When my children were small we had a few of the volumes of a Sesame Street book set.
I have no idea at this point what they were called and this is WAY before Elmo!
In the "D" book there was a story called Darling Dora and the Dazzling Diamond D which my children LOVED!
The jist of it is that Dora's Daddy, the King, gave her a Dazzling Diamond D necklace which was stolen by a Dragon. After the Dragon was captured and the necklace returned the Dragon was sent to the Deep, Dark, Damp, Dreary Dungeon.
That phrase-Deep, Dark, Damp, Dreary, Dungeon-became part of our family language.
I am currently living in a November that feels like that dungeon!
Projects of any kind are moving at a snails pace.
I have a deadline next week.
Well, two really.
A mailing deadline
I'm getting somewhat tense.
That isn't helped by the Deep, Dark, Damp, Dreary weather.
After last week this one has been blissfully quiet!
I have reworked my daily chores to where most all are on Mondays.
Leaving me more time for
Which was the goal of the upheaval!
So the photo above is the beginning of Brayden's Trip.
I love the colors!
(Hint-my favorite color-blue!)
It looks blurry in the photo but when I looked at the strip again it really looks like that!
The other quilting catch up?
The "H" quilt.
Which now only needs binding!
It's the biggest quilt I've done on Bella the Bernina and I think I would have been okay if I hadn't decided to stitch in the ditch and then about 3/4" outside that "H".
Much twisting, and turning of a whole lot of fabric.
Add in the fact that the calendar may say it's October and time for the cool but the thermostat has said nearly 90F and thus the air conditioning has come on, makes holding all of that on your lap kinda HOT!
Anyway, I should get a completed quilt photo on here soon.
I need to finish the doll clothes I have cut out and get them in the mail to Miss Nora as her birthday is on the 14th, so that's next.
I continue to make blocks for Brayden's quilt.
Cut fabric for Ethan's.
And Sandwich Kolby's quilt.
Still stretching, doing some exercises I learned in Physical Therapy and walking.
The Room is an "L" shape and I'm standing at the corner looking towards the Exercise end.
When it's too cold, too hot or too allergy ridden I tote my bike (Annie) down the stars and put her in a trainer. It's boring but works. There's also a rowing machine and a TV. Enough rug on the floor to do my stretches and exercises learned from therapy as well as a small tv to do exercise videos with.
I haven't used it lately, must get back to that!
Quinn's enjoying the rugs in the toy area!
She also likes to play down here as there's quite a bit of open space.
Most of all she loves that it is cooler down there.
Looking the other way is the doll house and all the stuff I've accumulated for finishing it off.
Boy, that yellow is really bright!
I need to get a book on making windows and doors next.
You can also see Grace the treadle machine, the design wall and my rocker-currently the only place to sit that isn't in front of a sewing machine!
Then looking back towards the door you can see the other leg of the "L"
This area is dedicated to sewing!
I know I could fix an ironing area closer to the machines but I need the steps and sitting too long isn't healthy.
The small blue tote on the floor holds fabric pieces to cut into strips.
These two IKEA cabinets hold all but two small boxes of my fabric.
The one on the right has fat quarters and panels in it organized by color and strips I've cut from leftover pieces. Much easier to store that way and easier to use.
The cabinet on the left has larger pieces of fabric and serves as my cutting area.
That's Brayden's Trip being cut. (Only two more colors!)
The two electric machines I use.
Jaley the Janome is used for piecing those quarter inch seams.
Bella the Bernina is for doll clothes and other non-quilting sewing and for quilting.
(Still need to try that stitch regulator out!)
Each 4 foot table has a small cabinet next to it that holds the flotsam and jetsome of sewing.
There is a small antique sewing table between the two-currently holding the board I use for the next block but I expect to set Jaley off on it so I can cross-stitch there.
Above the table is a piece of muslin covered insulation board to hold stuff-there's currently A block for Kolby's trip on it and I use it to hold the doll clothes pattern pieces once they've been ironed.
Both machines have Ott lights next to them-I love those things!
Eventually, I may decide to do something to the floor but for now I think I'll just collect some more cheap pieces of carpeting!
Monday, going home day but before that ECLIPSE DAY !
I loaded up the truck (I can't get into to Ceili once I leave her at storage so if it goes home it has to go into the truck) and hitched up to the trailer so I would have only a few things to do when we came back from watching the eclipse.
Merrimack State Park was in the 100% totality path and it was a beautiful blue sky day-hot but clear. Everyone's worst nightmare was clouds or rain! We left the campground around 10 and headed to the Parks event site-which was already full so they sent us up on top of the ridge to another site. We unloaded lawn chairs, cooler, camera, etc and found a lovely shady site from which to await the moon. We all tried out our glasses by taking looks at the sun, relaxed, and drank tons of water as we were sweating buckets!
When Lucas declared it was time for the moon to make it's appearance we all ran out into the sunshine to take a look-the moon was late! It took several minutes for the edge of the moon to appear. We would go out into the sun look for a bit, then back into the shade for 5 minutes etc, it was hard leaning back to look up-some folks moved their chairs out into the road and I wish I'd thought of that! As the sun got smaller and smaller in the last minutes before totality you could feel the excitement rise! The parking lot lights came on. The excitement rose some more and when the last bit of the sun disappeared behind the moon shouts, cheers, clapping and exclamations of "Oh my God" were heard all around. Still gives me chills. For 2 1/2 minutes we stood without the glasses and looked at the darkened sun. Seeing only a halo of white light leaking from the edges. It was amazing! Then the moon began to move on and the glasses went back on, it seemed that it took less time for the move to leave than it did to come. I heard someone tell it to come back we weren't done watching it! I think I'm going to have to make a try at another one, just such a magical moment.
The rest of the day seems boring in comparison.
We drove back to the campground, finished all the leave taking at the campground and started for home. Still excited. This time we had studied the map and plotted our path so Google was not allowed to lead anyone astray! The trip home was made without mishaps, traveling together until I turned north to take Ceili to storage.
The further I went north and west the more lightening etc there was and I worried I'd be caught in a torrential downpour but I made it there, unhooked, moved Annie to the truck and made it all the way home and unloaded before the rains started! The only fatality was my leaving my flashlight where I put Annie on the truck. I'll buy another.
The weather while we were gone was apparently quite rainy. We knew that flash flood watches and warnings had been issued but it was very dry where we were. That first night home parts of the metro received 9 1/2 inches of rain-lots of flooding in the area. Took out the bike paths, closed the swimming beaches and the marinas at the county parks for the third time in a month. Crazy weather!
So now that we're home and somewhat rested, I'm trying to finish in the office and studio as well as work on a couple of other projects. One thing about me I always have projects going!
Two days in the sun on the water -no sunburn, not even pink. One eclipse day in the shade-light sunburn!
Saturday morning came much earlier than I would have liked! Quinn had had enough of this lazing about sleeping and wanted up and out!
After breakfast I set about all the chores relating to unhooking and unloaded the bins for Ceili out of the back of the truck. Set about unpacking, organizing.
At 10 we had reservations for a float trip on the Merrimac river so off we headed. I really did not prepare at all well for this weekend nor for the float trip. I'd never been on one! The six of us (dogs stayed in the air conditioned trailers) climbed onto a school bus for the ride upstream where we loaded into a rubber raft (think Zodiac only not sea worthy and without the motor!) shoved off and headed down river.
The river is mostly shallow- we scraped bottom several times and sometimes had to get out and push off again-and in places quite still-hence the need for the paddles they gave us. Brayden and Kolby where in and out of the raft swimming, fish that they are! Riding the current with their life jackets at times. We beached several times, had sandwiches (thank you Beth and Lucas), waded in the COLD water, sat in the water to cool off (90'sF and quite sunny!), Ethan tried and tried to catch one of the tiny fish at the edge of the water, managing to stay mostly dry!
Beth and Lucas have a waterproof camera so photos were being taken and Ethan dropped it in the water. Fairly deep water-chest high on over 6' Lucas! Lucas hit the water quick, took off his sandals and threw them into the boat. To begin feeling for it with his feet, Kolby and Brayden did the same while Beth and I kept the raft from floating off without them, finally grounding it. Whether it was pure luck or above average skill coupled with determination Lucas actually FOUND it! Unharmed. Ethan didn't get it back!
After about 4 hours we landed where we'd begun. I think I want a kayak!
Sunday, it was hot again so we went down to the river to wade, swim, ride the current etc. Me, I just sat and felt the water change temperatures. Sometimes warmish and then a really cold spot would hit and go back to warmish.
Two days on the water-no sunscreen for me (Dummy)-no sunburn, not even pink!
Also on Saturday and Sunday I began sorting out Ceili and beginning to take out the bunk beds to create a more useable space. Fact is I don't need bunk beds! I have some adaptations I want to make and removing the bunk beds was the beginning. Unfortunately, I didn't bring the right tool to cut the metal frames and get them out. Going to need to take a few days at a campground once the weather cools off! Took stuff out, made a list of things I need. Made a list of stuff in there so I don't bring extras I don't need next time. Also noted that I needed a new battery and new tires!
And Not a picture to show you! In fact I didn't even take my camera out of the bag.
Way back in January or February Beth, Lucas and I decided we would go camping within the path of totality for the eclipse and Lucas made us reservations at Merrimac State Park. Less than 300 miles which ended up requiring 10 hours of driving for me!
Quinn and I left home about 2 in the afternoon to hit the bank and pick up Zoe for the ride down (she gets the whole back seat in my truck as opposed to the floorboard in theirs) then went off to pick up Ceili. More of a chore than usual as I brought Annie (my bicycle) along and had to move her and her bike rack onto Ceili before I could hook up-so maybe 5 more minutes than usual. Also, Ceili's battery was dead (again) and it takes longer to raise and lower the tongue by hand-I'm spoiled by that electric jack! Hooked up and on the road, we went by the KOA to get propane but they had a long line of rigs checking in so we just went on. I really don't require propane at this time of the year as long as I have an electric hookup-although it would be nice to start the frig cooling down while I drive. I can't use the stove itself but I have an electric skillet, a charcoal grill, an electric coffeepot and a microwave (which is ridiculous -I hardly use the one at home.) With temperatures in the 90'sF I wasn't going to need the heat so it was all good! (I will get propane soon, though. The problem is that Ceili has BIG canisters which do not fit under the cover of my truck and which I cannot lift when full. That means I can't just take them with me when Ceili goes to storage and bring them back full-working on a solution to that.) We hit the road south to 50 highway and turned east. At Jefferson City a helpful fellow driver told me I had a flat on the trailer! I needed gas so pulled off the highway, it wasn't just flat but totaled, sigh. Last summer a service station fellow told me it had a bubble on it, they often say such things hoping to frighten the little old lady into replacing/repairing something that doesn't really need it. I could never find this bubble so I just kept driving. Fortunately, Beth and Lucas were behind me several miles and got off to help me-Lucas had to go get the proper tool at the auto store as my lug wrench didn't fit the tires. I broke out the cookies and the dogs had a walk and a long drink. By this time it was getting dark, the road was two lane, twisty, up and down. Things went fine after that until I let Google direct me to the park-I missed the first turn from HWY T to Blue house Road (I swear to you it looked like a dirt road to me!) Then Google lost service. No place to stop, no place to turn around but I knew if I kept on I'd hit an innerstate sooner or later. Google came back and the route took me on some 5 0r maybe 6 backroads, some of which were dirt or gravel roads-I'm sure it would have been quite lovely if it had been daytime! Finally, got to where Google said I'd arrived -ah NO another country lane but no campground, at least I could turn around there. I'd decided that I'd go back to the hwy and turn left if I didn't find the park really soon I was going back into town and finding a hotel room for the night! Fortunately, even though I drove past it and had to turn around (no one can really understand how hard it is to turn around with a trailer). Lucas finally got through on the phone and met me at the entrance! Yeah Lucas! After filling with water and me trying twice to back the trailer into the spot while avoiding two HUGE trees, I just let Lucas do it. It was midnight, I was exhausted, I didn't unhook from the truck just plugged in (even that wasn't right as the 30 amp plug didn't work and I had to use my 50amp adaptor to get the A/C and frig working.) I just crashed about 1:30am!
The dogs were amazing, the best trip companions around!
I picked it up in Yellowstone last year and it just made the top of the pile!
Wolves were re-introduced to Yellowstone National Park in 1995 after being killed off 70 years before that.
It's very interesting the impact they have had and not at all what one would expect.
There has been a trophic cascade.
That's were the presence of a top predator in an area creates a richer environment.
In this case the wolves, who in Yellowstone eat primarily elk, have caused the elk to change their habits-you know so they won't get eaten by a wolf!
That has given aspen, willow and cottonwood trees the chance to grow as well as other plants and grasses.
Trees attract birds (from songbirds to bald eagles), and small mammals, like the red fox.
Most important to the landscape is that trees allowed the beaver to return which filters the streams and helps the fish, and otters.
The new plant growth has stopped the bank erosion the elk caused, and the beaver's dam's create ponds so the channel is more reliable and less likely to flood.
It has become a richer environment for grizzly bears as well.
This doesn't even count the insects or the added fertility of the land itself from the carcasses of wolf kills.
Oh, by the way, wolves only kill an elk once in five attempts and are in great danger when they do so.
I found it interesting and now must return to Yellowstone and become a wolf watcher!
This trophic cascade thing is a new idea to me but is backed up by the current situation on Isle Royale National Park, Michigan.
They have been studying the wolves there for a VERY long time -apparently the wolves crossed ice bridges from Canada to settle there-anyway they eat Moose there.
There are currently only 2 wolves on Isle Royale and while they can still take down a moose they cannot make a large enough impact on the moose population to stop the herds from growing. That has already caused damage to both water and land plants.
They are seriously considering relocating wolves here as well.
Wolves that already know how to hunt moose!
Just a reminder that top predators, even when they have a very bad rap (like sharks) are very necessary to a healthy ecosystem.