Sunday, July 15, 2018

punch list, sweat, red velvet ant, and blog fix

Well, my dedicated week with Rocky lasted three days but he did have a good excuse. Gunner's girlfriend went in to have their baby early Thursday morning (Gunner is Rocky's son) and ended up having to have a C-section, poor thing, and delivered an 8 1/2 pound baby boy, a chunky little thing Rocky says. Rocky did show up yesterday (Saturday) and is back today. We're down to a little caulking, painting touch-up, and some grouting touch-up in the shower, oh, and switching the water pipes around in the attic so I have cold water to the toilet. No pictures though until they are completely finished which should be Monday after Gunnar touches up the paint for the last time. Finished whether all the picky details are attended to or not. Whatever is left I can take care of myself.

Yesterday I got out in the yard and cut back the climbing roses against the fence which were just canes with almost no foliage late morning and then early evening trundled the wheelbarrow full of plant trash to the burn pile, tidied up the burn pile since the last time Marc torched it only the center burned so all the small and large branches had to be moved into one neat pile, filled the wheelbarrow again with the squash and tomato trash and dumped it on the burn pile, plus my almost daily watering morning and evening and by the time I finished I was dripping sweat and by that I mean my hair was soaked, my clothes were soaked and sweat was running off me as if I had just stepped out of a pool.

A couple of weeks ago I was picking that big pile of dead plant material that I had made clearing the clasping leaved coneflowers out of the mini-wildflower meadow and putting it in the wheelbarrow when I unknowingly stepped on one of these...

It's a female red velvet ant, which is really a ground based wingless wasp (the male has wings and does not sting), and they say that the sting is the most painful of all the wasp stings and I'm here to tell you it's the truth. It stung me on the bottom of my left foot (yes I was barefoot) in the middle of the soft part of the arch. Holy fucking cow that hurt but after a couple of hours the pain had subsided and the next day the spot was a little tender but no further pain...for about a week until one evening it was feeling a little tender and I pressed on it and felt a hard lump at the insertion point with a two inch hard line radiating out towards my swollen instep and the whole bottom of my foot was on fire and itching like mad. Over the next week, any stimulation would produce the same result so I soaked it in the hottest water I could stand with epsom salt several times a day and it gradually got better. Today, the hard line has softened considerably as has the lump and the swelling has mostly gone down and while it will still itch a bit if stimulated, it subsides quickly. Will this finally teach me to wear shoes out in the yard? Probably not.

So, here's something totally unrelated. Many of us have noticed that comments on our blogs are no longer sent to our email even though we have it set for that. I learned on another blog that the way to fix that is to go to your settings for email notification and delete your email address, save the new setting, add your email address again and save the setting and it will start sending comments to your inbox again. I did it and it works.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

I spy with my little eye

I went out to water the little backyard this morning and looked up to see this, just bold as you please, hanging out, checking out the neighborhood...

I have two birdhouses up on 2x4s attached to the fence so I turned to look at the other one and sure enough...

In case you can't tell what those are, they're tree frogs. I don't think birds have ever nested in either of those bird houses, at least not that I've noticed, so squatters moved in. The pictures are at high zoom so not so clear, especially the second one since that one was very shy and at the least movement would duck back and out of sight. It took me three tries to sneak up on it to get a picture.

A week ago when reinstalling the toilet was eminent I set about to clean it since it had been sitting outside the back door for 10 months and when I took the top off the tank to see if there was water in there I found this one making itself at home...

When I finished watering and went to hang up the nozzle (I hook it on a small branch of the shrubby tree thing next to the faucet) I noticed this...

I haven't seen one of these since we bought this place. This property had been vacant for a year and the first time we came out to look at it big banana spiders were everywhere. The next year we had a few and then after that, none so I was very surprised to see this one just after Ms Moon and I talked about sending me an egg case since she has lots of them. This one is little, body less than an inch, so it's either a young female or a male.

A couple of days after I returned from my trip to Portugal I looked out the glass in the back door and saw this red shouldered hawk on the fence scrutinizing the turtle pond with its fishy denizens (also high magnification as I was shooting through the glass in the back door).

I guess it figured they were more trouble than they were worth because it flew off after a while.

On the way back from the art festival we passed a vendor selling Fredericksburg peaches so we stopped and bought some. Fredericksburg is a small town in the hill country.

And finally, it's July and right on schedule the pecan trees are dropping immature fruit. These are all an inch or less. We haven't had a decent harvest for three years so I was hoping for a good one this year since we've been getting rain. It remains to be seen.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

finishing up

Rocky and Gunner showed up yesterday morning and started in on finishing up the bathroom, hall, and closet. For the first time since they started back on the house towards the end of last February the back wall of the closet has been permanently closed in, sheetrocked, taped and floated though it was temporarily boarded up while I was in Portugal and again while my friend Helen was here. 

not a very exciting picture but what it represents is very exciting!

Rocky took off after a while to get hopefully the last of the materials needed to finish...a couple of 1x6s, another piece of baseboard trim, the drain part and plumbing kit for the sink, stuff like that. I still need to get the toilet paper holder, soap dish and caddy for the shower, towel bar for under the window, hanging rod for the closet, stuff like that. They're back today.

It's been fairly rainy for the past week or so, nothing heavy or steady but accompanied by rumbling in the distance which turns the dog into a trembling and panting mess. Some areas around us have been getting torrential rain and we drove through some going to and returning from Rockport but mostly we've only gotten light rain off and on. Because of this I hadn't walked the dog for two days and so we set out last night. She seemed anxious to go, trotted down the driveway, turned right and then trotted over to the drive to the shop and stopped and looked up at me.

What? I'm following you” I told her. Then she trotted up to the door of the shop and looked up at me expectantly.

We're not going in. There's no one in there.” Earlier in the house she was convinced someone was over at the shop, barking her head off.

As long as we were already over there I went and looked at the garden. OMG it is a total weedy mess. I hadn't been back over there since I pulled up all the corn about 2 1/2 weeks ago completely forgetting about the zucchini I spied and the green beans that were putting on a new burst of flowers and the little eggplant too. The tomatoes are a scraggly mess, still blooming! but not setting fruit though there were still a few green tomatoes covered with stink bugs.

I had noticed a volunteer earlier twined around one of the tomatoes which looked sort of like it would be a melon of some sort and two of the little fruits had turned yellow so I have no idea what this is. It's a tiny thing, about an inch and a half in diameter.

I really need to get over there and pull it all out and try and reclaim the spaces between the beds. I'm going to need the biggest stoutest weedwacker in the world for that. And that was the end of our walk. Minnie made a bee line back to the house.

I did go back over and pick all the green beans, 3 1/2 lbs!, many of which are good for nothing but chicken food they are so big and fat with beans/seeds.

Just came in from pulling up the rest of the squash and the tomatoes leaving the beans, eggplant, bell pepper, and jalapeno but why I left the jalapeno is beyond me. I haven't picked a single one and the plant is full of red and green ones. 

I am one hot wet mess and I left all the debris on the ground to be picked up this evening when the sun isn't blasting.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Rockport Art Festival

122 artists...29 painting, 22 jewelery, 15 mixed media, 14 photography, 9 ceramics, 8 sculpture (stone, wood, etc.), 7 wood, 6 glass (with one exception the glass was all very basic beginner stuff), 6 pastel/drawing, 6 other (fiber, leather, etc.).

Like all art festivals there were works of exquisite quality and works that you wonder how the hell they managed to get juried in. I did get tired of seeing fish and sea birds though (Rockport is on the coast) as that seemed to be the subject matter of a majority of the artists.

These were my favorites (alphabetically by first name)...

Aly Winningham's creative whimsical mosaics

Al and Jenny Hoeksema's colorful ceramics

Bill Killean's beautiful carved wood sculpture (I could find nothing on him, only his email address on his card

Cindy Gentry's unique and beautiful flame worked glass and silver jewelry


Darby Freeman's fun mosaic fish and skulls

James Offeman's exquisite pastel paintings of birds (might have to save up for one of his)

Larry Pile's fun fused glass

Randy Martin's kinetic copper sculptures (I bought one of the mermaids)

Steven Garza's beautiful carved wood fishing reels (I could find nothing on him, only his email address on his card

Suzanne Juneau's gorgeous brass, bronze, copper, and enameled jewelry (I bought one of her pins and I don't even wear pins!)

Yan Lee's ink portraits of famous trees

a few more pictures...

Friday, July 6, 2018

it's been a lazy rest of the week

Well, as several people have pointed out, the subdued celebration of the 4th was more likely because it fell in the middle of the week instead of my preferred reason. Especially out here in this little red town. We recently had a special election for our US Representative since the last one resigned amid a sexual harassment scandal and our district elected a party line Republican to replace him. Hopefully it's only temporary and he will get the boot in November.

We went to see Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, number 5 in the Jurassic series.

What can you say about it? Arrogant humans think they can control dinosaurs, dinosaurs eat arrogant humans, dinosaurs are loose in the Pacific Northwest. The plan to save the dinosaurs from the volcano eruption and move them to a new island sanctuary is a ruse and the true purpose is to capture as many as possible and sell them on the black market for millions. Oh, and to continue the plan to weaponize them for war (because isn't that what we humans do, weaponize everything?), as if we don't have bombs big enough to take out a trained dinosaur. The last scene on the island is rather poignant though with the lava flowing to the ocean while the last brontosaurus bellows on the edge before being overcome.

Tomorrow morning I have to get up early and pick my sister up by 8 AM as we have plans to drive the 2 hours to Rockport for their annual art festival which is supposed to be one of the best in the country. Not an early riser like my sister who inquired when she first proposed the trip if I would be able to get up in time. Yes. I'm a big girl, I can set my alarm and get up when I have to. We're going to take the back road state highway along the coast, a much more pleasant drive albeit a little longer time wise.

What did I say about Rocky showing up today? So far, no. I imagine he plans to show up tomorrow which he has done the last three Saturdays except I won't be here and it's better if he doesn't work when I'm not here. Hopefully he'll give me enough days next week to finish.

I could probably think of many things I could and should do for the rest of the day today but instead I'm going to go sit and continue to read Outlander. When my sister brought the book to me I about fainted...627 pages of small type and small pacing between lines. OMG, it will take forever for me to read this book except that it grabbed me almost immediately. I'm at least 3/4s of the way through and was surprised that, in this first book at least, it was a woman that passed through time. For some reason I had always thought it was a man.

Ah, so Rocky popped in a little after two, has caught up on his two other jobs and can give me his undivided attention now til it's done. Should take less than a week.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

a minor death

My iPad died Monday night. It was working fine Monday, about half charged when I closed it for the last time and it went to sleep. Tuesday morning it was a black unresponsive screen which did not revive after being hooked up to the charger. It was only 5 years old.

I still have my older iPad, the one I thought I lost in the parking lot of a church and went out and bought the new one right away and the next day the church called me that the old one had been turned in. Still, I had apps and several half written blog posts on the dead one that I don't have on the old one.

My desktop is old enough now that I can no longer update the operating system, so says Marc. He thinks I should get a new one but this one still works fine for what I use it for. I think if I'm going to get a new anything, I'd rather have a laptop though I doubt any kind of new device is in the foreseeable future what with the house still under repair.

Speaking of which I called Rocky this morning and let him know we wouldn't be home today just in case he planned to show up (no, he has us for Friday) since we're going to see the new Jurassic World movie as long as Minnie the dog is over at my sister's house.

It rained gently all day yesterday, which we really needed, stopping before dark though Houston got hammered with 8” and, big surprise, once again flooded, Buffalo Bayou cresting it's banks and inundating the park where the 4th of July celebration stages were set up. The city cancelled the party about mid-day though the fireworks were still supposed to go on, but y'all stay home and watch it on TV. The usual fireworks that go on around here seemed more subdued than past years, not as many, not as fancy, and not for as long. I wonder if my neighbors are just as unhappy about the direction this country has taken as I am since rain has never dampened their enthusiasm in the past.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

beasts, little and big

I've spent the last two days in that little cramped hot and mosquito-y bathroom applying the cream etch to those blue glass tiles. First I had to tape off around them and cover the hex tiles to protect everything else from errant drops of the etching cream. It took two applications to get a nice even satin finish, hence the two days.

I've had three showers in two days. Got up yesterday morning and showered before getting dressed, before deciding to work on those tiles that day, and then sprayed myself down with poison to avoid the hungering hordes while I dripped sweat until I finally wrapped a rolled up bandana around my forehead. But first application done and cleaned up, I showered again, drove to the next town for yoga, and walked the dog the short walk. I meant to do the long walk because I need to get more exercise but Minnie wanted to do the sunny section first and that was that, besides, I told myself, I just did 45 minutes of yoga and that's exercise.

Today, I did the second application and then cleaned it all up and I really like the way it looks, softer, not shiny or reflective

and I hope won't show up scratches because they are glass tiles and glass will scratch. Of course, there is no 'before' picture besides this old one That seems to be the way I roll.

And so I took my third shower and then decided that the dog needed a bath too, so I gave the dog a bath, toweled her off, took her outside and she took off like a bullet, zooming around running big loops in my neighbor's empty half acre, being all happy dog and then we did the long walk.

So tomorrow is the Forth of July. I probably won't even put the flag out. This version of the nation is not one I wish to celebrate. This government is filled with depraved and cruel people who are manipulating things so that they and their cronies can get even richer than they already are while they destroy the Western Alliance and give Russia and China everything they ever wanted. An unholy trinity.

The dog will go to my sister's house as it will be much quieter there inside the city limits. Out here in the county there are several people (us included at times) in our little neighborhood who usually do some pretty nice displays. I admit, I love fireworks, big bangs and all, and if it weren't for the ravenous beasts, I'd be outside watching.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

bathroom update

We are so close!!! The tile is all in and grouted though it still needs inspection. The walls are painted but will need touching up. Friday the toilet went in but it turns out the plumber's helper that did the pipe work in the attic hooked the toilet up to the hot water. The mirrored cabinet went in to the tune of much cursing (removing parts of 2x4s involved). Wiring moved, hole repaired, and the bracket for the light fixture went up but it needs to be moved up another 1/2" yes, it makes a difference to me. Baseboards, chair rails, and door trim got worked on. Rocky worked Saturday and the door to the bathroom went in and the molding went up around it on both sides and around the door to the rest of the house from the hall.

tile grouted and papered over, walls and bead board painted; a little different angle than I've been showing:

finished floor (though I still need to cream etch the blue border tiles to give them a softer look), baseboards and chair rail getting cut:

chair rail and baseboards going in, door trim around the shower in, mirrored cabinet installed, toilet installed, light fixture bracket (which you can't see in this pic) in, floor is covered again to protect it:

the door and most the molding and chair rail is in:

Of course, finishing the bathroom isn't finished. 

The back wall of the closet/hall has to be rebuilt and the access to that part of the house through the garage (instead of through my room) closed off, insulated, sheet rocked, textured and painted, and baseboards. And then the punch list on bedroom and bath/hall/closet. House still needs to be painted but that can wait til fall.