Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sunday morning lay-abouts...

Nothing much to report, but thought I'd post a few random photos of lazy cats:

Ghost on kitchen rug this morning...

Molly on bed this morning... 

Rose on bed this morning...

Tux and Julie on quilt in computer room this morning...
Kuchi (cousin's cat) on her new quilt...

Happy Sunday!! (p.s. no rain today... yea!)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

the day after...

our sweet Tux's face up close

I hope everyone had a safe holiday weekend. However, the news with all the severe weather, tornadoes, and flash flooding has kept everyone from relaxing too much. We did go over to my son's house for a bar-b-que Monday afternoon, and had a lovely time with family, but didn't stay too long with the weather threatening. Too much flash-flooding (although luckily we didn't come across any in our area - north east of Dallas).

Apparently San Antonio and Austin were hit hard too. My daughter sent a video of the high water crossing the road leading to their house. And there were numerous videos of cars being caught and people being either rescued or swept away. We had planned to go to Terrell this week to visit Ham's Peach Orchard, but after seeing a video of down-town Terrell (the water was over the car tires), we decided to put it off for now.

On a lighter note - I used an old recipe of my mom's for Carrot Cake yesterday. Since I hadn't made a carrot cake in probably 20 years and since I think it's a favorite of my son's, I thought I'd give it a go for Memorial Day. It's not one of those that uses pineapple or raisins, just plain ol' grated carrots... and a touch of cinnamon, but it came out fine... moist and not too sweet. I think you could probably put that cream cheese and pecan icing on anything and it would be good.

baby chick under mama chick's wing

Grand daughter texted me to say that they had 4 little chicks hatching at their house. I told her to send me a pic and this is what I got. Isn't it adorable?

I wrote this Tuesday, but forgot to post it. Later in the week I had a day or so of melancholy as can be found on My Mulberry Days site. But it's passed and all is well now... 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

a touch of weather... and finished quilts

This is the sight DH and I saw from our car driving to Central Market this morning to get groceries. Talk about scary looking skies. Still reminds me of that old TV show... Land of the Lost.

I've never thought much about 'low lying clouds' before, but with all the tornadoes spurning out of low lying clouds lately - it makes me think twice when I see them.

And I finally finished doing the binding on the quilts I've been working on.  It has taken me forever, but remember I've never sewed before and all this is new to me. So I'm happy that they came out at all... but if you're a established quilter, I'm sure that you can tell that I'm a novice. And I've been told that it's best to do the binding by hand... but... I don't sew by hand well either, so I chose to bind by machine. It isn't great as I have trouble 'stitching in the ditch'... but at least they're finished!

small cat quilt
small dog quilt
I'll leave you with some shots taken from one of our bird feeders recently. 

Cardinal pair feeding

squirrel in feeder... and then flying out!

Have a wonderful SAFE holiday weekend!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

a quiet Tuesday...

It's Tuesday morning and I've spent most of the day doing my best to make a new quilt pattern. Well, it's not a new quilt pattern really... it's an old quilt pattern.... but new to me. I've not tried to do more than squares (different sized squares, mind you... and even some cut squares... but that's it). Anyway, I've always been fond of the "Log Cabin" pattern and thought I'd attempt it. I had no difficulty piecing it together on my own, but found that sewing it together was giving me difficulty. Finally I called my quilting friend and asked her if there was a 'system' to sewing these pieces together and she told me to start in the middle and go in circles. Amazingly it worked.  (Now if I was a guy and didn't want to ask directions, then I'd have been at this all day).

Here is a pic of my finished square: 

Nothing spectacular... but a new accomplishment for me (one small step...) It's made with left over scraps, but I find it looks a bit 4 of July-ish.  What do you think? Should I make a pot holder out of it? Don't think I have enough of the same fabric to actually make a quilt...

The next pics are what I saw a little while ago when I looked out the back door...

hanging out by the pool...

Is this what they call the *dog days of summer*.... think we'd better rename them.  (These are some of the feral cats that use our back yard as their sanctuary.)

On another note: We have had a rash of tornadoes, rain, and severe weather lately. The lakes that have been so far below level due to the drought have now exceeded their banks and are causing flash flooding in many areas. We're really thankful that the drought is over for the time being, but not sure what to expect next. 

But my hanging herbs are doing well...




not an herb, but the hanging fern likes the rain too

Have a great week!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

lived in...

Sometimes I see homes on TV... (like the Golden Girls which come on the Hallmark channel) or sometimes I've been to friends or acquaintances homes that are 'so pretty and perfect' that I wonder how they do it (or why?). Not that my home isn't clean or well-kept, but mine actually looks lived in.  I mean if you look around, you will find pieces of fabric sorted together for quilting, clay in the process of being worked, books, knitting, as well as grandkids' toys... not to mention cat toys and paraphernalia scattered here and there. But I don't consider it messy... just lived in

My mom on left having tea with dear friend (both have passed now)

I know it's clean. When you have 5 cats, it's a constant battle to contain the cat hair and make sure that the litter boxes stay odorless. And DH and I work hard at it. I vacuum for cat hair daily. We have 2 clean air filter systems and he mops the entire downstairs with pine sol twice a week. 

3 of our 5 cats sharing a sun spot on bed

And we have nice furniture. We both love heavy well-made brand name furniture. But of course since we've been married for 47 years, our furniture is not new.... but it has survived through 3 kids and an abundance of pets. It is sturdy.  Having been in this house for 30 years, it does require a bit of maintenance. We remodeled the kitchen in 1995.  That's when we installed the Aga and tile countertops. And not long after that, we removed the carpeting and installed slate and wood floors. It made cleaning up with kids and pets easier. 

our kitchen (yes, I know... cats on counter...but I do lysol it daily)

only pic I could find of our slate floors (which have been a god-send)

Now that DH and I are  both retired and getting close to the big 7-0, I don't see us doing much updating... except maybe for perhaps a bit of painting. Some of our friends have 'down-sized' and it's true that we don't use the upstairs much except for guests... but we're not sure that down-sizing would really be economical... and with the 5 cats, this house has been *cat-proofed* over the years, so starting over in a smaller place doesn't seem practical (at least not now). 

There's another sign that I saw that I  thought expressed very well my idea of retirement. I posted it here on my Mulberry days site. 
Check it out if you have the time...

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

a link to the past... in my mind's eye

View of Bailey's Cove

See this little cove and the house in the distance. This is a place DH and I actually saw in Maine back in 2002. From it I created *Bailey's Cove* - my home away from home - or place I retreated to 'in my mind's eye'.  

To start at the beginning, back in the spring of 2000, I won a trip to Hog Island, Maine.  I was then a member of the local Audubon Society and a week at an Audubon workshop on Hog Island was the prize. It was a fantastic adventure for me. Besides the fact that I'd never traveled on my own before, my daughter had just recently gotten married in March and after all the hoopla over the wedding, this trip was a god-send. Hog Island is not far from Damarascotta, Maine which is where I stayed at The Captain's House B&B both before and after the workshop. I loved it... all of it. It felt so comfortable - like this was where I belonged - and after I returned home, I began planning how our family could enjoy more of Maine in the future. 

So in 2002 DH and I made another trip there. My hope was that he too would be infatuated with the place and the people. But it was not to be. He didn't care for it.  This saddened me, but since I knew that I'd never be able to survive a Maine winter, I hadn't really planned on moving there.... just thought we could spend some summers in the area. But with this hope dashed, I decided to do the next best thing - create a place there 'in my mind's eye' that I could retreat to whenever. So I did.  I created Bailey's Cove... and a dog (Toby) that would remain there even when the cats and I retreated back to the RW (real world).

It's still there... although I don't visit as often as I used to. But truth be told, it's *virtual existence* comforts me.  Anyway, I was thinking about it just today and decided that maybe some of my readers could use Bailey's Cove. You are certainly welcome to visit anytime. Key is on top of the door frame and Toby loves company! There's a large screen porch and a rocky cliff.... good for reading or napping. And there's a beautiful cove, an old rowboat, and fishing gear around somewhere. 

Or you might consider creating your own place - maybe not on a cliff overlooking the ocean, but perhaps in the mountains, or seashore... or where-ever.  Some of you may be lucky enough to be living (in the RW) this dream existence (which is wonderful in itself), but for those of us who are not, I find "Bailey's Cove" a good substitute.  Feel free to share it with me. 

In some ways, I probably should have posted this on my new website, Mulberry Days (since it is a place I retire to - even though Bailey's Cove was created way before retirement).  But I find it still a good place to go when the Real World starts to get me down. And why not? I can get there in the blink of an eye... (or in this case, in the stroke of a key) and return just as quick. 

(Have any of you ever watched "Waiting for God" on PBS? In this British sitcom Tom is always *going off* in his head to some place he'd rather be... not a bad idea in my book.) 

Anyway, have a great *rest of the week*week and do virtually visit if you feel the inclination! 

I'm closing this today with a picture of Rian (my little chick that was born last year on my birthday). He is almost a year old now and as you can see from this picture, loves to be rocked. Talk about spoiled chickens...

Mama chicken and Rian (the chick)  last year
Rian (1 year old)  being rocked
Rian sneaking into the dog food container 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

In memory...

Happy Mother's Day Mom!

In memory of my mother who passed away in 2008 at the age of 94

We miss you, mom

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

maybe I *do* have a bucket list....

Mama and baby chick
view from porch

DH and I spent this past weekend in the hill country at my daughter's place. It was her birthday and she was *thinking* about sky-diving on Sunday. I mentioned this in my previous post, and I have to admit, the idea of her jumping out of a plane kept me awake a few nights. She had thought about it (as had I in my youth), but never had an opportunity to seriously consider it. Since a few of her friends had decided to do it this weekend and since it was her birthday, she was considering it.

Well, she did do it... and it was grand.  

The pictures I took aren't great as it was difficult to tell who was who when they were coming down... so I snapped fast and furious and got a few (some blurred) of her.

Talking to them after, we got lots of different thoughts. My daughter was as much impressed (not sure impressed is the right word) with being crammed into such a small plane with other jumpers as she was with the jump itself. She was surprised with the force of the wind on her face in the free fall. I think she said her tandem partner said it was maybe 120-125 mph. Then when she was told to release her hands she was surprised that her arms flew out away from her at such force. Once the chute opened, they seemed to play around in the air a bit (at one point entering a cloud (which they didn't fall through as that was a no-no), but she was told to feel, smell, and taste it as they entered with the chute open. 

When asked is she wanted to do it again, both she and one friend said it was an experience they couldn't quite describe and although they were both glad they did it, they felt no urge to repeat it. However, her other friend was hooked! She loved it and was ready to jump again right then and there - and plans to continue in the future. This friend's husband jumped also. He wasn't as taken with it as his wife. And he did mention (as my daughter did) that the force of the wind surprised him. He said that when they first jumped out, the wind was blowing so hard up his nose that he found it hard to breathe... and felt like he was under water. He opened his mouth to catch his breath, but then couldn't close it. 

All in all, it was a beautiful day and I found it really neat watching them all jump in their colorful chutes. My grand daughter and I were very impressed. She is too young at 13 to jump now and apparently if you are over 65, you have to have a doctor's OK... so she and I are hoping to do it at a later date. So... I guess maybe I do have something on my bucket list. (BTW, DH is not considering it. I did ask if maybe he might want to do it for our 70th birthday this summer?? Apparently not.)

This next picture is us at a restaurant celebrating the birthday!

So... hope your weekend was good also.  I guess that I could have posted this on my new blog (Mulberry days) as my bucket list is an appropriate subject for the retirement theme, but I'm so used to posting here that I didn't think of it.

*new post on Mulberry days*