Sunday, October 20, 2019

three days

Thursday my sister and I went to an estate sale, it was Thursday, so yeah, which was no great shakes. I did pick up a good putty knife since mine seem to keep getting misplaced but the best thing about it was this ancient pecan tree in the yard. I have never seen a pecan tree this big and it was completely hollow inside.

for scale...

And there were pecans everywhere on the ground and good solid heavy ones. Drives me nuts that no one picks up the pecans in their yard. This isn't the first time we've been to an estate sale at this time of year where the ground was littered. It's free money people, all you have to do is spend a little time picking them up and the pecan wholesalers/retailers will buy them from you. I need to start taking a bucket with me when we go to these things in the fall.

On our way home we stopped at one of the big nurseries there in Richmond since we were driving right past it and I bought three small pots of blue lobelia and one of silver pony foot and then Saturday I went to the feed store and got 4 6-packs of pansies so I guess I'll be busy today.

I wanted to get out there Friday and start the weeding and cleaning up and planting but I was being a good girl and made myself get the powder layer on the five feathers so they could go in the kiln. Work first, then play. So Friday, I cleaned up the pink pansy and then started on the feathers. I got three done Friday and the last two yesterday, one of which I dumped all the powder and started over. I'm having a hard time determining how thick is thick enough and not too thick. The owl (?) feather fer sure is too thick but I opted to just let it be but the red tailed hawk feather I dumped and started over.

before and after pictures...

I got out there for an hour or so Saturday late afternoon and cut back the spent ginger stalks that were laying on the ground and cut the spent bloom heads off the ones that were still upright and started clearing out one of the flower beds, the one where I dug up all the mexican petunias in the spring, pulling up all the mexican petunias that defied me along with the dead zinnias in there and tons of wandering jew, a gift from the yard being flooded last spring. It was hot out there and I was soaked. If I was smart, I'd put off working in the yard til Monday as it's supposed to be 10 degrees cooler but there's so much to be done out there besides getting the pansies and lobelia planted.

Things are starting to perk up a little.  The confederate rose is nearing full bloom and the bird of paradise has put up three bloom stalks this year and this second round of white butterfly ginger has been pretty spectacular.

Well, I'd best get out there before it gets too hot.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

same stuff, different day

I laid everything out on the kiln shelf and there was still room enough for another pansy so I made another one yesterday. 

I have no idea what I am going to do with them. The fungus/lichen I have a plan for. I guess we'll see how they come out, maybe I can turn them into some sort of jewelry.

I have nothing of interest to say. Yesterday I did the dishes which had piled up and sanded down the last dry feather base and made the second pansy and picked up pockets full of pecans on my various strolls through the yard and set the sprinkler out to water the azaleas under the pecan tree that lost all those branches earlier. They get a lot more sun now.

Today it's raining. Woke up to a trembling dog who could hear the rumbling of the approaching rain before I could. The thunder has stopped now but the rain continues, the good kind of rain, not torrential, not a sprinkle, but a good medium rain that hangs around and soaks in and does not overwhelm the gutters. That seems to be a rarity these days.

I'm having to limit my social media/news/human input again as it just either makes me sad or pissed off or hopeless or raises my blood pressure or makes my afib kick up even on the medication. No need to reiterate it here as I'm sure everyone is well up on the continuing travesties of this administration. I can't do anything about it except vote and I can't do that til over a year from now. Expressing anything but pro-Trump to our Republican representatives and senators just falls on deaf ears. Even if they agree privately they won't come out against him because they are afraid Trump will turn on them in his vindictive way and of course he will. And that makes me even more hopeless that so many of our elected officials are cowards that refuse to stand up for what's right because, OMG, Trump might give them a demeaning nickname.

Oh, maybe I do have something to relate. You might remember that last May I saw a couple of guys traipsing across the back end of my property and headed across my neighbor's property and to the road at the end of my street where their car was parked. When I went out and asked if I could help them it turned out that they had bought the 12 acre field behind us and they were checking it out though they hadn't decided what they were going to do with it. The only clear access to the field is from business Hwy 59 (also called Richmond Rd.) which borders one end of the field. The other end is bordered by the street that my street ends at and is a complete dense and tangled mess of trash trees, wild grape vines, briars, poison ivy, and who knows what all. This is the area that I call the wild space that ends at my property and it is constantly trying to encroach. One long side of the field is bordered by all the backyards of the houses on my street and the other long side is bordered by the Tee Pee Motel (now defunct again as the owners elected not to fix up the freestanding teepee rooms after the flooding from Harvey) and the attendant trailer park. So a couple of months ago one of my neighbors related that he had been stopped by an asian couple (the two men above were asian and only one spoke english) who were parked at my end of the street as he started out on his evening walk. They had bought the field and wanted to put a trailer (or maybe it was a manufactured home) on it and did he know what it would take and how they could get access to their property. So Gary gave them the rundown...they would have to put in a bridge over the ditch, either the business 59 end or the wild space end which would entail clearing a path, they would need water, a septic system, and electricity. They didn't seem to understand why they couldn't get access through someone's property from our street and they pointed to the drive through my crazy neighbor's empty lot, except for her storage buildings, that gives perfect access to the field as her property and mine are the only two on the street that aren't fenced in the back, well my absent neighbor's property on the end is effectively fenced by the wild space.

All this is leading up to yesterday morning. I looked up to see a familiar white car parked on the street and a man and woman got out and headed across my neighbor's property and mine so I went out and talked to them. I was friendly but I let them know they were crossing over private property. We chatted for a while, only she spoke english. She didn't mention putting a trailer on the field but she did say they wanted to plant a garden, grow vegetables and fruit, that we would be neighbors. Sounds great I said. She wanted to know what it would take to accomplish it, did I think any of my neighbors would sell their property so that they could have access to the field. That's a big no. I don't understand why they are so fixated on getting access from my street or even setting up whatever they plan at my end though I wouldn't want to live at the other end with the constant traffic down business 59. I do understand why they wouldn't want to clear a path through the wild space but the far end of the field just needs a bridge across the ditch. Anyway, I told her they could probably get electricity easily enough off the poles at the trailer park and perhaps they could get city water from the fire hydrant line at the wild space end even though we're in the county, not in the city limits, but that would entail clearing a path. They could dig a well and would need a septic system. Did I know how much that would cost? $7000 - $9000 each. Anyway, they left and I assume headed to city hall or looking for the county offices.

Well, the rain has stopped for now and it has brought in more cool weather having dropped 14 degrees since I got up this morning. Looks like I'll be wearing my long yoga pants for class this evening.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

it got cold y'all...for a day anyway

Wow! It really happened! Mid 70˚s and overcast when I got up Friday morning then the wind picked up blowing in cold air and knocking pecans out of the trees. At 12:45 PM and it had already fallen to 57˚, predicting a low of 52˚ that night. I had the door open in the morning but had to close it after a while because it was getting chilly in the house. I picked up over three gallons of just the big ones and didn't even canvas the whole yard. The dog was not impressed. She doesn't like the cold wind but much to my surprise it did not deter her from wanting her evening walk however fast it was.

While it was in the mid-50s yesterday when I got up, it warmed up quickly and turned into a gorgeous day with a clear blue sky and low humidity. I picked up another five plus gallons of pecans throughout the day under various trees and spent several hours over at the shop with the long handled nippers trying to restore a little order around the shop and in the back. A drop in the bucket. I also poured some wax in some of my reproduction molds as long as I was over there. And Marc reinvested the cracked heron box. The heat and pressure from the setting investment ran the crack all the way across the bottom and spawned a new crack off the old one. 

Since I can only see the bottom of the box now I have no idea if the cracks ran all the way down the back side to the top. If it comes out OK, I really hope the heron head inlay still fits as I really don't want to have to do a bunch of grinding again.

I've been doing more playing with the modeling glass but I'm hampered by my lack of color choices. I don't want to invest a lot of money in opaque powders unless I'm going to use them. Glass powder runs from about $18 - $25 for a one pound jar. Five colors could easily put me over $100. I've got the bases for all 5 feathers done so now I'm ready to add the top layer of powder and they'll be ready to fire along with another dozen color samples, and the pansy and lichen though I still have some detail to add to the face of the pansy. 

the white is pieces of high fire fiber paper which is supporting the edges while it dries and fires

I probably could have gotten that done if I hadn't spent another hour over at the shop with the long handled nippers and picked up another 3 gallons of pecans.

Minnie waiting patiently while I pick up yet more pecans

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

a brief respite

It was about 65˚ out there this morning when I got up and the doors are/were open. It was pleasant out there yesterday too. I guess that's saying something when mid 80˚s seems like a respite from the heat. And it's overcast today which helps. We're supposed to stay mostly in the 80s the rest of this week and Saturday they are predicting a high of 69˚! I'll believe it when I feel it. It will be short lived at any rate.

I've been waiting for these few days and so I got out there this morning with the gas trimmer and tackled the way overgrown little backyard and around all the flower beds and the ends of the culvert under the driveway and I almost finished before I ran out of gas.

out of gas

I've also been engaging in my fall activity, the picking up of pecans. The ones that survived the drought of summer are pretty and heavy so I think it will be a good crop.

I collect pecans from three different types of trees, two different natives (two trees), center and right, which I collect to sell and a hybrid (three trees) which I shell for consumption and sell the excess. 

So then I collected under all 5 trees, watered all the pots and set up the sprinkler, rinsed out and refilled the hummingbird feeders, and I've sat at my desk and watched the cardinals, chickadees, and hummingbirds come to the feeders.

I've overcome my feeling of ennui somewhat. I've worked on a couple little thumbnail sketches for possible pieces in my sketchbook, something I haven't opened for almost a year and mostly my sketchbook is in my head but I'm trying to change that though not very hard apparently, and made some more color samples, and a base for a blue jay feather

and mixed some colors together for a another test of the lichen, found the wax reproduction mold for the small round box for a new piece or two which may or may not include small items made with the modeling glass. I'm still trying to figure out what to do with this material, how to make it work for me, besides the feathers which I like. So while I've been busier, I'm not really excited about anything yet. I'm ready to try to salvage the heron box and get done with it, so maybe that can get done with the next spate of pleasant weather. I'm not completely happy with the feet but haven't been able to come up with anything different. Unless, no feet though I like to give my boxes some 'lift'.

A few final small is fall, as mentioned, but we can't count on the temperature to tell us this. Instead I notice that the mississippi kites are gone, the hummingbirds have migrated through, the goldenrod is blooming, the pecans are falling, and the rain trees are blooming.

Thursday, October 3, 2019


I am totally unmotivated. Our open house is coming up in two months and I have nothing new so far to show. I vacillate between chastising myself for not putting in at least 2 hours every day on art work and telling myself I'm semi-retired, I can do or not do whatever I want. And apparently what I want is to do nothing. I mean, the stuff is sitting here right next to me while I ignore it.

I did finally get the teacup bird feeder repaired and put back up and put out the bird feeder for the fall/winter (hahahahahahaha) since I've had a big bag of seed sitting in the garage for at least a month, probably longer, but so far neither has had any visitors. (A cardinal and a wren visited since I wrote that.)

Grandgirl Jade was visiting her folks last weekend and came out on Saturday. She wanted to make a flower press and we managed to scrape up everything we needed except for the threaded bolts and wing nuts. I showed her how to use the radial arm saw and the drill press and she did all the work herself and cut several pieces of cardboard and paper to finish it off.

can you believe she's in her third year of college?

The road crew continues to work on the street, putting down and flattening a fourth layer which looked suspiciously like dirt with some of the first/third layer mixed in. They mash it down, roll over it, scrape it, water it down, etc. 

Looks good, nice and smooth, but unless they top it with something hard like asphalt it will washboard in a month. I wonder how much they have raised the level of the road. I'd just as soon any future flood waters not be held on this side of the road.

I finally broke down and bought a little sprinkler instead of spending an hour or more everyday watering by hand. It is still so hot out there and humid and mosquito-y and in 10 0r 15 minutes I'm sweating just walking around and if I stay out there longer then the sweat starts dripping off me. I got out there earlier today with the long handled nippers to cut down the trash trees, mostly raintrees and hackberrys that grow on the edges at the back of the property and the water sprouts off the crepe myrtles in front and by the time I was done the whole front of my tank top was soaked from me wiping my face on it and I was done. It just drains me. It's October, we shouldn't still be having temps in the 90s. My yellow angel trumpet is blooming and the heat today just shriveled the blooms up before they were even fully opened. Everyone keeps saying a cool front is coming through next week, and as I've mentioned before, by that they mean highs in the 80s. But you know what? I'll take it.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

here we are finally

That selfish self-centered lying racist admitted sexual predator mob boss of a criminal in the White House is under an impeachment investigation. The House will do its job. It remains to be seen if the Senate will defend the Constitution or protect the criminal in the White House.

Trump, in his profound ignorance of the law and of the contents of the Constitution thought there was nothing wrong with withholding promised aid to help Ukraine stave off Russia as a bargaining chip to get them to dig up/manufacture dirt on Biden and his son in order to discredit his possible political opponent in the upcoming election. Against the law.

Aides knew better. Some were so alarmed they passed the info along to others in the intelligence community, some were so alarmed they moved the recording of the call to a secret server meant for classified national security items so as to remove it from possible discovery. Now we have learned that calls with Putin and Saudi Arabia have also been moved to that secret server. Cover up.

When the whistleblower turned his information over to the proper authority it was deemed a credible and immediate threat but instead of getting it turned over to The House as the law demanded, AG Barr tried to bury it and it was only because the news services got wind of it that they finally released it to the House. Obstruction of justice.

The supposedly rich profoundly ignorant Trump went to the NRA to ask them to fund his impeachment defense. The NRA says sure, be glad to in exchange for making gun reform dead in the water. Against the law.

It has also come out that Trump has AG Barr and Secretary of State Pompeo traveling to other countries and asking their intelligence services to help investigate our intelligence agencies regarding the FBI's investigation into Russian operative interference in the 2016 election and the Trump campaign's connections to those Russian operatives which Trump tried to suppress and eventually resulted in the Mueller investigation which he also wants to discredit even though he thinks it exonerated him (it didn't) because he wants to prove that the Democrats put the FBI up to it to discredit him. Trump has stated publicly that he has no confidence in out intelligence agencies, preferring to believe whatever Russia, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia tell him. Obstruction of justice.

It's a circus. Trump claims his innocence and releases a reconstructed account of the call which basically shores up the whistleblower complaint, the White House accidentally sends Democrats their talking points to counteract the accusation and then asks them to please delete it, staunch supporter Lindsey Graham loudly discusses their secret strategy to combat the impeachment inquiry in public on a plane, Trump implicates his AG Barr and his lawyer Giuliani, Giuliani implicates the State Department, and the special envoy to Ukraine resigned after his name was dragged into it. Trump will throw everyone under the bus in an attempt to stop its forward motion before it gets to him showing no loyalty to those from whom he expects complete loyalty but that hasn't stopped the GOP from staunchly defending him even though they took an oath of office to protect and defend America and the Constitution.

And now there might be a second whistleblower trying to decide whether or not to come forward concerning possible interference from Trump regarding the audit of his taxes.

In the meantime Trump is doing what he does, tweeting constantly about how maligned he is, no other president has ever had this kind of harassment (though I expect our four assassinated presidents would argue that point), how perfect he is, how hateful everyone is, insulting everyone against him, insinuating that the whistleblower (who is now under federal protection from Trump and his followers after two of them offered a $50K bounty for his identity) is a spy and should be dealt with accordingly like in the old days, the Republicans are in attack mode accusing the Democrats of 'dividing the country' and not working to pass bipartisan legislature, and by that they mean whatever it is Trump wants, while the Republican Senate ignores the 200 or so bills passed by the House on everything from gun control to election interference protection.

Never have we had a president who takes the word of dictators and national enemies over our own intelligence agencies, who demeans large groups of American citizens on the world stage and at home, who has nasty nicknames for anyone who opposes him, who refuses to read or listen to advice, who asks other countries to investigate the people in this country responsible for its safety, who thinks he is above the law and acts accordingly, who thinks the presidency is/should be all powerful, who puts the fucking foxes in charge of the hen houses, who claims there will be a civil war if he is impeached or even voted out of office, and then complains that he is not being treated fairly.

Madam Pelosi had withheld against the calls for impeachment because she would rather have had him voted out of office but when faced with the whistleblower document knew her duty. Take note Trump and Republicans, when in an interview she was asked if she thought pursuing the impeachment inquiry would have a negative effect on her and Democrats chances of re-election, she responded, (paraphrased because I can't find the actual quote again) 'it doesn't matter, our duty to protect the constitution is clear'.

This is what a true patriot does.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

still summer

The mosquitos are so bad out there you just can't be outside for more than about 5 minutes. Nevertheless, we got out there Thursday and Marc cut up the five fallen limbs of the pecan tree while I loaded them in the garden cart and picked up the hundred other small to medium dead branches scattered about the yard (three mature pecan trees drop a lot of branches especially when someones us just lets them accumulate), then into the truck and drove it over to the burn pile and tossed it out. Three loads. 

A very big chunk of the biggest limb is still lodged in the crook of the tree. We're not sure quite how to get it down without it crushing the azaleas which I would not like at all.

The impetus to finally deal with the branches is because the backyard needs to be mowed and not just to help cut down on the mosquitoes but also because the mature pecans are starting to fall and I can't see them in the tall grasses and weeds.

The heat is stubbornly refusing to go away, the humidity is fierce, and the weather peeps say it may be the second or third week of October before we get anything even resembling a cool front and by that they mean highs in the 80˚s.

Year before last I think, one of the members of the garden club brought a box of mixed and unlabeled bulbs for the taking. I selected five and put them in pots so I could keep track of them. Early last spring one of them bloomed and it was a jonquil. Two others have grown enough that I'm pretty sure they are crinum lilies but they're still too young to bloom so I have no idea what color or kind they are. A couple of days ago the last two with no foliage evident started sending up bloom stalks.

More pics from the yard...

one of the fringe flower trees decided to bloom

a daylily at the end of September

oh those late summer lazy days either that or it's even too damn hot for  grasshoppers

the porterweed finally sent up a couple of bloom stalks

and, not in the yard because she's smarter than that, the mosquitos just swarm her when she goes out, one of Minnie

her work here is done saving us all from small stuffed toys.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

one tooth shy of a full set

I finally bit the bullet and went in and had my relatively healthy loose tooth with it's gold crown pulled, fourth tooth from the center upper left (this is the tooth that would glint when I smiled for pictures). It's been loose for years, at least a decade, maybe even 15, maybe even longer. It's been loose but stable in that it never bothered me, never the source of pain so I ignored it. Long about last May though it became unstable, shifting around and if I wasn't careful when I ate it would become misaligned and then I would bite down on it and oh man, that was like an electric shock to my brain. Then it would firm up some, then get even looser, then firm up some, over and over but the last month or so the firm up stages shortened from a couple of weeks to a couple of days and finally it was impacting my ability to eat and I was afraid it was either going to come out while I was eating or in my sleep and I would choke to death on it. I mean this baby was loose. I could waggle it all around and up and down. I could have pulled it myself if I wasn't such a coward so I checked out my insurance which only covers an exam, x-rays, and a cleaning every six months and that's it. Any work that has to be done, I pay. And what's up with that? Why doesn't health insurance cover dental work when bad teeth can affect your heart. Why do we have to get separate insurance to cover restorative work. OK, rhetorical Isn't that the reason for everything here in this country?

Anyway, I went in yesterday morning, they took x-rays, the dentist numbed me up, wiggled it once, wiggled it again, gave a little pull and it slipped right out. 

The only thing holding it in was the gum, he said, and showed me the x-rays...all the bone had disintegrated, and because it was spreading to the two teeth on either side, a bridge is not an option as it would cause those two teeth to become loose as well. After the extraction the assistant took a full set of x-rays and I went back this morning for the cleaning and exam. I have two teeth that need immediate attention, two new crowns if the decay under the two damaged old ones (and I mean old) hasn't gone into the root. Only one of them bothers me so I'm getting that one taken care of next week and I'll address the other one in a month or two. And since I now have insurance that will pay for cleaning twice a year hopefully that will keep the periodontitis from getting worse.

Now that it's not raining every day the road crew is back at work. Monday they used the big heavy roller vehicle to flatten out the worst of the washboard and ruts and today they were dumping bank sand on top of the previous layer and grading and flattening it.

Besides the mosquitoes which are horrendous out there, the white ginger really liked all that rain. This is the fullest bloom I've had all year on it.

I don't know if the rain brought these on or if it's just their time of year to bloom but the bromeliads I took when our stained and fused glass artist friend Gene lost his studio several years ago and was given 2 months to vacate the property and he was just going to abandon them because he had far too much other stuff to deal with are blooming. They're all crowded in two pots (he had them in the ground) and when I get around to repotting them, I'll separate out several to give back to him.

I also dug up his bird of paradise which is sending out three bloom stalks right now and I took a big staghorn fern (he was giving away all his tropicals and orchids as well). I split the separate staghorn plants and once he was settled returned one to him as well as one of the bridal bouquet plumerias as it was his that I took my cutting from. He finally got his new shop/studio building up and is in the process of getting the bathroom in and all the electrical, thinks he might be ready to come get all his equipment and supplies we've been storing for him by the end of the year. Once all his stuff is back where it belongs maybe I can get the three shop bays cleaned up and reorganized after Harvey since I haven't so much as hosed down the floor since it flooded.

OK, I'm off to yoga!

Monday, September 23, 2019

birds and frogs and feathers and flowers

Blogger was being a pill Sunday morning being too slow to respond and the spammers were busy Saturday evening while we were at the party. Came home to find three sets of spam comments on 7 different posts which I deleted and almost immediately another set of 7 spam comments appeared which I deleted and then Sunday morning another set of 7 spam comments which I also deleted. I wonder, just how much response do these spammers get with their multiple spam comments, especially ones they put on old posts that probably no one is ever going to ever read again.

Ah, well, I solved the Blogger problem. It was not Blogger but my wifi. We have two modems, I forget why we have the second newer one, each with its own password. Well the new one has a password, the old one is unlocked due to our little protest against corporate greed. If neighbors want to piggyback on us, we don't care, but I don't think anyone does since all the neighbors have their own locked wifi. Anyway, back to Blogger not responding, for some reason the new locked modem does not function well on my computer and sometimes when I turn it on it will select the new modem so I have to switch it to the old unlocked modem.

I refreshed the hummingbird feeders yesterday morning but we still only have the two hummers that we have had while my friends at the other end of the block have them swarming their feeders. Leonard says he has to refill his feeders a couple of times a day. We have a variety of small flowers in the yard though, penta, hummingbird bush, zinnia, indigofera, plumbago, and he says the hummers will go to the flowers before they will go to a feeder.The red wasps like the one in back and when I cleaned out the one in front and it must have had 3 dozen tree ants in it. I was teasing Leonard about hogging all the hummingbirds . 'Take some with you when you leave', he says, 'they're eating me out of house and home.' I can just see me walking down the street like the Pied Piper followed by a stream of hummingbirds only instead of playing a flute, I'll be holding aloft a feeder.

I have a lot of bird houses scattered around that I've acquired at various estate sales and while the birds don't seem to care too much for them, the tree frogs and wasps make themselves at home. It would help considerably if I would clean them out every fall but some of them have no easy access and are pretty much just decorative. In fact I only know for certain that two of them have been utilized at least once and those by wrens.

look close to see the tree frog peeking out

I have another picture of a different birdhouse with a tree frog sitting in the opening with a wasp sitting on it's head as it entered but it's on high magnification and the light isn't good and so I opted not to post it, being all dark and blurry. I can tell what it is but not sure anyone else would. The little frog was completely unfazed by the wasp sitting on its head. Oh, what the hell, here it is.

I did get a little bit accomplished yesterday, constructed the base for a flicker feather. Might work on a blue jay feather today.

I've been collecting the gone by zinnias for seeds for next year. Even in decay they are they have a certain beauty.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

falling limbs and mixed results

Another limb has broken off the same pecan tree. It's hanging down to the ground as it has not completely detached yet. This makes #5 in the last six weeks or so. You can't see the first limb down as it is on the other side of the tree from this view. It's a little bigger than #3 and #4.

More rain yesterday Friday. Another inch combined Thursday and Friday. It was coming down pretty hard for a while and this one section of the roof diverts just a ton of water to the same spot and of course it's right next to the slab so I was out there with the hoe sort of clutching the umbrella between my shoulder and neck and basically resting it on my head, which of course causes the water to seep through the fabric, hoeing channels for the water to drain away into the low spot in the yard. I have a new gutter there that's supposed to catch this water and channel it away but Rocky only put a downspout at one end and the other end just gets overwhelmed and it doesn't help that it is already full of leaves because we haven't got the screens on yet. We're going to remedy the situation with another downspout but can't until it stops raining. Hence my activity during the rain with the hoe. I get very nervous now when water is up against the slab. I don't know why I even bothered with the umbrella. The only thing it kept dry was the back of my shirt.

Something else the rain has brought...mosquitos!

Well, my snowflakes are pretty much a disaster. I used clear powder because I don't have very much white and even though I never made a sample I thought it would be OK. Wrong! They all came out dark gray. Even the five I did with the opaque white powder (top right) came out light gray though I think they are passable especially if I use white powder and a blue color on top.

sizes after firing: 4 7/8”, 3 7/8”, 2 1/4”, 1 1/4”

My little experiment for the fungus came out encouragingly though the color I blended is not quite pink enough. 

I'll try a more complicated test with two of the shapes next. And Thursday I worked on the base for an owl feather 

and I have another feather I'm going to work on today. That is if I get myself motivated. Which I did not and got nothing accomplished besides going to the store for baked beans.

The new road surface, or under layer, dried out fast yesterday considering the day's rain but it's already getting washboarded and developing ruts and puddles.

Saturday today is our 2nd annual I Survived Harvey Block Party. I signed up to bring the baked beans, something I have never made in my life, but the only other thing on the list was the hamburgers. And no, I'm not making baked beans from scratch, I'm taking gussied up canned baked beans.

Here's a picture that has absolutely nothing to do with anything in this post.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Imelda and points east

I've been getting a lot of inquiries about our well being what with Imelda beating up on the Texas Gulf Coast and while I am in the same general area and we are getting some much needed rain, 2” yesterday but only 1/2” today, all the flooding is happening to the south and east of us...the coast, Houston, and communities east of Houston. Some of them are getting hammered with over 40” of rain, worse than Harvey in some areas. Houston is horrible. I am glad I no longer live in the city. My daughter has been stranded at her work, can't leave til the water recedes and she was lucky this time. This time for her the water only came up to the sidewalk at far. I'd like to say that this is a rare occurrence but coupled with the unrestricted and unregulated growth with no real plan or thought about drainage that has been Houston coupled with climate change and these tremendous storms that sit on you and drop unimaginable amounts of water, there is no system or infrastructure that can accommodate that. All our coastal communities are doomed to abandonment and those populations are going to be displaced. It's already happening. How many times do you fix up your house after it floods before you just let it go? How many times can you fix up your house before you have to let it go?

Wharton has a flood plan that they are supposed to be implementing that's been years in the developing as I understand it and it will probably be years before anything tangible is done at this rate since I have seen nothing especially since Harvey but perhaps actual physical progress is being made elsewhere. At any rate, if we flood again I'm going to see how much it would cost to raise the house. I'm sure it will be prohibitive especially as we are on pier and beam and slab. But I would like to know. I think about our high and dry nearly 150 year old (would be) house on pier and beam in the Heights part of Houston so called because it was the highest area and we were in a high part of that, no worries about our house ever flooding, hell, the neighborhood didn't even flood even when the rest of the city did. We'd be like a little island but then even the Heights finally started flooding when these events happened. I loved that house but it had some serious problems of its own not the least of which was it was being devoured by termites due to my aversion towards poisoning my environment, also it's ancient plumbing and it's ancient wiring and the fact that we would have had to sell it to have the money to fix it up. See the problem? As it is, that house did us one last mitzvah, it gave us the resources to be able to recover completely from Harvey and in an improved way.

I no longer have hope that this trend in climate change can be reversed. It was probably too late even before Trump who has torpedoed any regulation aimed at restraining global warming. I've looked at the projections and where we are will still be above water and not even on the actual coast when all the ice melts but I think we will be in danger of constant flooding. If I was a 20 something at this point and I cared about the continuation of the species in general and my particular gene pool specifically, I'd research the hell out of projected changes in the shapes of our continents and hoof it to someplace I thought I would have the greatest chance of survival, this country or some other. Because now is the time to do that. Fortunately for me, my time on this planet is running out. I can stay put and not suffer too much and I think my children will be mostly OK. I can't even imagine the world my grandchildren will be dealing with.

Anyway, what I meant to say is thank you to all who have checked in with me and inquired about my safety.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

rain, roads, and those pesky homeless

Once it decided to rain again it seems to be making up for lost time. Flash flood warning from the county for today (Tuesday) through Thursday. We got about a quarter inch of rain yesterday and so far today it's just sprinkled or 'light rain' as the weather app called it but big thunder storms are threatening, apparently from tropical storm Imelda which is bashing Houston and to the east. All we're getting out of it is light rain off and on but all day and all night and it looks to be the same all day today (Wednesday). That's good, better than a torrential downpour although at some point during the early morning hours there was a lightning display but no thunder and still just the very light rain.

So of course precinct 2 of our county has decided to finally repave/resurface our part of one county road and the road that our street ends at last week and this. These two roads have needed serious repair since we've been here and that's 11 years. The SOP during that time has been to fill potholes and eroded sections with gravel that has about one tablespoon of tar per bucket of gravel. The first time we get a good rain it becomes loose gravel and washes out and the flood water from Harvey just made it all even worse.

Last week they started scraping the roads down, scraping up all the grass and weeds that have grown over the edges and some of the old road surface. This week they started laying down...something. Not sure what it's called, looks like a combination of bank sand, gravel, rocks, bits of crushed oyster shell, bits of old asphalt, clay, dirt, who the fuck knows whatall but it sure doesn't look stable, I don't care how many times they drive that big roller thing over it to compact it down. 

It looks like it will wash away or become full of runnels by any major thunderstorm. Marc thinks this is just an under layer and they're going to pave over it.

I got the snowflake shapes gussied up, kind of overdid it on some of them, I'm thinking now that 'less is more' but we'll see how they all compare when they come out of the kiln. I also molded the first little experiment for the piece in my head using the half log that I made a while back (remember I showed the process of making the reproduction latex mold with the plaster bandages for support and then poured a wax of it). My plan is to sculpt these little fungus shapes,

fire them, and then (probably) glue them to the finished cast piece and no I didn't get a picture before it went in the kiln.

In the meantime our democracy is dying a slow painful death. Trump, not satisfied with caging would be immigrants and getting his Supreme Court to back him up on limiting the number of asylum cases allowed has now decided that homelessness is a big problem. Oh, no, wait, homelessness isn't the problem, it's the homeless. They are the problem, camping in our best highways, our best streets, the best entrances to prestigious buildings. Foreign investors in his properties are wanting to leave the country! He's going to do something about it. And by that he means he is looking for a place to put them after he rounds them all up. Several people from his administration were in California looking at an abandoned military property to see if it would make an adequate concentration camp 'shelter' for those pesky homeless that are bringing our property values down. And boy does he have a hard on for California. Pissed that California is able to require and maintain clean air and auto emission standards and regulations that he rescinded for the rest of the country, Trump has revoked the waiver that gave them the legal right to do so. So much for Republicans being for state's rights. Meanwhile the Democratic House is letting everyone in Trump's administration refuse to abide by the subpoenas issued to them without consequences. Why are they not all in jail!

And so as not to end on such a downer note, here are some pictures of flowers.

The white rain lilies yesterday,

the yellow rain lilies today,

the swamp lily yesterday,

the surprise lilies (or as some people call them, hurricane lilies) today.