Turkey Tracks: End of May 2020 Update

Turkey Tracks: May 27, 2020

End of May 2020 Update

It was a “masky” weekend. SIL in Boston needed some mask help. Like me, she wears hearing aids, and the simple elastic used in masks that loop over the ears do not work well with hearing aids—in that they can dislodge them so that you LOSE them. If you have no idea what hearing aids cost, you are in for a rude shock if you ever need them.

I have been at kind of a loss with what to do with knit scraps—often big pieces—left over from garment making. FLASHLIGHT! Try some in masks. I had already been told that just cutting knit for ties, stretching it so it rolls up, and using it for ties is THE BEST. They stay on your head without slipping for one thing. And they don’t need any pressing, turning, and sewing down to hide raw edges, etc. YES!

The green mask below has a pipe cleaner in the top to cup the nose—which is why it is kind of curved. I found the metal wasn’t really needed. I use an inner layer of quilt batting—not much gets through two knit layers and cotton quilt batting. Of course, the edges leak… But these guys are sturdy as can be. I made one for me, too, with knit ties, and mailed off 8 masks to SIL and her three housemates.

WASH YOUR MASK AFTER EVERY USE! Otherwise the mask harbors a lot of bacteria from YOU and you breathe it deeply into your lungs. Bad idea, especially with these knit masks which are really thick.

Looky! This quilting is really handsome. I’m pleased. I’ve never tried matchstick quilting before—I have to use the domestic of course. But this is HANDSOME!

I have two quilts to quilt on the domestic piled up—and one for the longarm. I moved my stored machine—which has its own SewEzi table—to an area behind the couch so the couch catches the quilt as it moves forward. And I can see the tv.

This machine can live now in a spot vacated by a rehomed bookcase. In the pic below the table is pulled forward so the quilt can go over the couch for support as I quilt. Otherwise, the machine table just tucks back into the bookcase space and does not impede traffic. A pretty bookcase or a nice sewing spot already set up—it’s a no-brainer for me these days. This is “Gumdrops” from Tara Faughnan in the online class, The Color Collective, season 2. Mine will be a wall hanging.

There will be a THIRD season of The Color Collective, hosted by Sewtopia. Go to Tara Faughnan’s web site and sign up for her newsletter for information on this third season. While you are there, take a look at her AWESOME quilts in her gallery.

I have been super busy these past days. I culled the books again. This time I put any book that has not been touched by SOMEONE in the past 16 years in 11 banana boxes and 2 orange boxes—they have lids and are easy to get hold of. (Thank you Hannaford’s, our local grocery store.) I slid the boxes down the stairs—many from the third floor—and used the dolly I bought last year to get the boxes to the van.


My kids will thank me someday for this job. There are two bookcases remaining, but all others have been leaned out and other objects put on empty shelves.

Oh Lord!

I more or less escaped this critter last summer. It’s the brown tailed caterpillar, and it is DEVASTATING trees, bushes, ground plants, and so forth here in Maine. I have them on my front porch right and probably elsewhere.

See all those bristles? They are wildly toxic and can cause rashes and blisters and itching like poison ivy. The bristles come loose easily and float about in the air, lodge in the ground, get breathed into our lungs, and so forth. They have a little barb on one end. They can remain toxic for about THREE YEARS. No one is hanging laundry on the line up here these days. And I took down the hammock frame yesterday with the help of a friend.

On a happier note. This fellow guards the front porch. John bought him at the Common Ground Fair the summer before he died the following January.

Of course I have a lot more sewing going on and a lot going on in the garden. But those are posts for another day.

Turkey Tracks: It Worked!

Turkey Tracks: May 26, 2020

It Worked!

I am very excited to report that—while it took research, days, and a LOT of patience—I was able to clean my old printer’s print head cones successfully.


I like my printer. I know how it works. It does work—there is no learning curve involved. Its an Epson WF 3640. (The ink is horribly expensive in my opinion. Was it always this expensive?)

Anyway, for the past 6 months or more it would print lines in the colors and the black print just wasn’t fresh. I don’t print every day. That’s a factor for sure, as unused ink dries out. But the problem finally just got too bad for the printer’s system maintenance programs that cleans the print head cones to fix.

I researched. I found a cleaning method with a special liquid cleaner, a need tool for the cleaner to get on the head’s cones, and clear instructions. The package was under $20. OK, I thought, $20 is way cheaper than a new printer with tons of glitches until I figured them all out. And, maybe I’ll learn something new.

I did. Starting with how to get to the print head’s cones, how to unblock them, and that the fix would not likely be instant but would require repeating the steps until…suddenly, it all worked.

The resulting print is now like NEW. 

I am really pleased—with the whole process and, of course, that it was successful. The latter was the real bonus for me as I didn’t quite expect it to all be successful.

Now if I can just figure out how to get my Bose Sound/Dock XT speaker fixed. The audio suddenly became garbled, and I listen to books from my ipod Touch on it as it has a lightening plug in its dock. The sound quality on this speaker WAS excellent until…in the blink of an eye… It’s too new to go belly up. Just a few years…

I know there are hot spot speakers out there I can use if all else fails. But I do really like the simplicity of this Bose speaker with its dedicated lightening plug where my ipod touch, dedicated to listening to books, lives.

UPDATE: I found on the Bose web site—after I found my speaker’s unique serial number—that sometimes the sound on this Bose speaker gets garbled if there have been updates to the IPod Touch or one’s I phone. If you turn everything off and restart them, it can fix the problem.

It did! Yeah!

Turkey Tracks: Roasted Chicken Breasts With Veggies

May 23, 2020

Roasted Chicken Breasts With Veggies

Roasting everything in your meal together is such an easy and quick way to produce dinner.

The chicken breasts and potato take longer (total about 45 minutes), but the veggies don’t want to be roasted that long—so I add them when there is about 35 minutes remaining—and drizzle them with olive oil and herbs after they go in the pan.

And LOOK! There is pretty much no mess to clean up. The pan usually just needs a quick swish with a soapy rag and a rinse.

Here’s my dinner.

There is another meal and more left over. I cut the breasts in half so I have meat for other meals (gently reheated probably) and roasted meat for my lunch salads.

Here’s another meal made in this fashion about a week later:

It was delicious too. The extra drumsticks were reheated and topped a lunch salad.

I don’t usually eat a lot of baked white potato. This just happened…

I could use a sweet potato, pieces of winter squash in the fall/winter, cauliflower, or medley of veggies including carrot, or add a separately-cooked grain (rice, quinoa for me). I use what I have on hand. Since I often have a HUGE lunch salad with lots of raw veggies, I don’t bother with a dinner salad. I do add some cut-up raw fruit for a dessert.

Galactic Quilt Done and Hung

Turkey Tracks: May 22, 2020

Galactic Quilt Done and Hung


Tara Faughnan designed this quilt block and chose the color palette for this project in her online class hosted by Sewtopia, The Color Collective, season 2. How we used the colors was up to each maker.

I hand quilted with the Wonderfil GlaMour rayon/metallic 12 weight thread that Tara Faughnan also used on her Galactic quilt. I used 5 different colors—and justified that cost by the fact that I have a smaller block version that I’ll quilt with it as well. And…just because we all need some treats in the middle of a pandemic where we are “staying home.” I also used a Tulip Sashiko needle (found online easily)—the thin, coated version.

I knew from the beginning that I wanted a wall hanging for a wall on a stairwell landing between two floors. Galactic replaced these duck prints—and it’s so nice not to have to think how I can make these pics hang straight anymore:

It’s hard to get a good picture of a quilt hanging in a stairwell, but…

Galactic just draws one right up those stairs.

Thanks, Tara Faughnan, for this one!

Now, on to the next project in this class.

Turkey Tracks: Giovanna’s Completed Knitted Projects

May 17, 2020

I recently posted some of Giovanna McCarthy’s knitting projects from the past few months—as we Stay-At-Home.

She sent me pictures of two of the projects she has since completed, and I though you all would like to see them.

Here’s the shawl, which is just WOW!

And here’s the “painting the bricks” project, which is another “Wow”!

Giovanna makes this kind of lacy work look easy. It isn’t!

Turkey Tracks: May Monday Morning

May 14, 2020

Look at my beautiful cold frame lettuce. It’s still growing—as it has been so cool here in Maine this spring. But I gathered some lettuce—thinning the clumps to give some plants more room to grow—for my first cold-frame lettuce salad.

To remind, I set up this cold frame in the fall with new compost and seed and cover it for the winter. Left alone, it does its own thing when the longer daylight hours return. I’m still covering it most nights—remember that it SNOWED all day last Saturday, with no accumulation, but…

Here’s my first lettuce, rinsed and headed for the lettuce spinner.

I’m making a lunch salad, of course. And the protein will be one of the cube steaks I keep on hand. These steaks have a lot of flavor, defrost quickly, and cook in a very few minutes—just about two minutes a side, or less, in a hot cast iron frying pan.

Here’s my beautiful salad:

Lettuce from cold frame, sweet red pepper, roasted beets, cucumber, leftover asparagus, carrot, spring onion, red onion, apple, leftover forbidden black rice, cubed steak, olive oil, salt, and dried dill.

The daffodils this year have been glorious. I’ve planted so many now, each year choosing more and different varieties. Some of them are so frilly—they look almost like peonies.

I bring some inside to the kitchen window and so enjoy them there. Here’s the most recent selection.

Tom Jackson’s crew came and cut up the GIANT ash tree that fell over the stone wall property line last fall. It is a monster. I tried through the winter to donate the wood to anyone who would cut it and take it, but had no takers. It is just in a very difficult spot where getting the wood out would be way too hard.

There is a wetland below the stone wall and the tree, which would not allow for any equipment to come in that way.

I really need to get a picture of the daffodils in the little meadow this year. They are so beautiful and continue to naturalize over this area. They brighten the heart and soul, and I look forward to seeing them each year.

I finished hand quilting the big block Galactic wallhanging last night. I’ll trim and put on the binding/hanging sleeve/label today. And yesterday I finished the smaller block version—just two rounds. I love this block and could quite easily go down a rabbit hole with making the big block in a different palate. But I need to move on to the remaining three projects in The Color Collective, season 2, each of which look exciting to make.

And, today, which is THURSDAY already, is going to be much warmer. It is a bright, sunny day with little wind. I’m eager to get out into it.

Turkey Tracks: Lamb Shanks

May 10, 2020

Lamb Shanks

I love lamb.

Over time, I’ve discovered one either loves lamb or one doesn’t. There does not seem to be much of a middle ground. Maybe how one relates to lamb depends upon exposure during childhood? In some areas of the country, lamb isn’t very common. Or wasn’t, until recent decades. And if places where lamb hasn’t been common, it can be expensive.

I buy a whole, local lamb each fall for my freezers. “Lamb” isn’t a small baby, but an animal that is fully grown for 9 or 10 months.

The shanks are, in parts of the country where lamb is raised, fairly inexpensive. Each holds a good amount of meat, and the bones add good ingredients to the resulting stew.

One cooks lamb shanks (or beef short ribs) as I described in earlier posts: brown in some fat, add water, herbs, and savories; bring to a boil; cover; and cook in the oven at about 350 degrees for about an hour. Then add desired veggie chunks, more spices, etc., for at least another 30 to 40 minutes. In that first cooking, make it long enough to see that the meat is now fairly tender—which can vary according to the kind of covered pot you are using. A cast iron/enameled pot, for instance, will cook the meat faster.

Here’s my first dinner—I cooked the large Russet potato right in the pot.

Here’s my second dinner—I added more of the broth to the meal and topped the dish with a bit of REAL sour cream (that does not have additives).

Along the way, I roasted some chicken drumsticks to have for a salad lunch. Roasting drumsticks only takes about 45 minutes. I wish I could take a picture of the way my house smells when something delicious is cooking in the oven.

The local market had some beautiful lamb stew meat, so I bought a package, browned the meat, and added it and some raw sliced cabbage to what was left of my lamb shank broth. Here it starts to cook a soup/stew.

I added frozen corn to the soup/stew just before serving.

I topped with the REAL sour cream and some fresh green onions. Oh my goodness: this dish was absolutely delicious.

This last mixture provided 4 or 5 other servings for lunch or dinner. And I ate each one with the added green onions and sour cream!

I hope this post shows you how you can think about what you are cooking in ways that allow you to be creative with what you have on hand in your kitchen AND to diminish the workload AND to get more bang out of your food bucks.

Turkey Tracks: Giovanna’s Recent Knitting Projects

May 8, 2020

Giovanna McCarthy is a master knitter.

I so enjoyed seeing pictures of her recent work, and I thought you might too.

Here is an in-progress shawl.

I adore this sweater. She will look so pretty wearing it. And I look forward to the day when I see it ON HER.

The longer length on this one makes it work like a jacket. Lovely. And, of course, the texture is beautiful.

Giovanna is known for the intricate lacy knitting work she does. Here is a great example. This one is “in progress” as it still needs, sleeves. The color is yummy!

She called this next “in progress” work something like “painting the bricks.” I believe it is going to be a shawl???

Thanks, Giovanna, for sharing your work. All of these wonderful projects have made my day brighter.

Turkey Tracks: Live Living Beside Covid19


Life Living Beside Covid19

We are still in a modified Stay At Home up here in Maine.

The out-of-state visitors or returning Mainers must quarantine for 14 days in their place of abode. This is NOT the Stay At Home dictate; it’s a hard quarantine.

It’s been over two months for me, as I started self-distancing before the formal Stay at Home state mandate that started about 2 months ago. Some of the restricted places are opening up again. I made an appointment for a haircut and then cancelled it. I’m just not ready to take risks I don’t need to take. I’ll know more about how we are doing in Maine in a few weeks.

I’m ok. I’m an introvert anyway, and I have lots and lots of projects, to include picking up inside and outside jobs where I got help from others. I’m BUSY!

BUT, I miss my friends, and my very rich life where it involved other people. And my family will not be coming this summer. I have not seen them in a year now. Nor will any of my usual visitors. So, I’m thinking of where I can cut back on some of things I would normally do—like all the flower pots I plant each summer.

Meanwhile, my house is cleaner than it has probably EVER been. And I’ve been sorting through “stuff” and culling a lot. It’s a good time to do that kind of work.

AC and I get out into the woods or to the beach at least once a day. It’s good for both of us, and I probably wouldn’t be as good about doing this outing if it weren’t for this little dog.

We have a little quiet break around 3, especially after a long walk. I have a coffee, and we watch one episode of something on tv. Sometimes I fall asleep for a short nap afterwards. This time is so special, but it is also cutting into my sewing time…

Still, I am making progress on the sewing “to do” projects. More pics of those down the road.

I am so grateful for my health. There is a way this time alone has been good. It’s been peaceful, for the most part.