I wiped away the weeds & foam. / I fetched my sea-born treasures home... Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, March 24, 2017


Hello on this blustery March day! It's a bit warmer but the cold gusts are still blowing through the cracks in my old window frames.  

The other day I went down to the beach to see if my Oystercatcher birds had arrived on schedule. They return every year on St. Patrick's Day. And there they were, prompt as ever despite the cold and the blizzard that wasn't earlier in last week.

The boardwalk has been partially re-installed, so I was able to hike down to the beach.

It doesn't look any lower, though, too bad.

It's such a thrill for me, every March, to climb over the dune and there they are! These funny brave birds, who make this their nesting ground and summer home.

They are tired and shy when they arrive. No close up pictures allowed.

This pair was in its spot to the west, the female broody and the male trying to distract me, even though I stayed far away. Note the awful and dangerous large truck tracks! So distressing.

Oystercatchers may live as long as 15 to 20 years, so these are apparently my usual little friends. By midsummer, if I am able to visit them they'll allow me to come closer [but not too close!].
They like the big expanse of open beach for their nests; they can see predators from far away.

I counted about 15 Oystercatchers, most far far away, and perhaps a few were small gulls? But a good count anyway. I am very pleased.
Here is perhaps? Gully!

There were lots of footprints/ bird tracks along the edges of the dunes. I thought they were crow tracks. We have many crows every spring. I believe they are fish crows who nest in the marsh.

 But this looks like an oystercatcher try-out nest! So I'll have to keep watching.

I also spied rabbit tracks and other small tracks, maybe possums or dune rats? There was a hawk hovering too, he thought those tracks meant ''dinner'', I suppose.

On the way home I noticed the neighbors' andromeda bush is blooming. It's the first shrub to bloom and is very hardy at the ocean edge.

Indoor note: a friend gave me this very beautiful frame last summer. I couldn't do much with it at the time, but in a burst of spring home doings, I added small watercolors , from my beach journal books.

I like it, though my kids weren't impressed, hahaha.

I hope you have a good weekend and can get out in the fresh air, despite the cold! Look for signs of spring? This is from my brother---spring wildflowers near his desert home. Isn't it lovely! Someday....



gone to the beach...

Monday, March 20, 2017

Welcome Spring : Dancing Tulips

Hi! I wish you could see the grey clouds today, flying by overhead---tone on tone, grey on grey. Black gnarled branches  of the ugly locust tree in silhouette. It's a dark day as the spring equinox approaches. Often spring is more desolate than winter here at the beach.

I wrote the above Saturday as the last days of winter crept quietly by. I love winter and am sad that this winter has gone by so fast. I love winter, so energetic, so hopeful, so crisp and clear. But today [Sunday] dawned brilliantly blue and warmer, the true last day of winter. White foam churning on the big waves, and wetsuited surfers lining up for a ride.

I've been saving these wonderful 1950-60 Windblown Tulips or Dancing Tulips blocks, to show you when spring finally came.

The hand appliqued blocks are a gift from my friend Lisa [Alfonsina, to some of you]. Her grandmother was an accomplished quilter and Lisa's family has many wonderful quilts made y "Neena" as she was called. In fact there is a finished Dancing Tulips quilt in the family collection, under the Dogwood quilt,

but recently Lisa found these extra blocks and passed them on to me.

I tried to insist the blocks stay with the quilt but she said no.

Even the long border strips were still with the extra blocks. Very mid-century green.

I love the tiny calico.

This would actually make a darling crib quilt for a spring baby whose parents enjoy retro style and sweet baby colors.

 Neena did very fine work. The backs are so pretty! Tiny stitches, with an oh so tidy reverse.

Neena used a very small whipstitch as did my aunts and grandmas who excelled at applique. The hidden stitch we use today was not used. The whipstitch is, I think , sturdier, and makes it easier to get nice inner curves and points.

Lisa even sent me a pair of Neena's trademark earrings. Clip-ons of course, nice ladies didn't have pierced ears back then.

Neena was a nickname, like Nana or Granny: her real name was Sarah Birdena, known as Birdena. [an unusual name!]. She grew up and lived in Indiana, in the early to mid-20th century and was both a school teacher and a librarian. Birdena lived into her nineties, her life spanned the entire 20th century and in her ninety three years she made many beautiful quilts and other needlework.
She is the little girl on the left, in the old front porch photo on my side bar.

 One of my all time favorite photos and one I treasure, that Lisa has allowed me to use it on my blog all these years.
Lisa has shared a more detailed bio with me, and maybe, someday, she and I will write a longer article about the quilts, handwork, and life of  of Birdena. I feel honored to own a few of her quilt
 blocks and to have read her story.

For now I will enjoy the Dancing Tulips and wait for spring.

Sunday was Mo's 3rd birthday! We took him to the park for a treat.

As usual he liked the car ride more than he liked the big open dog park.

And he got a fancy doggy cooky, a bag of hypoallergenic chews, and a new raincoat.

Happy birthday, little man!

I hope your first days of spring are warm and delightful!



gone to the beach...