22 April 2014
The season of watering has begun. The snow hasn't stopped yet, and technically we're not supposed to plant before Mother's Day at our elevation, but I couldn't resist any longer. Some seeds have been been planted in pots on the porch, and the bare spots in the front yard garden where last year's dahlia and rosemary used to live have been seeded with new hardy flower varieties.
I didn't know last year when I planted the dahlias and the rosemary they couldn't survive the winter or I would have put them in pots. None survived the pre-frost transplant, even though I followed directions.
I couldn't decide if I wanted to do dahlias again because they haven't done as well for me in pots, and the mail-order dinner-plate variety I ordered last year is too expensive to lose again. But then I leafed through pictures of last year's treasures. Even though my altitude stunted their dinner-plate size, these babies brought too much joy to pass them by all together again.
So I invested a whole $9 in a department store grab bag, and I planted all five new dahlias, too. All in are in pots, but some are in the garden, hopefully easy to be removed come first frost in September or October, and some are on the porch.
Six varieties of sunflowers, eight varieties of blue flowers, three varieties of peppers, a handful of poppies and marigolds from last year's flowers, and a few purple flowers for fun all have new homes. Lots of flowers that didn't bloom last year are beginning to come up now, and hopefully, this year, they will produce huge bursts of color and joy. Now, if the whole green family can just survive our fickle spring...
I also couldn't resist the call of the wild; I've had birdfeeders for five years now. Our house came with a bird house, but recent winds made quick work of that. We bought two more bird houses and sturdier posts, hoping we can house a few of those musical insect-eaters who clean out my feeders at least twice a week.
Even garden friends are beginning to move in! I don't know where they hide when we get yet another hard freeze and three more inches, but they've found a hiding place nearby somewhere. They are busy doing their jobs in both the front yard and the unfinished backyard.
Now we just need to finish building our raised-bed garden for the backyard!
21 April 2014
Music Mountain is the 333rd tallest peak in Colorado. Lucky threes!
At 13,380 feet tall, it sits between neighbors Tijeras and Milwaukee Peaks. It is named after Music Pass, which reportedly gained its name from the sound of the jet stream crossing the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. The wind caressing the high peaks of the Sangres formed tall sand dunes west of the north-south mountain range, recently designated as Great Sand Dunes National Park. Music Mountain is one of only a few 13ers found within the Great Sand Dunes National Preserve.
You may do whatever you'd like with snowflakes you make from this pattern, but you may not sell or republish the pattern. Thanks, and enjoy!
Finished Size: 2 inches from point to point
Materials: Size 10 crochet thread, size 8 crochet hook, empty pizza box, wax paper or plastic wrap, cellophane tape, water soluble school glue or desired stiffener, water, glitter, small container for glue/water mixture, paintbrush, stick pins that won't be used later for sewing, clear thread or fishing line
Music Mountain Snowflake Instructions
Make magic ring.
Round 1: Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc and ch 1), *2 dc in ring, ch 1; repeat from * 4 times; 1 dc in ring; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 3. Pull magic circle tight, but leave opening big enough to allow stitches inside it to lay flat.
Round 2: * 1 sc in next ch 1 sp, 1 hdc in same sp, 1 dc in same sp, ch 3, 1 dc in same sp, 1 hdc in same sp, 1 sc in same sp; repeat from * around 5 times; sl st in starting sc.
Round 3: Ch 5 (counts as 1 dc and ch 3), * 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook (dc picot made), 1 sc in next ch 3 sp, ch 10, 1 sc in same sp, ch 3, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook, 1 dc between next 2 sc, ch 3; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last dc and last ch 3 of final repeat; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 5.
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.
Round 4: 1 sc in same ch as sl st, * ch 5, 1 dc in next ch 10 loop, ch 3, 1 dc in same loop, ch 5, 1 dc in same loop, ch 3, 1 dc in same loop, ch 5, sk next dc picot, 1 sc in next dc; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last sc of final repeat; sl st in starting sc; bind off. Weave in ends.
Finish: Tape wax paper or plastic wrap to top of empty pizza box. Pin snowflake to box on top of wax paper or plastic wrap.
A link to the blocking template I use is located here. That website has some of the most helpful snowflake information I know of. I also have a link to it on my sidebar to the right. I try to keep all the important links there so everyone will be able to find the information they need.
If using glue, mix a few drops of water with a teaspoon of glue in small washable container. Paint snowflake with glue mixture or desired stiffener. Sprinkle lightly with glitter. Wash paintbrush and container thoroughly. Allow snowflake to dry at least 24 hours. Remove pins. Gently peel snowflake from wax paper or plastic wrap. Attach 10-inch clear thread to one spoke, weaving in end. Wrap fishing line around tree branch (or tape to ceiling or any overhead surface) and watch the snowflake twirl freely whenever you walk by! Snowflake also may be taped to window or tied to doorknob or cabinet handle.
18 April 2014
17 April 2014
1:23 a.m., 15 April 2014
I shot the moon, and the... moon won! I shot the moon, and the... moon won!
We did not expect to be able to enjoy the total eclipse; the forecast was for total overcast skies. The sky was amazingly clear when we got home from work, so we planned to set the alarm for midnight, go to bed very early, then get up and shoot the moon.
The Lizard fell asleep watching the moon from our bedroom window, and I couldn't sleep, so I wrote in my journal and made a snowflake.
Midnight came, and slowly, the moon began darkening from the left. I had set the camera and prepared the tripod hours earlier, and I'd previously picked a flat spot in the sloped backyard to set up.
The wind howled, and the temperature forced us back inside several times to add more warm layers. As the moon grew darker, I was forced to change camera settings. It's been years and years and years since I shot an eclipse, and I'd forgotten you can't use the same setting throughout! So back inside the house one more time to find a flashlight to manipulate the camera settings.
In the meantime, the moon got tangled in tree branches! Or the trees jumped into the picture when I wasn't looking. Or, I know, the wind did it! The wind blew the trees into the picture!!!
We decided to move the tripod to the front yard.
Moments later, I slipped on the ice and crashed into the car, setting off the car alarm and presumably scratching the car with the tripod. The Lizard ran for the car keys to silence the alarm, and neighbors all over the street poked their heads through curtains and blinds to make sure everything was okay. A couple came out into the street to watch.
I set up the tripod right in front of the house and shot one shot. I expected to have to change settings again because the moon was much darker now. Instead, the frame was flooded by the nearby streetlight!!! THAT's why I'd opted for the backyard! Duh!
Down the block I marched, setting up the tripod once again not quite in the middle of the street, just in case any cars drove by, but trying to stay between houses and far enough from the curb that sleeping neighbors wouldn't think I was a prowler or stalker.
By this time, the moon was three-quarters gone, and the shadowed side was beginning to show as the overpowering illuminated side grew dimmer and dimmer. I couldn't shoot as slow as I needed because the tripod could not steadily and motionlessly support the weight of the Big Gun lens and heavy camera in the wind's sometimes violent outbursts.
The wind also forced me to keep the tripod on it's lowest level, and a crick was developing in my neck from checking the display in such an awkward low position.
But hey, no clouds, no tree branches, no street lights, no car alarms, and no hot chocolate! Brrrr!
Just as the white of the moon vanished, a fox strolled down the street toward us as if he was king of the roost. We chuckled as he trotted straight for us, as if we were invisible! Obviously, we were downwind of him, and the wind was loud enough to mask our giggles. If not carry them all the way to Wyoming...
Suddenly he stopped and stared straight at us, frozen but not by the chill. Then just as abruptly, he turned and beat feet in the opposite direction, but not before flashing us "the look." The You're-Keeping-Me-From-The-Best-Food-In-My-Kingdom Look.
I just finished downloading 112 moon shots and montaging the best ones into one shot. I'd planned to use a Photoshop action called Star Trails to automatically sandwich the exposures, but I'd been forced to move around so much, I had to do it manually.
Oh, well. I'm glad I waited for the moon. I'm thankful I was able to see the eclipse. And I am such a happy camper. Until the alarm goes off in just a few hours...