Friday, September 24, 2010


 It has taken a few days to get these photos up because the camera and Photoshop were not getting along, at all.  Then I couldn't access Photoshop.  I had to uninstall and reinstall the program before things were back to normal. 

The Monarch Butterflies were migrating on Wednesday as they make their way back south for the winter.  There were not a great number of them as we have seen other times,  approximately 30-40.  It was windy, not a surprise, and they seemed to be seeking shelter from the wind in the trees.  It is amazing to me that these delicate creatures travel as far as they do. 

 I watched them for awhile, took some photos and tired to keep the dogs back away from the trees as the butterflies were disturbed by their presence.  They didn't mind the camera flash though.  They were interesting to watch and the trick was to catch them as they opened and closed their wings.    They were not doing it when I was able to get a little closer.  I did find an interesting site that records the migration of butterflies and birds.

 Last fall we had an interesting fungus growing.  I liked the shape of last year's better, but nonetheless they are interesting.  They grow out of a crack in the railroad tie on the back side of the pond. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wild Things

Yesterday I decided it was time to use up the dye in the fridge from the Retreat, it has been 4 1/2 weeks since it was mixed up.  I poured the dye on the fabric and these are the results.  I would say they are a little on the wild side of things.  Might have tempered them a bit with a little brown, but these are the colors that were mixed and used in some form so that is how I have decided to use them. 

I laid one piece on top of the other for these two.  There are some beautiful places in these pieces, just hard to see far away and clumped all together. 
  I have another piece that was folded and dyed to the side of these two and one that I hung on the line and dyed in the wind!!!  Also there are 7 pieces from two parfaits shown below.  I think they will work into whatever I decide to do.  Maybe a courthouse steps this time. 

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Treasures among the junk
Yesterday we were out by the junk iron pile.  Wow, did I find some wonderful things!!!!!  So I cautiously dug through the pile, it is September and rattlesnakes are not pleasant when one runs across them this time of year.  I stayed along the edge and made a lot of noise before attempting to look through an area.  There were also some black blister beetles on a pig weed that I had to keep an eye on as well.  The only injury I experienced was being stuck in the finger by a goat head sticker.  It was worth it.  I need to unload the loot and put it away. 

The metal with holes is one of the finds I am the most excited about.  It can be used to rust fabric, might be able to discharge with it, use it on a gelatin plate, endless possibilities with this piece.  Some of the items will have to be forced where the rust is concerned.  Some are stainless steel so they will have to be used for stamps or photo images will be used for patterns.  Very rewarding afternoon. 

The circle in the center is a new piece that I have not come across before.  I am not sure if these will rust, but here again, lots of other possibilities.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Finally, I was able to put the black kona around the trash barrel yesterday.  And just as I started, the wind came up, at least that is the excuse I am using as to why part of it doesn't have much rust on it or it might be that it dried out too much by the time I had the trash bag around it. 
  The photo to the right is one side of the piece.  It seems to me that this piece has two distinct sides.
In the lower left hand corner I can see two masks facing one another.  It is always interesting to see what develops on pieces of fabric.  Sometimes there are interesting images that show up.  Below is a closeup of the "mask" area and a closeup of one section. 
My reason for doing black instead of white fabric was to see if rust on black kona would resemble discharge.  I think it does, much less control than using a discharge paste or bleach, but that is part of the fun.  I would find it difficult to achieve the same texture with discharge paste, it seems to have more depth to it.  It also reminds me of the charred and blackened canyons near Boulder.   

I might try this process again one of these days, once the wind settles down. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Back in the Studio

Screen Print

I finally made it back over to the studio today.  The first time since the Retreat, other than to clean one day.  I am currently taking a screen printing class on QU.  I did do two things today that was in the 2 lessons we have received, the rest was playing around.  Oh well.  I did attempt discharge using the screens, not very successful on that count.  They were all done using Speedball silk screening ink.  It is very similar to paint, the hand is not as nice as fabric paint however.  I do like the results and the clean up though. 
  I tried a couple with some Golden Acrylics.  Came close to ruining the screen using the Golden paint so no more of those.  I did have success with the iridescent Golden paint though.  I was surprised it didn't cause problems. 

One of the things we are suppose to do is cut out a stencil from contact paper and attach it to the back of the screen.  That would be the photo with the blue fabric and the pink fabric. The first attempt was rather pathetic, but the second one is a clean print.  I will try fabric paint next time and see how it works.  I need to read the lessons too.  I even dug one of the numerous bottles of dye out of the fridge, Retreat leftovers, and dumped it on one of the waxed encrusted cloths left from the soy batik projects.  I put the rest of the blue dye on a t-shrit, tossed both in a sack and well wash them out tomorrow. 

Doesn't that look fun!!??  One of these days the wind won't be blowing and I can use some of these for backgrounds.   And one other thing I did accomplish today was to wrap fabric around the trash barrel.  Will see how that looks tomorrow morning.  Shelia and Ricky, you would have loved the rust I scraped off the side of it! 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Road Trip--part 2

Windmill of the past
I have a great deal of trouble posting photos on the blog now days so I decided it was easier to do the road trip in two parts.

  After we left the area around the River and Dam, we continued west.  We came across a windmill that had seen better days and there was a concrete pump house or well house beside it.  One seldom sees the pump houses by the windmills anymore.  Sometimes there would be a tank located inside the pump house where items would be stored down in the water to keep them cool.  The only refrigeration around for many years.
  On our way home we went by the wind farm that is located northwest of Burlington.  The "new" windmills on the eastern plains of Colorado these days.     

 The wind turbines have been built this past summer and are to go on line sometime this fall.  We can see them from our driveway, which would be 9 or 10 miles away.  The things are huge for those of you who have not seen them up close. 
Another controversial happening out here.  There is suppose to be another wind farm built 6 or 8 miles straight north of our place.  I have to laugh when people think this is a "new concept" of producing electrical energy.  There were wind chargers used in this area before REA came into being and and electrical lines were built to carry power to farms and ranches. 

And believe it or not, there is a vineyard in our area.  The Wordens have been growing grapes 5 or 6 years.  They have 5 varieties now.  The grapes are nice this year and are getting close to harvest.  I told Vanessa to give me a call when they start harvesting.  I would like to see what a grape harvest is like.  I am also glad she is the one who has to take care of them.  If I were 20 years younger I would consider putting in a small vineyard, but not at this point in my life. 

The grapes hang in beautiful clusters.  Some of the grapes have to have netting over them to protect them from the Robins. 
The wine is not for sale yet.  That takes time to set that part up as well.  We wish them well when they do start selling it.  It beats that stuff from NE though!!!! 

Road Trip--Days Gone By

Some days we take road trips to places we know about and others we find along the way.
Republican River west of Bonny Reservoir
 Last Sunday we decided to travel to Bonny Reservoir and see how full it is.  It looked much better than last year at this time, but there is still a long way to go before it is full again.  The drought took a toll on it and everything else in this part of eastern Colorado.  The reservoir was built to protect Kansas from floods.  Now Kansas is suing Colorado and making life miserable for those of us who irrigate using deep water wells in the Republican Water District.  While we are paying a $15 an acre tax for a pipeline that should not be built.  Those living along the river in KS continue to dig pits and little playground areas, draining water out of the river as it flows to the point in NE where it is recorded to met our compact compliance.  What a joke!!!  Nothing is done to stop this action.  Some days I wish they would just get rid of the dam and if KS gets flooded so be it.  They seem to want it both ways.  We feel the only thing they are really after is money.   Apparently no one has told them that as far as the state legislators of Colorado are concerned, we don't exist out here.  There will be no help from Denver. 
  Aside from the controversy that surrounds the reservoir it is a special place.  In years gone by we and thousands of others have fished and played on or around the lake.  It is sad to see only a hand full of boats using the lake on a Sunday afternoon now.  In years gone by, one would have to patiently wait ones turn to unload a boat. 
  We enjoyed our sandwiches, looked for birds, went across the dam to the north side, the above photo is of the spillway at the north end of the dam.  The north cove had water in it earlier this spring, but that has since been released down the river.  Odd isn't it that the river flow is measured in NE.  Some more of garbage we have inherited from the idiots who signed the compact and revisited it around 2000.  Oh, yes, Ken Salazar was involved in that.  He loves selling out the residents of Colorado, east slope or west slope, he has qualms about ruining our economies.
Wild turkeys in hay field, north side of dam

Hay field on the east side of the dam