Monday, November 13, 2017

Bogs, Ponds, & Dog Yawns

It may be cooling off, but we still have a few insects around!  This cluster of Niesthrea louisianica (or the scentless plant bug) cluster on a hibiscus pod. 


A leaf-footed bug heads for safer territory.


We're still seeing lots of geese...


...and ducks.


Birds are really out and about lately!


We haven't seen any herons for a while, but their shaggy nests are pretty obvious.


This weekend, when it was blustery and 40 degrees, I couldn't wait to get outside and hike.  It's been so hot for so long, and it feels like I just can't soak up enough of these cooler temperatures. 

Beautiful bogs...



...and berries.





Borga likes to hike...


...but she is pretty worn out on the way home.


Back at our house, the leaves!  The leaves!!





Our turks are back, too.  Every morning, they scurry out of the way as I'm pulling out of the driveway. I see them at night, too, picking around in the meadow.


Our kittens love the colder weather and react by moving into full hibernation mode. Unless a certain someone, annoyingly, wakes them up for a photo op.  ;) 


Have a great week! 

Monday, November 6, 2017

The colors, the colors!

We're in the middle of that intoxicating two week period where all the trees around our house are changing and the leaves look like they're lit from within by some slow-smoldering fire.  Too dramatic?  I can't help it.  Just walking through the house is an exercise in focus, because I'm continually distracted by the view.  The leaves are just gorgeous and I've taken hundreds of photos, trying to capture the colors.


Those red leaves, especially.  So many different shades!


The dramatic limb that hung right outside of our sunroom died, but we still have some beautiful yellows.



I don't have a wide angle lens for my good camera, so I've been using the point-and-shoot one for those types of shots.  Lousy pictures, but it gives you an idea about why I'm so distracted! 


We went hiking this weekend.  Yes, more leaves!




Wonderful, just wonderful!  It doesn't exactly feel like fall since it's still hovering near 80 degrees,  but I'm still really enjoying the view, and looking forward to many Scrabble games down by the pond, with a hearty fire for warmth.

Meanwhile, more pleasant distractions!  A neighbor's cat, Clover, has been spending a lot of time on our back deck.  FYI, to our cats, this is the feline equivalent to a home invasion.  Can you see Bosewichte's intimidating glare?


First comes one, and then comes his little friend, peeking around the corner.


It's infuriating to our cats to watch them play...




...or clean themselves, supremely indifferent to the vicious attack cats that are only separated from them by a screen door.


Tabitha, especially, is miffed.  I have a feeling that she isn't going to take it well when we add another cat to the family someday!

Meanwhile, speaking of cats...


I was making a batch of cookies for Todd's office (incidentally, the cookies that were supposed to be mailed out to friends/family, until I found out that they're only shelf-stable for two days), using my Halloween linzer cookie cutter.  I love it, and just discovered an Easter one in my stash.  Hooray!  These cookies were shortbread and filled with homemade chocolate ganache.


EXTRA ganache filling!


When you use the cutter to stamp out a shape, you have to use a skewer to pop out the bit of dough that remains in the tiny cookie cutter.  I realized midway through that I had stacks of tiny cats, ghosts, hats, and bats.  They all went back into the main dough ball, but I couldn't resist baking some teeny tiny cats for fun.  I actually preferred them to the filled cookies, because I'm not a huge chocolate ganache fan...too overpowering.  The tiny cat cookies were just perfect.

Have a great week! 

Monday, October 30, 2017

It's a BOO-tiful morning!

IT'S COOL OUTSIDE!  I felt like pulling a Julie Andrews this morning as I took in deep, chilly breaths.  True, we're supposed to be back in the upper 70s in a few days, but this morning it was in the thirties.  At last, at long last!  The hills are alive!!

The leaves, too!  I'm loving the colors that we're finally, finally starting to see.


Our dogwoods are showing the most change...


...but most trees are just barely tipped in color.




Todd and I were finally able to sit comfortably by the pond and watch the rain.  Yes, it rained (insert another Julie Andrews spin here)!


It's so nice to be outside again, checking out interesting fungus...



...and watching the insects!  Here is a syphid fly, a bee mimic.



Acorns are falling like crazy...maybe even more than last year! 


I'm keeping a very close eye on our camellias.  They've got some beautiful buds...maybe we're within a couple of weeks of full bloom!


Our early bloomers are already popping!


Meanwhile, our cats are falling into their regular cooler-weather rhythm.  Seeking out sunbeams...


...and, when the heat is on, sleeping on the registers under the couch to maximize their comfort.


It's nearly Halloween!  I ordered our cards...


...and baked Oreos.



Our scary movie marathon has already begun!  Hooray!

I have been trying to knit, but it is just killing my hands.  I finally switched back to Portuguese mid-sock, but it's slow going.  I think I should finally have these socks done within 2 weeks.  I've been doing my usual sampler quilt project, trying to complete one block per day.


And, I started a new quilt.  I know, I know.  I have a queen-sized quilt waiting to be sandwiched and quilted, plus this sampler quilt.  But here's how the rabbit hole of quilting goes.  I got an email from a fabric store, indicating that the fabric I bought recently...


...had gone on sale.  Hmmm.  I'd bought a pre-cut lot (half yard, I think) and had no idea what I was going to do with it, but maybe I ought to take advantage of this sale?  What if I needed sashing?  Binding? Quick, pick a quilt design, just to see if I had enough fabric or might need a little more.


This is perfect.   Four fabric patterns per 12 inch block.  I have 20 different fabrics in my pre-cut bundle, which equals out to five different color combinations.  The block is simple enough, and would show off the fabric well.

Maybe I ought to just make one to see how it looks...


Before I knew it, the whole first row was done and I was cutting up the fabric for the second row!  It will be mix-and-match...seven blocks of each color combination of four, plus there's enough leftover fabric from each color combo to create a few random ones.  I didn't intend to start another quilt, but I did, and now I'm alternating one sampler block with one welcome block.  I never did take advantage of that sale, either.  I'll just see how it looks once all the blocks are completed.  I LOVE the peach, navy, and cream color combination, and this fabric has birds, feathers, and flowers.  Love!!  It will be a great winter project. 

Happy Halloween!