Sunday, June 10, 2012

What can I say? Life Happens!

  I had a voice mail from my Sissy this afternoon chiding me for not having blogged in 3 weeks. Wellllll, I'm sorry, but I've been a little busy. School was out May 25th and I hit the ground running. I've barely stopped except to eat and sleep (and not much of either.) First I had invites to 27 graduation parties and those took a lot of time. I actually got tired of eating cake! If you knew my sweet tooth, you'd find that hard to believe. I had promised Mom I'd go to her house (100 miles round trip) as soon as the partying was all over to do a major overhaul of her flower garden. It had become a jungle as she has gotten too frail to spend hours weeding. Although she still thinks she can! So I've made two all day trips to Dallas City spending 8-10 hours doing the heavy jobs I don't want her attempting. I have her shady hosta garden around her pond all weeded, pond pump and new filter in place, and repaired and expanded her rock retaining walls. We hired a local man to run his weed hog over her sunny garden last week; then my brother and I raked the whole thing to get rid of the debris. After several pickup loads were hauled to my brother's ditch, I sprayed the whole area with Roundup to kill everything that was left. I know this sounds drastic, but the garden was approximately 50' x 50' and overrun with poison ivy, alfalfa, trumpet vine, sweet pea vine, and numerous aggressive weeds. It was time to get rid of this garden, leaving her with her shady garden and pond area which is plenty for her to maintain and enjoy. She is 89 yrs. old and needs to slow down a little!

  Tomorrow I'm going over to access the situation again. If it doesn't need a second dose of Roundup, we'll hire someone to plow or till it; then we'll seed it in grass. I need to do some redesign work on her arbor so it's not a walk-thru to that garden anymore. It will become a 3-sided structure with a chair for her to sit under its shade and enjoy a view of her waterfall. I have some fence work to do too. The old garden had a two rail fence around it I had built. My brother took it down on three sides, leaving one in place on either side of the arbor facing the pond. I'll reuse some of the posts and rails to add to this section of fence. I've built her two arbors and at least I only have to work on one of them! She's having a dump truck load of river rock  delivered first thing tomorrow morning to put in her pathways. They used to get new mulch every couple of years. I convinced her to switch to rock so it wouldn't have to be replaced anymore. That's what I have in my garden paths and I love it. I'll be loading my wheel barrow in the back of the General to take for that job. That's one more reason I needed a hatchback!

   Besides all of that I've been working in my own flower gardens too. I finally started my pump in my koi pond last Tuesday. It didn't run for long until it slowed to a trickle...uh oh, not a good sign. I pulled it, cleaned the filter, and dropped it in the pond again. Same thing happened. I repeated that all day. I had to give up on it, because I was going to Mom's on Wednesday. Thursday I was determined to get my pump going to clean my very green water in the koi pond. I could only see the koi when they surfaced to eat. Poor koi, I knew they had to be miserable in that yucky water. Well, maybe they didn't mind, but it was driving me crazy!  I ended up making an emergency trip to Burlington to buy a new pump. They didn't have the 1250 gph size I needed, so I bought the next size, a 2000 gph! Gph is gallons per hour of water it will pump. Of course a bigger pump meant I had to buy a bigger hose! It's 2" diameter and the water almost shot across the pond! Yikes, that's not supposed to happen. The idea is for the water to flow over the rocks on the waterfall like in nature. I had my work cut out for me taming this bad boy. I had to build my waterfall up another level, which meant hauling a lot of large rocks and placing and replacing and placing them again to get it just right. It's like a jigsaw puzzle, you have to try a lot of pieces to find where they fit. That's all done, but I still have very green water to deal with. I spent all day Friday working on it. Once an hour, I had to pull the pump (in a 3 gallon bucket full of lava rock and water) to clean the filter;then drop it in again. The last time I pulled it was at 9 PM. At 10:30 PM I turned it off for the night. I couldn't trust it not to stop working overnight.

  Yesterday, I pulled the pump at 7 AM to clean the filter before I loaded up the General for my presentation in Bonaparte. By the time I was ready to leave at 9:30, the pump had slowed to a trickle (a sign that the filter is full of sludge), so I unplugged it. It would burn the motor up if it got clogged while I was gone.

  I got up at 6:45 AM this morning and pulled it again, showered dressed, and went to early church, got home, changed clothes, and pulled it again. That's how my life has been going for the last three weeks, Sissy! THAT'S WHY I HAVEN'T BLOGGED!!! OK?!!!

   If you are still reading after all of this, thank you for listening to me rant. On the positive side... I have quilted several evenings and am down to the last three rolls of the quilt on the frame! I want to get it done before I fly to Maine, because the day after I get back, I'm presenting in Muscatine for the quilt guild there. I'd really like to have this quilt for my display. It's the CW era quilt my niece bought me in Maine last year. It was yummy, but it was tied and had inch thick batting in it. I've been displaying it as a top ever since I took the ties out and removed the batting. I washed the backing for reuse, used new thin wool batting, and have been quilting it for the last month.

  I've also had some good luck in acquiring several more antique doll quilts. I just love them all. I still hope I'll find at least one good one in Maine this trip. Greedy, I know, but they need to be in a good home with someone who will love and take care of them....oh, yea, I guess that is shelter dogs isn't it? Well, quilts need love too.

  I should go quilt so I'll share some photos before I close. The first are of my new (old) doll quilts.

I love this 30"s 9-Patch with its blue flowered backing...

I had to buy the doll dresser to get the petite "Hexagon" doll quilt, darn! : )A REAL sacrifice...

The back of the hexy...

This 13" x 17" "One-Patch" is circa 1910-1920' It has a triangles border and a yellow and red plaid backing...

  Since I've been working like crazy in my garden, I'll share some pix of it too. Here is my Jackmanii Clematis I showed earlier, but now it's really in full bloom...

Remember the Lillian Gibson climbing rose I showed earlier with a few blooms? Here is an update...
 A "blue" iris (in the foreground)...
Another clematis with orange poppies in front...
A very showy lavendar/pink clematis....
   Alas, no pictures of my pond till I clear up the green water. I'll share a few pictures of my display in Bonaparte, Iowa, where I presented at the Burns Gallery and Tea Room. The room I set up in was very long and narrow, a real challenge for placement...

  If you've never been to Bonaparte in Van Buren County, you should make a point of going. It is a very old town, settled in the 1830's I believe, and charming. There are several shops on the one main street, including the Burns Gallery&Tea Room, antique shops, and the Bonaparte Retreat, which  is an eatery in an old mill on the Skunk River that serves up delicious food. There are several small towns in the area making up "the Villages of Van Buren" and they all have points of interests and activities to enjoy. It makes a wonderful day trip to SE Iowa.

  Ok, I hope this makes up for the long dry spell between posts. I'm heading to my quilt frame. Keep  stitching!



  1. Wow, you have been busy....I hope your back is holding out! Your gardens look lovely! Love those clematis...I'm just getting a few started.
    Don't worry about blogging, I think people don't realize how much time it takes...sometimes I wonder if it's worth it, but I really enjoy your posts! Don't work too hard!
    Brenda...the Farmer's Dotter

  2. Just love those little doll quilts - just gorgeous!!!! Your garden sure has blossomed, I want one just like it LOL!!!! Have a fabulous trip and blog when ever you can, life does sometimes get in the way - tell me how I know LOL! I haven't blogged for at least a month, just too darn busy......

  3. All I can say is......whew!! You've been a busy gal.

  4. I have just come across your blog and love it! I am interested in civil war quilting. I do a little quilting and love history, so being from the south (AL), I hope to do some reproduction quilts. I'm collecting a few books, patterns and starting my stash of fabrics. think I'm going to start small and work my way up to larger quilts....I also understand about blogging. I have a blog, but tend to go in waves of posting.
    We are traveling to Iowa this summer so hope to check in to the towns of Van Buren you mentioned.
    Sorry this post is so the way I have an Etsy shop also...Lilies White vintagewares.

  5. Hi Becky, I love all your new little vintage doll quilts finds! They're marvelous! And that dresser is the sweetest! I'm sure you didn't mind bringing that home! Your gardens look beautiful. I've always been partial to clematis. Bonaparte brings back memories of visiting my grandparents, who lived in nearby Keosauqua. I have pleasant memories of visiting them and visiting Bonaparte. It is a lovely town. Thanks for the wonderful post!