February Photos

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Photos: Springtime Trip to Omaha

This afternoon I went with Larry to Omaha to retrieve one of Walkers' boom trucks.  But what was supposed to be fixed, ... wasn't.  So we left it there, ate supper at Cracker Barrel, and came home.  Long way to go to eat out! -- but it was good, and we did have a gift card from one of the children.

Rogers, population 94

The trees are blooming in North Bend

The trees are turning green

Journal: ♫ ♪ Up From the Grave He Arose! ♪ ♫

Tuesday, I lugged a bunch of quilting books up from the basement and put them in the upstairs bookcase.  If other parts of the house would just stay static whilst I’m a-workin’ away at whatever project has my attention at the moment, I could certainly get said project done a lot faster!  But all sorts of other things demand attention.  Dust clouds rise up from fresh-plowed fields nearby, look around in gleeful anticipation, and then maliciously float their particles through my windows to settle on every surface in the house – even vertical ones.  Cats need in.  Cats need out.  People need clothes washed.  People need meals cooked.  Cats need in.  Cats need out.  There are winter clothes to get out of my bedroom and summer clothes to put in... furniture to move... and a gazillion flower gardens to tend to.  Cats need in.  Cats need out.  Why did I make a gazillion flowerbeds out there, anyway??!  Cats need in.  Cats need out.
Wednesday afternoon, I hemmed a couple pairs of pants for a friend, and then I searched through my fabrics to see what I could use for the coffeepot cozy I want to make for my great-nephew and his fiancΓ©e.
Can you believe it?!  I was finally sewing again!  Or at least, gathering up the fabrics I needed... laces... beads... embroidery floss... Insul-Bright...
Does this look like a heap of potentiality, or just a bit of a mess, in your opinion?
I tried on the clothes I got for Easter.  We have three services that day, and I had a different outfit for each.  One is a beautiful hand-crocheted cream-colored sweater with crocheted dusty-pink roses around the V-neck and the bottom edge, with a lot of pearls.  It’s more beautiful on the hanger than it is on me.  😝
It would look better if it was a good 12” shorter and one size smaller.  Or maybe if I was 12” taller.  But... I matched it up with a darker cream, knit, full skirt, and then wrapped a long, ruffly ivory scarf around the waist, and ... well, I guessed I’d wear it. 
I looked like a mattress tied in the middle.
A fancy mattress, but a mattress, nonetheless.
Jeremy and Lydia and the little boys went to Minnesota last week, to get a pickup Jeremy bought and to have a mini vacation.  They went to Legoland in Mall of America, and then to the zoo; but Jonathan, who has asthma, started having trouble breathing about the time they got there.  They let him ride in the stroller, but cut things short because he was getting worse.  Albuterol nebulizer treatments weren’t helping (they have a machine, and they even have an outlet in their vehicle), so they took him to Urgent Care, but the help they received there didn’t last more than an hour.  So, while Lydia stayed at the motel that night with Jacob and Ian, Jeremy took Jonathan to the ER.
They got back to the motel about 4:30 a.m., and Jonathan, having had a steroid shot, was breathing much better.  Poor little guy!  And poor Jeremy and Lydia.  I know just how scary that is, when a child has an asthma attack and can’t breathe well at all.  Jonathan, though not quite 2 ½, is able to tell when it’s getting worse, and asks Lydia to help him.
At least, Lydia said, “Ian was thrilled with the crib they had in the motel.  πŸ€£ It squeaked!!  😬
They were finally home safe and sound Thursday night.  Lydia wrote, “We had hoped to do more things that would be fun for the kids, such as the zoo.  But we’re just thankful to be home in one piece now.  Jonathan can sleep in his bed where he has wanted to be, and Jacob can tell all his friends he got to go to Legoland.  πŸ˜‰  And Ian can crawl around to his heart’s content tomorrow.  We had driven past some places on the way where they were burning overgrowth in the ditches.  It seemed the wind was blowing the smoke away, but we were worried it would trigger an asthma attack.  And it did.  πŸ˜•  Poor boy. Makes you feel so helpless.”
Thursday I’d intended to work on the coffeepot cozy, but I couldn’t stand to leave the stacks of music books and old hymnbooks that I’d unearthed in Caleb’s and Victoria’s old rooms in tall piles in the living room a moment longer.  I wanted to put them into the bookcases in the music room, and that entailed taking some of the books in those bookcases out, and moving them elsewhere.  The bottom part of the biggest bookcase was completely full of photo albums, and I wanted those upstairs in bins.  So I spent the day carrying armloads of books and albums hither and yon, and arranging and rearranging books. 
I brought a small oak bookcase from the addition into my little office (which will become a large hallway to our new bedroom, with a bookcase, filing cabinets, and a dresser), and took a corner piece to the upper hallway corner.  The corner piece is special, because my late nephew David made it for us.  Then I started playing ‘musical books and albums’, which is quite a lot more tiring than ‘musical chairs’, especially if you are transporting those books and albums up and down one or more flights of stairs.
I have now emptied the bins of books, putting them back into bookcases, and taken all the albums out of the bottom of the big bookcase.  Most of my albums are now in bins, though there are quite a few in the hope chest on the main floor.  The books are sorted and in order, and I found a number that I will give back to the children.  I even found a cookbook that belonged to one of the teachers, given to her as a graduation gift in 1974.  I have no idea how or why we wound up with it.
I’m not done, as there is one more large bin full of books downstairs.  But I need Larry to retrieve it for me, as it’s big and heavy and too high for me to reach.  It will probably fill the rest of any bookcases that aren’t full yet.
Oh – I spotted another box of books out in the addition that still need to be put into a bookcase.  There’s a sliding rocker in the basement that will go into the little office, and maybe a child’s rocking bench, too, if the room isn’t too crowded.  I cleaned and dusted the rolltop desk; Larry will have to take it apart to get it out of that little room and into my new sewing room.
More pictures are here:  BooksIt’s too bad libraries run on such a low profit basis, or I could set up shop!  πŸ˜ƒ
After a steaming hot bath, I ensconced myself in the recliner with a heating pad behind my back.  Why didn’t I have my pedometer on that day?!  I probably broke any old records I’ve set, what with all the running up and down the stairs.
I was stiff and sore Friday from all that work, and glad to sit and sew.  First, I drew a pattern for multiple hourglass-shaped gores of the teapot, with a wider piece for the side with the spout.  Then... I began cutting and sewing.
I was glad to find that the foundation pieces fit.  I’ve sewn a couple of Grandmother’s Fans, one outlined in ruffled lace, onto the foundation, along with half of a Lemoyne Star.
It started raining that evening, and kept raining for several hours.  Late (very late) that night, I went upstairs, laptop in one hand, coffee mug in the other, and greeted the recliner again like a long-lost friend.  The cats, as is their custom, sit calmly and watch me seat myself, put my coffee mug on the warmer, turn it on, tuck the heating pad behind my back, turn it on, pull the fleece throw over my legs, adjust the laptop on my lap, plug in the earbuds, and insert them into my ears.

And then one of them goes to the door, wanting out, peering over his shoulder to make sure I notice.  I go let him out.  The other cats, as is their custom, sit calmly and watch me reseat myself, tuck the heating pad behind my back, pull the fleece back over my legs, and adjust the laptop.
The next cat, as is his custom, goes to the door and attempts to stare it open, ears peeled back in pique that it doesn’t open automatically for His Royal Highness the Cat.
I go let him out – and the process is repeated.  It doesn’t help to invite all out at the same time; I would have to bodily pitch them out, if I wanted all to go at once.  There does not seem to be rhyme nor reason as to the order they go in; but they obviously orchestrate it in advance, for it goes like clockwork.
So, with that background, I give you the events straight from my journal that night:
It’s raining.  The cats want out.  (Of course.)  There’s a lull; I let them out.
Rain, thunder, lightning approaching; I invite them back in.  Teensy and Tabby come in; Tiger is nowhere to be seen.  A few minutes later, I see him on the porch.  I start to let him in; Teensy tries to escape.  I order him back.  He persists.  I yell; he dodges under the table. 
I let Trepidacious Tiger in (Is she yelling at me?!), shut the door.  Teensy has vanished.  Tiger purrs around my ankles.  Surely the bitterness of death hath ceased.
I pet Tiger, tell him what a good kitty he is, and look for Teensy.  The box in front of the pet door is pushed aside.  Did that feline scamp go out into the garage?  I look; don’t see him.  (One could look for something for months out there and not see it, though.)  I sit back down, get back to what I was doing. 
I keep checking for Teensy.  Think I hear something – and Tiger and Tabby, sleeping on the loveseat, look around, too.  I go hunting for Teensy.  No Teensy.  He must be in the garage, and doesn’t want me to see him.  I reseat myself.
Rinse, repeat.
And again.
Maybe if I hadn’t’ve had earbuds in, I’d have figured out sooner...
... that he had evidently leaped forward just after Tiger entered the house, intent on rushing out, and I must’ve pulled the screen shut and turned to look for him just as he dashed toward the door -------- and then I closed the main door.
Well, he wound up stuck between screen door and main door.  There was room for him, so he didn’t get hurt.  But…  Good grief!  Why didn’t he even meow???!  Guilt kept him silent, perhaps?
Yeah, yeah, I know; cats have no guilt.  Maybe he was just afraid I’d yell again.  πŸ˜†
He came out purring and rubbing on my ankles, non-repentant and nonjudgmental.  One needn’t repent when one has done nothing wrong, after all.  And he certainly didn’t think he’d done anything wrong.
He was all appreciative and cuddly.  He had no thoughts of, You shut me in! – but only considered me to be his kind and compassionate liberator.  You saved me!  I love you!  Feed me!
Five minutes after being given access to the House Proper, he wanted outside again.
It rained hard for several hours.  The cats requested numerous times that I kindly turn the rain off.  Teensy vents his spleen by popping the other cats on their respective rumps anytime they pass him.  I surprised him the last time he aimed at poor little Tabby by swatting him with a dusting cloth.  He resided in chagrin, and Tabby came purring to show his gratitude.  Tiger looked on with regal dignity and disdain.
Oh!  There was another lull in the rain.  In the interest of feline happiness and mental well-being, I let them all out for a few minutes, before the rain started up again.
Saturday morning, April the Giraffe, from Animal Adventure Park, Harpursville, New York, had her baby!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4bU1i-XAxE
By the time he was just a few hours old, he was already showing what a spunky little thing he was.  His Mama kept trying to wash his face, and he (or she?) kept jerking his (or her) head back and shaking it until his (or her) ears flapped. 
“So therefore it’s a boy,” I told Larry.  And it was.
I continued working on the coffeepot cozy, but found I needed to wash some of the fabric and lace I wanted to use.  I washed it by hand, then hung it outside to dry.  While it dried, I pulled out a baby quilt kit my sister-in-law Annette gave me a few years ago.
There were no instructions in the package, though there were supposed to be; only a small picture on the side.  I looked at it... counted squares... measured the fabric in the kit... and then decided I didn’t want to cut squares of the fabrics provided, since that would leave a few small, almost-unusable scraps.  So I cut rectangles in order to use it all up and, as a bonus, make a bigger quilt, into the bargain.  In fact, it will be big enough, after adding some borders from my own stash, to give to Emma for Christmas.  Emma’s favorite color is purple, so it’s just right.
Here’s a close-up of a couple of blocks; the lime green is a fuzzy chenille-type fleece:
Determining and calculating quilt designs is mathematic.  I love math.  However, story problems in Accelerated Algebra (there were generally a couple at the end of each lesson, purportedly to show us just how useful algebra really is) used to boggle my brain, though I usually... somehow... came up with the right answer.  I got an A+ in that class, boggled brain notwithstanding.
I once told my teacher, “Every right answer I get to those story problems is entirely out of my control, and I have no explanation as to why they’re right.”
He laughed and remarked, “You evidently have some sort of innate understanding of it, and don’t even realize you do!”
I’m more inclined to think I had a troupe of benevolent (but algebraically-inclined) Shoemakers’ Elves following me around, and they systematically erased my wrong answers and scribbled in the right answers to those story problems, each night after I went to sleep.
Those story problems always seemed something like this, to my discombobulated gray matter:  If I have 10 ice cubes and you have 11 apples, how many pancakes will fit on the roof?  Answer:  Purple, because aliens don’t wear hats.
And now I quilt – and my calculations sound a lot like that story problem and answer. 
The lace and fabric for the coffeepot cozy dried in the afternoon sun, but I was going great guns on the lavender and green quilt, and hated to quit.  Maybe just one more seam... and another...
When I lay the blocks on the floor to decide on a layout plan, along come the cats.  Tiger does it too, now.  They just must get on the quilt, whether it’s whole, or in pieces.  And they always absolutely love any quilt I am making or have made.  Silly little cats.  If I order them to stay off it, they obey, but ever so reproachfully.
Mine aren’t the only cats that love quilts; it’s quite common.  I suppose it’s because our kitties like us, and our scent is on the quilt – and because we’ve paid all that attention to the quilt, so therefore they want it, ... and ... whatever else makes kitties tick.  πŸ˜‰
I looked out the basement patio doors that afternoon and discovered that the yellow tulips were in bloom, so I grabbed my camera and headed outside.  The cats, of course, had to come, too.  See more pictures here:  April Flowers
Larry removed the old shelf and rod in the closet in Victoria’s old room, and got part of the framing done around that open former closet area upstairs in my new sewing room before Teddy arrived for a haircut that night.  Progress is always encouraging.
Our Sunrise Easter Service began at 7:00 a.m.  We sang the beautiful Easter songs, and then began our text that my nephew, our Pastor Robert, preached from throughout the day, in the 20th chapter of John, about our Lord’s resurrection.  A little after 8:00 a.m., we went to the Fellowship Hall for breakfast:  ham, sausage, hard-boiled eggs, scrambled cheesy eggs, buns with butter and jelly, donuts, milk, juice, coffee, tea...
Then we went home to prepare for the main morning service.  Larry took a short nap while I did a few things on my computer.  I had a bit of trouble thinking about what I was typing, because over on the other side of my screen, April the Giraffe’s new baby was galloping madly around the stall, round and round his mother – and he was barely 24 hours old!  So funny and adorable he is.
The keepers coaxed April out of the stall... quickly shut the door behind her so she was in the next room... and then did some quick checks of the calf – weighing him, measuring him.  April, upon downing her treat, realized she was separated from her baby, and went to pacing rapidly back and forth on the other side of the enclosure.
They took a couple of pictures... and hurriedly let mother return to baby.  She rushed in, sniffed him all over... licked him... and he decided it was time for brunch.
At the beginning of our 11:00 a.m. service, our band played.  Bobby arranges the songs, practices with the band members, and directs them when they play.  It just keeps getting better and better.  I particularly like the low-pitched bass runs.  The choir sang later.

 Neither Larry nor I were very hungry when we got home, so we ate some fruit, had a short nap, and got ready for the evening service at 6:30 p.m.  The orchestra played before the service began, and the men’s choir sang after the congregational song service.  There was a luncheon afterwards.
I have laundry to do today, and some housecleaning.  My flower gardens need a lot of work; maybe I’ll get some cleared out tomorrow.
A quilting friend thought she’d found mulch at a bargain, ordered a truckload – and wound up with ugly stuff in huge chunks of wood and sticks.  We used to get free ‘mulch’ like that from our local transfer station (it was called ‘the dump’, before everyone got all genteel and proper-like).  Larry said if we saved the larger pieces, we’d have enough lumber to build onto our house.  ha!
Now they have a newer and better mulcher, and the mulch is much finer – and still free.  The big drawback to this free mulch:  the transfer station’s hours are 8:45 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Larry’s hours are 6:00 a.m. to who-knows-when, often 7:30-8:00 p.m., when the weather is good.  They have to make hay (and poured concrete walls) while the sun shines!
Larry has been trying to sell some of his equipment and machinery, such as a scissor lift, a loader, a four-wheeler...  The only bites he’s gotten are from some blokes from Thailand who, sight unseen, want to send a big check over the amount, take cash back for the excess, and send someone to pick up the item in two weeks.
I once texted one of those sorts back, “Did you know I can see the IP address on your computer?  And I now have your exact GPS coordinates.”
Wow, he signed off so fast, he doubtless left his keyboard smoking, dumped his desk chair over, and went through his door without the benefit of opening it first.
It’s beautiful outside, sunshiny and 61° --- but I’m listening to the weather on the radio, and storms are predicted for several days this week.  A tornado touched down in the south part of the state last night, though no damage has been reported; and a funnel cloud was spotted elsewhere.  Several areas had large hail. 
But at the moment, the birds are singing like anything, the goldfinches are turning bright yellow and their little black caps are filling in, and the birds have finally accepted the new bird feeder. 
Oh!  I just saw a cabbage white butterfly go flitting through the front yard!
I once took a spectacular close-up of an interesting beetle on our back deck ------- downloaded the photo, hunted for the insect online ......... and discovered that it was the pine sawyer beetle.  Yes, that very beetle that, along with its Friends and Relations (Γ  la Rabbit, of Winnie-the-Pooh fame), destroyed our grove of Austrian pines.
I should have stepped on it instead of taking its portrait, for crying out loud! 
... considering ...
Well, it was a good shot.
I should have stepped on it after I took its portrait. 
The peach tree is in bloom!  Gotta grab the camera...  Can you see why the little birds scatter when the grackles land near the feeders?

,,,>^..^<,,,          Sarah Lynn          ,,,>^..^<,,,

Monday, April 17, 2017

Photos: Finches, Grackles, and Peach Blossoms

Male house finch

Downy woodpecker

Goldfinch on the new feeder

Common grackle

Male house finch in the peach tree

Female American goldfinch in the peach tree

Female goldfinch and house finch