Saturday, June 25, 2011

Freshening Up the Place

We completed construction on our renovation about 5 years ago.  This spring, John finished the deck (more on that later).  Last fall, we realized the foundation plantings in front of the house were looking...tired.  To say the least.  So we (actually, John) pulled them all out, and he built a raised bed in front of the picture window.  After a few weeks, we still hadn't planted anything so he covered it with a tarp for the rest of the fall.  And winter.

And there it sat until about a month ago, when I realized I was going to miss the spring planting season as well.  Time to just bite the bullet, even though I had little to no idea what I wanted to put in there.  A friend of mine bought a nursery last year, so I went up and said, "help!".

Never underestimate the power of being clueless.  It took us a couple of hours of laying things out at the nursery, but we came up with a plan.  A low maintenance, deer-resistant mix of flowering and evergreen shrubs and the long shot - a dwarf crape myrtle

When we pulled off the tarp, there was a toad.  JC was standing about a foot from it when Rachel spotted it.  JC kept saying, "where?" because it blended so well with the dirt.

Here's our toad - isn't he lovely?  I felt bad disturbing him.

We have a butterfly bush, a dwarf blue spruce, a low-growing evergreen called "Blue Pacific" and at the end is the Crape Myrtle.  There's another blue spruce and blue pacific to the left, making for nice symmetry.  Except for the Crape Myrtle.

Unfortunately, something has been eating the Crape Myrtle.  It's looking a little better but I'm thinking of getting some hardware cloth and making an enclosure around it.  It could be deer, rabbits, or even the chipmuncks, I guess.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Little Bit of Culture

We didn't go camping for Memorial Day Weekend.  Ever since JC joined marching band, he's had to march in the Memorial Day parade in our town (an event so large and well-attended that when I posted about it on Facebook, a friend commented, "We have a Memorial Day parade?").

Since we couldn't camp, we needed to do something besides hang out in the house.  We chose the Grounds for Sculpture.  Rachel and JC had been there on school field trips, and John's parents went last summer, but the rest of us had never been.

If you live anywhere nearby?  Go.

The kids loved it.  We loved it.  We had great weather until about 4pm, when the wind picked up and the sky got dark, and we ran for the car.  30 more seconds and we would have stayed mostly dry.  We didn't get to do the whole park so I think we'll take my mom down there next week when she comes.

I think Rachel is striking a particularly sculptural pose in this picture.

I liked "King Lear" - he was very tortured.

I believe this one was titled something like "Sleep".

I'd say this was the wierdest one we saw, but I'm not sure that's actually true. 
It's called "Henry Moore in a Sheep Meadow".  And it is.  Sorry about the shadows.

Bring a hat and/or sunscreen, there isn't a lot of shade in much of the park.  We didn't check out the food available so I can't tell you if it was reasonably priced (probably not) and I don't think you can bring your own, so plan accordingly.  But it was really neat and something the kids actually all enjoyed.  A miracle!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Finally, some progress

The last few weeks of school were slightly crazier than usual this year, but we are finally in summer vacation mode - evidenced by the fact that I was able to sleep past 7 for the first time since school let out.  It always takes me a couple of days to reset the internal clock.

I have made some progress on the fish print.  Not as much as hoped - I started over with a new block, and did much better on registration this time.  But I still have one more layer of color to print.

Currently, the block looks like this:

Next, I will carve away everything I want to keep black, and then print with blue ink.  That's part of why it's been taking so long - I need to let the top layer of ink dry thoroughly or I don't get a pure color (see the yellow layer above).  Here's hoping I get good coverage!