Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems. ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Friday, March 25, 2011

Weekend for the Bean

I'm leaving for the weekend. Going to my grandson's sixth birthday party. Our road is clear after yesterday's storm. It's a miracle. The Prospector just did a road check for me. No downed trees or landslides. I can get into town. The rest, all the way to the Bay Area, is up to me. Wish me luck.
There's another storm moving in. If I make it across the valley and through the Delta, I will consider myself a lucky traveler.
Got my supplies.... energy bars, water, gifts,  cookies, change of clothes, vitamins, and a full tank of gas. I'm  ready for whatever comes my way. It's all about the journey. Right?
See you Sunday....

Thursday, March 24, 2011

What a Day!.... and it's not even over with... yet.

This California girl has just about had enough of this "Springtime" weather. 
I'm tired of the wind, the rain, the thunder and lightening..... and three of my "billy goats gruff".
Gruff as in ... being really awful to Brownie.
Gruff as in... they are making Brownie miserable and they don't seem to care. 
It's bad enough that he's lost his horn....
But now he's being ostracized. The other goats don't want  to be anywhere near him and when he tries to join them... they push him away.
He a goat adrift... in a field of despair. 
He's a goat alone in the world.
Oh, Brownie. I'm so sorry this is happening.

I don't understand why the goats are rejecting him. He was always one of the pack. I think it has to do with him losing his horn. I don't know if they did it playing around, butting heads and pushing each other like they do. I think maybe they didn't like all the blood, or that the missing horn makes him different. I just don't know. Maybe they are rejecting the weakness. He had always been such a hard nose. Now he's acting very vulnerable.

The other day I got mad at Bart for pushing Brownie away from the fence while I was petting him and all I got from Bart was attitude.
And after he stopped playing around trying to be.... "all that".
Then he gives me his "wonderful goat" look and walks away.

This morning we are having a wind storm with lots of sideways rain. It's a really cold ( well, not cold like Michigan, Dawn.) rain. It's snowing in Pine Grove.  the news this morning said it's even snowing in Sonora. (1900 ft.) 
The trees are swaying back and forth. One of those days when people should stay inside so I was downloading some pictures from my camera and I heard a cry from what I thought was Brownie.
I put my raincoat on. Ran out to the goat house and Brownie was on the other side of their house hunkering against the wall. The other goats were in the goat house. 
I put my boots on, sloshed out to him and led him back into the enclosure.  I closed the gate so he couldn't leave again and told the other goats to behave themselves. They were guarding the doorway so Brown couldn't get in. They have been doing this for weeks now. This photo shows them a few days ago, ganging up on Brown because he had the audacity to go into the house. They went in and chased him out.

So, I realized that it wasn't Brown's bawling I heard from inside the house. His is more pathetic.
As I stood there, I heard it again and guess what?.... I walked out to the front driveway, looked up the road and what did I see? COWS above the chicken house. BIG BLACK COWS!!! We don't own any cows. The Prospector had gone into town. I'm here dealing with a rejected goat and, all of a sudden, a small herd of COWS appear. WHAT THE...!!
I ran up the road toward them yelling and shouting. They gave me that wide eyed stare that cows get when they are confronted or startled. Then they turned around (thank God) and walked back up the road. I'm so glad that they were being agreeable. They are very big animals. Wouldn't want to have one argue with me. They were much more cooperative than Brownie, who had to be sweet talked and pushed back though two fences and  into the goat house.
About a half hour later the Prospector came home. He went up and closed the big gate that we installed, half way up to the well, just for those occasions when cows decide to visit. He didn't see any cows. I must have made an impression on them. They were heading back to where ever they belonged. I'm sure that they were saying, as they walked away,  " Crazy woman! over there. We don't need to go down that road again." 
Well, SH%*TE... now our Flowering Pear tree just lost a big limb and it's laying on the garage roof and back porch. I will return.....

And a couple of hours later...
I've been gone for a while. I needed to be out there to watch over my husband . He was up on a ladder and that's kind of scary in this wind. He has a bad knee. He was using a chain saw. I just wanted to be close by.
You had to be there. The wind blowing. The rain pelting down. The branch landed on our iron fence and then the wood fence. Thankfully the fences broke the heaviness of the huge branch and there was no damage to the back porch or the garage roof. The Prospector started cutting the heaviest part of the branch to relieve the weight on the fences.
The photo is kind of blurry because of the rain and wind. Then the Prospector went around and cut some of the smaller branches away from the back porch.
The trellis held up really well considering that it caught the top of the tree.
I'm guessing that the weakness from the other branch that fell last year is what weaken this one. It came from the same area on the tree. We may lose the whole tree now. I hope not. It's so much shade in the summer and it's such a beautiful tree. 
The rest of the tree is moving back and forth. We are hoping that it doesn't fall over. The wind is so strong today. It's still blowing hard out there..... and the rain....  We are thankful for a sound home and that the electricity hasn't gone off..... knock on wood....
I didn't say that.... knock on wood...
Mother nature is sure having it her way this year. 
The rain is even hitting the window that's under the front porch.... What a day!

Monday, March 21, 2011

A little bit of This and That...

I need a day of catch up ( not the red stuff for french fries, but the "I'm so behind I can't catch up." kind.) so I'm going to call this the Monday roundup. I collect so many things and ideas that I want to tell you about and sometimes I get a bit behind. So today I will CATCH you all up on some cool things that have been happening.
This is the latest little creation. He's a gourd mouse. At our March Gourd Meeting we invited Kathleen Krikorian to teach us how do make this little guy and how to draw a Celtic Interlace pattern. Now, mind you, I don't draw very well but she was ready for those of us who are drawing impaired. She laid out the pattern in blocks or squares on the chalkboard and, drawing only a block at a time, I was able to create and burn a design on the gourd that looked ... like a mouse. Isn't he cute?
First we had to draw our mouse and Celtic design. Then we burned the design into the gourd. Next we had to remove the outer gourd surface.This goes against everything we have learned about working with gourds and it's very hard to do. We had to wet sand it down to the white part under neath the outer layer.
After you remove ALL of the outer shell you redo the parts of the design that disappeared with the sanding and you color the design with watercolor pencils.  Kathy is so good at this that she just puts a coat of clear protective varnish on after she finishes. Mine was so "kindergarten" that I ended up sanding it again to make the colors pale and they blended enough to cover up some bad mistakes. Then I just put some clear shoe polish on when I got home.
I think he turned out fairly well... all things considered. This was a real learning curve for me but I think he's cute and he will sit, smiling, in the living room for Easter.

A friend, Mary Jane, gave me a big bag of colored wool felt. This is the first piece that I have felted from the bag. I laid the first layer in a pinkish beige and then a couple of blue layers. Then I use some burgundy and bright yellow to symbolize my garden and a sunflower in the center. I will make this into a small purse for Mary Jane. I love the colors. I'm experimenting with designs in these felted pieces. I'm not very brave about it yet but it's fun to see what happens when you get it all felted.
Remember this lovely fleece from Sandy in Amador City?
Well this fleece was wet felted with a torn doily felted into it.
And then I made some felted soap with it. Goat soap, of course. This is actually another piece of felt with a larger piece of doily in it. The rough doily is a great exfoliate when used to bath or shower with. The smooth side is perfect for a washcloth. If you put it in a rack each time it won't get soggy, it will get smaller and eventually the soap will disappear. Then you can use the very small felted fabric that's left for some other project.... like a pot scrubber. Nothing wasted, nothing to throw away and all natural.
I'm going to make more of these. There are lots of ideas on the Internet. I will use egg shaped soap next time.
It's great for kids and older folks. The soap doesn't slip around and you don't need a washcloth.

And then... a couple of months ago I gave a friend some yarn for her birthday and what do I receive in return?
This beautiful hat....
With beads woven into it.
Thank you Janice. It's beautiful!  I will be joining your knitting group as soon as I can. This was very sweet of you.
And look what we got in the mail....
My youngest grandson, Little Bean, sent his Papa and Noni some of his artwork. It's the Easter Bunny....Freestyling on a skateboard and some beautiful Easter watercolors for our house.
These may have to go up on the window so the light can shine through them. The colors are great.
Thanks Little Bean. You are a really good artist and we are so glad you sent us these pictures.What a surprise this was in the mail.
And.....This is really, really good stuff.
It's Oregon Chai sugar free original chai tea latte concentrate. You mix it half and half. Half milk (I use non-fat) and half concentrate. Then you heat it up and foam it with your battery run whipping tool. Mine is called an Aerolatte.  For all of you who have to ban sugar from your diet, or some of us who should cut back, this is like getting to eat chocolate cake or Ben and Jerry's ice cream (well, almost. OK, it's not quite the same)..... only it lacks all the bad stuff..... and it's really good on a cold day like today...

Did you see the new issue of Sunset magazine?
It's got this great article about a place called The Stone Soup Inn on Vancouver Island , B.C. This young chef named Brock Windsor and his wife started a B&B there. He was a chef for a place called the Sooke Harbor House.
I have a blog friend who lives in Sooke. If you have never been there you must take a look at Kerry's blog. It's called Farmlass... musings and wanderings.  You will fall in love with this beautiful place. I have been to Victoria and the surrounding area but never to Sooke. It's on the ocean and from what Kerry tells us in her blog, and the photos of the area, it's a magical and lovely part of the world.
She is an artist. She also makes felted creatures.... with souls (each and everyone of them) and you will fall in love with them. She also has an Etsy store where she sells some of her wonderful little animals. Check them out.
Someday I'm going to take a trip up there to see her and maybe I will stay at the Stone Soup Inn..... or on the beach. Either one will do but I'm sure that a sleeping bag on the beach would be cheaper.
So I leave you with a picture..... taken this morning. This is a Tulip tree on the edge of our front yard. It's getting ready for Spring and as soon as the sun comes out again it will open, in all it's glory.

 Wait..... what is that I hear outside the window.
IT"S HAILING..... and now thunder. Oh my!
What a Spring this is.....