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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Wordy Wednesday

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Looks like an ordinary boring picture, does it not? Wait… what is that?

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It is a Praying Mantis. I do believe people think me weird while observing me walk about the property because I am slow and I constantly look where I step. I do not mind stepping on the dang ants; but, I do not want to be stepping onto beneficial critters.

Speaking of critters, we definitely have gophers on the land. And no, they are NOT beneficial critters. They are a nuisance!

Anyway, I had Abby on her leash the other morning and she suddenly crouched and wiggled her butt. I saw grass and dirt moving and stopped her just short of getting whatever it was. {She has been getting grasshoppers and eating them. Gross! I am trying to discourage her from eating them.) Anyway, when I went to check the area, I knew it was a gopher in action because there was a hole in the ground with a two or three inch diameter underneath the moving debris. I am seeing mounds pop up more over the land and I am assuming they are getting ready for winter. I just wish they would move on somewhere else!

It is because of the gophers that I have to put down hardware cloth underneath the garden beds and let me tell you, this process is a pain-in-you-know-what! My hands often get scratched even when I wear gloves because I have to cut the hardware cloth to size and then “sew” the pieces together with wire. Dan helps me put the hardware cloth down in the ground and then screw them onto the garden bed using washers.

Gophers are mighty strong with long tough nails on their feet which are able to grab things; so the stronger the hardware cloth and smaller the gauge (larger number), the better. And, using washers helps keep the hardware cloth in place prevents them (gophers) from ripping the hardware cloth away from the screws.

I have not had a problem with them coming from underground in my one lone garden bed (which was an experiment); but, they are sneaky and have come up above nearby and then getting into the garden bed chewing up my precious little seedlings. I also have witnessed the local mockingbird eating up my strawberries. So, I am going to have to come up with some kind of protective barrier above ground.

I believe my Square Foot Gardening book has some ideas that I can use. (Yes, my gardening efforts is based off this method.) As soon as the two new beds are built and in place, I will work on a solution to this problem. I am looking forward to the challenge.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Macro Monday {Water Diamonds on Stickerburrs)

For a couple of weeks, we have had dew upon the ground practically every morning and it is absolutely beautiful when the sunlight hits upon the water droplets giving off the impression that there are thousands of diamonds all over the ground. This is why I named them "water diamonds". There is only a short time frame in which this diamond effect happens.

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Friday, October 25, 2013

DIY (Remodeling): Pantry

I last left off on this post. If you do not know the situation, you should go catch up! We thought it was going to be a short minor remodeling effort; but, it turned into a major effort. Anyway…

The walls were repaired and mudded. We primed the walls. I did not get a picture of that step because it is mighty boring don’t you think?

We began painting. And yes, we painted the ceiling. I have always been outside the box when it comes to pantries and bathrooms. The ceiling color is “Burning Coals” (P200-5) by Behr.

And, the wall color is “Bonfire Nights” (P200-7) by Behr. We used up almost a gallon of paint because it is a dark color and you have to put on more coats than usual to get it the right color. In the end, I am very pleased with the color. Dan was constantly amused every time I walked in there because I would just be so happy. By the way, this color is not true in any of the pictures I took. It is a hard color to capture on pictures.

Shelf supports went up. We decided to go with the stained look to match the craftsman trim above doors and windows. So far, I love this decision.

Shelves went up. Dan made several tiered shelves for me. I was using boxes of quart and gallon freezer bags to create tiers for cans so that they did not disappear and get lost. Our shelves are narrower than the standard size with the exception of the top shelf. I have never liked the standard sized shelving as stuff tends to get buried and forgotten. Plus, when you have a pantry this small, narrower shelves make the space seem larger. We also had another reason for going with narrower shelves in which I will talk about in a future post.

We have since completed putting up the shelves; but, I neglected to take a picture. I will take a picture soon and post it in a future post (which should be the last one about this pantry). Dan is working on another project for the pantry and once that is finished, the remodeling effort will be completed on this pantry.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wordy Wednesday {Gracie and a Critter}

Early in the morning of October 18th, I spied Gracie in the window wanting something very badly. She is our huntress and, as a result, I always pay attention to her behavior. She has found four or five small scorpions so far not to mention spiders galore and a couple geckos since we rescued her. And oh, she adores grasshoppers and hunts them with a passion whenever she is brave enough to go outdoors (with supervision).

Anyway, she would try to get this critter; but, she could not due to the glass between her and the thing. Do you see it? Below is the same picture with a yellow arrow pointing to the critter just in case you do not see it.

So, what was the critter? I went outside and discovered this:

Praying Mantis

I went outside later in the morning in an attempt to take pictures in better lighting; but, the thing moved to a different location. When I started to snap pictures after locating it, it 'flew' away scaring me half to death. I guess the mantis thought I was a predator. Ha!

This is the first time in my life I ever witnessed one of these "fly". I will be more careful in the future when I attempt to take pictures as I would hate to hurt one of these beautiful critters. Yes, I screamed like a girl; but, I managed to remain still while tracking its flight. I have to tell you it was extremely cool watching it "fly". I wish I had the sense to try snapping pictures while it flew. But, I was just too dumbfounded and amazed. Maybe next time if there is a next time.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Macro Monday (Morning Excursion I)

When I go out exploring early in the morning as the sun is rising and the dew is upon the ground, I will often find critters sunning themselves. This is how I like to go butterfly hunting (for pictures) in the springtime. But, on this day, I spied a different kind of flying critter, a Bee Fly.

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I snapped a picture as soon as I spied the critter. But, I was hoping to get closer and much to my amazement, it was fearless (letting me get closer).

And closer...

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wordy Wednesday (Dan and the Crystals)

Hello My Pretty! Let Me Adjust Thy Skirt.

I snapped this on a whim thinking it was a good angle and story. It did not quite turn out like I wanted; but, I thought it was still a good picture.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Macro Monday {Wildflower}

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This was found in our backyard. I do know have a clue to what these are (yet). They are short and sparse plants. That is the beauty of them all. Wildflowers is not just for spring like many people think. And, they are for sure not ugly weeds that people seek to annihilate.

Friday, October 11, 2013

DIY: Mother's Old Light Fixtures

I wanted to replace this ugly light fixture in the pantry. I have looked around for awhile and then I spied a light fixture at Lowe’s similar to the one below.

Source

After measuring and whatnot, it was going to be too big even though it is a tiny chandelier. I was disappointed because I thought for once in my life I was going to be brave and use something in my house that I would not normally use to decorate but love.

While at Mother's house not too long ago, I spied a light fixture that I thought would work as long as we could change the coloring from brass to black. Why? Because I cannot stand the color of brass.

So, we took the light fixtures from Mother’s house after buying new ones to replace the old. I took off all the crystals and cleaned them up. I washed probably 30 plus years of dust off the crystals. I was mighty surprised at how easy they were to clean. (You can google how to safely clean acrylic crystals.) However, this process was a pain-in-the-you-know-what due to the fact you had to remove the strings of crystals off the fixture one-by-one and clean them all by hand.

Tidbit: I remember going with my folks everywhere shopping for lights when I was a very young girl. So, these lights are very old; although, not the original ones that came with their house.

I taped up the fixtures themselves and got all the parts ready for painting. By the way, the smaller fixture is for the pantry and the larger is to go above the front entry way.

Dan took over the process of painting for me and I have to say that I did not mind this one bit as I am not a confident painter nor the most patient person when it comes to painting!

The end result is a much better and fancier light fixture than the old! The picture does not really do it justice. I am happy with the result and even though it is not a true chandelier, it works.

We also replaced the ugly front entry light which we hardly ever used. It came with the house bent and broken.

I think it is a big improvement from the old. At least it is pretty even though we rarely turn this light on. I may end up replacing this light and sticking this one in the extended pantry when we redo that space. But, for right now, it is in a happy place.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Wordy Wednesday

Look! My Bruises Matches my Boots!

Ignore the old lady and focus on the bruises and the boots! This was taken on August 8, 2013 – three days after I became very sick. In spite of not feeling well, I saw the humor of my bruises matching my boots and had Dan take a picture for me. At least, I thought it was funny at the time. It is a girl thing, you know? Wanting something to match. Hey, at least something matched that day! Ha!

Looking at that picture now, I do not think it is so humorous. I think it is the bad memories of what went down at the time coloring my world. I am not going to make excuses for the way I looked (and dressed). It is what it is. Life does go on for the cats whether we feel good or not. I have always tried to make them happy by letting them go out every day (in the evenings) and this was my first time stepping outside since I "crashed". And besides, I mostly just sat there on the front steps while Dan monitored (went after) the cats.

PS: I am much better now; although, I still have my bad days once or twice a week. My health does seem to be slowly improving. At least, I am feeling more like myself most days. And, I actually went outside this morning to wander a bit in the yard and take pictures. My energy (and enthusiasm) is slowly coming back.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

It Begins! (The Garage Conversion)

I have been very busy and this past Monday, Dan took the day off because some contractors came by to clean out the garage and rip down the drywall. Yes, this means that the garage conversion has begun. Hurray!

Believe you me, the garage was a disaster before this picture was taken. There were piles of debris (broken tiles, trash, ripped up carpet, etc. and etc.) left over from doing the flooring in the house last fall. The contractor guys cleaned out the garage and then ripped out the drywalls for us. We went with this route because we discovered it was cheaper than renting a dumpster and doing the work ourselves.

Anyway, we are left with a blank slate to work with. Dan commented that he can now see what the room will be like in his mind with the crap gone. I will take better pictures and then do a separate post explaining what will happen. We are gearing up to do a few things first before having the contractor guys come back and help finish up the work for us, simply because they do not do the work we want done.

From heron, I will not be as active on facebook because I have so much to do! To be honest, I would rather blog. Avoiding facebook will be hard for me because I can be rather passionate sharing things that matter the most to me whenever I come across news, post(s) and more. And, I do love to see pictures and hear updates on family and friends.

I have to confess that facebook is not what I hoped it to be (a connection point with family and friends). So, I think I will follow my eldest brother’s lead and leave facebook altogether. Just know that my reasons are different from his and my disappearance will be gradual rather than abrupt as it is hard to quit cold turkey! Ha! If anyone messages me, I will be notified via email. So, that will still be a way to communicate with me (besides email, texting and snail mail).

In the meantime, I will be focusing on a few other things besides blogging such as scanning in the rest of the old pictures, slides and more which can be time consuming and such a drag (boring). I plan to speed up the process of putting fabrics onto “bolts”; thus, continuing to unpack the sewing room which is slow going due to my efforts with the fabrics. We are still working (remodel) in the kitchen (pantry) which is almost done. Yes, I will blog about that effort. I have several posts in mind. We are also finishing up painting the exterior of the house as we are doing that in stages due to the heat. The weather should cool down soon (I hope). And, most importantly, the garage conversion is gradually taking place! Woo Hoo!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Update on Kitten (Abby Gail)

Remember this awful first picture of the kitten I posted about way back in May?

Well, look at her now!

9/19/2013

She is approximately five months old today. She has all her shots and has been spayed. I have not actively sought her new home yet. I had hoped that being spayed would turn her into a somewhat normal kitten. Nope. She is a little holy terror constantly burning up energy.

What?!? I is not a terror. 8/2/2013

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I be cooperative. What lovely fangs I have when you ask me to smile 8/2/2013

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Due to the fact that she bounces off walls (literally), can be destructive if not given the attention she needs to burn off energy, is hardheaded, etc., and etc., she is not an ideal pet for families with small children and/or with animals that may have special needs. She has learned to be gentle and not used claws. However, she can turn on you in a heartbeat if she is frustrated. She is slowly learning to attack her toys instead of her humans. It is not easy trying to train her up in the way she should go. Ha!

Seriously? I not bad... 8/29/2013

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Let the evidence show... 8/29/2013

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I is adorable and amiable! 8/29/2013

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Yes, she is on occasion. She is definitely not a lap kitten. She would rather lay beside you than on you. Sometimes, she comes bounding out of nowhere while I am sitting (taking a break) landing on my chest burying her head into my hair and neck and starts purring and kneading away. I think she does this when she needs calming down desperately. I do have a way of soothing her and once she gets calmer, off she goes! Dan gets amused when she does this while he is there. He has become her buddy when I go to bed – he plays with her too and I think she looks forward to that time.

9/12/2013

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Because of all this and more, I am afraid most people will not have the patience and/or understanding of her personality and she will end up getting thrown out or handed over to a shelter or the pound.

She reminds me of City the Kitty so much. He is a Bengal/Manx mix and they believe he was thrown out on account of his personality (high energy and high maintenance). Believe you me, he was a holy terror and even ended up on the My Cat from Hell TV show where the cat doctor (Jackson Galaxy) helped the owners out immensely. City the Kitty’s history both scares and saddens me. I know the same thing could happen to this little one.

We believe she will be a larger than average size cat due to her weight gain tracks higher than average (according to the vet). However, she will always be lanky and lean due to her built.

Dan and I have been researching what she could be due to her unusual marking and coloring and we narrowed it down to one of two things. She is either a Tabby Abby (Abyssinian mx) or one of the serval hybrids (e.g. Savannah) mixed with a tabby.

When we examined her fur up close when she was younger, we could not see any ticking. So, we assumed she was more of something other than a Tabby Abby. However, Dan examined her fur again the other day and noticed that some of her fur does have ticking ending with black on the tips. Because of this, I am thinking she is more of Abby (Abyssinian) Tabby. Her personality does fit the breed to a T and I have read that Abyssinian traits (genes) can be dominant.

By the way, the kitten’s name is now Abby Gail.