Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Home and Children’ Category

Grapevines and the Raspberry Patch

Some years ago, I think my mother planted some grape vines in the garden, thinking she would be able to harvest them for her jelly making. And instead of going to the woods to pick blackberries—that was always one of the tasks for me and my siblings, she planted raspberries near the farm house.

They were not well tended.

Wild grapes are also in abundance but produce very little in terms of usable fruit—I think the birds enjoyed them—and widely distributed them around the farm buildings.

So each year I weed the patch.

The first year was huge ragweed–and so dense, a brown thrasher had made her nest there. I weeded around her; left her nest until the fall when I weeded the remaining section.

I’ve put down chaff from the grainery in an attempt to combat weeds–but I think I planted nettles as the following years there were a lot of nettles—much harder to pull than ragweed—although some of the ragweed reaches ‘tree’ stature and trunk thickness.

I’ve cut back those grape vines to the ground–as that is how they are supposed to be cultivated—but no fruit!

So it was time to deal with those grapevines.

Here is what it looked like when I arrived in Late July.

After considerable work–and surprisingly no gnats this year—I’ve worn a bee veil when the the gnats are bad—but this year there was enough of a breeze to keep them away.

So here is what it looks like after weeding. I put done sheet rock to discourage weeds and pile corn fodder on top—fifteen wheel barrow loads.

I was very pleased to see so many raspberry canes; they bear the second year. My first weeding the end of May had only three canes on the periphery—I was thrilled to see this many throughout the patch.

And so I decided it was time for those grapevines to go.

I sprayed them daily for five days. And finally they looked near gone.

My husband was not happy with this—but I will plant grapes elsewhere—and much further apart and in a place there they can flourish without compromising those raspberries.

The ragweed and burdock didn’t seem to mind the brush spray….drat!

I’ll have to dig out that burdock.

Contemplation

In May of this year, I decided to ‘retire’ from a job that had increasingly become at odds with my health. Late nights and irregular hours made it impossible for me to plan health related appointments, meals, and participation in a few social events. Despite my efforts to recommend changes to a business that had been failing, holding onto ‘we’ve always’, and staff who were increasingly unable to do their jobs accurately and effectively, they chose not to change anything.

And so the end of May when a license renewal was due, I chose not to renew it. I wished them well, but time will tell whether their continued commitment to ‘we’ve always’ will be effective.

After spending a weekend at a medical school class reunion and some space in time and distance, I re-considered that renewal. It is hard to give up what I’ve worked so very hard for so many years.

And now I am volunteering my time at a local clinic seeing indigent patients a few days a week until they find a new provider.

But my back is not happy with all that time on a cement slab flooring and I spend nights awake with back pain. The health insurance company has denied every request for care not specifically identified and costing over $2…..yes, you read that correctly—$2! And even then wanting me to switch to something even less reliable for medications and cheaper for them.

So now it is time to change course again.

The answer regarding health insurance is clear, but what about my time?

How shall I spend my days with nothing in my day planner but doctor appointments? And those hopefully far and few between.

Our biggest decision during pandemic times was ‘what shall we have for supper’ and ‘who is cooking’. We’ve practiced that for nearly two years now, sometimes relying on a meal service to add variety.

Yardwork? There is always something to do outside in a year round growing climate.

Sorting through years of accumulations of paper and mementos?

Social butterfly?

Taking up a new hobby?

Aspiring to a new career?

Hmmm……..

Purple and Teal

Definitely not my favorite colors!

Digging through that box as noted yesterday, I found a panel along with some four patches and some strips and lengths of fabric from my mother’s quilting days.

Somehow on social media, I had connected with one of my parent’s neighbor. She grew up next to my parents who treated her with the same dignity and interest as their own grandchildren. She had fetal alcohol syndrome and life was not easy for her.

One day, Mom needed some help in working on a particular quilt. She asked the girl–a teenager at the time to assist her. After some time, the quilt was finished and Mom gave it to the girl.

She treasured that quilt but lost in a house fire.

She is now married with children of her own.

I thought I might give her this quilt—made from Mom’s fabrics, panel, and some of her patchwork.

and the back

I hope she will like it; it will travel to Wisconsin on our next trip hopefully in a couple of weeks.

A Surprise

Remodeling the farm-house has been long term project. Two of my brothers have taken on finishing up the project. They have sheet-rocked the majority of the upstairs, painted the half bath, gotten the furnace up and running with ductwork in place. I wanted the house to be mine–not my parents or my grand-parents but mine.

We added two additions–a larger master bedroom and a larger bathroom with walk-in shower on one side and on the other a lovely breakfast room with clerestory windows. There is a huge wrap-around porch and an upstairs balcony. I knew about those features. But I was promised a surprise.

And here it is!

that wood beam is wood from the grainery. There will be a brass chandelier hanging instead of that light fixture.

the room with the two windows was my old bedroom, facing north and the windmill. It will become the library with shelves on two long walls.

The room with the sloping ceiling will become my sewing room with a smaller room on the other side as the computer room and half bath.

Look at all that lovely light and space.

Flowers for Mom and Dad

My grandmother took on many jobs during her lifetime. She repaired sewing machines during the Depression, operated a canning machine for local garden produce during World War II, and mowed/maintained cemeteries in the following decades.

She would drive down to the farm and pick the three oldest up to help her mow the cemetery on Shanghai ridge. I usually had the job of trimming with the hand clippers—no weed eaters in those days.

Flowers then were the perishable variety; a few folks planted flowers in pots or urns. The cemetery was always nicely mowed for Memorial Day and the Fourth with flags placed on the veterans’ grave-sites.

Some of my friends from Louisiana have the custom of a cemetery day in which family members clean, weed, refurbish the family graves.

My dear friend Jo decorates her parents’ graves and offered to help me do the same for mine. She had a nice cache of plastic flowers from the days when cemetery workers removed the previous year’s decorations and put them in a huge pile on a back corner.

We found two nice small sprays—lilac and pink for my mother and blue/white for my dad.

The gravestone had two receptacles for flowers—-I waded through some thistles and tall weeds into the nearby corn field to pick up some corn cobs to wedge them into place.

As Dad was a farmer—that didn’t seem too out of place—a simple solution.

Tank-Mates and Forty Five Years

It hardly seems possible that I graduated from medical school forty five years ago.

It was a weekend of memories and catching up on classmates.

The first year was rigorous, filled to capacity with study, labs, lectures with the most demanding being that of Gross Anatomy.

Disecting a cadaver is not something done in a week—it took us the best part of two semesters to do so—the smell of formaldehyde forrever bringing that memory back.

We were grouped in teams of four. Three guys asked me if I had joined a group—and invited me. Sam and i dove into diseection; he became a gastroenterologist. Ashley, a medic serving in Viet Nam destined to become an ENT surgeon, and Greg who became the physician for the Olympic bicycling team were less enthusiastic.

They teased me—and admitted it was because it was so fun—. I grew up with five brothers, most of my college classes were with males–as I focused on math and science along with the engineers.

And here I am with Ashley.

Two girls, a son, and a backyard

This past weekend was a dance/gymnastic recital for three grandchildren. Unfortunately I did not get any photos of the event However, we spent a lovely afternoon with them the previous weekend.

My daughter-in-law spends a lot of time on her house and garden–their backyard was absolutely delightful–tall pine trees offering shade and lots of potted vegetables and fruit trees.

the best part of course–were the two grand-daughters.

I’m not sure why the grand-son was so tired—but isn’t he adorable?

Farewell to Teddy Bears

Sometimes it is easier to clean and organize when you are alone in your home—-or maybe it is because there is no-one to reminisce about the objects and get side-tracked. While Toby and Dora listen attentively, they do not offer verbal opinions….perhaps that is a good thing.

One of the closets had a large basket full of stuffed toys. Dusty! I had save them for grand-children—who seem to be more interested in playing outside than with stuffed critters—and it is time to dispose of them.

I’ve worked in a resale shop—-some of the items have never seen soap—I decided to wash these stuffies. Everyone came out smelling nice—except—-this poor yellow bear.

I cleaned all of this out—poor bear—he looked fine until his bath.

But then I made these two from my sister-in-law’s wedding dress remnants.

She has two grand-daughters; I sent some spools of ribbon—I am just not a good bow tie-er—thought about going to a florist shop and begging for assistance—but then thought the bows would be better tied closer to their final destination.

Sweet husband delivered them last week—to oohs and aahs—

And I still have all those other stuffies to deliver—somewhere.

Onward!

Two days ago I wrote about my frustrating interaction with health insurance—it was just the eensiest smidge of self-pity—-but it is time to move on.

I grew up in Wisconsin—our state motto—-Onward!

Our past defines who we are at the start, but does not dictate our future.

With that in mind……

I began to select fabrics for the image on that quilted piece. Contrast and scale are challenging. I decide what I think will be a good color–and then I hunt for the right scale. My fabric collection—think of it as a collection of tubes of paint…is large–and I have added very little to it in the past three or four years, choosing to work from what I have.

Here is my first pull.

Whatever I choose needs to be harmonious with the background but yet distinctive.

While I dug through piles of fabric and small strips of fabric destined for crumb quilts or string piecing, the foundations guys arrived to work on the garage.

This house is old–over a hundred years—and construction methods then were different from today.

The garage was built on a row of bricks with a concrete floor poured afterwards. The cars were not very heavy—I don’t know how much a Model T or A weighed—–but they were certainly smaller and lighter than my F250 diesel–which has never seen the inside of a garage unless it was a parking garage in Houston or at Dwayne’s getting something repaired.

They were pleased to be working in the shade for most of the day—but it was still hot.

They mixed up the cement with their bobcat in the street.

by this time, they all had their shirts off—and I know you want to see that.

Now we wait for the concrete/cement—(there is a proper term…one is the ingredient and the other the finished product).. to set.

They will be back sometime in about a week to raise the garage. Then it will be time for the roof guys to appear.

And by that time I will have completed the work on that piece I started so very long ago.

Onward doesn’t give a time frame.

Coloring My World

color My world

At last I took the time to take a full photograph. It was the 2021 Quilst Show Block of the Month destined to be the wedding quilt for my oldest grandson.

I had a lot of fun choosing some of my novelty fabrics to make the houses and buildings. The ‘pole’ positions were equally fun with penguins and snowmen–and then the Alamo and ‘home’ as west and east.

Of course there are lots of cowboys and longhorns–he is Texan!

I didn’t take a photo of the back–but it has lots of cowboy themed fabric as well.

I’ve started work on the next Block of the Month–this one is flowers in vases–and will be for the youngest grand-daughter—it has a lot of bold fabrics—to match her personality.