the loneliest cow ever. When he first moved in, we had the neighbor’s goats in the pasture. He was so lonely he bellowed for several weeks for other cows but he eventually made friends with the goats. Then the goats returned to their newly fenced-in digs and the pigs became his new company. Then the pigs moved out… so he and the neighbor dogs (the same ones that bother the cats) would all lay together along the fence. A few weeks later Mr. March got his own kind for some company. Two calves came to live here as well. He was so happy to have the company of his own kind he gave up coming to me for treats, (apple, carrot, and squash bits).

The 3 Amigos
Mr. March in front, #09 and #28 behind

The 2 new calves actually belong to a neighbor ‘Mr. K and his son Mr. A’. Our little place is a better setup for pasture beef. So we do the labor (feed the grain and water) and they provide the hay and the grain. Since we would have to feed our cow anyway, and our cow gets company. Since I am talking about new calves, the misters K & A suggested we come up and choose the next little steer to raise a couple of weeks ago. We picked one, but he needed to stay to finish weaning and learn how to be a regular young steer. He is here now.

sir loin

Meet 'Sir Loin'
Our new calf

Meet ‘Sir Loin’. He will be here until next March also. Doesn’t he have a cute face? When we went up the road to pick out the calf, ‘The misters K & A’ were ready for us and had the ear tags prepared. I laughed so hard I might have snorted!!! They don’t name their cows, (they own the little herd that lives across the road), they use ear tags, like the 2 calves above with Mr. March are sporting and last spring they got a kick out of the names we gave the barn animals. In a couple of months, we will need to come up with names for the new pigs. I’ll take suggestions…

Creative Department

New Project

The creative department lacks a little for show and tell. I have a bunch of finished quilts, and they have labels, (most of them do anyway), but the labels don’t tell the whole story. So I have started documenting them, some of the information I am including is the name/title, size, start and finish dates, the city and state where started and/or finished, techniques, and creative inspiration, who it was for, and a picture or two. Collating and find all the information about a quilt takes loads of time. I have the basics down and will go back and add information as I think of it… maybe give them a little more life or story than I have so far. I am considering printing the information in a photobook. It doesn’t seem like much to show… for the amount of time spent; currently at 61 quilts and a big mess!

Screenshot of quilt documentation Project
a little glimpse of the project

A Sewing Project

The Sew Bee It quilt guild is my new local guild. Once you join you have 3 months to make a tag that has your name and a bee on it. Clarkson is the Bee Capital of Kentucky with the Kelly Beekeeping Company located here. In the fall Clarkson has a Honeyfest every year. So I set out to make my name tag. Let’s just say I haven’t spent enough time using the embroidery machine, and it shows!

Bee Name Tag
My name tag is ready for when the guild meets again.

Of course, I had to be clever using a bee on the tag. I used several techniques on the tag; raw edge fused applique stitched with a zigzag, 3 dimensional wings, machine embroidered lettering and, free-motion quilting for the background. The tag measures 6 inches square.

If you’ve read this far, Thank You! I had promised to not share about the farm quite so much… but I really am not that interesting… but the dogs, cats, chickens, and other critters are. I mostly spend my days, cooking or baking, cleaning, or generally keep things around here corralled, which is NOT in the least bit interesting, you can trust me on that!!! Beth

From Winter to Spring

We have gone from winter to spring since I last posted a note. The recent winter weather created a little more ‘to do’ around here. Due to a roaming dog issue, the cats were moved to the back deck, but their food was subject to the weather. We moved the cat house over so they had a warm place to sleep… but the food was a bit of work to keep dry and replenished.

Just too cold!

We suffered bitter cold winter weather for 2 weeks in February plus all the other countrywide weather issues just sucked all the good vibes away. Climate change is real. I do not record actual data, but I do a mental comparison year to year wherever I live. It is part of my mental note-taking about where I live. I cannot tell you year to year what I pay for milk or bread, but I can give a snapshot of the seasons and the norms.

Snow on the cracked ice
The pond with snow and ice

It was a cold as it looks

Those cold winter days in February proved to be a little more work around here. The water froze at the barn. Last year we did not have any animals in the barn to feed or care for so we didn’t know it froze in the winter and we did not think prepare and winterizing it, (we will going forward animals or not). The temperature dropped to 26°F/-3C and stayed below that for 2 weeks. In those 2 weeks, we also saw a low of 0F/-17C! So for those 2 weeks to had to port water down to the cows twice a day from the house and break up inches of ice in the trough, several times some days.

Ice storm one
This part of the chicken yard is under a tree, so the ice is not as thick as other areas.

There Were Blankets…

Not only was it cold, but we had stuff falling from the sky in more solid forms… along with some cold rain, we had an ice storm, snow, a sleet storm, another snow event. Most of the days if nothing was falling out of the sky was filled with a thick blanket of clouds to keep any vestiges of sunlight from even trying to brighten up the cold. We were fortunate that we did not suffer any power outages from the ice. A quarter to half-inch of ice accumulated and a total of 5″ of snow with an inch of frozen sleet between the 2 snowstorms. We did suffer a power outage the first day of sunshine for about an hour and a half. It was nice that the generator was ready to take over and that it did not happen in the dead of cold.

Cooped Up and Bored

Chicken in the snow
One of the chickens outside after more than a week of being cooped up

After being “cooped” up for all the weather issues the chickens were happy to get outside for a few minutes. I discovered that chickens like to eat snow. Whenever I would venture into the coop with snow on my boots they all gathered around my feet to peck the snow off. We have the coop set up will a big water bucket, a self feeder and a hot light and plenty of straw for them to bed down in. The light kept the water liquid and enough heat to keep the birds happily producing eggs!

A Little Fun to Pass the Time

I have been a ‘little’ bit creative… Christmas of 2020 brought me a Cricut Maker. However, with all the things going on in the house, remodel construction and the mess, painting and cleaning said mess… I did not have time to explore the Maker. Then came spring and summer and fall, chickens, pigs and cows and… otherwise distracted. I had a sheet of bright orange vinyl and put whatever struck my fancy… and allowed me to play on the design space. It took a little of the winter gray away.

Cricut Maker Play
Created a whole sheet of things

These machines and components are complicated!!! I think I could make a quilt in the time it takes to make and print/cut anything using the Cricut. Mostly because of the software. Nuff said.

And Soon SPRING!

The first flowers of spring
The daffs will be blooming soon.

So, speaking of spring… I see signs. Lots of signs besides warming temperatures, lots of birds and trees starting to swell with leaf buds. I actually see flowers preparing to show. Can we say goodbye to winter?

Today there is sunshine and low humidity and ‘a wildfire warning’ from one extreme to the other. Did you have a spell of awful weather? How did you cope?

More later… Beth