Thursday, March 19, 2015

More Maui

I fell in love with the island of Maui when we were there.  Can't really explain why I like it so much, but I do.  We stayed in a lovely little free standing cottage just about a block and a half from the beach.   We could actually sit on the lanai out back and see the ocean in the distance.  We spent a lot of time out there looking at the birds and whale watching. 
High stress living
You could walk to the beach easily if you didn't want to drag along your chairs and stuff.  As it was, we drove down and parked in a PUBLIC parking lot next to a PUBLIC beach park.  What a surprise that was.   The other lovely surprise was there were trees along the beach and beachwalk.  If you wanted sun you had it.  If you wanted shade, you had that too.  Couldn't ask for better. 

I sat in the shade most of the time and watched the whales.  Never a dull moment for me. 

We took a day to drive the Road to Hana.  The actual distance is something like 60 miles but it took us more than four hours to drive it.  We stopped frequently along the way and due to the curves, we could only travel at maybe 20-25 mph most of the way.  




While there were breathtaking sights along the way as these photos attest, there were also long stretches when you saw only the curves of the road and the dense jungle like foliage on each side.

We did stop for fresh banana bread at one place and it was still warm.  I think that was a highlight of the road trip.  Now that we've made this trek, I don't think it is something I'd repeat.    We left our cottage at 7:30 a.m. and we got back home around 5 p.m.  

We couldn't go to Maui and not take a whale watching trip.  We booked an outing with the Pacific Whale Foundation on a rigid bottomed raft.  The raft held a maximum of 31 people and we were down near water level for the trip.   There were humpback whales everywhere!!  The strait between the islands of Maui, Lanai and Molokai is a primary breeding and calving location for humpbacks.  Thousands of them come there every winter.  In the summer they travel back to Alaska to feed.  They do not feed at all while in the Hawaiian waters.  



Coming back into Lahaina Harbor 

This was our second trip to Hawaii and I loved it.  The trip itself is a real bummer due to the length of it, though.   If you've never been, I'd highly recommend saving the pennies and going there at least once in your life. 

Y'all take care. 


Friday, March 6, 2015

Sun and Surf

I'm back!! 

We were fortunate to spend a couple of weeks in Hawaii and missed the whole winter storm affliction for our area!  We've had a very mild winter, actually, and it was merely a fluke that we were gone when the only bad weather of the winter came to town. 

Instead, we spend a lot of time in the sunshine.  It sure felt funny to put on sandals and capris instead of jeans and sweatshirts.   But, after a day or two it felt just right. 
Hubby in the surf
The first week, we were on the big island of Hawaii and stayed in a condo.  It was nice enough but it did not have air conditioning.  Since it faced due west and the daily temperatures were in the high 80's, it got hot in there every afternoon.  Thankfully, it did cool off at night and we slept with the windows and sliders open every night.  Loved that. 

We had wonderful birds come right to the edge of our patio and I added a couple to my life list. 
Saffron Finch
These guys are truly this bright and there were lots of them around.  I also saw Java Sparrows but could not get a picture of them.    In addition to these two, I saw Pacific Golden Plovers on several occasions. 
Pacific Golden Plover
I also saw Gray Francolins but, again, no pictures.  That made four life birds for me on this trip.

I'll be back with more.   Y'all take care. 





Thursday, February 12, 2015

Time is Flying


Where does the time go???  Seems every time I turn around another week has gone by. 

My birding pals, Birdlady and Larry, spent a few days with me.  We had a wonderful time.  Every day was filled with birds.   It was so good to see them.  We wandered all over the place, up mountains and over mountains and over to Tennessee. 

We took a day and went over to Hiawassee National Wildlife Refuge which is northeast of Chattanooga, Tennessee.  There we saw thousands of sandhill cranes.  These are just a few.  
Sandhill Cranes, photo by Larry Goodman
In flight, photo by Larry Goodman
Sandhill crane, photo by Larry Goodman
Both of them were just astonished at the number of birds that come to my feeders every day.  
Mourning Dove, photo by Larry Goodman



Carolina Chickadee, photo by Larry Goodman

White breasted nuthatch, photo by Larry Goodman
Northern Cardinal, photo by Larry Goodman 

Another of our forays was up to Brasstown Bald in search of ruffed grouse.  We hit heavy fog on the way up the hill but punched right through the layer and found bright sunshine up top. 
Sunshine and Ice 
It was bitterly cold due to the brisk wind.  The sun tried valiantly to warm the air but with no success.  The birds had better sense than to be out and about on that morning, so after a short stop, we headed back to the warm car.  
Lovely scene, but brutal




The warm was melting the ice just enough that the brisk wind had the ice coming down constantly. 

I'll be out and about the next couple of weeks, so may not be checking in too often.  Meanwhile, Happy Valentine's Day to all of you. 

Y'all take care. 





Friday, January 30, 2015

Exploring

A couple of days ago I took a drive over to Franklin, NC to check out a couple of quilts shops.  You always want to know where the good ones are.  I visited A Stitch in Time where I bought a new book by Kim Brackett and a couple spools of thread. 
I've been browsing through the book and I'm finding several patterns that simply call to me.  I have a tendency to only make bed sized quilts.  I guess its a throwback to the fact that Mama only made utilitarian quilts for our beds.  I'd really like to make smaller lap quilts and throws, even some wall hangings.  I've got the perfect place for a hanging quilt rack and I'd really like some things to put there.  If you're a quilter, take a look at this book.  I think you'll like it. 

I also went to Deb's Cats and Quilts and I LOVE that store!  I'll definitely be visiting there again.  I found a batch of fabrics that just called to me and insisted on coming home with me. 
from Deb's Cats and Quilts
Black fabrics don't normally appeal to me but there's two of them in this bunch.  The one on the end has tiny, muted red flowers in it.  The other one has brighter colors. 

I've also been taking classes in a program called OASIS this winter.  It's a community outreach program through a local church and its huge.  There must be 200 or more folks in and out of the building on class day.   I'm taking beginning basket weaving which I absolutely love.  I've finished one basket and am well on the way to finishing another one.  Here's the first, called a napkin basket, but I'm using it to collect half square triangles down here in the QK (that's quilting kingdom).
napkin basket 

This basket still needs to be stained but that's a project for another day.  I'll wait until the market basket is finished and do both of them at one time.   

I'll definitely be signing up for more basket classes.  I am amazed at how much fun they are. 

I am also in a painting class/workshop.  Mostly we just gather and work on whatever we want.  We have a couple of "instructors" who are available to answer questions and help out, but mostly we're on our own.  I'm definitely not talented when it comes to painting but I've done one little piece that I'm okay with.  I think its going to my Birdlady friend, since the loves the picture that this is adapted from. 

I took the picture of the thrush on our trip to Texas in April of 2012 and she put it on the front of our trip photo book.  Looks like we'll be trekking to Texas again this year.  Yippee!!!!!  This will be four or five years in a row.  

My fireplace in the KQ has been so nice this winter.  I turn it on in the morning and get the place warmed up and then its usually off until the evening when the space cools down. 

Y'all take care. 





Sunday, January 18, 2015

Bits and Pieces

Although I haven't shared much lately, I've been sewing a bit.  I pulled an unfinished project off the shelf and, after some procrastination, finally got my head wrapped around the method again and finished a quilt top.  I took a workshop with the designer of this pattern back in 2009 and its been sitting patiently since then. 
Bella Luna by Lisa Moore
Back in the summer I picked up a jelly roll from a local quilt shop to have something to work on while still in the RV and during our house hunt.  Never did start on it until we actually got into the house, but its now finished and I really like it. 
Floral Bouquet
It's always a joy when a project meets your expectations upon completion. 

Both of these are just tops at the moment but will be turned into real quilts.

I also completed my first wool applique project which is a small candle/table mat.  I learned a bunch on this project and it'll stand me in good stead on future projects.  

Hubby and I took a ride yesterday.  It was a gorgeous day and would have been a shame to stay home.  We explored some areas we had not been to before and stopped in Clayton, GA for lunch.  We happened upon a local and asked for suggestions as to where to have lunch.  After a minute's thought, she pointed across the street to the Universal Joint, a restaurant located in an old filling station/garage.  A great  place and the history of it was very apparent.  It is a very popular place too, as both the inside and the large outside patio were filled by the time we left.  We'd never been over there before and it is a really neat little town.  I can see that it would be a fun day trip with the girls.  There's a lake nearby called Rabun Lake but I've not been there yet, either.

We then headed on up to Franklin, NC and then back home via a different route along US 64.  Even with the trees being bare, it was a beautiful drive.  Can't wait to do it again once the foliage is back. 

Y'all take care. 


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Feathered Friends

Happy New Year, dear friends. 

I've been watching all kinds of little birds busily fluttering around the feeders this morning.  I think they are stocking up ahead of the bitter cold that is expected to hit us tonight and the next couple of days.    This is my first experience with dark eyed juncos and pine siskins at my feeders.  White breasted nuthatches, too. 

 Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures to show you but believe me when I say that its a joy to watch them.   I'm sticking some in here trying to give you something warm to imagine during this winter. 
Cedar Waxwings 
I'm supposed to go birding at Lake Chatuge on Saturday morning but we'll see.  There IS a limit as to when I'll venture out in cold weather.  We're having wonderfully sunny weather, so that helps tremendously during the day.  Temps drop like a rock at night, though. 


On top of Diamondhead

Y'all take care.  



Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving, Friends

I want to wish all of you a  Happy Thanksgiving.  May your day be filled with good food, good friends, loving family and warm memories.  

Y'all take care.