Friday, June 27, 2014

Last Week of June Review

Sweeping off the patio is now my full time summertime obsession.  I feel like the old man in the cartoon from years past who in the fall tracked down every fallen leave from his lawn and bagged it immediately, even desperately catching them as the wind blew them from the tree, leaf by leaf.  The husband thinks the old cottonwoods out back perhaps need more watering, so he has taken to that task of the evening.  The dogs tool around in the back looking for squirrels and I putter with the sweeping as the sun lowers in its sphere.  And the days are now getting shorter, so I hear, making earlier bedtimes easier to explain...people don't understand when you lie down before the sun does.

Liking an entertainment area free of dead cottonwood leaves, this week we will have entertained with friends and a few repasts.  A luncheon, a neighborly get together, and a couple friend tonight: all outside on a fairly leaf free patio.  Tonight I will be making a new salad with sweet potatoes and a rice vinegar dressing that is tossed together with the sweet potatoes and grilled corn cut from the cobs.  The cobs were grilled last night and are safely tucked away in the fridge for their glorious debut today with the sweet potatoes, black beans and a cilantro vinegar dressing. I'll let you know how it turns out.  One other sort-of recipe for a tea punch that was refreshing and tasty was equal parts brewed tea, pineapple-banana juice, orange juice and ginger ale.  That went down fairly well.

Powerful Mary Kay

On the fishing front, we caught nothing this week other than a photo of a blue heron that let me get pretty close to where he was scouting trout.  There are lots of these blue herons around the water.  Last week I caught a 12 inch trout, my largest haul so far.  And he was delicious!

This morning after her walk, Libby SweetPea and I will be making our hospice visits.  Here is an older picture of Miss Libby posing.

She is on a walk right now with her sister Mercy.  Every morning the routine is that they dance around, pulling and tugging at their leashes, waiting for their old dad to get on his hat and retrieve his walking stick. Libby gets the leash in her mouth, and it takes a bit of cajoling to get her to release it so the walk can commence.  Once the 25 minute exercise is finished, she is ready for a nap.  But today she has to gear up and make her visits to her assigned patients.  Two are in an Alzheimer's facility and two are in a nursing home. Libby is pretty easy to handle on her visits since she is an old pro at being quiet and sitting on my lap while being petted; that and she is already worn out from her prior walk.  Staff people at the facilities usually comment on her good behavior, but they have not seen her at home where she tools around like hell on wheels, barking at every neighbor she can view out the front door window.

On the knitting front, I have now ripped out the lace scarf at least three times.  This will not get the best of me.  Here it is in progress, yet again.

Disappointment from Sunday last (this post): that beta test was a semi-ok trial, but it only allows 15 pictures per slideshow on Photosnack.  I am still trying to get pictures downloaded from the Cloud to my computer, following all instructions to the letter, but just cannot get albums downloaded back on my computer.  After googling many answers to this question, the process is still not working for me.  It seems that once they are in the cloud, they stay there.  And there is no putting more than 15 pictures at a time on a slideshow or movie if they are not still residing on your computer's hard drive.  Any feedback on this issue would be greatly appreciated.

And for Paint Party Friday, the Sun is finished:

Ya'll have a great weekend, ya hear?

Sunday, June 22, 2014

New Zealand and Australia Pictures Beta Testing on Photosnack

Because I did not make a movie or slideshow from a Scrabble trip to New Zealand and Australia back in 2009, I decided to do so by trying out Photosnack to publish some of those photographs.

Slideshow 1: go here

Slideshow 2: go here

These need more work, like putting them in date order and with descriptions under pictures, so am considering this a beta test, but it seems to be working thus far.  I will include the updated slideshow at the bottom of this blog page when they are in working order.

Friday, June 20, 2014

A Fox and a Birthday and a Sun

The husband received a game camera from Julie and Jack, one of those motion sensitive and infrared cameras that take pictures at intervals after being triggered by motion.  He has had lots of fun with it, and a few nights back caught Miss Mercy sniffing around a tree trunk in the lower back yard.

And he had about a million pictures of squirrels recorded around that stump during the night. But you have seen squirrels, so I'll just post a picture of a small fox that was captured on film.  Fox appears to be about the size of our 12 lb. Mercy.  Sure hope he just eats squirrels and not the hollyhocks.

Last night the husband positioned the camera at a different spot, but there were no more pictures triggered by motion other than a few that perhaps a bird could be blamed for in its flight.

On a different note: today is my younger daughter's birthday.  She has had no contact with me for two years now.  Such a sadness, such a loss.  In happier times, this picture recorded her birth in Michigan in what seems a lifetime ago when her dad and I were students at MSU.

 (Mama and Heidy in hospital)

I am still no closer to figuring out why she has chosen her life path to exclude me and the rest of our family (referring back to a post written in 2012.)  I continue to pray for her daily, and trust her to God's mercy.

(Julie and Heidy, East Lansing, MI)
Look at that old green phone behind Heidy's head.  That certainly dates this photo.

It has been ages ago that I last posted on Paint Party Friday; so  now is the time.  Check out PAINT PARTY FRIDAY and others' artwork.  Think this will be called "Here Comes the Son" (note spelling is correct...John 8:12)

(acrylics: 36"x18")

(diptych: 54" x 18" when placed side by side...all in progress)

John 8:12

King James Version (KJV)
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Blog Sharing

Reading others' blogs is usually not only a fun way to keep up with virtual friends, but also a source of inspiration and a way to introduce new ideas into your (my) life.

That said, let me share with you Mrs. Tittlemouse and her muffin recipe here.  The picture on her blog looked so delicious that I had to make some of those blackberry muffins. The only substitution was strawberry yogurt for plain yogurt.

Here is a picture of the basket that she made and sent me from Kent, where she lives in the UK.

Some of that batch of blackberry muffins will go over to a friend's house next week, using her basket as a carrier.  Thank you so much, Mrs. T.  She also sent a pretty crocheted hot pad, but my camera and that pretty pad did not make it together simultaneously for an image.

Another blog that is a daily read is Mennonite Girls Can Cook.  Here is the recipe we have been enjoying this week.  The bean and vegetable salsa keeps a week in the fridge, is healthy and a low cal way to get your fill.
(source is their webpage)

Sweet daughter Julie sent me a slate sign years ago, and you can see I am still using it in my newly dug and newly planted garden; that was yesterday's project.  My back is killing me today due to all the bending and lifting.

Surprise! He scared me with his moving around in the leaves since I was suspecting a garter snake, but it was only Mr. Toad.  He probably thought I was invading his space.

And yes, we fished again this week.  The most exciting views were of geese and blue herons that hang around the lake.  Those geese expect to be fed, but this one did not get anything from us, so he was a bit put off, as you can see from his open beak.

Am off to eat a blackberry muffin and take more aspirin.  Hope your weekend is a good one.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Gardening in June

High country gardening techniques say prolong the blooming period of columbine you need to interrupt this seed producing process by removing the faded flowers and any seed pods that have formed. The plant then sends up more flowers in an effort to make more seeds. Since columbine are perennial and grow back from their rootstock, you'll still have a columbine in the same spot next year... source
It is a shame to pluck these beauties and denude them of flowers.  But I saved some columbines in pictures just in case we don't get another crop of yellow columbines this summer.

The penstemon were in full bloom this week also.  I cut them down, too.  Ruthlessly, in fact.  But they will exhibit again, history reminds me.  They tolerate partial shade, which is what the sun in the back displays.

I have been transplanting daises also.  The above ones that are caged are white and have a short bloom period, but are worth the wait.  Crossing my fingers they will get enough sunlight for blooming.  I lost bluebells to the lack of sun, and had to transplant purple marshmallow to a different location for better growth.
Marshmallow (purple)

Above are cosmos that were started from seed in April in the kitchen window.  The "before" picture is below of both the cosmos and the zinnias.

And zinnia plants now, almost ready for transplanting AGAIN

And lastly, for historical botanical purposes, is the penstemon purchased for the wildflower garden begun in 2012.
Then (2012)
and now (2014):

Even though I have lost several plants over the winter, overall the garden is doing well.  How is YOUR garden growing?

source (Denslow, public domain)