Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Flower Bracelet, Lilian Nichols's Polymer Clay Class

For the past few months Lilian has been showing us a variety of ways of making flower canes.  I have been scurrying the whole class just to keep up, scurrying so fast I haven't had time to take photos of the steps and of my classmates' work. 

We made several different styles of flowers from bull'seye canes. 

We started with the bull's eye cane similar to the ones at the top of the picture, shaping them as we worked toward a finished flower.  The final product at the bottom was filled in with translucent clay between the petals and then around the entire cane.

Below is the set of flowers I made. Three of the flowers were made with  bull'seyes, the two already shown in the first photo and the five petal veined pink flower.  The three roses are variations of a rose cane technique Lilian showed us.  The yellow and green flower is an experiment and so is the viertically striped leaf.  Lilian showed us how to make the leaf with the center vein and side veins. 

Members of the class shared their canes.  Here are the ones others shared with me.

I rolled out a background of turquoise.  The turquoise was deeper than I wanted so I added white to it.

I decided to experiment with the extruder.

I extruded a thin rope, then flattened it into the background.

Gradually, I flattened thin slices of cane into the background.  The design is still in process in this picture.

These are the flowers that I used.  The purple tipped flower with the   multiple veins was one of those given to me.  It gave a little punch to the similar colors of the other canes.


Lilian gave us cuff bracelet forms that she are scrubbed and covered with a light layer of Elmer's glue.  The glue was dry when we pressed on our clay sheet.

I cut a seven inch by 1 and1/2 inch slice across the bottom of my polymer sheet and attached it to the form.  A strip of clay close to the original background color covered the inside of the bracelet.

I baked it in my kitchen oven and here is the result.  It still needs to be sanded so it is smoother to the touch.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Garst Museum in Greenville, Ohio

This is the parlor of the Garst House, now part of the Garst Museum.  Twenty years ago, Pat took Ceceila and me to this museum which is noted for its display of memorabilia of  Annie Oakley.  What I remembered most were Annie's beautiful clothes, the costumes she wore in the Wild West Shows and the evening gowns she wore when she was presented to presidents, kings, and queens.  I asked Tom to take me to the musum as part of my birthday celebration.  Here are photos of some of what we saw.

The museum doesn't look like it did twenty years ago.  There have at least two large additions built.

 Because Tom uses a scooter, we entered through the handicap entrance which is at the end of the usual tour.  The people in the office were pleasant, gave us maps and explained a bit about what we would see.

In the same area which was a large meeting room, we saw the first mention of Annie Oakley, little Miss Sharpshooter.

Greenville was originally a fort in the Northwest Territory, number 5 on the map.  It was here that a treaty was signed by "Mad" Anthony Wayne and native chiefs which opened Ohio to settlements by the new country of  the United States.    One section of the museum is devoted to the treaty and the events about it.  A nearby room gives information about native American cultures.

But back to our tour path.  Since we were walking the tour backward, we came first to the large display about transportation.

Twenty years ago, I don't believe this section of the museum existed.  Some of the vehicles were shown but not in an organized way as they are now.

The Iddings Special, a racing sprint car made in 1947 by Henry Meyer and originally powered by a 4-cylinder Offenhauser engine.

1947 model "Servi-Car" , a three-wheeled motorcycle made by Harley-Davidson for use by the Greenville Police Department.

The next large wing was called The Village Wing .  There were many shops whose windows we could look through to see an earlier way of life.

                                          The dentist's office

                                         The post office

Beyond this area were two rooms and a hall devoted to Annie Oakley.  (The musical, "Annie, Get Your Gun", is a fanciful version of her life.)  Her riding habit worn in later years was there and so was a robe that Frank Butler, her husband, gave her after they retired.  Here is her traveling trunk with show business memorabilia  displayed on it.

One room was centered around her personal life and the other room, around her professional life. 

A hall was filled with commercial products featuring Annie.  Here is one display.

BUT, all the beautiful gowns she wore when she was presented to the great people of her day were missing.  I was told they were..." being preserved in storage so they will not deteriorate."  I have seen much older clothing on display in other museums.  I am sorry to say I let not seeing the clothing affect my mood. I actually felt like crying.  I told both women I talked to I felt a portion of Annie's life was missing.  I had no idea she wore such beautiful stylish gowns until Pat brought me to the museum years ago. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Butterfly Transit, June 15, 2013

We saw a Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele) on the sidewalk before we started our official walk.  It was in  the transit section Ruth has designated as the last one so she didn't list it on the official transit list for the day.  But I think everyone else listed it in their mind.  Tom took these photos a few years ago.  The milkweed are not blooming yet this year.  I wanted to get a photo of the one on the sidewalk with its wings open but it flew when I moved.  Fortunately, I didn't move until others did get photos.

Its wingspan is 2.9-3.8 inches (7.1-9.7 cm)

We were standing talking in the first section when someone said, "There's a butterfly on Pauline's shirt.  Oops, it flew."

Butterfly enthusiasts expect a butterfly which lands on people to be a Hackberry  ( Asterocampa Celtis) or a Tawny Emperor (Asterocampa clyton).

I found its landing spot.  It was a Hackberry, (Wingspan: 2.0-2.6 inches or 5.1-6.6 cm).

We saw other butterflies but none that were different from what we have seen in previous weeks.  And we still had to really search for those we did find.

But the larger dragonflies are fun to find.  Here are two we saw.  I haven't searched the dragonfly field guides for their names yet.  When I do, I will come back to this post and update it.  There are two photos of the second dragonfly.  One shows the insect in general.  The other gives a better view of the face.

Ruth found this caterpillar on a False Indigo.  I don't remember if she said it was False Blue or simply False.  These are two different plants.  A spot of light washed the color from the head end so I colored it with the clone tool.  The caterpillar was so small I didn't see the bit of pattern toward the rear until I enlarged it on the computer so I don't know if the pattern continued up the back.  I expect that it did.  The skin was smooth, not hairy which is typical of many moth caterpillars so I think this is a butterfly caterpillar.

July2 Update.  The green caterpillar is that of the Wild Indigo Duskywing.   Thank you, Ruth Bowell.

Sometimes, a person just has to be looking at the right spot.  As we were returning to the Interpretative
Center, I saw motion on the center flower.  A half -inch long caterpillar was humping along in inchworm fashion.  Then it seemed to be trying to find a way to move to another stem.

Not finding what it was looking for, it settled back on the flower it was on.

As always, click on the photos to get a better view.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Tom's Garden

If Tom can't do something one way, he does it another.  He decided he would like a vegetable garden but since he travels around via electric scooter, it is difficult for him to get "down to earth".  He decided to bring the earth up to him.

Here is the entire raised bed.

He bought cedar boards and treated lumber from Lowes.  He used treated wood for the "L" shaped legs.  They do not touch the soil that the vegetables are planted in.  The box, 10 inches (25.4 cm.) deep, is made from the cedar boards.  He drilled holes in the bottom of the box for drainage. The legs are set on paving blocks so they won't sink into the ground.  The soil  is well- rotted horse manure from Cinda's horses, brought in a red pickup truck by Tim.

He ripped the lumber with his 10 inch contractor's table saw, and cut the boards to length with his compound miter saw.  The top of the box is 36 inches (91.44 cm.) up from the ground, the height of kitchen counters.  The stabilizing crossbars are 24 inches (60.96 cm.) above the ground.

Here is the way his garden looked this morning...pole beans at the back, radishes and beets in the middle row,  spinach leaves at the bottom edge.  We should be able to harvest the spinach soon.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Butterfly Transit at Brukner Nature Center, June 8

Little Wood Satyr (Megisto cymela)  Wingspan: 1.5-1-9 inches (3.3-4.8 cm)

The weather was much like the weather last week when we walked the transit, 76 degrees Fahrenheit (24.4 Celsius) and the sky covered with clouds.  There were ten of us which was nice.  Generally, the more people are looking the more butterflies we see.  We saw a fair number of species but not as many as last week.  As I was driving home afterward, a few drops of rain hit my windshield.  I wonder if  the threatening rain had sent the butterflies into hiding.  Later in the afternoon, there was more rain.

I was pleased to get this photo of the Little Wood Satyr.  I usually see it with its wings together like this.  It is found in open woodlands, forest clearings, woodland margins, and in adjacent brushy areas.  It blends in well with its background.  I find that it is barely visible if I look at it with the wing edges facing me. Only when it moves can I find it.  Its larvae feeds on various grasses.  It is a common butterfly but not easy to see because of its coloring.

Those of the group with the better cameras took pictures of other butterflies but I found some other interesting animals.  

This middle-sized bullfrog was sunning itself at Cattail Pond.

As we were finishing up the transit, three of us lagged behind.  Judy decided she wanted to see the other side of a flattened little snake on the drive.

Between the two of us, we loosened it from the pavement.  Joan exclaimed, "Why it's a Ring-neck Snake."
And, of course it was...a Northern Ring-neck Snake (Diadophis punctatus edwardsii)  She and I had
 seen them a few times but this was a first for Judy.  

Northern Ring-neck Snakes are basically nocturnal snakes and never get much longer or bigger in diameter than a new pencil.  In Ohio they are found mainly in the southern and eastern counties and along the border of Lake Erie.  They live in sheltered places in moist areas, usually in or near woods.  They eat earthworms, slugs, small salamanders, and snakes.

As always, click on the photos to get a bigger and better view.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Walking the Butterfly Transit at Brukner Nature Center, Sunday, June 2,2013

Sunday at 2 PM was a good time to look for butterflies.  The sun was shining and the temperature was in the mid-seventies (Fahrenheit)  The previous  butterfly walk days this season were chilly so we saw very few butterflies.

Three walkers carried good quality cameras and I had my little one.  Photographs of butterflies, if the observers can snap them, are an excellent means of identifying butterflies.

There were eight of us which means there were lots of eyes to spot our prey.  We found butterflies in seven of the ten distinct areas of the transit.

In the sunny area behind the photographers we found two butterflies that look very similar.  Both were spread-wing on the mowed vegetation.

This is the most common one, Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos).  Wingspan: 1.25-1.60 inches (3.2-4 cm.)  I remember someone telling me long ago that it is called Pearl Crescent  because it has a silvery pearl colored crescent on its underside.  Pearl Crescents often fly  less  than twelve inches above the grass on trails or in yards.  They land on plant leaves just far enough away to make absolute identification difficult.

Here is the Silvery Checkerspot (Chlosyne nycteis).  Wingspan: 1.4-2.0 inches (3.6-5.1 cm.)

The slightly larger size is not noticeable to me.  If you click on the picture to enlarge it, you will see the white spots along the border of the hind wings which identify it.  Each hind wing has one white spot in the black border and a second white spot in the orange directly above it.The pearl crescent border has no white spots.
The Silvery Checkerspot has silvery bands on its underside. This was a new species for me.  I had never heard of it before and therefore, never looked for it.

Quite a few Azures (Celastrina) were flying low over the vegetation along the Brukner Drive.  The majority of the group thought this one was a Summer Azure. (Celastrina neglecta).  We also have Spring Azures in this area (Celastrina laden).  The Spring Azure is usually found in Ohio in mid-March through May and the Summer Azure is found in June through the end of September.  In these species the males and females are colored differently.

The Azures are tiny butterflies.  Wingspan is 0.75-1.25 inches (2.0-3.2 cm). I often see the tiny bits of blue flying when I walk the prairie trails at Charleston Falls.  The sitting butterfly is hard to find.  Usually they sit with wings together so look for a very small blue triangle half the size of the listed wingspan.  They often are found at muddy spots, maybe sipping up needed minerals.

There are other tiny blue butterflies as well.

And here is another of those "looks like something else" butterflies.  But we know definitely that this is an Eastern Comma (Polygonia comma).  Ruth captured it in the net and we got a good look at the underside.  We saw the silver comma on both of its hind wings.  The similar species of Anglewing has a comma and a dot and is called ...Question Mark (Polygonia interrogationis).

These are middle-sized butterflies in our area.  The Eastern Comma has a  wingspan of 2.0-2.4 (5.1-6.1 cm) and the Question Mark is similarly sized.  Its wingspan is 2.25-3.00 inches (5.7-7.6 cm.)  I see these flying at eye level or higher as I walk the trails in Miami County woodlands.