Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Something is Eating the Barn!

It's not termites.
It's not carpenter bees.

But something is definitely chowing down on the Banty Shanty.

We need an exterminator.


Friday, March 27, 2009

As the Coop Turns - Chicken Gossip

Sammie: Did you hear the news?

Beth: No, what news?

Sammie: I heard that old Blackbeard is shooting blanks.

Beth: *GASP* Oooh really?

(panning the camera to the other side of the barnlot)

Bertha: Yeah, I heard the humans had to throw almost all his eggs out. They're no good.

Bessie: Well now ain't that somthin'!

Bertha: Yep, seems all that fancy dancing and prancing he does is all for show.

Bessie: Oh my!

Little did they know Blackbeard was eavesdropping...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Old Lady in the Mirror

I don't know who that old lady in the mirror is. Where did she come from? It can't be me. When I close my eyes and think of myself this is what I look like. In fact, I think this 1970 something photo is the essence of me.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Spools 'N Sprouts

It's been one of those days. I nearly left the milk container in the cupboard where the glasses are. I walked around with one shoe on for a while before I finally thought to myself, ya know something doesn't seem quite right. So I'm going to put a disclaimer on this post right from the get go. It ain't gonna make any sense folks.

Look! Salad. Yum.

I've been busy planting seeds. The Romaine lettuce is already sprouting. The Buttercrunch is lagging behind along with my Early Girl, Big Boy and Roma tomatoes. When we attended the Indiana Heritage Quilt Show a few weeks ago I told you about the Wylie House Museum. It just so happened while we were there they were having an heirloom seed sale. It's hard to believe but I spent more money on seeds that day than I did quilting stuff. I've been planning to restore the gardens with heirlooms, but didn't want to spend the big bucks for potted plants. I believe the seeds and I were meant to be together that day. I've got them started in Old Mrs. Kurtz' clay pots I found in the barn. Some annuals, some perennials and a few veggies. I think she'd be pleased.

Back in Sheville the spool blocks on my design wall are breeding like rabbits. I'll be able to sew them into rows soon.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Folk Art Wool Applique

In celebration of National Quilting Day I ventured into the big city to visit my favorite quilt shop, Quilts Plus, in search of woolens. I love their color selection and knew it would be the perfect place to find the pieces I would need for this pattern I picked up a few years ago but haven't started yet. Time just flies by anymore doesn't it?

While I was there I noticed their wool Block of the Month for this year and stuffed the blocks and pattern in my shopping bag in nanoseconds. It's GORGEOUS! I had to have it. The pattern is Fit to Frame: Pattern Six by Lori Smith. The finished piece will measure only 18" x 24".

I came straight home and started cutting out the pieces. I already have the first three blocks all cut and basted and ready for stitching. I can tell I'm going to love this when I'm done.

So that got me to thinking, I should check out her website to see if she might have any other must haves... *GASP*! Be still my heart. I'm going to need an intervention.

Friday, March 20, 2009

As The Coop Turns

Scenes from last week...Big Bertha Brahma was at the spa getting a beauty treatment after being assaulted. Betty Lou was in the hospital recovering from her eating disorder. Beth had disappeared into thin air and babies were being made in the laboratory.

This week's episode begins with poor Betty Lou, God rest her soul. While in the hospital she picked up one of those secondary infections and her compromised immune system was unable to handle the strain. She was laid to rest in the barn lot near the old broiler coop.

Big Bertha Brahma recovered amazingly well and her feathers started growing back in. She returned to the coop refreshed and delighted to see all her old friends. Three hours later she was removed and returned to the spa even more bald than the first time. It seems the small pin feathers hadn't grown in enough to avoid notice.

Another week at the spa and she once again returned home. She was looking forward to getting back to work scratching for bugs. A short while later the security guard checked in on her and was horrified to find a blood soaked perch inside the coop. The guard quickly scanned the crowd and noticed Bertha's feathers bleeding. She was lucky it was just the feather and not her flesh. This time the guard called the police and filed a complaint.

The crime scene investigators were unable to find any DNA evidence left behind by the culprit. So the detectives were forced to stake out the crime scene for repeat offenders. They quickly nailed Pecking Polly and threw her into solitary confinement.

While being observed for mental defects the psychologist noted that she was behaving rather oddly. Not getting up and moving around, nary a wood shaving out of place in the cell. A second opinion confirmed that Pecking Polly was broody and was indeed trying to hatch a golf ball. Since her fate had not yet been determined, the Judge ruled that she could serve the community well by staying in her cell and hatching some real eggs.

She's taking her restitution job very, very seriously.

Interviewer: Do you have anything to say for yourself Polly?

Polly: "Step away from the nest and nobody gets hurt."

Stay tuned for the next episode of As The Coop Turns when Beth is spotted sunbathing...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

We've Got the Fever

Froggie went a courtin' and he did ride, uh-huh. Spring is in the air here at Frog Hollow Farm. Yep, I'm thinking about renaming this old homestead. Frog Hollow Farm. I like it. It suits the place considering the frog croaking coming from the hollow back in the woods is so stinkin' loud you can't hear yourself think.

The frogs aren't the only ones with Spring Fever. Nope, I've got it bad. I'm making lists. We've got lots to do around here. There's been no rest for anyone. The windows needed washing and I just happen to have an overwhelming fear of falling. So that left the Engineer to climb all the way up there to tackle the second and third floors. He's a good boy like that.

I sent the Kid out to play the worlds largest game of pick-up-sticks. He didn't find it very entertaining until we set the pile on fire. Then it was at least tolerable. Poor thing doesn't realize there's about another day and a half worth of limb picking up left to do.

While they were doing that I started the task of hauling all of Mother Nature's mulch out of the flower beds. You can see by the picture that there's nothing between us and the Rocky Mountains to stop the wind out here on the prairie. Raking leaves in the fall is a lot like bailing water out of a leaking rowboat so I just wait 'til spring. Even with the guy's help it will take me about three full days to clean out all the flower beds and we'll end up with a pile the size of a pickup truck.

I've also been scrubbing a million little pots to start a million little seeds. I'll tell ya more about that later.

Because I want to tell you about the most most important thing we've been working on this week. We've been making babies!

No, no, no. This is a family friendly blog. Get your minds out of the gutter people.

I set eggs in the incubator!

With any luck in about 21 days Old One Eyed Calico Jack and Blackbeard will be passing out little chicken size cigars.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Meeting With the Tin Man

This month's blacksmith association meeting was not held at their usual time and place. Instead they met at restaurant called The Front Porch where they tell me you can get a pile of eggs, biscuits and gravy that even The Engineer can't put away for a measly $4.95. Sounds like my kind of place doesn't it? I don't usually go. I don't want to cramp the men's style. But if they're going to continue to eat the way they do I think I'm just going to have to attend more often. Why should I be the only one with cramps?

After polishing off what they could of the hearty breakfast they all headed out for the home of The Tin Man. He had everything well prepared and planned out for the guys to learn the art of Tinsmithing.
I can't fill you in on all the details because I wasn't there. But based on the pictures The Engineer took, I'd say it looks like you need to mark your pattern first.

Then use some kind of thingy to punch the holes...

It takes a lot of concentration to get all the way around.

Don't they all look focused?

When cutting the metal it helps to screw up your mouth like this...

Then there's some bending and pounding and heaven only knows what they're talking about. They are a bunch of men after all.

And eventually you end up with something like this.

Complete with a handle to bring it home to your proud momma.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Some Things I Love

Life's been a little busy around here this week. I'm not even sure where to begin. Let's see, oh yeah, the quilt show. Last Saturday the engineer was nice enough to join me in attending the Indiana Heritage Quilt Show. Where I was awestruck by the beauty of this little number.

It won the Exemplary Workmanship Hand Quilted category and as far as I'm concerned is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. Linda Roy of Knoxville Tennessee put so much detail into this piece you have to gaze at it for a very long time to take it all in. As did most of the quilts in this show. I loved it.

I didn't buy much but I did have to come home with a little kit from Back Door Quilts to make this vintage pincushion. I hated chasing my cushion all over my desk. This one's not going anywhere. It's perfect. I love it.

The whole town of Bloomington was involved in the show. The history center featured Red & Green Study Quilts from the American Quilt Study Group. I'm adding one of these to my to do list. I loved them.

And the Wylie House Museum was a beautiful old building and had lots of antique quilts on display. I think I'll make one like this someday soon. I love it.

Back home in Sheville the engineer finished making the quilt shelf I wanted and it's up and displaying the quilt I just finished. I love it.

I also received my coneflower in the mail from Paul's Metal Petals. Now I can start using those large cones of thread in style. I love it!

It's time to take my sewing machine in for service. I had an old Brother machine that I thought I could use as a backup until I realized it ate thread for dinner. It would cost more to repair it than to buy a new one. So that's what I did, I traded it in on a new little Janome Jem. It fits well enough into the table to use while my other machine is gone and it's perfect for taking to class or retreats. I LOVE, love, love it!

And I've been using it to work on Milah's challenge quilt. She sent me and three others one of these Beatrix Potter panels and we all are to make a quilt with it. Then we'll all show our work on our blogs on Easter. I can't wait to see what every one else comes up with. So far I'm pleased with the way mine is turning out. So I guess you could say I'm loving it, too.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

She's Gonna Make it After All

Am I dating myself by using a Mary Tyler Moore title? Am I really old enough to remember that theme song? Surely not. My new bifocals I picked up today beg to differ, but I digress...

I have chickens on my back porch again. Two of 'em. Big Bertha Brahma, one of the fat-bottom girls, was getting her new little feathers picked out as fast as she could grow them. She's now getting a week long private spa treatment in the brooder. I was trying to catch a friend to bring in with her when I noticed Betty Lou Brahma. She was nearly asleep standing up while all the others were sounding the intruder alarm and running amok. When I picked her up I realized she was skinny as a rail under all those feathers. And she had lost all the color in her face.

I brought her inside and gave her a closer inspection and determined she was knocking on heaven's door. I didn't think she would make it through the night. But she did. Then the next morning I realized that she hadn't emptied her crop over night. What's that you say? You don't know what a crop is? Oh, yeah, I forget ya'll aren't chicken obsessed like me. Well, a crop is a little storage space in the chicken's throat where they store food before it gets passed on to the gizzard. The gizzard is basically the equivalent to our stomach. Betty Lou Brahma's crop was clogged. And most likely had been for quite awhile. So she wasn't able to get any nutrition. Hence the rapid weight loss.

Luckily I was able to quickly hop on over to Backyard Chickens and determine the best method of curing an impacted crop. I needed to oil her up. Thank goodness we're studying Biology this year and happened to have an eyedropper handy. One dropper full of vegetable oil down the chicken's throat followed by a crop massage to break up the mass seemed to get things moving a little. A repeat treatment again the next morning followed by moistened feed and mega doses of NutraDrench poultry vitamins seems to be pulling her out of it. It's going to be awhile before she's herself again, but I think she's gonna make if after all.

I distinctly recall reading somewhere that chickens were low-maintenance pets. I need to find that and show it to the girls since they seem to have been out to lunch when that memo was passed around.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Why Libraries are Better Than Schools

I have no clue who this kid is, but I would like to nominate him for the job of Superintendent of Public Instruction. Wow.