Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Before and After!

Last week was another busy one here at the Squash House! The fence was finally finished! - stain and all! You might say this is the final big hurrah around here! So I thought I would take you through a little of the progress. We all love "before and after's", don't we!

The photo below was taken in October of 2009, right after the new maple trees (Red Sunset) were planted. Pretty dismal, huh! The little bit of greenery on the right that is laying on the ground was a huge, old stand of cedar shrubs that had fallen over and gotten pretty messed up in the windstorm that took down the Blue Spruce's, so they have since been removed. You can see the old fence, which was probably installed sometime in the 60's.

Below is one of the new arbors being constructed. Our "crack" team of Ted and Justin, neigbors and builders extraordinaire, designed and built the fence.
This picture is out of order, but did you ever wonder how a fence is painted or stained when there are mature shrubs right next to it? This is how! Oh - and for several days after the stain was applied, the yard smelled like fresh donuts - talk about aroma-therapy!
Here is the finished back portion of the fence before stain was applied. We had to wait quite a few weeks for it to stop raining before the guys could get to work!
And here is is stained and finished at last! I have taken quite a lot of pictures in different light and this is about the best I could do - taken in the early morning with the sun out of the east. Pictures taken later in the day made the fence look really dark! We planted a red and a white eating grape on either side of this arbor - hopefully by next summer both sides will be over the top and producing sweet, yummy fruit!

Now look below and then scroll back to the first photo - what a difference! We love this fence - it really sets off the yard, and when the trees are a bit more mature and we've planted more perennials, who knows - maybe we'll be on the local garden tour ;>)
Here is a view looking toward the west side of the yard - you can see the Asian-inspired top trim a little better.
And here is a current look at our little menagerie of flowers and herbs on the patio! We've had a lot of fun with these - using pots we brought from the old house, some that came with the house and lots and lots of "pony" packs of flowers from the farm store and the farmer's market!!

Mr. Squash and I have had a lot of fun sharing our move to the Squash House as well as updates to the house and yard! We both wanted to thank you for all your encouragement and kind words on all of this! Now on to more fun - quilting, fly fishing, and who knows what else - there is always something interesting happening at the Squash House!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Around the Blocks & Veg Report Week 7!

I thought I would start this post off with a view of my completed Winter Wonderland blocks. Already I've begun re-making a few of them...I think putting them all together in one spot is a good way to see what needs to be "orphaned" and replaced!

Summer finally arrived here! Today's high was near 90 and the next 5 days promise to be more of the same, give or take a few degrees! Below are this week's vegetable photos - week 7 already! I moved the peppers over to the beans and peas bed as the nasturtiums were taking over! Other than that, the lettuce is growing like crazy - we've had lots of great salads, lately; the carrots are showing great promise, and I've re-planted radishes (we've already eaten the first batch), which is why you see a large bare spot in the middle bed! There has been a lot of "other" activity in the backyard this week, which is why I haven't posted for a while. In the next day or two I'll show you what I mean! Also, I'm going to spread the Veggie Reports out a bit now - perhaps every two weeks or so! Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday Veg Report Week 6

A bit of a late post today for this week's Veg Report - I've just plain run out of steam! I told Mr. Squash that tomorrow will be a vacation day for me - nothing but lounging about in the shade reading my favorite new quilting magazines! I usually take the Vegetable photos the day before, but as I was getting ready for bed last night and "running the tapes" of that day, I realized I had not taken them! So today's photos are taken in a different light in the early morning!

First I'd like to show you my "Squash House Lettuce Mix". We've had several harvests of lettuce so far. I wash and tear all the varieties I pick that day, throw in some Lemon Balm leaves and ohhh-la-la....what a wonderful salad this makes! Yesterday I also made croutons from day old sourdough boule, and herbs picked from my herb garden. Just remove the crust from the bread and cut bread in 3/4 inch chunks; chop up any variety of herbs (I used oregano, thyme, parsley and rosemary) and toss with a little olive oil and sea salt, then bake until just crisp at 350 degrees.

Check out the lettuce below - the arugula in front is nearly blotting out the landscape! Nasturtiums are beginning to flower - maybe next lettuce harvest we can add flowers to the salad mix! The carrots to the left are really coming along, and I've even planted another row of radishes as the first batch is nearly gone!

Beans and peas are coming along....tomatoes aren't far behind. Today is a beautiful day after rain the past two days, then more rain is predicted for the weekend. Yesterday I received an email from one of our fly fishing club members - he said it has rained 25 out of the past 30 days - the rivers and streams still aren't fishable!

Sunflowers are doing well...I've decided not to thin them - I want to see a huge patch of yellow shining back at us! Unfortunately, the eggplant, which you can see just in front are not going anywhere!
I hestitated whether or not to show you the pumpkins and squash - they've seen just a little more growth than last week, but are hanging in there!
Next post I'll show you all my Winter Wonderland pieced blocks together! I've finished them all - now it's just a matter of putting them on the design wall, sewing them together, then getting it quilted - woo-hoo!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Good Food, Good Friends, Good Fun!

Here are two more Winter Wonderland blocks....only 3 to go! I may re-make a few, but first I'll see how they look on the design wall.

A while back Barb commented here that she wanted to know where I got the pattern. I actually had to get the pattern from the designer as it was in her older archives. Anyway, I knew I wouldn't make it again, so I offered it to Barb! As a thank-you, she sent me the lovely fat quarters below from Samoa! Thanks again, Barb!
This past weekend, we were hosts to Otis and Teresa from southern, central Oregon. If you've read my Minam River Wedding story on my sidebar, you'll know that Otis married us nearly 9 years ago! We had the absolute best time with them!! Mr. Squash and I haven't laughed so hard for a long time! We had a nice gathering for a barbeque on Saturday, then Sunday, after making blueberry pancakes on the gas grill we went for some site-seeing! We drove up to the hills and back, stopped at the Farmer's Market, then found ourselves at the local Pioneer Days festival! There were Civil War re-enactments, and lots of other historical exhibits. Below was a demonstration on loading and shooting a canon.

Here they are cleaning the gun, then loading the ammunition.

They then raise their arms and shout "fire"!
You can see from the smoke after firing that real gun powder was used! The commander below told us to cover our ears and say ahhh as it fired!
We saw this old quilt hanging from one of the troop tents! It really was a very old, tied quilt! All the tents were furnished as they would have been in that era.

In one of the old cabins was this very vintage redwork towel.
Here are the "school marms" standing in front of the one-room schoolhouse. Can you imagine wearing all those clothes when it's 100-plus degrees for weeks on end and the room has no air conditioning?
This is a real cabin from the original fort!
Here are Otis and Teresa inside one of the exhibit buildings.
After being out all day, Otis serenaded us with his banjo on the patio! Mr. Squash and Otis are hugging the shade - the weather cooperated - finally - and gave us 80's and sun all weekend! We had a wonderful time and were sorry to see them leave! But we get to see their newly remodeled house next month on our way back from the Sisters Outdoor Quilt show!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday Veg Report Week 5 & First Harvest!

We celebrated a little milestone here the other day – our first harvest from the vegetable garden! Check out the radishes below! They are a bit on the small side, but I needed to make room as I probably didn’t thin them very well. Oh, how scrumptious a fresh radish – dipped in a tiny bit of sea salt or just as is – yum!

The weather is still terribly wet here! We had a very low snowpack over the winter, so the the weather people are saying we’re now officially out of a drought situation because of all the spring rain! The rivers are so full, fast and muddy that there won’t be any fly fishing for a while yet --- bummer!

Mr. Squash informed me that he looks forward to the Friday Vegetable Reports because it saves him from having to go outside and look for himself – funny guy! I decided to only show you what is doing well this week. No sense looking at plants that haven’t grown more than a millimeter the past week!

Here are the raised beds. The lettuce is really coming on now – maybe a fresh salad by next weekend! The nasturtiums are overtaking the peppers, but the peppers don't seem to mind so far!

Do you notice below that there are quite a few more beans than last week? So many of the seeds I planted didn’t germinate that I decided to fill in the gaps with pony packs from the farm store! But the peas are now needing a little support, so that’s encouraging!
The potato tower went crazy almost overnight! The leaves are almost all nearly to the top, which means I won’t need to add much more additional dirt – hopefully the tower holds lots of yummy little Yukon Golds by now!
The pumpkin leaves on the right are getting bigger, but that’s about it for this area. Our first overnight guests are arriving tomorrow, and we had other out of town company last night, so that's why I haven't had any posts this week until now as we've been busy getting the house ready. I've sneaked a few more quilt blocks in here and there and will save them for another post. I'll leave you today with this gorgeous purple rose that bloomed today for the first time!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Friday Veg Report Week 4 & WW Quilt Blocks

First I'd like to tell you that yesterday was our 6 month anniversary of moving to the Squash House! So far we're really enjoying retirement and the Squash House - it was the right move for us!

Here are a few of my Winter Wonderland blocks I've done this week. I only have a few left to go, then I can begin laying it out on the design wall. I'd really like to get it done and entered into our quilt guild's show in September, but that might be a stretch. Time will tell. I find the more of these I sew, the better I get. I have so many red fabrics that it has been fund pairing them together!

Now to the Friday Vegetable Garden report for week 4. I must say we have had monsoon-like weather for most of the past week! The weather reporter last night said we should be in the 80's and sunny, but no....the monsoons continue. I mananged to snap a few photos during a dry spell yesterday. Other than the lettuce, there hasn't been a lot of growth - just too wet! Only half the sugar snap peas and half the beans have germinated, so I may replant once the sun comes back for good.

The pumpkins seem to like the rain - several large, new leaves! Mr. Squash thought we ought to put these little pumpkin stakes out - they usually go by the front door during Halloween!

Not a lot going on here with the zucchini and pickling cukes. I did add a squash, along with some pole beans on the far left.

Check out the potatoes in the potato tower! They normally don't like to be wet, but they don't seem to mind it here! I need to begin adding more soil so they will produce potatoes all the way to the top!
Poor little melon below....he has a new melon buddy on the left that hasn't yet germinated. The irrigation guy put out those cute little drip lines last week!

Eggplants on either side of the drip line are about the same as last week. But all of the sunflower seeds to the right next to the little wire fence have germinated. I don't know who will get their produce first - us or the squirrels...stay tuned later this summer!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Stitchery for a Friend!

My dear friend, Carrie, of A Passion for Applique and I have both had issues on and off with elbow pain over the past year or more. Carrie has purposely stayed off the computer for a few weeks now hoping to ease the situation and she's most definitely been missed. We've chatted back and forth across the internet about this for some time now and I most certainly "feel her pain". I decided to make her a little pillow to rest her sore elbow on - something that helped me immensely at my worst. For a while now, I'd been working on a wonderful little stitchery from designer Catherine Baynes in Australia. When I was first buying the embroidery floss for it, I couldn't find one of the variegated threads she had listed. I emailed her and wouldn't you know - she was kind enough to send me some leftover she had - which was just enough!

As I was deciding what to make for Carrie, I thought, why not make this stitchery into a pillow - it's just the right size! Also, Carrie and I are both bird lovers, so I knew she would like this. I looked through my stash and found some coordinating fabrics and went to work! It had been a while since I made my own piping, but with some determination I remembered how - and here is the result!

Here's a peek at the back.

Yesterday we had some friends over for a Memorial Day barbeque! Old fashioned homemade potato salad, homemade baked beans and grilled hamburgers! What a way to begin our first summer in the Squash House! At first the weather was supposed to be beautiful, but the skies kept "weeping" so I prepared for eating both inside and out. I wandered around the yard and picked a few flowers for a little table arrangement - peony, rose, rhododendron, Rose of Sharon, and some little white wisps of something as yet unknown to me!
Then wouldn't you know it - the sun came out! I was so happy to have our first outdoor "soiree"!! Everything was quickly moved outside and it turned out to be a lovely evening and a very nice gathering of friends!

I continue to have wireless and computer problems, so if I don't get back to you right away about anything, please be patient! I've made some more blocks for Winter Wonderland - only 7 more to go and it will be on the design wall! Next post I'll preview some of the blocks.