Saturday, May 31, 2008

Merry Month of May

Alstromeria among the Sweet Peas

It's been an exciting week to culminate a wonderful month. May is always my favorite month. I really didn't realize it until The Artist and I spent two glorious, sunny weeks in England one May. "The Merry Month of May", from Camelot still runs through my head when I think of that time, and it truly is merry. Wisteria all over. Green. My friend's yard full of salvia. Lovely. (When can we return?)

The Artist was profiled in a national magazine and had a carving in another. The Artist was also on Community Television. I planted some more in the garden. Celebrated an annual event. I have had two four-day weekends. Life is fun.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Fire and Fiber

'Tis still the season

Big fire started early Thursday AM in the Santa Cruz Mountains. I didn't go for my usual walk, but on my way to work noticed huge, brownish fog rolling in. Very heavy fog and very localized? No. It was smoke billowing from a huge fire started on the Santa Clara side. Very heavy winds all day from the mountains, not the usual direction, spread the fire down the Santa Cruz side near Corralitos. Ten homes lost. Warm day did not help. Overnight, the wind changed direction and the weather reverted to real fog. It still was not contained.

I've been working on my fiber art piece. I'm doing Plan B. Satin stitch. It looks good. I still like it, even tho I've been looking at it for several months. To me, that's a test. Unfortunately, my shoulders and back are very sore from using muscles I don't normally use.

I had to run out for thread today because I got navy instead of black earlier. (I think someone put it back in the wrong place.) As I was coming out of the fabric shop, a kid on a skateboard ran into me! He was very sorry and kept asking me if I was all right. Good thing I'm in top physical condition, or something like that.

Trip to Aptos this AM to the BIG Farmer's Market, primarily for cherries. Got some 50 cents a pound peaches. I don't care for early peaches, but at 50 cents? Since they are bruised, you have to prepare them immediately; they are good macerated for yogurt. I also made rhubarb crisp. Got dates. Skirt steak to grill.

I took Friday off, so I have a four day weekend. Also, I'll have one next weekend. Kind of nice. But I'll be working on my piece the entire time.

The Artist is going to be on Community Television in San Jose Wednesday as part of a show on the Baulines Craft Guild.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Ah, Sweet Peas

I can just smell them now, can't you? The wonderful thing about sweet peas is that you have to cut them, or else they go to seed and stop producing. So you let them bloom, cut them, bring them inside, put them in a vase and sit around sniffing them. Ah, Heaven! Then, they bloom again in a couple days!

I used to plant sweet peas with my father when I was little. Every April (as I recall; maybe it was March) we'd plant in front of his shop. He'd dig up the cold ground, pound in the sweet pea double-staked wooden trellis foundation with protruding little nails heads in a row and I'd unroll the string, winding it around the nails, up and down, stand and squat, and plant the big, round seeds, one inch apart.

Nice weekend. Very warm on Saturday. It was a great day to have a neighborhood yard sale and sit around the driveway in my shorts and a V-neck T shirt getting a red chest. I also trimmed the lemon verbena, which should have been done last winter. I have a hard time just sitting still, sometimes. Bought a book from my neighbor and finished it this morning. The Artist and I made $17 and change. What's left is going to Goodwill, not to the attic.

The Artist and I used our new shower for the first time last night. It's great! It works! It's big and unclaustrophobic! The Artist is playing a tune on one of his dulcimers right now - Pack Up Your Sorrows.

Today I worked on my Fiber Art piece. The Artist worked on a birdhouse to enter in a show. It's so creative! So him.

We're both tired. Don't know if we can watch that movie or not!

Guess I'll just sit around and sniff sweet peas.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Hot, Hot, Hot (It's All Relative)


We're having a heat wave! Well, maybe not according to life in Phoenix, but along the California coast, it's very pleasant.

Mother's Day was very calm and relaxing. We visited friends in the mountains, then Mother of The Artist came for barbequed lamb and artichokes. (Artichokes are a specialty of the area. They like to grow in the usually abundant fog.) Mooshed strawberries and whipped cream parfait for dessert. Very luscious. Strawberries are another specialty of the area, shipped all over the country from our county. I'm still recovering from the excess. Mother of The Artist needed new "unmentionables" (as my father used to say), so I shopped later in the week. That's one of the duties of a good daughter-in law.

Cecile Brunner roses reflected in the double pane window

I promise this is my last photo of Cecile Brunner for the year, but it was too good to pass up. As I was going back inside after watering my tomatoes, beans and squash one morning, I caught this view. (I must have had my computer glasses on to see the closeup!) I loved it! The neighbor's palms and my lemons.

The Artist and I saw Yankee Doodle Dandy with James Cagney last night. What a great movie! I fell asleep during the cartoon.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Garden is Finally In

Three tomato plants, two kinds of beans from saved seeds, squash also from saved seeds, and mammoth sunflowers, vintage 1995, just to see if they will come up.

We have one reddish strawberry, one purple columbine and several sweet peas. Begonia tubers in hanging baskets are coming out of hibernation.

Strawberries in the market are incredible. Cherries from the Central Valley are coming in.

The house next door is for sale. $849,000. It's a mess from so many kids living in it. Hope there's not a monster house that gets built. Hope there's no more kids.

Did The Artist's books today. Why? I was behind. Still am. Ghastly doing it after closing the Hospital's books all weekend. Monthly meeting tomorrow.

Time for bed. (z-z-z-z-z-z)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Green Leaves of Spring

Poison Oak Leaves in the Spring

I love to hike, but haven't walked much lately because I'm too, uh, tired. No, it's been too cold. No, let's face it. I've been just too lazy in the mornings. The best time is very early, about 7 AM.

One of the reasons we purchased our little house was because it was close to the ocean and the nearby State Park and The Artist and I felt it would be easy to take walks and exercise. Close to the ocean it is, and he is very good about walking, but I've really sloughed off lately. On one weekend trip we took together, we ran into the lovely green leaves of spring above. Poison Oak leaves are just gorgeous in shades of red and orange in the Fall, and disguise themselves as bare branches in the Winter. In all states they produce very toxic oils that can make your skin itch, so I hear. They are just so shiny and pretty!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

An Unfortunate Scene with a Gopher

First Sweet Pea

I started out to the garden this chilly, foggy morning to take a sniff of my newly blossoming sweet peas. As I got half way thru the sliding glass door, something caught my eye, running along side the house at my feet, under the door plate. I, a rather voracious reader of Medieval novels, immediately assumed it was a large rat carrying the bubonic plague. The giveaway was the lack of a long tail. Not a rat, but a fat gopher. We have often seen them running around the neighborhood this year, probably because of all the building. (In this year of real estate doom and gloom, there are about 4 new houses going up and several remodels. Some people are optimistic, or else have lots of cash and want to live by the ocean.)

Anyway, this confused gopher was not going to get in the house on MY watch! I slammed the door and caught him against the side of the house with my be-slippered foot and screamed for The Artist, who was a few feet away in his shop creating a wonderful new rote with six double-faced keys. My Hero. The gopher was shortly sent to the garden as fertilizer. We checked gopher central, out in the alley, and among all the gopher mounds was a patient little kitty, waiting to pounce on his next treat. Poor kitty missed this lucious one. (All I could think of was that old children's song, which starts out, "Gobs...".)

Worked on my fiber art piece all this weekend. I have to get it done in order to get slides made for a show deadline. It was going really well until I ironed some glue without the parchment. Whoops. Time to pull the plug, cool the iron, and do something else. I'm really pleased with my accomplishments this weekend. I've learned so much about fiber art in the past three years, thanks to so many people in my fiber art group.

I decided to celebrate and made myself some hot chocolate. The way I make it always makes me think of breakfast in France.

Nap time.

Friday, May 2, 2008

I'm in love

Another view of Cecile

I counted 17 Cecile Brunners on my way home through the West Side this evening, and that didn't include the one at our old house or the one in our backyard. This is the week for these wonderful, little roses!

The Artist and I went out gallery-hopping tonight on this, the first Friday of the month. Lots of many different kinds of artwork. (But none like his. None that even came close.) The exhibit we each liked best was the clay show. Maybe it's because we're used to seeing craft. It was also very well presented. Funny, the different people at each of the shows. Some we knew, many we didn't.

I had a very good time, but very few goodies were left to eat at the galleries. For something very unusual, I drove. (I think because we're trying to save on gas and took my little car. Too late to ride our bikes.) We counted Cecile Brunners in the dark on the way back home, the same route that I took this afternoon. The bushes are so distinguished - big and so full of roses - that the huge mounds glitter, giving themselves away under the street lights. We counted about eleven, so we must have missed a few small bushes. I didn't drive onto the curb.