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Hunting for ork

img_0611-mThis week’s new photo assignment is to find something that rhymes with ‘ork’. Going through the alphabet led me to ‘Stork’. Maybe the spoonbills were out at Cat-Tail Marsh.

It has been a few months since we’ve been there. A new observation post has been set up, the parking lot is nicely paved and level replacing the gravelly rutty one, and it was a fine day–in the 70’s after a few days of miserable gray dreary cold days.

img_0613-mPeople were out…with small children, dogs on leashes; one was a dedicated runner, another was a casual bicyclist. Then there were the photographers—dressed in camo with yard long lenses.

I had my trusty little Canon SX10 and no tripod.

The spoonbills were not to be seen.

img_0620-mIn fact, there didn’t seem to be many birds. Maybe they were frightened away by all the building commotion. We did learn a large eagle nest with chicks was at the far end of the pond and spoonbills were plentiful at Anahuac.

img_0616-mAnother time–perhaps—-but it was a nice day to be out.


Shoveling Sand

view20of20the20river-mSomehow January always flies by along with all of my good intentions. With the federal government in disarray we chose to do our First Day of the Year hike in Village Creek State Park. One of the trails had been re-opened after Harvey with extensive work by the rangers. We marveled at the amount of sand the river had deposited…one ranger told us that sand covered the trees and vegetation..almost like snow!

We learned that work days were planned for volunteers to come in and assist with getting the park back into visitor readiness. On the first Saturday of February, a group of about ten folks arrived with work gloves and ready to work.

sand20in20the20air-mOur job was to smooth out one trail and to reclaim two picnic sites. The flooding had deposited 6 to 12 inches of lovely white…and HEAVY sand on two of the sites. We shoveled and raked and hauled sand for three hours….I did some shoveling and raking–but spent more time taking photos until I filled up my card.working20the20trails-m

The two rangers worked along with us–putting as much if not more effort into the project. We offered all sorts of suggestions of needed equipment and wished TxDOT would repair the bridge soon–easier and safer for needed equipment to drive over a bridge that doesn’t have a huge hole underneath..but the state moves slowly.

But then, the quiet and stillness of just a few people shuffling through the sand and no engines, just the wind whispering in the tree tops, the hawk soaring overhead….maybe it is just fine that the bridge is low on their to-do list.acorns20and20acorn20caps-m

A few more photos of the day are here:

Favorite Photo of the Year

Sylvia Weir Week 52 Favorite Photo of the yearThe last week’s photo assignment was to look through all our photos for the year and choose my favorite—this is not easy–I have hundreds of photos and of course the last ones are always the one closest in mind.

I picked this particular photo of  my youngest grandson, his father–my son—and his mother at his baptism. This little boy apparently has many traits of his father–mischievousness and a winning smile.

He is not verbal yet—he hears both Spanish and English–hard to sort those two languages out but he does know how to holler quite loudly—this grandma’s pig calling voice. And he likes to hide in places creating an atmosphere of posse hunting at intervals during the day.

Although he desperately wished to escape and explore all the secret closets and spaces in this lovely church, his father kept him firmly corralled.

Picnic time

picnic20trees-MMy job involves some driving–sometimes quite a bit.

Texas seems to have a lot of very nice rest stops—with the buildings almost like museums with information about the area; nice picnic tables with grills and sidewalks to stretch legs. The semi truck drivers walk along those sidewalks as do I. Some of them have small dogs with them to keep them company on the long hauls.

Toby and Dora are not good traveling companions. Dora does not like people and will sit down abruptly and refuse to move if she spots a clump of people. Toby wants to greet them all–and would willing run the entire length of the rest area without a leash—investigating all the trash cans–someone may have thrown away a perfectly good half-eaten turkey leg….but she returns at her own pleasure–not at ours.

Dora also feels it is required to identify every person who is on a skateboard, bicycle, or just walking–as imminent threats to us—and we must not have seen them–so she alerts us to their presence.

This trip is by myself–with the radio and a small packed lunch to eat at a rest stop along the way.

Something I don’t miss

sun20is20definately20up-MThis photo was taken while I was in Colorado in November.

Snow is lovely to look at.

The sound of falling snow is peaceful.

Sun glistening off the snow and the treetops covered with snow is beautiful.

Everything looks clean and fresh.

But then there is the shoveling that must be done before you can go anywhere.

Getting stuck because you can’t see where the road ends and the ditch begins.

Snow on your feet means wet floors inside.

Lit fireplaces means ashes spewed from chimneys and blackened, grayed, dirty snow.

Sun means melting snow with cold nights means a coating of ice on everything.

About a week’s worth of snow is just about right.

Here my ‘snow’ comes in liquid form—and stays around just about as long as it does in Colorado. Being just 30 feet above sea level means the water does not go anywhere very fast.

Photos are a good way to remember and enjoy without getting cold or wet or falling on the ice.

Number Three

My mother was a quilter and left me quite a few unfinished projects along with her fabric—lots of rust and turquoise==my least favorite colors. I’ve been working on finishing the little pieces as baby quilts for her great-grandchildren–but it has been slow-going.

There were quilt tops for each grandchild to be given on the occasion of their wedding–I have four left–two handed out this year.

And then there was this piece.

She had a class of quilting students–and together they decided they wanted to make a smallish wall quilt commemorating the establishment of Prairie du Chien–I think—I really don’t remember what event they were focused on—but here it is—-

I put it on that UFO list I talked about yesterday—and wouldn’t you know it–but it was number three and the number that was drawn for the month of January.

I had hoped it wouldn’t be the very first month—but here it is—and I’ll have to figure out how I want to finish it—and then take it to the new library in town and see if they have a place to hang it.UFO203202019-M

Triangulating a Finish

happy20scxrapper20triangles202018-MI’ve been working hard at converting quilt tops into finished quilts. I am really good at making lists–but somehow the list-making got done but the items on the lists just moved around–and never moved to the ‘done’ section.

Last Year I signed up for the American Patchwork UFO challenge–listing 12 projects and working on them in the random order determined by someone picking a number. I think I finished ten of the 12 projects I listed—plus several others. This one was not on the list, but now it is quilted and ready for  binding.

It is easy to find the one block I turned the wrong way in this quilt—but it will have to stay there.

Some people don’t like the binding part—I don’t mind–and it never seems to take long. What I didn’t like was basting the top, batting, and backing. Now with Vivian–my Gammill, that is no longer a procrastination creator.

And yes, I filled out my form for another year.

First Day Hike

IMG_0452-MAfter what seemed to be years of daily rain, dreary skies, and chilly winds, a day outdoors–anywhere—seemed like a great idea.

We scanned through the various offerings by Texas State Parks–Sea Rim looked fun–but then there was Village Creek. I had been as far as the front gate but never inside–and it was just twenty minutes away.

The sun came out and the day was pleasant enough in the sun and walking–standing and in the shade of all those pine trees it was a bit chilly.

A smallish group assembled and we walked through what we could. Hurricane Harvey had moved several bridges; tipped one on its side, took out the canoe landing and a road–and deposited a lot of sand in the picnic area–those ubiquitous gas grills were only inches above the sand when the waters receded.

Promises of a new road, a new canoe landing, a new bridge–all to be completed before next year’s first day hike—-and of course, a work day the first Saturday of each month.

More photos from the day are here:



Ending Again with a Swirl

Sometime earlier this year I made a list.

I’m good at making  lists; its a good way to procrastinate. Instead of doing something, I can make a list–or just re-arrange things and then make a list.

However, after making a list this time, I set to work on doing some finishing.

In December, I quilted six tops–six that had been moved from place to place–but now are quilted and waiting for binding.

Quilt20room-MSome people dislike binding–I really enjoy it–it feels like the last loving touch on a quilt that will comfort and cuddle someone–it may be someone I know–or someone I don’t but it always goes with my love and prayer.

Vivian–named after my grandmother–and I quilted them. I like pantographs–edge to edge quilting patterns–I only have to think about the beginning and ending of each row–just once and then the ending row—otherwise it is mindless following the little red dot across a pattern–and for these two–it was a swirling curlicue with gentle curves.

let20it20snow20table20runner-MMy list still has quite a few on it–but I made a significant dent—now to the binding.

Handy Hexies

hexies20quilted-MSometime a year or maybe it was two or three years ago, I decided to try English Paper Piecing. I wanted something simple, something I could work on while watching/listening to movies on Netflix–or maybe an oldie from our stash of DVD’s.

I found a die cutter and promptly began to cut out dozens of hexagons from advertisements, used envelopes and then hand-basting bits of fabric to them. After I had accumulated a small bagful I put them together in small flowerettes at first and then just randomly. Eventually it became too big to manipulate easily and so it is now quilted in straight lines and ready for binding—and to rejoin me in watching/listening to movie in the evening as my lap quilt in my somewhat drafty and chilly living room.

That washed out look on the top–is from the sun streaming in across my Gammill long arm sewing machine—also known as Vivian.