Oh my gosh! We have needed rain so badly. I’ve never seen my lawn grass die until this drought. And, the rain should wash off all the brown tail caterpillar hairs from the weeds that need pulling. My arms have been broken out with caterpillar rash for weeks now.
But, the rain will finish off this years gorgeous peonies.
Friend Marsha Smith and her husband Harry have the most beautiful garden–which is located on a side street in Camden, Maine. She recently sent me these pictures of some of her peonies.
Larch Hanson is from Steuben, Maine, which is located above the Mt. Desert/Acadia island/peninusula—and lies just east of Gouldsboro, on the Route 1 highway. Hanson’s business—and deep knowledge base—is Maine coast seaweed. He dries and sells the edible varieties.
But as near as I can tell, he is in no way involved in the mass harvesting of coastal sea plants, such as one would find in large commercial operations, some of which we do have here in Maine—and which many worry will alter our coastline habitats in negative ways. He is deeply involved with studying these habitats and preserving them.
Below is a link to Hanson’s web site, which has a video section. Maybe take a minute and look at “The Tide Pool” video found there.
Today we may get some rain, with an even better chance tomorrow. My lawn grass is dying, which I’ve never seen before this year. I spent about an hour watering yesterday, so if it does rain, I’m taking some of the credit. I risk running my well low when I water that much. There is something about watering heavily that can create a jinx that brings in a good thunderstorm. LOL.
On a happier note, the strawberries are coming in strong. They are big and red and delicious this year.
Look at this adorable little teapot I found in the back of a cabinet when I took everything out to wash and reorganize. I had totally forgotten about it—which makes sense as I have not been able to drink tea, given my Histamine Intolerance issues. (Black and green teas are fermented and inhibit one of the two enzymes one needs to process an overload of histamine.) I think it might have been a gift, but I have long since forgotten who gave it to me—along with its two adorable little cups.
So these days, I drink coffee. A lot of coffee, it seems. Probably too much coffee. The other day—after finding this pot—I really wanted to use it. Most commercial herbal tea mixtures have a lot of ingredients, to include a lot of “natural” flavor additives, which are chemicals I cannot tolerate. (I think, as well, that these chemicals are standing in for the real ingredients.) And the single herbal teas are…expensive.
This little pot comes with an insert where one can put a loose tea. I stuffed it full of my dried mint—which I dry every fall. And I added some sprigs of fresh mint and tarragon from the garden and let it steep while I ate my lunch.
It was DELICIOUS! Look at the depth of color it has. And I savored it with my fruit salad dessert, while I caught up with my Word2 games online.
I may have partially been swayed by watching THE GOOD WITCH—a tv show on Netflix which is a Hallmark production that is partly Canadian made. There, Cassie promotes drinking a lot of healthy healing teas instead of caffeine. I’m finding this sweet little show to be full of the kind of values with which I grew up and which seem so lost right now. It’s soothing to watch it, for me at least, in these challenging and turbulent times. The “right way,” for Cassie, is to find the way through a problem that does not trample on the needs of other people AND to work through what is really a better choice for our own lives.
Hmmmm… Fresh sage came in my food from Hope’s Edge CSA farm (Community Shared Agriculture). What if I dried it, flowers and all, to make tea? I had, at one point, bought herbal sage tea. It was…expensive, especially given the amount one needs to really get a strong flavor.
AND, I have sage in my garden. And it is blooming. And what about drying tarragon? One jar of these herbs is…expensive. And it would take about half of the jar to make one pot of tea. AND, I’ll be cutting more mint to dry right now rather than waiting for fall.
I really love having fresh herbs in my garden in the summer. And sometimes it is nice to just cut up some veggies and a meat protein for lunch—topped with fresh herbs, salt, and a bit of good olive oil. I’d add vinegar if I could.
What a fun project this leader/ender quilt has been.
It was inspired by the “Cottage Garden” quilt made by Then Came June. I loved that it was a kind of “cross” between a granny square and a trip around the world quilt project.
I started it to use up some of the solid stash I’ve acquired over the past two years—most of which have come from The Color Collective online class (Tara Faughnan designs/projects) given by Sewtopia. (There will be a season 3 starting this October.)
Basically, the way a “leader/ender” project works is that you set up a secondary project, different from your current one, and when you need to break your thread, you feed through a piece of your leader/ender project instead. Thus you are making two quilts at the same time. Quilter Bonnie Hunter pioneered this method, and you can read more about it on her blog, Quiltville.com. For this quilt, I set up a block at a time and kept the pieces where I could join them as I went along.
The backing was in my stash. But I purchased the soft coral solid (Bella) to bind the quilt, and I really like that soft punch of color around the edges.
I quilted the grid on my domestic sewing machine with a Sulky 100% cotton 12-wt. thread in a soft blue color—using a 90 Top Stitch needle. I did use a titanium needle as I thought that extra sturdiness might be good. I did put this thread in the bobbin as well. And I think this shiny thicker thread worked really, really well. I will definitely use it again. I’ve had this thread for a long time though, so I don’t know about color availability right now.
Note: I have had at least one comment on the blog cautioning about using a Titanium needle as if they hit the needle plate, they don’t break easily and can do damage. So, I suppose one must be careful not to put weight on the needle that pulls the needle out of line with it’s intended trajectory.
The secondary patterns are kind of cool. And fabric choices of light/dark can make some blocks kind of shimmer. Look at the picture of the whole quilt—third row down, far right block, to see the transparency that can develop.
Here’s where this quilt is going to live for the moment. It just makes the room sparkle. I love the block on the lower right. Hmmmmm….
The other day I was turning on the hose water up next to the house when I saw a VERY STRANGE insect flying from flower to flower in the nearby flower bed. It had a very long proboscis and was busily harvesting nectar.
What on earth? It was a little over an inch long, with about a wingspan of about 1 1/2 inches as well. The body had a yellow patch near the tail area. It wasn’t, of course, a hummingbird or the moth that can be mistaken for one. The proboscis was…long.
Was it some sort of bee? Or wasp?
No. A bit of quick research showed it to be a Bombylius Major FLY.
They don’t bite, sting, or spread disease. They are harmless to humans. But they are a “parasite bee mimic fly.” They do play a role in pollination. They are parasitic as they do desposit eggs in bee and wasp nests. After hatching, the larvae feed on the bee or wasp grubs.
I should have been an entomologist or a zoologist.
Here’s a link to more information where you can see images of this very interesting FLY:
And I was delighted that I beat “chipmunk” to these first ripe strawberries.
I am missing DIL Corinne Enright these “strawberry days” as she is usually here this time of year. AND she picks the strawberries for me—about twice a day as some ripen in the sun over the course of the day. She keeps the strawberry bowl in the kitchen full—and her girls snack on them as they drift through the kitchen.
I ate some, but with my histamine intolerance I can’t eat too many. Strawberries are legendarily high histamine. These are a Maine heritage fruit, “Sparkle” I think. They are so spicy and gorgeous this year. As it was, I had to take some benedryl, so I froze the rest.
It’s so sad to me that so many people today think that those large, red strawberries in the markets are good. I find them to be tasteless and sour for the most part. Bred as they are to be big, red, and to ship well, there is no way they can taste like a fresh-picked, organic, locally grown strawberry that’s a heritage type.
Fine your local farmers folks. You’re in for a treat if you do.
It isn’t ideal, but it is vastly better than nothing. And, the Zoom meetings have meant that we can continue our progress on our current challenge: Bee Inspired. Each participant lays out what s/he wants, and other participants strive to make something creative within those parameters.
In the Zoom meetings those who are participating in “Bee Inspired” AND who were on the Zoom meeting revealed the blocks they had made for two members.
Sarah wanted us to make “circles and sticks,” and she did a great job of giving us color samples that would provide what she wanted, including gifting us with the shades of background greens she wanted. Here’s what a “stick” block looks like—and I am not sure which member made this one. Sarah plans to alternate the “stick” blocks with the “circle” blocks.
You can see some of the blocks we finished on the Mt. Battie Modern Quilt Guild Facebook page. When Sarah has all the blocks, she will decide the layout, how to trim blocks, etc.
I chose to make circles, and I had a lot of fun experimenting with different circle forms. The top, yellow circle is 8 inches, and I made it with Latifah Saafir’s “The Clammy” ruler. This ruler is very nifty—and comes in various sizes. One cuts the backing as well as the circle, in two different cuts, and Saafir has videos to show one how to sew the circle into the hole created in the square. I left this piece big as Sarah, if she uses it, may want to trim it so the circle is off-center. Of course, LOL, when one cuts out the yellow circle, one has a yellow square left over with a hole in it, which begs for being used. AND a green circle left over from the green square cut, which begs to be used. It could be a never-ending process. Especially for someone who likes to use up leftovers…
One thing I found is that it is hard to find methods to make LARGE whole circles. Although I suppose that the cardboard method Tara Faughnan taught us in season 1 of the Color Collective would work, now that I think about it. And, the reverse machine applique method Irene of Sugaridoo used recently in her Bernina Quilt Along (we are now on row 8 of 12 rows) could work as well.
There are MANY circle of geese patterns online, and many are free. I saw this one from #jeliquilts on Kelly Lautenbach’s #itsjustsew Instagram gallery. She was using it for a temperature quilt where each circle has geese representing temperatures for the days in a month. Tia Curtis just recently posted pictures of Kelly’s quilt while she was quilting it. I really love this block. I was able to use four of Sarah’s blue choices to make the circle.
The purple circle on the right is, I think, 10 inches. There are all sorts of sizes of Drunken Path rulers online. And I was able to find the magenta/purples Sarah wanted from my stash.
The bottom two blocks are probably so NOT what Sarah wanted, but I had fun trying to hand cut the Drunken Path forms and then sewing them. The encouragement came from Sherri Lynn Wood’s book THE IMPROV HANDBOOK FOR MODERN QUILTERS. AND, I am getting much better at sewing free-hand curves on the machine. They are fun.
As always, I told Sarah to use or not use whatever she wants, to cut up blocks, to discard them, etc.
Jan’s challenge was “squares.” We just did this Zoom meeting last Thursday, so these blocks are not yet up on our Facebook page. Jan received some really nice blocks, and it will be fun to see them again online and to see what Jan does with them.
Jan asked for blues and greens, with one other added color of our choice. And, we could use neutrals if we wanted.
I made her Tara Faughnan’s Radiating Log Cabin block from season 1 of The Color Collective. I chose the blues and greens and had my favorite color pop of a warm coral. Then I noticed that I was not stopping to make the blocks because I could not figure out the color order. I wanted the coral to be the center square and radiate outwards, but it was just so not working. When I switched to a softer purple, which I knew Jan liked, I was able to cut and sew the block.
I made some smaller blocks in the colors I chose so she could spread the color around if she wanted. Again, I told her she could NOT use whatever did not work for her, cut up blocks, trim them back, or whatever.
I love how these blocks came out, and it was fun to make them. Tara Faughnan’s use of this Radiating Log Cabin format makes a really handsome block.
Our next challenge reveal will be in September, so I guess I better start thinking about it.
A Maine “Soft” day. Coastal fog. A little breeze. Temps in the 60s. What a nice relief from the past two days where AC and I spent the days looking for cool spots and panting.
AC got no exercise yesterday, as I retreated to the quilt room, so he was “ready to go” this morning.
The yellow ball goes everywhere, especially when “we” are about to go somewhere. It got outside by mistake when he thought we were going out the back door, which took me out into the garden to retrieve it. I came back inside with these…
…and with a light heart from picking them.
There is just such abundance in the yard right now.