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Turkey Tracks: Becca’s Feed Sack Bags: Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle

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Turkey Tracks:  May 16, 2016

Becca’s Feed Sack Bags:  Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle

Becca hit the tri-fecta with this project.

She’s Reusing, Repurposing, and Recycling Feed Bags.

The bags came from Susan McBride and Chris Richmond’s Golden Brook Farm, which is just above me on “the hill.”

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Becca came to the Coastal Quilter’s Monthly All-Day Sit and Sew with feed bags in hand.

“I’m going to make bags,” she said.  What? I thought.  Cool…

And make bags she did:

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Soon she had this one done:

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And I went home with this one:

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Thank you Becca!!

 

PS:  Coastal Quilters:  save your bird food bags for Becca?

 

 

 

Turkey Tracks: Sewing/Knitting Projects Update November 2014

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Turkey Tracks:  November 17, 2014

Sewing/Knitting Projects Update November 2014

Late October (that strange blizzard) and early November have brought a fair amount of inclement weather.  It is snowing off and on today, as a matter of fact.

So, I have been snuggling into a whole array of winter projects.

This big quilt is quilted, and the binding is on.  It is just waiting for me to sew down the binding.  It’s 97 inches square, so it will take some nights of hand sewing.

 

 

 

 

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BUT, I’ve been finishing knitting a white linen shawl at night.  There’s a tale here.  I started this shawl on the J&E Riggin in early September.  I had it completely finished but did not like the tension, so I took it apart and went down a needle size.  I’m much happier with it now, and it’s almost done.  Just a few more nights.

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After linen is knitted, one thoroughly wets it, dries it, and irons it.  In the process, the linen turns soft as butter and very shiny.

Our Coastal Quilters and Georges Valley auction took place last weekend–and look what I bid on and won:

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Gail Galloway Nicholson made this quilt, and Joan Herrick quilted it freehand on her long-arm.

Here’s a closeup:

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It gives me such pleasure to have the work of friends and family in my home.  Everytime I walk past one of these pieces I am reminded of the loved ones involved and of all the wonderful energy that they have put into their work.

You can see that this quilt is so, so happy to live on my coral chair!

I am in the process of making other quilts for this downstairs room.  I need quilts that can be loved, used, and washed–in place of the dog-blanket strategies that live in this sitting room/tv room/den space.  So, here’s a quilt top I’ve just finished that’s going to go on the back of the couch–where Rey Rey likes to hang out so she can see the back door comings and goings:

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Fun, huh?  It’s 85 inches square, and I think I’ll just bind it without adding any borders.  I’ll quilt it when I return from Charleston December 2nd.

Here’s the backing–which is especially nostalgic as grandson Kelly Enright picked it out with me this summer.  He’ll get such a kick out of seeing this quilt with it’s lively backing when he next comes to visit.

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This quilt is made with the 2 1/2-inch strips that I cut up from my stash two summers ago.  I had a HUGE bin filled to the top.  Look now:

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OK, I have a few of the darks and mediums out on the cutting board as I’m using them in another quilt top:

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It’s Bonnie Hunter’s Scrappy Trip Around the World version, and I’m having so much fun putting together various sets of 6 strips for each block (at 16 inches).  Here’s two of the blocks I made yesterday:

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I’ve seen so many variants of this quilt now, and I can’t wait to see how mine develops.  I’m sure the blocks will get moved over and over again until I’m happy with the results.

My leader/ender project now is a low-contrast quilt made with a focus fabric and 2 1/2-inch light and dark blue blocks.  I’m mixing the focus fabric into the four-patch/eight-patch blocks.

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Here’s what’s forming on the design wall–in a dark corner of the wall.  I’m playing with creating a center of 8 pieced blocks surrounding one of the focus fabric squares.  I don’t know how this will work out…   I’m just playing.  I may play with some single 4-patch blocks surrounded with sashings of the focus fabric as well.  Or, use another fabric that co-ordinates.  Who knows?  That’s what play is all about…

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I made a big soup yesterday so was able to quilt until I got hungry.  AND, I’ll freeze some of it to have on the night I return.  The meat is from the turkey I roasted earlier in the year–a turkey from last Thanksgiving that came from my neighbors:  Susan McBride and Chris Richmond of Golden Brook Farm.  Sometime last summer I defrosted the turkey, cut it up, and roasted it.  I froze one-half of the turkey breast and am just now using it.

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I used a chicken bone-broth base (of course), the turkey, and what I had on hand:  frozen tomatoes from the summer, onions, carrots, celery, fresh parsley, rutabaga, some brown rice, and the Indian spices (cumin, coriander, a bit of cinnamon, tumeric).  It’s super delicious!!

My fabrics for Bonnie Hunter’s Mystery Quilt 2014–Grand Illusion–are ironed and ready to go!  I’ll get the first clue the day after Thanksgiving, but will not be able to start it until I get home.  But, I’m ready!

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I leave for Charleston, SC, this Thursday, for the Thanksgiving holidays with my family, and, as always, posting to the blog with the ipad is always chancy–but I’ll take lots of pictures and will post when I get home if all else fails!

 

Turkey Tracks: CSA Bounty

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Turkey Tracks:  July 19, 2014

CSA Bounty

 

My CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) is Hope’s Edge, in Hope, Maine.

My pickup is on Friday, which was  yesterday.

Friend Giovanna McCarthy picked up for me as I spent the day on Vinalhaven Island (an hour ferry’s ride away) with my book club.

So, I came home to two large sacks in the garage refrigerator that include a gorgeous fennel bulb, lots of greens, peas, spring onions, herbs, broccoli, and on and on.

It was…a haul.

So, I spent this morning processing food.

Jennifer McGruther of THE NOURISHED KITCHEN in a recent blog post noted that when she has a glut of greens, she dries them in the dehydrator and pulverizes them to green dust in her food processor and stores them in jars.  She adds the “green dust” to soups and stews at will.  I really liked that idea.  (Thanks, Jennifer!)

So, my greens are upstairs drying out as we speak.  AHA!  It’s the inaugural summer use of the dehydrator, which runs day and night in August and September.  I took the lid off so you can see.  I’m drying kale and beet greens.

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I used the chard leaves and a lot of the CSA produce in a summer soup–whose base is a VERY rich turkey bone broth.  I wrangled my 23-pound Thanksgiving turkey for two whole days this week, which freed up needed freezer space and produced a lot of cooked meat.  (The cooked drumsticks I refroze and will use them to build more bone broth AND some delicious dark meat for a soup/stew.)  The turkey came from Golden Brook Farm, owned by Susan McBride and Chris Richmond.

Here’s the soup.  I ate it for lunch, and it was so delicious.  It has the turkey bone broth, garlic scapes, onions, carrots, the fennel bulb, wintered-over potatoes, a handful of small broccoli crowns from the garden, celery, dried cherry tomatoes from last summer, fresh herbs–and that’s all I can remember.  I stir the chard leaves in at the last minute.  And I used the turkey fat on top of the jars of broth to sauté the veggies.  The only thing from “away” was the celery.

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Jennifer McGruther in THE NOURISHED KITCHEN has a terrific recipe (or so it looks) for fermenting chard stems.  So, I tried it, but added, also, the beet green stems to fill out the jar.  She uses a savory pickling mixture and has what looks to be a lovely combination in the book.  I didn’t have all the spices at the seed/whole level, so fell back on a pickling mixture I already had.

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In one of the fermented mixtures I’m eating now–that I put up last fall–I put in some whole tatsoi/baby bokchoi leaves with their stems.  They are delicious–the stems are crunchy and lovely, so I have no doubt that these stems I did today will be fun.

Thanks, again, Jennifer.

Quilting Information: Sew Me A Song, Etsy store

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Quilting Information:  January 4, 2014

Sew Me A Song

Becca Babb-Brott’s Etsy Store

I love the connections in a small community.

Neighbor Susan McBride of Golden Brook Farm told me her friend Becca Babb-Brott, who lives on a nearby street where other people I know live, has an Etsy Store of quilting fabrics.

Here’s the url she sent:   http://www.etsy.com/shop/sewmeasong.  (I can’t get this url to “take,” so you may have to copy and paste it into your search engine.)

I took a look at it and loved how Becca is putting together fabrics.  In particular, I loved her unusual neutrals–which can be hard to find.  I, for instance, have looked for neutrals in five (aren’t we lucky) of our local quilt shops.

As an official  Bonnie Hunter groupie, I need lots of neutrals–especially for the quilts I have planned for this year.  Bonnie’s world divides quilting fabrics into neutrals (nothing darker than a brown paper bag) and colors.

What’s also interesting about Sew Me A Song is Becca’s collection of contemporary and Japanese fabrics.  And she has since told me that she is a “modern” quilter. 

Take a look?

Becca is putting together a collection of neutrals for me.  And I look forward to meeting her next week some time.

Thanks, Becca!

Turkey Tracks: September Update

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Turkey Tracks:  September 22, 2014

September Update

Late August and ALL of September are really busy months for me in Maine.

First of all, son Bryan often comes for his birthday, which is September 11th.  Bryan and Corinne like to come visiting in the early fall as most of the tourists have gone home or are taking a breather before the fall foliage gets rolling.  And, it’s cooler.

Second, in Maine, September is the red month (tomatoes), not July, as is true for regions south of us.  Plus, the gardens are cranking out food at alarming rates.  So I am busy blanching, roasting, drying, lacto-fermenting, and generally reveling in all the bounty of our earth in Maine.

Third, MOFGA, the Maine Organic Farmers and Growers Association fair happens in the third weekend of September.  This fair, also known as the Common Ground Fair, is one of my most favorite things to attend all year.

Fourth, Coastal Quilters starts its new year in September.  I agreed to be President this year, so I’ve had a fair amount of organizing and reviewing to do to get back up to speed.  We had a terrific organizational meeting September 14th, and we’ll have a really good year this year I think.

Fifth, I start the process of putting the yard to bed for the winter.  The flower pots are played out.  The wind chimes have to be taken down.  The hummers are gone.  The porch furniture and kayaks have to be stored.  The chickens have to be winterized.  And, the garden put to bed with the new garlic planted for next year.  I have LOVED having that garden fenced all this summer–especially since I never was able to keep the hens I have now inside their pen.

So….I will do some separate entries on some of these events.  But I will leave you with some fun pictures taken more or less in late August/early September.

Susan McBride of Golden Brook Farm grew these awesome cherry tomatoes.  I experimented with drying these to see which ones were the best.  Hands down, the purple heritage cherry tomato was.  They are like eating candy–and I know I will enjoy having them on hand all winter when the snow is flying.  That bag of highly colored bits is corn from Margaret Rauenhorst and Ronald VanHeeswijk.  I’m going to grind it and make cornbread with it any day now.

Golden Brook cherries

I planted random squash seeds in the blue tubs this year.  One is growing a Hubbard Squash–which delights me so much.  I will go ahead and collect the squashes as soon as it stops raining and put them into the garage to “sugar off” for a bit.  They do better when they have a bit of time to cure.  The Blue Hubbard squash can get HUGE–and is a really great all-purpose squash.  It’s delicious to eat and makes great “squash” pie too.

Hubbard Squash

Here is a typical Hope’s Edge pick-up day–with Giovanna McCarthy.  We have sacks of food and flowers!

Hope's Edge Flowers and Food

I found this picture on John’s computer before we retired it.  It’s one of my very favorites.  He really had such a great eye for a good picture.  LIkely I’ll make some cards from this picture…

Hope's Edge

Turkey Tracks: Dehydrator Days

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Turkey Tracks:  August 22, 2013

Dehydrator Days

 

The hum of the food dehydrator is a constant sound in my kitchen these days.

The earth and the vegetable gardens are pouring forth the most amazing bounty.

I dried the mushrooms shown in an earlier post.  They filled all the trays of the dehydrator.

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But I also am drying cherry tomatoes to use in salads all year around.  These little nuggets are as sweet as candy and are so appreciated in the white cold of winter.  They don’t taste like any bought dried tomato you’ve ever eaten.

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My garden is producing a healthy crop of Sun Golds.  Hope’s Edge, my CSA, will provide some cherry tomatoes to dry.  And Susan McBride’s Golden Brook Farm, just up the hill from me, has luscious cherry tomatoes.

I also have discovered that drying zucchini–and even excess cucumbers–is a great way to preserve them.  Grating and freezing zucchini does not work so well.  The flesh gets slimy and bitter after a bit of time.  But the dried disks reconstitute beautifully if thrown into a soup or stew about five minutes before it is done.  Cut the BIG zukes into smaller pieces…

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I am also blanching and freezing the beans that are coming in like crazy now.  It’s easy enough to snap them, rinse them, drop them into boiling water for a few minutes (don’t let them get too cooked), put them into a baggie, and freeze them.

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I picked up fresh blueberries from Hope’s Edge last week.   So I made jam from the uneaten and frozen berries from last summer.

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Blueberry jam is easier than blackberry jam since you don’t have to pick them or deseed them.  Otherwise, the process is much the same.  I do grate the rind of one lemon into the pot–and add the juice.  Lemon perks up the blueberry flavor.  Blueberry jam needs a bit more sugar than the blackberries as the blueberries don’t have as much pectin.  This jam is a bit looser as a result, but that’s ok.  It’s great over ice cream, in smoothies, over pancakes, and so forth–and the flavor is lovely.  It tends to get stiffer in the cold of the refrigerator.

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One of the deep pleasures of my life is harvesting and preserving the food that the earth offers us.  It is the most satisfying feeling to know that I have these “assets” in my pantry to be enjoyed all winter and into the long Maine spring when we are so hungry for fresh greens.

But, let’s face it.  Feeding people really good food–and eating it myself–is one of the things that I most like to do.

Turkey Tracks: Golden Brook Farm

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Turkey Tracks:  May 20, 2013

Golden Brook Farm

Old friend and former neighbor Gina Caceci visited last weekend, and I think we talked nonstop for three days.  It was so good to see her.

One of the things we did was to go up Howe Hill to Golden Brook Farm to get some spring greens–which are filling Susan McBride Richmond’s hoop houses now.

These spring greens are the best spring tonic I know.

Susan and her husband Chris added two more BIG hoop houses this year, and no one is more delighted than me.  I have so loved watching Susan and Chris, little by little, work on their house, their barns, and their land.  Truly, Golden Brook Farm is a real farm, selling beautiful produce, eggs, and seasonal turkeys.

Here are two of the four hoop houses.  Eliot Coleman of Maine pioneered the ability to grow food year round in Maine’s winter in these hoop houses.  That book is, I think, FOUR SEASONS GARDENING.  You can’t sprout seed in the darkest winter months, but you can plant fall crops and harvest and eat them all winter long–with the help of interior coverings.  The back hoop house is the newest one and was installed just a few weeks ago.

Golden Brook Farm hoop houses

Here’s what the inside of a working hoop house can look like.

Inside Susan's Hoop House

Look at this lush planting of pea shoots–a favorite spring green in Maine:

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Or, this one–a kind of cabbage:

Hoop House Planting Bed 2

Here’s Susan herself.

Susan McBride Richmond

One day last summer I walked into one of these hoop houses that was filled with ripe tomatoes, basil, and other herbs.  I have remembered the rich heady smell for all this past long winter.  Warmed ripe tomatoes, basil, and herbs…  What a treat.

I planted Sun Gold cherry tomatoes myself and augmented with cherry tomatoes from Susan’s crop.  I cut them in half and dry them and have them all winter for salads or just to eat.  They’re so sweet they taste like chewy candy.

Think what you might be able to do in YOUR yard with even a much smaller hoop house.  They come in all sizes, and some are on sliders so they can be moved to new dirt while the old dirt recovers.  You can often find used ones.

Here’s a picture of the back side of the forsythia hedge that lines the road outside the farm.  It’s spectacular, even from the back side.  Forsythia in Maine lasts for weeks and glows against the sky or with the light on it.  We know spring has truly come when the forsythia blooms.

Forsythia Hedge