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Catching up

Okay, so I’m a little behind on the blogging. And the housework. And my Inbox. Steve’s been traveling a lot (although it’s not his fault), and I seem to be happier and get a lot more things accomplished when he’s home. And I seem to have a pretty bad case of Babies on the Brain, so I tend to have more to talk about over on my other blog.In the jewelry department, I am working on a Bird Nest tutorial (pictured), cleaning off my workbench a little, ordering silver, embellishing some Viking Knit… Of course I like to actually finish something before telling you guys, but I thought I’d throw you a bone to let you know what’s in the pipeline. I went to an awesome bead show in Vienna, VA a few weeks ago and saw some of my favorite lampworkers, including Patti Cahill from Dyed in the Fire. Talk about little works of art! And yes, you heard me right. The market price of silver has been over $21/troy ounce this year and now it is around $9, so I will be adjusting kit prices accordingly.
Website update: When I said the site now has a “fresher, high-key” look, I didn’t realize that everybody except for me was seeing just a boring plain white screen aside from the text and pictures. It’s supposed to look like this, with a sage floral print in the background. I posted on a webmaster forum and got a quick response, so the problem should be fixed now. (You may need to hit Refresh to see.)Perhaps the next installment in my book collection should be The Lazy Housekeeper: Easily-cleaned surfaces, those that hide dirt, etc. I personally believe that dust is a protective covering, so my coffee table is actually “flocked”. If you’re in the market for a dog, choose one with short hair that doesn’t tumbleweed, thereby keeping your wood floors cleaner. Having a screened porch with brown indoor-outdoor carpeting has really cut down on the paw-wiping necessity, too. Now if I could only find a way to harness the energy in the wagging tail and apply that to the noseprints on the windows.

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Family Trip

We’ve been at the cabin in North Carolina with Steve’s family for a long weekend. He is the second of 7 kids and all but two of them (plus spouses/friends) and my parents-in-law were there, 11 of us total.

group shot

Friday we had the traditional family Taco Night, complete with freshly fried corn tortillas, chili beans, two kinds of cheese, three kinds of taco sauce, lettuce and tomato. Earlier that day Riley went for a swim in the pond a couple of times, fetching sticks and looking for creatures along the bank. Some of the others hiked Mt. Mitchell and went fishing, Steve and I checked out the Fresh Market and decided to avoid Bele Chere in downtown Asheville this year. On Saturday we checked out the botanical gardens at UNC-A and played games back at the cabin.


And, for the first time, Steve and I were online at the cabin with a USB modem from Verizon Wireless – oh the possibilities! He telecommutes when he’s not traveling, which means he can work from anywhere with an internet connection, so now that’s anywhere with cellular service. Even in the boondocks of the Blue Ridge mountains. Of course we still went to the bakery with wi-fi for their chocolate cake, but this time we didn’t have to commandeer a table next to an electrical outlet.


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More berries

Steve and I just went for a visit with his folks in upstate New York. On the way we stopped by Joolz in Canandaigua to say hi to Francie and Kerry Bogert, who was having a trunk show and demonstrating flamework. Hopefully next time I can meet Kerry for margaritas, but it was fun to say hi, catch up a little, and hit the road for the final leg of our trip. The next morning it rained, then was sunny, then rained some more. Normally I wouldn’t have cared, except anyone who knows me knows I love berries, and this is strawberry season in NY. There is a you-pick farm on every other corner! So during a break in the clouds Steve and I headed down the road to Morgan’s Farm to pick some berries. We’d collected 7 quarts before I stood up and said, “I think that’s enough. What are we going to do with all these?” And then it rained again, so we went home.
Here are Matt and Bob working on the lawn tractor in the barn.
Also in the barn there is a nest of swallows almost ready for flight school. Cutest. Thing. Ever.

Later I was walking Riley in the family orchard when I noticed there are cherries! on the tree! this year. (They knew this, but it’s not a big deal to everyone else.) Ripe ones, and lots of them. They’re called tart cherries, but they are sweet to eat. (When I think “tart cherries,” I think of the bright red ones Cheryl and I bought from a vendor in Barbados who assured us they were sweet to eat – turned out to be the tartest cherries I’d ever tasted!) So we picked a quart of cherries off the tree, plus some red raspberries which had just begun to ripen. And then I died of happiness. The end. Saturday night is always Mexican food, so Cherie makes enchiladas, quesadillas, or tacos. This week it was tacos with your choice of fried-corn or flour shell, two kinds of cheese, several hot sauces, lettuce, tomatoes, and chili beans (two sets, one for each end of the table). I started thinking about this meal (and drooling) weeks ago because it’s always so good. I have an inordinate love for Wegmans, and being that the closest one to our house is an hour away, we always go to Wegmans in NY as there is one in practically every town. It’s not just a grocery store, people! Sheesh. This time we didn’t walk up and down every aisle, but we did get coffee and stroll through the market part and the cheese shop and the kitchen gadgets and the bulk candy and the craft brew section (arranged by region like wine). I got some rhubarb which may or may not have survived the trip home in the trunk, some French lemonade for my francophile friend Elizabeth, and a measuring cup with a slanted edge to make it easier to read. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have 8 quarts of fruit to deal with. Bliss!

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The air conditioner is full of freon once again, and we’re thankful because it’s going to be 96 outside today.
What’s new here? Not a whole lot. We had a relaxing weekend. Today I’m working on custom orders, assembling kits, doing laundry, pestering the dog (it’s too hot to stalk birds outside).

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Summer Storm

We just had a terrific thunderstorm, one of the many things I love about summer. It goes from being hot and still to cool and fresh with the plants watered. It gets dark, so dark that I actually turn on a light during the day. We get the kind of rain and wind that looks like someone reporting on location during a hurricane. Thankfully I was home in order to run around and close windows this time. I think I forgot to tell you that our baby robins are all grown up. I took this picture the day before they tried to fly. One of them lept to his fate on the concrete porch, so Steve put down cushions for the other three to bounce off (and we didn’t find any bodies later). I thought I was free to walk to the mailbox in peace now that we have an empty nest, but yesterday the mama gave me a “talking to” as a little guy jumped from the grass to the cherry tree. Time to wash the front door and change the wreath.

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The Robins are Hatching

The nest on our front door has been tended for the past 2 weeks by a very conscientious mother bird. Two more eggs were laid after we got back from vacation, a total of four eggs in my favorite color. I try to go get the mail through the garage door, because I’ll hear about from Mrs. Robin it if I dare use my front door. I was wondering how long this was going to go on, and today Steve noticed that one of the eggs has hatched. So, I looked around online for more info:“Robins lay one egg about every 24 hours until her clutch size is around 3-4. The incubation period lasts from 12-14 days and hatching of each egg takes about 24 hours; the order the eggs were laid is the order of hatching…While the eggs are in the nest, females cover them about 50 minutes of every hour and overnight. Females rarely leave the nest during incubation and rely on the mate to bring her enough food to survive. Once the Robin chicks hatch, they remain in the nest for 13-15 days, until they are mature enough to survive on their own…Fledglings can fly within 2 days of leaving the nest, so the male parent watches them until they are able to live completely on their own…”Breakfast in bed is the least the mother bird can expect for such devotion to the nest. Steve just noted that there are two big birds on the nest, so I told him about this aspect and he replied, “That’s a good man.” I can only imagine the list of “things to do after the kids are gone” that mama has been compiling in her head whilst sitting on the nest for a month. The worst part of this whole nest-on-the-front door deal is the mutual freak-out of Mrs. Robin and anyone who comes to our door, so two more weeks of that and then there will be four more little birdies out in the world.
On a sad note, Killer got another one the other day, this time a robin fledgling right in front of its mama. I kinda wish she’d have let Riley have it (punishment, not her child) so this would stop being a thing.Love to eat them birdies,
Birdies what I love to eat.
Bite they little heads off…
Nibble on they tiny feet.
-B. Kliban (alterations mine)

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The Birds

The view from my studio.
These birds were only in our yard (not the neighbors’), and they pecked around for about 10 minutes and were gone.

Riley was as fascinated as I was. In general, being a bird dog, this is her favorite time of year. She has resumed her command posts and terrorizing the birds building nests in our junipers out back.

I put our our spring wreath and within hours I had feathered customers trying to build nests again (only this time the wreath is in Virginia not Delaware). I don’t know if it’s the time of year or the type of wreath, but I don’t really want our front porch covered in mud this year.