Coming Soon: Free Book

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

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The delivery came!

I had ordered several things from Gurneys this spring.  The last part of my order was the living plants. I knew that they were due any day. I've been pushing to get the new garden areas ready before they came. 
The delivery came!
I had the gardens done enough to plant the new flowers.  In the North West corner I planted a dwarf cherry tree that is supposed to get about as tall as the fence.  Before I was done planting Misty Blue and Sonjia tried to dig up the tree.  They got yelled at and ran to hide. I hope it isn't a sign of what is to come.  They have not been big diggers in the past.
Cherry Dwarf Carmine Jewel
As I was digging up the area where the "mock entrance to the bridge" will be, I found these two cute turtles under the grass.  Yes, the grass had grown over top of them. What a perfect gift!  I am hoping to have enough time tomorrow to finish the area under the bridge and drop it in place before the weekend rain starts.  You will get a finished picture once the bridge is down and you will see the total picture.  The turtles are such a perfect addition.  I couldn't have chosen better myself.
Diamond Ornamental Grass and Zebra Grass
I have always wanted to have decorative grass that grows 4-7 feet tall.  This will be the perfect spot for it.  Sonjia was keeping me company as I was working.  I was trying to get good pictures but she insisted on being right under my feet.  She is grandma's girl.  
Sonjia was trying to help with the gardening
On the South East corner of the yard will be my blue berry bush.  I am hoping the acidity level will be okay that close to the evergreen tree.  From what they said in the order book, it should be okay.  I had to plant this a little further away from the corner because with the privacy guard in the corner, the bush would not get enough sunlight.  
Ka-Bluey Blueberry
The plants made it into the ground okay.  But not all of the boarders are completed and the dry river bed under the bridge is still in need of being dug out.  I have tomorrow afternoon off hoping to complete it. It is supposed to rain Friday and either Saturday or Sunday. (I have heard conflicting reports.)  IF I finish, I will post pictures.  Otherwise you will be waiting with me until I finish it.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Garden time!

There are many vegetables that produce better with an early planting.  Dale and Alan have already planted their potatoes and radishes. 
Kohlrabi in cans for safety from rabbits
I tried to re-start some kohlrabi but they are very stringy. Hopefully they will make it.  I purchased a brand that is supposed to produce a larger fruit.
Planting 100 onions
I also planted my onion sets. After the end of the work day Tuesday, I went to the bank 25 minutes away to close out my accounts as I have transferred to a closer bank. I  quickly ran into a store then stopped at two separate parks for the dogs to run. By the time I got home, it was well after 7PM.
Tonight I will plant my row of garlic. I am leaving room between them for Dale to till even after I plant the cotton plants. Two other things that I want to plant are zucchini and pie pumpkins. So much to do with so little time.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Spinning using a drop spindle

Last winter on a trip to Dad and Pat's for the weekend I purchased a wooden drop spindle.  There was a sample of coarse wool with it.  I spin cotton with a takli which looks similar but it actually spins with the wide disk portion down when the drop spindle has that portion up.
Drop Spindle and Wool
The spindle will spin like a top as you draft the wool (pull it up).  Don't copy the placement of my hand for this process.  In order to take a picture and hold the drop spindle at the same time, I can't hold it in the correct.  When I am working it my palm is facing down and I am using my thumb and pointer to thin out (draft) the fibers so that they will spin appropriately.
Drop spindle ready to spin
In order for the fibers to spin into the thread, they need to be held at the base.  My drop spindle has a cut in the side of the top sphere.  The thread tucks into that portion then pulls up to the hook.  I have found it spins most effectively when pulled around the back of the hook and pulled to the inside.  
Setting up the drop spindle
When you set the spindle spinning, it will wind the fibers all the way up your feed unless you pinch it off.  Looking at this picture, you can see how the fibers are thicker going up into the center.  An important part of the process is to pinch off the fibers during the drafting process so that it isn't allowed to pull too far up the fiber.  If you don't do that, it will become too difficult to draft.
Un-pinched fiber being spun
As you are drafting, when you pinch it the fibers will wind together up to the point where you are pinching.  This little triangle of fibers will pull to a significant length of single ply thread.  The portion that you are seeing in this picture is only a small fraction of the width of the fiber that I'm working.  As I draft, I allow the fibers of the next section to pull into the draft.  That makes it look like you are moving the drafting back and forth across the width of fiber.
Holding the fiber properly
It took just over a week of late nights to spin the entire ball of fiber into single ply yarn. But when I reached this point, I realized that I hadn't purchased any bobbins.  I have a small spinning wheel on order.  Until I get the spinning wheel and see what I will need for bobbins, I don't really want to purchase a new bobbin.
I made it through my sample fiber!
I don't often think inside the box.  I prefer to walk down to the hardware store and think in there.  I actually had this idea before I walked to the hardware store.  The T's on the end can be removed and rotated to the other direction allowing you to put it on a spindle.  They also stop the single ply yarn from pushing off the end.  
Temporary bobbin
We were driving in the car while I was transferring it.  So I left the ends in the T position.  For someone driving by me it looked like I was doing a bicycle movement with my hands.  I held the bobbin in one hand and the drop spindle in the other and peddled away. I am sure that it looked hilarious for people watching me from other vehicles but it worked!
Single ply thread wound onto the bobbin

Monday, April 27, 2015

Interesting stops on the way to and from the Grand Canyon

The bus stopped for a bathroom break (and shopping break) at the Castle Rock Bar and Grill.  A common place for busses to stop for bathroom breaks, the bathrooms had been partitioned off so that the only way that you could get to them was to go through the store. You can't blame them.  If they are going to provide bathroom in the dessert for tourists, they should make a little money off of us.

Castle Rock Bar and Grill
The rock formation that overlooks the bar and grill looks like a distant castle; therefore the name Castle Rock.  HEY! Another person like me that looks at the rocks and sees other things.

Castle Rock
There was another formation that was just a few miles away from Castle Rock.  I loved the character of this formation.  A combination between the color and the varied height of the rocks. The road trip was long and there was a lot of beautiful views along the way.  But it is so difficult to get good photos through bus windows.

Rock formations near Castle Rock
Most geodes have interiors made of either quartz or calcite. Quartz crystals are silicates. Silicates are the most common mineral in the crust of the earth. Over 90% of the minerals present in earth’s crust are silicates.

This store was the store that had the beautiful South West and Native American Style Jewelry.  I couldn't remember the name of the store, so I looked at my credit card receipt and looked it up online.  It was the Cevron Gas Station at Williams, Arizona. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Non-Canyon views

This first picture I have shared possibly multiple times.  But it is a picture that shows so much how I view the world.  You can look at the canyon and see only the depth of the canyon.  Or you can look at the tree high up at the top edge of the canyon and see how it the canyon below looks similar to the shadow of the tree.
Canyon Mimics the shadow of a tree

There were so many interesting trees.  The area around the Grand Canyon is a hard life for trees and wildlife.  The wind blows hard, there is a thin layer of ground over rocks and granite and yet trees grow tall and strong.
Tall and gnarly
Just because the trees die does not mean that it always gets cut down.  The trees are allowed to return naturally into the ground.  The bugs that infest them are eaten by birds until the trees can stand no longer and fall down to the ground.  Until that time, they add a different texture to the landscape.

Roots up?
I saw this tree below and I really wanted to get up close and explore it.  The long root over the ground.  The short but stubbly branches.  Hmmm it almost looks like a Bonsai tree that hasn't been trimmed.
Just plain gnarly
The tree below quickly caught my attention.  It was hanging onto life and yet at the same time twisted with the strains of life.  Some branches that have already fallen at it's base.  You can focus on what the strains of life have done to the tree over the years or you can focus how it is hanging onto life.
The clear cut on the top of this tree shows that for some reason the park rangers decided that this tree was too dangerous to remain intact.  Although some of the roots dug down into the ground below, many of the roots ran along the top of the ground. Roots help to sustain life.  They also anchor the tree.  These roots continued to grow despite that fact that they ran along the top of the ground.
The Octopus
This downed tree is in the process of composting.  The wind and birds will plant seeds along the trunk and new life will emerge from the dead tree.  The nutrition that it captured during it's life will continue to sustain life.

Giving back to the next generation
I heard the sweet songs of a bird.  When I looked around I noticed this tiny little bird in the shade of the of this branch that was hanging over the edge of the canyon.  Sitting on a branch under it's very own "umbrella" watching the people below.  I wondered, "Does this tiny bird fly up and down the canyon or is it one that chooses to soar around the top?  Little bird, what do you see through your tiny little eyes?"
The Bird's Umbrella

Can you see the bird?  I took a bit of a close up (below).  If you follow the inside arch of the branch, about half-way around you can see the bird. It almost looks like a thick branch up close to the tree.
Can you see the bird better?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Peaceful Contemplation

Peaceful Contemplation
I think that I could spend months just people watching at the Grand Canyon.  There were a large number of people that could be seen sitting in areas that looked very close to the edge.  Some were there with families and others like this woman seemed to be deep in thought.  There is no doubt that being at the Grand Canyon can be very thought provocative. 

Angels Wings or a Dove being released from a hand
I had to take a picture of the sky when I saw this cloud.  It looked like angel wings or maybe a dove being released from a hand.
This rock: right here! I am almost touching it.
As soon as we saw the white rock teetering on the edge of the rock formation, it became the focus of many photos.  It was one rock that was easy to see.  I did wonder how secure it was at that spot.  It looks like it could fall at any minute. But one thing that the Grand Canyon proves is that looks are VERY deceiving!

The rock that looks like it was close to falling

Friday, April 24, 2015

Paths along the Grand Canyon

There was a handicap accessible walkway that went along the side of the Grand Canyon.  There were points where there was a split between the handicap accessible portion and a walking path.  The difference was that the wider tar covered walkway was more distance from the edge of the canyon.
Handicap accessible walking path
The man-made paths are designed and maintained with perfect harmony to the natural surroundings.  The path beckoned us to move forward and continue on.  There was a time limit on us.  It was difficult to stop and turn around.  We just wanted to continue forward and see more of the views.

Hello there!  Come on around!  :^)
I actually had to stop, turn around and go back to where I had been to capture this shot.  The tree on the side of the canyon wall throwing it's branch up and over the path creating an upper edge to the frame.  While the symmetry of the path flows along with it at the bottom of the frame.  Tucked carefully in between was the majesty of the Grand Canyon.
Curve to the right
In order to keep the walkway safe and secure they are carefully (and it looks like with a lot of labor)built out of rocks and stones that look natural to the area.  Carefully, they have re-planted trees and shrubs keeping the natural look around the pathway. A fabulous job has been accomplished making the Grand Canyon tourist friendly while maintaining the natural beauty of the area.

The safety of a retaining wall

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Grand Canyon normal shots

Shiva Temple, Isis Temple and Cheops Pyramid in Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is 277 miles (446 km) long, up to 18 miles (29 km) wide and attains a depth of over a mile (6,000 feet or 1,800 meters.)  
Grand Canyon
The picture below is one of my favorite shots.  Off all the photos, this is one that I am contemplating printing and finding a place on the wall for it.  

Grand Canyon mimics a shadow of a tree
  As I review these pictures, sometimes I see other things.  In the photo below,  there is a broken heart.  The top is well formed but the bottom is formed from the shadow.  The white stone to the right almost looks like it is supporting the heart from falling into the pit below.
Heart of the Canyon

The Grand Canyon vacation is known for taking donkeys down to the bottom.  As you can see the path winds back and forth.  It is still a steep and long path. Maybe one day, I will take that trip. It would be beautiful to see the canyon from the bottom looking up.
Donkey trail
Millions of years of the Colorado River running through the land is supposed to be the cause of all this erosion.  It must have been one of the few rivers on the continent at the time.
A river runs through it
As we walked around the canyon it got later in the day.  That along with the change of angle that we were not viewing the rock formations we began to see more drama from the shadows in the canyon.
The drama of shadows, Grand Canyon
As we walked around the Grand Canyon if you looked, you could almost always see the three main formations, Shiva and Isis Temples along with Cheops Pyramid.  I enjoy the Sci-fi show Stargate SG1.  I noticed that the rock formation closest to us in this picture looks like a Sarchophagus.

Different View of the Temples and Pyramid
There is no 2D picture that can really show the vastness of this magnificent beauty.  The pathways at points comes very close to the edge so that you feel like you are up close yet at the same time the next formation is so far away.  It makes you want to hook up a long rope and learn how to rock climb in order to get up close and personal with this vast expanse.
Up close and personal yet so far away

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Grand Canyon Wide Angle Views

I have put together several of my favorite photos of the Grand Canyon to give you an idea of the beauty.  As you can see, I took these pictures using two special lenses; wide angle and fisheye.  Although both lenses warp the perspective, they also show you the widest angle possible.  It can be challenging to see the 3D reality in a photograph.  Hopefully with this lens choice you can see the height, depth, and width of the majestic Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon

One of the things that we said when we left the Grand Canyon is that there is something special about being told “Thank-you” in so many languages is one day.  We stopped and took many pictures.  There were many international travelers also stopping to take pictures.  When we offered to take group pictures, they were so grateful.  Some used broken English other just used their native language to express their thanks. 
Tabatha and Troy playing "tourist"
I was surprised how closely the path came to the edge in so many places and without a high retaining wall or fence.  The edge of the path was so natural looking it almost made you think twice.  But yes, it is obviously done my people.  

Walking path along the Grand Canyon
As a person, it is our responsibility to respect the edge of the path and for that matter the edge of the cliff.  It is tempting to get close to the edge when we take the pictures.  And there are many people that we saw pushing that temptation. 
Grand Canyon

Trees appeared to be growing right out of the rocks along the side of the path and framing beautiful peek-a-boo shots.  The experts have categorized the colors according to the time in history when they were formed.  They talk about the millions of years that it took to create the canyon as the river ran through it.  I have a simple question.  Aren’t there other rivers in the United States that have been running for that long?  Why is it only this river that has cut through a mile of rock to create the canyon?

Grand Canyon
Someday when I get to Heaven that will be one of my questions for God, “What is the truth about the Grand Canyon?”
Walking path along Grand Canyon