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A Kind of Murky October 2020 Saturday

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Turkey Tracks: October 25, 2020

A Kind of Murky October 2020 Saturday

Look at my beautiful Haricot Beans: the deer ate all their tops last night.

They graciously left me the remaining beans.

We had what I call a “murky” day yesterday—cloudy, damp, and greyish, but it was warm.

As the drought is finally over, the earth is soft. I thought I’d get the garden plow barricade up for the winter. I try to do something for winter prep every day, and I’m slowly ticking off the chores. Is leaving the snow shovels in the garage a jinx or not? LOL.

This task looks easy, but the ground here is land-fill and rocky. It took a shovel AND the maddox to get the post holes deep enough for the posts to stay put.

I backed the posts with stakes, just to be sure. That crazy green ferny plant is asparagus, which has decided it really likes where it is now.

I’ve been putting newspaper through the shredder and using it to augment the compost bins—which need more “brown” material as they are too wet.

The small round tumbler compost below had gotten really wet and smelly. I’m hoping the newspaper will dry it out and that I will be able to use the mixture in the cold frame when I plant the lettuce for spring after we get reliably cold weather.

We had our LAST day ever at my local CSA farm (Community Shared Agriculture), Hope’s Edge this week. Farmer Tom is hanging up his green thumb now. He may recant over the winter and figure out a way to grow something for the local markets. Time will tell. He knew this year would be his last and announced that early on. This growing season was really hard for all our local farmers with the drought.

I cut up my Sunshine squash yesterday, but was not hungry at dinner as I had a big lunch. I had marinated it in good olive oil, fresh rosemary, and lots of garlic. Here’s what this squash looks like whole: it is the orange one in front. This squash is heavier and mealier than say, a butternut squash. But, when roasted, acquires the same sweet, caramelized tastiness.

To chunk up a squash with a thick skin, I first cut it in half, seed it, and then cut the halves into half rings. It is easy to slice off the outer skin with a sharp knife at that point, leaving the meat ready to chunk.

I’ve been trying to eat my big meal at noon these days as we move into winter. I grilled a steak to go with the squash, which I very nearly overcooked. That happens when one is whirling around doing multiple tasks. I added a few chips and goat cheese with dill to this meal.

Delicious, and such a nice treat after the heavier yard work.

Dinner was a lighter salad with reheated chicken drumsticks. Easy Peasy.

Written by louisaenright

October 25, 2020 at 10:38 am

Leftover Roast Beef Stir Fry

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Turkey Tracks: October 24, 2020

Leftover Roast Beef Stir Fry

The weather is cooler now, and I am turning to wanting warm comfort meals.

You know, growing up, a beef roast was so delicious for Sunday dinner with all the family gathered around.

I went for many years without cooking roasts anymore. But I do now, and they are, again, a joy. I roast one that isn’t tiny enough for “just me” to eat it in a meal or two. Instead, I freeze big chunks of it for a stir fry or a stew when I’m ready for this kind of beef meal. (I don’t eat sandwiches anymore as I can’t eat bread.)

To make a leftover beef stir fry, defrost your chunks of roast and cut them into cubes. Put whatever veggies you have on hand into a pan so you can cook them until tender. Here I have red pepper, cauliflower, onion, garlic, zucchini squash, carrot, and Haricot Vert green beans fresh from the garden. I add whatever herbs are going to intrigue me at the moment, fresh or dried, and I used beef tallow for my fat.

See how pretty my unfrozen beef roast is after I cubed it?

Mix in the meat only when your veggies are done. You just want to reheat the meat, that’s all. Don’t cook it more. Just let it reheat in the pan.

I had some leftover rice, so I put my stir-fry over it, but it’s yummy all by itself too.

Written by louisaenright

October 24, 2020 at 1:46 pm

Design Wall Quilty Projects October 2020

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Turkey Tracks: October 22, 2020

Design Wall Quilty Projects October 2020

The wild goose quilt is OFF the design wall and all is prepped to load it into the longarm. It is GORGEOUS, and it chewed up a lot of stash fabric.

So, here’s what’s on the design wall now:

On the left are “kind of” leader/ender blocks taking shape—and both projects are meant to use up some of the solids I have acquired. I say “kind of” leader/ender projects as I also like to take some time just to play with these two projects.

The tree blocks are inspired by a quilt made by Crazy Mom Quilts, and the stripes below are inspired by a quilt made by Tara Faughnan, and I can already see that I need to include a lot more light fabrics. The light colors are what will make this quilt sparkle. I’m just cutting from the scrap box right now, for the most part. I’ll dig into the solid stash for small pieces next. I am very drawn to both of these projects.

Here’s Tara Faughnan’s quilt that I so like, and I think she teaches this quilt in one of her online classes. I didn’t take it as I’ve signed up for The Color Collective, which starts again in November. Tara is a really good teacher, and her work is so inspiring.

The developing blocks on the right are from Sajata Shah’s book CULTURAL FUSION QUILTS, and I posted info on that book a few days ago. I had a suite of more traditional fabrics that I thought would work to try this block out, and I’ve already had to comb through my stash and buy a few green fabrics to expand the original fabrics—which are the florals and the reds. I seem to run through green fabrics really fast, and the ones I have now are too bright for this quilt.

I did reverse the lower right block and I like it better this way:

Making this block is so much fun!!! I don’t know if this quilt will scratch this itch I have or if I will want to make it again with more modern fabrics—as with all the Cotton+Steel/Ruby Star Society fabrics I’d like to whittle down now.

And then there is the Sugaridoo QAL project to finish. The last row is out now, so I’ll get to that project again soon. When the last row is made and attached, I’ll be finished with construction on the top. I have backings for the two versions I am making.

In going through my stash again, I reviewed the several fabric suites and the two kits I’ve put aside. Those must be included in the UFO category I think. I am determined to NOT be one of those quilters who dies and leaves this enormous bunch of fabric for someone else to have to manage. And I am determined to NOT start any new projects that require the purchase of a whole bunch of new fabrics. I am having fun and making headway with that goal.

It’s all good.

Written by louisaenright

October 22, 2020 at 9:37 am

The Magic of Liver and Heavy Cream

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Turkey Tracks: October 17, 2020

The Magic of Liver and Heavy Cream

I grew up eating liver. Not a huge amount, but it was a dish that definitely showed up off and on. Back then, people ate from nose to tail, not just hamburger, steaks, and roasts.

Liver has a strong taste—and the “go to” recipe of my childhood was to smother it with carmelized onions and bacon. That was good, but since then I’ve discovered that combining heavy cream (and I can and do use local raw cream which I am so lucky to be able to get) with liver produces a dish that is deliciously rich and mellow.

Liver is a powerhouse for Vitamin A, and many Americans are lacking in that vitamin. Vitamin A is fat-soluble, so the best sources are from meats, fish, and forms of dairy products where processing hasn’t killed the vitamin contents. I can get beef liver locally, and I get a whole lamb every year and treasure the lamb livers.

We take Vitamin D these days, but it is synergistic with Vitamin A. You need both. You cannot get Vitamin A from vegetables in a form that most of our bodies can utilize fully as not all bodies can convert pro-vitamin A found in fruits and vegetables to real Vitamin A.

Here’s my recent liver dinner: the beans are from my cold frame, and the roasted beets and gingered carrots are from my CSA, Hope’s Edge. All three veggies were already cooked, and I just reheated them for about 15 minutes in the oven. Ditto the rice. (Cover the rice and add a tablespoon of water.) The cream makes a gravy that is delicious on the Basmanti rice. (I know, that’s a very processed rice, and I have to stop buying it.) So this dinner can be ready in about 20 minutes.

My liver recipe:

Liver usually comes these days cut into small thin pieces. Open the package and drain off the liquid. You could rinse it if you like.

Saute some diced veggies in a good fat in your pan until tender (carrots, onions, maybe a bit of garlic). You could use some butter with some beef tallow to keep the butter from burning for extra flavor. Add some herbs you like—either fresh or dried or a combo. When the veggies are soft, add the liver and turn with the veggies until it is about half done. Then add in a lot of HEAVY cream—a cup or more. It cooks down REALLY fast, so be prepared to get the amount you want to eat out of the hot pan and onto your plate. DON’T OVERCOOK IT. Put the remaining liver into a storage container or immediately into a blender or food processor.

Eat the first half for your meal while it is hot. Then process the rest into a smooth pate. You might need to add some milk to give the blender enough liquid to process the liver mixture so that it gets very smooth.

The pate is delicious on toast for breakfast. Or, on crackers or cut up veggies and fruit.

I ate the above meal for lunch and had the rest of the pate for dinner on crackers, cucumbers, carrots, raw sweet onion, and sliced apple.

Enjoy. You will.

Written by louisaenright

October 17, 2020 at 11:54 am

A Quilter’s Table Blog and Other Quilty Inspirations

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Turkey Tracks: October 16, 2020

A Quilter’s Table Blog and Other Quilty Inspirations

I am really, really enjoying this blog and highly recommend it to you.

Take a look?

https://aquilterstable.blogspot.com/2020/10/vista-toscana.html

AND, I just bought this book by Sajata Shah, which I am also really enjoying. Sajata is an improv, modern quilter who has been influenced by the Gee’s Bend quilters, fiber work in her native India, and fiber work in Africa. Like many of the modern quilters, she is carving out a place that blends traditional quilts with modern quilting. Much of her work, like the quilt on the cover, uses controlled free-form methods that are exciting and lively.

Apparently Sajata holds a workshop where some of the modern quilters that I like (see on Instagram #beesewcial) gather. Capitola quilter (see her work on Instagram) attended a gathering where participants worked on Sajata’s version of a Kaladiscope quilt called “Organized Chaos” (Instagram hashtag #organizedchaosquilt).

I’ve fallen in love with Capitola’s version—as I do with most, if not all, of her work.

I’ll probably be looking for kaladiscope quilt block patterns down the road. Ummmm….when I finish current projects.

Written by louisaenright

October 16, 2020 at 10:07 am

Dressing During the Virus

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Turkey Tracks: October 11, 2020

Dressing During the Virus

Many months ago now I stopped wearing my beloved Ka Ora bracelets, made by a local friend here in Maine.

And I stopped wearing pierced earrings every day.

Why would I wear these things if I don’t really see anyone or go anywhere to mix with other people?

My answer NOW is because they make ME feel as if I am doing something nice for myself every day. And also, I was born to a mother who grew up after the depression when “things” in the market were scarce, so “saving“ a piece of clothing to be pristine “for a good event” was part of my childhood. Over the years, I have “saved” way too many clothing items for “good” and had them just go out of style without really being worn. I’m changing that right now.

The retrieved earrings made my ears sore—who knew after 50 years of wearing pierced earrings that taking a months-long break would make ears tender again?

The bracelets had to be polished—which does not happen when I wear them all the time.

And there is more to this story of rethinking how one lives during the pandemic.

At least two springs ago I went into Mainely Sewing in Nobleboro, Maine, and saw a beautiful dress of rayon batik that would be just perfect to wear over a summer t-shirt. I walked out of the store with the pattern and some rayon batik fabric. The dress sample was for a shorter length version than this one on the cover.

This pattern has TONS of options for making this dress—options that vary the bodice and the skirt—to include a tunic version that is on the back cover.

The pattern and fabric sat untouched that spring—and the next spring as we were now socially distancing. Where would I wear such a dress? And I was preoccupied with keeping my head above water with all the summer tasks outside.

Sometime over this past summer, I cut out the dress, but didn’t get any further. The sewing task fell into “to do” sewing projects. But, with the realization that I wanted to spend the next amount of pandemic time differently, I started sewing the dress.

This dress has a number of learning curves—to include making two buttonholes in the waistband where the tie would exit the enclosed waistband. I have not made a sewing machine buttonhole in probably 50 years!! But, I have to say that part of the learning curve went well.

Here’s the dress—I just put it over a winter t-shirt for this picture as I’ve put away all the short-sleeve t’s now.

The bodice has these sweet little pleats—another learning curve:

I’ve put the dress away with my summer clothes now, but it will be waiting for me next spring. And I will be wearing it.

Written by louisaenright

October 11, 2020 at 10:39 am

The Final Sugaridoo QAL Row

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Turkey Tracks: October 9, 2020

The Final Sugaridoo QAL Row

Here’s what this graphic, modern quilt looks like with the release of the final row.

I haven’t made mine yet as I’m finishing up a few other projects first. But this year-long journey has been fun and instructive. Look at all these fun patterns! And I’ve learned some new sewing methods for sure and am using them elsewhere.

The patterns and the videos will apparently stay “up” at the Bernina blog for some time if you want to check out anything in this project.

Written by louisaenright

October 9, 2020 at 9:15 am

“On Point” Quilt Finished

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Turkey Tracks: October 8, 2020

“On Point” Quilt Finished

This quilt is another very different project for me. But I loved making it, especially as decisions about the colors and the setting of the colors were made for me. The block that guest designer Denyse Schmidt created for Season 2 of The Color Cellective is BIG—20 inches.

This quilt is the final project (7), finished just in time for Season 3 to start in November.

I wasn’t quite sure how to quilt it, but opted in the end for this overall design with curves and some sharp points. I like the texture that developed a lot. The pantograph is Checks and Chase by Lorien Quilting. The row is 8 inches and is double, so 16 inches wide.

The thread color is the same kind of jade green that’s in the quilt—and that worked well too. It was dark enough for the darker fabrics and not too dark for the lighter. My fallback for quilt thread is always shades of grey, but they just didn’t work here with the mixtures of bright/dull/dark and light and dark. I use Signature 40-wt. all cotton thread on the longarm, and this thread color is Jade.

I also wasn’t sure what would work well as a backing, but I’m happy with this duller taupe colored fabric that has sprinkles of color that are, for the most part, also in the quilt. It’s Ruby Star Society, Speckles, and there is a very large range of colors in that line. This backing does not draw attention from the front of the quilt.

The luscious dark brown in the quilt provided enough for the binding, which I always cut on the bias. I did order extra dark brown in order to have enough for this 60 x 60 quilt. I could have easily and happily made this quilt much bigger, but wasn’t sure how it would come out in the end, if I would like the block, and so forth. I have tended to copy the Color Collective projects and then play with them—once I’m sure I understand how they work. I never think about using a luscious dark brown instead of black, but I will now.

November is coming up fast!

Haricot Vert Beans and More

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Turkey Tracks: October 5, 2020

Haricot Vert Beans and More

I voted this morning and came home to pick the filet beans again. I rescued the plants twice about two weeks ago from frost in the night by covering the plants with a tarp, and now they are turning to delicious, tender beans that are such a treat.

Look how healthy the plants look in the cold frame—as do the new raspberry plants behind the beans, which have been trimmed back so they don’t try to fruit.

This was my first batch of these little beans, and I have had two batches since, including this morning. There are loads of flowers and beans growing on the plants, which will fruit until they are stopped by a hard freeze. I thought maybe I had waited to late to seed them into the cold frame this year, but here they are.

And look at these beautiful squashes, garlic, onions, and shallots. They are almost too pretty to eat. The red onions are cipollini onions. I found a recipe to pan sauté them until they are caramelizing in the pan and then to finish them in the oven.

Nights have been much cooler, but rather than organize a wool blanket for my bed, I chose a quilt—the improv quilt I made in 2019—“Parts Department Party”—that includes blocks from two friends as we all made an improv quilt with our shared blocks. (This quilt is BIG and is folded in half here. Here’s the 2019 post that has all the pictures: https://louisaenright.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=11105&action=edit)

I love the bear’s face in one of the little stars. The bear is an old Cotton+Steel fabric. But the designers did take their fabric designs when they changed manufacturers, so maybe someday we’ll see this image appear again.

I am putting binding on my “On Point” quilt from The Color Collective, season 2, designed by Denyse Schmidt. She also chose the fabrics and this placement of the colors. I like the way my quilting choice came out on this quilt—it has lovely texture. When the binding is done I’ll post pictures of the whole thing. When I’m sewing binding on a quilt I fold them and put them on this chair so I can admire them as I come and go during the day.

VOTE!!!!

Written by louisaenright

October 5, 2020 at 1:37 pm

September Bee Inspired Block

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Turkey Tracks: October 2, 2020

September Bee Inspired Block

The Mount Battie Modern Quilt Guild met on Zoom recently and shared our blocks for September’s prompt challenge: our receiving member, Nancy Wright, wanted creative circles in brights placed on a neutral backgrounds.

You can see all the blocks we did on the Facebook page Mt. Battie Modern Quilt Guild.

I used the appliqué method I learned from our Sugaridoo QAL challenge in our other local quilting group, the Coastal Quilter’s (Maine). Sugaridoo used small half circles and then, in another row, 4-inch full circles. I hoped that a BIG circle would also work. It does.

I used one of my diner plates to trace the circle on the fusing side of 101 SF interfacing. I layed the interfacing circle on the FRONT of the newsprint fabric and sewed around the drawn circle. Next, clip away the inner circle and clip into the curves. Turn the interfacing to the back—and if you’ve got the fusible side next to the fabric, you can use the tip of the iron to lightly fuse the circle edge so it is stable and all the interfacing is no longer showing. (Don’t fuse any more than just around the circle edge.) Then you just lay the open newsprint/backingcircle over your prepared circle fabric and pin it down. Pull at the edges of the outer fabric to smooth everything down well. Next, sew around the edge of the (newsprint fabric here) circle—use a bigger stitch. Then trim out all the excess fabric on the back, leaving your backing intact of course. Finally, give the finished piece a nice ironing.

I’ve been looking for a painless way to create BIG circles where the method does not need a ruler. This method works for me.

I deliberately placed my circle off-center and left a lot of surrounding backing so Nancy will have lots of room to manipulate/trim my block when quilt top assembly begins.

Written by louisaenright

October 3, 2020 at 9:26 am