Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Pensive Brassica

Sigh. I hope my integrated pest management plan is sufficient to keep the cabbage loopers away.

Would my life coach advise me to focus on the short term goal of cole slaw or take the long view down the sauerkraut path?

Image from The Graphics Fairy.

Friday, May 22, 2015

On the Breeze

That old familiar, noxious odor is back. 

If it's lighter fluid, it must be Memorial Day weekend, the official opening of brat and potato salad season in Wisconsin.

Be safe. Have fun. Pace yourselves.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Salt of the Earth

A year ago, almost to the day, while waiting for a taxi at the train station in the little town of Bardon Mill, UK 
we crossed the road to check out Earrington Reay & Co. Ltd.

The only salt glazed pottery in England.

The stacks of pots led us closer to the giant kiln.

Where we were invited in to the shed to see the pots awaiting firing.

The company started as a manufacturer of sewer pipe.

Some of the most popular flower pots resemble those pipes.

Another specialty are the strawberry pots.

You can read more about the history of Earrington Reay.

Make sure you read stories 2 through 6 for some amazing pottery-related adventure tales.

Here are Craig, Sean, and Karl. It was Sean who invited us in to see the pottery works and have a peek into the kiln.

He told us that if we showed his photo to anyone to be sure to say that he was Sean.

Judging by the twinkles in their eyes, it seems highly likely that these guys are descendants of Big John and his prankster pals.

Have you seen Earington Reay in our yard? No? And you are not likely to. 

Our faithful travel companion has incredible tolerance for carting home souvenirs, but there are limits. He has never uttered the words "over my dead body", but perhaps as in the case of  Miss Hinemarch that is how it will have to be if we are to have a garden decorated with salt-glazed pottery.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Slat Back Rocker

Well, this was fun to make.

The pattern found in the Sep/Oct 2013 issue of Quilty is Tunisia by Pamela Goecke Dinndorf.

Her Deck Chair pattern for sale here looks to be the same or very similar.

Ours is made with  Kaffe Fassett Classics purchased from Craftsy.

It is backed in Millefiori Red and beautifully quilted by J. Bauer.

We call our version Slat Back Rocker. Deckchairs are for those with long attention spans and good concentration skills. Avid book readers and Sudoku fans for example. Rocking chairs are for multitaskers. Activities such as rocking, beverag sipping, gossiping, and neighborhood surveillance are easily done simultaneously. 

What's your chair type?

Here's hoping that the recipient of this little piece finds time to sit a spell to reflect on her recent big accomplishment 
and relax before her next ambitious undertaking.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Pussy Willow

The things we grow up with and take for granted!

Recently a visitor to our house asked, while gently petting some pussy willows in a vase on the table in front of her, "What's the deal with these fuzzysticks?"

Who does not know about pussy willows?

Someone who grew up in the urban southwest, that's who. And if we were to visit Arizona we might well ask, "What's the deal with these pricklesticks?" Or something like that. We know very little if anything about the habits of cacti having never been farther southwest than Oklahoma.

A dinner table discussion of the biology of catkins followed. Yes, that is what the buds of salix discolor and some other plants such as poplar and aspen are called. Our in house biologists took on the topic, but we still had a few questions.  This article gives much more information about a traditional harbinger of spring that we typically think of in only that way, and not as the reproductive part of  a common, but beloved native shrub.

Sorry to disappoint, but pussy willows don't turn into live kittens. Thankfully that reality hasn't kept artists from creating charming depictions of that possibility.

Pussy Willow

I know a little pussy, Her coat is silver grey; 
She lives down in the meadow, 
Not very far away. 
Although she is a pussy, 
She'll never be a cat. 
For she's a pussy willow, 
Now what do you think of that?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Don't Forget to Write

 Thought you would want to know that the West Hill Bear was finally suckered into a trap and given an all expense paid trip to a location at least 70 miles away.

We hear that he was finally lured in with some big juicy strawberries that he probably didn't enjoy much once he found himself in the very unhappy situation of being enclosed in a giant tin can. 

The bad news: no more trash can bedtime snacks for you little bear.

The good news: soon it will be wild strawberry season.

Go. Be wild and free with a clean slate, but don't screw up by forgetting the conditions of your probation. Lay off the trashcans, beehives, bird feeders, and hen houses if you want to remain on the outside. 

You can do it. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner...

At a garbage can near you?

Apparently we have not one, but two ursine visitors.

This is the youngster setting out for his nightly alley buffet dinner.

Why mess around with old dry cookies in a suspicious looking metal tin when you can have your pick of giant Tupperware containers full of nice kitchen waste? 

As another famously brilliant member of his family used to say....

"I'm smarter than the average bear!"

Saturday, April 11, 2015

It's About Time

For some excitement on the West Hill. (It has been a painfully long dry spell for neighborhood intrigue and looky-loo opportunities.)

What could possibly be more exciting than a bear hanging around knocking over bird feeders, looking in patio doors, and upsetting bee hives? 

Absolutely nothing. Except the attempt to trap and relocate that bear.

In addition to living up to their reputation for jonesing for honey,  
bears are huge suckers for cookies. Trite for sure, but according to succesful USDA wildlife trappers, apparently true.

We are eager to see if this works and if it does we will report back.

Come out, come out wherever you are!

Update 4/12/15: No bear this a.m. we checked. Even thought it was still darkish out we got dressed first in case there was one. Otherwise every time we would tell the story we might have to say that we shot a photo of a bear in our pajamas and then someone would have to ask every time, 

"What was the bear doing in your pajamas?".

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Think (Spring) Tank

Three times a year the big thinkers at Bachman's come up with new ideas for their showcase home.

The theme this season is Spring Revival.

C'mon in!


Nicely done, eh?

Open to April 19 if you would like to see for yourself.

And if you time it right you can hit the Gathering of Friends Antique Market too.

Road trip anyone?