Sunday, February 28, 2010

Genteel Farmers

Time just flies by here at the Squash House! We're still pinching ourselves - it's hard to believe we landed in such a wonderful place! I'd love to show you what I'm sewing right now, but it's all gifts, so mum's the word! We have had some extraordinary weather, too - warm, dry and sunny. Our new gardener is getting ready to thatch the lawn next week. And since it's so nice and warm, we thought we would prepare the vegetable garden for some spring planting!

Here it is this morning right after we started - three years of total neglect!

This is the other side. Pretty soon the lawnmowing is going to have to start, too!
Mr. Squash just had to get a photo of me working hard! There are NO rocks in our gardens! After spending hours and hours sifting out rocks at the old house, this is a real treat for me!! What we do have is a great worm population - woo-hoo!! There is also a tall spigot near the fence which is connected to the sprinkler system - instant watering!
Here is Mr. Squash looking happy with my favorite tool - the pitchfork! I actually asked for it for Christmas one year! Don't you love his hat?

And here we are all finished! Tomorrow I'm going to trim the rose bushes and also these arborvitae.
Next up is to pour through the seed catalog and figure out what to plant --- tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, radishes and green onions for sure. In other areas of the garden - pumpkin, zuchinni, cucumber, pole beans, broccoli. Let the planting begin!

Monday, February 22, 2010

For the Birds...

While we've done so much already to the inside living area of the Squash House, I wanted you to know we also have not neglected the "outside living" areas! When we first arrived, we put out all of our bird feeders from the old house. But there was also a built-in bird feeder (below) that was in very sorry shape and totally unusable. You can see one of the perches hanging loosely from it. At one time it was in great shape and even had a copper roof!
Well, a little searching around the internet, and voila - a brand new copper roof feeder! The birds are all over it today - finches, sparrows, juncos and even a couple of doves!
Yesterday morning we took a drive along the Columbia River in Oregon to Hermiston. There was a Bernina/quilt shop there that I wanted to visit - about 90 minutes away. It was a very nice shop, but I'm so happy we now have our own Bernina/quilt shop in town with a great selection of fabrics and notions! Along the way back we detoured to Hat Rock State Park. Below is Hat Rock from the park side. We understand this is an old volcanic plug.
Here is a close-up from the back of the park.
And here are a few photos of the park itself and the boat ramp.

Lots of fishing out there for large and smallmouth bass, steelhead, sturgeon and more! Mr. Squash was out on the dock drooling over a boat just coming in!
We stopped on the road back to take this photo - most of the drive was right along the Columbia river to the right of the photo - absolutely gorgeous!

Friday, February 19, 2010

String Challenge Peek & Happy Camper!

First of all, thanks to the many of you who have been concerned about my absence, lately -you have no idea how much it means to me! It amazes me how quickly the days go by when you're busy! Just taking the car for it's 60,000 mile service involved nearly a day as the dealer is an hour away! Same with doctor and dentist - another hour away in a different direction. We've also been very busy around the house!!

Stephanie has been hosting a "No Strings Attached Challenge". I decided to participate as I'm also trying to use only stash this year along with Ulla and others. I finished my first project, which is a gift, so here is just a peek. I'll reveal the whole thing once the gift has been received. This is great fun using your scrap strips to make blocks, then making those into whatever comes to mind! I had no plan when I began this project, but as it evolved, it became clear what I wanted to do! I also made up a new pattern of freehand machine quilting, and am quite pleased at the result!

The reason I'm a Happy Camper is because our other rug finally arrived! Here it is below as I unrolled it to make sure it was the correct color before the delivery fellow left!
Now I can finally reveal our newly painted and decorated dining/living room! There is still a considerable amount of "tweaking" to be done with my decorating, and also the chandelier will be replaced and re-centered over the table with something different. Enjoy the photos, and bear in mind that it's difficult to take photos of the true colors!

Below the TV is currently on a table. We plan to hang it on an adjustable arm from the wall just above the table.

Last week I received a lovely "Hello and Welcome" email from someone who has been reading my blog. Amelia (no blog) and her friend Betty (also no blog) had been trying to figure out where the Squash House was located. After my post on porches, they realized I was right in their town! I replied to Amelia's email and invited her to meet me for coffee! We had a wonderful, long chat and realized how much we had in common - we both fly fish with our husbands and we both quilt! Amelia and her husband are also transplants to this area from another state. We both look forward to getting together again! Isn't blogging fantastic?!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Quilt Guild

My new friend, Jan, invited me to her quilt guild last night. They meet monthly in a local church hall, and I believe there were at least 40 attending last night - including 3 men! Jan explained that one of the fellows is an expert at needle turn applique - I sure would like to take a class from him!

I took photos, but most didn't turn out very well. I apologize in advance to any who were attending if they see their quilt here! I promise to do better next time! The first two below are Sylvia's Bridal Sampler. Two friends began making them in July of last year. They are both stunning! I believe they have 90 blocks each and use many, many different techniques! And each person swapped a tiny bit of fabric to use in one block of each other's quilt - what a wonderful idea!

I loved this Christmas tree quilt - the quilter placed the fabric so it looks as though the tree is lit by the moon! They tiny dots are crystals!
This quilt has what is called a "split binding"! The front and back of the binding are different fabrics with a seam down the center! I couldn't believe how nice it looked! If anyone can briefly explain how this is done I would love to know!
This is my friend Jan's quilt (sorry it's blurry, Jan). She made it for a raffle for their sportsman's association. I wish you could see the elk and other foresty prints!
This is a cute baby quilt!
Here is a quilt that was designed in process. It is a gift for a bride and groom. All the corners are mitered and the print design matches - truly stunning work!
I wish this photo had come out better - it is so pretty!
Here is an interesting way to use scraps!

I definitely had a good time and will attend again!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Nature Trail

Super Bowl Sunday brought broken clouds and sun to our area, so Mr. Squash and I decided to take a little nature walk together. We drove up to the dam that siphons runoff from the Blue Mountains through our town via a series of Army Corps of Engineers diversions and spillways. It makes for some lovely vistas in and out of town. There is also a wonderful walking/bike trail around this part of the area.

The first thing we saw was this huge Blue Heron. If you click on the picture below he is to the left of center hunkering down in the tall grass.

Here is part of the spillway below the dam.
We walked past a small farm that had a lot of old equipment stored to the back of the property. Click on the picture below and you'll see that the farmer named his old tractor - "Granny"!!

Here we are behind the dam. This part of the path leads to the reservoir above town. You can see that the spillway leading to the reservoir is dry - we aren't sure why at this time of the year. I thought it looked a little surreal with the bare concrete in amongst the beautiful landscape.
This is the marshy area directly behind the dam. We have had extraordinarily warm weather here - they say we are in an El Nino pattern. It's only February, yet you can see the color of buds beginning to sprout on the bushes and trees!
Finally, here is the view of the dam from the front. The only water coming through right now is to the far right below that boxy looking structure, but it's enough to fill up Mill Creek and keep it running swiftly!
I have been invited to a meeting of the local quilt guild tonight! I asked if picture-taking was allowed - and it is! So I hope to have a fun post for you next time!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

I was so hoping that on this post I could show you our new carpets in place and our living room/dining area decorated. Our carpets were delivered this morning (the good) after many delays. We immediately set to unrolling the smaller carpet which goes under the dining table. Below is a photo of the carpet after I finished vacuuming it and getting the table in place.

We placed the chairs and I went on to organize the living room space to get ready for the larger carpet. Just prior to calling Mr. Squash over to help me unroll it, I decided it might be wise to open a small portion of the plastic over the carpet to make sure it was the right one. Sure enough - it wasn't (the bad)! After waiting nearly three weeks through delays, we were going to be forced to wait again. After calling the vendor I learned we could get the correct carpet, but it will be another 2 weeks of waiting (the ugly)!

On a lighter note, the other day while Mr. Squash and I were moving his office next to mine, his finger got caught in the flap of his desk - a pretty big boo-boo! Later that day I was out doing some errands and ran across this chocolate bar. One thing that really makes Mr. Squash happy is bacon! He frequently tells me "a pound of bacon" when I ask him what he wants for his birthday!! He is also a chocolate lover. I thought this bacon/chocolate bar would really help take his mind off his hurt finger --- and it did!

The painter is now workinghis way downstairs. By the end of the week he should be done - hooray!