Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Heading for Merlefest

We are going to Merlefest in North Wilkesboro for all four days.  It is mostly bluegrass, but also country and some other popular music. Thursday night starts it all off with Randy Travis and the Zac Brown Band!  Of course we are looking forward to seeing Doc Watson, a national treasure.  One of our favorite groups from last year was The Kruger Brothers, and they will be there again.  Other notables include Lyle Lovett, Del McCoury, and Robert Plant.

Doc Watson

Next Monday I am supposed to go for a felting class with an artist in Raleigh along with my art bee. 

Lots going on...I'll check back in a few days with lots of pictures.  Enjoy the rest of your week and weekend!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Spring Walk

Are any of you still experiencing the throes of winter?  Any Easter snow to report?  It has been very hot here in Wake Forest, NC, and everything's blooming.

Here is my first rose, an old-fashioned variety with a French woman's name that I don't recall.  It grows up along the rail of our back deck.

We walked around the neighborhood today.  Lots of other roses were blooming.  All the new houses in the Heritage section have the same pink rose bush by their mailboxes.  I think it is called a non-stop rose.

The Forgotten Pond was looking pretty, with only one goose to grace the picture.

On the street near the pond, I spotted this very muddy turtle by the curb.  I'm pretty sure it is a snapping turtle, because they have jagged edges on the back of their shells.  I decided I would try to move him off the street if he was still there on the return trip.  He wasn't.  (Relief!  Have you heard the folk legend that if a snapping turtle bites you, he won't let go until it thunders?)

Here is another unusual site on this morning's walk.  I think the firemen might have been practicing with a new aerial truck.  Or they wanted a coffee break with a view.  They were on a new street with just a few houses that are occupied.

One reason I have been leaving the neighborhood lately for our morning walks is because of all the new construction.  The recession is not affecting the growth north of Raleigh.

This is what the roads look like when they are working on a new house.  It's much nicer to walk on the greenway.

This is the entrance to the Heritage neighborhood across Rogers Road from my street.  I saw them building one of those stone columns one day.  All cinder block with a stone facade.

For some reason, the developers think every section of Heritage must have its own unique name.  I think they may be running out of ideas soon.

Back at Chez McBrayer, I am pleased with the restful look of our back yard.  Nothing like azalea time!

Also in full bloom are the weigelas.  This pink one has gotten out of hand.  Can you see a little red dog heading around it on the right? 

The giant green shrub in front of the house is a viburnum that has also outgrown its location.  Full sun makes flowering shrubs very happy.

I wish I had chosen a red weigela instead of the pale pink.  This is our neighbor's along their white fence.

Our mock orange is another one that has gotten extremely tall.  It has only a few blossoms open so far.

Here is the viburnum I planted on our last dog, Maggy's grave in the back yard near the woods.

Near it are the two huge hydrangeas that are planted next to our collie, Sassy's grave.  She was about eleven when we moved to this house, and only lived about another year or two.  We got Maggy about three days after losing Sassy to cancer.

The seeds I planted last week are already coming up in the cutting garden.

I have not been doing much in the way of sewing or art in the past week.  We bought a new king-size bed for our bedroom, and moved our old one to a guest bedroom.  That has meant getting rid of a lot of unwanted furniture and STUFF.  I guess every once in a while it is good to clear out things you no longer need.  I am filling up the back of the Subaru with bags of items for Goodwill.  I've gotten my clothing drawers cleaned out and need to do my closet next.

I'd rather be quilting!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Mountain Weekend

We headed to our mountain place on Friday to assess the damage from the seven inches of torrential rain last weekend.  The bridge over the creek was still there, although there were some large holes where the dirt and gravel had washed out.  The earthen dam for the pond held on for dear life.

You can see there was severe erosion.  First some large rocks were placed along the edge of the water.

My brother-in-law's uncle had his bulldozer across the street, and spent many hours bringing in more dirt to shore up the dam.

Now the whole area is actually nicer, with a wider dam and more space beside the pond.

There was a change in the creek due to all the water.  This is where the formerly narrow run-off creek enters Peak Creek.  That tree used to be on the bank.

It is getting real pretty up there in Ashe County.  Lots of wildflowers and ferns are coming back.

The dogwoods are blooming in the woods.

I still have lots of daffodils blooming along our driveway and on the hill above the pond.

I checked our bluebird box, and discovered Mama Bluebird sitting on five eggs.

I filled and hung my hummingbird feeders to see if there might be any early arriving hummers.  It took about forty-five seconds for the first hummingbird to arrive!  They were probably wondering what took me so long.

Our oldest nephew, Donnie, came up for the day on Saturday with his family and his two basset hounds, Dixie and Rooster.  They apparently were banished to the dog pen.

I came across two swallowtail butterflies in the process of making little butterflies.

We had some pretty rides around the countryside...

...and a sunset Gator ride to the top.

Kasey totally loves the freedom of running over the hills and galumphing through the creek.

We're going back in a few days for the Merlefest music festival in North Wilkesboro.  We are ready!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Peek at my Zentangle Sketch Book

I have not shown any of my Zentangle doodles in awhile.  Every once in awhile I get out my sketchbook and enjoy a little doodle therapy!  I made a pocket in the front to keep my Alpha Tangle book by Sandy Steen Bartholomew.

Here is a Zentangle version of the Streak of Lightning block!

I've done a couple of Zentangle posies.  I see that this first one has attracted a little red ink on one petal.

This one is just a page of doodles.

This is my Zen version of our mountain cabin.

And a Zen kimono.

There are several free sources of Zentangle doodles.  One is Suzanne McNeil's blog.  She shows one per week, along with the step-outs of how to draw them.  She usually incorporates one of the weekly tangles into a beautiful illustration.

Another is the Zentangle website.

A third is the Enthusiastic Artist blog.

Take a look at a few of these, and give Zentangle a try.  It's kind of addictive!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Spring Time

My brother-in-law is a former dairy farmer.  He plants by old Southern and mountain folklore.  It's time to plant the garden when the oak leaves are the size of  mouse ears.  These oak leaves are more the size of the whole mouse.

The traditional day for planting the garden is Easter Monday.  That is so late this year that I am starting a little early.  I double-dug the bed for my cutting garden yesterday.  This was much easier before I was sixty!  Today I will plant zinnias and marigolds.

My neighborhood is starting to look rather beautiful as the trees fill out and the flowering shrubs are in their glory.

When we moved into our house seventeen years ago, there was not a blade of grass or a single tree in our front yard.  It was nothing but dirt.

We did all our own landscaping.  I am so happy that we dug all those holes and lugged five-gallon buckets of water to the trees to get them started.  When we sit on our front porch, we are screened from the road and the neighbors.

In front of the house I planted an island of shrubs which attract birds and butterflies.  Behind us are many acres of woods and a creek.  It is good being surrounded by nature.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Post-Storm Walk Through the Park

Yesterday, Kasey and I decided to walk through the Mill Bridge Nature Park near our home to see how it fared during last weekend's severe storms.  It did not take long to find some evidence of the damaging winds.

These were easy to step over.  One of the trees was rotten and contained an old bee's nest.

There were trees down throughout the greenway, but no others were on the trails or bridges.

Here is something new...a bench along the trail.  Right behind it are many small trees down.  I'm glad the new structure survived intact.  I wonder if this is another Eagle Scout project.

All the bridges and wooden walkways were intact.

There was a LOT of water rushing over the rocky cascades.

Which, of course, provided a good doggie pool.

I don't think this tire belongs here!  It is at the base of a hill where there was still some run-off water on the path.

The woods have really become more leafy and green since my last walk there.  Here is a red honeysuckle vine in one of the trees.

Back at home, my azaleas are in full bloom.

Once again, I am grateful that our area was spared the damage from the terrible tornadoes on Saturday.