"On the plains of Oklahoma, with a windshield sunset in your eyes like a watercolor painted sky, you'd think heavens doors have opened."
Fly Over States

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Husband Built A BIRD CAM Holder!

The man is seriously talented.  And generous with his time.  I am seriously blessed.  We had a great time hanging out at the barn all afternoon puttering around.  The day was positively balmy. 

Here is a photo of it trained on the new birdhouse.  It looks like one of those reality shows.  If any bluebirds move in, I suppose they'll be seriously dysfunctional. 

The whole time he worked on it, Evelyn sat in his van, in the driver's seat.  She looked positively ecstatic. 

I haven't seen any bluebirds around the new birdhouse (where the cam is pointed), but they are mobbing the old one that we set up on the other side of the yard.  Husband and I bought a 4 X 4 at Lowes to set it on but I think it if we are going to use it on the old house, we'll have to move fast.  Those bluebirds look ready to move in, notwithstanding the shaky foundation. 

Happy Quilting,

Penny, Evelyn and Pearl

Someone Needs an Attitude Adjustment - I'm Just Saying...

Yesterday was one of those late winter days that was sunny, breezy and made you glad you didn't kill yourself back when it was so cold and dark.

I couldn't really smell spring so much as feel it. The air was shifting so that the warm air was dancing with the cool and that always wakes up your exposed skin and makes it feel alive. The ground is completely saturated with areas of standing water but not particularly muddy.  We'll be glad of that in July.

Husband had promised to help me put out my bluebird boxes although I could tell he was not as excited about it as I was. And who could be? Our old bluebird house that was here before we bought the place is pretty decrepit. The pole it was on kept swinging around and causing the house to swing towards the south. I'd braced it with a plant stake and used duct tape to try to keep it from spinning. I knew when I used that duct tape that Husband would likely have a meltdown when he saw it. He actually did pretty well.

"What is THAT??" he asked in horror.

"Duct tape," sez I, "Works great." 

Sometimes the best defense is a good offense.

"Where did you get it?"

Fighting back the irritation, I started to tell him I had my own stash but decided the truth would be even more horrifying.

"I got it out in the barn." (which meant I raided HIS stash).

Long pause.

"I need to hide it better," sez he.

He then whipped out his knife and slashed the duct tape so he could pull the pole free. I pointed out that the duct tape did a magnificent job of holding it in place, especially when you consider all the snow and ice we've had - afterall, he had to use a knife to loosen things up.

He pretended he didn't hear that.  The man has such an attitude, sometimes. 

"Who dug this hole?" he asked.

Okay, now I am biting my lip to keep from shooting off my mouth. (The SERVANTS!!!!? Who ELSE do you think dug the hole??? Evelyn?).

"I did," I said, shortly.


Okay, I knew I was in trouble because I used his spade and didn't clean it, properly and he is obviously loaded for bear.

"I used the square shovel."

"That is a SPADE!! That is not what you use for this sort of thing. Where did you get it?" He asked, with rising panic, I could tell.

"From the barn," I responded, breezily (while actually thinking - "My sewing room? Honestly, doesn't the man know where he keeps his tools? Hmmm???").

Truly, I am a saint. I have a halo.

I can see the wheels turning behind his eyes. How is he going to keep me out of the barn in the future? I have a key.

"Where is it now?" he asked, clearly trying to maintain his composure.

"The barn. I put it back. Of course. I wouldn't leave it just lying around. It is a tool," sez I (not mentioning that I put it back with mud on it - I'll deal with that, later).

We trudge back the barn, immediately. He is like a crow with a shiny thing when it comes to his tools. He finds the spade that still has mud on it.

He stands and looks at it. A long time. Then picks it up and carries it to the front of the barn where he has opened the large garage doors to allow for an east/west cross breeze.  There is a door on each end of the barn.   It feels marvelous.  I stand where the sunlight hits, close my eyes and just feel the air moving.  I can smell the sawdust and you can practically visualize the crisp new air flooding in to replace the stale, winterlogged air.  It is heaven.  Then I start looking around and thinking that I may nab one of the large worktables near the west end of the barn for my dyeing and other crafts. He has three large tables and surely won't mind me having one of them. Surely.

He interrupts my thoughts with, "You don't use a spade to dig post holes. I'll clean it."

"It's a good shovel," I say, agreeably, not looking at him.

The tension is high.  Sometimes he can be just unreasonable. 

We take the old blue bird house back to the garage and open it up. I am a little worried that the bluebirds would have already started building a nest and I might have interrupted that. It is clean, however, so one less thing to worry over. I want to re-post the old bluebird house by the front gate but Husband thinks that would look tacky. He doesn't share my opinion that the neighbors will understand that a bluebird house is important. I keep telling him that sticking it on a metal plant post isn't going to work but he gets stubborn on me. He won't put it on the fence where is has some stabilization because of the looks, and he won't put a cross brace on it because that would allegedly cause trouble when it comes time to do trimming in the growing season.

So he puts up the bluebird house on a sad little plant stake and pronounces it adequate. I am suprised at him. I push it and it falls over.   No place to patch it up with duct tape, either. 

"That is not going to work," I say, going all stubborn on him.

So we march back into the barn and find a broken bed slat (I'd like to say it was broken in a night of frenzied passion but let's get serious, here). He uses it to brace the metal pole and, again, pronounces it sufficient.
Normally, I would just agree with him to not make a fuss although I personally find that quite tacky looking. But yesterday, I was still pretty skeptical. I point out that it is really windy in Oklahoma and that it is sitting out in the middle of a field with no wind break. He stands and looks at me while I look back at him and then sighs and pulls out his notepad to write down "4 X 4" on his list for Lowes.

He is such an engineer.

After that, we walk back to the old blue bird site and set up the new house that I bought a couple of weeks ago.

"When I have my workshop set up," sez he,"I will be able to make you TEN houses, just like that."

Normally, my response would be to go all gooey eyed and tell him how wonderful he is and how manly I think it is to be able to use power tools. Yesterday, I was not particularly inspired. Don't know why.

"Your workshop is not set up,"I answer,"and the houses need to go up, now."

For such a pretty day, it was sure tense.

Husband insists on screwing the box facing the north because it fit the post, better. I think that is a little like looking for Easter eggs on Independence Day because you happen to run across an Easter basket while looking for the extra American Flag.

I am not particularly happy that the new bluebird house is now facing north. I tell him that it is not facing into the prevailing winds and doesn't give the bluebirds as good a glide slope.

"It is not called a glide slope," claims Husband.


"Yes it is," I insist, although I have no idea if that is true or not.  If he can make up stuff, so can I.  At that petty thought, I feel a bite of guilt and shame.  "And even if that is not what it is called, that is what it is," I continue.  I may be a bit testy but I can't just make stuff up and still look myself in the mirror. 

I also point out that it used to face east (when it wasn't swaying towards the south) and I am afraid that will confuse the birds.

"The birds don't care that it is facing this direction," he assured me.

I know for a fact that he has no clue what those birds like. But I don't say anything. I am a saint.

Anyway, the good news is that I can see the birdhouse better from the patio and have hopes that the bluebirds will move in.  But I do not take comfort in that because I know for a fact that those birds aren't going to move in just because it gives me a better view.

I took the bird cam and tried to find a place to put it to spy on them while they are nesting but may need to do some adjusting. When I got the bird cam, for Christmas, the box claimed that four "D" batteries would last about a month. It has been over two months and the batteries are still 67% charged so I'm pretty happy about that.  There is no good place to put the birdcam at this point, so I ended up setting it on the foundation of the propane tank and propped it at an angle. I am not sure I actually have it pointed at the birdhouse. I figure I will catch some pictures of Evelyn pooping because she hides behind the propane tank in an attempt to find privacy out on the Great Plains that is our backyard. I'll be sure to post a picture if I do.

I can probably get Husband to build a bird cam holder and need to write that down on his Lowes list so we can get the proper materials.  When I mentioned that to him, he said something about "more junk," but didn't elaborate.  I gave him the opportunity and was willing to hear him out. 

I am a saint. 

I retreated to my sewing room when the sun went down and worked on my Sylvia Brights Sampler. I made the block, Chinese Coin, and it went together in no time flat. Unfortunately, when I measured it, I realized I'd made a mistake on the measurements and would need to redo it. 

I was having an off day, yesterday. 

The smart thing to do on a little 6 inch block made of scraps that took about 20 minutes to make would have been to start over. But no. For some reason, I dismantled the whole thing, saved about a two inch scrap of fabric (as if I need to save fabric!) and ended up spending over an hour re-doing it. And I accidently used the wrong fabric, to boot.  Here it is:

Husband came in about half way through it to tell me that a virus had infected his computer so he couldn't log on. He looked distressed. Poor man was having a bad day. I suggested he reboot and he looked annoyed and said he'd done that several times, already. I suggested he try it, again. He left but I don't think he much cared for my suggestion. I started to suggest that he stay off the p*rn sites but while I think it is hysterical to say such a thing, he would think that was sort of rude on my part. So kudos to me for not making a surprisingly tense day more tense!

Sometimes it doesn't seem fair that I always have to be the grownup.

At any rate, I got up early this morning while he slept in.   He had the nerve to wander in here after sleeping late with a big smile on his face and plopped down on the couch, going on and on about how nice it was to sleep late and wake up in our nice house with me and his dogs.  He looked over at me and said, "Why are you looking at me like that?  Is something wrong?"

"You were drunk last night," I said, nastily. 

"I was not!"

He acted surprised.  Even shocked that I would say such a thing. As if I couldn't tell.  Sheesh.

"You were in a bad mood all day, yesterday,"I sniffed.  And I gave him a steely look to let him know I meant it.

"I was not!"


"Well, if that wasn't a bad mood," sez I, "you are suffering from a bad character flaw because that was just ridiculous."

"Do you want some sausage and biscuits?"

"Oh, sure," I think, "Change the subject."  But I don't say it out loud because those biscuits and sausage sound great and I'm starving

That man needs an attitude adjustment. 

Happy Quilting,

Penny, Evelyn and Pearl

Friday, February 26, 2010


Honestly, I don't mean to repeat myself but in the early morning when I look outside and see these gorgeous sunrises I just stand there in shock at the beauty.  I spend time remembering how much I longed for it when we were back east.  And I still have flashes of disbelief and joy that I am actually back home. 
Sometimes I look for awhile, then get chilly and go back into the house, thinking the show is over.  But I no sooner go inside than look out the window and rush back out to experience the magic.   It just seems to keep coming in glorious waves. 
I think glorious is a good word to describe it.
Evelyn watches the sunrises, too:
The sun is rapidly moving across the horizon towards the north.  When we got here in December, I would look outside the backdoor and the sun would be rising nearer the barn (to the southwest).  Here is a picture I took right after the Christmas blizzard:
It has moved quite a bit towards the north.  I took this picture, yesterday morning.  Yes, I know you can't
tell much from the pictures. 
By this summer, we'll be looking towards the city (which is northeast) when the sun first shows its face.

I attended the local quilt guild meeting, yesterday, and was very impressed with all the talent.   I'd been looking forward to doing that, for years, and it was nice that the day arrived and was everything I hoped it would be.   This guild has a day meeting and an evening one.  I went to the day one, feeling decadent because I wasn't at work.  I suspect there are more younger members, who are still working, at the night meeting.  The day meeting was primarily retired folk.  They made be feel very welcome. 

Quilt guilds typically have a "show and tell" to allow members to show off their projects.  My goodness, some beautiful and creative stuff.  One women who showed her art quilt was Charlotte Hickman, who I have previously blogged about and who teaches a class I am signed up for in April.  I was so excited I am amazed I did not pee myself.  I introduced myself and acted like a total dweeb telling her how much I admire her work.  She was quite gracious and told me "how she does it."  She assured me she'd teach me how to do it, myself (probably would have said anything to get away).   I have always prided myself at having enough self respect to not drool over people.  All that self respect went out the window.  And I don't care.  I want to be able to do what she can do.  I was so star struck, it didn't occur to me to take a picture of the quilt she brought.  Oh lord, I should have gotten her autograph.  I think I need to download a picture of her and hang it on my sewing room wall.  Or over my bed. 

Okay, I'll stop now. 

After the quilt guild meeting, I drove back out to the quilt shop in El Reno because they forgot to put all my fabric in the bag.  I passed several large hawks hunting on the side of the road and drove the back roads home.  The wide open spaces and bright light was so wonderful.  Like everyone else, I am ready for spring.

We also received some gorgeous daffodils from a friend that brought smiles to all our faces:

Truly, they are spring, itself.
My kids are on the east coast getting slammed by  that monster blizzard that grounded flights and brought much of the area to a halt.  I felt bad for them, especially my son and daughter-in-heart who had a long anticipated trip to London on tap and ended up stranded at the Newark airport, trip over.  I wish I could have let them share my lovely flowers. 

Sigh.  I miss seeing my kids anytime I want. 
Evelyn is really turning into a character.  She is getting sassier than ever.
Everyday, she comes up with new ways to delight us.  It is like someone said - she is entering her second puppyhood. 
And Pearl is turning into the sweetest dog every born.  She is a cuddling machine. 
I am weaning off all the medication, including the antihistamines (and feel so wonderful - thanks to all who have asked).  They had me so doped up that I slept alot but now that I am not taking them, I am having trouble dropping off to sleep at night.  Pearl cuddles up so at least I don't feel lonesome.  There is a certain comfort in lying in the dark of a warm, quiet house, listening to my husband breathe, feeling healthy, safe and loved.  So those long hours are certainly not a waste.  I figure in a few days my system will work itself out and my days and nights will be back on track.  Fortunately, I've been able to catch naps to make up for not sleeping soundly at night. 

I think flowers go a long way to making life wonderful:
I was feeling well enough to do some house cleaning, today.  Felt good to do things that needed to be done.  I also had some fabric arrive.  The package contained my yellow fabric for the paper pieced challenge quilt, as well some other fabrics I couldn't resist.  I know, I know - not for everyone but I fell in love with this grey/green stuff.  
I may be able to use it on my pendant art quilt. Perhaps for the shadow. I think it looks like it has captured daylight caught in the material.

I think this fabric looks a lot like the sample for the countertop that we are supposed have installed, soon:
And finally, FINALLY, I actually did another block for the Sylvia's Bridal Sampler sew along from the HGTV message board.  I decided I'd try to finish up row A.  This is "Amethyst."  Took about an hour:

I'm not proud of the edges.  I was really skirting the fabric sizes when I paper pieced it but it will work.  Those things are so addictive.  I'd forgotten how much fun they are to make. 

Husband said he would help me stabilize my bluebird houses, tomorrow, so I may be working in the yard instead of stitching.  The weather is supposed to be sunny and we all appreciate that. 

Happy Quilting,

Penny, Evelyn and Pearl

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Red Rock Canyon

This morning, I decided to head about an hour west to spend some time in Red Rock Canyon, an Oklahoma State Park.  It is just a little box canyon that drops down off the plains but it has some lovely red rock and interesting trees that don't grow everywhere else close by.  Seems like everytime I have been there, I have skipped lunch and been starving.  So this time,  I grabbed a burger at Sonic before I drove down into the park. 

I have mentioned that one of the things I love about Oklahoma is the variety of the land.  There are little surprises, everywhere.   When I lived in Oklahoma, before, I tried to hit a different state park most weekends when the days were long but this was the first time I felt well enough to continue the tradition.  Red Rock Canyon is a small place that doesn't put on airs.  They have a sweet little gift shop but don't charge a day entry fee even though they have nice bathrooms, campgrounds and showers.  I assume they charge if you reserve a campsite but can't be sure.  I should have gone back by to donate something out of appreciation but forgot to.  I'll do it, next time. 

Spending time in the outdoors is something that makes me settled and happy and I plan to make sure I find time to do it now that I am back.   I took a ton of pictures but didn't take time to commune with nature the way I like.  I'm still not feeling all that great and knew that just the trip out there and back would take a toll. 

We had beautiful blue skies, today and I'm glad I didn't waste the sunshine by staying indoors:
It is a dormant time of year but I still saw signs of life:
The canyon walls are really red:
It's a sweet, easy trail:
The rock looks alive the way it shifts and curves.
There was a lot of moss on the north faces:
If someone isn't too spry, it is a nice place to take a nature walk.   There are hills but it really isn't too strenuous.  This is about the worst of it and there weren't that many hills this steep:
I liked the reflection in this shot with the red rock behind it:
Admittedly, that is one sad looking little tree.
I was surprised at how many patches of snow remain under the eaves of the rocks:
This feather was right in the middle of a very treed part so I am not sure what sort of white bird would have left it.  I assume it was a water bird but really have no idea. 
BOO HISSS!  Poison ivy.  I don't think it got me but I was a bit paranoid.  Probably not paranoid enough since I headed right back out into the woods and it is all over the place.
Some of the ponds still had ice tops.
I think this looks like the side of a nice steak:
I assume these toe holds are man made:
See that slice of blue sky?  The rock in front is just standing next to the canyon wall: 
I like the shadows on the rocks:
I fell in love with this little patch.  The light was wonderful:
This place felt like god lived there:
I think this looks like a dinosaur track:
I used to get really aggravated at graffiti but I think I have learned to appreciate it for what it is:
There were lots of holes in the rocks.  You can't see it in this picture but it went really deep and was about three inches wide at the front.  I didn't stick my hand in there.   Could be poison ivy or something waiting to get me. 
The trees look like they are somehow related to the rocks in the way they all curve and twist: 
Once the leaves come, it will look completely different. 
Of course, I wasn't too tired to swing by my now favorite LQS in El Reno, K's Quilting Studio.  It is only about 25 minutes from home and on the way so it was well worth the trip.  Look at this yummy fabric:
They also had a very good sale on silk thread so I bought some.  They talked me into buying a scarf, too:
$11.99 and worth five times that much.  It is gorgeous.  And I am not even a scarf person.  They are expanding their store and will be offering classes in the future.  I am jazzed about that. 

I think I am going to go take my nap.

Happy Quilting,

Penny, Evelyn and Pearl