Tuesday, May 28, 2024


We just arrived home from a birthday trip for PH.  His birthday always falls on the Memorial Day holiday for us and last year we spent the weekend in Stratford on Avon in Ontario, Canada and had such a wonderful time, he wanted for this birthday this year to go back.  It's a big one for him so we wanted to do something we knew was a guaranteed fun time.  But if you go to Stratford, you have to like going to plays, because that's what the city dedicated itself to - theater.  It's not a big city, about 30,000 people so it's very navigable.  The theaters, shops, restaurants and beautiful riverfront parks are all right in the center and walkable. And walk we did.  

I won't do a play by play but there are anecdotes and those are shareable.

We left Wednesday afternoon and detoured a bit to go to our grandson's lacrosse game.  He is a senior and if they lost this game it would have been his last high school game (he was recruited to a small college for their lacrosse team so he will continue.)  Well, they did lose, it was a hard loss because they are such a good team they've won way more than they've lost. 

Next morning we headed to Canada and our motel.  The hotel experiences we had on our trip to Williamsburg  were such that I implored PH to please be careful about the accommodations for this trip since we'd be there several nights.
He found this charming little motel and it turns out we stayed there on our first trip to Stratford 40 years ago.  As soon as we pulled in I remembered the farm fields right out back.  40 years ago it was a pasture for cows, this time it's planted.  The room was spotlessly clean, the setting charming.
You can see from the bedroom window how close the field was to the back of the motel. I walked it, 50 paces of my feet.  I'm not sure which came first, the motel or the farm but they've been neighbors a long, long time.

And then.
As we were leaving to go to dinner I noticed this tractor passing by.  It didn't quite hit me what they were spreading but when we got home it was obviously apparent. Pig manure.  
Now, I like cow and horse, their deposits are, to me, not offensive. But pig s**t is a whole other thing. 
And the entire place, the area around the motel, inside the rooms, everywhere smelled STRONGLY of freshly spread pig poo. OMG.  
There was nothing to do but laugh.  We couldn't 1) complain to the motel.  What could they do?  We couldn't 2) tell the farmer to stop. It's not done and anyway, how dare us?  We couldn't 3) move to another hotel/motel. We just didn't want to pack up and move to someplace bigger, more expensive and without the charm.  
We knew this would be something we would talk about for a long time so we zipped our suitcases shut to protect them, even kept the windows open at night, and stayed. I drew the line at sitting outside in the evenings to read. 

Sunday was a day that the city of Stratford takes a break from the plays.  We took the day and drove down to Niagara Falls.  Now, we were not born yesterday.  We knew it would be busy, we knew it was a huge tourist destination and we knew the main street was tacky, tacky shops.  But we were there to view the falls, we didn't have children with us, we could call the shots as we saw them and do what and how much we wanted.  
I don't care how tacky it is to say you are going to Niagara Falls, they are still a spectacular natural wonder and it's impossible not to be impressed.

That boat is filled with people wearing red rain slickers to stay dry as they rode so very close to the falls
It does get scarily close.  Forty years ago we did this with the kids and while we entertained the thought of going again, we didn't because the line to go was A MILE long.  No exaggeration.  We don't have that much time left to us to stay in like that long for anything.  

I told PH I would rather spend the money that ride would take and get a nice birthday lunch for him
We were advised to go to this place, it's right at the top of the falls, the view was stunning and the lunch delicious.  
There must have been 100,000 people in town that day.  I even asked the waittress "do you think there could be 100,000 people out there today?"  She said, "oh, yes. More than that."  
They were from everywhere, India, Pakistan, Korea, China, Japan, the Arab countries, Spanish countries,  you could hear every language on the street. 

 As we walked along I can't tell you how many times I asked people who were trying to take selfies and group shots without the person holding the camerain them, "Do you want me to take a photo of all of you together?"  Lots of hand signs but they gratefully accepted the offer.  PH asked me if I was having fun.  "Yes!" I said, "now they can go home and be IN the photo they are showing." 
Do you see the rainbow?   The boat is at the horseshoe falls, what we call the Canadian side.  The smaller one in front of this boat is what we call the American side.  They were sending boat loads of people wearing blue slickers.  Their line wound up the hill and all the way back to that building on top of the hill way in the back.
We had a great day, it was beautiful weather, we walked from one end to the far end where the restaurant was, had lunch, walked back and returned to Stratford.  We saw the falls, were glad we weren't dragging tired, hungry, bored children like SO many were, marvelled at the size of the crowd and realized why people smiled politely when we said we were "going to take a ride to Niagara Falls."

More later.

Monday, May 20, 2024

Mid-month Accountability

                      Well, it's accountability time.  We need to do a mid-month check in on the 

I have to say I haven't worked on my monthly project number 5 since I came home from retreat at the end of April.  We were gone for the first ten days of May, then when we got home we had evening plans every night.  Night is my time to work on quilting.  Now we are prepping for another excursion and balancing more evening events.  May is a very busy month, it always is.  I have always said May is busier than December.   Excuses, excuses.


Getting this quilted was my number five, I showed it at the beginning of the month and really thought I would get this finished but it's not to be. And last night, because we are supposed to be accountable and show our progress, I pulled it out of the basket and worked a little more. I finished one more row. 

                  I'm big stitch quilting it. I like big stitching.  So, this is my progress, mid-month.  

Friday, May 17, 2024

No Sewing

 We were on a bit of a road trip for our anniversary a week ago and plan another outing next week so I haven't been sewing.....at all.  I even told PH last night "I haven't quilted since I came back from retereat!" The little hexie car project didn't follow me into the house and the quilt I was working on at retreat is folded up in its basket.  I can guarantee it won't be finished for this month's Chookshed Challenge.  I have, though, been catching up on reading blog posts I missed while gone.  And my last and all caught up Blog2Print book came.  Now to find a new place for this wonderful and sadly missed service.

The elementary school kids come to our museum for various programs to learn about local history.  This week and next the second graders come for an hour visit to have a quick overview of how things were then and now. We are in the fur trader post and I am demonstrating what a powder horn is used for.  I've never touched a gun or rifle in my life but I'm showing them here how to load gunpowder from the horn to the flintlock.  The purpose was to explain what the powder horn (the horn from a steer) was.  During January-March all third graders come for a full two school days.  First graders come for a quick walk through starting next week. 
When I got home, it being a gorgeous day, I went to the rhubarb lady a few miles up the road, cut 6 pounds, came home and made a crisp for us and a pie for my brother. 

But no sewing. The weather is too nice to be inside so everyday for as long as I can I'm outside on the porch reading. 

Monday, May 13, 2024

Completely Unplanned

 When PH and I travel by car I have to have something to do.  I tend to be a back seat driver.  So, to take the pressure off him, I need something to do that keeps my hands busy and mouth shut.  Over the years I've knitted, made yo-yos, made a mountain of hexies.  

As we were planning this road trip down South I started rummaging for a car project and found a bag of hexies.  I sorted them by color, stacked them in a box because the work space is very compact, and started stitching as soon as we pulled out of the driveway.  

There is absolutely no rhyme or reason to how I'm stitching them together.  None.  There can't be, there aren't enough of anything to make a plan. 

I discovered early on it was much easier to connect them without the paper backing so as I went I pulled the backing out of a small pile of mixed colors as needed and stitched as randomly as anything could be.  The only thing I looked out for was not to put two reds or two navy blues side by side. It's kind of a trip down memory lane, my own I Spy.  There are old fabrics, new, juvenile, Liberty, Christmas, just scraps that were big enough to make into a hexie long ago on a different car trip. 

This is what I accomplished for 2,000 miles of driving.  I'm not in a rush, there is another trip coming up this month so there is more time.  I found in the bag three flowers that had been put together  so they will be added and hidden in the mix.  I have no idea how big this thing is going to be and am trying to shape it a little now.  We will just have to wait and see what happens. 

Saturday, May 11, 2024


 PH and I just returned from our anniversary get away trip.  We saw some beautiful, historic, stately homes built by people who had money.

This is the Biltmore Estate in Ashville, North Carolina.  It was built with shipping and railroad money.

This is the governor's palace in Williamsburg, Virginia built in the 1700s when our forefathers were committing treason by drafting the Declaration of Independence from England and the king. Scary, but they did it anyway.
This was a Native home in Jamestown, the site of one of the first settlements in Virginia
and this is Monticello, the home Thomas Jefferson, the one who wrote that Declaration of Independence.  He was a contradiction in terms.  We discovered many really strongly disliked him for his personality, but he was also a renaissance man, an inventor, a person who saw the possibilities, who founded the University of Virginia.  

All of these homes were stupendous, though not in the sense they were large.  They are remarkably small - with the exception of the Biltmore.  

PH and I?  We stay in hotels.  We are not and never have been campers.  I am adamantly not a camper.  PH says my idea of camping is a Holiday Inn instead of a Hilton. But after a couple of our hotel experiences on this trip and mulling it over on our way home, I can understand a tiny bit more the camping culture. 

 Here in the U.S. during covid the sales of RV's skyrocketed.  You couldn't beg, borrow or steal an RV.  It was a way for people to get out of the confines of their homes, get outdoors, and still have your own space. Your own bed. Your stuff is not unpacked each time you go someplace new. 

 I really don't know if the real cost of RVing is any less expensive than getting a room for the night.  The cost of gas must be outrageous, the site rentals in the U.S. can be very expensive and then there is the cost of the RV itself and the insurance.  As we pass the monstrous rigs being pulled behind the highest level of truck out there, PH and I always look at each other and say,  "You can buy a lot of hotel rooms in Tahiti for what that must cost."  I am not convinced it's a cheaper way to go.  I know people who absolutely love it and I know people who found it wasn't their thing. 

And that brings me to my hotel thoughts.  Our first night out we pulled into the little town we were headed for at 11:30 p.m.  PH had made a reservation.  The town was so small I'm not sure there were any other choices but at 11:30 it's a bit late to look.  It was a hole.  Oh, my, gosh, I was disgusted. And in the morning when we woke up and actually saw it in daylight, well, we couldn't get in the car fast enough.  A gross hole.

The next night was better, and when we got to Williamsburg, it was all good.  We didn't stay in a chain hotel, but a local motel with thick walls, clean bathrooms, the car parked right outside our door, a nice area with no truck traffic and within walking distance of historic Colonial Williamsburg.

But after leaving Williamsburg and heading home, we fell down another hole.  In fact it was so bad (another chain) I absolutely told PH in my no-uncertain-terms-voice we were NOT staying in a rat hole. Of course when you make a reservation from a website you don't see these things.  We struggled that night to find something else and finally did but it was just one small notch above the rat hole.  One notch.

I got to thinking on the way home about RVs vs. hotel rooms.  The bottom line really is the bed.  In a hotel you have to know the comforter is not washed after each guest, just the sheets are - if you're lucky. So there is no telling what's been done on or to that comforter.  I found blood on the sheet of my bed.  And then some on the floor.  The cleaning is done to a point. But you have to know that the 'stuff ' you see in the corners of the bathroom isn't your stuff and you are sleeping in a bed a thousand other people have slept in and putting your head on the pillows a thousand other people have put their heads on (I bring my own pillows.)  

I can hear people who RV saying they are sleeping in their OWN beds and using their OWN pillows and I get it now.  Just a little.  

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Number Five


It's May already and we are on a roll with the Chookshed Challenge.  Thanks Deana for rolling number 5 this month!  I am actually well on my way with my number 5 as it is the quilt I took to retreat last week and worked almost half of it there.

I bought this fabric after our first trip to England, pre-covid.  It reminded me of the fields of sheep we saw as we drove from London to Cornwall.
I never cut into it because I didn't want to ruin the motifs so just stroked it now and then.  
But again, looking at myself in the mirror and not recognizing who is there, some old lady has taken my place, I've decided to use a simple nine patch alternating with the parts I love. I chose very soft colors for the nine patches so it didn't fight with the soft colors of the sheep and children.  I chose the pinks, blues, yellow and greens in the softest shades I had.

Half of it is finished so I'm glad that number five was chosen for a month that is going to be extremely busy and not being home much.  

Good luck everyone!