Thursday, February 28, 2019

Create! from January

ALL month I worked on this project.  It's a 'vision board' using mixed media elements so it is actually 9 different pieces mounted on canvas.

This is the first page of mixed media challenge.  Each month we are given a prompt ~ this one was "circles ~ to interpret as we wish.  I've decided to use my favorite cartoon figures as the focal point.

Better slow than no.

I'm working my way thru my photo books for my digital photos.  This one is from our Panama Canal cruise... only took me 10 years.  LOL  

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Bonsai 101 - Repotting a Trident Maple

For our 4th installment of Bonsai 101 we learned how to repot (bonsai style) a tree... in this case a Trident Maple.  The "book lesson" was about bonsai soil and what each component does.

(Trident maple leaves)

In our case, we started with a container grown maple in normal soil.  Taking one of the bamboo chopsticks we made last month, we start removing the soil with quick jabs.

Still working it down.  At this point you start seeing the thick stabilizing roots... which get cut off.

This is 'done'.  A hairy looking wad of small white roots.

Here I am placing the wires that hold the tree in place.  (There's no way the small root mass of a bonsai could hold it in the pot.  All bonsai are wired in.)

Still wiring.  That is my tree waiting.

Adding the base (coarse) layer of soil.

See how big the pieces are?

Here is the regular potting soil.  Looks like a bunch of rock, doesn't it?  
It is!

Eileen (my bonsai sensei) helping get my tree set down in the pot.

My wired in tree.

Watching others work teaches a lot too.

I'm filling with soil around my wired in tree.

Next step is to firm  in the soil.

This is done by taking one of our chopsticks and jamming it all the way in at the side of the pot.  Then you pull it back out with a 'jiggling' motion.  The soil back fills behind where the chopstick is leaving.  You go all the way around the pot doing this.

Once done, it is time to take a bit off the top of the tree.  Not too much yet...

This is a handful of the moss mix from last month spread over the top.  It will grow in and make a shady barrier for the roots.

Last step... a good watering!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Monday, February 18, 2019

Think You Are Safe from Radiation?

There was a really hard to believe (yet not so much... ) article in the paper recently.  It was about radioactive ore stored at a visitor site at the Grand Canyon (I am really glad we skipped the museum on our visit there in 2004).

"For nearly two decades at the Grand Canyon in Arizona, tourists, employees, and children on tours passed by three paint buckets stored in the National Park's museum collection building, unaware that they were being exposed to radiation.

Although federal officials learned last year that the five-gallon containers were brimming with uranium ore, then removed the radioactive specimens, the park's safety director alleges nothing was done to warn park workers or the public that they might have been exposed to unsafe levels of radiation.

In a rogue email sent to all Park Service employees on Feb. 4, Elston "Swede" Stephenson — the safety, health and wellness manager — described the alleged cover-up as "a top management failure" and warned of possible health consequences.

"If you were in the Museum Collections Building (2C) between the year 2000 and June 18, 2018, you were 'exposed' to uranium by OSHA's definition," Stephenson wrote.  ...

Stephenson said the containers were stored next to a taxidermy exhibit, where children on tours sometimes stopped for presentations, sitting next to uranium for 30 minutes or more. By his calculation, those children could have received radiation dosages in excess of federal safety standards within three seconds, and adults could have suffered dangerous exposure in less than a half-minute.  ... 

Stephenson said the uranium threat was discovered in March 2018 by the teenage son of a park employee who happened to be a Geiger counter  enthusiast, and brought a device to the museum collection room.

Workers immediately moved the buckets to another location in the building, he said, but nothing else was done.

(The oh-so-safe method the buckets of highly radioactive ore was removed by OSHA officials...)

 A few months later, Stephenson said, he was assisting with a safety audit when employees told him about the uranium. As a former Army helicopter pilot who later worked as a safety manager in the Navy, Stephenson said he knew it was "bad mojo" and instantly called a National Parks specialist in Colorado.  ... 

Stephenson said technicians concealed the radiation readings from him and dumped the ore into Orphan Mine, an old uranium dig that is considered a potential Superfund site below the Rim, about two miles from Grand Canyon Village.

Stephenson said he drove to Phoenix in November and filed a report with OSHA, which sent inspectors to the museum building in yellow protective suits.

Stephenson said they detected a low-level site within the building and traced it to the three buckets, which Park Service technicians had inexplicably returned to the building after dumping their contents.

"You could hear their meters going off," Stephenson said."
Story by:

Another place we skipped visiting in '04 was the Trinity Bomb site.  "On July 16, 1945, one week after the establishment of White Sands Missile Range (WSMR), the world’s first atomic bomb was detonated in the north-central portion of the missile range, approximately 60 miles north of White Sands National Monument.  By 1953, much of the radioactivity had subsided (Really?  What about all the stuff we do NOT know about radiation?), and the first Trinity Site open house was held in September of that year.

In 1965, Army officials erected a monument on Ground Zero. In 1975, the National Park Service designated Trinity Site as a National Historic Landmark. The landmark includes base camp, where the scientists and support group lived; the McDonald ranch house, where the plutonium core was assembled; as well as Ground Zero.

Today, visits to the site are sponsored by the Alamogordo Chamber of Commerce and WSMR on the first Saturdays of April and October."

Are you kidding me???!!!  No. No, no, no.

Now take a minute or few to look at this video.  It explains a lot and you'll get a few shocks too...

Friday, February 15, 2019

"Autumn Study" in the DAC Photo Contest

I entered again in the Clarksville's Downtown Artist Co-op annual juried Photography Exposition.  I put in two pieces and ended up with 3rd place in Still Life!

"Autumn Study" - 3rd Place Still Life

"Smoke Screen" - Experimental Process 

In thinking over my photos that have won contests, the majority are still life.  That followed by informal portraits (of people and animals).  With that in mind, I'm going to work on those 2 styles in 2019.  

Have to have focus you know!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Friday, February 8, 2019

A Good Day Is...

In keeping with my "simple abundance" phrase for 2019 I've been considering what sort of benchmark I could put in place for myself so to recognize my successes.

This works for me!


Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Monday, February 4, 2019

Bisquick Beer Bread Using Negra Modelo (Recipe)

In a recent KonMari decluttering of my pantry shelf I discovered six Negra Modelo beers Himself had bought after trying one... but never drank them.  These were some OLD beers... old I'm telling you!  My first plans for them were to kill slugs in our garden this coming summer.

The other evening Himself and I were hungry for a savory treat.  After looking at those beers, we thought 'why not?' and found a recipe for beer bread using Bisquick~ which we had just enough of.  It was meant to be!

Himself (being the baker of the family) had it mixed up in no time.  We weren't sure how it would turn out with the geriatric beer but when the scent of the baking bread filled the house we were so optimistic!  

It smelled so good we didn't let it cool completely.  In our opinion, the dark beer made it even better.

Bisquick Beer Bread

1/4 cup butter, softened
3 cups Original Bisquick mix
1/3 cup sugar
1 bottle or can (12 oz) light beer (dark works fine, just more ‘beery’)

1.  Heat oven to 375°F. Grease bottom only of 9x5-inch loaf pan with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the butter.

2.  In large bowl, stir together Bisquick mix, sugar and beer with whisk until well blended. Pour into pan.

3.  Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until golden brown.

4.  In small microwavable bowl, microwave remaining 2 to 3 tablespoons butter on High until melted; brush over warm loaf. Cool 15 minutes before slicing.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Photos For February

A still life I set up for an art project.  The lock I picked up at a yard sale and the board is from the farm Himself grew up on.

What great texture!

A still life set up by nature.

I love this area.  It reminds me of Washington state.

He actually sat still for a minute!