Monday, February 4, 2013

Smoky the Cat, Post-Surgery

Six days after his ear surgery, Smoky has accepted wearing the protective collar. I actually took it off him today so he could go outside, but he didn't complain too much when I put it back on. And he is LOVING being inside and eating the inside cat food!

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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Ming the Kitten

 After 5 years of searching for another part-Siamese kitten to be a pal for Mochi, I happened across this one. I was actually helping a friend find a kitten for her daughter, but they had a half-price special. He is a little goofy, and definitely a guy. Notice the lying on the wood bag picture. He is usually covered with sawdust.
 By now, all the other animals have adjusted and he's one of the crowd in front of the woodstove!

Ming makes 3 full time indoor cats. The other five are divided between barn and garage, though at the moment Smoky is recovering from an ear operation and so is back inside. I am going to have trouble moving him back out, I know.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

One More Garden Picture

Almost the end of the season. That was the last picking of green beans (I was only able to grow a small patch protected from the deer). The bell peppers are going red, and the hot peppers are slowing down. The faithful okra is still producing and I pick every 2-3 days. On the right you will see my container watermelons. They are small but still taste fine. I was actually quite surprised they ripened! The flowers are "burr marigolds"; I keep trying to encourage them to grow around the property. These were picked along the roadside. All the children are used to me stopping the truck and leaping out to pick wildflowers!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fall IS Here!

When Esther dons a hoodie to go out in the morning to milk goats, fall is here. The mornings have been cool and misty, and the days beautiful. The air conditioning is OFF, and now I am eyeing the woodpile. I know we'll need more wood, but first I want all those too-long pieces from last year cut and stacked.
Meanwhile, the turkeys are acclimating to the big fenced backyard, but mostly they want to sit on the back deck. I have to keep shooing them off the roof (if they go to roost THERE, the owls will find them at night).  Sometimes they fly over a fence and have to be individually picked up and tossed back into the yard.  If I catch them balanced on a fence prepatory to flying over, I can run out and call them ("Wheep! Wheep!") and they will teeter back and forth a bit, then jump down and amble over to me.  I think turkeys are just hilarious! 
A porch full of turkeys

The turkeys were quite entertained by the small tree. I think it's time to clean out the gutters...

Esther's face when I mentioned the turkeys on the roof above her...

Thursday, September 6, 2012

September 2012

I noticed that the insects had switched to their slower autumn chirp about 3 days ago, and now it's dark before eight.
The garden seemed ahead of schedule all summer...once we got past the early heat, it was a good year.
Now the tomatos and beans are almost gone and only the peppers and okra are bearing abundantly. The summer squash and the cucumbers lost to the asiatic brown stinkbug; even the winter squash only produced a handful of fruit. However, it was a wonderful year for peppers and zinnias!

Okra is drought resistant, nutritious (it contains calcium!), bears reliably until frost, tastes great fried,
and comes with beautiful blossoms.

The butterflies were abundant this year. I'd find 4 or 5 at a time on the flowers. The zinnias and hot peppers ended up  mixed together in a scenic jumble of blossoms and fruit...another of my "plan as you go" garden features! 

It was time to let Mr. Turtle go. I'd found him when he was only as big as a quarter and he happily  spent the summer in an aquarium, devouring not only turtle food but our enormous bottom feeder (that wasn't planned). Behind him you see the one acre pond on our property.

Mr. Turtle happily swims away! I hope he lives a long life in the pond. He'll have plenty of company.

Esther took this shot against the setting sun's light.

Mochi the cat was a bit nonplussed when I let the turkeys out to roam in our newly fenced back yard.

Narragansett Turkeys (a historic breed). These aren't for eating, I just like having turkeys around.

The male in "full ruffle" mode!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

August 2012

Summer started with an early beach vacation, which I think we planned all of three weeks ahead. (Glad we took a vacation early.) When we came back, everyone spent a couple weeks sick, then we leaped into the county fair (probably Della's last since she's going off to college). Once the fair was done, it was time for me to go to Annapolis for a week and babysit Beren, then the next week Hannah came here. When they left, I had to get serious about the garden and chickens, and now here we are in August. Next week Della will be gone and Esther will be preparing to start her final year of high school. We are going to try to see a couple friends before the school year closes in on us, and I will have to work out a new schedule for housework and cooking. Sebrun has been with us since spring, but he's not always here for dinner, so I will be cooking for as few as THREE people. Strange!

The Next Step: Della's pile of bare-bones necessities for college. We take her off to American University tomorrow!

 The extra roosters are in the freezer, and the giblets and necks are now canned for winter soup stock.
The tomatos are almost finished. Though not a highly productive season, due to  early  heat,  I did can salsa and stewed tomatos. I'm back to canning in pints now that our family has shrunk.

The zinnias (which I started from seed I'd saved) liked the weather this summer and I have several patches in the garden. Here are
some flower heads that will be next years seed stock.

And last but not least, a picture of the venerable canner that I bought as a college student. It was 1975 and I lived in a trailer surrounded by blackberry bushes and the idea of Free Food was thrilling! So I spent $35.00 (a lot in those days), little knowing it would can food for a family of nine. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Good "Jewelry Making Daily" article by Tammy Jones

I may slightly prejudiced because we do have Louisiana roots, but I thought Tammy has hit on a key element in jewelry making. (Hope I'm not violating some kind of copyright, since I am crediting this article.)
Jewelry Making Daily

Lagniappe for Jewelry Design: The Value of a Little Something Extra
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The turquoise-colored cord provides a little lagniappe in Erin Siegel's Indigo Forest necklace.

This month I've officially been a southwest Louisiana resident for one year. What a year! The music, the food, the people, the environment--sometimes it feels like being in a different country, and I just love it. I've slowly picked up the vital terminology, such as "cher" for a term of endearment for a loved one, "sha" when you see something incredibly sweet or precious, the French "oh, mais non!" when something simply won't do, and "lagniappe" for a little something extra.

The idea of lagniappe (pronounced LAN-yap) has been around for centuries. Mark Twain writes (hilariously, of course) about learning the "limber, expressive, handy word" lagniappe in his 1883 book Life on the Mississippi: "We picked up one excellent word-a word worth travelling to New Orleans to get. . . . We discovered it [in] a column [in] the Picayune the first day; heard twenty people use it the second; inquired what it meant the third; adopted it and got facility in swinging it the fourth."

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That little blue bead hanging from the clasp of Lorelei Eurto's Oxford Circus cuff provides the lagniappe.

Twain writes that when a child (or an adult, even) buys something in a shop, the typical response is "give me something for lagniappe," to which the shopkeeper tosses in a little something extra--an extra piece of candy, or bread, or whatnot, "gratis, for good measure."

Lagniappe isn't just an extra thing, though; it can be added compliment, affection, or feeling. Twain continues, "When you are invited to drink, and this does occur now and then in New Orleans-and you say, 'What, again?--no, I've had enough;' the other party says, 'But just this one time more--this is for lagniappe.' When the beau perceives that he is stacking his compliments a trifle too high, and sees by the young lady's countenance that the edifice would have been better with the top compliment left off, he puts his 'I beg pardon--no harm intended,' into the briefer form of 'Oh, that's for lagniappe.'"

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Tracy Statler's Sari Summer design would have been great with just round wire chain and beads--but the colorful ribbon running through it provides the lagniappe.

I've become so enamored by the sweet idea of lagniappe--especially during a time when everyone is cutting back instead of giving--that I try to carry it with me everywhere I go and expand the idea to every part of life. It even applies to jewelry design.

I might have lost you just then--but hang with me. Within a single jewelry design, sometimes it's that little something extra--the small contrasting punch of color, a bit of sparkle, some soft fibers or ribbons--that brings a piece full circle and completes the design. It's hard to describe it, but you've all felt that little click when your jewelry design just comes together. You know it when you see it.

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Lorelei Eurto's Batik Boutique necklace would've been cute and stylish even without the button, but that extra touch makes it sing!

When designing a piece of jewelry, sometimes it takes some experimenting to discover just what the lagniappe will be, but no piece is complete without it. It could be ribbon that softens a wire or beaded jewelry design, a shape that adds balance to the whole piece, or a pop of color that draws your eye into the details of the design. Even the simplest jewelry designs have it, and sometimes there's more than one.

For me, the little extra touch that brings my jewelry designs together recently is color, and that is most often achieved by the addition of ribbon or other fibers. When I participated in the Bead Soup Blog Party last fall, my necklace had three lagniappe jewelry design elements in it: the addition of a short piece of ribbon knotted onto it, a surprising punch of red among all the green, gold, and blue hues; and the idea of four focal pieces that allowed the wearer to choose from "four fronts."

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The lagniappe red bead draws your eyes to the light-colored focal bead in Erin Siegel's Simply Peaceful necklace.

Sometimes the lagniappe is the final element that you test in your design when you finally know it's right, or it could be the element that a friend points out specifically when commenting on one of your jewelry designs--something like, "Oh cher, I like that necklace! I love the bit of blue ribbon," or "Sha! Look at that cute little bird on your bracelet!" That's how you know your jewelry design is finished, with lagniappe!

If you want great ideas on ways to add some lagniappe to your jewelry designs, check out Lorelei Eurto and Erin Siegel's new book, Bohemian-Inspired Jewelry: 50 Designs Using Leather, Ribbon, and Cords. The colorful, nature-inspired jewelry designs in this exciting new book show that Lorelei and Erin understand the idea of lagniappe or a little something extra in jewelry design.

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Lorelei and Erin include ribbon and fiber and specialty findings guides to help you understand dozens of kinds of fibers available for use in jewelry designs, how to use and care for them, and the findings these design elements require.
In their introduction, the authors share, "A few years ago, we both started adding leather, ribbons, and cords to our jewelry designs to set them apart in the crowded sea of bead and wire jewelry. Today, the contrast of soft fibers against beads and metal continues to captivate us." That's lagniappe! That's the little something extra that will set your jewelry designs apart. Pre-order your copy of Bohemian-Inspired Jewelry . . . because who doesn't love that little something extra? 
Tammy Jones
Tammy Jones
is the editor of
Jewelry Making Daily.

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