Skies on Fire

Smitty always makes sure I'm awake to see the morning sunrise. He's very thoughtful that way.

The sunrise is only part of it. I might miss the hummingbirds at the feeder without his assistance.

I was hoping to catch this one in flight, and this is the best I could do before he flew off.

There's more than one reason to wake up early though. Sadie is in desperate need of some lap time.

Yesterday morning, I worked some more on Plate #6. 

When I moved my hoop, I realized I'd come full circle with this. I should have it finished this morning. 

Since I don't have anything else made up for tomorrow's stitching, I'll probably spend at least part of the morning tracing out the next one. A "short" project is up next on my embroidery dance card. As I make my way through the list of five projects, I have a slot for something that can be finished in one go-round. This time I'll be working on a project I picked up when I visited Ireland some years back. I hoped I could find a picture of it, but I couldn't. I'll show you tomorrow after I've traced it out. 

Okay so, stitching aside, I had PT in the morning. As I've mentioned, I really hate going to PT, but I'll admit that I think it's helping. When I leave the building, I always notice the pretty landscaping at the building next door. California poppies are blooming in profusion right now, and I see fields of them when I'm driving. "When I'm driving" is the most important part of that sentence because I can never get a picture of them. Yesterday, I walked next door to capture this shot. I loves me some poppies.

There was still grocery shopping to do, and so the fun was only just getting started. When I had that all finished, I took a nap. Eventually, I made my way into the sewing room to continue my work on the next block for the New Mexico Kitchen quilt. I was working on the taco salad part of the quilt block. There was much overlap of applique on this one, and so I first constructed it on a teflon pressing sheet.

That took the rest of the afternoon. When it was finished, I peeled it off the pressing sheet and fused it to the block background.

I'll need to add in some details with thread, but I'll do that when the whole block is finished.

Outside, Mike was getting a start on prepping our garden plot for planting next week. He first mowed down all the weeds I showed you a day or two ago. He'll let this dry for a couple of days and then till it under.

In other garden news, this peony seems pretty close to popping. Time to start the daily peony watch. I have some poppies that are ready to pop too.

I'm afraid these are the only chive blossoms this year. Mae brought me two more chive plants she dug up from her garden. Between the little ones left behind when we whacked back the sage and lavender, the two I planted myself, and the two from Mae, I'm hoping for a better showing next year. 

For now...no chive blossom vinegar for me. I can only hope the sage will give me enough flowers to make some sage blossom vinegar. 

Today we're picking up a couple of wine shipments. I'd love to stay home and sew, but it's a beautiful day, and picking up wine shipments takes us on a nice drive through the country. We'll probably get lunch somewhere too. I'm still hoping to get the applique finished for the New Mexico Kitchen block. 


Sunny Day

After my pronouncement that yesterday would be nothing but sewing, I ended up doing just about everything but sewing. There was some sewing, so don't worry. It was such a lovely day, though, and so I took the literal first steps to getting some exercise back into my life. First, I was almost completely sedentary, using broken bones as an excuse. (Honestly...some people are so lazy.) Then, I used the weather as an excuse. Yesterday, I kind of ran out of excuses. Let's hope I can keep it going. 

Before leaving for my walk on the wild side, I took a little walk around the yard to see what's blooming there. Right away, I noticed one of the dark purple rhododendrons is getting ready to open. This flower is at the very bottom of the plant. All over, it's covered in tight buds. Seeing one flower usually means they'll start opening very soon.

Following around on the sidewalk, I noticed Sadie trying to blend in with her surroundings.

Smitty, the pawpawrazzi is back.

Thanks for that warning, Sadie. I'll just hide right here behind this daffodil.

Turning directly around, I got a shot of the "orchid" rhododendron. It's all in bloom now.

Also, the golden chain tree is beginning to bloom. This is our third attempt at one of these trees. This one seems to be doing well, although a deer came around and rubbed its antlers on it. We found it half toppled over one day with its bark all worn off on that side. We had to stake it up. It seems fine now.

And I was headed down the driveway after taking that picture. But wait...you didn't think I could take a walk without photographing every blooming thing, did you?  These little violets line both sides of the roadway we share with our neighbors.

On the main road, the Scotch broom are all in bloom. These are pretty, but they are invasive. Also, if you are a hay fever sufferer, these are among the worst offenders. Some have red tips on their petals.

Most are just plain yellow. We noticed an area on the hillside where an abandoned Christmas tree farm was cleared last year. The Scotch broom have completely taken over the clearing now, and they are blooming away.

I noticed our neighbor's mule had the right idea in the sunshine.

The horse was embarrassed by this display of sloth. Usually I bring along horse cookies for these two, but I'm out of practice and I forgot.

Along the way I saw lots of sweet peas.

Some white ones of these are growing among the weeds in our vegetable garden.

They seem to come in all colors.

This one looks like lithodora, but it's not a ground cover. Instead it grows of stalks about knee high.

Well, hello there. I haven't seen these guys for quite a while.

This one has the same hairstyle that I do, minus the grass.

Now here's something: This fence was damaged by the wildfire last fall, and the field on both sides of the fence was completely blackened. It's green again now, and it looks as if they've built a temporary fence.

Here's another picture of the same area, taken last fall about a week after we were able to return home.

Walking on, I noticed the first cornflowers I've seen this spring.

After taking that picture, Mike drove up in his truck. He'd been off picking up a load of bark dust for the yard. "Ya wanna ride, Baby?" Yeah...up to the same tricks he pulled when we were teenagers, but I did get in the truck. It was my first walk in many months. I didn't want to overdo it, don'tcha know.

So, I was chomping at the bit to get at my sewing, but then remembered I needed to pick up Pfelicity Pfaff from her spa treatment. Today I have PT and grocery shopping, and Pfelicity has been ready for pick up since last week. Mike suggested we take a drive and go get her while we were out. Fine by me. I kind of needed him to help me carry it anyway. So, off we went.

The red clover is blooming everywhere now. 

It paints the hillsides and fields all over the county.

Heading across the ridge-top on our way home, we could see down into the valley. What a beautiful day.

Finally, late in the day, I was able to make my way into the sewing room. My next task is to make the 6th block for the New Mexico Kitchen quilt. I'll be working on the Taco Salad block. Here's the image from the blurry pattern cover page.

These blocks all come with a recipe.

I first needed to make the background. I like the frayed edges of the "table cloths."

From there, I added the lettering. This is the first applique I've done since breaking my thumb. I found it uncomfortable to hold scissors. I might have to pace myself with this block.

When the lettering was finished, I added an avocado.

I was just getting started on the salad bowl when it was time to stop for the day. This one has a lot of overlapping pieces, and so I'll first construct it on a pressing sheet, and then move it to the background. This is where I'll start this afternoon.

Upstairs, I found the kitties nearing starvation once again. They're energetic at 4:59 p.m. At 5:01 p.m., they begin looking gaunt and pale. It's a razor's edge between sprightly and starving.

So, yeah, it's a PT day. I hate PT as much as ever. It isn't even the painful exercising part...I just hate leaving home and going anywhere. To add insult to injury (almost literally), I need to do my grocery shopping when I finish there. It isn't a happy thing. When I get home, I can get back to my sewing.

It's another lovely day today. I'm hoping this weather will hold until we plant the garden next week.


Wild and Weedy

As I drove to meet up with Sue for breakfast yesterday, I realized how drained I felt. For one thing, I was still short at least one cup of coffee. No problem there because the restaurant served up plenty. I will say that the server arrived at the table with the first cups and seemed confused about which was which. Sue drinks decaf, and me...I want twice the caffeine. So, I can't say for sure whether I was served up with unleaded or high-test, but either way...I found myself extremely tired yesterday.

 Breakfast with Sue was very nice. She brought me some birthday flowers from her garden.

Thanks, dear friend. We hadn't gotten together since last December when we went for a refreshingly cold walk on the day before I broke my shoulder. After breakfast, I got my hair cut and colored, and that went well too. Still, what I wanted most of all was to go home and take a nap. And when I got home, I did just that.

Breakfast was early enough that I'd had no time for slow-stitching. When I woke up from my nap, that was the first thing I did. I'm working my way around the outside of the plate now.

The center flowers are finished and only the gold and green sections around the outside are left. I expect to have this finished in a couple of days.

It was mid-afternoon by then. The morning was cloudy and cool, but the sun came out later in the day. I decided to go outside for a while. I sighed looking at the weedy mess that is the current state of last year's vegetable garden. The pole in the lower right-hand corner is what remains of the green bean trellises. 

Mike and I have marked off four days on next week's calendar to plant the garden. In the meantime, he'll be tilling all of this under in preparation for planting. When we put it on the calendar like that, it becomes something I look forward to. Hopefully, the good weather we're having right now will continue. Another to-do is to repot the tomato starts into their largest pots of the season. Spring marches on.

As I gazed at the garden, I noticed quite a bit of color. You might recall we only planted about half of the fenced-in area last year and let the rest go au naturel.  That's my snotty French way of saying we let it go to weeds. Also, I threw out several packets of wildflower seeds, and we ended up with quite a bit of color. It turned out to be a good thing since the bees loved it. The whole area was humming with bees all season long, and I figure that's got to be good for the vegetables, right? So anyway...I noticed some of the wildflowers have come back.

Up next is a series of terrible pictures. I've always said the best way to get the wind to blow is to try taking a close-up shot of a flower. And, if you follow my friend Pat over at Amity Quilter, then you'll see this also works if you're trying to get a good picture of a quilt. Anyway...wandering through the garden, I was causing weed seeds to pop everywhere...waist high! It was impressive. As for the flowers, here's what I saw. Sorry for the windy blur in some of these.

That's about all I could see in the fenced-in garden plot. Walking around the rest of the yard, I noticed some more cyclamen. I pictured the beginnings of a cyclamen blossom a couple of weeks ago. The very next day, I was sad to see the squirrels had eaten it. Now, there are some more coming on. Hopefully, these will get to bloom. There's also a peanut shell in this image, no doubt left behind by a happy Steller's jay.

The white azalea is blooming now.

And there are cherries coming on the cherry tree.

Also, the mint is beginning to fill in one of the whiskey barrels. I thought it might have died in the ice storm, but there it is...thick as hair on a dog's back. I actually had to buy some mint for a recipe several weeks ago, which was painful when I know I have so much growing in my own yard. At the time, it was still brown and dead looking. Welcome back, old friend.

Smitty was having a terrible time on his catio. The squirrels love to mock him when he's locked inside. He kept looking back at me with the most furrustrated expression that said, "Lemmee at him!"

So all of that to say I'm very tired. I can't even say why, except that the beginning of May is always fun and hectic at the same time. We have lots of birthdays, and we're always working at getting the winterkill cleaned up outside. Add in necessary appointments, including PT, and I need a little time to rejuvenate. That said, I've promised myself a sewing day today. I'll probably do the laundry too since it meshes well with a sewing day. It forces me up from the machine at regular intervals, and it gets a necessary task done.

Lately I've done some rethinking about how I "schedule" my work flow in the sewing room. At regular intervals, I start feeling internal pressure to get things done in the same way I did as a working person. As a working person, the pressure was also from external things too. As a retired person, I'm often reminding myself that nobody cares how much I accomplish in a day, and I need to cut myself a break. I won't go into the ins and outs of this except to say, I'm taking a more relaxed approach to my sewing to-do list. Sometimes the voice in my head tells says something along the lines of "What if I die and this isn't finished!?!" And then I remind myself that nobody will care. Undoubtedly, when I die, I will leave behind things that are unfinished, and it will be okay.

So with that in mind, and a designated sewing day ahead, I awakened to a beautiful sunny morning and considered the tragedy of spending such a nice day in the basement. I've been telling myself I want to get back to walking several days a week. I think today is a good day to start, don't you? 

So off I go. Slow-stitching, then breakfast, then a walk around the neighborhood. No doubt I'll find more wildflowers in bloom. Let's just all go a little wild today, okay?