February Photos

Monday, August 29, 2016

Bees, Wasps, Butterflies -- and a Coffee Mug

Bumblebee on Autumn Joy sedum


Bumblebee on hostas

A bedraggled little skipper on the hostas

Front walk
We'll have to equip guests with a machete if those things don't quit growing!

The tall lavender phlox are fading, but still valiantly blooming away

Tiny gray hairstreak butterfly on Autumn Joy sedum.
They constantly wiggle the tails on their hindwings in order to make predators think they are antennae and the orange/black spots are eyes -- of a much larger insect.

Isodontia -- grass-carrying wasp

Red-striped paper wasp -- Euodynerus hidalgo

Autumn Joy sedum close-up

Souvenir mug from the Pensacola Lighthouse giftshop.  I got it for a gift... and gave it to --- me.  It's filled with Caramel Macchiato coffee by Eight O'Clock.

Plum-Colored Satin, Cats, and Bunnies

I’ve been washing old candle jars and lids to give to Lydia, because she makes candles.  Not like I do – my candlemaking consists of melting whatever is left in the bottom of a candle after it quits burning and then pouring it together willy-nilly with other melted waxes until I have a jarful of striped candle.  Lydia, on the other hand, makes hers with fragrant oils, new wax, dyes, and pretty molds.
Did you know that after you melt the same wax over and over (and over), it finally has a gooey, limp texture, and never gets totally hard?  Plus, it eventually loses its scent. 
So you see, I’m not actually trying to make candles, I’m just trying to use up candles.  There’s a difference. 
One day last week, I sent a text to Larry and Victoria: “I keep finding the basement door open in the mornings, and the cats are liable to ruin the batting on my quilt!” 
The cats think that the part of the batting that lies on the floor is their personal bed.  They aren’t getting it dirty, really, but they do stretch it, and could tear it. 
Larry promptly responded,I never go down there unless you are down there.” 
Now, I knew he meant, ‘when you are down there sewing’, but I wrote back anyway:  “Chicken.”
Victoria, as usual, ‘distinctly’ remembered shutting the door. 
Obviously, Teensy has learned to open doors.
Here’s Jeremy and Lydia’s house through the seven years they’ve lived there.  It started out with white siding... then Jeremy put brick and stone on it – and now he’s building an addition that’s bigger than the original house.  He’s trying to finish the outside before winter, when he’ll work inside painting trim and laying carpet and so forth.
Remember the finch I rescued from Teensy last Monday afternoon?  Well, only a few hours later, Teensy came in, found Tabby’s food, and settled down to eat it ----- first dropping the baby bunny he’d carried in.  AAAAAAARRRRRRGGGHHH
I bawled out the cat – “BAD!!!” and booted him (gently, he’s getting old, after all) away from bunny and soft food.  “BAD!!!
I carried the bunny out and released him in the hostas, winding up with blood on my hands.  (Literally, not figuratively.)  Nevertheless, I tell myself the bunny will be fine, and then I run for my life (straight to the soap and water).  I am not a veterinarian.
I must not think about it... I must not think about it... I must not think about it...
Tuesday morning as I curled my hair, I listened to news and weather, as I do most every morning.  Did you ever listen to the announcer naming off the towns where it’s raining, and think, I didn’t even know there was a town by that name in our state.  Sometimes I pull up a Google map and hunt it down.
I put clothes into the washer... scrubbed the bathroom... did a bit of kitchen cleaning... and then went to work on plum-colored dresses for the wedding.  By 1:30 a.m., I had a good deal of Joanna’s candlelighting dress done, but I was getting sleepy, and decided I’d better stop for the night, before I made a big blunder.  My recliner was calling me!  I did some computer work – paying bills, photo-editing, answering emails, and reading the requisite breaking news (earthquake in Italy) – and then hit the feathers.
Wednesday, I had a blueberry streusel muffin for breakfast, washed down with Amaretto coffee, made with fresh ground beans from Christopher Bean.  Mmmm, mmm. 
I filled the bird feeders.  Whoever thought ‘eat like a bird’ meant ‘to eat small amounts’ didn’t know much, did he?  Most birds eat half their weight in food every day!
I shook the bathroom rugs... swept and vacuumed the floors... got the last of the clothes off the line... watered the houseplants and the pumpkin vine in a pot on the back deck... sent some birthday cards... and fed the cats.  I started putting away the clothes – and found Tiger in the big cubbyhole under our tall bed when I opened a door at the foot to put away some jeans. 
There he was, curled up and staring at me with beseeching golden eyes, rather nervous about this unexpected turn of events.  He usually sleeps outside. 
I laughed and told him, “It’s okay, you can stay there,” and quietly shut the door again.  I would put the jeans away later.  Tiger is more liable to be frightened of women than of men – their feet, in particular.  Some Wicked Witch of the West has obviously kicked him around.  Every day, it takes some quiet talking and petting before he again realizes, Oh, yes, this one is nice to me, and then his purr rumbles into gear, and he starts wrapping himself around my ankles.
Meanwhile, Teensy was sleeping atop the bed.  If the twain should meet, there would doubtless be steam-engine acoustics issuing from one or both ferocious felines.  When this happens and I’m in hearing range, I generally yell (I prefer to stop fights before they escalate, and I have to haul one or both off to the vet for treatment of infected wounds), and cats skedaddle lickety-split in opposite directions, there to seat themselves regally and stare off into space in dignified demeanor, in order to convince me ‘it were de uzzer guy’s fault’.
I headed downstairs to resume sewing, putting the lining into Joanna’s dress.  I’m worrying... Is this big enough??  This doesn’t look big enough.  Where did we get this fabric, in case I need more???!! 
It’s easier to fit quilts to beds than it is to fit dresses to girls.
Somebody posted a photo of her sewing room on a Facebook quilters’ group.  My word, it was a total calamity.  There were large and small pieces of rumpled fabric littering every flat surface from table to floor.  Cutting mat, rotary cutters, scissors, pins, yardstick, tape measure, purse, sweaters, and multiple pairs of shoes were strewn across the floor ’til the wood flooring could scarcely be seen.  The sewing desk was a jumble of fabric, patterns, scissors, snips, cups, bowls, spoons, and partially-sewn quilt pieces.  Every chair was buried in jetsam and flotsam, and the bookcase contents, part books and part knickknacks and gewgaws, were all topsy-turvy.
Some of the ladies on the group were astonished and horrified... others announced that it looked exactly like theirs. 
“You must be my twin!” said one.  “The neater one,” she added.
Good grief.
If the heater under a table should go on, that woman’s going to clean up the entire room fast... with the help of the local Fire Department.  Actually, she’ll probably clean her whole house right off the face of the earth.
I lugged the heavy roll of plum-colored satin out to the Jeep, followed by the smaller roll of lining and some thread, to give to Lydia after church that night.  She’s going to make Kurt’s and Jacob’s satin vests.
Here’s Tabby doing his best interpretation of unraveled yarn.

Cats are good at impersonations.  Why do you think someone coined the word ‘copycat’? 
Tabby is 18 ½ years old.  He seems healthy enough, but he’s such a skinny little thing!  I try my best to coax him to eat his soft food, all day long.  Anytime he comes begging for food, I promptly give it to him.
A friend wrote to say that her beloved little dog had died that week.  Our pets die too soon.
We could get a parrot!  They live an average of 75 years.  And a tortoise, to keep it company – they live twice that long, an average of 150 years (if they survive babyhood, that is).  {But then the tortoise would be crying, when owner and parrot alike depart this place.}
The Palomino that Larry and his siblings rode as kids was 32 or 33 when he died, years after we were married.  But Sparkle, my Most Wonderful Dog in the World, only lived to age 14.
Donkeys live a long time.  40 is a very common age for them, and the oldest donkey in the world died not too long ago at over 70.  They’re smart as can be, and really love their owners, if they are treated kindly.  If you have a horse and want to ride him, you generally have to go catch him.  But donkeys will be right there beside you the moment you step into the corral, wanting to be petted and looking for treats.  You can teach them just about anything that enters your head, if you have the time and patience and understanding.  As a bonus, they love to mug for the camera.  And they talk funny.
After getting the majority of the seams done on Joanna’s dress and quite a few on Emma’s, I debated whether or not to overlock them.  The satin, since it has lycra in it, isn’t too ravelly, but the lining does ravel a bit.  I might not overlock the satin ... or if I do, I’m going to do each side of the seam separately, so it won’t be too bulky.  But I think I will not overlock the seams that are enclosed in the lining.  Overlocking can imprint the right side of the fabric when it is ironed.  I’ve done that before – and once done, there’s no recovering.
I belong to an online serging group, and one of the ladies is forever saying, “I’m going to serger these pjs!” (or whatever it is she’s making) or “I’ve been sergering all day long!”  hee hee
Once upon a time, about 30 years ago, I was feverishly sewing Christmas dresses for Hannah and Dorcas, ages 5 and 4, the night before our Christmas program.  The fabric was a red silky stuff with a gold metallic thread running through it.  I sewed black lace on the multitudes of skirt ruffles and over-the-shoulder ruffles, set in a black chiffon yoke on the bodice, attached a black chiffon sash, and put in black chiffon sleeves.  Those dresses were adorable, if I do say so myself.  I took the last stitch, turned off my sewing machine, went to the iron, set the iron down on a sleeve – and the hungry thing ate it.  I mean, it gobbled a large hole right out of the middle of that sleeve. 
I had neglected to press the Steam button before touching iron to fabric.
Luckily, I had just barely enough chiffon left to cut another sleeve.  I took out the old… put in the new… and finished (again) at 4:00 a.m. 
Morning came pretty quickly, that day.
Dorcas sent some pictures of baby Trevor Thursday.  He turned six months old the next day, the 26th.  Ian, too, is six months old.  Time flies!
For breakfast that day I had half a sourdough English muffin, toasted, with strawberry fruit spread, followed by a small glassful of Knudsen grapefruit juice.  A small glassful is all I can cope with.  I like it, but wheweeeeeeee, is that stuff ever sour!  It’s not from concentrate; nothing but organic, squeezed grapefruit is in it.  Whether you like it or not, ain’t nobody can drink that stuff without making funny faces!
I calmed my tastebuds with a steaming cup of Cameron’s Buttered Rum coffee.  No, I don’t drink coffee with alcohol in it; it’s flavored coffee beans, fresh ground.  A couple of winters ago I had sinus infection, and the doctor gave me Amoxicillin.  Then I told a friend I was soothing my throat with Irish Crème coffee, and she got all excited and told me I mustn’t combine alcohol and penicillin, I mustn’t! 
Relax, relax!  It’s non-alcoholic.  I’ve never had a drop of alcohol in my life. 
The closest I’ve ever come to alcohol (other than the time we rescued a couple of staggering drunks from their upside-down vehicle in the ditch) was the time when I was three years old and found a six-pack out in front of our house, sitting there on the then-graveled street in the sun on a hot summer’s day. 
What in the world, I wondered.  (That may have been the first time I ever saw a beverage in a can; dunno.)  I pulled a tab.
Spszzzzzzztttttttwhooooooshhhh!  It sprayed all over me.
My word, I thought.  Do they always do that?  I pulled another tab.
Spszzzzzzztttttttwhooooooshhhh!  That one sprayed all over me, too.
I headed for the house at a trot to tell my mother of those strangely behaving objects out there.
I did not get a word out edgeways before my ladylike, gentle mother made a terrible face and exclaimed, “Oh, pewwww, oh, my goodness, what have you gotten into??!” and before I could answer, she swooped me up, rushed for the bathroom, and threw me into the tub, clothes and all.  She started the water, grabbed a small pitcher, and began dumping water over me, exclaiming over the stench all the while.
I had never been so insulted in my whole life, and certainly never by my mother.
After a bit, she removed my sopping wet clothes and rushed off to the washing machine with them, then scurried back and gave me the scrubbing of my life.
And now you’ve had your BSD (Beer Story of the Day).
(I wonder if my mother would approve of Cameron’s Buttered Rum?)
That evening when Larry got off work, he stopped by Jeremy and Lydia’s house to give Jacob and Jonathan a motorcycle ride.  Lydia took a video:  Jacob, Jonathan, and Grandpa
Be sure you click the little gear icon in the lower right and bump the quality up to 480p.
The little white helmet Jonathan is wearing was mine when I was little.
Friday, I put narrow chiffon plackets into long, full chiffon sleeves, and started putting together the lining for Emma’s dress. 
That day, I finally found the pdf files from Nebraska State Fair listing winners in quilts and textile arts.  My name is not on either list.  So now I want to see all the winning quilts and other things!  They must be really, really pretty, ’cuz my stuff was really pretty, too, you know! 
I took Loren some supper that evening:  wild-caught Alaska salmon, sweet potatoes, asparagus, blueberry streusel muffins, and lime jello.
Home again, I was washing some dishes when I heard a little bird in the lilac bush scolding away at Tabby, who was on the front porch.  It was some kind of a wren – but it didn’t sound like our house wrens.
Ah!  Found it:  it’s a Bewick’s wren.  These aren’t usually in our area.  Here’s what I heard:  Bewicks Wren soundsScroll down below ‘Songs’, and it’s the third audio clip under ‘Calls’, the ‘Scolding call’.
By bedtime, I had most of the little girls’ dresses together.  The lining does not appreciate hot steam.  It prefers a setting between cotton and wool, no steam, and a quick iron.  I rumpled an area with a hot burst of steam, but managed to press it back down okay with a dry iron. 
Saturday, I started on Robin’s bridesmaid dress, and got it about a third of the way done.
Tomorrow it will be time to post the next step on the Buoyant Blossoms quilt.  You know, I’ve never really cared for block-of-the-month quilts when I was on the receiving end, because I don’t like drawing things out for so long, and doing it in trickles and spurts and stops.  I want the whole works, all at once!  Now I find I am not liking it a whole lot better, being on the giving end of it ---- because I forget where in the world I was, and all the steps I went through in posting the pattern here and there the last time.  I do have a detailed list of the steps, so I can do this month what I did last month and not skip something vital.  So let’s hope I can get things right, and not lead trusting quilters down the wrong road. 
One of the things I’m doing, just to make matters more complicated, is offering two different sizes for the Buoyant Blossoms quilt.  For those who are making a wall hanging, I’ve already put out enough blocks, and they are waiting for the pieced set of borders.  For those who are making a full quilt, there are still four more flower blocks to go ---- but next month’s BOM will be ... borders.  Borders they won’t be able to put on yet.
How do other people who put out BOMs go about this?  I’ve looked around... haven’t found any similar scenarios.  So I blunder along, trying hard to think about it from the quilters’ point of view.  Siggghhhh...  If I ever get this thing printed up in a book like I hope to do someday, people who have tried to follow along each month may buy it just so they can take it home and stab it with tiny pitchforks and run their rotary cutters over it in fits of pique! 
Someone on a sewing group recently offered to copy and print some patterns for another lady and send them to her.  Yikes, she had all the group owners, several wannabe owners, and various righteous and self-righteous folks bursting from the woodwork and spewing sawdust and sparks all over the place. 
As I was sewing, I heard an odd sound – a scrabbling, and the sound of a glass jar scooting on cement.  Teensy had something cornered under Larry’s desk, under which are stored half a dozen canning jars.  I kept still, hoping he’d go ahead and catch it, as I couldn’t easily get to it.  If it was a mouse, I’d let him incapacitate the thing and then pitch both cat and rodent out the patio door.  If it was a bunny, I’d rescue the poor little thing fast, and let it loose outside.
((...minutes passed by...))
AAAAaaarrrrrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhhh!  It was a bunny.
I yelled, Teensy dropped it, I snatched it up, and put it outside.  When the poor little thing realized it was free of the dreadful feline, it scrambled in quite a lively fashion to get to safety.  I couldn’t see any obvious wounds on it.  Let’s say it went home to its family with much fanfare and laud, and lived happily ever after.
Once again, I gave Teensy a lecture, punctuated with frequent words of “bad kitty!”  He stared reproachfully; then, when the recriminations died down, made himself scarce.
An hour later he was back, treading delicately and doing his best King Agag impersonation:  “Surely the bitterness of death is past.”  He purred, rubbed around my ankles, purred, leapt into my lap, purred, made bread on my knee, purred, butted his head on my arm, purred, leaned against me, and purred.  I accepted his apology, though I knew perfectly well his repentance was no more than fur deep.
That night, I asked Larry if he’d gotten the mail.  “My new invisible zipper foot might have arrived,” I told him.
“How do you find the zipper to unzip it, if it’s invisible?” he asked.
By the time I quit for the day, all three dresses were mostly put together. 
The quilt on my frame is feeling really neglected and woebegone.
When we got out of church last night, the brilliant colors of a beautiful sunset filled the sky.  And I didn’t have my camera.  We hurried home, dashed into the house for camera and tripod, and drove back to Old Highway 81 to get pictures from the top of the hill.
There are phone poles in the picture; there always are, when I take photos there.  Oh, well.  If you can’t eradicate ’em, incorporate ’em!  Just add them to the diorama in as artistic a manner as possible. 
My sister Lura Kay sprained her ankle Friday when she fell on her garage steps.  For a while she thought it was surely broken, but about the time she was ready to have X-rays taken, it improved enough to convince her it was only a sprain.  She used our mother’s walker to get around for a couple of days; but is able to walk better now.
Larry and I had a late meal of Campbell’s Chunky Sirloin Burger and Country Vegetable soup with Multi-Grain Club crackers.  I opened a bag of just-thawed peaches, the ones I picked from the tree in the back yard last month.  I’d hoped that because I sliced and froze them at the height of ripe perfection, they’d be good to just thaw and eat.  Mmmm, mmm... were they ever.  They tasted like fresh-picked peaches.
Aaaaaaaaaaaa... katydid in the house!  Katydid in the house!  ((...hunting down a flyswatter...))  And now that I have the flyswatter, the katydid has climbed up a wall right to the 9-foot ceiling, well beyond my reach.
Okay.  Ah ain’t a deadeye with a rubberband fer nuttin’, ah ain’t.  ((...hunting down a rubberband...))  Well, this ponytail band will have to do.
Taking aim...  letting it fly...  Got it, first try.  Grabbing the flyswatter...  where’d that thing flutter down to??
Ah-ha!  Found him.  ((...splat...))  Katydid ain’t no mo’, no mo’, no mo’.  Neither is Teensy; he fled for his life.  He hates flyswatters.  I wonder if his former owner used to smack him with them?
Pulling out the canned cat food... doling out treats...  There.  Now Teensy’s happy again.  (And so is Tabby.)
A friend writes to me that she used to read her horoscope until she realized that it was a form of fortune-telling, which is taught against in the Bible.  One of the more negative descriptions of one born under her ‘sign’ actually did describe her, but she purposefully decided not to be that way – and isn’t.
Okay, that made me curious.  What sign was I born under?  I can never remember.
Hmmm... Libra.  And first on the list of traits is ‘tactful’.  Haha!  That’s really funny.  I reckon I can be tactful... but I’m more known for being straightforward and direct.
Next:  ‘balanced’.  Haha again!  When was I ever known for that?  Moderation, bah.  I prefer extremes! 
‘Charming’.... okay, I’ll admit to that.  ((...fluttering eyelashes charmingly...))
First on the list of negative traits is ‘superficial – carried away by outer beauty, ignoring inner qualities of other people.’  Well!  Hmmmph!  I really take exception to that.  The closest I come to fitting that is in the fact that I don’t care to be around people who don’t appreciate the qualities of soap and water.
Next:  ‘Unreliable.  Prone to changing their minds.’  Ha!  Why, there are things I made up my mind about at age 5 that I have stuck to ever since! 
Last:  ‘Indecisive.  One of the most difficult things for a Libra is to make a decision.  When faced with a choice, it is very tough for them to select what is best for them.’  That’s utterly and entirely the opposite from me.  I decide on most everything quick and fast, and rarely change my mind later.
Okay, I’m done.  There’s more, but I’m done.  That was ridiculous from the start, to think that anyone’s general makeup and personality could possibly be determined by the date on which they were born.  The Lord creates us... and our circumstances shape us somewhat... and we add our own input.  Everything is in the hand of an almighty God – while we nevertheless are given responsibility, too.  Sounds like a contradiction, doesn’t it?  But it’s not.
Victoria has been working on the ringbearer pillow.  She’s using gold glass beads to make leaves, and the center vein and small flower clusters are of small ivory pearls.  Isn’t it pretty?
Yesterday Larry used the poppyseed muffin mix to make waffles.  So today I’m having a banana nut muffin with the lemon frosting that was supposed to go on the poppyseed muffins.  Scrumptious.
Oh!  Hummingbird moth alert!  Hummingbird moth (aka white-lined Sphinx moth) alert!  Gotta grab my camer--------  Wait!  Hold the phone!  Here’s a real, honest-to-goodness hummer – a ruby-throat!  They’re so pretty... so tiny...
It’s a juvenile male ruby-throated hummingbird.  He tried out the feeder... but I hope he went away and found himself a flower, instead; that stuff was rank!  I rushed out and got the feeder, and cleaned it thoroughly while heating sugar water in the microwave.
The glass feeder is now sparkling clean, with fresh (cooled) nectar in it.  The hummingbird has been back a couple of times, probably more.
Larry just brought in the mail – and the invisible zipper foot has arrived!  The other new presser foot is a rolled hem foot; it hasn’t come yet.  I’ve had both a 2mm and a 4mm rolled hem foot for my older Bernina since I got the machine, ♫ ♪ Long, long ago; ♪ ♫ loooong ago!  ♫ ♪, but haven’t had one for my newer Artista 180.
I haven’t used an invisible zipper foot before, though.  Our niece Katie assures me, “The zipper went in perfectly the very first time I gave it a try!”  Then, “Shocking,” she adds.  haha
This dress still looks too small for Joanna.
Tell me Joanna is small!!!  :-O
((...pouring a fresh cup of coffee...))
It’s Caramel Macchiato by Eight O’Clock ... in the souvenir mug I bought at the Pensacola Lighthouse Museum to give someone as a gift.  I gave it ... to me.  😳
I once posted an ad in the local paper that went something on this order:
“Wonderful fantastic skilled genius seamstress prepared to create the most fabulously tailored outfits eye has ever seen.”
(I may have reworded that a bit)
The day after the ad came out, I got a call asking for my services.
It was a local pig farmer.  He needed me to put zippers at the ankles of his overalls – about five pairs of them – so he could get them on and off over his boots.
As I needed the money, I of course took the job.
!  Did you know overalls belonging to pig farmers don’t smell good?!
I washed those things four times, in various detergents and rinses.  Then I gave up, held my nose, and sewed as fast as my machine would go. 
I called the man the next day to tell him I was done.  He was surprised... offered to come get them the following week.  Aaacckkk, ggaaaaack, I couldn’t wait that long.  I cheerily informed him we were going to be traveling right by his farm that very evening (didn’t even know where the silly farm was), and I would drop them off.
So much for grandiose schemes of becoming a Hollywood fashion designer. 

,,,>^..^<,,,       Sarah Lynn the humble pig-farmer’s overalls zipper-putter-inner    

Sunday, August 28, 2016


From the top of the hill half a block to our west

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Tabby and Tiger

Tabby doing his best impersonation of unraveled yarn.  He's 18 1/2 years old now.

Tiger, in one of his favorite sleeping places on the back deck.