Sunday, October 21, 2018

a sunny day, floodwaters, and soggy cotton

As it turned out it rained like hell off and on Friday and we got over 3 1/2”. The ground was already saturated so it's quite mushy out there. It also provided proof that the new gutter across the front of the house is doing its job. The old one leaked above the bay window that juts out barely under the eave and water would sheet down the window screen. I've only gotten about half the screens back up because...rain (and working on molds).

I got the feather mold re-done and yesterday started on the sunflower. I used to work straight through when I filled a mold but I don't necessarily do that now so I'll finish it up today.

Today dawned sunny which seems a rare thing lately though clouds are already moving in. Still, supposed to be mostly sunny today but more heavy rain is predicted for Monday and Tuesday. This area just cannot handle any more rain. A storm from the Pacific moved across and dumped 1 – 3 months rain on the hill country last week and the rivers and lakes are already full to flooding and the Llano River washed away a bridge. Here's a link to the video of it happening. It's pretty awesome and I don't mean in a good way. The Lower Colorado River Authority has opened the floodgates on the dam at Lake Travis on the Colorado River (the one that runs through Wharton) sending all that water downstream to us. It's currently at a little over 26' (bankfull is 20', flood stage is 39') and they expect it to crest at about 31'. 

It crested at 50.5' during the aftermath of Harvey that flooded us. People here are understandably nervous. And now another Pacific hurricane is crossing Mexico and heading our way (the source of the rain predicted for next week).

Because of all this rain the cotton harvesters are backed up and the poor farmer at the end of our street may lose his crop again this year. It looks pretty pathetic already and with more rain it may all end up on the ground.

Friday, October 19, 2018

some disappointing results

The drowned feather has been out of the kiln and I'm happy enough with it

and now the first hummingbird and the moonflower are also though I haven't even cleaned off the last two. Working on filling the feather mold and the sunflower is next. Today (yesterday) is estate sale day though so not sure how much I'll get done.

Well, I just washed off the moonflower and the hummingbird. Disappointing results that bummed me out all day. It's been a long time since I've had a piece (or two) that I considered a failure or less than great. I may do the moonflower again as I do like the design and I do have a second try at the hummingbird (the breast needs to be a little browner and the emerald color on the head is too strong). The surface of the hummingbird will smooth out once I get the finish work done.

I didn't put enough white behind the moonflower (a little more complex than that and if I do it again, which means carving the model again, I'll approach it differently and work in a higher relief) and it came out sort of mottled and the black crept into the edges.

This is the first time I've worked with low relief like this and the whole thing came out thinner than I expected so I may increase the amount of glass for the feather piece (and more white behind the feather itself) which I am still working on. The moonflower was originally intended for one of the boxes but then I thought if it came out really well, I'd have a stand made for it. I'm back now to using it on the second box which saves me having to come up with something for it if I use it at all. It may just get put aside. I'll have to see how it looks after I do the finish work. (Later in the day) I probably won't use it.

After further consideration, I'm undoing all the work I did on the feather mold and starting again so basically most of a days work lost. I used some black opaque powder and in retrospect I think that was a mistake. Not prepared for another disappointing cast.


On a better note, the estate sale proved to be better than the pictures promised and I came away with ten 7” clay flower pots, a wind chime, a glass container with a lid for leftovers, a 5+ gallon bucket, 4 old cookie sheets for putting my potted plants on when I bring them in the house for the winter, and a window decoration of hanging (plastic) crystals all for just $17. And my sister had to almost drag me away as there was a small pecan tree in the yard and the ground underneath it was almost solid with big heavy pecans and I did have a big bucket to put them in. Just seemed such a waste to let them rot on the ground.

The temperatures have warmed up as promised but today (Friday) is overcast and drippy, can't even really call it rain but it's enough to prevent being outside, which is fine since I'm going to empty the feather mold and redo it and it will probably take me most of the day especially considering I probably won't get started til about noon.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

winter is coming

In a matter of about 12 hours Sunday/Monday temperatures went from about 90˚ to the mid-50˚s. Welcome to Texas.

Woke up Monday morning to a strong wind from the northwest, a bit howlly. Minnie was in her sphinx position at the foot of the bed uffing softly at the window. And then it rained. And then it stopped though still overcast and the forecast calls for rain for the next 8 days straight (which has been amended now to rain just a couple of days but overcast and warming). So much for getting out there and attending to the flower beds and gardening now that the weather has cooled off. Oh well, I have two more fresh molds to fill, trimmed and done the volume measure and it's still quite chilly out there today.

My pecan bounty so far...

I know I keep posting pictures of the confederate rose but it's just so pretty

and maybe the other one's buds weren't deformed, just white though they do turn pink by the end of the day.

And from the Bizarro World department our liar-in-chief is claiming that his buds the Saudis didn't kill that reporter and cut him up with a bone saw so it must have been a group of rogue killers. Sure, the most repressive regime on the planet was totally unaware that a bunch of rogue killers were wandering the halls of their embassy. Trump won't, of course, condemn Saudi Arabia because that is exactly what he would like to do to reporters that tell the truth about him. And then there is the Idaho fish and game commissioner who went on an animal killing spree in Africa, bragging about killing a whole family of baboons, even the little baby, and had to step down after the uproar but defended himself saying he didn't do anything illegal, immoral, or unethical. May not have been illegal but, um, yeah, it was immoral and unethical. These people wouldn't know moral or ethical if it came up and kissed them on the lips. Welcome to the new America, you know the one that now threatens to withhold needed humanitarian aid to countries that don't kowtow to Trump and whose SS goon squad (and I don't mean Social Security) is brazenly attacking protesters.

Early voting is going on now in Texas and I intend to cast my vote today (or not since it doesn't start til Monday).

Sunday, October 14, 2018

filling molds

Well, I intended to take more photos as I filled the moonflower mold but as usual, I got focused on the work and completely forgot.

Today (Saturday) I start on the first hummingbird mold. I was going to work on it over at the shop where all my glass is, well, except for the jars that have already been brought over from when I was working on the feathers and sand and rock samples (but of course, those are not any of the colors I need) because of the nice dry cool weather we've been having except today and tomorrow our hot humid weather is back because...the curse. Monday is supposed to be nice though. So I've been over at the shop with two pictures trying to match color samples and select the appropriate jars of frit (crushed glass) so that hopefully I will only have to make one more trip over there she says as she laughs hysterically.

The flowers are done and it only took me um, maybe five trips, four or five, over to the shop in all. I could have persevered and got it all done tonight but it would have been another 3 or 4 hours (make that 5).

In between stints at the worktable I picked up pecans. It's been very windy today, gustful, and a lot are falling. I came in with a shirtful three times today from my three trees. And would you believe, I had to water today? All that rain and the ground is already cracking.

This morning (Sunday) was as still as it was windy yesterday but then the breeze picked up some and I've collected more pecans off and on during the day, usually when I take a break from bending over the mold.

I was better about taking pictures of filling this mold until the very end when I failed to take a picture after I filled the background in and before I covered it over with the layers of clear and white.

This is an Anna's hummingbird, one of the ruby throated. The two colors of frit I used for the flowers and the throat of the hummingbird are called strikers and won't become their true colors, ruby pink and ruby red, until they're fired. So this is what I have been doing all weekend in between picking up pecans...

They'll go in the kiln either tonight or tomorrow.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

a walk around the yard and filling a mold

While we had two mornings in the high 60˚s spaced apart by several days a week or so ago, today is the first cool front to come through that will be sustained with a dip down to just below 60˚ tonight and next week in the low to mid 50˚s. Standing out in the yard late afternoon yesterday a breeze came up with just a hint of coolness and coming out from yoga class last night it was definitely in the air. This morning the breeze was from the north and, most importantly, it isn't humid and I had the door standing open to get some fresh air in the house most of this beautiful day.

After all my moaning about the pecan trees dropping all their green nuts and fears of one more year of no crop I have been picking up pocketfuls of heavy pecans free of their husks every time I go out now that the yard has finally been mowed and I can see them. It was getting pretty wild out there, almost knee high at the back of the property. I may not get enough to have and sell both but I'll get enough for several pies at least.

The confederate rose was looking especially bloomful this morning 

and the one with the deformed buds is finally producing some flowers albeit about half the size they should be and not fully formed. They are opening white and turning to pink during the day.

I noticed some time ago that my two beautiful clumps of parsley had been devoured by these

and the other day I saw one of the transformations, wings hanging to dry.

And then there was this moth resting on the underside of this bromeliad leaf.

A bad picture of the mistflower, one of my fall favorites, which I brought over from the Houston house.

Starting on the moonflower mold, layering in the colors.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

no garden, deformed buds, cast glass, and no politics

I decided a few days ago that I just wasn't going to put in a winter garden. I still haven't cleaned out the big bed and the two smaller ones already have nut grass and johnson grass coming back up because all around them is one big weedy mess and what with my back issues and all and the heat and the rain it just seemed like too much and the handle of my shovel is now broken instead of just cracked. Well, my back is good but I don't have the energy or interest to tackle all the surrounding area or the big bed. However, I'm going on an outing with the garden club Thursday and one of the destinations is a nursery so who knows what I'll come home with.

I have two confederate rose bushes, both volunteers, one of which I transplanted to where it is and it is blooming beautifully. 

The second one I tried to dig up and pot but waited too late so let it grow. It is just as covered in buds as the other but none are opening and they're all deformed.

This is what they are supposed to look like...

I have no idea or explanation for this but since it's not in a best place anyway, I'm going to cut it down and dig up the root. We're supposed to have four dry days in a row in the low 80s this week. Perfect for yard work and mold making.

Saturday, I finally filled the big drowned feather mold left over from last year and it's in the kiln cooling down. It took me all day and three or four trips over to the shop to fetch things I needed though it didn't take that long to actually fill the mold. Still have the other two wax models waiting for molds but I've sort of lost interest. I wasn't thrilled with the first one, didn't care for how the rocks came out and too much sand. I don't think I ever posted a picture of it. I may cut off part of it. 10" x 10" x 1/2"

And here's the finished wax model of the sunflower.

Now that Rocky has finished all the remodeling that needed to be done I'm casting my eye around these properties after a year of neglect. The flood brought so many unwelcome seeds. There are wild grape vines everywhere there wasn't and the dewberry brambles too and the horrid cowpea. It's just overwhelming. Not using poisons was so easy in the city on a small city lot. Out here I find myself contemplating it. Also now that Rocky has finished painting the house I'm slowly getting the screens back up on the windows, hosing down the screens and washing the outside face of the windows first. I've done five! Seventeen to go.

Sunday I didn't feel well, the cumulative effect of all the focus on the latest Republican debacle. I'm swearing off social media for a while. No more twitter, very limited FB scrolling quickly past anything that even remotely smacks of politics or the cruelty of Trump and his following. Like Steve Reed wrote “I've got to find beauty and peace in what's going on around me”. Wallowing in the outrage accomplishes nothing. The only power I have is my vote.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

small collections

A couple of years ago when I was still working Saturdays at the antique store I arrived one morning to see that one of the vendors had brought in an antique Chinese herb cabinet. I bought it on the spot (it was ridiculously cheap). I posted a picture of it back then.

This is what I did with it...

L to R: seeds from the native Texas mountain laurel tree, snail shells, quartz crystals from Boquillas Canyon in Big Bend, marbles, seashells and bits of coral

L to R: clay heads, seeds and seed pods, tiny carved animals and a silver elephant ornament, metal animals and a soldier and a lego man, rocks

L to R: pieces of wood and a whittled fork, petrified wood and a fossil trilobite, tin insect pins, butterfly and dragonfly wings, spines from the century plant

L to R: snakeskin and turtle scales, the lock and key for the bottom of the cabinet, crab claws, firecrackers and a lighter, butterfly and moth and dragonfly

Friday, October 5, 2018

all over the place

When they appoint Kavanaugh, whose own profession does not support him, to the Supreme Court we will have lost any claim to moral authority that we might still have had. The American Empire is officially in decline. Lies under oath, belligerence, absolute partisanship, threats of retaliation, credible charges of sexual assault are now acceptable for a Supreme Court justice. Trump/Nero fiddles and Congress dances to the tune.

The confederate rose bushes are blooming but they got so tall over the summer that all the blooms are way at the top.

I wrote Rocky his final check yesterday and sent him on his way until sometime after the first of the year when we will get him to start on the new deck in the front. It's going to be nice just to have the regular monthly bills for a change. We might even go buy a new pump for the small pond which has sat stagnant for a year since the most recent pump died after Harvey. It's full of minnows so it's not breeding mosquitoes.

And the last picture of the house in its new clothes, the backside of the garage and bedroom with the etched glass windows.

We went to another estate sale yesterday handled by a different person. The guy running it has had several antique/decorating businesses in the past. The sale is billed as a moving sale but what it looked like was a clearing-out-my-warehouse-of-all-the-stuff-and-trying-to-get-rid-of-it sale. Regardless, I picked up a very cool heron sculpture for $12 

and a small table/plant stand for $6. They also had a loveseat which I had just this week been thinking I needed one of for my studio room so people (my sister) would have a place to sit when they came over. It seemed a good price at $75 but I didn't want to pay that much. Today was 25% off so I went back to see if it had sold. I thought as I left the house that if it was meant for me it would still be there. And it was.

Still have daylilies. In October. Unheard of.

And the little red lilies that usually start coming up in late December and start blooming late February are sprouting. In October.

So I reported last that my back was improving daily, and it was until last Sunday when I woke up and it was as bad or worse as it had been. WTF! I had been a good girl concerning activity. Monday, just as bad and so I finally went to the chiropractor Monday afternoon. Monday night, felt great, could sit, stand, lay with no pain, just some residual soreness. Tuesday morning it was as if I hadn't even been. Wednesday morning, pain free and I walked on eggshells all day afraid to move for fear of it jarring it back. But Thursday and today, pain free and seems to be holding.

So, of course, coming back from picking up the loveseat it started to rain and we were trying to get it out of the truck as fast as we could and I grabbed hold of the corner of the truck, set my right foot on the (now slick) corner of the bumper, went to swing my left leg down and my shoe slipped off the bumper and down I went. On concrete. I landed on my back but I had automatically (because there was no conscious thought about it and it happened so fast) tucked and rolled when I felt myself go and I popped right up. It didn't hurt and I'm not feeling any recurrence so far. We'll see how it feels tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

fear and loathing in America

GOP men are angry and afraid. Why should that be if they have conducted themselves in a moral and lawful manner? They are furious at the 'character assassination' of Kavanaugh. But the truth is if Kavanaugh, or any of them, were innocent they wouldn't have multiple accusers. Because men who commit sexual assault don't just do it once. If it was one woman and her story were sketchy, they might have a point. But as I told my cousin, women will not put themselves in the position Ford put herself in, opening herself to hate and ridicule and actual threats against her physical being, threats of being raped for sure, unless what they were saying was the absolute truth and even then most women won't.

These men aren't really angry about the sexual assault accusation. They are angry and afraid that their rich white male privilege of power is being questioned. They are angry and afraid that women are no longer suffering in silence. They are angry and afraid that they may actually be called to account for not only their crimes against women but for all their underhanded corrupt manipulations. And this is why they are rabidly defending Kavanaugh because if their carefully groomed-over-decades candidate for the Supreme Court gets taken down they have no one to protect them. They know that the other shoe is going to drop since many of them are under investigation and they fear they will lose the majority in Congress at the midterms. And this is why, Roe vs Wade aside, they are pushing for Kavanaugh's confirmation before the midterms.

On October 5th the Supreme Court will take up the case Gamble vs the US No. 17-646. At stake is the 'separate sovereigns' exception to double jeopardy. If this gets overturned then people who get presidential pardons for federal crimes can't be tried for that crime at the state level. Trump can pardon them all and they will have nothing to fear from states' attorneys.

So, sexual assault charges against Kavanaugh aside, and yes that should disqualify him for that alone, his behavior, his demeanor, his complete lack of composure during the hearing should disqualify him. He cried and lied, he raged and threatened retaliation, he was rude to his questioners and refused to answer questions, he showed himself to be completely partisan. His rich white boy privilege was on full display with McConnell and Graham raging right alongside him. If you want to see what venomous rage looks like you need only look at the faces of those three men (and had I been able to find the picture of the three of them with their rage faces on during and after the hearing it would be right here). This is not the kind of person who should sit on the Supreme Court, and there is some question as to his actual jurisprudence experience, these are not the kind of men who should be seated in Congress. They have no concern for the good of this country. Their only concern is staying in power and enriching themselves at the expense of every citizen.

And Trump? He called on a female reporter at a press conference and said to her “You're not thinking. You never do.” and then he refused to answer her question. Later he said "It's a very scary time for young men in America...” referring to the sexual assault accusation against Kavanaugh.

Well, welcome to the club. It's always a scary time in America for girls, young women, grown women, and old women who must keep on guard at all times, who refrain from certain activities at certain times of the day or doing things alone, who every time they go anywhere must be vigilant against the possibility and probability of sexual assault. 

So excuse me if I don't have any tears to shed for men who fear their past may come back to bite them in the ass.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

a painted house and impending fall

Two days without rain in a row last week and the house painting is all but finished! Everything major thing is done except the repair on the window in the garage and then the walk around for any final touch-ups but good enough for pictures.

Rocky got the support pillar in place for the front corner of the roof but we left it unpainted until we get the deck built which we probably won't do til next year to let our bank account recover a bit. We also opted not to paint the garage doors or the storm door in front, both already being white.

just as a reminder, here's a 'before' picture

this is the half of the house that flooded

Body-wise my back improves daily with no need for pain meds since Thursday. The estate sale in the next town over was average though I did pick up another bird house the whole time telling my sister and myself I don't need another bird house since I already have three that I still haven't put up. I bought it anyway. We checked out the charity shops there looking for cookie sheets with edges on them for putting plants on when we bring all the small stuff in for the winter and then we passed a quilting store that neither of us had been in before. I knew it was there but I didn't realize that it was a fabric store devoted to quilting, not sure what I thought it was, maybe a place to gather to quilt, so I made a big U-turn and even though we don't quilt and don't really even sew anymore, we took our time just looking at all the fabric and notions and gizmos and patterns and finished goods. This is about one fourth of the store.

Of course now I find it after the grandgirls are over wanting to learn to sew. I guess that's good as we'd be there all day if I had to pick a single fabric from all the gorgeous bolts they had.

Rained again yesterday 3/4”. The Wharton County of Emergency Management says we've had 8 1/2” of rain this month where our historical average is 5”. I'm not amazed that we've had over 8” but I am amazed that our average for September is 5”!

Signs of impending cooler weather are popping up besides the pampas grass sending up new plumes and the two mornings we woke up to 68˚ and the days getting shorter. The rain trees all over town are coming out in bloom

and the angel trumpet too

and the confederate rose bushes are full of buds which should start opening in a few days.

Now if the temperature would just come down and hang out in the high 70s and low 80s we'd be good.