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

Monday, July 23, 2012

Wild weather, pumpkins and a table, Oh My...

All those clouds that I showed you last night decided to do a "cirque du soleil"  light show for us last night... with thunder and lightening and rain... ALL NIGHT LONG. It was really exciting.
The Prospector has been gone this week, so I was by myself. This storm woke me up three times in the middle of the night to let me know what Mother Nature can do when she really tries. It was amazingly beautiful.
I'm sure this is common stuff for those of you who live in the East and the Midwest but for a native, bay area Californian this was quite a show. I was somewhat nervous, but the rain ruled out lightening fires and logic told me that the odds of getting hit my lightening were pretty slim. But all the same, I chose not to touch my iron bed the whole night.
I didn't take any photos of the lightening, but three separate times, I sat in up in bed and watched this display through the window. Once, I heard Cutter whimpering in his crate. I told him that it was OK and he was safe. He must have listened to my voice because he settled down. I never heard Carl complain at all.
The strikes were so close and thunder shook the ground, but all went well and in the morning...
this was the beautiful aftermath. This photo was taking at 5:45 this morning. The storm had moved to the east and I could hear a few distant rumbles. It was so lovely.
I made coffee, let the dogs outside and... DIDN'T HAVE TO WATER THE GARDEN.

After breakfast, I went to the vegetable garden to see if there was any deep watering to be done or veggies to pick.
The tomatoes are doing well. These are the Tomaccio sweet raisin tomatoes.
They are the cherry tomatoes that can be dried and eaten like raisins. I don't find them any sweeter than "sweet one hundreds" but I'm letting them stay on the vine longer to see if they get sweeter. Maybe they just "dry" better. We'll see.
The pumpkins are thriving. The vines are beautiful.
And look... I will have pumpkins to take to the Beans for Halloween. The Beans are my grandchildren, as most of you know. I think that the pumpkins are big enough to carve their names in now. It's a fun thing to do. The names will form a scar as the pumpkin grows.
Yep, it's time to scratch the names in.
This one started green and is just now turning orange. The others on the same vine (I think.) started out orange. Strange. I'm going to have to check again and see if it is the same vine.They are so intertwined that you have to really look to see which is which.
This photo, below, shows the rain on the leaves. There was quite a lot of rain. I love the huge leaves with rain on them.
 I should have taken a closer photo of this. The rain drops are not as obvious in the post photo. But, those leaves are wet. Gloriously wet.

Since my sister and my friend "C" left, I have been working on one project that I promised myself I would complete while the Prospector was gone.
I'm refinishing the kitchen/dining table.
This was the old finish.
The clear finish was worn, nicked and had some dried Mod Podge (among other things) on it from my careless use of craft work supplies. And it was just kind of 1990's "blond".
So I sanded what was left of the finish.
Then I applied the first coat of Minwax water based stain... and had a heart attack. It looked awful.
After I had a good cry, I put a second coat on it and perfected my technique, it was much better.

This is not as simple as the directions say it is. When the Prospector called last night. I think I said something like, "This kitchen table is 30 years old and I was trying to save it, but it's not worth saving and I'm tired, and life is too short to go to all this effort." And then I started to get tears in my voice. He didn't say anything at first. That was probably wise.
When I settled down, he said, "We can buy another set if this one doesn't turn out. Sleep on it. I will be home tomorrow." and then, "Did you use a tarp?"
That did it. I told him to drive carefully and I would see him tomorrow. I hung up and put everything away. I fixed myself some dinner and watched an old movie. The table was sitting their looking,well... unfinished.
After dinner, I felt refreshed, so I put a final coat of stain on it and look...
Not so bad. I worked with a brush and finessed the light and dark areas until I was seeing "American Walnut" stain in the back of my brain.
I will probably never stain anything again. The legs and the chairs are going to be PAINTED... painted with a solid, creamy, forgiving latex paint that will cover up all the age related skin damage that this old table is showing. I'm NEVER going to STAIN again. Mark my words. NEVER!

The Prospector arrived this afternoon. I'm glad he's home. I missed him. He caught a thousand fish and had a good time.The dogs were so excited to see him. He didn't mention the table except to ask if we were going to eat at the coffee table tonight. I said, "Yes." That was the end of it. We will all sleep better tonight.
Tomorrow I will put a clear finish coat or two on the top of the table and start painting the legs.
It looks OK. I didn't show you a close up of the finish. It's not perfect and, obviously, neither I'm I. I think I better stick to knitting and felting for hobbies... although when my friend was here last week we made "yoyo's" Do you know what they are?
Tomorrow I will tell you all about them. Right now, I need a good night's sleep.


  1. Oh, I envy your beautiful pumpkins with those lush green leaves. They look like they're just loving that rain! It's clear that you treat them well :)

    ....and I'd say you did a great job on the table. It's gorgeous.

  2. Staining is not so easy with Minwax - they SAY it is, but really, not so much. I found some stain that is a 'gel', and that works so much better. It is what I used on my new kitchen cupboard doors when the Hubbs them in efforts to help revamp without completely replacing. Ya just have to make sure all of the glue is removed where you plan to stain is all, and a nice clear coat afterwards finishes it off!

  3. If all else fails you can always cover it with a tablecloth. I have same type of table only oak finish here for my laptop, heat from my laptop has made the wood crack, keep thinking one of these days I will fill with wood dough and stain top darker, but that's another project.......

    I have a sheep fleece that I had made into batting ... to felt into slippers, another project, waiting to be done ........

    Then there are the 12 fleeces I need to finish skirting and send to processor, another project .....

    And then there was the soap making class I took, bought all the supplies I need, boxed up and put away last year when I had company, now still in the box, another unfinished project ...........

    Somehow everyday life gets in the way of my projects ..........

  4. Your pumpkins look great. The rain has been good to them and the tomatoes. I love watching lightning and listening to thunder. We have it quite often here. I think your table looks great. Have a blessed evening. Madeline

  5. You're killin' me with those skies! What a gift to have first thing in the morning...lucky you to have pumpkins. It's not warm enough this year here so I'm glad I didn't plant any. I think your table looks great but I know all too well the trouble with staining! It's quite rewarding though to know you've put so much effort into something you'll use everyday. Keep the faith Connie.

  6. Your pumpkins and tomatoes are very lush looking; we're still in the 'flowering stage' up north. I think your table looks very nice, and I'm sure you know the Wabi Sabi philosophy...so embrace the imperfections. That said, I must say I HATE sanding and refinishing! I've never actually finished a refinishing project. Paint is the way to go if you hate sand in your snout and sore forearms, and stinky chemicals! FYI, I'm not Italian; just love the food! Please, please, post some of your mom's recipes!

  7. glad you didn't touch that iron bed..boy that gave me a chuckle
    I too love storms...like standing in the aura of the almighty
    We humans think we are it...just stand in a great storm and you get an adjustment of thinking....but it also rewards with awe and beauty and that indescribable sense that we are witness to the great......
    I also loved how you missed the prospector....we do miss these guys we have lived with for so long...and it is good to renew that feeling
    and I adore your garden..those pumpkins...my grandkids would love their names on them....great idea
    But as for the table....take advantage of your man's moment of weakness......get a new table
    ...nothing wrong with your work of staining....but new might be just what you need


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