Pen and Ink...and maybe some paint

Friday, May 27, 2016

Wanna raise geese?

I've been enjoying a relaxing day off which usually involves watching some YouTube videos. I stumbled across this one and thought it was an interesting look at a lifestyle. It reminded me of Sandra! If I could just inherit a little farm, I'd go into goose farming. How about you?

I subscribed to houzz's YouTube channel. It looks like it might be intriguing.

On the subject of tiny houses, I found this video very inspirational...

Avion trailer/tiny home

(Couldn't get the video to embed, so I hope the link takes you there!)

On the farm front, my crops are growing well...for Minnesota.
I even spied a few tomato blossoms!

 Zucchini and summer squash...
I like the idea of being able to rearrange these containers as the plants get bigger, until I find the arrangement that looks best.

ATC-wise I completed my Exquisite Corpse swap cards. (See the previous post to see what that's all about.)
Next, I finished the Haiku swap!

But I could only squeeze four of the silly birds into my drawing!

The day started out sunny, but grey clouds loomed. Now it's overcast, windy and a little chilly. I have plans to take my basket of laundry down the block to the laundromat. I've just started reading C.S. Lewis's Space Trilogy (for about the third time), so I figure it will be a pleasant pastime as the clothes get clean. I can also hit the post office, two doors down and mail off some ATC's and my great-granddaughter's birthday card. Big plans, folks! My kind of day off. :)
I'll be working over the weekend. We'll be very understaffed, but I'm not worrying about it. I actually had a good day at work yesterday because I decided to just look at it as a game. A challenge. Besides, we almost had enough people working for once! Anyway, I'm not going to let the enemy (that father of lies) ruin my day with fear of catastrophe. We always survive, so why worry? Hurray!

Blessings on you all. Have a marvelous Memorial Day weekend. Shalom!
(I am off on the Fourth of July!)

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Nice day!

I hope you're all having as nice a weekend as I am!
The weather is very summer-like, hovering around 80*.
Our little town was flooded with folks dressed in tight, neon, biking outfits. The Heartland Trail cuts right through the middle of town, so we're the refueling spot for all hungry or thirsty bikers and hikers, plus the occasional horseback rider. It's much easier to enjoy this when I don't have to work. :)

I found this on the internet, but it's sort of what it looked like today, only fancier bikers. ;)

My piano has been adopted by a friend of the family. He and his son picked it up today and were going to take it home where the whole family will use it. I'm glad to know it has found a good home. This is the same guy who has the Jasper Theater that I mentioned and I wasn't sure where he was going to use the piano. I'm blessed to have it moved!

I've noticed that some of the older, more established residents of this apartment building are doing some gardening in the back yard. It's supposedly a communal area, but I don't really feel the urge to act like it's really my yard, lol. My little balcony garden is enough for me to keep up with. They're mostly just cleaning up the flower beds and putting up some hanging baskets. I'm glad to see they are enjoying making a home of this place. I'm not sure how long I'll be here. It may be a few years, but I'm sure I'll begin to fit in as time passes.

Besides going over to supervise the piano moving, I also dropped in on Micah and the girls for a visit. Adam had to work for a few hours, so we caught up on our chattering. Being around those girls just makes me happy!

Otherwise, I've been hanging around home. Napping, reading and making some art. I finished up my ATCs for the Mid-May Pick a Theme swap. Here are the last three cards...

No sooner did I finish this swap than one of my swap buddies hooked me into another one! She calls it the Exquisite Corpse swap. The name sounds kind of gruesome, but I know she's a nice Christian gal, so I checked it out. Not as bad as it sounds, lol. The rules were confusing, but basically you draw one person on three cards, like this...

When she gets everyone's cards she'll mix them up so we each get a mixed up picture with mismatched parts. I know, it's weird, but it keeps us out of trouble. By the way, she drew this picture as far as I know. Please do not know the speech. I've already done my pencil sketch. I drew a fox, standing on his hind legs, playing a concertina. We'll see how it turns out.

I just wanted to capture the morning sun flooding into my living room.

The hummingbirds have been busy at my feeder. The DNR (Dept. of Natural Resources) has been asking people to take down their feeders. A lady was attacked by a black bear a few days ago. She's a neighbor of one of my fellow deli workers. The bears are coming into people's yards to eat the bird feed and usually it only causes damage to the feeders. This lady went out at night when she heard a noise. She had no yard light and couldn't see that it was a mama bear with cubs. She was mauled by the bear, but managed to get back inside after the bear left. That's life in the wild woods, folks. I'm glad that even the most talented bear can't get to my feeders. Micah and Adam have taken theirs down and I hope they'll be careful about going out after dark.

It's getting dark out, there's a cool breeze coming in my balcony doors, and I can hear dishes clanking through the back door of the little cafe half a block away. Almost bedtime in the city of Nevis. After a little more loafing around.

Thanks for stopping by. God bless and shalom, all.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

A quick bit...

I had a short visit with Micah and the girls after work. We have a little routine occasionally. If she has a couple of errands to run and doesn't want to have to unload all the kids, she'll pick me up after work and I'll sit in the van with them while Micah runs in, usually to the UPS store and then Caribou. Of course, she always rewards me with a coffee! ;) My real reward is having a visit with my little girl and her little girls. It had been almost a week since I'd seen them in person, so it was nice.

In other news, I bought two very colorful, homespun looking couch pillows from Wally's World. Adding to the hippy vibe in my apartment. I'm also on the lookout for a large couch throw to hide my "Asian" floral couch. Probably one of those East Indian looking things in a bright color. Might get one for my recliner as well. What a classy decorator I am!
Here's the first card I made for the Pick-a-Theme swap.This gal's theme was "A donkey with a colorful saddle blanket and/or flowers".
I was very happy to see that my sunflower seeds have germinated! After all the cold, damp weather we've had I was thinking they might have just rotted in the soil. I'll be happy if just one or two come up. I'm curious to see how big they grow.

And, last but not least, I actually caught one of my hummingbird friends enjoying some liquid refreshment. 
 They come and go so quickly I didn't think I'd be able to get my camera ready in time. From now on I'll skip the picture taking and just enjoy watching them. I really am thankful for all the little critters that share my space. And I don't even have to take them out for a walk!
I finally got around to scheduling some  vacation time. Since I only get five days and one day of personal leave, I decided to schedule several Fridays before my weekends off, so I would have 3 mini-vacations of three day weekends during the summer. That leaves me a couple of days to use in September when the new baby arrives. 

Well, that's all the news that's fit to print for now. 
Thanks for dropping by!
Shalom, friends!

Monday, May 16, 2016

This and That (To borrow a title from GM!)

It's been a pleasant day off. I slept (or at least stayed in bed) late, but was still sore and tired after a weekend of frying chicken at work. I decided not to feel guilty for resting a lot and just putzing around. Actually, I feel like I got a lot of little things done.

It was a day of sitting on my computer browsing around ATCsforALL in search of a new swap. (Well, that was only for a little part of the day!) I found two interesting swaps. One involves writing 3 haikus and then painting something that illustrates them. The painting and haiku both appear on the card. The second one is called a Pick-a-Theme swap. I've never done one before, so it will be fun. You choose a "group" to join. My group will do Hand Drawn/Hand Painted cards (some groups do collage or mixed media). Each of the five members of the group pick their own theme, and then the other four members have to make them a card with that theme. I picked "landscapes", so the other four members will make me a landscape picture, and I will make one card for each of the other members with the theme they pick. Does that make sense? :)

Besides ATC's I also did laundry and worked on some family history/photo album stuff.

Just to break up all of this text, here are the cards I just finished for The Horse swap:

 The last card I did today. I also messed around with some acrylics and came up with this. Can you see a horse in there, ha ha!?!
I walked to the post office, which is across the street, and then down to the store. While I was out I noticed how pretty the trees on my street are. See, we have flowers in Minnesota, too!
That's my black car framed by the flowering crabs. ;)

The south end of my apartment building as I'm standing near the post office.
Also across the street from my apartment. This is Terrapin Station. Lots of artistic and musical things go on here. They also sell essential oils and natural stuff like that. I'm still working up my nerve to go in and visit!

Someone did a great job of painting the building some years back. The people who own the Terrapin Station are sort of Christian hippies. I should be right at home!

 Here's a 180 degree view from my balcony. Things are greening up a bit. It's starting to feel like summer!
I have nice neighbors. I'm thankful for that and I'm thankful that I feel safe and secure in this building. It's only a block to the hiking trail, the store, the park and the laundromat. Very convenient. :) Oh my goodness! There was a little hummingbird hovering around on my balcony! I'll have to get a feeder up soon! I have a couple of marigolds in bloom, but nothing else. Aw, how cute!

Well, bedtime is not far off. An early day tomorrow. I think I'll read a little before turning in. Besides the Bible I'm reading The Cross-Country Quilters by Jennifer Chiaverini. It's part of the Elm Creek Quilts series. I've never read one of these "crafty" novels. It's very enjoyable so far, but you just about have to take notes to keep track of all the characters! Maybe next I'll find one about knitters!

Good-evening everyone! Hope you're all enjoying fine weather!
Shalom and love to all.

Friday, May 13, 2016


It's going to dip below freezing tonight and tomorrow night. I even saw a few snowflakes floating around when I was outside a little while ago. This farmer is bringing the crops in from the field...or balcony. I knew better than to try and start things outside before May 15. Glad my plants are so portable.
 My balcony looks like a scene from "The Birds"! The starlings have discovered free food. It's awesome to hear the roar of wings as they take off en masse. Also numbered among the visitors are red-winged blackbirds, robins, blue jays and house finches. They know it's a safe area. No cats around here!
 On second look I think my starlings might be brown-headed cowbirds. I've heard their song out there and thought it was a starling sound. Here's what they sound like. It reminds me of a drippy faucet. :)

 Sometimes I find myself having a pity party. I don't look forward to spending years in an apartment. It's not the size. I just miss the country. Even a small town like this is noisy at night. No crickets chirping. Just a drunk man yelling and laughing at the bar a block away when I'm trying to go to sleep. (Well, to be honest, that's only happened once in three months.) Otherwise, it's the early morning noise of a semi delivering supplies to the neighboring cafe. These are not homey noises to someone who's lived with the sound of birdsong, crickets, and silence at night. And during the day. I loved it! I'm also missing my boys and being in the midst of family. Plans to move in with my daughter seem to be moving further into the future. They're trying, but things don't always work out as quickly and smoothly as one might hope. So, I tell them I'll be fine where I am, but it makes me sad sometimes.

Anyway, all this self pity is leading somewhere, lol. Sitting here this morning, reading my Bible, the thought occurred to me that I am so blessed to have this beautiful, giant print, copy of the scriptures that I can read any time I want to. So many around the world don't have access to the Word, or are persecuted if they are found with a copy. Years ago, when my kids were little, we received the newsletter from Voice of the Martyrs, and learning about the persecuted church was part of our homeschool day. I've thought of this occasionally over the years since, but have been guilty of forgetting our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world. What does this have to do with my pity party? Well, thinking about others who are in distress and praying for them sure puts things into perspective.

First, I wanted to find out how to help put Bibles in the hands of these people. Here are links to two places this can be done:
Bibles Unbound
Bibles to Captive Nations
I plan to give every month, but I did a one time donation this time through Bibles to Captive Nations. Maybe someone else will be interested in doing this? (Or, maybe you already are! Good for you!)
I also found a good place to find prayer requests through Voice of the Martyrs, so I can be praying for specific people in addition to the persecuted church in general.
Prayer requests
Getting my eyes off of the mundane and finding a purpose that is eternal always helps to chase away self-pity.  As a Christian this should be a no-brainer, but sometimes I need a little reminder from the Holy Spirit!
Shalom, friends and family! 

Saturday, May 7, 2016

A Village in a Valley and other things...

 I've spent some nice time today reading further in this book. Beverly Nichols is one of my favorite authors. This is the third book in his Allways trilogy. He was a young-ish English bachelor when he wrote this particular book in the 1930's, and I think he's a person I would have enjoyed as a friend and neighbor. He seems to have been very kind-hearted, compassionate and full of good humor. His books are a delight to read.
 I haven't done much marking up of his books, but I thought this excerpt was particularly insightful. He seems to understand women very well. I find myself thinking these very thoughts, and then have to have a good talking to myself. :)  (Don't forget to read it with an English accent. I imagine he has a very pleasant and friendly voice.)
 He moves effortlessly from the serious bit above, to something lighter. I find myself chuckling out loud a lot when I read his books. The goings-on in the small village of Allways are a source of unending pleasure and interest to this reader. He has a gift.
Besides reading, I've done a bit of bird watching. My balcony seems to be a popular hangout these days for many small song birds. I even had a rather large red-winged blackbird sampling the fare a short while ago.
I've abandoned the hanging birdfeeder because it causes more mess than it's worth. The birds just throw all the seeds around. So I've put out small containers on the ground. The middle one is filled with water, which they seem to appreciate. 
 This little guy wasn't the least bit afraid of me although I got within three feet or so of him.
 This tree, just outside my door, is packed with red-winged blackbirds. Noisy rascals! At the farm, our house was in the middle of a pasture, and the woods were a little distance away. The birds weren't nearly as loud as they are here. The robins begin chirruping at about 4:30 a.m. The blackbirds begin next. One can only TRY to sleep, lol.
 I'm a sucker for bird feed...
Speaking of being a sucker...I picked this up at Walmart yesterday. :) It's for outdoors, but for now it's on my couch.
I've potted up a few veggies and flowers. Now I'll have to keep an eye on the night-time temps in case I need to drag them indoors. It's early to plant outside in Minnesota. I got impatient.
(I should have taken pics this morning when it was nice and sunny, but I was too lazy, I guess?)

 The gal at the greenhouse wasn't too helpful when I asked what type of soil I should use for my containers. I liked the idea of sheep manure compost. I'm hoping it came from the big sky country of Montana. Maybe from Jody's ranch! :) A delightful thought! We'll see how my garden grows! I also have a few pots which I planted with summer squash and sunflower seeds.
My latest ATC swap is called Postage Stamp People. The idea is to take a stamp with a person's head on it and incorporate it into an it a body. I think Janis Joplin was my favorite. Collage isn't my forte and every time I do a collage swap I swear it will be my last. Oh well, live and learn.

God is good, all the time! Blessings on your households and your weekend!
Shalom, my friends.