Friday, June 29, 2012

Birds

I've had a lot of newcomers to the birdbath this year. I'm not sure why... maybe just because we've had so little rain in the last few weeks... or possibly because we have no stock tanks full of water for them to drink from right now. The birdbath sees a lot of action in a day, and I enjoy watching.

One bird I've never noticed in there before this year is a brown thrasher. They're such pretty birds, and they have quite a repertoire of songs. They also like to... ahem... 'thrash' in the water!


They have kind of weird eyes, too:


Another newbie is a tree swallow. I rarely see them around here at all, much less at the birdbath, but I've seen them numerous times this summer. I took this photo from my kitchen table, which is 15+ feet from the window, and unfortunately my camera focused on the dirty window rather than the bird. Guess that means I need to wash the windows again... aargh.


Just minutes ago I happened to see this little baby robin in the lawn. I had to perform some trickery on the cats to manage to get over there with the camera without them coming along. Heheh.


I suspect the poor little thing may be doomed, even though its parents were trying desperately to distract harm away. There are just too many cats around here. Sure is cute, though, huh?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Interesting cat pics

Blowin' in the wind.....


That beautiful ball of fluff is Hairry, taking a nap next to the birdbath.

Then he woke up and posed nicely for me. Isn't he a pretty boy? He's such a nice cat, too. He's one of Mama's kittens from last year. All of her offspring have very nice personalities... including Josie.


Well, I had this post all done and scheduled to be published in the morning. Then I went upstairs and happened to notice out the window:


Too funny! That's Cuddles, Hairry's sister. That must be a really comfy spot to nap! She didn't pose as nicely for me as he did when she woke up, though.


I found these two fierce little things out in front of the garage Monday evening. They belong to Scoot (who was Mama's from two years ago). There was lots of hissing and spitting... couldn't have been any cuter! They haven't quite developed their Mama-offspring niceness yet. ;)


This is the fiercest one! Scares ya, doesn't she?!!! And just look at those claws!


Luckily, Scoot kept them there overnight, so they were ready to greet Courtney when she arrived Tuesday morning. They weren't as tough as they pretended to be, and we tamed them down considerably.

It's been crazy the last few weeks, how we've had kittens around on Tuesdays, but come Wednesday morning they're gone! I guess the mamas just know that Courtney comes on Tuesdays and needs kittens!! And yep, these two, plus all but one of the other five or so we saw this past Tuesday, are now gone again. The one stayed around so she could get her eyes treated again, I guess. She loves it. Uh huh.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

As of 4:45 p.m.


That says it all.............

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

McCall's M5591

My last sewing project was a skirt for Jess. Here's the pattern I used:


She thought it would be fun to have a skirt made out of her own fabric that she designed, so that's what I did. This fabric is called Boardwalk, from her Amusement Park collection.


I put a little surprise inside the front yoke for her. It's just a bit of the selvage:


Jess has posted more photos on her blog today, and I wrote a pattern review for her. Head on over to her blog and take a look (especially take note of her toes)!

I have my next project all cut out - yay! That's always the worst part. Now the fun sewing can begin! And it'll nice to have a cool sewing room to work in during the heat that's in the forecast.

Linking up to Amylouwho's Sew & Tell:

Monday, June 25, 2012

Something old, something new

This is my 'old, faithful' iron. I got it as a wedding or shower gift over 42 years ago. That's right, it's 42 years old! And the best thing about it is that it still works! It has served me well. When the kids were little, I sewed a LOT... clothes for them, for myself, for Grandpa, and even for dolls. Then it had a long "sabbatical" of sorts, when it was just simpler and faster to buy clothes, so the only use the iron got was for pressing an occasional pair of pants or something (hurray for permanent press!). But in recent years, I've gotten back into sewing, so my "vintage" iron has been back in use.


Not too bad looking, eh? (If you ignore the editing I did to the photo to cut out some of the glare from the flash.) It still works very well, but with all the sewing I've been doing, I've also occasionally wondered what I'd do if it decided to quit on me. (Do irons really make decisions?) If I were in the middle of a sewing project, I'd be "up a creek", as they say, since I don't believe our local stores even carry irons anymore (or if they do, I'm sure there's not much to choose from). My options would be to drive 30-40 miles or so to a bigger town or to order one online and either wait for it to ship normally or pay a fortune for faster shipping. None of those options pleased me, so I decided to plan ahead and play it safe.

I've read reviews from various sources about different irons, and I've found there are some very expensive(!) irons available, some of which didn't really have as good reviews as I'd have liked. As I was looking through the irons on Amazon.com, I came across this one that sounded interesting. It only had 3 reviews, but they were all 5 stars. It's a Hamilton Beach Smart Lift Iron with Built-In Stability. (No, I'm not writing this post for Hamilton Beach or Amazon.)


The neat thing about it is that it has "legs" that flip down when you pull the trigger in the handle, so rather than stand on end, like above, it sits like this, making it much more stable:


I've always been afraid that someday I'd wiggle the ironing board too much or bump the iron, knocking it off and wrecking something. I've had some close calls. This iron solves that problem. It really sits very solidly in place with those legs down. I like that a lot!

It takes some getting used to, though. After 40+ years of ironing, standing an iron on end is a deeply ingrained habit! (This iron does stand on end also, but that defeats the purpose of the design.) So I'm still working on breaking that habit. And I need to remember to pull the trigger while the iron is a little higher in the air, so the legs don't thunk down onto the ironing board. (More practice, Grandma.) They make kind of a loud thunk going down as it is. One more thing I have to watch out for is that the legs can catch on the edge of what I'm ironing if I don't watch out. I don't like that, but it can be avoided.

So far it's proving to be a great iron. It puts out a lot of steam and really gets the wrinkles out, and you can push a button for extra steam or one for a little jet of water if you need it. It also has an automatic shut-off for if you forget to do it yourself, but you can also set it to NOT shut off automatically if you prefer, which is nice if you're back and forth between the sewing machine and ironing board a lot and don't want to have to wait for it to heat up every time.

It kind of looks like a monster alongside my old iron, though!


I didn't know irons nowadays were so much bigger! It's nearly 12 inches tall, and the old one is only 9½ inches. How tall is YOUR iron?

I think I'll keep using the new one and put the old one on standby just for backup. I know it'll be there for me if the new one fails.

I practiced with the new iron on my last sewing project... the garment I made for Jess. If the post office cooperates, she'll receive it today, so when she gets somebody to take pics of her in it, I can show it to you. Hopefully that'll be my next post, so come back to see! Meanwhile, my next project is partially cut out... the hardest part of the cutting is done. I can't wait to get sewing on it, because I think it's going to be really cool!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Tiny newcomer(s)

Tuesday morning just before Courtney arrived, I happened to find a kitten I hadn't seen before. I didn't want it to get away before she saw it, so I put it in a box in the garage until she got here. I knew it had to be one of Scoot's babies, because not only did it look just like her, it also had long hair. I had marked on the calendar when they were born, and it was exactly 5 weeks old... but the TINIEST 5-week-old kitten I've ever seen!

Courtney was delighted, of course, and it didn't take her long to "tame" the kitten and have lots of fun with it. Enjoy the videos!

video

Yep, it ran around and acted like a 5-week-old... but oh, such a wee thing! That was its mama, Scoot, that arrived at the end of the video.

During the playtime with that little one, a couple of Patches' kittens also arrived. They were a bit wary, but I was able to get ahold of them and put some antibiotic in their eyes. It's hard to treat them very well, though, when they keep disappearing, and at last sighting, the eyes were still kind of sore.

video

Here are some still shots. This little tiny guy is now named "Tiny". Of course.


Isn't he just the cutest LITTLE thing?





Here are the sore-eyed ones.



As we were heading back to the machine shed, another tiny kitten showed up, following Scoot, rather unsure if she wanted to keep coming or not.

video

Later in the day, when Courtney and I went out to check on the babies, lo and behold, there was one more! It was a perfect twin to Tiny!  She and the black one were pretty hissy and spitty. I held them, but Courtney did not.

Of course, they all disappeared Tuesday night. It's nice, though, how kittens seem to show up on Tuesdays so Courtney gets to see them before they're gone again! I wonder what next Tuesday will bring, although I think we've seen all the babies now. I THINK.

On another note, I am happy to report that I finished my latest sewing project!! The booboo is repaired and all is well. But I can't show it to you until it's received by its recipient, Jess. She needs to model it for you, and I hope it fits! Yes, it's a garment... there's your clue. Now I need to hurry up and get busy on my next project!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

One more

I have a lot more to post about (including some newly-found kittens), but so much to do and so little time, so I'll just show you the pic I took this morning of the new red gerbera daisy bloom that's just opened up.  So gorgeous! It's actually a deeper red than this, though. I'll have to try for a better photo later (and not do it in such a hurry).


Thanks again, N&S&C for the teacup! If it weren't for that, I wouldn't have these lovely flowers to enjoy!

(And if it weren't for a major booboo when sewing, I'd have a little more time, too. *sigh*)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Currently blooming

Besides the gerbera daisies, here is what I'm enjoying around here these days (click on each picture to enlarge):

Petunias (loving the yellow/purple ones!):

Clustered bellflowers: 

Bachelor Buttons: 
 
Nonstop Begonias:
 
Phlox:

Dianthus: 

Gazanias (my favorites right now): 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Clouds

This post contains NO cats! :)

We called an intermission from our movie (War Horse) last night so I could dish up some ice cream to follow our pizza. When I got upstairs, I glanced out the kitchen window and saw the most unusual cloud formations. There was no storminess or anything. As you can see, there was clear sky and sunshine behind them. 

Click the photos to enlarge for a better view.






Pretty cool, huh?

In case you're wondering how I liked the movie, I'd say it was 'okay'. Grandpa probably liked it better than I did. I never have liked war movies... but the horse part was good. In fact, the horse was an INCREDIBLE actor!

Unless something unexpected comes up, tomorrow's post won't contain any cats, either. ;)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Tired of cats 'n kittens yet?

This seems to be becoming a cat blog. I guess that's what happens when you have a lot of cats around... and they keep having babies... and you keep finding them... and they're so cute you just want to show them off.

Yep, I found two more last week, and they were a total surprise! I had to bring them in the house to show to Grandpa, and he happened to be on the phone with Jess, so they got off the phone and onto Skype so she could see them, too. Here they are:


Yes, that's my living room carpet. I had to take pics of them in case they disappeared like all the others have done.


Josie did not approve.

"WHY did you have to bring them into MY house?!"

I put them back where I found them, which was in an old freezer out in the machine shed. Here's a pic I took the next morning in their "natural habitat". The little black one looks like she's having pleasant dreams, doesn't she?


And now they're gone. Just like all the rest. Those mamas sure like to keep their kids hidden! I did find a little black one, which might've been the one above, spitting at me from the lawn mower a couple nights ago. To make a long story short, I'm not sure who it belongs to, but it's since been taken away, too.

Mama kitty brought 4 of her 5 over from the neighbor's (where they've been residing for a while) for a visit. Luckily, it was on Tuesday, so Courtney got to see them and hold a couple of them. They remembered us and weren't very afraid at all. But Mama took them away again that night. Good grief.

I'm busy sewing (and weeding and all those other summer things), in case you missed me yesterday. Don't be surprised if I'm missing more in the future.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Mighty hunters

I happened to glance out the window this afternoon and saw this scene. Looks like they have her just about in their clutches, doesn't it?


I thought it was pretty funny. What a tasty-looking bird! Get 'er, Hairry!!


Rainbow was content to let Hairry have the prize.


The hen just walked away, totally unshaken by the hungry, fierce cats.


Maybe she felt pretty safe because of this guy:


Here's another hen that was wandering around:


There was also one more that disappeared behind some leaves. We don't see many turkeys around here anymore. A few years ago we had a flock of 20+ coming around. Thank goodness we don't anymore! They're messy and they're noisy. But they're also kind of interesting. Check out some of my previous years' posts here.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Finally!

Blogger finally fixed the video upload, so I can post those videos I've been trying to upload for 4 days!

If you turn up your volume, you'll be able to hear Patches "talking" to her kids. You'll also be able to hear me breathing... just ignore that or pretend you can't hear it. ;)

video

Pinky arrived on the scene, also "talking" to the kids because she thinks she's their mother, too. She's still a little wary of me, as you can see when she noticed me there.

video

I'm trying to get some sewing done, albeit not too successfully, what with weeding, mowing, etc., etc. But I need to keep at it, and something has to give, so if you don't see me around here much, you'll know why.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Elusive kittens

A couple days ago I happened to look out my kitchen window and saw something white hop into our lilac bushes. When I realized it was a kitten, I grabbed the camera and headed out. Our electrical power supply "box" (whatever you call that thing) was just on the other side of the bushes, so I had a good place to lean while waiting for the timid little babies to appear. Since their mama has had them out and about for so long, they've gotten pretty wild, so they weren't about to come out to me. But I stayed there, very still, for about 20 minutes or so, and I managed to get some pics and videos.



Their mama, Patches, showed up, which helped a lot. She even called them over for me.


There were only 3 of the 5 there, but I've since seen the other 2, so I know they're alive and well. They're wild, too, and I have teeth marks on my finger to prove it!


Photo quality is not so great. The camera and I were in the sun, and the cats were in the shade.

This little girl below was so tired. The other 2 were having a lot of fun climbing in the bushes, but she just wanted to nap on her mama. Look at her ears... one is gray and the other is orange. So cute!


I have a couple videos I was going to show you, but I've tried to upload the first one four times already, and every time it fails. I give up... I have other things to do! Maybe I can add them later.