Friday, September 30, 2011

For the Birds!

I made a bit of stitching progress on "Sunflower Sampler".  The sunflowers use WDW "Schneckley" - it creates at nice mottled effect.

On Tuesday I took a long stroll about the property after our morning showers had ended.  As I was headed back home, some movement in the brush caught my eye. 

I stopped and was thrilled to see a flock of Cedar Waxwings.

A group of about 20 was flitting about munching on berries of the Cascara (Rhamnus purshiana). 

In fall, these birds gather in large groups to eat berries and fill the air with their high, thin, whistles.  My group, however, made not a single sound. 

They were voracious!

In this photo there are four birds - click on it to enlarge.

I love their frowning faces...

...and they have a lovely bright yellow band on the tip of their tail.

Cedar Waxwings are pale brown on the head and chest, fading to a soft gray on the wings. Their belly is pale yellow, and the tail is gray with a bright yellow tip. Their face has a narrow black mask neatly outlined in white. The red waxy tips to the wing feathers are not always easy to see. Cedar Waxwings reside in woodlands of all kinds, and at farms, orchards, and suburban gardens where there are fruiting trees or shrubs.  Cedar Waxwings are social birds that you’re likely to see in flocks year-round. They sit in fruiting trees swallowing berries whole, or pluck them in mid-air with a brief fluttering hover. They also course over water for insects, flying like tubby, slightly clumsy swallows.  I was so pleased to see this small group!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Berries and Critters

I'll bet you thought you were going to see "Sunflower Sampler" today.  But no, I decided to work on "Sweet Berries" some more and I'm glad I did.  As I've been stitching along, I thought this was a rather pedestrian pattern...but now...the basket!  Love the basket - I think it is what is really going to make this design pop.    

With the coming of autumn, spiders have appeared in force.  While I was sitting on the front porch, the morning sunlight glinted off this wonderful web dew covered web. 

So I walked over to investigate.

Do you see the thicker "darning stitches" just below the spider.
This is a Banded Garden Spider (Argiope trifasciata).  The spider builds its web between plants in garden beds (or fields). It sits in the center, head down, waiting for prey to ensnare itself in the web.

I know lots of people have a "thing" about spiders...

I don't - in part because of my maternal Grandfather. He'd find a nice spider web.  Then he'd toss a fly in it to show my brother and me how the spider would coming running, paralyze its victim, and spin a cocoon around it.  Nature at work.  I also read and re-read (and loved) 'Charlotte's Web'. You have to have a soft spot for spiders after reading that book!  This spider looks as though she could stitch "Some Pig" in her web if she chose.

Take a look at this nifty snakeskin.  It is so very light and so perfect.  I think its former owner was about 12" long.

On Tuesday, after the morning rain, several small ground webs were mist covered... 

I thought they were so pretty.

The rain illuminated the spiders' hard work!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Stitching and Walking

Once again I had to present my stitching for approval to The Fat & Furry Feline Committee.  After knocking a few charts to the floor, Solomon deigned to Green Light this design.  I think it was the small birds that did it!
Okay, here it is - the Next Stitch!
I'm bidding goodbye to Summer with Heart in Hand's "A Sunflower Sampler".  It also feeds my desire to stitch something with a crow/blackbird on it.

I woke up Tuesday morning to the sound of rain.  It was a fine misty type rain, nonetheless we ended up with 0.25" in the gauge when it ended mid-morning.  And oh, did the air smell sweet and clean!  That was all the motivation I needed to Take A Walk!

The skies were still dark and gray, but the temperature was mild.
Today's walk turned out to be about fruit, and cones, and nuts, and berries.

The young Douglas Fir had beads of moisture from the recent rain.

I like the icicle effect of the sap on the side of the cone...

The leaves of the Filberts have started to turn... have the leaves of the Dogwood.  If you look closely you can see the small green round fruit of the Dogwood on the right side of the photo.  

The Bracken Ferns have turned a mushroom brown.

The apples on our 'wilding' were especially lovely with droplets of rain. 

Acorn production continues apace!

As does gall production.

While I was standing beneath this Oak...

...these bits of acorn fell to the ground one after the other.  I suspect the work of a Steller's Jay.

More of the brilliant white Snowberries - as they are supposed to be poisonous, no one was munching on them.

The leaves of the Vine Maple are now a mix of Green and Yellow (University of Oregon Football colors!) 

I found a pretty cluster of rosehips...

...and I was pleased to find several sprays of these berries from False Solomon's Seal.

Though these berries though are a mystery...

...I can identify Blackberries!

I hope you've enjoyed today's walk and are able to get outside wherever you live.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Back and Forth

"Quaker Bee Sampler"
Border 98% done - outline of bee skep done!

My Cross Stitch Supervisor and Quality Control Expert was hard at work yesterday.  Parvati appropriated all my Crescent Color flosses.  A hint?  I think she's tired of a "Sweet Berries" post followed by a "Quaker Bee Sampler" post...followed by...You get the picture.  I'm tired too, and determined today to kit up something "fallish" and "smallish" to work on.  So stay tuned.    

It's Tuesday - let's have us a Garden Party!

I'm borrowing my sister's garden for today's tour.
I love, love, love her two rows of Persian Carpet Zinnias.

Here she is choosing 'perfect' blooms for the Roseburg Dahlia Show last weekend. 

I made a 'contact sheet' of some of the many lovely varieties she grows.

And I made a dahlia collage too.  It's a great way to have a virtual tour of the 199 plants she grew this year.  After first frost she'll have to dig up all 199 tubers to over-winter them.  Yikes!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday Reflections

"Sweet Berries" is coming right along.  All the words are now stitched.  The downside is I'm running out of the major thread colors.  That is sometimes the downside of a kit - insufficient floss.  I am extremely conservative with my floss use too, so if there isn't enough for me, then the kit is not supplied correctly.  Fortunately I had "Spinach" in my stash, but a couple of the other colors - not.  Ah, but stitching is always an adventure! 

We did get a few hard showers on Sunday.  

It did not appear to bother the Goldfinches...

...or the Hairy Woodpecker...

...or the Scrub Jay...

...or the Quail.
I guess it didn't bother me either.  It was kinda' nice to be inside and cocoon!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Saturday Musings

Saturday morning was cool and misty with whisps of fog.

The goldfinches did not mind the cooler weather. 

Nor did I. 
I managed to fill up my garden cart with a load of weeds from the front flowerbed before 8:00am!  My 5th load of this week.
As usual, Parvati and Tom-Cat were outside as well.
I am just thankful they were focused to the left...

...because when I looked to the right there were two bunnies at the edge of the grass...

Oh, and I should mention the two bunnies in the backyard Saturday evening...

Cuz we were watching those guys...

Though I'm the only one who spied the chipmunk in my flowerpot.
Fortunately The Predators did not prey upon anyone... 

And we were all able to enjoy the evening Autumn light.