Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Not As Bad As I Thought

I have been avoiding block E11 for awhile now.  I didn't know how to go about making it, but once I finally decided, it went together pretty quickly.  I like the points, even though it is crooked.  I didn't even think about that when I was basting it.  Not perfect, but this is what finished looks like.

Finished is better than perfect.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Divide and Conquer the Iris

It's hot.  Summer in Texas, what can I say.  There was a project I wanted to get my hands on outside today, but I waited until the shadows took over my front yard and the temperature began to creep down (96 degrees at 7:25 pm) to get started.  I have several Yellow Flag Iris in the landscaping, but they have become large and in desperate need of dividing.

I got out the pitch fork and loosened up the soil around the root ball.  After that it was easy to divide out several large clumps of rhizomes for replanting.

I only replanted four, but that was plenty to fill in the blank spaces.

I had several left over, but the rhizomes on those were not large so I am letting them go.  It's okay, really.  I still have 6 more to divide.

But that, my friends, will be another day.  One a day is enough in the Texas heat.

Sunday, July 28, 2013


For the first time since beginning our bucket list of state parks, we returned to one for a second visit.  Breck and I had both been to Somerville State Park separately (my wonderful encounter with a sweet puppy was here), but we went back together yesterday together with our son Trevor.  It was cloudy which is a blessing for comfort but a curse for photography.  Since the water was 4 feet lower than when I made the trip back in March, there were different things to photograph.  These cypress skeletons were beautiful.

Until recently you would not even know they existed just below the surface.

This one was covered in strands of fishing line and trapped bobbers from someone's errant casting.

But the highlight of the day (aside from spending time with my husband and son, of course) was seeing the dozens of pelicans (there are 40 in this shot alone) and Roseate Spoonbills.  They all started out on shore, but as we approached they moved together in one line out into the lake.  The picture is awful (wrong setting, bad light, poor choice in lens), but you get the idea.

I was truly regretting only having my one lens and leaving the telephoto one in the car.  My mistake.  They would have been great to get closeup shots of with their beautiful pink feathers and spoon-shaped bills.

I guess I may just need to go back.  Maybe next time with my kayak.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Fruits Of My Labor

Lunch =squash fresh from my garden.  Can I tell you how good that feels?

A little olive oil, garlic, green onion, zucchini, and red peppers thrown in (next year from my garden too).

Fish on the side and it was perfect.  And yes, it always tastes better when you grow it yourself.

Planted some zucchini seeds today.  Squash and zucchini are two vegetables I would not have touched a year ago, now I can't get enough.  The trick is to not cook them to oblivion and make them mushy.

Friday, July 26, 2013

One Woman's Tool Is Another Woman's Toy

Looking back over our drive across Texas earlier this month there are several things that come to mind.

  1. Northeast Texas needs rain worse than we do.  Driving by Coyote Lake and finding it almost completely void of water was astonishing.  Look at Google Earth sometime and zero in on the panhandle and you find large grey craters that look like they should be on the moon or in a war zone. Those were lakes.
  2. I will always regret not stopping in Morton, TX to take pictures.  When will I ever learn.  When I get behind the wheel I tend to get a one track mind and focus on getting to where I am going.
  3. Why on earth in this modern day of farming with tractors, cultivators, and every other form of machinery imaginable did I see men with hoes in the fields?  When I saw it the first time I thought it was strange, but then 40 miles down the road I saw it again.  Was this really the best way to do things?  A hoe?
Well, after 2 hours of weed pulling in my landscaping this morning, I thought maybe they might be onto something.  So I went to Lowe's and got a new tool toy.

It really doesn't take much to make me happy.  Last week it was a salad spinner (always wanted one).  And to use it (the hoe not the spinner) is a breeze.  After assembling all Breck's furniture last week it was nice to get something that was ready to use right out of the box (no box, really, that would just be extraneous packaging and a real waste). No batteries.  No cords.  So how does it work?  


Had all the weeds out of the garden paths in no time.  And while we are in the garden, would you like a peek at my squash?  I have harvested  2 so far and more is on the way.

I've been able to meet my goal of staying organic so far, and can't wait to taste the results this weekend.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Twofer Dear Jane

Finally got into my sewing room this summer.  It's about time.

Dear Jane
F8 Church Window

Dear Jane
F9 Autumn Aster
You may be wondering why I don't just finish row E with only one block to go.  Well.  It's hard.  I haven't taken my brave pill on it yet, nor have I figured out how I want to put it together.  Wonder what it looks like?


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Just One Of Those Weeks

This is not a negative, down in the dumps, poor me posts like the title would imply.  Actually, things have been great.  I kept having ideas for posts that just never really came together.  For example:

  • I had planned to take a bunch of pictures at IKEA when shopping to fill Breck's apartment.  If you have never been to an IKEA you should go sometime.  It is a completely overwhelming experience. I have no pictures from our shopping excursion, but we did get Breck's place furnished (except for the recliner which I regret not buying, but am now too frugal to go back for).
  • I had planned to take pictures of all the furniture boxes (IKEA furniture is SOME ALL assembly required) stacked up in his empty place, but I didn't have the patience to wait.  Before all the boxes had been carted up to his place (thanks to some much appreciated help by Trevor, Cameron, and Michael), I had already begun the process.  Towards the end, I did get a photo of Cameron and Michael helping to assemble the dinning room chairs.

  • I had planned some before and after shots, and did get a couple, but then the upstairs neighbor had a water issue that ran down Breck's living room wall so I didn't get any pictures of this finished room.  I did get a shot of the bedroom (nightstand, dresser, bed, and a reading lamp).

And the dinning room  with table with 2 leaves, 4 chairs, dishes and flatware for four, place mats, coasters, and napkin holder.  

Next time I'll get shots of the couch, coffee table, entertainment stand, TV, really cool lamp, and a large picture for over the couch.

  • I thought I would have Dear Jane pictures for you, but I haven't finished the block I started yesterday.  Applique takes awhile, and this block has a lot so I only have a work-in-progress shot.
  • If it wasn't for the fact that I am afraid I have overdone my garden posts, I would have done more on the new flower garden seeds I planted.

    And more about the squash and gourds and leaf mulch.

  • I was also going to do a post on my seed forcing, but Kracken kept eating the seedlings (broccoli, tomato, and cucumber).  I now have new seeds in pots, but behind closed doors so he can't get to them.
     And boy does he want to get to them.  
    It's not cute.  It's not permanent.  But for now it will do.

So as you can see, it's just been one of those weeks where a lot was accomplished, but nothing came together for a post.  Hopefully now that Breck is settled I can get into a new routine around here and back to being a little more consistent.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Number 30: Palo Duro Canyon State Park (Little Grand Canyon)

This is our last park until the fall comes and brings us some cooler weather.  It has gotten a bit hot around here, that happens in Texas in summer.  Palo Duro Canyon State Park truly illustrated that for us.

The canyon is 120 miles long and at some points 20 miles wide; the second largest in the country.

In comparison, the Grand Canyon is 277 miles long and 18 miles wide.

So impressive.

And the heat?  Yes, it was hot.  Interestingly, at every trail head there was a large thermometer to let people know just how hot it was.

Though many wildflowers were still in bloom at some of the other parks we visited during this week, here there were not so many.  In fact, I only saw one.

Purple Ground Cherry
And as far as critters go, this little Collared Lizard made the whole day worth it.  Can you believe he let me get that close?  This photo is going on my wall by the map and other favorite park photographs.

Our big adventure of the day, though, had to be this cave.

Can you tell from the picture it's massive?  For the most part we stuck to the loose rocks that ran straight up to the large opening.

Once inside the temperature dropped 10 degrees.  This was a very welcome surprise.

Of course one must not stop at a cave when there is more to explore above, must one?  Of course not, so up we went.   See the green-not-found-anywhere-in-nature shirt?

Do you see it now?  Now note the leaning rock on the right.

Since you know I take all the pictures, this is proof that I made the climb as well up to the leaning rock (and the guy in the green-not-found-anywhere-in-nature shirt.

And from the other side, just in case you wanted to see just how high up it was.

Here you can see the leaning rock above the cave.  So pretty.


One more thing before I end this last park post until October (maybe late September).  They have 4 cabins for rent in the park.  They were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the early 1800's and are made of stone and super secluded.  Number 4 is built into the canyon, and looking in any direction you cannot see a road or trail.  The view from the picnic table is breathtaking.

I would definitely stay here.  A grill, picnic table, bunk beds, and electricity are a plus and the price is $60. Love it.  Crazy that a park this size only has 4.  There are so many events to take part in at Palo Duro. There is a full moon hike, star gazing, horse back riding, campfire cookouts, and an amphitheater where you can see Texas a Musical Drama.  I think they also do Hamlet, believe it or not.  There is also a restaurant and grocery store if you are camping and need to pick up a few things (or get dinner since you are too tired from hiking to cook).  Great park and our last park until fall.