Monday, July 28, 2014

Field and Fen actually does something related to fields and fens

Well, to the outdoors, anyway, involving a couple of experiments. A neighbor wanted a purple sage like the one I have out front, a very reliable garden denizen, fades totally over the winter, no sign of her, comes roaring back in spring, blooms for ages with lovely sage-smelling foliage and flowers.

So I thought, well, since most of my gardening disregards rules, why not take cuttings right this minute,  never mind if it's the wrong time, and try some in a pot out of doors near the parent plant, and some in pots indoors in a more sheltered environment.  So we'll see.

Then I thought it would be nice to take cuttings off the snake plant which is living with me over the summer to recuperate from apartment living the previous year. 

So I did that and you see them, too.  Possibly I'll have to move both the outdoor pots to a less sunny place for the moment, but that's another decision.

So, as I say, we'll see.  While I was at this, one neighbor snook some sad little aloes into my kitchen for intensive care, and I added them into the pot with my own to see if that would cheer them up, and another (neighbor, not aloe), asked me to take a look at various plants and trees on her patio and discuss their future care.  Fun.

Now I'm sure those blogistas with acres and crops and barns and animals will be looking with great indulgence on these tiny antics, but that's okay, too.  My two square inches of ivory, says she grandly.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Late July on the patio, with summer visitors

This afternoon's pix of the resident flowers, sunflower type on left, blanketflowers on right, couple of gift marigolds under there, with a visiting caladium in the background. This is what you see when you open the back gate.  And honesty compels me to admit it's the best bit.

 and a whole bunch of campers, here for the summer from next door.  For some of them it's intensive care, for others just r and r. In among them are my own houseplants. Out of the pic on the left is my ficus, growing away, and I think it will touch the ceiling when it comes back into the house.

 I like having the house emptied a bit for the summer.  I bet my housecleaners do, too.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Ulysses still at sea

Just giving notice that I'm halfway through reading Ulysses, and Bloom's beginning to drag.  So I may retire it until next Bloomsday and read the second half then. That's the plan for June 16, 2015 to July 14, 2015.  Bastille Day is my independence from continuing for this year. I have spoke.  Vive la liberte!

The great part about owning it on a Kindle is that wherever I stopped is where it will open to next time, no paging back and forth and wondering, and cursing the cats for pinching my bookmark.

Artists Party On

Yesterday was the party for the local artists' association, to celebrate ourselves and the exhibit we all took part in.  Just a few quickpix to show you some of our friends in action, in typical poses, as they discuss their own and each others' work, which you see in the background.

 The son of one of the artists, an accomplished musician, played background, and you see him, between sets, chatting with a fan! 

since the theme of the exhibit, and the summer program, was It's All Greek to Me, the raffle drawing, a random drawing to award some small $$ to artists in the show, employed a Greek urn. And each winner drew the next ticket.  

One of the artists is also an accomplished gardener, who brought herb samples with Greek associations, and gave them to any comer.

Great fun, generosity all round.  Very well run by gallery manager Donna, who got a warm round of applause from appreciative artists.  Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon in summer.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

In the running for Good Housekeeping Badge of Merit

In the course of what started out a quiet then reached a crescendo morning, I started out baking.   Feeling a bit lonely and alone and rather than get all down, would make a batch of hot biscuits with walnuts, since I was, aside from lonely, out of bread.

Then since I was already in gear and in apron, went out to clip herbs, long overdue for use in pesto making, and cut some of every herb I grow.  On the way back in the screen door fell on me, twice, and I replaced it, getting it to stay after a while.

Back indoors, used the pizza wheel to chop the herbs, kitchen smelling lovely by now, and in the middle of this, a whole bunch of kids burst in, led by my friend whom they're visiting, family from India, to play with my cats.  

Missing their own cats at home, they urgently need this!  so Duncan found himself in the middle of a press conference, three cameras going at him at once, posing with various new friends, having a wonderful time with all the attention. I brought Marigold down from her hiding place to see them, and she allowed them to look, nothing more.

After they left, the chopping resumed, and the putting into containers for the freezer until I'm ready to make pesto, and the labeling and the putting away, which entailed emptying and reorganizing the freezer.  Here they are, posing with the batch of biscuits, minus the ones I had at lunch.

And the mail arrived bringing the spring tension rod I'd ordered in order to shirr two scarves onto it and use at the top of the kitchen window to block the afternoon sun from shining through the tabtops right into my eyes, via the passthrough, in the next room. 

This entailed searching the whole room, including an open drawer, for the nut that leaped out of the packaging and vanished.  Successful outcome, you see topper in place.

So now I'm putting in for my Gardening, Baking, Preserving, Handyperson, Interior Design  and Hostess badges from the Good Housekeeping people. 

Particularly requesting extra credit for having done all these in one morning.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

White Rabbits, July's Here, Hats Rule

The Dolliver hats are done, to their satisfaction, Call Me Michelle having seized on the preppy pink and green, and the others picked their faves.

So here they are, set up on their chaise, dressed for summer,cool drink at the ready, Elton serenading them into a summer of doing nothing or even less.


He rendered a few Good Old Summertime tunes, warming up for Friday's Fourth concert, Summertime played with great eloquence, Take me Out to the Ballpark (hat day, you know) and various noises he assured me were Beach Boy hits. Okay.  And he did fit in a  couple of choruses of O Canada in honor of dolls across the longest unguarded border celebrating their homeland

Nobody to tell the bears, now up to 21 strong about this hat deal. Some of them already have hats, but the others haven't grasped this yet, still getting used to their new surroundings.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Wordless Monday! Hats Ahoy

Just showin' Call me Michelle who bagged the preppie pink and green hat.

Credit: Knitted Babes by Claire Garland.  Great patterns, easy to follow and fun to make.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Hats for the Fourth

The Dollivers announce that Boud presents her compliments to the blogistas, but is unfortunately unable to write this blogpost on account of being obliged to knit up a storm.

We Hatless Dollivers, what it took to get us to this point, pleas, arguing, shouting, picketing.  Finally the outdoor picketing did it, fear of what the neighbors might think, you know, about sadly neglected Dollivers in need of summer hats.  Except for one, of course, but we're not talking about Blondie Firstborn.

We even had to scramble up the yarn, note our nice color choices, perfect for summer lying around, which happens to be our plan for the season.  This is not, as Boud bitterly commented, payback for bringing all those homeless bears into our house and our rocker, no, it's simple justice.  Hats for One, Hats for All, we say!

So since Boud pointed out we were  using her knitting needles for picket signs, we had to disband and let her get on with the casting on.  Four Hats Ready for the Fourth, we say.  You'll be lucky, Ds, she says.  Well, we'll see.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Biography of a stitcher/dressmaker

I made a great buy at the thriftie yesterday, after unloading a carload of items for other people (!) thinking I should be rewarded for that effort, cough, cough. Click to see better.

Two clear toolbox dealies full of stitchers' and dressmakers'  items, all the way from seam rippers to tailor's chalk, zippers, bias binding, many reels of thread, including silk, and darning thread (!) machine needles, handsewing needles of all kinds, huge to very tiny, pins, a collection of thimbles, elastic of all kinds, hemming iron-on stuff, an awl, tiny German made scissors, other small tools I have to figure out probably related to sewing machines.

And among them little items like a book of matches from 1955, an ancient ruler with an ad from a long defunct local company, and a Jewish prayer for travelers, in a tiny scroll inside a glass tube hung on a leather lace, I suppose to wear in transit. I will handle that with great reverence.  I'm guessing that these boxes are from an old lady's house, and I decided then and there to pass them on to good homes, including my own. 

So I sorted one toolbox, filled it with threads, machine spools, everything that was duplicated, all the zippers, ribbons, and so on, and put it on freecycle.  In less than an hour it was gone.  And a waiting list in case it ever happens again!  who said home stitching and sewing were defunct?  not around here, anyway, I'm happy to report.

It occurred to me that these boxes were a kind of biography of the owner, her faith, her general age group, her thriftiness, her skills, and her respect for the materials. No tangles, knots, all were clean if old, all the thread properly wound onto the bobbins. I bet she made underwear, since the fine silk twist was in peach and pink colors. Which would make her pretty skilled at her work.  I hope she knows, wherever she is, that her stuff continues to live.

A long time ago I did a series of drawings, biographies of friends as seen on their desks, all the touches that made them them, and it was surprising how much it revealed.  You could do the same for car trunks, too.  Amazing what shows up in there!  my own car has long been a traveling art studio, so there's no knowing what you'll find.  And when I lived in a smaller space with a fireplace and no storage for wood, my car trunk carried my supply about.  Useful for anchoring my light car on ice, and for keeping up my supply.

So here's another index to who we are, in our stitching supplies.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Summer Solstice on the patio

Here's the patio on the summer solstice, replete (been reading Joyce) with plants growing in the ground, herbs in pots, houseplants, all kinds of items. 

 It's full of links and memories this year, couple of plants, the Norfolk Island Pine and the ivy rescued from Karen's house.  Then there are other plants from another neighbor with a plea to give them intensive care.  

The sansevieria is in fact the property of the former wife of a friend, who heard about my patio and shipped her plant several hours south via friend's truck, to go to camp here and recover from what looks like severe deprivation. 

The herbs are in part from my farmshare, and the gaillardia is growing in the ground, in front of some other yellow flower whose name escapes me.  The pink caladium is in a pot, property of a friend.

Even gardening can get people intensive.  Funny how that happens.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Bloomsday 2014

Once again, dear blogistas, I draw your attention to the date and the month, and announce that I'm celebrating Bloomsday once again.

If you're unfamiliar with this literary event, go here and you'll find out what I'm banging on about.

This year my ceremony consisted of uploading Calibre to my new computer -- that's the site that enables you to transfer Gutenberg Program priceless books to your Kindle -- and proceeded to locate and upload Ulysses, the Joyce novel in question.  

The picture is of page one of said novel, the page nearly everyone has read even if they didn't get any further.  This being a dense, difficult and hysterically funny book, but a very long one.

So, since I don't have to hold a honking great tome in my hand, I will proceed to read this over the summer.  At least that's the plan. James Joyce would have been amazed, I expect.  About the Kindle, I mean.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Bear Garden

In the course of helping clear K's house, I kept on finding bears which the family were putting into the freecycle area, so I figured I had to rescue them.  And ended up with quite a crew, as you see.

I did a gangshot of them occupying the spare room bed, then three sections so you can see a bit better.  And there are two dogs which smuggled themselves in somehow. One barks when you squeeze him, too. They may join the Dolliver kennels.

Now here's the thing: I wondered about naming the bears, so they won't leave unless another home urgently needs a bear, but I'm told this is Not Done in the best bear circles.  You're supposed to wait till the  bear tells you his name.  I dunno, that might be a while.  

Anyway, take a look, blogistas, and if any name just jumps at you for a given bear, I'll take it that the bear made you do it, and we'll go from there.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Home and away

Before I set out for another stitching adventure, see here

I found a dear little toad on the path studying the landscape

 Always encouraging to see toads and frogs flourishing.

Monday, June 9, 2014


Ravelry, the fiber website I haunt, has a massive number of participants, and I just found out how to do a little keyboard dance to find out my own number, as in when I joined.

So I have a new ID:  Raveler #138470

Just sayin'.  This just came down a few days ago, and already there's a hierarchy developing, very good humored, about newbies and old timers!  well over a million now, and I'm more or less a middle timer.

Other newsflashes:  here's what went down yesterday.

A poignant note here:  the Artist in Residence tapestry, which the link shows at the final moments of its completion, was started three months ago.  In fact, just after I warped it up, we got the news of Karen's diagnosis, and I thought, well, I'd better be working than worrying, so I embarked on it anyway.  Saturday was her funeral.  Sunday I put the final stitches into the work.  So it seems to have bracketed the last part of her life.  She saw it in progress, came to the opening at which it was one of the exhibits.  I can dedicate this to her, aka this is all your doing, Karen! shaking fist heavenward. She would fall down laughing at that, actually.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Freecycling and the consolation of teddybears

The last few days for family and friends of Karen, have been a blur of organizing, my part of it being a frantic push to freecycle items from her very crowded house, her family having limited time to clear the place before their own lives have to be attended to.  

Here's just one sample of the many bags of items I selected, sorted, categorized, listed on freecycle, and with rapid exchanges of emails  arranged to pass on to freecyclers who were delighted to receive them.  There's a lot of admin. work behind freecycling, a little realized fact.


Tired from all the work, back a bit achy today, but it does feel better to be doing helpful things.  Many of the items are going, via a saintly freecycler,  to a very struggling Hispanic church group whose members can barely provide for their own basics despite working, so Karen would have been very much in favor of that gift, to give them high quality items, shoes and clothing, blankets, they can use right away.  And some very good toys for their kids, too.  She had nephews and nieces, and kept her house stocked with toys for their visits, so they're now in new little hands.

And I rescued a couple of struggling houseplants from her house and they're on my patio in intensive care right now.

Bittersweet.  It's all bittersweet.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

White Rabbits

Late May I walked the labyrinth for my friend who left us a couple of days ago, and for all of us.  You'll see the Tibetan prayer flags flying, rather low at the moment, since squirrels do acrobatics on them and you have to duck your head as you pass under the flags.

I found a little piece of mica on the path, and put it in the middle of the labyrinth, as a token.  You can see it bottom right on a piece of white rock.

And now, White Rabbits, for a new month. If anyone knows why we say that, let us know.  I've no idea.  Some people say rabbit, rabbit instead, but that's just wrong!

Friday, May 30, 2014

We said goodbye to Karen late last night

This post is to celebrate having known a wonderful person, who was there for me during Handsome Partner's last illness and death and after, and who had such a full on approach to life.  She brought her sisters into my life, too, and I've become an honorary member of the family.

I visited her every day in the last days since she came home from a hospital stay, and did a lot of backup for her sisters, to save them some stress.  And just two days ago I picked fresh herbs and took them over, pinched and let her sniff and enjoy, and smile a little. That was the last time we were able to talk.

I got the text late last night and went over to sit with her, along with her sisters and arriving relatives.  She still looked beautiful even in death.

She loved the labyrinth, and I was glad to have introduced her to it as a practice.  And she used the finger labyrinth I gave her when she couldn't walk it.  Lovely spirit, so big a part of the neighborhood.  Constantly making me try new tastes and fancy new foodie items!  happily making plans for our joint gardening ventures this year.  Bravely struggling back into work for a couple of final days a few weeks ago.  Many people will miss her.

Celebrate with me, walk the labyrinth if that is your practice, prayers if that is for you, good thoughts if you have other ways of marking this time.  Thank you.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Pow! the first iris explodes into color

I always think that flowers like iris actually make a bang when they open suddenly.  Moonflowers literally do make a pop, which I've heard one evening as they opened their buds, unwinding themselves in a wonderful demo of nature and math at work!

Anyway, here, finally, late this year, the first iris appeared.  A freecycler who was picking up the other day noted the lovely bicolor so longingly that I offered him divisions in the fall. And he will come dig with me, bringing some solid purples from his own garden.  Garden freecycling!

So here are pix of my first iris in its bed (there's another bed on the patio, and yet another outside my fence, as well as exports to various neighbors' gardens).  And there's a longer view showing you the parents of my flowers.  They originated on a friend's parents' farm, and after the house was sold, she preserved some as a memorial to them. Click to see better.

I like memorials in the form of flowers, and this is a good weekend to have friendly thoughts of remembering long and recently gone friends, and the flowers we have from them.  Some flowers have been planted as a memorial, others just function that way since the friend has departed.

And we can also remember friends still with us, in the plants they have exchanged with us.  Better than glorifying war, as long as we remember to thank the people who gave everything for us all.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Boys with Toys and Dollivers with Hard Hats

Today, after much sturm and drang and moving of cars somewhere, anywhere, because a lot of our parking was closed to reseal the surfaces, the work began.

The Dollivers, complete with hard hats, though they firmly refused to go outside and risk getting dirty with that black stuff being sprayed, and Elton who figured he might as well have a hard hat, too, on top of his topper, took up supervisory positions in the window.

As Elton played along, a medley of Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho, It's Off to Work We Go, Sixteen Tons, I've Been Working on the Railroad, and other such ditties, would be amazing if anyone of them ever had done any of these things...the Ds watched people work.  One of their favorite occupations.

They did note that the hard hats could also work in Viking costumes and are jonesing to google on Viking clothes to see if they involve beads.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Thriftie Joy

Before I launch into my brag about my thrift score this a.m., I have to explain the title.  A while back a lovely Raveler sold me at a very good price a whole raft of beads in sizes I can use.  She needed to know my address for shipping, and in the answering email, I used the subject line: Bead Joy!

After a day or two she said, well, I do need an address to ship to, and I explained I'd already sent that, but anyway, I resent the email, and she said, OMG, my husband saw that subject line, assumed it was porn and deleted it without opening!  naive me, forgetting the other possible connotations...

Anyway, the joy I refer to today is my Grand Success in find a pair of jeans, perfect condition, right color, right make Gloria Vanderbilt, which always fits me, right size, not a petite, but I can shorten a bit.  My reward for scanning an entire rack of jeans, mixed up sizes.

And a whole trove of great decorative thread which I can use in beading and in embroidery.  

Note the prices.  Change from $10. This is a good thrift day.  Happy Dance!

Monday, May 12, 2014

First wave of campers arrives

Houseplants, that is, on the patio for the summer.  Finally the weather seems settled enough to try them outside.  This is the first wave, from upstairs, to be joined later by downstairs ones including giant ficus tree, which has to be guyed to a fence or other tree because of wind issues in summer, it being top heavy.

 Pony palm in the left corner, then begonias among the cherry bushes, crown of thorns under the hanging boston ferns.  Just out of the pic to the right is the spathiphyllum.

The shade situation is different now that yet another section of the wild cherry is gone in a winter storm, so that's part of the thinking.  The ferns are a bit exposed ,but we'll see how they manage.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day to everyone, mom or not!

Happy Mother's Day to those in the US who celebrate it, and Happy Sunday to everyone.

This morning, call from Handsome Son to wish me, and treasured text from sick friend K wishing me, so generous, with barely enough energy to text, but she still did.

This afternoon HS will come over bearing his homebaked cookies, to have tea with me on the patio, Marigold supervising through the window as you see

where the cherry tree is in full bloom, bees all over it, wonderful orchestra going, and the chaises are out in readiness.  Sunshine, and let's hope it stays that way!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Weeping cherry trees abound


Lovely weeping cherries arching over the path, so you walk through a pink snowstorm when the wind blows.  We will have heavy rain tonight, so this might be the last of the blossoms for the moment.

Click to enjoy more.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Play with your food again!

It's been a while since I played with carving fruit and veggies -- remember the scowling oranges and the bunny made from a giant olive, courtesy of Jacques Pepin?  here's a nice little clip (caution, the sound background is terrible, mute your speakers) showing Ray Duey at work on various fruits and veggies.  He makes animals and flowers and birds out of various edibles.  

This makes me want to try it again!  watch this space...

I have some odd reluctance to carve into food, even if I end up eating it anyway, some remnant of rationing in childhood and the reverence for fresh fruit, I expect.  But it's still fun.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Early spring walk around the house

This morning, despite still being surrounded by roads closed for floods, bridges washed out and other spring phenomena, the flowers are still doing their best, and I took a little walk around the woods and neighbors' gardens and my own first effort at aquiplegia or whatever it is. 

Marigold seized the opportunity to sleep on my newly discarded best cashmere sweater, the day having got warm, and firmly declined to be interested in spring scenery.


So here's a virtual walk.  No prizes for matching pix to names:  pansies, English thyme, lemon thyme, grape hyacinth, dogwood, aquiplegia (must check that, it sounds like a medical term meaning inability of limbs to function in water, which would be me, but I digress), sedum.  

This may or may not be a treat  for readers whose spring has not quite got there yet, or readers who are heading into fall...but oh well.  Enjoy anyway!

So I hauled myself out to check and it's aquilegia. Ah, that's better.