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Monday, July 20, 2015

Tula Pink Raffle Quilt-City Planner

The Chicken River Modern Quilters are having a raffle to further our charity work and also to earn enough money to entice a quilting teacher to come to Northern New Mexico for a weekend gig. The drawing is August 8, 2015.

The members made the blocks from Tula Pink's 100 Modern Quilt Blocks book and chose City Planner as the setting. The quilt's size is between full and queen.

Tickets are $1 each or $5 for 6. Email me for more info if you'd like to buy some tickets.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Sugar Sprint Peas

During the winter months I grow Sugar Snap peas in the growing dome because they like cool weather and unless it gets below freezing inside, they do well in there. Around May, though, it begins to get too hot inside and I must pull out the vines.

This year I decided to take my chances growing Sugar Snaps outdoors. I figured the moderate temps would be kind to them, so why the heck not. Because our weather is so "iffy," with snow, hail or rain likely any month of the year, I tried a variety called Sugar Sprint. The peas can be harvested at around 58 days, which is a plus in this high altitude growing region.

On May 9 I planted the seeds and placed a few tomato cages in the 4 by 4 bed, even though the envelope said 2 feet tall. I didn't want them drooping over the edges, tempting any passing critters into a snack. They might like that plant too much and that would be all she wrote. Then it rained and rained and I didn't even have to water.

I did a little weeding in that bed, but pretty much forgot those peas until July 4th, when I realized there were a zillion mature pods busting out on there! Talk about a forgetful gardener!

I've picked peas three times so far and each time I get about a pound of peas, enough to fill this strawberry clamshell.

My friends from around here get excited this time of year when roadside venders sell bags of traditional peas that you take out of the pod, but I am too lazy to shell them and just like eating the whole thing. It's the only way I can get Tom to eat peas.

Here are some links for snap pea recipes that I really like.

This is a copycat recipe for PF Chang's Garlic Snap Peas. The secret is to add the garlic at the end and very quickly get everything out of the pan and onto a plate. Otherwise you burn the garlic and it gets bitter when it's burned. Experience.

This recipe is easy! Ina Garten's Sauteed Sugar Snap Peas

Honey Glazed Pea Pods and Carrots is also an easy way to cook snap peas. I don't use the cornstarch and they still come out yum.

Last, because it's summer, here is Guy Fieri's Black Bean and Corn Salad recipe. I sub snap peas for the snow peas and it's just fine.

Miss Bonnie says hello to you all and wants you to know that rodent hunting is going well this year. She looks skinny, but eats all she wants. Last time Bonnie visited the vet, she (the vet) called her assistants (we are Bonnie's assistants) to have a good look at a cat at a healthy weight. I guess it's a rare sighting, a non-fat cat.

Bonnie is now 15 years old.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Quilty Pleasures and Ranch Life: A Scrappy Trip With Thistles

It's been a while since I posted anything quilty because, well, I've been busy! But I've been working (somewhat) steadily on Bonnie Hunter's Scrappy Trips Around the World blocks whilst binge watching this season's Orphan Black. I restarted my unfinished scrappy trip quilt thanks to Diana.

Diana, a Girl Scout, has been working on her Gold Project and sent out a call for Scrappy Trips blocks. She wants to make 16 quilts (actually, it's going to be more than that) and gift them to kids who have aged out of the foster care system. The Chicken River Modern Quilters and another group of quilters at ThreadBear, my local quilt shop, spent some time making blocks to send to Diana. All this scrappy tripping inspired me to find a box of blocks already completed and finish this baby up!

Only four blocks remaining for a queen sized quilt. Then it's time for assembly.

So what's been making me so busy? Thistles! Scottish Thistles! We've been out and about on the ranch chopping these invasive, noxious, non-native weeds. Actually, Tom chops.

These thistles are biennials, which means they live for two years, first as a rosette baby and the next year as a flowering nuisance that can reseed itself many times over. They will take over a whole area and although cattle might eat the babies, they will not eat the mature ones, crowding out anything nutritious growing there.  So Tom is chopping both, trying to dig up the rosette babies, roots and all and chopping down the ticking time bombs which are the thistles in their flower stage.

Here's what the flowering Scottish thistles look like:

We've been chopping for a couple weeks now and it's touch and go as to whether we will get them all before they start reseeding.

My job is to gather up the chopped down flower thistles and toss them into the Ranger.

Here are my grabbers because those suckers are evil! I bought them years ago to collect leaves and then for pine needles. Tom suggested using them for the thistles which was a wizard idea.

 We both wear snake chaps because there have been too many close encounters with rattlesnakes to take chances.

 Using the grabbers and sometimes the garden fork for big piles, I throw them into the Ranger and dump them where there will be a big bonfire when they dry out. (Why do I have a sneaking hunch that even though they will be burned, we will find a thistle forest next spring?)

So far we've collected seven loads of these nasty fellers (Scotland's national flower). As I drove this load back to the dumping area, I spotted so many more growing in our field.

And so it goes. (thanks, kurt)