Friday, April 14, 2017

We’re at the end of yet another week — April is now officially at mid-point and we’re approaching the end of the first quarter of 2017. Our days fly by anymore; I feel like the last sands of the hourglass running through, faster and faster.

We had some serious black clouds and fierce winds yesterday here on top of the mountain. In Bakersfield, the sun was shining and there wasn’t a dark cloud to be seen. Returning home to our mountain top, we found the same angry looking clouds, imagining that it was going to pour on us before we could reach the house. Nope, not a drop fell. But the wind did blow like crazy. Last night, Robert investigated a noise he heard out on the deck and discovered our rain gutter flapping in the wind. I’ll have to call a repairman for it because it’s too high for Robert to begin to tackle. We’d been hearing a noise, off and on for the past few days but never could pin it down.

When we lived in San Diego, we were members of the San Diego Garden Railroad Society. Our friends in the club, Ken and Pat Stanfield, moved long before we did, to Washington State. Ken operated a part time business installing garden railroads for people there in Southern California, so when they moved he had some G-Scale track left. Their new home has several acres of land so he moved up a notch in train gauges to two-and-a-half inch –the size you can ride on! He not only built his railroad, the North Pacific Coast Railroad, but designed and began building “Rail Pups“, a self-propelled rail car. There are two versions, a Silver version, and a Gold version. Click on the Rail Pups link to check them out in detail.

Ken told us some time ago that he had extra G-scale track, and if we ever found ourselves in need of track to let him know. Well, that time has come and our additional track will be on its way to us the first of next week. Nice! We needed an additional 300+/- feet of track to complete the layout.

It may seem strange to some that we’re building a garden railroad when we have the real thing running 24/7 just below the house. But there’s an excitement to building a railroad, and operating trains on it. I love the sound of the locomotives, and enjoy working alongside Robert when he’s running the trains, or doing maintenance on the railroad. I help select the plants and maintain them. It’s all a very enjoyable hobby, and is a great stress reliever.

I just happened to look out my office window and spotted a UP high-rail truck tootling along at a good clip. He has no doubt been checking the condition of the rails, looking for weak spots or areas that need attention. I have several things that need my attention, so will close this for now with blessings to all. Have a good day. Be safe, be well, and please be happy. Enjoy your life…it passes far to quickly when you get older.

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

The first of two aprons is finished. I’m very pleased with the results and feel it will sell quickly when hung in the Depot gift shop. I have another apron cut out and ready to be finished, and a quilt that has been sewn and is ready for squaring up and binding. Then it’s on to more quilts and possibly a few crayon rolls.

I also have a couple of packages of colored pencils and marker pens that can be put into holders. The last time I was in the gift shop, I saw that there was one crayon roll and one pencil roll still on the shelf, and one apron hanging on the end of the rack. No other quilts or pillows were available for sale. I’ll have to see if I can’t make up a patchwork pillow or two. They do seem to sell quickly.

I’ve been reading “Cherokee Rose” by Tiya Miles. I believe it’s a work of fiction, but based on historical information. It resonates with me because it speaks of my paternal grandmother’s ancestry. My paternal aunt told her daughter about a time when she was just a young girl. Her mother had received a letter from the government stating she was entitled to land in Oklahoma because of her Cherokee ancestry. The daughter (my aunt) was excited and wanted to take the letter to school for Show & Tell. My grandmother got very upset, grabbed the letter and burned it in the kitchen stove. She made the daughter promise not to speak of it again. But my aunt never forgot the letter, and eventually told her own daughter about it. I don’t know if it actually happened or not–everyone before my generation has passed on so there’s no one left to ask. It’s one of those things I may never know for sure.

Back to the book, there are three women in the story–all either African-American or Native American/African American mix. They come to a plantation that’s a historical site, but has been auctioned off by the state’s park & recreation department to raise money and avoid having to do extensive (and expensive) repairs to the crumbling building and landscape. Fascinating story so far, and I like it so much that I stopped in at the library this afternoon to renew it for another month so I can take my time reading it. I think I might want to do a bit of research about some of the places I’m reading about–just to see if they do exist or if they’re just fictitious names.

Not much else to write about, so will close this for now. May you and yours be blessed. Be safe, be well, and please be happy. Be sure to tell those you love that you love them.



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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Computers are such frustrating things. I’m now using Robert’s computer from downstairs because my desktop computer has died. Then, I started to use the laptop, but now IT won’t turn on. Arrrrgh! I have also discovered that my monitor (that went with the dead desktop computer) has also made the journey to the other side. No blue screen, just nada…the fan rotated a couple of times, but the screen remained blank.

I’ve been sewing on aprons for the gift shop. I had one almost finished and discovered the apron’s pocket managed to get skewed as I stitched it down. I had to stop and rip stitches. It’s going to be a really pretty apron when I do get it finished, and I’ll photograph it and share it with you.

A friend posted on FB about this obscure island where the inhabitants cut down all of the trees on the island, one by one, to use for building, firewood, etc. The natives became extinct. He spoke about what the natives might have been thinking when they cut down that last tree–or the next to the last tree, or even third to the last tree. I felt it was a message directed at me for removing the two diseased trees in our back yard. I posted a response that said I may have cut down two trees, but we planted three more in the front. End result — one new tree that will last far longer than either of the two diseased trees that we had removed. I may have been a bit sensitive to criticism about our decision to remove those trees, but I don’t regret our decision at all. Notwithstanding, the trees we planted in front are flowering trees and will beautify the cul-de-sac for years to come.

I’ve been watering my blackberry plants and they haven’t seen fit to come out of their dormant stage. The Crown Vetch plants are coming along quite nicely, many of the seeds having grown past their two leaf stage. I’ll transplant them to the hillside once they’re a viable size. They’re known as an aggressive ground cover, and a favorite food for deer. I like that. I’m feeding the wildlife while making our hillside green and colorful. Nice…

Be safe, be well, and please be happy. Be sure to tell those you love that you love them.

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Saturday, April 8, 2017

We were supposed to have rain and snow last night, but it didn’t happen. The most we got was some dew dripping off the eaves of the house. This morning, the clouds are rolling in and the sun is shining in between. Have I said how much I love the green of our hillsides? The bits of yellow from the wild mustard remind me of the times when my mother, grandmother and maternal aunts would go on “green pickin'” road trips down to Rose Canyon. Somewhere in the family’s photo closets is a picture of my grandmother and mother, bent over picking mustard greens. I can remember mom coming back home all excited and happy, washing the greens and putting them in a big pot to cook with chopped up bacon or salt pork. She’d put a couple of peeled potatoes in and be happy as a hog in mud… LOL For myself, the closest I could get to eating mustard greens would be to eat spinach, cooked or raw.

It’s just 43 degrees out this afternoon, so we won’t be working on the railroad today — unless the temperature climbs up a few more degrees. Our current dilemma is the battery in one of the locomotives that Robert built. We should have run them over the winter — just to keep things loosened up. The batteries went dead and even recharging them doesn’t do anything. The locomotive runs fine when it’s plugged into the charger, but remove it from the charger and it won’t move. <sigh> The batteries have to be a specific size/type, so we’re doing the finger walk through the Internet to find a battery supply store. We bought the current battery at a store in Santee, so we may have to have the younger son purchase it and deliver it to us, unless we can find a supply closer to home.

A final couple of photos for you — this is a coiled steel train — just went through, heading south. I missed the lead locomotives because I didn’t realize it was ALL steel cars until the locomotives had already passed by. So you can add at least another 10-15 cars to this photo, along with about three locomotives in the lead. There are two locomotives pushing from the rear.


Be safe, be well, and please be happy. Be sure to tell those you love that you love them.


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Friday, April 7, 2017

My computer has been acting up, shutting down when it should stay on, and taking forever to wake up from its sleep/hibernate cycle. I think it’s the fan or the power supply, so I’ll be putting it in the shop soon. Thankfully, I have my laptop to use for my NaJoWriMo posts.

I need to make this a very short post as I have a dr’s appt. this afternoon and need to get some sewing done.

Be safe, be well, and please be happy. Be sure to tell those you love that you love them.

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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Coaxing Sunset Pacific’s locomotive out into the daylight for the first time. The batteries weren’t up to the task, so back in it went, to be hooked up to the charger. Tomorrow might be the day if all goes well.



We each paid it forward yesterday. My turn came first as we sat at a Jack-in-the-Box on Chester, waiting for our food. A young man came in and although he looked a bit scruffy, he didn’t look like a druggie. He sat just inside the door and held his jacket collar to his face–to catch his breath, it seemed. Another customer offered him some loose change and he accepted it and said thanks. I figured that was what was going on with him… he was hungry and had no money. My little voice spoke up and told me to give him some money so he could buy some food. He wasn’t outside begging, but rather sitting inside, very unobtrusively, waiting for help. I took $5 out of my wallet and rolled it up — I walked over to him and handed it to him and merely said, “For food.” His face lit up and he thanked me. He sat for a bit and then got up and went to the counter and began ordering. I felt good — pleased that he took the money and used it to buy himself a meal rather than rushing out the door to buy alcohol or drugs.

Robert’s turn came when we went to WalMart. Robert waited in the car while I went in to do a bit of shopping. When I came out of the store, Robert pointed to an elderly man walking around in a daze, and said, “Go help that man!” I walked up to the man and asked him if he needed help. He said he’d lost his car. I asked him what kind and what color and when he told me, I went back and told Robert. Robert then drove up and down aisles, looking for the man’s car. When I spotted it, Robert stopped the car, I got out and then had to go find the car’s owner! I found him, but he didn’t see me waving at him — nor hear me yelling at him that I’d located his car. Everyone in the block heard me, but he didn’t. I finally had to get within 2 feet of him and tell him that we’d found his car. I felt so sorry for him. I’ve been there, done that myself, and I had no one to drive around looking for my car. I had to hoof it, usually pushing a shopping cart to boot! I’ve learned to always park by a tree or as close to a light standard — anything that is easily identifiable. There’s nothing so embarrassing as to call security in a department store to report your car stolen–and then discover that you’d exited the wrong door and your car was still where you’d parked it — on the other side of the building.

As I drove us home yesterday, I thought how blessed we are that I had extra money to share with someone who needed it, and we had a car that we could use to help someone else find theirs in a parking lot full of cars. We are blessed.

Be safe, be well, and please be happy. Remember to tell those you love that you love them. And if you pray, please say a prayer for those who are fighting cancer today. I have a friend who’s not doing well. She needs all the prayers she can get. Thanks!

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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

I’m starting my day a bit earlier than yesterday, which is good because we have a lot to do today. It’s cold out–barely 34 degrees on the deck this morning, but the sun is shining and it should warm up before long.

I’ve caught the first train of the day and it’s a UP, with a mile of empty lumber racks. One locomotive on the rear to act as a brake, it’s probably over a mile long, but moved through the valley in less than 2 minutes.

Our hills are turning brown already. That green doesn’t last long at all if it’s not raining. We should see a bit of rain this coming weekend, but it’s not a sure thing.

I have the quilt tops all laid out with backing and batting. There are six of them to be quilted, so I’ll have lots to do for the next few days.

I’m not sure how I want to quilt them. Possibly just shadow stitching around some of the elements with straight line stitching through the segments of the design.


No matter how it’s quilted, it will look nice. I’m also thinking that these would make nice Quillo’s, so will have to do some measuring and see what I can work up.

Be safe, be well, and please be happy. Be sure to tell those you love that you love them.











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