Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Summer's End...

The last of the hay has been baled. :~)  As we were finishing the field, we saw again, two young coyotes poking their heads up above the tall grasses.  They were catching and eating grasshoppers. I don't think a coyote has an easy life but these two seemed to be plump and in good health.  

Fall colors are beginning to show up along the trail on which Millie and I walk every day.  Our oldest granddaughter, who enjoys walking as much as I do, went along with us today. We stopped along the way and picked some muscadine grapes which are quite plentiful this year.  The granddaughter filled her pockets.   

I have much love for this old well-worn path that winds past the upper pond, over hill and through fields and meadows. In summer the tanagers, cardinals and mockingbirds sing from the thickets and treetops, but today there was only the scream of a Red-Tailed hawk and the caws of some noisy crows.  

The latest set of twins were lying in the upper meadow, while Momma Cow grazed nearby.  She thought something looked suspicious, so she came running and quickly took her babies away.   I am thankful that she can, at least, count to two, for most cows can't, or won't, so that we have to raise the rejected one on a bottle.  It has been a year for twins, and we currently have two bottle calves to care for.  

Thursday, September 7, 2023

Safe Travels...

"The happening was migration.  It was full upon the Northern Hemisphere.  The shorter hours of sunlight and lowering temperatures were telling millions of birds to go south.  The event had begun in mid-August.  The loons, geese, ducks, and shorebirds had heard the message and had left the barrens of Alaska and Canada.  A few days later the swallows and swifts felt the change and left the Northeast.

And then it happened.  Frightful hopped from limb to limb until she reached the wispy top of the ancient hemlock.  She took a bearing on the sun's rays.  She fixed on a longitude between ninety and seventy degrees.  After many takes, the direction was indelibly printed on her brain.  She pointed her head and body along the invisible line.  She bent her knees and ankles.  She lowered her wings.

Frightful flew.  She did not look back.  She rode the prevailing wind over mountains and rivers into unknown territory..."

~ Frightful's Mountain by Jean Craighead George   (A favorite little trilogy from my school teaching years - My Side of the Mountain, On the Far Side of the Mountain, and Frightful's Mountain)  

Our weather guy posted this map yesterday which I found fascinating.  We are smack in the middle of high migration traffic rate.  It was estimated that yesterday there were 60,000,000 birds flying south over Arkansas and Oklahoma.  And, to think somewhere out there are my little birds!  

Safe travels, little ones!  We will see you in the spring.

Monday, July 31, 2023

Up and Over - July's last...


With the last stitch taken and the last button sewn on, the last day of July seemed a perfect time to give the Wild Jacket a trial run.   Of course, a jacket was not needed on this morning, nor on any morning of this hot summer month, so it was good to have a handy place to leave it along the way.  

  Later, when Millie and I went back to get it, we took a hanger for another picture.  The fit is good, and I love the full loose sleeves, which are perfect for a trail jacket.  

I have black walnuts on hand, so I will be getting the dye pot ready soon.  Hopefully, the color will turn out somewhat like Willow's jacket in the picture below.  I will post a few more pictures of this doll and her clothes over on my other blog, the link for which can be found in the sidebar above.  

Monday, July 10, 2023

A Rainy Day...


We all know how wonderful it is to finally get rain after a long dry spell, so I won't carry on and on about how sweet it was, except to say, "Rain is such a blessing."  

  At first the cattle kept right on grazing, and actually seemed to be enjoying a good shower after so long.  As the rain became heavier, they did, however, take cover in the woods.  

After the rain ended later in the day, Millie and I took to the trail.  The rain-cooled air felt quite wonderful, and I was reminded that I should be finishing up the trail jacket for days like this one.  (I have already made buttonholes, so there's not much left to do except to dye it, which has me a little nervous. I snapped this picture before I made the buttonholes.  I finally had to buy new buttons, which I didn't want to do, but I could never find enough old ones of the right size to do the job.) 

Friday, June 30, 2023

Life in the Zinnia Patch...



It's another hot one in the zinnia patch today.  Our weather guy posted this map yesterday showing us in the top 1% of the world for highest heat index of near 110-115.  (Hint:  We are not in the Sahara.  :~/ )

Millie and I walked the trail early.  It was eerily quiet this morning.  A doe was in no hurry to leave her cedar thicket just off the path.  Somewhere the summer tanagers were hiding in the thick branches above us.  They were quiet as were the mockingbirds and other songbirds that usually sing their early morning songs.  

A couple of black swallowtail butterflies seemed undaunted, however, flitting from flower to flower.  

There were more poppies to admire.  My grandmother and Georgia O'Keefe would have loved this bright red one.  I did too.  

In last year's journal, I had written about these two fabulous women.  Of Georgia O'Keefe I had scribbled, "She kept the tails of rattlesnakes she killed in a tin box.  She picked bones from the desert in lieu of flowers.  To me they are as beautiful as anything I know."  In her new desert home in New Mexico, she never looked back and the red poppy was no more....

My grandmother's home surrounded by red flowers. 

Then, dearer to me, were these notes I had written about my grandmother.

My grandmother....

💗  loved the color red ~ red dahlias and verbena.  And, Santa Claus.  Her Christmas cards always had  pictures of Santa Claus on them.

💗  enjoyed taking visitors on a walk-about to look at her flowers, gardens and orchards.

💗  took pride in raising large juicy deep red Black Diamond watermelons.

💗  tended a large flock of prized brown leghorn hens (and a rooster or two that was up crowing at the crack of dawn.)

💗   cooked on a wood-burning cookstove until she replaced it with an electric one later on.  

💗  set up make-shift racks from metal roofing for drying fruits, apples and peaches from the orchard.

💗  lit a kerosene lamp at night for light until they got electricity.

💗  taught me how to make doll house furniture from light-weight cardboard, and flowers from crepe paper ~ red, of course. 

💗  took me to the corner drug store for ice cream served in clear glass dishes.  We sat in a booth and talked.  

Monday, June 26, 2023

Closing out June...


I was so happy to find a red poppy blooming in the garden this morning.  It reminds me so much of the red crepe paper flowers I made with my grandmother when I was a kid.  She would have loved these red poppies. 

  I pressed this one flat to be placed in my journal when dry.  I will collect seeds from other red blooms in hopes of having more next year.  But I will also take seeds from the pink ones for they are quite lovely too.  

We had rain late yesterday, then beautiful blue skies and lots of sunshine today. 

The plants were happy.

Blackcurrant Swirl Moonflower

The sewing room project.

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Rearranging the Shanty and Garden Closeups...

What a fun project this has been.  And Hubby just loves moving furniture. Ha! Ha!  Of course, one can't move just one thing without the domino effect kicking in.  The sewing room somehow got involved, but I will have more about that later.

It's through the Shanty windows that I enjoy watching the hummingbirds.  Activity around the feeders has picked up considerably this past week, so there's lots to see.  

Despite our extremely dry conditions here, I am still enjoying quite a bit of color in the gardens.  The zinnias will start blooming in a few days.  I am anxiously awaiting to see what colors they will be this year - hopefully not so much yellow as last year.  

Sunday, June 4, 2023

A Day in June...

As I write this, I am looking through old buttons for something suitable for the Wild Jacket.  Yes, the jacket is finished now except for this final step of making buttonholes and sewing on buttons... and then it'll be off to the dye pot.

Earlier, when I was out and about, making my preliminary rounds of checking on the gardens, I surprised a doe as she was nibbling on one of the tomato plants.  She looked a bit abashed to have been found out, and gave me one of those, "what goes on here, stays here," looks.  I thought she was beautiful.  

We missed an opportunity yesterday for a good rain shower.  Dark clouds looked promising, but all to no avail.  We did, however, enjoy a drop in temperature of about a dozen degrees, which made for a most pleasant afternoon.

While the plants were in the mood for rain, I dragged out the garden hoses and began to water.  I hoped that every flower, bush, and garden vegetable would think it was rain falling from the sky, for plants like that kind of water best of all.  

As I moved slowly from here to there, my summer tanager alighted on his favorite fence post and sang to me.  I have read that the tanagers are quite shy, but it seems to me that they seek out company, or in this case, this summer tanager seems to seek out my company.  

There are several other summer tanagers here on the hill this year ~ possibly sons and daughters that have been born and raised here.  I often hear their sweet songs as Millie and I walk the trails, and on one day's trek, I saw both a male and female together.  The female is rather yellow green in color, but I do not often see her. 

I am happy to see that the Bee Balm (monarda) is beginning to bloom. The hummingbirds love it almost as much as I do.

I have begun to move a few plants into the new border along the old plank fence.  Monarda was one of the first things I planted there.  I have given it lots of space so it can do what it wants to do.  

And, now for those buttons......  

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Wild Jackets and Wild Walks...


Plato says, "Music is a moral law.  It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything." 

I wonder if this wise man would include a mockingbird's song as music worthy of such praise.  My front door is standing open as I work for I am not wanting to miss a moment of our much adored Mockingbird's performance from atop the power pole in the front yard.  I feel sure Plato wouldn't have wanted to miss it either.

I am currently working on a jacket from a pattern I have drafted myself which has taken me much time, and is, in fact, still a work in progress.  I have used an old linen sheet for my trial-and-error experiments.  I now wish I had used a nice crisp piece of muslin, but at this point I will not start over.  I will have more on this later on but will just say that I think it is going to work.  And, if it does, I will eco-dye it, India Flint style, and wear my wild jacket over the hill with Millie.  

Here I am inside my closet modeling my wild jacket as it is today.  I am anxious to add the sleeves.  I hope my seamstress mom is looking down on me and nodding her head in approval.  I sewed on Mother's Day and thought of her.  

However, sewing may be taking second seat for a while for haying season is here.  It is quite dry here, so the weather is perfect for making hay.  Here's the first bale of the season.  

The gardens are coming along nicely after a slow start this spring.  I am looking forward to fresh roasted vegetables, but it will be a while before they are ready...hopefully by July 4.  

Here we are already on Walk # 411.  "Where go the days down that tunnel of time..."  (Louis L'Amour)