The Hymn Quilt and Gorgeous Gourds
Chocolate Box Cottage Diary, Volume 2
Week 43: October 29, 2022
This week brought a huge blessing in the shape of a quilt, made especially for me by my Mom’s best friend, Joy. I already refer to it as the hymn quilt because the floral-framed blocks contain lines from old hymns ad songs we sang in church when I was growing up. I can hear my Dad’s voice in my mind singing Amazing Grace and I cannot describe what a comfort this is. He has been gone nearly 20 years and I will miss him so!
The hymn quilt is large enough for both Sam and me to cuddle under on the couch and already feels like it “belongs.”
I am a quilt maker and I appreciate all the love and effort that goes into the making of a quilt. The fact that Joy would make one for ME is amazing. And in the picture below, you can see she made TWO hymn quilts! One for me and one for her, which makes it even more special.
“This is my story. This is my song. Praising my Savior, all the day long!” This lovely quilt provides so many reminders that I know will bring me comfort in the years ahead.
Joy brought lunch to “my” weekly tea at Mom’s. I say “my” because I am the one who brings lunch! It was nice to have a a break from preparing the food and just enjoy the company. The fact that she gave me a quilt was the icing on the cake. This week Mom was especially delighted when four granddaughters joined us: Alyssa, Savannah, Miriam, and Amelia.
My hard-working man wheel-barrowing firewood from wood shed to house.
The garden is quietly winding down for the season. Winter squash have been harvested along with the last of the tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers, zucchini, and cucumbers. Cheerful little Red Gem marigolds are still blooming, plus a few others.
The teepee was a surprise star in the garden this year. Mayo bule gourds, cover the bulk of the willow pole frame and if you look closely you might be able to see a few large gourds peeping between the leaves, including one resting on a chair. There are also Heavenly Blue and Candy Pink morning glories and cinnamon vine growing vertically, with nasturtiums and herbs clustering around the “skirt.”
Mayo Bule gourds in all their green glory. Ranging from 8.5-11 inches (22-28 cm) high with belly measurements (circumference) of 23-28 inches (59-71 cm) these beauties are smaller than those I harvested from the garden of our previous home, but are still quite respectable. Gourds will cure to tan or gold.
A closer look, so you can appreciate their peanut-like warts and the way the light glistens on their skin.
I have made quite a fuss over Sadie and her ducklings; here is a picture of dad Sylvester with the little dumplings. They are sprouting tail feathers now!
You’ve met Lavender, my garden hen before. Her leg was broken in a stampede of small chickens and I separated her to give her a chance to heal. I wasn’t sure she would ever be able to walk, but within a 4 weeks she was attempting to put a little weight on that leg and by 10 weeks she was walking fairly well. After a few rain showers, I decided it was time for Lavender to rejoin the flock for the winter. It would be selfish of me to keep her separate.
I set Lavender in the henhouse early one morning while it was still dark to give her the best chance of integrating without being picked on. She stayed in all day, sitting by the food and water. Good – this gave her a chance to imprint with the henhouse and recognize it as “home.”
The next morning she filed out of the henhouse along with the rest of the chickens and I was glad for her. Success was unfortunately short-lived. Soon a commotion was heard in the henyard and when I went to check, Lavender was gone. I tramped all over the hen yard and pasture, even the swampy areas, in my muck boots, to no avail. I could see no sign of her.
And then, I saw this: a clump of lavender-gray feathers. My heart sank, because I knew what it meant.
Still working on the second box of Paragon pears. I used a vintage apple slicer to core and slice a mountain pears. What I especially like about this handheld slicer is that the coring circle is very narrow, wasting little fruit. It also cuts fruit in 12 slices rather than 8, which is a better fit for the space between trays of my Excalibur dehydrator.
Cores from several batches of Vanilla Laced Pear Jam were used to start a new jar of fruit vinegar. The last of the elderberries went into another jar for elderberry vinegar. I stir both jars daily twice and am looking forward to tasting these gourmet fruit vinegars.
Olwes Miaken’s Creatures is my new favorite sourdough book. Diana Brüggemann, who happens to be a friend of mine in Germany, corralled her menagerie of “creatures” (sourdough starters) into a book! Covering 20 distinct sourdough creatures, some of which aren’t even sour, you will enjoy getting to know each one of them and seeing what they can do.
The book is nicely organized and well formatted, making it easy to read. It is full of great recipes for bread and other baked goodies. Diana even shows you how to swap one type of starter for another and offers tasty ideas for ways to use “discard,” a useless term since she doesn’t advocate throwing anything away. No, no – you’ll start your own Monster Mash jar as soon as you get this book, trust me!
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