Sunday Chat

Colder temperatures have brought the birds to the feeder this past week. My Sweet Babboo put a new suet cake out for them and it was eagerly pounced upon by this downy woodpecker.

The cardinal pair came by too, along with an entourage of goldfinches still wearing their winter drab. But they are brightening up a bit here and there and in a month or so will be vibrant yellow again.

The male shares the feeder with another goldfinch.

There were four bluebirds here one day. I got two of them in one photo but they wouldn’t cooperate to get all four. One up top was munching the sunflower hearts, while the one below took advantage of the suet cake.

Next weekend (Feb 18-22) is the 2022 Great Backyard Bird Count. Click on that link to see the website from the Cornell Lab, the Audubon Society and Birds Canada to see how you can participate, watch videos on the project and how to count, see the live maps and more. You can count for as little as 15 minutes for one day, or as much as you can over the four days. Whatever time you have available matters. Count in just your backyard, go to local parks or count what you see anywhere near where you are. Then report what you saw on their ebird website. I hope I see these bluebirds over the weekend.

Two books were finished this week with a lot of reading in the early hours of the day, along with waiting room time at appointments. I’ve linked them to the Amazon (affiliate) site for you to see the publisher synopses if you like.

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner. It is hard to classify this book as the story was not what was expected. It is written in two timelines, with the present day character trying to uncover the truth of an eighteenth century letter presuming to confess to murder. The historic timeline was about a female apothecary in the 1700s, when women who did such things were branded at witches, yet this wasn’t part of the story. It was about a woman with a ledger full of names who received poisons, yet we didn’t get to explore that. It was murder of who knows how many men at the hands of the women they wronged in one way or another, but that was only alluded to. We get only one real story of a poisoning gone wrong. In the present day, the character is flat, with really little motivation to look for the history of a vial with a bear on it, other than she wanted to be a historian years before. There were a few surprises towards the end, and the writing was well done. But I’d call this a beach read, interesting but without depth.

The Golden Thread by Kassia St. Clair. This is a non-fiction book on the history of textiles given to me by a friend who thought I’d enjoy it. The book is divided into short essays within the 20-page chapters on individual fabric content. The history of using flax in Egypt, wool in England, silk in China and cotton in America up to the present day with synthetics and space suit fabrics also explored. It is an interesting book, with easy reading essays perfect for what I call a snack-read, just a few pages and you have something to think about. I read the whole thing in just a few days, and will have to go back to chapters here and there again. The chapters on space suits may give you things to think about that you might not want to know. The great thing is the book chapters can be read in any order, it isn’t a linear history.

Books lead us right to a wonderful new find for us locally. The Book and Bee Cafe is a delightful tearoom and bistro style lunch spot in Hendersonville that opened during the pandemic. Read my review on Trip Advisor with more pictures – Book and Bee Cafe. If you are in this area, it is a fun place for lunch or brunch. It is off the main roads, located on the corner of Haywood Road (191) and Mountain Road. Tucked behind some trees, the interior is as charming as the menu. Vintage teapots and bee related items are displayed in every room, and each room has a different theme.

My meal was delicious with spinach quiche and fresh salad. I definitely want to go there again, and meet my lunch buddies! They have lots of teas to choose from too, served in mismatched cups with vintage teapots on little warmer stands.

My Sweet Babboo had a Longmire sandwich with grilled chicken, bacon, pepper jack cheese, lettuce and tomato. The bread was a sunflower multigrain bread, delicious! The fresh fruit side was ‘berry’ good. We swapped half our meals with each other so we could sample more.

Back home, one afternoon, a small herd of five deer were grazing out back. This shot was taken through the window and the screen makes it a bit grainy. The other deer were behind the rhododendron, and wouldn’t come down and pose for us. I love living with wildlife.

In the kitchen garden, exciting things are happening. My orchid put out a flower spike a couple of weeks ago, and it has started growing again. It now appears to have four blooms in the works. I hope it blooms this time! The last flower spike shriveled up, and you can see that one at the base of the new one. I’ve been misting it daily, and hope this time it will reward me with a bloom or two.

Then more excitement, the amaryllis is putting up a leaf!! If it blooms this year, it will be the 9th year that it has gifted me with a floral show.

I mentioned on the Zoom retreat that I just couldn’t get into Valentine’s day this year. I don’t know why, but getting out a bunch of hearts and red things just doesn’t hold any appeal. I did get out my candle with the jeweled hearts and put it on my Wool Work Valentine Penny Rug just to use it this year. See that post for the free pattern if you are into wool applique.

This week, I will be in Shelby to do a program for the Foothills Guild. I can’t wait, I love visiting guilds close by, and doing the program in person is so fun. Appointments and meetings will keep my busy again for several days with little time for sewing. Fave Quilts has asked me to do a pattern for them to use during National Quilting Month in March. I wrote up the instructions for an improv quilt for them that I did a few years ago using precuts. More on that later.

Today is the Super Bowl, so I’m planning on snacking style finger food for supper while we watch the game. I don’t really care who wins, I just want an exciting, close scoring game. The commercials haven’t been anything special for years, so I won’t be paying much attention to those.

What are your plans for today and the coming week? Will you join in the bird count?

30 thoughts on “Sunday Chat

  1. Mary Stori

    Your upcoming week sounds like it will be keeping you busy…..happy to see guilds are getting back to in person guest speakers.

  2. Judy

    The Book and Bee is charming, and the desserts are so good! I’m looking forward to getting together with friends for afternoon tea this spring.

  3. Rheanna

    I completely agree with your thoughts on The Last Apothecary. After waiting months to get my hands on it, I was disappointed that it fell flat. I am hoping to get some binding done today as well as prepare a backing for a baby quilt I am going to drop off at the long armer tomorrow.
    I hope to watch at least some of the game tonight, but don’t really have a dog in the fight so it will be ok if I miss it.

  4. Debra Gutenson

    You have such a green thumb! Do you also water your orchids, or is the daily misting enough? I’m still hoping for a rebloom on my orchids, and I’ve started misting. Almost daily 😉
    I love snack food for super bowl dinner too. I’m making bbq wings, Lil smokies wrapped in bacon, and some broccoli/cauliflower with dip to pretend it’s a healthy meal!

  5. Julie

    I remember going with my Dad to visit his parents on Sundays. I’d get to pick a candy bar & have grape soda pop while Dad & Grandpa watched football on a B&W TV that was so grainy I don’t know how they could tell what was going on. My husband doesn’t like football. I haven’t had to watch any since I met him, but I wouldn’t mind having a candy bar & grape soda pop. Yesterday a red winged black bird stopped at our feeder. It’s the first time one has turned up in February. There’s still a foot of snow blanketing the ground.

  6. Linda B

    So fun to find a good book…I stayed up way too late last night reading a Jennifer Cruise book that was due at the library in 2 days…I thought I would just read a few minutes and see if it was worth renewing it…2 hours and lots of laughter later I finally put it down and tried to go to sleep! Today planning to try my hand using some microfilament for the top thread to stitch in the ditch on a quilt to secure it before quilting. Wish me luck!

  7. MaryEd Williams

    Wonder if The Book and Bee would be interested in hanging some quilts in their store? Yours are so wonderful and I’m sure there are a lot more quilters and gorgeous quilts in your area. I love restaurants like that.
    I have set up a machine in front of the TV and fireplace to watch the game. May leave it up to binge out on basketball the rest of the season. Vacuuming may or may not come into the equation. “May not” looks more likely.
    Did I ever ask you what is the cake in the picture at the top of your blog?
    Mary Ed

  8. I always love seeing your bird photos! Those male cardinals are so amazing in their bright red color. I’ve participated in the bird count in previous years – should go and sign up for this year, too. The Bee cafe sounds like a fun place – I love their display on the wall. Thanks for the book talk, too. I’m hosting my book club here at the house tomorrow, and we read a funny little book for this month, The Uncommon Reader. It’s about the Queen of England discovering reading and how it changed her life. Fiction, of course, but lots of interesting ideas in it about what it means to be a reader.

  9. As always, I love those cardinals! You have a busy and varied week ahead. I have a new project I have started, so will continue working through some of the preps on that, and I hope to get the center medallion done on Aby Quilt’s Favorites BOM and another hour or so on the wedding quilt.

  10. We have blue birds in a nesting box near our kitchen window. I really enjoy watching them!

    Sewing, quilting and catching up from being away are all on my list for the week.

    Your wool valentine mat is beautiful!

    You spread so much cheer to others. I hope that joy comes back to you in multiples. Enjoy your Valentine’s Day!

  11. Lunch from the tea room looks…well…good enough to make a return visit. It is hard to get into valentines with my love not here but I did make happy boxes for the grand kids. New grandson is going for his 2 day old checkup but it has been 4 days. lol

  12. Joan Sheppard

    Always a pleasure to “tour” your garden. I have to go to the park about 1/2 mile away to see the deer. They had twins this year that I have called Moxie and Maisie. I would dearly (ha) love to make friends but it’s too dangerous for them. They will come out to about 20 feet to say hi. Just finished a quilt last night so maybe binding today, after the weekly family zoom which I’m sure will be short because of the game. We lost 3 older family members this week but a niece had a baby boy! Life goes on. Thanks for a lovely start to our week.

  13. So nice to see all those birds visiting your feeders. We’ve had blue jays, cardinals, downy woodpeckers, chickadees and robins! The robins usually are not here during the winter but, this year, I have seen several of them. That looks like a great place for lunch.

  14. Kathy

    I am not a bird lover at all, has to be because of the movie The Birds!…but sometimes I see hawks in my backyard and I am fascinated by them. Also owls are very interesting to me. But quilts leave me speechless!

  15. manasotavacation

    Love the birdies! I used to have a feeder outside my bedroom window when I was a child. I miss my parrot so much. She was wonderful. I have been meaning to go to The Bee and the Book!!! It just seems that our Covid #’s spike when I even consider it. I have heard nothing but good things and your photos seal the deal for me! Thanks for sharing…….is that yellow and purple gorgeous quilt pattern going to be available later? LOVE IT!

  16. lois92346

    Thanks for providing another wonderful column. I love your photos…especially those of the birds. The Book and Bee Cafe food looks fantastic. I’d love to visit there. I also look forward to your book reviews. Have a wonderful Sunday.

    1. I’m going to check with our library and see if they have The Golden Thread. It sounds very interesting. As always, wonderful photos and that food from the Book & Bee Cafe looks and sounds delicious.

      I’m working on my granddaughter’s quilt, a disappearing pinwheel friendship star pattern using Celestial Magic and white fabric. I’m about halfway done. She has a thing for the cosmos and it has a lot of black and purple in it, her favorite colors these days. After that I’ll work on my grandson’s Snail Trail quilt made with Time & Tide fabric and a cool white sharks on white fabric…a quilt for a kid who boogie board surfs.

      And I’ll be rooting for the LA Rams and Matthew Stafford today. I was born in Los Angeles and California is my home state although I haven’t lived there for 30 years now. My son and his family still live there however. And I love Matthew Stafford. I lived in Michigan for 23 years and he was just the best quarterback with an always losing team with the Lions. I’m happy that he finally plays with a team with many great players and where he can make a difference. He and his wife have donated their time and millions to kids’ projects in Detroit. They are born and bred Michiganders and I expect will go back there when his football days are over.

  17. Gale

    What delightful birds you have! I’m on the west coast, so our birds are different. Great book recommendations too. I dropped by to let you know how very helpful your old post about undertones in quilt fabrics was to me. I tend to pick cool tones for quilts and lately I have been using a lot of navy blues. I recently purchased a selection of the new Rifle Paper line assuming they would work into another project I have going with her older lines. But the undertone has changed to a red-purple undertone from a greenish one, and it’s apparent when the fabrics are laid side by side. They are beautiful but I’m a little disappointed I can’t use them right away. Will be knitting and tidying up.

  18. JanL

    as always, enjoyed your quilts and book reviews (and your cards stamped too). I hope to be passing near Hendersonville in June as I head to South Carolina to visit family. This lovely Book and Bee Cafe looks like a great place to stop along the way. Thanks for alerting us to it.
    I hope the Super Bowl game is a good game. Being in Ohio, I hope that the Bengals pull ahead but either way, I wish all good luck. (I understand several of the Bengals are former Clemson players, so they have my allegiance!)

  19. What a glorious collection of birds at your feeder! I would get stuck by the window every day, just watching! The books sound great and the Bee Cafe delightful. I long for the day I can feel safe going to eat inside a restaurant again. Do have a wonderful, creative week!

  20. Sue H

    Love your wildlife photos. Nothing like Nature to ground us and inspire us. So glad to hear your orchid is looking so good and I’ll be curious to see that amaryllis bloom and what all you do for it. My neighbor gave me one for Christmas this year and I’ll need to try to get it to bloom again too.

  21. Rita C.

    I love seeing bluebirds! They must’ve been scouting out nearby real estate while they checked into your buffet restaurant. 😉
    That’s a wonderful quilt topper that you created the pattern for. I have table plans for that beauty this spring. 😉
    Warming up this week….spring is not far behind, all the signs are pointing that way, yay!

  22. It is so good to see the birds enjoying the feeders. I am sure they appreciate your efforts.
    The Audubon society do wonderful work. And i love their photos. I was only recently enjoying their finalists for last year. Amazing pictures.

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