More Cats

Yesterday I nearly finished the 9th of my Folk Art Cats. I had taken it this far, thinking, "There. Now I can sew it to the rest."

Only, not so fast there, Cowgirl. Almost in the same thought, I realized I hadn't yet embroidered the face, or added the little whirligig to the bottom sashing. Geez.

So I did that, but then I needed to stop for the day. Mike and I went to see Interstellar last night. I know some people have liked it, but "Meh" is about as much as I can say about it. To me, it seemed like a cheap knock-off of 2001: A Space Odyssey, which is one of the best sci-fi flicks of all time, in my humble opinion. Anyway...

This morning when I got home from my morning walk with Sue, I sewed it to the rest of the blocks.  Now the top two rows are finished. All that is left now are the three blocks in the third row. As long as I have my cat mojo going, I'll just keep working on these. I really, really, really want to finish this quilt top. I started it back when I was just a baby in October of 2012. Okay, so maybe not a baby...more of an advanced beginner of a teenager. I wish.

Speaking of my walk with Sue, I braved the ice skating rink that is my driveway and made my way down the hill today. There is only about 500 feet of elevation between me and smooth sailing. Nevertheless, the beginning of the trip is pretty scary.

When the sun shines in winter on this side of the Cascades, the temperatures are usually frigid. Warmer temperatures invariably bring rain. I say this only to explain why the ice has been hanging around for so long. The temperatures have been bitterly cold and there is a frigid wind blowing. Nevertheless, the sunshine has been dazzling. 

When Sue and I got started this morning, we hadn't even reached the trail when we saw this Great Blue Heron. He was standing so still, we wondered if he was a decoy...or dead...or frozen...or something. In our usual way, we crept as close as we could...

Taking pictures as we went...

Until he turned and started to amble away, as if to say, "Okay, Sister. That's close enough."

So then, we left him in peace. He started to spread his wings as if he were going to take flight, but then he just resumed his position doing whatever he was doing before we so rudely intruded into his personal space. 

I made a stop at the post office on the way home, and then drove on up the hill. I pulled over to the side of the road to shoot this leafless oak tree. There is something I love about oak trees once they lose their leaves. 

It could be one of our favorite wineries down in Salem that caused me to start noticing them. Their label bears the image of the tree for which the winery was named.

The tree has an interesting history, and apparently there are "witness trees" all over the country that bear witness to historic events. Back east there are many witness trees that mark the location of historic battles, but the true witness tree serves a more pragmatic purpose. There is an article in the New York Times about it from September of 2012 that talks about the witness trees in more detail.

In the case of the Witness Tree Vineyard, the tree above their tasting room once served as a survey marker in Polk County, Oregon. The 250-year-old tree is one of just a few that have received the designation of Oregon Heritage Tree. I was certain I had a picture of it, but I did a search and couldn't find it. Nevertheless, I did find an image in our local newspaper:

and here is a link with some more information about it.

Anyway...all of that to say that I believe my interest in leafless oak trees probably started with the Witness Tree Vineyard. Some of the earliest pictures I took when I got interested in photography were of oak trees in our area. An oak tree has to be very old before it achieves this size. 

For that reason, they are rarely cut down, but left standing, even when they are growing in what has become an inconvenient location.

And I love this quote from George Herbert: "Storms make oaks take deeper root."

My guild meeting is tonight. I can't recall what we're doing tonight, or whether there is a speaker, but I'm going. I need to make up a grocery list for tomorrow and fold some laundry. Other than that, I'm going to continue on with my cats. What's on your agenda for the day?

9 comments from clever and witty friends:

Quilting Babcia said...

I always thought "witness tree" meant a boundary (survey) marker. Wonder what the diameter of those trees you posted is. Do you remember the huge old oak right next to our bedroom in Amity? That tree always scared me witless during the big windstorms - we'd move to the other end of the house. But it only dropped one big branch on the roof while we lived there ...
Do love how that cats quilt is coming along.
You have ice, we have big lake effect storms about to hit. Probably upwards of a foot of snow by 48 hours from now in our area. More at the new house - which we won't be visiting this week!

Sher S. said...

your cat quilt is coming along nicely, great fabrics too. we had planned on going to the movies this afternoon but just after we left home there was a tornado watch called and the rain came down in buckets. so we turned around and came home. not taking any chances with the weather. they say it will be COLD tomorrow compared to todays 80 degrees, it will be 56 degrees with a low of 39. how's that for Florida?

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Love the old tree photos and information - thank you. Such statements they make! Your cat quilt is coming along so wonderfully. I think I will get out to do some errands tomorrow as we have a huge snow storm on the horizon and I may be hunkered down for a while.

Lee said...

Will your cat quilt have 12 blocks or does this 9 'finish' it? Guess I haven't been very attentive on your process, but it's looking really nice. Funny you should mention 2001: A Space Odyssey. It was just on the other night, followed by it's 'sequel' "2010". I have never been able to get into that movie - maybe Kubrick was on acid ;p "2010" made more sense. You wouldn't catch me on that ice for anything!!! walking or driving! That oak sounds like it's in an area outside of Salem my dad and I drove by and I remember him saying it was the site of the first building - maybe it's a different tree, but it can be seen from the road and there is a marker but no place to pull over at the marker, at least it didn't look like there was.

quiltzyx said...

Grow kitties grow! I know when you finally finish this one you will, no doubt be SO SICK of looking at them all that you will want to stick the quilt into an Express Mail box and send it away...to me. I know you have my address & will be happy to help you.

Herons are such cool looking birds, aren't they? I'm glad this one was so accommodating to a photo opportunity! Growing up with SoCal scrub oaks, I've always been an oak tree fan too. They make me feel good. And acorns are fun too!

Kate said...

You've made good progress with you kitty quilt.

I'd never heard of Witness Trees. Interesting stuff.

Michele said...

Your cats sure are coming out adorable. Your photos are just breathtaking.

Kaisievic said...

Loved to read about the witness trees, so fascinating. Love, love, love your cat quilt, too.

Brown Family said...

I grew up with 4 huge oaks in our yard! It was wonderful.