Wacky weather and lino laments

Halls of neon velvet

From what we understand, spring is slow in coming to the area this year. I guess what that means is that the temperatures are still reliably in the 50’s and low 60’s, and it continues to rain a lot. For me, that is spring, but for most of the people around here, it’s still winter. But we have had some strange days. On Friday, in driving back from doing errands in town, I was struck by how beautiful the forest was. It was a mostly gloomy day, with dark clouds, but interrupted by strong rays of sunshine. Since we’re in a rain forest, almost all of the trees have a coating of green moss on their trunks and branches, and driving up our main road into the forest, with the sun slanting through the trees, was like traveling through halls of neon green velvet. I wanted to take a picture of it, but that road is too windy and dangerous to stop on, so the best I could do was take a picture of our little road, which doesn’t have as many trees. The result only gives the smallest idea of what it was like, if you look hard.

Itty bitty hailstones on the deck

The weather yesterday was even more unpredictable. Most of the day it rained, but about 10 AM I noticed that it was warm and sunny, so I opened the sliding glass door in the dining room. Less than an hour later, the air abruptly turned cold and showers of small hail came down.

In between these capricious days, we’ve had some beautiful ones. On Saturday, my niece took me to her favorite nursery in Woodland, Washington. We both bought trees and bushes. I bought two Japanese maples, a French lilac, a bird’s nest spruce (a little ball-shaped bush rather than a tree), and a flaming silver pieris, which is a pinky yellowy leafy shrub. My niece bought several bushes and a stunning Japanese maple that is pink in the spring, green in the summer, and bright red in the fall. I found it for her, so I was proud of myself.

 

The ridge in question on a gloomy day (today, in fact)

It was still warm and sunny when I got home, so I coaxed my husband out to help plant my purchases. This turned out to be easier said than done. My intention was to continue to landscape the ridge in front of our house, which is mostly finished but has a few odd holes. But both our lawn and the ridge turn out to have about two inches of dirt on top of rock. We had to go out and buy a pickax. When we got back, we were able to plant the lilac a few feet from the front door and the camelia about a foot up the ridge. But we found that we are too geezerly, really, to go much higher on the ridge, let alone perch there long enough to dig holes with a pickax. So, some day this week my niece is coming over to help us. I bet she’ll be glad now that I purposefully only bought plants in the smaller containers. She thought it was funny at the time, when I explained that my husband would have to help me and he wouldn’t want to dig large holes.

Our other outdoor activity this week involved me babysitting my niece’s kids while she, her husband, and my husband tried to fix a problem with a culvert in the road. If you look back up at my picture of the trees, you might notice that a puddle is taking up half the road where it disappears off the edge of the picture. Many heavy trucks have been in our neighborhood lately. Just after we moved here, a new neighbor logged his entire property (that is another story, considered by some a neighborhood tragedy) and now is building a house. And of course there have been the trucks coming to our house. At some point, we think, a truck took the corner too close to the side of the road (in fact, we can see tracks off the road there) and crimped the culvert. The road has been filling up with water the last few months and can’t drain. So, my niece and her husband dug out the culvert to look at it and drained the pool. They said that the hillside was going to come down if it wasn’t fixed. The fix is only temporary, though. They are going to try to raise money from the neighbors to get a better culvert installed under the road.

The babysitting had its challenges. But that’s another story. At least it involved a nature walk in the orchard and by the pond and creek, during which we saw that the yellow lotus flowers were coming out on the pond, and that white and blue wildflowers were coming up along the path, including trilliums or trillia, or whatever the plural is. I’ll try to take pictures for next week.

On the home improvement front, I was waiting all week for my marmolette and marmoleum samples to arrive. I got the marmolette samples on Friday, but the marmoleum has still to appear. I have a color picked out of the marmolette, but I think the speckles in the marmoleum might be more pronounced, so I want to compare. Certainly, I want to make sure that of the five samples I picked, I am choosing the one I like best.

But, of course, a problem has arisen. The flooring representative tells me that she is having trouble finding someone who has experience laying this type of flooring. She started this information out by saying “As I told you before,” which really set my back up, as I have never discussed this type of flooring with this particular person. I discussed it with the person who helped me at the design center, but never with the rep. And my question is, if you are unprepared to install a particular type of flooring, why do you have samples of it in your design center? My contractor says, never mind, just pick out your flooring and we’ll work it out. In the meantime, I’m still waiting for my samples.

And art class, for those of you who are waiting with bated breath to hear about that. I finished my solids last week and was told to go pick out three photos showing exactly one flower from the class albums. Then my instructor selected one of the pictures for me to work on. My sister is working on a bird of paradise and I have an newly blooming tulip. The instructor drew a grid on tracing paper and then took a marker and showed me the shapes she wanted me to draw on the paper. At first, I had a false start because the grid she drew on the photo and the grid on my paper were not proportional. She had told me to observe the relationships between the lines and the objects in the photos, but if I did that, I ended up with an oblong flower. It was hard to get her attention, even though I noticed this problem almost immediately, because she observes a strictly fair method of moving around the classroom, so I had to wait for her to make it back to me. Then we straightened out what I was to do, and my drawing looked a lot better the next time she made it around. In fact, in waiting for her the second time, I started out being impatient but ended up working on my drawing some more and made it much better. It actually looked like the shapes underlying a flower rather than a bunch of blobs.

The next step was to put graphite under our tracing paper and lightly trace over our outline drawing onto the paper. I finished that just before class ended, while my sister had already started charcoaling the background of her picture. Our teacher remarked that we were both doing very well and moving quickly through the exercises.

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