Sunday, August 30, 2015

A Nice Suprise in the Garden!

This patch of weeds- which I can only call a garden because I did originally plant flowers there- and try to tend it with some regularity- used to be known as the "space rock" garden.  Behind the assorted foliage is a rock full of craters and crannies, unearthed when we excavated to build the house.  It is at the end of the driveway near the mailbox- sadly, the first impression visitors might get of my gardens.

I have planted various flowers here over the years; some did very well, others didn't.  It currently contains assorted bulbs, wild tiger lilies dug from the side of the road, Liatris , rudbeckia, a couple of achillea plants which are losing their battle and some Ajuga, which has mostly migrated out into the grass. 

Every few years, I have dug it all up and replant due to the weeds that had taken over.  I don't know what changed after the last "reboot", but suddenly I started seeing horsetail .  There is really no easy way to eradicate it.  Even digging it all up won't do it,  unless you can spend all day every day cutting of the stems for a couple of years.  (Not making it up!)

So I have mostly abandoned this garden.  I go out with the grass clippers and "mow" it once in a while.  These pictures were taken a couple days after I sprayed vinegar so hubby could find where the edge was to mow. 

While I was getting the mail one day I decided to pull the dead lily stalks.  (you know- to make it look like someone actually tends this weed patch)
I got near the center and a spot of yellow caught my eye.  Do you see it in the center?

It's my favorite garden visitor- an argiope aurantia. (known as Princess Argiope in my house)  She had made such a great web, I left the stalks she was using.  It is easy to see why many people call these "zipper spiders" when you see this web.   I hope she is still out there, getting fat on grasshoppers, and maybe leaving an egg so I will have more next year! 

A bit closer to the house, the Ibiscus are finally blooming.  These pink ones are my favorite.

I had to grab this picture- kind of looks like "Wall-e" doesn't it?

I read an interesting article at "Ecowatch" last week stating how important adding carbon to the soil is to improving the climate.  I had never read this kind of information before.  There is a farmer near me who no longer tills.  For home gardeners, I recently read about adding cover crops during the winter to prevent soil erosion and improve the topsoil.  This may not be news to some people, but it was to me- so I thought I'd share.

I am grateful for:
Spending time with friends- even when I didn't think I wanted to go anywhere.
A job where I can take time off without needing someone to cover for me.
Time with Kiara!
Learning to find the positive in many things where I used to only see negative.
my TENS unit

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Fish Project

I mentioned the fish project a few posts ago, by showing this picture.  This challenge was issued by an ArtCGirlz friend back in December or January?  Originally it had been due in August.  With baby stuff and summer coming, I had planned to get started right away!  The best laid plans....

As I mentioned, I had wanted to make this picture into a quilt at some point.  I had thought to try it Ann Brauer style.  But when the fish challenge came, I decided it would be an awesome background.  But I need a fish!  So I set about finding inspiration...

I had always loved the fanciful fish from Disney's "Fantasia"

And, of course, there are some spectacular real fish!

 And some truly odd ones!
This odd fish is called a "sarcastic fringehead"

And then when you google fantasy fish, you get things like these.

Sort of a zentangle fish.  I loved the shape of this one- and tried very hard to find another image showing the whole fish with no luck. 

Isn't this just lovely!

Naturally, someone doing steampunk made a very cool fish! 

So I got out my drawing pad and started playing.

Not sure why this is sideways- the original isn't.  Obviously, I was using the shape of the zentangle fish above.

Playing with fins and textures.
This part was lots of fun.  But this was where I stalled, as it was time to make quilts for Jonathan!
(I did continue to collect fabrics for the project- and of course I have twice what I need! )

So, a month or so ago, I got started again- you know, because the deadline was only a couple of weeks away.  I decided not to do the tiny Ann Brauer strips, opting for a more organic look.  This gets challenging, as I create one row at a time, then have to make them fit the row(s) above.

The orange inserts are meant to look like the school of fish in the original picture, in case that isn't clear. (In which case this piece is very unsuccessful!)

We were all directed to add a bit of this silver lamé at around the midpoint of the piece,

 This was the most challenging part so far!

Sorry to disappoint, but this is as far as I've gotten.  Another row or two of background then I can start creating my fish.  Besides, I can't show it here before I present it at the group meeting.  Stay tuned.

Keeping to an ocean theme, this inspired and dedicated young man is trying to clean up all of the plastic floating around in the ocean.   It is already beginning to affect the food chain.  Remember to look for microbeads in personal care products- and DO NOT buy them!  The tiniest bits of plastic are the biggest threat.

I am grateful for:
Cooler nights- nature's air conditioning!
Cait sending me pictures of Jonathan regularly.
Having a "buffer" in the office.
A bit more sewing time lately.
Laughing over something very silly with my husband.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

A walk in the garden

It has gotten to that time of year where my enthusiasm for being in the gardens has waned.  I'm tired of weeding and deadheading.  The annuals are getting leggy and most of the perennials have come and gone.  But there is still some beauty to be found...

This is a "Gaura". It is sold as a perennial, but I have a hard time getting things like this to come back for a second year.  ( I tried butterfly bush for several years without success, too.)  I seem to be in a different zone than most of the area; maybe because I'm at a higher elevation???  Anyway, this is in a pot on my deck, where I can enjoy it every day.  I've seen hummingbirds stop and give it a look, too. 

This is "Convolvulus".  Some of you may remember the quilt the artcgirlz made using a photo of this flower.  There aren't many truly blue flowers in the world, so I love these.

In the new bed I planted last summer, along the side of the garage, I have this beautiful variety of daylily.  It was given to me by a friend and she didn't know the name of it. If anyone does, let me know!

The snapdragons come up on their own every year.  The prettiest ones aren't even in the bed, but in the walkway.  Luckily, I have the "If it wants to grow there, I'll let it" philosophy!

I'll probably come to regret allowing this wild morning glory to stay here.  I couldn't resist the having delicate pink blossoms  I have admired on the side of the road in the garden, though.

My hollyhocks are having a good year. I love how this one glows!  And the way the stamens make a little curlicue sort of topknot.

A pumpkin I left in the garden as compost left some seeds.  I won't get any fruit, but the blossoms are pretty!

Even though they are one of the last flowers to bloom, the rudbeckia brighten up the whole garden!

I finished the second dragon the other day and delivered it to Cait. She had a spot on the shelf reserved for him.  (Or her? - since it's pink)

As I am "that" grandmother, I cannot make a post without the latest pictures of Jonathan.  He is now over 14 lbs. and 24 inches long.  I think he thinks it's a race to grow up- and he wants to win! He laughs and "talks" now and watches movements. 

When he looked up and saw me the other day, he got a big smile. As if he didn't already have me wrapped around his little finger. 

I wandered through a couple of stores last week, knowing with the coming change of seasons, there might be some good clearance deals.  I was very disappointed to see that so many of the "fashion" clothing items are polyester.  I have never cared for "plastic" clothing; even more so now that I'm an old lady with a broken thermostat.  It is my belief that the petroleum industry has something to do with the resurgence in popularity for polyester apparel.  Gas prices are low, so they have to keep us buying their product somehow.  Here is a very long list of things made from petroleum.  Think about it...

In the interest of fair play and unbiased reporting, I will also share this site I found while researching.  There are some benefits to polyester, including the fact it's recyclable.  However, it isn't easy to know if the products we are buying are made from recycled materials.  And most assuredly, we cannot recycle plastic dresses!

I am grateful for:
Kiara's broken arm didn't require surgery to repair!
Being allowed Oma time with Jonathan (John Von, as I call him)
A nice quiet week away from everyone- but right at home!
Open windows, cold night air and burrowing under a quilt.
Guy is coming for a visit!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

babies and kittens and a girls' day!

Obviously I have once again found it hard to find time to get a post finished.  Even combining them into one longer post, it has taken me several days to get to this point- and I may still not get this finished.

First, I have to tell a great story- The old cat tower I had been using in my nursery had been getting more and more shredded and worn out.  The last batch of kittens had even started to chew on the tube at the center of it, as the fabric had completely worn away in spots!  So I made a request to the local "Reuseit" list (like freecycle), saying if anyone knew of one in better condition no longer being used to keep me in mind.  A lady I have never met emailed me to say she would like to buy me a new one!  She had it delivered to the shelter with my name on it- so we could get her a donation receipt.   It wasn't the cheap kind I had, either- it's heavy and better fabric and the kittens just love it!  I am so grateful to this very generous woman for helping me care for the babies this well!

The same day the tower arrived, Kiara came over to help me get pictures of the new kittens, who all mostly look alike.  She really enjoys being attacked by a herd of kittens!

I'm not sure these pictures helped me tell them apart, but they are great pictures!

It might have been just a few days later, I got to sit with Jonathan for two days in a row while mom and sissy were in a wedding.  It was just wonderful!!  And, of course I took the camera!

I don't know why babies are so happy on the changing table.

He hasn't gotten to the point of knowing what he's doing with his hands, but he did  manage to catch his thumb once.

Kicking and giggling on his tummy

A selfie with Oma

This past weekend, I took Kiara out for the day.  We saw the "Minions" movie- which I may have enjoyed more than she did.  
There was a display for the upcoming "Peanuts" movie, where she had to have her picture made. 
Then we stopped at ACMoore and picked up some play doh and assorted tools on the way home, since I foolishly didn't have any before.  She tried to fit in with the other "kids" there, but they weren't very friendly.

I am loving being a Gramma!

Just a quick political green thought...  Pay close attention to what the herd of contenders for the presidential race are saying about climate change.  Most of the ones on "that" side, don't think we need to do anything, at a time when some scientists are saying it's already too late.  We can't afford to let them have the final word.

I am grateful for:
My wonderful husband
A day with Kiara
The kindness of strangers
Cooler temperatures
Watching Jonathan grow