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It’s a Rainy Day!

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Turkey Tracks: July 9, 2021

It’s A Rainy Day!

Yesterday was BUSY—and included whether or not to mow before the remnants of Elsa provide us (one hopes) with more rain today and tomorrow.

I made a fast run up to Belfast to get the raw butter to which I am addicted!

When I got back into Camden, I took AC for a quick run at the Snow Bowl field—trying to beat local thunder storms in our area.

The Pickerel Rush is blooming along the edges of the pond. Isn’t it pretty?

When I got home, I could see that the grass-overnight—clearly grew enough that it needed to be mowed before getting two days of rain. So I hauled on boots and went to work. It was cool, with a breeze, so this task turned out to be a really pleasant one.

Along the way I got hungry, so reheated leftovers and had a late, late lunch/early dinner and then got in a little sewing time.

Today I woke to rain, and the radar shows the big part of the storm is now just to our South.

More sewing today, as all of my household tasks are done for the week. That’s always a good feeling.

Written by louisaenright

July 9, 2021 at 8:27 am

Some Cool, Sweet Days

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Turkey Tracks: July 4, 2021

Some Cool, Sweet Days

I took this photo Friday when I took AC doggie to chase his ball at the Snow Bowl athletic field.

I love what I think of as “soft days” here when rain or fog is around and the clouds sit lie down on the mountain tops.

I’ve been thinking off and on all day that John and I made our first trip to Camden in July 2003 and were here for the 4th and that it was this some sort of cool weekend that we have this year.

It has rained yesterday and today, and much to AC’s distress, we have not gone anywhere. And it has been “get a sweater” cool, which I so love about June in Maine. And it is a joy to see the garden and grass so happy.

I’ve sewn a lot these past two days, and the design wall is, once again, changing.

The small circle top is done, and I sewed it together and stay-stitched the edges this morning. I think I’ve found really good color placement and movement in this little top, which will be a wall hanging. I’ve organized a backing and the batting, so will put it on the longarm tomorrow to baste it. And it is now off the design wall. I’ll probably hand quilt it.

You may remember that it came from the “off-cuts” from the last project in this year’s The Color Collective—the “Tenderoni” block Latifah Saafir designed. My version is layered and basted, and I’ll start hand quilting it tonight with 12-weight cotton thread.

The triangle top I’m exploring has been inspired by Debbie Jeske of A Quilter’s Table blog—after she took a class with Maria Shell at this year’s Quilt Con—The Modern Quilt Guild’s annual show. I’ve had Maria Shell’s book IMPROV PATCHWORK for a few years now and have wanted to try my hand at one of her amazing projects. Debbie Jeske’s version pushed me further along that road, so here I am.

I’m using one of the monthly color palette’s designed for a project that didn’t draw me in enough to make it. Out of 20 projects over three years, that’s a great record for The Color Collective’s design work. There are 12 colors in one of the monthly fabric palettes, and I’ve added a pastel orange to go with the pale green and pale pink. Given what develop’s in the next rows, I may add other colors, but it is a creative challenge to stick mostly to the original palette.

And likely you know the “Funky Wedding Ring” block by now from this blog. It’s coming along as a leader/ender. This project is also inspired by Debbie Jeske’s “redo” of an older “funky” block designed by Freddie Moran and Gwen Marston.

I spent a fair amount of time ironing and cutting strips for all the dark grey fabrics I’ve collected for the new 12-inch log cabin I planned months ago. I had lots of light greys from the blue/grey log cabin made this winter—but I did augment and reorder some of the greys, so I ironed and cut those as well. I’ve begun making those blocks as leader/ender blocks too as I’m near the end of the Funky Wedding Ring project—which would make a really nice baby quilt I think—but I may make it a bit bigger. I never know how inspiration will strike.

Enjoy the long weekend!

Hot Soup in Hot Weater

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Turkey Tracks: July 3, 2021

Hot Soup in Hot Weather

The collected chicken bones in the freezer were taking up too much space. So in the middle of the WORST heat of this year, I made chicken broth. And the next day, I made a HUGE soup.

Am I crazy? Maybe. But the heat wave broke—and we got some much-needed rain. And I have some DELICIOUS and HEALTHY soup in my belly and some frozen soup now taking up space in the freezer.

I started with the smaller Creuset pot and the veggies I had on hand: sweet onions, carrots, red pepper, zucchini, garlic, and loads of fresh herbs from the garden (tarragon, thyme, oregano, basil, sage, chives):

I soon had to switch to the larger Creuset pot though—as I added all the chicken meat from a whole deboned chicken (which went into the bone broth to cook) and veggies from the freezer (corn, beans, peas) and some “Forbidden” red rice.

I could feel the soup’s goodness all the way to my toes:

I topped it with more fresh chives from the garden:

I need to cut back the chive plants now as their blooms are all dry. Cut back, the plants will grow more green shoots for me to use in the kitchen.

I can vary the soup when I get tired of it by adding some fresh cream. And warming a tortilla on a gas stove tap is always nice—especially if one puts some local raw butter on the warm tortilla!

I like to cook this way—using what I have on hand to make such delicious meals. You can’t go wrong with good basics (bone broth), healthy meat, organic veggies, a little of some organic grain as a treat, and lots of fresh herbs.

Written by louisaenright

July 3, 2021 at 9:41 am

Walter Presents

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Turkey Tracks/Interesting Information: July 2, 2021

Walter Presents


I’m watching the “Walter Presents” drama shows on the PBS channel—which I have through Amazon Prime.  They are AWESOME!  Every single one I’ve watched.  “Walter,” who is a real person, rounds up the best drama from across the world, puts in subtitles as needed, and PBS is one of the platforms where you can see some of them.  

Walter is Italian Walter Luzzolino: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Iuzzolino. He is a television producer with several successful UK series to his credit.

So far I’ve seen INSIDE (French), THE BERLIN DANCE SCHOOL (German), THE DEVIL’S THROAT (Bulgarian), and THE NORDIC MURDERS (German).  “Nordic Murders” is apparently a genre of murder mysteries, and this series is not set in Norway, but on an island in the Baltic that holds a border with Poland. Right now I’m watching “Bright-Eyed Revenge (Italian and set in Nice), two seasons followed by “Olivia,” which takes up where the “revenge” ends.

Anyway, all of these first four listed series have just been excellent—for many reasons.  But there is a lot of depth and complexity to each—which, I think, highlights how simple and derivative much American tv has become.  The stories, the acting, and the geography as a character are really good.  And the good news:  there are LOTS of these programs from across the world.  I’m sure not all are as good as these first four I have listed have been, but…what a pleasure.

The fifth (Bright-Eyed) is more conventially entertaining, but I’m still watching. I mean, how is Olivia going to get out of the traps in which she gets caught? This one is a bit like the series “Revenge” from years ago—beautiful woman, gorgeous clothes and settings, terrible and wealthy and powerful villain, yadda, yadda. It’s a story we like to tell ourselves over and over, isn’t it?

It would be hard to rank the first four I listed. They each have strong reasons to recommend them. INSIDE has 5 stars, for good reasons. THE BERLIN DANCE SCHOOL takes place post-WWII Germany before the wall comes down and in that moment when rock and roll comes on the heels of the breakdown of the old social order—which also happens in America and was very much a part of my own childhood. THE NORDIC MURDERS episodes each deal with a murder, but the meta-story of a mother and her daughter, of old family history that corrupts the present, of how decisions one makes builds and builds into consequences. Ironies abound in this series. And THE DEVIL’S THROAT in Bulgaria deals in part with the Muslim/Christian factions in that geographical area—but also with a history that comes back to haunt—as histories can.

I’ll keep going with these exciting series for some time to come I suspect. A bonanza!

Written by louisaenright

July 2, 2021 at 10:11 am

Do You Know What This Plant Is?

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Turkey Tracks: July 1, 2021

Do You Know What This Plant Is?

Lordy! What happened to this plant is going on all over my gardens: Steve Solomon’s organic fertilizer as sold by KIS Organics. I found it was just easier to order some rather than trying to mix and store a batch myself. This plant is taller than me by quite a bit.

It is asparagus. And I got quite a few meals from this plant this year. The history of asparagus in the garden is that I planted a trench/row years and years ago—and the plants were not happy and did not thrive. Then a few plants appeared on their own—this is the story of my gardens—and began to thrive. So I let Mother Nature do the gardening.

Quilty/gardening friend Roxanne Wells sent some pics of her garden the other day. I thought you’d enjoy seeing them.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

You may remember seeing pics of Roxanne’s gardens last year on the blog. Her gardens are beautifully conceived and executed—and so very different from mine—as are our quilts. She has been a real inspiration to me in both the endeavors we share. For sure! For one thing, as she writes to me about what she is doing outside in the early spring, it seems to be getting me outside earlier and earlier too.

The mulch crew came this week—and I finished the first pass of all the weeding. Now I’ll start back at the beginning in the endless fight with the Bishop’s Weed.

Written by louisaenright

July 1, 2021 at 9:24 am

Staining the Outside Shingles

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Turkey Tracks: June 28, 2021

Staining the Outside Shingles

Look at my pretty garage with its new coat of stain!

When the star, formerly aqua, was removed, I sanded the rust spots and repainted it lime green. I was thinking a red/orange or lime green, and when I checked the supply of spray paints, there was a lime green.

Now the white trim paint is really showing up against the darker shingles.

You can see on the unstained back of the garage how the original staining is now gone after about 20 years of weathering.

Eric Chontos, who has been so much help to me over the years, is doing the staining. He also has a power washing business, and I highly recommend him and his older brother Shane Chontos, who is a fine carpenter, but who also does other work around a house. Both brothers are, of course, insured.

Eric is here today, and we are meant to have two good days before we might get more rain on Wednesday and Thursday. Weather is always an issue with these kinds of outdoor jobs.

Written by louisaenright

June 28, 2021 at 8:49 am

The Design Wall, June 26, 2021

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Turkey Tracks: June 23, 2021

The Design Wall, June 26, 2021

The “Tenderoni” quilt top is done, layered, and basted via the longarm basting. I’m almost certainly going to hand quilt it with a 12-wt. cotton in the honey color in the quilt. The binding (the darkest red in the quilt) is here and washed—I’ll cut it this week. I’m calling it “Fractures,” and I’m really pleased with the movement in this quilt. It will be a wall hanging—30 by 42.

Latifah Saafir designed this block and chose the color palette as a guest designer for this year’s The Color Collective (Sewtopia, Amy Newbold). And it has been really interesting to see what other people made with this block.

So with “Fractures” removed, the design wall looks like this now:

The “Monkey Business” blocks are all done. I may still move some blocks later today, but I’ll sew the blocks together after I try one more move with some of the blocks at the bottom. Basically this quilt is a “sampler” quilt of Cotton+Steel/Ruby Star Society fabrics. As such it is fun. And I loved making the blocks. Abbey Lane Quilting designed “Monkey Business,” which appeared in Issue 22 of Simply Modern magazine. The blocks finish at 13 inches—so it will be a fun lap size quilt.

The leader/ender “Funky” wedding ring scrappy top on the left is coming along as well. The pattern is in FREDDY AND GWEN COLLABORATE AGAIN: FRIENDS by Freddie Moran and Gwen Marston. Debbie Jeske of A Quilter’s Table blog made a quilt top recently where she took out the sashing Moran and Marston used, which made the top even more modern. I’ll probably wind up with a lap size top as I don’t see my version as a wall hanging—and I’m liking having fun making this block and using up both solid and printed scraps.

The little round circles are being made from the off-cuts from the “Tenderoni” block.

I thought about moving the circles into different positions on the background block—both sideways and up and down, but when sketching it, I couldn’t make the design work in a coherent way.

There is something really pleasingly “glowy” about this fabric palette as it appears with these little circles.

And now, as we had a good soaking rain yesterday, I need to go and weed! I’m rounding the final corner of the house now.

Nature Journal From 2005

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Turkey Tracks: June 25, 2021

Nature Journal From 2005

My husband and I began our Maine adventure in June of 2004.

In January 2005 I took a local class that involved keeping a daily “artists” nature journal for 2005.

I was by no means a drawing or painting artist by the stretching of anyone’s imagination. But it didn’t matter. I did what I could, and over the year I did get better at these new skills. Along the way I learned an awful lot about the new region where I now lived. And each day, as I searched for ways to think more deeply about what I was seeing, thinking, and feeling—as seen by some of the inscriptions I used—I settled deeply into Maine and into the peaceful, quieter life that I so treasure now.

And that journal, which I did faithfully keep, making up for lost days when I had to, is one of the joys of my life. It reminds me daily about slowing down to “see” where I live, to see what is changing around me, and to acknowledge what I love about that experience.

The year’s journal worked out to occupy two sketchbooks, and the first book ends at the June 21st solstice—a reminder that now, with the beginning of the second book, the days will begin to get shorter as the seasonal wheel slowly turns. The closing of the first book, with its winter days and the coming of spring and the promise of all that spring brings, always makes me a bit sad, for time does seem to move so quickly.

Since 2006, or for the past 15 years, my journal sits open on the counter above my washer and dryer. And as I turn the pages to follow the days it has captured, I am reminded of all the flora and fauna that appear or disappear as the days of the year pass. I am reminded of the joy I had with learning so many new skills and having so many new experiences. And I am reminded that I need to take time, every day, to let the “new” into my life.

Written by louisaenright

June 25, 2021 at 4:11 pm

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.

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Eastern_Phoebe/id

Written by louisaenright

June 21, 2021 at 7:47 am