Monday, July 30, 2018

drawings and eggs and spite

In answer to Sabine's musing about my weekend, Saturday I read, took a nap, finished sanding down the door jamb, and cleaned up all the dust before I fed the dog and took her for a walk before quitting for the day (back to the book). Sunday I watered part of the yard, fertilized a few things and mulched the white butterfly ginger and a couple of other things (which I've been meaning to do for weeks); repainted the door jamb, did a new drawing (skipped yesterday), watered some more of the yard, and read til time for dog duty.

Y'all might be tired of me posting my drawings but I'm not tired of doing it. I'm actually kind of impressed with myself. These drawings are all really quite small as my sketchbook is only 5 1/2” x 8 1/2”, don't know if that is apparent in the pictures, probably not. The feather is the largest at 6 1/2” with the orchid tree flower at 5”, the poppy seed pod at almost 5”. The smallest is the bean sprout at about 2 3/4”. The wren skull below is 3 1/4”.

Except for the first drawing, the feather, the last four are done two to a page so as not to waste space. I kind of like the combinations.

It is so hot and dry here still that I spend a lot of time watering the yard mornings and evenings. This morning after watering the front yard I laid the hose in the fern bed and just let it run for 2 1/2 hours moving it every 30 minutes. I do wish we would get some rain but it looks like no chance of that til next weekend if then.

If I stay on task that I have set for myself, I should be doing another drawing and getting out the wax and tools today. Monday is a short day though as I have yoga at 5:15 20 minutes away in the next town over and there's a stack of dirty dishes and cutlery in the kitchen so we'll see what I manage to get accomplished (so far...nothing).

My neighbor D (of R and D and the chickens and gun shooting) flagged me down as I walked past with the dog Friday evening as she dashed into their garage and returned with two dozen eggs which I am happy to have. We're down to 6 chickens (from 13) she tells me. The last two died she thinks from heat stroke, so 'we're letting them out in the yard for now'. You might recall R was in the habit of shooting at any and all dogs that would come in their yard attracted by the chickens (or the cat food they leave in the garage) and had an altercation with the 'butt-hurt' (R's description) neighbor on the other side when he shot at J's dog in J's yard while J was standing out front and heard the bullet go whizzing by so they had been keeping the chickens in one of the ruined greenhouses on the property (this is Frank of the Bountiful Garden's old place) until recently when they bought a prefab chicken coop with fenced yard. It's a tiny little thing (especially the enclosed part with the nesting boxes) and must be hot as hell in there where they found the most recently dead chicken.

I talked with J about it one day after only getting R's side of it. That's when I found out that J's dog (who is always kept in their fenced yard but had managed to escape) was in his own yard during the incident. R was going on about his right to protect his property, and being able to use his gun is why they moved out to the country. J had to remind him that this ain't the country, this is a neighborhood, country is being out at the ranch where the closest neighbor is a mile and a half away. R was unconvinced and finally J told him 'I have a gun too. Want me to start shooting your chickens every time they come in my yard?' (R's chickens had previously totally destroyed a shade garden that J's wife had planted on the side of the house.) So the chickens have been cooped up since. (J also told me he saw R shooting towards the mobile home park on the other side of the 12 acre field behind us all one day and not too long after a sheriff pulled up at R's place.)

Anyway, I remarked to D that I see that the hog wire had been delivered for the fence they plan to put up around their property on three sides. The fourth side, the side between them and J, is getting a solid plank high spite fence.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

possible weekend activities

Two more drawings 

and some sketching and planning towards some new pate de verre work. Years ago we did four full light doors for a client of which the designs were native birds and trees. I've always liked those vignettes and am planning a triptych of my three favorites that will be mounted for hanging on a wall. These will be the biggest pieces I have done to date and will have several components. I'm taking a workshop next month in a technique developed by another glass artist which involves modeling the glass powder like clay which I may incorporate in those pieces and will surely use it to make the feather component for the blue heron box (now if I can only decide on the feet for the box which I'm leaning toward egg shapes). Eventually I'm going to have to brave the heat over at the shop and get my wax blanks made so as to start on the models. I can put that off a little longer as I have two models that I started last year that need to be finished.

But now it's the weekend. Now that the house on the inside is done (the exterior still needs to be painted) and now that we retired from the commission work I plan to continue doing my drawing a day for a while but also work on the cast glass Monday through Friday with house and miscellaneous projects for the weekends, at least until it cools off enough to work in the yard and garden. Even so, I should devote at least two hours (or more) a day to the art work.

Today I'm back to working on the door to the little bathroom (at least that's the plan), sanding the jamb down a little more and touching up the paint. Tomorrow I'm going to try and get the four birdhouses up outside somewhere. Of course it's only tolerable out there until about 8:30 AM so that may not happen. Or I could move the antique buffet out of my studio room and into the back bedroom or peel the ruined veneer off the hope chest and get it cleaned up and back in the back bedroom. I'd just get rid of it except my daughter wants it but has no place to put it in her house right now. Or I could hang the lace curtain material I bought in Portugal over the little window in the back bedroom which requires going to a store and getting the brackets and rod. 

Or I could sit and read. I'm more than half way through Dragonfly In Amber, the second in the Outlander series. I guess we'll see how it all plays out especially since I could go take a nap right about now.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

photo dump

Not making much headway yet on new work, mostly just in the planning stage of a few pieces. Probably won't get the wax out til Monday so it won't be spread out over the weekend. But! I have been doing my drawing a day, for two days anyway, still time today.

Tuesday's drawing...

Wednesday's drawing...

Some photos that have been piling up...

the ginger has finally started blooming, late and not very profusely, just so hot, hard to keep it watered

I've been seeing newly hatched anoles but never have my camera handy, I did have it though when I spotted this young preying mantis, a male perhaps or an immature female

Saturday night's sunset...

Monday evening's sky...

foggy Wednesday morning...

clouds over the cotton field...

white orchid tree blooms...

lost baby shoe in a parking lot...

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

no more excuses

I've been telling myself that I can't get any work done while the house was under construction because of the constant interruptions especially considering my work table was the staging area for tools and lists and miscellaneous things connected with the construction but that all ended last Friday. Attending to small details is now relegated to weekends and I spent the day Monday cleaning off my table and covering it with a fresh clean length of paper. Today I got out my sketchbook and a print of my next feather piece to get started on the line drawing that precedes the wax model making. Probably won't get out the model making tools til the end of the week.

The sketchbook is out because I intend to do a drawing a day just to warm up and get back in the habit of drawing, something I haven't done since our last etched glass job, well except for the December Sunday morning last year that I joined a life drawing opportunity at Archway, the artist owned gallery. I can't tell you how many years it's been since I participated in a life drawing class or how nervous I was when I first got there but after the first 10 minutes or so I relaxed and did some sketches that weren't terrible.

We won't do any mold making or casting til later as it is still blistering hot out

and in the shop and our one working kiln is still shoved in the corner of the garage surrounded by stuff and will stay that way until it cools down enough to get out there and empty and rearrange the garage.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

it's so hot out there it makes you gasp

And it's going to get hotter, predicting 102˚ or higher for Monday depending on which weather service but maybe some rain next week which would be wonderful since it's been forever since we got any decent rain. It is so dry out there that I'm having to water every day. I try to get out there as soon as I wake up but I didn't get up til 8:30 this morning and an hour later I had only watered half the back yard.

Good news is the inside of the house is finished! Rocky switched out the faucet and got the sink installed again, put up the towel bar and TP holder, shelves in the closet. I got the shower curtain hung and put the shelves in the mirrored cabinet, touched up the paint here and there and then noticed that I had to practically slam the bathroom door to get it to latch. Not practically but actually. It hung up at the bottom and stuck out and the latch had to be forced (hence the slamming) so I got the sander out and examined the jamb and the hardware on the door and none of it was flush (except for the top hinge on the door). So I removed it all and carved out the indentions better and adjusted the catch on the jamb (which Rocky had already done) which involved a chisel and longer screws and wood putty and and sanded down the jamb at the bottom and it took me all fucking day but now the door closes and latches easily (if still firmly) except it still hangs up a little at the bottom but I need coarser sandpaper and then I have to touch up the paint and hope like hell that the thickness of the paint doesn't cause it to hang up again. These are all after pics,, just to show you what I worked on all day besides sanding the bottom of the jamb down some...


It's not that Rocky did a bad job when he hung the door. It's this crazy house where nothing lines up and he spent nearly a whole day just getting the door hung in the first place. I'm sure he was frustrated and slamming at that point must have seemed good enough.

Anyway, here's the new bathroom. Just a reminder, this room is 5' x 5'.




and the closet and the small hall.



Thursday, July 19, 2018

we were so close!

Monday little things got done...some painting, thresholds put in between the floor surfaces, closet bar hung, sealer put on the tile and grout, stuff like that. Tuesday the plumber showed up and the water lines got switched and Gunnar cleaned up the garage emptying it of all the leftover building materials and scrap and trash and in general tidying it up. Yesterday Marc took the hot water handle on the sink apart to replace the washer since it dripped (we were using an old sink set that had sat out in the garage or barn for the last 6 years because let's save a little money and we like this one) to discover that it wasn't an ordinary washer thingy and so we decided to just keep the hot water valve shut off unless needed and then shut if off after use. I happened to look down and there was a puddle of water on the floor next to the wall. Curious. Wiped it up, turned on the water in the sink and water started flowing out from under the bead board.

I called Rocky. I hate to tell you this but water is flowing out from under the wall. He tells me later that he thought I was kidding and he was waiting for a little laughter and when it didn't come, oh man, she's serious. He was here in 5 minutes. He and Gunnar pulled out the mirrored cabinet and located the leak near the floor so out came the sink, off came the base board and chair rail, off came the panel of bead board so they could re-do the drain part of the plumbing for the sink. This is how they left it yesterday 6ish.

So I'm off this morning to get a new sink faucet set since as long as the sink is down, we might as well. What's another $70 when we've already spent $30,000. It's a good thing we made a killing when we sold the city property since FEMA only shelled out $11,000.

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. Gunnar's girlfriend went in to have their baby early Thursday morning (Gunnar 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.