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A day without wind…

The sun was out today. My face feels a bit toasted. And a gentle breeze, no wind. It was perfect.

TG&Y had their bath outside today. They loved it. They loved the water, anyway, in their tub. I’m not sure if they could tell they were “outside.”

Just two days ago it was a stretch to step from the bottom of the tub onto the brick I placed in there. Today it was no problem. They all climbed onto the brick and taller half brick this time and preened. Which reminds me I need to check they can reach their indoor water ok. It was completely filthy, so I placed the container on a couple of boards to help keep them out of it. Maybe it will work.

Olive and Noodle were interested in the ducks, although pretty respectful. Mostly they sniffed around the perimeter of the tub. A screen on top kept them from getting too close. They know the ducks are off limits. That’s clear. Soon they will be big enough the cats won’t be interested at all. At least, I hope so.

I also gave up trying to remember “Myrtle” instead of “Turtle.” And I changed “Girdle” to “Gyrtle.” I wouldn’t want to be named after a girdle.

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Here is the brand new Coldwater Creek jacket I got for $2.50 at my local thrift store. It was wrinkly because I had washed it.

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Such a nice spring jacket. I couldn’t pass it up, even if it was orange. I don’t wear orange. So, it is at this moment soaking in a pail of warm violet dye. I hope it takes. I’m trying to push it to coral, or at least just not orange.

Yesterday I managed to get 12 seedling pots started, of peppers and tomatoes. I also got the seeds out of the two okra pods I saved from last season’s plants. Those plants were grown from plants I grew from organic seed in 2014. This is some of the most beautiful okra seed I’ve seen, perfectly formed.

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I have been dreaming about planting a forest of okra around the perimeter of Path. I have many other things planned for the back yard. Today I dug up more of those seedlings growing in the shelter of the fence line. And I got the outdoor table and chairs moved from upstairs to the backyard. If the weather’s nice I will eat out there tomorrow.

I’m so happy it is spring. I hope you all are enjoying it, too.

 

 

 

 

 

Cool days…I love them…

It’s cool and damp today, as was last night.

I love weather like this. I always have. I think I was made for living in the UK…or Oregon.

But, here I am, in Kansas. I do love the natural environment here, and have lots of wonderful memories of my time on a farm not too far from here. Before I leave here I’m going back to the farm to see if the current residents will let me take pictures. Last time I was there…maybe 8 years ago? No one was home and I drove up the longish drive just to see things. Everything seemed different, the way things do when you were around them when you were young and haven’t seen them since. Everything had shrunk.

I was very impressed with the neighbor’s front yard, though. When I was about 15, a large family moved in there and the parents planted trees everywhere. Now those tiny saplings are a tall, mature, beautiful forest. Maybe if I time my visit right they will be leafed out.

I had been lamenting the fact of not having a good enough camera. My cell phone takes ok photos, but they could be better.

This morning when I woke up I threw on pants, a long shirt, made tea and headed outdoors. Cool and damp…I couldn’t resist. I took the ipad, too. The one I’ve been using for months…and took this:

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Now, doesn’t that look like you could just reach right through the computer screen, snap off a fresh lettuce leaf and chomp on it? I know! I’ve had this ability to take much better photos all this time…harrumph!

I’m currently making crostini…or trying to. It doesn’t want to brown, but I have to go check on it. In the meantime…look what I have to do to keep the cats out of my new vegetable beds…

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The crostini is still not brown…dripping with oil, crunchy, but still not brown…and, yes, Olive would be right in the middle of that soil…doing you-know-what…if those sticks weren’t there. Still, they get as close as they can.

If I leave here, the garden will be my biggest disappointment. I have so many plans for it.

However, the stitching will continue, no matter where I am. Here’s the latest on In Nature. I practiced a few faces before stitching one on. It was the only drawing I did all week…and my next class is today. I will have nothing to show Mr. DeBeverly.

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I’ve been wanting to do a critter for a while now. Jude is so talented and her beasts are such an inspiration. But my critters will always look like my critters…and I am ok with that. This piece has been a lot of fun…and I’m not finished yet.

Today is the last day for stitching any more February words on the word cloth. And I have several I’d like to do. I will probably start on this instead of drawing. What a bad student I am this week.

Speaking of other places, I like a lot about Oklahoma. I love the wild green cedars dotted across the rolling burnt red landscape. It is truly beautiful.

Norman, which is a good-sized college town, also has better food than we do. My favorite store discovered on our weekend trip was Sprouts where we found these white rose potatoes:

They were so creamy and delicious, simply sliced and baked with a red onion and oil. Half the bag is already gone. I ate last night’s leftovers for breakfast.

The crostini has now been in the oven forever. Last time I checked it still wasn’t browning. I’m going to take it out anyway…I’m tired of waiting. And then I’m going to take a grapefruit outside and eat it and enjoy the cool and damp…and perhaps I’ll ponder some more about the near future. H told me last night we will know if we are moving sometime in the next 10 days.

In the meantime, look what’s happening outside:

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They like the cool, damp, too.

Crostini update: slightly golden brown, sprinkled with Fleur de Sel…and cooling.

 

Getting it wrong…

I read a blog post recently which gave new bloggers tips for how to do things right on a blog.

It went something like: post at the same time every day, have a detailed explanation of exactly what your blog is about, respond immediately to every comment (not to do so supposedly shows you don’t care about your readership), only take photos with a professional camera…etc…

I don’t do any of the above.

I guess I’m doing it all wrong.

I’m actually pretty ok with how things are going on my blog so far. Considering it was really started as an online diary, to have a following at all is pretty sweet. Having an excuse to write about myself and a venue to put it on is even sweeter. I’m having a lot of fun with it. I hope any readers who happen by here are enjoying it, too.

To start things off today, I’d like to share a Kansas sunset…

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Nice, isn’t it? Blurry, through the glass, on the road, only half a grain elevator-pictured photo and all. I like it.

Sunday – two days ago now – I finally got to mostly stitch. It helped that I refused all the errands H suggested, which were really just ADD-type excuses to go and go and do and do. He complains every day about being tired, but won’t rest. Both of us were “going to bed is boring” kids, so sometimes it’s hard to make ourselves go to bed.

And he likes to go do things, but I have projects – he doesn’t. Maybe I will start making him a list. There is so much to do here, things in which he never participates. I have, honestly, never understood that about him, although I’ve mostly been fine to see him do what he wants when he wants. He is a really hard worker.

Staying home allowed me to stitch. Mostly it was finishing up the seed names on the wordcloth, although I started a new project which I am really loving.

First, the seeds:

Aren’t the names beautiful? Five Color Silverbeet is Swiss chard. I bought it at the local Farmer’s Markets last year in big bunches and juiced it. It was one of my favorite ingredients. Feher Ozon Paprika is a mild pepper.

And then, there was the Strawberry Spinach. I was SO excited to stitch this one, had a lovely idea for it at all, but this happened:

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I got the “font” sizes wrong so that Strawberry looks much bigger and completely separate from Spinach. I’m not sure how that happened. I was also SO excited to stitch the berries on Spinach, but I grabbed the wrong red, instead of the red I used on Strawberry, so the berries, which were supposed to unify the two words of the name, don’t. *sigh*

Still, the stitching is nice and, overall, the cloth is just looking so beautiful. I’m really pleased and every day I’m amazed at how pretty it looks. I’ll try to take a photo soon that encompasses all the stitching.

There was also some work in the rose garden…

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Adding a little outline stitching is really bringing this rose patch to life.

I also discovered what I was doing wrong (specifically on Ukranian Purple) with what I am calling a running back stitch, although I don’t think that’s the name. I’m not being too hard on myself for not remembering since, technically, it has been nearly 40 years since my Grandfather’s wife showed me how to stitch it. It’s also been about 8 years since I was heavily into embroidery, and I guess I’ve forgotten some of the basics. I have books upstairs. At some point I will look it up.

Anyway, what I found was: keep the working thread under the needle; work left to right with the outline (in this case words) vertical; don’t travel beyond the previous stitch (if you do, the stitches stack up); take smaller stitches on the curves and tack them down if necessary to keep them from drooping; and, start work at the bottom of the letter, stitch to the top and then begin again at the bottom. Most of this is pictured below.

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These guidelines kept my stitches flowing together much more eloquently.

I also remembered how tough it is to do knots – French or otherwise – without a hoop. You need both hands on top of the surface of the fabric to make them accurately, and some switching positions back and forth to get them just right. I’m guessing this was some of the inspiration behind Jude’s thread beads. The dot over the “i” in Silverbeet is a thread bead. Thread beads can be made without disrupting the flow of your stitching, because the stitching hand stays on top, and the support hand on the bottom. You just keep going. I’m using a lot of thread beads in the new project. They quickly get better with practice.

Here’s a look at the preliminary stitching:

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I think I’m going to give it to H as a late Valentine’s Day present. I would have finished it today…I still might if I have the energy…but we were gone most of the day. H had some business to attend to and I had my art class. And…speaking of getting things wrong…we drew people today…it was a rough one. I won’t be sharing any sketches.

We had just two days in the blissful 70s. Each of those days I whipped around Path and easily got in 3 miles. The following days have been crappy and cold. It was a strain to do 2 miles, but I did them. No walking Path today…too busy.

But I did catch another photo of Matty playing in the water. She is fascinated by it.

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Sleep cycles have shifted again and I have had some earlier mornings. I went out to feed Chick and saw a quite beautiful silver moon, framed in pink and blue. H’s iPhone captured it the best.

We began with the sun…I’ll leave you with the moon.

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Two more weeks…

We had a good laugh last week when one of the DJs H works with announced there would be two more weeks of winter predicted by the groundhog.

Expectedly, he caught a lot of flack for that. This guy has a tendency to not research anything.

I’m actually ok with there being six more weeks, as I have some garden preparations to do. I got started a couple days ago laying out some cardboard and piling on leaves to make my version of raised beds. The weather was beautiful and not winter like at all. My back is still tired and strained from those efforts.

I’m preparing the garden, even though I don’t know if we’ll actually be here. That’s kind of the story of my life. We’re always making plans and keeping things open for possibilities. It’s grown tiresome. And, perhaps, in spite of that tendency of ours to not know where we’re going to be, I purchased these…

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I’m particularly excited about this one…

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Apparently good for making soup stock. I can’t wait!

I also want to get some ducks. I wanted to last year, but it never happened. We paid a guy to make us a chicken coop last year, but that never happened. I’d like to have some chickens, too. We’ll see what happens…

Over the past week I managed to finish a couple of projects – the weaving I had started and a crochet bag.

H was puzzled by the weaving:

what’s that for?…it’s just some weaving…but what’s it going to be? …I don’t know, it’s just some weaving…but what are you going to do with it?…I don’t know, it’s just some weaving…

I guess he is used to most of my creative efforts having purpose. Of course, I envision it going into cloth work some day, like Jude’s beautiful creations, but obviously I’m not there yet.

The crocheted Rondo bag is a free pattern from my favorite free pattern company…Drops. I want to line it, probably will use up some more of that quilting fabric I have. I think I even have colors that would match.

I didn’t get a lot of drawing done last week, but did manage another hand…and then there was class yesterday.

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We worked with charcoal.

And, there was another Prairie Girl.

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A bit of stitching…

I’m finally getting back into the swing of things, I think. We’ve had so much going on I haven’t had a chance to write.

We bought a new bed at Costco last night. I think I’m going to vote for visiting Costco on a week night in the future. The weekends are just so crowded and chaotic. Got the bed back to the house and installed. A few nights ago we got a new washer, so yesterday was spent catching up on laundry. Exciting stuff.

I’ve managed to get a few things crocheted, along with one cloth that’s nearly finished. I’m having trouble deciding what to do on part of it, but think I’ve landed on an idea. I will head upstairs in a bit to finish it.

Here are the two hats I made following a Drops pattern.

One is floppier than the other, as I used different size yarn.

Ever since I got back from Denver I’ve played catchup. The first day home was spent in the garden, gathering up everything that had been left to grow in the Indian summer because that night it was going to freeze. I still haven’t processed all of it and the sweet potatoes are curing. Check out the size of them! I’ve never seen sweet potatoes so large before.

That’s a quart size jar and then a pint size for comparison.

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I have about 2 1/2 gallons of green tomatoes fermenting in a cool upstairs room. I haven’t even gotten to the rest of them yet. Many have turned red. I hope they’re still good enough to freeze. Maybe I can tackle that today.

I have a couple cat pics to close. Matty KNEW I was trying to get her photo and was turning away on purpose. (I’m thinking of changing her name to “Bratty.”) This was the best one I got. Olive is much easier to photograph.

 

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