Thursday, November 29, 2018

getting ready and a new view

The goods are packed and the display is dismantled and stacked ready to load in the car. We leave in a little while to drive to the city to set up for the Open House. It's an amazingly compact display and if we put down both back seats everything fits in the trunk and back seat space. I packed the goods and supplies differently this year and I think it's more compact than before. I still have to work on the pricing though but I have all day tomorrow to do that. Then we head in for the opening Friday night from 6 to 9 PM.

The two ginkgoes are still bright yellow and still full of leaves though they are drifting down and beginning to carpet the ground.

The bluebonnets are coming up and filling in their space in the front yard and the little woodland violets in the grass in the backyard are beginning to bloom.

The pansies and violas too.

I have a new view to get used to behind the long daylily flower bed. The neighbor bought an 8' x 40' shipping container for storage and had it put about 4' off the property line. It hides the previous view of all the smaller storage buildings and will cut off the late afternoon sun and changes our view of the sunsets but maybe now the day lilies will face my yard when they bloom instead of her property.

Monday, November 26, 2018

sleepytime for nature and the further degradation of America

I finally got the long daylily flower bed and the round flower bed completely weeded and the lettuce in. Still have two more flower beds to go, one in the back where the poppies grow every spring and they are already starting to sprout and the big one in the front yard with the roses and yellow bells both of which are full of evening primrose which I do love, but not in my flower beds which, it seems, is where they want to grow this year.

Saturday and Sunday afternoon I worked on setting up my display. First I had to remember how it went together, thought maybe about flipping the arrangement which had its own problems but changed my mind. I'm still deciding what to put where and I'm fetching my sister's fold up table, which I won't actually use as there is one in the glass blowing studio at my disposal, this morning to work on that part of the display. I ordered new business cards, sans the etched glass!, from my daughter who works at a print shop and I'm trying to locate a display easel I can borrow to prop my poster on with the explanation of the technique.

The ginkgoes are bright yellow now and leaves are starting to drift down in the wind of the cold front blowing in today. Supposed to get down in the low 30s˚ tonight.

The pecans are nearly naked.

The farmer finally got the rest of his cotton crop harvested and now the field is mowed and fallow for winter.

Meanwhile, while we've all been distracted by the Thanksgiving holiday, Trump dismissed a dire report by scientists on global warming that it will adversely affect crop production if greenhouse gases aren't curtailed greatly and immediately because baby it's cold outside, E Coli broke out as a result of rescinding Obama's agriculture inspection rules, GM and Ford are preparing to lay off thousands of workers and closing factories while China has found permanent replacements for the crops and products they bought from us as a result of Trump's trade war, and that most despicable man ordered our ports of entry at San Diego and San Ysidro closed and border patrol is firing tear gas at hungry and exhausted women and children on the Mexican side of the border in blatant violation of US and international law while the Republican congress turns a blind eye, a test to see what kind of backlash he gets. Next step, bullets.

And of course, Democrats are bickering over who gets to be House leader instead of uniting against Trump's policies. I don't think this country will survive much more of his 'greatness'.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

the day and the day after

We had a warm and easy time with the family Thursday, lots of good food, the twins home from their respective colleges. I didn't take any pictures, though I intended to, except for these.

These are Kenyan sand boas, a male and female, that my grandson is keeping for his on again/off again girlfriend or ex-girlfriend, no one seems to know. They are very shy, wanting to burrow under something. The grandboy gave me one of the shed skins, so delicate and detailed.

I liked the shadow the scales made.

I had no plans for yesterday but because the weather was so nice I worked out in the yard some digging up more weeds and evening primrose from another section of the day lily flower bed 

as I have 2 six packs of lettuce to put in though it was still a little too wet to be digging after the rain the other night. Then I took the dog for a long walk and after that shelled more pecans (17 pounds shelled so far), and had a reprise of Thanksgiving dinner for dinner. Perhaps I'll get out there and do a little more digging today though I need to assemble everything over at the shop and start working on my display.

The ginkgo trees are finally starting to turn yellow after our two nights of freezing weather last week. For some reason I thought it would be an overnight change.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

a day for counting blessings

I'll be heading into the kitchen soon to get my cooking done. Yesterday I did all my prep work...cubing the bread, frying the bacon, chopping the onions and celery, making the cranberry sauce...

while Marc made a pecan pie from the pecans I've gathered and shelled. 

Now all I need do is throw all the ingredients together and get the dressing in the oven. Our target time for departure is 1:30 PM.

Earlier this week I got the finish work done on the Bee with Wild Ranunculus but still have to glue the two pieces together and then next week I'll be working on my display for the open house making all those decisions about pricing and placement.

But today is for being grateful for all the good in your life even if the country is being led down a dark road by a small group of dark hearted people that think it's fine to give a pass to a despot that tortured and killed an American resident because money and have given the army on the border the order to use lethal force on a group of unarmed, exhausted, and hungry people.

I am grateful for many things, my family at the top of the list. I am grateful for who they are and that I have family to spend today with and share a meal with when so many others don't.

Monday, November 19, 2018

wherein I ramble but actually do say something unlike the idiot in the White House

Last Friday was a nice day, mostly clear sky and warm, especially if you were working out in the yard which I was. I cleared the supposed to be bee and butterfly garden just outside the fence of the little backyard of all the black and blue salvia which I do like but it just takes over with a dense root system that won't let anything else grow. It, like the wild mexican petunias I'm also trying to get rid of for the same reason, need an area where they can spread out. I also dug out the evening primrose that has colonized it and the large clump of montbretia (crocosmia) because they also multiply but did not bloom this year and barely last year and just want to lay all over everything else. I have a smaller clump elsewhere that gets more sun that did bloom. I still have not gotten the oxblood lily bulbs planted that I dug up out of the ditch along a pasture but they are sleeping in a shallow pan of dirt right now. Saturday I filled the wheelbarrow with rich dirt from the compost pile and turned that in and finally! got the pansies and violas in. Well, most of them, still have three little violas but had to do the fire ant treatment first where I want to plant them. I plan to fill this bed with zinnias next spring.

But didn't get around to cutting back the cosmos yet that now look like this

after our two nights of below freezing temps because Sunday a cold front came in and it rained lightly most all day and today calls for the same. Which is fine as the last two castings came out of the kiln yesterday and I'm going to get the finish work done on them. The leaf didn't cast all the way which I thought was a possibility and should have sprued the tips of the leaves but didn't because it's a pain in the ass and I'm really over this particular design and I decided I would use it no matter how it came out so I just need to round one leaf tip for it to be more uniform and I'm happy with the color density of the yellow. I don't usually use yellow as it is such a strong color, a little bit goes a long way. I have a lot of grinding to do on the bottoms though as I piled too much glass into the molds figuring too much was better than too little but really too much is too much.

straight out of the mold, not even washed off

And speaking of sleeping in a shallow pan of dirt, this is what the cat does in the shallow pan of dirt I brought in for her to use when our days and nights are too cold to go out (the dog just has to pull up her big girl panties and do her business outside regardless) (and no, she hasn't used it yet for more serious business).

And speaking of rambling and NOT saying anything, did you hear any of Trump's babbling in California about the fires there and needing to rake the leaves in the (33 million acres of) forest and they were going to do something and it would be wonderful because you gotta take care of the floors and that's what they do in Finland and they don't have the fires California has and on and on while standing near someone's cinder of a home. He doesn't have even a clue about the causes of the fires or that that forest is a federal forest and under the responsibility of the federal forest service whose budget he cut or that climate change (he likes good climate and we're going to have good climate) had anything to do with it. The self control of those men standing next to him is amazing in that they were not staring at him in open mouthed disbelief. And still people support this ignorant buffoon.

January 1st can't get here fast enough.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

a litany of three days

Monday I hung the giant tarp enclosing the plumerias and other tropicals in the garage to help protect them from the coming two nights of below freezing temps (it will come down after it warms up a little more today), 

covered the ponytail palm and the pink angel trumpet (the one I had just planted in the ground the week before), opted not to cover the yellow angel trumpets because they always freeze to the ground anyway, took another bucket of pecans to be cracked, and started on the finish work on the two recent finished castings while Marc made the molds for the leaf and flower, went to yoga, and shelled pecans.

Tuesday my only accomplishment was completing the finish work on the two castings while bundled up in four shirts, long underwear, and my polartek pants 

6" x 5" x 1 3/4"

5 1/4" x 5 1/4" x 3/4" excluding frame

and then spent the rest of the day trying to convince the dog and the cat that I have no control over the weather. And shelled pecans

Yesterday I replaced the catches on two lower cabinet doors in the kitchen because the old ones no longer functioned which involved laying on my back and struggling to get the damn things screwed into the underside of the shelf because, of curse course, the new catches didn't use the same holes. Then I drove out to Glen Flora where Chuck the metal artist lives to pick up the stands for the tiles, 

took the dog for a long walk because even though it was still cold the sky looked like this

and filled the leaf mold. And shelled pecans. I now have 13 pounds of shelled pecans and one more box to go.

On the national scene I am heartened by the election and while we may not get the Florida senatorship or governorship or the Georgia governorship, we have picked up a few more Democratic wins and the Republicans are freaking out to the point that they are furious that the law has required recounts in Georgia and Florida and that all the ballots, including the ones they tried to ignore and the ones they are trying to disqualify, are being counted. I tweet at them 'All votes count and all votes should be counted. Don't like democracy? Move to Russia. Problem solved.'

And Trump is in a tailspin of despondency (not sure if this is good or bad) and lashing out like the spoiled toddler he is by our wins and control of the House, accusing Dems of voting and then changing clothes and going in and voting again, really, the man has no idea how voting works, and the coming scrutinizing and the looming report from Mueller and his ostracization by other world leaders (except Putin of course and did you see the picture of that shit eating grin Trump gave Putin in France?) and being called out by Macron and social media for his refusal to honor our WWI dead in France because, as a WH insider tells us, there would be no tent for him to stand under and he didn't want to get his hair wet (all the other reasons given were spin) and his refusal to travel even the mile and a half on Monday to Arlington National Cemetery to honor our war dead on Veteran's Day while leaving over 5,000 of our troops on the border with nothing to do, missing the holidays with their families, and eating MREs.

And now McConnell, the poster boy for putting party over country and obstruction and hypocrisy pens an op-ed piece wondering if Dems will work for bipartisanship or put party over country and then two days later refuses to bring a bill protecting Mueller and his investigation to the floor for a vote. Apparently he doesn't understand that compromise take two willing sides.

So all in all, I'm feeling pretty optimistic. It's nice to be back in that place. And today I plan to get the last mold filled, the flower, in preparation for the open house.

Sunday, November 11, 2018


Did I say it was like summer out there in my last post? Well, it will be deep winter next Tuesday and Wednesday as they are predicting a lows of 31˚ and 29˚. Ack! No freezing! My yellow trumpet flowers both have unopened buds on them. Though it will turn the gingko trees bright yellow and all their leaves will fall off two days later and the tallows will get bright red and orange.

So in anticipation of the cold weather I started bringing in the plants yesterday. Got all the smalls, a few of the mediums, and none of the bigs which is my plan for today, to get the rest and I thought I would have all day, but now the oft wrong weather app says rain starting early afternoon. Shit! I need to rearrange the garage first. Which is what I did yesterday, not the garage, but the work tables. I finished the flower with bee and leaf wax (two separate pieces),

the last of it's kind for the foreseeable future, and put away all the wax and model making tools til after the first of the year, cleared off the small work table that I had been using to fill molds and moved all that stuff to the big work table now devoid of model making stuff and moved the small work table to the back bedroom which is now covered with plants.

And I wrangled this monster in and, as you can see, had to tie up it's gangly branches to get it through the gate and the door.

Its two seed pods are turning bright red.

Several hours later...

I got the rest of the plants in that go in the house and got the garage rearranged and the big plants moved in, the plumerias will go dormant and will stay in til spring, others will be moved in and out as the weather allows, with about 20 minutes to spare.

The oft wrong weather app on my phone said rain at 1 PM and at 2 minutes til I looked up and it was raining. I guess I won't get the pansies and violas I bought yesterday planted this afternoon.

So now that I've got everything in I just looked at the weather forecast and it has been revised again with a low now of just 30˚. Give it a couple more hours and it will probably in the 40˚s. Oh well, it all needed to come in as it will yo-yo until winter sets in for good.

And now it's back down to 29˚.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

results of one kind and another

The election...Well, it wasn't as good as it could have been but it was also way better than it could have been. Democrats took the House, so Trump will no longer be unopposed in Congress, and flipped a few governorships and state legislature seats, loads of women were voted in, really it was a giant step forward. We didn't get a unicorn, as Jim Wright of Stonekettle Station says, but unicorns are unrealistic. We did well and started our momentum back up. I'm really disappointed that Beto O'Rourke, whom we haven't seen the last of yet and who is out there building his base, didn't unseat Rafael Cruz but rural Texans still come to Republican dog borders, taking your guns, letting illegals matter how big a lie they are, and Texas has a big rural population, and some voted because of the economy refusing to understand that it takes time for economic policies to take effect and Trump is still riding Obama's coattails. In another two years when Trump's disastrous policies have had time to affect the economy they might vote differently. So, of course, Trump's response to losing the House is belligerence and threats if they dare to investigate him. Did we expect anything less? If he wasn't so corrupt, he'd have nothing to worry about.

The castings...The lizard with 10 petal anemone came out of the kiln yesterday and I am really happy with it, not perfect, needed more green frit in some of the leaves and I mistook a part of a leaf for a flower petal, but my worst fears were not realized. I'm not going to show a picture until I have the finish work done. Same with the second hummingbird piece which came out better than the first. And I decided the blue jay feather came out way too good to put on the cheap box so I'm having a stand made for it along with the sunflower and first hummingbird. The moonflower that I wasn't happy with will go on one of the boxes. 

And I've decided to try and finish the flower with bee wax model that I put aside in disgust before I do the finish work on the last two castings.

The rain...

It's like summer out there, hot, humid, air conditioner on, but it's windy today and leaves are falling steadily from the pecan trees. A week from now it's supposed to dip down to the mid 30s for a couple of nights. Guess I better start planning on bringing the most delicate plants in before then. The porterweed that I put in the ground last week didn't like being disturbed, gone from mostly shady to sunny and windy. It's all droopy but I think it'll recover after I prune it back.

Monday, November 5, 2018

estate sale day

A little blog whine before I get to the subject at hand...I've been reading that people have been having trouble commenting on blogs and in fact my few I usually get are down as well along with my page views which are running about half what I usually see in my stats. So is this due to the whole Google+ thing or have I just been boring the pants off everyone?

Thursdays, as you may recall, are the days that my sister and I go to estate sales when there is one in the radius in which we are willing to travel. Last Thursday was one such in a very small community. It was basically a very big barn divided in two lengthwise, one side 'women's stuff' (household)

and the other 'men's stuff' (tools large and small)

and inside the small house. We didn't buy anything but lots of interesting stuff to look at. The deceased was a collector of train memorabilia

including these old lanterns which were very cool.

We weren't sure what the purpose of this was. Did it magnify the light from the lanterns?

Outside in the barn, among things like carnival glass, florist vases, and the usual detritus of a household was some collectible McCoy and Roseville pottery,

an assortment of cartoon cake pans,


this very cool light fixture of which only three of the six arms were intact (this actually tempted us severely wondering if they would sell us each just an arm which was easily detached but we resisted in the end),

and probably my favorite kitsch, this hand painted ceramic table decoration, Jesus with red lipstick.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

happy heart but sore hands and back

Checked the rain gauge Thursday morning and we got 4” of rain last Wednesday but Thursday the sun was shining and the wind was howling and the ground was littered with pecans, this after I thought the harvest was dwindling. I might have some to sell after all. I still haven't picked them all up.

I finished filling the anole with 10 petal anemone mold, all the tedious noodling of crushed glass into tiny spaces building it up and shoring it up is done and it and the second hummingbird mold are in the kiln. I have one more mold waiting, the 3rd of the large Drowned Feathers, but it can wait. I started on the finish work yesterday and got the edge work done on the two pieces I want stands made for if Chuck will ever work me in. Time is getting short before our holiday open house weekends with the glass blowers. This will be the 20th year and maybe the last. It's a lot of work and age is catching up with one half of their team.

I think I'll work out in the yard today continuing to clear the daylily flower bed. I have two large plants that need to go in the ground because they have outgrown their pots and I'd like to get them settled in before the cold weather stays. Of course, if we have a hard winter they will both freeze to the ground but hopefully will come back.

Many hours later...

The ground is still too wet at the shadier end of this particular flower bed for the digging up of dewberry, evening primrose, and other assorted unwanted stuff after our 4” of rain last Wednesday but I got the pink angel trumpet planted in there anyway. 

Before I could plant the porterweed at the other end where it was perhaps not the perfect dryness but good enough, I had to dig out about 16 square feet of black and blue salvia which is invasive and forms big nodules on it's roots and is just taking over that end of the flowerbed. 

Minnie helped me dig, just not in the right spot

It's all got to come out but today I just took out enough to accomplish my goal. But even before I did all that, I went around with my Dawn dish detergent orange oil soapy water and liberally doused all the fire ants, including the ones that had taken up residence in the porterweed pot. After I got the two plants in the ground and gathered up all the plant trash and trundled it over to the burn pile at the shop in the wheelbarrow, I made a half hearted attempt to get the rest of the pecans and then I took the dog for her (very short) walk and then took a shower. Needless to say, I'm bushed but it was a beautiful day and I enjoyed being outside.

Tomorrow I'll be back over at the shop continuing the finish work on the four castings as it's supposed to be another rainy day.