Something Different

Now don’t get all freaked out. This past weekend I went to the big Reptile Show in Sacramento. For over 30 years I’ve seen the billboards for this show as I drove to work. And every year I thought about going, but never made it. My brother LOVES reptiles, and had a variety of different snakes and lizards growing up. When we had our pet shop together, we always had a few snakes in the shop. I’m not afraid of snakes, as long as I know what they are, and know they are not poisonous. So anyway, this year I finally went to the Reptile Show!

There were a ton of vendors, and this is how they displayed all their baby snakes for sale–in these plexiglass cases. Weird, huh?

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They had a huge educational exhibit of poisonous snakes, and I took careful pictures of each one to share with my brother. They are pretty creepy, so I won’t show you any of them–they had some of the most poisonous snakes in the world from Australia, and they had a huge Black Mamba. Over 40 poisonous snakes were on display!

But then I wandered around all the vendors. I found this one beautiful snake, and started talking to the guy who owned it.

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He started telling me the story of how he developed that color, and I have always been interested in color genetics. And then he let me hold one of the babies!

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I said I hoped this guy got a lot of chickens for dinner after putting up with this for two days.

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I really like little alligators and crocodiles. When we had the pet store, I had a little Caiman (relative of alligator) for myself for a while. This is a Dwarf Crocodile.

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They even had a couple of booths with these meat eating plants for sale!

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And like I told my friends, that is enough reptile show for me for the next thirty years. But I’m glad I went.

On the way home I treated myself to a visit to a bead store. I have quite a few beads, but when I worked on a recent project, I realized I needed some more brightly colored and sparkly beads.

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That was a really different weekend for me. I usually talk myself out of adventures like this in favor of staying home and doing what I enjoy most–quilting, working in the garden, and going to the gym.

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An Excellent Day!

But first! I have other things to share with you. My blog life is somewhat divided. I have this blog, and then I have my quilting blog. But sometimes things overlap. I have been working for the past month on a big event. I was invited to teach my quilted embroidery and be the “guest artist” at Quilting in the Garden, which is held at one of my favorite nurseries, Alden Lane. I wrote about the event over on my quilting blog, in case any of you want to see more. It was a wonderful experience. Getting to share 40 of my quilts with the hundreds of people who came through was really special.

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Here is part of my quilt display in their greenhouse:

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My sister came over to the quilt show and brought me two huge boxes of velvets and silks. When I got home, I went through them and divided them into 4 piles: for me, for my BF Robin, for the thrift store, and for the garbage. The garbage pile got thrown on the floor, and Sophie claimed it. “My treasure,” she says. This is what she does when anything new and even semi-soft lands on the floor. She sat on that pile for hours, until I finally picked it up and put it in the garbage. Don’t feel sorry for her, there are only about six dog beds that she can choose from to sleep in.

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Chloe was Robin’s favorite when she visited. And so I started sending her a morning snapshot of Chloe, especially because I won’t let her get in my lap in the morning, and she does her best to get as close as possible–she must be touching me.

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Okay, so today…. The day started out bright and early at 7am when Kevin arrived (MLG) to help with some chores. My neighbor (who’s been my neighbor for 29 years) is moving, and so she offered me some furniture. I don’t really have that much room, but I like this pine chest. It will be nice to have a place to display a few things without them needing to be dusted all the time.

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And this green leather chair with wood carving–her parents brought it from Italy! Its so beautiful, I couldn’t resist. I’m not a huge fan of green, but its not a bad green. I had to move some furniture around yesterday to get these things to fit in my house.

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Then it was on to other chores. My neighbor also gave me a LOT of oak wood for my wood stove. Kevin measured it at one and three-quarters cords! I am all set for winter this year! While Kevin was working on that, I decided that this was the day to clean out the chicken house. It didn’t actually smell bad (when it gets wet is when it smells bad) but I wanted to clean it out before the rains come. It was a big job, and I was exhausted when I was done. But it looked so nice with fresh shavings on the floor. Later in the afternoon I ran out to see if the chickens were enjoying their clean house. This is what I saw–they kept coming in and out the door and staring at the floor. I texted Shelley a picture and she came up with the perfect caption: “THE FLOOR IS LAVA!!” Silly chickens.

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And then I turned around and looked at my nest boxes again. I WAS SO EXCITED when I realized that one of my chickens laid her first egg. I had just been telling Kevin that two of them were early egg layers and might start at four months (which is exactly how old they are now.)

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Its such a nice little egg.

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And then I came back inside and pretty much did nothing for the rest of the afternoon ­čÖé

 

Morning in the Garden

This morning the light seemed just right in the garden. I headed out with the camera, and found a lot more to share than I thought was there! Picture-heavy post, but not too much reading, so just scroll through and enjoy!

The big bag of oriental lilies I got at Costco did very well for their first year.

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A secondary flush of foxgloves. Most of the big plants died, so I bought a six-pack of mixed foxgloves to replace them (they are in the bed below behind these foxgloves.) They are growing very well, so I am excited to see what colors I got next spring.

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Sophie cracks me up–she’s like a little kid walking along the wooden rails.

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Each hydrangea has a different bloom time. The blue ones are fading just as these white ones are starting.

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I bought some new plants to fill in empty spots. I loved the color of the leaves on this “Nine Bark.”

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This is not light shining through, it is the actual variegated color on the leaves.

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The double impatiens seems to be in just the right spot.

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And I just love all these flowers blooming over here.

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The zinnias that I got to fill in are really doing well.

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LOL, I was taking so many pictures over here, Chloe just came and sat down and stared at me. “People are hungry, don’t you know?”

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The Belinda rose is doing very well. the stems seem a little weak to me, but it is the first year. I’m just glad its still alive ­čÖé

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A hollyhock I bought last spring.

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The ____ Peace rose. I didn’t notice the bug damage when I was taking the picture!

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The Abutilon. Have to stand on my head to take pictures of the blooms.

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The Phlox are so tall and beautiful.

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That little pink vine I got is doing very well.

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I got some more white marigolds to fill in here.

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The bee balm. Now its about 10 inches tall ­čÖé

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And the little rose from the two inch pot. I’m so glad it likes its place right by the front gate.

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Tiny perfection.

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And on with the week. I have taken my ninth early morning walk–well on my way to 21 for an established habit–yay! Today is a day of running in and out to give the whole garden a good soaking. And, I am prepping ten yards of fabric–finally gonna get out there and use my new dye studio.

 

 

Do You See What I See?

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The other day I was out taking a walk with Noah and Chloe, and I stopped for some reason. And then I heard something flutter by me. Wow, that was close by. I inspected the side of the road, and there was a little bird’s nest, built right into one of the little crevices! The mama bird flutters away to divert any perceived enemies from her eggs.

Yesterday I decided to go back and see if she was still there, and see if I could get a couple of good pictures without freaking her out too much. Here she is, on the nest. I only got one picture before she fluttered away.

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And here are her three little eggs. Don’t worry, I didn’t stay long, and I checked when I drove by the next day to make sure she was back on her nest.

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Such a simple thing, but these are the things that delight me.

Thankful

Thankful for snow!

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And nature’s perfect colors.

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The smell of herbs.

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And ice sculptures.

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Thankful for color in winter.

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And a tree I grew from a seedling.

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How fun to see pretty leaves littering the ground.

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Thankful for a new baby to love–Zoey!

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Miss Bess is thankful for her special perch next to the warm wood stove.

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It was a perfect day. I wish the same for all of you.

 

Saturday Fun Day

Shelley┬ámentioned on her blog that she was going to run 9 miles on Saturday, and that that would allow her guilt-free┬álazing around the rest of the day.┬áThat appealed to me. Yes, the guilt free lazing, not the running ­čÖé So I estimated that it would take me at least 2 hours 15 minutes to run/walk 9 miles, if I was even able to do that, and decided that I would spend that much time working out in the gym.

Of course, I didn’t get up at o’dark o’clock, like Shelley does when she runs. First, I had to try out a new recipe idea I’d been wanting to try for a while. I wanted to make some strawberry scones, using my basic Bare Bones Scones recipe. But strawberries get too juicy when you bake with them. So I had the idea to semi-dry them the night before. I just cut them into little pieces, and put them on a baking sheet in the oven with the oven light on for the night. That worked out splendidly! The strawberry pieces were a bit dryer, and the scones were delicious, IMO. Sometimes I eat them with plain yogurt and pretend it is clotted cream.

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Okay, so then I was ready to go to the gym. But I made the mistake of checking the garden first. Two days without water, and there were some plants I could not ignore. While I moved the hose from place to place, I made good use of my time, and scrubbed the bathroom down, and then made some fresh salsa, motivated by Helen’s salsa blog! I love shrimp salsa, and decided that that would be my special dinner after my big day at the gym.

Finally, I got off to the gym. So fun to not limit my workout time. I spent 30 minutes on the bike, then went upstairs worked out┬áon the weight machines. Back downstairs, and did some more aerobic work┬áon something called a NuStep–kinda a cross between a rowing machine and an elliptical, only recumbent. Then, it was out to the pool, where I did 20 minutes of swimming, and then finished with 30 minutes of pool running. Its not as intense as running 9 miles, but it sure did feel like a good workout.

I did kind of laze for the rest of the day, but since I got such a late start to the gym, it was 3 pm by the time I got home. I treated myself to a new-to-me knitting pattern, and started a new shawl/scarf (copied this from Shelley too!)

Here’s my shrimp salsa. If I don’t have the little salad shrimp in the freezer, I just cut the big ones into bite sized chunks. So yummy. But, note to self, I┬ásimply cannot make good chips myself. They always come out either burned or chewy.

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And just like Lori, who bikes for cupcakes, I decided to end my day with a sweet treat. I made a single iced sugar cookie. Most worthy.

It was a super fun day. I’m hoping I will make this more of a regular occurrence on Saturdays.

Sightings

A few sights from the weekend:

A late poppy–especially brilliant in the fall light.

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First cup of coffee fixed in the new kitchen:

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First baking excursion in the new kitchen:

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Debby does home improvements! (Putting polyurethane on the underside of the butcher block top for the island.)

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Sleeping beauties.

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Lots of good stuff happening around here now. I hope to have COMPLETELY finished rooms to show you by next week. Keep your fingers crossed for me ­čÖé