February Photos

Monday, August 31, 2015

Bats in the Belfry

Last Monday evening, I was searching around in cupboard, freezer, and refrigerator to see what there was for supper.  I took out a can of mustard greens Loren had given me some time back.  He pulled it out of his cupboard, handed it to me, and said, “I don’t know what to do with something like this.”
I looked at it, then informed him, “Neither do I.” 
He laughed.
I sent a text to Larry:  “If you bring home crackers and eggs, I could make meatloaf.”
He brought them.  Unfortunately, he bought the store brand of Saltines, rather than Nabisco or Keebler.  Saltines are not a good item on which to try to save a few cents.  Bleah.  They even made the meatloaf slightly bland, never mind trying to eat the things with butter or peanut butter.  I added a little more sea salt to counteract the blandness. 
Into a pound of hamburger, I added several handfuls of crumbled Saltines, a large chopped onion, the can of mustard greens (drained), five eggs, sweet basil, sage, lemon pepper, salt, black pepper, Spanish paprika, Italian seasoning, thyme... and ten minutes before the meatloaf was done, I drizzled Sweet Baby Ray’s Sweet ’n Spicy Barbecue Sauce on top.
Canned mustard greens taste similar to canned spinach.  I don’t like it.  But it certainly tasted good in the meatloaf. 
Do you get emails now and then from some unknown entity with subject lines saying ‘Please Respond Urgently!’  Makes me want to write back all in caps, ‘URGENTLY!’
Loren stopping by Jeremy and Lydia’s house that evening to see the progress being made on the new house.  Jeremy laid all the blocks for the basement walls.  He’s fast and precise in his work.  He put rebar down through the blocks and filled them with cement, so they will be as strong as poured walls.
Earlier, someone had hit their mailbox – one that Jeremy had made of brick to match his house, with a covered arch... really pretty.  Whoever did it doesn’t have a mirror anymore; Jeremy and Lydia have it.  Jeremy was trying to put the bricks back together, but the metal box was pretty well ruined – and it had been nearly new.  Loren went home, got a pretty blue mailbox with a windmill, barn, and cow hand-painted on it, and took it back to Jeremy and Lydia.  The box was given to him by one of his NFIB customers (the man gave him two, actually – Loren and Janice gave us the other one a few years ago).
Loren was delighted over how much little Jacob and Jonathan love him and were so glad to see him.  Jonathan, who’s 1 ½, took hold of a couple of his Great Uncle Loren’s fingers with both little hands, and trotted him around hither and yon, chattering and grinning up at him happily.  When Loren was ready to go, Lydia said, “Tell Uncle Loren goodbye!” and Jonathan’s little face went all crestfallen.  “He’ll be back soon,” Lydia assured him, so he cheered back up.
Tuesday, Lawrence and Norma bought me a new dryer – for my birthday, they said.  They sure are good to us!  Norma called a little after noon to ask if Ray’s Appliance could deliver a new dryer that afternoon (and cart away the old one, if we desired). 
Ack, no, no, they couldn’t!  I had to clean the laundry room!  It was a calamity.  Some people mistakenly believe it to be a ‘storage room’, you see.  :-P
It’s one of those areas where, immediately after I clean it, everyone runs at it full cobs (Middle Cornland terminology) with everything they can carry in their two hands, and gives it all a fling into the general vicinity of the room.  Aarrgghh!  I like things clean and orderly!  But you wouldn’t know it, to look at my laundry room.  So I had to clean.  There was a whole lot of work to do.
While talking to Norma, Amy arrived, eight little kiddos in tow, to give me a package of Apple Pie English muffins (they know I love English muffins), Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Philadelphia Cream Cheese Spread, and a still-warm loaf of homemade bread made by Jeffrey, who’s 7 years old.  Little Grant, age 2, came in giggling and saying in his funny high-pitched voice, “I got me all wet!  I got me all wet!” – he’d accidentally walked through a sprinkler. 
I had nothing to give them in return except the Skittles Victoria had left on the table – and only two Skittles per kid, since they were those dreadfully sour things and, after all, Victoria’s.  And they love me just the same.  I guess they know Grandma’s heart is in the right place, even if she only doles out two Skittles apiece!
Amy said Jeffrey has been making a couple of loaves of bread in the bread machine every morning without her even asking him to.
I started the water on the lawn and little trees.  I thought that after we took down all those dead-and-dying trees, we wouldn’t be so likely to run into giant spider webs and their gigantic creators, who liked to string their silks from branch to branch and from branch to house.  Well, now they just merrily string them around in midair like weightless confetti!  And I, of course, walk through them.  I immediately had several dozen large tarantulas running gleefully up and down my back and over the top of my head.
Or at least that’s what my imagination thought was happening.
I spent the rest of the day Tuesday cleaning the laundry room, which entailed carrying a whole lot of things both small and large downstairs.  I finished the last counter (why do I need all these knickknacks?!) (’cuz they’re pretty, that’s why), and Larry even scrubbed the sink (it was his mess, after all) – and then it was midnight.  The room was neat as a pin.  I would sweep and mop the hallway the next day.
Wednesday found me still scurrying around like a chicken with my head cut off, trying to get everything nice and clean – just in case the dryer-installation man came to the front door... or walked into the kitchen... or the bathroom... 
Yeah, I got the whole main floor whistling clean, just because a man was bringing a dryer into the laundry room.  I had barely finished winding the cord back up onto the vacuum (after conducting a bit of maintenance on it, removing enough string and hair from the rollers to make someone a Phyllis Diller wig) when I saw the truck pulling into the drive.
When the man tried unplugging the old dryer, he couldn’t get the cord loose.  He thought it was welded to the outlet, the plug was bad, the cord was bad, the pigtail was bad, the wiring for the entire house was bad...  He asked where the breaker box was, so I led him downstairs and pointed it out.  Not knowing which switch to pull, he flipped the top four, surmising (correctly) one would be the right switch.
He doesn’t do electrical work, he told me.  (I was beginning to see that.)  So I suggested he take the old dryer out, bring the new in, and we would take care of the wiring ourselves.  Larry knows how to do electrical work.
Next thing I knew, he was going downstairs to turn the breakers back on – in order to try the dryer!  Huh?  I thought he couldn’t plug it in?  Turns out, he’d removed the pigtails from the dryers, then hooked the old cord to the new dryer.  The new dryer worked, regardless of the ‘welded plug’.
“Just hurry and flip those top four breaker switches if you smell anything hot,” the man told me (he had not learnt which was the right switch), and away he went, old dryer in tow.
Uh-huh.  That sounded encouraging, eh?  I would leave the matter to Larry.  I’d been drying clothes on the line for several months; another day or two wouldn’t hurt.  I prefer not to burn the house down, given the option.
Aarrgghh, my head hurt.  In fact, I hurt from head to toe, from cleaning for a day and a half and carrying heavy things up and down the stairs.  I’ve become a wimp!  But it is nice to have everything sparkling clean.  And I do need to clean once every ten years or so, whether it needs it or not. 
Actually, the room isn’t totally clean, as I couldn’t reach the gewgaws on top of the cupboards, even with a chair (and someone has absconded with my stepstool).  Ah, the drawbacks (or advantages, since it saves one from certain jobs) of being short.
My father was only 5’ 6”.  He always said he was perfectly happy at the height the Lord had made him, and he knew it was exactly the right height, too, since he was plenty tall enough that his feet reached the floor.
I remember protesting when I was wee little, just 3 or 4, “Daddy!!!  That doesn’t make any sense!” – and wondering why everyone laughed.
I’m 5’ 2 ½” – and I must be tall enough, because my feet reach the floor, too! 
I went back to embroidering on the lighthouse quilt.
That night after church, I uploaded the pictures I took last Thursday:
Somebody asked, “How did you choose what to photograph?”
Well, ummm, I didn’t ‘choose’.  I just photographed everything!  ha!
When the light is good, especially around sunrise or sunset, everything photographs beautifully, and I can’t stop pressing the shutter button.  Hills and old structures add texture... and I always enjoy getting shots of animals, birds, and insects.
As for all the trucks...  I often capture shots as we are driving, and a red truck in the scene adds a bit of punch.  Once a friend teased me about ‘loving red trucks’ — and ever since, I’ve snapped off a shot of just about every red truck we pass, just for the fun of it.  I call them ORTs – Obligatory Red Trucks.  Now and then I gather up all the Red Truck shots I’ve garnered for a trip, and send every last one to my friend, just because.
One time I managed to get a series of shots of my brother-in-law in his truck as he was approaching us on a pretty stretch of road.  He hadn’t even noticed us as we passed, as we were not in our usual vehicle.  He was pleased when I sent him all those pictures.
Every now and then, I upload photos to Google Earth.  You can look on Google Maps... or Google Earth... or just type into Google:  United Methodist Church, 505 Prairie St., Axtell, KS—and there are my photos:  United Methodist, Google Earth, United Methodist, Google Maps, and United Methodist, Google Search.  
Ever since we came upon that wind farm in southeast Nebraska, I’ve been wondering about it.  We hadn’t even know it was there.  I looked it up:
The 44–turbine Steele Flats Wind Farm between Steele City and Odell began commercial operation on November 1, 2013.  Each turbine has a maximum capacity of 1.7 megawatts for a total of 74,800 kilowatts (or 74.8 megawatts).  The farm could produce an amount of energy equivalent to the amount of electricity used by approximately 19,000 Nebraska residences in a year (average annual output).  Nebraska Public Power District has committed to buy the total output but will sell 30 megawatts of renewable energy credits from the farm to BD (Becton, Dickinson Company, located right here in Columbus).
See, I would’ve known all that, if I had’ve continued my career at Nebraska Public Power District!  :-D  We have more turbine farms in Nebraska than I knew:  Wind Energy in Nebraska
The things photography causes me to learn!
Speaking of turbines, look what this drone videoed, high atop one of those things:
Thursday evening, I took Loren some supper:  Alaskan cod (baked in a little butter, with salt, pepper, sweet basil, and Spanish paprika – gotta remember that combination of spices; it was scrumptious), sweet potatoes, mixed vegetables, cherry jello, tomatoes from Victoria’s garden, and a couple of slices of the homemade bread from Jeffrey.  Mmmm, mmm.
It started sprinkling – and I had clothes on the line.  I reckoned they wouldn’t melt.  The water was running on the lawn, too...  but the rain might stop shortly, and then the little trees wouldn’t have enough water.  I was downstairs embroidering, and there I was a-gonna stay! 
A quilting friend from Iowa wrote to tell me that a quilt had been stolen at the Iowa State Fair.  I looked it up and found the story and pictures of it from the Des Moines Register:  Stolen Quilt, Iowa State Fair.  Isn’t that terrible, that someone would do that?  After returning for my quilt at our county fair and seeing that there was absolutely no security of any sort, I wrote an email voicing my concerns, and a lady called to apologize and promise that security would be better next year.  
I was amazed when I saw that everything in the entire exhibit hall was totally free for the taking that morning.  There were only two other ladies there, and they were retrieving their own things.  Anyone could’ve walked out with anything; there was no one watching, keeping track, or keeping thieves at bay.  I don’t want that to ever happen again, not with anybody’s things. 
I sure don’t want to enter anything that I’ve already given to someone, and would have a hard time replacing, if it winds up free for the taking!  The lady at the Nebraska State Fair has assured me that the quilts are very secure in their exhibit hall.  But... one sneaky, determined person could foil their system, I imagine.
I hope the person who lost the quilt in Iowa has many pictures of it, and has posted it on all the lost quilt websites.  Sad thing is, most times once something is gone, it’s gone. 
(I would say Hilary did it, but I don’t usually discuss politics on public forums.  But she was there, after all.)
Even worse, someone stole a baby goat at that fair.  It was one of triplets, only three days old.  Fortunately, they found it, or it would’ve died.  That’s a whole lot worse than stealing a quilt – because it’s a living, breathing, little animal, totally dependent on its mother or humans to keep it alive!  Ugh, people are so awful.
By 10:00 p.m., the sprinkles had turned into a full-fledged rainstorm; WeatherCat (aka Tabby) came in and let me know.  Had I not gone to all the trouble of watering the lawn, we wouldn’t have gotten a drop.  Murphy is alive and well, here in Middle Cornland!
Ladies on an online quilting group were discussing UFOs (Unfinished Fabric Objects) Friday morning.  Most ladies who quilt have multiple UFOs – in fact, some consider it a badge of honor to have dozens, even hundreds of them.  It almost makes a person intimidated to admit she has nothing unfinished, except what she’s working on at the moment – those are known as ‘WIPs’ (Works In Progress).
The only UFOs I have were bequeathed to me by other people.  Right now, I have a tumbling block quilt that Victoria started for Lydia’s baby a couple of years ago.  It’s in colors of green and pink – and Lydia had the audacity to have a boy.  So Victoria abandoned the quilt.  I will finish the quilt, just in case...
I also have some very old Sunbonnet Sue blocks made by a great-grandmother, grandmother, great aunts, their cousins, and a couple of favorite teachers and neighbors.  I hope to put those together soon.  And I have a flannel baby quilt kit that my sister-in-law gave me.
I suppose you could call the Mosaic Lighthouse quilt a UFO – it’s taken long enough that it might fit that category.  Do you actually have to fold something up and put it away and let it age before it is in the UFO classification?  I usually doggedly plow through to the finish with things I start, even if they don’t seem to be turning out so swell.
This is probably a by-product of seeing my mother start things – and then, to my disappointment, they never got done.  She was a pastor’s wife, and her time was not her own.  People came and went at our house from early morning until late night, and she was a gracious hostess, always.
After my father passed away and my mother was not so well, my sister and I cleaned her basement.  I found some of those partly-done items, took them home, and finished every last one.  The one in particular that I was sorry never got done, when I was very young, was a beautiful mint-green quilted bathrobe Mama was making for me.  I was soooo looking forward to it... but she got interrupted time and again, and finally put it away for good.  I finished it for one of my little girls; all it needed was facings, buttonholes, and buttons.  Mama was so happy about that.  (She had gotten me a store-bought robe to take its place, but I had really, really wanted the one my Mama was sewing!)
When quilting/crafting friends ask about UFOs, I usually keep still.  People might not speak to me again for months, after all, if I gleefully and smugly announce, “I don’t have any UFOs!”  But I thought maybe if I gave the above LH (Life History), I would be forgiven.
I no sooner wrote that, than a friend responded, “I read your letter about how you feel when people ask you about UFOs.  I have hardly ever had two projects on the go at once so I too keep quiet when people start talking about them and how many they have.”
Ah, a sister in crime!  Maybe there are more of us than we think.  We’re so funny... we’re embarrassed to say we have no UFOs! 
I do have UGCs, however.

(Unfinished Gardening Conglomerations.)
All that being said, I should add that I have discovered that it is sometimes helpful to let a dilemma ‘percolate.’  Ever notice how sometimes, with just a little pause in the work, the perfect solution will suddenly come to you?  Often I find just the right answer somewhere online while reading something else entirely.  Other times, my brain, which was evidently hibernating, wakes up, churns and stirs around a bit, and clickety-clacks out the resolution, just like an old Burroughs Accounting Machine. 
I put in about five hours of embroidery, then fixed some supper.  While I ate, I uploaded some photos of a Black Swallowtail, Bumblebees, and a Snowy Urola to my website:
Then back to the embroidery.  The lighthouse was done, the entire fence was almost done, and all that was left was a bit of cobblestone on the pathway and the keeper’s house (which entails lots of detail).  But I was more than half done.
Victoria played baseball with some friends that night.  A number of them like to get together on Friday evenings to play tennis... basketball... volleyball... baseball... whatever strikes their fancies.
Later, I was sitting in my recliner, minding my own business and paying my taxes (famous line from an elderly neighbor lady – the first part of which was absolutely untrue, and the second part of which was debatable), when a bat came flapping through. 
So I did what any reasonable person would do:  I leaped to my feet and ran like a chicken – a humpbacked chicken, mind you, the better to keep my head out of undulating air flight pathways.  I carried my laptop with me, so as not to be totally isolated in whatever hidey-hole or cubbyhole I found to hole up in.  As I dashed past the bathroom door, I pounded on it vigorously and then, receiving no answer, I flung it partially open and screeched in a melodious tone, “Bat in the house!  Bat in the house!!!”  The snoring person in the bathtub stopped snoring, batted his eyes (appropriately), and said, “Ummphph, mmmm-hmmm.”
That didn’t seem promising.  And when the snoring resumed, I knew better than to expect help from that quarter.  I put my computer in my bedroom (just in case – one can survive in isolation fairly well, if one has a laptop), put a sweater over my head (to save it from the aforementioned oscillating and fluctuating flight path), stooped over, and came back out into the hallway.
The bat, who was exploring the living room air at a speed of Mach 5 or thereabouts, turned his head, looked piercingly at me, and immediately altered his flight and headed straight at my head.  (What is there about my head???!!!!!)
I ducked and skedaddled into the living room, turning off lights as I went.  Next, I did what Larry hates for me to do:  I flung the front door open wide and turned on the porch light.  Then, making like the Hunchback of Notre Dame, I beat it back to the bedroom, dodged in, slammed the door, and ensconced myself in bed with the laptop on my lap.
By the time Larry finished his before-bedtime tub nap, the bat had vanished, and has not been seen since.
My friend Rita’s mother passed away a few days ago, and my friend Linda offered to put cards and notes into Braille for Rita.  So I sent her this poem that I wrote a few years ago:

Far over the earth, the heaven is high;
  Yet the Lord hears me when to Him I cry.
He is my strength, He is my light;
  His song shall be with me in the night.

’Though poor and needy, He thinketh of me;
  I will rejoice when His mercy I see!
When my heart is troubled, He pleadeth my cause,
  For I love His precepts, I delight in His laws!

’Though sometimes my weeping lasts all the night through,
  Joy in the morning He giveth anew.
In the secret of His presence I have been hidden;
  The device of the wicked my Lord hath forbidden.

I have found in the Lord the fountain of life,
  And under His wings am I sheltered from strife;
I’ll be of good courage--He’ll forsake me never:
 With all my heart will I love Him forever!

               Taken from Psalms 30 and 31

Do you ever have trouble recognizing someone, when they aren’t where they are supposed to be?  I have walked right past next-door neighbors when I met them at the grocery store, and never realized who they were.  Halfway down the next aisle, vaguely wondering, Why were those people staring at me? and even more, Where on earth are the tapioca pearls?? it occurs to me, Oh!!!  Those are the Joneses! and, in the interest of neighborly love, I whirl around and dash back to apologize and say ‘hi’ and make lame excuses.
They just look different, buying groceries, than they do, mowing the lawn.  (And I rarely see them up close, either.)
Lura Kay called Saturday night to tell me the moon was supposed to be something spectacular that night, so I took some pictures from our back deck.  It’s called the ‘Sturgeon Moon’ (sometimes ‘Supermoon’).  The photos weren’t very good... a little blurry.  I should’ve set the camera on ‘Timer’, so that my finger didn’t cause vibration when I pressed the shutter button.  By the time I downloaded my pictures to my computer, the moon was quite a bit higher in the sky, so I didn’t bother trying again.  But the moon will be extra close to the earth a couple more times this fall, so maybe I’ll get another chance.
That night, I finished embroidering the fence and started on the lightkeeper’s house.  The door is done now, and part of a window.
I’m keeping careful watch of the calendar.  I only have until October 16 to submit my application for my quilt to be entered in the AQS quilting show in Daytona Beach, Florida.  The quilt doesn’t have to be complete at the time of application, but I want to send a picture with it as done as possible – hopefully, totally complete. 
I showed Teddy the quilt, with Larry helping me hold it up so he could see it.  It’s so big, it’s best viewed from a distance, so one can tell what the picture is.  It’s a case of “I can’t see the picture for the pixels!” heh
Teddy, upon hearing about the quilt stolen from the Iowa State Fair, suggested looking into those little GPS tracking discs that could be tucked into the binding of a quilt.  It’s a good idea; I need to learn more about it:  https://www.thetrackr.com/.  I would like to think I could track down a quilt if it was stolen or lost.  But... I wonder how wide a range these devices have?  It seems someone with the TrackR app has to be within 100 feet of the device for it to send its signal to me? 
After Larry cut Teddy’s hair, he headed to the laundry room to do some electrical work.  He discovered that the plug wasn’t welded to the outlet at all, and nothing was melted or even looked like it had gotten hot.  The trouble was, you see, that the dryer plug had an L-shaped prong (like the one on the left), while the outlet had a straight receiving hole (for a plug like the one on the right).  So Larry had used his handy-dandy pliers to straighten out the L until it would go into the outlet.  Thus, the connection was very tight.  He unplugged it without too much trouble... sized everything up... plugged it back in... and the dryer is now in business.
There’s a little squirrel out front running to and fro, busily carrying food from its ‘grocery store’ to a stashing cache.  He just scampered past with an item in his mouth that’s bigger than his head.  He’s a bit too far away for me to tell what it is.
Last week, I sent notes to Hannah, Hester, and Lydia:
Subject:  Christmas Indian
I just got one of your Christmas presents.  I like it.  Can I borrow it?
,,,>^..^<,,,     Mama     ,,,>^..^<,,,

Hannah’s answer: Hmmmm.  Well, I’m not sure.  ;-)
Hester’s answer: Lololol!!!!!    Sure!!!        
Lydia’s answer:  No I need it  ;-|

And there’s a perfect glimpse of their varied and various personalities.  :-D
Victoria is caring for her friends’ dog and two cats while they are on vacation.  She absolutely cannot associate with any dog anywhere without setting out to train or teach it a new trick.  She’s been caring for the little dog, who is about a year old, for two days, and already it knows how to heel along nicely beside her when she’s taking it for a walk.  And it obeys ‘stay’. 
When she was littler, we had to get packages of milk bones at the grocery store, and she’d go around with several in her pocket when she played outside, in case any neighbor dogs came around.  She taught several of them to shake han—uh, paws, sit, beg, speak, ... etc.  Silly girl.
Larry met our new neighbor man last week when he saw him in the wooded pasture to our east, taking down dead Scotch pines and underbrush.  Larry offered him the use of an excavator in exchange for allowing Larry to drag the leftovers from our own dead trees into the man’s burn pile.  He agreed, saying, “Sounds like a good deal!”  He was a friendly and nice young man.  Larry told him a bit about the troubles with new garage, how the old neighbors threw fits and tantrums, wanting the pitch of the roof changed (after it was already up!), only one door on one end (the most inaccessible end, of course) instead of a door on either end (it’s quite a large building). 
The man shook his head, and said, “Well, I like your garage!  I think it will look very nice when it is done.”
So Larry is encouraged over this, and will finally be able to get back to work on it, as soon as he’s not putting in so many summer hours (70-75 hours, most weeks).  That garage was delayed over a year because of those fussy neighbors.  They finally petered out, because they are tightwads, and they got tired of paying their lawyer to write us letters (which went nowhere, because they hadn’t a leg to stand on).  They should have been clearing up the acres of fire hazards – dead trees, old farm jetsam and flotsam, etc. – on their own property instead of having conniptions about ours.
We live out in the country, for pity’s sake, and we aren’t doing anything different on our property than others are doing on many of the nearby farm places.  A garage roof is pitched too steeply to suit them??  It’s at the same pitch as the house roof, and sits at a lower elevation on the hill, too, for crying out loud.  Some people just can’t be satisfied unless they are causing an upheaval for someone else, I think!
A lady just wrote to tell me that she has sent me four quilt tops to be quilted.  Gotta hurry, hurry, with this embroidery!

But... right at the moment... I am coping with a migraine headache.  Tylenol hasn’t touched it, and it’s steadily getting worse.  My head needs a pillow!  This letter will be late.

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

Teensy's Back on the Loveseat

Upside down, this time, and dead to the world.  He curls his toes so hard -- even in his sleep -- it's a wonder they don't cramp somethin' awful.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Sturgeon Moon

Lura Kay called tonight to tell me the moon was supposed to look spectacular, on account of being in a closer circuit to earth than usual.  So I took some pictures from our back deck.  It’s called the ‘Sturgeon Moon’ (sometimes ‘Supermoon’). 

The photos aren’t very good... a little blurry.  I should’ve set the camera on ‘Timer’, so that my finger didn’t cause vibration when I pressed the shutter button.  By the time I downloaded my pictures to my computer, the moon was quite a bit higher in the sky, so I didn’t bother trying again.  But the moon will be extra close a couple more times this fall, so maybe I’ll get another chance.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Teensy on the Loveseat

Living the life of Riley

'Hey!  Can't a guy get any sleep around here??!!'

Monday, August 24, 2015

Trip to Grand Island and Morrill, Kansas

Last Monday, Tabby brought in a mouse he’d caught.  A black one!  I have never seen a black one around here.  Or anywhere, come to think of it.  He was still alive when Tabby brought him in.  I distinctly heard him cry, “Paws up!  Don’t chomp!” just before I snatched him by the tail and hurled him out the front door.
We caught another black one in a trap under the sink, the same day.  And, just to add to the Breathless Menagerie, on the front porch that very afternoon there lay a large brown field mouse, probably captured by Teensy and played with until it was, indeed, breathless.
I looked up ‘black mouse’ and learned that there are great varieties in mouse coloration.  Perhaps these were descendants of someone’s pets that had been released somewhere nearby.
Tuesday afternoon, I went to my friend Linda’s house and did a bit of upkeep on her computer.  AVG and Java needed to be updated, Eudora needed to be reinstalled, and a public folder needed to be put back in DropBox on the C: drive. 
Home again, I got back to embroidering the Mosaic Lighthouse quilt.  There was no need to water the lawn; it had rained several inches in the previous two or three days.  Omaha got five inches Sunday night, complete with flooding.
Now here comes Teensy, wanting up on my lap.  He’s so funny... if we start to get up when he wants us to stay put whilst he’s sprawled on us, he stretches all out loooong (and he’s a biiiig cat), presses his front paws firmly down against us as if to hold us in place, squints his eyes up tight, and says mournfully, “Meoooooooow.” 
For supper that evening, we had pulled pork on miniature 12-grain loaves fresh out of the oven, sweet corn, plums, and fresh-baked banana bread with cream cheese on top.  And then I embroidered until my fingers and feet were too sore to continue.  Feet, you ask?  Yep.  Embroidering makes my feet sore... because... since I am doing said embroidery on this big, bulky lighthouse quilt, I generally wad it into a heap atop my cutting table in my sewing room, adjust my bendable floor lamp (Hester called such things a ‘goose necktery’ when she was little) so it is shining right on the spot I am working on, and then I stand and embroider the part I have positioned at the top of the heap.  There is no putting it into a hoop, and no need to in any case, since it’s so thick.  Sure seemed like I did more than 7 hours of embroidering that day, but ... that’s what the clock said.
Loren stayed at Lake McConaughy (we Neebraskyans call it ‘Big Mac’) that night.  He parked his pickup and camper in a ‘primitive’ camping area (no hookups, and only $10/night), and used his new generator for the first time.  It powered everything nicely, including the microwave, and ran quietly enough that he couldn’t hear it at all when he walked the short distance to the water.
Wednesday, he drove on west through the Nebraska Panhandle, turned south at Cheyenne, and went to Rocky Mountain National Park.  He loves the mountains almost as much as I do, I do believe.  He was enjoying his new pickup; it drove and rode and handled the camper a good deal better than the old pickup had done. 
It was sunny and 65° that day; seems like autumn is just around the corner.  I love balmy fall days, though the racket from the local cicadas is somewhat earsplitting.  The birds aren’t singing as much, either; they’re probably busy holding their ears because of those deafening cicadas.  But in the early twilight, the young robins and other male fledglings of various types try to imitate their parents’ evening songs, getting all practiced up for next spring’s mating rituals.  They warble and trill melodically for a few measures, and then at the tail end of their melody their voices unexpectedly crack and they hit high screechy notes that make the local felines’ eyebrows fly up.  The birds themselves jerk their heads around and stare, as if wondering, What in the world was that?!
Supposedly, only the males of most feathered genera actually sing; the females merely issue call notes and Skype invitations.  But every now and then, female birds of various species forget to read their instruction pamphlet, and go right ahead and sing, just as if they think they know how.
I embroidered until time for church.  By then, my thumb and first finger were sore.  The leather thimble with the little metal circle inserted in it had stretched enough that it didn’t stay on as well as it should.  My longer, softer, leather thimble with the elastic on the back has a wee hole in it.  Of course, one invariably finds such holes when one is trying to push the needle through something thick.  Aaaaiiiiyyiiieeee.
A friend suggested wetting the thimble to see if it would shrink, so I gave it a try.  I’d considered putting a few stitches in it to pull it tighter, but it’s very thick leather, and I couldn’t get the needle through it.  I thoroughly dampened the leather, and by the time I got back to embroidering on Friday, it was dry again.  It hadn’t shrunk one iota, but there was this:  the leather had become soft enough that I could finally shove a needle through it.  So I found some matching thread and sewed one seam deeper, and now my thimble is snug again.
Minor victory, perhaps; but it makes a big difference in how well I can embroider on this cumbersome quilt.
Thursday, Larry took the day off, and we escorted the Graceful Garden quilt to the State Fair in Grand Island.  The Fair runs from August 28 to September 7.  The big building where they will display the quilts is huge.  One of the ladies who works with the quilts told me that last year they had over 750 quilts on display.  She thought that was more than most other state fairs around the country.  All around the upper walls of the exhibit hall are miniature quilts, framed and behind glass, representing each of Nebraska’s 93 counties.  There wasn’t another soul in that huge hall, so Larry and I walked around and looked at each of the little quilts (probably about 24” x 24”).  I was wishing they either weren’t so high up on the wall, or that I’d brought my binoculars with me, the better to see them! 
After leaving Grand Island, we went on through southeast Nebraska to the small town of Morrill in northeast Kansas, where we picked up a four-wheeler Larry had purchased to take the place of the six-wheeled Big Boss he recently sold.  Most of the photos in this letter were taken on this drive.  We saw several flocks of wild turkeys, many fields lively with cute little calves, and even a few colts and lambs.
We stopped in the little town of Odell, Nebraska, to stretch our legs with a walk around the city park.  There was a large school bell hanging in an historical marker with the story of the town schools on either side.  Larry, of course, had to ring the bell.
It was louder than he’d expected.  And he had his hearing aids on.  See him cringing?
On the way back, we stopped at Indian Cave State Park and walked around a bit.  We couldn’t see the cave, because there was road construction on account of recent flooding, and the hike would’ve put us there after dark.  But we walked around the old schoolhouse and the broom-making shop, and went out on the viewing deck to look at the wide panorama of the Missouri River Valley.  In this State Park are populations of black squirrels, Eastern grays, fox squirrels, and the rarer flying squirrels, which have mostly disappeared from other parts of the state.  Around our neck of the woods, we have only the fox squirrel.
Next, we stopped at Wal-Mart to have a tire patched.  We must’ve run over something sharp in a field we drove in way out in the boonies.  Definition of Kansas ‘boonies’:  area where all you can see in any direction for 30 miles are fields of corn or beans, pastures full of curious lambs, and a friendly, lively farmer of at least 85 years of age, driving an even older John Deere tractor down a dirt lane leading to a tumbledown barn, beside which is parked a shiny 2015 GMC Sierra 3500 Denali HD truck.  (Didn’t expect that, did you?)
We had supper at a Valentino’s Grand Italian Buffet in Nebraska City.  I like all-you-can-eat buffets.  I like getting tiny servings of just about every type of food they serve – though this time I opted to stick mainly to salads, fresh vegetables, and fruit.  (I did go back for just a wee bit more bread pudding, though.  Mmmm, mmm.)
Friday, I washed clothes.  If it rains several days in a row, I get a bit behind, since the dryer still isn’t in operating order, and I must hang things outside to dry.  But by 1:30 p.m., the last load – sheets and pillowcases – was flapping on the line.  I like climbing into a bed made up of clothesline-dried sheets and pillowcases.  Ahhhhh...
Loren was home from his little excursion to Rocky Mountain National Park, and he’d managed to lose about six pounds unnecessarily, so I took him a couple of good meals the next two evenings.
Victoria didn’t have to work Saturday.  I think she’s busier on her days off than on the days she works!  I spent the day embroidering on the lighthouse quilt.  There are only two months before I must send in my application to the AQS quilt show, and I still have to put on the hotfix crystals!  I saw some long, skinny, multifaceted crystals at Hobby Lobby that I think I’ll put in the top of the lighthouse for the light.  If I could just embroider as fast as Bobby’s Great-grandma Stotts used to do!
I remember sitting in her little house watching in awe as her fingers flew so quickly over her cross-stitching, they were nothing but a blur.
That evening, I embroidered the last few ‘stones’ on the lighthouse tower, then did part of the fence.  That doesn’t seem like much, for how long I’ve been working on it; but if you consider that the area I have completed is 20 inches wide by 70 inches long, I guess that’s something.  J  Total size of the quilt is 79” x 94”.  And with that, I now have 665.5 hours in the Mosaic Lighthouse quilt.
My fingers were glad for a day of rest yesterday.
Last night before our evening service, Larry went out to switch one sprinkler off and turn another on.  He came back in – after having stepped in what the neighbors’ dog left in our lawn.  I chased him back out, howling like a banshee, and mopped the floor (after stepping on the edge of the cats’ water bowl and upending it).  (Oh, well; I needed more water on the floor anyway.) 
And then we continued getting ready for church, quite a lot more well-scrubbed than we’d been before.
Today, clothes are hung on the line, dishes are washed, the front porch flowers are watered, and a black swallowtail butterfly, along with numerous bumblebees and an unknown white moth, have been duly photographed on the multitudes of white hosta blossoms. 
Victoria picked a huge boxful of tomatoes, both cherry and Romano, and one oversized cucumber from her garden.  She then spent 45 minutes searching for her gardening gloves, planning to work on the front-yard flower gardens.  I offered her my new gloves from Lura Kay, but she wanted hers.  Eventually, she gave up and took a nap instead.  So much for the yardwork.  Now she has gone off to have a bike ride with Bobby’s sister Esther.
This caused even more ado and bustle than the GGGS (Great Gardening Glove Search), as, first, the bike rack was AWOL.  She called Larry and discovered it was in his pickup at the shop.  So off she went to Walkers to collect the bike rack.  Home again, she used up a good deal of oomph installing the thing in the Jeep hitch, as her car doesn’t have a hitch.  After a bit, she marched into the house, showed me her greasy hands, and announced in a chagrined tone, “I look like a man!”
A little soap and water, and she was back to her regular ‘girl’ status, and heading back to town.
There goes the little tune signifying the washer is done; time out while I go hang up the clothes.

***  (time elapses)
***  Okay, I’m back.  Did you miss me? 
All right, you don’t need to know that I clipped my toenails and flossed my teeth, so I shall now get back to the embroidery on the lighthouse quilt.  Oh!  Speaking of embroidery (and floss) – I got a big old plastic embroidery floss case on eBay – and it’s chockful of floss (the floss is not old; it’s in very good condition) in all colors of the rainbow and more.  I paid twelve dollars for what I estimate to be $120 worth of floss.

To the embroidery!  To the embroidery!

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

Black Swallowtail, Bumblebees, and a Snowy Urola

(Click to enlarge)

Hostas along front walk

Victoria's car in background

Hostas in the late afternoon sunlight

Snowy Urola Moth (Urola nivalis)

Snowy Urola Moth (Urola nivalis)

Snowy Urola Moth (Urola nivalis)

Black Swallowtail on hostas

Black Swallowtail on hostas

Bumblebee on hostas

Bumblebee and sweat bee on hostas

Tall lavender phlox

Tall lavender phlox