13 September 2009

Wheat Harvest in Amish Country

Driving the back roads of LaGrange County Indiana recently, I came upon a field of standing wheat shocks which were harvested in the labor intensive ancient way. The ripe golden wheat is first cut using cast iron farm implements drawn by a team of sturdy draft horses driven by the farmer. In this particular field the crop was raked into small bundles, hand tied with green twine, and then the small bundles stacked into the larger shocks shown in this photo. You can see a closeup of the individually tied bundles in the previous post. The raking, tying, and stacking is often the work of the women and children. The women work in a long polyester dress, apron, and bonnet. This is only a portion of the field.

The beauty of the scene is breathtaking.
And so is the work behind it.

19 August 2009

Close up of wheat shocks

ere's a closeup of the wheat shocks in the above post.

If you look closely you can see the green string that holds each small bundle together.


18 July 2009

Maybe an edit is due?

In the About Me section, I hope for another twenty five good years. I'm wondering if I should edit that to twenty.......naaahhhhh, maybe I should add five more years. Another thirty years is entirely possible!

06 July 2009

Quilt Festival

Shipshewana, IN had its first quilt festival in June and it did not disappoint. There were just over 80 quilts selected to be shown and I am happy to say mine was one! I was surprised to see how longarm machine quilting dominates hand quilting. Naively I still imagined hand quilting is preferable. I've had one top machine quilted and the quilter did a fantastic job. I went the machine route because I will never hand quilt all the tops I piece, only select ones. So, I shouldn't be surprised. A quilt top finished by the hands of a skillful longarm quilter is beautiful in its own way.

The grand prize was from Michigan. It is trapunto applique, machine quilted and very striking. It's the white with red. I was lax and didn't take the notes I should have.

An applique quilt with playful puppies also won a ribbon and is just a delightful piece.

My entry (top photo) was a variation of the pineapple block called Windmill Blades and I did hand quilt this one. I got excellent marks for my fabric choices, however the corners of the binding were my downfall. Still, not bad for only the 2nd quilt I've made. I feel because when I participate I succeed.

Sorry all the photos are at the top. Wasn't meant to be laid out that way but I just don't know how to insert them!

23 June 2009

Into the Beautiful North

Earlier this year I had the privilege of going to Kankakee, Illinois for the kick-off of the book tour of "Into the Beautiful North" by Luis Alberto Urrea. As a child every Saturday during the summer my friends and I walked to the imposing sandstone library complete with turret and bronze lions. We scoured the card catalogs and stacks always eager to discover a new treasure to read. "The Black Stallion'' series by Walter Farley was by far the favorite of our little tribe. It was a joy to return to my childhood stomping grounds, but I was not prepared for the impact of the evening gathering.

So, here I am revisiting the lions who now reside in front of the new library. The old library, now I believe the library for lawyers, still stands though somewhat less dazzling without the lions guarding the front entrance.

I have not reviewed this book yet. I'm still digesting it. However, I can endorse it and its author. Meeting Luis and having books autographed was an unexpectedly rich experience. I am a huge fan of "The Hummingbird's Daughter" and am happy to report my old tattered copy is now autographed and even graced with a sketch of a hummingbird on the title page.

More to come on "Into the Beautiful North". I can tell you it is being considered for film production and "The Hummingbird's Daughter" is scheduled to begin filming in January 2010.

Also, if you are not a fan of the chain bookstores or big-box online stores, check out a fabulous Oregon book store with a website: Powell's Books. You can find them at www.powells.com with a large and varied online store. They also have a program called "Indiespensables" which offers subscriptions. You choose the length of subscription and every six weeks will receive a box, always a surprise, that includes a wonderful autographed book and a few extra delights. Check it out. It's a great gift for yourself or someone else.

Check back. This post is in constant revision. You may peek inside "Into the Beautiful North" via the link below. When the page opens use the blue toolbar at the top of the page to see inside the book.

21 June 2009

Harvesting the Roses

Here's a photo of the process of harvesting rose petals to make Rose Champagne Sorbet. First you make a base, freeze it, then process with champagne in an ice cream freezer. I use a KitchenAid. Absolutely indescribable but I'll try: delicate, effervescent, subtle rose flavor. Heavenly! You can see the petals in the colander and the pulp in the food processor. These roses are an antique variety that blooms only once in June. And, they are organic.

24 May 2009


Last week I had the pleasure of meeting author Luis Alberto Urrea at a book signing. I am a devout fan of "The Hummingbird's Daughter" which I learned is about to be made into a movie! The signing was for the new release, "Into the Beautiful North". I won't even try to review these books, as you can find professional writings about them. Suffice to say I am such a big fan because Mr. Urrea writes with intelligence, heart, compassion, humor, Everything. Here's my favorite photo which was taken by a friend who accompanied me.

30 April 2009


redbud, heart shape leaf

native, too small to harvest

or it would be gone


22 April 2009

String Star Quilts

Last November a dear friend issued a "quilt challenge" to a group of about 90 quilters. She showed a small child's quilt from the late 1800's and challenged us to create something, not necessarily duplicate the original, but to Create with a capital C. Six months later, next quilt retreat, and two of us did Create. In this photo the original which measures about 31" wide and 44" long is on the bottom and my little quilt is on the top. I sewed it from strips of Civil War reproduction fabrics that measured 3'' long and 3/4'' wide which finished to diamonds 1'' in height. Lots, and lots, and lots of pieces!

Since I began shortly after the 2008 Presidential election, I dedicated this to Barack Obama and included one piece of cotton I printed with his name on my ink jet printer. But it is more than that. For me it is a symbol of the validation of the Declaration of Independence that "all men are created equal." Now we can work on equality for women and children!

When I showed this quilt at the show and tell of the quilt gathering, I thought, "There's so much controversy, it just may be art!"

12 April 2009

Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday 2009. A long and cold snowy winter. A cold spring. Yet today we have sunshine and the promise of the coming season of growth. Last week we had snow on the forsythia. You might say YUK and I did, but then when I took photos I realized it is all a matter of perception. After all, how often do we get to see brilliant yellow blooms frosted with ice? It melted quickly, no harm done. And I realize much of what I perceive is from the fears of my own heart. May spring flow to summer and the bounty be great for all. Here's a little Easter haiku.


sharp breeze from the east
warm western sun on my face
I am the center.


15 February 2009


It's been quite a winter here, as I talked about a few days ago. How do you like the big 'cupcake' on the patio table? I love winter if I don't have to drive on icy roads. But I am ready for yellow flowers and going for a walk without boots and my hooded coat!

Working on my Baby Jane

I've been working on my Baby Jane quilt again, even cutting some solid triangles and completing my first top row triangle. Sometimes it goes well as these results show, and sometimes it just don't.

10 February 2009


Today the temperature is in the mid 50's and the strong wind is from the south melting the snow, but the piles of icebergs from the snow plows are still standing. This was a 4 shovel winter: narrow shovel, wide shovel, old fashioned scoop, and extra shovel. We had lots of snow this year but it was so cold it was the powdery light kind. We had one snow deep enough and drifted enough to contract the plow man to clear the driveway. Hubby still refuses to get a snow blower but he's getting one this fall for his birthday if he wants one or not so we don't have to use a shovel to dig a 'you know what'.