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Autumn

September 24, 2020
Snowball bush September 23, 2020

We slid quickly into autumn with leaves changing without our even noticing. Part of that was due to the smoke in the valley. We were stuck indoors for many days, not being able to get out for walks until the hazardous air cleared. Now, we’ve been pretty much smoke free for a week and taking advantage of the outdoors!

Douglas Fir cones, September 23, 2020
Garden September 24, 2020
Still waiting to try a Prudens Purple!

A new storm is brewing with winds pushing through before the rain arrives. I spent a bit of time picking produce from the garden. The beans, tomatoes, lemon cucumbers, peppers, and zucchini continue to produce. I tried to glean as much as possible before the predicted 4 day stretch of rain. The large Cherokee Chocolate and Sweet Million tomatoes continue to sprawl over the ground, making for a disappointing yield. Is it still worth trying to tie them up? It might make them ripen quicker, if I can manage to get the heavy vines bundled together. The Prudens Purple continues to increase their fruit size, but we have yet to even try one. The first one is blushing in the above photo.

With this new storm comes wind and rain that could cause more problems with the wildfires burning. Up north towards Portland, the Riverside complex has reached 138,117 perimeter acres burned and is 31% contained. The Beachie Creek fire, closer to us, is 192,775 perimeter acres burned and 46% contained. Towards Eugene, the Holiday Farm fire has consumed 173,175 perimeter acres and is only 27% contained. Most evacuation levels have been stepped down with some people able to return home. Hundreds of home and structures have been destroyed between the three fires.

One thing I have finished this week was the donation to the Makindu Children’s Center. They will be having an auction Wednesday, October 21, 2020, 5:00-6:00pm Pacific Daylight time. For further information, please check their website HERE. The Ginkgo lamp stands 12.75″ x 7.25″ x 7.25″, comes with the electrical system and an LED bulb. The lamp base is Hemlock. The hand-cut paper lamp features a Ginkgo design with gold leaf accents on each panel. The entire piece, including the base, was constructed by my hands. It will be interesting to see how much money it can raise for the kids!

Me holding my donation to the Arts Center’s 8×8 fundraiser.

The Arts Center is holding their Art for the Heart Virtual Auction on Saturday, October 10, 2020. Please click HERE for additional information! I mounted one of the Moby “The Lick” reduction screen print for the event. Hopefully it too can raise a few bucks for an incredible arts organization!

I think that’s about all for now. I could go into all the dehydrator work happening in the kitchen, but that can wait. I need a break from the garden world.

I hope everyone is staying healthy!

Gale

Wildfires Burning

September 11, 2020
September 8, 2020, 8 am. View South under the smoke blanket.

Many of you know that I live in the state of Oregon on the west coast of the United States. We have copious amounts of beautiful scenery, old growth forests (in some locations), beaches, rivers and gorgeous mountains. We also have massive wildfires burning throughout the state right now. Almost a million acres have burned in just this past week. That’s larger than the state of Rhode Island. Over 500,000 people are in level 1-3 evacuation zones due to the rapid spread. Our air is filled with smoke, not just here in the Willamette Valley, we’re talking about the entire state. This morning the air quality index for Albany was 507 (255 as of 2 pm) . My sister & brothers in Eugene woke to 544 (400 at 2 pm). At 150, air is considered very unhealthy.

What’s occurring is unprecedented for our state and we can only hope for a weather shift to aid in controlling the spread. Change has been happening slowly. The initial wind storm started Monday afternoon and went through Wednesday. The winds were from the North East and super dry! It was like having a late fall/early winter windstorm but without the rain and humidity. Trees & branches fell on power lines, starting many fires. Normal humidity levels dropped to 10%. Today we’re back up above 50%! Early next week we should be receiving a little rain which will aid reducing air pollution. The firefighters will need weeks to gain control of the blazes. It probably won’t be until sometime in mid-winter they will be extinguished.

Firefighters are receiving help from the National Guard on Saturday. Teams are coming from other countries. Help is coming forward.

September 8, 2020, 8 am. View East. The deep red color is accurate.
September 8, 2020, 9:30 am. View East.
September 8, 2020, 9:30 am. View South.
September 8, 2020, 4 pm. View South
September 9, 2020, 12:50 pm. View South.
Two days of ash accumulation on my car windshield.
September 11, 2020, 2 pm.

I don’t have other images to share of actual fires and forest destruction. You can all search for those online. Please ignore the crazy false stories that the fires were started by extremist groups, because they weren’t. Check the fire maps at Northwest Interagency Coordination Center or Oregon.gov for further information.

Stay safe out there!

 

Insects in the garden

August 9, 2020

butterfly in flight_geverettstudio

The garden continues to ramp up production. More zucchini, cukes, kale, and peas. Pole beans will start blooming in the next 2 days. Tomatoes continue to ripen, but what really captures my attention are all the insects! The Catnip was swarming with bees and small butterflies this afternoon. I could spend hours there watching all the activity. Here are a few photos from the late visit. butterfly profile_geverettstudio

embrace the flowers_geverettstudio

Native Bumblebee on Catnip

flight of the bumblebee_geverettstudio2020

Native Bumblebees on Catnip

Last blueberry crop_geverettstudio

The last blueberry crop to ripen. Elliot variety? 

orange flower power_geverettstudio

More Orange Nasturtiums 

oregano bees_geverettstudio

Honeybee and a smaller native bee on Oregano flowers

pepper_geverettstudio

Peppers lengthening out!

persimmon_geverettstudio

Four persimmons remain on the tree. 

ripening tomatoes_geverettstudio

Blushing Tomatoes on the vine.

Zucchini light_geverettstudio

Zucchini in late afternoon light. 

Thanks for visiting. Not sure what will be on the drawing board this week, but I have 2 projects that need completion. So watch for a developing Cheetah and the next stage for Remy the black lab!

 

 

Garden Growth

July 31, 2020

garden july 31 2020 east_geverettstudio

A view towards the east down the two boxes. Zucchini dominating the foreground.

garden july 31 2020_geverttstudio

View looking west. 10’x 5′ box in foreground 

butternut growth_geverettstudio

Butternut Squash Plant

growing peas_geverettstudio

Pea Pods

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Nasturtium Blooms

bumblebee on nepta_geverettstudio

Native bumblebee on catnip blooms

It’s the end of July and things are definitely growing! We’ve just had a week of high temps in the 90’s which made us shrink into our air conditioned home, but the plants have loved the heat. Zucchinis have graced our plates once so far and cucumbers have been on our salad three times. Kale is eaten daily, mainly in salads, but we still have a while before the tomatoes start showing color. I really need to get out there and cut back the enormous stem production on two plants (the other two I’ve kept in check).

The Nasturtiums finally opened yesterday, which was a great joy for me. The seeds were ones my father purchased in 2011. I only had about a 50% success rate on direct ground germination. At least they’re growing and blooming in time for the anniversary of his death (August 1, 2012).

The pea plants are grown from my mother’s seed collection. She had a beautiful small greenhouse on the coast where she grew many different veg. We will be having fresh peas in our salad soon!  The pea seeds were from a packet marked 2006.

The butternut squash plants continue to amaze me. Grown from an old squash I purchased early February, I pulled out the seeds in June and popped them into the ground after other things had been planted. They germinated within 4 days! I still have 6 plants after thinning and transplanting. They will be trained vertical since space is limited in the large box.

The bees continue to visit the garden, mainly spending time on the catnip plant. With such a healthy population of pollinators all flowering plants should be pollinated. I love seeing the native bees like the one above.

Happy Friday and I hope you all continue to stay safe, wear a mask, and wash your hands!

A new project

July 28, 2020

remy in process july 28_geverettstudio

The weather is hot and I’m spending time inside with the AC, 32C is warmer than I can handle! My creative gears have shifted once again back into possible images for a couple of fundraisers. The above pooch belongs to a dog friend and photographer. I’ve not actually met this pup, but she’s beautiful and smart from watching training videos! He posted a particular photo one day that really grabbed my attention, which I noted. He enthusiastically send me several photos of Remy and I’m starting down a different journey with learning more about colored pencils. Hopefully I’ll learn more and he might get a drawing out of it or better yet, it will go into the 8″ x 8″ fundraiser for the Arts Center. Time will tell.

As the month of July progresses to completion, I figured out one thing: pushing energy into the public art project wasn’t something I want to do. The amount of time and energy required just isn’t in my vocabulary this summer. We have numerous time sensitive home projects that require more energy before fall and winter arrives. So, I’ll keep moving forward with my regular schedule and not introduce extra stress.

The garden is finally yielding food! I picked the first cucumbers yesterday and zucchini today. The kale has also been wonderful as it gets harvested twice a week. I’ll post garden photos in a few days.

Fingers crossed the remaining days of July continue smoothly into August.

Somerset paper, 6B pencil, Prismacolor pencils, Black Labrador subject

Contemplating a possibility?

July 2, 2020

Several years ago I managed to get a small art project that allowed me to spread my creativity to a different level: The world of public art. I never thought I might be interested in creating public art, but it was enjoyable (and also a pain). Yesterday another possible project appeared in my inbox. It requires a heck of a lot of figuring because this is more serious. This is for a community center remodel. I probably don’t have a chance in even getting through the first phase, but I’m going to try. It never hurts to try, right?

The interior wall is uninterrupted and measures 10 feet high and 44 feet long. That’s a whopping long wall! I’m already thinking about a similar idea to the one I created for the city of Halsey, but manufactured using powder coated metal. No, I won’t be cutting this out at home! Professional people will be hired.

The biggest thing that intimidates and actually makes me question moving forward is how to create an accurate budget for the project. This isn’t my strength but I probably have friends who could help. I have the month of July to get everything together and submitted for round #1.

I’ll continue working on the new wool this month and try to get more dryer balls out for sale. The brain is working…. just intimidated by stepping out of my comfort zone.

A use for tetanus shots

June 19, 2020

stabbing toolWhen an art process gets serious…

Needle felting by definition uses needles. You can’t get around it. You use different thicknesses and sometimes you jab your fingers. These needles have multiple barbs over the shaft which help push the wool strands into each other. Yesterday I stabbed myself pretty hard, indicating that I needed to step away from the project. Normally, I just do a quick jab through the outer skin. This one sank a needle (out of a possible 4) deep into the flesh of my left index finger. Bugger and hell it stung as I yanked it back out of the entry point (remember the barbs?!)! I gave it a good bleed  then hit it with hydrogen peroxide and iodine before wrapping it in gauze. I’m thankful it didn’t hit bone.  This sort of wound is what tetanus shots are designed for: a sharp object stab with nasty sheep poo remnants. Yummy. 

I could have avoided the situation by not starting. I had already put in about 4 hours plucking and carding some stubborn wool. My brain was tired and not paying attention to what my hands were doing. A recipe for disaster. I’ll keep the spot clean and watch for infection. Maybe it’s time for calmer work. Not sure what that might be, but possibly fencing in the fruit trees since the deer finally found them last night???? I still have over 2 hours of daylight remaining.

Lesson learned: don’t needle felt when tired and drink more water during the day!

Happy Friday!

Baby Birds

June 16, 2020

My Space!

Grumpy parent Black-Capped Chickadees have it out on the suet feeder

Rainy Afternoon Woodpecker watching

Juvenile male Downy Woodpecker and his mom

woodpecker messy mom_geverettstudio

Ready for more suet from mom

Feeding Time

Open wide!

The world around our home is filled with bird calls from first to last light. Parent birds are scrambling between their multiple offspring, feeding gaping mouths on nests to whining babies following around behind them. The above photos are of one patient mother Downy Woodpecker feeding her little boy. They do have a little girl as well who happened to be off feeding with the adult male.  Baby boy flew into the big glass door this morning. I didn’t hear the bump, but the dogs alerted about the downed bird. I went out and picked him up, did a quick check and set him up high on a pot of spent daffodils.  It took about 20 min for him to recover and fly off to mom. The photos were from after his crash. Doesn’t look too bad. Well, everyone is super frumpy looking due to the major rains.

Thanks for checking in.

Photos taken with a Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80

Dogs vs Opossum

June 15, 2020

Opossum_geverettstudio

Last week we had an incident in the backyard. They happen on pretty regular occasion: the dogs scent some creature, there’s a big chase around the giant juniper bushes with the dogs climbing in as deep as they can. Barking, massive thundering pounding footsteps as they race around the bushes. It often occurs late, and I mean LATE, like 2 or 3am. Last Thursday it happened earlier at 10:30pm. Sometimes I have to go out and try to grab the dogs which often isn’t possible. Their focus is on the hunt, not me. A few times I’ve had to pull out the hose and spray them to break their crazy focus. Thursday night Dave actually had the chance to participate in the frackus. I went out and shone a headlamp down into the place the creature was cornered and I thought I saw a possum tail. It wasn’t the easiest to figure out since Moby had the sizable creature in his mouth and was attempting to shake the daylights out of it. I was really concerned the creature was a neighborhood cat. (no, we’ve never had the dogs kill a cat but I wouldn’t put it past their capability) Moby eventually thought the creature was dead and extracted himself from the snug location. The creature was motionless. Was it dead? I couldn’t tell and wasn’t about to dive into cutting back the bushes. We gathered up the dogs and took them inside for a serious wound cleaning. Moby proceeded to vomit all over the bathroom floor and Dave kindly cleaned it up. I worked Hazel over and found a few nicks on her face. We eventually made it to bed around 2am.

The cats proceeded to wake me up at 6am for their morning feeding and I was already contemplating the chore of going out to extract the dead animal. Around 10am, I pulled on some shoes and the headlamp to check the situation. The “dead” animal was gone. Whew!!!

The possum actually played possum to get Moby to drop the body. I’m always in awe of these strange creatures and enjoy seeing them running around the far backyard triggering the game cameras. We were thrilled it managed to survive. Moby felt that he did his job and killed the intruder.

It will happen again…

Graphite sketch/drawing on BFK Rives paper.

Remembering someone we never met

June 14, 2020

June 14 is flag day here in the US. Not a day that really brings much focus in the average person’s life. Growing up, our mother would always say “It’s Flag Day. Happy Birthday to Miss Reeves!” This wasn’t a reference to a family member nor anyone we knew, but to a primary school teacher that taught my mother in Iowa back in the 1930’s. I assume Ms. Reeves never had children of her own, but one of her students passed along the memory of her birthday every year to her children. Kinda crazy! Her name continues to be mentioned between my sister and I on the day as a way to keep our mother’s memory alive. We will probably continue to keep this little tradition going until our deaths.

In Mexican culture, Day of the Dead -dia de los muertos, they say that death has three phases. First death is when you physically die. Second death is when your body is buried. Third death is when no one remains to remember you and you vanish from history. We’re keeping Ms Reeves from slipping into the third death realm. We’ll never know what became of her or if she had family, but she made an impression on our mother and that’s what counts.

Happy Birthday Ms Reeves!