Turkey Tracks: Creating Winter Culinary Assets

Turkey Tracks:  October 31, 2016

Creating Winter Culinary Assets

My kitchen smells like garlic, shallot, parsley, and lime juice.

It’s making me hungry!

It’s that time again–the time to clean out the garden and to do something with the last of the food crops.

The cherry tomatoes were so bountiful this year–Sun Golds.  I was able to pick all the green tomatoes as I worked.

I had a huge bin of them, but I somehow did not take a picture.  With one thing and another, I did not get to lacto-fermenting them right away, and they starting to ripen on me.  I wound up having to pull out the dehydrator again to dry them as I cannot eat all of these before they start to go bad.


Here are the green ones, all jarred up and, hopefully, lacto-fermenting in their garlicky, herbed brine.


Look what I found in the zucchini plants!  I checked them all the time, but missed these two.  Into the dehydrator they went–cut into bite-size pieces that will be used in soups/stews over the winter.  The green squash next to the napkins is a Buttercup–it is dense and sweet.  I plan to roast the flesh with cut-up large green tomatoes, onion, garlic, little potatoes, rosemary, and olive oil.


I love our winter squashes–but we did not get so many this year due to the drought.

The striped ones are Delicatas–which are candy sweet.  The tan ones are Butternuts and are mild.  They are happy in the warm kitchen.  The Delicatas won’t store as long as the Butternuts.


I processed the cabbage I bought for winter sauerkraut–which I use instead of lettuce sent in here from California, 18 days old and gassed and tasteless.


You’ve seen other posts on lacto-fermented sauerkraut if you’ve followed this blog at all.  If not, you can search on sauerkraut to see the lovely ruby red color this mixture will turn.  I will probably make some carrot/turnip kraut before I am done.  It is delicious and turns a bright orange.

Here is a little video of what I am looking for to see if the mixtures are “booking”–my slang for fermenting properly.

Now, here’s the really fun thing that has upped ante on my lacto-fermenting goodies:


What a great book!

I am still reading it, but have already tried some of the herb recipes.

I cut the parsley in the garden–the curly one yesterday, the Italian today–and used the interesting parsley recipe in the book, sans the hot pepper as I am allergic.


I took off the leaves from the stems and discarded those.  I don’t wash any of these items–I just brush away any debris–as I want the organisms to stay put as they are part of the lacto-fermenting wild process.

Here’s yesterday’s haul.  I have two more from today.  The plastic bags contain water and will form a seal over the top of the mixtures, but will allow me to get to them to push them down and let the liquid rise to the top.



There is a recipe for processing basil with this method–and it will keep for six months or more.

What about sage?  Rosemary?  Chives?  Tarragon?  MINT?

I may try mint tomorrow as I have a lot of it.

If this method works, I’ll try more herbs next fall.

For those of you who don’t know, lacto-fermented veggies are chock full of really good probiotics and are more powerful than the veggie/herb by itself.

Turkey Tracks: Quilt-let Blocks Done!

Turkey Tracks:  October 30, 2016

Quilt-let Blocks Done!

Here are the last quilt-lets.  I am sewing the individual pieces together now.

At the end of this post you can see all the blocks in the final layout.








(Yes, I apparently liked this green Cotton+Steel print so much I used it twice!  It’s easy to get confused when setting up blocks.


There are two Cotton+Steel cat blocks too.




Turkey Tracks: The Coastal Quilters’ October Retreat

Turkey Tracks:  October 22, 2016

The Coastal Quilters’ October Retreat

We had a great time!

As happened in May, we want to go back soon, soon, soon…

And we will in May and October 2017.  AND we will add a day for those of us who want a bit longer time sewing at the Franciscan Guest House in Kennebunk, Maine.  (This forty acre property sits walking distance to the town or the beach and the grounds themselves are lovely.)  We checked in Monday at 1 p.m. and left Wednesday around noon, but could have stayed until 1 p.m.

This time, we were in the gym.  Look at this awesome set-up:



(That is Vicki Fletcher at the cutting table.  See her quilt below.)

We had lots and lots of ironing boards and design walls and a table full of snacks we had brought with us and coffee, tea, and water supplied.  We have breakfast every day, lunch on the full day, and dinner on the two nights we are there.


Here is Vicki’s quilt–which is made from a four-patch of five-inch blocks that get sliced and resewn.


Sharon Flanagan and Margaret-Elaine Jinno.  Margaret-Elaine had pre-cut Farmer’s Wife blocks and she made SIXTEEN of them over the two days.


Sharon worked on hemming some curtains for her brother and left Saturday afternoon for a special high tea at MIT, returning early evening.  She and Margaret Elaine stayed up late, and when the rest of us came down in the morning, we found this quilt on the design wall.  It’s an “amazing” quilt.  Do you see why?


Lisa Niles brought her friend Sandy Pushaw.


Here’s Lisa’s quilt:


Here’s Sandy:


And here’s Sandy’s quilt developing:  a trip around the world.


Nancy Saulnier, or Mac, is Jan Kelsey’s friend.  She came last May and is coming again, with or without Jan.


A Christmas beauty:


Tori Manzi was with us for the first time:


Tori did a retreat with Pink Castle quilts (a good site to follow) up in Michigan.  The medallion and each of the borders were designed by different designers.  We had such a good time watching Tori make these borders.  There are more borders to follow I think.


Here’s another project Tori is working on–a “sampler” type quilt of these big, intricate blocks.  This one is foundation pieced.


Jan Kelsey worked on a number of projects.  There was a quilt with half-square triangles that disappeared from the design board before I got a picture of it.  Here Jan is working on one of the grocery bags made from feed sacks.


Look at this cute feed sack!


My friend Penny Rogers Camm came over from Burlington, Vermont, to join us.  You can see her FIRST QUILT in an earlier blog post.  Here she is with Becca Babb-Brott (check out Becca’s Sew Me A Song Etsy store).


Penny fell in love with Amy Friend’s “Tell Me A Story” quilt and here are her first blocks for that quilt, which is FOUNDATION PIECED.  She is doing fine with that method.


She went home with this many blocks made.  I am very proud of my student!


Lots of sharing went on among everyone.  We really loved this unified setting we had–no middle aisle to separate us.


Becca worked on the Jen Kingwell project she has undertaken–a fusion of three Kingwell quilts, using all Kingwell blocks.  Becca is creating a geographical “scene” in this quilt.


See the sky, the town buildings, etc.


Mary Sue Bishop finished her sweatshirt jacket.  Behind her is the beginning of her trip around the world quilt.


Here’s the back of Mary’s jacket:


Linda Satkowski worked on several projects during the retreat.


Linda sashed blocks from the Bonnie Hunter 2015 mystery quilt, “Allietore.”  Isn’t this gorgeous?  She will add another row maybe and, definitely, a border.


Becca wanted to see what kinds of colors she had in the Farmer’s Wife blocks, so she just randomly put blocks on a design wall.  The camera is making her grey background look flat, but that grey is all shimmery and glowy in real life.  This quilt will be so much fun.


As I said, as we were driving away, we wanted to return.


Turkey Tracks: Fall Color Finally Came

Turkey Tracks:  October 21, 2016

Fall Color Finally Came

I had despaired, with the terrible drought we have, of having our usual gorgeous fall color.  Many early-turning trees, like the ashes, just let their leaves turn brown and dropped them.

But somehow over the past few days, everything turned gold, orange, and red.  The oaks are now turning a deep mahogany–they are like the bass notes in a song.

Yesterday it was 90 degrees in New York City, 80 in Boston, and in the 70s here.  And it’s mid-October.  There has been no frost on the pumpkins yet on my hill.

Yesterday I picked about 20 Sun Gold cherry tomatoes and harvested what will be the last zucchini.  I have been waiting for a freeze to clean up the garden and plant the garlic and other bulbs.  (I add daffodils and Siberian scilla every year.)

Now I have a lot to do to clean up and to winterize outside.  Or it seems like a lot right now.

Last year was not a good hydrangea year.  So I didn’t have any to cut for the house.  This year the hydrangeas are glorious.

I cut some of the Annabelle’s, which are white and turn lime green, early on.  They are on the left.  The outside Annabelle’s have gone brown now.


Yesterday I went out and cut the others until I filled all the vases.  I just pull of all leaves and put the stems into a dry vase.  Most dry just fine, especially with this dry weather.

Here are some Pee Gees.


And lots of the blue variety:




Some years I’ve used these dried hydrangeas in my Christmas wreath.

I keep saying that I’m cutting “the last flowers in the garden,” but I really do think these Cosmos will be the last to come inside.


I found a few strays for the kitchen window:


That stone in the window is from the Bryan family mill back in the Reynolds, Georgia, area.  My beloved uncle, Sydney Hoke Bryan, gave it to me when I was in my early twenties and visiting Reynolds.  John and I had started a family and had two little boys 14 months apart.  I don’t think I realized then how deep my rural roots were, and I am so grateful to have this time of my life where I am back among farms and farm people.


Turkey Tracks: Penny Rogers Camm’s First Quilt

Turkey Tracks:  October 21, 2016

Penny Rogers Camm’s First Quilt

Penny Rogers Camm and I graduated from Bellevue High School in Bellevue, Nebraska, in 1963.  We knew each other then, but were not close friends.

Bellevue sits outside Omaha, Nebraska, and is the home of Offutt Air Force Base.

We are Air Force Brats.

Penny lives in Burlington, Vermont, in the summer, and we reconnected almost four years ago now as Penny comes to Mid-Coast Maine to sail on the windjammer Stephen Taber in September.  She called me, and we wound up spending several days together and going to the Maine Organic Farmers and Growers Association (MOFGA) Common Ground Fair.

Last summer she asked me to come to Vermont for the annual quilt show.  She had gone the year before and was intrigued with quilting.

I went, and Penny decide she wanted to learn to quilt.  We started this quilt in September when she came to sail–and now to quilt.

Here is her FIRST QUILT TOP–which is for a family child of about three.  The block is from Bonnie Hunter:  “Carolina Chain,” which is in her new book, ADDICTED TO SCRAPS.



Cute border fabric.


Here we are layering the top with the batting and backing.  That’s my Amy Friend quilt on the longarm, “Tell Me A Story,” which is ready to quilt now.


Penny is going to hand-quilt with various colors of size 8 pearl cotton.

AND Penny decided last summer to go on the Coastal Quilters (Maine) October retreat to the Franciscan Guest House in Kennebunk, Maine, where she started her SECOND QUILT.

Folks, she fell in love with Amy Friends “Tell Me A Story” quilt which is FOUNDATION PIECED.


Love her background fabric with these blocks, though it gave both of us fits for a time until we worked out the orientations.

It will be 7 blocks by 8 blocks, so she went home yesterday with a good start and other blocks cut.  This quilt is going in Penny’s den.


Penny is coming back in early December to learn to do the binding on the first quilt and, maybe, to layer and start quilting the second one.

AND, she has visions of other quilts dancing in her head already.

Here she is at our retreat:


More on the retreat in another post.

Turkey Tracks: “Winter Blue Jays” Quilt

Turkey Tracks:  October 3, 2016

“Winter Blue Jays” Quilt

My oldest grandchild turned THIRTEEN in late September.

How did that happen?

Of course I sent him a quilt for his quilt collection.

One of my childhood memories is playing in the sandy, rock-lined paths of my grandmother’s Reynolds, Georgia, garden when some baby Blue Jays fledged.  They were beyond adorable, and, of course, I tried to catch one.  The next thing I knew, Mama Blue Jay was flying around my head, pulling my hair, beating my head with her wings, and making a terrible racket.

Up here in Maine, I don’t see Blue Jays much in the summer.  But in winter, they arrive in flocks at my feeders, and they are so pretty.  They like a flat feeder, so I have one for them.

I bought the backing for Bowen’s quilt a few years back because I instantly fell in love with it


I put my childhood story on the label so Bowen would always see my deep attachment to the wonders of nature.


This quilt came out of the four-patch journey I went on two summers ago where I sewed all the two-inch blocks into light/dark four-patches.  I also used the 3 1/2-inch strips I had already cut and stored to make the light/dark half-square triangles–with the Easy Angle ruler.  ( I use Bonnie Hunter’s stash management system, as I’ve written about many times on this blog.)  The block in this quilt is the classic Jacob’s Ladder block–a 9 patch.  I had some light shirting fabric that I thought went really well with this quilt for the binding.

The quilt is a classic, like Bowen.


I used a soft blue thread and a gently curving feather pantograph.



Turkey Tracks: September 2016 Update

Turkey Tracks:  October 1, 2016

September 2016 Update

What a glorious summer I have had!

And the fun continues as my life continues to be rich with experiences.

The sailing trip on the J&E Riggin was terrific, as I posted earlier.

Quilter Timna Tarr comes next weekend for a Coastal Quilters trunk show and workshop on making “improvisational” quilts.  She has a terrific gallery on her web site.  Take a look?

On October 17th, some Coastal Quilters of Camden, Maine, will make another retreat at the Franciscan Guest House in Kennebunkport, Maine.  Attending will be my Bellevue High School, Bellevue, Nebraska, classmate, Penny Rogers Camm, who is making her VERY FIRST QUILT.  Messages have been flying between us about layouts and how to sew blocks together and so forth.  Her quilt is so, so pretty.  We will pick out borders, etc., when she comes week after next.

I picked what will probably be this season’s LAST flower bouquet the other day.


Next year I want MORE cosmos and zinnas in my garden.  And I need to go out and cut the gorgeous hydrangeas to bring in side the house for winter decorations.

Friend Megan Bruns is in Texas with her family this week.  She took all the rosettes from her Millifiori quilt (see former blog posts for details), and her mother helped her decide how to put them together.  This picture is the last I received.  Megan used all Anna Maria Horner fabrics in this quilt.  Of course there will be borders and so forth yet to do.


Horch roofers have been here for the past two days.  The new roof is so pretty.  Pictures of it later as the yard and house is full of men, flying roof pieces, and equipment.  I would take my life in my hands to go out there.  Besides, it is cloudy and overcast, so I’ll get pictures later.  I am loving the soft color of the roof though.

We still have had no appreciable rain.  I continue to worry about my well running dry.  I have stopped watering deeply outside.  The growing season is running down anyway.  I do not think we will get much fall color this year as drought-struck trees are just dropping brown leaves to, hopefully, save themselves.


Turkey Tracks: September Farmer’s Wife Blocks

Turkey Tracks:  October 1, 2016

September Farmer’s Wife Blocks


There are actually a few extra blocks here as I wanted to finish all the “M” blocks.  AND I can see the end of the project, so I printed out all the remaining paper foundation piecing patterns.


No. 65 Mother:

Orange fabric is Japanese; others are Cotton + Steel.  I love the mix of these fabrics.

Friend Becca Babb-Brott carries the Japanese fabrics in her Etsy store, Sew Me A Song.  She puts together reasonably priced “bundles” of fabrics in all sizes, so you can experiment with these new designs without breaking the bank.


No. 66:  Mrs. Anderson

Yellow daisies are Japanese; not sure about the squares.




No 67:  Mrs. Brown

Mustard cherries are Japanese.


No. 68 Mrs. Fay:

Red is Japanese; neutral is Cotton + Steel.


No 69:  Mrs. KellerThis one was SUPER HARD.

All fabrics are Japanese.


No. 70 Mrs. Lloyd

Fabrics are Cotton + Steel.


No 71:  Mrs. Morgan

Aqua fabric is Japanese; rest are Cotton + Steel.


No 72:  Mrs. Smith

Orange fabric is Japanese; other fabric is Cotton + Steel.


No 73:  Mrs. Taft

The mustard fabric is from a new Cotton + Steel collection inspired by designers trip to Portugal.  The neutral is from Cotton + Steel.


No. 74:  Mrs. Thomas

The cats are Cotton + Steel.  The purple reads “solid” and comes in a variety of yummy colors–Hoodie Crescent for Stof Fabrics


On to No. 75–TWENTY FOUR blocks to go and three months to do them.

What a fun trip this has been.  I alway, always finish projects, but I’m not sure I would have finished this one if I had not been working with a group.