February Photos

Monday, June 19, 2017

Journal: New Baby Granddaughter!

Last Tuesday after paying some bills online, finishing the laundry, and filling the bird feeders, I worked on my customer’s quilt.  I’ve been working on it every day since, except for Sunday.
Storms went through our area that night.  Some friends had a shed blown down on their farm, and lost a chicken.  All the others survived, somehow. 
Loren gave us a rain gauge, and he even installed it for us on a post on our deck.  Wednesday morning I checked it, and found that we’d received a little over an inch of rain.  We had high winds, but it was worse in town and to the south and east.

Two blocks from Bobby and Hannah’s house, a big tree was uprooted and landed on a house.  I found pictures and the story online:  Columbus StormWow, the winds in town were 75 mph! 
On the way home from church that night, Larry showed me a truck trailer belonging to one of our friends that had tipped over.  (The trailer tipped over; not the friend.)  (Or if he did, we didn’t know about it.)  The trailer was loaded with things, so it will be a bit of a job to right it.  Hopefully, not too many things were damaged. 
We stopped at that same friend’s camper dealership, and went exploring through some of his campers.  It reminded me of when I was a little girl traveling with my parents, stopping at camper sales places.  While Daddy looked at products and/or new campers, sometimes the manager or owner would give me his entire large ring of camper keys, show me how to match tag to camper, and tell me to explore to my heart’s content.  I was always so pleased to be entrusted with all those keys, and always so careful to leave things exactly as I’d found them, or better.
Have you ever watched some of those crazy youtube dashcam videos from Russia?  Sometimes there are long lines of cars stopped on the highway... and some guy on a motorcycle goes whizzing lickety-split down the center line between all those cars.  What could possibly go wrong?
Several nights after getting off work, Larry has gone to Teddy’s place to cut hay.  When he’s not doing that, he’s been working on a flatbed trailer he got, laying a new wood floor on it, painting the wheels, and putting new tires on it.  After the trailer is done, he needs to finish overhauling his Dodge dually crewcab with which he’ll tow the trailer to pick up some piece of machinery he purchased in southern Missouri. 
So... I’m refraining from griping about the upstairs room I want to move my sewing things into, because a) my sewing room in the basement is nice and cool on these hot days, and b) I’m quilting at the moment, and the quilting machine is going to stay downstairs anyway.  I’d like my quilting studio finished one of these days.  Only one wall has knotty pine on it, and the ceiling is nothing but rafters and heat ducts.  But the quilting frame rests on cement, which keeps it level and steady, and there is soft carpet for me to stand on.
So I won’t gripe, if Larry doesn’t get projects done quickly.  Even if he didn’t work such long hours, he’d still not get projects done quickly, because he perpetually has irons in too many fires, and he starts new projects before he finishes the old. 
I will only gripe about the leaking ceiling... the squirrels in the eaves... and the downstairs bathroom sink that has never had a water line hooked up to it, though we’ve lived here for 14 years.  (Larry always looks shocked when I tell him how long we’ve lived here – he thinks we just moved in last week, I think.)
Otherwise, I will not gripe!  I will not gripe... I will not gripe... I will not gripe... I will not gripe... I will not gripe... I will not gripe... I will not gripe... I will not gripe... I will not gripe... I will not gripe... I will not gripe... I will not gripe... I will not gripe...
I’ll count my blessings... set a pan under the leak in the ceiling... and shoo the squirrels out of the eaves.   Or feed them and take cute pictures of them.  One or the other.  Maybe both. 
Here’s Teensy at the front door one hot afternoon when I went outside to take pictures of the flowers.  And no, he wasn’t wanting out, he wanted me to come back in.
By Thursday night, I was past the middle of my customer’s batik quilt – meaning, I would’ve been more than half done, if I hadn’t’ve skipped some of the background, since neither the new thread nor any thread in my stash matched it.  I ordered more; it would arrive Saturday.
An online quilting friend had to have a colonoscopy.  Her nurse was surprised she’d never taken laxatives before; the lady was surprised the nurse seemed to think everyone has taken laxatives.
I’ve never taken laxatives before, either.  But... once upon a time... when Larry and I were on our honeymoon...
We stopped at a little old-fashioned country store in the Tetons, and went in for some food.  We were in a hurry, because we’d stayed too long in Yellowstone, and I had to be back to play the piano at church on Sunday.  So Larry dashed to the left side of the store while I dashed to the right, and we planned to meet up in the middle.
I like prunes.  And...  to put it as delicately as possible, I needed prunes, though I hadn’t mentioned the matter to my new husband.  I was brought up by a lady, after all.  And she tried to make a lady out of me, with dubious success. 
I grabbed a large bag of prunes and rushed on.
Larry and I met at the checkout stand.  I put an armload of stuff on the counter... including the large bag of prunes.
Larry put an armload of stuff on the counter... including a tall bottle of prune juice.  (And he didn’t even like prune juice.)
Friday afternoon, I got a tornado warning from AccuWeather.  A trained spotter had seen one on the ground in Newman Grove, 34 miles to our northwest.  So I trotted up to the addition, camera in hand, to look out the windows.
It was very dark off to the northwest.  Overhead, there were several layers of clouds under a thick bank, and fragments kept breaking loose from the bank of clouds and drifting down below the others, all confused and not knowing which way to go.  Sometimes they got themselves in order and swirled in a circle, then got sucked into an overhead cloud, only to repeat the process.
I saw the neighbor man across the lane cutting grass on his riding mower.  He’s careful and precise, and sometimes spends a good two hours mowing his large lawn.
And then a wide bolt of lightning hit the ground off to the north, with a loud crack of thunder following shortly.
The neighbor man forgot all about being careful and precise, put that lawn tractor in high gear, and came down the hill at Mach IV. 
He always blows the grass from his mower when he’s through.  This, too, usually takes him a while.  But this time, he got it done in record speed – and he’d have been even faster, had he not stopped every couple of minutes to run behind the house and peer up at the sky.
Believe me, I’m not judging him for being careful and neat – would that we all were a little more that way.  But... I did have to laugh at the way he picked up the pace to unparalleled (for him) velocity.
Meanwhile, I’d discovered that an animal – I figured it was a raccoon, since we’d caught one climbing the log-siding wall a few weeks ago – had been in the addition, and had left several messes behind to prove it.  Ugh, yuck.  As I stood there in the addition looking out of the big half-circle window, I heard an odd noise.  I looked around – and glimpsed movement in the southwest cubbyhole.  It was too dark to see clearly, so I waited until Larry got home, and then we went up there with his bright flashlight.
Sure enough, there was a mother raccoon and at least one baby in that cubbyhole.
After the storm had passed, we opened the patio door in the addition, left things alone for a while, and then checked the room.  All signs of wildlife were gone, so Larry sealed the place up, nailing boards in any area near the eaves where the animals could have gotten in.
I returned to the quilting machine, and quilted late into the night.
Saturday morning, I was suddenly awoken by loud chirring and crying.  I didn’t have to look to know what it was:  a baby raccoon had come in the pet door – and he didn’t know how to get back out! 
I grabbed a towel, fondly supposing that young raccoons, like young bunnies and birds, can be covered and removed from the premises without great ado.
These kits are big enough that when you get too close, they quit their cute chirring, stand on their tippytoes whilst humping their backs as high as possible, come right at you, and say, “FzssssssssssszzzzzzTTTTTGggrrrrrrrrRRRRRRoooarrrfzzssst!”  (Spelling my own.)
(A ‘kit’ is a baby raccoon, not a set of paraphernalia with which to make a raccoon.)
So I opened the door to the garage, propped it, and gently herded him with a towel (imagine a bullfighter with a big red cape) toward the opening.  Poor little panic-struck guy; he can climb fairly well, but he sure wasn’t very good at navigating steps going down!  He slipped and ploppity-plopped down a couple, then tumbled the last two until he got to the garage floor.  Then, instead of going out the open walkout garage door into the Big World, he tried climbing up the inside of the door and wall to get to the top of the door.  I could hear other babies chirring and crying, and found them in the outside eaves. 
I worried about the mother.  Where was she?  She didn’t get left behind in the addition, did she?  We’d looked carefully, but it was dark in all the cubbyholes, after all, and that room is quite large.  Oh, me, oh, my.  But why would the babies be out, without their mother?
By now, all the baby raccoons were squalling at the top of their lungs.
I was texting Dorcas while all this was transpiring, and she wrote back, “At least it’s not skunks!”
Haha!” I replied.  “Remember when Daddy shooed Kitty out of a garbage bag in the garage – only it wasn’t Kitty?  It had a stripe!  He came in the house really, really fast.”
“Yes, I remember that,” responded Dorcas.  “I was doing dishes, and his yell scared me.  LOL”
Caleb, on the other hand, who from his stance in the back hallway had seen the whole incident as it evolved (and deteriorated), laughed so hard he was nearly bent double.
I headed up to the addition to see if Mama Raccoon was trapped in there somewhere. 
Sure enough, I found her in the closet cubbyhole.  She dashed out and made a beeline to one of the other cubbyholes.  I opened the patio door so she would be able to hear her babies crying, and hopefully would get herself out and go take care of those kits.  Or maybe so the babies could get in.  πŸ˜•
I didn’t stay up there to direct traffic; I just opened the door and got me out of the way.  Poor Mama Raccoon was scared half to death.  It’s hard to explain to a raccoon that we don’t want to hurt them; we just want them to find a better place of abode!
After a while, Larry got home from work.  He’d gotten his tall ladder from his mother’s house where he’d left it one day, and he grabbed the pet carrier, positioned the ladder, and shinnied up it to rescue the baby raccoon that was inside the garage above the walkout door.
Baby Raccoon said, and I quote, “GRRRRRFFZZZZHISSSSSSSSGRRROWWL!!!
It put up quite a fight, but eventually Larry got it into the carrier.  He released it in the little white garage south of the driveway, thinking that was a logical place for the family to reconnect and reunite.
Raccoon logic is not the same as Homo sapiens logic. 
Hannah and the boys arrived with a gift for Larry for Father's Day:  steaks, and a box of some of the fancy cookies our niece Abbi had made and sold at the Farmer’s Market that morning.  There was also a fancy card with quilling that Joanna had made, which matched that cookie with the tie.
Larry promptly fired up the Traeger grill.  He put the steaks on it to cook while he cleaned up the addition.  Then we shared a cookie as a starting appetizer, had steak and seasoned baby bakers for the main meal, and baby carrots for dessert. (The carrots refused to finish baking at the same time as everything else.)
Teddy arrived as we were finishing our supper, Baby Elsie in one arm, a gift for Larry in the other:  steaks, sausage, cookies, and a couple of strawberry-something-or-other muffins, made by Amy.  Mmmm, those yummy muffins topped our meal off right.
We went outside to see where the raccoon kits were, and found them still in the eaves, chirring away.  Then one slipped and came tumbling down, landing rather hard on the driveway.  It didn’t seem to harm him, but he growled and snarled and marched toward us, all in a panic.  His brother, still up in the eaves, joined in the ruckus, all upset over the episode.
Teddy decided to get him out of the eaves before he fell, too.  He put Elsie into her car seat, donned a thick pair of leather gloves, climbed up a stepladder, and, with some difficulty, extracted kit from eave.  It screeched and snarled.
He carried it down from the deck by the nap of the neck and put it down near its brother (or sister), who had been snarling and growling in fright and sympathy for its sibling.  The little critter came rushing out from under the mulberry bush to pat and sniff his brother (or sister) all over before they both scurried back under cover.
Teddy put in the dialogue for the exchange:  “You okay, Buddy?!  I’m here for you!”
We hoped that the commotion would somehow bring the raccoon family back together again, since they could be heard for a country mile, I do believe.  We went away to give them some peace so that they might better accomplish a reunion.
Larry then went for a bike ride, and when he came home, he called me to come see something cute just outside the basement patio doors:  three little raccoon kits huddled together on the retaining wall under the mulberry bush.  The mama raccoon evidently hadn’t come back to them yet, though she surely must’ve been nearby; but at least the babies were together again.  I hoped the mother would show up and care for them soon.  The babies were almost as big as our little Tabby.  I seriously doubted if they could make it on their own.
Larry took a good look around the addition.  The mother raccoon had gotten back in after Larry sealed it up Friday night by tearing the corner right out of a piece of plywood.  So this time, after ascertaining that there was no wildlife in residence, he used 2” x 8” and heavy-duty screws to close everything up. 
Then, just in case, he checked several times yesterday to make sure no creatures were hiding somewhere.  There have been no signs of them.
Some ladies on a quilting group have been discussing recipes for fig jelly.  I was reminded of the time one of our boys came home from school – he was in the fourth grade, I think – and announced, “I have to write a report on Fig Newton!”  (He meant Isaac, of course.)  After that, we called Fig Newtons ‘Isaac Newtons’, and poor Isaac became ‘Fig’.
The cone of longarm thread had come that day, and I had fond hopes of finishing my customer’s quilt.  But I’d forgotten about Father’s Day, and I’d neglected to add ‘raccoons’ to the agenda.  The quilt did not get done that day.
Amy sent me a picture of little Warren.  Little purple Warren.  He’d been having mulberries. 
He’s almost as cute with purple cheeks as he is otherwise.  πŸ˜†
After church yesterday morning, we stopped by Bomgaars and got an indoor/outdoor electronic weather station and a rain gauge for Nathanael, whose eleventh birthday is today.  I put it in a red gift bag, and we took it with us to church last night to give to him after the service.
That afternoon, Keith sent an Amazon gift card to Larry... and Dorcas called to talk to him.  Todd has given her an early birthday gift:  a cute little dog from the Humane Society.  He’s five years old, and his name is Hillbilly.  Larry told her she should crochet him some little bib overalls and put a little straw hat on him, to go with his name.
A little while before leaving for church, Jeremy texted Larry, asking if we could pick up Jacob, and sit with him, too.  Jeremy was staying home with Lydia, just in case... 
Jacob, who will be 8 on the 24th, sits and listens well, and hasn’t the slightest finding the Bible references.
After church, with Jacob listening, I told Norma (Jacob’s great-grandma), “Sitting beside him (pointing) through church is like sitting beside a Jack-in-the-Box!”
Jacob started laughing before I even finished the sentence.
I asked him, “Are you hoping for a little brother or a little sister?  Or will you just be happy with whatever God decides to give you?”
Smiling, he thought about that for a couple of seconds, then, with a couple of bounces on his tiptoes, he grinned and said, “I’m just happy I get to go to Carsen’s house tomorrow!”  πŸ˜†
Carsen is his cousin.
I got Nathanael’s birthday present out of the Jeep and gave it to him.  When he started pulling boxes of ammo out of the bag, we knew... something was wrong. 
Turns out, Caleb and Maria had put a bag in the Jeep for Larry – a red bag exactly like the one I’d put Nathanael’s gift in.
We soon had things straightened back around right, and Nathanael was pulling out the weather station.  “Just because we gave you a weather station,” I informed him, “It does not follow that we are giving you permission to become a storm chaser!”  He laughed.
When we took Jacob home, I told Jeremy how nice it was to sit beside a child who sat nicely through the service, and listened so well.  Jeremy ruffled Jacob’s hair, smiled, and said, “Yes, he does real well,” which made Jacob grin from ear to ear.
Jeremy is a good father, and loves his little boys so much.  And they show the effects of that.
They gave Larry a Father's Day gift – a large piece of double-tiered chocolate cake made by our niece Rachel, some packets of snacks, and a gift card to Bass Pro Shop.
Today when Larry came home for lunch, he told me, “I’m sad... because three baby raccoons have been run over, down on Rte. 22.”  (That’s about a quarter of a mile south of us.) 
They’re probably the same ones that were here, though there isn’t a shortage of them around these parts.  Two were way over on the shoulder, as if whoever hit them did it on purpose.  Farmers don’t particularly like them.
I realize they can be troublesome... but they are God’s creation, after all!  Those babies were so cute... I felt so sorry for them, when they were all scared, chirring and crying for their mother... and we were happy yesterday when they seemed to have all gotten back together.  😟
This afternoon, Amy sent some adorable photos of Elsie, who’s seven months old now.  That baby tickles my funnybone, the way she gives us long, deep stares, eyebrows pulled down a bit, while she’s obviously thinking, I wonder what in the world makes them tick.  The gears are certainly turning, in that little head! 
My expectant daughters and daughters-in-law have sometimes told stories demonstrating just how rude people can be.  I ran into a few of them when I was expecting, and I imagine there are more now than there were then.  I generally told them they were, when they were. 
One time in the grocery store, an unknown and over-friendly man thought he could reach right out and touch me!  I was pushing the cart, a child was in the cart’s seat, a child was sitting in the basket of the cart, and others were walking beside or behind me.  And along came that man.
I backed away from the cart and doubled up my fist (I never did hit like a girl).  
The man saw it coming, retreated quickly, lifted both hands, palms up, and went to apologizing really, really fast. 
I glared, didn’t say a word, and stalked – er, waddled – off.
I wonder if the bozo done larnt hizself anythang that day?
A friend just posted a pretty picture of a windmill at her mother-in-law’s farm, a flowering vine growing up it.  We were there one time when Caleb was about two, maybe three, and he got all excited, pointed at it, and said, “Oh, look! A pinwheel!” Then when his irreverent sisters laughed, he grinned, shook his head, and said, “I mean, a merry-go-round.” – which of course made them yelp with laughter.  Victoria later called that same windmill a ‘Wind-whew’.
Aaron called them ‘windblows’, and Bobby tried to confuse his children by informing them that windmills make the wind blow.  hee hee
We had supper at Kurt and Victoria’s tonight – Larry’s Father’s Day gift.  Victoria fixed sliced ham with a scrumptious glaze, mixed vegetables, cheesy potatoes, and bananas.  She served water in a pitcher with sliced lemons, limes, and cucumbers.  Mmmm, we like it that way. 
On the way home, we got a notice from Jeremy:  New baby girl!  Malinda Grace (named after his mother, who died in childbirth when Jeremy was 14), 7 pounds, 10 ounces, 22” long, born at 9:54 p.m.
We are so happy and relieved mother and baby are safe and sound, and all is well.  
And I love the baby’s name.
Jeremy later sent a picture of her, fresh-hatched, obviously wondering, Who turned on all the lights?!  Her little face reminds me a lot of Jonathan’s (he’s 3). 

I certainly can’t top that kind of news, so here I shall close.

,,,>^..^<,,,       Sarah Lynn       ,,,>^..^<,,,

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Photos: Skippers and Baby Raccoons

Poor little bedraggled silver-spotted skipper.  He looks like the end of a long, hard summer, rather than not quite the end of spring!

Look what was in the eaves of our house -- a couple of baby raccoon kits!  They've been camping out in our addition; we discovered them last night.  After they went out for the night, Larry sealed up the places where they'd gotten in.

But this morning, I was awoken by loud chirring and crying -- a baby raccoon had come in through the pet door, and couldn't figure out how to get back out!  

These kits are big enough that when you get too close, they quit chirring and say, “FzssssssssssszzzzzzTTTTTGggrrrrrrrrRRRRRRoooarrrfzzssst!”  (Spelling my own.)

So I opened the door, propped it, and gently herded him with a towel (imagine a bullfighter with a big red cape) toward the opening.  Poor little guy; he can climb fairly well, but he sure wasn’t very good at navigating steps going down.  He slipped and ploppity-plopped down a couple, then tumbled the last two until he got to the garage floor.  Then, instead of going out the open walkout garage door to the Big World, he tried climbing up the inside of the door and wall to get to the top of the door!  I could hear other babies chirring and crying, and found them in the outside eaves.  

I worried about the mother.  Where was she?  She didn’t get left behind in the addition, did she?  We looked carefully last night, but it was dark in all the cubbyholes, after all. 

A silver-spotted skipper in better repair.

Here's the one who couldn't figure out how to get out of the garage.

I went into the addition -- and found the mother!  So I opened the patio door that opens onto the upper deck, and hoped she'd go out to her crying babies in the nearby eaves.

Here's Larry, pet carrier and ladder in hand, going to rescue the little raccoon above the walkout garage door.

Once caught (after a big growly fuss), we went up to the addition, looked around, saw no raccoons, and so we took this little guy down to the garage just south of the driveway and let him loose.  Mama Raccoon probably headed that way with the other two... so hopefully they will soon reconnect.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Photos: After the Storm

It's 6:35 p.m., and we've just been issued a tornado warning -- a weather spotter spotted one on the ground near Newman Grove.  The camera is pointed that way... but Newman Grove is 34 miles to our northwest, and I see nothing but clouds.  And sun.  And lots of lightning.

Stella de Oro lily

Looking down from a second-floor window.

The neighbor man outdid himself, mowing his yard.  He usually takes over an hour at it, but he kicked his mower into high gear when lightning started flashing a little too close for comfort.

Now it's ten 'til seven, and those cloud fragments below the main bank are not sure which direction they're traveling.  Now and then they get their act together and whiz around in a wide circle.

Looking south

Now it's 9:10 p.m. and the sun is just setting.  It rained earlier, and hail the size of quarters fell for about ten minutes.

See Tabby strolling down the sidewalk?

I called his name... and now he's trotting back.

Tabby is 19 1/2 years old.  Poor little kitty has a cataract in his right eye.

9:35 p.m. now

Monday, June 12, 2017

Journal: Potholdering, Embroidering, and Weddinging

My nephew Kelvin, who has colon cancer, felt well enough to make it to our church services last Sunday and this Sunday, too.  We make it a point to look for him, and are happy when we see him.  He just starts feeling better... and then it’s time for another round of chemo.  Tomorrow they will run some tests to see if the chemo is shrinking the tumor, and perhaps they’ll decide if they can do surgery yet.
Last Tuesday, I filled all the bird feeders.  I had let them stay empty for a few days, because the grackles spilled a whole feeder full of sunflower seeds, and I figured they could all jolly well clean up their mess.  Note to self:  Do not buy all-plastic bird feeders, even if they are cute, and even if they are cheaper than the metal ones.  The grackles will upend them.  The mourning doves, turtle doves, juncos, sparrows, and other ground-feeding birds (and doubtless the squirrels and opossums, too) loved all that seed there on the ground, one story down... and now and then the feeder-feeding birds fluttered down to help peck it up.  But some newly-fledged finches started landing down there, and I thought, Eeek!  That’s nothing more than bait for the cats! – and I hurriedly refilled the feeders, so the birds will be safer. 
It took no more than five minutes for them to discover the smΓΆrgΓ₯sbord. 
The blue jays, in particular, were delighted with the flavor of suet blocks I put out – ‘no-melt’ peanut butter and seeds.  The baby starlings have fledged; one landed on a front window screen.  The wrens and house finches are starting new clutches of eggs.  It has occurred to me that, while I see the newly-fledged of almost all the bird species that frequent our area, I never see goldfinch babies, even though we have hundreds of the bright little birds.  Or maybe I mistake the fledglings for females?
I got another Folded Star potholder done, and had two more partly done.  I finished the ‘potholdering’, as Victoria once called it, Wednesday night after church. 
That afternoon, a quilting friend from Idaho, whom I have never met, sent gifts for both Lydia and Victoria:  soft, beautifully crocheted baby blankets.
I thanked her... and told her a story I’d been reminded of.  (Everything reminds me of a story, doesn’t it?)
When Dorcas was little, first learning to crochet, she’d start off with Great Expectations:  “I’m going to make a king-sized afghan!”  ((crochet crochet crochet))  Several days later, seeing that this was a bit too enterprising, “I’m going to make a lap throw!”  ((crochet crochet crochet))  Then, discovering that a mistake in the design was giving her an irregular polygon as opposed to a rectangle, “I’m going to make a scarf!”  ((crochet crochet crochet))  Then, hitting a yarn snarl that refused all efforts at unknotting, she weaved a ribbon through it at a strategic distance from the edge, tied it, and announced, “I’ve made a baby bonnet!”
One time Hester, at about age five, was industriously crocheting away – and ran out of yarn (and enthusiasm) when her project was only about 6 or 7 inches square.  She looked at it, disheartened. 
Hannah, about 13, took pity on her and said, “Here, let me finish that for you.”   She folded the square in half and enclosed it with crocheting along two sides, tucked a pair of Hester’s little plastic sunglasses into it, and handed it back to her little sister.
Hester brightened up, giggled in delight, and said, “How ’bout that!  I made a glasses case, and I didn’t even know I was going to!” 
 Hester had a penchant for saying the funniest things.  When she was wee little, no more than three, she came running in one day and with woebegone face announced that she had fallen and hurted her ka-rump-a-setter.
Now, I always tried hard not to laugh at my earnest tots, but I’m telling you, that was an occasion for which I had to work mightily to keep from smirking.
When my niece Susan was little, she came into the house and sadly informed her family that she’d fallen off the kwing and hoit her ketto.  Everyone burst out laughing, and she, after a moment of looking around reproachfully, burst into tears. 
Poor little kiddos!  We love them... we sympathize with them... but they sure can be funny!
That afternoon, I got a notice that the backordered longarm thread had been shipped – evidently via Turtleback Express, as it had taken 12 hours to travel from Rio Rancho to Albuquerque, New Mexico.  But it was apparently expected to speed up, because the purported arrival date was Friday.
So on Thursday, I hastily got on with a set of embroidered tea towels.  I sure wish one of my embroidery cards hadn’t’ve gone kaput.  I’ve looked for a replacement online, but it isn’t to be found, not at any price.  And the price of these cards, which are no longer being made, is usually high.
Some ladies on a sewing group were discussing injuries and/or surgeries on feet or ankles – in particular, the foot they had been accustomed to using on their sewing machine pedals.  I know what that’s like – I had to sew wedding clothes for a daughter’s wedding – and had just badly sprained my right ankle.  Sooo... I propped up my right foot on a stack of pillows and used my left foot on the pedal.  Never gave a thought to practicing on a scrap first.
I sewed an entire candlelighter’s dress before I even cut it out.
Victoria sent me a couple of ultrasound pictures she’d just had taken.  I had to look at those pictures for several seconds before I finally figured out what I was looking at.
And then I decided...  that baby is already cute!  Amazing, what technology can do these days.  I wrote back to Victoria the verse from Ecclesiastes 11:5:  “As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.”
Life is a miracle; it truly is.
Victoria wrote back in full agreement:  “Doesn’t the miracle of that little life just amaze you?  And then how intimidating it is to think of the responsibility God gives you with each little baby.”
That afternoon, I took some packages to the post office.  Someday it might be cheaper to put a box in the car, fill the tank with gas, and just drive the thing across the country one’s self!  I picked up some things at the cleaners and then went to Hobby Lobby, where I chose a large book of fancy paper such as one might use to make cards.
By then Hester was home from work, so I took it her, along with a long silk scarf with a screen print of a lavender flower garden and a couple of those Folded Star potholders.  It was her 28th birthday.
The last bud on the Phalaenopsis orchid bloomed that day:
Friday afternoon, Victoria sent a picture of a pretty cake she’d made, writing the following:  “I cannot decorate a cake.  It always looks very similar to a child’s doodling in a notebook at age 3!  Strange how some people have no trouble making beautiful cakes and the rest of us, um... at least it tastes good. 
“On top of the messy frosting, I even missed one of the peanut butter cups.  And wouldn’t you know, I inhaled the extras before I checked to make sure I finished the cake.  πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
I assured her that her cake looked fine and dandy.  (It did; really it did.  She was just comparing it with cakes her cousin Rachel makes.  Those things are artistic masterpieces.)
Remember Franny from my last letter, the Franny whose husband ‘fixed’ her computer – by plugging the mouse back in?  Well, he’s proving himself to be quite a genius.  Witness:
Early that morning, Franny sent me a phone text, all in a stew because their air conditioner ‘was out’.  I looked up the temperature in her town – high 70s. 
So I responded cheerfully, “Good thing it’s a nice day out!”
Hours later, she wrote, “The AC is working again!  Turns out the batteries were in the remote wrong.”
I asked, “Isn’t there a thermostat on the wall?”
She replied, “No, it’s a window air conditioner.”
Me:  “And the only way to turn it on is with a remote?”
Franny:  “Yeah apparently”
Then she sent me a picture of said AC. 
There were the controls, right there on the silly thing.  Be nice, I told myself.
I wrote back, “There’s a control panel on the unit.  Top left.  You could turn it on from there, if the remote isn’t working.”
No reply.  Maybe they were struggling to get out of their beanbag chairs so they could toddle over to the air conditioner and see if what I said was true?
Later, she informed me that her husband had tried the buttons on the control panel.
Now, why do I doubt that?
The next day, she re-announced his Superman status on Facebook, with large font in a big red box:  “Yesterday our AC wasn’t working.  Thank goodness hubby was able to fix it!”
Ha!  He was the oaf who put the batteries into the remote upside down in the first place.
I wanted to write, “Good for him!  Did he rebuild it?”
But...  I refrained. 
Moral of the story:  One woman’s oaf is another woman’s Superman.
And vice versa.
Larry brought in the mail when he came home from work that evening, and there was the package containing the quilting thread. 
So I finished the embroidery on the last tea towel, ate supper, and went off to the quilting machine.  The thread matches so nicely, I’m really glad I didn’t go with the bluer color I’d originally thought to use. 
This thread is called ‘light turquoise’, and it’s just light enough that the quilting design shows up, rather than blending in to the point of being invisible.  This is what I was hoping for.  I set the tension... it’s a little trickier with batiks ... and started on the first row.  I’m glad I got a new ruler set, too.  I’m doing long, feathered swags around the wide border.
The first couple of rows always take the longest, when I am figuring out just what to do, and where.
Did you ever read the Susie and Johnny books by J. C. Brumfield when you were a child?  I loved those books.  The series of at least two dozen books – maybe twice that many – was first put out in the 1940s, but has been republished many times.
Another of my favorite books was Best Friends in Summer, by Mary Bard.  It was in our elementary school library.  When I hunted for it when my children were young, I discovered there was a small series of the Best Friends books by that author – and I also discovered that they are no longer published, and sellers are extremely proud of their books (Larry’s description of over-priced items).  The cheapest I found was $300.00!
A friend wrote with compliments on the tea towels, and added, “I can almost see a ruffle on the end of each towel that matches the embroidered flowers.”
“Aaaauuuggghhh, don’t tell me that!” I retorted.  “I’ll think I’m not done, and start pulling out fabric... putting the ruffler on my serger...”
I’m done, I tell you!  Done!  (Besides, I can’t make one daughter’s tea towels fancier than the other daughters’ tea towels.)  (There.  That settled it.)  (Didn’t it?)
Not ready to give it up yet, my friend suggested, “You could ask the other daughter if she wants ruffles too and then add them if she does.”
Eeeek.  Me, I’m a-quiltin’ a quilt!  And then, I’m a-finishin’ Victoria’s Tumbling Block quilt!  And then, I’m a-puttin’ together vintage Sunbonnet Sues!  And then, I’m a-makin’ Todd and Dorcas a king-sized quilt! 
I done made them thar girls o’ mine oodles and gobs o’ ruffles long, long ago ... they’ll have to ‘go in the strength’ of those for the next few decades, like Elijah did with the ‘cake baken on the coals and the cruse of water’ from the angel.  Now, granted, he only went 40 days and 40 nights...  
(Besides, it’s not ‘the other daughter’, singular.  It’s ‘the other daughters, daughters-in-law, sister, mother-in-law’...)
No ruffles.
That same friend told the following story:  “I used to have quite a collection of Winnie-the-Pooh books and had all the stuffed characters.  My husband got the characters for me for Christmas one year.  He had all of them except one and was frantically searching the town when he ran into our daughter.  He turned into a parking lot and she pulled up beside him.  ‘What’s up, Dad?’ she asked.  His reply:  ‘I can’t find Christopher Robin!!!’”
hee hee
When I was little, I had (and still have) the original books and the vinyl records to go with them, narrated by Maurice Evans.  I know them almost by heart, to this day.  Someone has uploaded them to youtube:  Winnie the Pooh, read by Maurice Evans
The original stories were written by A. A. Milne – initially told as bedtime stories to his own son, Christopher Robin, about his favorite stuffed animals.  There is a touch of genius in the writing, as the stories are beloved by very young children – and yet there are all sorts of stories-inside-the-stories that keep adults well entertained as they are reading to their own children. 
I remember reading the stories to mine... getting all struck funny at the secondary meanings... the older children laughing along with me ---- and Lydia (or, as Hester called her little sister, ‘Liddle Liddluh’), about 1 ½, looking up at me reproachfully with those big blue-gray eyes of hers.  It wasn’t funny to her right then! 
The later Disney stories couldn’t hold a candle to A. A. Milne’s brilliance in that regard.
That afternoon after getting off work, Larry went to Teddy’s place to cut hay.  He got a little more cut tonight after work, too.  There’s always a market for good-quality hay.
By bedtime, I had a couple of rows done on my customer’s quilt.  Photos here.
Last night was the wedding of my great-nephew, Matthew, and his bride, Josie.  After the service and the reception, they opened some of their gifts.  They came to our gift.  The bride’s sister Kristin was on one side; the groom’s sister Danica (yes, the very Danica of last week’s cake story) was on the other.  Matthew pulled out the two bags of ‘Josie’ coffee, scanned the big Fellowship Hall until he spotted me, then gave me a big grin (he’s timid; Matthew’s big grins mean something).  They all leaned over and peered in again, with the expected expressions:  Wuttenna woild izziss?
Hee hee
Maybe one of their grandmothers will explain it to them.
But Matthew held it aloft, and everyone looked at the thing with great respect and admiration.  😁
I love to stump the newlyweds.
I have been having entertainment of the feathered sort.  I was just clearing off the table after a late breakfast, minding my own business, whistling my little songs --- when I noticed something in the living room that didn’t belong:  a young robin, perched in forlorn terror on one of the curtain rods.
Sigghhhh... I hate cats.
So... first I shut doors to other parts of the house, opened the front door wide... and went into the living room to try to ‘herd’, as it were, Robin Z. Youngster out the door.
He wouldn’t be herded.  
Most birds, not counting swallows, want to stay as high as possible when there is perceived danger near the ground.  This causes them to not understand that they must swoop under a doorway arch, in order to get to safety.  So the living room arch presented a barricade to him that he didn’t know how to circumnavigate.  After a few fruitless flaps around the room, during which he tried out the other curtain rod and flew into walls at various vectors and velocities, the poor thing returned to his original perch and, er, perched, wobbly and panting.  I got a towel, climbed up on the loveseat, strrrrrrrrrretched, and managed to get the towel over him, except for his head.  And one wing escaped... but I had him.  
I carried him gently to the front door... released him... and he flew strongly to the woods off to the northeast.  I didn’t see any injuries, so maybe he’ll be all right.
As the robin departed, I noticed that multitudes of flowers were in bloom around the house, so I grabbed my camera and headed outside to take pictures of clematis, roses, and lilies.  This is the west side of our house.
Earlier, I’d gotten some shots of finches and sparrows at the feeders.  More photos here.
I haven’t felt just the best yesterday and today, due in no small part to a lack of sleep Saturday night/Sunday morning, on account of somebuddy snoring – and it wasn’t me.  Still feeling a bit queasy this evening, I texted Larry:  “Could you bring home some Pepsi & 7-Up?”
He wrote back, using his voice-recognition software:  “Out loud Pepsi 7-Up mom do all diet.”
I read this... tipped my head far to one side... read it again... stood on one foot, crossed my eyes... reread it...  and then replied, “What language are you speaking?  Or did you get bopped on the head, and are a bit confused?”
Turns out, what this actually was supposed to say was, “Do you want Pepsi, 7-Up, Mt. Dew, all diet?”
For supper tonight, we had roast beef – so tender it practically melted in our mouths – baby bakers (little seasoned potatoes), corn on the cob, golden fruit mix, orange juice, cheese-stuffed bread sticks, and ice cream.
Kurt and Victoria, along with Kurt’s family, have taken a vacation to Colorado.  Judging by the pictures she’s been posting on Instagram, the weather was beautiful today – but I just checked, and I see that the temperature throughout most of Colorado’s mountains tonight is in the 30s.  A little chilly for midnight strolls under the stars!  (You have not really been for a starlight stroll, unless you’ve done it in elevations over 10,000 feet.)
Some have been asking me how and if I mark quilts.
I measured this one... and then made a small handful of marks on the widest border all the way around before loading it on the frame – tiny little marks pinpointing every four inches, so I could get the large swags centered.  Someday maybe I’ll do something really fancy – and mark the stuffin’s out of a quilt before I begin.  Maybe.
I almost always draw designs with pencil on paper before I begin.  That helps me a lot.
I do have a long flexible ruler that I can bend into any shape I want... trace around it... flip it – and do a reverse on an opposite corner.  Pretty nifty.
I’m sorta impulsive, though.  Asymmetry is my friend!  
And now... I’d better hit the feathers, so I can get back to that quilt tomorrow, with gusto.

,,,>^..^<,,,          Sarah Lynn         ,,,>^..^<,,,