Saturday, July 24, 2010

Weavers' convention


It’s over and I survived!! I took a 6-day trip to New Mexico with my daughter, whose interest in a weavers’ convention being held in Albuquerque was the main reason for making the trip.
What can one say about a 600-mile drive through West Texas? I will report that the scenery around Sweetwater has changed since my last trip to that area. Now wind farms line the skyline, the blades slowly turning, creating a bit more energy for our rapidity increasing demands.

New Mexico has an abundant supply of talented artisans and we visited several galleries showing the work of a few before moving on to the convention center. There, venders booths were filled with colorful displays of more yarn than one would expect to see in their entire lifetime. Various items made from these yarns tempted the lookers. Scarves of every color and every weave imaginable were displayed. Silky ones with beautiful dyed patterns filled some booths. Hand bags and hats and many small items were for sale Jewelry lovers could browse and wish, and makers of jewelry had a huge variety of supplies from which to choose. Tools for the weavers use and looms of different sizes were on display and the weaving in progress always had watchers.
It was not all about buying. To become aware of the types of materials and techniques used was educational for the scores of us who know nothing of the weaving craft. The final viewing of the day, the exhibit of chosen examples of weavers' work, emphasized strongly these very things. All that was woven was not of yarn. Copper wire was used to make an impressive hanging, Wood, yarn, barbed name it...were combined in many pieces. Clothing and even portraits, all woven, proved the weaver's skill. All together, it was tremendously impressiveto view these displays.Perhaps more can be found later at my daughter's site at Sherri Woodard Coffey

The following day, while she attended her class of choice, we toured the nuclear museum, a sobering experience. Then a visit to Albuquerque's old town and a very pleasant time sitting on a bench in the shady plaza. The feet appreciated the rest if they were to survive for the next day's activities.

A gallery necklace>

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Flowers of July and August

We are approaching the last of July; gardening season is far behind us, and here I am browsing the flower sections of Home Depot and others, trying to control the urge to get one of each variety. I would classify myself as having a serious problem except for the dozens of other shoppers also loading their carts.

My yard consists of a shallow layer of top soil over a gravel base. That's the best part. There is a large amount of solid rock between the house and the road. I continue to have hopes for the part with the layer of soil; the rock, proven to be at least 40' thick, as proven by a core taken 45 years ago, will remain "as is. "

Many plants have met their doom in my planting areas. Cactus and Yucca are prolific in the untouched part of the acreage. Roses are not happy here. Even the newer variety of knock Out, developed for our difficult Texas growing area, is needing special attention.

I have hope that this coneflower, recently planted, will approve of it's location and become permanent. We once had some growing wild down the side of our hill but that was before we had a lot of underbrush cleared because of fire danger. Most of the wild flowers were drastically rearranged.

Some wild flowers look rather straggly when not in other words, they look like weeds! There is one that I now have in a flower bed, transplanted from another part of this gravely hill. It is in it's second year in a flower bed and I hope that after it's many years in the wild This is a Liatris, budding now for late August or early September spikes of lavender flowers. It's flowers are long-lasting, even providing filler in floral arrangements after it has become dry. After years of seeing it growing wild, I was surprised to see it at the florists.

For years I have wanted what is called a Butterfly weed. A member of the milkweed family, it does not spread as some do, but I have seen the same clump appear year after least 15 or 20 years, in the same location by the side of a country road. It's blossom head is a cluster of small orange flowers, each plant cluster having six or seven heads or clusters, making a striking display. It may be bought from wildflower speciality stores for a rather hefty price, but I definitely must have one. If it can thrive unattended by the side of the road, surely it can survive my care.

Here in the south, one of the showiest, most dependable flowering shrubs is the Crepe Myrtle, and it is so

tough that once established it withstands the Texas heat. Different plants seem to have different timetables, making their gorgeous displays last for weeks. The colors range from white to light pink and lavender, to a deep rose and almost red color. Plenty of sun and water will create a mass of color.

Joining the crepe myrtle at about this time in July, is the Purple Sage. I have seen one of these shrubs, in a totally neglected location, be completely covered in lavender blossoms for almost 40 years. It appears to be dying now, and I wish someone would give it first aid. Like the Crepe Myrtle, all plants do not bloom at the same time. I'm waiting for mine, and hope it has enough sun to put on a show.

It's not only a July or August bloomer: it brings color from it's very first bud. Let it have plenty of light but shield it from the hottest sun in the afternoon for that will cause the blossoms to close. It has

several names: Moss Rose is the most common. Portulaca is most likely the name on it's tag. Growing wild is a much less showy plant, it's blossoms are usually small, quarter inch size, but with the same colorful variety as the larger Portulaca: yellow, orange and shades of rose.
It's succulent leaves look the same as those of its larger showier cousin. The wild variety is usually called purslane and is loaded with healthful additions to one's diet. Don't use me as an about it before you dump it into your next salad!

The days remain hot and the lawn is becoming brittle. Our lowering water table is enough of a concern that I will water only enough to keep the roots alive. The flower beds will get their share and we will be rewarded with their blossoms. The day will seem cooler because of their bright colors.