Friday, May 28, 2010

First Red Tomato Of 2010

I found the first red tomato of the year yesterday! It isn't real big, but it sure is beautiful. Guess what I'll be having for lunch tomorrow?
Also our zucchini have finally started growing zucchinis.
I think under normal circumstances we would be inundated with zuchinis by now but the weather has been so cool it's kind of slowed everything down. We did have some crook neck squash last week that even though it had been on the vine already for a week it was still "baby" sized. And absolutely delicious!

Well, global warming may be going on in other parts of the world but certainly not here!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Visiting Cow

A few weeks ago I got an inquiry from a lady in Ojai. It was about the possibility of bringing her cow to be bred by my bull. I let her know I was open to that, since I had already done that before. We made arrangements through e-mail and Monday her son and daughter brought their cow.
I let the new cow, named Nora, and Dakota get acquainted through the fence before I let them be together.
A while later I opened the gate to Dakota's pen and he wandered out. Dakota was willing to just nibble the grass and sniff curiously toward the newcomer.

She, however, was having none of that. She immediately put her head down and started some serious pushing. Dakota wasn't expecting that and he got pushed half way across the yard before he got himself together and started pushing back. This went on all day.

In the evening I noticed they had busted through the fence to my "orchard" and I chased them out. Now they are both locked in Dakota's pen until they stop pushing.

Meanwhile, I think my orchard is a goner.

What hurts the most is one tree that had lots of fruit on it (the apricots) has been stripped bare.

I don't think Nora was with any other cows for a long time, which may explain her aggressiveness. But being with a bull now may bring her into heat so she may get bred and finally settle down. She is a lot calmer already. She has been trying to "ride" the bull, which is usually an indication that she's coming into heat.

Cows are funny though. The timing has to be just right and they won't allow themselves to be bred unless they are in a "standing heat", which means they will stand still to be mounted and bred. And the time frame for that to happen is just a few hours. That's why when a cow is bred using AI (artificial insemination) it's very important to keep track of the time the cow was given the hormone shots to bring her into heat. If she is AI'd two hours too late it could all be for naught! But since Nora is with Dakota 24/7 now, you can be assured he won't let the right time pass without doing the deed.

I guess I'll keep watering the orchard to see if anything recovers, but I'm not going to replace any of the trees. I'll just have to wait til we get to Oregon to get a new orchard.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Another Mosaic Cross

I recently finished another mosaic cross, this time using 1/2 marbles as the main cross piece. I put them in "upside down" so the flat side was up, giving more surface to show. On my other pictures of mosaics I took multiple pictures and then posted what I thought was the best photo, even though each photo shows a little different aspect. Today I'm going to post all three photos of the same mosaic so you can see the difference the lighting makes.

Pick your favorite.

This first shot was in full sun. Even though there are "shiny" tiles, you can't really see them.
This shot was outside. The mosaic is in the shade and you can see the metallic tiles picking up the reflection a little.
This photo was taken inside the garage with the door open. There is a lot of reflection which really makes the glass marbles glow and the metallic tiles shine. This is probably my favorite shot. But like I said, each photo kind of emphasizes a little bit of a different perspective.
Right now I'm working on a stepping stone with a lizard as the subject. I can already tell I'm going to have to redo some of the tiles so it will be more to my liking. As usual I'll show it to you all when I'm done. I hope it turns out okay!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Even though we've had unseasonably cool weather so far it was time to get the cats shaved. I had Ollie done last year but not Kneadermeier. But now Kneadermeier is a little older and doesn't take care of herself so well anymore and I had both of the cats done.

When I picked them up from the vet, I think they were both hatin' on me a little. Ollie pp'd in her crate, which I had borrowed from the neighbor because I couldn't find our second crate. The bad thing about that is, it's a soft-sided, collapsible type and it even leaked outside the crate. Fortunately we had newspaper underneath the crate so I was able to just roll the paper up and toss it when I got home. I got some animal odor neutralizer so I hope that works.

What's really funny now is how similar the cats look. They both have white feet, a white spot on their chest and white whiskers. The way I can tell who is who is Kneadermeier is thinner than Ollie, and her face is pointier than Ollie's, and Ollie's whiskers look thicker than Kneadermeier's. Before the shave it was easier to tell because everything about Ollie was bigger and puffier. Even though Kneadermeier is a medium-long haired cat, her hair was sleeker and finer than Ollie's, who is definately a long-haired cat.

Here's the girls with their new do's:

It'll all grow back in about four months or so, just in time for winter.

I think they've already forgiven me too. ☺

Monday, May 24, 2010


Today is my husband's birthday. Yesterday our daughter went to the mall and got him a pack of balloons (complete with rude writing), a glass beer boot (1 liter capacity!), and a six pack of Modelo beer in a rude bag. I got him the flowers.

Happy Birthday, dear!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cross Mosaic

Here's the last cross mosaic I just finished. The rectangle glass made a nice border. The orange tiles make a good contrast to the multi-green cross and they match nicely with the border too. It's just too bad the photo doesn't show how pretty it really is.

In other news I just finished painting the hall and entry. I can't believe how sore I am from painting. It's good exercise apparently! It must be all the squatting and raising of the arms overhead. I've decided I don't really like doing the trim, but I can do the walls all day! Next up: the living room/dining area which is a fairly large amount of walls. I'm going to have to start bringing all our extra "stuff" to a storage facility soon!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mosaic Projects

It's been a while since I did any mosaic projects and I was feeling decidedly uninspired. My friend Vicki suggested I do one or two easy things to get back in the mood and maybe I'd get influenced enough to get on track again.

She was right. I started off with this simple stepping stone with three intertwining strands. (Remember you can click on each picture to enlarge.)
I was feeling good about getting back into doing the mosaics again, even though the above design is really simple. But then I got kind of stuck again. I could have gone back to my hearts that I like to do, but I really wanted to try something different. Then it struck me: do crosses!

This is the first cross done on a stepping stone. Not real fancy but I like the colors.
Here's the second cross I did, this time on a piece of wood. As usual, the more I do the better they get. This one is about 8" X 8". I gave it to my boss at Hoffman Hospice because her dog just died and I know how difficult losing a pet can be.
I'm not quite done with the third one yet. I'll post a picture of it when it's finished.

My husband and I are leaving for the San Jose area tomorrow to attend a baby shower this weekend for our niece.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Goat House/Calf House

This is the old goat house. It has a big hole in the floor and I was going to take the whole thing down. But one day I went out there and I found this.
The picture is a little dark so I enlarged and lightened.
It seems the calf likes to spend a little time in there.

When she gets a little older and doesn't need to go in for as many naps then I'll tear it down. Anybody have any suggestions as to what to name her?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Bedroom Redo

I've made up my mind that this is the year we are going to move. After all, this is something my husband and I have been talking about since not long after we married. We thought we might like to move to Northern California, where the air is cleaner at least.

We always said "we're not going to raise our kids in this town."

Then the kids came and we still didn't move.

We halfheartedly looked at other areas but they were too densely forested, or too expensive, or too inconvenient to move to at that particular time. Being an army brat and having moved just about every third year I was always ready to give it a go, but I think my husband was a little too comfortable where he was at. (Can you say "bawk bawk baaaaawwk!")

I finally got tired of all the talking and "looking". I told my husband we are putting the house on the market in July (or sooner). I figured that would give me enough time to start cleaning up and making the place presentable.

I'm starting from the back of the house and moving towards the front. The first item of order was my bedroom. A few years ago I got "artistic" and painted it in horizontal stripes. It was supposed to be shades of brown, but the lighter shade looks kind of pink. We also had a different bedspread and I had gotten red drapes to go over the sliding glass door.

Meanwhile I got a new bedspread, in shades of green, and now things aren't really looking so good. I enjoy watching various home improvement shows and I know one of the things they say is to have fairly neutral colors on the wall. That meant the stripes had to go.

I found a very pale green for the walls and a white with a hint of green for the trim.

I removed the treadmill and pushed the dresser from the foot of the bed to the opposite wall. The room looks so much bigger and more relaxing now.

The bathroom was totally remodeled just a few years ago so all it will need is a thorough cleaning.

Next I will go through the closets and sort through all that mess. Pack stuff we don't need right now, donate other stuff, and throw stuff away that is no longer used. This will help make the closets look bigger for when potential buyers come poking about. Nobody likes to see clothes and stuff crammed in there.

So that is what I've been doing most of the week when I wasn't fretting about the chicks (who are now in their new box and doing well).

There's still a lot of work to do, but I'm bound and determined to make it happen. This year!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Good Hatch

It turns out all four eggs in the incubator were good! All four hatched.

We got two yellow and two black chicks. It will be interesting to see what they look like as they mature. (That big blob in the front is a damp paper towel to keep the humidity up.)
Tomorrow I will move them out of the incubator and into their own little box where they will have access to water and chick starter food.

What fun!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Latest Hatch Update

This is Carli and me watching the chick hatch.

It is now cheeping quite loudly. I noticed a crack in two of the other eggs. Yeehaw! (I hope they aren't roosters again...)

Hatch Update

It is now just after 9 pm. The chick did not seem to be making any progress so I decided to help it a little. I'm not sure if I should have or not. Various sites on the internet say it is possible to help. I didn't wait 24 hours because I was afraid it might not make it that long. It is still peeping so I take that as a good sign. What I did was very carefully and gently break the shell all around like it would have (should have). It is now sitting on a very damp paper towel to help with the humidity, which apparently is very important to helping the chick break out.

I hope I have happy news tomorrow.

Keep your fingers crossed!

Right On Time

As I reported last week I was expecting the four chicken eggs I put in the incubator to hatch today, Cinco de Mayo. I checked them first thing this morning and one of them is starting to peck its way out.
Here's a close up.
Let's keep our fingers crossed that the rest of the day progresses nice and smoothly with no problems. I'll update later!

Meanwhile-- Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Monday, May 3, 2010



Wish we could be with you today!


Saturday, May 1, 2010

May Day

Happy May Day! Time to dance around the May Pole. Do people still do that?

And sorry, I forgot to say Happy Arbor Day yesterday. Plant a tree!