Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bloom Where You're Planted

Good morning.

Another week has flown by, and we're settling into our summer routine. Matthew has T-ball at 8am, swimming lessons at 9am, and went to Vacation Bible School during the evenings last week. The sun is finally shining, although the mornings and evenings are quite cool.

Wesley has been hard at work in our front yard, watering & mowing the grass that is finally getting established after 3 years of effort. And, we continue to plant trees, in our attempt to transform our prairie hilltop into a nice yard.

Before we bought our land, the previous owner had thankfully hired the soil conservation service to plant a number of tree rows (shown in the top photo). But, once planted, the trees were left to their own devices, with no extra water, and nobody to pull the weeds. They had a tough time, only the hearty ones survived. This year, with all the moisture, many of them are finally thriving.

Every year since we built our home, we've planted more trees, with variable success. We tried the bare-root trees from SCS, but without a weed barrier, they just don't survive. We've also planted small potted trees from the garden center, and those seem to do better.

This year, we graduated to the "big time". A few weeks ago, we took a trip to Taylor Nursery (a wonderful store in Taylor, ND), and carefully chose a couple of bigger trees: two crabapple and two pear.

Planting them was a family affair. We carefully followed the guidance of the expert who helped us pick them out. Matthew enthusiastically helped us dig deep holes in the rocky soil, with his kid-sized shovel. Sox even got in on the action, climbing down into the holes, sniffing the fresh damp dirt, wagging his tail with excitement. I asked him to start digging, as he happily digs holes elsewhere in the yard, but he wouldn't dig on command. Finally, we gently set the trees into their new home, adding plenty of peat moss & mulch.

Since then, we've watered them faithfully, and three of the four have rewarded our efforts by budding & blossoming. The fourth one? ...nothing has happened yet... but we're hoping it will start to grow soon.

Investing in our special trees was a good decision. It reminded me that we are solidly committed to building a long life here, we're not just passing through. This will be our home for many years, and we need to put down more roots.

I asked the nursery expert how long we'd have to wait for our trees to produce apples or pears. She replied "Oh, three to five years." Strangely enough, that didn't strike me as very long at all. I'm willing to be patient, to watch the trees evolve from season to season, until they are strong enough to bear fruit.

I've been reflecting upon the history of trees on the prairie. Very few trees are native. Many were carefully planted by the settlers, to serve various utilitarian purposes. Trees provided shelter, shade, and prevented erosion of the soil. Fruit trees (especially apple) were a welcome food source, and resulted in many delicious pies, jams, and jellies. For many settlers, trees were a pleasant reminder of their European homelands.

As we travel across the Dakotas, we'll often see a little patch of trees and shrubs on the corner of a pasture or field. The tree grove is all remains of an early homestead. The trees outlasted the people, yet remain as a solid reminder of the life a family carved out on the desolate, often unforgiving prairie. Someday, our trees will bear fruit.

Someday, Sox will lie in their shade as an old dog, for a peaceful afternoon nap; chasing rabbits, pheasants, and deer in his dreams.

But, in the meantime our trees will need to be nurtured, fenced off from the deer and rabbits in the wintertime, and provided with plenty of water & sun. The day we pick our first pear, or make our first batch of crabapple jelly will be quite a momentous occasion!

I wish I could tell you about all the sewing I've accomplished this week. Sadly, I can't. With all the new arrivals, maintaining the website is a full time job. I spent most of the day yesterday preparing the "Frosted Memories" page: Click here to check it out. In addition to the complete collection of new Holly Taylor fabrics and beautiful cut goods, we're offering numerous kits from the book "Frosted Memories" by This & That. The pattern designer, Sherri K. Falls, has really outdone herself this time, as her new book includes a delightful assortment of quilts, runners, and home decor items. My favorites are the "Festive & Fringy" bag, the "Silent Night" pillow, and the "Just For You" pincushion. It took a lot of willpower for me to stay on task with my website work, as I really wanted to tear open a fat quarter bundle and piece some of these wonderful small projects.

It's probably a good thing I didn't sew yesterday, because I also planned to start work on the new "Figgy Pudding" quilt. I probably would have started two projects at once! Click here for "Figgy Pudding". These fabrics were unpacked last week to a chorus of "Ooohs & Ahhhs." Fresh, contemporary, and unique... we're inspired to make beautiful quilts with these beautiful fabrics. Click here for a photo of the collection on display at the shop... they blend beautifully with the Iced Mocha collection by Buggy Barn (Click here for Iced Mocha). The display will look even nicer when we get a quilt done (hopefully combining the two fabric collections).

Peppermint Cottage is also new... Click here for details. In the days before we left for the Rapid City Quilt show, Rose finished store samples galore. One of the many projects she made was the Peppermint Cottage Hanging Christmas Card holder. Both decorative and useful, this small quilt was loved by everyone who saw it!

I created a new category for the Sheri Berry fabric collections, found here. Sheri Berry designs fabric for Lyndhurst Studios, as well as greeting cards, toys, home decor items, and more. Her designs are colorful, whimsical, and a little bit "retro". After the amazing popularity of her "Emma Louise & Ethan Michael" baby flannels, we decided to add two more of her collections. "Have a Sheri Berry Holiday" and "Trick or Treat Street" are now in stock, and I hope you'll find these fabrics as fun, colorful and creative as we do!

Have a great week! ~ Laura, Wesley & the Staff at Dakota Cabin Quilts

"Let us learn to appreciate there will be times when the trees will be bare, and look forward to the time when we may pick the fruit. "

~Anton Chekhov