– A river ran through it: Scenes from a gully-washer

Even though we live in drought much of the time, every year or so we get enough rain that our homestead becomes waterfront property. Of course, by the time the thunderstorms pass through and we get out to the flood plain, there’s not much left of it …
We were fortunate this time around that we didn’t get 7 inches, as we did during the Halloween 2013 flooding. Even so, 4.3 inches of rain is enough to fill a copper dye pot …
freshen up the windfall lichens … 
beat down the “bad grasses” and leave the little bluestem standing tall …
wash all the acorns down the driveway …
where they can be gathered along with the oak galls …
and douse the burn pit, readying it for another day …
There’s so much promise in the land, just waiting for the seeds to fall …

– Back stories: Cloth and stone projects come together

The woven cloth base for the pillow is finally stitched together and ready for the embellishment phase. I decided to hang it in the window for this picture, which clearly shows where I did and did not get the cloth strips close together …

Live and learn … next time I will try working smaller pieces of woven cloth and then join them together into a larger piece. Of course, that’s what Jude Hill  suggests in Cloth to Cloth, but there’s nothing like doing it “wrong” to learn it “right.”
I also discovered that the running stitch was not nearly as effective as backstitch in stabilizing the cloth …

Close-up detail of back …
note that I’m not too concerned about cutting off thread ends
which I realized about a quarter of the way through …
The lower quarter worked in running stitch,
the upper three-quarters worked in back stitch
I also found myself more comfortable doing back stitch, which you can see here was discontinuous, so it actually resembles a running stitch …
The square shown here is about 2″ to a side …
the stitches are worked with 2 strands of floss, not necessarily the same color
Next up: I have some “opportunities” in the form of those gaps between some of the cloth strips … it will be interesting to see how stabilizing them becomes part of the cloth’s story.
However, now that it’s cooler we are in prime landscaping season (which hopefully means we’re somewhat less apt to encounter snakes … or that they’ll move a bit slower if we do). So there will be more time spent outside cutting scrubby brush (acacia, Yaupon, persimmon, and agarita) and whacking prickly pear cactus to encourage growth of our prairie grasses (little bluestem, yellow indiangrass, side-oats grama, and buffalo grass, among others).
Don has also started another rock garden bed out back by the burn pit …

using home-grown compost and some decomposed granite (from the walkway project) to enrich the clay soil … limestone and chert nodules “harvested” from the side yard … red yuccas rescued from a nearby neighborhood garden renovation … and leftover landscape cloth. Which means the total project will require no current out-of-pocket expenditure … just a little (ha) effort to get everything together …
And while Don places each stone by hand, I’m working on covering the ugly composite concrete in the burn pit (see yesterday’s post) with bucket-loads of floodplain stones. Final pictures pending …

– Scent-sational: Clean sheets and wood smoke

There’s been some talk over at Grace’s Windthread about the joy of air-dried sheets … to which I would add the scent of wood smoke on a cold clear day …

This was a fairly modest burn pile, only 6-8′ in diameter and about 3′ high. We got through all the accumulated  dead wood and brush in only three hours, compared to our last burn which was an all-day affair.
Since we don’t have water piped out to the flood plain, we damped down the fire with cactus pads …

 and having finished so quickly, we’ve already started piling up more brush for the the next time.