Filling My Days By Making Old Habits New Again

There are few pastimes that are as relaxing as drawing. Last week I found four books that had not been bound and a whole pad of watercolor paper that could be cut into folios for two landscape format sketchbooks with lots of blank pages just waiting to be filled. Now they are all ready to go.

The morning walks clear my head so I can think things through. I go by myself because it is early and few people are around. I also go alone to avoid hearing anything but bird song, rippling waters and my own thoughts. Once in awhile I hear myself sighing with relief that it is just us, me thinking and me agreeing that whatever is so.

The walks have been cold. Along the dam a few days ago.

And then the river yesterday and this morning further downstream.

And this tiny surprise along the way.

I treated myself to a skim milk lavender latte at the coffee shop on the way back this morning and opened one of the small journals to practice pen drawing again. This will become easier and better with practice. But it is a start. My old friend, Gwen, and I used to sit and sketch together years ago. She kept it up and I dropped off.  Between her posts and another facebook friend from down under, I am inspired to take it up again. The small book and pen will stay in my purse and I will take the few minutes each time I am in a coffee shop or similar place to just do it.

The turkeys, all fourteen of them have taken to coming back in the afternoons to wander around the front door.

I have made some final decisions on the new house. Do I want to step over a three inch wall into the shower or simply step down three inches to a recessed shower floor? I am stepping down not over. What color shingles do you want on the roof? Does it matter? Yes, you have to choose from over ten possibilities. I chose medium grey. The windows for my house have arrived. This is good news as the ones for another house are still being held up. I asked for exact finished measurements of some interior walls that will determine where furniture goes. The more I figure out here the less I have to ponder over later. I want to spend as little time as possible sitting among boxes and rearranging furniture.

Half of the garage will be used for studio space. Carving and printmaking will be done there but all the papers need a dry interior space. Large flat corrugated cardboard sleeves can be labeled and tucked under the guest room bed. Smaller papers and supplies can fill dresser drawers in that same room. If guests require more than a couple of drawers perhaps they are staying too long.

As for the artwork, I have found which walls most of it will go on in the new house.

I am also thinking that I might even have pale colored walls in the bedrooms and den. I can’t remember the last time there was anything but off-white on my walls. A soft pale sage green in the guest room would be nice with al that pine furniture. My bedroom a pale graphite, the den maybe the same or something like a hot chocolate with extra milk. It will be fun to just look at what is out there in paint colors.

Speaking of fun. This one is very good company!

Til later….

Back to Routines

I took this photo toward my studio at the house while Patrick and I were packing up Lee’s shop tools.

With some wonderful help almost everything was loaded into a trailer or his truck to head north. So many heavy power tools…table saw, planer, router, large stand sander, sand blaster, drill press that belonged to Lee’s uncle, two large tool chests on rollers, and many, many tubs of parts and pieces of even more tools. Then came the wormy chestnut lumber that has been saved in the shed for such a long time waiting for Lee and Patrick to come up with yet another project. What is left in the shop will go back at Christmas in another trailer with furniture that won’t be necessary to stage the showing of the house.

The filters came today for the floor scrubber and vacuum. I put them where they needed to be and the cleaning lady will be surprised tomorrow how well things are working.

I am back on my morning walks. Very cold but got a nice riverwalk in this morning.

The water is way down in the river.

A quick stop at the state liquor store today as I was going to meet friends for lunch.

A single malt compliments of friends in California and a strange little thing that begs to be tried.

Peanut butter whiskey!! Remember when these little sample bottles were only one dollar? Nott now! But I paid my three dollars just to try this concept of flavoring whiskey with peanut butter. What in the world will be next?

Sunsets have been pretty this past week.

And more in the Bird Stories book.

That is about all for now. The trailer made it home to Michigan in eleven hours and is now unpacked.

Til later…..

Tips – This Could Be A Good One

Tip # 1 – catnip helps cats get acquainted.

Tip #2 – Greek yogurt can be substituted for sour cream and when there is not as much butternut squash as the recipe calls for, add a sweet potato. And rosemary looks as good as chives for a garnish.

Tip #3 – chicken tastes like a more moist turkey and paired with the regulars makes a fine Thanksgiving dinner.

Tip #4 – Appreciate the light around you.

Tip #5 – Learn how to sit quietly and enjoy the flavors of a fine cotes-du-Rhone and a new scotch. And think how lucky you are to have friends far away that think you should buy a good scotch, send you a check to pay for it, and ask you to set up a time so you can have the drink together. The best!

Tip # 6 – Accept the fact that it is so cold at the dam and the wind is giving you an ice cream headache. Turn back at less than 500 steps across to take a shot of the Mars-like landscape and get into the car.

Tip #7 – and this is where it gets really good. If you are like me it does not ever occur to look at manuals. The one that lurks in the glove compartment of the car is certainly the most avoided, or so I thought.

Our Hover floor scrubber just quit sucking up the water it so willingly sprayed on the floor. My cleaning lady suggested I ask Patrick to look at it. As suspected – full of “lint”. Packed from one end to the other with years of cat hair. I estimate that every cat we ever owned was somewhere in all the curved, angled, hard to reach areas. So Patrick took it apart carefully remembering which screws went where.

The tip part of this is the tools I used to clean out the hard to reach areas.

The standard toothbrush.


The mushroom cleaning brush was the best for clearing cat hair from the spinning bristles.

And then this! Rosemary stem. Flexible enough to go around corners and sturdy enough to poke away at the stubborn clumps.

So, pleased with our progress on the Hoover, we turned on the Dyson vacuum to assist in the cleanup. Patrick said it whined a bit too much. Well no wonder – same issues! But the filter that I am sure the manual claims should be replaced regularly had completely disintegrated into what we assumed was more packed old cat hair. So we scrubbed the parts remaining.

And they are now out in the sun because deep inside hidden from view was a warning not to put any damp parts back into the vacuum.

While these parts dry I have ordered new filters for both cleaning machines and decided to write this blog. Patrick is now off to the hardware to get a replacement door knob for the door to the garage and more tubs to pack tools from Lee’s shop.

Using the kitchen sink to clean out the scrubber and vacuum have reinforced the idea to get a laundry tub put into the new house. Speaking of which we did stop by on our way home from the dam to take a picture of the lot being prepared for construction.

And there was time to get a new drawing into the Bird Stories book. A junco that is on the left is on my mind because they show up by the dozens when it gets cold enough for them here.  It sure is now!

No more news from here. Lunch will be some of those yummy savoury scones I made the other day and a piece of one of the chocolate mousses Patrick brought down. He will fix the door and go down to the shop to work on the new mantel for the house and I will try not to watch more episodes of Perry Mason, a superbly acted and filmed story of his early life. So good that one would think it is a British production.

I have a bunch of blank books that only need their Coptic bindings to finish them off. Several were found while Marla and I were going through the studio packing things up. I could work on those or go back to my stitching. Maybe I will just watch out the window for juncos and pick a fresh supply of rosemary for the kitchen.

Til later….

Thanksgiving Week

Dilly, a very pleasant cat to have around. She and Sadie are getting past the hissy bits.

Yesterday’s walk at the dam.

Then after a quick stop at the grocery store I baked the rest of the day.

Wonderful savoury scones.

And second best malted cookies I ever ate.

Then this sunset.

And this morning 20 degrees at the riverwalk.

Somewhere in the past few days I got more drawings done in the Bird Stories book.

And just now I picked these seed fluffs from the now gone blooms of the Japanese Anemones.

They are like fine cotton balls. I was thinking of drawing them but took them back outside before Dilly became fascinated with them and the fluff would be all over.

Tomorrow I will take my early morning walk and do some more stitching and drawing. Maybe even bake a cranberry orange pecan loaf just to put in the freezer. This afternoon I should make up Lee’s recipe for cranberry relish.

The hospital called the other night. Lee had fallen and had a bump on his head. So following protocol he was taken to the hospital where a cat scan showed blood seepage between brain and skull. Six hours later it had not gotten worse so was taken back to the care center. I haven’t had one of those middle of the night calls for quite some time, but they never cease to be frightening….even when you know what is coming.

Time to go get the blender out to make his relish and think of better times.

Til later…..