before the rain

We knew to expect heavy rain and stormy conditions for the 4th of July.  The roses must have known as well – they gave us their all just before the buckets of water fell.  And continued to fall ALL. DAY. LONG.  Farewell barbecue picnic!DSCN7515

This New Dawn climber is only two years old.  She certainly knows how to turn on the charm.  Could it be that those chopped banana peels had some influence on all of this beauty?  I’m pretty faithful about digging them into the soil around the roots of my roses.  The above mentioned buckets of water completely shattered this glory, but I was happy to have taken the image before that occurred.DSCN7520DSCN7526There are poppies everywhere I look – I’ll be able to send lots of promised seed to my friend Pratima this season!  They somehow survived the damaging storms.DSCN7513Quilts were aired out before the storm and dogs brushed . . .DSCN7512And I got busy working on a sweet garter stitch cardigan for Adeline -DSCN7522DSCN7523I also prepared and consumed far too much holiday food.  I’ve spent the day being unfocused and downright lazy.  No weeding, no planting or pruning, no housework or cooking … unfamiliar territory for me to be so unmotivated!  I think I’ll go to bed early.

Today’s Buzz; In the herb garden be sure to plant heathers, lavender, rosemary and thyme.  You will be providing your bees with some of their favorite blossoms.

Wishing everyone a wonderful Independence holiday weekend.

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how it begins

Today’s Buzz is first up because it is THAT important!  Last time I mentioned that our busy bees get very thirsty and finding clean shallow water can be difficult for them.  Shallow is the operative word here, because bees will drown quickly if they have nothing to anchor themselves on to.  You can make a bee ‘cafe’ very easily using things that you probably have in the potting shed. A shallow wide bowl whose bottom is completely covered with clean stones, shells, moss, etc works perfectly.  I add fresh flower blossoms and water each morning.DSCN7486 The bees like to land on the moss and have a relaxing sip or two.  Be sure to change the water daily and use bottled if yours has chlorine in it.DSCN7498The Go-To-Guy came home from a lengthy fishing trip this week and I told him that he looked like he had just wandered down from Crippled Creek!  He was mildly amused.DSCN7491He is very overdue for a haircut because he is joining some friends in July who will have their heads shaven for the Friends Helping Friends charity that we support.  I don’t know who will pledge money to observe this phenomenon, but I personally think he is both brave and dorky to agree to this.  It’s all for charity, he explains.  Go figure.

When we first moved to this little slice of heaven, I used to take my needlework outdoors every spare moment that I found – to sit quietly and take it all in, to dream, to make gardens in my mind, to unwind from the constant cleaning and unpacking.  Early on, the neighbor’s chickens would stroll across the lawns to join me, scratching out a place to sit, taking individual dust baths, and pecking at the occasional unfortunate passing bug.  I loved their quiet chatter and the clucking sounds, the comforting buck, buck, BUCK that I learned to imitate.  I miss them.  I entertained thoughts of chicken husbandry, but quickly found that they required more than I was willing to offer in terms of care and housing. Anyway.

I found a delightful blog while doing my chicken research.  She calls herself Henhouse and celebrates all things vintage-quilty.  She raises chickens.  She’s my kind of broad.  She created a Spider Web quilt which I really admired – so much so that I started my own version last night.DSCN7505DSCN7504DSCN7508DSCN7510 Each quilt has its own journey.  This one began with the remembrance of those lazy summer afternoons spent hanging out with chickens. DSCN7500 The agapanthus that my sister left me is getting ready for the big reveal!  I can hardly wait.  Meanwhile, I have these …DSCN7495 Yes, the plan is to paint the house when the New Dawn climber is finished with its show.

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hudson valley modern quilt guild with Kristin

We at the Hudson Valley Modern Quilt Guild were fortunate enough to have our June meeting at Kristin’s house.  She pulled out all of the stops and we were greeted by splendid quilts -DSCN7472DSCN7471DSCN7465DSCN7473

So much fun to be surrounded by quilts, but it gets even better – Kristin has an extraordinary pool with many gardens and lovely flowers, birdhouses unlike any other – I was in heaven as I’m sure all of our members were.DSCN7466DSCN7474DSCN7468

Did I mention that we were poolside – lounging under a fabulous cabana?DSCN7480DSCN7470DSCN7485DSCN7462

I’d like to talk about the extraordinary quilts that I saw, but everything was moving so fast!  There were homemade cream puffs and gorgeous breads and chocolate dipped strawberries – all too delicious and enticing to ignore!   Kristin took us inside and gave us the rundown on her long arm quilting business -DSCN7458

It’s so fascinating to see how she works her magic on our quilts!  We had the best afternoon ever.  Thank you Kristin, for your generosity and wonderful hospitality.  I did not want to leave!  But I did have to show this – my favorite aspect of your property ..DSCN7477 This is a shed!  Not the kind that you see very often!  I love it – I loved my time with you – you are the BEST, thank you.

Today’s Buzz:  Bees get very very thirsty and shallow clean water sources are hard for them to find.  You can make a bee ‘cafe’.  I’ll show you how next time.

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white radish, kawaii and clematis


White radishes are delicious – spicy with the right amount of heat, and none of the lingering after taste that the reds provide.  And, speaking of white radishes, what do you think of these German “Radish” steins?  They are very old and in mint condition and I’d love to learn of their value … can anyone help?  The happy and sad faces keep me company in the kitchen where they grin/frown from a shelf above the sink.

I joined the Pink Chalk Kawaii club last month.  It’s so much fun to receive the small fabrics – I immediately started piecing tiny blocks where the special fabrics can be featured.  I am working completely from the tub that I keep under the cutting table for scraps – too small to fold, too big to toss.  Sometimes you know before you know.

Josephine clematis is gorgeous this season – she never disappoints.  The yellow tree peony is the last to bloom and the most lovely.  An investment well made!  I always hope for a cool spring so that they can be enjoyed a bit longer.

Oh!  You saw the Anna Maria Horner fabric, didn’t you?  I have been waiting for this line, ‘Pretty Potent’ since I first caught a glimpse.  Anna Maria talks about the healing properties in the design work on her blog – it’s a good read.


Sunday morning with a finished quilt (or almost, there is a small bit of binding to go).  I love this quilt, it just says summer and hammock time to me.

Today’s Buzz: Honey is the only natural food that will not spoil as long as it is kept airtight.

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slow work day

Admission cycles always spin slowly in June.  We’ve selected our class and they have replied.  The trustees have met, the matriculation ceremony is over and the campus is delightfully serene and emptied.  The work load shifts and you may find staff catching up on their reading.  I, of course, will be doing something fiber-related.  Like stitching a binding onto a badly neglected quilt.  I’m cleaning up my computer files.jody 033

The quilt pictured above is one that I made for my mother several years ago.  It’s a favorite of mine and I thought that she was partial to it as well.  But when my sister moved to Savannah last month, that particular quilt travelled with her.  What?  (picture woman with steam blasting out of her ears!)  I could not cotton to my mother’s explanation of its disappearance so I asked my sister … and she was uncharacteristically snippy.  She informed me that I would have to come south to fetch it.  (picture woman with sour lemon in her mouth expression).  She went on to explain that she planned to put the quilt in the guest room so that mom would feel more at home when visiting.  Family.  Can’t live with them, can’t shoot them.

Back to cleaning up the computer …

Today’s Buzz: Bees pollinate 1/3 of our food supply.  If bees disappear our markets will be emptied of everything from apples to herbs – and that is just the beginning.

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my machine quit

I learned how to sew on my grandmother’s ancient Featherweight.  It randomly shocked me with insidious electrical currents.  Sewing was painful, but I persisted, knowing that Edith (my grandmother) never favored me one iota and that this was her way of reminding me (from the grave) that I was the low man on the grandchild totem pole.

When I turned 20, my generous mother-in-law bought me a Bernina.  A BERNINA.  It paid for itself within a year as I became a sewing dervish!  Robes?  No problem.  Men’s shirts?  How many? Quilts? I’m all over it.  I loved that machine – the original steel workhorse.  And no, I did not name it – it had too much of my respect to attach some cheesie name to it.  Instead, it was simply and reverently referred to as, “the Bernina”.

Thirty odd years pass and the Significant Other bestows a new Bernina-with-bells-and-whistles upon me.  I swoon and name it.  I tuck the workhorse away in the closet next to the prickley featherweight.   I don’t look back until the day that I hear the terrible metallic chink!  And suddenly there is no knee action.  Heaven and Hell cannot raise that foot.  I tear my hair out, I have an anxiety attack, I take it to the machine shop and I sheepishly pull out the workhorse.

Two hundred dollars and three weeks later I am reunited with the machine which no longer deserves its name.

That sad event occurred nearly two years ago.  Deja vu yesterday.  Identical chink.  Is it time to pull out the featherweight?  Or should I sell my soul (and a few quilts) and buy a Juki w/o any computerized parts?092

I have quilts to make!

Today’s Buzz: It is a very general belief that you must not swear at bees; they will either die or sting those who use bad language.

-from The Sacred Bee, Hilda Ransome

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if I am quiet …

and I sit without movement, there is so much of the natural world all around me.  The mother robin has been giving everyone hell for days.  I assumed she’d built her nest in the old apple tree.  I forgot that even mother robins have innate techniques to lead the animals and giants away from the babies.

ImageShe has them semi-hidden in a tiny conifer on the side of the herb garden – only a few feet off the ground.  This makes me think that she is inexperienced or that the old ginger cat is gone.  Now that I think of it, I haven’t found his fur on the seat cushion on the front porch.  I’m sad.  He belonged to everyone – choosing Andy’s back steps in the afternoon, Scott’s tractor seat in the morning, and I believe that he slept on our porch most nights on a comfy rocking chair.  I’m told he sauntered over to his original house two doors down for meals.  I’ll miss you Mr. Tabby cat.

Today’s Buzz:  the bees seem to highly favor my almond flowers, but I am told that almond honey is of poor quality and used mostly in the baking industry!  What!


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the long weekend

We will put up the Memorial Day flags and buntings.  We will visit dad’s grave and bring flowers and a flag.  We will eat strawberry-rhubarb pie and too many steamed clams.  We will get the planters ready and weed in the many gardens.  The sewing studio will sit vacant, waiting …DSCN7397IMG_2367There’s an important Parade to attend – thank you to all Veterans.

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spring tiptoes in

DSCN7375DSCN7374DSCN7378DSCN7368DSCN7389Did I tell you about the recent glorious Saturday afternoon when THREE rosy breasted grosbeaks visited my feeders all afternoon?  I had never seen one and had to run to the Peterson guide to identify!  They are such spectacular looking birds – and they are very peaceful and social.  I wish that I had had my camera.  Believe me when I tell you – they are memorable – flashy in their red, black and white attire and recognizable for the cardinal-like beak which is white.  Large birds…. almost the size of a dove.

My sister is settling into her new home in Savannah.  I feel a deep sense of loss, one which   dregs up my father’s passing, combined with other losses that I have not yet dealt with.  I dream about my second husband nightly!  We parted as friends with no residual anger, but regret, at least, on my part.

This seems like the season of change for me.  The college for which I work is sweetening pay-out deals and encouraging people like myself to retire.  I would love to say YES!  But I am years away from social security and medicare, and the thought of being uninsured is frightening.  Much to think about.  Thank goodness for the fiber!

Today’s Buzz:  For thousands of years honey was the only sweetening material known to man.

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is she moving again?

012Well, I admit temporary defeat.  But I DID find someone here at the college who feels that he can help me find my way through the woods.  Unfortunately, he’s booked, Brilliant people are almost always hard to pin down!  I am going to wait until he clears some projects and then we will put our heads together to improve my blog.  The consensus is that I should stay put, and fasten my wordpress seatbelt.  I never argue with Brilliance.

I so appreciate your hanging in there with me.

Today’s Buzz: did you know that honey bees cannot recognize the color red?


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