Saturday, September 24, 2022


 Hi everyone. Happy Saturday.

It has been windy since yesterday, and when I got home last evening at 5:30, it was only 49 degrees F/ 9.4 degrees C. Brrrr. I haven't even looked at the temperature this morning because I don't want to know. With the cost of fuel right now I am not turning on the heat until at least October, so right now I look pretty funny in 3 layers and a winter hat. And I'm under a blanket. Luckily it is supposed to warm up a bit more today, but still it is supposed to be windy, which is never good for making the house feel warm.

I thought today I would share a few photos from the National Parks I visited on my latest journey. Our first park was Great Basin National Park, just over the border from Utah in a remote part of Nevada. Being remote as it is, this park is one of the least visited National Parks in the continental US. 

One of the things you can do at this park is take a tour (with a ranger) of Lehman Caves. Originally this park was called Lehman Caves National Monument, but then the park service expanded to the area around the caves, including the 13,000+ feet/ 3900+ meters of Wheeler Peak.  Congress made this area a National Park.  It is called Great Basin National Park because it is part of a large area of a natural basin which goes through most of the state of Nevada and into a few other surrounding states. 

A basin is a flat area surrounded by mountains. All the water that goes into the basin from snow falls, snow melts from the surrounding mountains or rainfall never leaves the basin and does not make it to an ocean. It is either absorbed by the dry soil or it evaporates into the atmosphere.  Although there are many basins that make up the area of basins in the US, this park helps protects at least a small example of a basin.

The first thing we did in Great Basin was  take a Lehman Cave Tour. You need to sign up in advance (up to 30 days before) because the size of the tours and the number of tours per day are limited. We took the longer 90 minute tour, and I really enjoyed it. It was the first time I've ever taken a cave tour where I actually saw a bat in the cave. Smile.

Here's a few photos. I was  very impressed at the quality of the photos my camera was able to take seeing I had it set on automatic so I could quickly snap pictures.

The info given by the ranger was great, and the rock formations were amazing.

You can only tour the caves with rangers because otherwise some people might purposefully break off  stalactites and stalagmites or otherwise damage the cave formations or the cave's ecology. One of the goals of the National Park Service is to protect the natural environment and ecology as much as possible. And as the ranger said, the only way to totally protect that cave environment would be to not let anyone inside the cave.  Part of the protection goal is to find ways to allow people to see and learn about various environments so they will be better informed in other situations. It's like it was teaching. If you can engage your students with more hands on learning, then they become more invested in the information. That is another reason the park service runs cave tours. Much of the cave is not open to the public, but if you can give people a taste and some sound information, they will be more invested in cave protection overall.

One part of the cave was fairly narrow to get through.

And at one point the ranger flipped off the lighting (that the park service installed for tours). The only light you see is her flashlight as she returned to our small group. I don't think I'd want to go caving in the way they did on the past using candles (because at that point there were no flashlights or headlamps.)

And finally we entered a great cave room. 

On the ceiling in this room were lots of people's initials. Most were made back in the early days of this cave's exploration, when people used candles. The black on the ceiling is made from candle smoke.

The funny thing is (according to the ranger) is that since these were made around 100 years ago, they have now become historical pieces to protect, even if new additions are strictly not allowed.

And lastly, here's the other cave wildlife I saw. It's a a baby cave cricket.

I hope you enjoyed this long post. Thanks for sticking with me, and have a great beginning of your weekend.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Girl From The Tropics

 Hi everyone. Happy Friday.

It's the first full day of fall, and the season's chill has arrived in my area. They say our temperatures won't get out of the low 50's today (about 10.5 degrees C). Brr. It's going to feel chilly.

Today I have a page for Nicole's Friday Face Off as well as for Neet's Fur and/or Feather challenge at Art Journal Journey. I thought on this chilly Friday something with the idea of warmth would be nice.

After rubbing my  journal page with some ochre-colored ink, I layered some blue printed tissue paper  as well as a part of a gelli print made on some brown kraft paper. The girl is from an image I tried to do a gel plate transfer with. The transfer didn't work, but I do like the painted effect of the image. 

This lady image has some tropical blossoms to the left, so I went with that and decided to add some flamingo printed washi tape. I liked the idea that  she lives in a warm tropical place  with beaches and exotic birds and plants.  I also added a bit of red mesh and a few small feathers to represent those tropical birds. I finished off my page  with a sun image stamped on acetate, some dotted washi tape and a stamped quote.

I am also linking up my page to Gillena's Friday's Art Lunch Break.

That's all for me today. Have a great end of the work week as well as a great start to the weekend.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

One Big Zucchini and Other Harvests

Hi everyone. Happy Thursday. 
And Happy first day of fall to you. Fall is a lovely season, my favorite. Good sleeping nights, leaves turning, no mosquitoes,  apples and pumpkins, time to get the garden ready for winter...  
The only tough thing about fall is that it means that winter comes next,especially here in New England, and the winter can just last so long. You just don't know. 

I've been missing from Rain's Art and Dinner Date for the last couple of weeks as my husband and I were traveling. But now that I'm home, I'm back with some food for this week's Harvest Dinner theme.

Before I took off to see a bit of the wild west here in the US, I let this zucchini grow oversized in my garden. I wanted it to grow a little bit bigger than I'd usually let them get  because I wanted to make a mega batch of zucchini bread.

I started with this recipe my mother had sent me many years ago. She found this recipe  in her local newspaper, and it makes a delicious chocolate zucchini bread.

To make my bread, I first had to pull out my food processor to grate the zucchini. I'm including this next photo as I like the pattern it formed. 

I ended up with SO much zucchini, instead of making a couple of loaves,  I used a bundt pan and made a cake sized bread.

And there was enough batter left to make some muffins.

FYI- I added chocolate chips and some chopped walnuts to my batter also.

And still I had zucchini left. Talk about a mega-batch of zucchini bread. And I wasn't yet done.

I made another batch of zucchini bread batter. This time I didn't make the chocolate recipe  but  some cinnamon spice zucchini muffins. I still added the walnuts but added some dried sour cherries. I would have added raisins, but I discovered I didn't have any. The cherries were actually quite yummy, and I will add them again when I ever make my next zucchini bread.

And I also made a loaf too.

I'm not sure all this zucchini bread counts as a harvest dinner, but it does make a good afternoon snack with a cup of tea or even a nice toasted slice for breakfast.

All I can say is that it is a good thing  zucchini bread freezes well. Smile.

And since I've come  home from my wild west adventure, my husband and I stopped at a local orchard and picked some apples.

This was just the other day, so I'm not sure yet what, if anything,  I will make with them. And again, they probably aren't really considered a harvest dinner. However, at least in my humble opinion (smile), an apple is never better than when it's first picked off the tree.
You can bet I've been crunching  and munching on apples this week. 

Thanks for visiting. I hope you have a great Thursday and week ahead.


Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Country Life

Hi everyone. Happy middle of the week.

Today I'm back with another page for Neet's Fur and/or Feather challenge at Art Journal Journey. I think the page is pretty self explanatory with the title I added. 

I started with a brightly colored Gelli print that I dulled down a bit with some white gesso. I wondered if the vintage looking images would work on the  modern background.  I always think it's fun to try items together you don't think will work and then find that they do.

 I used a vintage horse riding image from my stash, as well as fussy cutting out the 2 trophies out of a sheet of old scrapbooking paper from my stash. The dog is a sticker. I also used some copper metallic tape and a bit of paper lace, as well as stickers for the title of my page.

These horses have short fur, and the dog is definitely long haired and very furry. 

I was having a bit of trouble with a photographic glare and the copper tape. I decided to dull down the  copper tape a bit by using a piece of sandpaper on it. I like the details it added when being lightly sanded, even if I still ended up with a bit of glare.

I was hoping to share a few photos from my trip today, but I haven't finished going through them yet. I did however come home to one of the dahlia's I planted this spring being in bloom. The flower is huge.

And beautiful too.
I hope my other dahlia plants bloom also, especially if they produce these giant blooms. (I had bought a mixed bag of flowers, so it is always exciting to see what you get.)

I hope your week is going well. And thanks for visiting my blog.


Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Emboss It at Try It On Tuesday

Hi everyone. Happy Tuesday. 

The last 2 weeks have flown by, and it is time for a new challenge at Try It On Tuesday.

Thanks to everyone who joined us for our Animal: Real or Imaginary challenge. And thanks to  Merja for hosting that challenge also. 

It's time for a new challenge. Our next challenge is Emboss It.  You can go with either wet or dry embossing, just include some in your art. Here is my piece for the new challenge. I went with a journal page (maybe not my best) where I was playing with some art bits.

My background was messy painted  with some gouache paints. I had been trying out some color combos.  These felt like fall so I decided to use embossed leaves on my page. I used a Sizzix embossing and cutting  die to make the leaves out of some copper metallic paper. 

The Xs are some hand cut stamps. I wanted a big X , and then I didn't want to waste the scraps so I used them to make some smaller X shaped images.

I stamped the X's with black ink. Then I die cut the flowers and the leaves. I drew in the little line because I needed a place to put those die cut flowers as well as the 2 images which are from a Stamperia set. The quote comes from the same set. 

Don't forget at Try It on Tuesday our challenges run for 2 weeks and all sorts of art that meets the challenge topic is accepted. And definitely look at the other design teams pieces. They are a creative group and have lots of good embossing ideas. 

Thanks for visiting my blog, and I hope to see your embossed art over at Try It On Tuesday.

Monday, September 19, 2022

T Stands for My First Keurig

Hi everyone. Happy T day.

I hope everyone has had a couple of nice weeks. My husband and I went away on a trip to some National Parks out in the western US. That is why I haven't been visiting for T the last 2 weeks.

I am happy to be back though as I missed checking in with all your lovely T ladies. 

When I returned home there was my envelope with some beautiful napkins as well as 2 great ATC's. One ATC was from Jo and one was from Bleubeard and Elizabeth. I know I am late sharing, but THANK YOU everyone for picking up such great napkins, and thank you Jo and Bleubeard and Elizabeth for the ATCs. They were lots of fun.  

And I'm not sure who included the bee sticker (Elizabeth maybe it was you), but I love it! 

I wish I had been here last week to share these when they arrived.

On our trip we visited 8 National Park Service sites, including 4 national parks, 2 national monuments, 1 national recreation area and 1 national historic park.  We drove about 2300 miles, were in 6 states, and even though we covered a lot of ground, we saw some gorgeous scenery. 

Today my T day drink has to do with the beginning of the trip. 

The first place we visited was Great Basin National Park, which is in Nevada, just over the border from Utah. And without exaggeration, it is in the middle of nowhere.

These next couple of photos aren't the best as I snapped them through the front windshield of the car as we were driving. To reach our destination, we drove through a lot of uninhabited desert range land. We were on the road for about 1 1/2 hours without passing what I'd call a town.

When you reach the Nevada state line this road becomes highway 50, which is known as The Loneliest Road in America. 

I didn't know what to expect from the place we were staying. I'd booked it off the internet since I've never met anyone who visited this park before. The motel had excellent reviews. Yet after the drive my husband and I had just completed we thought our hotel would be a little sparse like the one at the gas stop we made.

 To get to our hotel we had to drive down 6 miles of gravel road and up over the mountains you can see in the background of this next photo.

The mountain view at the top of the ridge was pretty, And then we started down. When we got to the bottom of the canyon we came to our hotel.

It was a pleasant surprise to find that  the canyon was green. There were some trees and a little river running down through the area. 

The owners also had great  communication before the trip. They emailed with directions how to find them.  They emailed about the national park and to be sure to sign up for cave tours early (starting 30 days in advance) because the tours filled up fast.  They also mentioned how they had quiet hours between 9PM and 9AM, and that at night they turned down the lights so people could find a place to enjoy the very dark night sky. And most importantly, they emailed with a notice that the nearest grocery store was 1 1/2 hours away so to come prepared with food.  (And we did stop at Costco in Salt Lake City and got ourselves some food.)

Our room was very nice and very comfortable  but not luxurious.There was a kitchenette so guests could prepare food. And it came with a Keurig coffee maker.

Finally, here's my link for T day this week over at Bleubeard's and Elizabeth's blog.

I'd never used a Keurig before, and I had to have my husband show me what to do.  One of the packets was for English breakfast tea, and you can see I decided to give it a try.

And I toasted up a bagel and used some cream cheese that we got at Costco. That was a very satisfying breakfast.

And yes, the room did come with plates, but for some reason I decided to just use a paper towel that morning, 

My husband and I both agreed we really like this hotel/ranch. It was our favorite place we stayed during the whole trip.

OK, enough of my babble. Thanks for visiting. I hope you have a great T day and week ahead.