Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Frost Flowers

Looking out the window a few mornings ago, we saw bright white shimmers in the lower yard...

Frost flowers!

They happen when the ground is warm/not frozen but the air is very cold.  The sap in the plants expands in the freezing cold and comes out thru cracks in the plant stems.

They are incredibly delicate.

I've never seen them this tall.

The other name for them is "ice ribbons".  What a treat it was to see them in our own yard!

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Our Thanksgiving

Our Thanksgiving dinner mixed modern traditional with first Thanksgiving eats.

First Thanksgiving foods: clam (chowder), roast duck, wild rice, and cranberries (tho not fixed in the methods of 1621!).

Family traditional: Stuffing (the Pilgrims had no wheat... so no stuffing for them), green bean casserole, and black olives.  Oh... there was non-alcoholic wine too.

There will be no cooking for several days!

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Thanksgiving at Sea

Ten years ago today we were spending our Thanksgiving in a different way.  We were somewhere between Guatemala and Mexico on a cruise ship.  We'd taken a Panama Canal Cruise at just this time.

If you want a truly over-the-top delicious food blowout, a Thanksgiving cruise is THE way to have it.  See our menu for the day?  We could have any and all we wanted.  That was only dinner;
  breakfast and lunch were amazing too.  

And that night there was a late dessert extravaganza.  Oh my...

After our great meal.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Army Notebook Made Over To Gratitude Journal

In this month of thankfulness and gratitude, I made a new junk journal for myself.  A journal to record the things/events/people for which I am grateful. 

The "JUNK" part of this journal is that it is an old (very old) Army journal that Himself had fished out of a trash can for me.  Himself has been retired for almost 20 years!

It's such a lovely shade of yuck green.

But inside it is a nice journal.

 It just needs some love to become wonderful... like Charlie Brown's Christmas tree!

The first thing done was to paint the 😝 green canvas cover with a couple of coats of white gesso.  Then I did a third coat with clear gesso to adhere a sheet of tissue paper for my base.

Once the tissue paper layer dried, I added one more coat of clear gesso to mount a portion of a Thanksgiving napkin to make my cover.

I love the way it turned out.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Marimo Moss Ball Aqua Terrarium

Since first seeing them, I have been kind of fascinated with 'Marimo moss balls'.  Actually they are a type of spherical algae that just feel and look like moss.  They come from cold lakes in Japan, Scotland, and Iceland (plus a few other areas).  Long lived - 100+ years - and slow growing, they are a fun addition to a aquarium.

I already had this 3 gallon apothecary jar from Home Goods.  Besides the Marimo, I put in a tall and a short aquatic plant.   I'm also looking for some sort of floating plant(s).  I plan to add a Beta fish next spring.  We keep our house pretty cool in the winter and I don't want to fool with a heater just yet.

Here's a close up of the Marimo (Japanese for 'seaweed ball').  Interesting aren't they?

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The 'Why' of Decluttering and Minimalism

You've probably noticed over and over my decluttering efforts.  For example, I'll say "the garage is finished!" and then some months later "working in the garage".  That's not because we have gotten a bunch of new stuff or because we've trashed out the garage... it is because I look around and think "There is still too much stuff in here... we do NOT need (fill in the blank)".   

And so off I go again on another KonMari decluttering session.

The end result (each and every time) is a good thing, with an enjoyable process getting there.

Recently I saw the below movie review.  It struck a cord in me and put words to what I've been feeling.  I have the movie up next in my Netflix DVD list; looking forward to seeing it!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Thanksgiving recipe - Apple Gingersnap Budini

Here is a tasty and very easy dessert that is perfect for Thanksgiving.  It can be made gluten free if you use GF ginger snaps or of course you can use regular ones too.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Bonsai 101 - Shimpaku

The bonsai club offers a class called Bonsai 101.  It meets the first Saturday of the month (except December).  Each class builds on the skill sets learned at the previous meetings.  

I was so excited to get in to this year's session!

I was not excited about the 95*F heat...

The instructors Eileen and John C (we're at John's house for this session).

We each picked out the shimpaku juniper we wanted.  Eileen has a brilliant way ordering the picks... the first person to arrive gets first pick, the second gets second pick, and so on.  Great incentive to get there a bit early!  

I was #4.  This is my shaggy little tree.

Eileen first taught us what to look for in a pre bonsai... both for health and for the shape that will be easiest to work with for that tree type.

Then we started looking at the 'nebari' (base of trunk and top of roots).  And we learned out to 'pick the front'.  That step is the basis for everything you will do with that tree from there on.

I spent some time cleaning up the surface so I could make my decision of "front".

Then the first pruning and shaping began.  This took up a lot of class time.  Every two students had a 'mentor' to help... and we all keep them busy!

The last task for the day was the first wiring of our trees.  This gives them the shape they will have.  Eileen is showing how to support the wire as you wrap so you don't mess up the branch by having too much torque.


You use really sturdy wire for the heavy trunk.

Going up into the branches.  My tree is going to be very 'twisty'.  I've also decided to do a double trunk form, which is a little more difficult.

And here is my twisty little shimpaku after the class.  His name is "Checker".

He now gets to rest until next spring.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Turkey Dusting

One of the fun things about living in here at "The Sticks" is all the wildlife that comes visiting.

Our most recent visitors have been 5 tom turkeys who stayed around for about a week (turkeys are all over this area tho they don't usually linger in the yard much).

The boys were having a great time dusting themselves in some really old mulch-turned-to-dirt.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

In a Blink, Life Can Change

I am feeling very blessed and thankful right now.  The time it takes you to blink twice could be the difference between life and death... at the hand of someone else.

(Most of these photos were taken the day after the event.  To settle myself, I needed to return to the site.)

Thursday afternoon we were heading along a country highway to a meeting.  It was drizzling rain.  We were in an area where the road in a bit of a saddle (two small hills with a low place in the middle).

A car comes FLYING (guessing doing about 80-90 mph) over the hill towards us and loses control. It slams into the dirt embankment to the west then spins straight towards us. Himself felt compelled to hit the gas instead of the brakes... had he not, the car would have T boned us HARD on his side. As it was, it just barely missed our back end as it spun past.  I really thought it would hit.

After just missing us, the car spun back across the highway.  It jumped to the ditch and proceeded down that for several hundred feet.  Right by the orange sign on the left, as I watched she crossed back over the highway spinning and side hopping.  That is our car sitting opposite of the side road she crossed.

I was standing next to the orange sign photoing towards the gravel road she crossed.  Here's where she came in to the opposite ditch sideways and side hopping.  The marks are really crazy. 

She went broadside into an 'L' shaped board fence...taking out 35 feet worth (5 of 6 panels).
(Taken day of wreck)

Continued sideways across the connecting gravel road and into a field. 
(Photo taken next day)

 In total, the car traveled about 780 feet once it lost control.  (Himself says that at 60 mph you can travel from goal to goal in 3 seconds).  He figures it took only 7-9 seconds from start to finish.

The car was shedding pieces from where it hit the fence to about halfway across the field.

Himself standing where the car came to rest.  As we were turning around, the driver was trying to drive out of the field. Fortunately, the car gave out.

Notice the board in his hand...

(photo from day of wreck)

That is where it came from...  

It is an impaled piece of the fence!!  Thankfully there was no one else in the car but there were toys in the back seat...

When we got back there (parking opposite on a farm road alongside the highway) the driver chippie was walking around her car saying over and over "I'll fix the fence" and "Don't call the cops!".

A LOT of people were on their cell phones calling the cops.

As we left, there was a very very unhappy looking Amish man driving his tractor down to see the mess she'd made out of his fence and field.  (He did a fantastic job cleaning up the mess!)

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Photos for November

October was busy and I didn't get many photos taken.  Temperatures were high almost to the end of the month, so the autumn colors just were not there.  It is only starting to turn and I don't think it will be bright this year.

This is a Turkey Tail fungus.  I did some playing around in Picasa and I like the results.  I'm going to go out to re-shoot this photo.  I want to clean up the area a bit (like get rid of the green plant).

This is the opportunistic spider who has spun a web across Himself's office window.  At night his lamp draws insects...  

She is quite a fat spider.

Two photos of a grosbeak in our myrtle bush.  They come through twice a year.