Saturday, December 21, 2013

Trees and Lights

We've gone all out, at least for us.  This is the most decorating we've done since before we bought the store in Warrenton (and that happened in 2001).  I think being in retail during the holidays takes a lot of the decorating desire out of you.

My dear Oldtimer has been in charge of the exterior, and I'm doing most of the things inside.  In fact, just four days before Christmas, and I'm still decorating! 

The tree in the window at top is an interior decoration meant to show from outside, so we both get credit for that one.
Counting the tree in the garage window, we have four trees this year.  As I said, the most since Warrenton!  (One year there our house had three trees in the living room alone, plus one in the front entry, one in the upstairs window, and one in "Alec House.")
This is the sentimental tree in the family room, filled with mis-matched ornaments and things the kids have made:

This isn't really a tree, but the dried bloom stalks from the plant out front, which got stuck in a bucket of sand, bucket wrapped in burlap and sticks got lights and ribbon:

This is the tree in the loft, showing to the outside, and matching our red and white theme there:

And this is what Oldtimer calls my Martha Stewart tree, in the living room.  I bet Martha Stewart would have had someone make her some tiebacks for the drapes by now:
We are finally enjoying settling in and making this place our own. Solstice blessings!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Early Evening Visit

Just before starting dinner last evening, I sat on the patio with a cup of coffee and a book. Heard the whirr of wings, and a familiar chirp sound, and realized I had a visitor. I really enjoy the hummingbird visits.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


As I picked up the camera this morning, there was a row of mourning doves in the sunlight, along the top of the wall.  I was feeling clever and thought I would call it "mourning line-up."  The moment I picked up the camera, they were gone in a whirr of wings.  I'm sorry I interrupted their morning sunbathing.

Almost as good as a line of birds is this peek-a-boo bougainvillea from the neighbor's yard.  It just started blooming in a crazy red flush about a week ago.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

With Help Like This...'s a wonder I ever get anything done.  This cat can be so obstinate when he decides he wants to share space with me!

Doesn't the poor doll look as though she's crying for help?

But Cosmo does love to recline upon things.  Like this:

That sweet potato vine looks like one of those "The Monster That Devoured..." movies.  Until moving here, I always thought they just artfully trailed from pretty planters.  Who knew you could use it as a ground cover?

And that's after trimming it back significantly.  Next year I plan to mix the colors and do this in several more places.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Morning Coffee

So... this morning I slept late (for me).  It was after 6:00 when I finally got out of bed, partly because Oldtimer had the alarm set for 4:30, loud, so he wouldn't miss golf this morning, and I fell back to sleep and had a LOT of weird dreams.  When I got out of bed, I was trying to decide if I had time for my routine cup of coffee on the patio before my morning walk with Molly the Dog.  (Thanks to Miley Cyrus, I now think I have to qualify that every time I say it.  Molly the Dog is her new name.)  I thought I should at least have a quick cup, and sort my brain a bit, because the dream I'd had, just before waking, was really weird.  It had something to do with being at an art retreat, learning to work with metal, and I was riding with my friend Gingah, who was driving a big white tuna boat of a station wagon, through an artist village where we were taking classes.  I was very excited to see a pair of Asian women hammering beautiful strips of metal to a block wall, but Gingah explained to me that even though we were hammering things in our class, they were going to be much smaller, and our work would be dainty and feminine.  I should have expected that, she said, because the metal pieces we were hammering were government issued.

Anyway, I wanted to contemplate that dream, because it also included glitter on the walls, but not with the government issued metal pieces, but I only got one sip of coffee when I realized there was another doggone Couch's Spadefoot in the swimming pool, and as much as he flailed at the surface, he wasn't getting back out.  I wanted him out before the pool filter turns on at 6:30, because I just hate fishing them out of the basket, especially when they are floating belly up.  I went to the side of the house to get the small net, but when I turned around, he'd dived to the bottom of the pool, frightened, because Molly the Dog was running and leaping at the block wall, and scratching up the rocks and carrying on something awful.  She probably saw a gecko.

I laid down on the cool deck, in my nightgown, and tried to help him off the bottom of the pool, but he wasn't having it.  I was a little worried about not being to move quickly, lying in my nightgown and all, should someone like the pool guy come into the back yard, so I got back up for another sip of coffee.  The Spadefoot floated back to the surface and possibly thumbed his nose at me.  I ran over, scooped, and he leaped back out of the net into the pool.  I scooped again and got him.  I was trying to decide which neighbor's yard to drop him into, thinking if I dropped him over the back fence, he might hop out into traffic, which might defeat the whole purpose of fishing him out of the pool.  He leaped out of the net, onto the gravel, and into the waiting arms of Cosmo Kramer Cat.  A Couch's Spadefoot doesn't move very quickly on gravel, and sometimes they flip belly up on the rocks due to their instability.  I don't move nearly as quickly on the gravel as Cosmo, but I did manage to put the net over the Spadefoot to protect him.  Then Molly the Dog bumped me and I lost my balance, and the Spadefoot was unprotected again.  The Spadefoot hopped under an Oleander bush, Cosmo chased him, I put down the net, caught Cosmo, put Cosmo and Molly the Dog into the house and sat down with my cup of COLD coffee. 

But I did see a finch at the finch feeder for the first time as I savored my cold coffee. I guess I'll analyze the weird dream on my walk with Molly the Dog.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

And we wind down August...

With clean windows:


Wading birds in the desert:


And favorite artwork finally finding a home:

Tuesday, August 06, 2013


We've had all three classes for Barbara Schoenoff's online class for a couple weeks now, but I'm still running behind.  I got a little time to work this weekend, and got as far as sewing and fitting the "hairpiece" - it still needs to be firmed up and attached, and the curls attached.  Still, progress!
When I did my update a while back, outlining the flora and fauna I've identified in our yard so far, I forgot to mention this little guy:

I know he's a roadrunner, but when I first saw him, seemingly dropping out of the sky, or perhaps launched from the neighbor's yard and over the wall, I called him a pterodactyl.  I had just stepped through the patio door, and first saw a huge, rumpled shadow, and then an ungainly, feathery landing.  It made the bird look a lot larger than it is.

Gerry was finally able to play "Knickers" golf this past Sunday with the group.  We'd given him his first knickers outfit for father's day, and it was good to see him put it to use!

(all photos should be clickable for larger image/detail)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Looking outward

I seem to have a need to look out and look up.  In grade school, I got scolded for gazing out the classroom windows too much.  In high school, I would come home in the afternoon and scold my mother for having all the shades drawn and curtains pulled.  She thought it made the house cozy - I couldn't stand it.

So living in Arizona suits me - there's lots of sky and lots of gazing out and up to do.  There are vistas and cloud formations and new birds to identify. Even though Gerry recognized that I needed a house with lots of windows for looking outward, he's still prone to asking me what I'm looking at.  So many times, I haven't a clue what I'm looking at - I'm just looking.

Friday night's sunset provided a fabulous, colorful vista for gazing upon.

Imagine my surprise when Saturday morning's vista showed a new element that appeared to crop up overnight in the hayfield behind our house.

And now we have this (not my choice of vista, but at least we know it's temporary):

Totally unrelated to vistas...  this is not a hummingbird:
Nor is this:

And I haven't a clue what this is... I keep hoping for a chance at a photo of the huge raven that squawked at me our first morning here, but I have a hunch this is just a pigeon.  Very visible across the park, on the neighbor's roof, though, isn't it?  I need better zoom-ability.

Monday, July 22, 2013


Saturday evening, it poured.  The "tot lot" across the street was filled with water - it looked like we lived near a small lake.

This is what it normally looks like:
This is what it looked like last night, after the rain, and yes - in the dark:

And here's how it looked this morning.  Note the high water line along the hillside:

It doesn't take much rain to have standing water - another new experience!

Learning the new birds and critters

Those of you who are my friends on Facebook know that I've been posting a lot of photos of all the things I have to learn about the various birds, bugs, and other critters.  Some of the birds, like ravens and the hummingbird, I already knew.  Others, like the turkey vultures, took me a while to be sure. 

The birds, starting with quail:
Broad tailed grackle:
And a roadrunner:
We don't seem to have any photos of the turkey vultures yet, but will soon, I'm sure.
Today's offerings - Couch's Spadefoot:
Carpenter bee:
And, of course, the Dr. Seuss plants:

 I'm sorry I don't have photos of the turkey vultures yet - I'm sure I will soon.  The raven and the mockingbirds have avoided having photos taken, as well. 

It's just so much fun to have so many new things to learn!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The new treehouse

It seems impossible to not call my sewing/art space a treehouse, even though it is now ground level.  This all started back in North Carolina when my sewing room was above the store - the room had glorious 12 foot ceilings with nearly floor to ceiling windows.  I looked out over the back parking lot, and there were tree branches to frame my view.

When we moved to Ohio, my workspace was only 6 1/2 feet wide, but 15 feet long.  It was at the back of the house, over the walkout basement, so it still felt as though I was up in the treetops, so the name stuck.

Not so with this house - but it's a lovely sized room with a nice view of the back yard.  Here are a couple of before shots:

And here's the "after" view, taken just a few moments ago. 

Left side, as you look outside:
Left side, toward the rear of the room:

Right side, as you look outside:
Right side, at the rear of the room:
Back wall, with open closet door:
 Full view, as you walk in the door:

 And I'm still not done unpacking!