Friday, October 28, 2011

First frost

It has been a while, but a lot has happened here in the last days.
A week ago Monday I drove to Buckhorn, which was easier than I expected. On Tuesday, I taught a workshop in a recently remodelled hall with lots of room and great light. 20 ladies wanted to know more about making a crazy quilt block. With this workshop I ask everybody to make a block (I supply a pattern, but they can make whatever they like) beforehand. The first thing we do is look at all the different blocks. It is great to see the huge differences, from real wild colors to muted, very co-ordinated blocks. 
What made it also great was all the room we had. You know, that anything to do with crazy quilting means a lot of "things" to bring. The tables were full to overflowing with "stuff"!
On Wednesday morning I gave my trunkshow. This guild has it made with a restaurant right beside the church where they have their meeting. After lunch I drove home in the rain, where Laurence was waiting for me. He had 3 days with no combining, but things were starting to get better. By Thursday afternoon he was back combining and since then we had good weather. One more week should do it. We did have our first frost. Most of the flowers are gone, but I still can find the odd rose, including this pale yellow one.
As I wrote before my mother-in-law has been in the hospital for a month now. She fell in her room and ended up in the hospital with 2 broken ribs. After a week she fell again.
By that time we all decided, that she needed more care and she was put on a waiting list for a bed in a nursing home. The Powers That Be tried to find her extra help, so that in the meantime she could go back to her room in the retirement home to wait for a bed, but all the work was for nothing. I have to say, that she is getting excellent care at the hospital, but it is not a nice place to be, if you don't really need all that care.
Then we got a call yesterday, that a bed was available right in the same home, where she was on the retirement side. It was not exactly what she wanted and she had only one day to make up her mind. Her other option was to stay in the hospital till something more suitable came up.It was very hard on all of us to help grandma to make a decision. But by this afternoon she has decided to go ahead and move on Friday. I will help her with moving the few things she can take along and the rest will be stored here till she, hopefully soon, gets in a bigger room.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Rain, rain go away

Remember last week? I talked about the wonderful weather we were having -- how fast things can change! It has been nothing but rain since. The equipment has been repaired, greased, oiled and fueled up, but there is no place to go. Laurence is getting just a little antsy. We have been farming a long time and we have been here before, but the waiting never gets any easier. And the forecast is not looking much better.
Here at home, things are about the same. Laurence's mom is still in the hospital. She fell again, but she only had a few bruises. Right now she is doing well and some changes have to be made. We try and visit her each day and keep her spirits up.
Next week I will be in Buckhorn, where I will be giving a trunk show and a workshop.  We will be doing some crazy quilting. For that workshop I like to have a sample handy. A few weeks ago I showed you the beginning of a new block (see the top picture). Since then I have been adding some ribbons and laces. I guess if you wanted to be really "crazy" you would work at it more randomly, but I like to have some control. That's why I add the ribbons and laces later. I sew them on with some big stitches, since later on I will follow with embroidery or beads. For the lace ends I will open the seam allowance and tuck them under that or I will double the ends, whatever works.
Finally I have used all the lace pieces I got from my friend Janet in England. Thanks Janet, I loved to work with them. I was very stingy, but the box is empty. For the next round I will start with the beading and the embroidery. This I will do from the center out. That way it will get less wrinkly. The final round will have all the little extras like buttons, pins and whatever else I can find. Remember this was only a sample piece! Well while working on this you have lots of time to think and wouldn't it be nice to continue with a border with embroidered flowers, next a crazy quilted border and then a border to pull it all together. Have to give it some more thought!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What a week!

What a glorious week we just had. By last week Wednesday we could start with the harvest and the weather was good till today. By now the white beans and soybeans have all been combined, except for one farm a distance from here -- and all the winter wheat has been planted. The next job on Laurence's list is checking the combine. They ran into a few smaller problems yesterday, but with the coming days being rainy he has time to fix whatever is needed.
This last weekend we celebrated Thanksgiving here in Canada. Jenny and Tony arrived early Saturday afternoon with their bikes. They went for a few long rides and enjoyed every minute of it. On Sunday we had our Thanksgiving meal and we missed grandma: she is still in the hospital. Though she is feeling much better, she decided that she was not up to coming to our place. Instead we visited her later on in the afternoon and brought her a few treats.
Shawn and Emily brought their bassett hound, Abner. The two of them left in the midafternoon for the tractor pull at the Simcoe Fair, and we were to watch Abner.
Bernie could not appreciate another dog and there were a few instances where it was hard to keep the peace between the two of them. Here is Jenny showing off my latest pair of socks, while keeping the peace between the dogs. The pattern is by Cookie A and I forget where the yarn came from.
It was a nice pattern to knit. By now I have enough socks for a while and I have started the knit a pair of Norwegian mittens. Yes, I know it is not winter yet, but I like to be prepared. Jenny just happened to have a book and some of the right yarn. With us being so busy with the harvest I just don't feel like starting another big quilting project. These mitts should not take long, but they are fussy.
Tomorrow I will get a few pictures printed for my next project. So once the fall work is behind us, there will be no more excuses. I did some clean-up work in the flower beds, but a lot of plants are still blooming. These roses I took to grandma yesterday and there are many more. I did take most of my orchids inside. And almost all have survived their stay outside. Most did very well and I can see flower stalks on a lot.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Canadian Food Grains Bank

What do you get ,when you have over 120 combines in a 160 acre soybean field? Besides a lot of noise and a lot of dust flying around, after 11 minutes and 43 59/100 seconds, you get a new world record! All the proceeds from the combined beans will go to the Canadian Food Grains Bank and the government will match this money 4 times.
The Canadian Food Grains Bank was formed by a group of churches and as the name implies, tries to help get food to people in need. The first we heard about this plan was in the winter: by then, everything had been donated, from land, to seed and fertilizer. Later came the call for combines. I was after Laurence to go, but he figured that our combine would not be big enough. The big day was last Friday, but it was rained out. The second try came on Monday, again a rainy day, but today was just perfect.  We had seen a few combines go past here and we are about 40 km from Moncton. Shawn was there with one of the dealership combines and so was his father -in-law with his combine. But Shawn did not get to drive and so watched it with us.
Once I looked at the pictures at home I noticed him on the right of the first picture. By 1:30 it was time to go and it was something to see. The combines started from both sides, one with 65 and the other with 55 and they met in the middle, where an area had been combined before.  A big worry would be any machines that quit for whatever reason, and there were some that could not keep up.
As the combines came closer, so came the dust. But after 11:43:59 minutes the horn went and it was all over.  Or really it just started, because all these beans had to be sold by auction!
We went home soon after, but Shawn phoned just now and we heard, that the first 10 bags of beans sold for $1000 each and were donated back and then resold for the same amount. We will have to wait for the final tally for a while. And you cannot have a farmer do without food. I do not know, how they did it. This all happened way back in a field with no hydro in sight. There was one tent, where you could buy beef or pork on a bun, all donated and ice cream, coffee and apples. All they asked for was a donation. And there were hundreds of people.
On the home front things are not going as well. Last Thursday night we got a call from the hospital. My mother-in-law had fallen and was taken to the hospital: she had 2 broken ribs and she is still in the hospital and she is in a lot of pain.
Today we had great weather and we hope to start with the harvest tomorrow. So we keep our fingers crossed and hope for a lot of sunshine in the coming weeks.