Wednesday, March 29, 2006

A beautiful time of year

It is a beautiful time of year.
Spring comes more slowly here than some other places but it does really feel like it's coming now.
I have oodles of snowdrops and a few crocuses and there are more green noses popping up in the sadly neglected garden. I have tiny tet a tet daffies, but only because I forced them in the shop - more things to walk around when cutting boards.
I finished the 10 "little bird" houses sized for chickadees and wrens, and now am cutting parts again.
I have a bunch of gray 8 inch boards with 2 inch sides and strips of lath nailed in them. They were used for core samples, but in their new life they will be birdhouses.Where the lath was nailed it leaves them with subtle stripes.
They take quite a bit of taking apart but are pretty good wood and they are pine! I keep getting old fir which makes fine houses but it is hard and slivery and likes to bend nails.
James is getting ready to mount a new show at Annette's Delicate Essen in time for this summer's ArtWalk. Actually, he will be changing work around sooner than that as she is changing the layout of her restaurant at Easter.
The last two days James spent lying under his blocked up truck removing the clutch, transfer case, and transmission. I guess the good news is the weather has finally improved enough to do such things.
The other good thing about working outside is that you see wonderful things and can come get your wife to see them too.
This evening we saw a large flock of swans flying north just as the sun was setting. Their wings were awash in the sunset. We also saw geese,but that is not so exciting as the swans.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Morris Flowers Greenhouse

This morning was Morris Flowers Greehouse's annual spring pancake feed. Lloyde and Heather were flipping busily and Heather, who is also the Diabetic Nurse at the hospital, had provided a diabetic pancake syrup for those of us who require it, as promised.

Last year I brought my own, but when she saw it she said she'd have it this year, and I wasn't the only one using it.

Monte Andersen's music students were performing - piano and fiddling, very good. There was one little 9 year old boy who played his own composition: The Waterfall Waltze and you could hear the water tumbling over the rocks. It was really impressive for such a little guy. When Monte asked him what he wanted to play next he played the Theme from the Pink Panther. He was, after all, just a little boy.

James took pictures as reference material for his paintings and took a picture of one of my birdhouses while he was at it. I had planned to come home and work in the shop but I got chilled at the greenhouse, and after delivering Grandma's Applesauce Cake to an elderly couple who I bake it for occasionally, shopping for my mom, and doing errands I was bushed and came home and wrapped up in ablanket and watched figure skating. So much for good intentions.

Next Sat I'm going to the local art quilting group for my first time.

I think they are calling themselves "A Walk on the Wild Side."

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Bluebird Houses

I finished these last week. They are sized for bluebirds and swallows. I am now building houses sized for the little guys - chickadees, wrens, downy woodpeckers.

The air is full of birdsong these days and everyone is checking out realestate. Spring really is in the air.

This morning I looked out north of the house and there was a big adult "Mr" pheasant checking out my little "memorial garden" - memorial to our kitties that are no longer with us.

Mr Pheasant was in lovely shape. This was such an open winter I'm sure many of the birds made it through in fine form. Now we see the male pheasants sparring as is their spring ritual, or you'll see two fellows 20 feet apart in a field, unable to move as that might signify weakness.

Yesterday I potted up the last of last fall's daffodill bulbs. I don't know that they'll bloom this year but at least it should keep them "healthy" until I can plant them in the lawn next fall. These are mostly "tet a tet." (I'm sure that's the wrong spelling, but they are a tiny daffie that has multiple blooms.) I have given up on tulips as the only folk who get to enjoy them are the deer. They have decimated my hen and chicks and other sedum.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Improbable Sightings

On my way into town this morning I had to stop for a little family of pheasant chicks. They were fully feathered - not just baby down - but they weren't even as big as a dove. What cute little guys, and in that they are feathered out they'll probably make it, but around here we don't expect to see them before mid-summer!

March 18 - National Quilting Day - I had no idea!

I spent today and yesterday evening working on a sweatshirt jacket which will then be free motion quilted. I have the fabric placed on the front and back - next come the sleeves.
The raven is a screen print James made.

I did have to buy the Oriental print and the fabric that looks like birch bark. The rest I already had. And I had to buy the red sweat shirt. I love red!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Busy, busy, busy.....

I finally finished all the houses I'd cut parts for before I got sick and now am on to a second group.
Those were sized for bluebirds and swallows and these will be for chickadees, downy woodpeckers, and wrens.
I'm taking another quilt class this Fri and Sat making a sweatshirt jacket.
I've pieced a table runner and begun a second quilt but still have to finish sewing the first together and in that the first is still up on the wall, I'll have to finish it before going on the #2.
I also finished mailing out all the entry forms for art walk. Three of us got together and collated and stuffed envelopes one night and that really sped things up. I did labels from a mailing list and there were still a few glitches but I only had to write out 2 by hand and that is very good!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Local trapper bags the big one!
And you thought it was all fun and games in the gallery.
"Something" had been eating (and digging up) the root of one of my columbines, right down into the ground. It had made a hole about a foot deep, eating away at the over an inch wide root.
We decided the hole was just way too big to be a mouse - not even a very large mouse! and the last snow we had we could see his little footprints going from the pond over to the mudroom, so we bought a rat trap and James baited it with a date and covered it so we wouldn't catch a cat. James got him the first night. We suspect "he" was a very pregnant female pack rat, in just beautiful condition.
You may note it does not have a skinny, naked tail like a Norway rat. It actually had little round ears, a fluffy tail, and looks not unlike a chinchilla, and we wish it had just stayed in the woods and lived its happy little life. Unfortunately, that was not the case, and pack rats stink badly, or their "leavings" do, they can chew and destroy things, and they just don't fit in with domestic life.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

New houses for our feathered friends.
I spent the afternoon in the shop creating new real estate for the birds - many, many, little birdhouses. These are only partially assembled - next will come door knobs and faucets and various other pieces of used hardware - plus a wood pile, and a key.
These are sized for bluebirds and violet green swallows.
This afternoon I noticed the towees have returned and are hopping about the bushes. Down by the chicken house I saw my "mystery bird" again. Often he comes and sits on the electric wires in Jan or Feb but I haven't been able to identify him. He is a very soft gray with dark "eye makeup" and white feathers along the edges of his tail. He likes to sit on the wires just 'till I get the binoculars and then he is gone.
James has been in the studio working on a commision.