Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bass, Quilts and Taxidermy!

Mr. Squash and I are back from our trip to Oregon.  We had a fantastic and very interesting trip!  I'll have to split this into two posts so you don't get overwhelmed with photos!
Our Bed and Breakfast in Service Creek, permanent population 30, was right on the John Day River.  Even though we were in remote, East Central Oregon, we had wireless Internet service and all the comforts of home!  The first evening we fished a little from the river bank and each caught a couple of bass and I caught a small rainbow trout which I later learned was a baby Steelhead (my first Steelhead ever)!  Here we are above the next morning ready to set off in the driftboat with our guide, Bill.
One of the first sightings was this Osprey nest.  It had a mother and the baby above in it.  As soon as the mother saw us, she left the nest and began circling the area to protect the baby.  Unfortunately, I couldn't get a clear picture of the both of them together.  We saw a lot of other birds -Sandpipers, Cedar Waxwings, Redwing blackbirds, Hawks, Kingfishers, and more!
While I caught the first Smallmouth Bass, Mr. Squash caught the largest - above!
Look at the gorgeous scenery!  It was like this the entire 5 miles of river that we drifted!
Here is our guide, Bill.  He said he doesn't smile, but we managed to coax one out of him!  He was very knowledgeable about catching bass, and did not disappoint with the numbers!  Between the two of us we caught and released 45 fish!  See that black bucket in front of Bill?  Around 10AM he started some charcoal in it and cooked us a dutch oven lasagna for lunch!  It was wonderful!  In the late afternoon, he even made us fresh strawberry shortcake!
There weren't many folks on the river, but on and off during the day we kept seeing this fellow and his two sons in their canoe.They were so nice and we would exchange "fish stories" along the way!  We asked how long they were out - he said several days with camps on the river along the way!  I told him to be sure to check the my website when they got home so they could see this photo! 
Here I am with my largest catch of the day!  Thank goodness for neck buddy's, hats and long sleeved, lightweight shirt and pants - it got up to 92 degrees!  We had a lot of fun and lots of laughs with Bill!  By the time we got out of the boat it was 5pm!  I'm sure we'll do this again!!
We took out time driving to the B&B, stopping in all the small towns along the way.  No town was over 200 in population and services were minimal in each.  However, in Fossil, OR, we decided it was time to get a snack and some water.  We walked into the original General Store in town (over 100 years old) and what did we see but loads of hanging quilts along with nearly as much taxidermy!  The store contained a small quilt shop on one side, sporting goods in the back, and groceries out front. 
This was a vintage crazy quilt.
On the quilting side there were lots of original-to-the-store antique sewing displays and this gorgeous antique sewing machine cabinet.  I'd never seen one so gorgeous!  I didn't post a photo of the fabric area as it was very small and plain.
Wouldn't you love to have this old ribbon display!
We like to think that Mr. Moose is saying "Hello, would you happen to have a marshmallow?"!!
This quilt was made by the guild for their county's Centennial in 1999.  It was a wonderful combination of embroidery, photos and applique!  Click on it for a better look.

Next post will be the second part of our trip!  I am totally behind in catching up with posts while I was gone, but intend to read them all in the next day or two!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Pungent Beauties!

Mr. Squash and I are taking off tomorrow for a few days in Oregon.  We plan to fish the John Day River for Smallmouth Bass with a guide on Wednesday.  On Thursday we'll travel a bit farther to Canyon City, OR and visit with our friends, Otis and Teresa for a couple of days.  If you've been reading my blog for a while you'll know that Otis married us 10 years ago in the Minam River.  It was his first and only wedding ceremony - and we still feel honored!  We love this part of Oregon - it is home to the Painted Hills and the John Day fossil beds - a gorgeous geological wonder!  We'll be back on Saturday.
A few days ago I harvested the garlic!  Last fall I planted a hardneck variety called Russian Chesnock Red.  I love hardneck garlic as it is more flavorful and seems to keep longer.  Here I tied them in bunches to get them ready to dry.
You can be assured that no evil will come to the Squash House with these bunches of garlic hanging from the trees near the patio - they say that garlic wards off evil!! I hang them for a few days, then peel off the dirty outer layer, shake off as much dirt as I can, then allow them to dry a little longer before I cut off the tops and store them for use!
Here is a clove I dried a while back.  I was testing to see if they were ready to pick.  This couldn't be a more perfect head!  I smell a pot roast in our future!  I make a recipe given to me by a friend most often.  She says the first time she ever made pot roast, she thought a clove of garlic meant the whole head!  But she said no one complained, so she's made it that way ever since!
I've been doing a lot of hand stitching lately.  This square is almost completed.  It's a pattern from Crabapple Hill and I only have 11 more to go - lol!  I'm using distressed linens in different shades of tan for the stitcheries and for the main fabric shades of blue, brown tan and black.  If it's anything like Winter Wonderland, I might finish the stitcheries by this time next year before I get to sewing it all together!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Finally! A Solution!

If you've been reading my blog since I got Vinnie, my Gammill 18-8 Premier longarm, you know that from time to time I've mentioned experiencing tension issues.  After my last quilt I found that Isacord in the top and bobbin worked really well.  That was great, but you know.....I'm a cotton gal through and through!  I liked the look of Isacord, but I also really, really wanted to get cotton to work.  Recently I heard from a couple of different blogging friends as well as a quilt shop worker that magnetic bobbins from Fil-Tec worked really well.  I decided to give them a try.  They worked amazingly well - and cotton to boot!

I just finished quilting this little Schnibbles table topper on Vinnie.  I used Fil-Tec's Cairo Quilt cotton thread in the top as well as the same in their magnetic bobbin.  I also used Warm and Natural batting.  I set my Towa Bobbin tension gauge at about 200 and off I went!  I didn't need to make a single adjustment!

I am absolutely amazed at the stitches on the back - they are as good as the front and no thread showing through from the top!  Fil-Tec has lots of variegated cotton threads, too!  I thought I might also try some of the Masterpiece cotton threads in my "thread graveyard" that I have left over from all my experimentation in trying to achieve "tension Nirvana" - LOL!
We've had several harvests in the garden the last couple of weeks, but today is the first of the dahlias to bloom!  I mixed them with a few Coreopsis and placed them on the kitchen table on a lovely gift a while back from Stephanie. Don't they just compliment one another?
These were picked a while ago and I didn't get a chance to post them until now.  Our first celery, blueberries and yellow squash.  Also the jalapenos and sweet banana peppers are producing like crazy!  We can pick all of these almost daily now - plus two other types of summer squash.

Check out this lettuce - doesn't that look like a nice, cool, summer salad just waiting to happen?  I feel so bad for all of you who are stuck in oppressive heat!  If I had room, I would invite you all to the Squash House for a little respite!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Minam Lodge Wedding 10 Year Anniversary!

Ten years ago next month, Mr. Squash and I said our wedding vows in the Minam River located in Northeast Oregon's Eagle Cap Wilderness.   You can read the entire story on my sidebar.  Having just returned from a short trip to the Minam in celebration of our anniversary, I thought it would be fun to show you how we got there this time!  And just let me say that it has been a most wonderful 10 years of marriage to Mr. Squash - I look forward to many more!
Now that we live much closer to the area, we thought it would be fun to fly in from Enterprise, Oregon.  This is the airport - flight office, control tower, bathroom, living quarters upstairs - all rolled into one!
We flew in with Joe Spence, a very nice fellow who could probably fly in blind for the amount of times he's made the trip.  Thank goodness his sight is just fine, though!  Joe has probably flown all sorts of things into the Minam - chickens, dogs, building materials, household goods, huge propane canisters, not to mention lots of folks from all corners!  Here is our plane above - Joe is gassing her up for the 15 -20 minute flight.
Here is the waiting room along with our bag and fly fishing rods!
After a short taxi down the runway amidst fields of alfalfa, wheat and hay....
...we successfully lift off over Enterprise.  That is the Wallowa Mountain Range in the distance - we'll be flying over the lower portion to the right.
Isn't this gorgeous?  The yellow field is Canola.  This whole area is sparsely populated and mostly farmed with cattle and hay.
We've just hopped over the first of two ridges before the canyon where the Minam River flows.  Look at that pristine lake - and they're even farming every bit of land here!
Here is the Minam River - click on the picture for a better look.
Uh, oh.....we have whitecaps on the river!  At this point we wonder it is will be low enough to fish!
How cool - the shadow of Joe's plane on the trees below!
This is the runway at the lodge!  Joe said it was completely flooded by the river as little as two days prior!  He was very glad to see they had mowed a path for him to land!
Mr. Squash jumped right out of the plane next to the "Pilot's Lounge", geared up and ready to fish! (Well, not really, but he could have!)  Yes, he's wearing a firearm on his belt.  Some pilots camped down by the river a while ago said they had heard cougar screams, so it pays to be protected. Oh - and he's not fishing with two rods - one is mine!
This is the lodge from the runway.  You can tell how much rain there has been by how green everything is and the very tall grass!  Our cabin was on the far right.
I'm sorry to say fishing was pretty much non-existent!  The first day we walked down to the river in front of the lodge.  After a few casts we realized the water was too deep and fast to fish.  We'd never seen the river this high in July!  So on day two, we geared up and hiked a couple of miles to the other side of the river and down another mile or so to see if there were any good spots on that side.  At this point you are in National Forest Wilderness.
Lupines along with lots of other spring-blooming wildflowers were abundant.  Hey - did I just say Spring?   Yes - the forest still thinks it is!
We usually love to fish this area of the river - it's full of deep pools where the trout love to hide.  Look at it now - nothing but raging water and whitecaps!  We could not get any closer than this.
Carrie gave me some flies for Christmas last year.  I told her I would be using at least one of them on this trip - the nymph on the left.  I used it nearly the entire day before I decided to try another nymph.  The flied caught my vest, but not any fish - and not for lack of trying!
This is the lodge dog, Cisco.  She was SO sweet.  Every morning she would greet us with a "whole body wag" and cute little noises!  We love Border Collies - perhaps someday there will be one at the Squash House!
There may not have been any fish to catch, but we were rewarded with an incredible view of the moon on our last night!  We'll return again this year and hope that the fish are home!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Shabby Chic at the Squash House

Mr. Squash and I headed out early this morning to an estate sale in a tiny, Oregon town about 29 miles from us.  It was listed as "Caledonian Farmhouse Estate Sale".  There were to be antiques, vintage clothing from the 1800's, vintage fabric and lots more.  When we got there I saw a woman with an armload of gorgeous, antique clothing - she must have taken it all because I didn't see any more.  There was also no fabric to speak of left.  But....
...almost immediately I saw this odd cupboard.  I went over to take a look and started to get excited!  I've been looking for something to organize my fat quarters!
When I opened the door, I was instantly sold!  I just couldn't believe my luck!  The shelves are just wide enough for nicely folded fat quarters and I'll be able to fit lots of them inside as it is 50" tall!  I have just enough space left in my tiny studio for it to fit!  It's most definitely Shabby Chic - not really Squash House style, but I'll use it as is for now until I figure out a fun way to paint it.  I'm thinking a Primitive Milk Paint - any other suggestions?

I went in search of someone to hold it for me while we looked around.  Who should I find, but someone from our fly fishing club along with his wife, who were part of the sale!  We only know about a dozen people in town and seem to run into them all quite frequently - even this far from home!  They live near us, but joined with the farmhouse owners for the sale!  It's truly a very small world.

Speaking of fly fishing, Mr. Squash and I are flying in to the Minam Lodge for a few days of fishing on Monday.  If you haven't read my Minam River Wedding story on the left sidebar, grab a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy the story!  We'll be back on Wednesday with what I hope are some really good fish stories!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

That Summer Thing...

I thought I'd better post something so you know I haven't fallen off the face of the earth!  It's that summer thing...know what I'm talking about? Warm, sunny days that hit you almost like a tranquilizer!  The urge to be productive is nearly non-existent in favor of an iced tea in the shade and a good quilting magazine!  OK - I haven't gone quite that far yet....but soon!
I've worked on a few projects in my studio - a lot of prep work for another stitchery quilt, a bit of fabric sorting for a bed quilt, and some other little things.  The star above will be the first of 80 that I need to make for the bed quilt.  I'm using my vast collection of shirting's and my ever-growing assortment of Civil War fabrics.  No two stars will be the same.  I used Monique Dillard's "Fit To Be Geese" ruler on this star.  If you don't have one - they are awesome!  In fact, Monique has several rulers that will make your quilting so much easier.  She is starting a blog book tour on Monday, July 4th to introduce her newest ruler, the "Fit To Be Quarter" ruler!  Be sure to visit her blog on Monday for lots of fun and giveaways!
This wonderful scissor fob came from my new friend Julie over at Me and My Stitches!  Isn't it just me?  Julie is a very talented jewelry and quilt pattern designer and a really nice person! 
I made this peach cobbler today - does it ever look good!
Some of you asked for updates as Mr. Squash refinishes his library table.  All is going well.  Here he was stripping the top.  Underneath the old varnish is some gorgeous oak!
Here he is today working on the sides.  He wants you to know that he's smiling under the mask. It will probably take him most of the summer to complete the project and I'll keep you posted with updates from time to time.
It's almost picking time for a few things in the garden!  Check out this celery!  I still can't believe I can actually grow it myself!  It's one of the few things I never considered planting!
This is a yellow bell pepper.  Both the yellow and orange bell peppers have lots of fruit on them, but it will be a while until they are ripe enough to pick.  I can't wait to saute them on the grill with some Walla Walla sweet onions and garlic from the garden!
There is a little zucchini attached to that flower!  It should be big enough for a loaf of zucchini bread tomorrow - LOL!
Look!  A real tomato!  This is an heirloom beefsteak.  We have 12 tomato plants all together - we might just have to set up a small farm stand out front later this summer!

There is fishing on the horizon - I hope to have a report from the river soon!