Thursday, July 31, 2014

It's all in the editing.

Kathy visited the blog last week and said she was admiring how beautiful my gardens are.  I told her it's all in how you photograph it.    Here's an example!  In this picture you see a picturesque (if overgrown) border garden.  I probably should have removed the milk jug before I took the picture.  That was for a new planting a couple of weeks ago- before we got all the rain we've had in the last few days!  

Anyway,on closer inspection of this spot, you will find plenty of unwanted visitors, including some pretty aggressive weeds, as shown here.  Hawkweed or, as I call it "velcro plant", can be worse than dandelions! (although they do at least pull up easier)

It's all in the editing, as Raymond so profoundly stated once upon a time...

A few shots that didn't need much editing.....

Al was working on the front porch and spotted (no pun intended) these two babies hanging out in the back yard- no more than 50 yards away!

I was deadheading nearby when this beauty fluttered along and was gracious enough to pose for a photo!

I love the way the water beads up on the Lady's Mantle.  (I have LOTS of this if anyone would like some)

This is the newest bed in the spot next to the garage which would have been more trouble than it was worth to mow.  I bought the day lily, and the flowers in the pot.  (My first time with gerbera daisies, and the deer immediately started eating the blossoms!)
The rest came from other spots in the gardens.  The Calendula and snapdragons were growing in the front walkway!  These are all self- seeding annuals, so I may have the same thing next year- or I may dig them all up and plant pansies!
The self-seeders become weeds in my gardens!

I'm hoping to plant some day lilies along that whole side of the garage (to the left of the door), but also have plants I need to thin, so who knows what it will look like.  I admire those people who carefully plan their gardens, since mine just happen based on what survives. 

I got a new camera for my birthday- having admired the pictures my friends with the DSLR's take.  Now I need to learn what all those settings do!  So off I go to the gardens...

Easier to get good shots of things in motion!

And there's a way to set it to take the same picture at different exposures- see how the one below is darker?

So there I was changing settings and taking pictures of the Russian Sage, when I heard a Hummingbird.  I stood very still hoping to see what it was feeding on.  I assumed it was the Hollyhocks on the other side of the fence.    But she came right over to these!  So trying not to move there I was changing settings again, hoping to figure out which would be best- and settling on the "auto" at last.

I only got one shot before she flew off, but it's pretty good!

Maybe once I learn how to use this camera, I won't have to do so much editing??  Just more weeding!

I saw in the news where Lake Mead is drying up?  It reminded me of prediction  in "An Inconvenient Truth"   of water becoming the most valuable commodity on Earth.  I noticed a quote in this article about using water more wisely.  For example- not wasting it watering lawns in the hot months of summer when all grasses turn brown naturally.  In the west, many places are turning to Xeriscaping.  My friend Judi is looking at houses and I noticed none of the ones she has shared with us have green lawns.  No watering, no mowing. (saving gas and pollution!)
I joke that our lawn is Earth-friendly because we have native plants (weeds) rather than high maintenance grass.  But the chicory, plantains and even the dreaded hawkweed are green when everyone else's lawns are brown!

I am grateful for:
A wonderful birthday celebration with my hubby!
Being part of "Wish I Was Here"- go see it if you can!!
A few more days of cuddling my sweet Hedwig!
Feeling useful.
Finishing a project at last. (can't show it yet, though)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

My sweet boys!

 My favorite Oriental  Lilies in my garden
I have nothing to report this week.  I have been to Herkimer, NY twice in a week to get my aunt moved out of assisted living and into the skilled nursing wing of the facility where she lives.  Not an easy task.  Her already small pile of possessions has been reduced to nothing but the barest essentials.  It breaks my heart to leave her there.  She was a very strong, independent, take no crap kind of woman up until a few years ago.  I walk around that place and think this is just not living.  Modern medicine has allowed us to live longer lives.  But to me it is another case of "just because they can, does that mean they should???"
My garage is full of furniture that I now have to find a good way to dispose of.  I already have three generations of furniture in my house.  I guess there's a bit of my mom in me, since I hate to let go of these things which were so important to my aunt.

When all of this gets to me, I head to the nursery.  At present I have only two little boys in there, but they are great therapy- better than anything the pharmaceutical companies could ever dream up!

Ted was found out in a thunderstorm all by himself when he was around 6 weeks old.  He is the sweetest boy- purrs as soon as he sees me.  He's sick of the nursery, though, and has started bolting past me as soon as I open the door. George is happy to have a playmate, temporarily.


Hedwig (like Harry Potter's owl) was also found all by himself, in a busy parking lot downtown.  He is the only kind of love money can buy - or will be, when he goes up for adoption.  He snuggles right into me, gives head bumps and lots of kitty kisses.  He has a wonderful deep purr!  (He's going to be harder to give up)

Before I left the house this morning I grabbed a few pictures.  My favorite cactus is in bloom again.  It's night blooming, so you have to see them early in the day or you miss it.  They smell like kind of like Lily of the Valley.

 One day I will make a quilt from this plant.

When I came back in from feeding the rabbit, I caught a glimpse of something under the back door steps.  At first I thought it was a snake!  I ran to get Al and show him this slug .  He put his hand in there to show how big this thing is.  I usually stomp slugs, but not that one.  I bet he'd fight back!

 If you're curious, here is more information about them, called "Leopard slugs"  They can grow to 8 inches long!  I am hopeful the only reason we have one is because of how wet it has been this year.  EEUW!!

I am grateful for:
My husband, who makes me laugh and helps me no matter how odious the chore.
Mary Lee being close enough again that we can have lunch on my work days.
My rare (this year) sewing time- even if I don't have much to show for it sometimes.
Air-conditioning that makes me comfortable- not cold!- on a hot day, and allows me to sleep well at night.
 Chocolate, as always!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sort of, or almost, finished

 I am finally finished with this portrait quilt I started forever ago.  And yet, I am not really finished.
I am very happy with the overall appearance, including changing the color of Al's coverall.

  I am very pleased with the shading I did with various crayons and markers, and the thread work.

I even found a fabulous border idea that worked out SO well!
(I hope you can see it- it was hard to photograph)

                                                                                                    But that bubbly, puckery part of the car that is unquilted has to go!  I am considering adding some lines I noticed in the original picture, sort of shadows, but not really.  It is a not turning back option, so it will either save it or ruin it.
(once again the vagaries of blogger's formatting are f***ing up the spacing on this post)

This is the label. I call it, Let me Help you, Daddy!

Here is the original photo, too.

The border quilting was inspired by this idea from the book below.

At ArtCGirlz last week, Elaine showed us how to make art on a dollar store plate using sharpie markers.    We each drew a design in the center of the plate and passed it to the next person to play with.  This is how mine looks after baking.  I added the scrolly vine on the bottom left- it just needed something there. 

Three of my kittens are having surgery today and will be up for adoption very soon.  This is "Frizzle" (I didn't name her).  Isn't she gorgeous?  I think that's why Siamese cats have attitude- they know how gorgeous they are.

This is "Frazzle".  (I changed her name from Kinky)  She is Frizzle's sister.  Her feet look huge, don't they?

Both of these girls are the softest kitties ever!

This little "angel" is named "Rosie.  I didn't name her, either.  I call her Rosalita or Cracklin' Rosie.  She is going to be a very sweet cat when she outgrows the "kitten crazy".  Right now she is like a two year old child- following behind me and messing what I just cleaned, and finding all sorts of fun things to play with. 

Last but not least- this is some wallpaper I noticed at a rest stop on the thruway.  It's textured.  Isn't it cool?  I see a quilt, or fabric rubbed over it, or a quilting design.....
Hey, it's a boring drive to Herkimer.  I have to entertain myself somehow! 

Speaking of driving- it's that time of year when I see people sitting in their cars- or worse, no one sitting in the car- with the motor running and the AC on.  I hate the heat as much as (or more than) the next person.  But the stores have AC.  If you aren't at a store you want to shop at, go inside just to get cooled off.  Don't waste the gas!  The prices go up because we show we are willing to pay- and because demand is high.  Just using one gallon less per week could make a huge difference if we all did it!!

I am grateful for:
My husband- again, or still...
Wine O'Clock
Sitting in the shade  just chatting with my BFF
Annabelle finally got adopted!!
Getting to see Wish I was Here in advance!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Showing off my blooms!

Oh, My!
(I said blooms, not bloomers!)

 This greets me on my front steps.  I don't usually grow petunias, but these called to me.  The orange is nasturtiums.  I do not eat them.

 I took the camera out with me when I did my morning watering the other day.  This time of year there is lots of color in the gardens, even though many of the spring perennials have come and gone.

A Lantana I have in a small hanging pot.  I've seen the hummingbirds feed on it.

This is a wild foxglove.  I think I dug it from my aunt's garden at her "cabin" near Old Forge.  It looks very toothy, doesn't it?

Asiatic Lilies

I had more of these until a few years ago.  Two things combined to reduce the numbers.  One was planting a somewhat invasive plant near them. I can control the spread to a point, but once they filled in around the lilies, some nasty beetles came and ate them.  Bastids.  So I moved the lilies to a more open spot.  The deer (or rabbits) ate them.   You can't win sometimes. But I am glad some have survived.


My beloved Zebrina malva.  I love them, but so do the Japanese beetles.  sigh

I have always grown- and loved- pansies!

I'm having a pink and yellow thing this year.  First the Lantana, then I saw this Dahlia.

I don't know why I have never grown Gerbera Daisies before.  Have they always come in this color???

My Hollyhocks are doing well this year, for a change!
Black eyed Susans


Yesterday I was working with one of my fellow "crazy cat ladies" from the shelter when a call came in from a man who found three tiny kittens in his trash.  In. His. Trash. 
Please- if you know someone who has a pet that is not spayed and neutered, remind them of the importance!  And there are spay and neuter clinics.  If there are truly feral cats near you- or someone you know, contact Spay Our Strays!!!  We get kittens in at the shelter who are sweet and beautiful but have to be euthanized due to disease. These diseases are spread mainly by feral cats.  We have to turn people away at the shelter almost daily who know of kittens they cannot care for.  People bring in one or two that wander in from irresponsible neighbors.  It goes on and on.  There are no laws for cats, like there are for dogs.  That's why you don't see thousands of dogs wandering loose or killed in the road, like you do cats.   It's so frustrating.  At times we wonder why we bother.  We help the ones we can, which is relatively few.
Here's the bottom line:  If you can't care properly for a cat, don't get a cat!!!

I am grateful for:
The fledgling wren who plopped down in front of me this morning, gave me a quizzical look and then flapped his tiny wings and made it to the safety of a tree branch.  (picture tweety bird trying to fly)
Air conditioning
A very good time with some ladies I am happy to have as friends
Sewing time!