Sunday, January 31, 2021

End of January: Weather; Housekeeping; Cats. Journal Post

After the torrential flooding rains of last Monday, Tuesday broke fair, albeit very soggy underfoot.

The walk up to the mailbox was a chilly one. Our neighbor has several birdhouses along the line fence. This one appears to stand sentinel in a big puddle that reflects the swiftly moving clouds. 

I made myself walk to the end of the property and back up the slope that follows the north ravine.

As dusk moved in the waxing gibbous moon rose in the east.

Its interesting to note which plants hold green color through the winter. The clumps of foxglove are surrounded by self-sown 'offspring' which I will lift during February and pot up in the greenhouse. 

Along the retaining wall are two varieties of dianthus, both raised from seed. They are spreading nicely, although I had to drastically shear the one at the far left when I found it had been invaded by the parasitic dodders. The green of the dianthus rimming the center of the wall has deepened to nearly black with the cold weather.

In the far right corner of the wall long stems of centranthus ruber are trailing, brown and spent, but new growth shows green at the base of the plant. Most of the self-sown tiny plantlets will need to be re-homed in the spring.  I am quite determined that the inhospitable soil underneath my west window [far corner of the house] is going to be amended and set out with hardy plants, interspersed with more flat rocks from the creek at Howard and Dawn's place. 

Wednesday's sunrise showed promise, but by noon the sky was surly; 
snow began to fall at suppertime.

Its snow--not rain, slanting down in thick wet flakes.

The snow must have stopped shortly after midnight.  I woke about 4 with a spill of moonlight on my pillow. The snow glittered under the light of moon and stars. 
I took this photo shortly after 7 a.m. a zoom shot from the back porch.

The day after the snow, Thursday.

By Thursday afternoon the snow was melting along the driveway, beginning to recede around the buildings.

I spent part of Thursday downstairs in the basement area that is dedicated to my sewing supplies. My extensive hoard of quilting fabric has been stashed in big Rubbermaid bins for more than two years.  Howard donated handles for the two recently acquired cabinets and J. put them on the drawers.

I collected these batiks a few pieces at a time while living in Wyoming and working in a quilt shop.
I had definite projects in mind; somehow a series of moves put those plans on hold for too long a time.  

Most of the fabrics stocked at Wyoming Quilts were from Moda. We used many of the lines by Kansas Troubles; those are the two rows on fabric on the left.
I've made only a start on unpacking, sorting and organizing.
I was suddenly struck with a disheartening sense that this 'hobby' of mine, once quite important and absorbing, seems to have less purpose now.  In such uncertain and uneasy times can I justify hours of stitching to create quilts?  We no longer live where long cold winters demand layers of warmth. 
Over the decades I've gifted quilts to family and friends; does anyone need more?
Is it enough to think that since I have the supplies squirreled away I can use them to practice my skills, keeping mind and hands busy in the production of pretty things? 
Do I need to justify the time and energy spent? 
I don't quite know!

In a burst of house-keeping energy during the sunny hours of Tuesday morning,  I arranged this small quilt on the tulip poplar shelf/rack Jim made when we lived at our Amish farmhouse.  A larger quilt with an appliqued border has been in that spot and looked at home there.  
This piece was put together from 6 blocks left from the construction of a king-sized quilt.  I hand quilted it during the early days when we were working at the farmhouse. While Jim wrestled to install plumbing and electricity I sat by a window or under a temporary light to work on this. It has been displayed over the back of a chair or on a lower rung of a quilt stand. It seems at home in this new setting, the colors in the quilt echoing the tones of the tulip poplar rack and wainscoat trim.
 My glance has been drawn there, to the harmony of colors. 
Chairs and sofas need to be covered in a losing battle against cat hair.  Putting the other covers in the wash I rummaged out a pair of lined heavy cotton curtains made in Wyoming--one each to tuck around the cushions of the basket chairs. 
Repurposing, tweaking, making a nest.

The beautiful kitchen shelves crafted and installed by Howard were always meant to display vintage pieces.  Two of the boy cats, Robert and Nellie have felt that the shelves were designed as a 'runway' and lookout point. 
Jim has been rearranging items that have reappeared from boxes in the basement.
He announced that no cat in its right mind would now try to navigate the edges of the shelves.

This is Jim's cat, Robert. 
Robert has picked his way daintily along the top shelf, bounced lightly to the top of a cabinet, and smugly become part of the display.

This is Robert's brother, Nellie, a most amiable and often exasperating creature.  Nellie also likes to perambulate along the shelf and arrange himself atop a cupboard.

Nellie is a tad less graceful than his brother. Deciding to ascend via the small corner shelf where I  display small vintage jugs and creamers, he came to grief, bringing down this pitcher which shattered. In the process leaves were knocked from the African violets on the counter below. 
I was rather fond of that jug--filled with summer flowers it was a pretty thing.
It is a good thing that I am very fond of Nellie!

Shelby-the-Kitten at her most beguiling. She has just pawed my bed into disarray--something she seems to do whenever a fit of boredom overtakes her.

So, a week of homely tasks; cinnamon rolls made to cheer a day of drab skies.
Bread, warm from the oven and gracing the house with an aroma of sustenance.

Cold rain, snow, wind; sunlight, blue skies, billowing clouds, moonlight.
Tomorrow another month. A month with more of the 'unknown' than usual.

I welcome February with cautious hope--and a dash of trepidation.



  1. Sadly I have found no baby foxgloves. I will look again tomorrow. The little quilt displayed on the rack is a real treasure. I love the pattern and the colors. I find these days that I rather like being free of doing things that consume great chunks of time. We have still had no snow...that may be a good thing!

    1. Mary; Most of my foxglove 'babies' have appeared in late fall and seem to winter well. Potting them in early spring and letting them develop in my unheated greenhouse gave me sturdy plants to set out in May.
      Re 'chunks of time"--I seem able to waste them lately!

  2. I tried to raise Foxgloves last year, without success. They are beautiful flowers. Love seeing the cats. I have two and enjoy their company very much.

    1. Michelle, I've had varying success in sowing foxglove seed, from very poor germination to so many in one flat that I lost some due to over-crowding before I could pot them up. I've ordered varieties classified as perennial which is likely why I have clumps that over winter. My best seed has come from Select Seeds.

  3. Your post is so timeless and filled with such interesting descriptions! Loved reading it.

    1. Unknown; [Do you have an online name?] "Timeless" is a rather comforting concept--whatever crazy things are happening around us, the seasons arrive in their proper order, each one with its work and things to notice.

  4. I enjoyed seeing the winter countryside there with the snow and lines of bare trees. You have a wonderful view of the sky and open fields. Your quilting is lovely and so intricate. I understand how you feel about the stash of fabrics. They take so long to collect and then life changes and styles change, too, and you wonder what to do with it all. I have bins and bins and even some from my dear Mother after she passed, as she was a collector, too. I suppose I'll eventually find a use for it all, so I keep it and wait for the inspiration. My daughters show no interest in sewing and all my grandchildren are boys, so far. It's funny how cats need to be at the highest point to be happy. Too bad about the pitcher, though. I am cat-less right now, for the first time in 40 years, but I suppose that might not last - we'll see. My Mr. cut my baby foxglove with his mower last fall - he's a menace with that thing, but some of them are regenerating. Hopefully they'll survive. Enjoyed your descriptions of the moon and the snow. Hopefully February will treat us kind. x K

    1. Karen; I suspect that 'collecting' quilt fabric falls into the category of 'addiction!' I had several works in progress when we packed everything up in the fall of 2018. As I'm [finally] organizing and sorting sewing supplies I find my enthusiasm returning--if not a full quota of energy.
      My daughter doesn't sew, although she is creative in other ways. I did start 3 nieces in the art of sewing years ago and 2 of them became accomplished quilters.
      Men with power mowers and weed whackers are indeed destructive! I would think you have a great climate for foxgloves to naturalize.
      For all their mess-making cats are part of 'home' for me. Perhaps one will win your heart.


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