Monday, February 21, 2011

Next To Fall

"Least Attractive Human on the Planet"

Another Day Passes

and with it, February inches farther down the calendar.

I was just trying to remember what I did with myself yesterday. Weird. I could not recall.
I planted carrots and beets and leeks.... oh yes. I visited the Big Box stores in search of this powder called inoculant which seemed to help start ff the sugar peas so nicely last year. I think I might be a shade too late to get a great harvest of peas, but it had been so cold and harsh up til this past week, I was fearful of having young sprouts get nipped by a cold front or, like last year, that snow day surprise we had in Mid- February.

Anyhoo..... after I teach a Basket class this morning, I shall plant the peas and sprinkle the powders and let nature take it's course.

At one point, as I walked down to the coop/run, my heart skipped a beat. I saw feathers everywhere.

Oh no. And not a chicken in sight. You can well imagine my dread. I walked inside the runs, calling out to Stu who is usually the first one rounding the corner. He appeared cautiously, nervously from the exit flap and I opened the door.

There they all were, cowering inside and fearful of coming out so I could look them all over and figure out who lost the feathers and why. They were definitely from one of the goldies. Poor babies.

They were all skittish, and Stu didn't help matters by strutting on his toes and curkling. I know that is not a word.... but it fits as to the sound he makes when he is distressed about something. It is not a crow or a tuk-tuk. It has a trumpeting feel, very alarming. And the hens pay close attention. He and Ginger kept a weather eye out as the others moved slowly out to peck at some corn grains I used to lure them out into the light. Ginger is a sentinel.

I have to think it was a bird of prey. Or a cat that is now somewhere licking it's wounds. I found no evidence of blood anywhere but the spurs on Stu are over an inch long and I think he has a strop somewhere that he employs to keep them pointy and dangerous.

Good man!

That is a formidable bird.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

I Got A "Farmer's Tan"

We worked a lot outdoors yesterday and prepped the vegetable beds and back plot. John tilled all the red clover under along with oak leaves to bulk up the soil. We'll let that rest for a bit before we plant the potatoes for the spring.

I cleaned up the walkpaths in the raised bed area and pulled dying and dead plants away. It's amazing to me that this area can be frigid and dormant one week in February and sprouting with greenery two short, fast weeks later. THe redbuds are blooming out in Mandeville... tulip trees, as well. It's spring.

The peach trees are budding out here. The pear and plum are right behind them and the blueberries, which had me anxious last summer, look to be chockfull of berries.

I am ready to plant some peas and more carrots and beets.... I worried to do this two weeks and now I fret that I waited too long to get anything out of the peas. We received our shipment of seeds from Parks and I will plant them as well today.

We are feasting each night on the rutabagas, carrots and kale. The kohlrabi is delicious and will definitely be in the garden again next fall. All the onion sets and garlic are looking healthy and I am very pleased to report I have (still) 28 leeks out there. Yes, I count. Listen, I have been trying to grow leeks since we lived in Mandeville. It's not as easy as tossing a few seeds out there, let me tell you! I can't understand why they are so expensive in the stores, either. Once they get growing, they look very happy. Perhaps it's because they are so SLOW to begin with. I don't know.

OH! Big news..... a month ago, we planted 14 more artichoke seeds, right? Only 1 of them germinated.... grrrr. ONE? Come on! And the other three I coddled into existence last year and planted out in the fall were down to one thriving and one other clinging desperately to life with the third as dead as it's gonna get? The clinger clung. It's coming back!


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Twenty Years In The Making

When we moved home from working overseas 1989, I got a job working in New Orleans at a t-shirt printing company. It was there, in my last months that I met a man from Kenner with a fishing company (making lures and lead) who wanted to compete with Guy Harvey.

He liked those shirts but wanted to see more realistic representations of his favorite fish and hired the company to take a stab at it. "I don't want those dead cartoon eyes, either!"

I got the assignment and the next thing you know I am drawing and redrawing a speckled trout until I have it exactly right.

Then he said, "Now, turn the tail and make it look like it's chasing shrimp."

WHAT?!! Why didn't he tell me this 40 hours ago, right? Next thing I know, I have a pail of shrimp on my drawing table, and I am making them look like they're trying to flee from a turning speckled trout! This was the beginning of a long friendship with Pete Canal.

It's also how, after 20+ years, I have this T-shirt quilt finally completed. Every one of those t-shirts, I made; either through the old way of hand-made screens or as a painted canvas-turned t-shirt, all thanks to Pete. And also thanks to Pete, I actually have a copy of them after all these years in order to make the quilt.

This was the first: speckled trout. (If I knew that day when we started this project how long it would take to turn out, I am not certain I would have volunteered to take this assignment on. I am so glad I did.)

Here's where it gets interesting..... a few weeks ago, we were looking at the rebuilt camps along Lake Catherine and popped into a marina. Look what I found on the sale rack:

This is NOT mine but whoever made it, copied me. No one, including Harvey, was putting the bait in the design until Pete did it. (and they used shrimp. hello!?)

This one was so much fun to paint. I think I was living in Alaska at the time. The first large-mouth bass we did was a real hoot. I left the company I worked for right after the trout shirt came out and Pete hired me independently to create the next shirt: Large Mouth Bass (this is not it)(I have no copy and Pete's stock got damaged in Katrina) Pete wanted a LMbass chasing a frog through lilypads and brought over to our house both a dead bass and live (large) frog. When it was time to draw the frog, it escaped from me and started hopping all over the house. Man, can they jump! It took me, the girls and the guy next door lifting the sofa to finally catch the darned thing!

So a few years later, we make another LMbass chasing sac-a-lait. This one was painted.

The very last shirt we made together was in 1999 I think. Alligator. No, he didn't bring me a live alligator but I bet he would've , if I'd asked it of him, he is that crazy.

I loved this one. I think it is fitting that we ended on a high note.
Pete has all of the originals. I think we did a pretty decent job of this. All the shirt we have have held up to repeated washings without losing their ink. The shirts he bought were always of high quality.

I get a kick when I see someone wearing one ... besides us.

So two years ago, I contacted Pete about getting some of the shirts because for whatever reason, I was missing some. I have pellon copies but I wanted the actually jersey for this and as luck would have it, I had such a terrific selection of batiks, I was able to trap all the images with a complementary fabric to get them all the same size.

I just finished the quilting 2 days ago and now have the binding on.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Well, I Just Don't Know

...if I like this new look. I had issues with the last design in that the area where the posts appear seemed constrained (to me somehow) so I thought I would tweak it.

The first thing you're supposed to do (and I did) was to save a copy of the original as a back-up. Then start messing around with changes.

After you do what you do, to ht SAVE and go look. I did.

Then I noticed is it looked pretty much the way it did on the preview screen and I wanted to make a few more changes and did so.

Then I scrolled down and found that my counter has evaporated. I cannot retrieve it either. SiteMeter has no record of me existing so I no longer will know where the Gentle Viewer hails from. But when I tried to go back to me original layout and get the meter, I couldn't reload it. Go Figure.

I liked this feature because I could tell when our girls or family in Texas stopped by to catch up on the Chicken Farm.

ahem........ "IT IS NOT A FARM. I don't sell anything and I eat only the veg we grow and the eggs they lay. We don't harvest the meat.... I just call it Chicken Farm because that sounds retro and cute!."

Now, I will be shooting in the dark unless I decide to install another counter. The one you see down there now is GOOGLE meter and does not allow ME to see where people come from. *

Google on the other hand knows everything. Blogger is a Google product.

Now I am not a paranoid. I post these musings of mine for your entertainment (or not) and I hope I have enough filters between my head and fingers to not be typing inflammatory posts.


Do you know that the GOOGLEBOT comes trolling through pages several times a week? Didn't know that, did you? It does. I used to be able to see when it monitored me. I never knew what it was looking for or at. But, it's there...... reading through the posts and pages.

I wonder what it does with it's findings.........

Anybody know?

* I added a new meter from a google-approved site to track once more your comings and goings......... (I'm watching you!)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tweaking for a New Look

bear with me....

Speaking of AWESOME...

here is an opportunity that doesn't happen often. YOU, yes you, get a chance to vote on the cover of the Rolling Stone

And of course, if you don't know any of these names, just watch this video and go vote 5 stars for this : Satellite

so, all good to go? Go click on that link above, scroll down the page and look for Leila Broussard and you'll see 2 words below her name. Masquerade and Satellite. You should see 5 outlined stars as well. If you click your mouse on the stars, you can choose the number you think she is worthy of. I, naturally, chose 5. I think she and this video are BRILLIANT.


Now, the video was made by another woman from Louisiana, Molly Green and she is SO talented. After you vote, hope over to YouTube and look for Molly Green

I know... you want MORE. I don't blame you!

Because She's Just So Darned Qute!

So.... what'd ya do yesterday? I attended a bi-monthly meeting of our quiltgroup.

OKAY now that brings me to a query. Am I using the correct term...... bi-monthly? Does that means TWICE a month or every two months? Am I the only person uncertain of this?
be right back...... just checked G***** and found when applied to magazines, bi-weekly (or monthly) can mean BOTH.

sigh.. no one wonder English is thought of to be complicated to master.

nevermind....... WE meet twice a month and occasionally three times, depending on how often the day falls in the calendar. Just about everyone was in attendance and it wasn't until an our after that I thought.."hmmmm why didn't we discuss any upcoming project? That would've been a good opportunity as so many were there to participate." oh well....

On to other topics: the weather has been nothing short of fabulous and I have used the time wisely and started cleaning the planting beds. The carrots as long and sweet and I am going to plant some more and peas today. I cleaned up the bed where herbs grow and found that the fennel, greek oregano, mint, sage and cilantro(!) has wintered over. CILANTRO?

WOW I was about to pull that cilantro thinking it was a small weed when the fragrance wafted to my snout and stopped me short. I can't get that stuff to grow during the summer! How on Earth did it cling to life during this hard winter? I don't get it but I'll take it!

So the space it all fresh and waiting for a few more weeks to pass before I plunk in some basil and dill. I love having those fresh leaves so close to the kitchen. The rosemary is a sweet little tree now. I had a devil of a time in the old house getting rosemary, that promiscuous herb, to grow for me until I segregated it into a large pot and dragged it around the yard in search of a sunny location.

Oh speaking of pots.... grrrrrr factor alert. I have discovered that three of our larger pots have shattered in this cold frozen weather. I wish I thought of this possibility. I could have dragged THEM someplace warmer had I known.

I have the fish t-shirt quilt on the machine with only a few more stitches to go on it. yea! Another one done (shortly) and on;y a closet-full left to quilt.

Friday, February 11, 2011

What's This! What's This! What's This!

Just the beginning, my dears. Just the beginning!

THAT is ravioli. One is sweet Italian sausage and cheese and the other roasted butternut squash ravioli.
I am (hoping to) making Emeril's brown butter to go with and I hope it is everything it is cracked up to be!

Done and Done

I have finished piecing the last two Leslie BOMbs.... Bright 1 and Bright 2. One is softer than the other but left looking at either one alone, I have to wonder if anyone could actually get any sleep under these quilts! They are loud and brash and bright! I had no idea I had so much bright fabric in the stash.

Well not any more, that is!

yea!!!!!!! so now, all I have to do is quilt and bind them all.....
but first, I am off to make ravioli.

Wylie Sophia Garcia

You need to go see this blog. The Dress That Makes the Woman.

Wylie is the daughter of my cousin and lives in Vermont.


She is creating and wearing a dress each month. She starts with a premade base and deconstructs and reconstructs and makes it into a work of art.
Along the way, she discovers insights about herself, history and the present. Good stuff.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


I bought the KitchenAid attachment of a grinder last year and finally had an opportunity to put it to use. This is venison and I used it in a chili last week. The tool works great and cleans easily.

John gave me the pasta press for Christmas and I hope to make some Friday. It's going to be brrrrcold and I have everything I need to make ravioli!!

I have now completed every block of the Leslie BOMb and am about to finish the borderwork on the 5th. WHoo-hhoooo!

The civil war quilt is really a good fun way to also use up fabric stash and since I have NO control on the pace, I think I will make two sets of this one. I have a lovely stash of blues/browns/beiges to use up and I think this is just the way to go about it.

The chickens have that "why is this happening?" look about them. The weather is not the best for them; nothing is growing from the ground up; no bugs are grubbing around. They are so bored......

oooooo I forgot to mention this!!!! The other day, for the very first time, we got 7 eggs!!!! Isn't that NEAT!!!! and in the dead of winter, when chickens are supposed to slack off.

Monday, February 7, 2011


The Black Eyed Peas?

Meh..... should've just run the Declaration of Independence again.

That's some quality stuff right there.

Christina A?: 2 things to remember. 1. The lines. 2. The Star Spangled Banner is not written as practice scales. Just sing.

You know what? Can we just bring back the marching bands at half-time?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

What Is The First Thing YOU Thought When You Watched This?

Okay, another interesting video of animals. Here we have a fox and a turtle

As I watched it the first time, I was struck by something....... something seemed a little off. What could it be......?


When did fox become a domestic pet?

Why didn't anyone tell me this?

So now, alongside anteaters, we have fox.

Lots of yipping and whining on that LONG video. Cut over to 2:30.... I know exactly how it feels when I can't open a jar of pickles. I just want to sit in a corner and cry until someone comes over and helps.