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What is That Insect?

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June 24, 2020

What is That Insect?

The other day I was turning on the hose water up next to the house when I saw a VERY STRANGE insect flying from flower to flower in the nearby flower bed. It had a very long proboscis and was busily harvesting nectar.

What on earth? It was a little over an inch long, with about a wingspan of about 1 1/2 inches as well. The body had a yellow patch near the tail area. It wasn’t, of course, a hummingbird or the moth that can be mistaken for one. The proboscis was…long.

Was it some sort of bee? Or wasp?

No. A bit of quick research showed it to be a Bombylius Major FLY.

They don’t bite, sting, or spread disease. They are harmless to humans. But they are a “parasite bee mimic fly.” They do play a role in pollination. They are parasitic as they do desposit eggs in bee and wasp nests. After hatching, the larvae feed on the bee or wasp grubs.

I should have been an entomologist or a zoologist.

Here’s a link to more information where you can see images of this very interesting FLY:


Written by louisaenright

June 24, 2020 at 9:24 am

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Turkey Tracks: Lamb Shanks

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May 10, 2020

Lamb Shanks

I love lamb.

Over time, I’ve discovered one either loves lamb or one doesn’t. There does not seem to be much of a middle ground. Maybe how one relates to lamb depends upon exposure during childhood? In some areas of the country, lamb isn’t very common. Or wasn’t, until recent decades. And if places where lamb hasn’t been common, it can be expensive.

I buy a whole, local lamb each fall for my freezers. “Lamb” isn’t a small baby, but an animal that is fully grown for 9 or 10 months.

The shanks are, in parts of the country where lamb is raised, fairly inexpensive. Each holds a good amount of meat, and the bones add good ingredients to the resulting stew.

One cooks lamb shanks (or beef short ribs) as I described in earlier posts: brown in some fat, add water, herbs, and savories; bring to a boil; cover; and cook in the oven at about 350 degrees for about an hour. Then add desired veggie chunks, more spices, etc., for at least another 30 to 40 minutes. In that first cooking, make it long enough to see that the meat is now fairly tender—which can vary according to the kind of covered pot you are using. A cast iron/enameled pot, for instance, will cook the meat faster.

Here’s my first dinner—I cooked the large Russet potato right in the pot.

Here’s my second dinner—I added more of the broth to the meal and topped the dish with a bit of REAL sour cream (that does not have additives).

Along the way, I roasted some chicken drumsticks to have for a salad lunch. Roasting drumsticks only takes about 45 minutes. I wish I could take a picture of the way my house smells when something delicious is cooking in the oven.

The local market had some beautiful lamb stew meat, so I bought a package, browned the meat, and added it and some raw sliced cabbage to what was left of my lamb shank broth. Here it starts to cook a soup/stew.

I added frozen corn to the soup/stew just before serving.

I topped with the REAL sour cream and some fresh green onions. Oh my goodness: this dish was absolutely delicious.

This last mixture provided 4 or 5 other servings for lunch or dinner. And I ate each one with the added green onions and sour cream!

I hope this post shows you how you can think about what you are cooking in ways that allow you to be creative with what you have on hand in your kitchen AND to diminish the workload AND to get more bang out of your food bucks.

Written by louisaenright

May 10, 2020 at 9:32 am

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Books: The Scent Keeper, Erica Bauermeister

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The Scent Keeper

Erica Bauermeister

I really enjoyed this book.

It’s lyrical, magical, evocative—altogether a nice read.


Written by louisaenright

May 7, 2020 at 12:33 pm

Turkey Tracks: And On We Go Through Pandemic Days

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Turkey Tracks: April 12, 2020

Life Moves On…

I’m ok.

I hope you all are ok too.

I had “something” that knocked me back for about 10 days, but never developed beyond extreme fatigue and, sometimes, a dull headache. Gradually my energy returned, though I still get tired off and on, and a nap feels good then. I had one of those yesterday.

On Wednesday night and all day Thursday we had a heavy wet snow here that tore up trees and power lines. On Friday, this area looked like a war zone. Again, my generator leapt into the power abyss and ran sturdily for two days and two nights. The worst loss was no internet for an entire day. Folks, we are addicted, aren’t we?

I got about 7 to 9 inches up here on the hill. But by today, Sunday, the spring bulbs are emerging through the snow.

And today, AC and I visited the beach in what was a glorious Easter Sunday. He ran and ran and swam and swam and washed his ball in the water. People waved and enjoyed the antics of the dogs. There was a female rat terrier in the mix. AC and I both fell in love. I could feel the sun warm on my back—and I only wore a wool sweater for the first time this spring.

I finished the knit dress, and it fits well. I feel like I did a really good job on this dress. The learning curve is going down fast. On to the expensive fabric next.

When I was arranging the dress, AC put his yellow next to it. He’s always hopeful. This ball is carried EVERYWHERE we go inside the house—and outside if I don’t stop him.

I’m sewing the Gumdrop rows together now. (Tara Faughnan, from The Color Collective online class.) I don’t know yet how I will stagger the rows.

I have no idea why I started this quilt, but there is something about it that drives me on. It is so far out of my comfort zone, I can’t even…

And then there are some masks…

I’ve tried three different ones—and am not comfortable in any of them, truth to tell. They fog up my glasses, and I feel like someone with a plastic bag over their head and breathing in their own exhaled air, which makes me feel dizzy. The one with elastic ties interferes with my hearing aids, and I worry that I’ll lose one. This one is the MOST uncomfortable, and I thought it would be the best. I’ll try again, as the ties work, and the pipe cleaner nose guard works, but it’s too long I think.

I’ve almost finished the March Sugaridoo QAL row(s). (I’m making two each month—one in the solids and one in Cotton+Steel fabrics I seem to have acquired.) This March row is a braid, which is always fun.

I’ve been deep cleaning as my energy has returned and have culled lots of “stuff” that will be rehomed. That feels good. There is just too much “stuff” in this house. It is hard to know what to get rid of and what to hold on to in case grandchildren setting up houses need “stuff.” As nothing can be dropped off anywhere right now, I’ve put it all on the garage steps in boxes and bags.

I’m getting used to the block editor on WordPress now. It is easier, but like all new things, one needs to slow down to master the “new.”

Written by louisaenright

April 12, 2020 at 2:41 pm

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Turkey Tracks: Self-Distancing Days

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Turkey Tracks:  March 28, 2020

Self-Distancing Days

I hope this finds you all doing well.

I am doing fine.  Here are some recent pics from recent days.

I finished these two knit tops—the fabric was bought last spring and has been sitting in the garment pile.  The brown sweater is the Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater, version 2.  I made several tops from an earlier Simplicity pattern, 8529, that is this same idea.  Sew House, though, incorporated some really nice finishing touches, which makes the “boat” top much nicer.  The sleeve is more sleek in that it does not have a cuff.  BUT, the brown version was not as long as the Simplicity, and I liked that longer length.  So, I made the blue version longer and dramatically longer in the back.  It fits like a dream.

This knit dress is next in line and ready to go.  It’s the Caroline Out and About Knit dress from Sew Caroline.  My first version was made in a grey jersey—and I did some altering where the bodice meets the skirt.  I’ve incorporated that knowledge into the pattern—along with raising the location of the pockets.  We’ll see how this goes.  I love the grey dress, so suspect I’ll love this one too.

If the above project goes well, then I’ll cut into this EXPENSIVE organic cotton and repeat the dress there.

Finishing the olive knit dress will leave one more garment to make.  A summer rayon batik dress.  Then I WILL BE CAUGHT UP on purchased garment fabrics.  I am wondering if I can get a summer knit top with leftovers from the brown or blue strips.  But…that will be play.

Here are quilts all ready to be quilted.  The box of thread is Wonderfil’s GalMour, which is a rayon metallic thread that should just be wonderful in the top quilt, Galactic.  I started down that path after seeing what this quilt’s designer used—Tara Faughnan for The Color Collective.

Here’s the design wall at the moment.  The right hand project is Gudrun Erla’s quilt project, Elvira.  I’ve never made a quilt with BIG pieces of fabric, and I have no idea if I will like or dislike or finish this one.  There is something catchy about it though, and it is certainly a stash buster.  Bonnie Hunter did a version which you can see on her blog.  Getting the diagonal line installed was easy after all the 60 degree long cabin blocks I’ve been making with The Color Collective projects, as in the smaller ones on the left of the design wall.  The middle project is “Gumdrops” from The Color Collective, an English Paper Piecing project.



AC and I have been out every day.  Here are some recent videos of a walk in some nearby woods.  Listen for the wind in the trees—it was just roaring yesterday.


Turkey Tracks: “Rolling Stars” Quilt

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Turkey Tracks:  February 11, 2020

“Rolling Stars” Quilt

It’s done!

This quilt basically copies Tara Faughnan’s “Small World” design, which is the first project of Season 2 of The Color Collective, hosted by Amy Newbold’s Sewtopia.

I fell in love with this design the moment I saw it. AND, it’s made with the freezer paper method, which I really like to use.

To remind, each month Tara Faughnan gives us a new design AND a 12-piece Bella color palette from which to make the design.  I added the darker, fern green, as I had some on hand and felt the need of green.  Tara also suggests an additional 12 color Kona choices one could add, and the brighter red/orange was in that secondary set of colors.

I put a hanging sleeve on this quilt, as it really wants to hang.  But I don’t have another logical spot in my house at the moment, having already hung a few of these Color Collective projects.

I quilted on my domestic with a 1-inch straight line pattern.  I did not want to take anything away from the quilt pattern so kept it simple.

The backing is “Confetti” from the Ruby Star Society, and I liked the soft look of it for the backing.

These “stars” really do roll!

Thank you, The Color Collective.

I’m so happy you are planning on doing SEASON 3.

Turkey Tracks: “Wild and Goosey” Quilt

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Turkey Tracks:  January 12, 2020

Wild and Goosey Quilt

She’s FINALLY done.

This one has been YEARS in the making.

Bonnie Hunter designed the foundation pieced block-which is 1/4 of the block arrangement I chose.  When combined with 3 other blocks and some inner sashings, you get what I have below.  I then used 3-inch wider sashings and a 9-patch to surround each block.  Friend Betsy Maislen suggested the low-volume border, and I added in narrow strips of the grey randomly as I went along.  This project is all scrappy, of course.

I quilted with a light grey thread and bound with a light grey solid.  The pantograph is Anne Bright’s 12-inch Simple Feathers pattern, which is a favorite of mine to lay down a curved, overall design that does not intrude.

I love, love, love the backing.  Betsy Maislen brought this one in to my life as well, and I bought enough to have for a backing down the road.

The block is very effective and dramatic, but it takes me (at least) a long time to make one of them.  Still, I love them, so the effort was worth it.

Turkey Tracks: My Turn For The Lions Dinner Committee

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Turkey Tracks:  January 9, 2020

My Turn For The Lions Dinner Committee

The Camden Maine Lions Club meets twice a month, first and third Tuesday night.

We share a meal together before our business meeting.

Members are assigned to dinner committees, and the rotation is that each committee sets up and cooks for everyone about three times a year.  This past Tuesday it was my turn to help cook.

I made a big salad to go with the chicken pot pies and biscuits that another Lions member (Cindy Wandell) made.  This was a big meeting as we were hosting the families of the sixth grade Peace Poster contest winners, so I made A LOT of salad and two Mason jars of HEALTHY dressing.


I used a lettuce mix and layered in steamed broccoli, sliced sweet bell peppers (yellow, orange, and red), cucumbers, slivered carrots, slice radishes, a scattering of dried sweet cranberries, and red onion slivers.

The dressing was olive oil, red wine vinegar, maple syrup, herbs, lime juice, and drops of Young Living essential oils (tangerine, lemon, lime, and orange).  It was delicious!  Commercial dressings are chemical brews with fake flavorings and bad, bad oils.  I won’t eat them.

Here’s our meal.

Other dinner committee members made a HOST of gorgeous pies and supplied whip cream and vanilla ice cream for toppings.


It was a very nice evening, and as always for me, there is a lot of gratification in doing something for other people that is healthy and life-giving.  The Lion community means a lot to me.

Written by louisaenright

January 9, 2020 at 9:35 am

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Turkey Tracks: A Favorite Tool

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Turkey Tracks:  January 4, 2020

A Favorite Tool

I’ve used this tool for almost my whole quilting life—over 20 years now.

It holds 10 THREADED needles.

I started with one that held short hand-quilting needles.  But now it gets used for long, milliner size 11 needles that are set up for binding.  Friend Linda Satkowski gave me a second tool, so I’d have 20 threaded needles all ready to go for a binding session.  And a recent conversation with her surfaced the need for having one of these set up for EPP projects, for instance, so one would not have to remove thread from unused needles for a different project.

The tool has a clear plastic cover which, right now, it is sitting on.  It is from Clover (625 Dome Threaded Needle Case) and priced under $10.  Back in the day they were $5.  You insert a threaded needle, slide the thread just below the needle head into the slit on the side of the dome and twirl the dome around to wrap the thread around the inside of the dome.  I’ve never had one tangle, but I do have a friend who tangled one and had to take it apart and start over.

I bind quilts at night while watching tv.  And I put a pillow on my lap to bring the project higher up than my lap—which helps a lot with neck and hand strain.

And these days, I have a boyfriend who keeps my right leg warm!

If you hand sew a lot, I suggest you get two of these domes.

Written by louisaenright

January 4, 2020 at 9:41 am

Turkey Tracks: Done and Hung: Radiating Log Cabin

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Turkey Tracks:  January 1, 2020

Done and Hung:  Radiating Log Cabin

Happy New Year 2020 Everyone!

I finished this quilt last night and hung it this morning.  That’s always a production—to get the rod leveled properly—but all went smoothly today.

This block is the “Radiating Log Cabin” designed by Tara Faughnan for Season 1 of The Color Collective, hosted by Amy Newbold’s Sewtopia.  Tara curates a set of solid fabrics for each project; how one combines colors is up to each individual making the block.

I love this quilt!  The block is such a handsome block.

The camera is distorting the rod angle below.  I just checked.  Everything is level in the room.

I hand quilted with size 8 perle cotton—with colors matched to fabric.

The making of this quilt completes all the projects from The Color Collective Season 1.  I did a recent blog post on the six projects I made.

I have so, so enjoyed this journey and am enjoying season 2 and am already a month behind.  LOL.

Thanks you Tara and Amy!

Written by louisaenright

January 1, 2020 at 12:45 pm