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

Friday, May 2, 2014

"Today is far from Childhood..."

Last Tuesday the Prospector left me. He drove to the airport and flew to Seattle, where his old buddy picked him up. He was gone for a week of fishing and visiting with his long time friends. I had the rest of the week all to myself, which I always like. I'm a bit of a hermit and when I'm here by myself I never feel alone. Actually, I'm not really alone. I have Carl and Cutter, Annie Cat and the chickens. So technically I'm not "home alone". I also have some really great neighbors that would be here in a heartbeat if I needed them and the Sheriff dept. if things got seriously crazy.
And ... I just don't mind being by myself.
On Saturday afternoon, my sister arrived. Now, as much as I like being by myself, it's always more fun when my sister is here. I relax and I'm not so aware of my vulnerability in the middle of nowhere.
She and I are seven years apart but, as we have gotten older, we have become good friends. As children, we were close... but seven years is a great distance when you're young and she was always the little kid sister that had her friends and I was the older sister that loved being the boss and I had my friends. She started kindergarten when I went into the 7th grade.
Now, we are almost the same age.
We use to fight about stuff, like who sat where, in the car and who had to wash dishes... but now we've  decided that life is too short to argue, so we just have fun.
This weekend we tackled a rather large project. We refinished my old dark coffee table with Annie Sloan's Chalk paint and soft wax. We didn't have to strip the finish. This paint is applied over any old finish. Annie Sloan is right, in her video... it's addictive. My coffee table went from a very dark and scratched up finish to this...
We were able to do the refinishing right in the living room, on an old plastic tablecloth. The paint dries quickly (we did two coats because of the dark old finish) and the table was ready to wax on the second day. We applied a first coat with clear wax and let it dry overnight. Then a second coat was applied with a mixture of half clear and half dark wax.
The results were amazing.
I'm so happy with my "new" coffee table.
It's like a new piece of furniture. I couldn't have done it with my sister. She had done some of her own furniture and she really knew what she was doing. Also, I found it hard to get into the spaces underneath and even though we tipped the table over for the painting, we had to lay on the floor and do some upside down work as well when we did the waxing. This was hard for me because of my hip. Sis was a big help and did most of the buffing for me as well.
This was our "project" for the long weekend, so on Sunday, to reward our hard work, we took a drive to Sutter Creek, walked around and spent a few hours just goofing off. On Monday we drove up to Electra Road on the Mokelumne River. I wanted to show her the poppies. She had never, in all her visits, been up this beautiful road before.
It was a gorgeous day...
And she fell in love with the river, as I knew she would.
She walked down the trail to the beach...
I could tell that this old river was already working its magic on her.
She sat down on a rock...and I knew that we were going to be there for a while.
I could see the little girl again.

We drove up to the end of the road and walked out to the power plant.  There use to be homes up here and there are still old foundations, Sycamore trees and pyracantha, growing around the hillside where houses and remnants of buildings use to be.
An old staircase on a retaining wall is one of my favorite places to photograph.
 A bird watched us from a tree.

The poppies were still in bloom.

 I found the mystery flower that a friend had photographed. It was so beautiful.
On Wednesday I asked if anyone knew what this beautiful plant was. I put the images on Facebook as well and, as if by magic, my question was answered.
Katherine Evatt of our Foothill Conservancy answered my call for help.
She said the plant is called a Styrax redivivus or snowdrop Bush.
This uncommon plant has showy white flowers which stand out against its darker green foliage. It also has an exceptional fragrance, which smells similar to oranges. I'm so tickled when I can find the name of a new plant or flower that I don't know. This one is a beauty.

Sis left on Wednesday. I will miss her. We had a happy and productive visit. 
The Prospector came back on Tuesday. It's so good to have him home.
The prospecting couple that were living in their truck and digging in our creek are gone. They must have gone to Alaska. That's where they said they were heading.
The weather is really warming up... too fast.
Time to take early morning walks. My hip is feeling better.
It's time to start doing things in the early part of the day and after the sun goes down.
Summer is coming. 

( The title quote is from a poem called  ~One Sister have I in our house~  by Emily Dickinson )