Marisa de Los Santos’ Books

Books: July 31, 2022

Marisa de Los Santos’ Books

I’m reading an author that I absolutely adore:  Marisa de los Santos.  She comes with some serious academic credentials, is a published poet, and is married to author David Teague who seems to write children’s books.  They have also written several books together, like Saving Lucas Biggs.

Santos has, if my research is correct, 6 novels. Four of these novels are connected in some way. The first of this series is Love Walked In, and I really enjoyed it.  The second book in this series is Belong to Me, and she’s hit this one right out of the ball park.  I found myself reading bits at a time so it didn’t end too quickly. I just finished I’ll Be Your Blue Sky because I could not put it down and read for many hours over the last two days. I’ll be starting I’d Give Anything today. And I’ve ordered Santos’ two other novels, as I’ll want to give these books as gifts.

Santos just has the most wonderful voice on the page—so interesting and different.  Someone in one of the reviews I read said that Santos introduces and follows three-dimensional characters, and I think that is true. Her characters are good, bad, beautiful, ugly, stupid and wise, all at the same time. These books are NOT romances, which the titles may suggest, though there is certainly much about the nature of love in them.  And, life. (And I don’t mean to disparage romances. These novels just don’t fit that genre.)

Here’s a gift for you today. It’s a gift for me every time I walk into the kitchen.

Yesterday I mowed, and the grass is brown in many places from the drought. So today I’ll water and pick raspberries—while listening and singing along to my music. While I cooked a meatloaf yesterday for dinner (middle of the day for me), I bought more of The Zac Brown Band’s songs, so today I’ll listen to them while outside.

Have a great Sunday everyone.

Tomorrow we head into August. The summer is flying by.

Roxanne Wells’ Garden

Turkey Tracks: July 28, 2022

Roxanne Wells’ Garden

Roxanne Wells is a master gardener.

Each year I like to share pictures she sends me of her garden as they are such a treat.

She has two large beds and, of course, smaller beds in other places, along with some planted containers. She lives in Thomaston, which is to the south of Camden, and she is just up a street from the St. George river, so she has a very different habitat in many ways than I do as I’m up on a hill, above Camden and the bay.

Here are some close-ups of this bed. Isn’t that little bird the sweetest little creature.

Two other beds:

That purple astilbe is so pretty next to the stones. And this astilbe color appears again here.

Three summers ago I used this gorgeous petunia in hanging baskets on the front porch. But putting it into this color combination in a container is just awesome. Note how it blends with the day-lily colors to the right. That’s how Roxanne ”sees” plants and colors before they are planted. That’s why she is an artist and a master gardener.

Thank you, Roxanne, for sharing your garden with us.

Raspberries, Japanese Beetles, and ”Wyoming Stars” Quilt Top

Turkey Tracks: July 27, 2022

Raspberries, Japanese Beetles, and ”Wyoming Stars” Quilt Top

The raspberries are coming in strong these days. I pick every day, and I get more and more berries every day. I have frozen some, eaten a lot, and given away a lot. Here’s what I picked late yesterday:

And here’s the beauty the flower garden provided yesterday:

One more row is needed on the ”Wyoming Stars” quilt. The secondary patterns are fascinating. It will be a good lap size: 60 by 60 inches. So far. I’ll see what is needed after I sew this part together.

Japanese beetles love raspberries and roses and will eat leaves until they are like lace. They emerge in the summer, about the time raspberries are starting to fruit.

What to do?

I think working with nature is the best answer—as there is a small grayish fly, the ”Winsome” fly—Istocheta aldrichi—that is a parasitoid and which emerges alongside the beetles. Winsome females lay eggs on the Japanese beetles back—on the thorax, which is just behind the head. You can see the little white dot which contains the eggs on the back of a beetle that Winsome has attacked. AND, these attacks occur BEFORE the JB lays its own eggs (40-60 eggs yearly). One larva hatches on the beetle and penetrates the beetle, which drops to the ground and tries to dig into the dirt as it is already sick. The Winsome’s larva eat the beetle, but stay with the carcass, and turn into a pupa, which emerges in the fly form next year, which seriously alters the beetles presence over time.

When I had my raspberries in the front garden, before I started over as the plants were too hard to harvest on the steep hill, I used to see a lot of the JBs with the white dots—and the number of beetles DID decrease over time.

The JBs mostly do not fly in from elsewhere, like other insects. They stay with their food source for the most part: raspberry bushes and roses. Control the numbers, and you control the problem.

I sweep a batch of beetles from a leaf into my hand and fist them. Then I release one at a time and check to see if I see the white dot. If so, that beetle goes free. If not, I kill that one with my thumbnail. I’m not squeamish about this murder, but if someone is, they could drop that beetle into a jar of soapy water and when they are done, cover the jar.

What’s Happening With The Daylilies?

Interesting Information and Turkey Tracks: July 24, 2022

What’s Happening With The Daylilies?

I have A LOT of day-lilies in my garden, including many of the ”wild” orange ones, called ”ditch lilies” by some.

The front porch is lined with the gold Stella D’Ora variety, and they already bloomed. But blooming now are these redder day-lilies in places I did not plant them.

And salmon ones too.

And look what has emerged down on the driveway? I did not plant this ruffled beauty.

I did plant this reddish one—and one similar on the other end of the front deck day-lilies.

And I possibly planted this vivid day-lily along the front path.

And, there is this beauty that has been in this spot on the front path for many years.

What is going on here? I’m also noticing these later-blooming dark day-lilies in other places in the garden—sometimes mixed into the wild orange day-lilies.

Are the current plants being taken over in some way and changed? That is not supposed to happen.

So, off to research I went.

Yes, the day-lilies are ”hybridizing,” but they are NOT changing any of the established plants. What they are doing is seeding hybrids into current day-lily beds—and other places in the garden too.

The hybrids can and might overtake or crowd out the established plants, but meanwhile, they are adding interesting plants into what is already in the garden.

Good to know.

And I can always dig up what I don’t like.

Glass Drinking Glass and Glass Straws

Turkey Tracks: July 23, 2022

Glass Drinking Glass and Glass Straws

I had a big plastic glass with a straw that I liked a lot. I used it mostly in the quilt room while sewing.

But it was…PLASTIC, as was the straw. It had a top that kept the straw in place and the glass covered.

As any of you reading this blog for any time know, I’ve been on a mission to NOT use plastic in the kitchen.

About a month ago, on a whim, I looked at the availability of a big glass drinking glass—with a glass straw.

This first one came—in a salmon color. But the straw and top were plastic. So I ordered glass straws.

And I loved the first one so much that I ordered a second one (about $8)—so now I have one on each floor and don’t have to carry the salmon one around everywhere.

Small pleasures these days are so nice.

Blooming Progression in the Garden

Turkey Tracks: July 22, 2022

Blooming Progression in the Garden

My garden changes a little every day.

This daylily stunner is now fully open.

The Liatris is fully open now—in this spot and in others. It put itself here and elsewhere.

The hosta blooms are making a sea of lavender all over the garden.

The Cone Flowers (Echinecea) are opening—and I have many colors in the garden. They are hardy and drought resistant.

The Shasta Daisy is blooming. And I planted more in the new little garden next to the raspberries, which are now coming on strongly. I’ll be spending time today picking the ripe berries.

The Ballon flower has opened (Campanula family). It has planted itself around the garden. Mine are all pale, but this plant also comes also in much darker blue/lavender and pink colors.

One of the new landscape roses is putting out more blooms, which means it is happy and rooting well.

AND, here is one of the 10 Whirly gigs I put into the garden to hopefully scare the deer.

The lettuce in the cold frame, which I’ve been eating and sharing since April/May is bolting now. It’s time to pull it and replant with the Masai filet bush beans I love.

Scenes From the Garden, July 2022

Turkey Tracks: July 21, 2022

Scenes From the Garden, July 2022

The Annabelle hydrangeas at the back of the house, outside the kitchen window, are putting on quite a show this year. There is a big swath of them, which the camera doesn’t capture.

On the driveway side of the house, I dug up the spent strawberry plants and replanted with perennials. The new bed will get some mulch soon now. I also dug up the crowded daffodils that line the path and thinned them out—and am now giving away the extra bulbs.

The raspberries are starting to come in, but the drought (broken a few days ago—and maybe tonight) has resulted in small berries. I also deep watered the raspberry roots with a hose set with a slow flow.

It is a really big ”lily” year here this year. I love how the Asiatic lilies look with the Liatris purple spikes. The Liatris planted itself in this bed.

The shrubs at the far end of this bed need trimming back.

Here’s the view from the back of the shrubs above, after I trimmed them. This job is LAST big season job that has to be done this year. Now I’m down to watering, weeding, and mowing. The camera doesn’t really capture the depth of this view well. Or the hosta and Bee Balm blooms as they are fading into the greenery.

Now you can see the back deck. The roundish structure is the kitchen—and the Annabelles are outside those windows.

The Christmas cacti love going out on to the front deck—they put out all sorts of new growth and, often, bloom. There are 3 pots of them that come into the house for the winter season.

The new bed on the wood side of the house is doing well. But the deer ate much of the hosta on the front bed, ate the Rudbekia to the ground, and ate all the tops of the two hydrangeas.

I sprayed again, and ordered and installed 10 ”whirlygigs” to put around the garden. What I probably need is someone with a rifle this fall. (Kidding, but not really.) The deer have never been so invasive as they have been in the last two years. I’m down to putting out human urine now, which a master gardening friend is saying will work.

It’s getting hotter now, but the nights have remained cool. And the cooling breeze from the bay helps a lot.

“Wyoming Bear Paws” Quilt

Turkey Tracks: July 19, 2022

“Wyoming Bear Paws” Quilt

“Wyoming Bear Paws” is the 9th quilt made from my winter project of using up the Cotton+Steel/Ruby Star Society fabric stash. The 10th quilt is growing on the design wall: ”Wyoming Stars.” And it has astonishing secondary patterns happening, which is so fun.

I was able to make a scrappy backing, but I don’t think I’ll have enough big pieces of fabric to make a scrappy backing for ”Wyoming Stars.” Of course, Cotton+Steel/Ruby Star Society are still making delicious prints. And I might fall into that pit. BUT, I might also use up existing stash of other fabrics. To remind, though, all of the C+S/RS fabrics use the same dyes over the years, so the fabrics ”go together” well.

Many of these bigger pieces of fabrics in this backing were ones that didn’t cut into small quilting pieces well. They needed bigger blocks, and I tend to piece with smaller pieces. That’s not true for the tiger print though. I love that print and tend to hoard it. And it comes in lots of fun colors.

I used the ”Bayside” pantograph and a soft grey thread (Signature).

As I’ve said before, it takes a deep stash to get this kind of scrappy variety in a quilt. It’s been so much fun to work with these fabrics all winter. Hmmm…and now most of the summer.

There is an adorable little girl out in Wyoming who will also need a quilt from me.

I wonder what I’ll do. I’m turning over ideas.

A Quilty Surprise for The Bee Cause

Interesting Information: July 18, 2022

A Quilty Surprise for The Bee Cause

My DIL Tami Kelly Enright is the director of The Bee Cause—an organization that began in Savannah and Charleston, SC, some years back. The Bee Cause’s project is providing viable habitats for our threatened bees and now has hives it has helped pioneer in all 50 states.

Recently Tami received an amazing gift from a total stranger.

A quilty gift.

Now, here’s the story, as told by the person who gifted The Bee Cause with this quilt—to use as they will.

The quilt was made as a ”round robin” project—where the center is started by the person who will be its owner. The quilt travels to other quilters for added rows—and each draws on his/her own creative talents. When the quilt returns, it is a surprise for the originator.

It’s a beautiful quilt, with beautiful workmanship, from some beautiful and talented people.

Northern Water Snake

Interesting Information: July 17, 2022

Northern Water Snake

This snake is a new one for me.

Friend Betsy Maislen was spending some time at Squam Lake in New Hampshire, where she also sent me a picture of the area from the top of ”Rattlesnake Mountain.”

She said the snake was ”very curious.”

Being mostly raised in the south—which included a lot of fishing around local ponds, I would have had an instant panic attack while thinking cottonmouth moccasin or a swimming??? rattlesnake.

I’m not sure I would have slowed down to process the shape of the head, which is clearly not a viper head.

If you are more curious—as I was. Here’s more information. These snakes can get fairly long.