Shut that box

Here’s a new dice game we’ve been enjoying over Google Meet or Zoom:

Shut the Box

Only instead of buying one of the admittedly lovely wooden versions of the game, I just created a pdf file to print out on standard paper in landscape format with large numbers from 1-12 across the top, printed it out and put it in a plastic page protector. As we use the numbers, we cross them off with a white board marker or children’s washable marker and erase after every round to reset for the next one. Between the actual play and toting up of the the scores after each round, the addition never stops in this game. It’s a sly way to get kids to practice their addition facts.

Have fun!

False advertising

This summer we raised Thai Eggplants to use in curries. Specifically Thai Green Curry. We had to raise them because, to paraphrase Oscar Wilde, they are not to be had in any market at any price here in California, in spite of their presence in this photo on the entry door of a local supermarket. Just above the geeen tomato…

Problem solved

Uncle Si had plenty of wisdom to impart but perhaps his best bit was, “Most problems will solve themselves if you just leave them alone.”

Here’s a perfect example. This cart return is possibly the worst piece of engineering I’ve ever seen. As originally designed, the carts would roll right back out every time I tried to put them in since the return was high in the middle and low and open to the parking lot on both sides. Presumably this was to encourage drainage, and if so, that goal was met. I’ve never seen water standing in this structure. However, the PRIMARY goal of keeping carts from rolling willy-nilly around the parking lot was completely unmet by this feat of engineering.

For about 5 years, I would heap disdain on the designer of this useless cart corral each time I shopped here until one magic day I noticed that the asphalt had heaved at the junction with the concrete of the cart return a good 1.5 inches…enough to stop the carts from rolling out! Thus did the problem solve itself. Now I think of Uncle Si and his infinite wisdom every time I shop here and return my cart.

Easy Orchid Centerpiece

  • Just buy Orchids in small pots. 
  • Buy some cloth napkins that coordinate with your event theme or color scheme or make your own out of quilting cotton. You want napkins with a little body. Batiks are a nice complement to orchids.
  •  These I made with a rolled hem using bulky nylon on my serger. They are small for napkins, only 14″ square. I think I was trying to get 3 napkins across the selvedge-to-selvedge width of my fabric. For these small pots they are perfect. 
  • Use rubber bands like they use on broccoli bunches at the grocery store. Start saving now if you’re having a big event. Hope you like broccoli!
  • Place a pot on the center of a napkin, gather the fabric up and around the base of the orchid, stretch the rubber band up and over the pot until it settles around the base of the orchid.
  • Find the corners of the napkin and gently pull and shape them to your satisfaction.

So quick and easy yet festive and fun!

Gone fishing 

  
On a recent Monday, Logan and I strolled down to the water hazard on the golf course to catch fish. Reputedly, there are trophy size bass to be had but all we possessed for catching fish was a repurposed butterfly net. Happily, it was more than adequate for scooping up the teeming gambusia affinis which inhabit the shallows.

Incidentally, we also encountered a Great Blue Heron. 

So on any given Monday, if you can’t reach us, we may just be gone fishing!

Using the old noodle

IMG_0057.JPG
Well, the folks at Golden Grain have upped the ante on sliced bread with their pot-sized spaghetti. Best idea I’ve come across in ages but why did we have to wait so long, always breaking spaghetti in half over the pot of boiling water and having little bits of it end up everywhere while risking a nasty steam burn?
What WILL they think of next?

Who are these people?

female subject ca male subject ca 1850-60

So genealogy has never been my metier, but lately I have become somewhat interested in it.  Pictures like this are apt to do that.  Ever since I was a child I have been fascinated by these photos which floated around in a collection of old family mementos primarily because no one seemed to know who these folks were.  They could be Bidwells (no near relation to the famous General John who had no issue, my Bidwells are descended from John Horace Bidwell, a very distant cousin to the famous Chico scion) from Shasta County California, they could be Clines from Canada, they could be Corbetts from Ireland, they could be Morgans from Wales; when you get back that many generations, the possible permutations begin to boggle the mind and you start to have an appreciation for the concept that the human race is really one big family.  In any case, do your descendants a favor and write on the back of every photo in your house, the date, the location and the names people in it.  I have another collection of old family photos for which this was done and I thank the organized person who attended to this detail.  I think it was my great-grandmother Harriet Teel Cline, otherwise known in the family as “Hat Creek Hattie.”  I’m planning a trip to Hat Creek one day to meet some of my long-lost cousins and see the sights that are depicted and named in these photos: the Pit River, Burney Falls, the towns of Cassel, Hat Creek, and the Millville cemetary where everyone seems to be buried.

It’s good to be back to the blog after a lengthy hiatus.  More postings should come along in short order.

Post and Toss

Or, this why I don’t do sculpture.  Or, why moving is good, bad and ugly.

Sawdust cow

 

This little cow was my first attempt at sculpture in at the tender age of 6.  I remember this being an assignment in first grade and that the sculpting medium was starch and sawdust.  Can that be right?  I also remember my poor little hands cracked and bled from working with the stuff.  How we suffer for our art.

Why my mother saved it and gave it back to me 30 years later is a mystery.  Why I kept it for 20 more years is an even greater mystery.  I assure you it is now where it belongs, in the trash.  Why the cow has a dark shadow on it’s back is not a mystery.  I believed at the time that was what the teacher wanted us to do.  It had something to do with shadows from the sun.  I think I got it backwards and we were supposed to shade the under side of the cows darker because the sun came from above.  Perhaps I was fascinated with the hairs growing out of the teacher’s chin and missed the point of the dark shadows lecture.  Who can say?  I do think it serves well as a reminder that 3-d art is not my strong suit and that letting go of things is healthy.  Letting go of things is healthy.  Letting go of things is healthy.

Oh, did I mention that I moved???  And that’s what I’ve been doing for the past several months?  It’s good to be back.

Tom-ay-to, to-mah-to!

Tomato Harvest 2013

 

This is how you know it’s really summer.  And that once again you have planted far too many tomato plants.  And that you better lay in a supply of bacon.  For all the BLT’s of course!

Tarantula Hawk

Tarantula Hawk

 

Now this is something interesting to find doing what looks like figure skating school figures in your garage.  The circular movement pattern was obviously the result of this poor wasp having lost a leg somehow.  I’d never seen any insect that looked quite like this before so I ran to my California Insects book and discovered it is a Tarantula Hawk.  What a lifestyle this wasp leads!  I hope you followed the link and read the whole gruesome story and that you make a note in the picture of the intact stinger.  Yikes! Give these ladies a wide berth!  (The males can’t really sting but apparently they pretend they can.  Look for the curled antennae…those are the stinging girls!)

My only remaining question is why this lady wasp was frequenting our neck of the woods.  The tarantulas are all at higher (foothill) elevations in this area, AREN’T THEY???  Please say yes.