"On the plains of Oklahoma, with a windshield sunset in your eyes like a watercolor painted sky, you'd think heavens doors have opened."
Fly Over States

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Farmer's Market and Bagworms

I grew up in a suburb of Oklahoma City. We were in a nearby township some distance to the east from town. It took about 25 minutes to get to a grocery store and when they put in a Braums (a locally owned ice cream store that served hamburgers) down the road from us, I thought I'd died and gone to Heaven. We were too far out for many of my classmates to visit (I went to a private Catholic High School) and I was excited when I got old enough to get a driver's license because I could suddenly spend time with people my own age, get a job, have freedom. Of course, less than a year after I got my driver's license I was married and expecting my first child so that "freedom" was short lived.

Below:  My birdcam is all better, now!:

I raised my family in Bethany, a western suburb of Oklahoma City.  It was a town built around the local Nazarene University that had a small city hall and its own post office.  It was butted up directly to Oklahoma City with no obvious break in appearance, density and services so the only difference, to my mind, was that you had to drive more carefully in Bethany because the cops needed the revenue to pay their salary.  My kids, like most of the kids in Bethany, didn't go to Bethany school.  Instead, they attended a large public school district that covered several suburbs on the western side of Oklahoma City.  Although Bethany had its own Main Street, by the time we lived there is was not much more than an Oklahoma City appendage. I would tell people I lived in Oklahoma City and it never struck me as less than accurate because for all intents and purposes, that is where I lived and what I considered to be my home town.

When we lived in Virginia, we were adjacent to Quantico, the Marine Corps base south of Washington DC.  Quantico is an old, stand alone small town but so affiliated with the Marine Corps that we didn't go there even though we could have thrown a rock and hit it. 

So where all that is leading to is that, other than as a very small child, I never lived in a small town. 
Husband, on the other hand, lived in Mustang, Oklahoma, from the time he was about four until he left home to go to college.  Mustang is an agricultural community just distant enough from Oklahoma City that although some people made the commute, it was much more affiliated with the town on the western end of the county called El Reno (the county seat) and Yukon, a robust small town with a picturesque downtown straddling the Mother Road, Highway 66.  Mustang once had a thriving downtown but between Highway 66 (and later, Interstate 40) diverting travelers, and a tornado that took out much of the city in the last century, it never really developed a strong business section.  Regardless, it had excellent schools and a strong community spirit held together by a number of families that settled in the area before the 1900's whose ancestors remain there, today.  The FFA is strong in the area and the town puts on rodeos for the young people and annually have "Western Days" which amounts to a summer festival.  During that time, they line the streets with American flags, sell fireworks and watermelon and just overall, do the small town thing. 

We live on five acres just outside the Mustang city limits but I have adopted the terminology and attitude of the locals in that I now consider going to Oklahoma City, proper, as "going to the City" and I have shifted my sense of home from Oklahoma City to Mustang.  I hadn't expected that when we moved here.   In the far off distance, I can see the Oklahoma skyline with its brand new skyscraper that is being built, notwithstanding the economic downturn in the country.  You can see downtown but there are vast areas of unpopulated areas between us and the City.   I grocery shop in Mustang, go to the local butcher shop,  get my hair cut there, get pedicures, frequent  local restaurants, see local doctors and vets in town, and just overall try to patronize local business folk and tradesmen. 

It feels good.

Today, I went to the local Farmer's Market that is run by the Kiwanis's.  They have a community Garden and sell their wares every Saturday morning during the growing season.
They set up tables under the shade trees and generally sell out fairly quickly because people come early before the sun gets too scorching.  Today, they had baby turkeys for sale but I didn't get any.
If the girls didn't eat them, the coyotes would. 

It has been a tough, dry summer but the eggplant, peppers, onions and squash are doing well.  The tomatoes were sold out by the time we got there, which is a shame because our own tomatoes are having a bad year.

 The garden is right in the middle of town:

 You can see how dry its been.
It doesn't help our tomato crop that Evelyn keeps digging them up to try to find toads.
Right next to the community garden is the Mustang Historical Society.
Mr. Wonderful's sister and brother-in-law are active with the society and when we stopped at the Farmer's Market, we saw them in the parking lot.  We'd never visited the Historical Society but went inside, today.  It was amazing.  I was so impressed with the manner in which it was set up and the abundance of displays.  Brother-in-law knows I love quilts and he showed me several rooms set up with quilts in them.  They were just wonderful.  Many were original feedsack quilts, including a lovely Double Wedding Quilt using pastel muslins and feedsack material.   There were quite a few tied quilts that appeared to be quite old.  A well maintained Friendship Quilt made with feedsacks and in the Dresden Plate pattern was dated 1941 (wish I'd gotten a photo - what was I thinking?).  It had a number of names embroidered on it that correspond to about a dozen foundation city mothers. 

The quilt I found most interesting was a tied Star Quilt made of the barest of scraps of feedsack material.
It was not in good shape or particularly well made.  The stitches were rough on the binding and I could see places where it was faded from exposure to the sun.  The quilter had machine pieced the back with large pieces of fabric.  She'd cobbled together whatever scraps she had available to create the star pattern on the top with no apparent concern for coordinating color.  I mean, seriously - a red plaid patch???  That cracked me up.  This quilt was made for use, not to show off!
Still, the top, overall, appeared to be well made.

The interesting part of the quilt, to me, was that when I examined the back, I could see through the pale pieces that she had used part of an old quilt in lieu of batting.  Sure enough, beneath the backing you could see several bright, sharp Dresden Plate blocks.  The fabric in the blocks looked to have been of a similar vintage as the top and I found that intriguing.

Back home on the ranchette, we are battling Bagworms.  Those monsters have all but defoliated three of my six baby Caddo Maples and I am mad as heck about it.

Mr. Wonderful sprayed them as soon as we spotted the bagworms and we spent most of yesterday morning up on ladders picking off bagworms to try to save them. 

We also found a locust (cicada) shell.
They are all over and have been singing every evening which means it is truly summer.

I've made quite a bit of progress on Kate and Chris' wedding quilt.

I'd hoped to get the top done this weekend but we spent so much time at the Historical Society, followed by lunch with my sister-in-law, that I didn't get much done, today.  But with any luck, I'll finish the top, this week.

Happy Quilting, Penny, Evelyn and Pearl


ranette said...

Mustang is a great place to grow up....well sort of, we didn't move there until I was 16, but I graduated from high school there! It has really grown in the last few years, so it's kind of losing the small town vibe a little bit.

I'm glad you are working on the wedding quilt....it's gorgeous!

Were you surprised at the Casey Anthony verdict?

p.s. I HATE bagworms...yuck!

Florida Farm Girl said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful day!! And you got all the important stuff done, like going to the market, visiting family and taking in the historical society. And I have no doubt you'll get that quilt done soon. It's a pretty thing.

Take care!

Penny said...

Ranette, you are certainly correct that Mustang is growing. It is a shame to lose the small town feel but for someone who has never lived in a small town, it still seems to have the vibe.
As for the Casey Anthony verdict, I am not surprised that they didn't go with murder 1 but am shocked that they acquited her of all the lesser homicide charges. I think they left their brains in the broom closet. When you have someone partying in lying about the whereabouts of her dead child (depending on who is asking) and all the time the child has been dumped in a swamp with duct tape across her face, I think reasonable doubt no longer applies. Add in the decomposition in the trunk of her car and the rebuttal by the grandfather that he found and disposed of the body, how could they acquit her? I mean, she sat in jail for years before coming up with the accident story. If they had brought in an expert witness who had evaulated her to give them an alternative explanation that would be one thing. They didn't.

Anonymous said...

Your quilt is beautiful! Congrats to the wedding couple. I was wondering if you knew of anywhere in the area that gives quilting classes? I'd love to learn. I moved to the area five years ago, but I don't get out much. Any help would be greatly appreciated. YOU MIGHT CONSIDER TEACHING A CLASS AT THE VO TECH ON 15TH. :) Thanks!

Penny said...

There are a lot of places that offer quilting classes if you are willing to go to the City. Oklahoma Quiltworks, the Savage Quilter, Bernina (on May), Hancocks (and there is one in Yukon) and Hobby Lobby come to mind. I am sorry that Kay's Quilting Studio in El Reno closed because that is nearby and a nice shop that offered classes. The Central Oklahoma Quilting guild also has classes and I believe there is a small group affiliated with the guild that meets in the Mustang area.

Maybe I should check out the Vo Tech center! :)