FREE Border Creek Station Stash-Buster Challenge 2022

Turkey Tracks: February 28, 2022

FREE Border Creek Station Stash-Buster Challenge 2022

Friend Betsy Maislen sent me this link to an interesting FREE ”Stash-Buster Challenge” that uses 10-inch blocks.

It is intriguing…

Though I already have too many ongoing projects, I can see myself starting to make some of these fun blocks here and there. I always get enthralled with pulling fabrics for a scrappy block.

Here are a few Betsy has made—the pattern includes various layouts for these blocks. Sashing with corner stones—all in one color—form an interesting secondary pattern as well. I like the idea of a thin sashing in neutrals. The block centers and corner stones should likely be the same fabric. And you can see how the sashing with the red cornerstone would make a 9-patch that floats across the quilt.

I personally like the ”on point” settings—as I really like to see x’s in quilt blocks.

The 10-inch block would make up a quilt fast…


And thanks to Betsy too.

A Cooking Tip

Turkey Tracks: February 27, 2022

A Cooking Tip

If you moved to making soup that will last several days…

…and you have a box of lettuce that will go bad if you don’t eat it…

…just add the box contents to you soup.

Many of the mixed lettuces in these boxes from California are a mixture of good greens: spinach, chard, radicchio, and other bitter greens.

They are good for you and won’t go ”bad” in the soup.


These lettuces would melt down in stir fries too.

AC Doggie Gets New Toys

Turkey Tracks: February 26, 2022

AC Doggie Gets New Toys

AC’s current crop of toys has long been reduced to shreds of their former selves.

Thursday when AC and I ran the errands, I stopped by our local Loyal Biscuit to replace his puppy harness as he had chewed the front strap into two pieces when he was a puppy. The strap has been held in place by duck tape for the past 2 1/2 years. It was time for a nice adult harness, since his chewing of inappropriate things seems to have stopped. He will be 4 next month.

I got the harness ok—a really nice one. But I also came home with the three toys you can see leaning against the green bed. The two flat toys (each with two squeakers) were left over from a package of five over a year ago. I hesitate to give him toys with squeakers as I need to be around to retrieve them when he gets them out of a toy.

The green frog is made of a really tough material, stronger looking than a heavy canvas. The tan ”bone” is meant to be chewed. And the elephant has some sort of plastic in the ears that crinkles. I assumed all of the toys would be dismantled in due order.

I set them up while AC was outside and let him in to see them.

It is clear that I am easily amused. He had all but one of the squeakers out while I ate lunch. I think there were 6 or 7 in all.

It is now Saturday, and we had a lovely snow day all day yesterday. I completely quilted and trimmed one of the baby quilts yesterday, and in a bit now I’ll go put on the binding and label. AC hung with me on his bed in the quilt room yesterday, but played with his toys when we went upstairs for lunch.

I think he loves the green frog the best. He carries it everywhere I go—up and down the steps as I move around the house. AC has some sort of rule that if he travels the stairs (up or down), he needs to bring a toy with him. That’s hound behavior I think. Or, retriever of some sort. Terriers don’t really carry things in their mouths all that much.

By yesterday, the toys showed his intense interest. As fast as I pick them up, he drags them out of his play bucket and puts them at my feet. I think his goal is to entice me to enjoy the toys with him—which does happen with his balls.

Uh oh! He breached Frog’s seams.

I’m eating lunch late today, Saturday, as I went out to retrieve my weekly raw cream and some kale for soup. I made the broth this morning—using the package of frozen chicken bones I defrosted over night and the fresh bones from the leg of lamb I cooked Wednesday. I’ve never mixed up bones—but the soup broth is really lovely.

As usual, I packed the developing soup with lots of veggies, and I added 4 chicken thighs as well. The kale almost didn’t fit, so I had to add it a little bit at a time when the liquid level dropped a bit while the veggies cooked. Finally all the kale melted down into the soup pot.

And here is my beautiful bowl of lunch-time soup—with the meat taken off one of the thighs that cooked in the pot.

While I ate, AC played with his toys. Elephant lost a leg, but the ears still crackle. And Frog’s seams have been breached further, and the squeaker removed. I used to restuff toy bodies and sew up the seams, but no more. It’s a total waste of time.

And now AC is taking a little rest in his bed. He was asleep until I walked over there with the camera. If I move, he knows it.

He’s rested now, and is ready ”to go” again. It’s time for me to pull off some of the soup for my dinner and to store the rest in the refrigerator. And to clean up the kitchen and make a cup of coffee to take to the quilt room—after AC and I take out the compost bin to the containers back of the garage.

Slowdown Farmstead, on Substack, has some lovely, lovely writing. Tara’s farm is in Canada, somewhere near Ottawa. Her post this morning was all about making and storing bone broths—a task she does in the summer and where she makes enough for the whole year. I learned two really interesting pieces of information I didn’t know: don’t make the broth in a stainless steel pot because it will leak a little of the metal, which can be toxic if you get too much over time, AND use glass bottle containers with NO SHOULDERS as they can and do break in the freezer—something I’ve had happen many times now. She mentioned a brand name of jars she has found work well.

Tara is a woman after my own heart.

Tucker Came to Visit AC

Turkey Tracks: February 19, 2022

Tucker Came to Visit AC

My friend came for a visit, bringing Tucker doggie with her.

It was his second visit here.

He was still wary of this new situation, as a tiny, delicate doggie should be, especially when faced with a bigger dog.

Tucker is VERY vocal, as his owner demonstrates.

The other day, LIz and I walked a local, quiet street, and the two dogs recognized each other and went trotting happily along, both enjoying the outing. AC had a doggie grin the whole time.

Today it is snowing and will snow all day. I’m going to enjoy this gift of a snow day.

One of the baby quilts is on the longarm—so that is the task for today.

“Pot-Pourri” and “Eye Candy” Quilts Land

Turkey Tracks: February 24, 2022

“Pot-Pourri” and ”Eye Candy” Quilts Land

As you know I’ve been making baby quilts. Maybe I should say I’m making quilts for children.

I mailed these two quilts to my niece in Wyoming last week—for the new baby, but with the added notion that her existing three children might like to adopt these quilts first and that that was fine by me. They are meant to be used and loved. Niece Lucy has three children (a girl and two boys) and is expecting a boy in July.

The Churn Dash block quilt ”Eye Candy” is smaller—and is probably too small for these children to use. But ”Pot-Pourri,” it’s lap size.

The fabrics are all Cotton+Steel/Ruby Star Society from my stash. And I pieced the back from that stash as well.

I used the ”Check and Chase” pantograph by Lorien Quilting with a ”parchment” colored thread.

For ”Eye Candy” I fussy cut the block centers and used the ”Check and Chase” pantograph with a soft grey thread.

I had such fun choosing the block centers.

And, again, I pieced the back.

Lucy sent me this picture when the box arrived. My grand-niece Willa was present and liked ”Pot-Pourri.”

Soon, this picture followed.

Can I just tell you how happy I am to see this precious child love a quilt?

Now, of course, I have to keep an eye out for quilts for the two boys. After the current crop of needed baby quilts are made and mailed.

”Pot-Pourri 2” is on the design wall and ”Eye Candy 2” will go on the longarm today.

And I saw a pattern this morning that would work well for at least one of Lucy’s boys.

My Supplements and Health Helpers

Turkey Tracks and Interesting Information: February 22, 2022

My Supplements and Health Helpers

I hesitated to share the information in this post for some time, but I’m going to share it today.

I will be 77 in mid-March, and except for the mast cell disorder with its histamine intolerance reactions, over which I have likely had no control in terms of how it started, I am really healthy. I don’t take any Big Pharma medicines, I eat a very healthy and clean diet and cook for myself, and I’ve done a pretty good job of eliminating stress from my life. I am physically pretty active: I help clean my house, I do most of my own garden work and all the mowing on this challenging property I own, and in good weather, I do daily outdoor events with AC doggie.

So, I thought I’d share my health practices.

I currently take these supplements. Mercola’s products ARE more expensive, but they are clean (no magnesium sterate fillers which can eliminate one’s uptake of needed nutrients) and are made from clean ingredients found in nature and not chemical concoctions in labs. What is not pictured here is the melatonin I take at night—not so much to sleep, but because I’ve read numerous studies from mainstream medicine now that melatonin is a really good supplement to prevent and/or manage the covid virus.

Most of this collection of supplements is recommended to help prevent illnesses, including covid. Some are specific to me—see below.

Too many Americans are deficient in magnesium and vitamin D3. And, Zinc. So those three are important. I can’t take Zinc; it makes me throw up, and the Quercetin helps balance mast cell reactions to triggers and is a stand-in for Zinc. I added iodine recently because I was not sure, with my diet, that I was getting enough. I do have added energy these days, so adding iodine has been good I think. Vitamin C, especially in winter, is an important addition—and one that helps the immune system. I can’t eat citrus, so I take the C except for summer—though I read recently that red bell peppers have more vitamin C than some fruits. I eat a lot of salt combined with herbs as I can’t do most spices—and salt washes potassium out of one’s system, especially, apparently mine, as I’ve turned up deficient during one trip to the hospital when I passed out. If I have leg cramps, I now know that the balance between potassium and magnesium is ”off.” Usually adding potassium fixes that, but sometimes more magnesium is needed. Too much magnesium can cause diarrhea, so that can be a delicate balance. Human bodies are so much more complicated than many realize I think.

I have worked with a local homeopath for 15+ years now. She keeps me healthy and has corrected a lot of constitutional problems I have, like the poison ivy that would systemically go all over my body and would cause great weeping patches of oozing sores until stopped with a steroid. I don’t get poison ivy any more. And I have not had a cold in well over a decade now.

My homeopath has been using these plant-based tinctures for several years now—and she changes them up for me as needed. One takes just a few drops a day. During the past two covid years, this is what I have been taking: Blackthorn and Sea Buckthorn are the anti-virals, among other immune system boosters; Hazel helps the liver and lungs and resolves inflammation; olive helps the cardiovascular system and also helps with any inflammation.

Here’s a quote about these gemmotherapies: ”Vital Extract is the gemmotherapy line produced exclusively for Lauren Hubele, LLC by Plant Extrakt of Cluj, Romania, Europe’s leading production facility for homeopathy and gemmotherapy. Vital Extract Gemmotherapy is backed by the most extensive and most current research in Europe and offers the widest selection of products available in America.”

The back story is that Romania couldn’t afford a western-democracy style of medicine so developed these products for their citizens. And the claim is that they are working well.

My homeopath also uses traditional homopathic remedies. I have a medicine kit of these remedies, so if I have an issue after talking to my homeopath, they are immediately available to me. I also have many, many packets of remedies my homeopath has provided that are not in this kit. Some target the histamine issues I have.

If you buy remedies in a local store, you would look for the blue container shown at the bottom of the picture. Arnica Montana is a vital remedy to have on hand for any time you have an injury. It works wonders to prevent bleeding and bruising.

Here’s what the remedies look like—3 of them are a dose. Don’t touch then with your fingers as that can put skin oil on them that might slow them down. If there is an acute problem, like an injury, you would repeat doses in short intervals of something like 15 minutes. But, except for Arnica probably, here’s where you need help from a homeopath. And, if you live in a state that does not allow them, know that you can find a good homeopath and work with them via zoom meetings.

In recent years I have added Young Living Essential oil products—and I have a membership with them so I can order at reduced prices. I have gradually switched to their cleaning, hand soap, shampoo, and lipstick products as well. If you are interested, there will be someone near you who sells them. I am not interested in starting a business, but I will order products for my friends at the prices I get.

All this winter, I’ve kept this little bottle of oregano on my kitchen window sill. If I wake up feeling ”stuffy,” one sniff clears my entire head and throat in short order. Oregano is a ”hot” oil, so be careful and don’t sniff too hard or you’ll feel like your nose is burning. Go gently. Ditto the peppermint oil that I love so much. I read somewhere that Oregano oil can kill pathogens in your nose and throat. I don’t know. I just know when I use it, all stuffiness goes away immediately for the entire rest of the day.

Here’s a view of a cabinet in my kitchen. I keep lavender very nearby as if I burn myself, it can stop the burning pain immediately. Copaiba is also good for injuries. Longevity is for AC doggie—there are claims it keeps ticks and fleas away. I can’t eat citrus, but I can use the citrus oils sparingly to flavor foods without problems it seems. They are especially lovely, for me, added to olive oil for a salad and soups/stews. They carry a big punch of flavor. The Vitality line is meant to be orally used—like adding drops of lemon oil to water as a treat.

I also use a cold diffuser for these oils and now have one in the kitchen and one downstairs. They eliminate cooking and doggie and just stale-air odors all over the house. There are claims made that many of the oils are medicinal and cleansing as well. I don’t doubt it.

Here’s my desk cabinet with oils I particularly like in the upstairs diffuser. The downstairs one has different needs, but I have a cabinet of beloved oils down there too.

I do know that the tree oils ARE medicinal and have been used by native people for centuries as healing compounds. One can mix these oils in a diffuser, like using 3 of the tree oils. Or, something like lavender and lemon. The possibilities are endless.

I also use wool dryer balls in my clothes dryer, and I often sprinkle a favorite oil on a few of them to make my clothes smell extra special. Smelling oils also puts them into your body where they can do their good work.

This whole journey is definitely one sparked by living in (mostly) rural Maine—where I am close to the earth, small farms, clean food, the Maine forest, and people who are making this journey with me. I didn’t acquire all of these products overnight. It took two decades.

I am so grateful for this time I’ve had in Maine.

It’s Snowing

Turkey Tracks: February 19, 2022

It’s Snowing!

I’ve been busy!

My taxes have been rounded up and delivered to the people who do them.

That yearly job is always a good time to do some review. Under things learned, I realized that since last April 24, I have not spent more than $100 on gas for Girlie the car. On that happy note, I took her to the car wash as she was BEYOND filthy. The inside still is—which is a car piece that comes with winter in Maine, especially if one has an active dog. I have great seat covers and good floor mats, so it’s all good. Just dirty.

The squirrels are still in the ceiling—and my guru for that problem has been down with covid. He will get here when he’s feeling better to see if they have found a new way into the house. That won’t be too long as he is on the mend.

Last weekend was the annual “National” Toboggan Competition—an event much cherished in this town. We have had some rainy weather in the low 50s leading up to the event—alongside days of single digit temps. BUT, here’s what my beloved athletic field looks like now after cars got parked on it in warm, muddy weather when the ground is SO NOT FROZEN.

There are BIG SWATHS all across the field now—and they will have to be fixed before any of the groups who use them all spring and summer can use them again. Meanwhile, those of us (more than the town realizes I think) who use the field all winter are finding it a miserable, wet, muddy mess.

The field is too damaged to let a dog run on it or for the many people who walk around it in the winter for exercise. Just looking at these pictures makes my heart hurt.

Meanwhile, I also heard that one of the toboggans in the competition went into…waist-deep water…when the ice broke.

Hello. Our climate is changing—has changed—here in Maine. I am starting my 18th year here. I can clearly see that our winters are milder and that we have a lot of rain rather than a lot of snow. The past two years have seen much warmer, wetter trends in all the seasons we have.

I wrote a letter to the town manager. I don’t think cars should be parked on this field in the future. The $$$$ gathered for parking will not be as great as the needed repairs—which will also take time in the spring as grass does not sprout until temps get above 65.

I didn’t mention in the letter the unexpected dip one of the toboggans took. I hope someone else is thinking about that problem.

OK, whining rant is now over. Except I could add that AC doggie now has blisters on his two front paws from running on the parking area over at Barrett’s Cove. I’m using Young Living’s Mendwell, made for dog injuries, on his feet. It must feel good to him as he comes running when I get out the little bottle.

I mailed two quilts this past week. When they land I’ll show the pictures.

Our days are longer and brighter now. The seasonal wheel is turning, however slowly.

A Chicken Soup Version

Turkey Tracks: February 8, 2022

A Chicken Soup Version

Remember the chicken carcasses and bones I’ve been freezing?

I have two now, plus some chicken bones added in from other meals. It’s time to make chicken soup, so I defrosted the bones last night.

*Note that I cook by method, so just read the whole recipe, then if you must, create a list of what you need or would like.

Today dawned with icy slush and rain, so the trip I was going to make to get some chicken thighs to add to this soup will not happen—especially after my morning police call (to see if I’m ok) said ”Stay Home today.” And when I ventured out to the garage, I saw why: 2 inches of slushy ice rested on the driveway. It will freeze later, and…oh my.

So, I’ll make the soup from what I have here in the house. First, cover the bones with water, add some salt, bring everything to a bubbling hot, turn down to a simmer for at least 40 minutes. (You could also add savory veggies at this point, but I’m in a hurry as today is also cleaning/laundry day, and my veggie supply is limited. Note that after cooking you would discard these savory veggies.)

Yes, those are the giblets wrapped in paper—which I had to remove. But look at all the lovely fat coming out of the bones. Skim as needed.

Meanwhile, assemble the veggies you want to have in the soup. Here’s what I had on hand. I’m eating the rainbow today! The radicchio is going in as it needs to be eaten, and I thought its bitter taste would add some interest. I later added in some frozen corn too. I’m finding in winter I would rather have these organic frozen veggies than the tired veggies shipped in her from the other side of the world. I wish I had some celery though, especially with a chicken-based soup.

I will saute these in the duck fat I keep on hand. And I will use a big dollop, probably about 1/4 cup, as I do not want my veggies to burn in the pan. And based on a lot of research I believe clean animal fats are really good for you. (See Mary Enig and the Weston A. Price Foundation for more information.) Except for really good olive oil and coconut oil and red palm oil, I avoid the plant-based oils. I cut the greens off the 3 leeks before I took this picture. More on leeks down the page.

Leeks are in the allium family—along with all the onion and garlic vegetables. This family provides us rich sources of the sulfur that has been so depleted in soils. And sulfur is crucial to good health. Some cannot tolerate the allium family—if you can’t, you likely know that by now. (If you are interested in the sulfur issue, go to Stefanie Seneff’s web page for more info—she runs a research team out of MIT.)

Leeks can have some dirt in the end toward the upper green stem—so take a close at the inner layers of the stem so you can rinse out the dirt. Or, put the cut bits into a strainer and wash the dirt off there. Don’t be afraid of getting some dirt into the mix if you see some on the cut leeks in your pan. Remove and rinse the offending piece then. Actually, there are lots of goodies in dirt, and too many of us don’t get these critters anymore, which is why swimming in ”wild water” is a good idea. I cut mine in half and ruffle the green end to check for dirt. If the dirt isn’t gritty, which I don’t want, I don’t get too picky.

No dirt here:

AC is well aware of everything I do at all times.

With these veggies, I want to saute the veggies that need more cooking first (leeks, onion, garlic, carrots, cauliflower), and then add in the more tender veggies—in this case the cabbage, the yellow squash, the red pepper, and the radicchio. Frozen veggies go in last. Remember to cook down the veggies, without burning, until they start to turn golden and ”grunge” is forming in the pan. Then start adding in the more delicate veggies, turning and stirring until they, too, sweat out and melt down. Last, in a cooking whim, I added about 1 1/4 cups of short grain brown rice and turned it around in the hot veggies for a bit—just to give it some flavor too. Too much rice, and the mixture will become thick and lose its liquid—just add more water after all is cooked.

Here I added some ladles of broth to stop the cooking and to get all the good grunge loose in the pan. A big ladle like this one is a go-to tool in my kitchen.

I strained off my broth. Look at the beautiful color, even after only 40 minutes of simmering. And the trip to the garage was to put the kitchen garbage in the bins out there. Chicken bones will smell in a few hours.

I now clean my pot and put all the ingredients into it, including the frozen green beans and corn.

Bring the pot up to a simmer so the rice cooks—taste as you go along—it will take about 25 minutes to cook rice. Otherwise, simmer until the carrots are soft—that doesn’t take long. DON’T COOK TOO FAST OR TOO HOT. Taste to check on the herb and salt levels. If you wanted to use fresh herbs, here’s where you would add them.

When the rice is done, the soup is done. So, ladle up yourself a bowl and enjoy!

Tomorrow I’ll probably buy some boned chicken (I would prefer thighs) and add it to the soup. So I’ll just refrigerate the pot of soup when it cools. To this basic soup, you can also add a bit of cream. Or, an egg yolk beaten into a bit of some hot soup in your soup bowl to give a velvety smooth texture and lovely taste. Then add more soup. Added cheese is nice. Without the rice, putting hot soup over noodles is nice.

I could go on…

“Whirlygigs” Has Landed

Turkey Tracks: February 7, 2022

“Whirlygigs” Has Landed

I love this modern pattern. There are so many geometric shapes involved—and each catches your eye differently. Wendy Sheppard is the designer, and I got the pattern from Simply Moderne magazine, No. 26.

The fabrics are all Cotton+Steel/Ruby Star Society—collected into a stash over the years.

I pieced the backing and had enough of the stripe for binding cut on the bias.

AC likes quilts.

The quilting isn’t showing up so well in these pics, but it’s the Bayside pantograph and a ”parchment” colored thread.

I told the new parents of the baby girl for which this quilt was made that this quilt is meant to be used, thrown up on, dragged around, spit up on, and washed and washed as needed.

I hope baby girl attaches herself to all the color and pattern interest along the way.

But one never knows…

Rare Steller’s Sea Eagle in Maine

Turkey Tracks: February 6, 2022

Rare Steller’s Sea Eagle in Maine

Friend Gina Caceci from Falls Church, Virginia, where I used to live, sent me a newspaper clipping yesterday (from WAPO) about a rare HUGE sea eagle from Asia appearing on the New England coast. The Steller’s Sea Eagle is now off the coast of Maine in the Boothbay area, having first been sighted further south.

This eagle’s natural habitat is northeastern Asia, which includes Russia and Japan. It is named for German naturalist Georg Wilhelm Steller. There are only a few thousand of these birds in the world now.

If you google, you can get a lot of stories and pictures, but I found these two: one with a video and one with lots of pictures that people here have taken. This bird is drawing big crowds as even non-birders are trying to see it. The bird does seem to be moving gradually north.

This bird is HUGE: the wing span is nearly 8 feet. It dwarfs our local Bald Eagles as it is twice as heavy. No one yet knows the sex. It has an ample food supply off the New England coast (fish and DUCKS), and the climate is quite similar to its native habitat. No one knows why it has ventured so far from its home grounds, but naturalists say birds going on ”bird walkabouts” is not unusual. Some even return to places they have found year after year.

This link has a lot of pictures.

Thanks so much, Gina, for this very interesting information.