Coming Soon: Free Book

Coming Soon: Free Book
Planning to give away a book or two!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Boxes around every corner

Oh my goodness!  I can't turn a corner in the house without finding a neatly stacked pile of boxes. This move I decided to purchase some small and medium boxes from U-Haul.  It makes it nice for stacking and moving the boxes.
Can you see on the boxes that I letters and numbers on them? LR for living room, K for kitchen, A, B,C, and D for the upstairs bedrooms  (alternate /spare, bedroom/mine, craft /office, Dale's room).  I will put signs on the doors.
Yes, I am entering the general contents on an Excel spreadsheet again.  What can I  say but it worked well before. 10 days to finish packing!  I guess that I'd better get back to work.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Cotton growing update Day 142

I continue to see new blooms every day. Yet at the same time, I am starting to see some of the seed pods grow. I was concerned with the cold weather we had last week. It was a good thing that I was so busy packing.  I did think that if I try this next year that I might build a hot house around the plants to quickly cover the row (or two) over night on the cold nights.
Cotton Plant
I have been keeping an eye on the first flower.  You know ~ the day that I found the pink one and then realized on the plant next to it there were petals falling off from a different flower.  
Yesterday's flower and growing seed pod
There are many seed pods beginning to grow.  But this first seed pod is that largest.  It is now larger than my thumb.  For those that have not seen my hands in awhile, I can also say the seed pod is about the size of a quarter if it was made into a ball.
Seed Pod #1
I have found it interesting that the "square" continues to protect or hide through the growth of the seed pod. As I check out the plants, there are so many squares on each plant.  Unless I carefully open the frilly ends of the square, I can't tell what stage each square is in.  It could be a bud or it could be a growing seed pod but I can't tell.  I guess that means it is wait and see.  I do have hope that I will see some cotton from my plants.  Today is day 142 which means 18 to 38 days on average remain. An early first frost for us could be here in 21 days.  It is going to be nip and tuck.
Seed pod still protected

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Feed the birds

As I pulled out the flowers that reseed themselves,  I must have sprinkled seeds onto the ground. I know that you can't see most of them but there are a dozen birds in the garden picking up seeds.  They blend right in with the dirt, dried stems and green plants still in the garden.  There is a hollyhock that is laying out onto the sidewalk.  Look just above those leaves and you will see a mourning dove.

Mourning Dove in center of photo
Two finches flew into the garden; a male and a female. They landed on the flower to the right of the Black-eyed Suzie.  From the distance it almost looks like another flower.  It's mate is sitting just a few branches away from it but totally blends in with the background.

Finch to the right of Black-eyed Suzie
They are difficult to see but there are two mourning doves in this picture.  One is at the far end of the sidewalk and the other one is still just above the hollyhock.  I stood outside in the cool of the morning and watched the birds enjoying their breakfast. Eat up little fellas we need to till all of this under in about three weeks.   
Mourning Dove on the sidewalk

Friday, August 28, 2015

Poor baby Boo

This afternoon while out running Misty Blue (Boo) was stung by some kind of insect. Dale noticed that she had a welt quickly forming under her right eye (left side as we look at her). He rushed her to the vet. They checked out the are gave her a pain killer and some antihistamines.

One of the shots they gave her in the small of her back. It too swelled up. They told Dale to put an ice pack on it for 15 minutes and keep her calm. When I got there, I used a towel and safety pins to secure the ice pack in place. Then Dale and I began rubbing her ears. She calmed down.

Sonjia kept coming up to me and turning her back to me. I took their blanket corner to corner and wrapped it around her belly "just like Misty Blue ".  She was getting attention which made her happy.

That was two Friday's in a row that Misty Blue ended up in the vets office. 


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Ahhhhhh 2weeks!

I am sitting down for a five minute break.  I am surrounded by boxes and feeling overwhelmed. I realized that in two short weeks I will once again own property in the country.

But that means packing and moving too! It seems every evening flies by before I can even tape one box.  I will try to keep up with posts.  But I wanted to warn you that you may see the looney side of me during these couple of weeks.  :^)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Smoke in the air

We went to supper at the ballroom in Kimball this evening.  Dale was driving. At one point, I made him pull over for a couple of pictures.

I was amazed that we could actually see smoke from the fires either in Canada or out West. The clouds have captured the smoke and it's being carried across the nation.

The sunshine exploding rays through the clouds have made it an amazing site!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Tomato power

We weren't planning on packing and moving during harvest season. So we won't be canning this year.  This has been a blessing to several friends and relatives.  One of Dale's brothers canned a whole bunch of tomato juice.  Sunday we picked again and the harvest went half to a different brother a nd half to my sister.  She made salsa.
Not our largest tomato
Dale actually said, "I think that I need to stop growing tomatoes.  They grow too big."  Some of them were so big that they were hard to pick because they were pinched between the plant and the support cage. You might be wondering why I didn't take a picture of the biggest one?  Because we had so many to pick and it was everything I could do just to snap a couple of pictures.  The photo of all the plants only included about two-thirds of the plants.  Dale had already picked several before I got there.  
A large crop of tomatoes
This week we have a few nights into the low 50's and possibly 40's.  So I wonder how that is going to affect the crops.  It will warm up plenty in the daytime.  But it could slow the growth of the tomatoes and that concern also flows over to the cotton plants.  They are still blooming.  
Packed and ready for delivery

Friday, August 21, 2015

Foodie Alert! Visit to Peli Peli

Call ahead for reservations or don't. We got lucky and we didn't know how lucky we got!  We went to the Galleria in Houston, Texas after work.  It is a huge place to get some walking in and they have some wonderful shops (expensive but wonderful). 
The art in the back bar is done by  David Garibaldi.  They also have playing a video of him creating the paintings on black canvas.  Isn't that interesting?  I've been talking about creating a special painting on a black canvas.   Hmmm. Even more inspiration! See why I posted two posts yesterday?  This part would not have made sense if you didn't read "A bit sketchy".     http://garibaldiarts.com/
Art by David Garibaldi
Russ had mentioned going out for steak a couple of times this week.  I couldn't take it another day.  I was craving a good cut of meat!  When they mentioned going to the Galleria, I agreed as long as we stopped by a steak house for supper.  Wha-ha-ha!  The steak absolutely melted in my mouth!  It was a wonderful cut of Angus beef and prepared exactly to my specifications.  The sauce was a mouth watering garlic butter.
Garlic Steak with a side of green beans and sweet potato fries
When I'm traveling, I like to treat myself to a special dessert (usually on steak night).  You know my theory, "If you are going to be bad then be really - really bad!"  They had two different kinds of cheesecakes and well .... many other delicious sounding desserts.  I shared.  But the others let me down and only took a few small bites.  I am pleasantly stuffed.  
South African Toffee Cheesecake
I started out by saying that we didn't realize how lucky that we got.  We were na├»ve and didn't realize when we walked by that we needed to have reservations.  We got there just after 7:00 PM and the first opening was after 9:30.  But they had a few chairs open in the bar.  We were walked through a large, full and noisy dining room.
Servers Extraordinaire!
When we got back to the bar area and it was noisy but quieter than the main dining area.  There were three chairs open in a row.  We sat down and our adventure began as our servers greeted us with these fabulous smiles.  We got lucky because we had the best servers in the house!  Peli Peli is the place to go for fabulous smiles serving scrumptious food in an artistic atmosphere (in the bar section anyways.)

I will add (since anyone that follows me knows that I have some weird allergies) ordering international food can be a challenge.  The servers involved one of the managers to make sure that my food was prepared to my specification and totally allergy free.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A bit sketchy

What can I say?  I couldn't rest until I had the chance to start preparing for my painting.  I started out by sketching the open cotton flower.
Open cotton flower
I was challenged by drawing a white flower.  It has beautiful white veins.  I decided that I needed to do some shading to make the details of the flower come alive.

Open cotton flower
As part of the collage, I wanted all the stages of the flower.  It was only fitting that I sketch the flower after it had been pollinated and as the petals were starting to roll in and dry up. (This picture was on the same white paper.  But the lighting in the hotel room where I took the picture adjusted it's color.)
Cotton flower day 2
I should have had my colored pencils with me.  I only travel with a sketch pad and charcoal pencils.  After all, I never know when I might be overcome to sketch something.  I love the way this flower turns such a beautiful shade of pink.
Cotton flower day 2
I know! This next picture looks a little bit creepy.  Again, a colored pencil would have been nice for this picture.  But part of it is getting a similarity.  I am wondering if I should try this in oils or in watercolors?  If I choose oils, then I can create a black background and allow the white pinks and green colors to POP off the canvas.  (I am publishing this as a second post in one day.  You will understand why with tomorrows post.  I think that God is prompting me to follow through with a desire of my heart.)
Cotton seed pod
I will need to study some of the leaves more closely to see how I want to paint the leaves into the picture.  I am hoping that I actually get cotton from the plants this year.  I am a bit concerned as the weather has been floating around 60 degrees this week and that will stunt their maturity.  There is still 6-8 weeks left of the growing season which gives me high hopes.
Cotton seed pod

God's angel ...

It was a beautiful sunset with a special cloud formation.  When I left Dale's last Sunday evening, I noticed that there was going to be some beautiful color in the sky for sunset.  I drove about a mile out of town to take a couple of pictures.  Then I thought "Soon I will be able to walk out into the Back 40 and see a view this pretty!"  I can't wait.
Angel at sunset
As I was taking pictures, I noticed that the clouds made a formation of a flying angel with it's wings spread wide.  It has a double or triple halo over it's head. There is even a shadow being cast against the walls of heaven from the setting sun beneath it.  There are so many beautiful things to observe in this world that God made!  
Angel in the sky
To God be the glory, great things he has done!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Tuckered out

Misty Blue snuggled up with her blankies over the weekend.  She just melts my heart.  But she really is like a young child.  She is just regenerating.  Those blankies will soon be tossed over her head as she picks them up with her mouth and tosses them in the air.  At least that is when we aren't fast enough to grab them and toss them over her head for "Monster under the blanket".
Misty Blue
When we move out into the country, this couch will come with us.  Neither Dale nor I like the couch but the girls do whatever they can to lay up on the couch.  It will soon be dedicated to 'the dogs".
Duchess

3 ply yarn

I finished spinning my sample pieces of cotton.  There were three different colors.  I decided to wind them together as a three ply.  To do that I put the three bobbins on the Lazy Kate and used my drop spindle (normally used for wool to spin together).
3 bobbins of cotton
I was afraid that the greenish color would make the yarn look bad.  But the white and tan offset it and it created a very natural blend.  There isn't much here so I figured that I might crochet a doily.  I will make it as large as the yarn will allow.  When I am done with it, I will  have a keepsake that includes the first cotton that I hand spun.  It sounds like a good idea to me.  I ran out of the greenish color (on the right) before the other two colors. I ordered 16 ounces of green cotton.  I will spin enough of it to finish 3-plying the other two colors.  I can't wait to start crocheting.
3-ply cotton yarn

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Weekend harvest

This weekend I decided it was time to harvest the onions.  I am not sure when you are really supposed to harvest them.  But my rule is that when they are pushed significantly out of the ground, it is time to harvest them. In the picture below, you can see that the top third of the onions were out of the ground.  I plant the bulbs about 1/2 inch under the top of the soil.  Dale and Al plant them with the top at the ground level. 
Hanging Onions from the Harvest
Needless to say, my onions are larger than their onions.  But next year I might plant them just a little bit deeper.  I might have allowed them to grow longer but the greens had all been knocked over and several were drying up.  Dale told me that I needed to tie them together and hang them to dry.  I could only fit 6 in a bundle and that was overcrowded.  I have been using the onions for over a month now from the garden.  This is going to be delicious and fabulous for cooking!
Onions drying
I picked my garlic several weeks ago.  They are already dried but I haven't taken the time to clean them.  I was thinking about mincing them and combining them with coconut oil in the fridge.  I would use an ice cube tray to make them in usable sizes. The question is ..... Will I have time before I move?
Dried Garlic

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Thinking out of the box

I found a display piece for my new air plants. (Thanks Hinterland Trading!) This is actually a necklace hanger but I saw the small loops in the metal and the fact that the top level can be moved up and down and I was intrigued. 
Open air plants on necklace hanger
As you rotate the holder around, you get very different views.  Doesn't it sort of look like an amaryllis? I will eventually fill the base with pretty stones so that as I water, the roots will stay out of the extra water that drips down.
Open air plants on necklace hanger
The goose container below belonged to my Grandmother Stella Field.  I think that it is supposed to represent "Mother Goose".  I had the tall air plants sitting in the back for awhile.  It looked nice.  But with the height of the new stand, I needed the height of the plants.  I chose not to remove the goose.  After all there is also a turtle there and a fairy off to the side.  
"Imagine Nation"
Move the characters around periodically so that the story in Imagine Nation can continue to roll!

We'll help you pack!

See we have our ears open listening to you. As soon as you walk out or tape a box we will be on our feet and running out of the room!  Yeah, I had to stop taping boxes because the sound of the tape unrolling freaked out the dogs.  We are still waiting for the appraisal; but, I am stepping out in faith and starting to pack.  I am not getting very far.  I have 8 boxes packed at this point.  But I found all of the tulip bulbs from Holland that I had planted in the front garden. (That area will be planted back to grass so all the perennials will need to be dug up. More later!)
The Dobie bed

Saturday, August 15, 2015

May we pet your dogs?

I arrived home with the girls today.  I could hear children at Dale's Aunts place.  I quickly got the girls inside of the fence. It was only a few seconds before the dogs saw the children and the children saw the dogs.

With the Dad's approval the kids came into the yard and began loving on the girls.  Sonjia ' s big size didn't scare them. In fact one girl tried to put her leg over her.

Duchess said that it was too hot.  She plopped herself in front the door and made the children come to her.

I didn't get a picture with the kids petting Misty Blue because she insisted on being under my feet literally and everyone was too close. The girls ate it up! They were in doggie heaven.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Nature walk

In the hot humid evening, I took the dogs out for a walk.  The hay field on the corner had been taken down recently and was pretty short.  I walked over by the edge of the alfalfa field.  It is starting to show a few blooms, so it will probably be cut in the next few days.  There were several grasshoppers jumping as I walked by.  But this one, it held firm.  It was in a good spot and it wasn't going to move no matter what.
Grasshopper in Alfalfa field
A little further down the way was a single clover plant.  Have you ever been to a honey specialty area and they have the honey labeled as "clover" honey?  That is usually because bee hives are placed in a close proximity to a field of clover.
Bee checking out clover bloom
I stayed out of the bees way and kept a close eye on it as it crawled around the clover flower.  Unlike the cotton flower that it crawled inside, the bee crawled around the outside of the clover flower sticking it's proboscis (long hairy tongue) into the many flowers that make up the clover.  
Bee in clover
Upside down or upside right didn't seem to make a difference.  Isn't that interesting?  Gravity works so hard to keep us grounded but this bee can hang around with ease.  Evidently the bee found an untouched flower because it grabbed hold with it's mandibles and allowed the rest of the body to dangle as it's proboscis hunted for the pollen.  
Bee dangling and drinking
Then BOOM!  Three large Dobermans came running by and the bee was gone.  I moved away from the area just in case they irritated the bee as they ran past the flower.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

From white to pink

At lunch today I went out to check on the cotton plants.  After all, this is new for me.  I wondered if the flowers are like Day Lilies and Morning Glories that only bloom for a day or are they like Black-eyed Suzie that blooms for weeks on end?  When I peaked at the flower that was blooming yesterday, I was surprised to see that it had turned pink! A soft and delicate pink with white veins giving it a pin-striped look.  The bee knew!  It knew that it needed to pollinate this flower quickly because it was only going to be open for one short day.
Cotton Bloom Day 2
It was lunchtime and I took a few extra minutes to examine the plants.  That was something that I didn't do the day before.  I found another pink flower but this one looked like it was almost dried up.  When I moved a leaf to get a clear photo of it, the petals fell off and revealed a seed pod starting to form.  I regret to inform you that I was wrong.  The picture from yesterday was not the first bloom.  Within the day or two before my bold statement, a hidden flower bloomed that I did not see.  
Cotton Seed Pod starting to form
I am inspired!  I want to sit down and PAINT! In my mind, I can see a composite painting on a black canvas.  With a layer of the leaves and in the forefront the stages of the flower blooming and changing.  Although you would never see that in reality, in my mind it is the "Revelation of Hidden Beauty".  Remind me of that in a few years when I finally finish the painting!