Big Blue Bottles

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On the return route home from our Mother’s Day drive to Cathlamet and Puget Island last weekend, we stopped at an Antique Shop we have bypassed on our several trips south.  The house and location was a dairy farm, per the owner, and now that they are not farming, they rearranged the space into a home-owned antique shop.  I got to browse the shop finding several items on my mental ‘must have’ list.  But my mental list and our pocketbook are often not in agreement, so I did what I typically do – fill the shopping cart in my head until it is time to check out.  Then I decide on what item(s) are an absolute must – may not be there when I come back someday.  My pick for today were a set of oversized blue Ball mason jars.  That was a must. And a small extra tidbit purchase was the tea cup and saucer.

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Deersong

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Craft Project; Crocheted Open Weave Mesh Scarf for Spring

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Looking for a light weight spring season type scarf to crochet, I came across pattern for open weave mesh scarf.  First I tried the pattern on some ribbon yarn my mother had brought for me, but I would have needed about two more balls to get the scarf to a long enough length.  The ribbon yarn made up into a neck scarf and that may work well too.  I had some lemon colored light weight acrylic yarn that I used and it gave me the longer length scarf I wanted.  It does crochet up quickly.  I’d like to make a few more of these mesh scarves, which I did as gifts for my two teen granddaughters – fashionable enough, right?

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Colorful Palette of Scarves

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I can’t help it, in my thrifting, when I run across a colorful scarf that appeals to me I just have to add it to my collection.   I don’t wear them very frequently, mostly when I have reason to dress up, ie, going to town, meetings – that sort of thing.  After years of 8-5 employment and dressing for the office, I don’t regret that I don’t have to do the ‘morning routine’ each and every morning any more, but I do miss career dressing sometimes.  Scarves work well for career dress up.

This is not the full collection, nor are all the scarves vintage, but I liked the color palette combination and it is cheerful to wake up to each morning.   I have about 3 more collections that are more vintage.  One includes a Japanese motif pink silk scarf that I just love.

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In the Pink – oil painting in vintage setting

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My most recent oil painting drying in the kitchen.  I didn’t name the painting ‘in the pink’, although it does have pink tones in the sky and water.  But sitting on my pink formica table with chrome pink chairs, ‘in the pink’ seems to fit for this photograph.  The oversized Ball blue mason jars in the background were a find from antique shop a week earlier.  The card is artwork note card my stepdaughter created and send me for Mother’s Day.

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Can we ‘make’ it?

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Don Delillo’s White Noise.

“Here we are… knowing all these great things after centuries of progress but what can we do…? Can we make a refrigerator? Can we even explain how it works? What is electricity? What is light?… Name one thing you could make.” from blog post at fair companies

Sustainable living continues to intrigue me on many levels. As I am sure I have said before in one of my blogs somewhere, the term has been upcycled over time encompassing everything from waste not want not thriftiness, frugal cost saving, simple and/or meaningful living, do it yourself, homesteading, living off the grid, recycling, green or eco-living, but whatever it might mean to you, I have a stronger sense of what it has meant and means to me.

A few years back I set upon myself the task of learning to do more that would equate to what is today’s term of sustainable living by trying to teach myself more of the old homemaker skills that seem to elude my grasp. It was both fun and challenging and I learned some few new skills, but not nearly enough to survive if the way of life as we know it does not sustain.

I keep thinking I will blog about it, make a website collection about it and I do go about getting projects started but fall seriously short of goal. Enough years have elapsed with the internet now that there are many such blogs, websites, groups, forums, social networks that cover sustainable living far more comprehensively than my meager collection efforts.

So what is the point of this blog entry? I have One Note which is a great piece of Microsoft software that works like several expanding file folders. For the most part that is where I keep my collections. There is no need to blog it as a means to harvest or collect information intended for my personal use. Blogging then has changed shape for me as blogging is a sharing of information enterprise, and I am not sure what I have to share that hasn’t been shared somewhere else by someone else.

I’ve seen a number of blogs that serve as collections of source links pointing to other peoples accomplishments. I could perhaps do that as well, and find I am likely unwilling to devote the time to keeping such a blog updated regularly, nor spending great amounts of time searching out the internet. So this blog will be a bit more random and irregular in it’s purpose, theme and what catches my interest to share. Mostly though, it still feels to me like the overarching theme for me is what amounts to sustainable living – on several fronts.

Having taken all my blogs and integrated them into one, I find I have far too many category tags for the tags to be functional. Yet I am unwilling to spend the time to condense the category tags for each blog post into more functional categorization. Wishing any interested reader well in trying to sort through the too lengthy list of tags, but I sure wouldn’t blame you if you gave up after seeing the list.

Deersong

Law of the Garbage Truck

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One day I hopped in a taxi and we took off for the airport. We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a black car jumped out of the parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded, and missed the other car by just inches! The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was really friendly. So I asked, “Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the Hospital!”

This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, “The Law of the Garbage Truck.” He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they’ll dump it on you. Don’t take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Don’t take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the streets.

The bottom line is that happy people do not let garbage trucks take over their day. Life is ten percent what you make it and ninety percent how you take it! Have a blessed, garbage-free day!

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Deersong

The end of an era – Monkey Puzzle Tree is down

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(photo of our home is among the featured illustrations in ‘Back Roads of Washington‘, 1992, drawn by illustrator, Earl Thollander)

Saga of our 90 year old Chilean Monkey Puzzle Tree ( Araucaria araucana ) comes to a close. The tree was planted in the front yard of our house, we are given to understand, some 90 years before we ever arrived on the scene. When we bought the house, the tree looked ragged along the lower branches, and the previous home owner told us it was not unusual for this species of tree to look like that when they reached these mature ages. He told us the story of how the species of tree came to be planted in Bay Center, Washington as it is not native to the area, although the climate is conducive to nurturing this species.

When our house was built in 1892, by a barge builder, the house was given to the daughter and her husband – the Bochaus. In those early 1900’s there was ship travel on our Willapa Bay and the Willapa River. The ships might harbor in Bay Center and spend a day or night as guests of local residents. Mrs. Bochau would entertain the ship captains in her home and one of the ship captains (Capt. Cook, I believe) gifted her one of the seedlings of the Chilean Monkey Puzzle Tree he had as cargo on his ship.

The tree grew successfully through their lifetime, and on into the life spans of the next two owners of the house. By the time we came along to to buy the house in November 2002, the tree was well into it’s maturity. However, these are prehistoric trees and have an incredible lifespan, living well past 100 years. The tree was not beyond it’s years, but it did succumb to some infection and it began dying from within.

The first year, we enjoyed the giant tree with it’s giant limbs and it swayed gently in the heavy windstorms. It was well rooted and not likely to fall over even with the highest winds. The first spring, I learned how prickly are the ‘leaves’ if you can call them that on the branches, as I did the yard spring cleaning. As the lower limbs lost their green, I asked a neighbor to cut off the lower limbs in hopes we could save the tree. It seemed to me the logical, compassion, caring and nurturing thing to do to try to save the tree. I neglected to consult my husband on my decision and that was one of the few times I have seen him livid. He was ‘not ready’ for the mangling of that great gracious tree, no matter that it had dying lower limbs.

Over the years the tree continued to die from within, turning browner and browner with each passing year until there was nothing left of green on the tree limbs even at the pinnacle of it’s height. But it continued to stand, testament to the community of it’s long history in Bay Center. I pointed out to my husband that there was nothing green left on the tree and it had indeed passed into that place where trees are no longer among the living. He would not be convinced easily. He had been following for a few years the attempt of a new branch shoot trying to grow and what was left at the tip top of the tree that was still green. He would not agree to the reality that the tree was no longer healthy or even living.

When the limbs became dry enough to begin to break off, I grew concerned that one could fall on someone passing beneath and insisted the tree come down. Our neighbor, who has some experience with bringing down trees agreed to take it down. He was able to get all the limbs cut off and the top of the tree when there was an accident kickback with the chainsaw. The kickback went across the top of his hand, and we are all blessed that it grazed his hand with no damage to the nerves or connecting tissue. My husband rushed him to hospital where they attended to his hand, but it did cost him some work on the fishing boats during his time of recovery. He has said he would come finish taking the tree all the way down, but a few years have passed and he has not taken it down. I can completely understand his reluctance! Nor did I really want him to take on the challenge as the county power lines create a tripod quite close to the top of the tree.

I explored having the tree made into a totem pole, asking the person who made the totem pole for our neighbor down the street if he could make one from the remains of the tree. He said the wood is too soft and if he made a totem, the features would split with the wood, ie, the eyes or nose might split causing a caricature image — not very totem like. So for a couple of years the trunk of the tree has been standing, withstanding our powerful Storm 2007 winds of 140 – 160 mph.

Another neighbor thought perhaps to use the wood from the tree to make unusual wooden crafts as it is a desired wood for such projects. We agreed if he could take it down, he could use the wood. He came, he saw the power line obstacles and changed his mind about taking it down. He suggested that the county might be willing to take it down.

Last week as I was leaving the community heading to town, I saw the county people doing some roadside tree cutting and stopped to inquire if they could take down my trunk of a tree. He said he couldn’t do it today as they had full schedule but would come back, to which I said no hurry, the tree will continue to stand. Surprised to find a work crew from the county in front of my house today, he kept his word and did come back to take down our tree.

It was fascinating to watch as with their power equipment and trucks they were able to stabilize the tree while someone else using chainsaw cut through the lower trunk. The truck with the stabilizing equipment held the tree steady, lifted it and gently swung it to the side of our road, laying it down gently.

She lies there in less than all her glory now, having been stripped of her limbs and foliage, a tall trunk of a tree that used to be and is no more. Good bye dear Monkey Puzzle Tree, we did not get to enjoy your heyday and were there at the time of your demise, but we truly respect your tremendous history.

Deersong