Friday, July 29, 2011

What have we here?

Let's put a little more light on the subject:

Aha! It's a branch with a nest in it! And the nest contained an egg!

On Tuesday, I was pruning the "miniature" (I didn't think miniatures were supposed to get so huge!) lilac bush in front of our house. I noticed this little nest which appeared to have been abandoned. At least I wasn't getting scolded by any birds as I was pruning, so I had no qualms about lopping off that branch. Courtney was thrilled with the nest, and she saved it to show her cousins who were coming that afternoon with Grandma H to pick her up.

Another reason I didn't feel bad about taking down the nest was that I was quite sure the nest belonged to a chipping sparrow, as they seem to build nests in that bush every year... but the egg looked like that of a cowbird. Remember this one from last year? Yep, it apparently happened again.

So Courtney and her cousins (you'll be seeing them here next week!) took the nest and egg (minus the branch) to Grandma H's. They told me the next day that somehow (I'm not quite sure on the details) the egg got broken open... and there was a baby bird inside! I was surprised at that. But I still didn't feel too bad, 'cause I'm still sure it was a cowbird. And I still think the nest had been abandoned.

Poor little chipping sparrows. They work so hard, and that's what they get for their labors.

P.S. Did you notice my hibiscus plant(s) in the background of the first photo? I had cut it back and repotted it this spring, and it's just now beginning to bloom again. I may get some pics of the flowers as more come on. Or maybe you've seen enough hibiscus flowers on this blog. ;)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

After the rain

Yesterday morning I noticed how pretty my mini rosebush looked with raindrops still on it. I couldn't resist snapping a few pics. I was very pleased with how this turned out (click it to enlarge)!

I kept that little rosebush in the house over the winter. It did okay while it was getting the south sunshine, but once the sun got higher in the sky and no longer hit the rosebush, it got very straggly looking. It would also lose a lot of leaves every time it got too dry because I forgot to water it, since it was in the bedroom Courtney uses... and out-of-sight-out-of-mind. I cut it back a LOT before I set it outside this spring. It's now catching up and blooming quite nicely. I won't be bringing it back into the house this fall, though. If I didn't have cats, I could put it in the living room where it'd get better attention and sunshine longer. But I'll give up the flowers before I'll give up my cats. ;)

Here's what's blooming in the wildflower bed now. These black-eyed susans are beginning to take it over. That's okay... they're easy.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Quick and easy

When Courtney goes to her real daycare 3 days a week, they take naps on cots every afternoon. She decided that she now needs a pillow for those naps. (Because 3 of her friends had brought pillows, it turns out. Peer pressure already? ;) ) She and Mommy figured that was a job for Grandma G. :) Yep, right up my alley... and a fun job besides!

I remembered some fabric I've had in my stash for probably 30+ years, and I figured it'd be perfect. I'll save you the boring details of prewashing the fabric, sewing up those horrendously difficult straight seams, and just show you the results. Here it is!

Don'tcha love the fabric? Holly Hobbie, even... remember her? And wouldn't this just make you feel like taking a nice, long nap?

I thought the kitty was so perfect for Courtney, too.

I also made the pillow for inside the pillowcase. I wasn't sure what size to make it, so I Googled "child's pillow" to find out... they're approximately 14"x 20". It worked out so great... I took an old standard pillowcase and cut it right in half... perfect size! Also when I made the pillowcase, the fabric was the perfect width to just cut off the needed length, without any extra cutting. Could that be any easier?!

Courtney is such a good "stuffer" that I knew she'd love to help stuff it with polyfill (of which I'd gotten a deal on a 5# box way back when I made the chickens), so we did that yesterday. It was a pretty quick process, and she tried out the pillow a couple of times to get it 'just right'. Then all I had to do was sew up the side seam with my serger, and it was done!

I put a zipper in the pillowcase so it's removable for washing. It was a zipper I had on hand and was a little short, but better that than make a trip into town for one. It works... it just takes a little extra squeezing to get the pillow in and out. Hopefully Mommy won't have to do that too often.

Here's the pillow in action, with my favorite little model:

Oh, my... it put her to sleep right away!

She fakes it well, anyway! ;)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

New pattern(s)

Conversation last week between Courtney and Grandma G:

C: Grandma, can we make a stuffed animal?

G: What kind of stuffed animal?

C: What kind can you make?

G: I think I've seen patterns for a teddy bear... or a kitty.

C: I want a stuffed kitty!!

G: But I don't 'have' the pattern. I'd have to look it up and print it. And it would take a long time to make the kitty.

C: I can make you a patteren! (<-She added the extra syllable. :) )

G: Can you?! Okay... you make me one (I said a bit fearfully as I wondered just how this was gonna work!).

So she drew me a "patteren"... and here it is:

The kitty, of course, is on the right. I was a little concerned about how she expected me to make a stuffed kitty out of that. But as it turned out, all she wanted me to do with it was cut it out for her. So that I did, and she was quite happy with her patteren. It could even stand up (if nobody breathed too hard)! And nothing more was said about making a stuffed kitty. Whew!

Did you notice the "Discover Every Day Giveaway"? Grandpa and I were actually lucky enough to win a $25 Discover gift card in one of their Every Day drawings. When it arrived in the mail, it came with that big "word balloon" shaped tablet that Courtney makes good use of every time she comes. So we all lucked out. In more ways than one. ;)

Speaking of patterns, I now have a new one for my next sewing project. It's a home designed one from an Etsy shop. It looked to be fairly easy (hmmm... does that sound familiar somehow?). Much more so than the last 2 bags I made. I studied the pattern Sunday in preparation for sewing. Oh, my.... the item itself shouldn't be too bad to make... IF I can get past the writing skills (not to mention typos) of the pattern creator which leave a LOT to be desired!! Yikes! Here I go again.....

I did, however, sew another quick-and-easy item yesterday. It needs Courtney's help for the finishing touches today, then hopefully I can show it to you tomorrow. Do stop back and check it out!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Pretty and peaceful

The sunset was so lovely last Thursday evening. I just had to go out and snap a picture.

Are you wondering about the line of lights down toward the bottom? It's the reflectors on the trailer that Grandpa and the guys had been using to haul bales. Looks like they reflect well, since they caught the flash from my camera!

Here's another pic snapped moments later, just as the yard light was coming on. If you look really closely, you can see a man in front of the trailer. Yep, it's Grandpa heading to the house, his work day finally ended.

(Click either photo to enlarge.)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The face of a Rainbow

Awhile back, Dale requested a picture of Rainbow's face. Finally this morning I remembered to bring the camera along managed to get one. So here she is, just for you, Dale! Gotta love the chest marking, too, huh? Looks like somebody started painting her and forgot to finish!

While I was at it, here's the side you haven't seen yet:

So pretty! I can guess which of the two sisters is her mama. Patches has the stripes and Miss Purrkins only has solid gray areas.

Friday, July 22, 2011

5 minutes in the life of a chipping sparrow

(Click to enlarge.)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Just one day later

When I went out to get the mail a couple of hours ago, I noticed it. That corn is starting to tassel! So of course I had to head back to the house for the camera to document it. (You'd better REALLY appreciate it, Mark... 'cause it was 94° out!) Here's the proof:

While I was at it, I snapped this field of alfalfa. The windrows were turned over this morning to aid in drying, so hopefully it'll be ready to bale (without rain, mind you!) tomorrow.

Here's another field that hasn't been turned yet:

(Hmmm... why didn't I crop off that mucky cattle yard? Oh, well... too lazy to do it now.)

It's been miserably HOT and HUMID for the last week. But, in case you didn't notice, I've refrained from whining about it on the blog. It's been awful, but not as whine-worthy as last winter. ;)

Oh, and remember my plains coreopsis that I showed you last Friday? The heat has taken its toll and matured it (and a lot of other things) way too fast. This is what it looks like this afternoon:

Guess there'll be plenty of seeds for next year's garden, huh? Eek.

Click any pic to enlarge.

Meanwhile, back at the daycare

Shhhh, everyone! It's nap time! All the children are lined up, snug in their beds, each one on his or her tummy, sound asleep. No doubt the best part of a daycare provider's day! :)

Occasionally an aide comes in who's not very handy at the job. What a world of difference that makes. Here's Josie, doing her best.

Unfortunately, Josie's "best" frustrates Miss Courtney considerably... especially when she insists on crawling under the blankets with the children. It's just so hard to get good help nowadays!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

This just in...

The latest corn update, taken moments ago:

This isn't the same spot she stood in for the photo two weeks ago (Mark will be observant enough to know that already). I did take a picture there, but it didn't turn out well. Because of our horrendous humidity, the camera lens had fogged up. This spot has taller corn so looks nicer, anyway. ;)

All the rain, heat and humidity does make the corn grow!

Boo Hoo works its wonders

I'm sure you've all been wondering (yeah, right) how well the Boo Hoo Owls work on boo-boos. Here we have a little demo.

Photo #1: Boo Hoo being applied to bump on the leg.

Photo #2: Pain relieved in seconds, and smile returns!

See? Don't you wish YOU had a Boo Hoo Owl?

Monday, July 18, 2011


Friday, July 15, 2011

NOT standing alone

The plains coreopsis in my wildflower bed has gotten a little out of hand this year, to say the least!

This is what happens when I don't get them thinned.

They're pretty, but they totally overwhelm the other flowers.

I like the "mutant" ones that do kinda stand alone amongst all the yellow:

And some have even managed to stand 'alone' alone.

Or amongst the coneflowers.....

(Click any photo to enlarge.)

.... which, interestingly, didn't have the yellow edges last year. Can flowers actually cross species like that? A botanist I am not.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Many years ago (40+?), I acquired this sewing basket. It served me for quite a few years, until it was no longer big enough for all my supplies, and I bought a new basket. Then when Jess was young, she "inherited" it and filled it with her own supplies. I think most of her supplies must have come from her Grandma G, because I don't recognize much of what's in it. Anyway, Courtney discovered it in the basement one day not long ago, and she found it to be a treasure trove of goodies! (Jess had not taken those goodies with her when she left the basket behind.)

There were ribbons and beads and yarn, for a start. After cutting some of the ribbon into smaller pieces and writing on them, she then proceeded to make a necklace and bracelet for herself (with a little help from me). These were all her own ideas.

What she didn't realize was that if you lift out the top, there's a whole bigger compartment underneath it. I didn't tell her about that until this past Tuesday. She was delighted! Oh, there were so many wonderful things in there... tons of scraps of fabric, a few bits of lace, and even a couple of old socks (socks, Jess???).

Right away Courtney knew what she wanted to make. She picked the "fabrics", told me how she wanted them to go, and I sewed them together for her. Can you tell what it is?

Here's another clue:

Okay, how 'bout now:

YES!! It's a bed... for her Hello Kitty that she happened to have along that day!

Perfect fit, huh?

Josie liked it, too. She seemed a bit too interested, to Courtney's dismay.

But it turns out all she wanted to do was snuggle Hello Kitty!

Oh, we do have fun on Grandma's Courtney days! And my little artist is turning out to also be a designer. I think she's following closely in Auntie Jess's footsteps!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

This one stands alone

This is most of my moss rose bed. As Courtney was leaving yesterday, we noticed ONE little flower all by itself, blooming so proudly. I was going to take a picture of it right away, but promptly forgot. When I came out later, it was already closed for the day, but it still made for kinda cool photos.

See it?

Its life is over. So short... only one day. But as you can see there'll be many more, and soon the bed will be overflowing with many colors. I love 'em!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Photos of our day so far

It's been raining (lightly, thank goodness) non-stop since the wee hours of the morning. Since Courtney and I had to go out to feed the kitties after she got here, we decided to dig out my 40+ year old umbrella. Goes perfectly with her boots, doesn't it?

That umbrella is in great shape for its age! It probably hasn't been used for 30+ years, either. Like how many times does one use an umbrella on the farm? :)

BTW, have you ever tried walking under an umbrella with a 4-yr.-old holding it???

Here's most of the crew we fed this morning:

The count is down by 5 since Mama Kitty took off with her babies nearly a week ago. I'm guessing she's training them to hunt. She does it every year. I'm sure she'll be back.

Here are a couple of babies we've recently named. This is Rainbow:

And Marshmallow:

I don't think Marshmallow is very fond of having her(his?) picture taken.

She/he and Rainbow are still a bit wary of us, along with several others that avoided the photos.

Of course there had to be a little snuggling time, too. This one is Mittens, and he is obviously one of the tamed ones.

Courtney is trying sooooo hard to be good today so she can go to the circus tonight! So far she's been very successful. :)