Sunday, June 30, 2013

granny camp 2

A week ago today, I picked up the grandboy who is 16 this year. I have really sort of expected or feared that as the kids got to be teenagers, they wouldn't want to come for their week but that has not proved to be true. Although, this year the grandboy did ask if he could bring a friend with him.

This is mostly what I saw of him and his friend.

They came with a TV, gameboy, laptop, iPod, iPhone and spent most of their time ensconced in the back room. They would stay up most the night and sleep most the day. His friend would emerge for meals or when Mikey dragged him outside for brief forays in the heat.

Mikey would come out several times a day and spend time with us before heading back into the back room.

The back room is the third bedroom that was added on to the house later. It serves us as a storage room for frit, old reproduction molds, packing and shipping stuff, mold filling tools, craft stuff, games, sewing machine, and guest room for the kids. The futon is back there and it opens out to a full size bed.

He also avoids pictures and I had few opportunities for stealth mode photos.

Here, I chased him around the house with the camera.

He made coconut ice cream and brownies and helped with banana pudding.

Avoiding the camera as best he can while he charges the ice cream maker.

The boys went out one afternoon with the baseball and bat.

When he wasn't lazing in the back room he was lazing in the old green recliner in my studio space.

One afternoon they made a 'redneck' slip and slide as he calls it.

He and his friend Tyler are skaters and one evening after it had cooled off some they were out on the concrete apron with the rail that they brought with them.

Here's the result:

Wharton always has their Freedom Fest the weekend before the Fourth of July. I worked at the store on Saturday so Marc brought the boys down to the square and to the car show. 

They didn't want to do any of the activities and it was blazing hot yesterday, 105˚, 13˚ hotter than normal for this day, so they headed back to the house.

We finished dinner just as the fireworks were starting so me and the boys jumped in the truck and raced to a spot where we could see them pretty well.

And that was his week. I took him home and returned with Jade for back to back weeks.

We are just chilling out the rest of the day.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

work avoidance

I'm trying to do some business related thing every work day while we are waiting for some of the proposals to come in. If I get too disconnected, it's hard to get back in work mode.

I have two proposals to finish today, one for a residence and one for a Catholic church in Nebraska. Both these inquiries came through my business FB page within a day of each other. The Leadership Wall contact was also made through my FB page but we had done work for them before and they were looking for me. These two new ones were looking for etched glass but not me specifically.

Not that I'm ready to get back at it but at this point in our lives, we need to make, and put back, as much money as we can. Owning two properties is a nice ace in the hole. Especially the property in the city which, thanks to the gentrification I have railed against, is getting more valuable by the day. But, OMG, the neighborhood has gotten so crowded and dense with people.

Of course, having the grandkids out doesn't help me stay focused on work. I went to the city yesterday and picked up the grandboy. He brought a friend with him this year and has a friend that lives down the street so he isn't much trouble or work beyond making sure there is enough food in the house.

It's really gotten too hot to do anything out in the yard though I did formally plant the star of india yesterday morning before heading into the city to pick up the boys. I say formally because as happens with me a lot, I dither about where to permanently plant things and often just end up putting the pot somewhere to see if it likes the spot and then I forget about it. Fast forward months later and the damn things just plant themselves through the bottom of the pots. In fact that's how the star of india in Houston, which is over 6' tall, got planted. Eventually, I get in there and either break the pot off or, if it's plastic, cut it off, and mound dirt up around it.

Not wanting to dig up and lift the roses on either side, I created a raised bed around it. I'm running out of the brick pavers I usually line my flower beds with and besides they wouldn't have been tall enough, so I put a cinder block on either side and then created an arc connecting them with wine bottles.

I'll probably remove the bricks later after the ground settles.

These would be the wine bottles that we are collecting because we think bottle walls are cool and we want to build one, not that we have the faintest idea of how to go about doing that but we're saving bottles anyway. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

sharp, spiny, pokey things

My friend Bobby who lives in Boling, a little town down FM 1301, is a gardener but he is a different sort of gardener than I am. I use mainly native perennials while Bobby is into cacti and succulents.

When Robin was here we went and visited Bobby because Robin really likes thing that are sharp, spiny, and pokey. We missed the blooms. They had either already bloomed or were just getting ready to bloom except for one or two.

Here's a few specimens from Bobby's yard:

Cholla surrounding a south American columnar.

Golden barrel. Very popular Mexican cactus.

Crested Cow's Tongue prickly pear. Cow's tongue was first found  near the Alamo in San Antonio.

Red Yucca. Actually is not really a yucca but a hesperaloe. Texas native.

Red Yucca

Miscellaneous little hedgehogs, barrels, succulents, small agaves, aloes, etc. 

Miscellaneous little hedgehogs, barrels, succulents, small agaves, aloes, etc.

Miscellaneous little hedgehogs, barrels, succulents, small agaves, aloes, etc.

Miscellaneous little hedgehogs, barrels, succulents, small agaves, aloes, etc.

Miscellaneous little hedgehogs, barrels, succulents, small agaves, aloes, etc. 

Agave weberi in bloom.

Agave weberi in bloom.

Zig Zag jungle cactus from Brazil.

Medium sized Agave. 

Cissus quadrangularis

A crested horse crippler

Pereskia grandifolia, a south American cactus with true leaves.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

granny camp 1

The visits from the grandkids have begun.

Robin, the youngest at 12, was first this summer. She needed to get her visit in because the rest of this summer and fall she will be preparing for her Bat Mitzvah in November.

chatting with her grandpa.

She wanted to sew again this year so we made her two pair of shorts. Actually, she made the first pair all by herself. Pinned down the pattern, cut it out, did all the stitching including sewing the curving seams in the crotch, made the casing and inserted the elastic, and hemmed the legs. She did a great job. I made the second pair.

Robin ducking the camera while she works on the black and white shorts.

Modeling the giraffe print shorts I made for her.

And the little stuffed giraffe she wanted made out of the scraps.

She spent a lot of time on her electronic media playing games on my iPad, video chatting and texting with her friends...

all at the same time.

She got a grow your own mineral crystals kit a couple of years ago so she did one of those.

She made a peach pie

and a cake...

with eyeballs.

She tried to sneak up on Little Bunny Foo Foo.

She made lots of bracelets.

Robin at the sewing machine making a bag to hold all her goodies. Since she is at the picture avoidance stage, I had to go into stealth mode.

When I picked Robin up in the city, we went to several area nurseries because I was looking for a couple of specific things. Every place we went, she was drawn to the cactus so one day we went to visit a friend in Boling who grows cactus and succulents (future post). 

He sent her off with three cacti of her own.

It was a fun week while she stayed up all night and I dragged her out of bed in the mornings and was over too fast.

Friday, June 14, 2013


One of our local artists, Lee Littlefield, died of lymphoma in his home last Sunday.

I first became aware of Lee's work when three school bus yellow sculptures appeared overnight in a small triangular esplanade along one of my main travel arteries many many years ago. They were about 5' tall and constructed from what looked like sections of telephone poles with long wiggly sticks coming out of the top portions and painted bright yellow. They looked like upright porcupines, at least that's how my brain made sense of them.

Later, I started seeing similar sculptures springing up along the freeways in the city. They would stay for some months and then be gone to pop up elsewhere or new ones would take their places. These were tall, more slender, using trees and branches instead of telephone poles. It was several years before I learned the name of the artist and that he called these Pop Up sculptures. Sometimes he would have permission from the authorities and perhaps, sometimes not.

I began to look for them because they were always a delight. Eventually, we purchased one of Lee's outdoor pieces being exhibited at a local gallery. He had some wonderfull indoor wall pieces which I would have liked but our house was small and we had no wall space for such. Plus, it was his outdoor work that first grabbed my attention.

Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of our sculpture because I can't find the old ones I took on any of the devices here and I can't take a new one because it is in Lee's studio. It suffered some damage and was in for repairs. Unfortunately, he died before he could install it for us out here. It's ready and we will make arrangements to get it. I'll post pictures then.

I'm not going to go into Lee's resume and biography. If you want to know all that you can read about him here.  Instead, here is a small gallery of some of his work.

I'm going to miss seeing Lee's sculptures pop up along the Houston roadways.