Monday, July 25, 2022

Looking Back and Moving Forward

 Hello Everyone,

It's been weeks since I've posted, so I have a lot to get you caught up on what I've been doing.  For starters, I've been getting ready for my next Sew'n Wild Oaks retreat at the end of August.

My sister, Gail, was up for a few days and she volunteered to help in the kit-making process.  Here she is buried under a pile of project bag kits.

I had a bin of fabrics all selected and matched with a zipper.  They just needed vinyl, batting, directions and assembly.

We cut and assembled 79 kits which should be enough for the next two retreats.  I still have to make more for the final retreat in October.

The bags are easy to make and so useful for quilting supplies.  You can also fill them with smaller items that you don't want to get lost in your suitcase.  They are the perfect gift for anyone.  If you are interested in the directions for the project bag, you can download them HERE.

While we have been downsizing, we've run across unpacked boxes that belonged to my parents and Mr. Joe's parents. We ran across a section of newspaper from The Springfield Union newspaper.  Note the date.......this paper will be 86 years old tomorrow, July 26th.

We couldn't understand why this newspaper was important until we read the fine print. This is a picture of Mr. Joe's mother, Caroline Huntington taking her cow out for a leisurely stroll.  Our granddaughters wanted to re-create this image with Emily walking her steer, Rooster.  He wasn't having it!

It's hard to read the fine print, but it says the San Francisco - Oakland Bay Bridge was nearing completion.  Little did Mr. Joe's mom imagine that her son and family would be living a short 50 miles from this bridge decades after this picture was taken.  Oh, the memories of one's life. 

As I was going through a box, I found this little treasure.  A bottle of Golli Wogg perfume in the original box from France.  

Mr. Joe's grandmother was a cosmetics buyer for Steiger's Department Store in Springfield, MA beginning in the 1930's.  This must be a piece of her past.  Pitch it or sell it?  Our grandson, Jess suggested we download the Google app to our phones.  You can take pictures of an item, and Google will scour the Internet for information.  It is pretty amazing.  This little gem has sold at auction for over $1,000!  

We've tasked our DIL to sell treasures and all proceeds will go to painting the interior of the house and the installation of new flooring.

We've been packing and marking the passage of time.  We may spend an hour on a box.....if not longer.  We are not only reliving our life, but the lives of our parents and grandparents.  It's a process, a very slow process.  This coming weekend we will be moving up some of the furniture that I just can't part with.  The cabin is so full, soon we will be hanging things from the rafters.

You have probably been hearing about the Oak Fire, the largest fire burning out of control close to the southern entrance of Yosemite.  As we were driving up to Bear Valley to attend a concert on Friday, we saw the pyro cumulus cloud generated by the fire.  It may look like a thunderhead but believe me it's not. Every morning we wake up to an orange and smoke-filled sky.  Yosemite is a 2-hour drive from the cabin.  We aren't in any danger from this fire, unless it goes absolutely ballistic.   

So that is what I've been doing over the past three weeks.  The move is winding down while my business is ramping up.  I'm anxiously awaiting the arrival of my sample yardage for my next block of the month.  Shipping times, and the fabric-making process have been very slow.  Patience is not one of my virtues.


Friday, July 8, 2022

Day 4 at the Fair

 Hello Everyone,

Jess started out the day yesterday when he and Lil' Wayne placed 4th in the swine showmanship competition.

That competition is all about the FFA student and how well they can handle their animals.  4th place for his first year of showing is very good.

Next up was the turkey competition at 6pm.  We had been invited to dinner with our best friends of 45 years, so we bailed on the turkey competition which both Jess and Emily were in.  We were talking with the kids in the morning, and they just wanted to have the turkey competition out of the way.  They both swore they would never raise turkeys again since they are dirty, smelly, and not very bright.

While we were dining with our friends, text messages and pictures started arriving from our daughter, Emily's mother. Emily WON the advanced showmanship competition and came in 4th in the market category!

Here she is accepting her blue ribbon.  Emily was competing against her cousin and her friend Crayton in the Advanced competition.

Jess was a little nervous for his competition.

My daughter's text said, "Jess killed it with taking 1st in the first-year showmanship!"  Then he went on to take 3rd in the advanced competition against Emily.  The cousins were hugging after the competition, but my daughter and DIL were too excited to get a picture of the hug.

Part of the competition is holding the turkey upside down by the legs so the judge can feel the size of the breast.  The next series of pictures is so funny of Jess who didn't like this part of the competition.

Success!  Talk about feathers flying!

If someone held me upside down to feel my breasts, they would find them around my earlobes!

We said our goodbyes to Rooster, Knox, Nutmeg, Stubbs, Lil' Wayne and the two un-named turkeys.  They will be auctioned off on Sunday and taken away for harvest.

There will be hugs, petting, and a lot of tears from the kids as they say their goodbyes.  Their hearts will be filled with many memories, and the lessons they learned are invaluable.

This was Kinsey and Emily's final hurrah for FFA.  They loved their participation in the program over the last five years.  They are better young women who can do anything they put their mind to. They learned speaking skills, organizational skills, animal husbandry, and the ethic of hard work. They both held positions as officers in the program. They made many friends and many memories on their FFA journey. 

We are heading back to the cabin this morning with hearts that are full of pride and love for our grandkids.  They are good people!


Thursday, July 7, 2022

Day 3 at the Fair

 Hello Everyone,

What a day at the Alameda County Fair!  Jess started the day at 8am showing his pigs.

Stubs was well enough to leave his pen and brought Jess a 2nd place in his class.

That was followed by Lil' Wayne coming in 1st in his class!

Win or lose, you always shake the hand of the judge.  The judge was pretty amazing because she knew their names.  Yes, they are written on their FFA jackets, but in tiny letters.  As she spoke about each animal, she told them what they need to do to improve, and she told them what she liked about their animal.  She also smiled a lot!  We've never seen that in all of our years of watching the judging.

Next up after dinner was Emily with wild child Rooster.  Look at the power and the look of determination in that animal. We were on the edge of our seats just waiting for him to bolt.  Our daughter couldn't watch.  He kept it together with Emily's gentle and determined handling.

He stood for a moment of calm for pictures.

Emily and Rooster won FFA Reserve Champion!  We all had tears in our eyes.  Kinsey is in the picture because she helped Emily every step along the way. She was in the holding pen and had knots in her stomach watching Emily in the ring with Rooster.

When the pictures were over, Rooster decided he had had enough and headed for the barn.  Emily went along for the ride. He is so big; he had a hard time fitting through the gates to get back to his pen.

We are off early again this morning for the showmanship competition for pigs.  Jess will be handling Lil' Wayne.

Jess got his pigs in February on the same day Emily's first steer died.  In honor of Wayne, Jess named his pig Lil' Wayne.  These kids are very caring and compassionate to each other. 

Yesterday was the most joy-filled day for the Wilder family.  


Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Day 2 At The Fair

Hello Everyone,

The girls finished the day with 1st and 2nd place ribbons for their goats in their FFA Market Class.  We are so proud of them.

The girls are raising their animals while working part-time and attending Modesto Junior College.  They are busy kiddos.

After the goat competition came to an end, it was right back to work bathing the 1501-pound steer named Rooster.  These girls have no fear, but they are aware that Rooster can throw a right hook with his back foot and the girls stand just out of range.  Emily will be showing Rooster after dinner tonight.  Rooster is a Charolais breed of cattle originating in France.  Maybe if Emily took a crash course in French, he would behave a bit better.  He is a wild child and is capable of reigning terror in the ring tonight. I think he must have a bit of Brahma bull in him. I will be on the edge of my bleacher seat.

The cousins stopped "mucking" just long enough for Grammy to take a picture. I love the fact that the kids all love each other and support each other not only during Fair, but always. 

Jess's pig Stubbs wasn't doing well yesterday after an antibiotic shot.  I hope he's better today.

The pig competition starts at 8am, so we will be out of the house early today.  We are so thankful that the weather has been cooperating and the days have been very pleasant while we sit for hours in the grandstands.

Here's just one paragraph from the FFA (Future Farmer of America) Creed.

I believe in leadership from ourselves and respect from others. I believe in my own ability to work efficiently and think clearly, with such knowledge and skill as I can secure, and in the ability of progressive agriculturists to serve our own and the public interest in producing and marketing the product of our toil.

My question is, are the kids raising the animals, or are the animals raising the kids?  All of the kids are learning to take care of something other than themselves.  They have to get up early to feed them, clean their pens, and love them.  Both sides of this equation benefit.  My respect goes out to my grandkids and to their parents, my kids, who spend hours in support of their passion.

FFA chapters are all over the United States.  The caliber of these young men and women is above and beyond reproach.


One proud Grammy


Tuesday, July 5, 2022

FFA Time at the Fair Day One

 Hello Everyone,

This is our granddaughter Kinsey with Knox and Nutmeg.

Our granddaughter Emily is taking her goat over for a bath before the showmanship competition.

The girls were on barn duty, which means animal clean up.

Bath time for Nutmeg.

The girls had a few light moments with the FFA advisor prior to the competition. 

And the results were 4th place for Kinsey and 6th place for Emily.  Today the competition is all about the animals.  The competition yesterday was all about how well the girls showed their animals.  They are hoping to do better today.  The goats got pretty squirrely yesterday just being goats.

This is our grandson, Jess.
His poster by the pig's pen shows all of his interests from pigs to turkeys to his 64 Malibu (which was our son's car) to baseball.  He's a well-rounded kid with many interests.

I got a text late last night from my DIL.  She texted that his pig Stubbs, has pneumonia. The breeder gave him antibiotics, and now it's a waiting game.  They weren't sure if he would make it through the night.  I'm so anxious to hear.  Jess was supposed to show Stubbs tomorrow for the showmanship competition.  Update at 8:15am 7/5.  Stubbs made it through the night and is doing better.

Emily is going to show Rooster tomorrow night.  Rooster weights 1501 pounds.  Emily weighs 90 pounds soaking wet.  

I'll be on the edge of my bleacher chair since Rooster has a mind of his own!  I don't want to hear the announcer say, "Folks we have a runner!"  You laugh, but we've had that happen before.

Us old kids have to have fun at the fair too.  This reminds me of the phrase, ewes not fat, ewes fluffy.

This oyster poor boy sandwich cost me $27.00!  I won't be eating at that food vendor again.  The price and the oysters gave me serious indigestion which squashed all rumors that oysters are an aphrodisiac. 

Off to the competition this morning.  Our grandkids have been involved in FFA for so long, I think I should carve my initials in the bleachers.


Monday, July 4, 2022

God Bless America!

Hello Everyone,

I thought this vintage 4th of July image was perfect!  I'll be sure and let you know if we see any dancing bears this weekend!

I do have a new recipe I'm going to share with you.  Our neighbors came over for dinner the other night and I served Chalupa Dinner Bowls.  This is an easy and very tasty dinner to prepare.


1 pound dried pinto beans

1 (3-1/2 pound) bone-in pork loin roast

2 (4.5 ounce) chopped green chiles

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tablespoon chili powder

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 (32 ounce) container chicken broth

1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chiles with lime juice and cilantro - If you can't find it just use a can of diced tomatoes

8 taco salad shells


shredded iceberg lettuce, shredded Monterey Jack cheese, halved cherry tomatoes, cilantro, sour cream and avocado slices


Rinse and sort beans.

Place pinto beans in a 6-quart crock pot.  Add roast and next 7 ingredients.  Pour chicken broth over the roast.

Cover and cook on HIGH for 6 hours.  Remove bones and fat from roast; pull roast into large pieces with two forks.  Stir in diced tomatoes and green chiles.  Cook roast, uncovered, on HIGH for 1 more hour, or until liquid is slightly thickened and beans are tender

Serve in taco salad shells and top with toppings.

I purchased these taco shell molds from Amazon.

I love a taco salad too, so I think the molds are going to get a lot of use.

This morning we are heading to the Alameda County Fair to watch our granddaughters show their goats for FFA.  We visit the animals at the school farm every time we come to town.  We visit them just enough that we don't get too attached to them. 

There's nothing like a county fair and fattening fair food to get you in a patriotic mood.  It should be an interesting, and fun day.



Friday, July 1, 2022

Making Forward Progress

 Hello Everyone,

Mazey is channeling her inner Lab with her new "summer cut".  Her Golden Retriever feathers and hair are now on the groomer's floor.  I'm sure there were enough of her golden locks to make another dog.

Mazey helped me decorate the front porch with my Zinnie's Choice quilt.  I don't remember the name of the quilt on the chair since I made it so long ago.  I actually quilted it by hand in another lifetime.

One of the items on my long-range to-do lists is making kits for projects bags for my August retreat.  I cut four fat quarters for each kit.  I have 36 quilters coming to the retreat at the end of August.  Let's do the math, 36 x 4 = 144 fat quarters that I need to cut.  Now let's multiply that times 3 more retreats!  I have my work cut out for me.  I have 30 in the bin ready to be packaged after I cut the batting and the vinyl.

They will end up looking like this after I put the kits together.

The bags are so useful to hold all of your quilting tools and rulers.

The other night, our friends invited us over for dinner and Mary Sue gave me her latest project bag creation from some fabric that I'd given her.  This size is larger than the other bags so it will hold larger rulers.

Here's the back of the bag.  This one is almost too pretty to use!

It's been so warm that we've been taking our walks after dinner.  The wildflowers in the meadow are so beautiful this time of year.  It's a very pleasant walk and Mazey loves to get her daily run.  She goes three or four times farther than we do with all of her running around.

The other day I ordered a kick board to use in the pool.  I purchased an ergonomic board that is supposed to cause less strain on your shoulders and arms.  Prior to water aerobics there is lap swimming.  I thought I would swim laps with my new kick board prior to aerobics so I can get more exercise.  I left the house just before 8am thinking I could swim laps for a half hour before class.  What was I thinking?  Did I honestly think I could propel this old body from one end of the pool to the other for a half hour?  Five minutes maybe, but not a half hour!  

So, my ergonomically correct kick board and I took the plunge and started in with a halfway decent flutter kick.  I made absolutely no forward progress!  In fact, I think I was going backwards.  How embarrassing.  I tried and tried and still nothing.  I switched to the breaststroke kick and finally propelled myself forward.  When the girls arrived for the class, I had a couple of them give it a try.  Both of them had no problem making forward progress.  Mr. Joe pointed out that I have very buoyant boobs.  Well, as they say in the South, bless his heart.  

I hope you make some forward progress on your quilting this weekend.  Never to be one to give up, I'm on my way to the pool to give it another try this morning.