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.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

another day of the same crazy shit

So Tuesday I spent the day with large amounts of ibuprofen laid out on the couch with book 4 of the Outlander series. Drank the last glass of the wine that evening from a week old bottle. Bedtime and I'm having gut issues and spent most the night on the toilet. WTF! I don't know if it was the week+ old wine or the pinto beans and cornbread for dinner two nights in a row but the husband wasn't having any issues. Yesterday was better and I did some area specific stretches for my back and today is about the same but I did my yoga routine this morning which helped.

Rain report: 1/2” last night, 1/2” yesterday.

After giving the concrete pillar another 10 minutes or so with the sledgehammer yesterday, Rocky finally gave up and rented a jackhammer and took it down in discover this embedded in it:

Have I mentioned lately how crazy this house is built?

So now he has to cut those pipes down to the slab so he can get the roof support in place.

Meanwhile Gunnar paints.

Last night Trump's train wreck of a press conference was on the TV but the sound was turned off while I scrolled through FB and Twitter reading people's reactions as it progressed which were hilarious. An hour and a half of incoherent rambling amid his inability to stay on topic while congratulating himself for basically creating the whole universe but his Trumpkins think he did a great job. This after the UN laughed in his face at his outrageous claims. Fox news, in their reporting of his speech to the UN, cut out the laughter so their viewers wouldn't see it and they could claim 'fake news'. And today the all white privileged male committee opened by Grassley calling on everyone to remain civil and then he tore into Ford and the Democrats in a most uncivil way. More hypocrisy from the Republicans as they bull through their man Kavanaugh, who will vote to end Roe vs Wade and marriage equality, a man who thinks the president should be able to ignore laws he thinks are unconstitutional and should be above the law himself, so as to continue to transform this democracy into an authoritarian theocracy.

OK. Enough of that. I'm off in an hour to do some rat killing with my sister. It's estate sale day and two charity shops to explore.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

a tad grumpy today

I didn't sleep well last night because I could not find a position where I wasn't in one pain or another. Sunday morning I had a small ache in my lower back, nothing that isn't too common. Usually a little yoga stretches it out and makes it better but didn't really help Sunday morning so I went out and cleared the other raised garden bed. It had rained Saturday afternoon and I didn't feel like getting totally dirty so instead of using the shovel and climbing in/on I just leaned over and dug with my hands trying to remember to bend at the hips instead of the back but the ache wasn't any worse by the time I least until Sunday night. Yesterday was a misery. The low backache turned into sharp pain at my left hip/fanny/tailbone. I'm having a hard time finding the precise spot with the kink. Anyway, hurts to sit, hurts to stand too long, hurts to stretch. I finally broke down and took 3 ibuprofen a little while ago. The sharp pain is gone for now and I can sit more comfortably but still a dull ache across my hips and down my leg a bit. This happened earlier in the year too and it took weeks to finally go away.

I'm almost finished with the sunflower wax which means I probably have a couple more hours work on it and I need to set up the lizard with 10 petal anemone model I made earlier in the year to have it's mold made. Going to try and get that accomplished today. We'll see. I may just lay on the couch all day and read.

Rocky showed up yesterday and worked all day painting. He's got it all done just about except for the three areas that need repair, the door, and the shutters though no sign of him today.

We had a pretty fabulous sunset the other night, one of those that makes the air pink.

And my night blooming cereus bloomed for the second time two nights ago after giving me 5 flowers about three weeks ago.

Not the best pictures I've taken of these but I was holding the flashlight in one hand trying to take pictures with the phone in the other hand and waving off mosquitoes at the same time.

A year after the flood things have bloomed crazily or not at all. The penta, which blooms profusely for most of the year is blooming but only about half the size it usually is by this time of year. The orange double day lilies, as mentioned before, are blooming in September after their spring and early summer display, something they have never done before. The toad lily which was the biggest and fullest I have ever seen it before Harvey which died to the ground afterwards is about a fourth the size and doesn't look happy. Only one stalk of the yellow butterfly ginger has bloomed and sparsely at that and none of the others even look like they are thinking about blooming. Same with the white butterfly ginger though they are starting to fatten up at the tips now after all this rain. The orange cosmos have grown to nearly 6' and still have not bloomed which is what they did the first two years after I planted them but then they settled down and bloomed on knee high growth just about all year. Some of the chinese fringe flowers are blooming which I don't recall them doing in the fall before but then they didn't bloom this spring.

Everything else seems pretty much normal and I think I'm going to go take a nap.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

rain and mosquitos and a pleasant surprise

More rain yesterday evening and during the night, mosquitos still horrendous, but what a pleasant surprise this morning when I went out about 8:30 and it was 68˚ and not humid! Seems like the same thing happened last year on the day after the Autumnal Equinox. It won't last.

I finally cleared the weeds, johnson grass, and nut grass out of just one of the raised garden beds. It took me two days. The first day we'd had a couple of dry days in a row and it was overcast but so hot I got about half done before I thought I would pass out and then the sun broke through. Yesterday I got out there to get it finished before the rain came. It was getting darker and darker with thunder rumbling but I only had one corner to do to be finished when it started raining. The dog is in my face...'uh, mom, it's raining, let's go'. Determined to finish, me and the dog were soaked through by the time we made it back to the house. But I did finish and I bet I threw 100 grubs out of that 4' x 16' bed. Too bad there weren't any birds hanging around, it would have been a gorge fest. Today I cleaned out the smaller of the two other raised beds since it was overcast and still not bad out there. Just the big one to go but at least I can get started planting the fall garden after I level out the dirt and add some fertilizer.

Rocky showed up yesterday to try and make some progress on the house. Between the rain and his other job that keeps adding things on he can't seem to get more than a half day in. Most is done, just some trim and a few repairs in the back, a door, the decorative shutters, stuff like that. The niggling detail. I'm trying to wait until at least one side of the house is finished before posting a pic.

I started a new model I've been working on the last two days, the backside of a sunflower. Mostly for fun, because I felt like it while I'm waiting for molds.

I haven't been writing about the travesty we call our government though anyone who follows me on FB knows that my news feed is mostly outrage. Making lists of all the ways Trump and his Republican enablers in Congress are despicable human beings doesn't change anything and surely by now anyone whose eyes were capable of being opened can now see. I make phone calls and tweet to deaf ears. It's all down to the mid-terms now. If we don't take back Congress in November then everything we have fought for for the last 40 years will be gone. We've already lost so much from public lands to workplace protections to environmental protections, the rich are richer and the government is in the most debt ever and now we are about to have the Supreme Court transformed by a man who has committed sexual assault, has connections to shady big money, who has committed perjury, and who intends to overturn Roe vs Wade.

What is there to say? If we don't win in November, this country, the one we thought we lived in, will be gone. He'll have two more years to finish driving the nails in.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

random stuff

No matter how many times I type 'fuck' on my phone, it never seems to learn the word.

Mentally, the last several days I intended to do a drawing, since I'm not making models and I don't have molds yet though I could work on the feet for the heron box. That's an awful long lead in to say I have accomplished squat the last week. Well, some minor things...I went to the feed store and got two bags of potting soil and two bags of composted peat and then to the hardware store and got some cabinet closure doohickeys to replace the broken ones, I've been to yoga class (twice) though last night Abby bailed at the last minute so Jeanette and I sort of stumbled the class through. She and I feel the same way, we go to do, not think. I gotta hand it to Abby, she would have had us do twice as much.

Tuesday, after three days in a row of sun and no rain I figured I would go over and rid the raised beds of their weeds and get them ready to plant since it's time to plant fall gardens. Put on my cap, gathered the shovel and the long handled nippers, tucked the mosquito repellent under my arm, hollered at Gunnar that I would be across the street, and headed over to the shop. I got about halfway between driveways and turned around. Nope. Not working in this heat, in the sun. Because when it's not raining? It's still hot.

I'm finally tired of waiting for the muscle in my right arm to stop hurting (depends on the day and what I'm doing) before I mow trim the little backyard. So that's on the agenda for today.

Yesterday was day 19 of No Meat September (though I cheated on the 8th at the 1st Anniversary of Harvey Block Party and ate some of Edith's excellent pulled pork). The cook decided no meat for a month for reasons that have varied as the month has progressed. While breakfast has been unaffected and dinner mildly so, lunch has been a crap shoot heavy on cheese and eggs.

I have a solution to the curtain. I gathered the excess at each end and folded it into neat pleats so no need to cut it down, saving the complete width. I'm going to hang it a little differently on brackets from the top window trim piece so the pretty scalloped bottom hangs just above the sill.

Monday, September 17, 2018

more stuff

We had a whole day yesterday of not only no rain but blue sky. Today is looking to be the same so Rocky and Gunnar arrived early and started painting the house, leaving the concrete pillar til later I guess.

Another day Sunday of putzing around in the house because...mosquitoes. Got another painting hung, moved a rack from the shop over to the house to hold the models and free up table space, and surely there was something else though I can't remember what.

Here's something else the rain brought ants. They've been mostly underground during the long hot dry summer. Now I have big mounds all over the yard so this evening will be the perfect time to douse them with my favorite ant killer combination of Dawn dish soap and orange oil in water. Kills the shit out of them.

It's been two years since my friend had to move his studio and house and brought the contents of his shop over here. That's when I gouged a spoonful of fat and tissue out of my thigh (23 stitches) on the corner of the tailgate of the truck loading up the landscape blocks he was going to leave behind resulting in the Mark Of The Chicken (for you newer readers, that's a scar mid-thigh on my left leg about 2” long in the shape of a chicken foot and yes I posted all the gory pictures). The other thing I did then was dig up his bird of paradise which he was also going to leave behind. I managed to get four bulbs roots plants out mostly intact, three of which survived and gave one to my sister. Potted mine up and moved them out in full sun and they both sent up bloom stalks this summer. So when my phone camera refused to focus on the rain lilies, it also refused to focus on the emergent flower of the bird of paradise. I can't tell you how many out of focus pictures I have of that. Well, I could but then I'd have to count them.

Today was devoted to, besides killing fire ants and in general wasting time, making all the communications that had been piling up about various matters. I also repaired the water hose after a blister bulged out, split, and shot out a 20' geyser of water. 

Yay little repair gizmos!

Just a few random shots of what's blooming like day lilies. I have never ever had day lilies bloom in September and never twice in a year.

I know I post pictures of this flower a lot when it blooms but it's one of my favorites.

Saturday, September 15, 2018


Back when it was hot and dry and Rocky was working on another job and I was dithering over paint colors, it was perfect weather to paint the house.

I put out the new rain gauge when I got back from the meeting Thursday and then checked it Friday morning...3/4” of rain. Emptied it and checked again Saturday morning...1” of rain. Emptied it again and looked later in the day Saturday after a pretty hard shower...another 1/2” of rain. This on top of all the rain we've been getting the last two weeks. The other night when I let the dog in from her last outing of the day, this guy came in too. Even the frogs have had enough I guess. 

And in case you were wondering, the mosquitos are still thick out there so I'm still pretty much house bound.

I've excavated the kiln in the garage which is now accessible (and knocked down all the daddy longlegs webs and did some general clearing out but it's still a huge mess in there), finished cleaning the cedar chest and moved it into the back bedroom, glued the four tile models down onto a piece of glass and made boxes for them so they are ready for the molds to be made, 

took the dog to get her toenails clipped, got a tension bar and hung the lace curtain I got in Portugal in the window of the back bedroom (finally! and decided I like them best smooth as opposed to gathered so now I have to get the courage up to cut the excess third off), 

and put the oxblood lily bulbs in a basin and covered them with dirt to tide them over til I can get outside.

The gallery in Dallas called Friday to say the work I sent arrived and they love them and by the way we sold the Moonflower piece. That would be this one...

I'm always pleased when a piece sells because, for one, they aren't inexpensive, but it's not really the money, though of course that's the whole point of selling them, but that someone wants it enough to spend the money. That's when a piece really succeeds for me. Plus it encourages me to make more, or rather, make.

You may remember back early July my iPad went to sleep one night and never woke up. Wouldn't charge, no nothing but a black screen so I put it in the secretary until such time as I made my way to the Apple store and charged up my old one, after I taped up both ends of the charge cord. It has been working fine except for the fact that it is outdated and doesn't have all my stuff on it and wouldn't do mail. So the other day it was niggling in my mind that someone had said this happened to theirs once too and after a while it allowed itself to be charged so I thought I'd give it a try and plugged it into my desktop and after several hours, it woke up. Took it two full days to get to 100% but seems to be fine. So yay! I guess it just needed a timeout.

And here's something we haven't seen much of for the last couple of weeks.

behind me it was still all cloudy

Thursday, September 13, 2018

demolition, garden club, and a rescue

The mosquitos are so bad out there that if you walk anywhere even near foliage you are immediately swarmed from head to foot. Takes them a few extra seconds more to find you standing out in the open. Rained again early yesterday morning with light sprinkling throughout the day but so far no rain today. That is supposed to change tomorrow and Saturday as another big mass of tropical moisture (not quite a tropical storm) is in the Gulf and headed straight for us. Because, of course. Gunnar bleached and power washed the house yesterday while Rocky worked on demolishing the big planter that lines the small covered porch in the front of the house only to discover that the 8” x 8” pillar at the end that the wrought iron piece sits on that supports the roof is not made of brick but solid concrete. Yay! He managed to bust off a portion at the top with a sledge hammer but it's gonna need a jackhammer to take it down.

I've guess I'm not going to do any more model making until I have cast the ones I have ready. I think. I haven't started anything else and today I went to the garden club meeting and then cleaned the cedar chest. This was the first meeting of the year for the garden club which meets September through June. I usually miss more meetings than I attend because the programs don't usually interest me but today it was about native perennials, my favorite kinds of plants. The club also has a drawing at the end of each meeting to give away the things that other members bring for 'door' prizes, most always plants of some kind or another but also sometimes not plant but garden related. Since the first meeting of the year is always well attended and many people bring something for the drawings there was a lot of stuff today, even I took something, a volunteer confederate rose that had come up. My ticket rarely gets pulled but sometimes it does and even more rarely right away. Today, there was a rain gauge on offer someone had donated. 'I hope my number gets called first,' I told my sister, 'because I want that rain gauge'. Well, it didn't get called first and the lady picked a plant but it did get called second so I wasted no time getting over to the table and then bid my sister adieu.

The other thing I did today was clean the cedar chest that was damaged from Harvey but I couldn't throw it out. I emptied it, washed it off as best I could, and then put it in the garage where it has been for the last year. I got Rocky and Gunnar to carry it in for me yesterday and so I removed the rest of the veneer that I hadn't already pulled off since it was all bubbled up and cleaned it inside and out. I still need to get some good wood cleaner and go over it again and it should be sanded where there had been veneer but that means going outside again and with the mosquitos this bad that's not likely to happen or I could get the wood cleaner and then move it into the back bedroom where it goes and out of the way. Guess which one's probably gonna happen.

Oh, and the other thing I did was go back to the ditch along an empty field where I saw three or four clumps of blooming oxblood lilies (did I take a before picture of them in situ? have you met me before?) blooming in the ditch and dug some of them up. The muddy clumps I dug up expanded when I rinsed them off. Giving some to my sister and the rest I'll have to get planted. Not great timing considering the whole mosquito thing.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

rain, boxing, and more little things

Still getting rain. None last Saturday but showers the last two days and predicted for every day this week, of course, now that I'm back to the top of Rocky's list.

I'll be busy today packing up 5 of the Botanicas to send to the gallery in Dallas for their upcoming show. I haven't worked on anything, no drawings, no model making, since last Thursday when I finished the second hummingbird tile model

but I have started to excavate the kiln in the garage. It's not completely accessible yet, but getting there.

Some pics of small stuff...

the anoles are getting bigger

these little beetles have been at it for days unless this is a different pair on the same plant

tried to do an image search for this to see if I could find out what will emerge from this cocoon and google returned pictures of street and other signs...okaaaay

I guess this is an ant but I have never seen one like this before

this little spider was determined to not have it's picture taken and I was determined to take it

came across this little 8” snake, one that I have never seen before, in the garage with a puncture wound behind it's head and the cat laying nearby. it wasn't dead so I moved it to the leafy debris and when I went back later to check on it, it was gone

maybe I should have used this pic to illustrate my boob smushing post

Big Mama's posse is down to six now from the original twelve. either I'm not feeding her often enough to suit her or something has been fishing in her pond

Sunday, September 9, 2018

48 color samples and 15 paint samples later...

I've been feeling the air pressure of Rocky's imminent arrival and so I finally went down and got the last set of paint samples last Sunday but didn't get around to testing them out til last Wednesday because rain! I found a nice sage green (thanks to Donna and Leslie for that suggestion) to replace the other green so I tried it first with all four colors but neither my husband nor I liked the lilac which looked pink in the application

so I painted over it. I'm going with just the three colors which solves the problem of having Rocky requote, besides we found something else to spend that money on.

We liked this so well that I didn't even paint a section of the wall with the other combo, the two blues, lilac, and ivory.

Now, if it will stop raining (!) and dry out by the time Rocky gets back around to me, we can get this finished up.

Yay, we finally started getting some rain. We've gotten good showers four out of the last six days. Of course, it took a hurricane in the Gulf headed for Louisiana for it to happen. And it woke the mosquitos up the fierce little bastards. Too late to save the pecans though. There are still some in the trees but the ground is just littered.

One thing the rain brought out, besides mosquitos, is rain lilies. I don't know what's wrong with the camera on my phone but I cannot get it to focus on the rain lilies no matter how many times I tap the screen. I've taken about three dozen pictures trying to get them in focus.

I have yellow ones 

and two kinds of white ones. The small fragrant ones pop up with no foliage

The larger white ones in a pot show foliage all year.

I had some pink ones at the Houston house and thought I had managed to get some of the bulbs but I've never seen them bloom out here.

And the oxblood lilies are popping up.

Good thing I settled on house paint colors because Rocky drove up while I was out trying once again to get pictures of the rain lilies and he's going to be ready to start tomorrow, possibly, or Tuesday but first we have decided to take out the brick planter at the front of the house that crowds the covered area at the front door as it's already coming apart. 

So that needs to be done first. After the house is painted we're going to get him to build a small deck there. Because, apparently, we aren't through spending money like drunken sailors.