Thursday, October 29, 2015

Blackbirds by the bazillions!

I was on the phone with Jess this morning when I happened to look out the window, and there were blackbirds everywhere! They were flying around and in the trees - thousands of them. Then all at once it was like I was in the middle of a blackbird cloud! They were just thick flying past the house on both sides. The photographer in me made me get off the phone and grab the iPad, hoping for a video of the "cloud", but they were gone too fast. So I grabbed the DSLR, snapped on the zoom lens, put on a winter coat and headed out the door.

These first two shots were taken from by the house, out across our bean field to the southwest. I wanted to make sure I got some kind of shot before they got away.

The birds kept heading west, so I ran out past the cattle shed to try and get some closer shots. They were very thick in the trees back there, too.

They were up and down - in the air and on the ground, and back up in the air again, and boy were they noisy!

As I was culling my 100 photos(!) later, I noticed there were a few red-winged blackbirds in the flock, too. I cropped this next photo so hopefully you can see some. I also uploaded everything in quite a large size, so click on any pic to see it bigger.

I cropped this next photo to show how some of the birds looked like round dots as they happened to have their wings tucked in at the split second I snapped the shutter. Then, after cropping, I noticed that there's another bird in there. Click on the pic to enlarge it... you'll see it just slightly above and to the right of center. What is it - a duck?

Update: Grandpa says it's not a duck but more likely some kind of a hawk who is out to choose one of those blackbirds for his lunch!

The air was just crazy-thick with the birds! (Anyone think Alfred Hitchcock?) I've never seen so many at one time!

Gradually they kept getting farther and farther away. I thought this next shot of them against the wind towers was kinda cool.

So that was my adventure for the day. I went back in and called Jess back and we finished our conversation!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Close quarters

When I stepped into the machine shed this morning to feed the cats, I had to laugh in amazement! Our guys finished combining corn last night (yay!), and since it was late, the grain elevator in town was already closed, so the trucks were still loaded with corn to haul in the morning. There was a chance of rain, and everything had needed to be parked inside to keep the corn dry. Our son, Courtney's daddy, is known for his backing-into-tight-spots abilities, and when I saw the trucks in the shed, I just knew it had to be his doing. Look at this! Photos barely do it justice, because it looks like there's more room in there than there really is.

There's like 6 inches at the most between the mirror on the right truck and the truck on the left!

He had a few spare inches on the right (below), but there was stuff on the floor.

I was just so in awe that I had to go back to the house for the camera. It was so dark in there (partly because it was also dark and cloudy outside) that I didn't know if I could get good pics or not, but thanks to the DSLR, I managed to do it without a flash. (Kinda like trying to take pics of the moon at night.) It's really much darker in there than it appears in these photos.

Good job, my son! Proud of you I am!! ;)

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Carrot harvest

I harvested my carrots a few days ago... all four of them. Okay, so I ate the fifth one weeks ago. I don't know what happened to the rest. Anyway, here are my carrots, next to a gallon bucket.

Yeah, they were BIG! See how those three fit in the bucket?

This strange creature had 13 legs! And numerous tops. I don't know why. The others had several tops, too.

I couldn't even fit that crazy monster in my 5-gallon storage bucket, so I had to break all the legs off and put them in the fridge. Here's the top minus its legs.

Have you ever grown a carrot like that?!

Monday, October 26, 2015

They made it

The bags I made out of Jess's Typography fabric made it to International Quilt Market in Houston, TX, this past weekend. Here they are in the Cloud9 Fabrics booth, as posted on Instagram yesterday.

They're alongside the quilt made by Cindy Wiens of Live a Colorful Life blog. Isn't it fabulous?!

I guess it's been an interesting weekend for the QM attendees, thanks to hurricane Patricia and the torrential rains she brought. But judging by all the photos on Instagram, it hasn't stopped people from having a mighty fun time. :)

As far as I know, the Typography fabrics are still not available in stores, but surely they will be VERY SOON!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Drawing with Courtney

About a month ago (ahem... yes, I'm a bit behind) when Courtney was here, she decided she wanted to draw something. She searched on YouTube for drawing videos and found one showing how to draw characters from the movie Inside Out. She went right to work.

Of course Annabelle was watching from her favorite spot, Courtney's book bag.

I managed to catch up on some newspaper reading, etc. Ha.

Courtney kept drawing and drawing, and here's the result. She did an excellent job! Her drawing ability has come a long way!

 In the meantime, I guess Annabelle got bored.

Silly kitty!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Just one this time

I happened to glance out the kitchen window early yesterday afternoon and saw another fawn. This one was in the shadows between the evergreens and lilac bushes. As I was looking at it, I also noticed a couple of turkeys right next to it. They wandered off, and then I saw a cat there, too! They must've been having some kind of conference.

I grabbed the camera and decided to see if I could get a shot or two. Lo and behold, this one wasn't afraid of me, either! I got about 10 feet from it before it decided to trot off a ways. 

It was alone, so I don't know if it was one from the group I photographed before or not. It might have been, because early that evening, just as Courtney and her mom were leaving, there were two out by the garden. We encouraged Courtney to walk out and see how close she could get to them. She did get pretty close, but then she just couldn't resist doing a little jump to see if they'd run, and of course they took off. I had wanted her to try and pet them, but she might have been just a bit afraid to get too close. Sure wish I'd had the camera out there at the time, but it was getting a little dark for photos, anyway.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Arm Candy #2

I was very pleased to be asked last week if I'd sew a bag for Cloud9 Fabrics, the company that Jess has designed her last fabric collections for. Only this time it would be made from fabrics other than Jess's! I guess they liked the Arm Candy bag I made last year for Quilt Market and thought another of their new fabrics would look good made into one also.

Of course I said I'd do it, so they shipped the fabrics right away and I received them last Friday. There was no time for dawdling with this one, since they needed it back at their headquarters in New Jersey before heading for Quilt Market in Houston on the 22nd! Fortunately, the Arm Candy bag is small, and the pattern only has 3 pieces (besides the strap and zipper tab), so it was quick to cut out compared to a lot of other bags I've made and fairly easy to sew, especially since I'd made one before.

I finished it in plenty of time, and I shipped it to them yesterday. Here's the bag.

The fabrics are from Elizabeth Olwen's coming Park Life collection of quilting cottons, which should be available in December. So pretty!

Those of you who follow me on Instagram (grandma_g415) saw it first there this morning in this fancy little collage I'd made with an iPad app. Somehow I even managed to 'almost' match the background color to the bag. I quit while I was ahead, because I was afraid I'd mess it up. Ha.

So that's the deadline project I mentioned in my last post. I'm proud of myself that I got it done in plenty of time with no panic involved. :)

Monday, October 12, 2015

Kitten update - Mia's

I realized I haven't done a kitten update in a long time! How bad is that?!?! So let's do it. Now! Remember those 3 little ones born to Mia in August? They're doing very well! Mia is an excellent mother, despite still being a few days away from being a year old herself.

Here they are, and they even have names - how about that? (We won't mention that Patches' 4 still aren't named, even though they're 5 months old already. And they're still wild, but healthy and beautiful. Just hard to get photos of.) Starting with the black one and going clockwise, it's Oreo, Buffy (the only female) and Tuffy.

They're doing wonderfully, and they bounce around all over the place outside now. Rainbow's also-5-month-old kittens play with them nicely, too. It's so fun to watch them. I could set up a live theater and charge admission, they're that fun!

These littles are also great lap-sitters. A couple evenings ago they all fell asleep in my lap, and fortunately I had the iPad along so just kept snapping away. Here are the latest pics, but be forewarned... they may make you sleepy!

Next up at the sewing machine is a deadline project, so I must get at it. It's from yet-to-be-released fabrics, and believe it or not, they're not Jess's! I'll be able to show it to you, but I don't know when. Anyway, it MUST get done this week, because it's headed to Quilt Market in Houston later this month!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Lovely garden pests

Sunday evening when that combining was going on, Courtney's daddy had driven by with a truckload of soybeans and noticed deer out by the garden. Knowing how I love a good photo shoot, he texted me about them. I switched to the zoom lens on my DSLR, grabbed a jacket and headed out. Here's what he'd seen. 

They were three fawns. Triplets? Maybe. There was no doe around. Now I know who's been visiting my garden a lot lately, leaving tracks as they knocked tomatoes on the ground and munched carrot tops and a few flowers. Such beautiful pests they are! And this time of year, it doesn't matter much what they do to the garden crops, as they're about done, anyway.

I sneaked up very slowly, inching my way toward them, but they weren't very afraid. They were only slightly wary, and I was able to get within 30 feet of them! They even came toward me, quite curious about me. I kept snapping away, ending up with over 150 photos! LOL I culled them down some, but still have so many because they were just too good to delete. Don't worry, you won't have to look at all of them. Here are just some of my favorites. Enjoy!

If you're wondering what they were looking at so intently above, here it is:

Rainbow was getting tired of me ignoring her while she so (im)patiently waited for her supper. She had been wrapping herself around my ankles, then gave that up and lay in the grass with her back toward me, meaning she wasn't very happy with me. Then she gave up and wandered off to where she sat above.

The fawns stayed. I left with the DSLR and came back with the iPad and even got a few videos (but you'll have to check for them on Instagram... I don't think I'll upload them here, unless someone requests it). I finally left to get that combine video, and they were still there! Their mama probably wouldn't be very proud of them. I think they need a few more lessons in the ways of wild animals, but meanwhile, I sure enjoyed the photo shoot they gave me.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Soybean harvest 2015 complete

Here's a video I took last evening as there were just a few rounds left to combine in the last soybean field. Sorry, but you'll have to view it on a computer in order to see it, I believe. It's a pretty impressive combine, though. :)

(All that dust. Is it any wonder my allergies kick in big time this time of year.)

Now it's time to start combining the corn......

Friday, October 2, 2015

A new sighting

I glanced out the kitchen window late yesterday afternoon, and I saw this. (Yeah, I know the evergreen tree is dying, but look under it.)

It sure looked like a fox to me!

So I grabbed the DSLR and headed for the bathroom window where I could quickly and easily remove the screen. I took a bunch of shots, and then I opened the window carefully for even better shots. Yep, definitely a fox!

A very tired fox. I shouted at it to see if I could get a photo of it in motion.

It barely moved... only lifted its head. It seemed to have a swollen face.

I think it may have had a very bad toothache.

Finally I cranked the window shut, which made some noise, and it got up and slowly trotted away.

It definitely looked ill. It may have been starving to death from not being able to eat because of its soreness.

Poor thing.