Wednesday, February 20, 2019


    For the past 10 days we've had a convalescing deer just outside our dining room window.  She has four legs but three feet.  We noticed her on Feb. 10 and thought 'how sweet! We have a deer napping!'  But by the next day when she hadn't moved at all we got worried that she could be injured and dying.  I called a couple of conservation people and was told she might have been hit by a car or bleeding internally or has a broken leg and she settled where she feels safe.  I thought that if she had any of those she could not have climbed up the hill/cliff to our house. 
     As a test I went outside.  She jumped up when she saw me and I was told that was a good sign. She wasn't dying imminently if she was alert enough to jump up when she saw me.  Then I saw her leg and loss of hoof.  I was told there are many, many three legged deer in the forests and woods and if she is going to make it she has to figure it out.  If she doesn't figure it out she won't make it.  That's nature.
     My concern was that she was suffering and dying and it was happening slowly right in front of our eyes, literally not 30 feet from the house.  I didn't want her to suffer if she was going to die.  Again, I was told she has to figure it out.  Oh, and don't feed her.
     There's this thing called "wasting disease" that some of the deer in Michigan have, but not in our county, and they pass it on to each other by congregating so don't feed her.

     I DO feed the birds and because we live in the forest the squirrels are bold and brassy and do anything possible to get at the bird feeders.  There are lots of them, eight outside the window right this minute, running around everywhere.

     I feed the squirrels to keep them away from the bird feeders.  I have a squirrel feeder attached to a tree but usually one fat little one will sit inside the bottle and no one else eats.  So for years I've scattered one cup of feed on the ground for the others. It's the only thing that keeps them away from the bird feeders.
    In the past a deer, usually a brave one, will very occasionally discover this sprinkle of corn.  I've shown pictures of that before.  Well, OUR deer, our injured deer, discovered the corn sprinkle, too. She hobbled over one morning and ate it up, then the next day she seemed to be not so hungry and ventured down the hill where we could see her forage from trees.
    We took that as a good sign.  She CAN go down and up the hill but she won't step on that leg.  She goes out into the woods and stays most of the day.  One day another deer came up here and walked right by her.  She never moved a muscle. 

    Yesterday morning we had 18 deer out there - eighteen!   They wandered about the little bit of yard we have, they moved over to our deer (PH named her Valentine) and they stayed with her the whole morning then moved on.  You can see her laying at the base of the tree.
    Yet, she stays with us.  One of the conservationists told me she found someplace she feels safe. She IS figuring it out and maybe that's her herd. We can only wait now to see if she has adopted US. 

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Pies and patches

 PH's request for Valentine's Day.  Sometimes you do it yourself and sometimes you leave it to the experts.

 OK, so the weather is loosening up and I have officially finished the nine patches I was working on as boredom busters.  Now to put the machine away for what I hope is a long time, fold these up and put them on the shelf waiting for time to quilt them.
 And did you really think I wouldn't fix those side by side brown patches? 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

And an Occasional Cookie

    When I was a kid I didn't like frosting on my cupcakes, cakes, etc.  I had a huge sweet tooth but not for something like frosting.  Even then I had discerning tastes and saved my sugar overload for chocolate.  Ice cream.  Certainly cookies.   I've been known to say "cookies and ice cream are why I'm fat."   I've lost the sweet tooth to a great extent (and some of the fat.)   Now when I look at something like, say caramel, there's no temptation whatsoever.  Put a little salt on that caramel and we're changing the rules.  Cookies and ice cream, though, are still my kryptonite.
     I love to bake.  Now, though, if I bake I have to have someplace to send the goodies when I've finished. PH really doesn't eat baked goods (I know, right??)  I'll keep maybe 6 cookies and send the rest away. Cake?  It's a good thing our daughter lives down the street.  And we have a freezer.  One of my friends once said she would love to live in my freezer.
     As I remember it, when my mom made cupcakes we would walk over to the wastebasket and scrape the frosting off so eventually she stopped putting the frosting on.  Some things, though, needed the frosting.  My brother loved(s) Boston Cream Pie and you can't scrape the frosting off that...and besides, it's chocolate.

  In my other life I decorated cakes for a little mad money and the frosting that I used was a basic buttercream, I think.  It was the frosting recipe I was given at the class I took so it's the one I used for all the years I decorated cakes. 
    Many, many years ago I cut the recipe for these cookies from the newspaper when newspapers did
 that sort of thing.  It was a granny recipe.  The woman who gave it was a little ol' granny and these were the ones she made all her life. They are a soft, not sweet, old fashioned sugar cookie. I tried it and they became my daughter's most favorite cookie her whole life.
     Little ol' granny frosted the tops of the cookies.  Well, you know what happens when you do that. They stick together and are impossible to store.  So, I sandwiched them together and from then on, for the last 40 years we've called them "sandwich cookies."   With no one around to eat cookies anymore I make these once a year, Valentine's Day.

Sandwich Cookies

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 2 Tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups flour

Cream together the butter, sugar, vanilla.  Mix in the egg and soda/milk, then stir in the flour.  Roll out to about 1/4 inch thickness and cut with cookie cutters.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 6-8 minutes.  Watch them!  You do NOT want color on them.  Makes about 2.5 dozen cookies, depending on the size of your cookie cutter.

Tips:  I ALWAYS double the recipe since each serving is really two cookies.
          When rolling out try not to re-roll and re-roll the dough.  Adding more flour when rolling makes them tough.  I sometimes use powdered (frosting) sugar to roll them out on instead of flouring the counter.
           Really watch them.  You want them to firm up but NOT brown.

Beat well:
1 1/2 cups solid white shortening
1/4 cup water
2 lb. powdered sugar
2 egg whites
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt.

Tips:  For the cookies I cut this recipe in half otherwise it will frost an 8 inch layer cake
          It keeps well in fridge if you have leftover

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Break out

So. Today the sun is shining,  nothing is falling out of the sky, the winds are gone, the driveway is plowed and we are breaking out.  From the forecast for the coming week, this may be our only chance for a bit.
But did YOU spend your confinement???

 I spent my time cutting and piecing a little nine patch from my big scraps.  I do so HATE sitting at the machine trying to make things work. I do.  Friend Jenny thought maybe if I spent more time doing it I would become more comfortable with it.  And she is right.  I did think of that.  Thus, the week I spent doing this.  Yes, a week. I had to take a lot of breaks. I did discover one thing.  Whoever brainwashed quilters into thinking that ironing seams to one side and then the other so they abutt nicely -  well, that makes for clunky, thick seam meetings so for this I pressed the seams open and it made a huge difference for me. The squares lay flat (when they aren't rippling in snow.)  But still, by the time I got this little thing together I was tied in knots, snarly and wanted to be alone in a padded room.  For a nine patch!  Don't look too closely at how the balance of color worked out. I didn't notice myself until this picture the bottom row with two browns in a row.  Oh, well. Live with it.  I'm going to.
The thing is?  I have a pile of 50 more nine patches, all blues and white to put together with 50 solid whites needing my attention.  I won't wish another round of weather on us like these past two weeks, but it's only mid-February so I think there's time.

With the weather calmed down and the sun out we had company for breakfast. In the bottom photo you can see in the lower right of the photo the windowsill I'm standing at just on the inside of the house. There were five of them but this one was the only one brave enough to come this close. The others were just out of the photo.  As I look out the window they are all running and chasing each other over the hills and through the trees out back.  We are ALL happy the weather is pretty today.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Winter bright

More ice.  Yet another snow/ice day.  They are up to, I think, 11 days off  school.  It's gotten old.  Really, really old.  And the jokes about going to school until July aren't funny anymore, either.
Yesterday, as usual, the girls walked in the front door and out the back door to go play in the woods out back. 

 I thought as I zoomed out they looked like crocuses, the only spots of color out in the dreary woods.

On a brighter note, Friend Susan in Australia and I did a small project to exchange with each other.  Susan's favorite flower is the rose so this is what I did for her.  In my haste to take this to the post office before last week's weather shut down I forgot to take a photo!  This is from Susan after she opened it.  It's applique and echo quilted.  And she loved it!

 This little beauty is what Susan sent to me. 
Susan knows I love the birds and got this idea from one of my blog posts!  How's that for paying attention to someone!  I gasped when I opened it.  And yes, it's propped on one of the bookshelves so I can look at it all day.  Thank you again, Susan!!

So, today is yet another ice day.  The weather is supposed to come through warm enough to melt about mid day so hopefully that will be true and we will get out for a bit.  Right now it's raining quite steadily and freezing on contact.  As tired of this as we are, it's beautiful.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Never say never

 So, what do you do after you've been homebound for a week?  When you can finally get out, you party with a six year old!

Then this morning my daughter and I went to a paint studio nearby and "cashed in " my birthday present from her and the family.
I love watching the birds that come to the yard and our feeders and this studio helps those of us who are artistically challenged to actually produce something wonderful.
 We chose a bird we wanted to paint.  I chose the wren and my daughter chose the chickadee.

  With help and tips and advice we set to work, with the photo or model to guide us.

What I never thought was possible turns out not to be true.  Never say never!