Gift from my neighbor

For those of you who have been following my blog, you may remember a couple posts mentioning my neighbor Wilson.  Wilson of course is not his real name but since he lives on the opposite side of the fence, I gave him the name Wilson (Tool Time).  Well Wilson loves to garden just as much as I do.  We often share seeds, excess plants and sometimes exchange tips and tricks.   Yesterday as I was working to rearrange my garden, Wilson came over with these gifts.  With the seeds that he starts each year, he has a goal to have at least 50% of what he starts succeed.  Well his seeds did fantastic this year and he had excess. 

What do you know, he thought I was the perfect candidate to receive the extra.  These are the gifts that I love.  All heirloom tomatoes, he gave me 3 Red Fig, 3 Red Pear (his favorite), and 2 Mortgage Lifters.

The gift goes further than just 8 plants.  Wilson was diagnosed with lung cancer over the winter.  Last year, Wilson seemed healthy and energetic.  Once it turns cold, we don't see much of our neighbor. So not knowing that he was battling cancer, what we saw when he emerged puzzled us.  He was sporting an oxygen tank and was obviously bald under his hat.  The coughs we heard coming from his house now had more meaning than just a simple cold.  Now, he gets out of breath when he walks across our yard.

Wilson's chemo seemed to be going well up until last week when his oncologist found more, fast progressing lumps in his opposite lung.  She told him that the current chemo wasn't working and that she would do her best to find a trial treatment that he could participate in.  As much as it breaks my heart to say it, things do not look good for Wilson.  Although he has remained optimistic. 

So as I pray for Wilson, in the back of my mind, I know that these tomatoes that he gave me will be a constant reminder of my dear neighbor...no matter what happens.  As I save the seeds for next year and the next year and beyond. I will always remember that the red pear is his favorite.  I will remember the story he told me about the mortgage lifters.  These tomato plants, to me, are a enormous gift, one that carry on as long as I let it.


Sore Fingers

The weather has been so odd this year.  90 degrees one day and frost the next.  For the most part, the temperatures have been too mild to warm the soil to an ideal temperature for planting.  So I have been holding off planting and have been housing my veggies in my greenhouse, just waiting for the right time to plant.

Yesterday seemed like the day, the day that I could plant.  It was warm, sunny, and beautiful.  The day that I have been waiting for. On went my gardening gloves and the sun screen and out I went to tackle the garden.  I really haven't done much in way of the garden other than clean it out and till so there was a lot to do.  With the addition of the greenhouse, we also solved a water drainage issue that we had on the south portion of my garden.  This allowed me to expand my onion box, move a salvaged concrete pad along the greenhouse to support my rain barrel, and prepare a once unplantable area for new plants. 

After that was done, I weeded, planted around 100 onions and 37 pepper plants.  Overall, the cleaning, planting, weeding took several hours of wonderful work.  But man, am I feeling it today! Especially in my fingers.  I can tell that my gardening muscles haven't been worked in my hands for several months.  The muscles are soooo sore, to the point that I had trouble typing this morning.  Not a good thing considering 90% of my work is on the computer.

I think I need a manicure or a massage or maybe just some pampering.  I think that the sore fingers are a great excuse to get that done. 

How are your gardening hands? 

The arrival of free seeds

A couple months ago, I saw a post either on a blog, through Twitter or on Facebook sharing information that Seeds of Change would be giving away 25 packs of free seeds.  The catch was that you will receive random seeds, no selection was offered.  Of course I signed up to receive them and forgot about them.  That is until they arrived today.  Receiving that package was equivalent to finding money in your winter coat pocket that you left there the year before. 

In the package I received the following packages.
  • 1 package of Grandpa Ott's Morning Glory
  • 1 package of Rainbow Inca Corn
  • 2 packages of Buttercup squash
  • 3 packages of Cilantro
  • 3 packages of Black Eggplant
  • 1 package of champion radish
  • 2 packages of Capitain Lettuce which states that this is a rare variety
  • 2 packages of pronto beets
  • 2 packages of Sweet Dakota Rose Watermelon
  • 2 packages of Double Rich Tomato
  • 2 packages of Pizza Pepper
  • 2 packages of Nantes Coreless Carrots
  • 2 packages of Chioggia Beets
Obviously it is too late to start the peppers and the tomatoes so those will have to wait until next year. The others that I think I am the most excited to grow are the Chioggia Beets and the Capitain Lettuce.  Although it may be a while before I will be able to plant them.  We are still having winter weather advisories to the north of us which makes me want to hesitate before planting anything until Mother Nature makes up her mind.

Yo-Yo Quilts - Craft How To

A couple weeks ago, my friend Connie posted this picture on Facebook of a Yo-Yo quilt that she created.  I loved it and asked if she would be kind enough to write a guest post on my blog.  Of course she agreed so I am sharing her wonderful crafty knowledge with you.  What a great way to use scrap material!

Yo-yo quilts are some of my favorites! It’s a simple sewing technique that rose in popularity from 1920’s to 1950’s. During the Great Depression it was a simple way for ladies to be resourceful with very little in the way of fabric. They would use round lids (coffee can, canning rims, etc.) of various sizes and trace circles on to scraps of material or sometimes even create from gently used pieces of clothing. The small circles were very portable and could easily be taken anywhere.

I have also heard the yo-yo referred to as a puff or a Marguerite. The technique dates back to before the Victorian era. They are never quilted but tacked together by hand. They can be referred to as a quilt but are considered a coverlet. Some wonderful patterns can be achieved by using different colors. Ladies would place a solid color sheet or blanket on the bed and lay the yo-yo quilt on top. The solid color would show through giving a lacy, three-dimensional effect.

Yo-yo’s are so versatile! I’ve seen them on clothing, made into pillows, wearable art (earrings, necklaces, rings, buttons, etc.), table runners, purses, trim on lamps, even toys! They are so much fun and simple to make! If you’re artsy or crafty, you probably have most of the materials at your fingertips even as you read this blog! You need various fabrics of your choosing or from your private stash, hand-quilting thread, needle, and sharp scissors. Most important of all, you will need something round to trace or cut around (old, scratched CDs are perfect!). There are yo-yo making tools created by Clover that can give you different sizes and shapes depending on your preference. These come in two pieces. They clamp around the material and hold it in place. Instead of tracing you simply cut the fabric circle around the tool and then stitch through the pre-measured holes around the rim. Think of what size you may be comfortable with and go with it! Just remember, the smaller the yo-yo the more you’ll need.


Once you have a small pile of circles just start stitching! Thread your needle, turn down the edge of your circle ¼ inch, and stitch in and out turning down the edge of the circle down as you go. When you complete the stitching pull snug. Connect the first and last gather and whipstitch them together. Manipulate the yo-yo until the gathered hole is in the center. Voila!

When I attach my yo-yo’s, I begin by knotting the end of my threaded needle once. I poke my needle through the edge of the yo-yo so it’s between the folds of the material. I pull the needle out along the edge where I will attach to another yo-yo. I pull just taught enough to pop the small knot of the thread through to the inside of the yo-yo to hide it. I put the face side of two yo-yo’s together and whipstitch them, tie a small knot, and then run my needle through one of the yo-yo’s, about an inch, pull through and trim with scissors. This is how I hide the little end threads and make a cleaner looking back to my quilt.

The yo-yo quilt I’m currently creating has been a complete joy! I’ve been creating it in my idle moments. I would like to get it done sooner than later, but there is no deadline. I think I have enough yo-yo’s to complete it, so I’m now in the tacking phase. I like all colors bright, soft, or neutral. The material used is a compilation of my years of collecting, and my mother’s, grandmother’s, and mother-in-law’s scraps from former projects. I’m not exactly sure what my next yo-yo project will be, but I am sure it will be just as fun!



My deepest thanks to Connie for sharing this.  I am looking forward to giving this a try.  Hope you have fun!

Observations on a plane

I recently ventured on a business trip that required a four hour plane ride. During the trip, I observed the following.

1. Yoga in the isle is difficult during turbulence.

2. If you have a loud, high pitched voice that carries, it is best to keep you personal dating escapades for a conversation in a more private setting.

3. If you have a loud, high pitched voice that carries, and you are sitting at the back of the plane. When you hear a person in first class at the front of the plane shhh you, that means you are talking too loud

4. Two words - courtesy flush

5. Remember to turn your phone off when the flight attendant indicates to. This way, when you eventually fall asleep, that inevitable text message beep indicator will not be noticeable to everyone around you during your hour of slumber.

6. The flush button is under the sink

7. If you have a weak bladder choose an isle seat.

8. All drinks are not free. Some require a super secret coupon.

I'm sure there are more to come as I travel more. This trip just seemed to be a little more eventful than others.
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