Friday, November 9, 2018

Frosty Mornings & Hugelkultur

Yesterday morning we woke up to a hard freeze and brilliant sunshine so I had to take some photos of Jack Frost's handiwork.

Frosty Rose
We had just put the raised garden beds to bed the day before and covered in deep straw they were just so beautiful covered in frost!



Our newly created 'Hugelkultur" beds were also thick with frost.  Here they are waiting for lots of berries, veggies, flowers and herbs to be planted in them next spring, God willing!

Hugelkultur beds prepared for next spring's planting
If you aren't familiar with hugelkultur gardening ~ and we certainly weren't but thanks to you tube we discovered the interesting way many of our ancestors made their gardens ~ and have decided it just made a lot of sense and thought it worth a try. 

Here is a video that shows exactly what we did and they explain its merits.

 
Today we woke up to snow!  A lovely snowy day that left a few inches on the ground and put me firmly in the mood for making soup and stitching before the woodstove.

I've gotten a bit further in stitching 'October~Homespun Oak'
October~Homespun Oak
And it is a good thing I've gotten this far, because I have to set it aside to finish an ornament for next year's Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament edition.  I received the invitation for this year's magazine the day I got home from the hospital after the emergency surgery and had to decline.

I was surprised to get the invitation for next year's special edition so early.  They want the submissions a good two months earlier than usual so I'm guessing they'll be on the news stands and in mail boxes a lot earlier as well.

I'm about a third of the way done stitching the design, and hope it won't take too long to finish it and then do the part I find most difficult, actually sewing it into an ornament!  I am no seamstress, lol and will keep it as simple as possible.  Sorry I can't show you the pattern, but I will tell you 'October~Homespun Oak' is part of the inspiration for it ;)

Hoping all is well in your part of the world whether it is frosty, snowy or hot!

Saturday, September 29, 2018

"October~Homespun Oaks" New Calendar Collection Design

It surely looks like autumn on Gracewood.  The mountain's have swaths of yellow aspen, birch, and tamarack and the maple, ash and cottonwood trees we planted when we first moved here are all dressed in their fall colors.

"October~Homespun Oaks"


One of the things that make this time precious is that all that color is fleeting and with each storm that passes through the leaves fly off the trees and the landscape gets bare preparing for the snow to come.  Passing things we love are really more precious to us, aren't they? 

Oak isn't a tree that grows here but in my mind they are definitely part of the year's succession and what says fall more than acorns?  They became the inspiration for this next month's pattern in the Calendar collection.  I've also had the picture in my mind of homespun plaid fabrics for October's background.  At this cozy time of year (in this half of the world) I reach for warm throws and flannel sheets and wanted to bring that feel to this pattern.

I'm stitching it with Kreinik's Silk Mora floss in their dark buttercup shades along with a bright pumpkin for a highlight.


It has been a happy stitch so far, probably having to do with my delight that this time of year is here.

Another subject my mind turns to in October is stocking up the pantry and freezer for winter and we are blessed to have a wonderful family nearby who raise the most fabulous meats for stocking that freezer. 

Although the work of maintaining over 200 acres of pasture and raising the healthiest most chemical free animals is daunting, these hard working people do it with the utmost capability and joy.

You can read more about Ramstead Ranch here and below are some of the livestock they make available to very happy customers like us!




They also make many spinners happy by raising some of the most beautiful fleece anywhere.


I'm ready for winter with a few dozen of their chickens and some of their beef and bones for stocks tucked into the freezer.  The stock I'm making from last night's roast chicken is filling the house today, I hope you have such a source somewhere in your area, though I doubt they'll be any tastier than Ramstead's!

Happy Stitching!

Friday, August 31, 2018

September~Carnations Finally Finished

September~Carnations
It is hard to believe it took this long to complete the model for September~Carnations, but it is finally finished!  At least I met my personal goal of having it done before September, even if it was by only a day, lol

This design can be purchased now on my website - Click Here and soon through Independent Creative Group and Creative Poppy

I'll remember lots of things looking at this design, such as a dash through snowy mountain roads in the middle of a very cold February night to the emergency room and months of recovery when even simple stitching seemed daunting.  But, thankfully, that is passed, I have a design I'm frankly loving and now I can start the patterns for wonderful autumn!

It hasn't been too bad of a summer here heat wise, but as always I'm ready for it to end and for fall to begin.  It is the last summer 'event' here this Labor Day weekend and will signal the time the tourists go home and us natives begin seriously preparing to sock it in for winter.

I wanted to show you that not all of our wildlife is large, like the elk in my last post.  This time I'll share some pics of our smaller visitors as well, like the chipmunk that visits the back porch every morning for his seed dropped from the bird feeders.

"Louie" the chipmunk

And one of our new fawns

Sometimes old friends return like this pair of bucks who we believe are twins who were born on Gracewood two years ago. 


I always tell them to head deeper into the forest as hunting season approaches, too many would love those racks as their trophies!!

I hope you've had a lovely summer (or winter depending which side of the hemisphere you occupy!) and like us are happy to contemplate more inside time with stitching in hand.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

June Makes All the Critters Happy!!

June is usually a sweet time in the Rockies, and this June has not disappointed.  It is one of our wettest months and that makes everything so lovely and green.  Though it means more tasks to be done, it is also the time when afternoons make the hammock rockin in the shade call your name.
Terry answered the hammock's call

The critters seem to enjoy the month as much as I do.  Last week I was looking out the window towards two of our older apple trees and suddenly saw their tops shaking violently.  I glanced at the other trees to see if it was windy at the moment but all was still.  So I stood up to see two very large elk making the apple trees their morning snack!


And this morning as I pulled back the drapes I saw a pair of rabbits and a yearling doe enjoying themselves.  The rabbits would play attack each other - boy they can hop high! - and the young deer was watching them in wonder.

The Duel


The fog is rolling in so the pic is a bit darker, but the yearling is checking out the 'winning' bunny
It is also cool enough that the comforting sounds and smells of bubbling pots on the stove are happening in the kitchen.  One pot making beef stock and the other making apple/thyme jelly.  This morning's walk through the garden found the thyme at its peak and it was definitely time to pick the thyme and make something with it.  Sourdough biscuits with apple thyme jelly is one of my weaknesses, lol


Lastly, here is the progress I've made on September ~ Carnations.


Yes, I know, it is not as much as I had hoped to have done by this time.  But I'm not being too rough on myself since I'm still trying to recover my 'plateau' of health after the surgery in February.  

I have never mentioned it but I have been ill with ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia for more than 30 years and if I go outside of the 'envelope' these immune system illnesses grant me, I fall down the rabbit hole (speaking of rabbits, lol) and it takes a lot of not pushing the envelope to get back to where I can focus and function again.

Since Terry is pulling most of the weight of chores both inside and out I'll hopefully, be back to making some hay with my stitching before too long.

Hoping it is a beautiful June wherever you are!

Monday, May 28, 2018

Sublime May

I hope May is as gorgeous where you live as it is here on Gracewood~  My two favorite months are May & December and this May has lived up to my expectations.  It has been cool and very wet and therefore very very green and fresh.  Though the snow melt has caused some very high rivers and lakes the flooding along the Pend Oreille river has not done a lot of damage, thankfully.

I'll post a few videos from our local drone photographer to show you what spring runoff can look like in the Rockies.


Metaline, the little village just to our north, their homes are dry it is the public park that is underwater, which happens frequently.


Stitching time has been cut into by garden needs since we're trying to add more raised beds and grow more of our food ourselves.

When I do get time most evenings to stitch I'm enjoying the newest design in my calendar series, September~Carnations.

September~Carnations
Only a few days left in this beautiful month and we're trying to squeeze all the loveliness we can out of it.  Warm days, cool nights, brilliant skies and green green green everywhere, so sweet it makes me sigh.

I hope you are having a sweet May and finding time to create beautiful needlework too.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

April Snow Thunder & September~Carnations New Design


April has arrived along with LOTS more snow!  It has been accompanied by thunder which is a remarkable thing to experience.  A few nights ago the weather report was for heavy rain and storms passing through so when I went to bed I opened the window slightly to hear the rain - something I LOVE - but during the night I woke up to strange sounds.  It was like someone was dragging something on the porch.


I woke Terry up to go see what was happening, who the intruder might be making that noise - man or here more often, beast - but after listening a moment he said that it was snow sliding off the roof.  A sound I know well in December and January but not usually in April!

Sure enough the next morning it looked like a Christmas card again with a new 4" of snow on everything.  Springtime in the Rockies is always unpredictable, lol.


It was so pretty I grabbed the camera and this time took photos of chickadees at our feeders - they were rather frantic looking for seed so I thought they wouldn't notice someone taking their picture.  I got these four beautiful shots that Terry has promised to make into a set of watercolors that I can have made into cards.


Cross stitching is still a bit slow for me after surgery and now I've got a bad case of bursitis in my elbow so all stitching is being done with it resting on a pillow and even that hurts too much if I do it too long.  Ah, what a joy it is to age :)

But I have begun stitching the model for the next design for the calendar - September~Carnations.  I'm stitching it in raspberry shades and I think it will be a good color placed next to the first two months I've completed.

September~Carnations
This time the fabric background is ticking, hope you like it!

Happy April and happy stitching!

Friday, March 9, 2018

August~Seaside Completed & March Like a Lion

A month after surgery and I finally completed "August~Seaside" and have September's design ready to start stitching.  So recovery, I'm most thankful to say. is happening. 

August~Seaside
My monitor is showing the color on Seaside as rather blue, but it truly is in three shades of Aqua.  I used Rainbow Galleries Splendor silk floss in S952 Lt Aqua, S866 Aqua and S865 Dk Aqua. 

The pdf's for the pattern are now available for $8.00 on my  WebsiteICG Everything Cross Stitch and soon through Creative Poppy 

I don't know how many people today have heard the saying about the month of March, In like a lion, out like a lamb?  Well March definitely came in like a lion in our neck of the woods!  Here are a few pics to show what it looks like - will it indeed go out like a lamb?  I have my doubts, lol.

The view from the front porch is disappearing as the snow slides off the roof

Sun after the last big snowstorm

Those are veggie beds under all that snow

See the snow that has come off barn roof has piled up so you can walk right up on it & Jasper does!

View to the west off dining room is also disappearing as the snow piles up ~ we feed birds using old teapots and cups.
Hoping spring brings us all lots of time for stitching!