Sunday, October 20, 2019

three days

Thursday my sister and I went to an estate sale, it was Thursday, so yeah, which was no great shakes. I did pick up a good putty knife since mine seem to keep getting misplaced but the best thing about it was this ancient pecan tree in the yard. I have never seen a pecan tree this big and it was completely hollow inside.

for scale...

And there were pecans everywhere on the ground and good solid heavy ones. Drives me nuts that no one picks up the pecans in their yard. This isn't the first time we've been to an estate sale at this time of year where the ground was littered. It's free money people, all you have to do is spend a little time picking them up and the pecan wholesalers/retailers will buy them from you. I need to start taking a bucket with me when we go to these things in the fall.

On our way home we stopped at one of the big nurseries there in Richmond since we were driving right past it and I bought three small pots of blue lobelia and one of silver pony foot and then Saturday I went to the feed store and got 4 6-packs of pansies so I guess I'll be busy today.

I wanted to get out there Friday and start the weeding and cleaning up and planting but I was being a good girl and made myself get the powder layer on the five feathers so they could go in the kiln. Work first, then play. So Friday, I cleaned up the pink pansy and then started on the feathers. I got three done Friday and the last two yesterday, one of which I dumped all the powder and started over. I'm having a hard time determining how thick is thick enough and not too thick. The owl (?) feather fer sure is too thick but I opted to just let it be but the red tailed hawk feather I dumped and started over.

before and after pictures...

I got out there for an hour or so Saturday late afternoon and cut back the spent ginger stalks that were laying on the ground and cut the spent bloom heads off the ones that were still upright and started clearing out one of the flower beds, the one where I dug up all the mexican petunias in the spring, pulling up all the mexican petunias that defied me along with the dead zinnias in there and tons of wandering jew, a gift from the yard being flooded last spring. It was hot out there and I was soaked. If I was smart, I'd put off working in the yard til Monday as it's supposed to be 10 degrees cooler but there's so much to be done out there besides getting the pansies and lobelia planted.

Things are starting to perk up a little.  The confederate rose is nearing full bloom and the bird of paradise has put up three bloom stalks this year and this second round of white butterfly ginger has been pretty spectacular.

Well, I'd best get out there before it gets too hot.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

same stuff, different day

I laid everything out on the kiln shelf and there was still room enough for another pansy so I made another one yesterday. 

I have no idea what I am going to do with them. The fungus/lichen I have a plan for. I guess we'll see how they come out, maybe I can turn them into some sort of jewelry.

I have nothing of interest to say. Yesterday I did the dishes which had piled up and sanded down the last dry feather base and made the second pansy and picked up pockets full of pecans on my various strolls through the yard and set the sprinkler out to water the azaleas under the pecan tree that lost all those branches earlier. They get a lot more sun now.

Today it's raining. Woke up to a trembling dog who could hear the rumbling of the approaching rain before I could. The thunder has stopped now but the rain continues, the good kind of rain, not torrential, not a sprinkle, but a good medium rain that hangs around and soaks in and does not overwhelm the gutters. That seems to be a rarity these days.

I'm having to limit my social media/news/human input again as it just either makes me sad or pissed off or hopeless or raises my blood pressure or makes my afib kick up even on the medication. No need to reiterate it here as I'm sure everyone is well up on the continuing travesties of this administration. I can't do anything about it except vote and I can't do that til over a year from now. Expressing anything but pro-Trump to our Republican representatives and senators just falls on deaf ears. Even if they agree privately they won't come out against him because they are afraid Trump will turn on them in his vindictive way and of course he will. And that makes me even more hopeless that so many of our elected officials are cowards that refuse to stand up for what's right because, OMG, Trump might give them a demeaning nickname.

Oh, maybe I do have something to relate. You might remember that last May I saw a couple of guys traipsing across the back end of my property and headed across my neighbor's property and to the road at the end of my street where their car was parked. When I went out and asked if I could help them it turned out that they had bought the 12 acre field behind us and they were checking it out though they hadn't decided what they were going to do with it. The only clear access to the field is from business Hwy 59 (also called Richmond Rd.) which borders one end of the field. The other end is bordered by the street that my street ends at and is a complete dense and tangled mess of trash trees, wild grape vines, briars, poison ivy, and who knows what all. This is the area that I call the wild space that ends at my property and it is constantly trying to encroach. One long side of the field is bordered by all the backyards of the houses on my street and the other long side is bordered by the Tee Pee Motel (now defunct again as the owners elected not to fix up the freestanding teepee rooms after the flooding from Harvey) and the attendant trailer park. So a couple of months ago one of my neighbors related that he had been stopped by an asian couple (the two men above were asian and only one spoke english) who were parked at my end of the street as he started out on his evening walk. They had bought the field and wanted to put a trailer (or maybe it was a manufactured home) on it and did he know what it would take and how they could get access to their property. So Gary gave them the rundown...they would have to put in a bridge over the ditch, either the business 59 end or the wild space end which would entail clearing a path, they would need water, a septic system, and electricity. They didn't seem to understand why they couldn't get access through someone's property from our street and they pointed to the drive through my crazy neighbor's empty lot, except for her storage buildings, that gives perfect access to the field as her property and mine are the only two on the street that aren't fenced in the back, well my absent neighbor's property on the end is effectively fenced by the wild space.

All this is leading up to yesterday morning. I looked up to see a familiar white car parked on the street and a man and woman got out and headed across my neighbor's property and mine so I went out and talked to them. I was friendly but I let them know they were crossing over private property. We chatted for a while, only she spoke english. She didn't mention putting a trailer on the field but she did say they wanted to plant a garden, grow vegetables and fruit, that we would be neighbors. Sounds great I said. She wanted to know what it would take to accomplish it, did I think any of my neighbors would sell their property so that they could have access to the field. That's a big no. I don't understand why they are so fixated on getting access from my street or even setting up whatever they plan at my end though I wouldn't want to live at the other end with the constant traffic down business 59. I do understand why they wouldn't want to clear a path through the wild space but the far end of the field just needs a bridge across the ditch. Anyway, I told her they could probably get electricity easily enough off the poles at the trailer park and perhaps they could get city water from the fire hydrant line at the wild space end even though we're in the county, not in the city limits, but that would entail clearing a path. They could dig a well and would need a septic system. Did I know how much that would cost? $7000 - $9000 each. Anyway, they left and I assume headed to city hall or looking for the county offices.

Well, the rain has stopped for now and it has brought in more cool weather having dropped 14 degrees since I got up this morning. Looks like I'll be wearing my long yoga pants for class this evening.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

it got cold y'all...for a day anyway

Wow! It really happened! Mid 70˚s and overcast when I got up Friday morning then the wind picked up blowing in cold air and knocking pecans out of the trees. At 12:45 PM and it had already fallen to 57˚, predicting a low of 52˚ that night. I had the door open in the morning but had to close it after a while because it was getting chilly in the house. I picked up over three gallons of just the big ones and didn't even canvas the whole yard. The dog was not impressed. She doesn't like the cold wind but much to my surprise it did not deter her from wanting her evening walk however fast it was.

While it was in the mid-50s yesterday when I got up, it warmed up quickly and turned into a gorgeous day with a clear blue sky and low humidity. I picked up another five plus gallons of pecans throughout the day under various trees and spent several hours over at the shop with the long handled nippers trying to restore a little order around the shop and in the back. A drop in the bucket. I also poured some wax in some of my reproduction molds as long as I was over there. And Marc reinvested the cracked heron box. The heat and pressure from the setting investment ran the crack all the way across the bottom and spawned a new crack off the old one. 

Since I can only see the bottom of the box now I have no idea if the cracks ran all the way down the back side to the top. If it comes out OK, I really hope the heron head inlay still fits as I really don't want to have to do a bunch of grinding again.

I've been doing more playing with the modeling glass but I'm hampered by my lack of color choices. I don't want to invest a lot of money in opaque powders unless I'm going to use them. Glass powder runs from about $18 - $25 for a one pound jar. Five colors could easily put me over $100. I've got the bases for all 5 feathers done so now I'm ready to add the top layer of powder and they'll be ready to fire along with another dozen color samples, and the pansy and lichen though I still have some detail to add to the face of the pansy. 

the white is pieces of high fire fiber paper which is supporting the edges while it dries and fires

I probably could have gotten that done if I hadn't spent another hour over at the shop with the long handled nippers and picked up another 3 gallons of pecans.

Minnie waiting patiently while I pick up yet more pecans

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

a brief respite

It was about 65˚ out there this morning when I got up and the doors are/were open. It was pleasant out there yesterday too. I guess that's saying something when mid 80˚s seems like a respite from the heat. And it's overcast today which helps. We're supposed to stay mostly in the 80s the rest of this week and Saturday they are predicting a high of 69˚! I'll believe it when I feel it. It will be short lived at any rate.

I've been waiting for these few days and so I got out there this morning with the gas trimmer and tackled the way overgrown little backyard and around all the flower beds and the ends of the culvert under the driveway and I almost finished before I ran out of gas.

out of gas

I've also been engaging in my fall activity, the picking up of pecans. The ones that survived the drought of summer are pretty and heavy so I think it will be a good crop.

I collect pecans from three different types of trees, two different natives (two trees), center and right, which I collect to sell and a hybrid (three trees) which I shell for consumption and sell the excess. 

So then I collected under all 5 trees, watered all the pots and set up the sprinkler, rinsed out and refilled the hummingbird feeders, and I've sat at my desk and watched the cardinals, chickadees, and hummingbirds come to the feeders.

I've overcome my feeling of ennui somewhat. I've worked on a couple little thumbnail sketches for possible pieces in my sketchbook, something I haven't opened for almost a year and mostly my sketchbook is in my head but I'm trying to change that though not very hard apparently, and made some more color samples, and a base for a blue jay feather

and mixed some colors together for a another test of the lichen, found the wax reproduction mold for the small round box for a new piece or two which may or may not include small items made with the modeling glass. I'm still trying to figure out what to do with this material, how to make it work for me, besides the feathers which I like. So while I've been busier, I'm not really excited about anything yet. I'm ready to try to salvage the heron box and get done with it, so maybe that can get done with the next spate of pleasant weather. I'm not completely happy with the feet but haven't been able to come up with anything different. Unless, no feet though I like to give my boxes some 'lift'.

A few final small is fall, as mentioned, but we can't count on the temperature to tell us this. Instead I notice that the mississippi kites are gone, the hummingbirds have migrated through, the goldenrod is blooming, the pecans are falling, and the rain trees are blooming.

Thursday, October 3, 2019


I am totally unmotivated. Our open house is coming up in two months and I have nothing new so far to show. I vacillate between chastising myself for not putting in at least 2 hours every day on art work and telling myself I'm semi-retired, I can do or not do whatever I want. And apparently what I want is to do nothing. I mean, the stuff is sitting here right next to me while I ignore it.

I did finally get the teacup bird feeder repaired and put back up and put out the bird feeder for the fall/winter (hahahahahahaha) since I've had a big bag of seed sitting in the garage for at least a month, probably longer, but so far neither has had any visitors. (A cardinal and a wren visited since I wrote that.)

Grandgirl Jade was visiting her folks last weekend and came out on Saturday. She wanted to make a flower press and we managed to scrape up everything we needed except for the threaded bolts and wing nuts. I showed her how to use the radial arm saw and the drill press and she did all the work herself and cut several pieces of cardboard and paper to finish it off.

can you believe she's in her third year of college?

The road crew continues to work on the street, putting down and flattening a fourth layer which looked suspiciously like dirt with some of the first/third layer mixed in. They mash it down, roll over it, scrape it, water it down, etc. 

Looks good, nice and smooth, but unless they top it with something hard like asphalt it will washboard in a month. I wonder how much they have raised the level of the road. I'd just as soon any future flood waters not be held on this side of the road.

I finally broke down and bought a little sprinkler instead of spending an hour or more everyday watering by hand. It is still so hot out there and humid and mosquito-y and in 10 0r 15 minutes I'm sweating just walking around and if I stay out there longer then the sweat starts dripping off me. I got out there earlier today with the long handled nippers to cut down the trash trees, mostly raintrees and hackberrys that grow on the edges at the back of the property and the water sprouts off the crepe myrtles in front and by the time I was done the whole front of my tank top was soaked from me wiping my face on it and I was done. It just drains me. It's October, we shouldn't still be having temps in the 90s. My yellow angel trumpet is blooming and the heat today just shriveled the blooms up before they were even fully opened. Everyone keeps saying a cool front is coming through next week, and as I've mentioned before, by that they mean highs in the 80s. But you know what? I'll take it.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

here we are finally

That selfish self-centered lying racist admitted sexual predator mob boss of a criminal in the White House is under an impeachment investigation. The House will do its job. It remains to be seen if the Senate will defend the Constitution or protect the criminal in the White House.

Trump, in his profound ignorance of the law and of the contents of the Constitution thought there was nothing wrong with withholding promised aid to help Ukraine stave off Russia as a bargaining chip to get them to dig up/manufacture dirt on Biden and his son in order to discredit his possible political opponent in the upcoming election. Against the law.

Aides knew better. Some were so alarmed they passed the info along to others in the intelligence community, some were so alarmed they moved the recording of the call to a secret server meant for classified national security items so as to remove it from possible discovery. Now we have learned that calls with Putin and Saudi Arabia have also been moved to that secret server. Cover up.

When the whistleblower turned his information over to the proper authority it was deemed a credible and immediate threat but instead of getting it turned over to The House as the law demanded, AG Barr tried to bury it and it was only because the news services got wind of it that they finally released it to the House. Obstruction of justice.

The supposedly rich profoundly ignorant Trump went to the NRA to ask them to fund his impeachment defense. The NRA says sure, be glad to in exchange for making gun reform dead in the water. Against the law.

It has also come out that Trump has AG Barr and Secretary of State Pompeo traveling to other countries and asking their intelligence services to help investigate our intelligence agencies regarding the FBI's investigation into Russian operative interference in the 2016 election and the Trump campaign's connections to those Russian operatives which Trump tried to suppress and eventually resulted in the Mueller investigation which he also wants to discredit even though he thinks it exonerated him (it didn't) because he wants to prove that the Democrats put the FBI up to it to discredit him. Trump has stated publicly that he has no confidence in out intelligence agencies, preferring to believe whatever Russia, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia tell him. Obstruction of justice.

It's a circus. Trump claims his innocence and releases a reconstructed account of the call which basically shores up the whistleblower complaint, the White House accidentally sends Democrats their talking points to counteract the accusation and then asks them to please delete it, staunch supporter Lindsey Graham loudly discusses their secret strategy to combat the impeachment inquiry in public on a plane, Trump implicates his AG Barr and his lawyer Giuliani, Giuliani implicates the State Department, and the special envoy to Ukraine resigned after his name was dragged into it. Trump will throw everyone under the bus in an attempt to stop its forward motion before it gets to him showing no loyalty to those from whom he expects complete loyalty but that hasn't stopped the GOP from staunchly defending him even though they took an oath of office to protect and defend America and the Constitution.

And now there might be a second whistleblower trying to decide whether or not to come forward concerning possible interference from Trump regarding the audit of his taxes.

In the meantime Trump is doing what he does, tweeting constantly about how maligned he is, no other president has ever had this kind of harassment (though I expect our four assassinated presidents would argue that point), how perfect he is, how hateful everyone is, insulting everyone against him, insinuating that the whistleblower (who is now under federal protection from Trump and his followers after two of them offered a $50K bounty for his identity) is a spy and should be dealt with accordingly like in the old days, the Republicans are in attack mode accusing the Democrats of 'dividing the country' and not working to pass bipartisan legislature, and by that they mean whatever it is Trump wants, while the Republican Senate ignores the 200 or so bills passed by the House on everything from gun control to election interference protection.

Never have we had a president who takes the word of dictators and national enemies over our own intelligence agencies, who demeans large groups of American citizens on the world stage and at home, who has nasty nicknames for anyone who opposes him, who refuses to read or listen to advice, who asks other countries to investigate the people in this country responsible for its safety, who thinks he is above the law and acts accordingly, who thinks the presidency is/should be all powerful, who puts the fucking foxes in charge of the hen houses, who claims there will be a civil war if he is impeached or even voted out of office, and then complains that he is not being treated fairly.

Madam Pelosi had withheld against the calls for impeachment because she would rather have had him voted out of office but when faced with the whistleblower document knew her duty. Take note Trump and Republicans, when in an interview she was asked if she thought pursuing the impeachment inquiry would have a negative effect on her and Democrats chances of re-election, she responded, (paraphrased because I can't find the actual quote again) 'it doesn't matter, our duty to protect the constitution is clear'.

This is what a true patriot does.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

still summer

The mosquitos are so bad out there you just can't be outside for more than about 5 minutes. Nevertheless, we got out there Thursday and Marc cut up the five fallen limbs of the pecan tree while I loaded them in the garden cart and picked up the hundred other small to medium dead branches scattered about the yard (three mature pecan trees drop a lot of branches especially when someones us just lets them accumulate), then into the truck and drove it over to the burn pile and tossed it out. Three loads. 

A very big chunk of the biggest limb is still lodged in the crook of the tree. We're not sure quite how to get it down without it crushing the azaleas which I would not like at all.

The impetus to finally deal with the branches is because the backyard needs to be mowed and not just to help cut down on the mosquitoes but also because the mature pecans are starting to fall and I can't see them in the tall grasses and weeds.

The heat is stubbornly refusing to go away, the humidity is fierce, and the weather peeps say it may be the second or third week of October before we get anything even resembling a cool front and by that they mean highs in the 80˚s.

Year before last I think, one of the members of the garden club brought a box of mixed and unlabeled bulbs for the taking. I selected five and put them in pots so I could keep track of them. Early last spring one of them bloomed and it was a jonquil. Two others have grown enough that I'm pretty sure they are crinum lilies but they're still too young to bloom so I have no idea what color or kind they are. A couple of days ago the last two with no foliage evident started sending up bloom stalks.

More pics from the yard...

one of the fringe flower trees decided to bloom

a daylily at the end of September

oh those late summer lazy days either that or it's even too damn hot for  grasshoppers

the porterweed finally sent up a couple of bloom stalks

and, not in the yard because she's smarter than that, the mosquitos just swarm her when she goes out, one of Minnie

her work here is done saving us all from small stuffed toys.