"People from a planet without flowers
would think we must be mad with joy the whole time
to have such things about us."
~Iris Murdoch, A Fairly Honourable Defeat

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Warm and Lovely Place

I LOVE THIS TOWN. It's population is about 185. Amador City was incorporated into a city around 1915. Historically located in a rich gold bearing area in the Motherlode of California. In 1848-1849 an unknown creek was prospected by a wealthy rancher named Jose Maria Amador. There were no known settlements until 1851.
The Gold Rush changed the landscape of California. Amador's most famous and productive mine, the Keystone produced about $24 million in gold during 1853-1942. These prices would be higher using today's gold standard. A LOT HIGHER!. 
Gold today is worth $1544.00 an ounce. In 1850 it was worth $19.00 an  an ounce. 
The old Prospector, my husband, won't sell any of his gold. He says it's too precious and he worked too hard for it. I understand.... but one ounce would pay for the potting shed that's going up, outside.
Which, so far, has two sides standing and a great dance floor. All we need are some strings of lights. 
This morning there's a third wall up. 
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All right, sorry.... back to the Wine Social.
I would like you to meet the "Mayor" of Amador City.
 Other than a few minutes of squirrel chasing, he was running the show last night. I don't know his name. We were only informally introduced. He came over and checked our credentials, sniffed us out and continued on to the next table. This was one busy dog.
He was a dog with a mission. His human companion is the owner of the Bellflower Home & Garden store. This is his town and he isn't about to let any strangers just mosey into town uninvited. I loved watching him trot from one place to another all evening.
The outdoor part of the store is where we put up our table.
This is our table on the right, above. That's Christie looking at the wonderful iron garden art and fencing. They have some great things out there.
  Christie and I have been doing this show for four years now. It's always so relaxed... probably because there's WINE involved.
Here's the left side of the table.... Below is the right side.
Lots of people "just looking". We have dropped prices so low the last few years. It's the ECONOMY. Folks are just not buying ART. It's low on the priority list.

People look... and they ask a lot of questions... but they don't buy much.
It was still quite warm at 5:00 p.m. and it seemed humid. We were sticky and uncomfortable.
This is unusual for the foothills. Dryness is the norm. Maybe all that late rain left some moisture in the ground and the heat was sucking it to the surface.
I sold a couple of soaps.

And my wall hanging called "River Spirit". I will miss this piece. It was made with some shards from a broken gourd. It's represented an experience on the Burnt River in Eastern Oregon.
We camped there, one night, years ago. There was a full moon and I woke up thinking that I  heard voices coming from the river. I walked down to the river. The sound was shallow water running over stones . To me it sounded like voices speaking very softly. I've never forgotten the feeling of standing there beside that river in a canyon filled with moonlight. On of those really wonderful moments that you only experience by yourself.
Two years ago, as I worked on this piece, the stark mountains, the moonlight and the voices came back to me.
I didn't want to sell this one but the woman loved the piece and I could tell she was listening to the "River Spirit" too though this art work of mine. So I sold it to her. I will miss it. There is still a small part of me that will miss this piece of art. It leaves an empty place on my living room wall and in my heart.
I sold two more pieces later in the evening so I would say that it was a good show. We have reduced the prices so much over the last two years,almost cutting most sales in half. It's hard right now and I'm glad that I'm not relying on these shows for my main income. Some do and it's a hard row to hoe.
This is my "Feathered Nest" gourd. It's a bird house but has never been outside, yet. It's kind of a primadonna birdhouse. It's embellished with things from our property... moss, twigs, feathers (bought... and they are legal) and creek stones... and sits on a river rock. Folks love it, but they never buy it. I don't know why. I have reduced the price every year and last night I priced it at $20.00. It still didn't sell. Any suggestions? It's about a foot high. I'm sure a bird would love it.
The rest of the evening was lovely. The music was wonderful.... kind of a Cajun, Bahama, South American, "Girl from Ipanema", bossa nova beat. Really nice. One guy sang "Summertime" from Porgy & Bess. People were dancin' and swayin' to the rhythm of it...DANCING IN THE STREET.
I stood there through the whole song dancin' a little myself. It was kind of Groovy... like in the 60's.
And this women could play the Saxophone.... I mean she PLAYED that Sax. She was GOOD!
The evening and the people seems to mellow out as the sun disappeared. Lots of folks stopped to talk about all kinds of things.... everything. Could have had a lot to do with the WINE.
The wine tables were the busiest. All the local wineries were giving free samples if you bought a glass. Some folks were having trouble walking from one table to the next. I know for a fact that the wineries sell a lot of wine at these shows.
It was a nice evening in the Gold Country.








Friday, July 8, 2011

Amador City 2011 Summer Social

Tonight is the ~Amador City Wine, Art and Music Evening~.
A friend from the Gourd Club and I work this show every year. We will be there to promote our club and sell some gourd art. I also made some felted soap, this year, to see how it sells.

This is one of my favorite venues... Wine, Art and Music. How much better does it get. It's only in the evening from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. so it's not a hot, all day show.
It's my favorite little foothill town and the weather is cooling down a bit, so tonight it should be just perfect.
Tell you all about it tomorrow.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Indulge....

I'm going down to the valley today. Have to leave early. It's going to be a long hot day, down and back.
SO.... I thought I would leave you with a beautiful image and a cool, summer thought....


TODAY IS NATIONAL STRAWBERRY SUNDAE DAY.

INDULGE AND CELEBRATE!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

"A summer's sun is worth the having." - French Proverb

It's HOT.
Yesterday was hot too.... and the day before. This is when I go looking for reasons to love summer.
I found my two new Daylilies blooming for the first time. We bought them last year but I don't remember the names. The yellow/pink one has ruffles...
...that sparkle in the sun as if each ruffle carried water from the plant and overflowed just a little at the end of the flower.Maybe it is nectar that is oozing out of the edges of the flower. What ever it is, the edges glisten with it.
The other one is like an Orchid and ruffled. I love the color which is outlined at the edges of the flower.
How can there be so many different flowers? How can there be such a variety of amazingly beautiful works of art?
These two Daylilies are protected by a high round of chicken wire. The deer love them and we had the audacity to plant them outside the fence, across the driveway. The deer feasted on them last Fall, when we planted them. until we put up the wire fence. They have eaten the tops off of some other Daylilies near the fence that they never touched before. I guess they are animals of whim.... creatures of "lets see what we can chew on to aggravate Farmlady today."
If the deer are hungry they will eat anything. They have even eaten my Iris when food is scarce elsewhere.
I lost my "Bambi" mentality the first year we moved up here. I planted roses. YEP! We had no fencing at the time. YEP! The roses were doing beautifully and had wonderful buds on them. YES THEY DID!
It was May, I think. One night the Deer came to dine. The next morning all my roses were "pruned" of their flower buds. I sat on the porch and cried. By Fall we had our fence up and they had to go find some other naive, country bumpkin to terrorize.
So the heat has arrived and plants like the Rose of Sharon (or Hibiscus Syriacus) are thriving.
Bursting into flower next to the porch.
As much as I hate to admit it, the heat is what creates this perfection. Only in the passion of Summer's intensity does this loveliness appear. It's a love affair of nature with the sun. The flame of a sun's flare reflected in an exquisite scarlet blush of an adoring and waiting loved one. Plant passion.
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What can I say about Summer?
The evenings are beautiful outside.
The nights are wonderfully cool.
The bee's are flying from one flower to the next in frantic gratitude.
The tomatoes are growing and my mouth waters at the thought of home grown in the salad again.
The hills are brown but there is moisture underneath from the late rain that,hopefully, will reduce the fire hazard.
The goats are happy.
The chickens are eating watermelon rinds.
and .... I love my AIR CONDITIONER.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th Of July

"Independence: An achievement, not a bequest"
Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Lizzie and the Raised Glazed Donut.... and other stories.

Last Saturday was the first day on our own . Little Lizzie and I were up early. She ate her dog kibble and waited by the door for her family to come home It was going to be a whole week before their return and she, living so vertically in thought, didn't understand the concept of  "a whole week". She just knew something was different.
My brother- in-law arrived with a donut for me. He and my sister live close by. This is kind of a tradition on Saturdays. He takes their son for a drive and they always come back with donuts for everyone. I was surprised but there he was at the door with a beautiful raised glazed donut to go with my morning coffee.
I'm not sure when Lizzie decided to help herself to MY donut. Probably when I went into the kitchen to get a second cup of coffee to go with the donut. I had set it on the table next to the couch and upon my return.... it was gone.
As I said before, she couldn't wipe the smile off of her face. The bag was laying under the table and there were pieces of chewed paper everywhere. It was obvious who ate the donut.

By Sunday, I thought we had dodged a bullet. She seemed just fine.
By Monday, I couldn't understand why my son had been so adamant about not giving her anything but her kibble dog food. But, on Monday morning all hell broke loose.
and I mean loose....
I left for a few hours, putting Lizzie in the kitchen behind a baby gate, to have lunch with my sister. When I got back she had been sick (and otherwise) all over everything. The poor dog was one sick puppy.
I fail to understand how a dog that was bred for the purpose of catching rats in mines... to hunt badgers and foxes, could have a donut do her in. I guess her historic value is a distant memory for this breed and that she is now only been bred for cuteness and sensitivity.
Poor Lizzie.
I called my son and he said this happens every once in a while. Cook some chicken and rice. Feed a little to her three or four times a day and make sure she drinks lots of water.  Well, she didn't want to eat and by Wednesday she was laying around looking pretty bad.

She was drinking water but I guess it wasn't enough. I couldn't take this any longer. I called my son and he agreed.  That afternoon my sister picked us up and drove us to the vet.
She was dehydrated and lethargic. The vet was so nice. She said that these small dogs can't tolerate all that sugar at once and that just drinking small amounts of water was not enough to replace what she lost being sick. They hydrated her, gave her some antibiotics and something to stimulate her appetite. IT WORKED. She came home, slept for a few hours, ate some chicken and cottage cheese and acted like nothing had ever happen. Later she wanted more chicken and cottage cheese.
Thank God!! I really thought that she wasn't going to make it.  I was feeling like a really bad Noni. I think that she was also depressed and missing her family, which didn't help matters either, but the bottom line is  that I should never have put that donut where she could get to it.
 My little family is still feeding my Mom's cat, Honey. She's an outdoor cat and only comes into the backyard to eat and sleep. She is a tough resilient cat that calls her own shots. So when I saw this...
I thought that she was making a statement about how much food she was getting... but NO.
One morning before I left, I heard this loud commotion outside.
A group of crows were flying around the backyard making this huge outcry about something.
and one of them flew down to the table where the cat food was, knocked the cat dish around and picked up a piece of kibble. He  held it in his mouth....
and then flew off ....

with the other crows following him. They could have gotten some pieces from the table too, but it seemed this was some sort of game. Chase the Crow with the Kibble or maybe Kibble Hide and Seek. I don't know but one of the crows returned to grab another piece of food and the whole game started again. Amazing!
Years ago when I was driving down from Oregon I saw a hawk diving into the top of a dust devil in a field next to the highway. The small whirlwind sucked the bird down into the funnel and threw it out the side. The bird flew up and dived into the funnel again and again. I pulled over and watched the hawk do this until the dust devil blew itself out. Why would the bird have flown into the top of this wind accept to have fun? It was a natural amusement park ride for  this bird. I have never forgotten this display of pure avian enjoyment.
Like a dog that rolls it's own ball across the ground and them runs after it and the baby goats that play big goat head butting, animals play games too.
That's so refreshing. It's really wonderful to think that animals are like us in some way..That they like to have fun in their lives too.
 The crows were probably just trying to get kibble from one another.... but I like to think that they were playing some kind of game. It's interesting to watch their behavior.
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Oh, and last week the plumbing decided to act up on my watch. "Glug,glug, glug".  Low and behold, the sewer was backing up into the bathtub. I ran back into the kitchen and it's coming up into the kitchen sink too. I watched in horror as the sink filled with yucky drain water. I turned on the disposal and covered the sink opening with a sponge so it wouldn't end up all over the kitchen.Luckily, it didn't. Everything that came up returned into the drain. I went into the bathroom and the water had receded there too.
Lordy, lordy.... what next? The plumber finally came the day after I left. He "rotor rootered" the pipes and fixed a few other things that were not working well. Another catastrophic disaster averted.
My father use to say that he would always have to call a plumber after I came to visit. It was a joke that we laughed about for years. I think that he was messing with me last week. A joke from beyond the grave.
"Stop messing with me Dad." LOL!