Saturday, March 27, 2010

Flower Fields

Today is my youngest son's 19th birthday - Happy Birthday, Sam!

He, of course, is spending the day with his friends, so Eldy and I drove up to Carlsbad to see the famous flower fields up there. There are acres and acres of beautiful ranunculus blooms - every color you can imagine, and the rows seem to go forever. It's one of the spectacular sites to see in springtime in San Diego. (How's that for abundant alliteration?)

Here's a view looking back over the fields towards the ocean. You can just barely see the windmill in between.

This is looking down the "orange" rows - they seem to go on forever.
And here's the red, yellow and pink.
Here's one of me - enjoying the sunshine by the mauve and white rows:
And here's my husband Eldy, who was gracious enough to go with me, though didn't much want to linger. :-)

Amazing what all that color does for your soul!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

They're Back!!!

Yes, the hummingbirds are back, BIG TIME!

A week ago, as I walked out to my car, one humbuzzed me - it orbited my head a few times, then hovered in front of me for a bit. I love hummingbirds - did you know they are considered a symbol of joy! That seems quite appropriate to me.

Well, a few days ago, as Eldy was getting ready to leave for work, he called me to come to the front door, then walked out. Near the end of our sidewalk, in a canopy of vines (cape honeysuckle), there was a tiny hummingbird nest, with Momma sitting there, so very still!

Sorry the focus isn't very good - I tried to get as close as I could, and used the macro focus setting. Wish I had a newer or better camera, but I'll keep experimenting till I can get some good pictures. I'm hoping to set up a mirror so we can get a shot of the eggs next time Mama is out feeding. (Last year, we got a whole sequence of pictures of baby hummingbirds, from when they were tiny, til when they flew, but I never got a shot of the 2 little eggs.)

On a different note, but still speaking of Joy - you may know my beloved standard poodle is named Joy. Well, she's 14 now, and starting to show her age. Her back left leg gives her trouble and she stumbles from time to time. Last Monday, I was playing piano and practicing my singing, and heard her nails clicking on the pergo flooring in the family room, fast and loud. I figured she had gotten stuck or tangled in something and ran in there to help her. What I found was terrifying - she was having a seizure. It lasted a couple of minutes, and I comforted her and got her cleaned up. She walked around restlessly for about 20 minutes - couldn't get her to sit or lie down - she would come over and lean against me for a few seconds for petting, then would wander away. By the time that was over, she was her normal, cheerful happy self, as if nothing had happened. Interestingly, she wasn't stumbling as much, either.

Since then, I've discovered it's not a rare thing for an aging dog to have a seizure. When it happened, I was so frightened and worried that she was dying. I don't know how you make peace with this difficult phase of a pet relationship, so I just keep an eye on her, and cherish every day.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Cotton Pickin Spinning

Back in the 90's, Joan Ruane came to San Diego to teach cotton and flax spinning. She's a great teacher and a wonderful woman. (My youngest son was in 2nd grade at the time, and adored Joan. He thought she was actually another grandmother that we had just forgotten to tell him about.) Hopefully, Joan will send me a copy of the picture I took with her camera of her and Sam,who is now almost 19 years old and 6'6". :-)

The guild brought Joan back to San Diego in February for a program on cotton - an afternoon workshop on spinning cotton with a tahkli spindle, and then a one day workshop on preparing cotton and spinning it on a wheel. I didn't sign up for the full day workshop, since I had taken that when she was here before, but I really enjoy her and did take the tahkli workshop as a refresher. I had a marvelous time, and even bought one of her spindles. I already had a tahkli at home, but hers are so incredibly well balanced that I couldn't resist adding one to my collection.
The picture above shows some of the other participants in the class, and that's Joan standing (black top and white scarf) helping someone.

This picture shows what I've spun so far (natural green organic cotton), and next to the spindle is my little support gizmo. For those of us with unlevel laps, these are handy. You sit with it between your legs, which gives you a support bowl for the spindle that won't fall off your lap.

The timing was auspicious, too. I ended up coming down with another deep chest cold, darned it all. Not good, but... I did get some nice spinning time in.

In the meantime, I had a grocery sack of cotton that was homegrown by my friend Jan Frazee. Another activity while I watched the Olympics and coughed was picking seeds out of the cotton. In my hand is the cotton from a boll, you can see a seed exposed that I'm about to pick out. To the left is a nice pile of fluff and above is a little pile of seeds. This is definitely the slow way to do the task, but does work well as a tv watching activity.

In other news, I'm finally ready to start weaving again. The loom has been warped for a while, but I needed a few things in place and finally got myself to start moving on it. I found the brackets I used to hang weights off the back for live weight tension and got it all set up. Found another shuttle to use for a lighter weft for hems, and most importantly of all, reviewed my notes so I could refresh my mind on what I was planning to do, oh so long ago. Better late than never, eh?!