Archive for August, 2011

Repairs

We are now able to get off our mountain.  Our neighbor, George Tucker, a local contractor finished a rough one lane pass for us to get into town.  He worked long hours to make a road for us and we are grateful.  He’s now on to other repairs for the many people who are stranded and need help.

An Uninvited Guest

Irene came to town this weekend.  She roared up the east coast, generally made a mess of things and left us stranded high and dry.  We in Vermont are not used to these sorts of visits.  Oh sure, we get Nor’easters but not hurricanes, and huge, slow moving ones at that.

I think most folks thought that it wouldn’t be too bad because Irene would be downgraded by the time she got to us.  But the big problem in Vermont is that all the mountains funnel water down into streams that run through picturesque towns, most of which can’t handle such overwhelming volumes of rain run-off.  The southern half of Vermont seems hardest hit and many towns are totally isolated now with roads (both dirt and macadam) and entire bridges washed away (read article and watch bridge video here).  Ambulances can’t get to area hospitals, electric repair crews can’t find trouble spots let alone repair them, and don’t even think about mail delivery.  We are fine, high and dry on our little mountain, one car safely stowed in town because we could not navigate the road home from church, the other one safely in the garage because we can’t navigate the road to town.  There isn’t much to go into town for anyway.  The only grocery store and pharmacy were flooded with several feet of water and many other businesses that back the Black River are also damaged by flood waters (see video here).  So we are enjoying the sunshine, blue sky dotted with puffy clouds, and the beautiful mountain vistas; counting our blessings and praying for our our many friends and neighbors who are struggling so much more than we.

Our impassable road:

Surprising Beauty in an Unexpected Place

We were cleaning up some brush and scrap wood behind the barn today, hauling it out to the burn pile.  I was stopped in my tracks when I spotted this amazing caterpillar.  It was huge, the size of my index finger, with a beautiful red-orange back and green underside.  A little research helped confirm my suspicion that, simply because of its size it might be a luna moth caterpillar.  At first I thought I was wrong because all the specimens in photos I found on-line were green.  Then I found a photo here that looks just like the one I found.  Perhaps they turn orange when it is time for them to make their cocoon.  This one was definitely leaving a silk trail.

Isn’t it beautiful?  Luna moths are so distinctive with their large size and lovely green wings.  I’ve seen quite a few of them but have never been blessed to see the larval stage.  As tempting as it was to keep it in a jar to watch it spin its cocoon and witness its transformation, I let it go.  I hope it found a comfortable and safe place to rest and find its wings.

Recovery

It’s been a busy few weeks, what with the wedding and all.  At the height of the fun we housed 17 people and it was a wonderful time with family and friends.  The grand babies were here along with my aunt, the last of the older generation on both sides of our family.

As visitors returned home, we had the chance for a little rest and recovery: lunch out and a walk up to the fire tower on top of Okemo.  How nice to refresh with the beauty of nature, the fragrance of balsam firs and a fabulous view.

Sphinx moth enjoying bee balm

Bunchberry fruit

Clintonia berries

Turtlehead

goldenrod sp.

A fabulous mushroom

Indian Pipe

Play days

My friend Colleen recently invited me to come play with fabric and dye for a few blissful days at her lovely Vermont farm.  The plan was to get together to play with some surface design techniques and maybe dye some fabric while we waited for the other stuff to dry.  We had a list of techniques we wanted to try: screen printing, deconstructed screen printing, stamping and mark-making with thickened dye, monoprinting, and over-dyeing.  It was ambitious at best and a bit daunting.  In the end, we tried everything but the deconstructed screens and my favorite ended up being monoprinting.

What was unexpected for me was the amount of dyeing I did.  Colleen had mixed up 3 different color families.  I used 2 on the first day and the remaining one on day 2.  In the process, I underestimated the power of golden yellow and fuschia, and after dyeing too many oranges and reds that were too similar, I over-dyed them for some deep, rich, complex darks, the most exciting outcome of the effort.

Sweaters for rocks

I’ve been in a creative funk of late.  Sometimes it helps just to do something creative to jump start my brain.  So I decided to crochet around a few more rocks.  It got me into the studio, got me thinking and creating, and allowed me to relax a bit.  Crocheting around rocks is an intuitive craft.  There is no pattern since every rock has its own unique properties and proportions.  One can start with an idea in mind but at some point it all needs to be adapted to its particular form.  I chose some different threads this time, lending some different textures and variety to each stone.  Each of the group of three is for sale at Six Loose Ladies yarn shop.  The one on the lovely hand dyed fabric was given to my friend Colleen.

Follow up to roots, flowers and …

I knew I had taken more pictures of roots and flowers but could I find them? Well, here they are… finally.

Another Banyan tree with its hanging roots.

Wonderful folds supporting this huge trunk.

A woody shrub that has found a foothold in a rock wall.

Snake-like roots of a Philodendron vine trailing along the ground.

We saw these beautiful tropical flowers at the market.  They remind me of fire works.

This is the way you buy grass in Hawaii.  It is sold in flats of several different kinds.


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