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

Friday, March 30, 2012

Attack of the Killer... Weeds?

 Look at this.
You would think that I fertilized these beauties wouldn't you?. They're all over the place and they are so healthy looking.
I think this all happened in the last forty eight hours or so. Honestly! They weren't here a few days ago.
OK, that's not necessarily true. But I haven't been outside that much because it has been raining and all of a sudden... THIS. 

.. as if the weeds decided to conquer the world... my world at least.
Yes, I did pull some a few days ago and I swear that they are here again... in the same place, looking bigger and greener.
It's alarming how fast they grow.
There's a scary screenplay idea, out there in the dirt, waiting for some  movie director with foresight, like John De Bello ( 1980? Attack of the Killer Tomatoes??), to jump all over this.
I can see it now. Killer Weeds Strike Back... The real story. 
 Records for "first weekend" sales would be broken. It might be bigger than The Hunger Games.
Maybe I should give the idea to Suzanne Collins (the author). She could write the screenplay. 
I know...I think that I have been computer-izing a bit too much this winter. I need to, as they say, get a life.
But...The weeds are everywhere.
They are flowing out of the containers...
... cascading down the hillside and undermining my integrity as a gardener.

I have the healthiest crop of Stinging Nettles that I've ever seen in the vegetable garden.
And I didn't even have to plant the seeds.
A friend told me that I can make tea out of these plants and cook them, like spinach. But, I think I'm going to pass on that. I have to get rid of this stuff. It's reseeding and every year there is more. Maybe I should put a sign up down on the highway. You know...
Free Nettles
Pick Your Own
(bring gloves)
Must be good soil in that bed. I want to plant some pumpkins there soon, so I will be the one who will "bring gloves" and pull these invasive plants out.

 The lettuce is coming up in the other bed.
And my divided iris are doing well.
 The goats are working as hard and fast as they can to keep the weeds at bay.
 But that's not in the vegetable garden. These goats are down the hillside. Note the two fences between them and the veggie garden. Double fencing is a functional solution for these big guys when vegetables are involved.
Brownie, in his glorious youth, got into the vegetable garden twice. That's why we are without a fig tree. It was pruned into nothingness. That's why there is a double fence.

Murph' says,
"I'm not partial to Nettles. With all the wonderful, Springtime selection to choose from, it would be my last choice. Even with our reputations, we goats do have a refined palate and prefer the soft, small plants with flowers.... and Fig leaves... and baby lettuce leaves as well."

Good grief, Murph'.
That's interesting, my strange and enigmatic goat, but please,,, JUST KEEP EATING THE WEEDS.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Squeaky's Easter Eggs

Squeaky is really going all out for Easter. She hasn't laid any eggs for at least five or six months and all of a sudden she has been producing an egg a day. What a girl!! Go Squeaky!
Squeaky is my beautiful little Bantam hen that holds her own in a world of great big Road Island Reds, Plymouth Rocks and Ameraucanas. Her only ally , Henny Penny, left us for the big coup in the sky and, other than our Bantam Rooster, she is all by her wee chicken self.
So the last two weeks she has decided to give it all she's got and  produce the most beautiful little eggs that she can. They are a pale brownish pink and perfect in every way.
The diminutive eggs are so beautiful that I felt I should honor her efforts.
A few nights ago, I worked on  her eggs, decorating them with paint, QuikWood epoxy putty and  splashes of gold.
I sponged acrylic paint on some, but one of them was left natural.
 I used a technique that I learned in the workshop a few weeks back and made some "fabric" that draped over the egg like a shroud.  I used acrylic paint to add some color to the dried putty, which is a very neutral light gray/brown. The epoxy putty sets up within twenty minutes to a half hour, so you have to shape  and distress it as soon as possible. I put a piece of the putty on the bottom of the egg so it could stand on its own and I sank a small jewelry link into the top (before the putty hardened up) so the egg could be hung too.
The next egg was the result of an accident.
I broke one of the eggs when I was blowing out the insides (the whites and yokes) and almost threw it into the compost. But I thought, "What if I set a whole egg inside the broken one."
 I call it "Resurrected" and edged the broken piece with gold. That would be in keeping with  Easter and I was able to use the broken egg.
I like this one a lot.

 I made a face with the putty and a mold I bought a few years ago. Again, I sponged the egg first, very lightly, using the putty to fill in around the face with hair and small stones. She's pretty and peaceful looking.

Kind of Easter meets American Indian meets New Age spirit.
I need to clean up her face. I got some paint on it and it dried on her chin and neck. This is one nice thing about the wood putty. Once it's dry you can sand it, cut it or paint it as much as you want. I will just scrape off the orangey color and touch it up.
 I did another "shroud" egg. This time I did sponge the egg and even added a little gilded sponging on top of the color.
This draping was done in blue tones. I like the contrast.
After I finished the eggs I wanted to do more of them. There were no little eggs that were blown out and ready, so I found a small gourd and went to work. This was great practice using the QuikWood. I made vines and some flowers that looked like lilies.
This gourd was discolored and dark so it needed some painting. I sponged brown, purple and gold on the surface and let it dry. I speed up the drying time by using a hair dryer.
Then I used the OuikWood to shape the vines and lilies. The glass leaves are easy to find in a bead store or Michael's, etc.
 The letters are from an alphabet mold. I let them dry until they were almost hard and then pressed them into a new, soft piece of putty and pushed it onto the bottom of the gourd. Then the gourd was given a whisper of gold gleam with an almost dry brush and  there you have it...
 This photo above was before I painted the vines. This is the natural color of the putty. It's quite pretty without any paint or gilding. But, it's fun to add some color and make the vines stand out . I'm learning how to layer the color so that it looks natural. I'm still cautious about painting anything. It's a slow process, but the more I do it, the more confident I become.

Squeaky's Easter Eggs... and this little, unassuming gourd.
All ready for Easter Sunday... all dressed up in their finest.
I will have to show Squeaky her eggs now that I have decorated them. She will be proud. She may not show her appreciating but I will show them to her anyway. I will give her some extra luttuce for breakfast tomorrow.
I have a couple of new Squeaker eggs and a few blue and brown eggs, but I've run out of the QuikWood. I found some online and it will be here next week. Maybe I will try something different with the larger eggs. Maybe I will use some fabric this time or a paper collage... OR... felt them a little scarf and hang some moss on them.
 Who knows...
Squeaky had gifted me with possibilities.
A note... I blow the eggs out into a bowl and have scrambled eggs for breakfast. Here is a good site that explains how to blow out an egg. I also like to shake the egg after I break the yolk. The insides seen to blow out easier. Then I try to fill the big end with water, holding my finger over the smaller hole, shake it again, and blow out again.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Happy Birthday to The Bean... our Awesome Grandson

You are the most awesome, coolest and smartest grandson in the whole wide world.
May you always  be brave and fearless.
And have many friends.

You have the ability to maintain an awareness and seek comfort at the same time. 
You have an Old soul...
 You love playgrounds, games and winning... but you are learning how to keep a balance.

and still have fun.
You are seven years old today. Can this really be? Are you really seven years old?
We miss you and your brother. So do Cutter and Carl... and Brownie, Murphy... and the chickens. They laid an egg for you today.
Happy Birthday little man. Papa and I wish you a wonderful day.