Friday, August 21, 2009

Dog Days?

August days are generally known as the "Dog Days" of summer. That expression conjures up lazy images of just lying around in the sun, doing as little as possible, eating and sleeping and eating some more. At least that's what the dogs in our family seem to do most of the time, not just in August.

But for us this year, those images don't apply. August was a comparatively busy and productive month, although not solely in the quilting line.

We are blessed in Edmonton and area with excellent farmer's markets, and market gardens, U-pick farms and acreages are within easy driving distances. At this time of year they are a treat to visit and we did just that several times this month. In the markets, in addition to fruit and vegetables, preserves and baking there are stalls selling unique arts and crafts, including jewellery, woodwork and, yes, quilts.

It was the vegetables and fruit which interested us most. My quilter's eye and love of colour were captivated by bright orange carrots displayed alongside fresh green broccoli, red cabbage, green and yellow zucchini, newly harvested and scrubbed white and red potatoes, pearly onions, juicy red and yellow tomatoes, dark red beets... and the list goes on.

And the fruit! My mouth waters just thinking of it: sweet, juicy BC cherries (the best crop in years), blueberries, blackberries, red and yellow raspberries, and apricots to mention just a few. Who could resist such bounty? Not us.

We had already brought home 30 lbs of apricots from our earlier trip to BC and these we either made into jam or froze for later use in pies and puddings. From the farmer's market we purchased 20 lbs. of beet to pickle. This was in addition to the 10 lbs we had already received from a friend's garden.

Next came the saskatoons (for those who are unfamiliar with them, they are blue berries that

grow on a shrubby trees and their unique flavour is a treat in jams, jelly or pies). We went to a U-pick acreage on a beautiful sunny day and spent two hours picking to our hearts' content, coming home with three gallons of these delicious berries destined for jelly and the freezer. Another day was spent with friends at their farm, where we enjoyed a visit and a delicious meal and came home with two more gallons of saskatoons.

Lucky for us both, my husband enjoys berry-picking and is equally willing to help out with the preserving when we get home. So our freezer is getting full (Did I mention blueberries?) and our cold room shelves are laden with colourful, bottled preserves.

In the depths of the winter to come, we will enjoy the "fruits of our labour" and a taste of saskatoon pie will be a welcome reminder of warm, sunny August days.

And, yes, I did manage to do a little quilting. I have another "fish" to add to my collection and have totally fallen in love with the ease of making baby quilts using the "Disappearing Nine-Patch" pattern. Attached you will see photos of "Hotlips" (above) and a colourful little DNP baby quilt.

That's it for this month.

Happy quilting!