Back Forty, Coronavirus Chronicles, critters, Upcycling, weaving

Mindless weaving

This morning I got up at the usual time to feed the cats. They are insufferable now that they are getting canned food. Odd, because they would not touch it for a very long time. I guess it is a texture thing, because Pablocito turns his nose up at the formerly loved dry food that I have ground up with a blender in case Diego decides that is what he wants.

Then I went back to bed, slept hard, and when I awoke I was shocked to see that it was afternoon. I guess I needed it.

I don’t watch a lot of TV or movies or videos – I don’t know why. It just doesn’t appeal to me after an hour at most. Reading books is much more my thing. It’s been that way since I was a child. I don’t remember ever not being able to read – according to my family I shocked them as a toddler when I picked up a newspaper and started reading out loud to them. When the library bookmobile came to my little community every two weeks, the librarians had a hard time stocking enough books for me that I had not read. I would finish my stack within a week. So I read the World Book encyclopedia and the classics we had at home over and over again. I especially loved Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. My mother easily got me to whitewash our fence by referencing Tom Sawyer.

You’d think that I’d be smarter, but I guess I burned out a lot of those brain cells from age 15 to 40, when I was self-medicating for anxiety and depression.

Anyway, I need something to do with my hands while watching TV and I haven’t been feeling the love for what I normally do, which was stitch or crochet. Last night I suddenly realized what I could do with all these cotton warps that are going to go to waste when I cut my abandoned project off the loom. I set my “new” rigid heddle loom on a table in front of the TV that I had warped for a Saori style workshop and started weaving washcloths and dishcloths.

I got through two episodes of “Better Call Saul!” My favorite show.

Sandy keeps recommending shows to me, but he really loves horror and war movies. I can’t go there, too prone to nightmares. I guess I will finish “Star Trek: Picard,” then subscribe to HBO again so I can watch Westworld’s new season.

We are enjoying front porch sitting and listening to the family next door with their five year old son. He is so smart and so cute. They play charades on their porch every evening.

Tromboncino squash seeds started coming up today.

Squirrels were digging in my planters on the wall next to the steps so I stuck plastic forks and jagged pieces of plastic that I cut from a sour cream container. I don’t mind sharing some with the critters, but there aren’t any nuts buried there, gang.

Diego is doing okay. He follows me from room to room. Anyone who thinks all cats are aloof never met my spoiled kitties. I had laid off the pain injections but I might give him one when he is asleep.

More gardening, Slow Food

Gardening documentation

Hey, there are few pick-me-ups better than harvesting food that you planted yourself. I forgot that I had planted Rouge D’Hiver lettuce (a good winter lettuce variety) at the UNCG community garden plot in November. I haven’t been back until today because of depression and physical pain. I didn’t take my camera because it needed a charge, but look what I found, and a lot of it! Enough that it needed thinning badly so I pulled up whole plants and gave a couple to my new next-door neighbor.

I need to jot down what I planted or I will surely forget. I set up my wire frames in the plot where the bean poles were last year (thanks, UNCG student garden club for cleaning that up for me!) Down the middle I planted Purple Trionfo Violetto pole beans from Pinetree. These are five years old so we’ll see if they germinate. On both long sides of the plot, Green Arrow shelling peas from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. These are three years old. On each short end, Rainbow Swiss chard, also three years old from SESE. Along the edges, Scarlet Nantes carrots, again three years old from SESE. Apparently I got a little out of control buying seeds in 2017. 2019 borage seeds from Pinetree on the side of the lettuce patch where the fire ants live. :O

When I go back, I’ll put some newspaper and new soil over a small patch next to the lettuce and fertilize the whole thing with some organic stuff I have around here somewhere.

Time for lunch, yum!

Back Forty, coffee pot posts, collage, Coronavirus Chronicles, Reading

Saturday morning coffee pot post

I was up at the usual time this morning because the cats think that they are being starved.

Yesterday was a busy work from home day because I’m trying to get as much as done possible “just in case.” My expectation is that next week is going to be very busy for me because of work stuff that I can’t really talk about yet. Gah!

Last night I got a bad headache and sore throat and felt slightly feverish, then of course I went into an anxiety attack. This morning I feel fine. It’s hard not knowing what is allergies, hot flashes, anxiety chest pressure, and what is not. I keep reminding myself that historically I have a difficult time with all of the above this time of year anyway.

I finished “Forever Amber” and I am having a hard time deciding what to read next. On my Kindle I have a lot of books, including the “Patternist” fantasy series by Octavia Butler. I checked out “The Secret Chord” by Geraldine Brooks from the online library (Overdrive app) and I think that is the only one of hers that I have not read, so I’ll probably pick that one. I don’t want to read my Irish collection now because it will make me sad. In hard copy, I have so many to choose from, but I think that I’ll try “The Tiger’s Wife” by Tea Obreht.

The governor finally issued a stay-at-home order for the entire state beginning Monday and lasting through April. I fully support it. It will be the first Easter in a long time that I haven’t gone to Lake Waccamaw. My sister and brother-in-law decided to stay there instead of their home in Chapel Hill. The hospital near the lake is crap, and I thought that maybe they would stay in the Triangle to be near the great hospitals there, since my brother-in-law has major health issues. Their reasoning was that they would be less exposed to the virus at the lake, and their social circle is much tighter there, so I get that. Plus, if they run out of food they can fish or throw a gator tail on the grill. (Just kidding about the gator.)

Crystal had another live workshop on Facebook yesterday and we did three five minute 4×4 collages. We could add contrast to one of the neutral ones, and the other neutral one we are supposed to keep for the next lesson. I am pleased with these and they were so much fun to let intuition rule and not stop to analyze the design. I want to do more of these exercises on my own.

I think that I am going to have to give up this weaving project in which I am tying on a new warp. It’s good that I stopped and tested how easy it would be to pull the knots through the reed. It will be a terrible mess and even though I think that it is doable, I don’t need the aggravation right now. I am going to warp up something simpler and smaller on the horizontal floor loom, and maybe move the Shannock tapestry loom onto the front porch and see how far I get on “Cathedral” this year.

Ah, there is so much art stuff that I could do!

Diego is doing fine as far as I can tell. He is not happy with the pain injections any more and he knows what I’m up to when I lift that skin flap on his shoulders. It’s nice to have him at my side in the “office.”

Lots of different peppers are emerging now, along with a few cucumbers. This grow light might end up being worth it. I had been afraid that the cats would mess it all up but they have not been interested at all. I got an email from UNCG saying that it was okay to go to the UNCG garden plots as long as we stayed far apart from each other and there were only two or three people there. I’ve never seen more than one other person there at the same time as me, so I think that I will go down there and plant some green beans. It is supposed to get up to 85 degrees today!

collage, Coronavirus Chronicles, critters

Week one working from home – check

Although, honestly, I am surprised that it is Thursday. Feels like Tuesday. I guess that is because I haven’t had a lot of work to do. I have cooked a lot more, and Diego had major dental surgery on Tuesday so needs feline nursing care. I’ve done it so much by now with Squirt, Jazz, Theo, Guido, and Lucy that it feels pretty easy.

I decided that doing more than one online workshop at a time is too much for my monkey mind, and I’ve spent most of my time reading and playing games and cat nursing. Not great, but it has kept me from freaking out. Tying the new warp onto the loom a couple of inches at a time is good activity too. I can listen to music or audio but still be able to concentrate just enough to make sure those weaver’s knots will hold under pressure. I chose the workshop that Crystal Neubauer is doing live on Facebook for now, because it is closest to what I’m already doing with collage, and I love her work and her book, The Art of Expressive Collage. Most importantly, she and I share the same kind of art philosophy.

Here is a photo of the 5-minute collage I did in her live workshop yesterday (it might have taken 6 or 7 minutes, shhh). I’m going to try to do a few more tonight. I’ve also been slapping some gesso on junk mail pages so that is the background underneath.

Art journaling. Well. I don’t know. A lot of my favorite pens are dried out so I ordered some more from Jet Pens today. Maybe that will motivate me to write more. I received my PVA glue from Amazon yesterday, so I’m good for a while with that. We have LOTS of other supplies.

Diego is recovering well. I can’t imagine the kind of pain he must have been in, and I regret that I waited as long as I did to get him scheduled for the dental appointment. He had terrible abscesses and rot. Six teeth removed and a bone graft. The surgery took twice as long as expected. It makes me wonder what Pablocito’s mouth is like.

I am giving him opioid pain injections three times a day and he got his final oral medication this morning. Fortunately they were able to give him a long lasting antibiotic injection the day of the surgery. I would have hated to struggle with him to get oral meds down a mouth full of sutures. Luckily he is eating just fine and not throwing it up. I have to get to the store to pick up more canned cat food. They hate the prescription canned cat food I ordered from Chewy. Of course they loved it until I ordered a whole case of it. I have tried to stretch it out by putting it under the sensitive stomach canned food I bought from PetSmart. They love that, and if I can get them going, they will continue to eat the food on the bottom.

Guilford County is on a stay-at-home order from tomorrow at 5 until April 15. It seems like you can go out to do anything that is necessary so it’s not an onerous restriction. We are trying to limit ourselves to our house and yard. I tried out the online shopping and curbside service that volunteers are doing at Deep Root Market on Tuesday. It works pretty well. Any glitches were because I was feeling frantic about Diego that day and couldn’t think straight.

It means that I will be working from home for a very long time. I don’t like it as much as I thought I might. The Internet here is so slow. The laptop is not ergonomic like my office is set up.

It’s been chilly and rainy for the last few days, so no yard work. The weekend forecast is beautiful, so I will get out and plant peas, etc. Some of the hot pepper mix seedlings are coming up under the grow light. I love the surprise of these pepper mixes.

I have a Zoom meeting at 11 so signing off here. New world and all that.

art, Back Forty, coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, weaving

Sunday morning coffee pot post

I am spending a few minutes at a time tying on a new warp. Maybe I will get these curtains finished before the end of the year!

Looking back to yesterday. I did garden clean up, threw down some fertilizer, and put in a small area to plant peas with metal hoops and the screen fabric I saved from when we took down the gazebo roof and screening. Inside I planted Zephyr squash, tromboncino squash, and some kind of cucumber seed that I got at a seed swap and no longer know what it is. One luffa gourd seed. Gosh, maybe I should be crazy and plant two, ya think? They might come in handier than I expect one day.

One thing about being a papermaker is that I can always make my own damn toilet paper, thank you very much.

Since I will be doing a lot of collage, I inventoried and found that the only thing I am short on is PVA glue so I ordered that from Amazon. As long as I was doing that I ordered some Equal Exchange hot cocoa mix and coffee beans.

My main goal today is to get some more yard/garden work done, and prepare for some online classes. I need some easy projects to pick up between phone calls and emails and breaks from work that don’t require a lot of brain power too, so I’ll put together some stitching projects.

I have a Coronavirus Chronicles art journal going, from a book I made in a class with Traci Bunkers eleven years ago. I have a bunch of postcard sized junk mail and I’m going to sand and gesso them for a junk mail journal and collage.

I got out the Nature Journal I did in Roxanne Stout’s Mixed Media Nature Journaling class from Art-is-You Petaluma 2014 and found that it is mostly done as a photo and sketch album of the trip, with many photos from Cornerstone Gardens in Sonoma, California. I can do backgrounds for these pages since many of the photos are barely attached and sew in the photos. Fun!

Roxanne is offering this workshop free online (without the trip to Cornerstone Gardens, of course) on her website under workshops. Check out all her workshops. I love her style.

Other free art stuff: as always, Jude Hill’s web site is a treasure box. Please send her a donation.

Karen Abend is offering a free workshop called Sketchbook Revival that begins on Wednesday.

Many art communities are revving up on Facebook. Seth Apter and Crystal Neubauer are two that I love for collage and mixed media. Oh gosh, I cannot possibly name all the inspiring artists on the web and Facebook.

Of course there are literally thousands of online classes available for a fee. Support your artist teacher community at a time when they are reeling from their workshops being canceled. Personally, I don’t like learning through video for some reason. I don’t even like watching movies and TV that much for very long. I much prefer books. But I have taken quite a few classes online and I’ve learned a lot and had some fun. I just take a whole lot longer to finish them.

My next-door neighbors got home last night from Thailand. Whew! I was worried about them, and I still am considering that they just flew halfway across the world in airplanes. It’s good to have a child growing up on the street again.

Here is Pablocito to say that every little thing is gonna be all right.