The Jane Stickle Quilt Retreat

I’ve been home for several days from the quilt retreat. The retreat was formerly called the Dear Jane Retreat but at the November 2014 retreat, Brenda Manges Papadakis requested that we no longer use that name. We are a congenial group so of course we have acquiesced to her request and selected a new name, The Jane Stickle Quilt Retreat. Same group, same interests, same location, just a new name.

A week ago yesterday, I loaded up my car and headed off to Shipshewana to the Farmstead Inn anticipating 5 days of sewing, visiting, laughing, shopping and, of course, eating! I was NOT disappointed and this was the best retreat so far. They just keep getting better and better! Ninety-four quilters had plans and reservations to attend, but there is always illness and other factors that happen so we ended up with ninety in attendance.

IMG_5245There were several ladies working on the La Passacaglia quilt from the Millefiora Quilt book by Willyne Hammerstein.

This first star is English Paper pieced.




IMG_5246This star is pieced using inklingo. I’ve never tried inklingo but maybe I’ll give it a go sometime. It would certainly be faster.





IMG_5247I only saw one person actually working on Lucy Boston’s Patchwork of the Crosses by Linda Franz.

There were several other who had brought their blocks along to show others.

I’m going to EPP this quilt someday. I’ve been collecting border fabrics so I can make fussy cut blocks.



IMG_5248This was a hand sewn Grandmothers Flower Garden variation. I think she said she started it 20 years ago and is determined to complete it this year. She was removing part of the  white blocks so it wouldn’t be double white.

She just laid out the blocks for me to take a quick picture.




There were many other projects going on including several people working on their Jane Stickle quilt blocks but I don’t have any pictures of those projects.

IMG_5249Here are the projects I worked on. First I pieced a little quilt from the Prairie Women Journey 3 class I took a year ago. It measure 25″ by 30″.

I always do prep work at home and had already sewn the HST’s and cut the other pieced needed.


IMG_5250During the Shipshewana Quilt Festival they hold a Shop Hop. The shops involved request the participants piece and donate a designated quilt block. These blocks are sewn together into charity quilts and donated to various agencies in the LaGrange County area.

Last year’s shop hop block was a simple HST using a 5″ block cut in half. They were overwhelmed with blocks and are still working on getting them sewn into quilts. I was asked if I would be willing to make a crib quilt. I said yes and came up with this lay-out. The quilting is simple stitch in the ditch. I used leftover batting strips sewn together and put a medium blue flannel on the back. Looks cute and has been dropped off at the quilt shop.

IMG_5256It didn’t take long to finish the UFO I had sewn into rows in March. I was so excited to have her finished and placed her on the floor in the hallway to be admired. (We do a lot of oohing and aahing during the retreat.) Someone asked me if I meant to place the block like that? Uh oh, which block? The block in the top left corner is turned incorrectly. I quickly responded that was my “humility” block. For now she is staying like she is. She won’t be taken to the long arm quilter until fall and I’ll probably decide to correct the positioning, but maybe I won’t. Perfection is sometimes overrated. How often do we see an antique quilt with a block turned the wrong way? This quilt will end up with one of the grandchildren someday and they can just laugh about granny’s mistake.

IMG_5259Last summer at the AQS show in Grand Rapids, Michigan, I bought a kit called Snowman Love from the Red Button Quilt Co. booth. I pieced the little quilt at the guild retreat in February and saved the hand sewing for the April retreat.

The embroidered design in the border was supposed to be a free hand curvy line with little curly curls. I’m not good at free hand so pulled a small quilt stencil from the stash and marked it.These are Amish snowmen. I’m not going to embroider faces on them. The hand quilting will take place sometime this summer.




Of course I pieced some little 9-patches,







And a lot of strips to be cut into sections for more 9-patch blocks at home.




I’m going to give you a link to  Rosemary Youngs blog. Click on the smilebox to see all the quilts shown at show & tell. This is beyond my computer skills but Rosemary does a fantastic job.

The days away at the retreat were a wonderful end to my winter. Now it is back to work.

I have 1 more row of the center part for the Jane Stickle quilt to be pieced before the first of May. The grass grew while I was gone and now the yards need to be mown. The rhubarb is ready to be cut and, surprise!, the asparagus is ready to eat too!

IMG_5225Just a couple more pictures. As I was loading the car to leave for the retreat, the Farmer opened the gates and let the cows down into the bottom pasture. They were so happy (me too!) and I snapped some quick photos.




Cleaning the Barn

All animals produce manure and this post is about removing the manure from our milking barn.

Look right behind the hooves of this cow and you will see a gutter.



When the cows manure or urinate, it falls into the gutter. The gutter runs the full length of our barn and under the manure is a chain. When we flip the switch, the chain pulls the manure and straw all the way through the gutter. There are wheels in the corners of the gutter which enables the chain to turn. The chain runs under the box stalls and up a chute outside.

On the right side of this picture, the strawy manure is coming out of the barn. On the left side, the empty chain is headed back into the barn.


The manure travels all the way up the chute . . .

IMG_4918And then falls to the ground when it reaches the top.


The strawy/manure pile. The Farmer will use the skid loader and push this pile onto the larger pile. When he has time, he will haul this onto the field.


A view of the whole chute.


The empty gutter the length of the barn.


The cows step over this gutter into their stalls all the time, but they panic if it is empty! They will refuse to step across, so we sweep the barn floor and the loose straw, sawdust and hay camouflages the emptiness. See the barn flites peeking out through the sawdust?


This is the way our barn is cleaned. Most dairy farms do not milk in tie stalls, so they don’t have a barn cleaner.  A good place for your family to learn about the dairy industry is Fair Oaks Farm. Here is a You Tube video about Fair Oaks for you to watch.

Milking the Cows

We milk our cows in a tie-barn set up.


We also milk in box stalls.


The Farmer sprays teat wash on their teats and wipes them off with a paper towel.


He holds the milker in his left hand and with his right, places the inflation on each individual teat.


The milk travels through the milker hose up into the pipeline.


When he removes the milker, he dips each teat into an iodine post dip.

IMG_4865The cows are milked twice a day.

It’s a Heifer!

Rozlynn gave birth to a nice heifer last week and I took some photos.

Just born . . .


Dam & daughter time . . .


In her own pen now.


For the guernsey breeders who follow the blog: the calf is sired by Mar Ral Tiller Marksman and Rozlynn is a TH Allstar daughter out of Villa Crest I Rebekah.

The Feed Truck

Here comes the feed truck.

IMG_4179He deliveries 3 tons of cow feed approximately every ten days. He pulls up beside the feed room and moves the auger over the feed door in the roof.

IMG_4180When the door is opened and the auger positioned correctly, he starts to unload the feed.

IMG_4181The feed consists of ground corn, oats, protein pellets, minerals and molasses.  I shovel the feed into the feed cart and feed the grain to the cows.

IMG_4211This is Sheba the cat. She enjoys riding on the feed cart.

I walk in on the right side of the cows and place their feed in the manger.

The Plowing Begins

The farmer began the spring field work today. This is a 5 bottom plow being pulled by a John Deere 4240 tractor.

IMG_4043IMG_4044We rotate the crops on our farm, and this year the rotation calls for corn to be planted in this field.

The heifers like to watch.


My Favorite Day of the Year!

Every spring an event happens here on the farm that I very highly anticipate. Most people won’t appreciate the excitement that builds toward this event. “The Event” is called . . . putting the cows out on pasture! Yes, Yes, Yes!!!!! So much less barn work now and the cows enjoy it too.

Here are some pictures of the girls enjoying their first day of the season on the grass.

IMG_4023IMG_4022Isn’t green a beautiful color?