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Archive for June 2021

Mowing Accomplished!

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Turkey Tracks: June 22, 2021

Mowing Accomplished

With my hurt foot, I’ve been worried about getting the mowing done this week.

I usually mow on Sundays, but cooler weather did slow down the grass growth a bit, so I thought I’d try to mow yesterday, Monday.

At least two friends have suggested I would benefit from gardening in MUCH sturdier shoes than in worn out sneakers. One, in fact, wears dedicated hiking boots. So…

And, yes indeed, my foot felt quite safe and well supported—particularly the ankle and the instep. There was no pain at all. But the foot is weak, so I was determined not to pressure it in any way.

I went out early in the very humid day and was done by 10am and was wet with sweat. The front and back are easy—it’s the steep hill on the far side of the house that is hard to mow.

The brown spots are pee spots from AC. I’ll treat them again with baking soda soon. That dog!

I made myself quit when the mowing was done—I could have stayed out there for hours and hours though. I’ll do the needed weed whacking today maybe. Or, soon. (The replacement batteries for the weed whacker arrived and work beautifully—the original old one was not holding a charge beyond about 15 minutes.)

Look at the Rose Campion plants! They seed themselves here, and, indeed, are a bit like weeds. Beyond that chicken wire fence is a sheer drop off down a wall of boulders.

OK. I’ll confess. I did stop to pick the ripe strawberries before coming inside. I couldn’t resist. And they do have to be picked every day.

The less ripe berries ripen well on the kitchen counter—which means I get them and the chipmunks don’t. The berries on this plate ripened overnight.

I’ve already frozen a big silicon bag of strawberries. Last year I froze berries in plastic freezer bags, and I debated buying some more plastic bags to freeze the ripening fruit in the garden—the raspberries are LOADED with berries that will ripen very soon now. Instead, I ordered more of these bigger silicon bags—and I do have one that is a gallon size I could use as well. I love these bags! They are totally leak proof too. So I have not purchased plastic bags in over a year now.

Before the foot went wonky, I let AC have one of his old balls outside. It is always good to stop and throw it for him or play a game of chase with him. I took this little video last week. We all need to take some time to just play, and AC does this work for me.

Yesterday, AC dropped the ball outside somewhere. At one point he was dropping it down the front wall and retrieving it—much like he does on the stairs in the house. It will be interesting to see if he appears with it on our next work effort in the yard. Today, though, is cleaning and laundry day.

I hope we get rain today. It is very dry here.

Written by louisaenright

June 22, 2021 at 8:43 am

The Phoebe Babies Fledged

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Turkey Tracks: June 21, 2021

The Phoebe Babies Fledged

I knew the babies would soon fledge, and they did Friday morning at some point.

The messy little flat nest was full of babies—I never was able to figure out if there were 3 or 4 babies in the messy little nest. You can just see a beak in this photo.

This outdoor light sits just above my kitchen windows, so I can peer up at the nest from inside the house.

At first, about 10 days or so ago—maybe longer—I could see fuzzy bits of fluff with huge open mouths that seemed totally outsized with respect to their bodies.

By Friday morning, the babies looked like Phoebes. And nest was full of projecting tails and heads.

Last year, we took down the next the Phoebe pair built in this same spot. This year I will leave it as they do reuse nests from year to year.

Phoebes can live a long time—so I suspect this pair has been with me in the summers for a long time too.

They can raise two broods a year. Will they this year?

The back deck is very quiet now as both parents have departed. At any time of the day, I used to be able to see one parent sitting on the back of a chair or on the railing.


Written by louisaenright

June 21, 2021 at 7:47 am

“Wild Thing” Quilt

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Turkey Tracks: June 19, 2021

“Wild Thing” Quilt

I’m still side-lined with my hurt foot. It gets marginally better each day, but I’m not yet over this event. Who knew…???…what on earth I did to it. I don’t.

I have had a lot of couch time with the foot propped up high and a heating pad going—and that helps it a lot. So, I have been able to do handwork while listening to Audible books, and I finished the binding on “Wild Thing.”

You may recall that this quilt has been in production for several years and is my part of our Mt. Battie Modern Quilt Guild ongoing challenge, “Bee Inspired”—which was modeled on the work of the Instagram group Bee Sewcial. In turn, each group member issues challenge “prompts” to its members—or guidelines for the kind of blocks the prompt member wants. The group works totally in solids, so the resulting quilts are very graphic in nature. Many of the quilts produced by this group have been prominently featured at QuiltCon, the yearly gathering and show of The Modern Quilt Guild. The quilt I thought to model from the Bee Sewcial group won best of show at QuiltCon a few years back. (See below for a pic of it.)

My prompt was “Shapes,” and I specified solid fabrics in bright colors. I gave members a picture of the solid clear, bright colors I wanted and hoped that all would have fun playing with…shapes.

So, this quilt holds many blocks made by Mt. Battie Modern Quilt Guild members who are participating in this challenge. I really enjoy the creative work of trying to make the blocks all “fit” into a coherent presentation.

I quilted with a bright aqua thread, using my clam shell groovy boards. I like the older, traditional pattern of the clam shells overlaid onto this very modern quilt. The fabric “flower” in this picture is one of my blocks. When I set up my prompt, I also gave members a number of blocks I had made while “playing” as examples. This flower block was inspired by Nicholas Ball’s recent book, INSPIRING IMPROV.

As this quilt is fairly large (87 wide by 81 long), I wanted to find a 108-inch wide backing, which I did. And it is as wild as the front. Front and back play well together. There is a mermaid which appears in places on the backing fabric—which I thought was rather run. A muse of sorts…. Can you find her below?

So, this project is done, folded up, and ready to be passed to grandchildren in some future time.

My thanks to all who made such beautiful blocks for me.

Here is the Bee Sewcial quilt that inspired me and that won best of show at QuiltCon:

Written by louisaenright

June 19, 2021 at 9:23 am

It’s Monday Again

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Turkey Tracks: June 14, 2021

It’s Monday Again

Funny how Monday rolls around each week.

One thing about time, it is always moving forward.

It was a quiet weekend here, as most weekends are. I worked in the yard mostly and was too tired to sew in the late afternoon. Plus, I did something to my right foot with all the outside work, so there has been pain. And now I really need to stay off of it and let it heal. Nothing serious, just something to slow me down a bit.

So, the good news is that now I will have time to finish sewing this quilt top together.

Reminder: This year Latifah Saafir is the guest designer for Sewtopia’s The Color Collective, season 3, month 7. This “Tenderoni” block and the color palette are her design. Members of The Color Collective this year are making some really interesting quilts using this block. I got intrigued with all the shapes and patterns that can be made by keeping the blocks close together. I’m calling it “Fractures.”

I’ll call this one finished. It will be a wall hanging. I’ll bind with the dark red in the fabric palette, and I found a paisley backing in my stash that will work really well. I may grid quilt it, but I don’t know if I’ll do that by hand yet or not.

Plus, I am playing around with the discarded quarter circle pieces that arrive when the block pieces are cut. I’ll need to redo this trial one as it got itself off-center while being sewed. And maybe I’ll machine stitch it down with a tiny blanket stitch done in invisible thread—as Tara Faughnan taught us way back in the first project of Season 1. I don’t mind the hand stitching though. I suppose those choices will depend on how many circles are available from the scraps.

I had fun this weekend discovering more gardening by Mother Nature.

She planted this Kousa dogwood some years back—when facing the garage, it is on the left, just down a very steep hill. I don’t have any dogwoods, nevermind Kousas, so this tree is so fun.

AC is DELIGHTED to have one of his old balls available for play OUTSIDE. It is now living in my work tool bucket.

I throw garden refuse along the top edge of that hill, both to stabilize it and to see what might start to grow. It is always amazing to see what begins to grow there. Right now there are some wildflowers, including some orange daylilies, some Joe Pye weed, some Bishop’s Weed, and look what else just emerged in the rocky ground.

Three white Fox Glove plants. I also found two more along the driveway over by the rock wall. (Yes, I know they are poisonous for dogs, but AC doesn’t really chew at plants unless I weed and throw them for him to chase, and I won’t be doing that with these plants if by chance they get weeded.)

I was able to mow yesterday, but it got hot again so I came inside. By then my foot was saying “enough.” When it is better, I’ll finish the last two beds on the far side of the house that need massive weeding. One is almost done and the other is small.

And here we are with another week of Maine summer to enjoy!

Written by louisaenright

June 14, 2021 at 8:54 am

Garden Pictures, June 2021

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Garden Pictures, June 2021

Turkey Tracks: June 11, 2021

The poppy is only spectacular for a few short days, but while it is in bloom, it is glorious.

The Globemaster alliums are in full bloom. I love the individual star shapes of their big globe flowers.

The peonies are also in full bloom now. And those are white Easter lilies alongside—which will bloom later in the summer. You can also see the new Cat Mint plant by the deck steps. I’m trying it out in that tricky spot where I dug out the Ladies Mantle last year. The support board at the edge of the deck was rotten and got replaced a few weeks back, thanks to Shane Chontos.

The dusting on the Cat mint is the super, duper fertilizer formulated by Steve Solomon and sold by KIS Organics. Son Bryan and I figured it is cheaper to order it than to try to put together and store a big batch. This mixture is magic in the garden. Steve Solomon has many books, but if you want to try his organic fertilizer recipe, it is online: http://www.growgreatvegetables.com/fertilizers/a-great-organic-fertilizer-mix/

In this spot, the Cat Mint plays off of the established Cat Mint plants at the edge of the rock wall that lines the pathway to the house.

The strawberries are loaded with berries this year.

As are the raspberries. And the established blueberry bushes in the back of the house have recovered from last year’s debacle with the brown tail caterpillar destruction and subsequent serious cutting back. Last year I got caught by surprise, but this year I’m “on it.” I check these plants several times a day, have removed a few caterpillars, and have dusted the ground heavily with diatomaceous “dirt.” So far, so good.

While weeding under the oaks on the far side of the house, I got into these very toxic caterpillars’ bristles and got the blisters and itchy rash on both arms and on the back of my neck. It is better now, but it takes a long time to detox and for the rash to dry up. These toxic creatures, which are only about an inch long, prefer oaks trees, but when they exhaust the leaves, they will eat anything and LOVE fruit plants of all kinds.

I was outside all day yesterday, with only a brief lunch break. It was BLESSEDLY cool finally. I got so much heavy work done—to include spraying deer repellent again. The deer ate the tops of the phlox in the side garden the other night—and munched on some hostas in the front of the house. The strawberries and the driveway beds are nice and neat again.

Last night was great sleeping, and today the temps have hovered around high 50s. I closed all the windows again as I don’t need to be heating the outdoors!! I’m NOT complaining. But so far, no rain, and once again, we really need rain.

Written by louisaenright

June 11, 2021 at 3:01 pm

There’s Fox In There Somewhere

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Turkey Tracks: June 10, 2021

There’s Fox In There Somewhere

I’ve been trying to get a little video of what AC does when hunting “in the bushes.”

These leaps are like what a fox does to pounce on an unsuspecting critter.

This video is from over by the pond at the Snow Bowl, where I’ve been taking AC for a swim. It has been way too hot for him to chase down his ball.

But yesterday was marginally cooler with a nice breeze, so he swam, chased his ball for a few throws, then went back to swim to thoroughly cool off.

And today it is blessedly cooler, which is such a relief. I’ve been feeling like Marsha Smith’s Maine Coon cat Rocky who also does not like the heat.

But now it is cool enough to get back outside and continue weeding. So that is where I am headed next.

Written by louisaenright

June 10, 2021 at 9:43 am

Betsy’s Current Very Pretty Quilt Project

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Turkey Tracks: June 7, 2021

Betsy’s Current Very Pretty Quilt Project

Betsy Maislen has finished the scrappy quilt top she’s been working on in recent weeks.

She started with Bonnie Hunter’s “Idaho Square Dance” quilt block and created her own “secondary” quilt block to compliment it. The border treatment is also her own design.

At first Betsy thought she would pair the Idaho Square Dance block with a plain block, but decided to try something else—so the use of the square in a square block emerged. Then she had to figure out a border. I like the 4-patch she includes in the piano key border and also how she moves the orientation of the dark squares in the 4-patch from vertical to horizontal along the border—it takes the eye around the edge of the quilt in pleasing ways.

This top is now 60 by 70, which is a very nice lap quilt size.

I wonder now how she will quilt it…

Betsy has a really good eye for fabric, so I know she’ll chose an interesting backing and binding.

I’m sure we’ll see more of this quilt in weeks to come.

Go Betsy!

Written by louisaenright

June 7, 2021 at 7:56 am


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Turkey Tracks: June 4, 2021


She’s the future.

She’s an Amazon Queen—a muscle woman with heart and great technology.

She has PLENTY of power and hugs the road and curves in the most satisfying way. She has awd, too, which I need in winter for my hill and driveway.

I’ve had her a month now and have only used 1/4th of a tank of gas. I could have used even less, but was experimenting. She plugs into a 110 volt outlet in my garage. There is no need for a higher voltage connection. When in gas mode, she recharges the battery up to 80% of its power. So I also do not need to be tethered to the plug-in if I want to travel with her.

You may remember I had an “unintended acceleration” incident with the 2010 Subaru in early December 2020—and sold that car the next day—with the buyer promise that it would be used for “parts.” I was so, so lucky not to have been seriously hurt when that car went backwards, over a road, and into a deep ditch in about 3 seconds. Potential walkers on the road were lucky too. No one can stop an incident like this one by braking. And who can react to get the car into neutral when things happen so fast. Going into that ditch filled with water and ice was the best thing that could have happened. The car just sat there in the ditch, the engine roaring like a mad thing.

The subaru was John’s car, but I drove it most of the time as my 2012 Toyota Sienna minivan was purchased so I could pick up my sons’ families at the airport. I needed to be able to manage 6 passengers. When they visited, they used the minivan, and I used the Subaru.

I loved this car! It was fun to drive and great on the highway. But it felt way too big for me for everyday use.

To make a long story short, after the Subaru went away, I started researching and settled on the 2021 RAV4 plug-in hybrid—spurred on by son Bryan having bought the Kia Niro about 18 months ago, which is also a plug-in hybrid. He and Corinne love that car, but it does not have awd. The RAV4 2021 plug-in hybrid is new off the assembly line this year, so I had to wait some months for one to come into my local dealers showroom. I would have taken any color, but I’m so happy the color turned out to be “Bluprint.”

I got the best offer for the minivan via Edmunds online, to be honored by the South Portland, Maine, CarMax dealer once they inspected the car. They gave me the full price offered as the car was as I described it. And it was $4000+ more than the local dealer would give me, so worth the trip south with a friend following me.

With what I had from both cars, I cut the price of the RAV by half.

And now I have a new car that I won’t have to trade for many, many years. God Willing and the Creek Don’t Rise, as my dad used to say.

I write this story because the automobile industry is headed in this direction—which is a good thing. And I think people will be really happy with these electric/hybrid cars. I know the earth will be.

Written by louisaenright

June 4, 2021 at 10:23 am

Old Quilt: New Spot

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Turkey Tracks: June 8, 2021

Old Quilt: New Spot

I move quilts around a lot in my house.

I made this big traditional log cabin in 2015.

And it is a workhorse of a quilt and gets washed quite often.

Here I’ve just removed it from the much-used couch, washed and dried it, and put it on the green chair—a spot it has never occupied actually.

In this place, I “see” it in a whole different way.

And that is the point I suppose.

I need to rewrite the label as it has faded. I’ll do that sometime today.

It has been SO HOT here for the past few days. Too hot to do anything but the basics. I did run errands and water some outside yesterday—I suppose that is part of the basics. But then I ate lunch and took a mid-day nap on the couch downstairs. The lower level holds cool air so well. The heat just wipes me out.

Written by louisaenright

June 3, 2021 at 11:02 am

Design Wall June 2021

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Turkey Tracks: June 3, 2021

Design Wall June 2021

I’m having fun with quilt projects these days.

The design wall is full of fun.

Here’s the “funky” wedding ring block found in FREDDY AND GWEN COLLABORATE AGAIN: FRIENDS by Freddie Moran and Gwen Marston—and also made recently by Debbie Jeske of A Quilter’s Table blog. I’ve wanted to make this block since I saw Debbie’s modern version. Two blocks are together, but I’ll leave the other parts loose until all are made. I see some already I’ll be wanting to move. And, of course, I’m using up both solid and print scraps in this project.

Here’s Debbie Jeske’s version, which I love. Note that she begins to incorporate some printed fabrics in her half-square triangles at the bottom right. I really like that touch. She has such a great design eye.

Moran and Marston pioneered modern funky blocks, which they often made and put in what they called their “parts department” bins so they would have blocks ready to use. It is always fun to go back and revisit their work.

Guest designer for the seventh and last project from The Color Collective, season 3, is Latifah Saafir. “Tenderoni” is already taking many forms as members of the collective work with the block. Here’s what I have now. I’m thinking 5 by 7 rows, but who knows if this design of mine will hold. I could expand it with insertions of plain blocks of fabric. But I’m kind of liking the “windmill” that is taking shape—and of course all the fractured “parts” of a circle.

This next block designed by Abbey Lane Quilts for Issue 22 of SIMPLY MODERN magazine is called “Monkey Business.” I thought it might work to whittle down my Cotton+Steel/Ruby Star Society fabrics. The block is way fun to make, and I’m having such fun combining fabrics in each block and then making some sense out of where to put each block.

Abby Lane Quilts did a lap size of 4 by 5 blocks, so with a 13 inch block, that’s a nice lap size of 52 by 65.

I’m in no rush on any of these projects. It is just nice to have “play” time on the design wall.

I’ll likely get to the light grey/dark grey big log cabin later in the summer. And I’m looking forward to making it.

I heard this morning that my new longarm is coming in late July! The log cabin will be the first quilt to be quilted on it I think.