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

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

Creative Recipes

Creative Recipes do you have any? I was going to start this post by saying that the Creative Department was idle. But that is not quite true. I think we are mostly unaware of the ‘creating’ we do in our daily life.

Where am I when I am not in the Creative Space

I spend much of my time in the kitchen -making something. We eat very little food that comes in a package, so I spend quite a bit of time… making something, dinner, breakfast, dessert, or the components of meals. Most of what we eat started with a recipe or flavor profile. We have tweaked or changed it to suit our tastes. That is creativity!

I am blaming the added time in the kitchen on the recent acquisition of a dehydrator. I have discovered that it is so much fun to dry foods. We of course make the usual Sliced Cinnamon Apples and Jerky. For the apples, the preparation is less than an hour and finished in the machine by dinner. Jerky not so much. I can’t leave it alone so I have stopped making it! I have experimented with drying tomatoes, carrots, zucchini, onions, broccoli, beets, citrus, and mushrooms. The powders allow for adding to recipes and opening a world of flavor and fun. Once the dehydrated veggies dry, I grind them into a powder for adding here and there to the foods. What a great way to feed the family more veggies! Even better is that most of the time they don’t even taste them!!!

A couple of trays of beets in the dehydrator

We do not waste any food these days. Of the parts we don’t use, some goes out to the cows, (yes that is now a plural), and when we have pigs, some goes there, (more pigs will be arriving in the spring), the chickens get the bits they like and the rest to the compost bin. Meat is the only thing that ends up in the actual trash. I could make a vegetable broth from the produce bits, but nah… you have to draw the line somewhere!!!

How is the kitchen similar to sewing?

So where or how does the above tie into Creativity? A recipe is a pattern, with ingredients and amounts just like a pattern for making something, like a quilt or a bag or a dress. We can make it exactly like the pattern or modify it on the fly or after making the first draft. You can change it in so many ways to give it your own twist. The colors, the size, the number of borders, pockets, ruffles, trims, or the arrangement of the blocks or other main elements. A pattern is just the starting point to make it your own!!!

Making up a ‘Table’ recipe

For the Creative Space, I made my tabletop. I am not quite happy with it and may get a new sheet of melamine. The finish was in worse shape than I thought. I was able to inspect it more closely once I got it home from the store. I will live with it for a few weeks/months and make a decision… about replacing it. After working on a 36″ x 45″ table it feels great to spread out! I started with an 8′ sheet and ended up cutting it down to 7 feet long, so the overall size is 48″x84″. The current top is not permanently attached. I have it cleated in place just in case I decide that the top is too rough to stay.

The new big table top

My Letter “Z”

One of the other things I worked on while determining the allocation of the space and workflow was this little Letter! It began as a sample stitch out and left unfinished as a visual. The overall size is about 9 inches square. So far, most of the letters I’ve made use a similar recipe to create. All of the stitching on this little piece is free-motion. I stitched the letter with a green variegated King Tut, a trilobal Rainbows, and a sparkly metallic green and did the free-motion quilting with a solid green cotton thread, (although in the picture it appears variegated).

Do your modify a pattern to make it your own? All the time? Just once? Never?

More Later…. Beth