Tuesday Tip – Finding More Time to Quilt

On the second Monday of the month we usually have a work night at my shop for Quilts of Valor, a program which gives quilts to wounded soldiers & veterans. Sometimes we stay later than other times, tonight we had a new sewist join us so we got quite a bit done and stayed longer than usual. (Don’t you love the word ‘sewist’? It looks so much nicer in print than ‘sewer’. Sewer doesn’t SOUND bad – “Sew-er” but when you type it it looks the same as the word pronounced “Soo-er”. So I prefer “Sewist” – but I digress……)

Anyway, I arrived home – tired, hungry, with a list of things I wanted to accomplish before bed. And what should I find waiting for me in my kitchen?

Just over 13 pounds!!! Poor Rudy must have been out in the drizzle picking for hours. The bad thing about strawberries – or any garden produce for that matter – is not only do you have to plant them, and water them, and weed them, and fertilize them, and keep the bugs & birds away from them, and harvest them, but then you have to DO something with them as well! So we spent an hour or so sorting and washing and hulling berries.

The larger ones get laid out on a cookie sheet and placed in the freezer. When solid, they go into ziplock bags and are eventually used in hot cereal, or for pancake topping, or to make smoothies, etc. We will deal with smaller ones tomorrow -those usually get pureed in the blender and made into fruit leather in the dehydrator, or one of my favorite things to do with them (favorite meaning *EASY*) – Frozen Strawberry Daquiris. I was going to post my recipe for you, but I can’t find it! What am I going to do?????? (Anyone have any good strawberry recipes to share with me?)

Anyway, this leads me to today’s Tuesday Tip for quilters:

If you want to have time to sew during the summer, don’t plant a garden!!!!!

Applique Reveal

Did you guess that I wasn’t really going to applique the word “EEL” somewhere on my project? This is mostly finished, I need to add some quilting and some buttons that I haven’t received yet.

Isn’t it cute? It’s from Nancy Halvorsen’s “Garden Song” book. She always has such fun ideas, including tea towels that are decorated or made into aprons. I’ll have the books, wire hangers and tea towels available at my “Quilt Market Review” this Saturday, June 5 from 11am – 3pm. Those are just a few of the new products I’ll be showing and demonstrating.

(If you’d like to know more about Quilt Market Review or any of the other events at my shop, you can view my newsletter here – and if you don’t already receive it via email, scroll down to the bottom of the newsletter to sign up.)

And since I like real flowers as well as the applique kind, I thought I’d show you what is blooming in the prairie garden right now:

These are shell-leaf penstemon. I was unfamiliar with this native prairie plant until we had a few blooming last year. This year those original plants seem to be gone, but now there are many of them in a newer part of the garden. We’ve slowly been turning part of our yard back to the native prairie plants that would have been here before the land was developed. Each year we tear up some of the lawn and replace it with native plants. The section we did last year was started mainly from seed – that’s where the penstemon are now. We’ve also purchased plants for some areas from a nursery called Morning Sky Greenery in Minnesota. We’re expecting a shipment of about 50 plants from them on Friday. It’s a good thing I have to work at the Studio on Saturday! LOL

A Rescue Mission

We have an ornamental milkweed plant growing in our garden. Milkweed is the host plant for monarch butterflies. You can learn all about monarchs here. The caterpillars feed exclusively on milkweed. I like butterflies, so I don’t mind if they eat my plant. We even mow around the wild milkweeds to provide food for them.

Last week I counted at least 15 caterpillars on the one plant. The caterpillars have been growing fat and happy, the plant isn’t faring as well. When I checked it tonight, there were only a few scrawny leaves left. I was afraid the 8 caterpillars that I found on there would starve. So I rescued them. Here is their life raft:

caterpillars

caterpillars

I moved them to some of the wild milkweeds out in our prairie garden. Don’t they look happier in their new home?

New Home

New Home

Oh, look what I found on the plant they were on originally:

 

Chrysalis

Chrysalis

 That is a chrysalis. The caterpillar forms this around itself, then in about 10 – 14 days the butterfly will emerge – magic! It’s hard to see in the photo, but there is a line and some spots on the chrysalis which are gold. Actual shiny, 14 carat looking gold. Nature really is quite amazing.

 

 We started the prairie garden about 4 years ago. I don’t like lawns much. You water them and fertilize them so they will grow, then you have to mow them. Does that make sense??? I don’t mind a bit of lawn around the house, but I don’t like 3 acres of it. So we are trying to turn part of the yard back into native prairie. Right now some of the coneflowers are blooming:

coneflowers

coneflowers

Aren’t they prettier than grass?

The Harvest Begins

I told DH we might be able to have dessert in the garden tonight. I thought there might be a handful of strawberries ready to pick. This is what we found:

strawberries

Two pounds of strawberries! And that is just the very start of the harvest. I think it will be a bumper crop this year. Time to find the Strawberry Margarita recipe!

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