small sample of my crazy quilt embroidery

About Me

I am a consumate crafter. I knit, quilt both sane and crazy, scrapbook, bead, mosaics and any other thing I can think of along the way. Someday I also hope to do real glass jewelery and stained glass but those have to wait until I have room and more time.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Eye of the Butterfly

Lots of pics today. But I think you will enjoy most of them. And hopefully it will catch you up with what has been going on in my world since my last post. First pics up will be of a most amazing butterfly that I was blessed to be able to observe yesterday for the very first time ever. The Zebra Swallowtail is actually pretty rare and this one was probably freshly hatched out of it's cocoon as it was in perfect condition, again something that is pretty rare. Usually they are a bit beat up and missing wing parts before I get to see them.

Such long tails on this species

The eye of the butterfly.
I love the close-ups of this gorgeous gift of nature. I had to lay on my stomach, in the chicken coop, with my close up lenses on and wait very patiently to get these shots. The price I pay to remember these special moments!! Don't you love how the stripes on the body of the butterfly are matched perfectly with the stipes on the wings when they are folded up. Some sort of adaptive camouflage I am sure.

 Next on to some of the projects I have worked on since last here. The Bathtub Herb garden has slowly morphed into what it is now. I had lots of ideas that flew thru my head and then didn't end up working. But at last I think I have pulled together enough things to make it work. And it sure dresses up the boring side wall to our 2nd garage and our guest apartment. There is still a lot of growing to do.  There are larger herbs growing in the ground and those are still quite small.  On the other side of the door, there are matching beds that are filled with baby 4 o'clocks, zinnias, cosmos and cerinthes.  But right now they are all about 2" tall and not worthy of any pics!!

I had this pump for years.  We actually poured a concrete pier to attach the pump to so it would not fall over in the wind.  And no, it is not plumped for water.  

Next up is just one shot of a new project that has been long in the works. A potting bench/outside garden sink. This is just the skeleton but now that it is in place the rest should go pretty quickly. The sink I plan on placing in the top is an older porcelain one, and you can see it laying upside down in front of the bench. It will only have the hose as a water source but I only want to be able to clean up veggies in the garden so that I am not dragging so much dirt into the house.

Next up....random pics of the rest of the garden. The waterfall is finally totally in and working, without leaks. It is not the biggest waterfall in the world but the sound it makes is so sweet and it really helps clean up the pond with the filters that are inside, hidden by the rocks. I still have some work to do to finish the edging and further hide the pond liner. But the fish are happy as you can see by the smiles on their faces!!

Cool rock that the frogs love to sun on.  

Now close up's of flowers, since I had the lenses out for the butterfly anyway.


These last 2 are the tiny flowers on one of my Hens & Chicks.  I didn't even know they even had flowers but boy are they fun.  


These last 3 are shots of a flower that looks a lot like a Thistle.  But it is not, thank goodness.  It is quite small compared and not as bristle-y.  I wish I knew the name but it was something I started from seed 3 years ago and I have long lost the package.  The deer almost did this plant in so many times but this year it is amazing.

Elfaba, one of my new chickies.  Should lay blue/green eggs.

Hamlet, now that he is solo rooster, is so much happier.  Horatio went on to a neighbor to be lord over her hens.

But we have also had some hard times recently.  DH was just diagnosed with prostate cancer.  It is of intermediate concern for either already spreading or would in the very near future.  There are not any really good imaging studies for finding prostate cancer that has spread.  The CT scan can show if there is major involvement and the bone scan of course would show metastatic bone disease. And yes, those are normal as we expected.  But for the early more microscopic spread, the only way to find out is to look at everything under a microscope.  So that will happen.  Meaning, major removal of the entire prostate and some lymph nodes.  Then go from there.  So prayers would be welcome.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Whole lot a Croakin"

Warning ahead of time. Most of this post is about the loss of a dear family pet. If the subject or how I choose to handle it bothers you then come back another time. My feelings won't be hurt.

I have posted many times about our dog Holly. She was always a problem child but all she had to do was come put her head in my lap and look up with her sad brown eyes and all was right with the world. She chased and sometimes killed small animals, chased cars, got skunked a world's record number of times, ran off to the neighbors, dug up the garden, and in general, caused a lot of unrest and mayhem. That is probably why she was dumped on our doorstep 2 years ago when she was about 1 year old. We watched her try to make it out on her own in the middle of winter for almost a week outside and then finally took her in. She immediately became our other dog, Daisy's best friend. But instantly, my 2 house cats because prisoner's of our bedroom for the next 2 years. They were in total fear of Holly, and for pretty good reason.

But even tho we thought of rehoming her several times over the last 2 years, she stayed our dog up until the end. The last few months we finally decided she would only go out on a leash and that actually worked out pretty well. She would get walked each and every day with me and she could go on as long as I could. Gave me good reason to get out and go each day. We also took her out to cruise the yard when the weather was good. She didn't get the chance to chase rodents thru ditches but she still seemed to love being out on the prowl with us.

Little did we know that big trouble was brewing. Holly had always paid a lot of attention to her tail. Chased it in circles all the time. She would finally catch it and then lick it for a bit and then settle down and forget about it. However, the last month or so it did get a bit more extreme. The chasing started every evening and would be a bit more frantic. The vet had checked her tail one other time and did not find anything so we figured allergy and gave her benedryl. It did seem to work but in actuality, it probably just made her sleepy.

Suddenly, Sunday evening she started her usual tail chasing and it got so out of control so fast that we did not react to it nearly soon enough. She growled and barked at it until she finally caught it and actually bite into it hard enough for it to bleed. But it was not over. She just got worse. So we double dosed her on the antihistamines and put her in her kennel to calm her. But she probably messed with it all night and kept it bleeding til we got her out Monday morning.

As soon as we got her out of the kennel she started in again and it was horrible. She was howling and if she caught her tail she would bite down on it and the blood was everywhere. We were at the vet's door when they opened but by that time, she, me, the car and the office were a bloody mess.

The news was not good. The vet was not sure, but felt there was a very strong chance that she had a spinal nerve abnormality. And even if the tail could be docked successfully, she would have still had the sensation of pain in it and would have been miserable. And nothing we could do with medication would have helped much. The other diagnostic considerations were even worse.

So I talked it over with DH and the vet and we made the decision to have her cross the Rainbow Bridge and end the suffering. I went into the kennel area at the clinic, sat on the floor and said my goodbyes. They had heavily medicated her and put on a collar but she just looked so miserable and her tail was hideous to look at. It was a hard decision and one I may second guess for some time to come. But if an animal is suffering you want to make them better and this was the only option we felt would take the pain away.

So I choose to remember her in a few pictures that give me happy memories. Holly loved the snow and I caught this first picture last year during our one good snowstorm.

As much as she didn't mind being cold, she sure liked to lie in front of the wood stove and warm up.

She also loved the comfort of a comfy loveseat.

And here is one of the final pics I have of the dogs together. Taken right before Christmas.

But now, on a happier note. A couple posts ago I posted a pic of the frog that lives in my pond. But he was under water then and today he posed quite nicely for several pictures. Must have been the awesome weather we had today. Warm, sunny and just the slightest of breezes.

Oh, and while I was out snapping pics of the toadie, the roosters were also strutting their stuff. Horatio was willing to let me get pretty near him with the camera and here is the result.

I better get out and close up that chicken coop. As soon as that sun goes down, they head up to safety and want me to lock them in til morning.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Inspector General

Sorry I have been missing. Our only source of internet access is by an aircard. We searched high and low and found the best deal with the best price and the most amount of available bandwidth. Still, with DH now at home all the time, we went all the way to the max amount available by the third week in January. So for a week, I could only check my email on my "not-so-smart" phone and I could also scan Facebook, if I didn't expect to see pics or make comments.

But finally, the first of February arrived and we can now surf the internet with wild abandon. Except maybe DH needs to not download tons of quadraphonic music this month. And no movies. That is what the Netflicks mail option if for.

Like most of the country, we are having much warmer than normal weather. Most of us are jumping the gun and getting lots of gardening done. I have been careful to only plant what can stand a sudden cold freeze, especially if I can offer protection with row covers. I am going more and more towards raised beds and framework that will allow me to use row covers for what ever the weather throws at us. Frost blankets for cold, shade cloth for blazing sun, protection from the bugs and even from the chickens. The raised beds I have used in the past have not worked out to be all that sturdy or helpful. So this year I bit the bullet and spent the money on what I hope will be a better, longer lasting system. I am using regular, standard dimensional lumber from the big box home improvement store. But I am treating it with a new product which is supposed to be an eco friendly product that is safe to use around pets and food, and is reported to protect the wood from rot for many years. I bought mine on line but found out later that Home Depot is also supposed to carry it. The corners I purchased from Gardener's Supply Co. I decided on the 10" set but I might have been happier with the 12". Another thing I realized as I put my bed together was that I wish I could have screwed it together from the outside and not the inside. I know they designed it this way to have a nice clean look but if I ever do need to change the wood sides out, I will have to empty the bed first. Even to add an extension set would require at least exposing the one long side. But still, I think it is a lovely raised bed and with my addition of PVC supports for the differing row covers, I think it will be very useful.

Of course, nothing can be done with out the approval of the Inspector General. I think all 5 of the team are happy with the new bed. They are dreaming of some luscious veggie that I can grow for them to snack on!!

I finally have had to make a decision about my pond. The pump and filter system is just not keeping things clean enough. So after talking to my local pond guy, I have decided to add a waterfall filter to this side of the pond. I really wasn't wanting to do a waterfall, but he assures me I can easily add one, it doesn't have to be all that tall or hard to hide the mechanics and it will keep the pond so much cleaner. So here in the next month I will attempt to add this feature and hope that I can keep things looking attractive. It shouldn't cost all that much and the time involved shouldn't be too bad. But I swear, if I don't end up with a cleaner pond, I will go throttle the darned pond man.

Today, I picked my first spring bouquet. Daffodils out of a large field that runs by my daily walking path. There are so many wonderful wild daffs around our part of Tennessee and I just picked a few to brighten up the house. This is way too early for daffs and way, way to early for my magnolia which is also in full bloom.

The other day, I was not home and my DH decided that he was watching "the best sunset" ever in our new adopted state. So he grabbed my camera and shot away. Mind you, he knows nothing...nothing about my camera. When I ask him to take a picture with it, even with me setting it up, he never gets a good shot. So how in the world did he gets these? Must have been some devine intervention. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Some say, "Boots on the Ground"...I say, "Hands in the Dirt"

Boots on the ground. Used to be a military saying to indicate that the planning stages of an operation were over. That soldiers would now be out getting the job done. Now everybody uses it for everything. But I digress :).

For me, winter is filled with gardening catalogs, filled with all kinds of new inspiration for spring. And my head gets filled up with all kinds of new veggies to grow, ways to grow them and then what to do with them after harvest. I drool and dream over all kinds of new flowers I want to use in the landscape to make my world more colorful. But mostly, us gardeners just impatiently wait for the first time we can go out and plant something and get it all going once again. We just hang in there barely, until we finally can go out and get those hands really dirty for the first time of the new year.

And I did that today. Planted peas. Peas need cold and can even tolerate moderate freezes once up and growing. I presprouted my seeds to help them get up and going even faster. I watched the weather reports and knew we have an entire week. at least before the next frost. So today, the presprouted seeds went in and hopefully, they can finish the sprouting process in this next week and be off and running before we have any more seriously cold weather. I do have my beds set up to be able to cover the plants if that old silly weatherman suddenly tells me that we are dipping down into the low 20's or even below. If it really got cold, 15 or below, I would probably loose it all. But that package of seeds cost just over a dollar. I think my pocketbook can handle that. Not sure my spirit will do as well!!

But I do have some nice things growing as we speak. Growing enough to even harvest some. This last fall I took my chances and planted some lettuce and spinach. I got them in very late and had serious doubts as to how successful I would be. But the weather has been pretty mild so far this year and I have been pretty religious in covering the beds when it did get down into the lower 20's. So, so far, so good. And tonight we get a salad to celebrate.

I also have a bed of garlic, planted this fall, that is growing very nicely. We should have all the garlic that we need for the next year!

So, now out of the garden and onto the wilder side of the yard. The pond. I have had 2 really cool frogs living in my pond, almost from the beginning. Whenever it is even a little bit warm out, they come out onto this rock and sun themsselves. Of course, if I get anywhere near, they immediately jump back into the water and hide under the rocks. But today, I almost got him. He was there with the camera trying to focus and he jumped away just a hair too soon. But he only got into the water and I still was able to at least get this picture of one of them.

Here's a picture of last week's birdfeeders from outside the apartment door. Thought you might want to see what it all looks like from this angle. For now. Till I change the feeder poles out for a new easier to use one.

Last, but not must see the chickens as I see them every afternoon about 2. They know they get to run free about this time everyday and they get so wound up and ready that it is quite humorous. Especially the boys. They just can't wait to get out and be boss of the bigger barnyard.

The more that we let them free range, the less they eat the food that we have to buy for them. So the cheaper our eggs are and probably the healthier they are for us. But we could never let them run loose all the time, out here in the country with all the predators that lurk about. Including the one that lives in our house. Holly, the fox terrier/chicken terrier/cat terrier/skunk terrier/squirrel terrier..........and so on, and so forth