Monday, August 31, 2015

Dog Mountain

A couple of weekends ago we made an excursion to St. Johnsbury for the day. There were eight of us crammed into Kathy's van.  We had planned the trip because none of us had ever been to the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium, but we made a short side trip to Dog Mountain since it was right there.  This blog post is just for Dog Mountain - I'll get to the Museum next time around.

I think the reason why I've had such trouble getting this post done is because I get caught up in the sadness of the story.  I had heard about Dog Mountain, vaguely, ages ago but it wasn't until three months ago that I heard the whole story.  I was driving to the grocery store, listening to All Things Considered on NPR, and I heard them mention Vermont.  So I started paying attention.  I ended up sitting in the parking lot of Price Chopper, crying my eyes out.  Please take twelve minutes and follow this link and listen to the story.  Don't read it - listen to it.  I'll wait here.


There was no dog party happening on the Saturday we went, but there were dogs running around. One was some kind of doodle named Walter and other people who drove up brought their dogs. Roxie would love it.  I will make another trip in October and take her - she may not appreciate the gorgeous view or the chapel, but she will love to run around and make new friends.

Everything in the gallery was Stephen's artwork.  Everything.  Including the sink in the bathroom, which I should have photographed because the faucet was shaped like a dog - the water came out of his mouth when you pulled his tail.

(UPDATE:  Here's an action shot Ann took of the faucet.  The bathroom was very popular.  Note the paper towel holder and the backsplash.)

Then we went into the chapel.

Unbelievably powerful.  Those are all notes and pictures people have left honoring their pets. Thousands of them.  Some people even left boxes with ashes.  It was crazy crazy beautiful and sad and inspiring.  Kathy put up a note for Spunky, Schroeder and Reuben.  Abby and I put notes for Zack and Ubu.

There need to be more Dog Mountains and Dog Chapels in the world.  There just do.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Where's Waldo?

I still haven't messed around with my photos from last weekend's field trip, but here is a quickie from today's adventure.  My neighbor Ron stopped by to see if Roxie and I wanted to take a quick drive down to Joe's Pond.  The one here in Morrisville, not the big one in Danville, although they are both named for the same Joe.  Ron and Judy conserved this property in 2005 with the Stowe Land Trust. We drove around the edge of a hay field, traipsed through the woods and ended up at the pond.

That's my "Where's Waldo" picture.  Can you see her?  For someone who is not normally a water lover, she sure loves muck.

Back through the woods and an enthusiastic roll around in the grass.  Life is good.

Friday, August 21, 2015


I'm going to get a little ahead of myself here and dive right in to a few bits of random nonsense. Mom and I saw this lovely mushroom in my yard last weekend:

Perfect timing for a sighting because by the next day it was losing color and starting to deflate.  It was really pretty.  Which means it's probably poisonous.  Or something from Mario Bros.  I told mom it reminded me of the Tiddlywinks game we had as kids.  The container of our game was a plastic mushroom, which looked absolutely nothing like this mushroom.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with Tiddlywinks, in a nutshell you flick a squidger across a wink aiming for the pot while also squopping your opponents' winks to prevent them from potting.

I know, it sounds complicated.  But it's true.  Check Wikipedia - that's what I did.

Anyway, if I am remembering correctly, our game looked like this one that I just found on eBay:

You can see why the yellow mushroom made me immediately think of Tiddlywinks.  Right?  Heh heh.  I wonder whatever happened to that game.

But I digress.

There have been a few Morning Glory sightings this week as well.

Up until today they had decided to bloom one at a time.  This morning I saw about ten out there.

This week we had summer, all at once, and it has been hot and swampy.  Really hot.  So hot I took the hose out for the first time in forever and let Roxie try to catch the water.  She was soaked (we were both soaked) after five minutes.  I figured it was a good way to cool her down, and she was so happy she took off across my yard and threw herself sideways onto the grass at a full run.  It was like she was sliding into third.  She landed on one of her six foot long sticks and rolled around on that like a mad dog - I wish I could have video taped the whole thing.  She hasn't smiled that big since Liam was here throwing the ball for her:

Okay, in the interest of full disclosure I just took this picture over the weekend.  I wouldn't want you to think she's a sad dog all the time.  Today she helped my neighbor cut down some trees in the woods behind my house and she came prancing back all proud of herself with another six foot long stick.

But getting back to the flowers, the Lucifer have been so so so pretty this year:

Oh wait, that's still poodle.  Try again:

I only had one of these buggers bloom last summer but this year they are all over.  It might be my favorite of everything that was pre-planted here.

Oh, hey, speaking of things that were pre-planted here, I found THIS two days ago:

Seriously?  Yes.  A massive wad of plastic from right THERE, just past the edge of the grass.  Poodle is standing next to it for scale.  The whole pile filled a contractor garbage bag.  Deja vu all over again.  In the same spot I also found part of a plastic multi-colored something-or-other and a deflated child's rubber bouncy ball thing with a handle on top.  The kind you sit on and use to bounce around. Yellow.  With a blue handle.

I haven't even mentioned the excavation Evan started with his metal detector that turned into a wide-ranging forage down the hillside towards the creek.  So far the spoils of that adventure include fifty zillion nails and packs of two-inch long staples, a decorative cat missing an ear, a wee small child's boot, nine dog bones (NINE!), another tire, a tire iron for all those tires and a carpet sweeper.  Still no dead body.  Still no stash of gold coins.  But we're getting closer to finding the complete car that I'm convinced is buried out back - I found the glove compartment door, then mom and I found the steering wheel.

One last note for today.  This has been a bad week to decide I want to paint every day - 90 degree weather with 80% humidity is not conducive to paint and varnish actually drying.  But I've finished another word piece, and if all goes according to plan (fingers crossed) I will have another tree piece sometime soon.  I'm going to paint a bunch of words for my booth at the fall craft show in October, and I've decided some words deserve to be painted more than once.  So here's a crappy picture of one of those words:

It's a good lesson for me, especially when I'm looking around at the piles of garbage we're collecting from all over my property.  The painting is called "Sink or Swim."  With those two choices, I will always choose to swim.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Perseids (or, as I like to call them, Comet Poop)

Well, the day started out pretty okay.  Stuff happened, then more stuff happened.  It was as normal a day as can be when you are two days into confirmation your boss is selling his business and things may become wonky for a while.

Then I had a sad moment.

It wasn't until 9pm that I realized today is National Middle Child Day.  Dang it.  All those hours I could have been celebrating.  There was probably a parade, and I missed it.

Then things went to shit.

If I've told them once, I've told them a thousand times.  GIGANTIC SPIDERS ARE NOT ALLOWED INSIDE MY HOUSE!  If I see them outside -- I try to live and let live.  But inside?  No way, no how.  We had an epic battle to the death and adrenaline is still coursing through my entire body.  I already had one adrenaline-filled moment this evening when I watched a little video clip my cousin posted on facebook.  Ding dang it, I wish I were a scotch drinker.  And that I had some good scotch.  All I have here is ancient amaretto, and that's not going to get the job done.

Okay.  Deep breath.  Moving on.

Remember that wee green canvas panel?  It ended up like this:

Last night I put on my painting apron again -

- and finished a panel I started ages ago.  It was at the "oh that background is really cool and anything I do from here on out could totally wreck it" stage.  Here's a piece of it:

I added a little of this:

And here's the final product:

I think I will name it "Front and Center."  I also started another painting last night that I finished today.  It is a combo platter of acrylic paint and oil pastels so I need to spray varnish it before I varnish it for real.  Plus I guess I should wait for the paint to dry....

Last Friday I spent the big bucks ($3.00 minus a 55% off coupon) and bought a new glue gun.  Used it tonight but don't have anything to show for it yet.  These things take time.  I got distracted by epic battles.  My weapon of choice was a can of Raid, and my opponent tried to take refuge behind an apron I have hanging in my laundry "room."  Normally I probably would have just burned the apron, but it belonged to my friend Viki who passed away about a month after my dad died.  So now I'm going outside to watch meteors while I wait for the washing machine to finish.  This is the first time I've ever turned the water temperature dial to hot.

Living on the edge, that's me.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Comedy and Tragedy

So having now posted loads of photos of the gorgeous gardens up the road, I look around at my yard and can't decide if I should laugh or cry.  I've got flowers, sure, but they are sporadic and they all look like they were designed by Dr. Seuss.  There's the bee balm:

And the Lucifer:

I don't know what the plants are below the Lucifer but they are very clever.  They look like a soft, fluffy blanket:

A slight change in the depth of field and you can see the black-eyed Susans are finally blooming.  Those aren't Suessical, but the pink flamingos are:

The outhouse flowers are taller than I am.  They look like rockets:

There need to me more photos of flora butts:

And although Leila up at Crossview Gardens told me what this dude is, I forget already:

More fuzzy bits.  Leila has trees of this - I've only got wee shrubs:

Here's something that happened the other day:

Those scrubby lilac trees are breathing a big sigh of relief.  Maybe they will explode next year.

Inside, I'm working on a couple of things:

Not at all sure where that little green panel is going.  It may not even be green when I finish with it.  I needed to fling some paint around and those were the first colors I grabbed.

Roxie was working on something too:

She finished.  I didn't.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Crossview Gardens, Round Two

And here is what it looks like up at Crossview Gardens a week later.  This time I was smart enough to take some pictures that give a better sense of what the whole place looks like.  And remember that giant yellow lily that hadn't bloomed yet - the one that looked like a banana?  It's called Big Brother.  Check it in the first picture.

I wasn't going to interrupt the photo montage with words, but that picture up there is an apple tree.  See how weird the branches are, and how the apples grow in lines up each branch?  Craziness.

Kathy asked what they do at the end of the season, if they cut everything down to the ground.  The answer was yes.  One plant at a time.  With a bread knife.

Meanwhile, back at my house....