Sycamore Tree

Sycamore Tree 02We decided to cut down a Sycamore tree that I planted 25 years ago… after we finished the reno on our storage shed by the garden. It was one of those expensive purchases of a landscape tree costing a wopping $60 in 1995. That is a lot to a single mom’s budget. I really loved this shade tree cooling our mobile home over the years. A Sycamore is actually a gorgeous hardwood tree that grows quite large, with lots of big green leaves and is perfect for shade in yards and parks. However, if you have even a slight allergy to it’s pollen it can make life quite miserable. It became a real chore to mow the lawn under it. You would start coughing as soon as you started mowing and then experience a sore throat with swollen eyes, and coughing for a couple of days after, even if you used a mask and eye coverings. I could not figure it out.

Sycamore Tree 01I had an art show in a downtown garden show where the booth next to me had a professional tree trimmer. I happened to mention to him how irritating the mowing under our Sycamore had become, and the guy laughed. He said that whenever people wanted Sycamore’s trimmed the price went up and his crew was required to wear a full suit to prevent respiratory and skin irritation associated with them. That was shocking but reassuring at the same time. Finding that out 2 years ago, has had me thinking that tree maybe wasn’t such a good idea. When I looked up at the buds on the tree limbs this spring I told Pete that I had enough of the allergy stuff. So, we decided to go ahead and take it down.

Sycamore Tree 03Check out the massive root system. Taking this tree down as a project had a comedy show of I N T E R E S T I N G events attached…. really. Honestly, I’d tell you about them but then I’d have to kill you. Internet BS is not allowed for this top secret event, so, you’ll have to come see in-person to get the story on the rest of this adventure.

Here is a link to more information about Sycamore trees if you are interested. Pay attention to the problems paragraph a few paragraphs down.


Finish Old Storehouse Reno

Storage Shed Reno 20This Store House is the latest in fashionable, “Vintage Farmhouse” decor in Spokane county. To achieve this look requires that you save materials from other demolished structures over-the-year in the hopes of being able to re-use them on a reno like this. In other words, you have to be a penny-pincher that saves-everything and you have to know how to make products work in different situations. Easy enough.

Storage Shed Reno 14Most of the re-used metal was from two storage sheds we took down over the years, after that year of real heavy snow that caved-in their roofs. The flashing that you see Pete installing under the roofing metal and over the metal siding is the final part of the waterproofing on the wall that needed to be closed in.

Storage Shed Reno 21Since the T-1-11 was in good shape on the other three sides we only had to do the grade to bottom enclosure and corners in metal to finish weatherproofing the structure.

Storage Shed Reno 18

I had to re-set the CMU blocks for the entryway steps and we were done.

Storage Shed Reno 19

Renovating My Old Studio

Old Studio Reno 01In preparation for the zombie apocalypse, Pete and I are renovating my old studio into a more secure storage shed. It is the white building next to the garden down the hill from our house.

Spring MudJust to make things more interesting, spring conditions are in full effect requiring the use of mud boots for walking outside. You can be walking along real normal and suddenly sink into clay up to your ankle. There is a real art to coaxing your boot back up out of the mud without loosing your balance.

Old Studio Reno 08This structure was a 16′ x 8′ addition that sat against the old mobile home back door. When we moved into our new home and took the old mobile down, this structure was left missing a wall. So, as a temporary measure we covered the stud frame with plastic to protect it from the weather. You know how temporary measures go, well that was half a decade ago. Poor thing.

Old Studio Reno 03First day was spent preparing it to move about 9 inches over to correctly allow for the electrical panel feed line. While doing this, we made sure it was level in it’s new location. It is amazing how much it had settled over the years.

Old Studio Reno 06Then we got busy removing loose boards at the eaves which revealed a host of varmits living in that space.

wasp & bird nestsCheck out how many wasp and bird nests!

Old Studio Reno 05We have left over wood and a small window from construction that we used to close the wall. There was just enough wood to be able to close the eaves.

Old Studio Reno 10We plan on using metal for the final siding, from a storage shed we took down a couple of years ago. The existing T1-11 is still good on the other three walls so we won’t have to re-side them. All that is left after that is closing in base to ground area and caulking around the corners and windows. Maybe a quick coat of paint on the exterior to seal it. Wa La! Sturdy storage shed.


Hot Dogs & Smores at 8º Fahrenheit

Hot Dogs and Smores 01 Brrrr! At 8º Fahrenheit we bundled up and went outside to the fire to enjoy hot dogs and smores. Grandparents and Grandkids were on a mission to enjoy this country day together.

Hot Dogs and Smores 04Notice our handy dandy extendible camping forks. Only Grandparents have stuff like this! First, we brown our hotdogs in the fire, then eat them with ketchup. Grandpa was our ketchup dispenser. Yummm. The dogs stood on the side watching. They were certain that we were doing it wrong because, they were not getting any. Especially, the hot dogs.

Hot Dogs and Smores 03Next, we switch to the fine art of making smores. Putting perfectly browned marshmellows between graham crackers with chocolate is so yummy. Smores! So, now we have sticky cold fingers but we continue to make more marshmellows.

Hot Dogs and Smores 02Unfortunately, with the temp so doggone low our fun time is cut-short. Which, is probably a good thing. It saved us from a terrible sugar overdose. It is just a fact of life that you gotta stop, when your finger tips go numb.

Garden Seeds Arrived

garden seed identificationInto Garden Mode

This morning I had a rather fun chore of preparing garden seeds for planting this spring. Our order of seeds arrived in the mail from Seeds ‘n Such and I noticed that the envelopes did not have any pictures on them.  Arrrgh!

When it comes time to plant in the garden the words don’t really help me remember which-seeds-are-what. The names don’t always describe the plant. Collage, glueing and scrap-booking fun was in order! There is real truth behind the old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words!”

garden seed 2Last fall I saved what seeds I could, drying them and putting them in plain brown and white little envelopes. See the tomato and spaghetti squash envelopes in this picture. Notice that these saved seeds were also “picture-less”.

garden seed 3Since I still had the catalog that I ordered the seeds from, I was able to look through and cut-out pictures for almost all of our seeds.

garden seed 4After glueing them onto the envelopes we have a much cooler set of identifiable seeds for this spring’s planting.

Ready to Plant

fence Gates 10
drive in gate

Gardening is a large part of our lives here in Inland Northwest. Here is a view of the garden after Pete disc’d it with the tractor last spring. It was ready to plant the next day. As soon as ski season is over, we are looking forward to working in our garden this summer again.



This man proves himself nothing short of a idiot in his first days in office. Here is a bumper sticker showing how I feel about the loss of my freedom by the stolen election.

Kingdom of Biden

Sleepy Joe is the bogus “Commander-in-Chief” who introduces us to the “Kingdom of Biden” as he issues executive-order after executive-order. He is a cancer that is fast-growing. Our country dies as his kids and special interest groups prosper. ByeDen and Heresy are nothing more than thieves who are not valid as President and Vice-President.

Freedom is Gone

I hope our brainwashed liberals are paying attention as our freedoms disappear. Any Questions? Contact me if you’d like to order some.

Minerva Amaryllis Watercolor

Minerva Amaryllis 01This is a photograph of one of our blossoming beauties named, “Minerva Amaryllis”, that I will be painting in watercolor. It’s petals range in color from salmon to pink with white tiger stripes extending out from the center. My husband grows this one, and many others in our kitchen window. When they quickly spring-up with their bright blossoms it can literally take-your-breath-away. Amaryllis always cheer-up the house in the winter.


Minerva Amaryllis 02
First, I sketch the shapes using a 2H pencil, drawing very lightly so lines are erasable later on.

Next, I wet the first petal area being very careful to reserve (keep dry) the area in the middle. This dry area is where the white stripes will be. Proceeding on, I combine colors “wet-on-wet” in this pre-wetted area. Start with a mixture of orange and gambouge yellow, then apply drops of quinacridone magenta and alizaron crimson for the darkest edges. It is fascinating how the watercolors do almost all the work themselves. They combine in expressive gradations till they make edges that are sharp right where the wetness stops. This picture shows very bright the colors look when wet, but, remember that they will fade as they dry.

Minerva Amaryllis 03
Minerva Amaryllis 04The approach for the second, third (behind), and fourth petals are pretty much the same except for the lighting changes as they stack.Minerva Amaryllis 05 Minerva Amaryllis 06

Now, is when I look at the beginning of where the light and shadow occur on the flower surfaces. The stem below the blossom is heavily darkened.

Minerva Amaryllis 08Following this, I apply a light wash in the background petals that is more muted in value to exaggerate distance.

Minerva Amaryllis 10

With a light wash showing the light sky background and greenery texture from below to eye-level, I am ready to begin painting the details.

Bluebird Day at 49º North

Ski Day

Bluebird day at 49º North 2
49º North in Chewelah WA

The day was beautiful up on the mountain today at 49º North Ski Resort in Chewelah Washington USA. Because, the sky was ultra blue and the conditions great, with a new layer of about 10″ of fluff to play on. Any questions?

Bluebird day at 49º North 3
49º North in Chewelah Washington USA the view from on top the mountain on a bluebird day. #ski49N, #bluebirdSkiDay

The world’s best ski-buddy, my husband Pete, took this photograph at the top by chair #1 & #5. In the second photograph, the colors are so vibrant with scenery that almost looks too perfect going off into the distance.

Possible Painting

Pete truly has a great-eye for taking pictures. I love the way the shadows in this picture are adding intriguing shapes to the composition.  Also, I am marveling at the amount of color in this winter day. The whole day was just absolutely beautiful, outside, in the Inland Northwest. Honestly, skiing is like experiencing heaven here on earth.

Big Brown Moth

What Kind of Moth is This?

An unidentified flying object landed on our deck this summer in the form of a giant brown moth.

Do you know what he is?

Does anyone know what kind of Big Brown Moth this is? It landed on the back of our deck chair during the summer and it was almost as big as the hummingbirds flitting around. He was about the size of my palm and half of the fingers on my hand. Really big! He just sat there flexing his wings and it was great to notice all the color on his wings. He is not just brown.

I apologize for the background noises, hummingbirds, chirping birds and the dog walking across the deck. If you recognize what he is please drop me a comment so the mystery can be solved.