Monday, April 24, 2017

Macro: Unusual White False Dandelion

I was outside with Dan and Abby Gail on April 6th when I spied this unusual white False Dandelion. I believe this is the first one I ever seen and I thought it was very cool.

Here is what the False Dandelions look like. We have a kajillion of them on our land.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Abby Gail and Gracie

Abby Gail:

Dreaming of Herding Cattle? {April 13}

After I took this picture, she started to go across the street. I would not let her as I had the sprinkler going in the garden and I needed to shut it off within a few minutes. (Note. I use a timer. I can be lazy and use sprinklers before 10:00am on Sundays and Thursdays here where I live).

She isn't going outside as much as she used to as I am paranoid after seeing a baby snake on the move. We need to set that brush pile out back afire. She has grown up and matured so much that she does not need as much activity. However, when she does, she does. In other words, she goes nuts.

She made me think of Sheldon's lullaby from the Big Bang Theory TV series:

Soft kitty, warm kitty,
little ball of fur

Happy kitty, sleepy kitty
purr, purr, purr.

And yes, she lays on me like this all the time.

Gracie:

{April 17}

She is doing well after a long struggle with skin and ear infections. We saw a cat dermatologist and are now attacking her suspected allergies from three possible sides -- food, environmental and flea -- at one time. She is currently free of both the skin and ear infections and will be on medication and the special diet for another five weeks or so. Once past this time, we will start determining what her allergies are by either taking away the special diet or the medication (for environmental allergies). She is much happier, more active and so much more normal these days. She shocked me when I turned around and saw her on the back of this chair.

{April 15}

This was the first time she went without the cone of shame under supervision. She was extremely happy bathing herself. Both Dan and I are pleased that she rarely sought to scratch herself and whenever she did, it was mostly the normal scratching that cats do. And yes, she is missing fur around her face and neck; but, it is growing back slowly and surely.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

An Easter Visitor

I was outside tending to the garden when out of the corner of my eye I saw this Red Admiral {Vanessa atalanta} butterfly walking on the dirt towards me. He was flapping his wings like a beacon yelling "Hey, do you see me"?

I talked to it for a few seconds and then put my hand down on the ground and he walked onto my finger(s) with a little encouragement. I was more than floored because most butterflies are skittish.

He rested on me for a few minutes. It was both beautiful and ugly. And, so peaceful and brave.

I could not help but think of my Dad. It is a long story; but, butterflies remind me of him.

I think both Dan and I were amazed at this little visitor.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Macro: Moth {Desmia funeralis}

Desmia funeralis

When I first spied this moth, I immediately thought "what a pretty little critter!" However, I discovered it is ugly up close! And, when I researched this moth and found it to be a pest of grapes, I took a disliking to the insect as I am trying to grow grapes not to mention that we have wild grapes too.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Selfies {Beekeeping 101 course} and Some History (with Pictures)

Who Are These People?

We attended a beginner's Beekeeping Course on April 8th. It was a lot of fun for me and a brand new experience for Dan. Due to this class, I think it has helped convinced and encouraged Dan to partner up with me. But first, I want to build some shade for our future beehives as we do not have mature trees on our land. I have given myself 'till next spring (2018) to do all that we need to do to get some hives started.

Here is a little history about me: My Dad was a hobby beekeeper in the 1970s. I've always been fascinated with those bees. And fearless. Dad even took me to a friend of his that helped harvest some honey which was the coolest experience a girl could have. I wanted to own and maintain several hives when I grow up and now that I have space and land to do so, I am determined to have a few.

Dad on the left and my Gram (Viola Mae) on the right. circa 1970s

My Gram (Viola Mae). circa 1970s.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

We're Hard at Work in my Studio....

I wanted to show y'all the setup in my studio. I have a craft table that I use for making general crafts and folding laundry on (while watching TV). By the way, we made the table using free plans and it is foldable so that we can put it away if needed. I am going to need to figure out how to raise it up a few inches; but, I am fairly happy with the thing.

Anyway, we turned that craft table into a desk and were hard at work on our tax returns.

But, the reality is....

the cats wanted attention! (I had to resort to using the flash with a faster shutter speed because both of them were too fast.) This is Abby Gail playing with a kick stick. (Dan: "I'm trying to work here!")

And, Gracie wanted attention from Dan.

(In case you do not see her, She is on one of his legs).

FYI: We went out the next day and purchased TurboTax: Premier edition for $25 off. It ended up being worth the cost because it saved us thousands of dollars. No joke! This is the first year we had to deal with stocks and more and we were not confident of our initial efforts. So, my advice would be, when in doubt, seriously invest in TurboTax.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Texas Bluebonnet, White Variation

I was surprised and pleased to see a few white bluebonnets pop up this year as they were not the healthiest variety last year. They still seem a little stunted; but, at least, they are a tad healthier.

Lupinus texansis (Texas Bluebonnet)

Friday, April 7, 2017

Abby Gail Amongst Wilfdflowers

I have already posted these pictures on facebook; but, there are many who are not on facebook with me. So, I am posting them here for everyone to see. Both of these pictures were taken with my camera phone on the same day and both were in our backyard. Abby was pretty much annoyed with me by the time I took the last picture.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Macro: Texas Indian Paintbrush, White Variation

These are not the greatest pictures; but, it was bright and windy. I tried. We had about eight of these white variations this year and all of them were out front by the driveway.

Castilega indivisa (Texas Indian Paintbrush)

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Our Garden


March 19, 2017

Dan took this picture with his phone and I liked it so much that I made him send me the picture for this blog of mine. We have two rows of onions, one row of Garlic, and carrots and the rest are herbs such as chives, rosemary, sage, oregano, basil and more...

We had to replant cucumbers from seeds as the previous ones died off in a cold snap. Speaking of cucumbers, we are also trying to grow some in two plant beds we first established when we moved here. I saw some seeds sprouting in the beds; so, there's hope! I just pray we don't have a hot time of it because cucumbers do not do well in the heat of our southern central Texas summers.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Macro: Painted Phlox

This flower is part of the Phlox family and is spread all over our land. I had sat down to keep an eye on Abby Gail and spied this beautiful flower that looked like it was just painted. It was very different from all the other ordinary pink flowers.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Today I am....

::vigilantly:: guarding the garden against weeds and ::striving:: to get cucumber plants to thrive. I had to replant cucumber seeds as the others did not survive a cold snap. As a result, I am not sure if we will have any pickles this year.

::struggling:: with a lack of desire or motivation to do just one thing.

(I had been sick earlier this week with migraines and the after effect is extreme tiredness. When I go through episodes like these, I struggle to return back to normalcy.)

::spoiling:: two neglected cats. By neglected, I mean not being able to tend to their playtime/activity needs on account of being sick. Abby Gail is going outside frequently and Gracie is being spoiled by being allowed to stay in my studio on my sewing chair.

::amazed:: at the variety of differences among the flowers especially the coloring. I took pictures of one that looked like someone left brushstrokes of white on pink petals.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Slapdash Saturday

It's been a LONG time since I shared links. I have a feeling this will be sporadic because I am not online as much as I used to be. However, I came across a link (the last one listed) and thought it should be passed on to others. Enjoy.

  • Jazz Up Your Binding!
    Quilting / Sewing
  • Chip's New Year Revelation
  • If there is any hope for all of us to move forward, to heal and to grow – we have got to learn to engage people who are different from us with dignity and with love. Joanna and I have personal convictions. One of them is this: we care about you for the simple fact that you are a person, our neighbor on planet earth. It’s not about what color your skin is, how much money you have in the bank, your political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender, nationality or faith. That’s all fascinating, but it cannot add or take away from the reality that we’re already pulling for you. We are not about to get in the nasty business of throwing stones at each other, don’t ask us to cause we won’t play that way.

    I think we are all here for a reason. I think we all have a call on our lives. Your role is not my role, and thank goodness, because there is so much unique and important work to be done. Jo and I feel called to be bridge builders. We want to help initiate conversations between people that don’t think alike. Listen to me, we do not all have to agree with each other. Disagreement is not the same thing as hate, don’t believe that lie.

I've been busy... Gardening

I already obtained the first fruits from plants I had purchased several weeks ago. We transplanted the strawberries into hanging baskets and I hope they survive.

We were quite in a rush to till and amend the soil, plant and start seeds last Sunday (February 26). We decided to amend only the portion we needed to be done right away as it was threatening to rain. The previous weekend was not ideal due to high winds. We will not be in town this coming weekend. So, we only had that one day to do what I needed to do to get the garden started.

It was hard work and I ended up sore from the efforts. When I went out Monday morning to take care of the garden, I ended up with the trembles (shakes) I could not stop. It was from over exertion. I need to invest in sports drinks just for these times.

I am keeping an eye on the seeds I have started and hope to transplant them after we finish amending the soil on the weekend of March 11th.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Macros: The wheel bug, Arilus cristatus (Linnaeus); Eggs and Nymphs

I was outside with Abby Gail in my arms yesterday. She wanted to sniff and smell the branches of a crepe myrtle tree and I obliged her by getting closer and lifting her up. It was then I spied a weird hexagonal object on one of the bigger branches. Since I could not see it well with the naked eye, I grabbed my Macro lens and shot a few pictures.

I then noticed a few of the critters above the weird object and snapped a few pictures of them.

I did some research for this blog post this morning. When I discovered it is the Wheel Bug, I exclaimed, "holy sh--"! If you know what the Wheel Bugs are, you will understand my initial dismay. They are the assassins of the insect world and can have an extremely painful bite. However, they are beneficial critters for organic gardening (which I attempt to do since I do not like using pesticides.)

I can recognize the adults. I just never seen the youth and egg sacs until now. Just keep them away from me and I will be a happy person. Sometimes ignorance is bliss because if I had known what these were, I would have not gotten so close to snap pictures.

Here is a good article about this insect: The wheel bug, Arilus cristatus (Linnaeus)..

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Gypsy Wife Quilt; Section 4; Courthouse Steps


Picked out fabrics for next block...

I wanted a light red for the last round; but, I did not have any fabric that would work from my stash; so, I picked out the light purple chevron fabric.


Cut and ready to be sewn


All sewn up!

I am extremely pleased with this block. I now moving onto fabric choices for the next block which is composed of sixteen half-square triangles. Egads!