Monday, June 29, 2009

Living With Deer

I was just reading Diane's post about coleus. I love coleus...they are so easy to grow and propagate and come in so many pretty varieties.

When I visited my mom and sister in MD a couple of months ago, I bought some really pretty coleus at their Home Depot. Their leaves looked like burgundy velvet with lime green edges. I planted them in a very large pot with a few vinca and a start of variegated ivy. They've been doing great all summer and had gotten so huge. I was faithfully watering them and amazed at how big they had gotten and it's only June!

Now I moved in on a herd of deer nine years ago and they were here first. I think they are so beautiful and don't mind that they eat some of my stuff. I know they truly enjoy all the delicious things I've planted for them to eat over the years. Their taste seems to change every year as to what they eat and what they leave for me, but there are a few constants like my hydrangeas and daylillies. I've tried several remedies and they all work to some degree or other but you have to be persistent in application and variation.

Back to my beautiful pot of coleus. Yesterday I noticed the deer had discovered them and munched half the plant away. I was very disappointed but thought at least they left me with half and it would grow back out. So I spritzed the remains with some vinegar (it's been doing the trick at keeping them away so far) and came inside. Look what I just discovered... Arghh!

I strolled around the front yard looking at my gardens that are starting to languish with the heat and lack of rain. I'm running the sprinklers every night and plants are barely hanging on. Here are a few pictures of the remains of some of my plants, which cost $ and so much labor.

My pretty stargazer lilly and hummingbird vine that was on the headboard trellis:
My pretty pot of portulaca:

Another pot of portulaca:
A nice pot of begonias:

They seem to like the purple coneflower blossoms and leave the foliage. All I have left here is fading pink yarrow, which will be totally brown in a few more days.

What is left of four tomato plants:

I wish they'd leave me a little to enjoy. Obviously, it's time to try another remedy. Of course, the babies are arriving now and mama needs to show them what to eat in my yard. There is a pair of tiny twin fawns I've seen just once day before yesterday. I didn't have my camera with me, darn it, or I could have gotten a great picture to share. They are beautiful creatures.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Little Sewing

Well, I've been trying so hard to simplify my life so that I can spend more time doing things that are fun and feed my soul. I'm sure getting a lot of good work and organization done but little else. Still, that makes me feel good too, even though a little grouchy.

A few weeks ago I started on a wall hanging from Diane Knott's beautiful book she sent to me. I want to make all the quilts in the book, but this one was the one I wanted to work on first. It's all finished except putting the backing on. I'm very pleased with the way it came out.

And when I saw this little sewing machine cover on the Sew Mama Sew blog, I knew it was something I could finish in a short time. I had to add a border to make it a tiny bit wider to cover my machine. Hopefully, it will help keep some of the dog and cat hair off of my machine. :)

It's horribly hot here and no rain in site. I'll be working at Gail's shop and sweating a lot taking care of the garden plants. I hope you all have a nice weekend and can stay cool.

Scheduling Posts

Hey everybody,

I'm in a rush to go to work but had a nice little post "scheduled" for this morning at 8 a.m. It won't publish and I don't know how to correct it. I've tried removing the date, time, editing it and nothing.

Maybe it will pop up later. If not, I'll re-do it again tonight.

Have a great day!

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Wonderful BOM and Drawing

I just learned from Jenny that Helen has a beautiful new Christmas stitchery quilt pattern and is having a draw to win it! I want in on this so am posting the link here. Go visit Helen and see what all the fuss is about - you will love it!!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Laundry Room Re-Do

I've been wanting to give my laundry room a much needed makeover for over a year. When the A/C flooded a week ago, it forced me into action.

Bear in mind, I used my laundry room for my foster dogs and puppies over the last eight+ years, so it's suffered quite a bit of damage...chewed mouldings and walls, stained flooring, beat up cabinet - you get the picture? I had painted it a very bright green and stamped a paw print all around the room, and the cabinet was a very bright blue. I figured if it couldn't be a pretty room, it would at least have lots of color to distract the eye. hehehe

Anyway, the A/C overflow tube got clogged with dog hair - surprise, surprise. My daughter's dog is a very heavy shedder and he had been staying in there a lot. After the repair was made, I was very concerned about the possibility of water under the flooring. Long story short...there was and along with it, lots of black mold growing! So last weekend I began taking everything but the washer and dryer out of the room and ripped up all the vinyl flooring, even inside the little area where the A/C unit is housed. Then I ripped off several pieces of chewed moulding and started priming. I had bought a gallon of "oops" pink paint so used that as my primer. Then I went over the room with a gallon of high quality pale mint green. I wasn't wild about the color but had it and wanted to use it up. It actually turned out very clean looking and I like it.

I've had fans blowing 24/7 on the floor by the A/C unit and will continue drying the area for another week at least to allow the wood to completely dry out. I had somebody I trust to assess the water damage and to make sure underneath the house was dry. Great news, no serious damage! I've got all the painting finished and just need to replace the mouldings, which I haven't bought yet but it's cheap, and caulk around the light switch.

I know it's nothing beautiful but it's now a genuine laundry room and I like it. I'll like it a lot more once I get the vinyl tiles and new pieces of moulding in place. The important thing is that it's dry and clean now. I can't wait to get the floor tiles but I have to wait till next week. I'll take pics and post when I've completed that.

Oops - I forgot to paint the drawers. You can see a little of the blue in the corner. :)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

My Blog List

I've been home all weekend giving my laundry room a much needed makeover, which I'll post about soon. While taking breaks I was looking a different blogs and then discovering a lot of new (to me) blogs by looking at others' blog lists. Wow are there some great blogs out there! I've added several to my already lengthy blog list and took the hint from Betty to change them so the most recent posts will pop to the top of the list. Not that that really matters, but I thought I'd give it a try.

Back to the laundry room makeover....

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I Let Her Go

Imagine my surprise after coming home from JoAnns (a super fabric purchase) to check on the baby bird only to discover she wasn't in her cozy nest. Geez - talk about going into a panic. Alissa and I looked all over the room and couldn't find her. Then I realized the space under the door was big enough for her to go out into the dangerous house with two cats and two dogs - all of which would love to have a tiny bird to play with.

We went into the den and there was Topaz - the black kitty - crouched in stalking position looking under the blanket chest. Yep, there was the tiny baby. How in the world she made it across the house in one piece is a miracle! So we caught her and put her back in the cage and proceeded outside to catch a meal for her. Alissa informed she she was afraid of crickets (I laughed) so she supervised while I caught them along with rollie polly bugs and a couple of other crawly things. That little bird ate them as fast as we could put them in her nest.

I was really torn between releasing her and keeping her till her tail feathers grew out so she could fly. She wasn't happy at all and I knew I'd have to feed her bugs every four hours. Right now, I just can't manage that. And she was ok except for some raw spots and gunky feathers... and the all-important tail feathers. I knew I had to get the residue of that adhesive off of her to give her a fighting chance so into the bathroom we went again - this time with adhesive remover, soap and water. Poor little thing endured my torturous treament pretty well and only struggled a few times.

That gunk remover isn't good for the skin and I was concerned about that so washed her twice. I could still smell a little on her but at least her wing feathers were clean and dry. I gently dried her using the blow dryer on warm and held in far from her.

Her little head was still wet when I took her outside but knew I needed to let her go well before dusk so Alissa and I took her back to the front porch close to where I had found her this morning.

She was exhausted from being handled so much and sat in my hand for a very long time.

Do you see that tiny speck on her wet little head? It's a deer tick!!! I had no idea they got on birds!!! I was able to pick it off and squish it; ticks are so thick around here.

After several minutes, she jumped off my hand and onto the edge of the glider. It only took her another second to jump to the ground. I told Alissa to say a little prayer that the baby bird stays safe. I had put my mouser kitties in the garage so she had a chance for getting to a safe place for the night.

Safe life, baby wren. I'm sorry I endangered you.

The Best of Intentions

Last week I moved my doves and baby quail outside. The doves are still in their large cage but on the front porch where they have protection from the sun, and I don't think any predators will be coming up on my front porch....well, other than the two mouser kitties.

Enter the TomCat glue boards designed to catch mice. Now this has got to be one of the most inhumane ways to trap a mouse - they get stuck and suffer till they die. But I've used them on my kitchen counters to keep the cats off and they do a good job of that. Well, I put two of the glue boards on top of the dove cage to serve the same purpose with the mouser kitties and it has worked just fine. Trouble is, I forgot about them and they are still in place even though the cats don't bother the doves anymore.

What a shock I got a few minutes ago when I went outside to feed the doves only to find a baby wren stuck to one of the boards! OMG - I had to be very careful getting the bird removed from the board. Not only is this thick glue very, very tacky, she had struggled so much that her entire side was stuck tight. And that delicate, tiny wing was completely attached to the board. While telling myself what an idiot I am sometimes, I picked up the board with bird attached and brought it into the bathroom and promptly closed the door - I didn't want one of the dogs or inside kitties coming in to see what I was doing.

What a mess! I had to be so very careful with this tiny creature. She's fully feathered and weaned but still not full grown. She had struggled a lot and there were a couple of raw spots on the joint of her wing. I had to use warm water and mild soap to get the stupid board off of her. I was so nervous about that tiny wing being fully glued down too.

I managed to get her detached but she got drenched in the process. All her little tail feathers are stuck to the board but I managed to save most of her wing feathers. One of her tiny feet is still gunked up but I'll get that cleaned up after she rests from her ordeal.
Right now she is in a cozy nest made from a hand towel and under a lamp to keep her warm. I'm prety sure she will survive but I'm not even going to put food or water in ther for now. She needs to dry out before I can unwrap her. Poor sweet little thing - one of my favorite birds.

Needless to say, I've thrown the glue boards away and won't be using those outside again!

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Hello! I've been wanting to post for a while now but just haven't made time, frankly. I'm home today doing some much needed house cleaning and waiting for the HVAC repair guy to return. Yep - it's hot out and the A/C has broken, but that's another story.

I have been visiting some of my favorite blogs late at night while trying to unwind before going to bed. My work days at Gail's lovely shop are long and I don't get home till at least 7:30. By the time I take care of all the animals and fix something to eat, it's pretty late. It's always so inspiring (and a little depressing) to see all the accomplishments you achieve. Sometimes I feel a little bad not having lovely pictures of things to post about. It isn't that I'm not productive, because I am. I just try to do too many things and don't get as many projects completed as I'd like to. And it's tough when you live by yourself to get everything done that needs to, let alone things you WANT to do.

The last time I was unemployed I set several goals, both major and minor, and actually completed all of them. This time is very different and I'm not nearly as focused but have decided to work on completing several of my projects before starting another new one. Now I know I'm not alone when I tell you how much fun it is to start something new. I love the excitement of getting all my stuff together and working on it only to put it down when it is so close to being finished.

While I was off work Tuesday I decided to complete my arbor and paint it. I was going to wait till fall but the Jasmine I planted is already growing up the sides so I couldn't wait. It's been really hot this week but I worked outside till 9 p.m. The arbor is now complete and I can scratch that one off my to-do list :) It isn't perfect, but I'm pleased enough with it.

Last fall I started a new flower bed across the driveway (in deer territory). I decided to make it a "hot" bed using orange, red and yellow plants - colors I don't usually use. After I finished painting my arbor, I started hauling a load of mulch that my neighbor got for me a while back (free from the town). Of course, my wheelbarrow has a flat tire so I had to shovel the mulch into a garden wagon and pull it several yards before applying it to the new bed. With several recent showers, the crabgrass had taken over the bed so I had to do a lot of weeding before I could spread the mulch. It still needs work, and one of my favorite plants died over the winter, but it will shape up by this fall. See the big field I get to mow every couple of weeks - what a job!

I haven't touched my wall hanging that is so close to being finished. I will get some work done on it this evening - I've promised myself that!

While cleaning it occured to me that I've never posted about some art quilts I have. This is the one and only I purchased a few years ago and I just love it. I've used it as inspiration and made two dragonfly art quilts as gifts. This one is about five feet long and made by a very talented artist in Durham.

This is a small wall hanging I made using the reverse applique method. I saw one in a shop for $75 and went home and made one for myself out of scraps. It was easy and fun to do and looks almost identical to the one in the shop.

This is a mini art quilt I made using some delicious fabrics I bought several years ago. There's no rhyme or reason to it - I just loved the colors.

And last but not least, this is another reverse applique mini I made a few years back - still unframed. I love trees, especially birch trees.

The inspiration for the birch tree piece is this lithograph I bought in Maryland years ago.

I sure hope those A/C guys make it back here today; it's really warming up inside now :( While waiting, I'm doing more house cleaning. I always feel better when things appear to be in order around me. Of course, that means I need to keep the door closed to this room - it's a mess from keeping the baby quail inside. Oh, I got them moved outside Tuesday as well - another chore to scratch off my list. :)


Monday, June 1, 2009

Hello, It's Been A While!

Hey Everybody!

I hope you are all well and know everybody is busy with chores and life in general - I know I have been!!!

I've been working hard for Gail and trying to keep my house and yard in order as well. I'm sure meeting a lot of nice people and enjoying some very interesting conversations with some of them. Some are a little hard to get away from - ha-ha!!!

I'm home today (yippeee!!!!) and wanted to share some pictures with you of my yard and the monster cat scratch post I made.

I have two wing chairs, which are very good even though the fabric on them is outdated. I've tried everything but my cats have absolutely ruined them. I've used the training sprays, sticky paper, tin foil, provided scratching posts - you name it - to no avail.

Diane Knott gave me the idea of bringing in a log or branch for them to scratch on and this is what I made. They love playing with the dangling ball but so far, they aren't actually using the limb to scratch. Gee, if I was a cat, I'd sure like this :) I cut a branch from one of my Mimosa trees and bolted it to a nice piece of discarded counter top from Gail's shop.

Last weekend Alissa and I worked in the back yard and I gave her the job of painting an old wooden ladder I got at the Habitat store.
Here are a couple of my monster hosta I transplanted from my front yard a few weeks ago:
This is the view from my front porch. This was an open field when I moved here almost nine years ago - not even a sapling. The trees in the background (darker ones) are woods around the edge of what used to be a field. Most other trees were planted by little old me.

The weather is gorgeous here today but I am determined to stay inside and finish my wall hanging from Diane's book. I'm about half finished and want to make them all so need to get busy. I hope you all have a nice day/week!