Friday, August 28, 2015

The Road Oft Traveled

My current status is "living with my daughter and her family."  That means that while Mr. Scottie Dog is working hard to finish up our affairs in CA, I reside with daughter Beka, her hubby Jason and five of my grandchildren ages 9 and under in the small town of Jordan, MN. We all live in a 100 year old house right in town, one and a half blocks from "downtown."

Daughter Liz, hubby Steve and granddaughter Sydney (10) live in Prior Lake, MN about 15 minutes away.  Of course I am back and forth often.  Sometimes with one of the girls and sometimes alone.  I love the  drive. Between these two towns it is rural Minnesota at it's best.  Cornfields, soybean fields, farms, silos and wide, wide open expanses of sky.  
Highway 13 (Scott County) heads North and South.
Rows of corn, nearly ready for harvest now.  With all the lovely rain this Spring and early Summer the corn seemed to grow a foot a day.

There are farm ponds and lakes too.
So many different kinds of barns!

Barns and Silos.

Some farms raise grass.
Some fields are filled with soybeans.

 I enjoy the drive back and forth.  I've counted more than 20 farms bordering the road.  Hartmaan's Quarter Horses, one farm advertises "Farm Fresh Eggs" and another "Fresh Produce."  This is the land where you don't dare leave your car unlocked....not because of thieves, but because you may come back to a back seat filled with zucchini! 

 Tonight we had grilled chicken strips with zucchini fritters and a Mediterranean Salad with garden fresh produce....everyone gardens and the bounty is huge.  If the children are hungry. Have a tomato.  If it's snack time, let's get a cucumber from the garden.  Oops....a huge tomato sat on the ground and the ants got to it...just feed it to the chickens. Don't forget the peppers, the cabbage and oh, so much more.

This time of year the drive is green and lush.  Soon, the nights will turn cold and the landscape will turn golden.  And then white.  After most of my life in Northern CA (the land of perpetual green), I'm enjoying the Midwest and the changing of the seasons.  Hurry Mr. Scottie Dog!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

No longer in Limo-land!

The end of April  we packed up my Tahoe and  took off again for Minnesota.  On the four day trip we ran into rain, snow, sleet, hail and wind.  I think the sun must have been shining off and on, but I don't really remember.  We arrived with the Spring and each and every day I see more and more green.  The lilacs are blooming everywhere and their light perfume fills every little breeze.  

Korban and I sit on the porch and chat. Already there have been some days in the '80's.

Auntie Liz decided to begin a project at Beka's house....removing 100 years of wallpaper in the living  room. Here Jakob helps.

Mr. Scottie Dog stayed long enough to help get plumbing fixed at Beka's and one of our rentals and help get Beka and Jason's fence project started. They have a privacy fence along one side and the back and Phase 2 will be "Gothic" picket fence in the front. 

Using an augur makes digging the post holes much easier.....but stony soil slows it down. 

The fence is getting longer!

The fence crew....Beka, Mr. Scottie Dog, Jason!  I guess Phase 2 will commence when Mr. Scottie Dog comes back.

For the meantime, I'm living in Jordan, MN (population 5400) with Beka & Jason (and Jakob 9, Mercedes 7, Shiloh 5, Anastacia 3 and Korban 1) and just down the road from Liz and Steve (and Sydney 10).  Missing Mr. Scottie Dog, but enjoying the grands.  I think I'm out of Limbo-land but smack dab in the center of Transition-town.

Monday, April 20, 2015


The time has come for me to say goodbye to Humboldt County. I came here as a new, young bride from Southern CA, eyes full of stars, fully embracing my new home and life as a brand new bride.  The beauty of this area overwhelmed me.  Tall, TALL, very TALL redwood trees, rhododendrons and azaleas, ferns, the rugged coastline and wonderful beaches.  It took me awhile to figure out that you don't SWIM in these oceans, but you do spend lots of time at the beach and mostly with jeans and a sweatshirt on.  Humboldt County has it all: the ocean, the flat farmlands, rivers (some wild, some not, but all so very beautiful), hills and mountains.  It never gets hot and it never gets cold...but just go inland about 30 minutes and you can bake in the heat at the river or cut down a Christmas tree in the snow.

The children came quickly (I'll never live down getting preggers on my wedding night!). It was our privilege to raise our girls here.  For the first 11 years we lived on 1 1/2 acres right in town and the girls thought we lived in the country.  We raised chickens, geese, pigs, goats and a bunch of cats.  We had big gardens and a lovely greenhouse.  Then we moved out to Cutten to our own redwood forest.

Our church family nurtured us; the girls thrived at Arcata Christian School with teachers and staff who loved them like their own. Mr. Wunner and Mrs. Taylor are part of our family!

Scott Technical Services served us well as Bill's electrical contracting company and there are so many, many buildings that he had a hand in...Humboldt State University, Mad River Hospital, General Hospital, The Carson Block Building, Traveler's Inn, Carter Hotel and so very many more. Humboldt County is an awesome place and Bill never once had to advertise; his reputation spoke loudly.

For many years we were involved in Camp Fire.  The girls all belonged, I led clubs and Bill was on the board of directors.  Many family memories are tied up in our Camp Fire family. Summer camps, painting faces, selling hot dogs at county-wide events to fund fabulous trips to Los Angeles, Salem, OR and even a 12 day trip to Washington, DC.

I was privileged to turn my passion/hobby into a wonderful business and we are all proud of Scottie Dog Quilts/Redwood Sewing Center that became our family business.  So many hundreds of lovely people began as our customers and became our friends and a second family. I retired last Summer and we closed the store but daughter Liz now runs an online store with that name and we continue to hold our fun and fabulous Quilting retreats and Quilting Cruises.

Our girls grew up and all of a sudden it is now 43 years and 6 grandchildren later.  It's time to go to Minnesota and follow the girls and and their families. We have come to love Minnesota and it truly feels like home now.

All my bags are packed and I'm ready to go.....

I don't think I can say another Goodbye.  My heart hurts too much. I've always found them difficult.  Maybe the Hawaiians have it right. "Aloha."  Hello and Goodbye.   But, as you know...

I'll be back at least twice a year for  our Scottie Dog Quilting Retreats so I hope to see my friends with some degree of regularity but most of all, I hope to see friends and family coming to the Midwest to visit.  We'll always have a bed ready and show some Minnesota Nice hospitality.

Just follow the signs and you'll find us. 

One last thought:

May God richly bless you all. May He hold you in the palm of His hand.  May He cause our paths to cross again. I love you all, I really do!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Another Successful Quilting Retreat!

 This past weekend Liz and Sydney were in town.  Heaven to see them!  The reason they flew in from Minnesota is that we hosted another fabulous Scottie Dog Mystery  Quilting Retreat in Eureka.  For the most part the weather was fabulous.  There were a couple of hours of rain, but mostly the skies were blue, the views from our windows were breathtaking. We could eat out on the decks if we wished.

Here's a view of the Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center taken from the Marina.  The large windows on the left 2nd story are part of our sewing space with two more large windows around the corner facing east.  Lovely views, light and airy rooms.

Here's Rene with one of her blocks.  Look how well her colors go together!

Bev was the first one finished.  Her quilt was fun and cheery. The quilt for this retreat was designed by Liz and called "Swirly Girly."  We have a special ruler for it (makes it REALLY easy).  I'm sure both will be on the Scottie Dog Quilts website soon.

The food was great, the company divine!  Our caterers outdid themselves....I am partial to the Banana Hut Hawaiian Barbecue! I heard many positive comments about our brownie sundae bar on Saturday night.  Lots of great show and tell, laughter and fun.  It's always great to see our friends at retreat.  Alas, Liz and Sydney have flown back to MN and Mr. Scottie Dog and I will be making the drive to Minnesota again next week.  I'll be staying in MN while he comes back to CA to finish up the house remodel and get it on the market.

Next Scottie Dog Quilts Mystery Quilting Retreat will be  August 7-9 held again at the beautiful Aquatic Center on Humboldt Bay in Eureka, CA.  Details here: CLICK Please note that we do need your deposit as soon as possible. You may do it securely right on line at the above link.  Space is limited.  I'll be living in MN by August and Liz and I will be flying out to be with all of you.  Please think about joining us.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Big Box of Scraps

Most of my days go by with a sameness that could be perceived as blandness and boredom. But actually I am enjoying my time.  While Mr. Scottie Dog does his work outside I mostly stay indoors. Every day I pack a few boxes/sort through stuff/throw away stuff/fill boxes to go the the thrift store.  But most of the time you will find me at my sewing machine while I watch/listen to movies or TV shows on the computer.  I have a huge box of scraps that I've been working from for the past few months.  So far I have made about 350 crumb blocks.  A crumb block is a block of "made" fabric.  Scraps are sewn together and trimmed to make a block of a particular size.  I choose 6.5".  

Then I take those crumb blocks and put them into the center of one of my personal favorite quilt blocks: The Sawtooth Star.  What I like about the Sawtooth Star is that  it is a bold, graphic pattern that can be changed at a whim by putting special things in the center...a crumb block, a fussy-cut dog or cat or stripe.  The star points may match the center square...or not.  Even the background can be changed by putting a different fabric in each corner.  So much potential for each star.

All these blocks (and I now have over 200 of the 12.5" star blocks) will be made into quilts for a few different charities serving children overseas.  WAS or Wrap A Smile is a branch of a Rotary Int. sponsored group that provides free cleft palate surgeries for children in other countries.  You can learn more about WAS HERE It used to be that after surgery these children were wrapped up in a Mylar space blanket.  For close to 20 years now, each and every child is wrapped up in a colorful quilt.  My heart has always been softened by children so I'm proud to play a small part in this organization.  I make blocks and send them to others who will make quilts with the blocks.

Remember that huge box of scraps?  Well for some reason, that box seems to be as full as when I began.  So until I move to MN, my main project has been the sewing of these blocks.  It fulfills the creative passion of mine to sew, play with color and do something for others.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Company's Coming!

Mr. Scottie Dog and I are still in limbo.  One of the things we are trying to do is see old friends and make connections before we leave Northern CA for a final time.  We've had dinner with a few friends, see people at church on Sundays.  I try to get out once or twice a week to sew with my quilting friends.  I also belong to a small group of ladies that have been meeting for over 20 years.  We have quilting in common.  We gather regularly to chat, sew, laugh, eat and laugh some more.  The group has changed some over the years and I think there are only two of us left from the original club.  We call ourselves The Grateful Threads and there's a new generation of gals taking over.  Lately we've gone to the movies, gone out for dessert and chatted at one member's house.  Monday we plan to see The Second Best Marigold Hotel together.  (We like chick flicks!)  I think I'm going to miss this group most of all.

This week we've had two friends drop by unannounced from our past.  It's been wonderful!  Rob and Crystal moved last year from Humboldt Co.  I miss them so.  They are now in Utah and we visited them last September.  They knocked on our door the other day.  Hugs all around!  Of course there's not enough time to chat and remember.  They had to get to their grandson's 3rd birthday party. But it's great to know we'll be seeing them in April when we make another trip to MN.  Their hospitality is wonderful.

Yesterday I made Mr. Scottie Dog some chocolate chip cookies (still trying to use up what's in the cupboards).  As I took the last pan from the oven I looked up and saw Kathryn, one of our oldest friends (they moved away when Liz was a baby).  We saw Kathryn and her hubby last at our 25th wedding anniversary (this year it's 43). But time doesn't seem to have passed at all.  She still has the same snickering giggle, still knows us through and through.  So great to catch up!

It was nice to be able to offer cookies....I only wish I had them for Rob and Crystal.  Note to self:  maybe making cookies more regularly than once a year is a good idea.  Having some nice, homemade goodies on hand is just plain neighborly.  I think with a year-long move I have forgotten my hospitality graces.

Just do it! Company's Coming!