Touching Base, 5-15-2020

Still nobody sick in my community – whew! We are practicing social distancing – at least, I am and I’m also wearing a mask if I am in public which isn’t often. I’ll be going to church Sunday morning and will wear my mask if I’m even close to anyone but the piano sits at the front and nobody is close to me. I will duck in and duck out – quickly.

More work in the yard today – it was a gorgeous day – one of those days which makes any yard work fun!

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I did drive to the next town today to pick up just a few more plants but couldn’t shop because the power was out in the entire town of Forest City due to someone running into a transformer. Bummer – a wasted trip.

So I’ve seen an oriole twice and I know it’s time because this tree is blooming and when these “candles” appear, so will the Orioles.

Remember when I talked about the strings on the walnut tree? I cleaned up some more of them today. This is what I’m talking about:

I’m not sure what kind of bird this is but I heard him hit the window so I ran outside to pick him up until he revived. Anybody know? A juvenile robin, maybe?

See all this “stuff” in the screened porch? In the bottom of those danged diagonal sections that my contractor thought would be so neat? I just wanted vertical dividers and I was right. I can’t get these small places cleaned and this year since I won’t be entertaining anyone in my porch, I’m not cleaning each section. I can enjoy the porch without waxing the floor or cleaning up every bit of dust. Porch is ready for summer!

Hazel and Telly exploring a pile of black dirt with long grass.

And here’s a pot of Millie!

I really thought I’d start moving the plants outside today but I did this instead – potted up some shrubs and trees from my grove and yard.

Now I just hope they’ll all grow!

A mystery quilt finish and one Dirty Dozen project:

Honestly it’s been a slow day on the farm – I’ll do a walk-around photo shoot tomorrow and move some plants if it doesn’t rain. And just so you know, I love to hear from you!

Be still, Everybody!

55 thoughts on “Touching Base, 5-15-2020

  1. ChristieB

    Yesterday, I saw our first oriole that we have ever had, or that I remember ever seeing in our trees. I was so excited. I thought about taking a picture if I saw it again. Sometime later, I went outside and saw that one of my cats was eating something in the yard, thinking it might have found a baby bunny nest, I went over and saw that it was the oriole that I had seen, or so I think. I was so sad, but, my husband reminded me that animals do that and I shouldn’t be so upset with the cat. I was more upset for the loss of our first oriole. But, today, my husband spotted another oriole in another tree! I’m excited to go to the grocery store and get some oranges and grape jelly, but, I just went to the store on Friday, I’m trying to make less trips to the store and go only every other week. Hopefully, the orioles will hang around until I can feed them and make them feel welcome! HUGS… and stitches

  2. laurie

    I love to see the pictures of your gardens. Being allergic to everything that grows around here, I don’t spend too much time planting. But I do love all my bird feeders. Our cat especially loves to setup just a foot or two from his favorite sunning window. After years of no luck, we are finally getting regular visits from hummingbirds,and today I saw my first Oriole – just three feet from me!

  3. Jeri

    I’m just so excited! I know you will appreciate what I have to share. I have 2 handmade bird houses hanging from under the front walkway eaves, one the kids across the street painted for me and the other my daughter bought for me. A couple years ago a couple of Sparrows started to use one but abandoned it. This year Sparrows have taken up home in both of them! It’s so fun to watch them come and go, can’t wait to hear baby birds. I also seen a Cardinal a couple days ago, something I don’t think I’ve ever seen in our neighborhood. Love the “tall grass” pictures. Tell and Hazel are the sweetest and cutest!

  4. Beryl BC

    In Ohio, the beauty / barber shops opened yesterday, also outside dining at restaurants. Most wear masks, but not all. Some businesses are requiring mask wearing in order to shop in their stores. Our church is on-line at least through the end of May.
    One of our quilt shops opened on Wednesday. Another has switched to on-line only; their in-store staff was mostly high risk (60-80 years old).
    Most summer festivals and concert venues have already canceled. I learned the quilt show in Madison, WI, in September will be an on-line affair; that was disappointing to our group of cousins that has met there.
    It has been a good time to get sewing done.

  5. Betty Klosterman

    What do the strings from the walnut tree do? They must do something for the tree?
    Nothing new out here. Thought I was done with the face masks until my nephew stops to see if I have an extra one. He couldn’t get in the barber shop without one. He was in dire need of a trim for his beard and head. He forgot his at home and didn’t want to drive 20 miles (each way) to get it. So, we’re back in the business of masks. Got a revised pattern and it looks like it will work.
    I heard that somebody got a lot of Walmart fabric and made masks. Just fine until they were washed, everything shrunk and they couldn’t use them.
    Take care ladies, this will pass — someday.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Betty Klosterman – as per the Walmart fabric – you get what you pay for!

    2. Sherry Whalen

      The strings are actually stems that grow each year on the tree each year and the leaves grow on these stems, so at the end of the season, not only are there leaves that fall, but also walnuts and stems! I like the wood and the nuts, but they are a kind of messy tree.

      ‘In the spring and summer, walnut trees produce feather-shaped leaves. Each stem contains multiple leaves in a row on both sides and a terminal leaf on the end of the stem. Walnuts typically produce five to nine pairs of leaves per stem, but leaf pairs don’t sit directly across from each other. Instead, the leaves are slightly staggered like steps along the leaf stem.’ *

      Thank you to everyone wearing masks to keep others safe. What we’ve done so far is to slow the spread – to keep our hospitals from looking like Italy’s crush of patients where the doctors had to made horrendous decisions like – who would get a ventilator, oxygen, or even a bed. Or even the decision not to ventilate any one over 60 because they simply didn’t have the capacity for the extreme outbreak. Can you imagine having to leave someone in the hallway of a hospital isolation area gasping for air, maybe without even a bed – to die? We’ve done a good job slowing the roll – so much so that the ‘disbelievers’ think that it was overkill or worse, a conspiracy. It breaks my heart that there are people that think over 90,000 deaths in a little over 2 months seems to be acceptable.

      It is a rainy day here in SE MN, over 2.5 inches already this morning, but we haven’t had much rain for a few weeks. It looks like a sewing day for me!!

      1. CountryThreads Post author

        Sherry Whalen – we’ve had a nice rain, too, but I moved plants outside so they could get a nice drink. Sewing tonite

      2. CountryThreads Post author

        Sherry Whalen – I just read over the explanation of the walnut strings again – very cool! How’d you get so smart, Sherry!!!

        1. Sherry Whalen

          LOL – h.s. and college horticulture classes. My dad and I also planted 7.5 acres of trees in the mid 70s, about 3/4s of them black walnut trees, plus larch, white pine and probably jack pines. We still have that woods, creek and pasture that we go to occasionally, with hopes that we can camp there with the grands when they are a little older and we can feel safe about getting together once again. We also had probably 10 or 12 walnut trees around our house yard. There were always lots of walnuts, stems, and leaves that we constantly had to pick up. But my knowledge was boosted in this case – google is my friend!

          1. CountryThreads Post author

            Sherry Whalen – I’d almost like to cut that walnut tree down – it’s very messy and the grass won’t grow under it. Grrrrr……

          2. CountryThreads Post author

            Sherry Whalen – have I ever mentioned my niece and her family live in Kasson? Her little boy will be two in a day or so.

          3. Sherry Whalen

            Yes, walnut trees produce a compound that seems to ‘poison’ other plants, especially tomatoes and they are messy trees – I think most trees are, we have a maple tree that I probably won’t be very happy with in a couple of weeks – almost every spring it produces prodigious amounts of seed pods and after every wind we have lots of branches to pick up. But it shades our yard and makes it at least 10 degrees cooler in the heat of the summer, so it is an okay trade off.
            I don’t think you’ve mentioned your niece – what is her name?

  6. Janet M.

    I live in Northeastern Iowa and our orioles arrived May 3. We have found they arrive almost the same day
    (at least within a couple of days) each year. They also seem to leave almost the same day every September.
    It doesn’t matter if we have cold spring weather or it is an early warm spring. They love the grape jelly and
    one of them has figured out how to drink sugar water from the hummingbird feeder. They are so fun
    to watch. We also have some grosbeaks that arrived at the same time – and a hummingbird is here. Along
    with the flowers, these are sure signs of spring and so welcome this year. Stay healthy!

  7. Paula S.

    As always, I enjoy the pictures you post and your daily musings. We are taking the mask-wearing and distancing thing going on seriously. We aren’t kids anymore plus we watch 2 granddaughters each week and don’t want them exposed to anything. It will be nice to get back to normal again whenever it happens.

  8. Carmen

    You might try compressed air on your porch. It should blow out the dirt.

  9. Teresa

    Mary, I had one male Oriole come two days ago. Today I have two males and one female so they’re busy at the feeders. I put orange halves and grape jelly out so they have choices. I had a Grey Catbird here eating jelly this morning. First time ever that I’ve had one of those here and I’ve had feeders out for almost thirty years and of course, I was so excited to watch him that I didn’t snap a photo.

    Planted green beans yesterday, working on tomato plants today. Another beautiful day in north Iowa, hope the rain holds off that’s forecast for this afternoon.

  10. Nikki M in Tx

    Be safe @ church on Sunday, I envy the opportunity to worship as a group, for now I will still be doing so via the net.
    Will not get on my soapbox but wish people would all wear masks when out.
    Just under 4 inches of rain overnight, & still raining off & on. Need send you photos of my completed ( some not bound yet) projects…
    Son brought me fresh produce from farmers coop & from green market. Tomatoes actually smelled like and tasted like a tomato, from a hydroponic greenhouse not fat from him.
    The jewel however was a pineapple, oh my goodness, it is so sweet & delicious, been a long time since had a fresh pineapple.
    Stay safe everyone..distance & handwashing

  11. Felicia Hamlin

    Mary, thank you for keeping your blog up. It is the first thing I read and then the comments, then I can say that I heard thru the blog vine. I, too, get mad when I see how many people are out shopping without wearing a mask, such a lack of caring! Like Carolyn V, all throughout this ordeal, I have thought of how much the jews suffered during WWII, we don’t lack for conveniences, food, etc. our houses are comfortable, we have pets, we just can’t do the normal socialization. It is hard, however, God willing, we should be OK.

  12. Sue in Oregon

    I too wear a face mask when I go out, which is seldom now. I made one for each of us (husband and me) out of denim with an interfacing and a lining. I read that denim is one of the best fabrics to use for them. They are quite thick and will probably be kind of hot in summer. So thankful I don’t have to wear one all day.
    When I see people without them I am always tempted to say something to them. But, I mind my own business.
    I am making a pumpkin face wall hanging out of batiks. Its an interesting pattern I found in an old magazine.
    Maybe I will even have it done by fall.
    We have had So-o-o much rain, but yesterday was beautiful. Now, today, back to rain.
    PS Love the mystery quilt and the Paul Bunyon/Minnesota quilt.

  13. Martha Engstler Gettysburg

    Summer is here, I think spring just didn’t happen this year. The only spring we had was in March when so many plants thought it was time to grow. Wonder what the link to Paula Philpot’s news letter is? Your fur babies are so cute in the grass.

  14. Kim LeMere

    I love seeing things popping on the farm and I look forward to more pictures. Are you putting in a garden this year? I printed all the clues for the Laundry Basket Quilt along and hope to make one. I have never done anything by her and I like to challenge myself with some new designers. Its getting hot here in Middle TN and our governor opened the state up today. Our sports center, hair places, movie theatres etc. Each business can do what it wants. Even our churches are now open. Some Churches have implemented some social distancing and you must sign up for mass. When the spots are full, that’s it, they close the door. Our catholic church has 3,000 families so you can imagine the planning to do this to keep everyone safe. We will continue to wear our mask and stick with just grocery shopping. Stay still is good advice.

  15. Lois Ann Johnson

    Loved all of your photos today, Mary! My favorites, of course, are the ones with the animals in them. I, too, made a trip to a garden center about ten miles from Humboldt yesterday–to pick up my flowers for the patio pots. It was a lovely day to be driving in the countryside. My little church is having a “drive-in” church service out on the property we are building the new church on. In the meantime, we rent a small historic church while we wait for our own building. The rented church is too small for social distancing, so we will continue with drive in church as well as on Facebook Live. Pastor also does a Wed. evening Zoom Bible study each week which is nice because we can actually see and hear each other. I actually got out for dinner on Thurs. evening with two other friends. It was so nice to be able to sit across the table from them and converse instead of talking on the phone or using email. I was especially interested in what “Carolyn V.” had to say about her parents’ living through WWII and the rationing. I was a young girl at the time but do remember some of the shortages we all dealt with. We are extremely fortunate to not have all of that to deal with. Thanks for all of the daily blogging as well as your lovely photos. It is something to always look forward to each day.

  16. Frances in NC

    The quilt is beautiful! Some of the ladies in my church have been having a Bible study through Zoom. It has worked out very well. Yesterday I stayed out on the back porch most of the day. Of course, I had to vacuum it, wash down the dining table, the side tables, etc. But, it was the first day where I could sit out there comfortably. I’m trying to make the most of these days because it will probably turn really hot very soon, and the. I won’t be able to sit out there. So, I’m not quilting, I’m sitting and reading. Lovely. Churches aren’t free to open with inside service yet, but probably will in a week or two. Churches can meet outside if they want to, keeping distance, and having detailed plans to prevent
    the spread. Our little church probably won’t be ready to meet in person for another month, I’m guessing. We have a service on Zoom and it is very nice. Stay safe.

  17. Diana in Des Moines

    My friends and I haven’t been able to quilt together for awhile and it’s killing us! So yesterday I hosted a ‘picnic on the patio’. When my son got married in our backyard 2 years ago, we built a large patio on the back of our house. So I suggested we meet out there and enjoy each others company with a picnic. It was a success! Not all of our group could come, but 6 of us were there, and we had so much fun just talking, eating and having show and tell. We all felt revived after grilled burgers and ice cream sundaes. Social distancing at it’s best! Stay safe Mary!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Diana in Des Moines – it sounds very fun – wish I could join you!

  18. Roberta Homan

    Hello! I am glad that you are well. I found your blog by researching Civil War reproduction quilt patterns. I am searching for a kit or pattern entitled “They Also Served”. It’s a tribute to the nurses that served during the war. As a nurse and the mother of a critical care nurse, I would love to make this quilt, Do you have any knowledge of this pattern? Thank you for your time, Roberta

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Roberta Holman – no, I’m so sorry – it does not ring a bell!

  19. Paula Philpot

    Mary I have the same thing on my porch stuff gets in between the screen and the slats how do you even clean it. I’m getting too old for that 67…..I’m gonna share with you an information sheet I fixed last night for scrappy quilts. You can share it with your readers if you like. I have cut all of it out so far and have finished two quilts using the scraps. Hope you enjoy it and a copy of my shop letter to my customers. Paula in KY

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Paula Philpot – I read it and wonder if this might be fun for the readers. I’m not sure I really grasp the cutting instructions – can you share the finished quilts with just me on my email? Is this a mystery or just a scrap quilt recipe? More info, please.

  20. Sandy

    Lovely to see your dog’s having fun Bella needs a bath, so that’s tomorrow s job . Also will go next door and pin out a queen size quilt on their carpet, no room do do it here.that dog in the last photo was cute! Take care, best wishes, Sandy

  21. Mary

    I am so glad to read that people are wearing masks. I live in So. Calif and we are still sheltering in place for the most part. I haven’t driven since last Sunday. On my daily walks I see more people out walking, bicycling, and jogging – about half have masks. I just wish the people who are out in crowds would wear masks. I understand that they aren’t worried but I wonder if they think about others. Stay well. Thanks for all your sharing.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Mary – yes, that’s the thing – I don’t think they understand at all that THEY might be asymptomatic and they’re going to give it to ME! I think it’s very disrespectful if they choose not to wear a mask – it means they have no regard for MY wellbeing. Ugh.

  22. Ginny in SC

    The eye ring on the bird makes it a Swainson’s Thrush, it is just passing through on the way to their breeding grounds in Canada. I am so happy the bird is ok.
    Hazel needs a flag on her tail so you can find her in the tall grass! She is so cute.
    Two people my son works with are quarantined waiting for their COVID tests to come back. It takes about 7 days to get the results so we are on pins and needles. George came over to move some dog food for me, he washed his hands three times and wiped everything down that he touched. He stayed at least 10 feet away from me. The dogs miss him so much, they look for him but he doesn’t come over as often as he did, he is considered an essential worker and he goes to Atlanta at least once a week, he is afraid he will bring something home to us.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Ginny in SC – too bad that cute George can’t still come every day but when we pull thru this you’ll see him again – I think it’s sweet that the dogs miss him! How’s Ranger doing? Are the meds helping?
      Thanks for the bird info – it’s hard to see the difference between the eye circle on the common wood thrush and the Swainson thrush. Did you ever join the bird watching group there? Saw Betty yesterday – I don’t think she’s as big as Arlo but I have to be very careful – she could knock me down easily!!

  23. Joyce from NY

    In the 80’s here today, did a little yard work & then we got a big rain storm. Rained really hard for about 1/2 hour. The temp has gone down to 65, supposed to be nice tomorrow & rain again Sunday & Monday. Still practicing social distancing here also & wearing a mask. Your pictures are lovely as always.

  24. Carrolyn V

    Thank you, thank you for taking this health risk seriously when so many don’t. I have already lost two friends to the virus…one my age and one 42 with no other health problems. The mask is showing a social conscience for others ….showing you to be the dear, considerate citizen and friend we know you to be… it mainly protects others in case you are without symptoms but could pass it. It also is a reminder to be extra careful with hand sanitizer, hand washing etc. So many these days only think THEY are inconvenienced. I just think of my parents who for FOUR YEARS dealt with food rationing and shortages especially of sugar, flour …even shoes during World War 2. They too had to deal with blackout curtains and fear of attacks on the West Coast. Wow…we are hardly inconvenienced compared to that…..and this pandemic can be deadly. I couldn’t lose you too.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Carrolyn V – I’m so happy to hear from you! It’s funny – I just responded to a comment that said the exact same thing. Those people who refuse to wear a mask due to their cavalier attitude about this pandemic are the ones to worry about. I’m so sorry you’ve lost two friends – I don’t know anyone personally but these deaths sound brutal – watched the special on CBS last night. And how are Asha, Ravi and Maden? I always have to add their names so you know I remember – haha!!!

  25. Theresa

    You are very calming to me and that is what I need right now. The peacefulness of your farm and animals along with the quilting gives me hope that normal will come again. Thank you

  26. Jane Dumler

    Th mystery quilt is a pattern from Edyta Sitar from Laundry Basket Quilts. She ran the pattern for 15 days. It was a clever way to do a mystery quilt. Mine is about half pieced. Had to stop quilting to run a mask production. Good way to get some of the odd pieces used up. I am sewing them for a battered women’s shelter. We are having a nice thunder storm tonight. The moisture is very welcome. We are still going to a virtual church service. It is different but very nice. Happy Sunday to everyone.

  27. Kathy Hanson

    Jerry just looked it up and says it’s a wood thrush too. Beautiful!! Love seeing Hazel and Telly checking things out and Millie too, in your porch or a pot! Nice that you can go back to church. I am still watching on the computer.

  28. Cheryl

    I like to read your blog every evening before I go to bed. You are super ambitious in your yard work. I have had only one knee replaced and I don’t get nearly done what you have in a day. We have lots of COVID here in a Minnesota, so we are staying home and social distancing. They are loosening restrictions here on a Monday and traffic is picking up and going to the bars. I’m going to stay home and play with my flowers. Be still!

  29. Vicki in West Des Moines, Iowa

    It was a gorgeous day in West Des Moines so I too worked outside still trying to clean out flower beds from last fall’s debris. With yesterday’s rain, the ground was soft enough to get the weeds out. Did you complete the mystery quilt? If so, what pattern/designer was it?

    1. Pamela in Missouri

      Vicki, the mystery quilt is one that Edyta Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts did when we began sheltering in place. It was great fun to do. She now calls this quilt California.

      1. CountryThreads Post author

        Pamela in Missouri – THANK YOU! I was hoping you’d answer that question! I just love it and if I hadn’t promised not to start anything new, I’d make it!

      2. Janice Hebert

        Pamela, your quilt is beautiful and so is your puppy! My puppy (13 year old puppy!) needs to be groomed so badly. I feel bad for him, so many mats. I’ve been working on them slowly but he will probably need to be shaved when he finally gets to a groomer. Jan in MA

  30. Jo in Wyoming

    Boy, the pictures are fun today. That mystery quilt is a knock out, and the puppy too!
    Going for a ride was almost as good as a productive trip.
    Just so you know, I had no ads today. A few empty yellow boxes.

    Anybody watching Jeopardy! This week? Great classics.

    1. Launa

      Watch it and also set it on TiVo. When my husband’s grandma would come visit we adjusted dinner time to after Jeopardy as she couldn’t miss it!

  31. Dorothy Sheldrake

    We put out GRAPE JELLY got the Orioles. They absolutely love it.
    Dorothy in So CA

  32. Joan Christ

    Thrush! It is a wood thrush probably (the bird that hit your window – waaaay too early for young robins).

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Joan Christ – I thought it was too early, too, but I didn’t realize a wood thrush was this big! Thanks so much!

  33. Kathy in western NY

    Glad I didn’t head to bed yet but I am tired so will say hello to you Mary. Be careful at church on Sunday….I think ours will be a while yet as we fill our tiny hamlet Of a church. And they can’t reopen here yet. I am still okay watching online. And my meetings on line till it’s all sorted out. Anyways my niece living in our area now has tested positive so I am praying for her recovery. She is only 24 and had been ill with a bad cold. Loved all your pet pictures and quilts too. Makes my day seeing all going on with you.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Kathy in western NY – oh, Kathy, we’re all so sorry to hear that your niece has tested positive! Please keep us informed of her status – best of luck to her!

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