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Bricks and Scraps

Sometimes a quilt just finishes itself without even planning too much about it. I started cutting up scraps into rectangles, storing them in a small box; adding to it when I used up a fabric and had just a strip left; and suddenly that box was full.

So then I started sewing those rectangles together.,…in between other seams.

And then suddenly it was a top.

And one day I decided to use up some yardage for the backing of another quilt—also a scrap one—and had enough left to quilt this one.

I liked the pantograph on the table and so I quilted it—and now it is done and waiting for a binding.

and then there is this one.

I’m a member of three quilt guilds, two of them quite small-;;;more the size of a large bee—that makes them fun.

The president of one issued a challenge to complete a quilt using mystery directions with two options each month for that month’s round of blocks.

I worked along and then veered off in my own direction. I thought this last round was these bow-tie blocks—but after I re-read the directtions—they are the CORNERS! But I made enough of them to go around—and because I’m not fond of square quilts, I added some extra to top and bottom—-which meant I had to make even more of those bow-ties—-and then that green polka-dot was just overwhelming, and I decided to calm it down with soe appliqued circles.

I did add a border of that avocado green so I would not have seams on the edges—now to sew down all those circles;

Chicory the Midwest Version of BlueBonnets

Chicory grows abundantly along the roadways of Wisconsin—and probably most of the other Midwest states. It is a lovely blue flower atop a feathery plant but it closes up every night and opens up again the next morning. If you pick a handful of these flowers thinking to decorate your kitchen table, you are disappointed as they close up almost as soon as you pick them. Dandelions have a much longer staying power.

Bluebonnets here in Texas are pretty—and i was aghast when I saw longhorns in the middle of a huge lovely field of them munching away. When I looked at the foliage more carefully, I saw that they are resemble alfalfa—and certainly edible.

I know you wanted to see those chicory blooms…

While Bluebonnets also say home—chicory does too.

A lovely hour or more walking in Village Creek State Park Texas

What a lovely day it is today….perfect temps for being outside doing just about anything. No rain—plants need rain but tonight would be fine….a very gentle breeze….and a paid up state park pass.

And it is close!

After breakfast of blueberry pie, we loaded up Toby and Dora and headed north. It is always a bit tricky to find the right turns to get to the park–but Tessie managed it just fine. She did tend to drive a bit faster over that bumpy pot-holed road than we liked.

I picked up a map in the ranger station–and noted there was a special thing to see—–a sapsucker tree. We studied the map, went walking down trails, and more trails, found the canoe landing with almost no water…so different from the last time we were there.

and here is another view

Toby and Dora were eager to go wading in the river.

It is a very marshy area filled with cypress and cypress knees. This pool was up to the level of the walkway over it last time.

I’d show you the cypress knees standing without any water anywhere close by-===but my SC card was full and this was the last photo I took.

We never found that sapsucker tree; there were a fair number of people all out enjoying the park and the lovely weather. We stopped at the Ida Reed Dog Park on our way back home—and now I get to edit photos and clean up that SD card before venturing out again for another adventure.

Another Learning Curve

Sometimes life tells you an update or change is needed.

And so now I have a new computer with Windows 11, a touchscreen that is immense.

Some of my passwords were saved; some were not; some were so old they expired and I had to start new.

But now I am working away at this new computer.

I’ve also enrolled in two on-line classes—struggling to keep up with intermittent internet access and a new computer where everything is in a different place.

Cousinmn Sheldon, his wife Mary and me

I’m still recovering from a respiratory infection I picked up somewhere with allergy season as well so I’m a bit late in posting all my photos and doings in Wisconsin.

This is my cousin Sheldon. His father was my dad’s younger brother—and the resemblance to my dad, his uncles, and some of my nephews is uncanny. He is several years older than I am and so remembered our Grand-Dad and grandmother–I got her curly hair. I was just six when he died; a married college student when she passed away.

And here is one of my favorite places—-the Kickapoo River Landing.

We canoed down this river several times; having to portage around dams and blocked trees. It has been cleared out considerably for canoers and also as flood control. My dad or one of my brothers would put us in upstream and then come collect us at the junction of the Kickapoo with the Wisconsin River.

Lots of mosquitoes but lots of gorgeous scenery and rock faces along the trip.

Weeding Around the Windmill

I may have conquered the raspberry patch. Two months ago, I pulled all the nettles and ragweed out, put down random scraps of drywall and topped them with heaps of corn fodder from the haymow.

No nettles this time!

And so it was time to turn my attention to the windmill. There is a large peony planted there, and some snow on the mountain greenery. AND lots of weeds—wild aster.

The fan from the windmll is behind the barn, having been scrunched up by tractors and farm equipment running into it. Unfortunately DNR insisted this well was ‘unsafe’ because the well head was only a few inches about the ground—as you can see it is the highest pont; no-run-off—-but ‘they knew better’ and so it was closed with bentonite; the plumber making an awful mess of it and the paperwork. Thanks DNR for keeping my safety in mind—AND spending my money uselessly.

On a brighter note, I had some tree work done. A large walnut tree was touching the garage and the cow lot was full of volunteer trees.

I”m hoping to turn it into a garden with a gazebo type structure on top of the old grainery.

That is a huge brushpile—the fire department suggested we burn it with about two inches of snow on the ground—-I doubt i will be there for that—but it will make for a great marshmallow roast.

Back to Wisconsin the Badger Way and Gain an Hour

The trip to Michigan from Mantowoc was in the afternoon. It was dusk when we arrived at 7PM;. We did not have a vehicle being not quite sure how they would handle an electric car….its get=up=and=go function is speedier than most people are accustomed and we could imagine it being driven into the back of someone else.

So we were on foot.

There were supposed to be taxis at the dock—but there weren’t.

Fortunately the cruise director offered us a ride to our motel–it was two blocks away from her home.

I wont say anything about that motel other than it was a long walk in the dark the next morning in wet grass to get back to the ship and we won’t be staying there again.

The trip back was uneventful, the seas===lake–calm.

Here are a few photos

The casting off procedure was interesting—two large ropes attached by large hooks to a big post on the dock. The ship loosened the ropes and the person on the dock unhooked the ropes, then the ropes were hauled back in—-really loud and noisy.

I spent most of the trip back sleeping in the museum; our stateroom was icy cold with only two thin blankets the kind you get in the hospital.

Off=loading the ship was interesting and this time I took photos of the process.

If you had a motorcycle, you drove it off yourself. All the other vehicles were driven off by the porter—who ran back into the ship.

We drove off with our first charging in Madison East Town Mall….where we encountered two pan-handlers. It was a bit of a shock–we are accustomed to them here but not in Wisconsin.

All Aboard the SS Badger

The SS Badger is a National Landmark and operates between Manitowoc Wisconsin and Ludington Michigan as a coal fired steamship.

It was originally one of many car-rail ferries between Wisconsin and Michigan designed to avoid the traffic snarls created by going around Lake Michigan through Chicago.

The Badger was one of three ships built in Sturgeon Bay and was christened by Mrs. Kohler, the wife of the Kohler plumbing fixture owner. It was launched sideways and created such a splash, it knocked over three rail cars stationed in front of the mechanic shops in the harbor with lake water flowing through the shops and flooding the streets.

The season of sailing is short due to winter weather with the last sailing the middle of October. The trip each way takes about four hours but there is a time difference as Michigan is on Eastern Time and Wisconsin on Central Time.

For those of you who have taken the Galveston Ferry from Bolivar Peninsula to Galveston, this was very much the same but on a much grander scale. The cars and trucks and RV’s were driven on and off by porters who seemed to have only one speed on land–full-out run!. The large vehicles were backed in while the cars were driven in frontwards and somehow turned around to drive out forwards.

The interior of the shop had several hot food dining options, an interesting museum filled with information and a video about the Badger.

Interestingly, I discovered some photographs my grandmother had taken in 1954 when she went to Manitowoc to see the ferry. I don’t think she traveled on it as there are no Lake photos or any labeled as Michigan.

And here are two of my grandmother’s photos. There was much speculation at the Badger office regarding which ship it was and when the alterations to the ship had been made. However, my grandmother carefully noted on the back that this ship was the City of Midland.

inscripton on back reads ferry approaching August 1954

notation on back reads City of Midland August 1954Acccor

According to the Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay there were over 17 car ferry ships built along with multiple other ships as part of the War Effort in the 1940’s. Most of the transport was rail cars loaded with steel, produce and other goods.

Winds and perhaps a Gentle Breeze

I’ve decided to be more aggresive in promoting my artwork. That also means I will have to produce.

I’m working on getting myself organized (Again!).

I don’t mind sorting, filing, looking through art supplies…In fact, playing with those materials–and I have a lot–I really don’t need to buy much of anything for a long time.

Organizing my digital files and photos—that is another thing. I’ve taken the photos but my labeling is haphazard and I can’t find things—maybe I just don’t know how to work the search part of the photo site—so I end up taking repeat photos.

But I think I have come up with a plan to get those organized so I can find things.

Today I entered a call regarding ‘Wind’. I have in mind two other pieces that will be fun and not so serious.

Here are the three pieces I submitted.

This was a challenge to portray the Wizard of Oz in such a way the viewer would want to read the book.

with a birthday in March, I have always been fascinated by the imagery of kites. One of my husband’s early adventures with my brothers was driving his LandCruiser over a hayfiled to generate enough win to fly a huge box kite with a brother hanging on for dear life out the back window.

Sometimes a gentle breeze is all we want–and this piece of silk with ink splattered and leaves from some young trees falling on the sidewalk in Houston functioned as templates and stamps.

It’s hard to predict what will happen. There are usually a lot of entries, the competition is quite stiff. But no-one will come looking for my artwork unless I enter. Even if rejected, it has been seen by jurors who might just remember my work.

Zinnias in my front yard

Sometimes ordinary common place flowers have a special place in our hearts.

My mother along with nearly every other farmer’s wife=-and the in-town wives planted a row of zinnias in their vegetable garden. They grew readily and produced abundant blooms. But then in Wisconsin it was hard NOT to grow things like walnut trees in the middle or the yard and ragweed so tall it looked like trees and required a saw to cut.

This part of Texas has its own unique flowers, azaleas, crepe myrtles, gardenias, snow bells and daffodils. This year I scattered a ‘free’ packet of zinnia seed in a front flowerpot and the chimney flue in front.

The front pot does not get enough sun—but the ones in the chimney flue are blooming gloriously. Colors such as deep purple, lavender, salmon in addition to the traditional red, orange and yellow are a bright spot and make me smile every time I walk or drive past them on my way to work.

Common place flowers but not everything needs to be exotic. They say ‘home’ to me.

Don’t Feed the Ducks

Last weekend we spent several days in Houston. I had two doctor appointments—clinics were kind enough to schedule on same day and with enough time between so as to make just ONE trip rather than two. Then Glen was lucky enough to get his Pulmonary Function test done while I was at my appointments. Finally I had a CT scan that the imaging department moved up so we had an afternoon free.

I like to park at Herman Park Zoo parking lot and walk through Herman Park to get to appointments at the medical center. It is a relaxing walk through trees and I can see turtles and various sorts of water fowl ranging from swans to assorted ducks not native to the area.

Unfortunately that part of the park is blocked due to construction of some sort–a new water garden and probably a parking garage.

But we had a picnic lunch and sat at a table under some live oak trees.

It wasn’t long before a young squirrel approached us. Glen tossed chex mix piece by piece. it was very shy and would quickly grab a piece and run back to safety. Ten minutes passed by before that squirrel was joined by others–at last count there were five. And then a grackle appeared also interested in a snack.

While I am not fond of squirrels near my house—they chew electric wires and torment the dogs, these are in a public park far away from electrical wires.

And they were definitely not ducks.

Here are a few photos from the day;

Just one grackle.