Thursday, May 26, 2011

Spiny Leaf Bug at 6 Weeks

I'm sure most of you are tired of my bug photos by now, but I am so fascinated by my spiny leaf insect, that I created a photo collage, showing the transformation so far, from the red/black ant-like newborn (top left) to the crinkly dried leaf at 6 weeks old (bottom right):
On the gardening side, the weather was wonderful last week, so I made an amazing amount of progress at cleaning it up, planting many of my recent purchases, and had 2 yards of soil brought in, which I spread into the cleaned up areas.  This week has been not bad either, considering the forecast a week ago was for 5 or 6 days of rain, and it has only rained a couple of times.  So I am continuing to make good progress on evenings and weekends, and hope to bring in another 2 yards of soil soon.  Most of the time, I have been too busy to take photos, but here is a collage of some of my recent photos, and I hope to take more soon.
Happy gardening, everyone!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

More Painted Bird Houses

I have a weakness for buying and painting wooden bird houses from Michaels Arts and Crafts Store.  Unless I am actually painting with the kids (as I have done previously), most of my painting takes place after they are in bed for the night, so between 10pm and midnight.  A little while back, I painted this little cutie (below) with the windmill.  Then about two weeks ago, I bought this bigger one, and thought I would just give it a single coat of paint that night.  But I ended up continuing to paint the flowers, a different flower on each side (click any image for a slighter larger view).
Painted bird houses
Painted birdhouses
Painted bird houses
Yesterday I was shopping with the kids at Michaels, and surprised to find a whole lot of new bird houses.  I picked up two more funky shaped houses.  I promised myself I won't paint them both in one night.  I need to pace myself, and enjoy.

I use simple craft acrylic paints (in the little plastic bottles), and when done, spray it with a clear varnish.  They survive very well in the garden year round.  At least the paints do.  Look at the state of this roof, after only 1 year outside (this was not one I painted, I bought it already finished, but one day I will give it some real colour!):

Bird house with broken roof
And look at the thread-bare roof on this one (which my daughter painted 2 years ago):
Bird house with thinning roof
I've learned to pick the ones with a solid wood roof, they seem to last the best.  There are even some in the store now with metal roofs.   But then that would be one less part to paint, so where's the fun in that?
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