Archive for December, 2016

Happy Holidays, Bob, and The Bird

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

Happy Holidays Bob

How I rescued the lovebird, who came to be known as Bob–

1. Opened upstairs bathroom window, removed screen, placed towel over window frame.
2. Placed The Bird, our cockatiel in his travel cage, placed cage in plain view in the bathroom.

The Bird

The Bird enjoying our tree. Yes, his name is The Bird.

3. Played a Youtube video of Lovebirds singing.

Then I waited.

The lovebird flew to the window and looked in. Then he flew back to the top of the birch. Then he perched on the window ledge. He would not come in the bathroom.

After a couple of hours, yes a couple of hours of him flying to the window and hovering, I had an idea. I turned on all of the lights in the room. Immediately he flew into the room and landed on our cockatiel’s travel cage. John was home by then, he closed the window. Success.

What did I learn? The towel on the window ledge was a good idea for the bird to grab onto and enter the room, but a really bad idea for closing the window. Patience is a good thing to have. The entire rescue took only 4 hours.

Why is his name Bob?
It took a long time to name him. We noticed he has a habit of bobbing up and down before flight and when he is attempting to escape from his room. The bobbing is funny, almost dance like. So, Bob he became.

The frames and text applied to the photos were an easy peasy couple of clicks in Snapseed.
The Snapseed app is on the App Store.

White Flowers, Roots, and the Squirrel

Friday, December 16th, 2016

This is one of the plants that survived being nearly totally consumed by a squirrel. I watched the squirrel sit in the pot, pull the plant stems over, and eat all of its leaves.


I popped the plant in the greenhouse until it leafed out and the buds of the tips bloomed. It has been blooming for several weeks.

Got to thinking that it would be a great plant to put in several locations in my gardens. Seems to need little care and not a lot of water.

I checked with the local greenhouses and online, but I could not find additional plants.

This little bit broke off, so I placed it in some water to wait for the bloom to fade.


The flower lasted nearly as long as the flowers still attached to the plant. This afternoon I notice that it looked a bit spent. When I removed the flower from the glass I was surprised to find root growth. Don’t know how I missed the roots when I changed its water.


I popped the plant in a pot of soil.


Then lopped off the flower.


Since the small broken bit rooted and I had planned to prune the plant, taking cuttings to make more plants is even better.

There is one problem. The squirrel still lives in the garden and loves the plant. He also loves lobelia, violas, and the greens I am growing for my bunnies.


We have postponed completing the garden renovation because every time I plant this area he digs it up. I have tried hellebores, columbines, cyclamen, bromeliads, and ferns.

This is one of his favorite locations in the garden for digging.
Squirrel Hole

After removing the plants and filling all of the holes we had two containers of soil and rock left. The rock is coming from the area around the foundation of the house. So, not a good thing.

Squirrel Rock and Soil

We keep filling his holes and he keeps digging them out. Hardware cloth and rocks do not seem to be a deterrent.

Filled Squirrel Hole

We really did not want to do it, but pretty sure we are going to dig up the entire area and prepare it properly. Digging it up will be made difficult with the root structure of the tree. We probably will find a maze of tunnels and an enormous stash of seeds.

We also tried putting a deterrent over the bird feeder. Did a test. Placed an inverted metal mesh basket over the ceramic tray we are using for offering bird seed. Weren’t sure if the birds would be afraid of it. They liked it fine and so did the squirrel.

Squirrel New Feeder

Since the test was a success, we attached the the basket to some cedar and hung it from the tree.

Squirrel Bird Feeder

The amount of seed on the ground has been greatly reduced since the squirrel isn’t able to lounge in the bird feeder and fling seed all over when he dashes away.

Squirrel Bird Feeder

This is the little guy attempting to hide from me in a drainage pipe at the corner of the courtyard. Unfortunately for him, his cheeks were too full. He had to empty them out so he could make his way safely into the pipe.

Squirrel Drainage Pipe
There is a little pile of seed in front of him.

Why haven’t we relocated him? In September we bought a humane trap. And it worked, the little squirrel wandered in. I talked to him. He stood up on his back feet, clasping one of his front paws in the other. He looked really scared. And it was a very hot day.

I had thoughts of him being relocated and there would not be a water supply, food, or a place for him to safely sleep. And what about hawks and snakes and other predators? I opened the trap and watched him run off. And he has been with us ever since.

Jefferson, Monticello, Notebooks, and Tools

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

I am an obsessive note maker. A small notebook is in pocket or bag, always at the ready.

A Staedtler Lead Holder was my go to writing utensil, until last night. I am in the process of planning a wool, knitted and fulled wallpiece.

The problem with using lead is the possible disappearance over time. But it is easy to erase for changes.

Pencil and Eraser

One of the cool things about the Staedtler Lead Holder is the built in sharpener, which eliminates the need to carry another tool.

Pencil and Sharpener

There are two problems with a felt marker, not permanent and mistakes.


I stopped by target today and picked up a bottle of Bic Wite Out.

Bic Correction Fluid

It is so much nicer than the last bottle. No longer is the applicator a brush, it is a little sponge wedge that glides nicely.

Back to notebooks and note making. I was delighted to see reference to Thomas Jefferson and his pocket notebooks at this great book art site. It was a different time, but I am not keen on the material that was used for the pages. I do like the idea of reusable pages that you could write notes in pencil and erase when notes are transferred to sketchbook or journal.

Jefferson Ivory Books

According to the Monticello site, Jefferson carried a small ivory notebook on which he could write in pencil. Back in his Cabinet, or office, he later copied the information into any of seven books in which he kept records about his garden, farms, finances, and other concerns; he then erased the writing in the ivory notebook. The photo of the notebooks was taken by Edward Owen.

The Monticello site also included additional information about tools that he carried with him, Among his collection of pocket-sized devices were scales, drawing instruments, a thermometer, a surveying compass, a level, and even a globe.

Got to thinking about tools that I tend to carry with me. When I go hiking I always carry gloves, tool for digging, small cutters, bags for finds, a magnifier, a small flashlight, twine, and often a camera.

The Monticello site has loads of interesting facts and fun things for purchase. I am an avid gardener and have purchased seed from the site. My favorite seeds have been: Sunset Hibiscus (Abelmoschus manihot), Aquilegia Barlows, and the Fringed Pink (Dianthus superbus).

Every time I visit the site I look at the wheel cypher decoder. Maybe one day I will actually purchase it.

Jefferson Wheel Cypher Decoder

What is it? Sugar and Rodin Quotes

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

“To the artist there is never anything ugly in nature.” Auguste Rodin

When I started to clean the oven after a baking mishap, I paused to look at what I scraped up.

Burnt Sugar

It is burnt sugar from an apple spice cake. At fist glance it looks black, nearly ash. On closer inspection it has a lovely texture of holes and craters.

Burnt Sugar

In the past I used sugar as a stiffener and in molds. There is a history of folks using sugar as a stiffener for crochet. I had been using microcrystalline wax, shellac, and varnish to stiffen and age my work. Wondered if sugar might work as a substitute.

Sugar Twine Vessel

This is my first test piece, made in 2006. It is constructed of cotton baker’s twine. I immersed the cotton vessel in molten raw sugar. The sugar impregnated twine collapsed. I wrung it out and place it over a foil covered coffee can taller than the vessel. Placed the lot on a plate to collect the sugar run off.

The piece is still strong and not in the least bit sticky. And no insect activity.

I also made a series of cast sugar vessels. I used several recipes for sugar glass. One recipe was 3 1/2 cups of raw sugar, 1 cup corn syrup, 2 cups of water, and 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar. I used a silicone mold for the casting.

Melting Sugar Cup

Clearly I did something wrong. Raw sugar rather than granulated. Possibly the thickness. Temperature.

But it was fun to watch the sugar cup melt.

Will I try it again? Sure. Will I have success? Maybe.

“Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.” Auguste Rodin

Spencer Byles and Andy Goldsworthy

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

Today I ran across the work of Spencer Byles. I was not aware of Byles’ work. So, I looked at all of the images of the project, A Year in a French Forest before reading about his process and checking out his body of work.

Spencer Byles Sculpture

Sculpture No 15. from A Year in the Forest. Photograph by Liza Karakova.

This is a portion of Spencer Byles’ artist statement:

Every piece I create is a different and new experience. I work with different materials, these can be ‘man made’ or ‘natural forms’. There isn’t a common link to these other than I find I am drawn to materials that lie abandoned, or discarded.

I find that one of the most interesting things about choosing materials that have been abandoned or discarded is to integrate reference of their previous life into a new context. That doing so respects the previous life of the material. It can also act as a point of access for the viewer.

While viewing the images of Spencer Byles’ work, I of course thought about the work of Andy Goldsworthy. I love Goldsworthy’s work. It is lovely and elegant, often seeming to defy gravity, but always feeling that it somehow occurred naturally.

Goldsworthy Arch

Andy Goldwworthy Woven Branch Circular Arch, Dumfrieshire, 1986. The image was found here.

Some of the materials that Goldsworthy uses include: large rocks, ice, branches, and even leaves. I have not seen any of Goldsworthy’s work in person, but suspect if you are lucky to happen on one of his works what would occur is what folks write about when they use the phrase, startles the soul.

There are several books of images of Andy Goldsworthy’s work. I only own two: Hand to Earth: Andy Goldsworthy Sculpture 1976-1990 and Wall.

To see more images of his work, check out the Andy Goldsworthy Digital Catalogue.

There is also River & Tides, a great video about Goldsworthy’s work. It is available to rent on Netflix, and to rent or purchase on Amazon.

The Unknown Plant Must be Delicious

Monday, December 5th, 2016

The plant on 2 December.


The plant on 4 December when I checked on it to see if it needed watering. Not sure who munched on it.


Moved it inside to a protected area. Still can’t Identify it. Waiting for it to bloom.