Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Regarding my Disappearance...

Happy Halloween!!

Have you looked to see what's under your house, lately?

Yes, I've been away from Blogland for a while.  I had to self-impose a limit on my computer time so I could buckle down for some Supreme Sewing as well as my holiday sewing.  I finished my Supreme sewing and am coming close to finishing the holiday sewing, so I thought I'd stick my nose above ground for a little updating around the Squash House.

This is a view of the backyard today and our two, four year old maples.  Aren't they gorgeous? 
 Here is the view looking to the East.  The maple in the background is in our neighbor's yard.  It always turns color first.  Despite some needed rain, we have had very warm temps here.  Our hearts go out to all those on the East Coast who have weathered Hurricane Sandy.  Mr. Squash's sister and her husband live just minutes from Atlantic City.  We are anxiously waiting to hear how they did through the storm.
 What is one to do with all these gorgeous Golden Delicious apples?
 Make applesauce!  I recently got this very cool apple peeler.  Once I figured out how to use it, I realized how fast and efficiently you can peel and core a box of apples!  First you put an apple on the machine, then turn the red handle until the peel is gone and the core pokes completely through the end.  (Notice how you can position it right over the kitchen sink to catch all the peels and cores?)
 This is what the apple looks like when you remove it from the machine.  If I lifted up the top slice, it would be one, long spiral!
All you do is slice down the center.... 
...and you can fill up your crock pot in no time at all! 
 I added some pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and brown sugar and set the timer for 5 hours.  My camera card went south otherwise I'd show you the end result.  I'm sure you can use your imagination!
 Just had to show you this picture of Sophie enjoying the sunshine under the coffee table.  I searched all over the house for her one day and finally found her here!
We are in the process of getting more insulation added to our home.  Much to our surprise, we found that R19 is no longer code for insulation - it is now R49!  Thanks to the Sustainable Living Center here in town and credits from the gas company, we are able to get the entire job done for half price!  Yesterday the Sustainable Living Center came to test the amount of air that escapes our house prior to having the additional insulation added.  This is our front door opened with their "contraption" attached.  A large fan blows air out of the house and the computer measures how much air escapes.  (I hope I explained that correctly.)  After the new insulation is added they will do this again to measure the difference.  My hope is that I won't be sewing in my studio this winter layered in several sweaters and fingerless gloves!

That's it for now from the Squash House.  I wish I could show you what I've been sewing, but for now it's all secret!

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Supreme Finish!

Stephanie over at Loft Creations has done it again!  She has designed a new quilt called Peek A Boo Street!  Being one of her Supreme Pattern Testers I got to test this design.  Be sure to go over to Stephanie's blog after you leave here and see her original design!

I enjoyed every minute of making this quilt!  I knew as soon as I saw her prototype what I wanted to do with mine.  I even knew which fabric line I would use!  I call my version Cabin Memories.  I used a Holly Taylor line called Sunrise Sunset for the most part.  Their designs really speak to me!  The windows in the cabins are fussy cut from a fabric I had in my stash which unfortunately did not have a selvedge that would help me identify the designer.  

My Cabin Memories tells a story, so please follow along with me!

Many of you who've read my blog know that Mr. Squash and I have visited and fished at quite a few wonderful cabins.  My cabins here are constructed out of different woods to make them unique and to add even more character, the roofs are made from river rock! In this quilt you see the river running along the edges and the forest floor surrounding both sides with fallen leaves.  We love birds and butterflies - click on the photo above and you'll see them in  two of the cabins.

Of course the woods aren't complete without some lodgepole pines!  Above you see more of the wildlife we enjoy - deer and dragonflies!
Our cabins in the woods always have lovely trails carpeted in pine needles - just like the rick rack that separates each row.  The best time to walk these paths is with the fallen leaves surrounding them!   One of the cabins above has a bear at the window!  We awoke one night in a cabin at the Minam Lodge to find a bear just like that sitting at the screen door!
Whenever possible we also like to do a bit of hiking!  Mr. Squash's hiking boots are sitting by the door in the cabin above.  There is also another cabin where we've seen an occasional Heron outside the window - and another that had wild roses right out the front door!

This is a look at the back. I quilted it with an all over leaf pattern.  I'll say it again - I really enjoyed making my Cabin Memories.  It was a fun and easy pattern.  Be sure to visit Stephanie for her Peek A Boo Street!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Idaho Gold (Fish)

We are back from our Steelheading adventure in Idaho at Shepp Ranch.  Once again, we were not disappointed.  The weather was beautiful - clear and crisp.  There was only a little smoke from the wildfires which mostly blew out of the canyon by mid afternoon.  
Here is how the ranch house looks in the fall.  Gorgeous, don't you think? The sky isn't cloudy.  What you see is smoke from wildfires, but it generally cleared up later in the day.

We spent our first day fishing for Cutthroat with our guide, Chuck, at the Confluence of two portions of the Salmon River.  

We caught a lot of very nice fish and had a wonderful day.  I thought you might like to see Mr. Squash reel one in!  I forgot to grab the belt to his waders so not only are they too big for him, he had to be careful and not get any water in them lest he commune with the fish!
Day two we were ready and rarin' to go to try and land our first Steelhead ever!  Mr. Squash is standing on the end of the jet boat.  Behind him is the Polly Bemis Ranch - neighbors across the river.  What a gorgeous day for fishing!
You can just see the smoke at the far end of the canyon.  Thankfully that fire was finally extinguished by the time we left.
Here is my first Steelhead!  She was a hatchery female (they clip the adipose fins on hatchery fish) about 28 inches long and 5-6 pounds.  Chuck gave us the option of putting her back or having her for Hors d’oeuvres.  We chose the latter.  It was a lot of fun to reel in such a big fish.

That day I caught another - a wild female.  You are required to release all wild fish.  She was a tad bigger and so beautiful! Chuck is holding out his finger because the lure went all the way through when he was unhooking the fish for me.  We had to jet down to another ranch to borrow a heavy duty wire cutter to get it out!  For Chuck this was like sticking yourself with a pin!  What a guy!
Here are the intrepid fishers and their guide warming themselves by the fire that evening!
And here are the Hors d’oeuvres!  Check out the quilt book!  One of the ranch gals is a quilter! Oh, happy day!  Jane brought several quilt books, fabric and her sewing machine to the ranch while she is there during Steelhead season!  Now that's my kind of quilter!  Jane has a blog, too!  It's called Current Girlfriend.
Here are the ranch gals.  From left to right - Margie, the cook, Ellie and Jane.  It was fun to have some "girl time" this trip!  All three of them along with Lynn and Mike who manage the ranch and Chuck, our fishing guide took excellent care of us!

Here is a group of Bighorn sheep we came across on the river.  This trip we saw several groups.  They like to eat the lichen near the rocks and some of the grasses that grow along the river.  We also saw Chucker (birds), deer and fresh bear "evidence"!  One of the neighbors up the river had 3 cougar in their yard one night!
 Here is a hatchery male I caught the last day.  Another fun catch!
Right after I caught the hatchery male, I hooked one that really put up a fight!  I could barely turn the reel and it took much longer to bring it in.  As it got close to the boat, I realized it wasn't a steelhead at all, but a Dolly Varden!  They are endangered and must be released.  Years ago Mr. Squash caught one in another river and now I know how much fun they are to catch!  This beautiful male went back in the river!

We had a great trip, but are always glad to come home to the Squash House!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Here Fishy, Fishy....

Tomorrow Mr. Squash and I leave for Idaho to go Steelhead fishing at one of our favorite places - Shepp Ranch.  While we've been to Shepp Ranch quite a few times, we have never fished for Steelhead there - or anywhere else for that matter!

The photo above is a steelhead.  I understand that they are salmon which are born in a fresh water river, go out to sea, come back to spawn, and return to sea until their life cycle is completed - sometimes several spawning seasons.  They are prized catches for many fisher folks and can grow to very large sizes!  We have more gear for catching these beauties than I care to admit, and I hope we catch at least one.  It is supposed to be clear and sunny - cold at night - and I'm sure we'll see lots of fall colors.  We'll be back on Friday.

We've had several frosts this week, so I picked the remainder of the tomatoes, harvested the potatoes and picked our winter squash.  Isn't the squash gorgeous?  They are called Speckled Hound.  We got them as starter plants in July and I really didn't think they would mature in time, but they have and I can't wait to open one up when we get home. The flavor is supposed to be sweet and nutty.  I think I'll roast some to start.

See you in a week - with hopefully some good fishing photos!