Monday, September 16, 2013

Storm Casualties

What a beautiful, refreshing, amazing, destructive storm!

As we enjoyed the Seahawks vs San Francisco game on Sunday night, the festivities were postponed for an hour due to sheeting rain, thunder, and lightning.

Slightly after the Seattle storm, we had our own storm travel through the Yakima Valley. Oh, what drama!

Driving rain. Check.
Howling, swirling winds. Check.
Wonderfully loud thunder. Check.
Jagged bolts of lightning. Check.
Power outage. Check.
Cooler air. Check.
Cleaner air. Check.

Damage? Check.

Down and done sunflowers were my only storm casualties.

But the sliver lining?
A bucket of gorgeous sunflowers to enjoy.

Sorry birds.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Road Trip

(Windmill at the Presby House Museum)

Nothing more refreshing than a road trip with my honey. Even if the scenery was tinder dry, scorched by long-term constant over 90 degree temps and 0 percentage of rain.

Stop 1: Powerhouse Grill for a delicious bacon and cheese omelet with crispy hashbrowns. The improvement I suggest would be grits. Always grits.

Stop 2: Of course, coffee at Starbucks. Iced decaf Americano with a splash of NF milk. Mmmm.

Stop 3: Cheap gas from the Wolf Den, Wapato.

(Kev in front of the Presby House Museum)

Stop 4: Presby House Museum, Goldendale, WA. I've always wanted to stop. So today, we did. Besides being a beautiful home, the museum is filled with loads of antiques. Many of which I remember using as a child. Or seeing as a child when the items were only slightly out of date. Ouch. Extra: Free deer lounging in the shade behind the house.

(The beautiful Presby House, built in 1902)

(Crazy quilt on display in the museum)

(1890 Bible)

Stop 5-6: Photo Op of the lovely Mt. Adams (our mountain). Amazing how the mountain I see every day looks totally new from a different side.

(Mt. Adams from the south side)

Stop 7: Trout Lake Campground. We used the facilities, but plan to return to stay at this charming spot.

Stop 8: White Salmon: We enjoyed pulled pork spicy nachos and Greek salad (I know, what a combo) at a pub style restaurant. It appeared to be the only eatery open, but the food was delicious!

Stop 9: Not counting the rerouting of ourselves, trying to find the illusive Appleton, we stopped at the Golden Arches for a sweet refreshment to enjoy on the drive home. Never did get on the right road to Appleton.

Future road trip - wait for the fall weather to color the leaves and the rain to dampen the dust. And then it will be time for a motorcycle road trip.

Three cheers for road trips!

(Printing press letters)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Meet My Prize

Jellyfish Creations (

Regard my new prize, recently acquired from a college friend as we celebrated our collective 50th birthday (our whole group).

Hand-blown and crafted on Whidbey and Camano Islands, of Washington State, my treasure features an interesting design resembling a tree branch. She is one creative lady, my friend Julie. The truth be told, all of the Jello Molders group ladies are talented in many ways.

Old enough to appreciate beauty - of any variety.

Upon further reflection, while I appreciate this treasure, there is One even greater. A pearl of great price, worth all of my wealth and sacrifice.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

Matthew 13:45-46

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sugar Daddy Ants

I've heard about ants that groom and/or milk aphids for honeydew. FYI: That means massage them so they poop. Where there is sugar, there will eventually be ants. So their honeydew must be sweet. Disgusting. And cool.

That's one treat I am just fine without.

It's true. Found my own little colony of aphids attended by their protector (from predators) sugar daddy ants. Amazing! I was assuming (incorrectly) that this symbiotic relationship occurred somewhere in South America, in the jungles of the Amazon.

Nope. Well it could happen there. But it is also happening in my backyard! In the middle of the Yakima Valley, an irrigated desert! Right in the middle of my raised garden beds.

I guess my problem with aphid infestation this year is making somebody happy. Someone is benefiting from my loss of plants due to aphids gorging themselves on my produce.

Those sugar daddy ants. Fat and sassy. Living high on the hog. Aphid hog. They're having all the fun.

It may be a losing battle this year for my garden, but I'm still going to sic my ladybugs on them. All of them.

Go, natural predators, go!

Monday, September 2, 2013

A Study in Watercolor Techniques

Part of the fun in watercolor painting is experimenting with other materials that can be used while painting with watercolors. This study was done while I was taking a watercolor painting class at YVCC in Yakima. Though I have pencil writing all over the borders, lines, holes, and extra paint swatches, I love the still-cohesive painting of a barn.

I love barns. I discovered this barn out in the outskirts of the Chickopee, Massachusetts, area. The only thing I couldn't convey while painting the barn was extreme humidity. UGH.

Some materials I played with were pastels, liquid starch, salt, ink, splatter, colored pencils, wax resist, plastic bags, alcohol, and gesso.

To do this study, choose a photo of something you would like to paint. Fold it or draw lines dividing it into 10 rectangles. Divide your watercolor paper with the same number of shapes. Paint each section of the painting using one of the watercolor techniques. I found that I had to work on areas that were not touching and allow each to dry before painting right beside any one area.

Found a great frame at Hobby Lobby.

It was a blast. Though student art, I love the final painting.