Monday, August 13, 2018


On one of our 90 degree days a mourning dove just sat in the water dish for about 15 minutes.  One of the few birds I have seen this week.
 Been quite the mystery here as to what happened to the birds and what is happening to my plants?  The marigolds in this planter began turning brown and dying a little over a week ago.  
And other than a few sparrows, one sickly looking grackle, and a couple of mourning doves--all the birds have disappeared.  No flocks at all.  I used to put out a couple big tin cups of seed once or twice a day.  Now I can put out less than half a cup and there will be seed left the following day.  ???
At first I thought the hawk had been here because that will keep them away for a day or two, but this has been more like ten days now.  No bees, either.  The only thing I can think of is that when they pulled the weeds around the building that maybe they also used some kind of toxic weed killer.  If they happened to hit those marigolds on that corner that could explain why only one batch is turning brown.  
But all the plants seemed stressed.  I'm losing marigolds almost a dozen a day.  The geraniums have almost quit blooming and even the huge coleus are a bit limper than they were.  It's been very hot, but I have been watering every day...and the heat used to bring the birds here in droves for an easy meal, a drink, and cooling bath.  ??
I miss them.
Annie misses them.
Anyways, I have been slowly plugging away in the studio. 
As most of you know, it gets worse before it gets better. 
I had Ian here for Gramma Day on Friday.  We changed another big round light bulb in the bathroom and filled the hand soap container...after his two hour lunch.  (He was a dawdler to say the least.)  
 After lunch and tasks we had to check in with Maru and Hanna on YouTube, of course, and then were watching a video on gelli printing.  Ian had a new camera and told me he wanted to take pictures of art...just art.  
 While cleaning in the studio I had just run across a stack of gelli printing papers that Leah, Dagan, and I practice-played with years ago--oh, and some pages taken out of an old art journal.  I gave them to Ian and he laid them all out on the floor and took pictures of "art".
He took pictures and pictures and pictures...  
...until the battery died on his camera.
Now I can throw these away.  Not sure why I kept them in the first place--LOL!  Of course, we can clean off the brayers on them.  That may have been why.  ;)
I showed Ian my gelli plates and the brayers.  Told him if he doesn't dawdle next week (he also dawdled forever getting dressed and came later than usual--almost didn't get to come) and if he hurries to eat lunch before he comes over that we could play with gelli plates.  Gelli plates take a long time to set up, play with, and clean up afterwards.  So we'll see how it goes.  ;)  
He's at that age...where they insist on doing things themselves but then take FOREVER to do them.  I remember Dagan making me want to pull my hair out--LOL!  I notice how, as a slow moving grandma, I have more patience than I did back then.  BUT--I don't have him every day--ROFL!!
This month I have been good about working on brush lettering drills almost every day.  I really have a difficult time with the large this practice sheet.
I keep working at learning this, too.  :)
Some of these practice drills are just fun!  Of course, I prefer the smaller brushwork.  Easier for me to control. 
I've kept working little by little in the studio when my knee is cooperative.  That stack gathered right inside the door is all empty containers waiting for a home.  
This is what the tables look like right now. 
Sometimes you feel like you are just shuffling--LOL!
But I am making progress.  ;) 
BUT--I had gotten afraid to walk about in there.  Almost fell too many times.  I tried to take a picture but it doesn't show how high up the mats are off the floor.
I had even tried flipping them over--to no avail.
Here you can see--and my foot is not even touching the mat! 
Here on the other one--not even touching! 
I told Leah that the chair mats just won't go down and I was thinking of putting them outside on the patio so the 90 degree heat might flatten them.  She said Dagan could bring them out to the garage for me and weight them down.  He didn't make it this weekend.
So, in order to work in there anymore, I finally drug them both out of there last night and propped them up against the bookcases in the living room behind my chair.  Can you see how warped they still are?! 
Despite weighting them down with boxes and books and the chair and table legs--they don't seem to have flattened at all from the day Dagan brought them over.
They are just stubbornly wavy.
I hope the hot garage will help.  I have a whole bunch of bins out there to really weight them down better.
So, that is how this past week has gone.  Kind of strange in some areas, fun in some, and painful in others.  Accomplishments have been/are being made.  Rest has been had.  Letters have been written.  Shows have been watched.  Since there are no birds to speak of, Annie has been playing more with her favorite toy.  So, for those of you who liked her last she is with more energy.  Proof she can actually sit up to play.  (She still prefers being prone, though--LOL!)  
The new bookcase from Office Max is due to be delivered today.  I am hoping they don't leave it in the entryway like the last furniture I bought from them when I lived in West Winds.  I even sent an email to them because there was no place to leave a delivery time will tell.  
Fingers crossed!  
The hazy smoke from the California fires seems to be moving past us.  Supposed to be 92 again today.  I hope the birds and the bees come back.  Meanwhile--life is good.  
Have a truly fun week!  :) :)
"Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face."
Victor Hugo


  1. The dying plants could be explained by herbicide on those weeds, but I don't think the lack of birds could. Could it? So odd. And so sad. I know how much I'd miss it if the birds here just quit coming :( I hope they come back soon.

    Ian has the right idea in documenting the art. Besides photography being an art in and of itself, this way he can keep a record of his art work. He's creative, I can tell.

    I'm impressed with how diligent you are with your calligraphy practice. Trip hazards are scary -ask me how I know lol- It'll be good to finally get those mats to flatten out. I think the mental exercise with a toy is good even if there's precious little physical exercise going on.

  2. Tis the season i'm afraid Rita.... They are only annuals and have a limited lifespan.. Not all plants make it until the first freeze... some are stressed by summer heat and give up the ghost early.. Sometimes it has nothing to do with the watering its just the heat..

    The birds are off doing what birds do.. It happens to me every year...Sometime in August the birds and squirrels disappear.. Mother Nature is providing her abundance for them and it is their instinct to go eat it or store it... Alot of the flowers are going to seed so even though you provide some its their instinct to go get the other when available.. They may still pop by the feeder now and then but near the numbers they used to.. Sometime around Halloween or so they come back... :) I'll read the rest of your post later.. i just wanted to comment on that.. Hugs! deb

  3. My post--will I ever remember to do this promptly?

  4. Even though you're losing birds & flowers, it sounds like your health is improving!!

  5. Wow. That is sure strange about the birds. I wonder if they found a cooler place to hang out as I'd hate to think they are all dying. But you must be feeling better to do all that studio cleaning. It will be gorgeous when you finish. I've been cleaning too so I know exactly what you mean about it looking worse before it gets better. Happy new week. Hugs-Erika

  6. It's probably just too hot for the flowers and birds.

  7. We are seeing less birds as well during the day (it's been in the 90s and upper 80s). I'm thinking that they may try to find places to stay cool and then come out later for seeds and/or find alternative places to eat that are closer to them in the shade. I wonder if their appetites go down...kind of like how when it's really hot people generally don't like eating huge meals - they want something lighter?

    Anyway...Ian is so lucky to have you as his grandma. Look at all the fun art projects he gets to do; and methods he can explore!

    That's interesting about the plants dying. Your thought about them spraying and it reaching your plants may be what happened. We noticed that on a prairie that our 4-H club planted a couple of years ago. The prairie management company sprayed an herbicide to get rid of clover. Well, it must have been a slightly windy day because the herbicide drifted to a garden that had well-established plants in the past and killed them. Very frustrating!

    Hoping you are having a great week...and those birds come back soon for you and Annie!

  8. I hope the birds return. They should, unless they have all been killed by Roundup. Even so, new ones should come back sooner or later. I suspect something is up with the new owners. They don't seem to be lovers of wildlife. Glad you took those plastic things up before you got hurt!

  9. Hope the plants and birdies come back and that Ian doesn't dawdle next Gramma day!

  10. wow - your plants! and your birds! I hope the poison didn't get them. Just awful! :( We get hot and humid here - I guess our birds are used to it. Even when I lived with the pond they only ever used it for a drink now and then. I don't think I ever saw a bird in it - and there were resting places.

    Love that you are passing along a love of art to Ian. How wonderful it must have made you to watch him!

    Oh - studio/office space. I simply can't keep up with ine. I straighten and a week later something's gotten in and everything is a mess. I try. You are doing very well! Hope those matts give up and go down. Mine right now is cracking apart but I"m going to deal with it until I move down there permanently. Waiting out the dog who can't stand it when I'm down there which is why I have a cubby where the dining room should be. With stacks and stacks of books because I'm writing and need them (right? ). Stay cool!

  11. Hi Rita, I am late commenting. Your studio/office is amazing in the organization of volume of your art supplies.

    I've read on several different blogs that birds are not being seen very much in various areas. I hope they come back soon though.

    Ian is such a little sweetheart - learning all the time, figuring things out, helping his way and getting some great time with you.

    We have high temps and a constant haze from all the fires around our province.

    Annie seems to really enjoy her round toy - and she pushes that ball in both directions too.

    Thanks for the update of your week Rita, always appreciate reading your post.



  12. Spider mites most likely, they sometimes kill a plant, give all your plants a good hard spray with the hose! Roundup would have killed more than the Marigold:) Birds have places to go and things to do...lots of berries out now and bugs for them. They will be back! Those mats are a bugger I can see they would be a trip hazzard.
    Chance is a bit better tonight. There is hope:)

  13. I really like the photo of the mourning dove cooling off in the water. Mourning doves are my favorite bird - but I haven't seen very many of them since I moved to TN.

    I used to have a floor mat like the one in your office, but i don't know whatever happened to mine (probably got lost when I moved). I don't know what caused yours to warp. That's annoying! Weighing it down might be a good way to fix it - but it could take a long time.

    I always enjoy seeing Annie playing with her favorite toy.

  14. Strange about the birds. - they found another, cooler place for sure ! You must be feeling much better to do all that studio cleaning. Well done job! WOW!. Annie seems to enjoy her toy so much and Ian is such a lovely grandson!
    Happy days Rita!

  15. My brother, who lives on the other side of England hadn't had any rain and had been watering regularly has lost some plants but it does seem that the weedkiller may have got yours! The birds may have flown away from the smoke that has been carried so hopefully they will return soon! Ian is certainly keeping you busy! Well done for the tidying - I really need to return to mine ! It is so lovely to see Annie playing! Chrisxx ps off for a catch up now!!

  16. I hope the birds return too and that nothing sinister has befallen them. The weed killer is a little worrying. Shame about the marigolds dying back and the wilting plants too.

    How cute that Ian laid all the art pages on the floor. I remember when Aaron got his first camera — EVERYTHING got photographed! haha

    Nice work on your lettering! I really need to pick up my act.

    Yes, reorganising sometimes feels like taking four steps backwards to take two steps forwards. You will get there in the end though.

    OH NO...I can understand you being afraid to walk in there with the plastic mats not lying flat. I don't think we've ever had that issue with our ones. They are badly warped for sure. Be careful, my friend.

    Annie is too cute!


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