Friday, August 28, 2009

Our sunflowers

Sunflowers-front-yard We didn't plant anything in our yard intentionally for years, but bird feeders went up almost right away.  Maybe it was their food?  I don't know, but whatever brought all these wild sunflowers to us, it was very unexpected.  You'll see them all over the county, along road sides and in fields.  They typically don't grow wild up here where we live.

Once they start blooming, they fill up with little birds with yellow and green on their wings, as well as bees.  They're an ecosystem all their own.  We choose to leave them up through winter, so the snow birds can pick them clean.  It was one such sunflower, a much larger one, that inspired the name for our business.  It had a very distinctive head, and in the grey of winter, with snow on it, it caught my heart. 

Taoslogo1_2 That spring I cut it and took it to my incredibly talented friend Tracy Turner.  From its inspiration, she drew the design and cut the original block to print out first logo. 

(My husband, the engineer, calls our solar panel trackers sunflowers as well.  He will tell you that's how the business got its name.  It's that right brain-left brain thing again.  I prefer the more romantic story.)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Off the radar

Senior-Ticket I've been lying low these last weeks, at least, in terms of all things Taos Sunflower and the internet. 

I just returned from a long visit with family and friends in SoCal.  What always seems to be a great expanse of time in the planning somehow  ends up going past like a movie on fast-forward. Packing for this trip always includes at least three books, my camera, sketch books, colored pencils, pens, and enough knitting to see me through until the next season.  Never mind that I am not going into the wilderness, I just like to be prepared.  Oh...and my computer goes with me, just in case I have free time to start writing my book (after I read the ones I brought, do some artwork, and knit all that yarn). 

I'm now in post-vacation recovery mode, with a long lists of things I will be working on soon.  The new Roving Art subscriptions open up on Labor Day weekend, and I have some Free Fall rovings dyed that have never been photographed and put on Etsy.  I'm moving in slow gear these days, trying not to take on more than I can successfully manage and eliminating things that I have finally acknowledged I'll never get to.  It's a challenge to slow down after these last years of craziness with the yarn shop.  I have a blessed life...I want to slow down and enjoy it more.

Oh...and this little tidbit about my trip:  I got my first ever senior discount at the matinee one day.  OUCH.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Vacation knitting

Mother-and-Child-Shawl-1 Taking a trip is almost always the signal to root through my stash and find a new project to knit.  Not that I finish said project on my trip, but when it is finished one day, it's then a record of whatever I was doing at the time and hopefully, good memories to go with it.MotherandChild1Det

I am behind on spinning to keep up with my enthusiastic spinner members of this spring's Roving Art group.  I have spun the first month's, inspired by Mary Cassatt's painting "Mother and Child".  It's what came with me on this trip.  For my own knitting enjoyment, I'm knitting a simple triangle shawl with occasional rows of eyelet.  Despite having been blown away seeing some of my Roving Art yarns spun up and knitted into lace by some members, I can't bring myself to spend that kind of concentration while I'm here to have fun.

Despite all best efforts to make this a lighter weight, two ply, I'm using a size 10 needle and you'll's not particularly loose or lacy.  Once a rug wool spinner, always a rug wool spinner????

Friday, August 7, 2009

Out in the busy world: observations from a cynic

I am in SoCal to visit my family and friends for a couple of weeks.  It is gorgeous and I am delighted to be here.  However...I'm having the usual adjustments to make.

  1. Noise.  OMG.  It never stops.  Whereas we used to be able to hear the ocean many years ago, now it's the freeway, car alarms, horns honking, or some sort of emergency vehicle or another.  There is a bar on the highway down below our house that has a live band every night and sounds for all the world like it's playing in my bedroom (did I mention one of those nights they also have Karoke?)  The neighbor owns a leaf blower and likes to use it (don't get me started on that right now).  The child two doors down is having a painful time trying to learn to play some sort of wind instrument.  The neighbors next door put a hot tub directly under my bedroom window and I don't want to tell you what I hear from there.  Did I mention I have a bag of ear plugs I now travel with?

  2. Cell phones.  People, PLEASE!!!!  Have some mercy.  I don't want to hear your phone calls, be it in the airport, the grocery store, or today, in the book store (which, to my way of thinking, should have the sanctity of a library).  Are you really that important?  And if you have one, and I've called you, if it's not a good time to talk, please don't answer it and then politely tell me how I'm interrupting something you're doing.  Just don't answer it!  I can suck it up and leave a message and wait for you to call me back.

  3. Pedestrians.  This used to be a sleepy little town, and suddenly it isn't.  It's now swarming with tourists who seem to have lost all common sense about personal safety...wandering into crosswalks, stepping out behind parked cars, meandering slowly down the middle of a lane in a parking lot like cattle on the slow prowl for more grazing.  I have a fantasy of pushing you with my bumper...

What are the trade offs?  (After visiting family and friends.) Great burritos for cheap.  Pei Wei, P.F. Chang's sort of junior restaurant, where you can get a divine chopped chicken oriental salad for a decent price.  Grocery stores with take out food, an awesome art store, bookstore, good coffee and a French bakery just down the street.  They're worth it, for a short period of time, but I'm sure grateful I can go hide when I've had my fill.  No wonder people are losing their minds and temperaments...they never have any quiet time to themselves.

I'm reading a book right now that has a quote that I love.  It about says it all for me.

This silence confirms my solitude.  The  more I am in it, the more I love it.  One day it will possess me entirely and no man will ever see me again.

(Thomas Merton,
Turning Toward the World)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Nature Knitter

Green-Hummer-1 A couple of years ago, maybe, I "met" my friend Ruthie, aka Nature Knitter, when I posted some comments about photos of the birds that were nesting in my carport.  She's a knitter (with her own Etsy store, which, unfortunately, I didn't capture the link for) and among other things, an avid nature enthusiast.  Since we've met, we occasionally share personal correspondence, but mostly keep track of each other through our blogs.

At a time when I was struggling to understand what this blog should be about, it was those early conversations that encouraged me to keep posting my little nature events.  I'm like a kid, and want to share them.  Thank you, Ruthie, for giving me the boost I needed to stay on that track.Green-Hummer-2

With all of that in mind, a few days ago I visited this little hummingbird.  A friend found her while in our forest.  When I went to find her to take this photograph, it took me a few minutes to realize her perfectly camoflauged nest was practically under my nose.  She wasn't exactly thrilled to see me, needless to say.  I took one photo on my way down the driveway, and another on the way back. 

Ruthie, these are for you!