29 July 2015

Lots of Rain and Not Much Art

Hello Readers!

The muse hasn't totally returned yet. She's here for a bit and gone for a bit longer! Things are progressing but I really do not have a lot of art to show you all. Most of this post will consist of me rambling on about the milo field, the rain, my critters, the neighbors' critters and wild critters (lots of critters apparently) and whatever happens to pop into my mind while this post is being written.
Better settle in with a cuppa something cause it's going to be a rambling post, there is no doubt!

We will start with the art. 
 Back side of the altered envelope I sent to my partner this month. EAU is hosted at AFA (there's a link up there on the top right hand column).  As soon as I had painted "JUNE" on the edge of the envie I realized June had been done and over with for more than a week! There was no fixing it without mucking things up so when I mailed the envelope off to Canada, I had the mail clerk put one of the many stickers it needed over that boo boo.
 This started out as a plain brown bubble 9x6 envelope. I painted the big fish directly on the envelope in acrylics. The smaller green fish on the front of the envelope was painted on cereal box chipboard and then glued to the envelope. My partner said it took some blows on its journey through the postal system but all in all she liked it fine. I'm glad she liked the goodies that were inside also!
 These are the fishes I decided to send in to the 3D fish swap. I made a bunch of fishes ad had a devil of a time deciding which would be best for the swap. If you read this blog regularly you seen all those fishes before. 21 were paper mache. 7 were fabric. 4 were made from TP tubes. And 7 were made from cardstock and glitter.
I have a ton of fish to trade!
 I played with my newest white pen a bit. It's a Permapaque opaque pigment marker. It has two different sized tips, one at each end. It's not the best white marker I have ever used. I got it on clearance for less than $2 at Hobby Lobby back in May. This is an ATC. The drawing was free handed on black paper that was then adhered to cardstock.
 I crocheted another bag.
 Same bag. It's made from cotton yarn and plastic poly rope. I call it the creel bag cause it really reminds me of wicker creel for holding fish while out on the river. I don't think it is quite done yet. I think it needs some fishes on the outside of it. This bag will probably show up on the blog again in the future.
The 5 minute challenge. Goofy looking cat drawn and colored in 5 minutes time. ATC size. Done in markers on cardstock.

And that ends the art show and tell for today. There are a couple projects sitting on the kitchen tale that will be done before the next post appears.  If you came just for the art, thanks so much for stopping by!
I am sorry the muse neglected to inspire a masterpiece this time around. Perhaps next post will hold something truly special from the muse. 

Now I'm going to ramble on about the milo field. Mostly for my own amusement but feel free to join in .
 13 July 2015
Check out that long squarish cloud on the horizon! And also notice the field is completely green. On the 13th, I still wasn't certain this was milo growing. It  could have been silage or some such stuff.
 Ten days later on the 23rd, the field is turning yellowish. And it was raining that morning as well. I braved the elements to take a picture of the milo. There is no doubt, it is milo!

Two mornings later, on the 25th, I again braved the elements to take a picture of the milo. It's growing heads now and has lost some of the yellowish color from a few days before.

It rained for three days straight earlier this week. End of last week actually. Today's only Wednesday. I got lucky and caught a bolt of lightning in this picture of the milo field from the 25th. Must of been my lucky day that I didn't get struck by said lightning! 

Considering I walked out the milo field to show you all the baby heads of milo. 
I'll make regular updates with upclose pictures of the milo from time to time. I believe it will be around November when the milo is harvested. If memory serves me correctly, milo has to go through a cold spell before they cut it. And bonus is that they will more than likely put cows on this field come winter when the milo is cut.

 If you look closely in the center of this photo you will see the front porch spider. It rained on the night of the 23rd and FP decided to get out of the wet by building a nice web across the doorjamb of the front  door. I almost walked through that web when I opened the door that morning.  I took probably a dozen pictures of FP and could not get the camera to focus on him and not the background.
 Using the flash produced a nice image of the web, but did little good to the spider. FP is still living on the front porch. The pictures make him look a lot bigger than he really is. If his legs span half an inch he's doing good. I destroyed his web with one of my paint brushes after I deposited him on the wicker chair on the front porch. He can stay because he earns his keep. Each fly he catches doesn't come in the house and bother me. I hate flies!
I took a walk around the yard one morning a few days ago...on the 24th I think. Of course the kitties followed me.
 Murray was sitting on the porch of the bachelor's pad, yawning like she hadn't had enough sleep.
 She jumped up on the railing, still yawning.
 She sat on the railing a few minutes, yelling at me as I took her picture time after time.
 She tired of me pestering her and jumped up on the roof of the bachelors pad and then to the roof of the burnt house. As I made my way back to the house from the milo field, I spied her sitting on the edge of the roof, watching me. It is usually Tippy I see on the roofs.
 One of the gourd plants along the trench to the north of the house. It's growing wonderfully! Wild gourd. The gourds are tiny, smooth things about the size of a mandarin orange....between a golf ball and a tennis ball. It covers a lot of ground! Growing with it are marijuana (wild) and a mystery plant. No clue what kind of plant that is.
 A wider view.
 A gourd blossom.  This gourd is a perennial. It comes back year after year, bigger each than the last. We have a few of these gourd plants growing on the property. This one just happens to be the one closest to my back door.
 This is trouble. Bindweed. Bad stuff! Bindweed is like a miniature morning glory. It has tiny white trumpet shaped flowers that open in the morning. It's invasive and if someone doesn't do something about this stand, it will take over the whole yard eventually. Brother mows the flowers off so it doesn't go to seed as readily. But that will not stop it entirely.
 The poultry from next door came for a visit. This is Max and Daisy being watched by Tippy cat. She was WAY TOO interested in those ducks than I was comfortable with. This was their first introduction outside of their pen that I know of.  Brother has been letting them out of the pen for a few weeks now but they were slow in discovering my yard. They always went west when they were let out. Took them this long to realize they could go east too.
I was sitting on the back porch steps when I took the pictures of Tippy and the ducks. Those things hanging down from the top of the picture are deer antlers that hang on the hand rail of the porch. They're shed antlers, not harvested.

 The ducks have three chickens for company too. Eric the rooster is on the left and his lone hen, who remains nameless. There's another rooster is who is quite young. He was out of shot in this picture. He looks remarkably like the hen, with the exception of his big comb. He doesn't have a name either. Eric is a black rooster. My nephew named the ducks and rooster. I find it hilarious that we have a rooster named Eric. Every time I think of it, I laugh. I used to know a fellow named Eric who have made an excellent rooster!

Tippy stalked the ducks for quite awhile. She never went for them, but she followed them around. Crouching down like cats do when on the prowl. Those silly ducks acted as though they could care less they were being stalked. The rooster, who is supposed to protect his flock, was busy filling his belly with scraps, at the time the ducks were in peril. 
Tippy finally gave up on the ducks when I shooed them back home, as it was almost time for them to penned up for the night.
The ducks are in front of two of the four plum bushes. Between the ducks and Tippy is the mulberry tree planted last spring. The gray line running across the picture is US Highway 24. I shooed these silly fowl out of the ditch the other day. They were out there in the tall grass, chasing grasshoppers. If they get out on the highway, it is very likely they will become dead fowl. One can't stop on a dime doing 65 miles per hour! So far, so good! Hopefully Tippy has given up stalking the poultry! Murray and Lola cats were both out there with the ducks and chickens right along side Tippy. But neither of them seemed near as interested as Tip did!
 The wind blew pretty good on the 24th during the night. It poured about an inch and a half of rain that night too. I was sitting at the kitchen table working on a project when something went crashing outside. I thought it was the plastic chair that sits on the front porch had gone sailing off the porch. I didn't even bother to stop what I was doing and go see what had crashed. It was pouring down rain and blowing like crazy out there. I really thought it was the chair. Next morning Ma came over and says, "Did you know half of the pear tree is on the ground?"
I hadn't a clue! I forgot all about that crashing outside once the rain had stopped. The plastic chair was tipped over, but it was still on the porch. Ma and I went to town that morning and did not see another tree limb down, not one! As you can see from this stack of wood, what came down was not little! Half of the tree fell down! I am so thankful it did not fall on the house! That would have been disastrous!
This next bit is a bit gross if you care nothing about bugs. I like bugs and found this really interesting. 
I throw scraps out in the yard and wild animals dispose of them for me. If I had a compost heap, I'd be throwing the scraps in there. I just use the entire yard for a compost heap and spread the goodness around while it's being made rather than make it all in one spot. At any rate, I threw two big chunks of watermelon rind out for the butterflies (cause butterflies LOVE watermelon!) early last week.
 The watermelon rind had been in this spot for several days and had been rained on twice. First day the butterflies were in abundance. As the rind started to dry up, beetles arrived. Little black beetles. No picture of them. On my walk about the yard, I was astonished to find the watermelon rinds covered in big green japanese beeltes.
 There were a total of 23 big green beetles on the two rinds.
 I've been an avid bug explorer my entire life and I have never seen that many japanese beetles congregated in one spot, till now.
In the picture below, don't let those dead looking bugs fool you. There are both quite alive and well! I don't think japanese beetles bite. I know they are pests, though I'm not sure what they are pests of. They don't seem to be eating anything other than old watermelon at the moment.
 The elm tree has eyes. It used to have a nose and mouth as well, but they blew away in a storm and I never found them. The eyes are plastic and held to the tree with two nails.
 I don't know what happened for the elm tree to have gotten such a big scar, but I like how it looks. Probably a big storm did some damage years ago to this tree.  I just like this picture and who  better to show it off to you than you all?
 The mystery vegetable is growing nicely. I'm not too worried that the gray beetle will feast upon my mystery squash. These gray beetles are all over the yard. I'm thinking the mystery plant is an acorn squash. I'm really not sure though. It has three blossoms on it right now so if any of them turn into squash we will find out what kind they are.
I leave you with Murray and Tippy deciding what kind of mischief they can get into.
Thanks for hanging in there to the end!

be good to one another!
It matters....

15 July 2015

Getting Back at it, Whatever IT is

I have a lot to talk about today. Some of it good, some of it not so good and some of it I wish I hadn't had to go through. 
We will start with the stuff I wish I hadn't had to go through.
Fred dog is gone. He's resting peacefully in a large hole in the backyard. He got a cool soaking rain shower this morning so that spot will soon cover with nice green grass. He snacked on grass just before it happened. The vet came out and did his deed on the 10th of July. The day before my youngest son turned 31. Fred had fallen down the front steps twice the day before. At 2 o'clock in the afternoon I called to have the vet come out the next day. It was time to bid the poor ol' fella adieu. 
My youngest boy, Rich is the one who brought Fred dog to live with us 14 and half years ago. Fred was five weeks old. How can one not fall in love with a black lab puppy? It isn't possible. 

Before Fred, I was a cat person. I liked dogs but didn't really want to live with one. Fred changed all that. He took over the sofa. He had to be fed everyday. I had to pay attention to him all the time lest he get himself into a pickle. I acquired another child the day Fred came into my life. The boy child grew up, moved away, came back home, moved away, repeated that cycle a few times, and still Fred stayed with me. He wasn't my dog when he was five weeks old when the boy brought him home! 
I wouldn't change a minute of the time spent with Fred dog in my life. He was quite the character! He kept me entertained on a regular. He accompanied me on long road trips and short ones. He patrolled the property and kept all stray cats away. He was a thief, a beggar and a damn fine friend!
He really was a thief! Onions off the counter, literally right behind my back. My purse taken to the driveway. My dentures. Spaghetti noodles. Numerous loaves of bread. The neighbor's trash. The neighbor's shoes. I can't remember it all.  Every time I turned around, he was taking something that wasn't his.  The first eight years of his life, he heard, "That's not yours!" more times than he heard his name! 
He loved his kitties and chased any cat he wasn't familiar with right out of his yard.
I worried when he romped with the coyotes. I worried when there was a dead deer anywhere near the house. That fool dog dragged home a dozen dead deer in his life. And every single one of them made that dog stink to high heaven! He did love baths as long as we took him to the lake to give him one.
It's been very quiet around here for the last five days. 
I'd like to have another dog someday, I think. 
 Poor old thing looks tired. This is three days before saying farewell. 

Here he is the morning we put him to rest. He slept in front of the fan for hours and hours the last three days of his life. He tried to play red dot (with the laser pen) earlier in the day but his eyes had gotten so bad with cataracts that he couldn't keep track of it. And his back legs refused to work in tandem that day. He wasn't up to doing much physical activity. He did try though. 
I will miss this silly hound till the end of my days.

I really don't know what to make of Fred's mama meeting the very same fate as he, on the very same day, for the very same ailment...Daisy May's legs gave out on her just like Fred's gave out on him. I was quite surprised to see Daniel post about Daisy May when I was just fresh from paying the vet. Very strange. At least Fred will be able to run with his mama. 
RIP Fred and Daisy May!

I do have a lot of arty things to show you all. I have been gone for ten days from the blog and if you have read for any length of time you will know my hands are seldom idle.
I made all these stamp magnets before the last post and forgot to show them all to you guys.
 I took cancelled postage stamps from around the world, new and old stamps and mounted them on a piece of black cardstock and then to flat sheet magnets and cut to size. The magnets were freebies from the county fair last year and others that came in the mail with advertising on them.
 I simply covered the advertising side up with pretty images on stamps.
 I covered them all with a nice shiny varnish too.
 I don't really know how many there are. I'm thinking around 70 or so.
I counted them right after I made them but this old brain of mine runs into fog some days and I don't remember much from some days like that. It was a fun little mindless distraction from the struggles with Fred. He was usually close by.

 This is the backside of the altered envelope I sent to my partner in June.
Acrylics on plain white envie.
This is the front. I think I got that backwards. This is the back and the frog is the front. I'm telling ya! My mind is going! lol
 I have another embroidered ball in the works.
 I made a few journal pages.... this one is circles cut out of magazine paper.
 manilla file folder with purple tissue paper, green acrylic ink and yellow acrylics
 painted newspaper on ups envelope
 more magazine circles
all of these are adhered to a backing made either of a cereal box, a UPS envelope or a manilla file folder.
 magazine paper and acrylic paint
 remnants of painted newspaper
 magazine paper circles.
 painted newspaper
 magazine paper and acrylic inks
I've been working on sewing these into the cover of the book for the last few days. I had way more pages than I needed for one book. 
This is what the cover looks like. I cut the stems and leaves out of painted chipboard from a cereal box. The flowers are painted circles of different sizes covered with scraps of fabric and glued together and then glued to the cover. The cover is a cereal box. This book will be over three inches thick when its finally all sewn together. Then the fun begins when I start filling it up with journaling!
 I've done some crocheting. This market bag was made in a few hours one afternoon while watching hulu. Might of been YouTube. It's made from poly rope and acrylic yarn.
The hank of poly rope I was working from on the market bag was almost gone when I finished the market bag so beings there wasn't a lot of red yarn left as well, I crocheted a small red basket. It's about 4 inches across, 6 inches tall or so.
 This is the beginnings of a book cover. Remnants of painted newspaper. Tiny pieces of remnants.
 I started another batch of skulls. Not sure if these will be magnets, ornaments or just what.
 Still working on all the components. The tin is filled with inch and quarter circles of aluminum cans for skull eye holes. The little green box has tiny squares of dead CDs cut with the tin snips. Not sure I have enough tiny CD pieces for all 29 skulls that are ready to be embellished. I didn't shoot for 29 skulls when I was cutting them out of chipboard food packaging boxes. I ran out of chipboard and ended up with 58 skulls. Need two for each finished skull so it worked out OK. I figure these should be done within a few weeks.
 These are the fishes I decided to send in for the swap. Paper mache, googly eye and sequins. They're between 3.5 and 4 inches long.
 I have about a ton of toilet paper and paper towel tubes saved up and I was looking around for something to make from them one night last week. I found the tutorial on how to make a dress form for a miniature dress.  Here's the tutorial so you can make your own. There's also a tutorial on this video to make a ballet slipper out of a tp tube. I have not made the slipper.
I need to make a stand for the dress form and then I will make a little dress to fit it!

If you came only for the art, we are pretty much done with that update. I do have another market bag in the works. I forgot to take a picture of it despite the fact it's sitting on the desk, not more than a foot from me! It's coming along nicely. I will show it off in a future post.

From here on out in this post we'll be taking the scenic route around my neck of the woods.
 The milo is looking mighty nice. I'm still not 100% sure it is milo. It got a nice shower this morning. Rained to beat the band. The wind blew a little too hard for my comfort, but all is well. The sun came up and everything looks so clean!
It's suppose to get hotter than the hubs of hell today. Might be more thunderstorms again tonight. I'm only hoping there are no tornados!
This would not be good!
My oldest son took some wonderful pictures of a tornado 1/4 mile from his house two days ago. I can't figure out how to share those pictures with you all from facebook or my phone. Technically challenged individual here....

Ma and I took a trip to Hays last Friday. I took some pictures on the way home.

 People who do not live in Kansas have the notion that Kansas is flat. Those look like some pretty big hills to me. Taken between Hays and Plainville, Kansas on Highway 183 heading north, looking east.

 This hill was blasted away to put the highway through. It's a very large hill. Again between Hays and Plainville.
 And look! There's some more hills in the distance! I wish we would have taken the back roads home. A drive through open range wouldn't have hurt my feelings any but time was wasting and we had to get home.
 Crossing the river bridge into Stockton. I forget the name of that river....I really should know the name of that river. It runs less than a quarter mile away from my house. I believe it might be the Solomon Valley River.
 A picture of my mailbox across the highway where I traipse to get cool mail. I am probably one of the very few in Stockton who get colorful mail art on a regular basis.
 I leave you with the sunset setting a couple evenings ago. Top picture was taken out my back door without any zoom.
And here it is with the zoom as far as it would take me. 

Thanks for hanging around to the end!
Be good to one another!
It matters!