Thursday, June 28, 2012

Of Raspberries and children

This has been a crazy, busy week.  After the cherry circus of last week, the raspberries began to ripen.  They have required picking just about every day.  I have made about 35 pints of raspberry freezer jam to keep the batch of cherry jam company.  There has also been fresh raspberries with homemade caramel sauce, raspberry cake, and raspberry crisp.  And for variety--rhubarb dream bars.

In the midst of my raspberry whirl has come Vacation Bible School.  Every morning from 9:00 until noon, I have been ushering fourteen eight and nine year-olds to their various activities (somewhat like trying to herd cats...)  I was originally scheduled to assist with the pre-schoolers, but there was some staffing shortages, and I was given a group of older children.  The first day there was a certain amount of misbehavior as I learned their names.  But it seemed that as soon as I knew their names, they behaved much better...

I had thinned the apples not so long ago.  I'm convinced that they are already twice the size they were when I thinned them.  I seem to have missed a few spots; the ladder refuses to stand straight, and standing on a ladder that is tilting the wrong direction causes me some concern.  Kent was suggesting that perhaps I could get to the last of the thinning this week.  Knowing that my schedule was going to be hectic until late Friday I informed him that I didn't think there was much hope that the apples would be thinned until later.

My raspberry patch is overrun with weeds and the canes have overrun their boundaries.  I am hoping for a slight break in harvesting in order to do some major weeding and transplanting.  I also want to place a 2 x 4 border between the raspberries and the lawn to try to curtail the tendency of the raspberries to take over my lawn.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bird "Music"

We have two pie cherry trees in our yard.  Fairly young and quite small trees yet, but they are growing.  Last year they faithfully produced a small crop of cherries--of which I did not get a single one.  The birds stripped the trees long before those cherries were close to ripe.  I was somewhat less than happy.

This year we again got a crop of cherries.  A larger crop than last year and I REALLY want some cherry jam and at least one cherry pie.  What to do!  I didn't want to put out the money for bird netting this year, so instead I put some old computer game disks in the trees.  They spun and flashed and were actually quite pretty.  The robins were most unappreciative and stayed away from my cherries.  They began to ripen.

Well, this has been one of those years with a LOT of wind.  I no soonoer put those CDs in the trees than the wind blew at gale force and pretty much tangled up the strings with the branches.  I will hang them differently next time...But the wind also discouraged most of the birds from sitting in my trees and making a meal of cherries.

The wind died down some time late yesterday afternoon.  My cherries were close to ripe and I could hear a lot of bird conversation outside.  Every time I looked out the window the trees were unmolested.  However, Kent said that some of the cherries were looking brown.  Translation:  something had snacked on them.  This morning the birds were chattering and clacking quite loudly outside and I actually saw one lovely wax-wing variety sitting on the top of the tree.  While the robins didn't care for my CDs the blackbirds and other birds were completely unconcerned with them.  So fairly early this morning I rushed outside and picked all my cherries...

The trees will get larger and eventually I will have enough cherries to share with the birds, but in the meantime, I think that I will have to invest in some bird netting.  The CDs will be moving to the apricot tree.  It is also young and I want a pie...

We appear to have a bumper crop of raspberries and I spent most of the morning picking raspberries.  I DO have enough raspberries to share with whomever chooses to dine on them.  We had some for lunch with left-over homemade caramel sauce made with coconut milk.  It was a spur-of -the-moment experiment and was very good.

Of course, all this harvesting leaves little time for glass and beading.  I do still have some things to photograph.  My latest experiment has been to try making wings.  They resemble angel wings.  I wanted to make them sparkly, but dunking them in pixie dust was not very successful.  I may have to see what I can do with dichro.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Just Do It Already!

I have this little problem--make that a huge problem.  I overthink things.  I had a friend point this out over the weekend, and it's true.  I absolutely do this.

Here is the latest "for instance"...I have a couple orders that I need to get beads made for and make some bookmarks and jewelry and send the whole thing away soon.  Several of the things in the orders are going to need metallic black beads.  I am running a little short of matallic black and one of the orders needs a metallic black monster.  Monsters tend to take a lot more glass than I normally use.  Then I need to make about sixteen small metallic black beads to finish the other orders.  So do I get started on this?  No, I do not.  Instead I worry...

Summer is here and I'm off work, so I don't have a lot of fun money.  I KNOW ordering glass isn't frivolous--it's a necessity.  I know this perfectly well.  If I don't have glass, I can't make beads.  If I can't make beads, I can't make jewelry and other doodads to sell.  However, as much as I know this, I don't FEEL it.  Ordering glass still feels like a silly self-indulgence.  So I'm working on this problem. 

Today I sat down with my torch and started to make my metallic black beads.  Not only do I not have very much metallic black, but it is a fussy glass that likes to shatter if I'm not careful.  So I started with a small rod and set it on my torch marver (a flat graphite surface to roll hot glass on) to preheat.  Then I very carefully melted it in the cooler part of the flame, so it wouldn't shatter.  I made several beads with this small amount of glass.  I looked at my larger glass rod...and looked at it some more.  Finally I said to myself, "OK!  Just do it already!  Make the monster and stop stressing about it.  That way you'll know how much glass you have left and if you need to order any more."

I made that silly metallic black monster.  He has gooseberry green eyes and non-metallic black toes and fingers and a bright red heart.  He is adorable and will make a great bookmark.

And after all that stressing out, over-thinking and worrying, I still have plenty of metallic black glass.  Enough to finish all the beads that I need and probably some left over.

Friday, June 8, 2012

I haven't had much to say lately.  I've been busy putting myself back together again and just haven't had anything to say.

Last year, at the beginning of June, we lost one of our dogs.  He went to the vet because he was vomiting.  He never came home.  It was an incredible shock in spite of the fact that he had had epilepsy from the time he was a tiny puppy.  I didn't get a lot accomplished last summer. 

I read somewhere about "the laziness of grief"  and it is very true.  Grief will simply sap all your energy and even the most simple of tasks are insurmountable.

Well, on May 20, our beloved dog Sheena was put to sleep.  She had followed (with a LOT of encouragement) our oldest son home from church twelve years earlier.  We don't know how old she was as she was fully grown when she came to us.

Another summer is here and I really don't want to "waste" it like I have done with some of my past summers.  So I have been very busy with mindless cleaning, organizing and furniture rearranging.  And this week I also have been spending time every day with my torch.  I discovered the hard way that I have to take a break from the torch if I'm upset, or bad things happen.  Last year I shut off the torch and forgot to turn off the tanks of oxygen and propane.  Fortunately, nothing happened.  Now, I double check to make sure everything is shut off.

So my living room is now completely rearranged and scrubbed.  The dog hair WAS all swept up...but that is a daily chore, or the floor looks like a blizzard hit.  I have gotten all the DVDs categorized, dusted, and put neatly on their shelves.  I even pulled out my sewing project today and worked on it.

I have a couple of laundry baskets that sit on top of my dryer.  They take up a lot of space--which is at a premioum--and tend to collect cats along with the laundry.  Recently, I have been doing one load of laundry a day--sometimes more, but I only worry about doing one load a day.  I have been able to keep up with my laundry this way without feeling guilty and everyone has clean clothes to wear.  Now I'm wondering if I extended myself just a bit more and actually folded and PUT AWAY that one load if I could dispense with the laundry baskets.  I think this may just be my next challenge to myself.