Friday, August 30, 2013

Surrounded By Fire

It's been a very eventful week here on the Georgetown Divide with quite a bit of excitement relating to fire. Some close to home and some further away. The good news is that the American fire which has been burning in the Forest Hill area across the canyon from us since August 11 is reported to be 100% contained as of today. This is a huge relief for all of us as the smoke has been awful and the worry about embers and the safety of local firefighters constant.

The Yosemite fire which I'm sure all of you have heard about because it involves a National Park is still burning and while it's more than 100 miles away the smoke from that fire drifts down wind and hangs over us in a dense fog every day. You cannot imagine the devastation of one of these fires until you have seen it with your own eyes. Truly terrifying.

My nephew Andy is a Hot Shot firefighter stationed in Arizona and is fighting this fire right now. We worry about him every day . I'm sure you remember the 19 firefighters from Arizona who lost their lives earlier this summer. Please stop and spare a few moments, say a prayer for these brave men and women and their families.

Image credit Mt. Democrat

And now, on to our Georgetown excitement! There was a wild fire on Saturday started by a blown transformer here in Georgetown. A reverse 911 call went out with a mandatory evacuation order Saturday evening for lower Georgetown involving several of my friends. Since Chris is a member of  the Community Emergency Response Team he heard the call on his scanner and we began putting our evacuation plan into action just in case. If you had 30 minutes or less to evacuate your home what would you take? This will focus your mind right quick I'll tell ya!  Since our kids were away from home we had their two dogs as well as our own to think of and their important stuff too. Remember they live in the next house down the road from us so it was possible for us to get a small bit of something from their house as well as ours is necessary. That's four dogs, crates, leashes and food before you start thinking about pictures, papers and clothes. Two cars would fill up pretty quick.

We marshaled our  resources, collected our wits and waited to see which direction the fire would turn. Luckily for Georgetown because of the American fire our local tiny airport was being used as a staging area for the firefighting planes and helicopters and fire crews. Wow, is all I can say because those folks jumped on this fire like nobody's business! Only one house was lost, no lives were lost and it was contained that evening to 45 acres. It could have been total devastation to our small community. I cannot sing the praises of these firefighters enough.

So... the excitement is over, our lives have returned to normal and we can return to bitching about the poor air quality. We're expecting good friends from So. Cal to visit this weekend to mark the end of summer and are looking forward to a fun time of laughing, talking and eating good food. Hope your weekend is stress free and fun too. (Before you dive into your weekend fun give a thought to your fire safety plan please.)

Until next time,

Monday, August 26, 2013

DWM/A Finish!

 I managed a project finish ! Amazement all around. Between all the summer outdoor projects I snuck upstairs and got snatches of sewing time in to complete my Hunter's Star table runner. I need to remember that I really can accomplish quite a lot in twenty minute increments. I tend to think that I need huge blocks of time to get things done when really small little pieces of time applied regularly achieves the goal and satisfies my need to sew. Why do I have to keep relearning this lesson?

It was hard to get a decent picture of this one, the lighting this morning just wouldn't cooperate!

I also managed to get some cutting going on for the completion of my Blogger Girl BOM. I've been putting that job off for more than a month because all those connecting blocks look a bit daunting - there are A LOT of triangles people. But, I decided that my upcoming quilt retreat in September will be the perfect time to tackle that project. It's impossible to have fun and cut accurately on retreat, just too much talking/laughing/snorting/mischief going on. So my plan is to get all the cutting and labeling done for at least two projects to take along and we'll see if I can get anything accomplished in Tahoe. It's a start. 

Sharing my Design Wall Monday on Patchwork Times.

Until next time,

Friday, August 23, 2013

Pucker Up!

My friend Diana gifted me with a grocery bag full of beautiful lemons the other day. How lucky am I? But, I just don't have the time or energy to turn them into anything delicious right now so what to do? Freeze them of course.

When I told Diana that was what I had in mind she said she didn't realize you could do that and so maybe my readers don't know that either? All you have to do is wash the lemons well. You can leave them whole but I like to cut them according to how I think I'll use them. Some I slice because I'll use them in drinks or I need just a squeeze in a recipe and some I cut in half because I'll need the juice of a whole or half lemon in a recipe. Then I lay them out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. The parchment paper prevents things from sticking. Put the whole thing in the freezer. Once the lemons are frozen solid in an hour or two remove them from the sheet and pop them into zip lock bags for freezer storage. Now you have fresh lemon juice whenever you need it. The texture of the lemons won't be perfect once they thaw so you still need fresh fruit for a nice garnish.

Yum, I see lemon bars in our future when all this canning is a distant memory! Thanks Diana.

Until next time,

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Ready to Fly

Well, almost ready. Remember those adorable chicks that Mrs. Gold hatched on June 1st?  She has decided that she's had enough of this motherhood stuff and left them to their own devises.  She was so fiercely protective that none of the other girls could come within a mile of her babies until one day she said to herself - I'm done! Just walked away - just like that.

Where did mom go?
They're about half the size of the rest of the ladies and mingle freely with the flock but are still sleeping in their own little baby pen. Mom is roosting with the big girls and laying eggs again. I guess her hormones shifted over and told her enough is enough. She still hangs out with them during the day but doesn't try to protect them from the wrath of mean black boss chicken. That hen must not be crossed! The babies are figuring out flock dynamic and getting along just fine.

Here's all six of them together. Five white and one red, it should be easy to tell them apart from the rest of the flock once they're grown. It looks like all hens too, yippee! Another couple of weeks and they'll be tall enough to reach the feeders in the main house and then I'll move them in for good.


Until next time,

Monday, August 19, 2013

Thinking About Winter

How can I even be thinking about snow when it's in the 90's outside and I can hardly move without breaking a sweat? We spend a good portion of our summers preparing for the winter freeze to come. That snow fall is inevitable. Some years it doesn't amount to much and some years it will keep us house bound for days. The thing is we never know which it's going to be so we have to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

Chris has been very busy spending a portion of each day cutting brush and small trees for fire safety and I've been helping him clear and haul. These logs will turn into firewood for the coming winter season. We really only have two seasons here - six months of hot and six months of cold punctuated by about four weeks of spring and four weeks of fall. In the six months of hot it never rains! Not a drop! That means it's dry and dusty and we worry about fire all the time. If you pay any attention to the news you know that there are big fires burning in the west and California is one big tinderbox. A large fire is burning in the river canyon about 20 miles from us and the smoke hangs in the sky over us to remind us how precarious our position is. It's the price we pay living in a beautiful place. 

Added at 8:30 AM: the smoke from the American fire has blocked out the sun for the last two days and choked the air making it difficult to work outside. I really feel for the folks living closer to the blaze. So far no homes have been lost but thousands of acres (14,000) of woodlands have burned with no containment in sight.

In the six months of cold it can rain for weeks at a time, I'm not kidding Seattle has nothing on us! The rain occasionally gives way to sleet and snow and then back to rain. Brrrrrrr.

Since we heat mainly with our wood stove this half full wood shed makes me very happy! This looks like money in the bank.

And these logs waiting to be split, cut from dead or dieing trees on our land look like cozy winter nights spent curled up with a good book and a cup of tea.

Until next time,

Friday, August 16, 2013

High Summer

For some summer calls to mind hot days spent soaking up the sun on the beach or dozing on the porch but for us summer means preparing for the winter that's sure to follow. Of course we do some of that soaking up the sun stuff and dozing definitely figures into  the plan but summer days mostly include a lot of working outdoors and in.

If you thought that this was strictly a quilting blog you're probably disappointed. Here you see just some of the reason why not much quilting has been going on. Turning this years fruit and vegetable bounty into yummy goodness we can enjoy throughout the coming year. Peach vanilla jam, plum jam, plum vanilla jam, plum peachy jam, dried peaches and plums, dried tomatoes and peppers, preserved plums, canned green beans and  bourbon plums. Each day I wake up with an indoor agenda - things I must do today before the produce goes bad. The freezer is now well stocked with peaches and plums and green beans and peppers and tomatoes. The squash has not done well this year at all only giving us enough to eat on any given day but not enough to process. Watering, weeding, picking and processing take time away from my stitching, I really do look forward to the slower pace of winter. Around about March you'll hear me whining about the boredom of winter and wishing for summer - we humans are fickle that way.

 This espaliered plum tree is waiting in the wings! I've been testing these out and I have to say this year's harvest is not too promising, the taste is mealy and dry so far. Plum BBQ sauce is calling my name if I can salvage these. Any other suggestions? How is your summer going, any preserving happening at your homestead?

circa 2011 The ORIGINAL Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop

Until next time,

Monday, August 12, 2013

Design Wall Monday/ Hunter Star Table Runner

Shocker!! I have been doing a very little sewing along with all the other things going on here. Between working outside and the intense canning and freezing that goes along with the ripening of summer fruits and vegetables I have managed to sneak upstairs now and then for thread therapy.

I tend to look for short projects that don't take too much energy because frankly I don't have a lot of extra energy right now. I enjoy all the summer hustle and bustle but the heat tends to sap my will and all I want to do take a nap if I'm honest.

So table runners it is! This one has been on the 'to be finished' pile for quite a while so it's perfect for summer days. I'm doing simple outline quilting to emphasize the stars. Have I mentioned how happy I am with the way the points all came together on these stars? You can read about how I pieced this with no little effort in this post. Really an easy Hunter's Star? Yes!

If work table mess were any indication then it looks like I've been very busy indeed!

Linking to Patchwork Times for more design wall inspiration. This post is super late today because Blogger would not load pictures for me until almost 5 PM. What's up with that?

Until next time,

Friday, August 9, 2013


Water is one of the most important considerations for your country living dream if not THE most important. If you don't have a good water source kiss your dream good bye! Municipal water mostly does not exist in a rural setting and we're lucky that we don't have to pay for irrigation water which runs through a ditch from a lake from up-country because of our good well.

We have a good well that produces 20 gallons per minute which in this neck of the woods is considered a gusher except when it doesn't. When it doesn't I have to call the well guy and the well guy is not cheap. Were you picturing a cute little well with a bucket on a rope? Nope, this is what a working country well looks like. A pipe coming out of the ground with a bunch of wires sticking out and control thingys. Last year the well stop working and we had to pull the pump which is about 100 feet under ground and cost a bunch of money so when it stopped working this time I was understandably nervous. My biggest concern? Has the well run dry? That my friends is big money. Digging a new well is an expensive proposition and even finding a new location for a new well can cost a lot.

This is Dennis the well guy. Of course the well went out when Chris was out of town on his hiking trip and I did everything I knew how to do to re-start the blessed thing. Check the fuses, check the breakers, check the holding tank, attempt to re-start the pump, no well no shower, call Dennis! I'm always mad at myself when I can't fix a problem without calling in guy help. I like to be as self sufficient as possible when Chris is away - I am woman etc. As it turned out this was not a problem either of us could have managed. It needed a new starter motor so replacing fuses would not have worked. $$.

See that? That's life giving WATER. Thanks well guy.

Until next time,

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Saying "I Do"

We've been away to attend a family wedding and had so much fun catching up with our in-laws and outlaws. This particular wedding was so low key and unpretentious and I loved that. When we got home I had lots of photos waiting for me on Facebook of another wedding of children of dear friends. We were not invited to this wedding as it was for close family only by request of the bride and groom and from the pictures it was a lovely, unpretentious and personal affair as well. I like that, a lot.

If you watch much television then the impression you get is that you must spend tens of thousands of dollars in order to be properly married. Sadly, many families are going into debt to live up to some hyped up fantasy wedding ideal but not the two young couples who married this past weekend. Simple decorations and food and focus on family was the order of the day.

Me and sisters-in-law

Chris and his younger brothers

Congratulations Dan & Jacqui and many blessings for a long and happy life together.

Congratulations and blessings to Brad & Emily in Wisconsin as well. Your wedding looks to have been just perfect.

Until next time,