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Turkey Tracks: The Flopsy Bunnies Quilt

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Turkey Tracks:  April 30, 2012

The Flopsy Bunnies Quilt

Two years ago when I was in Williamsburg with my dearly beloved quilt buddies who live in Virginia, on our last day, I bought some adorable Peter Rabbit-type fabrics from a local quilt store–whose name I am not going to recall.  (But if you are in Williamsburg, it’s near the college, and it’s very nice.)  The panels were meant to be made into fabric books.  They tell a story.  But, I thought them perfect for baby quilts.  I bought two sets, and each had a panel, some border fabric, and some backing fabric.  Quick quilts, I thought.  Ha!

So, when my niece, Lauren Howser Black, got close to having her baby, Owen Wallace Black, born in mid April, I pulled out one set and started to work.  These fabrics had beautiful border prints.  Only, I didn’t buy enough of them to go all the way around the blocks.  And, when I cut the panel into separate blocks, I had some narrow borders where the pages would have joined.  So, I had to make the blocks a bit larger by adding an additional border.  It’s the cream fabric.

I found a gorgeous paisley fabric in my stash that was so interesting with the blocks.  And, another stash print worked well with the paisley as sashing blocks and as an outer border.

Anyway, here’s the quilt that got mailed to baby Owen this past week.  (Sorry for the overexposed picture.)

Here’s another view:

[I don’t know why The Beauty Queen (aka as Miss Reynolds Georgia) wanted her picture taken with this quilt.  But, she clearly did.  I could not dislodge her as she ran from one end of the bed to the other when I suggested she remove herself.  I can tell you she missed the grandchildren and that she loves babies.  Maybe she was putting her own special energy into this quilt.]

Here’s a close-up of one of the panel blocks.  Aren’t they sweet?

And, here’s a close-up of the border.  I trimmed it and used part of it as a side border.

This suite of fabrics came with a blue print that I was going to use for the backing.  I, of course, didn’t have enough, since I had miscalculated how big the quilt would be when I got the blocks ready.  So, I found a coordinating fabric and used it to surround the suite fabric:

I quilted with a clam shell groovy board, which I LOVED!!! Can’t wait to use it again.

Here’s a picture of the whole back:

Here’s what the backing, binding (a great blue stripe cut on the bias), and the front look like together:

So, there you have it:  THE FLOPSY BUNNIES QUILT.

I’m very pleased with how it came out.  Truly, it’s a “one of a kind.”

Written by louisaenright

April 30, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Interesting Information: Using Roundup to Ripen Wheat

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Interesting Information:  April 30, 2012

Using Roundup to Ripen Wheat

Keith Lewis is a wheat farmer.

The May/June 2012 WELL BEING JOURNAL carried the following quote from Keith Lewis, which apparently appeared in a new book by William Davis, M.D., WHEAT BELLY.

“I have been a wheat farmer for 50  years and one wheat production practice that is very common is applying the herbicide Roundup (glyphosate) just prior to harvest.  Roundup is licensed for pre-harvest weed control.  Monsanto, the manufacturer of Roundup, claims that application to plants at over 30% kernel moisture results in Roundup uptake by the plant into the kernels.  Farmers like this practice because Roundup kills the wheat plant, allowing an earlier harvest.

A wheat field often ripens unevenly, thus applying Roundup pre-harvest evens up the greener parts of the field with the more mature.  The result is that on the less mature areas, Roundup is trans-located into the kernels….This practice is not licensed.  Farmers mistakenly call it `dessication.’

Consumers eating products made from wheat flour are undoubtedly consuming minute amounts of Roundup.  An interesting aside:  malt barley, which is made into beer, is not acceptable in the market place if it has been sprayed with pre-harvest Roundup.  Lentils and peas are not accepted in the marketplace if they are sprayed with pre-harvest Roundup, but it’s ok on wheat?  This farming practice concerns me and it should further concern consumers of wheat products.”

Roundup, or glyphosate, now has enough of a track record to warrant serious consideration of withdrawing it from the market–if only our regulatory agencies had laws with more teeth and weren’t so staffed by “foxes in the hen-house” folks.

And, we are learning that very small amounts of toxic chemicals can have a BIG impact.  You have only to take seriously the autism rates posted on this blog last week to see that.

So, it’s a fact that if you eat commercial wheat, you’re going to be eating–or feeding your children–a certain amount of a very toxic chemical.

Eat organic!

Of course, you know I’ve ordered WHEAT BELLY to read…

Written by louisaenright

April 30, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Turkey Tracks: Quilting the Last of the Rectangles

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Turkey Tracks:  April 27, 2008

Quilting the Last of the Rectangles

For those of you following The Scrappy Quilting Project progress, I’ve used up the last of the 2 by 3 1/2-inch rectangles I have been cutting for over 10 years.  I had BAGS of them–all ready to be used.

This quilt, as yet unnamed, is on Lucy, the longarm right now:

I really like this quilt.  I’ve always wanted to make a bar-type quilt, and I like the “Chinese Coin” bar arrangement.

I have another set of the rectangles in shades of cream that I’ve sewn into this same kind of barred formation.  Hmmmm.  They look good with browns:

I took the very last rectangles and made them into eight funky placemats, using fabrics from my stash for borders, backings, and bindings.  They turned out to be surprisingly cute.  And, given the experience of other placemats I’ve made, they will last forever and only get prettier as they get worn.

These placemats, I discovered, do best when they are NOT overquilted.  Here’s one that is overquilted, so you can see what I mean.  These placemats are reversible, so this one looks great on the other side!  Anyway, a simple meander works better, given all the color and scrappiness.

I paired the placemats with an array of different-colored napkins and some cute napkin rings (brass chickens) and sent them off to the four older grandchildren in Charleston.  There are six for the family and two for me and John–which was a nice way to signaling to the children that we are coming to visit soon.  Wilhelmina, the four-year old, got this concept right away.  My reward was a big belly laugh from her.

Here’s the picture I got back from Tami of the placemats on her table–as arranged by Talula:

I had told Talula that I was making something for her when I talked to her about the quilt she helped make for me.  And, I called and told her the “something” was in the mail.  She was so excited when the package arrived.  She called me right away, and we discussed who was to get which placemat, which one she liked best, and could I help her make some in the near future.  When she comes next, I’ll turn her loose with rectangles, some pins, and see what she designs on the design board in my quilting room.  Then we can sew some placemats together.  She will be old enough to operate the sewing machine before we know it.

She was so excited that the chicken napkin rings almost got lost.  They were at the bottom of the package in a plastic bag.  I can see from this picture Talula has used some of their napkin rings.

So, here’s what’s left of the rectangles at this point…

Except for some rectangles I put aside for another project…

And, except for the ones I’ve cut in the past few weeks…

Turkey Tracks: Giovanna’s Baby Blanket

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Turkey Tracks:  April 27, 2012

Giovanna’s Baby Blanket

I ran into Giovanna McCarthy at the Camden post office a few days ago.  Meeting someone at the post office–or at the dump–is one of the many pleasures of living in a small town.

We were both mailing packages containing finished projects.  She was mailing off this baby quilt–which she has shared at our April Coastal Quilters’ meeting.  It’s made from sock yarn, so will be sturdy and washable.  Isn’t it luscious?

Giovanna excels at this kind of lacy knitting that I have still to master.

Lucky baby!

I was mailing a baby quilt for Owen Wallace Black, born April 17th, to my niece Lauren Howser Black and her husband David.  I’ll post those pics in a separate entry.

Giovanna and I shared a visit and a coffee at Zoot’s coffeehouse–which is another perk of living at a slower pace.  We have time for each other.

Written by louisaenright

April 27, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Interesting Information: Some Thoughts On Fast Food Hamburgers Not Spoiling

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Interesting Information:  April 27, 2012

Some Thoughts On Fast Food Hamburgers Not Spoiling

Recap:  Willow Rheault Kreibich posted a piece on FB that featured a picture of various fast food hamburgers and french fries, on a tray, that had not spoiled in two years.

I posted the picture on this blog and commented to the effect of “do you really want to eat this food.”

“Burgerman” replied to my blog–with some interesting and welcome cautions about this story.

Willow received the following piece from “skeptical teacher”:  http://skepticalteacher.wordpress.com/2010/11/14/the-myth-of-the-non-decomposing-mcdonalds-hamburger/

Apparently, the issue is the amount of moisture involved in the molding process.  And, be aware that mold is the issue raised–not outright spoilage.

The counter argument goes that food needs moisture to mold.  Without moisture, such as might be found inside a plastic storage bag, mold does not occur.

Ok, I can buy that.

But, then I remembered the hotdog buns that got lost in my cupboard for about four months.  They were in a plastic bag.  When I opened the bag, they were like new–soft and spongy and looking quite edible.  I was shocked.  I can tell you that any organic, local bread I bring into the kitchen in a plastic bag spoils in a few days.  It grows truly radical mold, especially in the summer.  If I left a slice of this bread out, it would dry out and not spoil.  That’s true.  But those hot dog buns–which are probably akin to fast food hamburger buns–didn’t spoil inside a bag that would have trapped any moisture in them and caused mold.

Potatoes have a lot of moisture in them.  And, frying would trap that moisture inside.  I can see that some of the thin ones might dry out if left on the counter, but what about the fatter ones?  The fries in the picture look kind of like they just came out of the fryer.  What’s up with that?  What comes to mind for me is that commercial potatoes are sprayed with really strong chemicals–so strong that they often have to sit in piles outside until the worst of the chemicals dissipate–a process which can take up to six months, according to Michael Pollan.  These potatoes will not grow sprouts from their “eyes” if exposed to light.  Are the chemicals retarding mold and spoilage as well?  I want to know a lot more about why these French fries are not going bad.

As for the hamburger patties, I can see that if the meat is thin enough, it might dry out before molding.  Burgerman reminded me that we dry foods all the time, including meat.  But, we don’t dry meat on a counter.  We dry it under the sun, with the aid of air currents.  Or, in a dehydrator.  In other words, we use heat and air circulation to wick away moisture and to kill any pathogens that cause spoilage.  In addition, most commercial hamburgers are cooked well-done–so many of the pathogens are killed–as are the nutrients, by the way, which is why I eat meat that isn’t well done.  The grass-fed hamburgers I cook are medium rare or, even, for me, at least, rare.  There’s a TON of moisture in them.  They would spoil and mold if left on the counter.

Mold is one issue.  But what about other spoilage?   Would you eat one of these two-year old hamburgers and French fries that have, famously, not grown mold?

For the past 46 years, I have cooked multiple meals every day–unless I’m on an infrequent vacation somewhere–in which case I usually long for my own food.  I feed two dogs and eight chickens real food.  No dry dog food or commercial chicken feed is served here.  So, at night I am always throwing leftovers into bowls for the animals for the next morning.  Real food starts to turn into something smelly I wouldn’t eat in a matter of a few hours.

So, yes, I can agree that if you let well-done hamburgers and dead-bread buns sit out, they won’t MOLD unless there is sufficient moisture.  Maybe, though, they will SPOIL.

But, that fact begs the question of whether or not this kind of food is actually nourishing in any way.  It’s still dead food:  dead buns, dead overcooked meat that is likely adulterated with soy, and something truly weird about the nonspoiling French fries that are cooked in rancid, dangerous highly-processed vegetable oils–often made from soy and cottonseed.  (When did cotton become a food?)  The processing in these oils breaks their chemical structures down so that they are like little sharp razor blades in your veins.  They’re the real cause of heart disease according to Sally Fallon Morrell and Mary Enig of the Weston A. Price Foundation–as demonstrated in the video, “The Oiling of America.”

So, I’m still saying, “would you feed this food to your kids?”  Or, eat it yourself?

Written by louisaenright

April 27, 2012 at 11:53 am

Interesting Information: The CDC Announces Horrifying New Autism Rates

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Interesting Information:  April 24, 2012

The CDC Announces Horrifying New Autism Rates

The CDC has announced the following information:

1 in 88 children are now diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD);

1 in 54 boys; and

1 in 252 girls– which means BOYS ARE FIVE TIMES MORE LIKELY TO HAVE AN ASD.

This number represents a 78 PERCENT INCREASE in the past five years and a 23 percent increase in the LAST TWO YEARS.

Utah had the highest prevalence of autism:  1 in 47,  8-year olds.

New Jersey had 1 in 49.

Dr. Mercola, in “The Silent Time Bomb Now Affecting 1 in 54 Boys in the US,” asks “What’s really going on here?”  (See http://articles.mercola.com for more information.)

And, Mercola adds the following:

“Personally, I don’t see how anyone can look at a 78 percent increase of any health problem in a mere five years without snapping to attention.  Prior to the CDC’s announcement, the Canary Party, a citizens’ action group on autism, rightfully predicted that the CDC would down play the seriousness of these latest statistics.

On its new autism webpage, the CDC state they suspect some of the increase `is due to greater awareness and better identification’ among some of the children.

But even taking that possibility into consideration, the statistics are truly shocking.  How can one in 88American children have some form of autistic disorder?  In a normal, healthy environment, that just shouldn’t happen.  And the fact that it IS happening demands our immediate attention.  Something is going very wrong, very fast…”

That SOMETHING WRONG is toxic overload, according to Dr. Mercola.  I agree.

Here’s some contributing areas  Mercola identifies:

Environmental areas, of course.  But, which ones?

Likely, there are multiple factors.  Among them are the overuse and inappropriate use of vaccines–which may function as “the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

And, our overuse of toxic chemicals–which are being put into our food, our air, our water, our clothing, our furniture, and on and on and on.   Key among these are mercury, toxic adjuvants in vaccines, phthalates, BPA, and so forth.

Electromagnetic fields need much more investigation.  Women who sleep in strong electromagnetic fields during pregnancy might give birth to babies that exhibit neurological abnormalities.  Computers, smart meters, cell phones, those baby-monitoring systems, microwaves, all throw electromagnetic waves.  I would not put those baby-monitoring systems into a baby’s room knowing what I now know, and I remind young parents that babies have survived just fine for all the thousands of years before the last 10, when these systems became “must haves” for child safety.

Vitamin D deficiency in pregnant women might be a factor.

And, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride is arguing that children born to parents with abnormal gut flora develop devestating gut and brain toxicity that leads to autism–all of which can be cured with diet.  If you are working with an autistic child, please, please read McBride’s book, GUT AND PSYCHOLOGY SYNDROME.  I wrote about the GAPS diet in my Mainely Tipping Points Essays on this blog, essay No. 31, “I Feel It In My Gut.”

WHAT TO DO?

Read Mercola’s article for more guidance, but, basically, do everything you can to lower toxic overload.  Buy organic foods; get rid of personal body care products and household cleaning products loaded with chemicals; and read up on vaccine dangers and only get the ones, if any, that seem the most necessary to you.

Clean up your diet.  Get rid of the junk food.  If it comes in a box, don’t eat it.  If it comes in a can, make sure it’s BPA free.  Limit carbohydrates, especially grains and legumes.  And, if you eat them, make sure you prepare them properly–more on this subject in upcoming Mainely Tipping Points essays.

SUPPORT THE IMMEDIATE INSTALLATION OF THE PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPAL.  All untested chemicals in circulation must now be tested–and tested by scientists who do not have financial interests in the outcome.  Nothing can be allowed into circulation that causes human harm.

We have to develop the POLITICAL WILL to make these changes–and that starts with understanding that we cannot continue down this road without dire, dire consequences.

One in 54 boys.  That’s at least one boy you know, for sure.

Written by louisaenright

April 24, 2012 at 6:55 pm

Turkey Tracks: The Wood Pile

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Turkey Tracks:  April 24, 2012

The Wood Pile

Stopped by Pete and Rose Thomas’s last week.

Look what’s lining their driveway.

Pete is hoping this woodpile will take them through next winter.  Their wood use is heavier these days–due to the wood-burning oven where Rose is making the most delicious pizzas and all kinds of baked breads.  She also uses the oven to cook all kinds of foods:  meats, roasted tomatoes, and so forth.

Pete’s making progress on cutting the timber into firewood lengths, but it’s a HUGE job!

Go Rose!  Go Pete!

Written by louisaenright

April 24, 2012 at 5:03 pm

Interesting Information: This “Food” is TWO YEARS OLD

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Interesting Information:  April 23, 2010

This “Food” is TWO YEARS OLD

Willow Rheault Kreibich posted this picture on FB recently.

The picture is taken from the FB wall photos of the LiveWell Wellness Centers–so you can go and have a look for yourself.

This food was purchased on April 22, 2010, so it is now TWO YEARS OLD.

Do you really want to feed this “food” to yourself or to your children????

Can we in any way call this food that even bugs won’t touch “nourishing”?

I copied and pasted below the picture what the folks at LiveWell wrote beneath their wall photo

Our fast “food” display is now 2 years old.  The word food is questionable, since the bread-like and meat-like substances have not molded or spoiled in any way.  Bugs won’t even bother with it.  Please think twice about giving this to your kids.  You have a choice, but they don’t.  We truly are what we eat.

Written by louisaenright

April 23, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Interesting Information: Study Links Pesticide To Bee Deaths

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Interesting Information:  April 23, 2012

Study Links Pesticide to Bee Deaths

David Abel, in “The Boston Globe,” reported on a recent Harvard Public Health study that made a one-to-one link between bee colony collapse disorder and a chemical in the neonicotinoid family, imidacloprid (April 6, 2012, B1).

Before 2006, Abel notes, “the typical bee colony collapse was between 25 and 30 percent”–a figure which has “doubled since then.”  Imidacloprid was first reviewed by EPA in 2008.

One strategy chemical companies use to prevent chemicals from being banned is to claim a study is faulty, that more study is needed.  Bayer, the German chemical company who sells the most imidacloprid, immediately claimed the study flawed in that too much of the chemical was used in the study.  But, Alex Lu, associate professor of environmental exposure biology at the Harvard School of Public Health, said “it took only low levels to cause hive collapse, less than is typically used in crops or in areas where bees forage.”  Most importantly, this study clearly linked bee death and colony collapse to imidacloprid.  In other words, there is no question that there is a one to one link here and that the result is bee death.

Imidacloprid is used increasingly in crops such as corn and soybeans.  In Maine, it’s used on “wild” blueberry barrens.  Bees are exposed to imidacloprid both through nectar from the sprayed plants AND through the high-fructose corn syrup with which they are fed.  Charles Benbook, chief scientist of the Organic Center in Boulder, Colorado, and former executive director of the National Academy of Sciences on Agriculture, warned that what’s happening to bees doesn’t just stop with bees:  “People, especially children, consume a lot of high-fructose corn syrup.  The presence of any pesticides in high fructose corn syrup should be a concern for the general public.”

Neonicotinoids act on an insect’s central nervous system.  What do you think it will do to human nervous systems?  Especially when we are learning more and more each day that very small amounts of these chemicals can do a ton of damage.

The Harvard study showed that after 23 weeks of exposure to low levels of imidacloprid, 15 of the 16 treated hives were dead.  Those exposed to higher levels died first.

EPA officials, after the release of this Harvard study, have moved up in their registration schedule so that they will begin a review of imidacloprid by the end of this year.

Parts of France and Italy banned imidacloprid in 2009, and colony collapse disorder there has been substantially reduced.

Bees are our canaries in the coal mines.

Do not eat corn unless it is clearly organic.  Do not eat soybeans, period.  (I’ll write more on that later.)  In addition, both corn and soybeans are likely GMO’d, which is a whole other set of problems for human health.

TurkeyTracks: This One’s For You, Nancy

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Turkey Tracks:  April 22, 2012

This One’s For You, Nancy

It’s a rainy Sunday.

We are delighted!

I can’t tell you how dry it is in Maine.  And, until the past few days, way too warm for April.

The new strawberry plants (50) arrived, and I planted them the other day.  I plant the most delicious little strawberry–Sparkle.  Strawberries get planted early spring, but one pinches off all the blossoms the first year to give the plants a year to develop.  So, we won’t eat these strawberries until June 2013.  It’s ok.  I think we’ll get another year or, even, two out of the old bed.  I’m just thinking ahead.

I also planted peas, the cold frame with lettuce, and raked back the straw from the asparagus bed.  I was planning in my head to go get some cool-weather plants, like broccoli, until my better sense kicked in as it’s really way too early.  I had to water everything deeply, and my muscles are still screaming from all this different, outdoor activity.

John and I had a delightful lunch in Belfast.  And, I found some red sock yarn for my niece, Nancy Howser Gardner.  We have a deal.  She’s making me a scarf, and I’m making her some red socks.  So, Nancy, this yarn is for you.  It’s 50% wool, but has some cotton in the blend.  It’s really pretty.  See those little blue flecks in the mixture?

God knows when Nancy will get these socks.  She’s got my sweater in front of her socks.  And some socks for the kiddos from leftover yarn.  And a linen shawl.  But, I’m down to the sleeves now.  And little socks and the shawl should go fast.  And, anyway, that red yarn is really drawing me.  I think I’ll pick a Cookie A sock pattern for Nancy’s red socks.

Here’s what the sweater looks like now.   I’ve sewn the shoulder seams since I took this picture, so I can now pick up the neck stitches.  I got a circular needle of the right size (7) in Belfast to do so.  I’ve got one sleeve mostly done.  The best news is that after sewing the shoulder seams, I could try it on.  I did, and IT FIT beautifully.

To remind, this yarn comes from Kelly Corbett’s Romney Ridge Farm down in Woolwich, Maine, just south of Damariscotta.  The yarn is all hand-dyed and the colors shade in and out–you can see that in the purple diamonds.  The yarn on the ribbing is the natural color of one of Kelly’s sheep.

Aloisia Pollock designed the pattern for the sweater and the carrying color pattern and taught Giovanna McCarthy and I how to do it.  You can view the yarn balls and get all the info on both of these terrific women from earlier blog postings in the knitting category.  Giovanna chose different colors, and her sweater is gorgeous too.  You can see Giovanna’s colors on the earlier posting as well.