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Worth the time

October 22, 2020
In the studio during the auction! Wearing my Maasai necklace with the zebra block in progress behind me.

Last night was the auction finale for Makindu Children’s Center. As you might recall, I donated a hand made Gingko Leaf lamp. That little lamp stirred up quite a flurry of bidding, topping out at the second highest amount in the auction. The lamp went for over double the normal retail price! I was shocked and so happy that it could raise that sort of funding for those kids. I’m looking forward to mailing it once I receive the address!

Empty garden except for herbs and late seedling starts.

The season has certainly shifted bringing a chill to the air! This morning we had a light dusting of frost on rooftops and railings, which probably means the garden was touched as well. Monday, the plumeria plants took a crazy journey up the hill and were deposited in the garage for the winter with supplemental heat (no greenhouse this year). I’ve spent several days dismantling both garden boxes: yielding 10 pounds of green tomatoes (to be turned into salsa), green beans, cukes and peppers which are now tucked into the refrigerator. Yesterday I cooked up another big batch of applesauce destined for the freezer and there’s still another 10+ pounds remaining!

Persimmon starting to shift towards a yellow-green color

Other things to note: the vultures have migrated south! I keep track of when I last see those big black birds knowing the clean-up crew won’t be back until late February. Moby killed another possum almost 2 weeks ago and we hoped it might entice a vulture to pick apart the remains. The cameras were aimed and ready! Unfortunately, the birds weren’t interested and only looked from above. They must not have needed extra calories. See you next year vultures!

An artist friend and member of the Calapooia Gallery started pushing for me to apply for membership. I’m impressed at her tenacity to keep prodding, since this has been ongoing for several years! It’s a beautiful space located in historic downtown Albany and super close to home. The current members are all very lovely people who create amazing work. However, I think they want me to submit the lighted creations and I’m kind of on the fence with that line. It takes me weeks, rather than days, to create a lamp. Psoriatic arthritis hasn’t been kind with my finger joints. Hence the reason I’ve been exploring other creative ideas like wool. Hopefully our paths will cross during the Saturday Market so we can have yet another talk. So much to think about. In the meantime, I have received a lamp commission. Time to pull out the paper again! I thought I was done with lamps and papercutting????

Thanks for reading to the end. My body is doing better this week for those who emailed and called. I stopped eating large amounts of tomatoes. Yes, tomatoes can increase inflammation. Kind of hard when one loves the flavor of a big summer tomatoes! The tomatoes are gone so life can become less puffy… maybe?

Have a good weekend everyone! Remember to wear those masks and wash you hands!

Changing colors, changing focus

October 16, 2020

It’s hard to believe that we’re half way through the month of October. Weather patterns have shifted towards a wetter, cooler experience. Temps have not yet reached freezing, mainly staying in the 40’s at night and fluctuating from the 50’s to upper 60’s during the day. I’m keeping track because we still have temperature sensitive house plants outside. Originally I hoped to have a heated greenhouse constructed by this time, but that’s not the case. We don’t move at lightening speed at this house. There tends to be quite a bit of debate and wrangling of ideas before anything moves forward, often getting stalled due to discussions. This is probably why most of our home improvement projects never get completed (and we have way too many to count!).

So what has been happening?

The donation to The Arts Center sold quickly. The lamp donation is currently up for bid until October 21 at 6pm Pacific Time. If you’re interested, please click HERE. All proceeds go to help the orphan children at the Makindu Children’s Center in Kenya Africa. I purchased 4 pregnant goats for the kids this week and will probably do more before the auction end.

Creating a sampler with the existing warp. The white yarn is scrap acrylic.
Creating a sampler with the existing warp. The white yarn is scrap acrylic.

I’m learning yet a new way of using wool: Weaving! I guess it’s kind of inevitable, having an overload of wool and a desire to always be learning. It came about because of a friend who needed to move her small table loom out of the house. The Nilus/Leclerc table model has 4 shafts and can produce almost a 14″ wide piece of cloth. Not huge! I’m hoping to change the warp out soon and start trying my hand at creating cotton hand towels or wool table runners. This isn’t a field I’m familiar with so everything is totally new. Very similar to spinning wool a year ago! I tend to jump in and run with it until my attention is pulled elsewhere or the body can’t function. Fortunately, the loom will be staying with me for a while until the friend has cleared out her home and eventually can reunite with her art passions. If I, for some reason, want to work larger I could possibly borrow a loom from my sister who has numerous. Kim started a weaving journey about 20 years ago to complement her love of quilting. If I look back into our mother’s lineage, there was a line from Ireland that were weavers and textile folks. Maybe I’ll research that when the genealogy bug strikes.

Another reason for attempting new artforms is to balance the arthritis problems. I get tendonitis easily and it doesn’t go away even though I’m on several heavy medications. My body is currently in a major flare up which slowed my internal drive this week. It looks like I need to start physical therapy yet again to get over the newest hurdle. I just need to find more patience with my body and try not to aggravate the situation by consuming inflammatory foods (even when those foods taste soooo gooood!) or doing overly physical yard work.

Probably not much else worth sharing except ballots arrived yesterday and I’ve already voted. So happy our state of Oregon has been entirely vote by mail, primary and general election, since 2000! Get out and vote!!!

Stay safe and have a great weekend wherever you live!

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.

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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