Extraordinary Thanksgiving

We had an extraordinary Thanksgiving as son Steven and DILVivian treated us to tickets to warm and sunny Phoenix to spend the holiday with them and our granddaughter Madison and her husband Ryan.  We stayed in a lovely hotel which had bagpipers playing in the courtyard every night at sunset. On Thanksgiving day we ate traditional fare at a restaurant that had a panoramic view of the whole area.

One afternoon we relaxed by the fire pit where my son lives and he grilled us mini portions of filet mignon, foie gras, lobster and king crab.  Another day we went to an ice cream shop which made your ice cream to order as you stood and watched.

Each evening we ate at a different restaurant but the first night was special because it was our 43rd anniversary and the waiter brought a special flaming dessert to the table.

We hadn't all been together since Madison's wedding in 2017.  It was a fun, loving busy four days but it turned out that warm and sunny Phoenix was anything but warm and sunny and was in the mid 40s,drenching rain, flash flooding  and even 3 tornados wreaking havoc.  But this morning as we  boarded our plane temps were returning to normal.


Does it really matter whose hands?

When we moved into our old house almost 40 years ago one of the things we learned the first winter was this old house was cold and drafty in the winter. Eventually  I found this Arch quilt at a thrift store in very good condition and hung it on the window to stop the draft.  It worked so well I started collecting them for every window and then I kept on collecting them.

The pieces are machined stitched of reproduction fabric but all the quilting is done by hand.... some rather crude but on some Arch quilts it is very nice indeed.  They were mass marketed from China to the US in the early 90s,   This one has been machined washed repeatedly and is still lovely and is now hanging over the slider at the new house.  It immediately made it feel like "my" home.

The fad passed and I seldom see them at thrift stores anymore but I do see them at garage sales, Etsy and Ebay and often proclaimed to be antiques or family heirlooms. 

But if you are familiar with them, they are easily recognizable as Arch quilts even though the label is long gone.  They had a limited number of patterns and a "look" that can't be missed. 

I have 7 of their wedding ring quilts and about that many of their other patterns. The  quilting is certainly not competition quality but it is obviously done by hand...somebody's hand...and I for one  appreciate and value their efforts.

I've seen them described as inferior, poor quality and  worthless.  All mine are used and all have been washed in the washing machine repeatedly and are still lovely and  treasured....besides helping us to keep toasty warm.... I send a big hug to the persons whose hands stitched these quilts.


My love affair with stained glass....

I have always been mesmerized by light coming through lovely colored glass and I have a fair amount of it.  And now that I started thinking of not having surround me I want to move it all.  Some will be easy as it is small but other pieces will take some thought.
A few times I have found small pieces at thrift stores such as these and I just prop them up in a window and let them brighten my day as they are...
But occasionally I have found larger pieces and tried  to do something special with them.  I used to incorporate some  in backs of benches... one of my favorites was this clear glass piece and I think it will be over the kitchen window in the new house.  But some of my glass came from the most unlikely places. 
 The oddest  was this glass I salvaged from a dilapidated railroad dining car in North Dakota.  While visiting family I spotted this relic of a railroad car in a field with sheep wandering in and out of it.  We stopped and was dismayed that most of the glass sections had fallen out and were broken.. But a few were mostly intact so my BIL knew the farmer and asked if I could salvage what glass was left.  Luckily he thought I was a bit daft and told me sure. I made this large overhead light fixture with part of it.  It will stay with this house.  It was over the door at the end of the car which determined the shape.
Genuine  antique glass has a special quality that can't be replicated in new glass.  This   glass was salvaged from an old chapel in a Catholic hospital. that was demolished in the 60s.  I was delighted to be gifted some of it about 30 years ago.  Some of it I used in a little hot house I built years ago.  I still have some pieces and it will definitely go with me  for a very special project....that is in the embryotic stage of planning. 
At some point I tried to do some pieces on my own.  I loved doing it but I have always had arthritic hands and cutting glass was just too painful  My first attempt were these small panels for little windows in the entry way.  They will go with me.

Then I did a piece for the gazebo and one for the tea room in the barn.  Not sure what I will do with them.  Probably will take the hummers.
The last stain glass I designed and cut was the chicken panel over the sink in the kitchen and it will stay with the house.
But now I get to the glass that is the purpose of this particular blog post.  This is a piece I bought at an antique store about 30 years ago and even though I had to hang it vertically when it was meant to be horizontal, it is my very favorite.. But as I have auditioned every single window in the new house there is nothing that would do it justice no matter how I fussed about it.  It is quite good sized (1' x 4') and an awkward shape.  Then last night about 1:30am I had a vision for it and was so excited that I had to get up and work out the details.  It will be the focal point for the whole house and will fit right in with my style.... shabby mismatch...
Now that I have sorted glass out I have to move on to a bigger  challenge ...all the rusty stuff...especially old rusty iron stuff...


I'm moving my dirt as well!!

As this whole move has progressed we have often listed the things about the farm that we will miss.  This list always included the sunsets and sunrises, privacy, the forest, birds, wild life and especially the quiet.  But it was a shock the other day as we moved plants that one of the things I will miss most is the "dirt." The prairie where we now live was  formed over tens of thousands of years by wind blown dust and silt  called "loess" from dry regions to the southwest. This high prairie was   formed in much the same way as sand dunes.  The topsoil is 18-24" deep and you can dig a hole the size of a bathtub and never ever find a rock.  It is rich, heavy clay and very fertile.  I have gardened in it so many years that I was taking it for granted.  For the most part it is fabulous except for a very few plants that require extra good drainage.  This photo was taken of my gpa's roses on the barn in 2002.  I moved a start of this rose.

The new house is in the "valley."   Millions of years ago melting  glacial ice dams in Montana sent floodwaters hurtling into this present-day Spokane Valley.  Over the years it has been a continuous river bed or flood plain.  I was immediately aware of this the other day with the first thrust of the shovel. .... solid sand and gravel.  I should have thought of this and now every trip from the farm we make during the move I will be bringing 5 gallon buckets of my rich fertile soil.



Tough being the only dog!!!

Being the only dog now the claiming ownership of all furniture is a serious responsibility for Morris.  Years ago we had the perfect sectional where we both had a section to stretch out and relax,  But after about 35 years it just gave out.  We had it recovered once but it was too far gone to do that again.  But styles had changed and the big overstuffed styles just wouldn't work in our house.  We did find a nice leather couch on Craigslist and in the house where we bought it  it seems the right size.  But when we got it home in our house it was the size of a small bus.  BUT it was the most comfortable couch ever... So comfortable in fact that both of us were always vying for it and occasionally Morris  shared it with us.

So in the new house I will have room for a second couch.  Not wanting to try to match the leather couch I found a GREAT deal online at Home Depot for a wicker sofa and it was closeout and free shipping.  Actually being a patio piece the cushions are easy to wipe down and I didn't think Morris would want it anyway over the comfy leather one.  But it was in his space and he had to declare ownership at least part of the day.  So I put a towel on it and hoping in a week or so he will tire of it as it is not nearly as comfy as the leather couch. 


I'm on the move

This summer I shared how long it took me to get DH on board with moving and downsizing.  Even after he agreed somewhat reluctantly he was adamant he wasn't going to live in a "trailer court."  Of course this was exactly where I wanted to be...  not really a "trailer court" but a senior manufactured home park.  Again it took months to change his mind.  So this is our new home ...well it will be within the next few days as we just have to sign the final papers and get the keys. It is close to the senior center, the YMCA, doctors,  a bus line. etc..
At first the plan was to sell the farm  and then find a place to live.  But I was afraid doing that could leave us not finding what we wanted when we sold.  So I kept looking and when this home came up I wanted it.  It has 3 bedrooms, 2 baths and a nice tiny yard and is in a quiet well maintained senior park.  Now we can slowly move and sell the farm early spring.  A more costly plan but we are assured of a home that fits our needs for our last years.  It is move-in ready but even so there are many things I want to do so you will be seeing a lot of before/after pictures.
 I'm anxiously watching the weather.  I have about 100 plants dug and potted and ready to move to new house.  It looks like the weather will hold through the weekend so I want to get the house signing done and the plants at least heeled before the ground freezes ..  It will be a close call.   Then I can relax a bit.  If you wonder why  the plants are so important it is because cooking and gardening are about the only stress free ways I have to pass the time now and having things from this garden will be so comforting. 

My lovely DIL was here to help a few days last week.   She was like a whirlwind and I was trying to make decisions as she went whizzing along..   We got all the window quilts down and all the hardware as well and took them to the huge machine at the laundry mat. We also dismantled all the furniture in the small bedroom upstairs, sorted lots of cupboards and cabinets. We kept DH busy hauling stuff for donation or recycling.  She  is going to come back later in spring to help me paint the kitchen cabinets in the new house..... 

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