Friday, July 25, 2014

The Barometric Pressure Blues

Lately I have become sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.  Yeah, I know, that's an old one..but very apropos. I dislike summers in Texas, and every year attempt coming up with better ways to deal with it, since I can't always run away to my other home.  We have hovered around 100 degrees for a week and a half, with occasional thunderstorms that only drop the temps a bit for awhile. But the constant change is enough to throw me off kilter.

The past week has been pretty rough.  This is giving me fits to no end. I spent 4 solid days with a headache that never quite went away.  Sinus pressure, always verging on migraine, or feeling like I was recovering from one.  Medication did no good, except to remove the intense migraine issues, but the nagging headache lingered on.  Went to bed with it, woke up with it, it hung around all day.  Finally on Tuesday it seemed to clear, and I felt much better on Wednesday.  Then yesterday, I had an eye appointment and after the series of  bright lights in my eyes, guess the time I got out of there I had another migraine! Fortunately it didn't last long and I was fine by bedtime.

Needless to say, I have been spending a lot of time with the shades drawn and resting.  When I have felt better I've been sketching and painting a little bit, trying to keep up with the class I am taking, from the fabulous Mary Ann Moss.  Her classes are a riot, and I am behind, but still enjoying it.  I have my supplies strung all over my work table and stop and do a bit each time I pass by. Watercolor is hard, but teacher assures us that, as with anything, practice and you get better. Her approach is a lot more relaxed than the "traditional" type watercolor classes I have attempted before. I say attempted, because I never really completed them.  I could never learn to render accurate sketches that seem to be required, so gave up.  Some of my sketches are pretty laughable, in fact most of them I won't be sharing any just yet...but soon...soon.   Well..okay, just one, and it's okay if you laugh along with me.  In fact, I insist that you do!  After I had it finished and painted, I noticed that I had 5 pods and 6 stems.... So you can easily tell which pod I added in last.   Back to the drawing board!

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 Texas, this time of year. 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.