Monday, July 24, 2017

Homestead National Monument, Day Seven

 (Above:  A happy community gardener.  Click on any image in this blog post to enlarge.)

It's hard to believe that today is the "halfway" point in my art residency at Homestead National Monument in Nebraska.  I came one week ago.  I leave in one week, but I'll be blogging every one of those days.  First, I'll share a few things about this unique place, and then I'll show what artwork was accomplished!

Since it's been very, very hot here, I've been walking the mowed paths early every morning and at dusk.  This evening I came upon a lady from Lincoln gardening in Homestead National Monument's community garden.  She drives forty miles two or three times a week to weed, water, and pick fresh vegetables.  She had a bumper crop of zucchini and her tomatoes are doing well.

By Halloween, she'll have nice, fat pumpkins ... and her basil is simply beautiful.  The 10' x 15' plots and water are totally free to accepted applicants. No pesticides will be allowed. Homestead National Monument's website page for the community garden says: This is a place for people to connect with the homesteader lifestyle and earth itself!  (Click HERE for more information.)

The community garden is very near the Palmer-Epard log cabin ... and so is the barbed wire display!  The display fencing is very, very long ... with different types of barbed wire between the fence posts. Believe it or not, between 1868 - 1874 over five hundred U.S. patents were issued.  Guess what?  The Homestead National Monument's website has a PDF called Fencing on the Great Plains: The History of Barbed Wire

 (Above:  Daniel Freeman, the first homesteader, and his wife are both buried here on their 160 acre claim.)

Every day I walk passed the grave markers for Daniel Freeman, the first homesteader, and his wife.  Freeman claimed this site, plowed this land, and lived on it until his death.  It's a lovely, final resting place.

 (Above:  Walnut Grove Pet Cemetery in Beatrice.)

Anyone who knows my work knows I love grave markers and cemeteries.  Last week when I drove into Beatrice (the nearest town to Homestead National Monument ... just four miles away), I saw a sign "Pet Cemetery". I had to go! 

The cemetery spans several acres and over 1,000 pets are buried under the shade trees.  Burying a pet is totally free for local people.  They must register the burial and provide the marker.  There are dogs and cats, of course ... but also hamsters, birds, rabbits, ferrets, bunnies, snakes, and even a hedge hog.    

Most of the markers were obviously purchased at the same place.  They are plastic.  The relief doesn't lend itself to a crayon grave rubbing on fabric ... though I managed to get something fairly good from this unique plague.

 (Above: Palmer-Epard Log Cabin.  17 1/2" x 23 1/2".  Image transfer on fabric with both free-motion machine embroidery and hand stitching.  Buttons.)

Now ... I spent the entire day finishing the Palmer-Epard Log Cabin.  I'm very pleased how it turned out.  Here's how the day went:

For the most part, I played with every shade of yellowish looking buttons I had ... determining the order along the edges ...

... and which ones to carefully place on the field of yellow prairie coneflowers.

I don't often show the back of my stitching because it rarely looks as neat and tidy as this.  I think the ability to work long hours in the same place allowed me to finish off every thread's end.

One of the reasons it took all day to complete this piece is because of the reverse.  I like to use vintage textiles.  At home, I have boxes and boxes of old table clothes, doilies, runners, handkerchiefs, and napkins.  Here at Homestead National Monument, I have a little pile ... just some of the items most recently purchased at Bill Mishoe's weekly auction.  One of the things in the pile was this old quilt top.  It looks good on the clothesline but trust me!  None of the individual block came together correctly.  The applique was done on machine ... and not well done.  I'm pretty sure this quilt top wasn't worth finishing ... but it sure made a pretty back for my piece!

I cut a section from one corner, cut it apart, and put it back together so that the flowers went in different directions (and so that section finally lay flat! LOL!)  I stitched it back together and made the hanging sleeve using my Bernina ... which just happens to be set up on top of a treadle sewing machine in that bedroom!

 (Above:  Palmer-Epard Log Cabin, reverse.)

I also added three doilies and a label.  I do this so that my "back" isn't like a pillowcase (not attached to the front ... or only stitched together on the edges).  I hand stitch the doilies through the back fabric and into the felt batting.  Thus, all my layers are united.  Below are two more detail shots of the front and a sunset photo.

Tomorrow I'm going to the Gage County fair!  So ... check back to see what else happens!  I'll be blogging again tomorrow.

Good night from Nebraska ... as another lovely sunset ended today!


Caryquilter said...

Thanks for sharing your adventures at the Homestead National Monument. Loved the pet cemetery. Enjoy the fair.

susan hemann said...

I just love your finished quilt! The backing is terrific. Cemetary lover myself. I was in Texas and got locked in a civil war cemetery.

Norma Schlager said...

Love what you did quit the buttons on the log cabin quilt. Again, you must be the world's fastest button-sewer-oner.