Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Birthday Boy

Today is my son's birthday. He turned eighteen.

Earlier this year my husband was talking to a man who had an older Ford Bronco parked in his driveway. Because of my husband's work he ended up going to see this man a few times. Finally he asked about the Bronco. He had bought it for his daughter a long time ago and basically it was now sitting unused since she was long gone to college. It needed transmission work but if my husband was interested he'd sell it to him for $500.

Neighbor Dean, the mechanic, took a little ride with my husband to check it out. He thought it looked good. On the internet, the same year Bronco was going for about $2500. We decided to take a chance and we bought it.

Over the months it got a new radiator, rebuilt transmission, and a few other things. It seemed to be one of those things where you got one thing fixed and another broke. It was becoming an automobile money pit. It wasn't totally reliable yet so it sat on the driveway until we could get some other things paid off. Meanwhile Wil was driving my husband's truck back and forth to school.

My husband was becoming frustrated with the whole ordeal and last week was moaning about it to me. I mentioned I had seen an ad for GMC where they were giving "employee pricing", blah blah blah. He went to talk to the guy we've been buying new trucks from over the years. He came home and talked to me and I said "let's do it."

It's nothing super fancy, but it is definately trustworthy. Wil is now the proud owner of a new 2008 GMC pickup truck.

A few weeks ago he also started doing volunteer work at the same place where I do my volunteer stuff, Hoffman Hospice. He doesn't do visits but he works in the office doing miscellaneous chores for an hour or so after school about three times a week. Well, granted, he gets a school credit for every 15 hours he works, but he enjoys doing it and the people all tell me how polite he is and what a nice boy he is. And it's a good thing to have "volunteer work" on your resume.


Friday, September 26, 2008


It was just about a month ago when I showed the first teeth breaking out. Look at her now!

And in case that wasn't good enough here's an enlargement of the above photo. (Sorry, she just had lunch!)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Remember this picture from the weekend in Cambria? We thought it might be a Western Sandpiper.
Here's another shot of the same bird.
After carefully examining our The Sibley Guide To Birds by David Allen Sibley we think now it might have been an adult nonbreeding Red-necked Phalarope. I'm not sure how this is going to show up on the blog page but it is third from the bottom on the right side. What do you think?

I also mentioned how we had a cow swap over this past weekend. The two black cows went home and were replaced by a red cow. Here she is.
Having breakfast with her new boyfriend.And Perry's been busy too. Here's the back end of Francine.

And the next day he marked 3of4. She is still on the thin side too, but not too drastic. Baby is in a seperate pen. She'll have to wait until next year to get her new mark.

And a final note. My confidence has been restored somewhat. First of all by your very kind comments about my pictures. It means a lot to me. Secondly I had my second photography class last night. Out of about 50 people taking the class with an assignment to take about 15 photos each, the instructor used nine of my photos in the brief slide show he made to show the class. Everyone particularly oohed and aahed over the big trees (from the W.R.Hearst State Beach). And of course there were some really good photos from some of the other photographers too. Now I'm nervous about trying to get my next assignment done.

I think I'll go take a few RiteAid anti-gas pills.

Monday, September 22, 2008

First Day of Fall

Today is the first day of fall. This is a picture of our Bradford Pear tree from last year around this time (actually the end of October). It hasn't started changing yet this year since it's still too warm.

I put Perry with the ewes this afternoon and he immediately jumped on Francine. I'm keeping Baby in a separate pen for now because she is still too thin. I'll wait until next season to breed her.

We had a little scare with her over the weekend: she bloated. It was probably for the same reason the cow bloated earlier. I just was feeding her too much good stuff, hoping to fatten her up. I tried drenching her with Bloat Guard but it didn't really do anything except make her choke and cough for several minutes. Later I read on the Internet that you can give them human antacids/antigas remedies. I checked our cabinet and we had some RiteAid antigas pills. I shoved two down her throat and left her alone for a while. Later when I checked she was totally back to her skinny self.

This weekend the two visiting black cows went home and they were replaced with a red cow from the same owners. I think Dakota is a happy camper!

Hmm. For Perry and Dakota I guess you could say "Love is in the air!"

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

Humble Pie

Back in August I thought I might like to enter a few of my photos in our fair, which was coming up soon. I got online to check the closing dates and rules. There were many different categories and the rules state one person can enter five photos, with no more than two in each category.

When I started looking at my pictures to decide which ones I should enter I was unpleasantly surprised. I liked most of them but they just didn't seem to have that "wow!" factor. Oh well, I thought. The entry fee was only $2.00 per photo so it was no big deal.

I finally decided on five pictures, printed them out and carefully mounted them on photo mounting boards as directed in the rules.

The fair opened this week. Today was old folks day senior citizens day and the gates opened at 9 am. Since Carli was off I invited her to come with me to see how my pictures fared. (wink wink)

Some of these I may have already posted at one time on this blog or my Yahoo blog.

The first category I entered was "close-up or scientific", whatever that is. I entered my red dragonfly and the "Death of A Caterpillar".

Then in the "flowers" category I entered the ants on the daisy. I didn't really expect anything from this one.
Now you can put a face to the name. This was the "portrait" category of my neighbor, Dean.

And finally, my personal favorite from the "animals" category, my dog, Clyde.

It's really tough to tell what exactly the judge(s) were looking for. Sad to say, I didn't even get one "honorable mention" sticker. When we were checking out all the other photos (there were tons!) we would point out ones we really liked and wonder why they didn't have any prizes. And then there were some that did have winning stickers that left us wondering what was so interesting about that particular photo. From the comments we heard from the other folks we weren't alone.

It's all subjective I guess. I'll just have to try again next year.

The highlight of the day was when we were walking through the "Collections" exhibits and one man pointed to my baby granddaughter and said, "Now that's a winning entry right there!"

He got that right!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

How To Mail A Mosaic

Back in July my AZ sister wanted me to make a her a heart mosaic. It was to be a gift for a special friend of hers who lives in Germany. She was planning a trip to visit her and wanted to hand deliver it.

All went well and I packed the mosaic in wads of paper and shipped it to her in AZ. I thought that since it was thick plyboard and hard tile and thinset and grout it would be very sturdy. I didn't think I would need insurance for it. I was wrong.

My sister called to tell me it had arrived with two corners damaged. One corner wasn't too bad, maybe two of the tile pieces had popped off. But the other corner had about 10 or so pieces off. The only thing I could think of was that it had received some extremely rough handling and obviously I hadn't packed it well enough.

I told my sister to send it back and I would see if I could repair it. She carefully packed it in a thick layer of bubble wrap and then nestled it in shipping peanuts. She had the box marked "FRAGILE" and sent it back to me.

Here's what it looked like when I got it.
This is the other side of the box. You can even see one of the red "FRAGILE" stamps.
Fortunately inside the box everything was good, thanks to my sister's careful packing.

I was able to make the repairs needed and I don't think anyone's the wiser. This is the mosaic I made for my sister's friend. If it looks familiar it's because she wanted one like the one in this post.
You may (or not) recall that I said everytime I make another mosaic that I feel like I learn something new about the process. This time I learned to wrap well in bubble wrap, then packing peanuts, have the package marked "FRAGILE" and insure it just in case (it only costs a couple extra dollars to do so). This time when my sister got the package the mosaic arrived safe and sound. She has since visited her friend and reports that her gift was a huge success.

Shortly after I made that one a reader of my blog who is actually NOT a relative of mine asked about making a mosaic for her in honor of her dog, Joe. An e-mail correspondence ensued where we figured out a design and price and I went to work.

This one was a little more challenging for me because Carol wanted a silhouette of her dog, a laborador retriever. This wasn't my usual easy heart design but I really wanted to try it. In the end I was very pleased with how it turned out and Carol approved the picture of the finished product. (I had told her I would send a picture and if she didn't like it she wouldn't have to buy it.)

I told her it really looks better in person because the colors show up better and you really notice the difference in the textures and sheen of the tiles (some of the border tiles are matte and some are shiny). She had requested the silhouette of a lab wearing a red collar, a light blue background, and little hearts in the corners. At one point she had mentioned his collar has a heart tag on it. I shaped little red hearts out of the tile with my Rotozip and then got the brilliant idea to do the same with a metallic bronze tile to make the collar tag. Fortunately it worked out and I think it was a nice surprise for Carol. About the only other detail I made on the silhouette was I shaped the ear with tiles.

What I learned from this mosaic is to spray the sides (which are also grouted) with a clear spray so the color doesn't rub off onto the wall. I'm happy to say after I wrapped it and sent it off properly it got to it's new home safe and sound.

Here's a funny side note to this story. I've mentioned before that my brother is a doctor, and he and his family live in Illinois. Carol lives in the same city. Carol is a nurse. Carol and my brother occasionally work together. This didn't come to light until I got her address and we started asking a few questions. It's a small world after all!

Joe, Carol's dog, just turned 15 and she recently discovered he has a tumor in his abdominal region so he has his good days and his bad days. Here's wishing Joe nothing but good days with his owner who loves him very much!



You're what, 30 now? HA HA!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

More Of The Weekend

One of the things I like about going to my friend's place in Cambria is that we walk a lot. There are several boardwalks (literally) on either side of town that meander along the coastline and through the woods that making walking easy. Otherwise the paths are generally wide and well groomed.

On Saturday we did the short walk along Moonstone Beach to Leffingwell Landing and just a bit beyond and then returned. I didn't take my camera with me on that jaunt but the ocean on that day was very calm with a wide array of blues and greens.

On Sunday we drove up to William Randolph Hearst State Memorial Beach and walked up on the spit of land that juts out into the ocean. I got a good picture or two there.

On Monday we went to the San Simeon State Park and did a little birdwatching at the beach before we headed for the trail.

I'm not positive of the id's of these birds but I think they are:

great blue heronmallard ducks (male and female)
brown pelican
western sandpiper (even though there is a plover breeding ground right there the beak seems too long for a plover)red breasted merganser
red shouldered hawk

Like I said, we aren't 100 percent sure so if anyone knows better please tell me so I can make a correction.

After looking at the birds we headed for the trail and ended up going the wrong way. We wound up in the campground and had to back track to the beach. While we were heading back I got a little bit excited. I saw a flash of something scurrying into the dense brush and the first thing I could think of popped out of my mouth. "JAGUAR!" Okay, I knew it wasn't a jaguar or a mountain lion but I also knew it wasn't a feral housecat. Sure enough, it soon peeked back out on the other side.

It's kind of hard to see it here but it's a bobcat!

That sighting really made my day.

One of the pictures I forgot to post yesterday was this intrepid squirrel at the house. He'll do whatever it takes to get his breakfast.

I had a great time at the beach this past weekend. It was very relaxing and hopefully I won't have to wait too long before we go again!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Back Home

I'm back home safe and sound from my long weekend in Cambria. I was able to play with my camera a little and get most of my photography class homework done. And as a side benefit I got some nice pictures to boot!

Not all of the pictures on today's blog are my homework pictures, in fact most of them aren't. I can't think fast enough to try and figure out what setting I need, as when the wild turkeys came marching through the yards one day. For them the camera was on "auto", or as my photography instructor calls it "the little green box".

Friday afternoon we went to the Farmer's Market. I'm still kind of shy about whipping out the camera when there's a lot of people around, and especially taking photos of the specific booths. But the colors were so fabulous I forced myself.

Saturday we went to Harmony and visited the glass blowers' shop and the pottery shop. There were some good photo ops there and I noticed I wasn't the only one snapping away.
Tomorrow I'll share some more pictures I took from some of our walks (the birds, the ocean, the trees) and a surprise shot I was lucky enough to get.