Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Time Portal for Arachnida

Click on the illustration above
To enlarge it

I've never seen spider webs quite like these I spied at Edgewood Park last week.

Time portals for Arachnida, perhaps?

A Time Portal for Arachnida

I've never seen spider webs quite like these I spied at Edgewood Park last week.

Time portals for Arachnida, perhaps?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ohlone Autumn

Ohlone Autumn

Edgewood Park, San Mateo County, CA

Click on the illustration to enlarge.

Every time I'm sure I know what's ahead of me on the path, I get surprised.  

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Election Day: Guaranteeing Myself More Whining Time

 Click on the Illustration to Enlarge 
OK to Download and Print as Poster

      Listening to Christopher Phillips and Michael Krasny on KQED forum, talking about the Constitution Café Project inspired by Phillips’ new book, Constitution Cafe: Jefferson's Brew for a True Revolution
     Many called in to discuss what they thought needed to be added, subtracted or modified about the United States Constitution.
     Can we fit in somewhere, that if we don’t vote, we can’t complain about any messes we've gotten ourselves into?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Sewing: Hanky and a Flu Shot (No 2 of 2)

Click on the handkerchief above to help yourself to the whole hanky

Help Yourself to Another One of my Virtual Hankys: My Mullein Mélange

     A couple of virtual sewing* projects help me make the seasonal transition from our California Indian Summer to a, hopefully, rainier cold season. Hopefully that 'cold' part is just going to refer to our slightly lower temperatures, not the stuff that sends me to bed with a big pitcher of herb tea and a Jane Austen novel for the day. I'm also hoping that flu shot I'm getting today will make the cold season flue-less. 
     This article, Flu Shots: Far From Perfect, Still Advised(I listened to it as a Health broadcast on NPR, and it's based on an article in the Lancet) had a lot of news about the future of flu shots, for those of us who following the guidelines of the mainstream medical community. I'm really looking forward to the day when the flu shot is something I get along with my every-ten-year tetanus vaccination. Until then I'll get my yearly shot and stock up on virtual hankys.
     I designed the handkerchief above using Photoshop and a photo of some cotoneaster berries I took in my garden. I'm sorry I don't recall where I got the free download of the Pony Express stamp.
* * *
     Tonight I'm going to try cooking some Cornish Game hens for supper. Does anybody else besides me remember when they were in vogue? (It will really date me if I tell you that I remember when they were a hot foodie item.) Did their ancestors really come from Cornwall, or are they just little chickens? :-) 
     I made a number of jars of apricot jam this summer. Luckily I'd biked instead of walking over to the the farmer's market when one of the farmer's offered me all of his leftover squishy apricots for free (!), and my bike has a good sized front basket. So I'm going to pop open one of my jars of homemade apricot jam to make a glaze like the one in this recipe.
      I'm expecting we'll have some leftover chick- I mean Cornish Game Hen meat. So tomorrow, I plan to try out Nellymary's idea from today about using up leftovers on pizza You all remember Nellymary's blog, right? She lives in the land down under. Do Australians still call it that? I'll have to ask Nellymary. She calls her blog, Just Like My Nan Made. I subscribe to her entries by email, in the same way that people can subscribe to this art journal (look for the subscription link in the upper right part of this blog).
 * * *

You might also enjoy this mini Time Travel story
Indian Summer at Edgewood
Part 1: Creekside
Part 2:  Oak Apples
Part 3: Rose Hips

* Sewing: I haven't tried this yet, but am thinking about two ways to convert the full sized design to the real thing. One would be to put one of those fabric sheets into my home printer. I've only tried this once and I had a hard time removing the backing. I wonder if it would work better if I soaked it off?
     The other would be to have it printed it at Spoonflower, where I've made some really pretty fabric with my own designs. They have a variety of fabric to choose from too.
     If you click on the illustration, you should get the larger version. If you have any problems with that, send me an email (laurelshimer AT gmail DOT com) and I'll send you back the full-sized jpeg. Just let me know which hanky you want (or if you want both).

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sewing a Virtual Handkerchief: Help Yourself (No 1 of 2)

Click on the hanky above for the whole picture.

Humm.... too bad that the chills of winter won't be as much of a fantasy as the virtual handkerchief I created with a mélange of Mullein from my garden.

Help Yourself to Another One of My Virtual Hankys and ideas about turning both handkerchiefs into the real thing: Hanky and a Flu Shot (Pony Express and Cotoneaster Berries)

You might also enjoy this mini Time Travel story
Indian Summer at Edgewood
Part 1: Creekside
Part 2:  Oak Apples
Part 3: Rose Hips

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Surviving: Halloween in the Rest of the Animal Kingdom (part 3of 3)

Adventures of Halloween Mouse

Click on the Illustration Above to get up close and personal with Halloween Mouse

     For some of us animals, November 1'st is a matter of brushing and flossing extra-carefully, and tossing the rest of the chocolate in the nearest bin. Then there are those of us, for whom, snagging a treat could be more than just scary.
     Was anybody else out there as concerned as I was for the survival of Halloween Mouse?
     She made it! Mazel tov, honey.

* * *
Thanks to Sage from from SageRock Digital Marketing, for sharing this lovely mouse image with me. I'm enjoying reading Sage's most recent blog entry on "Content Marketing",  and thinking about how I might use her ideas to attract the attention of time travel adventure romance readers, to my amazon Kindle book, My Heart Beats Faster in Past Times
* * *
If you Enjoyed this, you may also like.....

Indian Summer at Edgewood
Part 1: Creekside
Part 2:  Oak Apples
Part 3: Rose Hips

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween in the Rest of the Animal Kingdom: Trick? Or Treat? (part 2 of 3)

Adventures of Halloween Mouse

Click on the Illustration Above 
To Get Up Close 
With the Whole Scary Story

* * *
If you Enjoyed this, you may also like.....
Indian Summer at Edgewood
Part 1: Creekside
Part 2:  Oak Apples
Part 3: Rose Hips

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween in the Rest of the Animal Kingdom: Now That's Scary! (part 1 of 3)

Adventures of Halloween Mouse

Click on the Illustration Above 
To Get Up Close 
With the Whole Scary Story

* * *
If you Enjoyed this, you may also like.....
Indian Summer at Edgewood
Part 1: Creekside
Part 2:  Oak Apples
Part 3: Rose Hips

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Just One Rose: Paying the Beast's Price

Swamp Rose and Cotoneaster

Click on the illustration to step deeper into the bower.

The merchant recalled that all his eldest daughter wanted was a rose. Surely, after his invisible hosts had entertained him so generously, no one would be offended if he plucked just one rose?

Guess again, Daddy-O.

* * *

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Sleeping Dragon – Hadrian’s Wall

Click on the Illustration Above for the Full Picture

I had no trouble locating the time travelers portal, that would carry me back to the era when Roman Legions patrolled the North Country.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Our Creek's Low

Mama Gooliiya Unusumkaranayata Kamathi Naha*!

Our Creek's Low
Are Fish and her family hiding beneath that rock?
Lizard crawls into her hole and waits.
Frog is croaking hopefully.
Rabbit is wondering, will the rains come soon?
Doe and Fawn wander on.
Where does Cougar get a drink?

Let's Come out From Under Our Rock.
Let's turn off the tap and the air conditioner.
Let's look.
* * *
An Article in the Huffington PostWhy Some American's Deny Global Warming  

* Mama Gooliiya Unusumkaranayata Kamathi Naha! means, "I do not like global warming" in Sinhala, one of the languages spoken in Sri Lanka

Friday, October 21, 2011

Indian Summer at Edgewood (No. 3): Rose Hips

Indian Summer Rose Hips
Edgewood County Park, San Mateo County, CA

Previous Segments in this Mini Story Series
Indian Summer at Edgewood

After the Ohlone folks had finished their dye-making, fishing, and berry gathering projects we all settled down to a spot of relaxation and recreation in the late afternoon sun. A big-eyed girl I took to be about twelve years old marshaled three younger children into a sort of impromptu performance of different kinds of animals. 

The littlest girl, probably three or four, was adept at bouncing of her haunches and wiggling her nose like a rabbit. Of course she got got the loudest murmurs of appreciation. The two other kids, both boys, switched back and forth between pouncing like a cougar, or maybe a bobcat- onto the rabbit, swiping down fall berries - that was obviously a bear, and yipping and howling like a coyote. The also put on quite a very credible show involving a Western fence lizard (I recognized those push-up motions), and what was obviously a rattlesnake surprised in the act of devouring what I thought might be a gopher. The gopher, in this case, won. It had to win since it was the tiny girl doing her best. Nobody in her clan was going to sit idly by and watch her be turned into rattlesnake fodder. Even the rattlesnake seemed relieved when she got away.

Then the older girl began to emit a kind of buzzing noise and began to flap her arms about a cleared section of the creek. She did a lot of dipping and diving in on the older of the two boys who sat in mock stoic silence, giving every impression of an animal at his wit's end, unwilling to give in to persecution. At this point, I was starting to have a little trouble following the story line, as dictated in a sing-song voice by grandmother. 

I suppose my confusion was obvious because the small band took pity on me and the director stopped her humming to give a direction to the older boy. I'm pretty sure she told him something along the lines of, "Let's move it along, Bud." 

The boy came to life and began to snap, yip and growl at the irritating creature who was clearly making his life a misery. Before she'd had a chance to respond another buzz, pitched much higher than the big-eyed thespian, began to sound just above our heads. 

When the jewel-toned throat of the Anna's hummingbird came into view everybody began laughing, pointing back and forth between the tiny bird and the oldest girl, who had resumed her darting, buzzing dance.

By the time coyote had consumed the pesky hummingbird, who of course didn't let that stop her fun, dusk was beginning to settle creekside.

It was time for me to hop into the closest time portal and head home.

* * *

Here's a link to an English version of some Ohlone stories, like the ones I heard down by the creek. There's one about Coyote and Hummingbird, which might be something similar to the one I heard that day. I still think the Rumsien version, and the acting talent I witnessed in past times Edgewood Park was the best version!

Working in Trees

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Indian Summer at Edgewood (No. 2): Oak Apple

Edgewood Oak Apple
Please click on the illustration above to get the full picture 

Yesterday I wrote a journal entry about the beginning of a trip back 300 years in time,  to visit with a small group of Ohlone people in, what is today called, Edgewood Park. (Indian Summer at Edgewood (No. 1): Creekside.

Having slid through the time portal on the seat of my pants, I dusted the leaves off and greeted the small group working along the edge of the creek. Though busy fishing, foraging for late berries, and cutting sedge, they still seemed glad to have a visitor drop by.

Unfortunately, I'd forgotten my iPad with it's Rumsien dictionary pdf download at home. Luckily, I remembered how to say i (yes). We smiled a lot too.  

Though the creek is low it had produced a few steelhead trout. Have you  noticed that fish tastes better when somebody else cooks it? Somehow the berries tasted sweeter than the modern ones too. I'm pretty sure that if you add a beer that would be a nutritionally complete meal. 

Some of the women were gathering up oak apples( which you maybe call oak galls) and smashing them with pestles, using a big flat rock to pound them against. About the only thing I've ever seen anybody use oak apples for, was the time my friend Suzanne painted a bunch of them as ornaments for her holiday craft booth. She never made those again, after she hung the leftovers on her warmly lit Christmas tree and the gall wasps started hatching out of the little manager scenes. I don't think she ever went back to that particular craft fair to hear what happened to the ones she sold either.

Turns out the people by the creek weren't making manager scenes. They cooked the busted up oak galls in a very tightly woven basket of water and rocks made intensely hot from their fire. When I saw the clan grandmother begin to stuff dried sheaves of sedge into the deep black liquid that emerged from the galls, I finally understood how they were using the galls.

Grandmother saw me looking, smiled back, and pointed at the dark design on the container holding the last of the blackberries. She said something in Rumsien that was as clear to me now as English, even if I didn't understand the actual words she spoke. 

Did I think the gall dyed sedge make pretty baskets?

I grinned back.

I, absolutely i.

Indian Summer at Edgewood
Part 1: Creekside
Part 3: Rose Hips

* * *

There were other Ohlone langues in addition to Rumsien. They include Mutsun, and Chochenyo. There are people speaking these languages today.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Indian Summer at Edgewood (No. 1): Creekside

I've read that the term Indian Summer had to do with the land of India, but Wikipedia says it's a Native American reference. 

Wikipedia's not always right. So everybody can decide on their own, or read something academic and let me know, eh?

I do know that Indian Summer is on full display right now in Edgewood Park, a county park nature reserve five minutes (driving) from Cañada College
where I take classes.

The Ohlone tribe were the first people who lived and gathered food in this area. If I slide down the bank of this creek into it's time passage, I might meet up with a few Ohlone. Could have still been a few fish down in this creek 300 years ago, 

Indian Summer at Edgewood
Part 2:  Oak Apples
Part 3: Rose Hips

Monday, October 17, 2011

Trick or Treaters Come Early This Year (Green Humor)

To get the Whole Picture

I'm a big fan of the biodegradable approach to Halloween decorating. I've already put out several pumpkins, big and small in the garden. I've tried growing them myself, but I don't have the light, heat, soil or something* to get them going. The little kids who walk past with their parents, by the way, don't realize that they aren't growing out there. They have been happily checking out my pumpkin garden for the last couple of weeks.

Funny though, the mini pumpkins started disappearing. Were they just walkin' off?

Turns out they weren't. Somebody's been getting their trick or treating in early this year. 

Whatever's leftover after the kids and the raccoons move on, I'll dig the reminder down into my adobe soil. It'll help out with the salvia blooms next spring.
. . .
* Tired of adding compost, redwood soil amendment, and gypsum to my adobe soil, I finally decided to figure out what likes to grow there. Salvia, is one good answer.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

When does a daughter become an adult?

When my daughter got her driver's license, I didn't feel like she was an adult. I just felt nervous.

When she turned twenty one, I didn't feel like she was an adult. I just figured she could buy booze without being sneaky.

But today my daughter ran 13.1 miles in the Nike Women's Half Marathon, which she started training for last April. You have to decide to do that yourself, and stick to it on your own. 

Now, I know, my daughter is an adult.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Steve Jobs: Heroes and Heroines

I took the pedestrian time portal over to the downtown Palo Alto Apple Store yesterday. It's a nice walk past the library and park fields on a long path of trees that runs alongside the Caltrain railroad track.  At the end of the path, I cross San Francisquito Creek a time portal that has occasionally taken me back to visit with a local Ohlone tribe, back before 1769 when the Spaniards arrived. 

Yesterday, however, I continued past the temptation to drop back a few centuries and gather fall berries with a few of my early California sisters, and headed out along Alma Street on the path to more recent times.  

No matter what time of day I've walked past, since Steve Jobs death, there's been a crowd of people gathered at the window of the downtown apple store, writing postits, dropping off flowers, taking photos, or simply reading the notes that others have left. I found at least six different languages yesterday, two of whose origin I couldn't even make a guess.

We all need heroes and heroines so that we can go forth with a touch more heroism ourselves.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Digital Quilting:Global Warming, The Norwegian Block

The first block in my Digital Global Warming Quilt.

This is a surprisingly challenging quilt to design.

Who ARE these Americans who are denying Global Warming? Here's one article that gave me some ideas. "Why Americans Deny are in Denial".

Friday, September 30, 2011

Quilting Mission Style: San Juan Bautista

Click on the illustration above for improved time portal access

My friend Marilyn and I took a field trip back through time last Friday, and drove down to Mission San Juan Bautista. The California missions are garden spots filled with architectural charm, but in their heyday they spelled the destruction of culture for native people, not to mention being decidely unhealthy environments. It's tempting when visiting the California missions to see what turns up in the way of time portals. After all this may be our big chance to do a little historical rewriting.

Or maybe we can pretend these are just pretty buildings with lovely gardens?

Born here or not, we're Californians. Our history includes all the people who passed through this mission. Every one of those folks are our ancestors. Like a mission-style quilt, we're all pieced together  whether  our great grandma came from Orio Spain, Ohio, or an Ohlone village.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Traveling Through Time into the Commyne Place

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only person out there who's running on sensory overload when it comes to hoarding digital photos, recipes, great quotes, patterns and lists of library books I'm definitely going to read within the next year. Too much technology makes it kind of easy to hold onto too much.

So I was glad to read that even 400 years ago, Elizabethans were overdoing things when it came to collecting the wisdom of the ages too. Apparently  Common Place books , a repository for all the things you mean to get around to, memorize, read and pass onto your friends were the latest thing. Gee.... this sure reminds me of something I do on my computer. Now gee, what could it be?

Isn't old Will the best playwright ever? Quick before you forget, go ahead and write down those quips about asses and wise fathers, that made you laugh so hard you almost bust your stay laces. What better place then your new Common Place book to keep them from getting lost.

Did you finally score the world's best receipt for grouse pastry puffs? Into the Common Place book it goes.

Managed to sneak in a detailed description of the perfect knot garden when your hosts weren't looking? Slip that drawing in your Common Place book.

Found a wonderful new method for poisoning rats? Tuck it in.

The idea, of course, is that you'll know right where to go when you next  tie on your pastry apron or slip on your rat-taming, gardening gloves. Oh you bet.

Now we know why somebody invented the search key.

A fun blog entry with great detailed info about common place books (and other fun reads as well).

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Time Traveling Forward to Fall

Just this morning I was listening to a BBC History Magazine podcast, time traveling back to World War II. But tonight I'm going forward, just a few weeks really. Fall officially starts on September 23, 5:05 a.m., according to  The Old Farmer's Almanac.

I'm thinking fall now because I just put a batch of applesauce spice muffins in the oven for the resident geologist to take out in the field. I made them with the apples I raked up and sauced from our runty little apple tree in the driveway. They are the ones the squirrels kick down, after chewing them and deciding they aren't reall….llly ripe. They also don't make the world's best apple sauce, because they are kind of green and they aren't cooking apples. But they make fine muffins PLUS the added benefit that if I don't leave them under the tree, Mr. Rat and his clan don't come a' callin' (at least not in the driveway).

Yup, it all just puts me in a very seasonal mood- the fall harvest, the squirrels and the jolly little rats. Here's my recipe, or receipt, as us time travelers like to say.

Applesauce Spice Muffins
A creation of The Simple Romantic
350 degrees, until baked/fork clean - depends on your muffin tin

Get out a Large Bowl 
Put in dry ingredients and mix 'em
Make a well in the dry stuff
 Beat one egg up in the well
Add in rest of wet ingredients. 
Put in muffin tins. 

Dry Ingredients

1 ¾ cup flour – type you like
½ cup regular oatmeal (NOT quick cooking type)

½ cup brown sugar
A whole bunch of black raisins (maybe ¾ of a cup?)

1 teaspoon baking soda (I run it through a sieve)
1 t ground cinnamon
¼ t nutmeg
(I also like the following spices in addition to the above – Resident geologist does not – though he eats them anyway – they are quite good either way)
½ t ground cloves
½ t ground allspice

Wet Ingredients
-   1 egg
-   ¼ cup corn oil (or butter if you like that)
-   ¼ cup buttermilk
-   1 cup applesauce –(preferably made from the culls that fall in my driveway)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Time Travel Moxie: Speeding Up Evolution

Click on the illustration above for a MOST deletable view

Who says you can't speed up evolution? 

All a girl needs is a time portal, and the willingness to try 
...... and fly

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Tarantula Tango OR The Tarantula and the Shoe Box

      As a kid I lived on two acres that my parents christened “Lizard Acres”, in what was then a very rural part of Arizona. There my folks designed and built a cinder block house with their own hands. The house was well laid out, cool in summer, and the cinder block walls exuded naturally trapped heat in the winter, but it was also full of  places where wildlife could creep in. 

     Whenever we went to take a bath*, there would generally be at least four forms of insect life. Vinagaroones were popular. They look a good bit like scorpions - which we often saw outside the house.
All prepped to take our bath, we would scream bloody murder at the sight of those bugs. Then my mother would yell out “Oh just put the shoebox over it, and I'll be in there in a minute!” She had no patience with our fussing. So I ran around stony naked (my sister being older was usually more modestly atired) waiting for our mother to come and displace the insect life to the out of doors. I think they came up the drain in the tub, and from there they sometimes migrated on to the walls and into the rest of the house.
Also tarantulas came into the house. They were most partial to my sisters bedroom wall which retained the kind of heat tarantulas liked. I don't know how the tarantulas got in. Seems like they’d have been too big for the tub’s drain. Our good old dog, Blackberry used to (I’m not making this up) play with one of the tarantulas that came regularly. My sister was particularly unhappy to find this member of theTheraphosidae family on her wall one night at bedtime. My mother finally got fed up with our screams, and killed that particular visitor.
The dog moped for days and my mother felt awful, because she realized she killed Blackberry's friend. She never killed another and we learned to accept insects as part of life.
My mother drew this beautiful tarantula a few years after we left the wilds of Arizona for the intensity of suburban life in California.
It was a good move for economic and educational reasons, but we all kind of missed the excitement of bath time at Lizard Acres.

*Where we the only folks with a tub-only-just-one bathroom back in the 60's? As a kid, I thought showers were the kind of luxury people only had in motels