Join Janet on her adventures as a designer, writer, maker, and farmer in montana. no two days are ever the same. you might even see a bear or two.

Shopping for Seeds

Shopping for Seeds

We need something other than a sewing post.

I started shopping for seeds yesterday. Yes, I am aware it’s only January. This is a process. Also, March will be here before we know it and I don’t want to be behind the curve like we were last year, although I had a good excuse. I order most of our seeds from Victory Seeds in Mollala, Oregon, because they offer high-quality seeds and the varieties—we only do heirlooms—are ones that do well here. It was through them that I discovered the Oregon Star paste tomatoes, which are the backbone of the sauce I make every fall. I have also ordered from Baker Creek Seeds. Baker Creek has varieties that Victory doesn’t and vice-versa.

I want to experiment with some corn varieties this year. We grew Painted Hill corn one year and it did exceptionally well. From the Victory Seeds website:

'Painted Hill' was bred by Dr. Alan Kapuler of Peace Seeds who stabilized a cross between Dave Christensen's genetically diverse 'Painted Mountain' flour corn and the old heirloom, 'Luther Hill' sweet corn. 

Painted Mountain has been showing up more frequently here in the Flathead Valley. Some of the CSA farms are growing it and chefs have started incorporating it into their menus. At the farm-to-table dinner that Anna and I went to in October, the dessert was a Painted Mountain corn porridge. I am curious to see how the two varieties compare.

Baker Creek also has Montana Cudu corn. Isn’t this gorgeous?

I definitely want to try this one. It was also bred here in Montana.

I don’t tend to experiment (much) with what we grow; I know what does well and I stick to that. This year, I also want to concentrate on berries. The strawberry bed needs some serious love. The raspberries have to be hacked back. Cathy has talked about getting some new currant varieties and I’d like to add a few more, too, along with some elderberries. For some odd reason, the three rhubarb plants I have are very anemic—which is not typical of rhubarb at all—and I want to find a variety that will produce. We also need some kind of strict succession planting schedule for greens because we eat so many salads.

Planning is half the fun.


I do have to talk about sewing a little bit. I did the math for the Ritzville quilt yesterday because I want to see where I am in the process. Setting the blocks on point messes with the layout somewhat; I am constrained to certain sizes to preserve the design. A king-sized quilt will finish at 102” x 102”. That size will require 61 blocks (I am up to 25), or a total of 976 HSTs. I am sure I have that many HSTs and then some. I still had about a dozen squares of blue fabrics left over from my marathon cutting session, so yesterday afternoon I cut more white/cream fabrics, paired them up, and used the Magic 8 method to make the rest of the HSTs. I should be done with HSTs now. (I say that hopefully.)

The nice thing about HSTs is that they can be combined in lots of different ways. I looked at a bunch of Pinterest boards yesterday to get some ideas for other quilt layouts.

And I messed around some with the Sparkling Diamonds quilt.


A few weeks ago, I took all my Kona scraps, ran them through the Accuquilt cutter to make 3-1/2” squares, and am using those squares as my leaders and enders while making the Ritzville blocks. I’ve got quite a bit done already. It’s like making two quilts simultaneously. This is such a simple layout—alternating diamonds and four-patches—that I couldn’t help myself from sewing some of it together. It feels good to use up those Kona scraps.

I am itching for a road trip. I haven’t gone anywhere since Thanksgiving. DD#2 is still here and she and I kicked around the idea of going to Missoula for the day. The issue is the dogs. Rusty is 15 now and prefers to spend his days sleeping on the pouf in front of a fire. It would be cruel to make him spend all day outside in the cold. If the husband is here, it’s not a problem, but he’s still working. There has been an uptick in concrete cutting jobs. He’s not as dependent on the weather to cut concrete as he is to pour.

I am supposed to go to Portland in February for a denominational board meeting. I may just have to wait until then.

Faster Than Expected

Faster Than Expected

Sewing Day at Church

Sewing Day at Church