Friday, August 30, 2013

Bug of Last Year -Dead and Gone

I guess I never showed you my prize! After we spray all around the trailer in the campground, the spiders that have their homes located under the flap over the skirting drop down. I get my trusty glass jar and just let the critter dropping down be aimed right into it.  Over the years I have found MANY! These could cause great harm to anyone coming in contact with them, especially our good friend, the young man who services our AC/heat pump twice a year. He goes under there to check on all of the pipes, etc. 

Well here you go! Yes, I did kill these, every one of them. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Alive and Well

I know I'm jumping around today. I go from a sad death to a very beautiful live critter. Be assured I did NOT kill this beautiful lady who came to visit me this afternoon. I first saw her right in front of the window behind my computer! I know she wanted me to take her picture. I got out my clean glass jar and picked up my camera and captured her and brought her inside for examination. She's not a rare one around here but also is not a danger to any one except her prey.

After her photo shots she was then released to rebuild her spiral wheel-shaped web and catch her dinner. I had interrupted her work. 

"Orb weaving spiders are harmless to people and should be left alone. It is tempting to say ignore them but you should take the opportunity to watch these fascinating creatures. And they are quite photogenic for anyone with a camera. At any rate, they will die on their own as the weather becomes colder."

She was shy at first...

Then she uncovered her body a bit...

And then exposed her full  figure in all its glory!

Marbled Orbweaver 
(Araneus marmoreus)
The genus Araneus has about 1,500 species worldwide, making it the largest of all the spider genera. Araneus marmoreus is found throughout all of Canada to Alaska, the northern Rockies, from North Dakota to Texas, and then east to the Atlantic. It is one of our showiest orbweavers.
Adult female marbled orbweavers are 9 to 20 millimeters in length with very large abdomens that are mostly orange with brown to purple markings and spots of pale yellow. Occasionally the abdomens are nearly white in color. The cephalothorax is yellow to burnt-orange with a central dark line and dark lines down either side. The femora and patellae are orange. 
Argiope trifasciata female
Araneus marmoreus female

Oscar Left Today

He was 13. He was a beautiful Golden Retriever. He had caring and loving family and friends, including Harley the Weimaraner, who left first. They were my neighbors.

Both the Golden Retriever and the Weimaraner have only an average life span of 10-12 years, and these buddies both were here for 13. According to research, cancer is the most common cause of death in the American Goldens and is the breed's biggest killer. Oscar had cancer. 

I was compelled to make a personal card for them. My thoughts were infused with sadness that I can't explain. This is what I wrote:

"We feel your loss of your beloved pet, Oscar. We know he will be greatly missed and  know he'll remain with you in memory for a lifetime. Memories never die.

Oscar had a good life and was happy and content and well cared for in his and your lives. Now he is gone and you all grieve. It is a wonderful thing to have good and sympathetic friends who care and loved him too.  He was a perfect companion for you and others, including his friend, Harley.

Be sure to appreciate how he affected your lives and you'll remember him with love. He's now peacefully asleep."

I don't think I've ever sent a sympathy card to anyone regarding the loss of a pet. We have lost many through the years and I do know how it feels - oh, yes. 

To quote Harley's mistress, "Lake Chrisann has lost a beautiful soul today."
Oscar died in his sleep.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Way Out

See? I told you I had bats in my belfrey! This is what happens when I take a poor moon picture.

Next Year's Tomato Seeds

The seeds are drying and will be put in a paper envelope and then will be stored in a sealed waterproof container and placed in the freezer until next year.  They are sure to germinate. The process of fermenting them in their own juice for two weeks has been completed. They have been rinsed and drained and put on newspaper to dry. I also have separated them with a wooden toothpick. These seeds are few as the tomatoes have few seeds. They were reaped from the largest and sweetest tomatoes as I devoured them in the sandwiches that I love to be able to enjoy every year. I do share them so if anyone would like a few, just ask. They like lots of sun and must be staked as they will grow into a 6 ft. plant. The middle blossoms of a three-blossom branch must be plucked away as they appear and the suckers that grow between the main stems and the branches must also be plucked away. They shouldn't be planted near other tomato plantings as there is a chance they would be cross-pollinated and not remain the true heritage variety that they are. It's well worth the effort because of the harvest to follow.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Local Highlight

For many many years, did I say many? the Harford Fair was THE place to go just before school started back for my kids. And their friends. And me and mine all. Now it has changed so much I just can't even imagine attending. Crowds irritate me now. I've become as resistant to change as any person you might know. Why? I just don't comprehend it myself. I used to love the fair. I also entered many of my projects and slept in a tent and even a horse barn stall. I showed my horses and my kids showed their 4-H project work. I, in my time of being the 4-H County Youth Coordinator had access to the fairgrounds, buildings and arenas for a good number of events and activities that I was managing. I was on the fair committee for several years and attended meetings. Now I have no interest in going there and it just might be due to the multiple changes and progression and improvements that have taken place. It's been 15 years since I have attended. I once entered some items in 2003 but I had a friend take them to be entered and then pick them up after fair was over. The premium awards and ribbons didn't help to change my mind about going back.

Today I experienced the fair this year and last year. It has a Facebook page now and I spent about 2 hours reading everything posted and looking at ALL of the pictures. I was quite shocked at the changes, both in how people dress, act and what really goes on there now. I'll attend via internet next year.  It works for me. I've moved on.

Today's Fairgrounds

PR Blurb on Facebook page.

"Nestled in the rolling Endless Mountains of Susquehanna County is the village of Harford whose residents enjoy a simple, quiet existence except for the third full week of August when approximately 65,000 people come to celebrate a long-standing tradition, the Harford Fair. This fair is one of the few truly agricultural country fairs which exist today. What began in November, 1858 with a one-day event in small sheds around the church has grown consistently to a six-day event with 23 different departments providing opportunities for young and old alike to exhibit handcrafts, agricultural items, fruits, vegetables, baked goods, animals, photography and art work. There are arena events, amusements, commercial displays, and foods of all kinds. Throughout fair week a variety of different acts perform in the Shade Pavilion providing constant entertainment in a comfortable seated area. At the north end of the fairgrounds there are daily equestrian shows and in the North Arena a free specialty animal act performs multiple times throughout each day. The parking is always free, the gate admission is only $6.00 for children 12 and older, and there is always some free seating for the shows in the grandstands."

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Made for Myself

I don't take very good moon photos. I learned this a couple of years ago. My camera just isn't able - it's not me! REALLY! I set it to night mode, use a tripod, sometimes even zoom but to no avail.

A couple of years ago I took the full moon EVERY month on the exact night of its appearance. Well, they were just OK shots. I've stopped trying after that "grand effort."

Then the other evening it happened again - I was moonstruck so out I went, but again results were less that I hoped for. is what I did with the photo.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Good Memories...

I braved a walk down the fairly steep bank to the water's edge this afternoon to see the flowers.

They are commonly referred to as Joe-Pye weeds. I have been able to identify wild weeds that produce flowers throughout the years as my mother had taught me as a child.  

In the years past, we always made elderberry jelly, syrup and pie. We've made dandelion wine but not elderberry wine. I wonder why? I recently came across a recipe that I used in the past. The trick was to use real lemon juice and NOT the "Real Lemon" that the grocery stores carry.  We also made mint jelly from leaves we would pick down by the stream nearby. If it wasn't so much work for me now, I'd still be in the kitchen making big messes for enjoyment by all. While going through a box of recipes I found this one for both that was used in the 70's.  I even remember adding a pat of butter at the end to make the skimming process easier! (That tip isn't in the recipe given.) We had a "special old pot with a spout" for melting the paraffin which was washed, and kept for reuse the next year after the jelly was gone. My brother is making mint jelly at his place as I write. Perhaps you'd like to try it?

Sometimes the elderberry bushes are difficult to locate after the berries are ripe. These are in a wood nearby and by the lake's shore.
Click to view larger

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Almost September and Departure

An overview of things here around Lake Chrisann. In July, a new bean sprout appeared after the first one died in May after being put outdoors too soon. The new one won't be mature enough to produce a giant bean that came from it's mother seed because there isn't enough time before Jack Frost strikes it down. I'll just have to try again next year. 

James is aging just fine after his surgery and I might be able to dress him again this winter. (See previous blog.)
 August James
August James

The wonderful seedum that surrounds the cabin is starting to turn to a lovely light pink and then will become a rich dark pink. I will miss it again! At least our daughter can pick some for her dried flower arrangements. When we return all growth will all have been struck dead and it will return next year. My husband will cut it down to the ground to overwinter.

The lake has been treated for pond weed. It was heavy this year and was treated late, due to the usual person who is licensed to apply it this year isn't doing applications and it was a bit difficult to find another to get the job done - without using any motorboats.

See the difference from May 2 to August 22?

Soon the lake will "turn over" as it usually does each Spring and Fall. This thermal stratification is necessary.

Now to top it all off, the blue heron came for a visit. I wasn't prepared for him and was indoors making lunch and took these through the double paned door window, wearing the "wrong" eyeglasses for taking pictures!  Isn't he lovely, though?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


First of all I will tell you that I don't have any computer programs such as Photoshop. I use what I can find for FREE on the internet and don't ever pay for more options or upgrades from those sites. I have an iMac computer and the application that came with it already installed was Preview version 4.2. This does many adjustments for me. I have been experimenting with my photos over the last few years and derive a good bit of enjoyment making, what I call, "Creations."

Today I took three shots at 7:30 am when the foggy mist was still over the lake. A single hummingbird was feeding and it looked tempting to try to capture it at this with the foggy background.  Well, with every picture I took I was sure I had a nice one. After uploading to the computer, imagine my dismay when not even one contained that tricky evasive little creature. Zip! It was here and zip! gone... every time.

Later, I was going through some photos that my Photography Whiz Friend who lives in NJ had recently taken and there was my little bird. It flew to her!

I just had to do something about my empty feeder so............

One more...

Well...that's her bird on her feeder but it's is on MY background and in MY view.

And then it faded away and flew away again! ZIP!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Sharing Art and Good Things

"When sharing something between artists/makers, you're sharing more than just an object/painting. You're sharing hundreds of hours of failures and experimentation, You're sharing days, weeks and months of frustration and moments of pure joy. You aren't just sharing a thing, you're sharing a piece of heart, part of a soul, a moment of someone's life. Most of all, you're giving the artists more time to share something they're passionate about." 

I spent all day yesterday trying to create a still life art piece and then trying to make up my mind which one was the most pleasing - at least to me. I have decided. I actually created 14 different versions then threw out most of them.

I took the original photo when I visited my daughter in NJ - Well I actually took several shots at different angles and lighting after she had gone to the garden and picked them. The family was chuckling at how fussy I was, arranging, bending, stretching, moving the bowl, and so forth just to get a nice photograph.
This is the original I chose to work with.
This is my first change.
Then I made 14 more versions.
Here are the "finalists."
Textured and scrambled.
Textured with color swirl added.
Textured with two colored swirls added.

And the choice is - 
Un-textured with only one colored swirl added and moved.

I had saved these precious seeds again last year and a daughter started them here in PA. Then she brought a few plants with her to visit her sister in NJ. They grew! and GREW! and produced well. It's a big deal to me to have been able to take some back to PA with us after a recent visit.

We ate all of them!
I'm saving seeds again!

I have written about these tomatoes previously. If you would like to read more please go to the links listed below.

Tomato Blog 2010
Tomato Blog 2012
Tomato Blog #2, 2012

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Corn Time Again

I'll bet you don't make a whole meal of just corn! We do. There's something about going to the local farmer's stand, seeing him drive up with his freshly picked vegetables, waiting for him to dump the ears from a burlap bag onto a milk crate table and picking out what you want. You can't get it fresher than that! 

This is the fourth, yes, I said fourth week in a row that corn and only corn was our entire supper. So delicious. Two for me, three for he. 

A couple of years ago I posted about our corn here in PA. If you want to know more, click on this link:

Did I say our corn supper was wonderful?

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Nail Polish Art Project

Several years ago I painted (actually I poured/drizzled) a picture on paper with yard sale nail polish, but nobody could see that it was a face so that idea went out the door. 
Then about two years ago I got the "bright idea" that I would create a canvas painting and again use nail polish as the medium in a different manner. I even envisioned how I would apply the colors to make the creation. I had asked several friends if they had any unused, or half used bottles that they would be willing to give to me. Now, I don't now use nail polish and can't remember if I ever did, except for the clear which stopped runs in our stockings in the 50's. Heck, I don't even have shapely nails. At all! I knew that two friends have manicures and pedicures regularly. Another friend has teen granddaughters who are constantly experimenting with colors and then, after one use, never open the bottles again. 

And so, my request was fulfilled, more than adequately. The friends who visit their salons asked there and the owners and managers gave them outdated, unpopular and half used colors. A friend's aunt was an Avon Lady and she had a large stockpile of unused and unsold bottles. The lady with the granddaughters' unwanted polishes gathered them in a mesh bag for me and brought them with her from Tennessee to her beach place in the SC campground where we go. One brought some from West Virginia and another saved MANY for me from NJ and then met my daughter who was visiting my other daughter in the area. She then brought them back to PA with her for me. 

I had a fine time testing each lid, (top?) making sure I could open it and then put them all away in red plastic Huggie boxes that I had previously saved.  My plan was to start with a practice trial on a piece of paper. One sheet and I quit. I couldn't take the fumes! Of course I did this in the wintertime in the cabin and without any ventilation. Not good. I then planned to try again in the coming summer. That didn't pan out either because I fractured my humerus head and rotator cuff muscles and tendons due to a stub-your-toe fall in May. I now have a permanent "range of motion" disability. The recovery period took over a year. By then it was winter again. 

This year was going to be the year of the painting! Nope! I developed a viral infection of the cornea , AKA dendritic keratitis, in my "good" eye. There went my painting-using-nail polish project for another year. 

I WILL, someday, paint with nail polish. I WILL. My idea is to use as many as necessary to cover the canvas in little dots, all touching each other, and then overpainting with more dabs and dots, making a scene with a large naked tree as the feature. I plan to only use the brushes that come in the bottles. It will take time. You'll see.........someday. Look out Van Gogh!

By the way there is an art method called Pointillism which is a technique of painting in which small, distinct dots of pure color are applied in patterns to form an image. I've never done this. and mine will be similar but different. I really don't know where I'll be going but I'll know when I get there and it is finished. I haven't ever had art or design training and whatever I do will be the trial and error method. It's my way.