Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Garden Giants!

According to our local weatherman, big changes are on the horizon for next week!  Mr. Squash and I are quite sad to say goodbye to wearing shorts and back to long pants!  It's been a gorgeous summer here and we are sad to see it end.  That being said, I LOVE Fall! 
So, this will probably be my last garden post for the year.  We can't believe how huge everything is!  We've probably picked at least 75 pounds of tomatoes - and close to the same in zucchini's! 
Mr. Squash put out my little garden Jack o' Lanterns the other day!  I didn't think we were going to get any pumpkins this year, but.....

...look what's hiding under one end!  Aren't they incredible?  I'm, crossing my fingers they turn orange before Halloween!
But wait!  There is another one on the other end!
Here is what the veggie garden looks like on the west side of the yard.  That's Mr. Giant Beanstalk on the left - Blue Lake green beans - my favorite!  To the right of that is an English cucumber, and the two giants in the middle are tomatoes!  I've cut them down from the top at least a half dozen times this summer otherwise they would take their cages down with them!  There are also some pepper plants poked in around the tomatoes - we've had a bumper crop of Jalapenos!
Check out the Dahlia's!  Some are taller than me!  I must find a better staking system next year!
More Dahlia's and both grapes made it up and over the top of the trellis this year.  Next year they might even bear fruit!
Perennials are beginning to feel the onset of dormancy.  They gave us a beautiful show this year!
Check out this giant Brussels Sprout bush!  It has 6 other brothers and sisters!  I hope the little sprouts get big enough to eat soon!
Have you ever seen rhubarb still growing in September?  I can't keep up with it.  I'm going to try picking and freezing the rest.
These are the last two zucchini's - a green and a yellow.  I pulled a lot more earlier in the summer as they were taking over everything else!
Looking from the back fence to the house.
Sedum - Autumn Joy.  It will turn a lovely, burnt auburn color soon!  I love this perennial.
The alyssum under the new roses we planted this year started out as tiny plugs from the nursery.  We don't do anything special to them - they just happily get huge!

Last post I mentioned something very special happened here at the Squash House last week.  While my SIL and her husband were here, we witnessed a mother squirrel try to teach her baby how to walk across the top of the fence and up a utility pole and onto the adjacent tree!  None of us had ever seen anything like it!  She would occasionally grab baby in her mouth by the scruff of his neck and carry him.  When he finally made it to the top of the pole - he fell all the way down (30 ft) - but survived only to get to the top again!  It was truly miraculous!  I made a video of it, which is very rough, but have a look if you're interested!  Don't worry, baby falling is not included!  Also, I has trouble editing it, so the end is a tad rough.

Monday, September 26, 2011

L'Ecole No. 41

This past week we hosted Mr. Squash's sister and her husband from New Jersey.  This was their first visit to the Squash House.  He joked that they should be careful getting off the plane as tourists have been known to be carried away by giant tumbleweeds!  Actually, with the hot, dry weather we've had, that isn't all that far from the truth - lol!  SIL said they were really glad to finally see the green of our town on the horizon as they made the hour drive here from the airport!  She had begun to wonder if we really lived on the prairie amongst the tumbleweeds!

It was a busy week as we played tour guides!  We really enjoy having company and showing newcomers to our area all the sights!

I thought you might enjoy photos of this winery we visited one day. The building is the original Frenchtown School which was a log cabin built in 1870 along the shore of the Walla Walla River.  It was moved to it's present location and restored for the winery.  Here is what you see as you drive up and park.
Getting a bit closer.
Inside all the original woodwork has been lovingly restored.  This might have been the library at one time.
Here is a class photo from 1960 when the school was called the Lowden School for the town in which it resides.  Look at all those happy faces - most probably children of the families who farmed wheat in the area.
I loved what they did with the lighting in this room, which I believe is a meeting room!
More gorgeous woodwork!  Do you see some quilt possiblities here?
Here is a closeup.  I would love to translate the circular "flower" into a quilt block!  Sort of a swirled Dresden!  How many little hands must have touched this wood over the years!  I can almost hear them running up and down the stairs!
This brass bell outside was made especially for the winery.

Later in the week we all watched something amazing happen in our backyard.  I'm still trying to edit the video I made and will show it to you next post!  I'm also slowly catching up on what all of you have been up to!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Need Your Help - Fabric Search!

Have you wondered if I'm still quilting?  The answer is a big YES, but what I've done lately I can't reveal just yet.  I've been doing more Supreme Sewing for Stephanie at Loft Creations.  As soon as she releases the patterns, I'll have some great projects to show!

EDIT:  Thanks to Julie over at Me and My Stitches, I have found the amount of fabric I need!  Julie - you are the best!  If you haven't been there, do go over and see the gorgeous "quilting" jewelry Julie makes!  Thanks SO much, Julie!!

In the meantime, I am in a desperate search for a half yard of this fabric:
It's from an RJR line called "Halloween Magic" from (I believe) 2003.  I would be happy to "pay the price" or even trade for any other Halloween fabric from my stash!  I know there are many of you out there who have collected Halloween fabrics for a long time.  I would be forever grateful if anyone has some they can spare!
I decided I would make this table runner for Christmas this year!  The fabrics are Marcus Borthers and Windham from Civil War reproductions.  I think it might even work year round!  The pattern is quick and easy, too!  Nothing like getting started early!  Let's see --- Christmas is only 99 days away - eek!

Thanks in advance for searching through your Halloween stash for me!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Wilderness Surprise!

Those of you who have been with me for a while know that Mr. Squash and I were married in the Eagle Cap Wilderness by our good friend, Otis Waggoner.  Early this summer we got a call from Otis asking if we would like to be a part of his wife Teresa's surprise 60th birthday party!  Of course we wouldn't have missed it for the world!  Otis, Teresa and their friend Jim were planning a week long elk hunting trip in the Eagle Cap wilderness just prior to Teresa's birthday.  Their plan was to ride to camp the first day, then the second day, ride over to the Minam Lodge for feed for the horses and stay for dinner.  Otis wanted to gather as many of their good friends as possible at the lodge so we could surprise Teresa when they rode in!

After much planning, calling, arranging transportation in to the lodge (bush plane, horse riding and just plain walking the 8 mile trail), rooms at the lodge, cake (Mr. Squash and my job) and timing, Otis had it down pat and Teresa was none the wiser!

Lots of great photos here and a video toward the end.  The plan was that they would ride in around 3pm and blow their elk bugles as they got closer so we would all know to hide and be ready.  Teresa wouldn't be suspicious of the elk bugling because they do it on the trail all the time.  Mr. Squash had the great idea to provide party hats for everyone - and they were a big hit!
Here is part of the group (which we think numbered around 40 at one time) waiting down by the barn.  No one was shy about wearing a party hat!  Jerry, Otis' brother had his guitar ready to sing Happy Birthday!
Jenny went even found an extra hat!
Rod was having trouble with his hat.
Some of us, like Corry, looked better in their hats than others!
Mr. Squash looked pretty debonair in his hat!
Bill and Mike are comparing hats.
Here they come....let's all hide!
SURPRISE!  This photo is a tad blurry, but below the arrow is Teresa with her hand over her mouth in total shock!
She's just beginning to realize all the folks who've come to celebrate!
OMG - someone she hasn't seen in ages!
Otis is happy as a clam that his surprise worked!!
Teresa just now realizes another old friend has come!  Her expressions really said it all!
Another old friend came all the way from California!
Hugs and tears everywhere!

Teresa is totally overcome with emotion!  And still wearing her chaps from the trail!
One of the gals made Teresa her very own birthday hat!  Click on the photo for a better look!  A big 60 on the front!
Check out the back of the hat!
How great a picture is this!
Mr. Squash and I flew in the cake - Otis wanted it to say this!  Believe me, the logistics of driving for 2 hours, then taking a bush plane in 90 degree heat with a cake is not easy!  But we got it there in one piece and it even tasted great!

I tried to make a video with my new camera of Otis and Jerry playing songs for Teresa while she opened presents.  They are singing about crawdads - you may have to turn up your speakers.

Everyone had a fantastic time and partied well into the night.  Here we are the next morning getting ready to say goodbye to our dear friend as she rides back into the wilderness.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Caverhill Lodge Fishing and a Party!

Finally - the last post on our trip to Caverhill Lodge!  We had the best time fishing!  Each morning at the breakfast table, all the guests would discuss which lake of the 12 available to fish.  You would always have a lake to yourself for the entire day!  The lakes were either accessible by a trail walk, or from the main lake on a small boat.  Once you got to the lake there were always one or two boats with motors ready and waiting!
These are the two beautiful flies Mr. Squash and I used on our first day of fishing!  I love the one on the right because it's called a "pumpkin leach"!  Fitting, wouldn't you say?  These flies were fished down below the surface of the water and wouldn't you know - we had no luck whatsoever with them!  After an hour or two we switched over to dry flies, which are fished on top of the water and it seemed we could do no wrong!
Here is Mr. Squash happily at the helm headed out for a day of fishing!
Here I am that same day patiently waiting for a strike! I was rewarded soon after this photo with a fish jumping out of the lake and nearly into the boat with us!
We were catching them so fast that there wasn't time for many pictures of them!  Here is the first fish I caught on the trip - certainly not the biggest and one of many!
One day we decided to take the long walk to Bramon Lake.  Check out Mr. Squash on this part of the trail!  That's a trail, you say?  Thank goodness it didn't go for long that way!  We even saw fresh bear tracks that day, but I'm happy to say the bear stayed hidden!
Each lake had a sign so you knew you were in the right place.  Larry and Marlene had thought of everything, including an area with a tarp and some cut firewood in case a sudden storm came in!
Mr. Squash is saying:  "Okay, what now?"!!  Our best day of fishing was here!  For not being boat or lake fishers, we did pretty well.
You always knew where to go with these great signs on the trails!
Yay - the lodge isn't far now!  This was painted on a fallen moose antler!
On the last evening, Linda was surprised on her 50th birthday with a wonderful cake decorated with a trout!  She and her husband, Howard, were just learning to fly fish.
Larry was using his little buddy here to tell Howard the party was over and to retreat to the living room!  There was always something fun when you were around Larry!
That evening, Howard found a guitar at the lodge.  It was just a "prop" but playable all the same.  So, he got out his book of songs and chords and we all sat around singing old folk songs and having a grand time!  We met a lot of great folks there and wish they would all come back again at the same time we do!

We just returned from another surprise birthday party at the Minam Lodge!  I'll tell you about that in the next post - it was SO much fun!  I have a new camera and it's taking me some tome to figure out how to unload and process everything, but I promise to have a post up in a day or two!