Friday, July 26, 2013

Why Would Someone Vandalize The Lincoln Monument.?

The Lincoln Memorial in D.C. was vandalized last night. The U.S. Park Service will hold a presser shortly. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57595627/lincoln-memorial-vandalized/

There is always some senseless graffiti painted on bridge abutments or along rock walls but a national monument. It wasn't even an artistic expression it was just splattered paint to make a beautiful  place look flawed. Basically, an act of violence against something that is cherished by many of us.

I can't speak for the majority but Mr. Lincoln is my favorite president. I have read many different books about the man and everyone seems in agreement, he was a man before his time. A thinking man that valued human life and equality regardless of skin color or occupation. He felt each person should have the opportunity to do their best to create a better world for us all. I really believe Gandhi and Mr. Lincoln would have a lot in common, especially being the change you want this world to be.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Beautiful Sunrise Moment

I am blessed with a very indulging husband since I can no longer drive, he took me over to the ocean at 4:30 am so I could see my first ocean sunrise. I've seen sunrises before driving school bus in Maine but never one overlooking the ocean. I believe in creating bucket lists then checking the things off that are on your list over your lifetime. One of mine was seeing a sunrise on the Atlantic Ocean. After, seeing how spectacular it was I am tempted to see more.
Now you ,see why I thought they were so breathtaking to enjoy.

We were lucky it was 70 degrees, with a gentle breeze.
Isn't this just mesmerizing?
I used a Nikon 3100 with a 55mm-300mm lens to take the pictures.


In the background behind me was the moon. It was a perfectly clear sky which made the photo opportunity to sweet to miss. I did set my tripod up for this particular shot, wasn't sure I could stand and keep my camera steady at that angle.



 
The ocean looks so inviting to me with the waves breaking against the rocks and then onto the sand. All of the pictures were taken at Spring Lake, New Jersey.
 
 
There is still a lot of damage from Hurricane Sandy but I did not take pictures of people's misfortune.
I can tell you that the boardwalk has been replaced and there are a few new ramp entrances from the street to the boardwalk. The dunes have new plantings on them. What was very sad to me was how many for sale signs we saw in Spring Lake. It is a lovely community.
 
Financially, if we were in a different point in our lives I would certainly entertain the idea of a shore house or living there year round. We chose a more central location to New York and Philadelphia with easy access to 95 corridor. However, if we decide to sell this house one on the ocean is a consideration.
 
In Writers.com I am a semi-finalist in the Super Summer Blog Off. I was pleased since I am really new to the blogging practices. It does help having prompts everyday that you must respond to in a timely fashion. And the variety in prompts induces interesting possibilities.
 
In our home, I decided to try while the nerve block was responding well and I was headache free painting the rest of our front hallway/entryway. I started it last summer but the headaches were so brutal I just couldn't finish. I could have had a friend simply do the work but I wanted to do it. There is something to be said for doing your own home renovations, a sense of pride. Unfortunately, pride can be one's own worse enemy at times. I gave in and accepted the offer of assistance from my girlfriend, Deb. Anyway, I did manage to get everything taped off by myself without falling or aggravating the head too much. Thank goodness, I conceded and let her help me the thought of it being like this another year was simply not acceptable either. She did the lower trim on one afternoon. Then we removed the tape and reapplied it covering the freshly painted trim. She did the cutting in and I rolled the walls. We went out for lunch and she applied the second cutting in and then I rolled the second coat. The next day, I sanded the old paint on the door while she was at work. On her way home she stopped in and applied a primer coat. The following afternoon, she did the same but applied the final trim paint. I am so grateful she insisted we work as a team, it would have overwhelmed me and I really can't handle stress. When the pictures are rehung and the clean up is completed I will definitely post a picture.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Just venting

If you are in the military and have flown a plane, which clearly you have because you cannot just hop in a plane and go for a joy ride would you not know how much fuel you have on board. I am so aggravated with the lack of concern that the Navy shows the ocean.
Did you see they were doing bomb training missions off the coast line of Canberra Australia? Yes, if that wasn't bad enough the bombs were dropped in the Great Barrier Reef which is a protected marine life area because the stupidity continued.

Why were they that close to the Australia's coastline and the Barrier Reef in the first place? I am appalled at the blank stupidity. These joint training sessions with the Australian military should have had someone with brains clearly keeping track of their location. I know they are saying they are not detonated but they do have weigh something and the coral is very fragile. The coral already struggles with all the waste that is dumped in the ocean and does not survive with physical content. So why would you think a bomb wouldn't do damage.?

"Australian Sen. Larissa Waters, the influential Greens party's spokeswoman on the Great Barrier Reef, described the dumping of bombs in such an environmentally sensitive area as "outrageous" and said it should not be allowed.

"Have we gone completely mad?" she told Australian Broadcasting Corp. "Is this how we look after our World Heritage area now? Letting a foreign power drop bombs on it?"

Graeme Dunstan, who is among the environmentalists and anti-war activists demonstrating against the joint exercises, said the mishap proved that the U.S. military could not be trusted to protect the environment.

"How can they protect the environment and bomb the reef at the same time? Get real," Dunstan said from the Queensland coastal town of Yeppoon, near where the war games are taking place.

The Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest network of coral structures, is rich in marine life and stretches more than 1,800 miles along Australia's northeast coast."

Dunstan raises a darn good question about our military and not protecting the environment. Do they know what other appalling things that Navy's from all over the world actually do. The U.S. is not alone in the disposal process, it is common practice worldwide.


My son is in the Navy and he tells me that once they are two miles out they dump all bodily and food waste in the water. Really, makes me want to swim in the ocean or eat anything that comes from it.

We are no longer in the dark ages, we do have the technology to take our waste to waste treatment facility and convert it into useable water. The ships create their drinking water from the ocean so there is no reason why they could not convert the waste as well. But it is not done, it is just dumped body and paper waste as is.

Clearly, All of the world's military has not seen the memo on becoming green and environmentally strong. The U.S. Navy thought nothing of dumping bombs on to the Barrier Reef. Nor do they think anything of how the waste is disposed.

I hope you didn't have fish tonight.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

One Giant Step for Mankind

"July 20, 1969. On this date, Apollo 11 astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong landed their moon module on a broad dark lunar lava flow, called the Sea of Tranquility. Six hours later, Neil Armstrong became the first human being to walk on the moon."

Have you considered what has happened since that monumental day in time? It's been forty four years, that is a long time. We have not seen that kind of fervor since those early days The space program really has not had heroes to speak of that people know by name. Think about it there has not been an space program since Apollo 17 in the 1972. There were twelve very lucky astronauts that had the opportunity to go to the moon and then it faded off the radar. Why?

You would think with all the advancements in technology that manned explorations would be on the increase not decrease. Mike Wall with Space.com indicates that there are possibilities. He writes,
"NASA is serious about sending astronauts back to the moon's neighborhood and will likely unveil its ambitious plans soon now that President Barack Obama has been re-elected, experts say.
The space agency has apparently been thinking about setting up a manned outpost beyond the moon's far side, both to establish a human presence in deep space and to build momentum toward a planned visit to an asteroid in 2025."

See more at: http://www.space.com/18380-nasa-moon-missions-obama-election.html#sthash.LL0hnrTz.dpuf

I don't see articles on the news or see them trending anywhere. For that matter I didn't even see the evening news take a moment to reflect on this day in history. What a shame! How will our youth know if we do not make the effort to bring it to their attention. We certainly cannot leave it to their teachers to do when it is happening in July.

Nor did anyone mention that tomorrow and Monday early dawn that you can see Mars and Jupiter in line with each other. Jupiter will be clearly visible with your eyes,  Mars is a bit fainter you may need binoculars. Course if you are not an morning person, you can always enjoy Venus at dusk until an hour after sunset.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Brain in Gear Does Help

I'm working on putting the white borders on my blue background quilt blocks so I can finally get to Leah Day's machine quilting class. Here I am bobbing up and down like a yo-yo when it dawned on me why was I chain piecing these blocks. Now, you would have thought I might have got this after the first block. Not me, it took me 3 blocks all four sides before my brain engaged. Chain piece the sides, and then do the same to the tops once you trim and press. I really should have taken a nap and maybe this head of mine would have been more functional.

We did accomplish hanging the curtains in the living room today. They look really nice in the window and the color actually works better than I hoped. The hard part was rearranging the cat's window seat temporarily. I have to spend some time researching what will work to keep our old man from putting his claws into them. He has this knack for marking everything. I would have him declawed except at nineteen it is to risky.

At the old house, he was always in and out so he had plenty to sharpen his nails on and never bothered the curtains or the furniture. It is has only been since we moved to New Jersey and I will not let him be an outside cat. It is just to dangerous here with all the traffic. Where we lived in Maine, there was the two neighbors up the road and the mail man except hunting season than we had a few more cars. During that time, I kept my cats inside because some hunters just shoot and look later.

In the Jersey house, the old man has done a number to my office chair and the box spring that I didn't have a bed ruffle on. Once I saw he made it a target, I remedied that and he hasn't touched the bed ruffle. Now, you would think he would use the two scratching posts that are his since our cats are declawed. If  my ex had not been so ornery the old man would have been too.

Does anyone ever use the sprays they advertise? If so which one works better?

I don't know about anyone else but this heat is really getting tiresome. I am so over it. It was ninety eight degrees here at one o'clock. I really miss having the windows open and hearing the birds sing. I am sure they are glad I have kept their birdbath and drinking dishes filled with fresh water several times a day so they have fluids too.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Losing Track of Time

It's been a very busy week and a half since I've had a chance to sit down here and blog.

On the 10th, We took a ride over to Seaside Heights, New Jersey to spend the day at our favorite beach. It is the first time we've been back since Hurricane Sandy. I could not believe the damage that is still very apparent nine months later. There are still houses sitting off their foundations. There are houses that have simply been leveled but the work has not begun if it is going to be. I saw the pictures on the news but seeing it first hand makes your stomach wrench.

I was relieved to see Island Beach State Park fared the storm. the beach and the dunes looked good. It is a beautiful place to spend with your family for six dollars for the car load. They have 2 public beach accesses with life guards, restrooms, changing rooms and concession stands. What more could you ask for. Well, chairs and umbrellas would be sweet but the price would definitely not be the same.

We had been there about six hours when the life guard came over and advised us that a electrical storm was in the area and they needed to clear the beach area. Wow, I hadn't looked up so I never noticed the dark clouds looming over us. We were playing cards inside our sun tent shelter so none of us noticed.

So we packed everything up and walked up to the car. Crazy, we had no more than got inside the car, shut the doors and the heavens let loose. And I mean the heavens, it was a torrential down pour. We were so grateful the life guard spoke to us when he had because lugging home soaking wet beach stuff isn't fun.
Guess I should have looked up at the sky a bit more frequently

The ocean is always soothing to me.

I love watching the gulls soar with the ocean brezes.

We made the drive to Norfolk, Virginia on Friday the 14th.That was a long day in the car with all the traffic, you can tell it is summer season. What a difference in travel time between summer season and winter/spring/fall seasons. In the summer it takes us eight hours to go from here in Jersey to Norfolk, whereas the other seasons it is only five and half hours.

However, the trip is all about the grandson's birthday. CJ turned 9 years old and we couldn't miss spending time with him, celebrating his big day. We did our usual Mexican night, which I enjoy as much as he does. In Norfolk, the El Rodeo is an excellent Mexican restaurant, reasonably priced with the most pleasant wait staff.

Saturday, CJ and I had a movie date. That is something he and I do together each time we visit. We saw Monster's University  which worked out well for me. My head does not do well with a lot of movement on the screen. When CJ and I saw Cars I vomited twice, it was just too much for me. These migraines have changed my life so much.

We kept CJ busy so his parents had time to get everything ready for his party They had a barbecue first and then the awesome Angry Birds cake his Mom got was brought out. Oh, boy was that a good cake. He loved all the presents, his favorite was his own Kindle Fire XL. I have to admit the graphics are amazing. We played this game Bugaboo Math. That game is fun and you learn at the same time. Wicked! I have stubbornly avoided the readers because I love the smell and feel of a book in my hands. Yeah, I know old school.

Sadly, Sunday was another long day in the car. It was unavoidable because of doctor's appointments on Monday. If we could have avoided being outside on Monday we would have it, man it was wicked hot. I watered my garden early Monday morning because we had been gone over the weekend to help it be ready for the heat.

I wish I could say the weather has improved but it has only gotten hotter here. Crazy hot and extremely bad air quality make for difficult times outside. I feel so bad for all the people that do work outside. It takes so much out of you,

On a good note, I've got a chance to catch up on my reading. I am reading Runaway Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini, she is an excellent author. I love how she ties different quilts in to her books.

And speaking of writing, you are not going to believe it but I am in the finals on Writing,com Super Summer Blog Off. Who would have thought that? I am actually enjoying it immensely, I love having daily prompts it really does help me get started each day with my writing. Anyway, not only is this the first time I have ever competed, it is the first time I have made it into the finals.

http://www.writing.com/main/forums/item_id/1940448-Super-Summer-Blog-Off

So needless to say I am excited. Okay, I am wicked excited.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Bird Watching

This is an enjoyable event here for myself and the four legged felines. It's better than television any day. Of course, if you have seen daytime television these days you can totally relate.

We have one of the supposed squirrel proof feeders that is weight triggered so it closes when the squirrel pushes on the bar. However, the annoying squirrels have learned to climb on top and lean over without touching the feeding bar so it does not close. A few squawks from the blue jays and the blackbirds and the squirrels do leave. If the squawking does not get the squirrels attention, we have several aggressive blue jays that do not take no for answer much to my amusement.

Today, we had several very enjoyable sights at the start of our day. We, my husband and I were playing a game of cribbage on the deck with our morning coffee. To our right of the table is a pole with a bird feeder that extends over the lower yard. I know a typical backyard experience for some people but today was different. The birds are used to us being there on the deck while they indulge in their daily feedings.



On any given day we have a downy woodpecker and a red bellied woodpecker that come to the two suet feeders that hang above the bird feeder. What made today so special was a pileated woodpecker and a red-headed woodpecker also came. We had four different types of woodpeckers all at once on the two suet feeders. It was a sight to behold and the sounds that each made were so different than the other. Where was my camera when I needed it but inside the house, isn't that always the case.

I went and looked each of the birds up on this web site so I could correctly name them and share their pictures with you and the information about each that I cut and pasted with each bird. It is really cool to have birds come to the feeder but to have 4 unique woodpeckers at one time was incredible.

  http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/browse_tax/45/

This beautiful creature is a Downy woodpecker. This one visits us the most frequently at our backyard sanctuary.

Cool Facts

  • In winter Downy Woodpeckers are frequent members of mixed species flocks. Advantages of flocking include having to spend less time watching out for predators and better luck finding food from having other birds around.
  • Male and female Downy Woodpeckers divide up where they look for food in winter. Males feed more on small branches and weed stems, and females feed on larger branches and trunks. Males keep females from foraging in the more productive spots. When researchers have removed males from a woodlot, females have responded by feeding along smaller branches.
  • The Downy Woodpecker eats foods that larger woodpeckers cannot reach, such as insects living on or in the stems of weeds. You may see them hammering at goldenrod galls to extract the fly larvae inside.
  • Woodpeckers don’t sing songs, but they drum loudly against pieces of wood or metal to achieve the same effect. People sometimes think this drumming is part of the birds’ feeding habits, but it isn’t. In fact, feeding birds make surprisingly little noise even when they’re digging vigorously into wood.
  • Downy Woodpeckers have been discovered nesting inside the walls of buildings.
  • The oldest known Downy Woodpecker lived to be at least 11 years 11 months old.

 

This is the one I was so surprised to see, its a pileated woodpecker.

Cool Facts

  • The Pileated Woodpecker digs characteristically rectangular holes in trees to find ants. These excavations can be so broad and deep that they can cause small trees to break in half.
  • A Pileated Woodpecker pair stays together on its territory all year round. It will defend the territory in all seasons, but will tolerate new arrivals during the winter.
  • The feeding excavations of a Pileated Woodpecker are so extensive that they often attract other birds. Other woodpeckers, as well as House Wrens, may come and feed there.
  • The Pileated Woodpecker prefers large trees for nesting. In young forests, it will use any large trees remaining from before the forest was cut. Because these trees are larger than the rest of the forest, they present a lightning hazard to the nesting birds.
  • The oldest known Pileated Woodpecker was 12 years 11 months old.

This is a red-bellied woodpecker.

Cool Facts

  • You may sometimes see Red-bellied Woodpeckers wedge large nuts into bark crevices, then whack them into manageable pieces using their beaks. They also use cracks in trees and fence posts to store food for later in the year, a habit it shares with other woodpeckers in its genus.
  • For birds that nest in cavities, nest holes are precious turf. Red-bellied Woodpeckers have been known to take over the nests of other birds, including the much smaller (and endangered) Red-cockaded Woodpecker. But more often they’re victims to the aggressive European Starling. As many as half of all Red-bellied Woodpecker nests in some areas get invaded by starlings.
  • You may occasionally see a Red-bellied Woodpecker flying quickly and erratically through the forest, abruptly changing direction, alighting for an instant and immediately taking off again, keeping up a quick chatter of calls. Scientists categorize this odd behavior as a type of play that probably helps young birds practice the evasive action they may one day need.
  • A Red-bellied Woodpecker can stick out its tongue nearly 2 inches past the end of its beak. The tip is barbed and the bird’s spit is sticky, making it easier to snatch prey from deep crevices. Males have longer, wider-tipped tongues than females, possibly allowing a breeding pair to forage in slightly different places on their territory and maximize their use of available food.
  • The oldest known Red-bellied Woodpecker was 12 years 1 month old.


And this is the other one until today I had not seen, this is a red-headed woodpecker.

Cool Facts

  • The Red-headed Woodpecker is one of only four North American woodpeckers known to store food, and it is the only one known to cover the stored food with wood or bark. It hides insects and seeds in cracks in wood, under bark, in fence posts, and under roof shingles. Grasshoppers are regularly stored alive, but wedged into crevices so tightly that they cannot escape.
  • Red-headed Woodpeckers are fierce defenders of their territory. They may remove the eggs of other species from nests and nest boxes, destroy other birds’ nests, and even enter duck nest boxes and puncture the duck eggs.
  • The Red-headed Woodpecker benefited from the chestnut blight and Dutch elm disease outbreaks of the twentieth century. Though these diseases devastated trees they provided many nest sites and foraging opportunities for the woodpeckers.
  • The striking Red-headed Woodpecker has earned a place in human culture. Cherokee Indians used the species as a war symbol, and it makes an appearance in Longfellow’s epic poem The Song of Hiawatha, telling how a grateful Hiawatha gave the bird its red head in thanks for its service.
  • The Red-headed Woodpecker has many nicknames, including half-a-shirt, shirt-tail bird, jellycoat, flag bird, and the flying checker-board.
  • Pleistocene-age fossils of Red-headed Woodpeckers—up to 2 million years old—have been unearthed in Florida, Virginia, and Illinois.
  • The Red-headed Woodpecker was the “spark bird” (the bird that starts a person’s interest in birds) of legendary ornithologist Alexander Wilson in the 1700s.
  • The oldest Red-headed Woodpecker on record was banded in 1926 in Michigan and lived to be at least 9 years, 11 months old.

Behind the magnolia bush is a pole that the bird feeder is suspended from over the deck area. This is how my felines typically spend their mornings and the birds pay absolutely no attention to their presence.

This is old man is our Maine coon cat Quasi. He will be nineteen years old in August this year. His favorite pastime is snoozing in the deck chair these days. He will watch the birds for a bit but then that leads to his morning snooze. Later, in the day he usually retires to our bedroom, lying on our queen size bed under the ceiling fan until dinner time. Yes, he is definitely spoiled.

And this girl is my partner in crime Purryl, she is what they called domestic short haired tabby. Purryl usually sits on the desk beside me when I work on the blog. Today, however, she has not left her comfy deck chair. Purryl spends the afternoon in the cat bed on top of the cat tower by the kitchen window. She likes to watch what is going on in between her snoozes.
 
Our youngest cat, Yeats does all of his snoozing in the sewing room. He will watch the birds on the deck briefly but then retires to his favorite bed. He does not snooze very often in the deck chairs like the other two. Yeats likes to sleep where it is very quiet. I can sew there but if I am talking on the phone he will give me one of those looks and stalk off.
 
Tomorrow morning I will bring my camera and what you bet they will not be there, that's my usual kind of luck. I can't linger too long out there tomorrow because we are going to spend the day at Seaside Heights. I am looking forward to seeing all the changes that have been made since Hurricane Sandy. It was one of the hardest hit areas during the storm. I was so sad for everyone that lived and worked there especially after seeing all the places we loved so badly damaged.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Who doesn't love long weekends? We got to see amazing taxidermy!

Ours began with a long drive to Maine. We waited until the fourth to actually do the drive, didn't want to be out with all the crazy drivers going after work. Which turned out to be a good thing because we got to see this beautiful sight on the George Washington Bridge.
 
We even made a liquor store run in New Hampshire for my sister. She has this thing for Kinky Vodka. The nice part of New Hampshire is no sales tax. I just might skip my meds one of these days and give it a try since everyone agreed it makes the most awesome drink with fresh strawberries.
 
We had work to get caught up on my old place. The most amazing part was a very dear friend of mine and her soul mate surprised us by bringing a riding mower and a brush master push mower. It cut the work in half and then some. We would have been there all day but instead we were there only 3 hours. We were very grateful since mother nature chose to honor us in Maine with ninety humid degrees. We left that in New Jersey hoping for a reprieve. No such luck.
 
The ride home was a long one but that was our fault. We made several detours, one of them being LL Bean. You can't go to Maine and not hit the outlet. That would be sacrilegious!
 
We did our son, Chris, a favor and checked out the hunting section for 22 long rifle shells. He tried finding them in Virginia and everywhere he looked was out of stock. Who would have imagined a shortage on 22 shells but apparently that is the case. The salesman in Beans told us they also have a difficult time getting them in. He had 8 boxes of 100 on hand when we arrived. He had none when we left. Probably won't last my grandson and son very long since they love target shooting.
 
While I was there I was surprised to see an amazing taxidermy display. If I hadn't been over there for my son I would not have known it was there.
Beautiful grizzly bear. Look how amazing he/she did the face .
Having a bear in that pose is incredible.
"The grizzly bear is a North American subspecies of the brown bear.
These awe-inspiring giants tend to be solitary animals—with the exception of females and their cubs—but at times they do congregate. Dramatic gatherings of grizzly bears can be seen at prime Alaskan fishing spots when the salmon run upstream for summer spawning. In this season, dozens of bears may gather to feast on the fish, craving fats that will sustain them through the long winter ahead.
Brown bears dig dens for winter hibernation, often holing up in a suitable-looking hillside. Females give birth during this winter rest and their offspring are often twins.
Grizzly bears are powerful, top-of-the-food-chain predators, yet much of their diet consists of nuts, berries, fruit, leaves, and roots. Bears also eat other animals, from rodents to moose.
Grizzlies are typically brown, though their fur can appear to be white-tipped, or grizzled, lending them their traditional name.
Despite their impressive size, grizzlies are quite fast and have been clocked at 30 miles (48 kilometers) an hour. They can be dangerous to humans, particularly if surprised or if humans come between a mother and her cubs.
Grizzlies once lived in much of western North America and even roamed the Great Plains. European settlement gradually eliminated the bears from much of this range, and today only about 1,000 grizzlies remain in the continental U.S., where they are protected by law. Many grizzlies still roam the wilds of Canada and Alaska, where hunters pursue them as big game trophies."
 
 
White tail deer are the most beautiful creatures.
 
"Well-nourished bucks begin sprouting new racks each April. Antlers can grow more than 1/2" per day.

-If temperatures drop to single digits farenheit, whitetail deer often move during the midday hours.

-The large ears of deer can rotate 180 degrees and pick up high-frequency sounds.

-The entire molting process for whitetails is gradual, taking several months to complete. From early spring to late summer, a deer's coat transforms from a ragged pelage to a solid deep auburn.

-When hunting in October, hunters will notice that the deer's coat has changed from red to grey. The change occurs quickly, often within one to two weeks.


-A whitetail's hair appears bluish-grey in winter. New hair that grew in during autumn provides whitetails with added insulation. The tips on these new hairs are dark, giving the winter hide its richer hue.

-Studies have shown that deer can smell human scent on underbrush for days after we leave the woods. Wary bucks react very negatively when they run across our scent, often becoming leery of the area for weeks afterwards.

-Bucks most often bed by laying on their right side and facing downwind, which allows them to use their eyes, ears and nose to detect danger approaching from any direction.

-Deer are quick and skillful swimmers, often taking to water when frightened. Deer can easily swim across lakes or rivers at over 10 miles per hour.

-When running, a deer takes a long stride, with its tracks spaced as much as 25 feet apart. "
http://www.huntstats.com/whitetail.deer.facts.html


 
This beautiful deer is an albino deer. Albino deer. Every deer hunter has heard of one or at least thought about seeing one, but what’s the deal with albino white-tailed deer? Among the questions most often asked is “what causes some whitetail deer to be albinos?
 
"Albino deer are white and as rare as gold. If you ever see an all-white deer in the woods, you will be very lucky. These deer, called albino whitetails, are quite rare. Only one deer in 100,000 is born this way, say biologists. Chances of seeing one in the wild are very low. It might be easier finding a rare coin or a gold nugget in a stream.
 
So rare are albino deer that generations of American Indians thought them to be magical. The Indians had no way of knowing that all living things have cells, and within those cells are chromosomes and genes. Genes are what make us unique.

PhotoAlbino deer have recessive genes. Both parents must carry the gene to have an albino fawn.

Another reason albino deer are so scarce is that few survive to become adults. Unlike normal fawns born tan-colored with spots that help conceal them, all-white albino deer stand out in the woods. They are easily caught and eaten by predators. Albino whitetails also have poor eyesight, which further reduces their chance of survival.

Not every white deer you see is an albino. True albino whitetails have pink eyes and light-colored hooves. Many hunters see what they think are albino deer but are actually piebald whitetails. These animals have white as well as dark patches of hair in various amounts. Piebald deer are much more common that albino deer."
http://www.buckmasters.com/deer-colors.aspx

 "Piebald deer-A genetic variation (defect) produces the piebald condition in white-tailed deer, not parasites or diseases. Piebald deer are colored white and brown similar to a pinto pony. Sometimes they appear almost entirely white. In addition to this coloration, many have some of the following observable conditions: bowing of the nose (Roman nose), short legs, arching spine (scoliosis), and short lower jaws. This genetic condition is rare with typically less than one percent of white-tailed deer being affected."
 

Beautiful Mountain Goat.
 
"Mountain goats are not true goats—but they are close relatives. They are more properly known as goat-antelopes. These surefooted beasts inhabit many of North America's most spectacular alpine environments. They often appear at precipitous heights, from Alaska to the U.S. Rocky Mountains, showcasing climbing abilities that leave other animals, including most humans, far below. Mountain goats have cloven hooves with two toes that spread wide to improve balance. Rough pads on the bottom of each toe provide the grip of a natural climbing shoe. Mountain goats are powerful but nimble and can jump nearly 12 feet (3.5 meters) in a single bound.

Mountain goats have distinctive beards and long, warm coats to protect them from cold temperatures and biting mountain winds. Their dazzling white coats provide good camouflage on the snowy heights. During the more moderate summer season goats shed this coat.

Female goats (called nannies) spend much of the year in herds with their young (called kids). These groups may include as many as 20 animals. Males (known as billies) usually live alone or with one or two other male goats. Both sexes boast beautiful pointed horns, and in mating season billies will sometimes use them to battle rivals for prospective mates.

In the spring, a nanny goat gives birth to one kid (sometimes two), which must be on its feet within minutes of arrival into its sparse mountain world. Mountain goats eat plants, grasses, mosses, and other alpine vegetation."
 http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/mountain-goat/

I would love having a fish tank like the one in the store.
 
 
"The rainbow trout is native only to the rivers and lakes of North America, west of the Rocky Mountains, but its value as a hard-fighting game fish and tasty meal has led to its introduction throughout the world.

Rainbow trout, also called redband trout, are gorgeous fish, with coloring and patterns that vary widely depending on habitat, age, and spawning condition. They are torpedo-shaped and generally blue-green or yellow-green in color with a pink streak along their sides, white underbelly, and small black spots on their back and fins.

They are members of the salmon family and, like their salmon cousins, can grow quite large. They average about 20 to 30 inches (51 to 76 centimeters) long and around 8 pounds (3.6 kilograms), but can grow as long as 4 feet (1.2 meters) and weigh up to 53 pounds (24 kg).

They prefer cool, clear rivers, streams, and lakes, though some will leave their freshwater homes and follow a river out to the sea. These migratory adults, called steelheads because they acquire more silvery markings, will spend several years in the ocean, but must return to the stream of their birth to spawn.

Rainbow trout survive on insects, crustaceans, and small fish. Their populations are healthy worldwide and they have no special status or protections. However, they are now considered a non-native pest species in some areas where they have been introduced."

 
I hope you enjoyed the pictures and the background information on the different animals. Most of us never see the animals in there native environment so it is wicked cool to be able to study their features up close.
 
Taxidermists are truly forgotten artists. Every animal with a vertebrae can be prepared, stuffed and mounted. Preserving animals goes back to Egyptian times where embalmed animals were found with mummies. I am in awe every time I go to a museum.
 
"The methods taxidermists practice have been improved over the last century, heightening taxidermy quality and lowering toxicity. The animal is first skinned in a process similar to removing the skin from a chicken prior to cooking. This can be accomplished without opening the body cavity, so the taxidermist usually does not see internal organs or blood. Depending on the type of skin, preserving chemicals are applied or the skin is tanned. It is then either mounted on a mannequin made from wood, wool and wire, or a polyurethane form. Clay is used to install glass eyes. Forms and eyes are commercially available from a number of suppliers. If not, taxidermists carve or cast their own forms.
Taxidermists seek to continually maintain their skills to ensure attractive, lifelike results. Many taxidermists in the USA use bears, though some use creatures such as snakes, birds and fish.

 Although mounting an animal has long been considered an art form, often involving months of work, not all modern taxidermists trap or hunt for prize specimens.

Taxidermy specimens can be saved for later use by freezing. The taxidermist then removes the skin, to be tanned and treated for later use. Numerous measurements are then taken of the remaining body. A traditional method that remains popular today involves retaining the original skull and leg bones of a specimen and using these as the basis to create a mannequin made primarily from wood wool (previously tow/hemp wool was used) and galvanized wire. Another method is to mold the carcass in plaster, and then make a copy of the animal using one of several methods. A final mold is then made of polyester resin and glass cloth; from which a polyurethane form is made for final production. The carcass is then removed and the mold is used to produce a cast of the animal called a 'form'. Forms can also be made by sculpting the animal first in clay. Many companies produce stock forms in various sizes. Glass eyes are then usually added to the display, and in some cases, artificial teeth, jaws, tongue, or for some birds, artificial beaks and legs can be used.
An increasingly popular trend is to freeze dry the animal. This can be done with reptiles, birds, and small mammals such as cats, large mice and some types of dogs. Freeze drying is expensive and time consuming. The equipment is expensive and requires much upkeep. Large specimens can be required to spend as long as six months in the freeze dryer, although it is the preferred technique for pets. Freeze dried animals, though, may later be susceptible to being eaten by carpet beetles.
Some taxidermy specimens do not involve a carcass at all, particularly in the case of sporting fish, such as trout and bass, for which the practice of catch and release is becoming increasingly prevalent. Instead, detailed photos and measurements are taken of the animal, and then a taxidermist creates a resin or fiberglass sculpture of the animal that can be mounted and displayed as a specimen. The actual animal is released."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxidermy

Probably more than you wanted to know but to me it is fascinating.
 
 
 
 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Tumbling Blocks and other fun things.

I did the July Block of the Month for 2013, it was a tumbling block pattern. My first time doing this block and I was surprised how easily it went. Laura Nownes did an excellent job explaining each step. I am so pleased with each class and how many new techniques I have learned.

http://www.craftsy.com/lecture/july-60-degree-triangles-and-diamonds-tumbling-blocks/1807.html?t=1432?_ct=fhevybu-sbqiimeha-lytue-sedjydku&_ctp=183


 
I was really happy with most of the alignments of the blocks. I had one I just could not get but you know what for the first time tackling this block. I am happy that the majority fit like they are supposed to fit. I enjoyed this block so much I am going to do a whole quilt with this particular block.
I can just see this block in so many different color options.
 
We joined some friends for dinner this evening. I am not a big steak fan but I will have to admit the rib-eye was prepared to perfection. The steak was accompanied with baked potato and grilled summer squash. It was a very enjoyable evening, good food, good company!
 
The USS Arlington posted the pictures of my son, Chris getting his cover. In the Navy, it is a honor that another Chief place your new cap on your head. The Navy is funny in some respects because they still follow so many traditions whereas the rest of the world has no idea what traditions mean or why they have value.

 
He's a career Navy man which means he will be there 25 years. At this point, he has been in 17 years. It is hard to imagine that at 43 he can retire and move on to the next part of his life. You can't really see him but the young man in the blue shirt is my 9 year old grandson, also Chris.
 
This precious little girl is my granddaughter Olyvia. She just turned 7 months old. That little dress she is wearing I made for her. I had forgotten how much fun it is to make little girl dresses. It has been awhile since my other granddaughters are 17 years old and 14 years old. I sewed for them before they went to school. After, that our schedules were always so chaotic that sewing fell to the wayside.
 
 
 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Ovarian Cancer, Do You Know the Warning Signs?

It was announced today that Pierce Brosnan's daughter Charlotte lost her battle with ovarian cancer. She is survived by two children and her husband. The reason I mention is because not only did Charlotte die of ovarian cancer so did her mother and grandmother. This clearly suggests a genetic factor because no way did they live identical lives. Sadly, ovarian cancer is so hard to diagnose because so many of the symptoms mimic every day life. Pain during intercourse, bloating, vaginal discharge or just simply a full feeling in your lower abdominal area are all markers for ovarian cancer. I don't know about you but I've experienced each of these and not once did I consider discussing it with my doctor. Reality is none of us do because it is simply part of life. We just can't live in fear of our bodies 24/7.
E-How Offers the following information, I hope you take a moment to read them. Maybe it will save your life. Tonight, I did read them and on my next appointment I will discuss they symptoms I do experience on a regular basis to be safe.

Stage I

  • Stage I is the earliest stage of ovarian cancer. In stage I, the ovarian cancer cells are within one or both of the ovaries.

Stage II

Stage III

  • In stage III ovarian cancer, ovarian cancer cells are found in one or both ovaries. In addition, the cancer has spread beyond the organs of the pelvis into the abdominal lining or the cancer is found in the lymph nodes.

Stage IV

  • Stage IV ovarian cancer is the last stage. Here, the cancer is found in the lungs, liver or any other organs beyond the peritoneal cavity. At this stage, ovarian cancer cells may also be found in the fluid in the lungs.

Survival Rates by Stage

  • The survival rates vary greatly by stage. According to the American Cancer Society, stage I has a 5-year survival rate of 84.7 to 92.7 percent, while stage II has a 5-year survival rate of 64.4 percent to 78.6 percent. Stage III has a survival rate of 31.5 to 50.8 percent, while stage IV has a survival rate of 17.5 percent.


Read more: http://www.ehow.com/facts_4912659_ovarian-cancer-stages.html#ixzz2Xwlw2sfu


My motivation on posting this tonight was listening to Pierce Brosnan talk candidly about the disease and how it affected his wife and then his daughter. We are always hearing about breast cancer prevention but that is not the only cancer women face. Please make sure you learn the signs and protect yourself.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Childhood Idols that helped me grow to be a better person.

Have you ever thought about your childhood idols, who they were and why? Do you still see them the same as you did then?

The people I idolized growing up were from very different lifestyles but each contributed in their own way to our country.

I was in awe of Martin Luther King, his speeches were so compelling and thought provoking even to a young eight year old white girl. I really didn't understand why racism existed. I tried to see what difference it made where people sat, or ate. I couldn't think of a legitimate reason. It was really a confusing time to live. When I asked people would say because they are black that's why? What kind of reasoning is that? Unfortunately, that was a normal answer. If you pushed they would say because they don't have the same brains as white people do and need to be treated differently for their own good. Why, got me in to trouble quite often. But I still had to know and the only one who seemed to have those answers was a man they said should be tarred and feathered, or silenced forever. James Earl Ray did just that. What he never expected, or the others like him, that Martin may not be speaking those words himself but others would and still do. His speech I Have A Dream standing before Lincoln's monument, the man that opened the door for African-Americans to share in our prosperity and whose life was also ended because he saw a future for equality will never be words on a paper stuck in a drawer but will be the light of the future ahead.

Another person I thought was important was Eleanor Roosevelt. She was outspoken for a woman in her time about racial issues. She was inspired by her teacher at a private school in England. She was a very independent thinker and that is what encouraged the attraction between her and Franklin. They loved writing and discussing issues of the time. She was the driving force behind his political career even though she was dubbed the reluctant first lady.

It wasn't that she was unhappy being the first lady, she was unhappy with the role previous first ladies had assumed. She was not going to be a silent mouse in the background. She was used to speaking at conventions, holding her own press conferences and being active in society. Why should that change because her husband became President.

Eleanor was a very vital piece in Franklin's attempt to end segregation. The early days of the Civil Right movement were not easy because the south held a firm stronghold on the congress and senate and Franklin really did try to walk a thin line. Eleanor actively campaigned against the New Deal saying it was not treating the African American fairly with distribution of money. She campaigned that all relief be distributed equally regardless of race to all Americans.

She was the first lady to invite over a hundred African Americans to the White House because a famous black singer Marian Anderson could not perform at Washington's Constitution Hall. This decision was made by the Daughters of the Revolution.. I loved how she persistently charged ahead in spite of the opposition. She resigned from the Daughters of the Revolutions in protest and then helped organize another concert on the steps of Lincoln's monument. How could you not love a woman who took challenges head on. That is what I wanted to be like, strong and determined regardless of the obstacles in my path.

After her role as first lady, she was appointed to be the Chairperson to the United Nations Human Rights Commission.

There are so many different stories about her being involved with this person or that one, even linking her to a woman named Missy Lehand just made her all the more fascinating to me. Some speculated she was gay, others said she was bi-sexual. The rumors flew like wildfire, she was always linked with someone. Yet, she did not care what people thought. She faced her critics and continued with her mission at hand.

I just couldn't read enough about her, she seemed like everything I wanted to be except the first Lady. I wasn't interested in most of politics only in equality for all. I wanted the world to be more than it was just like Eleanor and Martin did without someone looking to see what your skin color was.

I wish I could tell you what happened to that girl with such high ideals, and expectations of those around her. All I know for sure is my life did not go in the directions I dreamed but my idols of my youth have not lost their glitter and sparkle in my eyes.

I try everyday to live up to those same ideals. I think it so important that we never lose sight of the fact that we are all in this together. It is not your world, my world but our world and we must work together to make it better for all of our children.

A Writing Prompt from Writer's.com

Vampire Cycles
Vampire themes are not new, they frequently appeared in 18th century poetry and then into stories. Some of my favorites over the years are Brom Stoker's Dracula, which was published in 1897.  Lord Byron's poem, The Giaour, which is a Turkish word meaning infidel, very appropriately named. which I have shared. was published in 1813. I love the images his words inspire in one's minds eye.
Lord Byron's' The Giaour
. . . Unquenched, unquenchable,
Around, within, thy heart shall dwell;
Nor ear can hear nor tongue can tell
The tortures of that inward hell!
But first, on earth as vampire sent,
Thy corpse shall from its tomb be rent:
Then ghastly haunt thy native place,
And suck the blood of all thy race;
There from thy daughter, sister, wife,
At midnight drain the stream of life;
Yet loathe the banquet which perforce
Must feed thy livid living corpse:
Thy victims ere they yet expire
Shall know the demon for their sire,
As cursing thee, thou cursing them,
Thy flowers are withered on the stem.
But one that for thy crime must fall,
The youngest, most beloved of all,
Shall bless thee with a father's name —
That word shall wrap thy heart in flame!
Yet must thou end thy task, and mark
Her cheek's last tinge, her eye's last spark,
And the last glassy glance must view
Which freezes o'er its lifeless blue;
Then with unhallowed hand shalt tear
The tresses of her yellow hair,
Of which in life a lock when shorn
Affection's fondest pledge was worn,
But now is borne away by thee,
Memorial of thine agony!
John Polidori's, The Vamprye in 1819 was one of the earliest romantic tales involving vampires, amusingly he claims his inspiration was Lord Byron. It has been noted over time that Polidori's work was a influencing factor on Stoker's Dracula and how it developed. Other writers you probably recognize dabbled in vampire stories are Alexandre Dumas and Alexis Tolstoy. Both men were inspired with Polidori's work and linked pieces of their stories with his. Dumas makes a reference to Lord Ruthven (Polidori's character) in the Count of Monte Cristo. Interestingly, how different genres/ writers back then influenced writers and their work as it does ours today. I would never have connected the dots until I read about Polidori in college when we were discussing Bram Stoker.
I was surprised to learn also that Bram's real first name is Abraham but that he did not like it. Nor did I know until that class he was a theatre critic for the Dublin Mall. At that time theatre critics were nothing special but his reviews changed that, they were considered exceptional. Another surprising note about Bram was he graduated college with honors in Mathematics but it really wasn't a strong interest of his. His life long friendship with Henry Irving, a British actor and manager of Lyceum Theatre. Stoker took over the management of Lyceum Theatre at Irving's insistence and this became a positive business move for both men. Irving introduced Stoker to places in London he would not have had access to as a theatre critic. There are many different connections in Stoker's writing and Irving's life that demonstrate the genuine affection the two men held for each other.
In 1966, there was an afternoon series on television called Dark Shadows, I fell in love with, it lasted about five years on ABC network. I went and bought all the books because I was so enamored with Barnabas Collins. It was a whole new world to me, vampires, werewolves, witches, zombies at the grand age of ten.
Like all kids, something holds your attention for a bit and then you move on to other interests. I have gone from mysteries, to historical romances, westerns, gothic, war stories, history, and biographies. I'm not particularly fond of science fiction or horror but I have read a few because some one has spoke well of a particular Steven King book so I read it. It was the same for me with the Harry Potter stories, normally that genre is not appealing to me but my grandchildren were so excited and I was curious what was holding their fascination in such a large book. I was glad I read them, they were well written and interesting but I did not seek other similar stories.
However, in 2008 in Barnes and Noble did a piece on Stephanie Meyers, and once again I was drawn to vampires with The Twilight Series. I've read the books and saw all of the movies but I haven't ventured into any of the other vampire stories that are popular. The books were enjoyable but I did not find the same fascination as I did when I was younger. I would rather our children read then do other things so if vampire stories are getting their attention maybe the door will open to other genres.I feel it will evolve as it did in the past until someone writes a new twist and then it will resurface again.
Take for instance, 50 Shades of Gray, now that has how many copy cat stories out there, too many to count right now. Some of you may remember The Story of O, appeared and had its share of copy cats and then faded. Pornography exists and creeps out from time to time in the publics eye than also fades away until someone gives it a new twist as E. L. James did.
I don't see 50 Shades, or Twilight ever being considered classics but then I am sure no one would have thought that of Stoker's Dracula
either in its peak time.
As you can tell, I enjoyed this prompt, its been awhile since I have thought of Stoker, maybe it is time for me to indulge once again in his work. Or even Lord Byron's. I hope you enjoyed his vampire poem as much as me.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Back on Track

I really struggled grasping y seams with the June block on Block of the Month 2013. I haven't done a Lemoyne star before so I was excited to begin. Then it came to doing it, not so much.
We joined two strips at 2 1/2 wide together. That was easy enough. Then it came to cutting the forty five degree angles and the troubles began. I am new to doing angles most of my work is with squares and half squares until recently where I have learned some new techniques. That is why I did take classes on Craftsy to help me learn new blocks and get some great tips along the way.
I messed up the first cuts because I did put the 45 degree line in the right place before I cut. I watched that part of the video and went back to it again. Then it came to the assembling, I found marking the lines on the cloth so I knew where to stop was really important in making the block work. I also noticed that my 1/4 inch mark did not match my 1/4 foot on my machine. I didn't know that. I double checked my marking on the cloth and then the machine. I found the foot was definitely wider than it was supposed to be. So that might explain why on several other blocks I had trouble.
Well I did finally get it but not before taking it apart five times in different places. I made two new sections because of the bias. I have this bin I am filling for a crazy quilt so in there they went.
This was the block after all the frustration.

This is what my halfway point looks like on the 2013 Craftsy Block of the Month The colors are working out very well on the beige.
 
While I was on a roll I started adding the 2 1/2 inch strips to my 2012 Craftsy Block of the Month quilt so I can begin the machine quilting class with Leah Day. I went back and forth on whether I would do it with black or white. I finally tossed a quarter and white one. Once I had the white I really found the color enhanced my blocks the way I wanted the sashing to do. I am posting several of the blocks so you can see what I mean. I think white makes the blocks pop.
 
I really like the way the white sets this block.


                                               The white here connects the block.


Here it also connects the block.

This block without the white border I really did not like but with the white it works.

Unfortunately this block I still don't like the colors but I do not have enough blue to do another one.

This block is more visual with the white. It was mundane before.
It's funny Amy Gibson of http://www.stitcherydickorydock.com
used the Kona white in her quilt for class and that is the color my borders are making the blocks stand out the way I want.
 
We had these crazy thunder storms on Thursday that made the power flicker during its tirade. Friday morning Purryl kept pacing downstairs on the lower patio area so I went to see what was bothering her. One of my hanging planters had come down in the crazy wind and rain. Unfortunately the hanging planter was filled with impatiens, petunias and vinca. Underneath where it hung were two clay pots with green beans in them. They did not survive the crash. The pots were shattered and the bean plants have several broken branches. I transplanted but not sure if they will survive. The impatiens, petunias and vinca faired much better I replanted them in their plant dish. The hanger though was not salvageable. They just don't make rugged hangers like they used to. Everything seems to be made in China. :(
 
I'm reading this fascinating book called Moonwalking with Einstein. by Joshua Foer. I am enjoying it more than I expected. Originally, I bought it with the intent to improve my memory. Like a lot of self help books you read because you need too but this also quite informative as well as entertaining
 
 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

My first Tunisian project

I am very pleased to say I have completed the Honeycomb scarf that was the project I was introduced to on Anny's com. It took several days and a lot of pulling out a row until I finally stopped dropping stitches but I did finally wrap my head around the technique. It does make a denser feeling scarf with a very attractive pattern.
this is a close up with my work in progress.

just showing how dense the stitches appear
 

My finished scarf. It took exactly 7 ounces of yarn, but you can wrap it around your neck and tuck it into your winter coat. This scarf took me over 15 hours but mainly because in the beginning I just could not get it right. I can't wait to try my next project. I am sure it will not take as long.

 
This is what I was saying about the pattern it creates as you go. The pattern is simply one of each.
Simple Tunisian stitch and then Tunisian Purl which makes the pattern you see above.
 
In addition to learning how to do the Tunisian stitches I have made some hats and another scarf this year. I take my crocheting in the car with me because I can't look out the window for any extended period of time my vertigo goes crazy and my headaches spike.
The good thing about crocheting for me is that it is more of a feel thing for me than a look at all the time thing. I really don't have to stare at my work, I can tell with the touch of my fingers if the stitch is right.
 
These are some of the projects I have done this year. The hats only take me about 3 1/2 hours from start to finish.

This is the group that I was mentioning in the above commentary.

This one I made to match the set I made my granddaughter Olyvia and my daughter Amanda. Yes, Olyvia's name is spelled this way. Her parents wanted it different. This from start to finish 3 hours using a simple post stitch.

This one matches the set I gave my dear friend Lael and her daughter Braylie. I put flowers on theirs but I did not on this one.

This is a shell stitch beanie I made to go with my scarf in the above picture. From start to finish this hat takes about five hours. I also made each one  for my granddaughters Mikhayla and Caitlyn as well for Mikhayla's friend Emily. Mik's is navy blue, Cait's is hot pink and Emily's is royal purple.
Mik's mom wanted her name spelled uniquely too!

This last one I made for me because I love blue and green together. It is in the fine sport yarn and works really well for spring time or a cooler summer evening.
 
Crocheting is very relaxing and is definitely a take a long project unless you are tackling something like an afghan.
 
Today, I did finally get the impatiens I bought on Saturday in to the ground actually in the knick of time. The sky was gray but not dark so I figured I had plenty of time to trim the carnations back not that they are past their spring bloom. And still have time to get the impatiens planted. I had them all in the ground and was giving them a drink of water. When it began lightning, so I took the hose back to the garage and started rolling it back on to the wall bracket when the sky let loose. If I had lingered a minute I would have been soaked to the skin. It was only a matter of seconds between the time I stepped into the garage and the rain began. Phew!