Saturday, April 26, 2014

Work of Art from a Bald-Faced Hornet

 According to Wickipedia, the bald-faced hornet actually belongs to a genus of yellowjackets in North America, but unlike many congeners it lacks yellow coloring.   Instead, it is called a hornet in the American sense of a wasp that builds paper nests.  It is best known for its large, football-shaped paper nest, which it builds in the spring to rear young.  The bald-faced hornet is protective of the nest and will sting repeatedly if it is disturbed.  This wasp is more aggressive than most yellowjackets of Dolichovespula and the genus Vespula, and the nest should be observed only from a distance.

Uhmmmm - had I known this yesterday I probably wouldn't have been sticking my camera under the hose hangar in my backyard.  And unfortunately, since this is near a water spigot that I will probably be using daily to water my vegetable garden, it's going to have to go.  Or at least Mr. Hornet is.


am of two minds on this - while I don't want to be stung, this hornet "home" is absolutely a beautiful work of art.  Isn't it incredible how even a small insect can create something so delicate and colorful with only wood and saliva?  It's about the size of a tennis ball or maybe just a little smaller.  Most nests are much bigger than this one and oval-shaped so it makes one wonder - was Mr. Hornet was just making a condo for himself? Not only that but it appears to have a double wall for protection from the elements.  And I wonder how it's attached to the hose hangar! 

Monday, March 24, 2014

January - oh my -  you'd think I'd gone on a trip around the world it's been so long since I blogged.  Let's just put it down to winter blahs.  Now that we're having a few warmish days in between the cooler ones, my mind is starting to defrost.

Warm enough this afternoon after work to paint the front of this

a light blue.  Step one of getting ready to plant when I'm sure no more freezes are headed our way - can you hear Mother Nature laughing  as I say that?  I'm thinking succulents this year since it gets so hot in the summer that most flowers don't last very long even watering every day.

We've had the back yard polished a bit - three trees cut down and all the brush around the fences cleared - well mostly cleared.  So we're moving this from the mostly shady front yard

to the sunnier back yard this year and I'm giving it one more year of producing some gorgeous tomatoes and beans and whatever else I can come up with that my black thumb doesn't kill.  What's that old saying?  The fourth time is the charm - bwahahahahahaha!  We'll see what happens.

Two art retreats so far this year.  The first in January at Serenbe  - about 30 minutes from me - sponsored by Jenni and Tiffin and it was really a bunch of fun.  I was able to re-connect with a wonderful friend from Washington state and her lovely daughter as well as meet lots of great people from neighboring states.  The projects were totally out of my box so it was really nice to try some different things.  Then a few weekends ago, a friend and I took two classes in Cindy Wunsch's fabulous Studio Be in Nashville (I met Cindy at the first art retreat).  Be still my beating heart - what a great place!  There was art everywhere and her studio sink looked just like mine - totally splotted with paint LOL  There was also the biggest Goodwill store just down the street that had lots of treasures - so that was just an added bonus. 

And.....ta da......I repainted my studio over the winter, added a new table that I built (and Mr. Whimsey decided to "help" with) and FINALLY got some storage units that would keep my treasures from getting so dusty.  So here is a look at the studio before I goobered up the table with projects last weekend LOL

Well that about catches you up on me.  Now if we could just catch up to spring!!!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Cardinal Hotel

Yes it's snowing in Atlanta.  When I got home from work today the bird feeders were looking a little empty.  There were a couple or three cardinals as well as Carolina red-wings and finches feeding.  So I added some seed to our triangle feeder, the bowl on the pole, and threw some on the ground. 

Well - they called their friends!  At one point there were 13 male cardinals here along with most of their spouses.  Mr. Whimsey is out right now putting more seed out.  It's snowing like the dickens and since birds need much more food in these conditions to keep their energy up and keep warm, we're opening the hotel kitchen.  LOL
Wherever you are, I hope you are safe and warm!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The View From the Bed

My favorite view in my home is the view from the bed.  Each night when I climb into bed to read for awhile before I sleep, I first stop and take in the view. 

The copper dry sink belonged to my grandmother, and when my step-father went into the assisted living Alzheimer's home, I brought this treasured piece of furniture home as it was too big for his room.

When I take in the view, I see all of the things I treasure most.  Favorite pictures of family and friends from long ago who no longer exist in this physical world of ours.  Favorite books - the kind you recommend but do not lend.  Wonderful treasures made by treasured friends.  Somehow being surrounded by these things and seeing them before I sleep, comforts my soul.  It reminds me of how lucky I am - what a beautiful and good life God has given me.  It reminds me of who to pray for when I say my prayers. 

Why not make yourself a little comfort corner in your home - it can be a place of peace.  May you have many blessings in the new year.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

My sweet mother-in-law passed today at the age of 93 - Mable Jean Cooper.

She went to join her beloved husband, John, on his birthday.  Bet he loved his gift today in heaven!
Please keep Mr. Whimsey in your prayers this week as he travels to Pennsylvania for her funeral.

Monday, November 25, 2013

So Blinded by Beauty That I Could Not See

Once upon a time in a far off land - well not really far off - just about 2 hours north of me in Ranger, Georgia - is a wonderful cabin at the top of a mountain with a beautiful view.  The second weekend of November - five of us trooped up there (Lois, Kristen, Teresa, Erma and I) and had a crafting weekend - for you see this cabin was set up by the beautiful Melanie especially for crafting. 

I catered the long weekend and had all sorts of fresh and sinful dishes planned.  It came time for lunch on Friday and although I searched the wonderfully appointed kitchen (and I mean this kitchen has everything you could ever need for cooking!) high and low for a knife - ANYTHING but a butter knife - even a tiny paring knife would do - all I could find was a vegetable peeler and a cheese slicer.  Now I ask you - have you ever tried to slice a tomato with a butter knife?  I developed quite a knack for stabbing each "slice" with the vegetable peeler and then sawing away with the butter knife until I had something that kind of resembled a slice of tomato.  The brie was another story though.  And that is how it went for Friday dinner, Saturday breakfast, and Saturday lunch. 

After lunch on Saturday, Erma all of a sudden said, "Hey, wanna borrow my switchblade?"
"Uh, sure Erma, thanks!  I'll see if that works better than a butter knife at dinner."  And then Kristen and I took off for parts unknown - actually not parts unknown - up towards Blue Ridge to an artist's open house.  When we returned several hours later - after deciding NOT to drop in on a wedding we saw advertised on the road, and not stopping at an inside yard sale at a very dicey looking trailer in the middle of a field - Teresa was laughing wildly when we walked in the door.   
She just kept saying, "Go in the kitchen and look at the crackers."  I looked all over the place for ants or something in the cracker boxes and didn't see a one.  By now Teresa was almost having a "pee in your pants moment" and said, "Look at the crackers."  I said, "I'M LOOKING AT THE CRACKERS - WHAT am I supposed to be seeing?"  Whut whoa - maybe this?
Hey - the case is black and merged into the refrigerator - what can I say?
I must say it was much easier preparing Saturday dinner without using the vegetable peeler and butter knife!!!
So here are some pictures of the cabin - it really is lovely.  You can find more information about Sweetbriar Ridge here.
Lois, I'm telling you this scarf is long enough!
Unfortunately I was too busy trying to find a knife to take any pictures of the crafting bwahahahahahaha.  But the ladies each made an appliqued wool piece and started a memory spool.  Kristen worked on her quilts and she and Teresa made angels out of books - really cool.  Erma was crocheting and Lois was working on paper flowers.  When Melanie came on Sunday, she was also able to get the wool applique started and her memory spool mostly done.  And me - well it was a very successful weekend for crafting - I was able to make two stockings for my grandkids and get most of the work done on seven different Flat Bettys.
Oh and if you'd like the recipe for the crack rolls that we had for breakfast on Saturday morning, just let me know and I'll be glad to send you the recipe.  They were sooooooo good!
And now on a somber note - the week following, we had to have our Kitty Boy put down.  He was a feral cat who adopted us several years ago and became fairly tame.  He was a real character and although I'm sad, I know that we gave him a very nice life the past few years.  We put a cat door into our garage door and he had a heated dog bed in the garage.  The rocking chair on the front porch was one of his favorite sleeping spots.  He was well loved. 
Rest in peace Kitty Boy.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Catching Up - Maybe

I can't believe how long it's been since I last posted - you'd think I had won the lottery and was away on a world vacation or something LOL  NOT!

OK some catching up to do.  September just passed by in a blur.  October is almost there.  Mr. Whimsey and I had some visitors to get ready for this month and they've already been and gone.  Ro and Jimmy from Ireland are on a long visit to the US and graced us with their presence weekend before this.  Let's see, they arrived on Thursday and on Friday we went to Stately Oaks in Jonesboro, GA for a little history (since history is what they came to see).  That was really fun - I've been before but it's always interesting to hear what the guides have to say.  On Saturday we went to Oakland Cemetery (now I've lived here since 1969 and would you believe have never made that visit?).  It is absolutely lovely and Mr. Whimsey and I want to go back and walk around some more - it's a beautiful place to visit - Margaret Mitchell, Bobby Jones, and many other famous and not-so-famous people are buried there.  You could spend the whole day!  Before that visit we ate lunch at Six Feet Under which is directly across the street.  Yes, it's really called that and has fabulous food!  And being a pub - Jimmy and Mr. Whimsey were in their element!  Then on Sunday we went to the Grant Park Farmer's Market which I dearly love.  There are wonderful veggies, breads, home-made sausages, you name it, they have it.  My daughter and son-in-law who are organic farmers have a booth there so Ro and Jimmy were able to meet them.  On Monday they left for the remainder of their trip - down through Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.  Right now they are in New Orleans and are just loving it.  We expect them back around next weekend and they will fly home from Atlanta.

And speaking of Mr. Whimsey - helping find the route in the atlas for their trip south - wait, wait, is HE LOOKING AT HIS NOSE???

An update on Kitty Boy - this was a month or so ago when he was snoozing up on the dead ornamental grass - so funny - all stretched out.


About two weeks ago he got into a whale of a fight and came home completely battered - ripped ears, eye bleeding, nose scratched badly.  He looked like a prize fighter!  Somehow it seems to have healed pretty well without a vet trip. 

And this one I just label "None for me???  Not even a mouthful???  Not a crumb???  Oh PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE???"  That's Buddy on the left, Shadow in the middle, and Lucy in a comfortable begging position LOL

So this weekend is the annual Country Living Fair at Stone Mountain Park, GA and Mr. Whimsey and I went bright and early.  Understand that the cold and I don't get along - heck I get hives when I walk down the frozen food aisle at the grocery store.  So leggings under my heaviest jeans, a thick long sleeved cotton top, socks and sneakers, my longest heaviest winter coat, gloves, and a very thick scarf kept me from totally shivering - yeah you guys up North laugh but it was under 40 last night and under 60 and I'm cold!  Anyway, once we got through the gate and started walking around it wasn't bad - still cold but at least the wind wasn't blowing.  Trust me, if you go to the site I've marked - these people weren't walking around today - LOL - they were at one of the other fairs during the summer in other states!

I think this year's was the absolute best so far.  The booths were decorated and inviting and I saw many many things I would have loved had I really won that lottery LOL.  Usually I try to save and buy one real treasure (and of course a few small things which I can't mention because they are Christmas gifts).  But Mr. Whimsey spotted this one and we just had to have it.  An old wagon unlike any other I've seen - I'm thinking possibly hand made or rebuilt at some point in it's life.   The only thing wood is the platform - all of the rest (except the wheels of course) is wonderfully rusted metal.  Isn't it a gem?

The wood was plain but of course I had to add my little touch to it and stain/paint the top, then sand it down.  I just love it and it will hold something or other - not sure what yet.

OK so that sort of catches you up on my life.  Hope you've been having a wonderful autumn - trees are just starting to turn and drop leaves here but I'm hoping on my trip up to NC to see my step-father tomorrow we'll see some beautiful trees!   Blessings to you!