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Farewell to the Oak tree by the Mailbox

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See that lovely tree on the far right—and the bed of ragweed on the right side?

That tree shades the mailbox on the farm where we stay when we are working on our farm house. It has a seat around it–and frequently the mailman will get out of his car, sit on the bench and eat his lunch or snack on the treats my friend leaves in the mailbox for him.

But this week, a huge rain storn with high winds swept through and the tree toppled over. It is a huge tree but it was quite hollow inside. Fortunately a neighbor wants the tree for firewood this winter. Across the Mississippi, the little town of Marquette Iowa did not fare well, old brick buildings with lots of history were torn apart and now lie amidst a pile of crumbled bricks.

Still it will be so sad not to see that tree welcoming me to a place that has become a dear and cherished place.

 

Cherries and Tomatoes

Several years ago I discovered Ranier Cherries—they are a lovely golden reddish cherry made for eating fresh from the bag. I have shared them with co-workers and friends–all of whom went out and bought some as well. Last year I was disappointed to never find any although I looked diligently each week.

But this year they are back–and I am enjoying a full bag of them–and hope there will be more this week.

my20favorite20cherries-mAnd for the big news—after two terribly unsuccessful years in the garden–my raised beds were over-run with grass and I switched to stock tanks filled with rocks and soil—I have my first crop of tomatoes. There are a few more and I have a cucumber vine growing contentedly as well—so hopefully I will have more fresh produce.

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Dick Gordon

When I first heard about the Fly Me to the Moon planned exhibit I was definitely interested and was assigned Dick Gordon. At that time I knew very little about him and so I spent many hours on his website, reading about his missions, and looking through hundreds of NASA photos–all under public domain. All of the astronauts have their photos taken wearing their spacesuits with helmets in hand in a formal pose. I knew that was a dress-up day—and that they worked hard perfecting their skills.

We have been to NASA several times–we live just an hour or so away and it makes for a fun family day with the rockets and all the exhibits. Then, too, I happened upon a set of paintings by one of the astronauts of what it was like to be in outer space—and I was quite envious.

I picked an informal photo of Dick Gordon suiting up.

I decided to represent the earth as I have seen it from a plane–all rectangles and squares and different colors of brown and blue and tan. I separated this with some finely pieced rows of what I thought it might look like to be blasting through space with some jagged white lines through blue—then a wide strip of blue and another set of earth formations as they returned to earth. Some of this fabric was hand-dyes, some commercial fabrics.

Next came the image. Since this was a public domain photo, I enlarged it, then traced off major components. I chose the fabrics very carefully–a brown with stars for his hair, a pledge of allegiance printed fabric for his suit, a dark blue flowered print for the inside collar and cuffs—from my grandmother born in the 1890’s who lived through the Wright brothers first flight, WWI , the depression, WWII, John Glenn’s orbiting the earth, and the landing on the moon. I also included a small bit of fabric from my father’s shirt as the NASA patch–he was a proud WWII veteran who served in Pearl Harbor and flew the flag at every opportunity, bought and wore a poppy every November 11, and marked all the veterans’ graves in local cemeteries on Memorial Day and Fourth of July.

I cut out the large pieces and then hand-applique them into place. I mark the major lines from behind and begin to stitch. This piece took about 30 hours to stitch the face, suit, and hand.

Some quilting is added to the background so it will lie flat. The final step was adding the lettering. I don’t use an embroidery machine–I write them in a wordprocessing program and enlarge them to the appropriate size, then put the paper upside down on the back and trace it over with my sewing machine—then turn to the front and heavily stitch the letters.

Last step is adding a backing, binding and sleeve and a label.

All told this was about six weeks of solid work with four to five hours per day.img_0040-m

Lunar Landing

In 1969 our parents let all of us stay up late to watch the landing on the moon. Although reporting seemed to be much more factual than opinion at that time–there were details omitted from that occasion. One thing was that Buzz Aldrin, an elder at Webster Presbyterian Church off Nasa Road 1 took communion before opening the hatch and stepping out. Every Sunday closest to July 20, that church celebrates Lunar Landing as one of its High Holy Days.

An exhibit of the Apollo missions was on display in the sanctuary–a beautiful space filled with gorgeous abstract stained glass windows by Steven Wilson. The sermon was an eulogy for John Glenn and Annie, both members of that church also–Annie played the organ, John was also an elder and preached several times.

I was fortunate enough to have my piece about Dick Gordon hung. And here I am standing near it—here20i20am20with20my20piece-m

It was a spectacular show beautifully displayed. To my surprise I was welcomed by the associate pastor and greeted by the art director. There will be another meeting on Friday night; I’d love to go but it would mean driving back in the dark–I’m not so good at that any more. We’ll see how brave I am.

Tomorrow I’ll describe some of my process in making the piece.

Wild Thing You Make My Heart Sing

Sylvia Weir Week 25 Wild Thing You Make My Heart Sing

This week’s photo challenge was ‘Wild Thing’.  I remember quite vividly Jim Morrison singing this in our courting days. And Proud Mary and Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival; none of which are particularly romantic melodies.

My husband has a lot of hair–and it is a little bit curly–not as much as mine–but still some waviness. When we married, his hair was about eight inches long and my mother was aghast. He also can grow a full beard in less than a week; typically shaving it off in the winter time==so altering his appearance that our youngest refused to go home with him after school—he was in kindergarten at the time but consented after he heard him speak.

I could write a lot more about him but after nearly 47 years he still makes my heart sing.

Japanese Magnolia

Magnolia blooms have a lovely fragrance that greets you whenever you walk out the door this time of year. This tree is near the front door of my shop and has huge dinner plate size blooms that last just one day. The magnolia in my backyard blooms last several days but are too high up for my to photo; I usually photo my neighbor’s tree–they seem to be accustomed to my odd  wanderings about in their yard.

Several years ago, I spied hummingbirds in my neighbor’s yard and stood for over an hour looking like a peeping tom with my camera trained on their backyard. Fortunately they just laugh and tell me to just come into the yard for better photos.magnolia20bud202-m

Honey

Beekeeping can be challenging and a lot of work at times. The flow (of nectar) has been particularly heavy this spring–surprisingly so and I have had to harvest honey three times this month from just one hive and really need to do it again when the weather clears up. Bees are not particularly fond of having the roof over their head removed while it is raining–and I’m not really fond of working in the rain–walking yes, looking at it from my window and enjoying the sound of the rain on the roof particularly a tin roof, yes==but not working a hive.

Here is my honey harvest from the first go round. I had so much comb honey I used all my freezer containers and had to buy morehoney20harvest-m

from the restaurant supply store.

I do like the carafes for storing honey for use in my kitchen. They are easy to pour from and easy to see how much remains. Unfortunately I do not have tight fitting caps for all of them, I think Toby chewed up one or two and thusly the aluminum foil cap.

 

Ice Cream and Orchids

The Pillsbury table in my dining room is covered with orchids and glass paperweights, the paperweights gifts to my mother-in-law who is now in an assisted living facility in Virginia and the orchids from my membership in the local orchid society.

The June meeting is all about ice cream as members bring either ice cream or complements to the ice cream–cookies or cake or pie and that is our lunch.

One member brought her pansy orchid in full bloom–so pretty and such a lovely smell.

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and the ice cream? selection20of20ice20cream-m

I am happy to report that the Breyer’s and the BlueBell Mint chocolate Chip were both quite acceptable and the Tillamook Salted Caramel also. And the homemade wonderful as always.

What is it?

Sylvia Weir Week 24 What is this

Last week’s assignment was ‘what is it?’. This is always a fun assignment as photos are posted and people guess as to the origin of the photo. Many of the photos are macros or cropped. The guessing is fun and frequently people are stumped. This exercise encourages looking at things from a different point of view.

My entry this year is from a morning’s work in my kitchen.

This is the wax residue from processing five frames of honey from one of my hives. It is a very sticky project and I end up washing my hands and wiping down kitchen counters multiple times during the project, followed by mopping of the floor at least twice. I now have a lot of honey in jars and some comb honey in containers.

This is not a cheap hobby but there are definitely more expensive ones.

Boat

This was the  photo assignment for last week. Although we live fairly close to a marina/yacht club and have a sailboat on a trailer on some property nearby, those all seemed to easy. We also have a dinghy upside down in our backyard to serve as a refuge for the dogs on hot days–and I guess we could use it in case of a tropical storm or hurricane flooding the streets. We are a comfortable 13 feet above sea level and have had water just topping the gutters but never close to the house.

So, I convinced the two dogs to jump onto that dinghy. They were excited and thought it to be some wonderful fun new game–Dora lost interest fairly quickly but Toby thought it was grand because it allowed her to survey the yard from a nice vantage point.

I did take a few other photos that might be better but this week will be another fun challenge.

dinghy-mdinghy-m1dogs20on20boat-mSylvia Weir Week 23 Boat