Thursday, July 30, 2015

No Stitching Today, Sharing Some Sad News

Back in February of 2014, I was given the honor of finding a Final Forever Home for Johnson and Charlie after their owner passed away. I spent a few days with them and immediately fell for these two long-haired, short-legged, stout-bodied, sweet-natured senior ladies.
My aunt and her husband came to a visit, and it was love at first sight. 
Johnson and Charlie quickly adapted to their changed circumstances and 'trained' their new people to shower them with love and affection. 

Eighteen months later...  


Monday evening while my aunt was reading with Johnson by her side, Johnson coughed a couple of times, shuddered, and passed away.


Johnson's People, myself included, are still in tears over her sudden passing. 
Folks who are willing to make room for a senior animal (or two) are especially generous and open-hearted, given that the animal's lifespan is already severely limited.  I got to thinking of all the wonderful Furry Critters that have been part of my life, and how special each and every one has been. I'd like to honor Johnson and Furry Critters everywhere with a bit of voluntary fund raising.

I have long been a Follower of The Itty Bitty Kitty Committee and the amazing work that Laurie Cinotto does behalf of the Tacoma Humane Society. While funding raising for this year just finished up, they are still taking donations through secure website FirstGiving on the right side of the page.  To quote the blog: When you make your donation you will see a field to leave a comment. In that field you can designate where you'd like your donation to go: The Senior Cats, Special Needs Cats, Foster Program, Kitty Meals-on-Wheels, Ringworm Room, Barn Cat/Backyard Buddy Program. I'll start things off with a $25 donation to the Senior Cat program.  If you have a local area shelter or program you'd prefer to support, please please do so. If you'd like please share your choice of donation via a comment on my blog.  On behalf of Johnson I thank you for your generosity.  


As often happens when someone special passes away, a special bird comes to visit me.


The morning after Johnson passed away, I heard the loud rapid clicking call of a Belted Kingfisher.


Female Belted Kingfishers are 'prettier' than the males and have the rusty brown color on their chest.

It was wonderful to see and hear this amazing bird if only for a few minutes.

Then on Tuesday morning...

A male Western Tanager came to visit.

Remember that I told you everyone loves blackberries.

That being the case I might get to see this pretty bird more often as we have lots of brambles close to the house.

And I'd be more than fine with that!

Thanks for taking the time to read my sorrowful post.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Warm Wednesday Walk

There's a bit of July left and I still have three stitches I'd like to crank out.
I've started on the Summer Fab Fob - I am enjoying stitching sailboats.

Some of us enjoy the morning sunshine.

Padma spent a good 20 minutes or so rolling around in the dried grass yesterday morning.

Yesterday was our last 'moderate' day for the foreseeable future. We are to reach 99F today, then 102F, 102F, 97F, 95F, and 94F by Monday August 3rd.
That being the case, let's not waste a moment and take our walk as early as possible.

Our prolonged drought is starting to have an impact.  This poor bitter cherry is showing signs of stress - the top 1/3 of the leaves are limp and drooping. 

The thistles are oblivious to the lack of moisture and are going about their business setting seeds.

It looks like we have a pretty good crop of Douglas Fir cones this year.

Squirrels and birds eat the seeds in the cones.

I am pleased to see our largest Madrone green and healthy looking. They tolerate dry summers very well - it is cold winters that they do not like.

Here are the fruits on our native Dogwood.

As July slides toward August, it is Blackberry Time. 

My sister picked a big bowl of blackberries, but there are still lots out there for the deer, squirrels, and birds.

I am excited to see an acorn!  Some years we have lots, and other years I work hard to find even a couple.  I'm hoping (as are the Acorn Woodpeckers) that this is a good year for Oregon White Oak acorns. 

It certainly appears to be a banner year for the parasitic wasp that creates Oak Galls. According to the Oregon Encyclopedia, "Oregon white oak is host to six different gall-forming insect parasites and a mistletoe... Speckled galls are round, thin-walled, hollow ping-pong-ball-sized structures on leaves that make a delightful popping sound when stepped on; and the tannin-laden tissues of the large, dark, oval- or kidney-shaped bullet galls on twigs and branches can be used to make ink." 

As our native Sword Fern grows happily in the dense shade of the forest floor, it gets by with little water in the summer.

Some plants are already thinking about next year. The Hazel brush nuts for this year have been plucked away by squirrels and jays. The plants are now producing the catkins needed to pollinate next year's crop.

We still have ripening Baneberries...

...and ripe Baneberries.

The False Solomon's Seal berries are ripening.

There are still a few pools of still water in the Big Creek.

The Ocean Spray has finished and turned a pretty taupe.

Speaking of pretty!  These are the berries of the Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium).  I don't think I've ever seen any of our plants fruit like this.  You can see how it got its name. 

Well the temperature is rising.  It's time to seek shelter and a cooling drink inside.  I am glad you could join me today.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Love the Land - Garden!

Design - "Land That I Love"
Designer - Lizzie Kate
Fabric - 32 count Summer Khaki linen
Fibers - GAST & WDW & Crescent Colors - 2 strands over 2 threads
Started - 24 July 2015
Completed - 27 July 2015

This is the second design by this name that Lizzie Kate has done.  I stitched the first "Land That I Love" in 2012 and you can see it here. While I really like both of the "Land" designs, I am taken with this maritime patriotic stitch.

And just like that it is Tuesday once again.  Time for a Garden Party and a Blog Hop.  Off we go!

Two of my favorite local nurseries had sales last weekend.

So I had to go visit to see what there was out there that I didn't even know I wanted!

There were lots of great plants.  Annuals...

...and perennials.

It being full summer, every shade of orange imaginable was on display. 

As well as cooler colors like green and violet.

But I found myself attracted to the warmer colors.

So yes, I bought some plants!

Some were replacements like ferns and fuchsias.

But most were 'just because' like the rudbeckias and mimulus.

This rudbeckia is over 5 feet tall and I've got the perfect place for it in the back of the Mudroom Flowerbed!

I got most everything potted up or planted out.

Some orange plants came home with me!

I now have a small display of Orange Items.

An agastache, two mimulus, a geranium, a zauschneria, and a portulaca.

I have several 'warm' colored agastaches.

Even the squash blossoms fit the color scheme.


I added a yellow agastache and bright green sweet potato vine to this large pot.

My sedum theater is doing especially well this summer.  It is under the eaves of our west facing Back Patio.  Heat and sunshine and everything is happy.

I am pleased that my new Salvia 'Amistad' has begun to bloom and so are the hummingbirds.  By Wednesday we are to have temperatures near 100F and the heat wave is to last several days. I'll be watering most evenings making sure the plants are not stressed.