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Month: March 2019

Spring in California

Spring in California

View of backyard as seen from my studio

This week Monday was the first day this year I haven’t felt cold. As in, wearing my boots cold. We usually have a week of spring-like weather in mid-February, but not this year. Even days with some sun have been rare.

The pink plant in the upper center of the photo above is a Fringe bush, which has been blooming since late in January.

The nectarine, peach, and plum trees are finishing their bloom and showing green tips on their branches. Likewise, the blackberry bushes are waking up.

My garden has been getting ready to put on its annual show, and over last weekend could wait no longer.

Tiny blue wildflowers

Given the tremendous amount of rain we have had, the wild flowers can’t grow fast enough. Tiny blue flowers are dotting the parts of the yard without grass. The little red flowers are starting to appear and will be like a carpet in a week or so.

Red wildflowers in the strawberry patch

In the back of the yard behind the garage where I store yard equipment, I already have a carpet of green plants that have a circular disk on top of the stem with tiny white flowers in the center of the circle. I don’t know their name, but at the first hot day they will burn up and collapse.

Wildflowers behind my garage

I’ve been outside every day in the last two weeks unless it has been showering or extremely windy. Field Madder is an invasive weed that was covering the strawberry bed, and I wanted to dig it out before it could bloom. It has a root that is about one and a half inches long and it just lays itself over the ground like a rug. The strawberry bed took five days to clean up.

I’ve cut back ivy on the fence behind the fruit trees before they leaf out. This is especially difficult where the huge fig tree comes over the fence. While cutting back the Pyracantha on the west side of the house, I found peeling paint on the house which needed to be repaired.

Close up of red-orange flowers in planter

In the planter next to the fountain are flowers that look orange in the photo at the top of this blog, but in the close-up the camera made them red. I bought one plant of this, years ago, and it grew and put down more roots, filling the planter.

These yellow flowers are a variety of what we used to call Freeway Daisy.

Freeway Daisy in the bed beyond the planter

So, for the time being, making art is on hold except for the group I attend every other Thursday. I’m so thankful to be where I am, with this wonderful display of color.

I hope you have a beautiful spring whenever it arrives.


Time Management

Time Management

This is a topic we would all rather not think about. When we have a young family and a job, managing to get everything done can be a huge headache, and we long for the time when we will have time to do the things we love and enjoy. Once we reach that place, it can be a wonderful time if we are healthy and have enough income to meet our needs.

But there comes a time when many things take longer to do than they once did, and require more creativity in how to do them safely. We try to simplify our chores or find someone else to do them. We get engrossed in a project and can’t believe the day is over so soon. Managing our time becomes important once again.

Work table with spools of gimp

At the moment I have three projects on my three work tables. Last week, I worked with the palm bark I have been picking up in my yard all winter, stitching pieces together to make a shape, or combining the bark with circles of hand made paper. I’m using gimp thread to sew them together. This is a shiny round cord, probably rayon with some kind of center string. I remember my mother crocheting handbags out of this stuff. This isn’t her leftovers, I found it in south Stockton some years ago, in tan, blue, green, black, brown, and yellow.

Two pieces palm bark sewn together

After I make a few more, I will add feathers and beads to the cords. My other two projects are barely started.

Palm bark with hand made yellow paper

Even though we are still having winter storms, spring is proceeding in my yard. The apricot tree has finished blooming. The plum is in full bloom and the peach and nectarines are starting to come out. Weeds are popping up everywhere. The trick is to do the weeding and cleanup whenever we have a dry day, which makes every day’s plans tentative. I managed to get the iris bed cleaned up last week. This week is focused on the strawberry bed, because one of the weeds that invaded last year is just days away from starting to bloom.

As I wrote at the end of January, I have begun working on my shell collection. The shells are arranged in drawers by family, but many of them have not been identified as to their species. I print out my electronic record for a family, and check off each shell number. I also have shells in the drawer, that are not on the list. I have to figure out where the shell’s data is and move it on the computer to it’s correct place in the list.

Scallop shells to be identified

There are shells that I collected fifty years ago that clearly do not belong to this family. Many of the older shells are not in plastic bags, but scattered about in several drawers if it’s a large family. This has become a fascinating endeavor in my evenings, recalling the beaches where they were found. I get caught up in the process, and needless to say, I’m not getting to bed when I should.

Where all of this is leading is that I must make choices in using my time. I have come to the point where I don’t have new art to write about every week, and if I want to make better work, I need to let things develop on their own schedule. Spring and early summer in the garden always means more to do than time and energy available. I also have two out of state trips between now and the end of June.

I have been writing blogs each week for almost two years, and the time has come to write less often. I don’t have any particular schedule in mind, but when I have something to show I’ll post it. If you already get my posts in your email, they will show up there. If they don’t come to your email, sign up in the form on the lower right side of this page.

Palm bark with hand made pink paper
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