Sunday, July 6, 2014

Independence Day Week-end

Out to the Circuit of The Americas racetrack for the Austin Symphony concert and the 4th of July Fireworks.  The track is only 20 minutes from our house, so it is much easier to get to than other places they have had events at before.  It is a redundant statement to say it was really HOT...in Texas, this time of year.  But...it was really hot and I wilted the moment I stepped out the door.  Thankfully, because we are season ticket holders, we had VIP passes so our parking lot was right across from the front entrance.  It only took us about 15 minutes to get to the area that was reserved for us. But it was still out in the direct sun and it was 4 p.m.  There were two areas we could use, one, seating down in front of the stage, or behind the stage on a grassy area facing turn one.  That is where the fireworks were being shot off from, behind turn one.  I was already exhausted....Ha Ha.  But we picked a place and sat our cooler and bags down, while Hubby went back to the car and hauled our chairs and umbrella over.  There was a nice hot breeze blowing, so it was not too bad.  I did find a spot to stand in the shade and visit awhile with the staff who were guarding the VIP area, to make sure the folks without passes didn't get in.  Ha Ha.  Believe me, the whole place is really nice, and every area was great, ours was just up higher and better for viewing the fireworks.  Or so we were told, but actually, they were pretty visible from everywhere.

Side view of the top of the 360 ampitheatre.


Selfie with Officers Brenmer and Tank.  Yes, I do look like Bo Peep in that hat.  It was not intentional.
 
 
In the direct sun with the tower behind us.  Around 98 degree temperature.
 

These two little girls kept our section entertained, by running up and down the slope to the fence then pulling one another back up, taking their shoes off, putting them back on, etc. They only fell down one time, laughed and got up and kept going.
 
 Seating area in front of the stage
 
 The orchestra
 

The Mayor, introducing some of the World War II veterans who had just returned from an Honor Flight to Washington D.C.
 
 

The end of the evening.
 
I had to spend a lot of time yesterday just recovering from being out in the heat for so many hours.
 
 


Saturday, June 14, 2014

I will hang the Prayer Flag

While I was spending time in Idaho, when I was not watching the birds, or watching the garden change daily and cutting flowers, I did some stitching.  I sat by a window in the sun room where the light was natural and with the window open, I could hear the fountain in the pond, and the birds chirping.  I free form stitched a few things.  I practiced my French knots on a small banner, and I did this prayer flag, in honor of my Father.  I used denim from an old pair of my husbands jeans, and bits that I had cut from a few of my Dads' well worn western shirts. On the back is a blue plaid panel from a different shirt than the piece on the front. The buttons are from an old vest that his sister had made him, and the deer was embroidered on the vest.  I cut around it and attached it to the flag.  The other fabrics are recycled as well.  As I stitched, I thought about long ago memories of my Dad and how well he took care of me and my siblings, how hard he worked, how his sense of humor kept everyone who knew him smiling.  It was very meditative, sometimes emotional, but it was healing for me. On the 19th, it will have been 5 months since his passing.  I've been avoiding thinking about Fathers Day this year. However, tomorrow, I will find a suitable place to hang this flag outside where we can see it every day.
 
 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Well, Yes indeed, those birds did fly

I had watched and taken so many photos of those robins, and I was so hoping I would get to see them leave the nest and fly.  I was scheduled to leave on the 30th and was getting nervous.  They all three looked so crowded in the nest, and kept standing up and flexing their wings.  A couple of times, it looked as if one might "fall" out, or take off any minute. I would go to the window every morning when I woke up, and on the 29th, two were sitting up very tall in the nest, and the third looked like it was smashed under the weight of the others.  I always left the camera right on the window sill so it would be ready.  That morning I turned and walked across the room to get my coffee and when I came back the two were GONE!!!  All that time watching and waiting, and I missed it, drats!!!  I looked around on the ground and did not see them, not on the fence, nowhere.  Anyhow, the third one was sitting there alone, and I was determined not to miss his leaving.  So I camped out by the window, and waited and waited some more.  I took several videos of him standing, wobbling, settling back down, Mama coming to feed him, still he stayed there. I got a lot of photos of him, my arms were hurting from the long sessions of holding my phone and/or camera up to the window.  Finally, after what seemed like hours, I was on the phone talking to hubby and lamenting the fact that I had missed the first two leaving.  Lo and behold the last one took off.  I got to SEE it but no photo.  He,( I had been calling him he,) but don't know.  Anyhow, he flew about 20 feet to the fence. He kind of glided, did not really flap his wings.  There he sat for at least 15 minutes.  I could imagine his little bird brain thinking, well what do I do now.  Mama sat above on the tall birdhouse a few feet away.  After a very long time, he flew off the fence down on the other side, where I could not see. The end of the bird saga, but I was so happy they flew the day before I had to leave.

I have finished sorting through hundreds of photos, most very blurry, since I was using cell phone mostly, and through the window.  Anyhow, I have put together a progression of photos, some of them are clearer than others.  Enjoy. I certainly did enjoy watching these robins, and hope to repeat it next spring.

May 21st
 
May 25th feed us!
 
May 27th getting ready
 
May 27th 12pm
 
May 28th 4pm

May 28th 5pm

May 29th 10am. 2 have flown, last one left

Mama waiting and watching
 
Sitting on fence looking up at Mama

The End

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

When pickle jars turn into flower vases

I'm running out of vases.  I  waited and waited for the peonies to bloom and now they have just exploded.  I counted 12 bushes in my garden and most of them are white.  There was one dark pink one, but it only had a few blooms which I took to my Mother a few days ago.  Medium pink account for about 3 bushes.  Anyhow, I have filled all the vases I had, and am scrounging in the recycle bin for jars.  The irises are about finished blooming, so today I will have another large vase to fill with white peonies.
 
 
back yard looking toward house
 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

I Ran Away from Home

Sooner rather than later this year, I fled the heat of Texas and headed out to Idaho.  It was 95 the day I left and a balmy 60 when I arrived in Idaho.  Of course since I left, we have had the coolest May we have had in Texas in several years.  No matter...  Here are some of the daily views from my little homestead in Idaho.
 
A nest built over the back porch light  
 
Eggs laid May 2nd or thereabouts
 
Mama sitting
 
 
Birds hatched 14th or 15th, babies at 5 days old

 
 
 
We've had other wildlife in the garden too.
 
Several quail, they move pretty fast, so hard to get good photo.  The color is a bit off in this one, they are more greyish, don't know where the blue came from.
 
Ducks were pretty cute at first, but have become a bit of a nuisance, since they won't stay out of the pond, and it is a small pond.  They are also leaving droppings as ducks will do.  If they build a nest and then won't let me sit out by my own pond, I might not like that.
 
 
This post has gotten too long to show any of the beautiful flowers I have here, may do that in another post.  I have a bit of a challenge working on this little tablet hubby left behind for me to use.
 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Rock n' Rollin in Austin TX

The other day I told a friend of mine that hubby had bought me a Rock...  She immediately asked what jewelry store he got it at and how many carats.  I told her she would just have to come over and see it, being the expert she is about jewelry. She is a collector of fine jewelry and has the diamonds on every finger and her arm to prove it.  When she arrived she came in laughing, as she has known me long enough to know I don't really care about diamonds.  When she saw my rock she really cracked up.  Here is my Rock. It is a 3/4 Ton Honeycomb Limestone.  It has a bonus of some little verbena growing in some of the crevices.  You can see the tire tracks from the fork lift that delivered it.
 
We started the landscaping on the side yard that had been torn up from last years sewer fiasco and then the foundation repair following that.  We should have gotten it done sooner this spring, but with work and all the travel and family stuff, we just couldn't find the time.  So we get started on the day it hits 90 degrees here and then yesterday it got up to 95. I worked in the early morning hours, but hubby worked all day. We have a lot more to do, but will work on it in segments.
Here's a bit of our progress so far.
 
After rototilling the entire area, and putting paver stones along the driveway to widen it just a bit.
 
Delivery of supplies along with my Rock
 

The tools that I myself used to bust up every bit of the ton of sandstone. Then I carried the pieces to the yard and built a border around the walkway that hubby built, and also around the tree.  I was not as sore as I thought I would be after day one.  But after day two of doing this, it hit me, and I could hardly walk. A couple of hot mineral bath soaks helped a lot. My knees and hips are still very sore, from the bending and placing the stones though. Hubby took a video of me busting rocks, as proof that this actually happened.  I am a designer and supervisor, I am not a hard labor kind of gal, so I guess we actually do need proof of my part in this endeavor.
 
Liriope grass planted and hubby working on drip emitters for where the Asian Jasmine will be planted. This is next to the house beside the path.

  
Workers are taking a little break.  On the last day, I was so tired, I would carry one stone, then rest.  Then carry two stones, then rest and have a coffee, another stone, another coffee and rest.
 
Where we are for now. Walkway finished, stones outlining under the oak tree. Under the tree will all be Asian Jasmine. The part that still shows as dirt will be filled in with a few more specimen plants, yucca, a row of sedge grass. Maybe a few succulents.  The rest will be 1" river rock, shown here.
 
 
All the plants will be on drip irrigation. Hubby had to practically redo our entire sprinkler system.  We will have eliminated a lot of turf that had to be watered, so we are happy about that.
 
 As you can tell by the photo, we share this side yard with a neighbor.  The tree is actually planted on his property, but reaches way over ours as well.   We decided to do the project together for a cohesive look.  I think it is going to look great when all completed.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Creeping Out into the Night

When the skies are clear, if I go up the stairs to bed at a certain time, I can see the moon out my bedroom window.  Last night the full moon was bright and gorgeous at 9:30 when I toddled off to bed.  I kept waking up, wondering, is it time yet?  Hubby had set the alarm so we could get up and see the eclipse, but I was already awake when the alarm went off.  We crept out into the front yard, around 2:00 a.m. and the moon was directly overhead.  By then there was a large sliver yet showing.  It was 44 degrees and very breezy. We huddled together and watched and waited.  The sky was so dark and clear.  It was mesmerizing to watch as slowly the sliver became smaller until the moon glowed red.  The Blood Moon.  We commented on how we really must get some Astro- binoculars.  Watching Cosmos has really renewed our interest in the night sky. We are both hooked on that show. Also the wonderful host, Neil deGrasse Tyson.  He is so amazing to listen to.

When we first moved here over 20 years ago, and there were only tiny new trees, and no houses built behind us...Hubby would take the telescope out back and we'd have star parties.  All the kidlets that have since grown and gone away would come over and he'd let them all look at the stars and planets. He'd pretend to be Carl Sagan and answer all their questions.  Ha Ha.  Now the city lights have gotten closer every year and the trees taller, and if one wants to look at the stars they have to head farther and farther out of town. I miss going out in the desert when we lived both in California and Nevada and seeing everything in the sky so brightly.  In one of our California locations, we lived on Starlight Lane.  That has always been one of my favorite of our many addresses.

Crept back in the house and went back to sleep around 3:00 a.m.  Very cozy and happy that it was a clear night and we got to actually see this time.  So often it is cloudy here and we miss these extraordinary sky events.