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Bitter Cold and a Rainy Morning

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Turkey Tracks: January 17, 2022

Bitter Cold and a Rainy Morning

Three days: two days of temps in the single digits and today we have temps going to the 40s and…rain and high wind.

Oh my…

I’ve never yet had a problem with pipes freezing, but with the wind chill factor in play, I did run a thin stream of water in a downstairs bathroom faucet.

My Camden friend sent me this photo of a Titmouse hunkered down in the bitter cold of Saturday and Sunday.

My bird feeder is full and two suet feeders are hung. The turkeys tried to inhabit the warmer slope behind the house yesterday, but AC would not allow them to stay.

I’ve happily hunkered down—though AC and I made a quick trip to the grocery store yesterday mostly just to get out. Organic blueberries and raspberries came home with us, along with some fresh lettuce and AAA batteries.

I’ve finished quilting (on the domestic machine) ”My `Sunny’” and have bound it and am now hand-sewing the binding at night. I love having this Janome set up with a walking foot already attached—and I can store this whole arrangement neatly on the back wall when I’m done. I can watch tv or listen to whatever book I have on Audible from this place. The red quilt keeps AC off my new hassock and, as a bonus, part of the couch.

”Whirlygigs” came off the longarm yesterday afternoon, and I’ll install binding on it today. The pantograph is ”Bayside,” which Wendy’s Quilting blog used recently, and I think it gave this quilt wonderful texture. Wendy is an awesome longarm quilter, and she lives in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

I finished and attached the 5th block of 6 to the 4th row of the EPP project from hell. So, progress there as well. And I spent some time gluing the last of the rectangles that form the rings. One more block and two more rows. I think I’ll NOT attach this row to the others, but will attach the last two rows, then attach them to the mother ship.

And so, the winter of 2022 progresses…

Written by louisaenright

January 17, 2022 at 10:11 am

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Christmas Eve 2021

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Turkey Tracks: December 24, 2021

Christmas Eve 2021

It is brrrrr…. cold today.

It was 18 degrees outside my kitchen windows this morning. AC didn’t stay out long for his morning excursion at all.

And to think we were complaining that it was in the 40s and raining only last Tuesday.

My Camden friend sent me this picture of a hawk in Tuesday’s rain—she said he was ”patiently waiting” for a meal to arrive. Isn’t s/he beautiful. And s/he blends so well with the winter woods.

I finished ”Calm” last night and took pictures this morning. This quilt has provided many, many fun hours of planning and quilting. I’ll mail it on Monday—and now it’s in the wash—remember the chipmunk-in-the-house episode…

The new printer came and had a software problem that rendered it inoperable. Strange. It will go back Monday and another one sent in its place. I hope it works. The printer comes with great reviews.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

May your homes be warm and filled with light and laughter and joy.

And I wish you all the very best Happy New Year 2022 as we travel around the sun together once more.

Written by louisaenright

December 24, 2021 at 1:06 pm

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Refrigerators and AC’s ”Chase Me: I Have the Ball”

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Turkey Tracks: December 16, 2021

Refrigerators and AC’s ”Chase Me: I Have the Ball”

Can I just say that NO ONE in my life has ever told me it is really important to take off the front grill on the bottom of your refrigerator and to vacuum out the dust balls that accumulate there? Even better, after vacuuming from the front, pull out the refrigerator and take a shop vacuum and blow beneath the refrigerator from front to back.

I was hesitant to reach beneath the refrigerator with the vacuum as I didn’t know what kind of electrical connections could be present there, but it turns out, nothing to worry about under there.

And can I just also say that getting appliance fix-it people to come fix something up here in rural Maine is not an easy task. Most are tremendously overworked and super busy.


No one told me…


And I think it might be that I am a military brat, and we always moved pretty often, so maybe my mother didn’t ever do this task.

I have learned the hard way, and right now I’m feeling really lucky that doing those two tasks (vacuum and shop vac blowing out) allowed my refrigerator to once again run its fan and to cool to the proper temperatures.

If you don’t have a shop vacuum and have a garage, I’d highly recommend you get one. I have used the one John bought more than I would have thought. But, mostly for tasks in the garage.

Of course I can’t get that front grill back on. There are these two pesky clips, and I don’t see how or where they work. But help is on the way next Thursday, and meanwhile, all seems good again.

So, today is a rainy day, and AC hates rainy days. We did take a ride out to the post office to mail something, but AC doesn’t think that ride counted. He wants to RUN, to chase his ball at the Snow Bowl field.

AC is all about play—of all kinds—especially if balls are involved. ”Chase Me I Have the Ball” is his favorite game. Unless it’s ”Chase Me: I Have the Stick,” which happens when I walk down to get the mail.

Anyway, here’s a little video of AC inviting me to play with him—taken a few days ago AFTER he had a good run.

Written by louisaenright

December 16, 2021 at 2:40 pm

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A Winter Day in December

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Turkey Tracks: December 4, 2021

A Winter Day in December

Today has been all shiny and bright.

But cold.

The sky is the crystal, clear blue we get often in winter.

As I threw AC’s ball for him, the sharp air, laden with the faint smell of wood smoke from nearby houses, cleared all the cobwebs out of my head.

I’ve said it before on this blog, but AC chases his ball with his whole heart. Without a heavy coat, neck scarf, hat, and gloves, it’s hard enough to throw the ball and get a video. This video is the best I could do this morning.

And now I have time to sew, so off I go.

Written by louisaenright

December 4, 2021 at 1:40 pm

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Wild Storm

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Turkey Tracks: October 31, 2021

Wild Storm

It’s Halloween tonight.

I think the wild storm that tore through here last night and this morning has traveled enough away now so that the children will be able to Trick or Treat tonight.

AC and I went out mid-morning to the grocery store, with rain clouds still swirling around but not actively producing rain. All along the road wherever water ran over the road in the night, it had carved out serious ditches which probably compromised the stability of the road at the edges. The worst places were marked with orange cones the town had installed to warn drivers to stay away from the edge of the road.

We couldn’t get to the athletic field at the Snow Bowl as Hosmer Pond was pouring over Barnstown road which runs alongside the pond—and it was deep enough I wouldn’t take the risk of traveling along it to get to the field. The car in front of me turned around, and I did as well.

I thought I’d try the parking lot at Barrett’s Cove at the lake to see if AC could chase his ball there. All along Molyneaux Street, which runs below my house, the creek was raging.

Here’s the second part of the video as I had to travel down the creek to get this part of what was happening.

Other people were out and about to see how things looked.

I had a tree limb down in the driveway that I was able to pull to the side. I had to get the bow saw to cut off one of its limbs, and I’ll pull it further down the hill when things dry out a bit and I have on sturdy boots. So, I’m feeling lucky with regard to trees falling and water flooding.

AC did get his time chasing his ball—and he chased the ducks on the pond near the water line and took a little swim. He didn’t stay long though as the water must be really cold now. Our temps are dropping pretty low at night, but so far, no hard freeze up here on the hillside. That’s coming though, any night now. The zucchini plant is still trying to grow zucchinis.

Written by louisaenright

October 31, 2021 at 2:43 pm

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Mid October 2021 Update

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Turkey Tracks: October 25, 2021

Mid-October 2021 Update

I spent most of last week outside putting the garden to bed and putting away outdoor things that get stored during the winter.

And yesterday I did the last mow and spent some time blowing off the new crop of fallen leaves to get ready for the crew coming this morning to do the heavy lifting I can’t do—like putting down the snow boardwalk—and the weed whacking I can’t do of trees that sprouted this past year in places where trees getting bigger pose future problems.

And I am still finishing up, but most of what I can do is now done until we have a hard freeze.

On some days I wasn’t too tired in the late afternoon to do another row of quilting on ”Joyful,” the wedding ring quilt designed by Tara Faughan. I used my solid scraps to make it, and I have loved working with all these colors. The binding has been installed and is being sewn down at night and all the threads on the front have now been buried.

I used the Innova attached ruler equipment to quilt ”Joyful,” as I thought it just needed something plain. Along the way, the extra heavy ruler foot arrived, and I installed it. The thicker foot makes working with rulers a lot easier. The quilting is NOT perfect—as using this ruler was another learning curve, but along the way I got better and better at making lines meet and not making rookie mistakes. In any case, the whole effect looks grand, and I’ll let it go at that.

The quilt really needed lines on the diagonal—it would have been easy to do a horizontal grid, but that would not have played well with these blocks. And as longarm quilters know, the longarm machine can only go on a diagonal as far as the quilting space allows. And, with the ruler foot supportive pad installed beneath the quilt, that space gets shortened as the pad bumps up against the rollers front and back. Plus, one has to ”travel” to get to the next horizontal line—so part of my learning curve involved accurate stitching in the ditch—which got better as I went along because I got way more comfortable with the machine itself.

I can’t wait to make this quilt again using a controlled fabric palette. The block is just so much fun to make.

Speaking of fabric palettes, the first month’s fabric for The Color Collective, season 4, is due to arrive in the mail today, and the first pattern designed by Tara Faughnan releases November 1. It’s a really fun quilt, and I look forward to playing with these new blocks. If you want to see the pattern, go to Tara’s Instagram account and take a look. I took a screenshot but don’t think I should use it without her permission. (The Color Collective online class is hosted by Sewtopia and runs for six months with Tara’s designs and one month with guest designer Annabel Lowe Wrigley.) When I have a few of my own blocks on the design wall, I will be able to share those.

Meanwhile, I’m working on the 12-inch block light grey/dark grey/black chimney log cabin project, AND I’m playing with a quilt idea seen in the most recent Simply Modern magazine. More on these projects along the way.

We have rain coming in, and I can use a few rainy days for sewing, weekly inside cleaning/laundry, and some cooking.

Written by louisaenright

October 25, 2021 at 7:48 am

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Some Inspiration

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October 24, 2021

Some Inspiration

Here’s a poem and a picture a friend posted on Facebook. She got it from a site called “Midwives of the Soul.”

“In difficult times, you move forward in small steps.

My grandmother once gave me a tip:

Do what you have to do, but little by little.

Don’t think about the future, or what may happen tomorrow.

Wash the dishes.

Remove the dust.

Write a letter.

Make a soup.

You see?

You are advancing step by step.

Take a step and stop.

Rest a little.

Praise yourself.

Take another step.

Then another.

You won’t notice, but your steps will grow more and more.

And the time will come when you can think about the future without crying.”

– Elena Mikhalkova

(Image of Tasha Tudor, American Illustrator 1915-2008)

Written by louisaenright

October 24, 2021 at 8:40 am

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My Color Collective Season 3 Quilts

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Turkey Tracks: September 6, 2021

My Color Collective Season 3 Quilts

I thought it would be good, for me at least, to review the work I did last year (season 3) in the online class (The Color Collective) hosted by Sewtopia (Amy Newbold) with designer Tara Faughnan (for six months of projects and fabric palettes) and with guest designer Latifah Saafir (for an extra seventh month).

The quilts are more or less in the order of the monthly projects. Tara gives us the pattern and the fabric (there are also helpful videos) and shows us her version of the project—then we have at it. Pretty much all of us make the project differently, and that outpouring of creativity is really fun to see and experience.

If you want to know more about each of my quilts, there are separate blog posts. You can search on the name of the quilt on the right sidebar.

My “Marrakesh”:

My “Pips”:

My “Splice,” and this one differs from Tara’s layout in that I laid out the strips to form that central diamond. I hand quilted this one with 12-weight cotton thread (Sulky).

My “Bokeh”:

Bokeh is a photographic term for the manipulation of the background to make it intentionally fuzzy.

My “Tenderoni”—which I called “Fractures”:

Latifah Saafir was the guest designer for the 7th CC month this year. She spread out her Tenderoni block by using plain squares of the fabric palette to make the Tenderoni blocks stand out—which of course made a lap-size quilt. I wanted to see how the Tenderoni shapes played together up close and I wanted a wall hanging. I hand quilted with 12-weight cotton thread (Sulky).

I made this wall hanging from the leftover “Offcut” quarter circle pieces and hung the two quilts opposite each other on the walls outside my quilt room. This one, too, is hand quilted with 12-weight cotton thread (Sulky).

I didn’t do “Hitch” (an improv project) or “Rex” (an appliqué project) this year. Both projects were very nice; they just landed here when I was really busy. There might come a day…. Both projects offer a lot of room for experimentation and play. These two projects are the only ones I have not made in the three years of the class—not a bad record for this class I think—for me or for Tara Faughnan.

I am so looking forward to Season 4, which starts November 1.

Written by louisaenright

September 6, 2021 at 8:57 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

Absent Without Leave

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Turkey Tracks: May 1, 2021

Absent Without Leave

Hello, hello All!

Clearly I have been absent without leave from this blog.

BUT, I have been SUPER BUSY for the past two weeks—and have accomplished so much.

When the wonderful folks who help me with big outside projects came Monday two weeks ago to take up the winter boardwalk and get out some deck furniture (just enough for me this summer so far) and do some other winter clean-up tasks, I discovered I had a mice infestation in the garage.

Oh. My. God!

There was mice crap everywhere—despite the fact that I trapped 30+ last fall out there. The instigator, I think, was a bag of unsecured grass seed that clearly drew them into the garage. So… It took a solid week, but I completely cleared out the garage, keeping only the things I’ve used in the past 8 years. Everything that needed to go, went: rehomed, recycled, or taken to the dump. (I have a few more big items that will be picked up very soon now.) It took 3 pick-up loads (a really nice friend helped); the minivan FULL loads to the dump; and loads of time cleaning, sorting, culling, and

Now my children will never have to deal with clearing out the garage down the road.

Along the way, my new car came. Those of you who read this blog might recall the Subaru “unintended acceleration” adventure I had last December where I got rid of that car. (The dealer promised to use it for parts.) Then I realized that the Toyota Sienna minivan was really too big for me and now 8.5 years old. To make a long story short, I sold it at CarMax in South Portland on Tuesday and am thrilled with what I got for it and what a nice experience selling to CarMax was. The combined total of $$$ from these two cars knocked off half of the price of the new car: a 2021 RAV4 Prime, which is a plug in hybrid. It is AWESOME, and the right size for me.

I can already see that I could go forever without using any gas given that I do mostly short trips. And yesterday I discovered that if I put the car in the hybrid mode, it recharges the battery itself—up to, I think, 80% on the electric battery. It plugs into a 110v outlet when I do want to fully recharge it. It gets 90mpg while working between the electric and gas modes and 40 miles on the electric motor.

Next I tackled two dry storage spaces on the third floor. All the Christmas stuff has been sorted and most of it rehomed—I only kept special items I thought some of the grandchildren might want some day. Everything kept has been labeled and boxed in plastic bins—not cardboard boxes. While dragging down the many boxes containing items to be rehomed from the third floor—at least one packed with CDs was really heavy—I clearly hurt a muscle in my upper back, so I’ve had to take it easy these past two days. Most of the pain is gone now, but it will take a few more days.

Somewhere in the past few days I mowed for the first time, traded my longarm for a new Innova, almost finished the binding on the log cabin for my niece, put the “Bokeh” quilt on the longarm, and went to bed early as my days were exhausting me.

I’ve never gone so long without sewing for at least several hours a day—and I’ve really missed my sewing projects.

But now I can begin again, knowing I’ve earned my sewing time and my blogging time.

Written by louisaenright

May 6, 2021 at 1:05 pm

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