Spring 2017

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"D" Is For Dogs Rule...

For 45 years there has always been at least one special dog occupying our home...no matter where we lived. From an amazing German Shepherd (who eventually served in Vietnam as a Sentry Dog) to classic Standard Collies and then to our love affair with shelties...dog bowls, kibble, trips to the vets, buying sticky rollers in bulk and endless bags of collected fur have been part of our lives.

With anticipation and joy each has been welcomed, and spoiled beyond logic. And with each sad goodbye, they have taken a part of us with them.

If you are a regular reader, you might remember that back in September, with such heavy hearts, we let our Sasha go.

I contacted the breeder where we found this loving sheltie to let Patty know Sasha was gone. She sent the most comforting email to us and included this eloquent little essay.


"It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them. And every new dog who comes into my life, gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be Dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are."
(Anonymous)
It has become a favorite of mine and I hope you enjoy it too.



In 2008, I read this beautifully written novel...a mystery, a coming of age and an amazing story of dogs and humans...

Now rereading it and finding that I missed so much the first time through - have a special dog(s) in your life?...this book is a must! So when you think about all the things to be Thankful for this week, remember your sweet companions who only ask to be treated with kindness, fed when their tummy clock goes off and who serve as an example of how humans can also love unconditionally.


This week's Alphabe-Thursday is for the letter "D" - you can see all the other "D" postings over at Miss Jenny's.





Saturday, November 26, 2011

Civil War Blocks...

Was starting to get a tad nervous at being 3, no make that 4 blocks, behind on Barbara Brackman's weekly Civil War Quilt blocks. If I start losing momentum, projects tend to get pushed off to the side...not good when you consider we are at Block #48 and there are only a couple left.

So, since this post Thanksgiving weekend has been very Novemberish...cold rain, very dark sky and drifts of fog weaving back and forth across the fields...I warmed up a mug of Honeycrisp apple cider, plopped a cinnamon stick in it and headed to the sewing cave studio.
Hours later, I emerged, blocks in hand and this is what was accomplished...
 Yeh!!!! Caught up....
 On one of the blocks - #48 West Virginia (blue and brown) I decided to do an inked inscription. Our paternal side of the family has roots in that State and so I got out our copy of the History of Martinsburg (Dad's hometown.)
 ...and picked out Company C, 3rd Regiment, Berkeley County to include in the center of the block. 
Written in 1888 - only 23 years after the Civil War - the book refers to the War as "War of the Rebellion."

I like to incorporate inked inscriptions on some of my quilts - this was a little Album quilt I did earlier this year in connection with a short talk I gave in our Quilt History Study Group (Liberty Ladies).
It is a tiny version of the quilt that was presented to Clara Barton by a group of soldiers in recognition of her tireless nursing service during the war.  Each block was inscribed with signatures.


Back during our November quilting retreat, I worked on this tablerunner - a birthday gift for Jena. Since she has received it, the completed project can go up for Show and Tell....it ended up as a very large tablerunner....about 52" long!
Included with the tablerunner were two little linen towels I had added simple borders to.
Happy to say, Jena really liked her gifts! And I really enjoy making things for her!!


That's about it for now...a busy week coming up with stitching friends coming for lunch on Wednesday and then on Thursday, our Liberty Ladies gift and cookie exchange...the holiday pace is picking up speed.


Wishing everyone a good week...I can hear those sewing machines humming around the world...





Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Arrival...

of colder weather, finds me drifting over to some favorite blogs that originate in the Deep South or as far away as Australia...gazing at their green grassy lawns and blooming flowers or shrubs will satisfy my craving for growing things now that our own surroundings are blanketed in snow. Our temperatures may fluctuate in the days ahead and the illusive sun might show itself long enough to melt some of the cover, but we can rest assured that it will be late March or early April before a bare ground is revealed.  Now the evergreens are coated with the recent snowfall - their long branches bent towards the ground as if acknowledging acceptance that the growing season has come to a close and it is time to rest. 

Few birds show themselves on such gray, overcast days. The migratory flocks left the Northwoods many weeks ago. The ice on our pond, which started as a tentative edging along the bank, has advanced to seal the entire surface in its embrace.
It is dark by 5:00 p.m.  A pot of chicken soup and hearty pumpkin spice muffins provide a "comfort" dinner on a chilly night.
There are weekly treks over to the wood storage area to replenish the supply on the front porch. Fires burn continuously in the fireplace and in the evenings we are drawn to its warmth, perhaps to read or pick up a stitching project. Football on TV or a movie make for diversion. The dogs seek out their favorite spots, content in knowing their people are close. Quiet descends around us like a heavy wool cloak, insulating the house from the outside world. Winter has arrived at Taylorsoutback.

Wishing each of you a warm and cozy week and a Thanksgiving filled with Blessings.


 

 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"C" Is For Cabin

 "There are elements of intrinsic beauty in the simplification of a house built on the log cabin idea..."
Gustav Stickley
 It all started with a set of Lincoln Logs...I would sit on the floor with legs crossed and build a little log cabin, make up stories in my head, take the logs apart and rebuild in a different layout...maybe someday I would live in a real cabin...that first (circa 1940's) set is long gone now & that dream came true.
This is a group of logs from the '70's that our son grew up with...





He often talks about living in a log cabin someday...

High on a shelf in the sunroom sits a tiny cabin my brother made for me years ago. The roof lifts off and there is even a Christmas wreath on the front door.
While out for a drive recently, not too far from home, I came across an old, abandoned cabin which was in the middle of a field. It appeared to be melting into the ground around it...
Closed and no longer occupied, it looked lonely and forlorn and I wondered what its story was. In an age of manufactured homes, the idea of harvesting logs from the land and removing the bark, hewing and fitting them into place, all by hand, is so foreign to most of us.Our area is still sparsely populated and the homesteaders who lived there years ago were surrounded by deep forests and abundant wildlife. I hope they had a good life.
On our travels we have come across other memorable cabins....this tiny one room log cabin, which nestled into the hillside, was in danger of disappearing because of the new highway being built that runs around the shores of Lake Kluane in the Yukon. 
A photo of a photo! This from our scrapbook.
On our 3rd trip to Alaska in 2010, the little cabin was still there, a testament to its ability to weather heavy winter snows and blowing winds off the huge lake and the advancement of road construction.

Last September as we approached the Alberta/Montana border, this wonderful cabin caught our eye. Judging from the lack of windows and wide doorway, it might have been used for housing early farm equipment...or perhaps shelter for animals?
Hope you have enjoyed visiting these old cabins and that you also wonder what their history is...
Be sure to visit the "C" postings over at Miss Jenny's Alphabe-Thursday.









Monday, November 14, 2011

Two More Blocks...

...And one of them is really kind of odd...in between non-related quilting commitments, progress has been made on two more Beyond The Cherry Tree blocks.
This first one has got to be a very strange arrangement...as I worked on it, I kept wondering what the quilter was thinking about. Where did she get the design? Was it her own creation or something she saw and laid out from memory?

Well, nevertheless, I will honor her and stay close to the original design...but I just had to attach all the stems...unlike the 1850's block where flowers were floating off into space. 


The 2nd block is pretty straight forward though the little hills and valleys were somewhat tedious. 

Now they are safely stored away with the other completed blocks and I can begin to see a little light at the end of that proverbial tunnel...only 5 more to go and then the long journey around the borders. 


It has been somewhat quiet in our neck of the woods. Ever since an October doctor's appointment where words like Body Mass Index, more exercise needed, diet changes, etc. were thrown at me & a very discouraging weigh in on the clinic scale...well, let's just say the treadmill in the basement has renewed its acquaintance with me. The goal? Three miles each day...up to 2 now and there is no longer a little secret stash of chocolate to feast upon. 


Wish me luck! I am going to need it...the other night, after our power had been off most of the day...well...confession time...I had a Haagen-Dazs melt down & polished off about a cup of refrozen butter pecan - I'm bad :o(


Have a good week and hope you have more self control than I...





Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The "B"est of Times...

Have just returned from our annual Fall Retreat and feel refreshed...oh, life's stresses of before are still there and new ones have been added, but there is a little less befuddlement and the energy level has improved. Spending the weekend with 18 quilting sisters, being called to the dining room when meals are ready and non-stop sewing have a way of brightening these November days.


Bad blogger...I didn't even take my camera along...but can't show one of the projects I worked on anyway as it is going to be a gift. The rest of the time I did add to my stack of little 1 1/2" nine patches...
And a bit more piecing of HST's for the Canadian Rose quilt....
Was pretty good about the chocolate - ate in moderation - a big step for me!
Drank a little wine....


And had lots of good laughter, sharing and forgot about life's trials and tribulations...



Slowly I am gathering quilt history books from states & Canada that have a place in my heart...where we have lived, family roots, special trips...

This is the latest for my library...
 Interesting to find that many of  the quilts feature black fabrics...
Unknown pattern - circa 1877 - sold at auction in 1912 for $2.25!















This spectacular Whig's Defeat - a quilting triumph!

Love this Evening Star with cheddar...1900...
This one from Alamance County - I went to Elon College there (now University) back in the '60's. Wish I would have been more focused on quilts rather than parties! If I only knew....
"Cucumber" pattern - completely hand pieced including seams for backing.
Home for the day with much to catch up on...good thing as this is what we are having outside today...

Hoping you have the Best of Days this week...and be sure to visit Miss Jenny's Alphabe-Thursday for lots of other "B" postings.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

"A" Is For Artifacts...

Do you sometimes wonder what you would do with your life's direction if you had the opportunity to change career's? I love quilting and might have pursued a certification in quilt appraisals or judging, perhaps. Early on, the field of nursing called to me or to be a librarian. But give me a shovel & other tools and I think archeology would have been the ticket...

Our first house in Wisconsin was located along the Wisconsin River. We inherited the former occupants garden site and the first few summers, it needed a lot of work...clearing out old growth, enlarging and Lots of shoulder jarring roto-tilling by Mr. Outback. Over the span of the seasons, we began to notice numerous amounts of quartz chips in the freshly turned over soil. A close friend of ours, who just happens to have one of the finest arrowhead collections in the entire state, looked things over and said our land was the site of a former Indian village. It made sense, being high on a hill overlooking the river which would have offered excellent navigation by canoe and visibility to the surrounding forest lands. Once while installing pipe for water irrigation, we unearthed an area that clearly showed different colors of strata - signs of a fire pit used for cooking...On rare occasions, the ground would yield up an arrowhead or identifiable parts of one. And one discovery helped to possibly date the village...
A scraping tool used for cleaning hides was discovered closer to the front of the house. Our knowledgeable friend estimated it was about 500 years old. And during the excavation for a new addition to the existing home, I picked up pieces of pottery - and uncovered a tiny stockpile of seeds...
This is my little "collection" of items retrieved...In the center is the scraping tool and surrounding that are the pottery shards and a couple of arrowheads - the tiniest being a bird point with very fine "teeth". 
The small square headed nail is from our present acreage which used to have a homesteader's cabin on it
A few years later, on one of our fishing trips to Canada, by Vermilion Bay in Ontario, we pulled the boat up to a very small island and decided to explore. There were no posted signs.  Walking through hip high grasses, we discovered what was left of an old cabin...roof long gone and walls caved in...glancing down on the rotting floor boards, I spied 2 strange looking wooden objects, partially covered by debris.
These hand carved pieces are used in mending fishing nets. Somehow they had held up as the cabin decayed around them over the decades.
Fossils found along a river bed in Missouri, a variety of rocks collected throughout the Yukon and Alaska...those are my souvenirs and that is my way of touching and connecting with those who have come before me and left their mark. 


"A" is for Artifacts - and is the first letter of Miss Jenny's Alphabe-Thursday as we begin another round. Visit all the other "A" postings.