Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Around the Farm & the Garden

I used to post more of what was going around the farm and in my garden when I started blogging 2 years ago. But farming is basically the same every year, even though every year bring different challenges. I think all of my posts on Blogger have been about quilts so now it is time to talk about something different.

All the fields on our farm are on a rotation. The field on the south side of my garden was planted to wheat last fall. It has just started to head out. 
Do you see the yellow things on the individual soon to be wheat kernals? That is the flower. You can smell the pollinating wheat, it is a sweet scent.

Here is this year's garden. On the east (left) end are flowering sunflowers, sweet peppers, 2 rows of broccoli, 2 rows of potatoes, the amaryllis bulbs, garlic, onions.

I like to have flowering sunflowers on the east side. There were a lot of plants that came up volunteer, I had dug them out and replanted them in a row. I covered several of the plants with these row covers the farmer made me but there weren't enough for the whole row. Something has eaten the leaves on the uncovered plants. The stems are starting to leaf out again, I don't know if they'll recover or not.

Last week I had planted several rows of green beans and they are starting to pop up through the soil. On the right side of the beans are the tomato plants.

Monday's job was to mulch the garden. The tomatoes have been mulched with ground corncobs. They have a nice aroma. After we harvest corn in the fall, we take the corn to the mill. They run the corn through the dryer the lower the moisture content to keep the corn from spoiling. That is what the cobs smelled like, the smell of the drying corn. It smells wonderful to me.

I used sawdust on the rest of the garden because that is what is available. It is a dusty and dirty job but I'd rather work hard mulching the garden a day or two and than pull weeds! 

In the evening I sprinkled blood meal beside the beans and other plants. That will keep the rabbits and other critters from munching on the plants. When the beans plants are taller, I'll mulch them too.

Last years garden didn't do very well, June was too wet and rainy. I never did get all of the garden planted. Hopefully 2016 will be a better growing season, for the garden and the farm.

Not everyone enjoys growing a garden but I do, and I hope to keep on as long as I am physically able. 

We enjoy blackberries and there is nothing better than blackberry cobbler in the winter. The plants are planted in the corner of where the west barn intersects the west heifer shed. That way they are fairly close to be picked, but out of the way so they can sprawl all over. I keep them mulched with chicken litter.

We had 3 extremely busy days a couple of weeks ago and had all the hay big baled and wrapped by the custom baler/wrapper crew

After baling, it was time for one of the fields to be plowed under. In the crop rotation, you follow alfalfa with corn. Alfalfa enriches the soil with nitrogen which corn loves. This is late planted corn and will be chopped for corn silage this fall.

The big hayfield on the west side of the garden has started growing again. We'll be making the next cutting of hay later in June. This field is getting older, not yielding as well, and will probably be plowed down in 2018.

Here are some random photos from around the house and farm.
Heifers grazing in the pasture on the south side of the house. We have fawn and white cattle called Guernseys. Not many dairy farm raise them anymore.
This stump is what is left from the old maple tree that broke off from The Storm of 2014. The center was hollow so I dug out some of the rotted wood, mixed it with potting soil and planted the geraniums and vine in the center of the stump, just for something different.
The peonies are starting to open. I love their scent. I have several colors, light pink, dark pink, dark magenta and white ones. 

Behind this light pink peony is false Indigo, at least I think that is the name. It was planted so long ago, I don't remember what is it. Love the pretty lavender-blue flowers. 

There are several bleeding hearts blooming, this one is behind some hostas.

I think clothing and towels dried in the clothesline in the summer smell so fresh.

I have this weed growing in my yard with purple flowers called spurge (?). It just spreads and I can't get rid of it! I've even resorted to using a yard fertilizer with a weed killer in that is supposed to kill the spurge. It hasn't done a thing. I just try to keep it out of the flowerbeds now.

I plant my own planters. This fall I'll bring these geraniums inside the house and over-winter them.

My laying hens are slowing down on their egg production. I'll get new chicks to raise for laying hens after the broilers are processed.

The broilers grow very fast. Right now they are 4 weeks old. It is hard to imagine, but they'll be ready to butcher in another 4 - 5 weeks. 

The barn swallows are building their nests. This nest doesn't have eggs in it yet. The nest is made from mud and is adhered to a barn beam.

Several Sundays ago, we had a swarm of bees in our lilac bush. We called our neighbor who has an apiary. He came and collected them or whatever the correct word was. 

I know this post has gotten lengthy but I do so enjoy springtime and the return of flowers and the color green. 

I hope you have a great day!

Link up to My Quilt Infatuation, Bits & Bobs

Saturday, May 28, 2016

A Flimsie & Sweet Surrender

I've finished my 2nd UFQ of the year so far; the Summer Lake Log Cabin from Judy Martin's Log Cabin Quilt book. This quilt top has turned out pretty, but there were times I wondered what it was going to look like. Talk about ugly fabrics!!! I had purchased the book and these fabrics years ago, in a kit from Lolly's in Shipshewana. I would never have selected most of them, but I have got to say, whoever put the kit together definitely knew what they were doing.

I've sewn the binding and made a reservation for quilting with the long arm quilter. Sometime this summer I'll be able to show you a completely finished quilt! 

Judy had me make the blocks differently than how I normally piece log cabin blocks. She has you cut the strips from the length of fabric, not width of fabric. This was to keep your fabric from stretching. Another change is you piece the blocks in courthouse steps design, the light and dark strip are both the same length each round.

I'm not sold on the length of fabric idea. I don't normally have a problem with the fabric stretching and if it does, it isn't hard to to make the block fit in. But I do like the courthouse step piecing method. I will probably piece my next log cabin quilt like that.

I've picked a couple more of the patterns in this book to make someday; but not this year.

The 18 original applique blocks from Sweet Surrender have been completed. I've prepped and have started appliqueing the 13 applique blocks I need to make this a full sized quilt. 

Here are 2 of the side half-triangle blocks. There are 4 of them, but I forgot to take a picture of the others.

Another triangle block. The other block I made from this pattern had red berries. I'm trying not to make the blocks look the same. I also added the red circles.

I'm tired of making the hexie flowers that are needed for most of these blocks and decided to make some changes.

For this block I made a yo-yo flower and I really like it. 

Now I'm working on the next 4 triangles.

Linking up with - Log Cabin Loonies,  Kathy's Slow Sunday StitchingQuilting is More Fun than Housework, Em's ScrapbagQuilt StoryEsther's Wednesday WOW!My Quilt InfatuationLet's Book ItA Quilting Reader's Garden, A Quilted PassionCrazy Mom Quilts

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Pillowcases & Quilt Show

Most of last week was rainy, so my main focus was on sewing pillowcases. I'm trying to make pillowcases ahead so I have plenty on hand for gifts or, hopefully, a good supply for Christmas. I completed 12 cotton pillowcases and 5 flannel ones. If you need a pattern, Connecting Threads has a free pattern for Magic Pillowcases you can download. Shabby Fabrics has a tutorial you can watch if you want more instructions

I haven't prepped any more of my applique projects, but I do have an applique project to work on. Every year my quilt guild provides a quilt for the Michiana Mennonite Relief Sale. The charity committee has started preliminary work for the 2018 quilt. They asked I would applique 2 of the blocks to preview the fabric choices. I've completed first block and will work on the 2nd one Sunday afternoon. 

Last Sunday, some friends and I headed to Archbold, OH to the 40th Sauder Quilt Show. This isn't an AQS quilt show, more of a hometown show but the quality is still great.

I had submitted 3 quilts and I was thrilled to see my Jane at the front, greeting people  when they came in the door. She had a 3rd place ribbon!

Red Radiance also had a 3rd place ribbon . . .

And my Grandmother's Flower Garden had a 2nd placing.

A couple other ladies from the Maple Leaf Guild also exhibited. Rhoda Troyer's Flower Garden received a 2nd place. She hand pieced using 1/2" hexies.

Lynn Nelson received 3rd place honors with her Phoebe.
Lynn was brave and also participated in the Sauder Challenge. She didn't receive a placing but it was neat to see all the challenge quilts. Here is her version.

I have a variety of quilts to show you. Some won awards and some didn't. This is a small representation of the several hundred quilts in the show. I have information on some of the quilts but not all. Enjoy the show!

Best of Show - Wall Quilt
Best Longarm/Midarm Machine Quilting - Bunnies

Made by Rita Frost

The quilting on this quilt was beautiful.

Best of Show - Bed Quilt & Best Hand Quilted - Jacobean Applique & Peacock - made by Catherine Lewis

This quilt was absolutely gorgeous. Excellent needle turn applique and her quilting stitches were perfect. Black thread on black fabric. 

Judges Choice & Honorable Mention Appliqued Wall quilt, machine quilted - Chocolate Mint Sunday - made by Melissa Lamb

This was the winner in the hexie Challenge, My Grandmother's Flower Garden by Karen Poulson.

There were probably at least 20 participants in the challenge. There was such a crowd and I only got a few of the quilts.

This wall-quilt wasn't part of the hexie challenge. This little quilt was made with 1/4" hexies by Sharon Bannister.

Other quilts I liked -

This was a row by row quilt on both sides! Somehow the quilter quilted each side individually then put it together. It only felt like 1 batt in the center. It was really neat.

The front side.

And the back side.

I can't imagine how long it took to applique all these baskets. This was a full size quilt!

The clam shell quilting was just perfect for this quilt.

This pattern is Country Roads; patterns & kits were available in the quilt shop last year. There were at least 4 quilts made from kits in the show. I'd like to see this quilt made in another colorway.

This quilt didn't win an award but I love the modern, simplicity of it. I see some quilts from this design in my future.

She had a brief explanation of how she made the quilt. 

Did I buy anything at Sauders? Of course I did! I bought some 30's fabrics for my Sweet Surrender quilt and this mug from the pottery shop. 

I also bought the pattern, My Checkered Past - Whirligig Designs. The quilt on the pattern cover is in red & gold but I like the quilt on display in the quilt shop better.

They had kits available but I have plenty of fabric to make this quilt with my own colors.

I wonder how many quilts from this pattern will be in the show next year?

I'm linking up to Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching, Quilting is More Fun than HouseworkLove Laugh Quilt, Em's Scrapbag, Quilt Story, Esther's Wednesday WOW!My Quilt Infatuation, A Quilting Reader's Garden, Crazy Mom Quilts