Friday, June 15, 2018

Well this could get interesting

During my after-dinner garden tour I turned around to find this fine specimen of a skunk having a snack of sunflower seeds under the bird feeder, not six feet away from me.  I tip-toed into the house to grab my camera so that I could get this picture.  You'll understand why I didn't try to get any closer.

I made conversational noises at it with absolutely no effect.  Either it can't see or hear me, or it's too hungry to care about that big bi-pedal thing making those funny noises.  It could also be an escaped pet, as it's legal in Oregon to keep a pet skunk.

When I'm sure it's gone I'll take down the bird feeders.  Skunks are undoubtedly handsome creatures, but I just don't think I need to provide a feeding station for them.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Slightly less boring than sorting the button box, but not by much

As part of my effort to start drawing down my strategic reserve of fabrics and quilt batts I recently decided to re-organize my scrap bin.  I do this every seven or eight years, but until now I never had any clear goals in mind.

This time I had some rules.  I even wrote them up.
The 5 1/2" square rule is based on my plan to use up some small quilt batts that will make up perfectly with 108 5" squares (9 across by 12 down, quarter inch seam allowances.)

The fabrics in this picture, however, failed the "large enough to produce a 5 1/2 inch square" test, so they've been put into their own little box, on the theory that they might come in handy someday for mending (I have a real talent for tearing out the corners of my apron pockets.)

This all reminds me of a lovely book, String Too Short To Be Saved.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Hey! I'm growing here!

A foxglove and an apple tree trying to grow into the same space.

The foxglove is a carefully tended volunteer.  I thought it might like getting a little shade from the apple tree, but there has been a certain amount of bickering about hogging the sun.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018


I'm a fool for just about any member of the dianthus tribe.  I'm also a little stingy with my gardening dollars, so I'd rather spend $3.00 on a packet of seed than $6.00 for a single plant.  The only problem with that strategy is that I seem to be incapable of a.) sowing less than an entire packet of seed and b.)keeping the labels up to snuff.

So my more or less nameless collection of pinks and their carnation cousins is just beginning to bloom.

This red one, below, I do know is Fenbow's Nutmeg Clove Pink.  Several years ago, for reasons I no longer recall, I decided that I would not be able to lead a happy and productive life without having a Fenbow's Nutmeg Clove Pink in my garden.   It took some time to track down seed and of course this variety turned out to be hard to grow, so the first season I ended up with only two plants.  The following season I tried propagating a few cuttings and had pretty good luck, so now I have six plants.  The Fenbow's is a nice, clear red pink, but one really grows them for their amazingly strong clove scent, which regrettably I cannot share with you via photograph.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

The Extrovert

A few days ago I cut a couple of tulips to bring in the house.  Though they're same color, they're different varieties, which became very apparent over the course of a few days.  And although it's a little hard to tell, the demure tulip in the background is horribly embarrassed by its wanton cousin.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Cobweb Houseleeks Have Babies!

Imagine my surprise on finding that the wooly houseleeks I bought last September and left outside all winter have whelped, or whatever it is they do.  Those tiny fuzzy things (I count seven in this picture)  to the right and below the parents are the babies.  They emerged only in the last couple of days.  No, I'm not going to name them.

Monday, March 26, 2018


One weekend I decided to keep the mid-winter doldrums at bay by making a new duvet cover.   I felt very pleased with myself for finally using a fabric I'd had for years, continuing my effort to reduce the size of my fabric stash.

The duvet cover turned out nicely and gave the bedroom a cheery fresh look, but I ended up with some long narrow strips of unbleached muslin left over.  Still feeling thrifty and motivated, I decided that rather than putting these in my scrap bin, I'd get some scraps out of the bin and see what I could do.  The first scraps I came across were from a strawberry print cotton fabric I bought in the early '90s.

This is one of my very favorite fabrics.  How could one not love tiny strawberries and tiny strawberry blossoms and leaves?  Over time, I've made three shirts out of it (two to give away, one for myself) and carefully saved all the scraps.  Over the course of a couple of weekends I pieced the scraps together to yield as many 2 1/2" squares as possible and then made up 4-patch squares with the muslin.  Fifty 4-patch squares wasn't going to get me very far, so I (virtuously) drew again from my stash for some fabric to use for alternating plain squares.  Finally I made a third withdrawal from the National Bank of Fabric for the binding fabric.  The quilt batting was cut from a full size batt that had gotten a little mouse-nibbled some years ago.

By the time I'd finished the quilt, the daffodils were blooming and the doldrums were beginning to fade, though most evenings it's still nice to have a little lap quilt.