29 December 2015

busy day, quick sketch

It's been a busy day without much time to sketch, but I took a brief break to pick up a pen anyway.

During this morning's walk I happened to look down and saw what looked like an owl staring back at me out of the rocky sand. We dug it up and found it was a rusty bit of chain link.

28 December 2015

Christmas roses


We lost three of our rose shrubs this past year due to extreme flooding followed by extreme drought. Those that survived did so by going dormant (deer whose feeding grounds were under water ate the leaves). But a couple of the hardiest shrubs made an early comeback --- these blooms greeted us on Christmas morning!

27 December 2015

an old Viking automatic sprinkler system


Recently we went to a local furniture store to check out mattresses. Our old TemperPedic has completely broken down (back aches!!) and we planned on replacing it. But the sales woman told us we need to contact TemperPedic first -- perhaps we could still get a warrantee replacement? We checked and were told we did qualify, but our model was discontinued so we returned to the store to choose a different model.

While there, we explored the old store, since we both love old buildings. In the basement we found a vintage sprinkler system that fascinated me. So of course I drew it, first in pencil then last night I added ink and watercolor. There was also a very old shaft for a hand-operated freight elevator. Later as we left the store, we found the old water hook-up at the street level, shown in the upper left corner. Downtown Brenham once nearly burned down so firefighting is taken very seriously around here.

25 December 2015

on the Christmas road


Texas is now our home but we are still a Kansas State University family, as our truck windshield sticker shows. I started this sketch yesterday as we drove our daughter to the airport to join her family in Kansas and finished it today as we drove to our eldest son's new home in Beasley.

24 December 2015

an early Christmas

Bill and I decided to exchange gifts with each other early . . . just because we can!

Besides, we tend to celebrate Christmas __the birth of our Lord and Savior __ every day, not just on the 25th of December.

(He bought me this ultra-soft turquoise leather wallet --- enough room for pencil, a few pens, brushes, and watercolor palette!)

22 December 2015

granulating watercolor & gouache sets


Several people here and on Facebook have asked me about the granulated watercolor set I put together. Recently I cleaned it out, removing each pan to wipe up the moist gunk that forms under pans with repeated use. At the same time, I was ordering a few more tubes of gouache and would not be able to fit them all in the plastic palette they had been in. So I cleaned out that palette as well and traded it with the square metal Schminke palette the granulated paints had been in. The only concession is switching two of the colors from whole-pans to half-pans in order to fit.

Of my granulating watercolors, Potter's Pink, Cerulean Blue, and Indanthrone Blue are from Winsor & Newton. All others are Daniel Smith. I haven't really found a true red that granulates and the yellows aren't very bright but I like muted colors. Colors in rows from front to back are:

Potter's Pink, Indian Red, Quin. Burnt Scarlet, Monte Amiata Natural Sienna, Quin. Gold
Serpentine, Green Apatite, Jadeite, Cerulean Blue, Buff Titanium
Indanthrone Blue, Blue Apatite, Goethite, Quin. Burnt Orange, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Raw Umber


And here is my cleaned up gouache set with four additional colors, moved to the Schmincke box. I also put a magnetic strip down the center of my little travel gouache set, to hold the new colors in tiny metal pans from Expeditionary Art. The brushes in the pocket protector are a mixture of cut-down brushes I use exclusively for gouache. From M. Graham and Schmincke, the colors in the large set are:

Quin. Violet, Quin. Rose, Naphthol Red
Gamboled, Titanium Gold Ochre, Azo Yellow
Sap Green, Phthalo Green, Helio Turquoise 
Cerulean Blue, Prussian Blue, Ultramarine Blue
Dark Blue Indigo, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna
Raw Umber, Van Dyke Brown, Zinc White

Seems like a lot of paints, but many were partially used when given to me. And I would really like to learn how to paint with gouache so I need lots of practice!

hand-me-ups!


. . . as opposed to hand-me-downs. Last year our 12-year-old granddaughter got these adorable boots from a clearance rack at a greatly reduced price. They just happen to be my size. I was told that they were the last pair available. Mikala left them on the stair step one day so I tried them on -- beware of leaving your things about! I teased her that when she outgrows them, I get "first dibbies" on them! (no, I don't know where that expression comes from).

On Sunday we went to Houston to go to see the new Star Wars movie with our daughter's family, and Mikala gave me her boots! Still in great shape but she has outgrown them.

They are sitting on one of the unique side tables Bill has made over the years, this one with drop leaves on both sides. Easy to pull out for playing games on. I used my granulating set of watercolors on this sketch, a collection of paints I put together specifically for the granulation effects. Seems to capture the look of leather with ease.

21 December 2015

progress! for hot tea drinkers

We moved to Texas nearly two years ago in the middle of winter. And I quickly discovered that a good hot cup of tea can be a rare thing in central Texas!

Every restaurant offers iced tea, "sweet or unsweet?" but ask for a hot cup of tea and they look at you as if you sprouted a second head. The popular roadside stop, Buc-ee's, offers maybe 50 types of coffee . . . and not even one decent cup of tea.

When we first visited the Texas Seafood & Steak restaurant in Somerville two years ago, I asked for a cup of tea and was told they don't serve any. I commented that it is hard to be a tea drinker in a coffee-drinking world. We returned there this past week (they have really good food!) and the waitress asked what I would like to drink. Knowing they did not offer hot tea, I spoke anyway "I'd love a hot cup of tea" --- and she brought me one! Only boring Lipton's but it's a start. Now if I can just introduce her to some nice Earl Grey . . .

19 December 2015

virtual sketchcrawl in Somerville, TX

Today was the Artists Journal Workshop's Virtual Sketchcrawl Day --- Once a month a group of us sign up on Facebook to go sketch somewhere on-site, either on our own or with friends, then share our sketches on Facebook. Before moving to Texas, I used to meet in person with Cathy Johnson and others on the 3rd Saturday of each month to sketch; since moving here, I'm on my own, not knowing any sketchers nearby. Urban Sketchers Texas also met today but the Dallas - Ft. Worth area is too far for a day trip.

I decided to go to nearby Somerville, TX to draw the downtown block our church, Jubilee Christian Center, is located in.


Our church owns three of the buildings in this block. Those in the upper sketch are our main meeting area, offices, and the newly renovated building where our discipleship class (aka Sunday school) meets. Then there is that tall building way down at the end of the block --- this used to be the only church building; now it is used for children's church and special events.

Around here, this is known as the "biker church". No, Bill and I don't own motorcycles but they are not required! When we moved here, we were concerned about finding a church fellowship as special as what we had in Kansas. We don't care for traditional religion or "playing church" once or twice a week; we prefer a personal and vital, daily relationship with our Lord Jesus and with like-minded believers. So when we saw this church's sign reading "religion-free and biker friendly", we were intrigued. We had planned on trying several churches in the area but somehow never got past this one --- it was EXACTLY what we were searching for! The members here are more like dearly-loved family and we feel like we have come home.

And the biker-friendly part? It refers to our church's involvement with the international Tribe of Judah biker's ministry. The tribe is doing an awesome work among biker clubs, leading hurting people to the Lord. Amazing things happen even during the road trips on the way to bike rallys -- the Lord regularly sets up "divine appointments" for tribe members to help others.

ink experiment, act II


My first attempt at mixing a smoky-purplish gray ink for interesting shadows required adding the water wash immediately because the blue ink used is waterproof when dry. I loved the color variation of that first mix but I don't always remember to "bleed" the ink before it dries. (I think I will tip these sample cards into the sketchbook with some tape to keep them with the trial sketches.)

So I tried a second mix, this time mixing Noodler's Red-Black with the blue ink in some Lamy cartridges that came with my Lamy pens (water-soluble). I like the color and the fact that it can be "bled" for shadow after drying. As a bonus, I find the ink holds in place when I add watercolor, not bleeding unless I want it to. This is a huge plus over a Noodler's royal purple ink I once had --- It was so water soluble, it bled all over the place whether I wanted it to or not, making for some very dark sketches.

Funny story about those tiny "cutie" oranges: two of our grandsons were here last Sunday and love eating these oranges. I asked if one would like a bag to take an orange home with him . . . and of course that meant the other one needed one too. Next thing I know, they are both filling their bags with the remaining oranges in the bamboo bowl! Good thing I still had some in the refrigerator. I like eating them too, Josiah and Judah!

BTW, those three boxes drawn on the test card? I ordered three new tubes of gouache from Amazon . . . and they sent each small tube in it's own separate box instead of combining them in one box! Good thing I had free shipping!


18 December 2015

ink experimentation

I've been playing around with various ink colors again, deciding to try mixing non-like inks. If it doesn't work, who cares?

Here, I mixed two brands, one water-soluble and one water-proof. I bought the Noodler's red-black years ago specifically for the "bleeding" properties. I decided to see if I could mix it with de Atramentis dark blue to achieve a smoky shadow purple color.




After mixing several drops of each in a small ink sample bottle and giving it a stir, I first tried applying some lines with an antique dip pen (belonged to Bill's grandmother) and sprayed the lines with water to see the "bleed" color mix. Red seemed to dominate so I added more blue.










Next, I put the ink into a Lamy Safari (XF nib) and tried sketching. Still a bit too red in application so I added more blue and gave the pen a shake before drawing.

It seemed to be the right color . . . . but in an actual drawing, it still seems too red. The "bleeding" is much less now, especially if allowed to dry a bit.

Oh, well -- it is still fun to play!

16 December 2015

revisiting two drawing pens


Recently I was playing with three different brand of brush pens -- fountain pens with brush bristles in place of a metal nib. While I was doing so, I cleaned up my regularly used Lamy fountain pens. Then, instead of refilling them, I dug out a couple of other brand pens I hadn't used for quite awhile.

The first one is a Hero M86 Chinese Calligraphy pen with a curious bent nib. Holding it in a normal way gives a bold line; tipping it up gives a much finer, controlled line. I do not know calligraphy but this pen gives a good variety of line width. Takes some getting used to. (I got a bit carried away with lines on the leaves -- wish I had quit earlier.)

The pen on the second page is a Noodler's Konrad Flex fountain pen. Holds more ink than their Creaper model and not as cumbersome as their Ahab pen. I LOVE this pen! Great line variation and much easier to handle than the Hero.

14 December 2015

an ornament


I needed to refill some fountain pens and decided to switch the black Lamy Safari that usually holds black ink for my bent-nib Hero M86 calligraphy pen. I've never quite learned how to best use its unusual nib, though I've watched my dear friend Kate (Cathy Johnson) use hers many times in amazing ways!

After allowing the green underpainting to dry (painted over a grid of drywall tape which was later removed), I drew an ornament from our tree. Then painted it. Everything was going well until I added the lower text . . . Not sure how to write consistent letters with a bent nib!

13 December 2015

return of our personal loch



Our personal lake property has returned. Over 5" since yesterday afternoon --- our gauge only goes that far. Fitting to call it a loch with "Nessie" standing in front of the tree house (you can see her through the right branches of the crepe myrtle). That rock has long been in our family, since being found on Bill's great-grandmother's farm in Kansas nearly 100 years ago.

I took these photos yesterday afternoon; by nightfall, the water covered the farm road seen in the distance. Driving to church this morning, we see that nearly everyone has lake-front property this morning.

09 December 2015

my Wednesday so far


Around 2:00 am I woke up with some sinus pain so I got up and had a cup of tea. Apparently it's a cold, not allergies. So not much is getting accomplished today . . . (However, I __did__ get two loads of laundry washed. Not fully put away yet.)

I read a chapter of a 'real' book, then tried a new free ebook on my Kindle. Ended up deleting the ebook --- sometimes you get what you pay for (or don't pay for in this case).

08 December 2015

another basketball game


Yesterday we attended another basketball at a local middle school where our friends' daughter attends. The opposing team played very aggressively, meaning Macy's team lost. But during the game, I drew this view from the vintage wooden bleachers. I love the old stone and wood!

07 December 2015

a quick cup of tea between services


Before (and during) disciple class and church, we help ourselves to coffee or tea. I really like the Organo Gold green tea or red tea -- they have a natural mushroom that helps with joint pain and inflammation. I think it's called ganoderma lucidum 

06 December 2015

a bit of a cleanup


Over the summer my loft 'studio' was lost under all the clutter. It's a bit too warm up there in summer's heat to work anyway so it just became a place to pile stuff.

But a friend has asked me to do a couple of sketches for him and I thought maybe it would seem more 'professional' to do them in a studio --- so I cleaned the place up, rearranging some things to make it more usable.


This is the same space from another angle --- I even straightened up the books! A friend at church gave me the two easels but I have no art to put on them. So they hold some color charts and some painted postcards others have sent me. Actually, the card on the small easel is from the amazing Brenda Swenson!

04 December 2015

a tree burl . . . and a lovely quote


Walking the circle road we live on, we pass an oak tree with a large "nose" . . . at least that's what the burl looks like. Burls are common in this area --- there's a tree in one of the lake's camping grounds with five or ten of these growths, some on top of others.

I've been taking these photos with either an iPod or an iPad and the photos are good. But I've learned that when you click on the image to enlarge it, the photo does not enlarge. Meaning, anyone who might wish to read the text, can't. My Canon ELPH camera works better for this; unfortunately the battery needs replaced and it seems they are hard to find.

The text on the left is a quote from Tim Gagnon found on a newsletter from Rosemary & Co.:

"There is a beautiful Hebrew tradition called, "Hiddar Mitzvah". This ancient practice, dating back to the Babylonian captivity, interprets a passage from the book of Exodus to mean that believers should glorify God, "in a beautiful way". In other words, art can and should be, an intimate act of worship. This profound concept inspires me daily. My faith and my art intertwine for a single purpose, and an audience of One."

03 December 2015

testing inks (& wash) on toned paper


I'm really not used to sketching on this darker toned paper (Canson Mi-teintes in a handbound journal). Watercolor tends to dull quite a bit. Gouache works . . . but I'd really like to get better at pen & ink sketches, using the toned paper as the middle tone and black and white for darks and lights. So I tested my current pens on this journal page.

My new Kuretake brush pen is filled with Noodler's Lexington Gray ink -- I'm liking the possibilities of using this as a lighter tone in black and white work. It may be useful in light shadows for colored sketches as well since the ink won't smear when watercolor is added.

I need to learn to use a lighter hand and more variable lines with brush pens, so I've included three total in what I carry with me currently. From the top, the pens shown are:

white gelly roll pen
Kuretake brush pen with Lexington Gray ink
Pentel Aquash brush pen with light black ink
Lamy Safari pen with Platinum carbon black ink
Pentel Pocketbrush pen
Sharpie white water based marker with extra fine point
Platinum desk fountain pen with very fine nib
M. Graham gouache, zinc white
a mixed-in-the-pan gray watercolor (ultramarine blue & burnt umber) --- there is also a brown watercolor in this tiny set for when I draw with brown ink. I can't remember if it is burnt sienna or burnt umber.

Only two more double-page spreads left of this gray paper in my journal with which to practice . . .

02 December 2015

is it Christmas already?


Yesterday, as I placed some paid bills in our mailbox to be picked up, I found a package in the box . . . apparently left there sometime the day before. I had ordered a Kuretake brush pen along with a converter for using it with alternate inks -- excited that it arrived! I was surprised to find that it came with not one but three cartridges, though I've read that this ink is not water-soluble.

Then when the mailman came later, he brought a package from Rosemary & Co. in England. Several weeks ago I ordered a travel dagger brush from them to carry in my bag. Daggers work as both a flat and a round brush -- and even make a good "rigger brush" line! And surprise! Rosemary even stuck in a couple of chocolates with a Merry Christmas greeting!

Later I found a box at our front door -- a copy of Richard Sheppard's new book, "Impressions of Wine Country". Our Christmas shopping was finished before Thanksgiving but I did take advantage of Amazon's "Black Friday" 30% off any book coupon to buy this gorgeous book! (Maybe it's now a good time to thankfully play with my new toys and hide the credit card for a while!)


On Monday afternoon, we went to watch Macy, the daughter of friends at church, as she played  basketball at her middle school. Her little brother, Blake, borrowed my sketchbook and entertained us all with his fun sketches and stories. (I added the referee and large basketball to his pages.)

BTW, I did a very silly thing . . . I drew the things I received in the mail late last night while catching up on some recorded Dr. Who shows. Then discovered this morning that the book was upside down as I was sketching. Oops!

For those interested, the upper left quote is from Victorian artist and missionary Lilias Trotter:

"The things that are impossible with men are possible with God. May it not be that the human impossibility is just the very thing that sets His Hand free? ---& that it is the things which are possible for us to do that He is in a measure to let alone?"

30 November 2015

Saturday in Nacogdoches


Following our Thanksgiving gathering, we drove Jeff back to college over the weekend. The undergrowth trees in Davy Crockett National Forest is showing a lot more color than trees in our area in central Texas. Many leaves such as this red one are misformed but still lovely colors.

We ate lunch at the Mexican cafe around the corner from his apartment, where I drew a Very Wonky Window where customers can watch the employees make fresh tortillas. I was visually drawn to that stack of flour and cornmeal bags!

28 November 2015

one last quote from Sherlock and what to read next


This random quote from Sherlock Holmes ___ I just finished reading every case of his ever published ___ speaks of old fashioned moss roses. None of my roses are blooming presently, it having been a very tough year for gardening, but I have lantana blooming in abundance! So I added my favorite color to the page.

On the other side, the current "to-be-read" stack of books on my nightstand. Not counting a time-travel book our daughter loaned me -- it's in the drawer so the cat won't lick the edges. Also not counting 8 or 9 books on the shelf from the used book store. Or the multiples of ebooks on my Kindle.

I'm actually currently reading two of these in the stack; I often have 2 or 3 books going at the same time of different genres. At the moment, the top book about Victorian missionary Lilias Trotter, and The Urban Sketcher by Marc Holmes.

27 November 2015

why no, I did not need another travel palette . . .


But I put a new one together anyway! This is a flat metal Auqufine box from Daler Rowney with the plastic insert removed. I attached two business card magnets inside so it will hold the metal "jumbo" pans from Expeditionary Art, leaving just enough room for a squirrel travel brush and shortened Cotman rigger brush.

True to form, as soon as I painted the color chart, I thought of making a change: ultramarine blue and indanthrone blue make similar mixes so I might exchange it for a raw umber. Or two smaller pans of raw umber and buff titanium.



And here is my most recent sketch bag and travel kit: 

The light-weight tie-die bag with Celtic knot has a very wide shoulder strap -- I have narrow shoulders and this stays in place comfortably. It is also long enough to cross my body if I wish; it's actually a shopping bag. Much lighter than most of my smaller bags and holds any size sketchbook. Even room for a sweater or my favorite plaid wrap for cooler days.

I found the pocket protector on Amazon to hold pencil and pens. The zip bag holds paper towels, palette, waterbrushes, eraser, and a smaller plastic proxy-brush container that holds three half-pans: two watercolors matching my shades of ink plus a white gouache.

In case the text is hard to read in the photo, the upper left are two quotes from Sherlock Holmes:

"To the man who loves art for its own sake," remarked Sherlock Holmes, tossing aside the advertisement sheet of The Daily Telegraph, "it is frequently in its least important and lowliest manifestations that the keenest pleasure is to be derived . . ."
(from 'The Copper Beeches')

"Art in the blood is liable to take the strangest forms."
(from 'The Greek Interpreter')

25 November 2015

bowl of blessings


Every November our church has what is called Bowl of Blessings where everyone brings a dish that is eaten from a bowl such as soups or chili. But before we are allowed to eat, every person present must tell the others something they are thankful for. Even the tiniest child (who usually mumbles a short word or two). One of the things we are constantly thankful for is finding such a wonderful church family to share with.

I sketched these table decorations at this year's celebration this past Sunday.

22 November 2015

virtual sketchcrawl, 21 Nov.


Having lots to do on Saturday, which was  Artist's Journal Workshop's virtual sketchcrawl, I stayed close to home. Between stripping and documenting our worn-down mattress for warranty replacement, laundry, baking a pie for church, getting ready for Thanksgiving, and computer bookkeeping, I stepped out into our yard to draw these mushrooms. They are actually more orange than shown here; for some reason the orange watercolor shades don't photograph true to color. 

This is only half of our "crop" of these gorgeous fungi --- I love how they look more like large fluted-edge flowers!

21 November 2015

another random leaf


After a full day in College Station this past week (we actually went there and back again twice in one day!), I picked up this pretty-but-torn leaf in the road and just had to paint it.

We drove to this town roughly 30 miles away to meet with a Scott & White medical insurance representative. Our current Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas is forcing everyone to go to an HMO plan . . . which would be okay except they don't recognize our doctors or any of the fine nearby hospitals. They would force us to drive 1 1/2 to 2 hours away for the nearest allowable hospital!

After signing up for the new insurance plan (about $300 less per month than we currently pay, though we now pay a bit more in prescriptions), we had several errands to run. There are stores in College Station that are not in our small town of Brenham, such as Target, Kohl's, and Petsmart where I picked up an updated dog tag for Ceilidh. She now lives with our son, Jeff, but they don't have a tag machine in his small town either.

After buying groceries and returning home, we returned to College Station to celebrate a dear friend's birthday at Pei Wei. Then ate too much when we decided to go out for pie and coffee (tea for me) at Cracker Barrel. A busy but fun day!

20 November 2015

last Friday's road trip


Last week a group of us drove to Lakewood Church in Houston to attend Joyce Meyer's conference. Traffic was horrible but we had a great time anyway. Thank God Ms. B.J. knew how to get there and where to park! I roughly sketched some things in my journal in pencil along with jotting down some notes --- then took the rest of the week to clean the pencil mess up and add a bit of color.


Afterwards we couldn't drive home the way we came due to Highway 290 being closed after 10:00 pm for ongoing construction. We were also hungry! Debbie showed us an alternate route to Cypress but by then nearly every place to eat was closing and those still open were crowded. Finally ate at an IHOP, which was closing soon. A very long night! Arrived home around 2:00 am. Fun adventure though!

19 November 2015

a new beginning


I've worked a few pages into a new art journal in the past week but haven't finished some of the sketches yet. Meanwhile, this is the book --- handbound of Fabriano Artistico 140# cold press paper inside (plus a few toned pages of Mi-teintes), covered with handmade papyrus I found at Jerry's Artarama in Austin, the spine made of simple bookcloth I made from cotton fabric.

BTW, that book "bracelet" bookmark looked so beautiful against the papyrus, I decided to use it to hold the book closed in my bag.


And as usual, I began the new book with a palette sketch. Or rather, three palettes since they were all on the table in front of me. The inside facings are leftover Mi-teintes paper; watercolor looks more like gouache on this paper but I only used a bit of white gouache on the palette tins.

16 November 2015

the end of the journal


During the long dry summer, we let our small garden die off. There was a burn ban throughout this area so we never bothered to clear out the dead plants and new weeds that popped up.

Now Autumn rains have been plenteous, the burn ban has been lifted, and we gathered the dead stuff for burning . . . and found these three large tomatoes! Oddly, they were the best tasting of the whole year. Made a great pot of chili!


Months ago I wrote out the words to my favorite hymn on the final page of this leather-wrapped journal, thinking that I would later add some illuminated decoration on the border. But now I think I'll just leave it as-is. Maybe I'll come back to it someday.

15 November 2015

a sunrise, redone


This is a re-do from a photo of a previously painted sunrise that didn't work out. I'm still not very happy with it . . . But every time I try, I'm learning a bit more.

I tried using two brands of masking fluid here. The one from Daniel Smith was a bit globby going on, dried patchy, and tore the paper in places when removed. In a few smaller places, I tried a new Molotow masking pen. This one really works well, though it looks a bit weird being blue.

14 November 2015

frivolous foolin' around


After recent events in France, this post seems too frivolous. But I am trying to post each of the remaining sketches from my leather-wrapped journal before moving on to the new one. After jotting down some artist quotes I wished to remember, I just scribbled down the palettes and brushes laying before me.

I began working in a new journal yesterday (a square case-bound book covered with papyrus), but the sketches were done in messy pencil at Joyce Meyer's Houston conference. I need to clean up my notes and sketches before posting them.

13 November 2015

a few more leaves


A few of us ladies from church met at Ms. Billig's house this past week in order to clean it for her. And in her driveway, I found some red leaves --- not a colorful red as the maples in Kansas but red enough to make me wish to paint them!

12 November 2015

Veterans Day in Pflugerville


Our grandson Quen invited Bill to take part in his school's Veterans Day program. We thought it would be something like we've been to in the past, such as special concerts where at one point they ask all veterans to stand and everyone applauds.

Wrong! All veterans attending where grabbed before entering the auditorium, then they all entered together, each with their own branch of service, and sat in special seats on the stage. There was one vet present who had served in World War II as well as several active service men and women. 

After the special speakers and music, there was a reception in the foyer, then we went to Quen's third grade classroom, where Bill talked to the kids about going through boot camp and school, then serving on a subtender, repairing submarines. The kids had some hilarious responses to some of Bill's questions! Such as the difference between a ship (the subtender) and a boat (what they called the fast attack subs): boats move by oars and ships need wind in their sails. Bill grinned and told them he's not quite __that__ old!

11 November 2015

boxes, boxes, and more boxes


It will soon be the gift-giving time of year and, living in the country away from shopping centers, a lot of my shopping is done online. Nearly everyday the mailman has been bringing another box or two.

We do quite a lot of our regular shopping this way now. Everything from grain-free cat food and vitamins to my favorite brand of tea. All found easier __and cheaper__ by ordering online.

10 November 2015

a bit more of Autumn


Most of our circle's trees are still holding on to their leaves and green. In fact, recent rains seem to have given them fresh life. But I was able to find these interesting leaves yesterday during a morning walk.

09 November 2015

a random sketch, my favorite skirt


This long knit skirt has become my favorite skirt. But what a weird hem! Or rather, lack of hem. After I bought it, I realized that there was no hem --- the lower edge just curls up. I asked the seller about it and she said it's supposed to be this way, that this is what's popular now. Seems strange but the skirt is so very comfortable!

08 November 2015

turkey season


The summer dry spell with its burn bans is over and we are once again in the very wet season. So wet that a few camp sites at the lake are under water . . . again. Due to flooding last May, the lake was closed from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Wishing to see how things looked at the lake, we recently drove to Somerville by the back road which goes over the dam. As we drove through the town we saw a yard full of wild turkeys. There must have been over a dozen of them! We were on our way to meet friends so all I had time for was a quick photo with my iPod.
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