Subscribe with Bloglines

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Garden Update

I've told you about how the weeds were getting ahead of me in the garden and here is a photo of the overgrown pumpkin patch with one corner that I managed to clear of wild grass, weeds, and elm seedling. Since I can't kneel on my arthritic knees I sit on my garden stool on the left in the photo. As you can see, even though I've only cleared a small part of the garden bed, the cart is overflowing. The trash guys hauled that load off this morning and I'm ready to get back to work on the rest of the mess. I even have one small pumpkin growing at the end of an 8 foot long vine that grew beyond this bed and through the rhubarb onto the path. It just amazes me how far those vines spread; another one has grown west across the pathway onto the grass around the pond. The cucumber vines are also spreading out all over the place. Some of the cucumbers covered up the eggplants which are not growing much fruit this year. Last year I kept picking far more Japanese eggplants than we could eat.

The cats love to visit the veggie garden with me and here is Tigger checking out a pumpkin vine.
I set out several Hardy Boy, Early Girl, Roma, and Cherry Tomatoes this spring and they are loaded with fruit that is starting to get ripe. In addition I have a couple of the small yellow Pear Tomatoe plants that came up from seeds because there were so many last year that a lot of them were left on the vines until after frost. They are an old fashioned heritage tomato that can reseeds, unlike most of the modern hybrids. The heritage Green Zebra Tomato is doing very well and I think I will try to save some of the seeds so I can have more next year. I can't be sure that I will be able to find plants of that variety to buy next year.
It istime for me to plant more lettuces, spinach, and cilantro for fall growth and to winter over and give us early spring growth.

Somehow with my muddled mind this year, I thought I had planted a watermelon plant, but when I began pulling out the weeds around the vine the leaves looked wrong, and the fruits were very strange, white and yellow globes with black stickers. When I checked the label I discovered that I had really planted a Lemon Cucumber! I'm used to having Senior moments but this is ridiculous! Oh well, there is always next year.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Proud Grandma's Photos

Shaun Glenn Lawrence _______
Born 8/28 (lunar eclipse) 7:59 a.m.
6lbs 1oz

Here are photos from my daughter, Michal Ann, the proud grandmother, hot off the e-mail.

Derek, Lindsay, Shaun

He is a little doll and what an impressive name he carries. I imagine Kaylee is an excited big sister.

Young looking Grandma Michal Ann with Shaun.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Our Baby Boy is Here!

Would you believe the little guy didn't arrive until 8:00 a.m. this morning (Tuesday). Lindsay and company were exhausted and managed to get a little sleep today. Little one had low oxygen levels and went immediately into an oxygen tent on his crib so Lindsay wasn't able to hold him longer than a moment and hadn't yet gotten to feed him by 3:00 this afternoon. However, they said he had started sucking his fist and they seemed to think that was a good sign. My daughter hopes to be able to get some photos sent to me as soon as she can. She is a proud grandmother. Can't wait to see the little guy this weekend. This is the only photo of the baby that I can share so far.

Had great news from the Cardiologist today, after another echo cardiogram confirmed that my
problems are not caused by my heart and that I have no serious problem with my heart. There is a murmur, that I've had all my life, caused by a slightly abnormal aortic valve that is wearing faster than than normal, but it is nothing to worry about. He explained to me that Diabetics have a problem with water retention and in addition, 3 of my meds can cause water retention. These were made worse by my high altitude camping trip and the extremely hot weather this summer. I guess my family doc and I will have to discuss whether there are other meds that would do the job without this side effect.

I was fascinated to find out that the Cardiologist had Sarcoid 27 years ago and was one of the lucky ones that got over it. He was able to give me more info about the effects of Sarcoid and says that the increased arthritic pain I have been experiencing could be caused by the Sarcoid. He said that it can have such diverse effects to all parts of the body that it is depressing to research it. I had discovered this in my searches online and so will continue to have hope that I am one of the fortunate 50% who gets over it. Thanks for your prayers and well wishes.

Had a beautiful drive to and from Pueblo and ate at a yummy cafe in the Historic Union Avenue section of the City near the Stitcher's Garden quilt shop where I bought flannel to back the baby's quilt. Got lots of photos of nature and some of my garden early this morning that I will be sharing soon.
A pumpkin blossom waiting for a bee.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Lindsay is in Labor

Lindsay has been in labor since early this morning and we hope to have the new great grandson out in this great big world soon. Talked to her a couple of hours ago and she was about ready to go to the hospital. Now I want to get the baby quilt finished for him. Shay and her kids are planning to be in Denver for the Labor Day weekend and we'll get to see the new baby then also.
Here is Lindsay, Mom, and Kaylee at Thanksgiving.

I was actually able to get out in the garden, this weekend, to trim a few tree branches that were shading the veggie garden and pull and cut a lot of weeds, wild grass, and elm seedlings out of the herb garden and veggies. Amber and her younger sister, Makayla, came over and helped me clean house by vacuuming and mopping. I took them for ice cream at the Cold Stone place in Canon City to thank them. For some reason vacuuming is so hard for me, it pushes so hard, due to the suction, and leaves me breathless. My appointment with the Cardiologist is tomorrow morning. Please pray and send good thoughts for him to be able to help me.

I have also finally gotten enough gumption to do some more quilting. I have some projects I want to work on, and I've had the WOTB block for Deborah (the woman who led Israel to victory in the book of Judges) cut out and taking up space on the side of my cutting table since mid May, when I began having problems, so I sat down last night and sewed and fused it, to clear the decks for action. This block is for all you variations of Deb out there, since it is the Honey Bee block; Deborah means bee. I chose colors to go with the bee theme and really like the looks of this block. This is the 37th WOTB block I've finished. There are 15 more than need to be completed. At this point, I'm not sure if I will do all of them, but I do want to make the blocks for Rebekah and Rachel, and Ruth and Naomi. I have the base done for Esther, but need to do the star points which are made from tiny pieces and appliqued on. When those are completed I may decide to go ahead and design a layout for the quilttop. I don't have the passion to finish the blocks for some of the more obscure women and have begun the "Praying the Names of Jesus" Bible study and quilt block group and want to start making those blocks. At The Creative Cloth Closet in Canon City, I found a batch fat quarters of wonderful gold flashed print fabrics to use for these blocks; they have the look of medieval designs. Some day I hope to make the blocks from Carol Honderich's group "Quilting the Psalms". The appliqued blocks she designed are incredible.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Dyeing & Weaving

Around 30 years ago I took a class in Navajo spinning, dyeing, and weaving from a Navajo weaver at Henderson Museum, CU Boulder. I loved the colors that I could get from dyeing wool with natural dyes, but since I was a single mother of 4 working my way through college, I didn't continue doing it (it was very time consuming). Instead, I turned to needlepoint to satisfy my love of creating with colored wool (it was portable, I could carry it with me wherever I went). I spent many years designing and stitching needlepoint pieces. Then after I retired, I was able to take a class in quilting, that I had always wanted to do, because my Granny made quilts for all the members if our family, and she had handed her patterns and sample squares to me when she could no longer use them. There has always been something about the textile arts that drew me.

The natural dyeing has always remained in the back of my mind and I still have 2 of the small tapestry looms, that we were taught to make in the class, hanging on the wall of my sunporch, as well as a few samples of yarn that I spun with a drop spindle and dyed with natural items like black walnut hulls, onion skins and various lichens that I gathered in the mountains behind Boulder. The vegetable matter that is on the yarn is dried Wormwood, from my garden, that I put with them to keep the moths away.

I recently posted about visiting the home of our friend, Klee, who raises, spins, dyes, and weaves her own sheep and goat wool. Her bathrooms were full of hanks of newly dyed yarn drying over the tubs.

Our talented friend, Deb H, had a link in a recent post to one of her friends, Michigan Quilter, who dyes wool and I really enjoyed seeing what she was doing.
Then this morning, in the Pueblo Chieftain, I found an article about a traditional weaver from Chimayo, New Mexico, and the photo is so beautiful and the article interesting, so I decided I should share it with you all. Makes me wish I could drop everything, run down to Chimayo and study with this weaver. We are so fortunate to have the traditional Navajo, Hopi, and Hispanic weavers keeping these arts alive in New Mexico. And thanks to Klee and Kathy for continuing this tradition.
Thanks to these reminders, I find that my creative urges are beginning to stir again. I love the look of wool quilts. I may just have to try dying my own wool for a quilt and see what happens.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Suspended Animation

Yes, I am still here, but seem to be in a state of suspended animation since my spell in the hospital. I am not a human blimp any longer, and can breathe, but have little energy, either physical or mental/emotional. I am doing a lot of sleeping, sitting and reading and fretting about all that needs to be done. I am really enjoying sitting out on my new patio by the back door during the cool evenings (with lots of Off and mosquito candles).

Joe has been such a dear and pulled a cart full of weeds and elm seedlings from the flower beds around the front door, even though he is so busy with all the refrigeration jobs brought on by the hot August days.

We are expecting our third great grandchild in September, and I naturally wanted to make a baby quilt. I had received a bundle of fat quarters of the Laurel Birch Mythical Horses collection last year and decided that was what I wanted to use. I knew that I was going to have to come up with a very simple pattern, in order to get it done in time. Luckily, I was able to find a panel and yardage of a wonderful striped fabric online and have gotten a top sewn up. I cut broad stipes from the fabric to border the panel and used the turquoise swirl fabric for cornerstones. I think I'll have it machine quilted by one of our local quilt guild members, since I just don't have enough energy to quilt it myself. This is the only quilting I've done in a couple of months. I hope that my energy will increase when the weather cools off a bit, hopefully soon. It just is not natural for me to feel so lethargic.

ChoCho was very happy to test the quilttop for napability.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Natural Beauty

Had to drive to Pueblo yesterday to buy new ink cartridges for my HP Photosmart all-in-one and the prairie is still lovely from all the rain we've had this year. I spotted this herd of Proghorn Antelope west of the highway and had to stop to appreciate them and take photos. There were quite a few young ones in the group, evidently a good year for the antelope. We often see pronghorns along here but this is one of the largest groups I've seen so close to the highway (U.S. 50). You'll need to click to enlarge the photo to see the animals better. The mountains in the near background are the Wet Mountains and the dim one on the far rear left is one of the Spanish Peaks. The small town of La Veta, which is the home of Ricky Timms, and where he and Alex Anderson film their new webcast Quilt Show, is located in a most beautiful valley at the foot of those peaks.

At about the same time I noticed a small plume of white smoke on the Wet Mountains behind Florence. It looked to me like it was close to the Oak Creek Grade, that I've posted about in the past. This afternoon's paper reported that it was near Oak Creek and that firefighters on ATVs would have to go into the wild area to fight it. It is believed that it was started by lightening. Luckily, with all the recent rain, the landscape is moist enough that it isn't growing quickly; mostly smoldering.

Joe and I always enjoy seeing the Great Blue Herons fishing in the edges of the river and flying gracefully overhead. Recently I told Joe that there must be a rookery somewhere along the river before the one at the west end of the Pueblo Reservoir, since that would be a long flight for dinner. When I drove home on the old highway, now a scenic narrow gravel road from Hiway 50 to Colorado 115, just east of Florence, I noticed a rookery in the tops of big old bare cottonwoods along the Arkansas River where Hardscrabble Creek joins from the south. I drive this way often but usually when going to Pueblo. Evidently it doesn't show up as well when I drive by in the other direction. Sorry I haven't been able to take a photo of one of the Herons, but here is what they look like: Great Blue Herons

I want to report that we ate the Green Zebra tomatoes and they were delicious; can't wait for more to get ripe. Next year I'm going to have to try to get some more heritage tomatoes planted. There is no comparison between store bought tomatoes and the home grown ones. One of my happiest early memories was going with Mom out to the garden, in front of the farmhouse, where we picked and ate ripe red tomatoes, warm from the sun, sprinkled with celery salt from a depression era green pillowed glass salt shaker. Thanks to that memory I searched out and purchased many more of those old shakers, which then led to cannisters, etc., ad infinitum. Guess how my kitchen is decorated. The shaker on the top shelf, sixth from the left is one of my shakers like the one Mom had when I was a small child (there are several of them on these shelves with my larger spice cannisters, but that one is the clearest to see.) I still see shakers like that in some restaurants, only in clear glass instead of that special green. The red plate on the right is a vintage Staffordshire souvenir plate from the Royal Gorge, which is our local greatest tourist attraction, bringing in around half a million tourists a year.

I had to do that wall in my tiny kitchen in two parts because I can't get back far enough to take the whole wall in one photo. I've always claimed that the best things in the world are red and green, watermelons, strawberries, Christmas...

Sunday, August 5, 2007

August Bounty

I harvested my first tomatoes and squash from the veggie garden this week, as well as more cucumbers. The zucchini is in bloom but no little ones yet. The tomatoes that ripened first were 2 Green Zebras, which is a heritage species I've never grown before. I haven't quite convinced myself to taste them yet, I guess because they don't look ripe. There are a few chili peppers starting to turn red and only one small Japanese eggplant. Last year I was overwhelmed with these long, thin eggplants but this year the numerous grasshoppers are feasting on their leaves and they aren't as prolific. I also planted a regular eggplant but it seems to be overwhelmed by the very healthy cucumber vines.

Here is the zuchinni bed edged with these wonderful orange zinnias.

I was born in Rocky Ford, Colorado, which calls itself the melon capital of the world and has a Watermelon Day at the annual Rocky Ford Fair. On the farm my Dad grew both watermelons and cantalope but I've never had them in my garden. This year I couldn't resist a potted watermelon plant at Home Depot and am excited to see that it is spreading out a lot and has a couple of tiny melons starting. I hope the grasshoppers do not like watermelon.

Here are some of the flowers I transplanted and seeded in the new dooryard raised garden; the California Poppies jumped out of the ground and grew really fast and I'm beginning to see some of the effect I had in mind when I planned this garden. You can barely see one of the lavender plants at the lower left. I love sitting on the little adjoining patio and enjoying the flowers as well as the Hummingbirds visiting the feeder. I've had a male Black Chinned hummer (with his metallic purple neck) visiting this week as well as the usual Broad Tailed (green with magenta necks) hummers. I'm watching for the lovely and belligerent Rufous (brilliant metallic orange necks) hummers to make their annual late summer visits but haven't seen any yet. The cats like to sit here also, under the table and chairs and sometimes on the table, or my lap. They are also avid bird watchers.

This time of the year Toad Haven starts looking pretty shaggy, due to the heat and monsoon rains. This year it is worse than usual because I haven't been able to get out and pull weeds or deadhead the flowers as they needed. But I have been able to do a little weed pulling the last couple of evenings, when the clouds come up and cool the 90+ degree heat. Here is how the flowers look in the mini prairie border today.

Here are the bright pink echineceas hidden behind the gloriosa daisies in the other photo. Doesn't the Blue Gramma Prairie grass look lush?

Friday, August 3, 2007

Dog Day Musings

It seems to me that July came and went without me. Somehow, having an unexpected emergency trip to the hospital and then a 69th birthday on July 31, plus hearing that a loved cousin, who is about 10 years younger than me, has cancer throughout his body, has me doing some deep musing, and since I don't have much energy to garden or quilt, I have lots of time to muse.

For years I've had the word "Simplify" at the top of my office bulletin board, and I've never gotten around to doing it. This morning it came to me in a flash that in order to get out from under frustration and feeling overwhelmed, I MUST simplify. I started visualizing throwing out stuff, just dumping it in trash bags and taking it to the trash container, and it felt so good. Not just material stuff, you understand, but also thoughts and attitudes and ideas.
I've always wanted to be a Renaissance Woman, who could know about everything and do everything well. Well, guess what...that sure never happened. A couple of years ago I ran across the term "information addict" on a website to help women organize their lives and homes. I knew at the time that I was suffering from that addiction. I want every book, every pattern, every article, on so many subjects that we can hardly make it through the office anymore. When in the world did I think I'd ever have the time to make all those needlepoints, and quilts, and gardens. With age and moving slower I have felt more and more will I ever be able to get everything done that needs to be done.

Maybe all the stuff I thought I "needed" to do, didn't really need to be done. So now I am relaxing, and hopefully healing, in peace and quiet, while thinking about priorities and what is it that I really want to do with the rest of my life?. What is really important? Maybe, it's OK to ask for and receive a little assistance. Maybe I don't have to do it all myself. Maybe some of it doesn't need to be done.

I even have assistance in my musing. In addition to ChoCho and Ditto I now have Tigger, who came to dinner and decided to stay. They take turns laying on my lap and letting me pet them as I must. Of course, Tigger still gets hisses and growls from the other 2, but they will accept him soon, I'm sure. ChoCho didn't like Ditto very well when he first adopted us, but they have a great time together now. Joe says that the cats must leave marks or signs on the property like the hobos did in the old days to show where food was available. How else do they all find us? But I've decided that I must put out "I love and care for cats" pheromones that attract hungry and lonely cats.

It is my goal to become this relaxed and happy! Tigger is a good role model.