I prefer winter and Fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. ~Andrew Wyeth

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Don't you marvel at how nature works... 
how it all seems to find a way to be a part of this world. 
How it pushes it's way through obstacles
 and leaves without the fears that we, the humans, seem to get caught up in.
How it makes allowances 
How it knows things. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Well... look who posted. Amazing.... but I'm back.
It's November and I just returned from a visit with my sister and my grandchildren.
I always do too much. I eat too much... and I get too tired... but I love going down there and I always have a good time.
This is what my Sister's house looks like. Halloween is her favorite holiday. These are some of the photos from her decorations and spooky corners of her house.

A small table with all the gifts I have made for her over the years..

The pin, made from a piece of gourd...

The dead storybook reconstructed doll...

The happy little "Boo." gourd...

... and the ugly, burnt face mask with a zippered scar and flaming eyes.
  Got a little bit carried away with this one.

This year I did a collage with a story about witches and the ghosts of the woman who were burned for being witches back in the early days of intolerance and religious zeal... oh, I guess that kind of behavior is still going on... but we don't burn them now, we just fry them on Facebook and boycott Halloween.

I always have a relaxing time at my sister's. I have a comfortable bed upstairs and a safe, warm place to stay... with really good food and I always feel welcome.
 On my  behalf... I did save the quiche a few nights ago by making a homemade crust for the pie... because someone left the frozen pie crust in the microwave too long. We won't mention any names... right sis?
 Good old Joy of Cooking cookbook. It has all the basics. I still know how to make a pie dough from scratch. All is not lost on this old lady's skills. The quiche was delicious. It was a great joint effort.

This is my sister and her dog, Stella, a German Short hair. She's trying to tell Sis that she has been on the computer too long and it's time for a walk. 
She's trying to get some eye to eye contact.
 It finally worked.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Agony of Defeat

I went to see my grandson's last game of the season. It wasn't going very well and this picture says it all.
So, before the last inning, Evan's brother, Andrew, stepped in and gave him a pep talk. I love this.
Evan sat on his dad's lap while his brother talked to him. I didn't hear what was said.
They ate some sunflower seeds and I saw Evan shake his head up and down every once in a while.
Finally Andrew said something funny and Evan laughed. It was all good... and even thought they didn't win the game, Evan went back out with his team and finished the game.
I love this wonderful, not always perfect, relationship they have with one another.
This makes my heart happy.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Well, miracle of miracles, I finally finished something.

Here is a dirty little secret about me. I'm notorious for starting a project and not finishing it. I can't tell you how many knitted, fabric and felted things sit in a box or container waiting for completion. How many unfinished pieces of jewelry and well thought out craft projects sit in bags in my closet. I'm the queen of incompleteness, the CEO of corporate level shortfall. I love the process but I'm not a finisher. Unless there's a deadline or someone says, "Bring the project we started last month for show and tell.." or "What price would you like to put on this piece." Then I'm all about game plans, procedures, stratagem or plot line.
The fact that I sat down and finished one of two necklaces that my SCAT group worked on over the last two months is a 'you know what' miracle... and I did this without a deadline or being paid.
I still have another to finish, but I'm very happy with this one.
So, without further ado, I want to show you my necklace.... against the background of Buddha who said,
 “Having gone on his almsround, the sage should then go to the forest, standing or taking a seat at the foot of a tree. The enlightened one, intent on jhana, should find delight in the forest, should practice jhana at the foot of a tree, attaining his own satisfaction.”
Oh, I'm sorry... that doesn't really have anything to do with my finished necklace... will maybe a little... I just like what it says.

So... without further ado...
This is the finished necklace. I made it out of Fimo clay. I rolled the clay out flat using a pasta maker. Then I cut out the shape I wanted and added other pieces to the base. The base was stamped with a leaf pattern before I baked it.
Buddha did says, "You yourself must strive.The Buddhas only point the way." So I did. 
After the pieces were baked, the fun began. I used a technique that I learned using layers of paint in a workshop with Michael deMeng.  This technique teaches you how to distress and alter anything, make it look old, and replicate stone. After I added layers of color, I scratch the dry clay lightly with a wire brush.

I had added some of the coral pieces that I brought back from Maui last year. They added the perfect touch to the dark background... as if they were still lying in the sand on the beach.

I found a chain at Walmart, for $3.33, that fit through the top. 
The hardest part was connecting the two pieces with thread and needle. The holes were made before the clay was baked, but getting the thread to hang right and not too tight was difficult. There must be an easier way to do this.
I'm not sure if I want to spray a protective coating over the whole necklace or not. I don't want any shine but I do want to keep the finish safe from chipping.
As Buddha says, "“Ardently do today what must be done. Who knows? Tomorrow, death comes.”
I know... that's a little heavy handed for a blogpost about a necklace, but I'm never going to finish all the projects I have around here. I need to tidy things up, throw some things out or give them away and "ardently do what must be done" to get my house in order... 'cause you never know when you go sit under the tree that Buddha talks about and, all of a sudden, get attacked by a bear or something.
Don't laugh. Where I live, it's a possibility.
And then...
Someone would come to help clean out this mess and say, "My goodness. She sure had a lot of unfinished projects laying around. I wonder why she didn't finish them?"
This hangs greatly over my head.
I have work to do.
Of those beings who live in ignorance, shut up and confined, as it were, in an egg, I have first broken the eggshell of ignorance and alone in the universe obtained the most exalted, universal Buddhahood. Buddha
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/b/buddha_2.html
Of those beings who live in ignorance, shut up and confined, as it were, in an egg, I have first broken the eggshell of ignorance and alone in the universe obtained the most exalted, universal Buddhahood.
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/b/buddha_2.html

Monday, April 4, 2016

Morning with the Goats

As I sat on a rock next to an oak tree we cut down, I thought to myself that life couldn't get too much better than this moment.
Our grandsons had been here visiting all week and both our grown sons came up on the weekend... one to visit and pick up the Beans... the other one to go skiing and visit too. We had such a wonderful time with the grandsons this visit. They are getting older. There's less supervision and more fun, less whining and more," OK, I will try that." More "We're happy to be here"...and they were. My neighbor's grandchild, Jocelyn, had something to do with this. They found a friend. It was wonderful.
But, when they leave, it's so quiet. It takes a little getting use to... not too long... and then we sit down and smile at each other.

This morning the Prospector asked me if I would come out with him and watch the goats while he did some sawing on a cover in the goat yard.... just to supervise them. It seems that our fencing for the big Nubians was perfect with the big goats but Moo, our littlest goat, decided to see if the grass was greener on the other side of the fence and took his cute little goat body through the fence last week... and then he couldn't figured out how to get back in. The Prospector had to chase him down and finally Moo found a way back through the fence and returned to his friends. So we are being extra vigilant now.
Steve's new job is called GOATHERD. I'm backup. We let them out into the field for an hour or so and we watch them. Also, they don't gorge themselves on grass and the grand assortment of spring goodies that are growing now, so we limit their time in the field. They seems to think this will be their last meal. Moo was getting bloated so we had to control the intake.
I love watching Steve. He talks to them and, well... they actually talk back.

So, this morning, we spent more than an hour out there with the babies and Annie... who was helping keep an eye on them too. She comes through the fence and hangs with us, until she gets bored, then she's off to herd the chickens or wild turkey. She's a busy cat.

The little guys all have names now. We named Moo right away because he looked like a cow. When the Beans were here last week we named the other two Rocky and Kobi. I thank all my friends who offered names, but my grandkids rule and they made the final choices. So this is Moo...
I love this little guy. He's a month younger than the other two. He's off on his own, investigating and exploring... and he's just such a little 'moo cow' goat.

His two cohorts, Kobi and Rocky tend to stick together, even though they weren't from the same mother. They look very much alike, except Kobi has a bigger patch of white on his forehead. They are covered with grass hay that they were eating from the bin before we let them out into the field.
This is what goats do... eat, poop and rest... and look adorable. Then, they eat more.
It's a sight to see... these little babies romping through the grass, looking for that special flower or leaf.
 They love the Oak leaves.
They keep moving around ...
 ...looking for the next wonderful and tasty thing.
Reminds me of Robert Browning's verse...
The year’s at the spring,
And day’s at the morn;
Morning’s at seven;
The hill-side’s dew-pearled;
The lark’s on the wing;
The snail’s on the thorn;
God’s in His heaven—
All’s right with the world!
At least for now... on this mountain.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Springtime gifts

Oh dear... I haven't posted since after Christmas. I can't believe after so many years that I can be this neglectful about something that I enjoyed so much. I make promises that I will write, but I don't.
 I love this place and I will always return to it. It's my sanctuary of words, images and thoughts. It has grieved with me and laughed with me. I live in fear of loosing all of this. I need to find a blog to book site and save these blog posts for my grandchildren.
I need to give more time to this and less to Facebook. Facebook eats time but it's easy and quick. Facebook responds almost instantaneously and it keeps me connected to my friends and family. I admit that I have kind of an addiction to it... OK, yes, it's an addiction.
This is not a promise but more a way of saying that I will be here as much as I can. Everything moves faster now and I'm moving slower. The days are filled with animals, friends, family and my life, with all its old age aches and pains... but I'm happy.

So,  just when I thought that things were slowing down here and the excitement of raising animals was basically over, except for the chickens and our dogs... The Prospector decided that goats would, again, be a good idea. I was delighted.
Well, on Saturday, we picked up three new baby Pygmy goats. My sister was here to help. She helped paint the new goat house and she helped us bring them home.
The adventure begins again and hopefully we will be more fortunate with these little guys as they become a part of our lives. I never got over loosing Brownie and Murphy. The sadness clung to the fencing and empty goat run. It never really went away until these little goats came on Saturday. Now, only the good memories of the wonderful, magical Murphy and our beloved Brownie will stay with us and the space will be filled with these joyful little Pygmy goats.
 I will post some photos and call it a night.

Two of the babies are not named yet, but this one above, is Moo... because he looks like a little cow. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Some of my wonderful family

Merry Christmas to all.

Twenty days of not posting here. I use to post everyday. I think I can blame this on Facebook. It's so much easier to post there and I do it. I'm surely an addict. I'm sorry.
This was a long month, but it seems like it went by fast. It's the 29th and almost over. I just got back from my sister's home where I spent Christmas Day and the weekend. We had a wonderful time. She always has the house decorated so beautifully.

We all had a wonderful dinner and exchanged gifts. We sat around in the "new kitchen" and had dessert.

 I made an orange, walnut, coconut cake in a new molded Bundt cake pan that looks like mountains... and dusted it with powered sugar that looked like snow in honor of the snow that finally fell in the Sierras last week... A tribute cake, if you will, to all the prayers that were said and rain dances that we danced over the last few months.

The cake slowly disappeared... snow and all. 

Sis and I braved the crowds in downtown Walnut Creek for an hour or so on Saturday. It was a mad house. We lucked out and found a parking space so we decided this was a sign that we should go find the absolutely one most beautiful item waiting for us in J Jill's or Crate and Barrel.
  After all, everything was on sale. 
 I have been having some serious knee problems so I had a brace on and this anticipated trip didn't last very long... but I did manage to get a $90. sweater for $29. at J Jill's. It was already on sale, then I got a 25% in store discount on top of that and 10% more for my birthday. That just made my day. We had lunch and went home to nap.

On Sunday I drove to Alhambra High School in Martinez to see my oldest grandson, The Bean, play a serious game of basketball. This kid is good and I'm not saying this because he's mine. He's really good... he is tall and he's fast...and they won. Here are some highlights...

Some of these are a bit blurry. I have not had a lot of experience with fast action shots. This kind of shot need a fast shutter speed and good focus, which I thought I did. I think I need more practice. But you can see that The Bean was moving the ball down the court. I was so proud of him. He's only in 5th grade. Give him a few years and the Warriors will be knocking at his door. This was really exciting watching my grandson play the Prospector's favorite sport. I'll work on the action shots.

 Later in the day I watched The Beans while Mom and Dad when out for dinner. I love doing this. We do have fun. 
First I drove to the Catholic Cemetery to tell my mom "Merry Christmas". It was so beautiful. Very cold and the sun was setting. 
This statue is at the entrance. They had given Mary a gold crown and a blue cape that moved in the breeze. Blue flowers were at her feet. 
Mom would have loved this.

I left Mom some candy. She loved candy. 
We talked for a while and then I said goodbye and drove away. I felt sad, but OK.
She's all right. There's a good feeling in this place. I love being there alone and I always feel her presence.

This is the house that I was raised in. I moved here in 1950 with my Mom and Dad. I was five years old. My son and his wife bought it after my mom pass away. They're happy here and plan to add more space to this rather small home. I feel very comfortable being in this home. 
 I have good memories here. Our sons had wonderful memories here with his Noni and Grandpa. Now my grandchildren will make memories as well. Seems so right, doesn't it?

I used a different setting on my camera and got some interesting images... just for fun. 
Above was the tree in the boys bedroom... It had a special star light on top that reflected a light show on the ceiling. It was really cool.
This is the same tree with the "color sketch" effect on my Nikon.
This was the boys playing with their electronic games.
 The Christmas tree in the living room.
And a sign that said, sadly, that Christmas was over... no more days until...
I left for home the next morning.

It's good to be home.
I will try to post more often.
I need to stop eating candy.
I need to stop eating...

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you. May the New Year bring you many blessings.