Summer Solstice

This is one of my favorite days of the year.  Even though it’s the first day of summer, my least favorite season, it’s also the longest day of the year, which means starting tomorrow, the days get shorter.  I love the short days.  Winter Solstice makes me sad because I know the days are going to start getting longer and that means summer will be here again.  Ughh . . summer!

I’m not complaining about living in central Texas where summers are brutal and we have so little rain and summers are long and we have days and days with temps over 100º.  Nope . . I’m not complaining . . even though it may sound that way to you. I don't know smile

There won’t be any noticeable difference for the next few days in the time the sun rises and the time the sun sets but I know the days are getting shorter and that makes me smile.

When it isn’t dark til almost 9 p.m., we’re outside watering and working in the garden and by the time we come in, we’re exhausted and I get no knitting done.  We clean up and it’s time for bed.  In the winter when it gets dark early, we’re in and cleaned up by 6 and have lots of time to wind down and get some handwork and knitting done.

What of the two seasons do you like best – the long days of summer or the short days of winter?

A Motley Group

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These little bantam chickens are so funny.  There are two that are similar and have similar personalities but the other three are so different.  We just love spending time watching them.  See those black ones in the background?  Those are some crazy chickens!

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Of the five bantams, the brown one is Tiffany.  She’s so prissy and she’s very shy.  Any little unusual sound or gust of wind and she runs to one of the other chickens and gets as close to them as she can.  She’s very timid but she’s such a sweet girl.

I love Roscoe.  He’s a strutter.  He thinks he’s king of the coop and I guess he is.  He has the black tail feathers. He crows his little heart out but he doesn’t have a very big voice so he doesn’t bother anyone.

The third one in the picture above is Thelma.  There are two that look just alike but one is bigger (Thelma).  The smaller one is Louise.  They have big black eyes and they both love Vince.  Maybe they like to shop!  They’re so white and so very fluffy and soft.

DSC01739It’s so hard to get a picture of Otis with his huge, feathery feet.  Vince keeps saying “Poor Otis!  He’s just not right!”  I think it’s his feet.  He has to walk with his legs so far apart because his feet are really so big and they don’t have just a little bit of feathers on them . . it’s like he has a whole second set of wings on his feet.  Huge feathers!!  And his little top knot . . the other Silkies have just little soft, fuzzy type feathers on their head.  Not Otis.  It’s like he has a wing growing on top of his head.  Long, spiny type feathers. Poor guy!

The bantams aren’t good for much . . they don’t lay much and the eggs will be real small.  They make good mothers and will hatch out eggs from other hens if needed but mostly . . they’re just cute and cuddly little pets!

Nicole’s Sofa Quilt Instructions

The instructions for Nicole’s Sofa Quilt will be posted beginning Monday afternoon.

The instructions to this quilt, and the other free patterns offered are linked through the “Free Patterns” bar at the top of the blog.

For those who have not done a Quilt for an Hour project with me, here’s how it works:

  • Instructions are posted that should take about one hour of sewing.  This is all explained in my Weekend Quilts book but you don’t have to have the book to work on this project.
  • Remember that this is not a race.  If it takes you a little longer than it takes me, that’s fine . . work at your own pace.  The purpose is to break down the instructions into steps for those who don’t have a lot of time to make a quilt.
  • Instructions will be posted Monday through Friday (in the afternoons for this project).  No instructions are posted on weekends.
  • For pieces like half square triangles, quarter square triangles or flying geese, the instructions will simply say “Make 20 half square triangles that measure 2” finished or 2-1/2” unfinished.”  This is because there are so many methods to make these pieces and most of us have our own favorite methods.  If you’re a new quilter and not sure how to make half square triangles, quarter square triangles or flying geese, there are instructions in most every quilt book, as well as plenty of tutorials on the internet.

Everyone ready to start on Monday?

Pork Stew in Dutch Oven

Saturday I couldn’t wait to cook something in the new Dutch Oven.  The first dish – Green Chili Pork Stew.  I made half the recipe because that’s all the meat I had defrosted.

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The pork was already cut up and seasoned.  In the new pot, I added olive oil and browned the pork.  Potatoes that were scraped and quartered (and grown in my garden were added) and browned a bit. Then I added onions and garlic and cooked that a few minutes.  Then I added the seasonings and a jar of tomatoes and a bit of water.

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All that was given a good stir.  The lid was put on the pretty blue pot and I stuck it in the oven for about an hour at 250º. Then I checked it and everything looked fine.  I added 2 ounces of diced canned green chili peppers and put it all back in the oven for another 1-1/2 to 2 hours.

IMG_1213After taking it out of the oven, I added a can of pinto beans.  They were plain old store bought canned plain pinto beans.  Once they were heated, I added a lot of fresh chopped cilantro.

Looks like the pot is in pretty bad shape, huh?  Kinda grungy  . . cooked on baked on mess!

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It was almost unbelievable!  Once the pot cooled down, I stuck it in the sink of dishwater, swished the water around and was going to put the pot in the clean side of the sink and run some fresh water in it and let it sit for a while but when I pulled the pot out of the dishwater, it was almost completely clean, just from swishing the water around with my hand.  I literally wiped it . . one pass . . with the dish rag and it was perfectly clean.

I’m happy with the way it cooks and with the way it cleans.  Now if the porcelain will just hang on and not chip or crack, I’ll be real happy with it!