Sunday, July 26, 2009

Origami love

First: this is what my Angel-leaf Begonia has been doing for about a month: 
It is so gorgeous, isn't it?
Besides that, what have I been doing? Not knitting. Not gardening. Doing homework.  Going to work.  Going to work to do homework.
Oh all right, I'm exaggerating a bit.  Yes, I've been doing homework - in fact I probably put in about 8 hours today.  But I've been doing a phenomenal amount of reading, too.  In the last few weeks I've read, or listened to: 
Bad Manners by Marne Davis Kellogg (ongoing - Evanovich "read-alike" except she's a Republican you can tell); 
Fablehaven by Branden Mull (Young Adult fantasy - really good); 
Book Lust by Nancy Pearl (ongoing for several months); 
Tears of the Giraffe (ongoing) and The World According to Bertie, both by Alexander McCall Smith; 
Blink by Malcom Gladwell (ongoing - have the book, and also have it as downloadable audio) 
and there's for certain some I've forgotten.  I also just picked up some SF called Old Man's War by John Scalzi and it's really funny so I might have to add it to my ongoing list.  That makes six ongoing books, and that's about normal.  I love it that reading makes me better at my job.  Oh, and I forgot, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (ongoing).  I have a book in every room, sometimes two.
And the other thing that's distracting me is origami.  Behold my many boxes:
I just learned how to make the insert to the Masu (pronounced maht-zu) box today, online at eHow.  This is very exciting.  You look for fabric, I look for origami paper.  I feel a folding fit coming on right now...must go...see you later.  Love, Mary

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Recent Quilting Projects

Hi Mary and Jeni,
I haven't only been working in the pond. I have been watching the Tour de France and also quilting and sewing. Aprons have been one of the things I enjoyed making lately as well as a quick foray into recovering furniture with quilting. Also I am working on a pink/peach/red/magenta and white quilt. The quilt I am working on while touring France. The others are finished for now. I do plan on making a few more aprons though. They are fast and fun.
However my favorite part of the apron photo's is the photographer in the mirror.
The furniture recovering came about because of an article in a quilt magazine showing some chairs that were reupholstered in pieced quilted fabric. Wow were they pretty. So, since I had been at an estate sale with Jeni and I had picked up this footstool I decided to recover it in the green and pink and cream of my living
Here is the finished project.

Faye has it at the Henhouse for a sample right now, but I will get it back eventually.
Lastly the white and multi/pink quilt I am working on.
I hope it will turn out to be a large full or a small queen, but that depends on how much of the border fabric I can beg out of my friend Karen. She has, she says, "Lots of it left". Here's hoping. I will just add it on the two sides as it is already around 96 inches long. I laid it out in the library and had to stand in the stairway to get this picture.
Here are details with cats.
Do you think Alice is channeling PJ the Fatty Kitty?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Garden in July

Hi there Mary,
I woke up this morning and saw three different (Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Northern Oriole and, I think, a Chipping Sparrow) fledgelings in the garden. Four if you count the damn woodchuck baby, but I only count bird fledgelings. Here s/he is enjoying my peas. It finds the chicken wire fence admirable for climbing up to the top of the peas.

I did go out this morning and photograph the trellis.

Some purple morning glories I started from last years seed are climbing up the base of it. Here is a detail of the trellis. It simply ties together with string, with a little weaving of twigs involved too.

Since I was seeing babies I decided to treat you to a photo essay of starts. Here are some of the seeds in my garden. First are pea seeds. Beloved by woodchucks and their offspring. This photo is from before I saw it munching.

Next the seed heads from my peonies. Aren't they weird looking? I think they look like those hats that some people's kids are persuaded to wear while young.

Next the 'walking' onions with their seed heads. They walk because the seed head grows out on the stalk and then falls over a little ways away from the plant and if you don't move it, that is where it grows next year.

And then my favorite of them all....
My Allium's. They look like fireworks to me.

I also saw Tiger Lily seeds

And the seeds of the Englemann's Ivy which I pull out constantly, but it is winning. I wish the woodchuck liked it. It spreads in spite of the fact that the birds eat every berry it produces.

Lastly the future Kay Grey grape which is hardy here in North Dakota. I think it might be a good crop this year. Two years ago I got 1506 grapes off of it.
This is my pond frog. He stayed with me through the trauma of cleaning out the pond and rearranging the stones. In fact he found a girlfriend.
This is just a small part of the result. I hope to have several million tadpoles soon.
Till then, they are being guarded by froggie and my pond cat.

Love, Nancy

Monday, July 6, 2009

What happened to the Lilac Bush

I've talked about the lilac bush in the backyard before:
This is how it looked when I pruned it in June of 2008.
It did pretty well.  I heard from the neighbors that it really liked being pruned and had lots of blooms.  However, we had storms and more storms of heavy snow last winter.

and the branches were weighted down by snow over and over again.  This picture is in April.  You can't see the other side of the bush, but it pretty much looked like hair parted down the middle.
Then, June, and blooms again.  This was the first time I saw our lilac bloom.  It blooms about 3 weeks after our neighbor's lilac, it's more of a violet color, and it smells heavenly, just like a lilac.

You can see how spread out it has become, and below,
you can begin to see the long, straggling branches.  A lot of the branches on the right are dead, and there are branches from both sides that wind their way over to the other side due to being broken once, or just looking for light.  They snake all over.  So, we waited until the blooms died off, and we pruned drastically.  Since blooms only appear on shoots that are three years old, in order to completely renew a lilac, it's suggested that you prune 1/3 of the old wood.  While our neighbor has a nicely shaped tree due to diligent pruning yearly, we have a long-neglected one and it was impossible for me to find a coherent structure on which to base my pruning.  So I opted to cut off the right side dead and ground-dragging branches.  Joe came over with a borrowed chain saw.


You can see that we actually have a platform on which to put a potted plant, or a Laughing Buddha, if I can find one.  Or a Fatty Kitty statue! 

Now I have to figure out which shoots I want to keep growing out of the 20 or 30 growing in the right side.  But for now, I am slowly harvesting the branches.  What, harvesting?  Yes.  Look what I've got, besides a few big pieces to burn in the wood stove, and lots of little branches to bring to the chipper at the dump:
Garden sticks: 
and origami mobile sticks:

Do you need an origami mobile?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Paddling the Mighty Whitefish...

Hi Nancy 
The Mighty Whitefish is what my friend MaiBritt calls it.  The Whitefish River is not usually Mighty, but it can have some challenges.  The first challenge was SUN, and our crew met it head-on with lavish applications of sun block.  Katie went all out with SPF 55:
The rafting crew consisted of Katie, Christy, Joe, and MaiBritt, in Joe and MaiBritt's 10-ft. raft.  And what a great crew they were, always ready at a moment's notice to jump out of the raft and eat. 
 Brian at ease in his kayak - sometimes he seems half-man / half-kayak since he's spent so much time in them.  He just nosed his boat up to the dock and let it hang there...until someone opened up the beer and then he pulled alongside.
Katie kept us (and herself, sole child among five adults) entertained by playing with her food (here she's got a pickle in her mouth); 

swimming between raft and kayaks; 

and convincing Brian to paddle really fast while she hung on to the front of his kayak.  Unfortunately, there are no pictures of that.
We also saw an osprey, Brian says he saw western tanangers (we did see something yellow swooping over the river), ducks with ducklings, two or three beaver homes, and many swallows feeding on the river, along with their riverbank condos.  The clay bank below has a number of holes dug into it.
The float was a success in that nobody got sunburned, except in a couple of odd places where sunblock didn't go, we went through the scary culverts under Hwy 93 with no mishaps, and we got to have ice cream afterwards.  Not much got done the rest of the day by anyone except Christy, who had to drive back to Missoula as she left for Cannon Beach the next day at 5 am.  I'll bet she's having fun now too.  Maybe we can get some ocean pictures from her.
Love, Mary