Books, Birds, Projects and More

Settle in for a long post about a lot going on, things to see and read, and projects where you can participate. Around the feeder we have a lot of pretty birds, and hungry birds! This week there has been a variety of avian friends chowing down on the seed and suet, including some newcomers. When two new species showed up for the first time this year, I had to do another bird count and send it in. Here, a red bellied woodpecker shares the seed with a two goldfinches and two titmouses (hanging off the backside).

The bluebirds are still here, and I still have hope that they will nest nearby, even if they don’t choose the birdhouse we put up for them. Everybody seems to like my suet recipe.

This little guy (gal?) was pecking around the ground below the feeder. I wasn’t sure what it was, so I took several photographs and went to my bird book. These little brown spotted birds are very difficult to tell apart! But the eye stripe being grey above with a brown triangle coming from the eye to the neck seems to be most consistent with a song sparrow. The photos are taken from inside the house, through the window and between the railings on the veranda. I knew if I stepped outside, it would fly away.

Then, a Northern flicker came to visit. This is the first one I’ve seen this season.

The cardinal pair have been coming by regularly. The female likes the suet too. She stuffs her beak and flies off to eat it.

I have two book reviews for you today, and I recommend both of them. One is a sci-fi and the other a contemporary fiction. Links to Amazon are provided if you’d like to read the plot synopsis or get it for your Audible listening.

Artemis by Andy Weir – Entertaining and funny story of a small time smuggler, living in a settlement on the moon, who gets in over her head when she takes a job to sabotage a company for enough money to get her to a better life. The science fiction story is engaging and different, with enjoyable banter by the protagonist with other characters. But the perfect crime isn’t perfect, and the consequences are beyond what she knew. With the entire moon base at stake, she has to find a way to save it. But the ending is a bit of a stretch. Suspend reality, and it is a fun book with some exciting plot twists. If you are looking for deep literature, this isn’t it. If you are looking for entertaining reading in another genre, you’ll probably enjoy it.

The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams – Beautifully written story of several lonely people finding lessons in their lives through a reading list of books. Mukesh, an elderly widower makes a connection with teenager Aleisha at the library, as Mukesh needs a way to bond with his granddaughter. Aleisha, not a reader, has just found a reading list, and decides to read the books herself so she can help him after being rude to him when they meet. Drawing parallels and lessons from the novels, the books help them both find their way though adversity, while connecting them together. Some of the books on the list I have read, and that added even more depth to the narrative. Difficult to put down, the story has well developed characters finding their way from isolation to community.

While we are on the subject of books, this non-fiction documentary was recommended by another blogger so I got the DVD from the library. The Booksellers is a fascinating look at the world of book dealers, eccentric authors, and obsessed collectors. You get to see some of the most interesting bookstores and private collections stuffed into tiny apartments. There are interviews with book dealers and stories from the Antiquarian Book Fair in New York. Overall, it is an fascinating look at that world for book lovers.

It was a good day to sew on Friday, so I put a pork shoulder roast in the oven that morning for it to slow roast all day. This method creates the most delicious ‘bark’, and is just as easy as using a slow cooker. Just put some barbecue sauce on the roast, add a bit of your favorite seasonings if you like, and put into an oven set for 250ºF.

Go sew all day. This was a small roast, only about 2 pounds, so after about 6 hours, this one was done. Usually I do them twice this size for around 8 hours. The timing is variable, and a little longer doesn’t hurt. When dinner time came, we ate it so fast I forgot to get a photo of the cooked one, LOL!! So I got one later. Be sure to scrape up the browned bits of sauce that form in the bottom of the pan, and spoon it over the top for intense flavor.

When I am in the kitchen, I’m keeping an eye on the amaryllis bulb, 11 years old this year. It is now showing a leaf, and I am hopeful for a flower this year. It bloomed for six years in a row, skipped a year, then bloomed two more years in a row. It didn’t bloom last year. It will take weeks, but I’ll let you know if I get a flower this year.

So, back to the sewing room while the pork shoulder slowly roasted, I worked on Quadrille. I have the top together and borders on. I love this design, might be one of my best ever! I hope you like it too. If you are a new reader, click on Scrap Dance Quadrille Step 1 for the start of this mystery quilt-along, and get the pdf of the cutting instructions. The steps will post on the second Friday of each month, with the next post on February 10.

Donations are starting to trickle in for our Safelight Project for 2023. There are three ways you can get involved to help our local domestic violence shelter. We need case sets sewn, cards stamped, and monetary donations to fund the bags themselves and the goodies inside. See the post Safelight Project 2023 for more details. When I posted about the project, I said that the bags would cost about $12 each for the canvas bag and all the goodies inside. However, I forgot that Dollar Tree increased its prices by 25%, plus the bags have gone up as well, so I think now that it will take more like $15 per bag. I am hoping to make 50 bags, so will need $750 to complete the project. We are over halfway to the new goal now. Thank you to everyone who has donated so far. In particular I want to acknowledge Dorothy F from Washington state, Virginia F from Alabama, Vicki W from Virginia, and Lesley G from England for their very generous support! It is amazing how people from all over the country, and across the pond, come together to support a project not in their local community!

I hope you are keeping track of your fabric in and out! Our first Stashbusters report for this year is this coming Friday. We will report on the first Friday of each month. This challenge goes hand in hand with every other quilt along, rainbow challenge and mystery quilt from fellow bloggers.

While all that is going on inside the house, a male bluebird was sitting in a tree, surveying the area, maybe looking for a nesting site. I am always on the lookout for wildlife in natural settings for the annual photography competition at the state fair, but this shot turned out a bit too soft focus. Too bad, as the composition is good, and the lichen on the tree adds interest.

So many irons in the fire around here! I haven’t gotten to my rock painting or the paper making I mentioned last week. I might not get to them this week either, as two days are busy with meetings that will last most of the day, then a couple of pickleball game days, and lunch with friends on Monday. But it is all fun stuff, so I’m looking forward to a great week. What are your plans? Will you be making progress on any of our participation projects?

12 thoughts on “Books, Birds, Projects and More

  1. Rheanna M

    The Booklist sounds like a good addition to my “to read” list. I read Artemis a while back and have to admit it is my least favorite of Andy Weir’s books (The Martian and Project Hail Mary being my top 2 picks). I hope to finish all my cutting for quadrille this week. I had been in search of new background as I would like to make a larger quilt but haven’t found anything that will work so far. Bummer, going to just have to visit more quilt stores. 😉

  2. my library has the sci-fi book so I checked it out to see if I would like it. You have so many birds. For some reason I do not have near the birds this winter as I normally do – the only difference I can think of is that the neighbor on the opposite side of the road and further down lets their dogs out for hours and hours in their fenced in space and they bark continuously – I know it bothers us so maybe it is bothering the birds as well. I am in the country so houses are spaced out and a little way tucked back from the road but that particular house is closer to the road so closer to us

    1. Robin RK

      Over the years that I’ve followed you I am impressed each time with your knowledge of all the birds that come to visit your home or just flying around.
      What am I working on? First is your Quadrille, about 9 BOM/BOW. I’m excited about 2 quilts that are made with 4.5 inch blocks. I have avoided anything this small in the past. One is modern based blocks, the other is very traditional but tiny paper pieced blocks. We’ll see if they get finished, paper piecing is not my cup of tea, hopefully I will learn to enjoy it. I also have 2 baby quilts & 4 child quilts to complete. I’ve typed too much. I would love to meet you and then have a good “ol’chin wag.” 🙂

  3. Gretchen

    I love reading your posts. Many similar interests-birds,sewing,books,and your charity projects.
    I have found some of your audiobook recommendations and listening to them while sewing.
    Great Sunday postings. Just wanted to let you know.

  4. Joan Sheppard

    I don’t know how you find the time to do all this! The dinner looks so yummy – the birds an absolute delight! I started reading “The Basement Quilt” nice low key book for a lazy afternoon. Thanks!

  5. You get a great variety of birds at your feeders! We get the northern flickers and downy woodpeckers, but not the other woodpecker you showed. I really enjoyed The Book List! Haven’t read the other one, but it sounds interesting. Your pork roast meal sounds yummy – and easy, which is always good!

  6. Mary

    As always a great post. I love seeing your birds and maybe you are getting more birds because your good food is getting known bu the birds. The little bird pecking on the ground looked like our house sparrows that we have around our yard.
    Looking forward to your next post for Quadrille as I am all cut out and waiting.
    I will order The Book List from the library, sounds like a good read.
    Your Roast Dinner sounds scrumptious. :))

  7. Sharon Vrooman

    After seeing your photos of the birds loving on the suet, I need to get some out for our feathered friends. I’ll dig thru the shop to see if there is some there and if not, off to the feed store. My Dad and brother both fed the birds regular and I really should keep up the tradition.

  8. Julie

    Don’t know how I missed this yesterday, Sunday mornings with Carole are a tradition! Birds, books, a pork roast, & sewing – a delightful way to spend your day.

  9. Hi Carole — so much to love here. But first, sorry for the late visits and catch up. My last email notification I received from you for new posts was January 22, so I’ve missed a lot and will do my best to catch up.

    It’s a great post — gorgeous birds, good books. I adored the Reading List. And Andy Weir never disappoints so this is on my list. I’d never heard of/thought of a pork roast done in that way. It looks fabulous and incredibly easy. I’ll have to give it a try. I suspect one could do that with a smaller tenderloin, too — just for less time. Thanks for the idea!

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