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

Creative Space -and- A UFO

In the last post, I shared some of how I organize my ‘Creative Space’. Nothing has changed unless you count making a mess. I have a new project. A small ornament swap, I’ll share more about that later.

New Command Center

The table stays pretty clear because I use it for just about everything… cutting, planning, computing, and shipping. However, the table is going to change and I have a new layout I want to try as well. This means I need to find a block of time to clean up everything that is currently out or in use.

Lift Table
going to be the new work table

A few months ago I found some motorized lift desks. The current tabletop on this desk is about 5 feet long and 3 feet wide, and irregular. My plan is to attach a larger melamine on top of the current tabletop. I like a big table, in the neighborhood of 4 feet wide by 6-8 feet long. In addition to bigger, I will be able to raise and lower the table for whatever I need to do. I really like a higher table for cutting, and since I am short a lower table for sitting at. The problem with a regular height table or desk is either a chair won’t get me high enough for comfort or if it does, my feet don’t rest on the floor. There are still so many projects to do in the basement area… so the picture also includes other things waiting to move.

UFO Report

In the meantime, I have a completed project… a UFO.

When I first set up the ‘Creative Space’, I knew I wanted to make some creativity happen. But with what? Did I want to piece, applique, stitch, quilt? Make something new or finish something that had already been started, (aka UFO)? Making a new something seemed like such a big mess to make so I decided to see what was in the UFO box. While I going through them I reorganized them. Bonus!

UFO boxes
The newly sorted and labeled UFO storage boxes

After sorting the UFOs, I chose a little piece that started as a sample and designed to remain unfinished for a little while. I love bright happy flowers, and these certainly fit the bill. This was the beginning of the project, and as you can see as we move along, this was the initial concept.

Free Spirit Flowers start
This is the auditioning of the large flowers and some leaves.

And the concept changed. I added stems and a vase before starting the threadwork. I completed the threadplay, or so I thought. Also, originally, there was a quilting plan, marked in blue water-soluble marker, but I didn’t like it. I spritzed the blue marks off with water and a color ran. I thought it was from a flower fabric, and essentially a ruined project to that is where I left it with disappointment. However, I determined it might be a good teaching tool; the colorfastness of thread and fabric isn’t always guaranteed. It is difficult to see, but at the top of the large pink flower, you can see a bit of a color bleed, between the 2 yellow zinnias.

Free Spirit Flowers Stitched
Flowers Free-motion stitched and background quilting completed.

For the quilting, I decided on some regular wavy lines, (that mimick the vase shape), and quilted those. I then quilted the “table” in a free motion wood grain. Bound it and gave it a bath. To my surprise, the color bleed was from the thread. The thread dye rinsed right out even though I had pressed it several times during construction!

Free Spirit Flowers complete
Free Spirit Flowers all done

All done. I still like the flowers, but it is not my most favorite composition… or completion. One of the things I learned is that before you begin work on a boxed UFO project, is to take a few minutes or a day to reacquaint yourself with the project and where you left off; and assess everything that still needs to be done. I had missed some threadwork and discovered it while quilting, (flower centers), so I did that while quilting. It made the back very inconsistent.

Cute Cats

I promised cute cats, (this one is especially for Linda). Linda has virtually adopted the cats and sends them treats. She has kept them stocked with ‘Temptations’ since we moved out here and discovered that 7 cats came with the place. The cats are fed in the mornings, but I give them a few ‘auntie treats’ after I come back from feeding the cow in the evenings.

Cat Hug
Senior Uno and Tutone

That is not all of the completed projects … I’ll share another next time!!! and if you are still here. Thanks for reading.

Please stay well, wash your hands, wear a mask, and stay home as much as possible.

More Later- Beth

Lots of Critters – wild and domestic

A report on all the critters we have found here at the new place. All the animals other than Goldie, the kittens (almost cats) and the 6 hens are all visitors.

The 1st Visitor

a tortoise
The tortoise in the garden

During the last few hot hot hot days of summer, I found this fellow under a severely neglected rose bush. It wasn’t there the next day. We have seen quite a few tortoises, and possibly one aquatic turtle that is living in the pond.

Other Wild Critters

Most of the late summer mornings we had these fellows. A bachelor flock of male turkeys visits the field across the road early in the mornings, although they have been rather scarce the last week or so. There is a flock of hens at the top of the road, but I haven’t seen it in several weeks either. It numbers in the range of about 40 birds. I wonder if the month of November has anything to do with the scarcity?

Wild Tom Turkeys
Our local Wild Tom Turkeys

Some new Baby Critters

The cows are brought back about every 3 weeks to live across the road. Most of the neighbors on the road have a cow or two. In the field at the top of the road are 2 new calves. One afternoon on my way home the little black one was jumping and cavorting about having some fun all on his own. It was so cute it made me smile.

cute calves
2 new calves

A Fishy Critter

One afternoon down at the pond I spotted fish! The sun was at just the right angle to see fish in the water. This was before the drought broke and the water was still low. This is a catfish, and I think they were spawning in the reeds. We are having a quick triple cold snap, so I doubt if there any hatchlings.

catfish n the pond
A catfish in the pond

Another Wild thing

On the downside of the pond dam, we cleared the field of goldenrod and weeds. And as the temperatures started to cool toward fall, we started to see this little lady. She spends quite a bit of time back there, and she is just visible from the kitchen window in the evenings. Now with the end of daylight savings time, I may not see her anymore. She is right in the center of the picture.

The doe on the dam
A doe visits

Backyard Critters

The chickens are a fun bunch of ‘girls’. They now recognize me and if the pen is open will run out to greet me in the yard and follow me around. They are not worried about Goldie or any of the cats. Earlier this week a few ventured outside the backyard but ducking under the gate. And one, guessing it is Ethel due to the comb, came all the way down to the pond and got a drink. We have had some cold nights so now the girls have a heat lamp to help keep the coop warm and a feed bucket, for the days when it is too icky outside for them… They are happy and are producing nearly a dozen eggs a week for us.

Ethel drinking from the pond
Ethel the Chicken drinking at the pond
An egg
The blue egg is from the chickens, the white is store-bought.

And the Feline Critters

And finally, we get to to the cats. All of them have names, although they may change… as they earn a new one. As of right now, 3 have been fixed. 2 were females and 3 males. Prudence has turned into my special friend. She follows me everywhere, except where Goldie is, as does The Prince. Patience went right back to being a loner, the minute she was sprung. #1 and Tommy are currently recuperating in the garage from their visit to the vet on Thursday. We managed to capture all 7 at breakfast. I added the names for you!

cats at breakfast
All 7 at breakfast

So that catches you up on the critters around here. I wish I had more time to tell you more… but suffice it to say… there isn’t enough time. That old adage about how time goes by faster the older you get is TRUE! More Later-Beth