Misc. Updates – Painting, Crochet and Weather

It seems we are ready for some misc. updates. I’ve been doing better keeping this updated in general this year, but I am lacking on the postcards. I’ll have to work on that.

We’ve had our first major frost, and it’s been colder than average the past week or so. It is supposed to warm up in the next two days before dropping down again so maybe I will get two final bike rides in. I sure hope so.

Mom and I went up to clean up the cemeteries on the 13th, and took the back way home to take some photos for later painting inspiration. I think this has been the most beautiful autumn I ever remember. It’s so lovely, it fuels my neuroses and makes me wonder if the beauty is to make up for a horror that will arrive soon. Do you ever feel that way? Anyhow, I pulled over at Goldies Motel to snap #10. This photo has not been retouched. The colors were that amazing.

Goldies Motel

I’ve been doing website updates at work. The shelter is closed to the public through the end of the year, except by appointment. It’s more peaceful this way, and we’ve still been doing fine with adoptions. I do miss the Trail of Terror though, and dressing up for Halloween, even though it is a ton of work. Donna and Jerry Castleberry died from COVID-19 this past weekend. Cases are climbing in Calhoun County.

crochet blanket

I’ve been watching streaming and crocheting in the evenings. This blanket is for a relative. The colors reminded me of water…that of the ocean and of the great lakes. It’s Lion Brand Mandala which is self striping, and I’m doing my old trusty repeating HDC using an L hook. I watched The Trial of the Chicago 7 which was quite good. And the Haunting of Bly Manor. Just started Deadwater Fell.

When I am not painting, it seems I am always thinking of painting. I’m taking an online class to build my skills now. I’ve been working on color swatches which is helping me to pick colors I guess. So I have learned something new from the class. It is cool we live in a time when we can take classes and learn so much online. This is my latest piece, which was inspired by a photo in an old Sunset magazine. It’s in gouache and is piece #22. It serves as a reminder that you absolutely need a ruler to draw your horizon line. But I think the rocks are pretty good.

painting #22

I got my flu vaccine and have been having nightmares and bad headaches again. Not because of the vaccine, but just because. I’m finding it somewhat hard to concentrate on writing snail mail letters and impossible to read.

Spring Birds

Tuesday, April 21, 2020 0 No tags Permalink

The spring birds are here, doing their thing. Above is a yellow-rumped warbler at the suet feeder in our backyard. I’ve not seen one of these before.

The bluebirds are already nesting at the shelter, with eggs in the nestbox.

So are the tree swallows. They are really pretty birds, and they are lovely in their flight patterns. They’re not shy of dive-bombing you if you get too close to the box, though.

Temperatures have been consistently colder than normal last week and this week, and predicted into next week as well. Today’s high should be 62, and we will top out around 42 instead. It looks like we will be tracking closer to normal the beginning of May. Things are still in lockdown for COVID-19, but we’re unsure when that will end. There is pressure on Governor Whitmer to open things back up here in Michigan. Not sure what will happen with the greenhouses at this point. Everything feels rather up in the air.

Rexall Drugs

Thursday, May 2, 2019 0 No tags Permalink

Through the years I continue to come back to the Rexall Drugs sign. I’ve shot it with numerous cameras during all different kinds of weather and all four seasons. This shot, around lunchtime, was before it started raining again. At least it’s a little warmer. And hey, we saw our first oriole at the feeder yesterday evening.

Too many gray days
The rain gives me a headache
There is no escape.

Summer Reads 2015

Book One: What Comes Next and How to Like It

What Comes Next and How to Like It

I started out the Summer Reads 2015 with Abigail Thomas’ What Comes Next and How to Like It. A true memoir, the writing style captivated me from the very beginning. I’m wanting to try one of Thomas’ writing assignments: “Take any ten years of your life, reduce them to two pages, and every sentence has to be three words long.” Perfect, no? Let me know if you try it for yourself. Thomas has some great words of wisdom along the way; some strike me now, and some I think will make more sense as I age. I especially like “Part of what I’ve learned is that if it isn’t life and death, it isn’t life and death. I have learned that every moment is precious.” As I was reading this book, I immediately thought it would be one that my Grandma Russell would have enjoyed. I passed it on to my friend Lois, who is also enjoying it very much.

Book Two: All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See

Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See is quite a book. It goes back and forth between years, following two characters during WWII. It’s heavy stuff, both from the number of pages and the content. But it is wonderfully written and absolutely got in my head to the point where I’m thinking about it in my spare moments now that it’s over. I’m not quite ready to start a new book, as I still want to bask in this one for awhile longer. Highly recommend if you can devote the time and energy; it’s not light reading for sure.

Next book up is Hannah Nordhaus’ American Ghost. And so it is, the second week on my summer reads out of 15 weeks and I’m already on book three of my list of eight. I may have to come up with some additional pieces if I keep going.

Garden Update

We’ve been working in the gardens! In addition to the flower gardens, Bob is putting in a vegetable garden in the front yard. I did get all the veggies planted (tomatillos, tomatoes, brussels sprouts, cabbage, lettuce, radishes, cucumbers and strawberries), but still need to get some photos. Last night dropped to 45 and tonight is supposed to drop to 40. This past weekend was flat cold and rainy. We had a fire last night, and I spent all of yesterday in the house with the curtains drawn. I don’t remember it being this cold in June before.

garden

Anyhow, the annuals are all in and five bags worth of mulch is down. This year I re-edged the front garden along the driveway so it’s nice and straight, and put in a few more perennials, plus moved some that needed more space. Looking at my photos from previous years, you might not be able to tell it’s straight once it all grows in, but it does look nice and orderly now.

garden
I will get some more photos this week if the weather cooperates.

Summer Reads 2015

These are the titles I’m planing on reading this summer:

What Comes Next and How to Like It: A Memoir by Abigail Thomas

The Bone Clocks: A Novel by David Mitchell

American Ghost: A Family’s Haunted Past in the Desert Southwest by Hannah Nordhaus

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel by Anthony Doerr

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

The Wishing Thread: A Novel by Lisa Van Allen

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

Springtime in Michigan

Friday, May 8, 2015 0 No tags Permalink

spring1

Spring is in Michigan in full force. It’s warm and lovely! Everything is in bloom and we have full leaves on the trees.

spring

I arrived early at work this morning only to find that I had locked my keys inside the building and I had to wait for someone else to arrive and open up. It was a beautiful morning though.

spring2

The crabapple trees are amazing this year.

spring3

The rain/storms held off for the Youth Day of Caring thankfully. Supposed to rain over the weekend and the temperatures will be dropping next week (Tuesday high of 59 and low of 39).

spring4
We had our first hummingbird visit on May 4…the same day as our first oriole visit! The hummingbirds are going nuts on the feeder and they are pretty bold. The orioles are so skittish.

Spring Update

Monday, April 27, 2015 0 No tags Permalink

spring1

Spring is slowly making its way to Battle Creek. Today is the last day with the high predicted in the 50s. Might even be in the 70s by the weekend.

spring2

One of the brunnera is in bloom. The forsythia is too, but it’s not much of a dramatic display this year.

spring3

One of my bleeding hearts was eaten, but this one is making progress.

spring4

The single-cup daffodils are in bloom, and the grape hyacinths are coming up too.

spring5

I had the oriole feeder up last week, but made nectar and put the hummingbird feeder up this weekend. It’s still a little early for them, I think. We have big garden plans this year!

Spring Projects

Tuesday, April 14, 2015 0 No tags Permalink

Spring Projects – Fermentation and Crochet

crocus
It is finally starting to feel more like spring in Michigan (at least until next week when the temperature drops again). The robins are back in full force. The crocuses came and went. The bleeding hearts are up about two inches, and there are a few blooms out on the forsythia outside my office window. The wild violets are perfuming the air, and Maxy has been taking regular walk-abouts on his leash. I’ve been working on my list of new plants for the garden and putting together my list of summer reads.

sauer

As you may remember, I read the Sandor Katz book The Art of Fermentation as part of the Summer Reads 2013. And I previously made and bottled my own kombucha. Recently I got it in my mind to make and ferment our own sauerkraut.

sauer2

It is incredibly easy to start. Cut up cabbage. Put it in a bowl and salt it. Massage the salt into it for ten minutes. It will get weird, wet and frothy.

sauer3

Put the liquid and the cabbage into a stoneware pot. Tamp it down. Put weights on it. Add more brine if there’s not enough to cover everything. Put the lid on the pot and wait. I’ve been checking it every day to see if the liquid is okay or if it needs skimming. So far, so good. I expect it to be ready in three weeks or so. Hopefully it will turn out fabulous!

babyhat

It seems everyone is having a baby now. I just finished this hat to send to Alaska. It’s crocheted on a G size hook using Bernat Baby Softee in cream, single and double crochet rows as the desire struck. It’s not really a pattern, but I think it turned out cute. And this blanket, again a G hook with Bernat Baby Softee, single crochet with a weave pattern and a scalloped edge, is for Baby Silvio:

babyblanket

The final project is a purple blanket for a friend out at Southern Exposure. I hope to get it done in time for the Martini Madness event May 14. I haven’t been reading or playing accordion as I’ve been working on these projects. After the final blanket, I plan on taking a little break from crochet and catching up on reading. We’re just over a month away from planting season, and that will take up a lot of my time once it starts. We’ve got big plans for the garden this year!

What spring projects are you working on?

Crochet Valentine Heart Sachets

Friday, February 13, 2015 0 No tags Permalink

hearts

This year for Valentine’s Day, I put together little care packages for the staff members. The bags included a fizzy juice drink, chocolates and these lime-scented heart sachets. The José Crochet heart pattern is crazy easy, fun and FREE. You can’t ask for more than that; find it here. There are photos with great diagrams as well. They work up quickly…two sides, crochet together with a loop. I can’t recommend the pattern enough. It’s awesome.

hearts1

I should have taken a photo of the bags before I handed them out, but I didn’t. Guess it’s been awhile since I did this. Here’s the last Valentine’s package I put together. I think February is an especially cruel month, and we could all use some random happiness here and there.

We have 34 days until the spring equinox. One to two inches of snow tonight. Next week is supposed to be terribly cold, with temperatures well below the historical averages:

weather

Next predicted day at 40 is March 5.

Cats in Hats

Monday, February 2, 2015 0 No tags Permalink

maxyhat

Okay, it’s really cats in one hat. Single crochet, pompom ball on top, ear holes.
Maxy wears the hat.

rustyhat

Rusty wears the hat.

tiagohat

Tiago wears the hat.

whiskershat

Whiskers wears the hat.

zariahhat

Zariah wears the hat.

Bet they will be even more excited when I finish the cat sweater!

snow

We got something like 18 inches of snow yesterday. Getting to work was a challenge and required swapping my car for the truck downtown. It was very sunny, but very cold (high of 13).

snow1

They’ve pushed the first day at 40 back to February 25 with most days being near ten degrees colder than the historical average. Of course, that could change. But even so, we are at Groundhog Day and the halfway point between the winter and spring solstice.

If you like this, check these out!

Dog Belly Band Tutorial

Dog Bait/Treat Bag Tutorial

Dog Coat

Catnip Christmas Tree Tutorial