Notes from the Prairie Blog
We are in the middle of a huge snowstorm, not that unusual, but the cold to follow later today is more than we usually get here in central Illinois. The temps are suppose to drop later this afternoon with below zero all day tomorrow. So have been out shoveling snow this morning and will do it again later this afternoon before the cold hits. It is just beautiful out there, the snow is clinging to branches and fences and the wind is blowing the snow into wonderful swirls.
I have lived in the central Illinois farmland for over 35 years now and listen to farm reports on the radio regularly - since they give great weather reports. I just recently heard a new farm term that was new to me. Someone said - the corn is firing - well I had to ask what that meant of course. It is when the corn begins to dry up and turn that lovely shade of brown. Well, the corn is firing for sure and the harvest is starting. I have seen fields which are opened up a bit, a few rows on the edge of the field which have been gathered in by the corn pickers. Beans are drying up also - they would have liked a lot more rain when they were green, but that didn't happen this year. So I imagine it will be a bit more of a skimpy harvest.
Today and for the rest of August, 10 of my Prairie Quilts will be on display at the Pontiac Art Center, on the square in Pontiac, IL. These quilts are a selection of the Prairie Quilts I have been creating for over 20 years - all based in some way on the prairie and bits of Illinois farmland near my home.
I chose these quilts because they represent my development from using my own versions of traditional patterns and designs to the free-cut applique style that I developed to create the pictures of the prairie and landscapes. During this time I began to add silk ribbon embroidery to the quilts and eventually silk ribbon became an equal partner to the applique work. These quilts grew out of my love of the land and I am working on some smaller "portraits" of fence posts to add to this series.
The Pontiac Art Center is on the north side of the downtown square and open from 10-5 Monday-Friday and 10-4 Saturday and Sunday. Stop by and see the quilts if you are in the area.
One of the fun places I visited in France was in Bayeux. While I go there often mainly to visit the famous tapestry, I also enjoy the town itself. From my hotel there is a winding stone walkway to the main downtown street - along it this year I came upon a new wine bar and bistro - called Le Volet Qui Penche. It was a lovely, welcoming place with a cozy atmosphere. I spent several late afternoons and evenings there enjoying a glass of good wine. One evening a WWII veteran and his 4 sons were there all evening - his first visit back to the area since D-Day. I wasn't able to visit any of the beaches again on this trip, but am always interested in learning more about the events surrounding D-Day. We all spent a little time talking and I thought it quite wonderful that the father and sons came on such a pilgrimage together.
Bonjour. I'm just a week back from lovely France again. On my first vacation since starting at the library, I went back to France for two weeks -- spent time at my favorite places in Paris, gardens, passages, walking....walking.....walking and traveled to Bayeux to visit the tapestry and drink some very nice wine, on to Mont St. Michel for some of the fall high tides and finally to Dinan, that lovely medieval city with wonderful crepes and fish. Then I returned to Paris for a few more days including a visit with my friend Estelle who took me to stitchery shops that I could never find on my own. November is scallop season in France and I did my best to eat my share of them. Also attended the Salon du Chocolat - an experience that deserves its own write up.
Last weekend was a milestone for me. I have been demonstrating and being part of the Feast of the Hunter's Moon in W. Lafayette, IN for 40 years now. I first attended right after college and even as I came over the hill and saw the tents, the tipis and smelled the wood smoke - I knew I wanted to be a part of this event.
I've been stitching like crazy, getting ready to travel to Kentucky for the Shakertown Art Festival. It is such a lovely setting AND only 10 miles away from my granddaughter and her Mom and Dad. I'll be visiting with them before the show.
It has been an interesting spring in my garden. As my ankle injury improved I have found that I can more easily get out and spend some nice garden time. I was able to remove part of an old flagstone edge and build a stone cairn - always wanted one and it is a great way to store the stone until I can do more building. I left some bits of the border here and there and have added space to my shade garden.
Since I am spending some time at my kitchen window while I sip coffee in the mornings, I have come to know the three crows in my neighborhood. They usually show up one after another in a large tree across the street. They pose gracefully for awhile and do a few caws, sometimes one takes off and the others stay. I wonder how much they travel around in our neighborhood, but they certainly seem to be "regulars" on a daily basis.
From time to time we get a lesson in patience. I have been getting one the past month as I sit at home recovering from a broken ankle. Things I use to do without thinking, now take planning and much more effort. I accept help daily and find myself feeling inept at things I use to do easily. Waiting with "grace" for this healing process to happen, I find that small things make my day.