I have to say, the best thing I did when I retired was to buy a camera with a super zoom lens. You can get up close and personal with nature, and that is SO MUCH FUN. (42 times zoom!)
Now, having said that, I have to add that most of my Minnesota pictures are taken through my kitchen window. Through my (sometimes) dirty kitchen window. I know it negates some of the advantages of having a good lens, but that’s just the way it is.
Tuesday of this week was a great birding day, out my kitchen window in our flowering crab tree. I have seen some Baltimore Orioles in the neighborhood, and I tried to lure them to my tree with some fresh orange. No Oriole, but I did get a pair of Catbirds. (You can see a bit of the rusty color underneath the tail of the bird on the left.)
A House Finch also stopped by for some orange, and to just look pretty.
The same day we also had a female duck strolling towards the house. I don’t know what it is, but seeing a duck walk up the sidewalk always makes me laugh.
I had also been trying to lure the hummingbirds, and went through two batches of syrup and no hummer sighting. The syrup was being consumed at night, though, and after the second batch was gone, I brought the feeder in on Tuesday. No feeder, so of course a hummer came for a visit!
He loved our crab tree too, and it was in full bloom. Now, two days of rain later, it’s not so nice. I hope he comes back anyway!
I posted this photo a few days ago, and I didn’t know what kind of bird it was. I thought maybe a red-shouldered hawk, but the details weren’t quite right. A couple of friends had thought maybe a Cooper’s hawk or a red-tailed hawk. I contacted a birder, and he thought maybe a broad-shouldered hawk or a red-shouldered hawk, but said it was difficult with juveniles. A reader/internet friend suggested a sparrow hawk. Obviously, his identification is not obvious!
Well. My neighbor put a photo on Facebook, and identified it as a Prairie Falcon. I looked up some photos, and Patti, I think you’re right! They are considered rare in this part of Minnesota, as they are a western bird. I’m sure he was migrating and that’s why we got a look at him in April.
My design wall has been pretty much unchanged since a week ago, so I thought I would take you shopping with me for quilty things at the Des Moines AQS show.
We got back from the Des Moines show yesterday a little tired, a little poorer, but very glad we made the trip. I did some shopping for items that I have bought on line before, but it’s so much better to see in person.
King Tut thread. One of the longarm sales reps was stitching on black fabric with a variegated pastel. Gorgeous! I mostly quilt with poly-wrapped poly or poly-wrapped cotton, and sometimes with all cotton. Three cones of Superior’s King Tut went into my shopping bag (a jewel-toned variegated, a green variegated, and a nice neutral tan/taupe).
Golden Threads pantos. I haven’t added any pantos to my collection for a long time, and this was my opportunity to see the true scale and density of each pattern in person. I bought four: 1) Iron Gate by Keryn Emmerson (my fave designer); gender neutral design, quite open. 2) Decaf by Sue Patten; tighter flowy pattern of ferns. 3) My Favorite Leaves (5″) by Judy Allen; leaves and loops, looser design, really pretty. 4) Clover Meadow by Keryn Emmerson; clovers, medium density, looks really fun to sew.
Sewline Fabric Glue Pen. A pen housing an approx 1/4″ wide stick of fabric glue. The store clerk said it worked well for basting English paper piecing, and said it didn’t leave a residue or stiffness. I am going to try it on my GFG quilt…we’ll see.
TQM Products. Susan Brown owns TQM Products, and they make a couple of pretty nifty rulers. (Disclosure: Susan is a FaceBook friend of mine, although I hadn’t met her before, and she was so generous as to give me a couple of her rulers.) One ruler you have maybe seen before; it’s for efficiently and quickly cutting bias binding. The second ruler assists you in sewing your final binding join in a nice diagonal seam. I join my binding that way, but I have my own cumbersome made-up way of doing it. I am excited to try Susan’s little ruler. A big plus to her rulers: she has the instructions on how to use them printed right ON THE RULER. Smart.
Miscellaneous stuff: FQs of silk shantung for some whole-cloth experimenting (yummy!); We spent a LOT of time in Lori Smith’s booth. I bought a pattern I may just drool over and never make, but I love it, “Chocolate: A Sampler Quilt“.
Wool! Wool is big this year, and I’ve avoided it in the past like the plague. Really. Til now. I bought a couple of kits so I just need to buy some floss (probably), and hopefully have NOTHING LEFT OVER. I am not going to go down that wooly path — well, maybe just a few steps, then I will turn right around and be a regular wovens quilter!
In the last week or so, the robins (and the occasional cedar wax wing) have been FEASTING in our little crab apple tree. I’ve wasted spent a lot of time shooting birdie pictures through the glass. A sample:
Wasn’t that fun? We’ll have to go shopping together again sometime. Be sure to visit Judy Laquidara’s Patchwork Times to check out what other quilters are doing.
by Sue Hecker — Maker, Traveler, Photographer, Mother & Wife, Lover of Life