Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fall is a very nice time of year. I noticed a few years ago that we live in the Monarch butterfly fly zone. For the past couple of weeks I've been watching them move constantly south-west on their way to a particular tree in Mexico. I've noticed that if I mention that they are migrating past us, people give me a deadpan look, like they're wondering if they've just run across an unwashed, evil scientist working on a nefarious destructive device. Oh well, I've always been interested in all things nature - way more than "normal" people.

I enjoyed being a scout leader but hikes with scouts were frustrating, because they clashed so horribly with my inclinations when hiking. I want to hear and see birds, but the scouts are always yelling at each other about something trivial and city-ish, which means you never hear anything, and seldom see wildlife. I like to stop and watch a bug or spider or other critter, but scouts are only interested for about 1/2 of a second before moving on, fairly often right over the top of what I'm trying to show them. I find an owl scat and they think it's disgusting to look at poop. I tell them I see a racoon and if they move really slow and quiet they can see him, too, and they all come rushing and pushing and wonder why it is gone.

Fortunately, I am blessed with exceptional grandchildren who will listen when I have something to tell them about, and will mostly obey my request for calm, slow movement. Of course, the rabbit that lives just outside our door is just too much. I'll tell them to move slowly and very quietly and not get too close, and they do it. For about 5 seconds. Then one moves forward a little and one of the others will rush forward a little more, and the others follow suit and in a flash the rabbit is bounding past the neighbor's house with Sterling right on its tail and little Ginger not far behind.

We had a cold day on Tuesday and the monarchs have all hurried past us, or froze.
Josh and I are planning to go camping tommorrow night and I am looking forward to a very pleasant time. The cool weather is good for discouraging mosquitoes, and for pleasant sleeping. The wild hogs are getting a bit desperate for food, so they're likely to come check out the feeders. My camo trailer is full of cobwebs, but is still intact and a pleasant place to spend a cozy night. Life is grand this time of year.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A few miscellaneous photos

This is our newest neighbor. You have to look closely because his camo is very good. He lives right outside our front door, but he is a good neighbor: quiet, unobtrusive, cute as a button, etc. He was born here and while his siblings all left to see the greater World (or feed them, as the case may be), he stayed right here.

One of the Benac girls had this necklace, which we thought might inspire Nancy.
At one end is a loop made by running both threads through one bead. At the other end is a button with one bead after after each button hole. It is reported to be "cute" and "clever". Chics rule!

Nancy said she had never even seen a photo of Brant, so here is a fresh, hot out of the oven photo of him early this morning.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Nancy said she liked the bracelet displays, which made me happy. So, I called her and asked how she was going to display her necklaces. There was a pause before she admitted that she and Richard had planned to make one out of a paper towel tube.

"Oh! The Humanity! This is just terrible, folks. "

After she also admitted that it wasn't going all that well, I offered to give it a try and this is my attempt to be creative and functional. Notice the upright is our good old Bois D'Arc? In fact, it is the same branch as the necklace displays. Of course it's not as pretty with bark and sapwood still attached, but this was a rush job and I just didn't have time for that. The base is common whitewood, aka soft pine. I'm thinking the base needs a couple of coats of black paint. What do you think? There are 19 pegs, but it wouldn't be too hard to add more.

I will ship it unassembled, but the only assembly required is to screw in a long deck screw from the base into the bottom of the branch.

Bois D'Arc

A couple weeks ago Nancy asked me to make her something on which to display bracelets at a craft show (on Oct. 11). By coincidence, I've been thinking about some Osage Orange trees (aka Bodark, or my fav. Bois D'Arc) out at the piggery farm that were killed a couple summers ago when it was so hot and dry. The wood is nearly impervious to the things that destroy dead wood, and in fact there are 100+ year-old bodark fence posts all around and through that farm and they are still sound and strong. But my interest was as a woodworker. It's a crazy-hard wood, but it turns quite well, and Nancy's request was primarily a turning project, so this is what I did.

The round parts are Osage Orange wood, the bases I made from scraps left over from Roko's cradle. They are about 9" long and the logs lift right off the stands so it will be easy to add/remove bracelets.