Sunday, March 22, 2009

Progress Report - Limbs & Sticks from Ice Storm

My sister, Karen Franzen, and her son, Mike, drove down from Iowa on Wednesday. They helped Andi & Dennis Affholter drive their car back to Paducah; Dennis was loading the last of their furnishings from their home in Keota. Karen and Mike spent all day Thursday and until noon on Friday helping Wayne get the last of our sticks picked up. They worked on the pine trees in the side yard, and burned several of our piles of sticks. We only have six piles in the back yard left, plus the piles in the front yard that the county is supposed to pick up. If they don't, we'll burn those too. Thanks, Karen and Mike! It would have taken Wayne and me all summer to get those sticks picked up.

Here's a photo of Mike on the dock at Kentucky Lake. The crappie were really biting. Yummmm, crappie is my favorite fresh fish. And when you catch a mess of 55 of them like these guys did, that is some good eating. And what is prettier than a view of Kentucky Lake in the late afternoon. Even the birds knew fish were being cleaned, as they hovered overhead waiting for the remains.

These are the tree piles of sticks that we burned on Thursday night. We took a break and went to Kentucky Lake and then to Catfish Kitchen in Draffenville for supper. It took until after 1:00 a.m. to get them burned down so Mike and Wayne could go to bed. We only burn two piles at a time and we keep the hose out there to water down the grass around the piles. Some parts of our grass are really. On Friday, the State ordered a "no burn ban" from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day, until further notice. There have been people who started fired and it got away from them and burned whole fields or buildings down. We keep a watch on ours when we start them.

Here is what is left in the front yard. The county is supposed to come pick up piles that are next to the street. They use a piece of equipment that has a big pincher that scoops up these piles and drops them in a big truck to take to the tree disposal yard to be chipped into mulch. Do you think the price of mulch will go down because there is so much available? We'll see.

Spring Flowers & Birds

Spring is here when you begin to see the color that the blooming flowers add to the yards. I've snapped a few photos in my next door neighbors' yard - where the daffodils, hyacinths, and tulip tree are all blooming.

The purple hyacinths with the yellow daffodils sure add a lot of color to the yard

Look at this pretty double peach and white. We certainly enjoy the perennial flowers that Lorraine (rest her soul) planted on her property. This is just one of several colors of double daffodils that she planted a couple of years ago. This year they are the fullest that I have seen them. Each clump is as pretty as the next.

The tulip tree (some call it magnolia) on the corner of our neighbor's property is in full bloom now. We haven't had any hard rain to wash off the petals...but we expect some rain this week so I had to go snap a photo of this beautiful tree this morning. Each blossom is opened full out.
Pretty, isn't it?

This is one of the two bluebirds that stayed in Paducah all winter. We have had a bluebird box on one of our trees for the past few seasons. This pair is now looking to build a nest in it. I understand that bluebirds don't like new wood so maybe the wood has weathered enough now that they can make it their home. This morning I saw one of them taking a bath in the bird water bowl. It was happily splashing around to get itself all wet.

We have robins that stay all winter, taking advantage of the bird seed and water that Wayne makes sure are available to them.

But it is always fun to see how red-orange their breasts get in the spring. Besides those that stay, we'll have many more fly back soon.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Spring has Sprung

The first sign of spring in Paducah is the daffodils starting to bloom. The Bradford pear trees are blooming too, but many of them are scarred from the January ice they look a little battered.

The quilts for the AQS Quilt Contest have been juried, and there are 400 excited quilters who can't wait for the judging to see if they won. The judging is done on the weekend right before the show.

We are busy working on the final details for the 25th anniversary celebration - do you know that more than 10,000 quilts have been shown at the Paducah show over these past 25 years...and AQS has awarded more than $2.5 million in cash awards to quilters across the U.S. and around the world.

Most of the classes are full, but there are still a few seats if you want to register for a workshop or two. You can always attend some of the lectures - that's a great way to learn more about that instructor's techniques.

Be sure to sign up for the 25th Anniversary Celebration & Reception on Wednesday evening at 5:30 p.m. It will be a special night. The past Best of Show winners will be honored - all but 4 of them will be here as guests of AQS.

And, I'm busy working on finalizing the lodging list for the sponsors and teachers, and getting the BEO's (Banquet Event Orders - there's a slip for every room for every day) updated with this year's information for the hotel; and beginning the text for the Showbook that will be available at the show. There are things to be finished every day between now and the show.

Hope you all are planning to come join us in Paducah, April 22 - 25, 2009. If you need lodging, call the Visitors Bureau at 1-800-PADUCAH and ask about the AQS Home Bed & Breakfast program. We still have some local homeowners who are willing to host quilters for the show.

Rainy day here today...good day for a book and a nap. GRIN

Bonnie B

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Picking Up Sticks - the BIG Cleanup

My sister, Karen Franzen, and her son, Mike, and granddaughter Kaetlin, came to Paducah to help "pick up the sticks" in our yard. She said the photos I posted earlier didn't give a true picture of how many trees and limbs had fallen. Maybe these photos will give you a better idea.

Katie (the assistant cashier), Mike (the manager), Karen (chief flunky), and Wayne (the boss - on the tractor) filled this trailer numerous times as they gathered the sticks into piles in the backyard. They decided they needed to have titles - so they came up with their own.

This is the back right corner of our yard. Several large limbs fell in this area.
We had some fun while they were here too. We went to eat at Patti's Restaurant on Thursday evening. Here Katie gets her first look at the 2-inch pork chop we all ordered. We ate about half and brought the rest home.

The side yard - several limbs fell on the roof of the house on this side. We also lost a big pine tree on this side.

The "crew" was able to get some of the sticks burned, but then the winds pick up and they couldn't do any more burning.

Central Paving is one of the sites that is accepting limbs if you haul them there. We drove by and saw this huge barrel chipper machine they are using to chop up all of these limbs.

And this is the pile that they still have to chip. To get an idea of the height of the pile, compare the pile to the large pieces of equipment sitting in front of it.

Mike starts sawing up the limbs behind the garage.

Mike used the chain saw non-stop to get it into pieces small enough for the rest of the crew to stack into piles to be burned in the back yard.

Here are some of the 25 six-foot tall piles of sticks in the backyard, all ready to be burned when the weather cooperates so Wayne can get out there to do it. On Saturday, when we wanted to get the last of the sticks picked up, it rained in the morning. So we went out to pick up some souvenir T-shirts and stopped by to visit the National Quilt Museum. By the time we arrived back home, the rain had stopped and the wind had died down so we were able to finish it. By the time we finished, snow showers started and the winds picked up again. The weather cooperated just enough for us to get the sticks all stacked and ready for burning.
Karen, Mike, and Katie came on Wednesday and went home on Sunday. They helped us whittle this huge clean-up job down to a manageable size. Now Wayne can get his hose out there and start a couple of piles at a time to get it all burned.
Thank you Karen, Mike, and Katie - we would have been weeks trying to get all of these sticks picked up. We had some fun, and we went to some of our favorite restaurants in the area too. We took their photo in front of the fire station in Possom Trot...and of Mike pumping gas at the Possom Trot gas station. GRIN! I guess they will have stories to tell when they get home.
Oh, and by the way, I also gave Katie and Karen some tools so they can do some quilting. Katie went home with some of my books, and some that have some good projects for her to get started. While they were here, we made a baked potato bag...and they went home with the instructions. Katie did all of the sewing to make it too.
And now we are all was spent napping, watching the Nascar race, napping, napping, and napping.