Picture Perfect Day

It was the first day of good weather in weeks. We've had a few sunshine breaks here and there, but no real warmth, and lots of rain for at least two weeks. While I wanted to get on with making the polaroid picture block for the newest Shop Hop quilt, there were lots of things I wanted to accomplish outside too. So, I first took a little walk around. I wanted to show you this picture of the landscape, and what I really want you to notice is the big Weeping Fir tree on the right hand side. 

In our old neighborhood, a neighbor had a tree like that. I always wanted to plant one, but we really had no room in the yard of our previous home. When we bought the Three Cats Ranch, the place barely had any landscaping at all, and the former owner left behind a few things in pots for us to plant. That tree was one of them. When we planted it, it was only about knee high. So, seeing it having grown to such majestic heights is kind of like having a kid graduate from high school and go off to college. Yeah...I'm sentimental that way.

To its left, you can see the golden chain tree. It's probably looking as good as it will look for this season.

Here's how its flowers look close-up. 

And to this little tree I want to say it's time to stop blooming and get growing. I'm hoping it will put on some height and foliage for next year at this time. 

Also to the left of the weeping fir in that image is the fourth of the rhododendrons. You can also see my little stick farm of sunflower seedlings in the lower left hand corner of the image below. A few have been chewed off, but I don't see any more damage since I started sprinkling them with medicated body powder.

I planted some more sunflowers yesterday, choosing places where the squirrels seem less inclined to eat them. There are still about a dozen more in the greenhouse. All I can say is I'm glad I planted lots of seeds this year.

Across the sidewalk, the fifth rhododendron is getting more flowers all the time. It still has a ways to go before it will be fully in bloom.

Here's how the flowers look close up. I love the dark purple color.

To right of the weeping fir, and outside the frame, you can see the pine trees that line our driveway. What I want you to notice about this next image is how the tree in the middle is so pregnant with pine cones. It's kind of easy to tell the males from the females, isn't it?

Here's how the pine cones look close up. They're small...about the size of my thumb.

Around the back side of the house, the cherry trees are loaded with cherries. This next one is the Black Tartarian.

And this next one is the Bing. We're kind of surprised at how many cherries we have since there didn't seem to be very much bee activity this year. Hopefully, we'll actually get them before the critters, but I wouldn't bet money on it.

Walking on...the peony continues to break my heart on a daily basis. I haven't yet checked on it yet today. Maybe today, huh? Fingers crossed.

Also, we're seeing signs of life from the hydrangeas. They'll be the next stars of the garden.

We're starting to see plenty of plums on the plum tree. We wondered about this one too since the tree bloomed during almost constant drizzle. It's surprising anything was out pollinating it while it was blooming.

We're seeing the beginnings of apples on the apple tree too. I'm kind of curious to see how this will go. It's a scrawny tree, and it never really has thrived in the many years since we've planted it. It had lots of flowers this year though, and they all seem to be producing apples. I doubt the tree can support the weight of all these apples, but time will tell. We'll probably get some, which will be reason enough to sing the Hallelujah chorus at the top of our lungs.

Okay, and who's this? It's one of the little red tree squirrels. These guys are kind of cute. They're only about half the size of the marauding California ground squirrels...we call them "grey diggers," for good reason. But these little guys have sort of webbed fingers and toes. They're so quick, they'll let you approach pretty close before running away. I'm often talking to them, telling them the things I'll do if they eat my flowers, and they sit chattering and listening, as if they understand every word I'm saying.

This is the latest poppy to bloom...the one I showed in yesterday's post. It's still in the process of unfurling its petals.

Okay...so enough with this picture taking. I pulled some weeds, planted more sunflowers, and planted some herbs missing from the culinary herb garden. This first one is Italian oregano. I've had oregano in the garden for years, but it didn't come back this year.

Also, tarragon. I've had no luck keeping a tarragon plant alive from year to year. It has to be replanted each year. 

And, finally, some Italian parsley. I had this in such abundance last year that, like the chives, I was beginning to wonder if we'd have to start treating it like a weed. This year, like the chives, none came back. So...we'll start again with this new one. I can only think winter must have held a hard freeze that killed off some of this stuff.

When all the planting and weeding was finished, I gave everything a good drink of water and then went back in the house. It was 2:00 p.m. by then. Time for sewing. 

I was kind of excited to make this first "picture" block for the new Shop Hop quilt. If you read yesterday's post, then you know I had the "name plate" already stitched. To center it horizontally, I measure the distance across the longest line of stitching, then subtract that amount from 8.5 inches (the width of the strip). The remainder is divided by two to figure out the distance from the edge of the stitching to trim each side. It's a lot like centering a line on an old typewriter. (Please tell me you're old enough to remember centering on a typewriter.)

After that, I figured out that centering vertically is simply a matter of lining up my ruler at the 1-1/2 inch line on the lower edge of the stitching. Trimming it all up, here's how it looks. 

From there, I was ready to sew the block together. And, I'm just going out on a limb to say that I think this block is tailor made for this particular quilt. You can find the tutorial for this block at Crafty Staci.

Here are the first two blocks for this quilt.

Also yesterday, I finished stitching the most time-consuming part of the snowflake.

This morning I'll get to work on the next most time-consuming part...these itty bitty seed stitches.

I can only stand so much of that kind of tedium, and so I'm also stitching in other colors and in other parts of the snowflake each day. The rest should go faster than what I've done so far. 

Moving along on my list of WIP's, I'll be making the second block for New Mexico Kitchen...this Salsa block:

I'll say more about this block as I go along, but this quilt is presenting some new techniques and challenges. I'm just glad I didn't try this when I purchased the pattern, as a beginning quilter. It's fairly complicated, and with good instructions, but I'm having to read and re-read for understanding just the same.

Okay, and y'all seem interested in knowing what I'm figuring out on the new Blogger platform, so I'll finish up today with my cynical view of why all this is happening. I actually gained this understanding when my friend Cheryl asked me whether I had Google Photos. And with that simple question, a lot of stuff kind of started making sense to me. And before I go on, I'm going to say this is only my personal theory. I have no facts to back this up beyond my own cynicism. And if you're not into cynical rants, you'll probably want to skip along to the next blog on your list because that's all that's left for today's post.

So first, I should say that Google Photos is the platform that replaced Picasa...a former Google image editing and storage tool. I used Picasa when I wrote my first travel blog, Ribbon of Highway. Yeah...and just now I checked and all the pictures have disappeared from that blog, along with Picasa. So here's the thing: You can store your photos on Google Photos, but your storage space will be limited, and you should protect yourself from losing pictures by also keeping copies on your personal hard drive. All of my pictures are stored on my hard drive. It is from there that I upload pictures onto the blog. 

Okay, and so where am I going with all of this? Well, here's my theory: One reason for changing the Blogger platform is to make uploading pictures so complicated and frustrating that we'll all knuckle under and use Google Photos. And that would be fine except that you'll have limited storage space unless you want to pony up $1.99 per month for more. And you can say, well, that's fine. I'll just delete my pictures when I've used up the storage to make room for more. Only what you need to know about that course of action is that you'll also be deleting them from any place you've shared your pictures, including Blogger. So, my cynical, completely made-up-out-of-my-head theory is that it's one way to get you to spend $1.99 per month extra to make it easier to upload your pictures.

And so here's my pissy solution to the problem, and I've tried all different ways to get around this new level of annoyance. The easiest thing I've found to do is to leave open the window where my pictures are stored, and then drag and drop them to the blog one at a time. If you try to upload them in batches, they will be out of order. Personally, I use my pictures as a tool to direct my writing, and so I don't necessarily want to caption the pictures in the same order they come off the camera. For me, it will work best if I add them as I go, which is vexing, but I'll get used to it. And what works best for me won't necessarily work best for you. Okay...that's the end of my sort-of-rant.

After all that, I'm needing some slow stitching to settle my frayed nerves. How about you?

10 comments from clever and witty friends:

Julierose said...

I think the Chain tree flowers look a lot like forsythia..such
lovely blooms...
Your landscaping is really lovely--we are(or were before virus)
in the process of going to various garden centers and LOOKING at
trees and shrubs to add to our land...of course, now that is on hold...S I G H ...as we two are still sheltering in place here.

I think your long/short stitch looks amazing on the snowflake.
The last time I did that stitch was when I was doing a couple of crewel embroidery samplers...kinda tricky and time consuming...but the results are definitely worth it...
I did some "little things" sewing today, and then was tired...
~ ~ ~ waving in the emerging sunshine Julierose

Cathy said...

I always love seeing your golden chain tree. We used to have one in our front yard, but it died inexplicably after a few years (sound familiar?). We may try again, but not this year.

The format of your new quilt shop quilt is a great one. We’ll all be out here enjoying it come together.

As far as Blogger goes (or any other online site), I never trust their motives for change either. It reminds me of the changes that Yahoo made to their groups platform a couple years before it died (or is it still living a zombie-like existence?) Maybe Blogger will go that way eventually, too. I print out my blog into a book every couple years and store the photos on my hard drive, so to h*** with them and their changes!

Vroomans' Quilts said...

You know I have a love for trees. I've become very prolific at growing dandelions. Our flower shops have been allowed to open, but they are mobbed so will wait a few days to pick up some annuals. Mom wanted me to grow a veg garden, but I cant take care of something like that and would rather support our local farmers' markets. I will pick her up a patio tomato

piecefulwendy said...

We have similar little red squirrels here. Wilbur can spend hours watching them (I'm sure he'd like to try catching one, but not gonna happen). They are fun to watch, but can be destructive little fiends. When we sit on the deck, it's not uncommon for one to run along the railing, stop in front of us, stamp his feet and chatter, and move on. As if to say we are encroaching on his/her territory. Yeah. Right. Anyhow, the tour of your garden and yard was delightful. The snowflake is a pretty one, but those little seed stitches! Oy.

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

You are correct, and I pay $1.99/mo for photo storage. That said, hubby uses my storage, as does my son/daughter in law, since I host all the grandbaby photos (great for me since I can find them easily). It will be a long time before we ever use up all the storage space. I do agree that the photos need to be stored elsewhere, also (bad me, and I don't do that). Good luck and enjoy the nice weather.

SJSM said...

So Google figured out another way to add to their profit margin. I’m not surprised. It’s like all those “free trials” you are offered. Once you get used to the platform and the trial ends you pay a pittance. Add all those pittance up and you have a kingly sum. Well pay up as Google is putting in “free” local WIFI in our town. This is for the students who are sheltering in place and do not have access to the internet. The units are placed on poles and have a limited range. They will work as a network of towers similar to cell phone towers but on a block by block scale. It was already planned but the message did change due to the virus. The area being "lit" is considered a WIFI dessert due to lower income. It now is inching into all parts of the city. Well, Mountain View has free WIFI as it is home to Google which is part of Googles way of mitigating some of the issues when a huge corporation impacts a town.

I am glad Google does give back to communities they impact at least a little. Not all corporate powers feel the need to do so. You just need to be aware of the whys and consequences then determine how navigate and make choices. Google is in the process of building a mega neighborhood in our downtown area. There is good and concerns as with any big change.

Karen said...

Such a beautiful, and peaceful picture of TCR. All the growing things and wonderful flowers. Your peonys are just playing games with you. Buggers ! Smitty is his beautiful self. Sadie is her cute self.

QuiltGranma said...

We added 3 pincushion flowers to my raised flower bed they are a 3" blossom in periwinkle, planted behind blue phlox, which is a low growing plant. The variations in height will add interest to the flowering patch. Can you grow them at your place?

quiltzyx said...

Your weeping fir tree is spectacular - as are all the rest of the flowers & lovelies in your landscaping!

When you mentioned the planting the Tarragon, then I remembered you saying you had some leftover fresh Tarragon (long gone by now, I'm sure) and then remembered I was going to mention......that I used to get a wonderful Chicken Tarragon sandwich for lunch occasionally. (Maybe from Starbucks, not sure). Maybe something you might enjoy if there's a recipe out there somewhere.


The Joyful Quilter said...

It wouldn't surprise me if photos deleted one place in Google Photos would disappear from other areas, as well. I learned a similar lesson when deleting emails on Gmail. My previous email would allow me to delete Inbox and Sent mail separately. Imagine my surprise when cleaning out my Gmail inbox one day then going back to reference something I had sent out a few weeks before, only to find my Sent file completely EMPTY!!! :o((