Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Sticking our necks out for a good cause

"Look what Molly found!" That should have been the clue that my evening was about to get interesting. Ernst came in with a big box. Hmm, what could it be? Buried treasure? A gold watch? An adorable kitten? Nope, this was going to be a very interesting evening. In the box was an extremely lively turtle! A turtle that was clearly thinking outside the box. He wanted out and he wanted out immediately.

I was repulsed and fascinated at the same time. My vision of a tortoise was a s-l-o-w m-o-v-i-n-g creature, not the little whipper snapper we had before us. It was healthy but not very happy! The encounter with Molly was all bark and no bite, at least none that got past the shell.

What to do with a turtle that came with no instructions? We called our neighbors, Hey do you want a turtle? I emailed a friend in Reno who was just saying she would like a turtle. Ernst asked yet another neighbor if he would like a new pet. We wondered if we should put up Found Turtle signs.

Ernst got on Google and identified it as a Box Turtle. He also discovered S.T.T.C. Sacramento Turtle and Tortoise Club. They have 950 members. Who would have thought? We called the founder and she said I could bring the little guy (or was it a girl?) to her house. If she wasn't home, I could put it in the aquarium on her front porch that is strictly for found turtles. Really? There are rescue tortoise people who live in the Greenhaven Area?

Off I went on my adventure with the idea in the back of my mind - Is this some sort of sick plot to kidnap the turtle rescuing public? Pushing that thought away I tried to drown out the scratching from the cardboard box with a riveting NPR interview. OK, I can't remember a word of it, but it helped at the time to keep my mind off a possible escape plot being hatched behind my seat. Hatched - what if it's a girl turtle?

Felice met me at the door and took our little guy into her turtle tested hands. It's a boy, she declared. How old, I asked? No telling, but he was a grown-up. They can live 150 years. And while we had tried to feed him lettuce and apple, they prefer meat and bugs. As I left, she was telling him there were lot of girl turtles there to meet. He'll be kept for one month in case he's a stray and then adopted into a loving home where he can live outdoors - without a dog.

"Yum, yum! Turtle Soup!"




"Who'd have thought there was a Turtle Club?"

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Turning whines into water

Mornings are not my thing and heat annoys me. Not a good combo for getting up early and being part of the RBC drink crew in summer. The past four days had me up in the morning chill, making coffee and tea for the first onslaught of liquids. Then it was onto the main task of our drink team, keeping people happy and healthy and hydrated. I even wore an apron and a baseball cap and yes, the dreaded hairnet. The kind that looks like a spider web. The kind of hairnet that only 0.00000000000047% of the world's females looks good in. That woman is not me. Sorry, no pictures of the arachno-do. 

How did we hydrate the many volunteers at the Rancho Cordova hall build, even in this early blast of heat? Water - lots of it. And ice, we can't forget the ice. Powdered Gatorade mix, a must. Sweet tea for some, unsweetened for those who think sweet tea is for hummingbirds. Lemonade, there just has be lemonade. And the crowd favorite, even for the rough and tumble framing crew? Water infused with cucumber and lemon slices. Spa water, as we called it, was the popular choice from the line of orange cooler buckets. I'll be dreaming of orange buckets and ice running out. Maybe a nice cold one would help?

Unfortunately the yogurt machine was broken - a No Go on the Fro Yo.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

How I hung out on Earth Day

Monday was Earth Day. I don't think it noticed much difference.

My stubborn refusal to buy paper towels and paper napkins - is it because I'm "green" or just because I'm cheap? A little of both, but it's all good. Reduce - Reuse - Recycle - Refuse to buy stuff that you only use once. (No worries, we still use TP.)

Now that the weather is so nice and warm, it's time to get our clothesline up at the new house. We have a set of two retractable units that will be anchored to the covered patio just like at the old house. They provide lots of room for hanging out the laundry, but they can be coiled back when we don't want our guests whacking their heads on our unmentionables. Installing this is one of the many things on our Spring Summer-to-do-List. Until then, I have to make due with a rack type dryer from IKEA. Now if we could just find that big box of time we lost in the move...we know it's somewhere...as soon as we unpack it we can get to work on that Spring Summer Fall List.

Needing more elbow room.

Needing more elbow grease.

photo credit - nasa.gov

Monday, April 22, 2013

It's a jungle out there

Oh, the joys of cutting up and sewing with new fabric! Even the elephants line up and cooperate. Not quite ready for its debut, here is a little sneak peek at a jungle inspired quilt.
Instead of dealing with the interesting people at the Goodwill Store, I did this one the way most normal people do: I shopped at the fabric store. It was fun to walk up and down the (organized) aisles and find just the right fabric to pull this one together.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Great Quilt Drought of 2013 ends in a fabric fluff frenzy

Little snippets of my quilt making and other threads, or so says my blog description. Lately it has been lots and lots of other threads and very little quilt making. But the sewing drought is finally over and I'm back behind the ol' machine. Or at least behind the rotary cutter, let's not get too crazy all of a sudden. Nothing like our tax return bill for some inspiration.

The original choice, but the bunny got bumped

I set out to make a bunny quilt, but I decided the rabbit will wait for some more friends to show up and it became a quilt with a little theme of clothes washing. This is what the bit of washday-themed fabric says:

One two, loads to do,
Three four, scrub some more.
Five six, hang them quick,
Seven eight, socks to mate.
Nine ten, dirty again!

The final cut

Along with some pretty pink toile, three floral patterns, vintage seersucker, a bit of calico and a friend's slightly worn jeans that she left on my porch (I was supposed to rag quilt them, right?) it's all cut up and ready to go. As soon as I can tear myself away from my scrubbing and finding sock mates, I'll get right on this.

Don't ya'll just love saying toile?

Monday, April 15, 2013

I see dirt, people

In our house there are two distinct ways of looking at dirt: I see it, The Big E doesn't. 

When I go away for a time, I always clean the house like a woman on a mission. It's one of the few times the house gets spotless, when I won't be here to enjoy it. Crazy yes, but it works for me. It means I get to come back to a nice clean home, making the end of the vacation that much easier.

This house cleaning before vacation gets a little dicey when I'm leaving somewhere but Ernst is staying here. It then becomes a bit like polishing the brass on the Titanic - Why? We once had a vacation where I was leaving first, Ernst was coming to join me, but while we were gone our friend Sherri would stay at our house during her husband's surgery. I left piles of sticky notes everywhere with threatening looking happy faces reminding him to keep it neat. Hopefully he remembered to toss the threatening looking happy face post-it notes, because I'm sure they're not on the list of Things That Make a Guest Feel Welcome.

Saturday on my way home, I was mentally preparing for the house to look a bit lived in. Ernst had a lot going on last week, plus I heard the wind did a number on the yard. There is also the daily shedding of half the hair from the dog, which all seems to end up in a big ball of fur right near the kitchen door. I thought of that episode from The Andy Griffith Show where Aunt Bea went away for a while. Andy and Opie were bachelors on the loose for a week, but they managed to clean up the house before Aunt Bea got home. At the last minute, they realized she would feel unneeded if she saw a spotless home, so they went to work and got the place all messy again. Foolish boys! 

Either he hired a housekeeper or he slept out in the trailer, because this place looked great. No big balls of dog hair, no dishes in the sink, no scary things in the bathroom. Wow, those post-it notes from the past are still working! With nothing to do but bask in the glory of a clean house, I decided to make a big pot of potato soup. It was chock full of carrots and onions and celery, plus a big bag of organic potatoes. I topped it off with Rice Dream and the various stray cartons of white vegan liquid in the fridge. Aaahhh, back from vacation in a clean house and now even dinner was ready. Time to jump in the shower while the soup bubbled away on the stove.

Bubbling away was the plan, but the reality was splurting and splashing and spraying - all those bad S words that make a kitchen a pain to clean up. It's amazing how far potato soup can travel all on its own. I could say this is an elaborate reverse Aunt Bea - Andy - Opie plan to make Ernst feel even better about his awesome housekeeping skills. That makes it his job to clean up the kitchen, right?

Simmer, it was supposed to simmer.

Friday, April 12, 2013

I saw my first cardinal!

No, not that kind!

Not that kind either.

This kind!

With all my trips to the East Coast, I've never seen a cardinal. I'm not exactly a bird watcher, but still, how can you miss spotting a good-sized bright red bird? A whale of any size is also on my list of never seen things. I've been at the beach when everyone is pointing at a whale doing that spray thing in the distance, but I'm always about a second too late and looking in the wrong direction.

This week I'm at my Mom's place in Connecticut and I decided to fill her bird feeder with a homemade concoction. I took a piece of bread and covered it with peanut butter and some kind of butter substitute. Then I sprinkled sunflower seeds on the fatty mess and put it in the suet holder. Sure enough, before we knew it, the squirrels were all over it. Fat as can be squirrels who seem no worse for wear over the winter came to steal the bird food. What else is new? But then this morning my sister told me to be very still, there was a cardinal out there too. So what did I do? Sit quietly like a good bird watcher and enjoy the amazing creature? No, I grabbed the camera to run outside to take a picture. That poor bird took one look at me in my bright red dog pajamas and hasn't been heard from since. But I did see it with my own eyes before it flew for its life. It was a cardinal. Not a pope, not a ball player but the real deal original bird kind of cardinal. Next on my list is to finally spot a whale. For that I'll leave the dog pajamas at home. 

Picture credits:

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

When tracks meet trunks

Is it ever a good thing for trees to be growing out of railroad tracks?

It sure is when abandoned elevated railroad tracks are turned into a mile-long greenbelt in the heart of New York City! The High Line transformed what was a heap of useless metal into a quite(er) place to walk above the city streets. Even though the trees and vegetation are maturing and we went in a botanically boring time, wow this place is cool. With no intersections to navigate, taxis to avoid or even store windows to distract - it offers a wonderfully peaceful walk in nature above the busy city.

Rather than tearing up all the rails, the designers kept the old tracks and worked them into the edgy design. I can't wait to come back in a few years when the trees have leafed out to see it again. Projects like this and the Squibb Park Bridge at Brooklyn Bridge Park are turning New York into the Big Green Apple.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Crop circles and UFO sightings

UFOs - Unexpected Flowering Objects!

The Backyard That is Very Large continues to surprise us with little delights. Each week of spring we find some cute new plant or flower strutting its stuff. The order of it all is a bit baffling, but they get an A for effort.

These puffy clumps of clover are perfectly round and so charming. Is it one big plant? Or just a circle of weeds that really get along? Whatever it is, they are staying and we hope it's not the garden version of the Blob That Ate New York.

Don't you just love clover that thinks it's a beach ball?

Don't you just love last year's petunias that decide to go bonkers in a good way?
Don't you just love when the neighbor's flowers come for a visit and stay?
Don't you just love calla lilies that you didn't even know were there?
Don't you just love anything growing on a chain link fence that covers the chain linkiness?
Don't you just love roses that decide to bloom even though no one has pruned them in forever?
Don't you just love when the pile of garden mess looks like a beaver dam?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A Tall Tall Tower

Proving that Craigslist is not just about scams and ripoffs, our friend Myra snagged a great play structure a while back. She and her dad spent hours disassembling it from the seller's backyard. With Jeff and Ernst off from their teaching assignment this week, Tuesday was the day to put the very large thing back together. Three men, three trips to Home Depot and a yard full of tools was all it took for a little boy's dream to come true - his own backyard park. I'm sure some adults will have fun on it too.

There was much more to come, this is just the base.

We decided planting a flag would be overkill.