It was, as I have said, a fine autumnal day; the sky was clear and serene, and nature wore that rich and golden livery which we always associate with the idea of abundance. The forests had put on their sober brown and yellow, while some trees of the tenderer kind had been nipped by the frosts into brilliant dyes of orange, purple, and scarlet.... As Ichabod jogged slowly on his way, his eye... ranged with delight over the treasures of jolly autumn. ~Washington Irving, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Why? The Fly.


The Fly

God in his wisdom made the fly
And then forgot to tell us why.

~Ogden Nash~


Last night a fly kept bothering me while I was on the computer and I remembered this poem by Ogden Nash. This was one of the first poems I ever learned. I always laugh when I think of it.
As I watched the fly sitting on the book in front of me, It appeared that it might be looking at me too and I remembered a Zen saying written about this small insect....
"Don't kill him!
the fly, it wrings it's hands,
it's feet." ~Issa~

And so..., as I am always in the habit of doing, I looked this creature up in the Insect book. It is a Blue Bottle Fly:Calliphora vomitoria (Oh my!) in the Blow Fly family. It might have been a female because they often enter open houses and buzz loudly when they can't find an exit.

I won't even tell you what they feed on. It would ruin your weekend.There are 8 to 10 generations a year; not exactly an endangered species. They don't live long but tend to reek havoc while alive and they can also transmit diseases.

So, as interesting as it was to have an encounter with this shiny, metallic nervous creature, I will still have a fly swatter handy inside the house. These are not your average "Don't kill them, they're harmless." insect. If it goes from carrion to my dinner table and carries diseases, it's a "persona non grata" in my book.

Still..., I wonder why..., the Fly?

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Friday, June 5, 2009

Being Home and Catching Up

I finally feel like I'm getting some things done around here. Even though I haven't unpacked everything from my last trip, I feeling like I can take a deep breath and let that small place inside of me (that gets in a knot once in a while) quiet down and settle into this place I call "home".
First of all, before I become an ingrate in Susabella's eyes I want to thank her for the beautiful pearl earrings that I won. She had a giveaway on her great blog Susabella's Creative Pursuits...., and I won..., just by leaving a comment and being one of the names in the drawing. As you can see, Sue, I thought your idea of taking a photograph of the earrings hooked onto a crystal glass was really a cool way to show them off. So I stole your idea and did the same thing with my beautiful new earrings. Thank you so much. I think they're just lovely and I will wear them often.


















The Pupster is wiped out from his first day at Puppy School. He was so good and did everything he was suppose to. They said that he is a very mellow little guy "...for a Corgi". What ever do they mean? Of course he is. We have only the BEST and most wonderful dogs here on 3 Dog Farm.











Wednesday evening I went out with Carl and Maggie to let them do their rounds and leave their marks. A big storm had blown through just minutes before and I thought that this lull in the rain was our opportunity to get some exercise.
This was what greeted us.....
Sometimes I just have to stand in awe of Nature's gifts. I understand the science of this, but I can see why some people look at a rainbow and see God's reassurance . There is a beauty and light to it that speaks of a promise that there will be no more "rain" in life, but I know that there is far more to it. As long as I'm here there will be rain, lightening and thunder. It's always in our lives, sometimes even on a clear day. I think the trick is to look for the storms passing, to honor that light in between, that ray of color stretching across the sky and know that each "storm" brings life to this earth and lessons. Lessons of seeing what is..., lessons of understanding and strength. I only have to open the door and stand on the edge of the precipice .., I only have to be still and listen.
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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Vintage Thursday


I was cleaning up the kitchen yesterday morning and I moved this surup pitcher to clean the counter. My mind went directly to VTT and I realized that one of my vintage kitchen things had never had it's Thursday moment of fame. I'm not sure how this got over looked. Probably one of those times when I was coming and going down to the Bay Area and it just slipped my seive of a mind. This pitcher sits here on the sink all the time because I just love the look of it and the colors are so cheerful.
My friend Karen gave it to me for my birthday. We had a rather late birthday lunch and exchange of gifts some months back and she had found this beautiful surup pitcher for me. It's in perfect condition and is hand painted. It stands 9.5 inches tall and holds a lot of surup. It just makes you want to make waffles or pancakes. I think it's just a wonderful example of how important breakfast was back in the day, when everyone sat down together and actually ate the same thing( that Mom fixed). This lovely pitcher represents a different time when tables where "set" and Moms cared about how the morning table looked.
This thin little recipe book was my Mothers. It was published ( and I hate to admit this ) the year I was born~1944. Oh well, sometimes you just have to "suck it up" and be honest.
I love the illustrations which are more like the 30's than the 40's . I found a recipe for Prunola in it and that was a very popular dessert at the time. Years later, when I took Home Economics in High School, it was the recipe of choice for class and it's name was changed to "Prune Whip". Made it sound more classy. Like a dance..., Let's all do the PRUNE WHIP. Does anyone remember Prune Whip? Come on..., be honest. I know someone must remember making prune whip, and aprons in "Home Eck".


Remember to go over to Colorado Lady's blog for more vintage things. She is the host of Vintage Thingies Thursdays and if you love vintage you must take a look.

( Click on photos for a close-up view )
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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: With a few words


Nina's Mystorian necklace and book.

Images of Asilomar and the Pacific Ocean.

"...Oh, good scholar, I say to myself,
how can you help but grow wise
with such teachings as these...
The untrimmable light of the world,
the ocean's shine,
the prayers that are made
out of grass?" ~m. oliver~

Thank you, Nina and all the people who made this workshop possible. I'm even beginning to love the ocean..., from a distance.
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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Asilomar II ~ Gifted Hands


These hands are gifted. They belong to the jewelry artist, Nina Bagley. I have been reading her blog, Ornamental, for over a year now. Not only does she make wonderful jewelry, but she is a photographer and writer too. My sister and I had tried a few times to sign up for Nina's workshops but failed to get in because they fill up so fast. So, in September of last year when Sis was visiting for a weekend we were looking for a workshop that Nina might be teaching at and, lo and behold, we found a 3 day class on making a necklace( my sister's favorite thing to do ) and making a collage book( my favorite thing to do )..., so we signed up that night and sent in the deposit. We were finally going to take a class from NINA BAGLEY. Wow!!...,and it would be within driving distance from home and it was in Asilomar. This was a dream come true.

There are not too many things that get me really excited anymore. Guess I'm getting old and..., I don't know, I'm just a farm girl who loves where I live and take life as it comes.
I believe that each day is something to look forward to and I always love the unexpected things that happen...,thing you weren't expecting ..., the beautiful Gray Fox that ran across our road in front of me today when I came home; the King Snake at our entrance yesterday trying to climb a rocky incline and sliding back down, as his beautiful markings moved with his skin to find a firmer grip. These sights and all of nature move me to tears sometimes but travel and events lately have been for others and this time I was going JUST FOR ME. I was really looking forward to this workshop.
When we left my sister's house it was with great trepidation because our mother was not doing well and we had almost decided to stay home, but with Mom's blessing we got into the car on Sunday and drove to Monterey. Both of us were like kids again. Not only were we excited to learn all the new artistic techniques but to meet NINA and see what she was like. Well, she's a dear sweet person who wears her heart on her sleeve. I should have known this from her writing. She is a clear drink of water with a lovely southern drawl and she speaks her mind. The drawl is very charming. It's North Carolinean.
She showed us how to make a necklace with all the right tools. We learned how to make jump rings and how to connect beads.We made p-loops, s-hooks and what we call "Nina knots" (wire that is wrapped around itself) that make each connection look beautiful.We made coils, clasps and toggles until my fingers just wouldn't straighten out without making strange noises. We learned so much the first day that my learning curved brain could hardly eat dinner and go to bed that night.
The next two days were spent building the book. We were given the front and back metal pieces which we tarnished and embellished and then we were to make 8 to 10 collage pages. I got 3 done. But, in my defense, only 2 people out of 19 of us completed the book. We weren't expected to finished everything and the last afternoon I worked on my necklace instead of the book. The necklace is an on-going artistic endeavor. I have enabled myself and invested in a BOOK. It's called Making Wire Jewelry; getting started. This is hard to admit but I think I'm jump ring challenged.

These last photos are some of the class work. I will not tell which ones are mine. When the book is completed I will take some pictures and post it. The necklace will never see the light of day.
My sister's necklace was stunning. She wore it to dinner Wed. night. Everyone that saw it commented on it. ..., next year I think I will take the "demented doll" class.

I talked to Mom this evening. She is doing much better. She sat in her wheel chair for 2 hours today and even sat outside in the sun for a while. She sounds good and was watching TV when I called. The physical therapy person came yesterday and showed her some light exercises she can do to gain strength. They will be coming again to help her. She also has a home health nurse that comes to see her and she says that the ladies that are there at the rest home have been so good to her. They are wonderful people. We are so lucky that she is in such a good place. Here's to all the CNA's at Sunnyvale Care Home. We love you all!

I will continue to post photos of Asilomar tomorrow. Hopefully before 9:00 p.m. at night. I had to go to the doctor today in Sacramento so I got this post going a little late.
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Monday, June 1, 2009

Asilomar; a beautiful place to be.


"Asilomar with her many trees,
Her silvery water,
her ocean breeze.
Her sand dunes white
arise with grace:
Oh! Nature lovers,
it's a wonderful place." ~e. briar, m. weber & a. eatwell~ 1935~

...and it was. My sister and I drove from Lafayette, on Sunday, down hiway 101 to Monterey and into Pacific Grove. The Asilomar Conference Center is a refuge nestled in the dunes and forested shoreline of the Monterey Peninsula. It is a wild preserve founded by a group of women that were determined to build a community that would support education and improve the lives of woman in the early part of the century. They helped create a retreat for the YWCA that would be available to anyone who wished to gain knowledge and learn new things to improve their lives. Julia Morgan was the architect for the buildings. The buildings are of the Arts and Crafts style and only local wood and stone was used. More recently apartment style rooms were added with all the modern emenities. There is a spirit and a feeling of pilgrimage when you arrive here. There is a feeling of refuge that quiets the business of life and gives you permission to slow down.

The view through the doors of Merrill Hall at dusk.


This was a trip that almost didn't happen. Mom went into the hospital on Friday morning and we had decided not to go. I arrived two days early thinking that we would just cancel the trip and I would spend the week at my sisters. Mom, although having trouble breathing, told us we should go and the doctor said that he was sure she would be returning to her care home in a day or two. He told us that she would be all right and that we should attend the workshop because it was only 2 hours away and Mom would probably be in the hospital until the day before we would get home. On Sunday we decided to go.

I got home yesterday afternoon to my little house on the hill. The Prospector, Maggie, Carl (aka,the pupster) and Annibel were all here to greet me. It is so good to be home. The goats were a bit distant, but that's to be expected. Brownie kind of ignored me but Bart told me he was glad I was back. I will be going back down to see Mom in a week or so unless there's an emergency, then sooner.

Tomorrow I will tell you about the Art and Soul Workshop, our teacher Nina Bagley, how much fun we had and how Mom is doing.
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