Friday, March 29, 2013

Adding to my resume

 A friend of mine brought me a new kind of project this week. This quilt was made by his grandmother and he was wondering what to do about the binding which is badly worn and with the 8 patches that have disappeared.
They all seem to be from the same piece of flour sack print. Trouble is that the print was mostly black with just a bit of white. My sister reminds me that black dyes usually have a metal component. I just remember that black in a quilt can really be a problem.

I'm thinking of replacing the pieces with a dark purple print if the Etsy shop I communicated with can find something for me.

There doesn't seem to be much other damage to the fabric in the Double Wedding Rings on the front and minimal staining on the back.  The batting has migrated badly throughout as the quilting is not dense. I've been searching on the Internet for information on repairing old quilts and have gotten some good information. So after this project I'll be able to add "simple quilt repair" to my resume.  

Today's Bird

This little fellow is called a cattle egret. When I first came to Florida there were some cattle ranches in the area and if you drove by the pastures you would see these birds in among and sitting upon the cattle. With urbanization in this area, you now see them in parking lots and on sidewalks looking into the bushes  trying to find the anoles that are common here.

Usually they are completely white, except in breeding season when the feathers on the top of the head and on the breast are a light peach color and the feathers on the back are a different texture that I'm finding difficult to describe

Monday, March 25, 2013

Isn't She Lovely?

I've been thinking about getting a new bike ever since I got back to Florida.  Other things took a priority till this last couple weeks.  I was talking to a group  of friends last week and the fallout of that conversation was that one couple had a ladies bike, very minimally used that they wanted to give to me.  I was overjoyed!  They delivered it today and I think it's great!

Of course, 12 speeds is a bit ambitious for the New Port Richey area, however, it has those great knobbly tires and a nice sturdy frame.  It has a gel seat, which is also a fine thing. It's not exactly a "Mama Chari" like the one I posted about on my previous blog in October 2010, but a great bike, none the less.

In case you're wondering, it is in my house presently, in my Florida room, to protect it from the elements and from anyone with a sticky finger or two.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

An Annual American Obligation

Yep, Income Tax Returns are due on April 15 in the U.S. Never one to wait to the very last minute as a rule, I like to have mine done by about this time of year. I have not done my own taxes since the day of the 1040A which was a half sheet of paper.

I had a good friend look at my records, and he handed them back and said he wasn't able to do them with confidence. It's not a good idea for the person doing your tax work to be without sufficient confidence, so I looked further and found that there were several options for trained volunteers who do taxes for people in this area.

I made an appointment for this morning and arrived at the scheduled time. The person at the reception desk asked for my Social Security Card.  I didn't have it with me.  I had forgotten that this was one occasion where the real live card was required.  I had to drive back home to retrieve it from it's place with my important documents. I then returned to the tax preparation site. Then I was allowed to fill out the screening form.

After a short wait it was my turn with the man with the computer.  He filled in the form on his Turbo Tax program, being very meticulous, I thought.  Then he handed me a sheaf of papers from my records and said he needed copies.  I walked over to a local shopping center where there was a Pack and Send store and the lady there made my copies for me.  She had a grey cat in the shop, so I was not without entertainment while she did the job. Returning to the Tax Preparers I was ready for the final check through by a different volunteer. I authorized the amount I owed to be taken from my bank account and the job was completed. Whew! done for another year; three hours start to finish.

On the drive home I saw a colony of vultures sitting on several streetlight fixtures. On the side of the street there were more, dividing up a roadkill opossum. Sorry, no photo.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Second Encounter of the Frightening Kind

Yesterday I posted a photo of a Sandhill Crane family I saw on the church grounds. Today I was headed to the church again for a memorial service for a dear friend and fierce and faithful prayer warrior who  prayed for me while I was in Japan and after I got home to Florida. On the four lane divided road (dual carriage way) just north of the corner where you turn in to the parking lot (car park) I met, most likely, the same crane family. The difficulty was that as I approached, father crane decided to try CROSSING THE HIGHWAY!

I slowed to a stop, thankful there were no cars following me very closely. It took the bird a few moments to reassess his situation as he stood in front of my car.  The two chicks were on the curb thinking about joining him and mother was bringing up the rear. Fortunately he chose the route of returning to his family and getting out of the way of the traffic as several other cars approached.  (No time for a photo.)

I hope the experience has persuaded him that crossing the highway where there is no crosswalk (zebra crossing) is not advisable. Perhaps he was just turned around in his directions as there is a nature preserve in the direction they were coming from.  Who knows, it's a bird after all.

Florida residents become accustomed to seeing large birds in our everyday scenery. Wading birds like the crane, heron or ibis. We are very close to the Gulf Coast here so we often see gulls in the Wal-Mart parking lot. It's also not unusual to see vultures (just a little larger than Tokyo Crows) at the roadside taking care of some roadkill. I was helping chaperon a group of elementary school children on a visit to a wildlife sanctuary   when a third grade girl said, "Why do they have so many birds? Plain old birds , I thought they were supposed to have unusual animals here!"

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Unexpected Subject

I didn't think I'd have much of a report today as I planned to go to my church for Wednesday morning sewing group, and I've told you about that already. When I arrived I spotted a pair of Florida Sandhill Cranes in the lot beside the church. When I got my camera out I realized that these two had two chicks as well.

These cranes are common to this part of Florida and are often seen searching for a meal. When daddy crane found something munchable in the grass, the chicks were quick to race to his side to get their share.

The morning was quite overcast after a predawn shower and the cranes tend to look a bit shabby when breeding. It's difficult to see their red foreheads and white cheeks in this photo. For size comparison, these chicks are about a foot tall measuring to the top of their backs.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tuesday at the Farmer's Market

On Tuesday mornings in New Port Richey, during the more temperate months of the Florida year, Organic farmers from the area come to the NPR library on Main Street to sell their vegetables. I have been making it a habit to walk there and have discovered some great locally grown foods.  In addition, the walk is an easy one as it is not too hot yet.

The three farmers who have been regulars at the market since I have been visiting are: James who lives in New Port Richey in the winter months and Maine in the summer.  His farm is inside the city limits and I am planning to visit on a Saturday afternoon for his Garden Gathering. He will be leaving in May he says, just as I have become very attached to his Kale bouquets and salad mixes. 

Cindy lives in New Port Richey as well, but her farm is in north Florida where she and her husband spend their weekends. She grows and sells something called Blossom Sprouts which are a cross between Kale and Brussels Sprouts. They are something I will not be able to get anywhere else I'm sure until she has them again next year. She also has carrots in several colors as well as kale and collards and more.

The Lees are from China and now live in our fair city. They are shown here with Daikon Radishes.  They may be smaller than the ones in Japan, but the growing season is a bit different here. They also had a good crop of Mustard Greens.

The Market will likely go a few more weeks and is well worth the walk for me.  Like most people in the last third of their lives it reminds me of many things. Fresh vegetables like I found in abundance in Japan. Organic farmers like my father was. An event worth looking forward to on Tuesday mornings.