Sunday, November 3, 2013

Looking Over My Shoulder--A Week In Photos

J. was expected home on Tuesday, but I had no idea what time that would be or whether he would stop for
 a meal on the way.
The kettle of soup made on Monday was waiting in the fridge--and isn't soup all the better the next day!
I set a batch of anadama bread to rise, then trundled the vacuum around, did some much-needed tidying.
Early in the afternoon I prepared oatmeal cookies to go into the oven as the bread came out--feeling marvelously efficient and frugal.
At 6:30 I decided not to wait longer for J. before having supper. I had washed my bowl and plate and settled to read by the fire when I noticed that J.'s elderly Siamese cat, Raisin, was suddenly sitting alertly on the sofa with her ears pricked.
Seconds later I heard the familiar roar of Snort'n Nort'n's diesel engine.
I had moved the van out of the carport, knowing that J. would be returning with tools and such on back of the truck and likely not anxious to unload them in the dark.
The back door opened and J. came in laden with his suitcase and several boxes.
Raisin clambered down from the sofa and launched into a long litany of feline complaint.
"What?" said J. 'Hasn't Mommy been feeding you?"

He ate soup, fresh bread, sliced tomatoes salvaged from the frosted garden, meanwhile telling the news of his finished projects and the on-going visit with our niece and her husband and daughter.

The cats and I were up at our usual early hour on Wednesday morning, keeping quiet so J. could 'sleep in'--and adjust to the difference in time zones.
When I stepped into the carport, spoon and tin of cat food in hand, the world beyond the porch light was still in that transition time that is neither full darkness nor yet daylight.  A slender sickle of a moon rode the billows of  fast moving clouds.

Inside I burrowed into my down vest and fetched my camera.
This was a time when understanding more of the camera's capabilities could have resulted in some stunning photos. I used the EXR setting and was interested to note that although I was snapping pictures only seconds apart, the f stops on the camera were automatically being changed.

The sun was slow to rise and mist cloaked the landscape.

As the sun crept up behind the trees its glow illuminated a tracing of contrails amidst the soft clouds.

J.'s loaded truck was taking most of the room in the carport. 
In the near dark I had needed to be aware of edges and overhangs, lest I brain myself during my clambering about for better photo vantage points.

 I went in to start the coffee, but was captivated by the sight of Bobby McGee happily exploring upper branches of the tree which is in direct line of the kitchen window.
It was Edward gazing up at his brother--too fat and indolent to climb the tree himself--who alerted me to Bobby's gymnastics, so back out with the camera!

J. had errands in town, so when I had tided the kitchen I brought out graph paper, colored pencils, rulers and a calculator.
I need to produce a quilt from these stunning Laurel Burch fabrics, have it finished in time to send to our granddaughter in Colorado for Christmas.
I've been trolling through quilting books and magazines for several weeks hoping to find a pattern I could use just as it is written.
I bookmarked several possibilities, but wasn't convinced they would result in the effect I wanted.
I decided to integrate elements from two different patterns.
I traced lines, filled in blocks of color--and suddenly the solution popped into my head.
Late in the afternoon I started a fire downstairs and began happily cutting and stitching.

I was assisted by Bobby McGee.
He appears here as an innocent onlooker, but moments before he was prodding at the rotary cutter, or switching his feathery tail into its path.

Several hours of work resulted in completion of the quilt center.
I need to produce 16  smaller [8"] star blocks to place around the center, then add borders.
It may not be what an E-Q program would suggest, but I am thus far pleased with the effect.
I wanted the outer triangles to be the same black print as the inner quarter triangles--I was 2 inches short of sufficient black print, thus they are in the purple print.
I have to pretend that's what I designed all along!

On Thursday morning, with animals tended, we decided to do some yard work.
J. got out a ladder and climbed up to sweep leaves and debris from the eaves gutters, then moved his ladder to the apple tree.
I cleaned leaves out of the outside stairwell, dumping them into a corner of the cat yard.
[The cats have their own nefarious uses for a pile of dried leaves!]
I began raking leaves under the maples in the back yard only to have them tossed and swirled as the wind began to pick up. As the morning wore on, the sky darkened and the wind developed a chill bite.
Abandoning my piles of leaves, I decided to transplant some of the excess lavenders that have been bursting out of their small pots.  I tucked some around the stepping stones at the lower end of the herb garden, planted several more in the barrel planter.  Neither are ideal locations, but at least the lavender will have a better chance of surviving til spring. 
By the time I straightened my back and brushed wet dirt from my knees rain was coming down in 
fitful bursts.
J. brought in a bucketful of apples from the old gangly tree and suggested we collaborate on apple pies.
By the time my friend Gracie arrived for help with a creative project, the house smelled deliciously of 
apple pie. 
The wind increased as evening came.  Darkness fell  early, and it felt good to settle by the fire after a 
busy day.
I was aware of the increasing velocity of the wind and got up several times to turn on the outside light and watch the thrashing branches of the dooryard trees.
A bit after 10 the telephone rang with an automated call from the local weather service: a tornado warning was in effect until 1 A.M. 
J. pulled up the doplar weather map and pointed out the red line of a storm moving rapidly in our direction.
A few minutes later the electricity went off!
Outside the wind moaned and rain buffeted the house.
We decided going to bed as usual would be safe--rather than cowering in the basement room.
It was a restless night--trying to sleep and yet be aware of any changes in the storm.

Morning dawned with a rain-washed brilliance and utter calm.

I fed Pebbles, who cantered up to the barn like a youngster, pawing and snorting for her ration of grain.
Beyond the barns the woods and fields glowed with a rich amber light.

Although the nearest sycamores stand within the woods, I discovered this leaf resting in the wet grass far down the west pasture.

The herb garden was still in cool dappled shade, the newly planted lavenders fresh, the rain-pummelled lemon balm scenting the air.

More leaves covered the stepping stones and the area beyond which I had raked only 24 hours earlier.

Puddles reflected the blue sky.

The backyard was strewn with fallen branches and blown leaves.
I began gathering the branches, dragging them to a pile near the carport where I will break them into kindling.
Willis and the bully boys were entranced. 
Willis followed me, landing heavily on the ends of branches as they twitched through the wet leaves.

Willis and the boys played hide and seek in the branch pile--until their capers roughed up a stem or two of catnip--where-upon Willis turned fierce.

And so--to the end of a rambling and photo laden post, the end of a week of wind, sunshine and rain, a week of sewing, reading and baking.
I need to catch up with myself, sort the small happenings and thoughts of my quietly busy days into more manageable segments--daily doses rather than a weekly wrap-up!


  1. And such is the sum of our days . . . I'm glad you had some help from Certain Cats with whatever you were doing. Our old Snowy was the one for "helping" and was bound to be right in the middle of whatever I was trying to do, from upholstery to baking!

    I'm glad that the storm just left you wet and soggy outside the next morning, and no trees down. Well done with the quilt-in-a-day : ) That central star is the one I am using for Tam's quilt, in various combinations of purple star and paler/darker background.

    1. Jennie; I love the sound and sense of your first phrase--" such is the sum of our days"--would we have them any different?Yes--the exasperating and dearly helpful companionship of cats!
      I'm anxious to see your quilts in photos--the Sawtooth Star block is one I often utilize either as an entire quilt or as an alternate block.

  2. as you know, I love these posts full of chit chat and cat antics! I totally agree with you "isn't soup all the better the next day".
    I was delighted by the bold yellow triangles, right out of my comfort zone! It looks to be a joyful, vibrant quilt.

    1. Kath; The bright colors of the Laurel Burch prints are very untypical of what I am happy with in most of my quilts. The grand daughter for whom this is intended is a very gypsy-ish soul--think purple hair. I've had the cat fabric for some years and was fortunate to find the coordinating cat paws print at half price online during the summer.

  3. Glad the tornado did not do any damages to your lovely farm.

    You in spire me. Have a great week ~ FlowerLady

    1. Lorraine; Inspiration works both ways! Although I can't do the dainty and intricate beading and embroidery which you produce so flawlessly--I am still inspired by your projects--its the affirmative spirit of creating.

  4. I love a news and picture-filled chat like this.

    1. Lillian; I'm glad you enjoyed the visit--I had the feeling I was running on forever--and trying to remember what each day had brought.

  5. Glad you're safe. That's a very striking quilt! You're very ambitious, making quilts for Christmas!

  6. Jane; W are relieved each time a storm passes us without major damage.
    I usually have several quilts in progress at once. I need to finish this one quickly as the only quilter now available locally struggles to keep up with her quilt shop work while caring for an invalid husband.
    If I can get the finished quilt top to her directly, she can promise it done before Christmas.