Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Projects from My Quilt Room

Thanksgiving decorations are out and placed around the house.


Last year I made this table runner for the coffee table in our living room.

What?  You can't see any table runner?  Understandable, as this is what the top of our coffee table normally looks like.


See?  There really was a runner under there.


I really like this turkey themed fabric and have used it to make several fun things.


Today I finished another small one using the same fabric.


It's now on the top of a small bookcase in the kitchen holding (some of) my cook books.


Last year I made an almost identical one (but a little longer in length) that goes on the shelf of our kitchen island.  (You can see this one is about as visible as the one on the coffee table.)

Fall decorations and those at Thanksgiving time are my very favorite of the year.  Yep, I enjoy them even more than the Christmas decorations.


In anticipation of the days and days (I can only hope) I'll be spending in my quilt room this winter, I made these new mug rugs to place strategically around the room to hold the mug containing my morning Hot Buttered Rum latte when I start my day happily quilting.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Shutting Down in November? Ha!

I'm not sure where our plans went awry, but so far this month has been busier than ever.

This past Tuesday, we finally made a trip to the Big City.  We hadn't been since last June!  Needless to say, it didn't take us long to fill the back of the Suburban with all the miscellaneous supplies needed.  Our list was long but we made our stops efficiently and were home before dark which takes a bit of planning since the time change this past weekend!

It's deer season here and early Wednesday our good neighbors' son shot a deer with what should have been a quick, efficient kill.  Unfortunately, the deer got up and ran across their property and headed for our woods.  We joined the search party (there were seven of us) and tromped the woods for hours, but sadly, were never able to find the buck.  The son is a very conscientious hunter and was quite upset.  Not because he didn't "get his deer" but because he had caused suffering to the animal.  He had to leave for his home near the Twin Cities that same day to be at work the next morning.

Wednesday afternoon Chicken Mama, Gilligan, Papa Pea and I loaded up our truck and flatbed trailer to go get some birch wood we were offered that was piled on a building site that had been cleared this fall.  The wood had been limbed but was still in tree lengths.  We cut and loaded long lengths of the smaller trees taking close to a third of the pile.



 Do you know how heavy that chunk of wood
 is that Chicken Mama's carrying?
We raised one strong girl!


Back home we unloaded the wood in our back yard wood working area.

Yesterday, we had company in the morning from out of the area.  We visited and had lunch before he left to go hunting at other friends' house several miles from here.



The afternoon found us back at the birch wood site to bring home another load.  This time Papa Pea cut the bigger trees up into chunks which Gilligan and I loaded onto the trailer.  Chicken Mama was unavailable as she was cleaning the rental cabin she manages.  

We think we can finish up the wood cutting and hauling in two more loads, one of which is scheduled for this afternoon.

This morning I'm getting ready to head into town to make a pick-up at the library and make a stop at our food co-op to collect a few supplies and a special order I have waiting there.

Perhaps Saturday (which seems free and clear so far) we can finish hauling the last of the wood from the building site.

Sunday we're doing our last (hallelujah!) chicken/duck butchering of the season.  Never, ever will we let the birds hatch out so many eggs again!  Granted, this year was a trial period to see which of the birds would be good setters and mothers, but now that we know that, we'll definitely limit the number of eggs we let them hatch out next year.

After that, let's hope the activity around here does slow and we can begin our winter down time.  I'm ready.

Monday, November 6, 2017

What We Do For Fun

Papa Pea and Gilligan went to pick up 30 bales of hay this morning with the truck and high-sided trailer.

When they returned home, the bales needed to go into the hay loft, which with the help of our tractor with the big bucket, was no big problem.

Chicken Mama was stationed up in the loft, Papa Pea ran the tractor, and Gilligan stacked five of the square bales in the bucket leaving just enough room for him to ride in the bucket with the bales.

The bucket was raised to just outside the hay loft door where Gilligan hefted them to Chicken Mama who took and stacked them.


After the last load, Chicken Mama hopped in the empty bucket with Gilligan and they got to go for a ride down to ground level.  (Bad picture, I know, but I had to snap it while I could.)


"Okay, kiddies, the ride's over.  Everybody out."

No, I wasn't in my quilt room (darn!) while this work was going on.  But I was finishing laundry and baking bread.  I hope I get some (a little?) credit for that.  (Although I think it would have been more fun to get a ride in the bucket!)

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Quick Post

I have been bad.

Now that the weather (very damp, wet [either rain or snow] and nasty outside) has brought an abrupt halt to all but daily outside chores, I'm finding time to spend in my quilt room.

And I'm not sure it's a good thing.  I don't want to do anything else!  Who cares about washing, eating, sleeping?  I'm definitely into the swing of things feeding my creative side, and that's all I want to do!

Well, maybe my life isn't quite that lopsided, but I sure can lose myself in there only to be roused by an occasional plea from  my husband such as, "Are we going to have any dinner tonight?"

More news and pictures about all that later.

* * * * * * * *

One of the (much appreciated) readers of my blog asked a question about my purple carrots in the comment section of my last blog post.  She was wondering if they kept their purple color after being cooked. 

I made some as a veggie side dish for our noon meal today.


Some three and a half hours later, my hands are still stained from prepping the carrots.  And, yes, they definitely do keep their color after being cooked.  When I served them (buttered, salt and peppered) on the plates today, they looked for all the world like beets.  I'm sure no one would see them and say they were anything else. 

* * * * * * * *

Now back to my quilt room.   See ya later.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Storing Carrots

One of the comments on my last post was from tpals.  She asked if I would explain  more about how I store my carrots.

So here goes.  I hope the pictures make the method clearer.


I take regular gallon-size twist and tie plastic storage bags and with my husband's help as he holds the bags taut, I use scissors (blades closed) to randomly poke 6 holes in each bag.


Then the carrots are stacked in the bag and the bag is closed with a twist tie.

I'll readily admit I don't feel great about the use of the plastic bags for this method of storage but it truly does provide better keeping quality for the carrots than any other method we've tried over the years.


The same method is used for all the carrots, the orange and the purple ones I've been growing.  The purple carrots looks almost black, don't they?


About half of the purple variety grew so big this year that they won't fit in a gallon size bag, so they went into a plastic bucket and will be covered with a damp towel to help hold the moisture in.  (I'm calling them prehistoric black carrots as they look a little scary to me.)

The bagged carrots were stacked in an open, shallow tote box and are now happily (I hope) relaxing in the root cellar.

I know pictures do help almost any explanation so here's hoping you have a better idea of the way I do it, tpals!

 

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Carrots and Cabbages Harvested

Given the weather forecast for the next week (rain/snow/cold/frost), we knew we'd better harvest cabbages and dig carrots today.


Remaining in the garden were 21 heads of cabbage, some red and some green.  The red cabbages didn't get as big as the green ones this year, but that's fine with me.  I've been planting both varieties that don't get as big as Rhode Island because 1) they're easier to work with, and 2) unless I'm making sauerkraut, a giant head is sometimes hard to use up before it goes bad.

This year we're going to try hanging the cabbages by their roots in the root cellar.  I'm also going to cover the heads with a perforated plastic bag.  We'll see how this method works to keep them fresh for an extended period.


Our main crop of carrots is always Scarlet Nantes which did much better (hooray!) than the pencil-thin roots I got last year.  Last year and this year, I also planted a 4' row of the Deep Purple variety and a 4' row of the Dragon variety.  They are both "purple" carrots, but the Dragon is dark only on the outside with a more regular orange color underneath the skin.  The Deep Purple is a dark color all the way through.  Looks great on a relish tray, but I've learned not to put them in a soup or stew because they "bleed" and turn most everything an unappetizing gray.  Yuck.

Those few in the wheelbarrow above are in the process of getting the tops cut off leaving about an inch of stem.


Then we hose them off before storage.  Don't these look almost glow-in-the-dark?  (Anybody have an idea what that renegade light colored one is?)


Here's about half of the purple carrot harvest in a five gallon pail.  They are HUGE this year.  Or as Papa Peas says, "Almost scary."  Many of them are a full 12" long.  I'm eager to taste test them and hope they didn't get too big and are woody or have a bitter flavor.

After experimenting with storing our carrots in all kinds of ways (in sand, in sawdust, in a pail with a moist towel on top), we've found what works best for us is to package them in perforated plastic bags and stack the bags in a container in the root cellar.  I know some people say washing the dirt off them before storage shortens their keeping quality, but we haven't found that to be so.

As of this moment, the cabbages, carrots, beets, potatoes and apples are all resting in the very cool feed room so next on the list is to carefully sort through them, toss (to the poultry) any with outstanding bad spots and then get them down to the root cellar.  We were going to get that all done today (hahahaha!), but after working outside in the 32 degree weather (with water) for a few hours, we decided to stagger inside and call it a day.  At least it's all harvested now which is more than half the battle.

I tell ya, this gardening fun stuff just never ends, does it?

Friday, October 27, 2017

First Snow Cover - October 27, 2017


Leaving the feed room, going out for morning chores.


Sleep tight, little honey bees.


Still open water.


"I told you we should have put
the deck furniture away."


Frost snow on the pumpkins.


Our remaining six geese.   Three females, three males.
Now if they would just show signs
of choosing their
life-long partners . . . 
(A round or two of The Dating Game,
anyone??)