Monday, August 11, 2014

Squash House Farm Report

I may have been quiet on the blogging front, but it's been plenty busy here at Squash House Farms!  Mr. Squash and I went away for a few days and when we returned there were lots of things ready to pick.
This is the first decent tomato harvest of the summer.  I plan to make a tomato tart I saw HERE.  The blueberry crop continues to produce!  Mr. Squash has been picking for well over a month now.  I've frozen quarts and quarts of these prescious gems so far.  Needless to say I'll be baking endless desserts this fall and winter!
These cucumbers (English and regular) were just fingerlings when we left Tuesday morning.  Friday afternoon they were ready to pick!
I transformed some of them into refirgerator pickles.  
I harvested my Ginger Gold apple tree on Saturday.  This is the first ever apple crop here at the Squash House!  You're looking at 7 1/2 gallons of these green beauties.  
What do you do when you pick apples?  Make pie!  Ginger Gold's make the BEST apple pie ever.
I'll leave you today with a photo of the full moon between our maple trees.  

Monday, July 28, 2014

Cozy in Purple Quilted Finish

Last September I finished a quilt top made with a rich purple and lots of Dutch chintz.  You can read more about it HERE.

I finally got it quilted and bound!  If you look at the original finish you will see that it only had borders on one side.  Mr. Squash agreed with me that it needed borders all around.  Thank goodness I had enough leftover fabric!
I photographed this yesterday outside.  There was some unexpected cloud cover which made getting the color just right.
Here is the back taken inside.  It's Kaffe Ombre which as soon as I saw it, I knew it was the perfect backing.  Even Mr. Squash agreed again.  What a guy.
If you click on the photo you can see the quilting.  I did an all over feather which is just right for this quilt.  It will be a gift to a friend who has been ill for some time.  She can snuggle up in it on days when she doesn't want to get off the couch.

Check out my new food dehydrator.  Looks like a space-age UFO, doesn't it.  Once again Mr. Squash came up with a way to use our enormous grape crop this year - make raisins!  I think I'll keep him (wink). I have my first batch going out on his work table in the garage because it generates a lot of heat.  On a 90+ degree day, that isn't good in the house.  If they turn out, I'll give you a peek.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Backyard Friend and Volunteers!

So many of you have commented to say that you enjoy seeing photos of our Squash House gardens.  Now that summer is in full swing, I thought I would take you on another tour.
The other day I was tending to this bed of peas when I noticed this lovely volunteer!  See the pink petunia in the back?  I only grew petunias once and that was several years ago on the opposite side of the yard.  Not sure where this one came from, but I'm happy to see her!
We have alyssum all along the back side of the Squash House beneath my tea roses.  Check out the snapdragon I saw the other evening!  It appears to have been there a while as there are quite a few spent buds to the right.  Something else I've never grown in our yard!
We also have a lot of "friends" this time of year.  See the honey bees on the bird bath getting a little sippa?  I see them every evening when I change the water in the bird bath.
Click on this photo to enlarge it.  Just where the three fences meet is Mr. Squirrel.  He comes over every morning to show us his peanut of the day!  He likes to chatter at Mr. Squash as he picks blueberries and tell him how proud he is to have a whole peanut!
Look at the birdhouse gourd!  There are actually three plants on this trellis and quite a few little gourd-lets!
Here is a closeup of one I took on Friday.  Three days later it is triple this size.
There is another trellis with one gourd and several cucumbers to the left.  This one gets more shade so there may or may not be gourds, but it's very pretty nevertheless.
The echinacea is in fine form!
Check out this hydrangea!  The blooms are not fully open yet, either.  To the right is a European Cranberry.  Soon the berries will be a bright red.
You can see how the berries are beginning their transformation.  After the leaves go, the berries will hang on until next spring when the Cedar Waxwings arrive to have them for dinner for several days.
I love this little garden of bits and bobs.  Oh, look - Mr. Elf has made an appearance!
Love this unusual clematis and the bee balm to the left is just getting ready to bloom.
Our Kiwi is coming through the other side of the fence to highlight the barn quilt!
Back of the house.
Back of the house at another angle.  Mr. Squash ripped up all the alyssum last year including roots as it had gotten too dense.   Didn't seem to phase it at all as it came back again all on its own.
The Autumn Splendor Sedum is getting ready for a Fall showcase with full blueberry bushes in the background.
We asked our lawn/trimming fellow to take off the lower branches of the Yew bushes on the left.  Stray cats have used it as a hiding place to catch birds while they're on the feeder.  I really like the artistic quality of the exposed branches!
We couldn't help ourselves and planted Alyssum under the Western Redbud this year.  
Even though summer has been here less than a month, we are in an unusual heat wave.  Check out the outside humidity on the upper right!  For a while it was even down to 6%.  Today and for up to a week we are supposed to be in triple digits.

Thanks for taking another stroll around the garden with me!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Paul Bunyon's Long Johns - Quilted Finish!

Can you believe it?  Another one off the longarm!  Gracie May was much more cooperative on this one - I made sure she was in morning sleep mode first.

You may remember that I Supreme tested this pattern for Stephanie over at Rummage (formerly Loft Creations) last year.  The original pattern does not have a border.  I added a small border to make just a little more room for Mr. Squash to use as a lap blanket in the winter.
The pattern is called Long Johns which you can get HERE.  I am calling it Paul Bunyon's Long Johns because I used a fabric called Twiggy by Sanae for Moda.  It's a line several years old that I happened to have in my stash.
I had some of the Twiggy burgundy fabric left over and another fabric from stash to make up enough for the backing.
I decided Paul Bunyon would have wanted leaves - and big ones - so I quilted it with a large leafy panto.
We're having August weather already.  Makes me wonder what August will be like!  This is the fourth year on my table grapes and I can't believe how many there are!  They're huge already so I think it's going to be a good and juicy crop!
My Honey Crisp is coming along.  Our lawn fellow said I should only have 2-3 apples per branch, but come on - these are Honey Crisps - I can't bear to sacrifice any of them!  So I used a spare tomato cage to support this one branch.
Had to show you Mr. Squash's marigolds in front of the tomatoes.  Aren't they goreous?
Finally, I wanted to share a little tidbit I discovered by accident.  We're having a bumper blueberry crop - Mr. Squash picks every other day right now.  I get maybe 2-3 quarts each time he picks, so I'm freezing them as fast as he can pick them (of course we save some for eating fresh).  Up until this year I would spread them on a bare sheet pan and freeze before placing them in ziplock bags.  They always would get hairy no matter what.  So I tried lining the pan with parchment - and no more hairy frost!  I now do this with all fresh fruit I freeze and it works perfectly every time!  I'm sure this varies from climate to climate but for us it works great.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

A Second Quilted Finish!

I might call this one the "Nightmare Quilted Finish"!  I should have had it on and off the frame in a couple of hours, but Gracie May just had to be "part" of every process!  I even wound up quilting over a good part that I'd already done after I chased her off the table.  I was so rattled I didn't watch what I was doing.  The ripping on that took me about an hour!  At least it's done and I love it!
This topper is a little pattern from The Moda Candy Book.  Here it is in Mr. Squash's Fairy Garden.  He's had great success with his garden this year.   I wouldn't be surprised if he expands it even more next year.
All the fabric is French General - I am smitten with all their lines!
It's going to live on the back of Mr. Squash's Morris Recliner.
The quilting is a feather pantograph called Deja Vue from Patrica E. Ritter and Valerie Smith.

Two flimsies down and four or five to go!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Quilted Finish and some Threadplay

 I decided it was time to start quilting the half a dozen or so tops I've finished.  I thought I would start small given the fact that I have done only a little hand sewing since my back surgery.
 You might remember me showing you this little topper last year.  I put it on the longarm not long after Gracie May joined our family.  Well, Gracie decided it was the perfect spot to sleep and wound up popping it off the longarm after I had begun stitching it!  I decided to put it away and have only quilted one other top since.  This is a pattern called Red White and Blue by My Red Door Designs.  I loved the fabric on the pattern cover so much and was very lucky to find some still available!  There are tiny little stars in each colorway.

I first hung the quilt between our junipers next to the patio and realized it was dwarfed by the trees and the woodpile!  We'll save this location for larger quilts from now on.  I quilted it with a simple stars and loops pantograph.  The back is leftover dark blue and red scraps and the binding is scrappy.  Just in time to add to my 4th of July quilts!
I mentioned thread play - not the kind you might think of, though!  This one is courtesy of Gracie May!  Gee - maybe I can put her to work quilting for me with all the energy she has - NOT!  I have to keep the longarm wrapped and pinned tightly or she will chew on cords and play with all the bells and whistles when it isn't in use.  Imagine my surprise when I took the cover off the other day and found this!  She had to have squirmed her way in and spent some time doing this.  I now know to take all thread off the machine when it's not in use.  

Are you wondering what I quilted with pink thread?  It isn't ready for prime time yet, but let's just say it's a beauty and I'll be able to show you early next year.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Sophie's Garden

I've been AWOL again!  We had a house guest from California and were very busy getting everything tip top for his visit.  This was the first houseguest for Gracie May and Sasha.  Gracie May was very social, but Sasha chose to spend her time in the garage.  We've decided she's just a solitary gal.  Anyway, we all had a great time and are finally getting back to normal around here.

Most of you may remember that our Sophie passed away Christmas before last.  She's resting out in the East side yard.  I decided it was time to plant a garden for her.  Of course we call it Sophie's Garden.

 Alll of this was planted recently.  I have three Clematis on the chain link.  I'm hoping by next year you won't be able to see much of the fence at all.  I have no idea why the previous owners installed this short bit.  The next door neighbor has it all along her property line.  Except for this, all of our fence is wood.  So, what better way to cover it up!  So far there are a few perennials and I happened to find some verbena and snapdragon at Home Depot the other day.  The rose is a John F. Kennedy tea rose.  Next year I'll fill in more of the space with perennials.  In a year or two the drip line won't even show.


Looking the other way is our new arborvitae hedge.  We removed a very old Spirea hedge, which while it was gorgeous in bloom, was a pain to trim every year and had begun to die in spots.  We plan to keep this hedge at about the height of our neighbors trash cans.  Next year we'll plant Alyssum under the hedge.


I am not back to sewing as yet, although I wish I was.  However, I got bit by a great sale the other day.  Check out this gingham!  I loved it as a child and still do.  Not sure what I'll do with these just yet, but am working on some ideas.


Friday, June 6, 2014

Good for a Laugh!

No sewing to show yet, but I did get a good laugh yesterday that I thought I'd share!

The phone rang while I was folding laundry.  When I came back I noticed something extra needed to be folded (or unfolded)!
Miss Sasha likes to sit on top of the dryer when I fold clothes, but since the dryer was still warm, and I had walked away, she decided to try sitting inside!  What a hoot!
Last year we had a new, double pane window put over our kitchen eating area.  Mr. Squash had the bright idea to dress up the garden with the old storm window!  We took out an ailing Butterfly Bush, replaced it with a gorgeous Wigela then anchored the window to the fence in front of the Wigela.  I thought it might be nice to either plant a Clematis in front of it or hang a couple of cute bird houses from the frame.  

Stay tuned as there is soon to be a little more "window dressing" for this spot!