Sunday, February 28, 2016

Golf Gypsy: Shots of the Day

The Gallery South Course, Marana, AZ
For golfers, nothing beats the beautiful vistas created when a golf course and mother nature combine to show off their shared beauties.  Even more than sharing these shots, I wish I could share the warmth and heat from the winter sun over the desert.  My cold knotted muscles begin to relax, and my body moves with more grace than jerks and groans, when I'm in the desert sun. 
bearded grandfather cactus

Our friends, Jim and Kathy, invited us to play in Los Amantes, a couples golf event, at The Gallery Golf Course in Marana. We explained up front that we'd love to be their guest, but reminded them how erratic our winter golf can be, and sadly, how we might be a little stiff like the grandfather cactus! "Just come out and let's have fun," Kathy replied.  Fun and laughter were certainly the highlight of the event.

On the day we played the best, we also laughed the hardest. I'm sure there's a correlation between our shots of the day, laughter, and shooting the day's low team score. Crucial putts were made early in our
photo by Bert Fredericksen
round boosting our confidence, and then....Jimmy hit an electrifying chip shot on a downhill hole. Truly, when his club hit the soil all forward movement stopped, the club released and flew 
through the air toward the green like it'd been struck with lightning , Jim's arms and hands stretched outwards in disbelief, and the ball bounded a mere couple of feet forward. Three of us on the green burst into laughter, and with a snort and giggle Jim hit another chip shot onto the green. 

Cactus wren 
My eyes were occasionally averted to the beauties surrounding us, but then Kathy brought everything back into focus when she hit a low flying tee shot barely missing the tops of bushes and cactus until the fiercely struck ball hit the face of a rock and bounded upwards and backwards, over our heads and back toward the men's tee box. In her excitement and awe of the shot she hollered backwards, "Fore on the tee." This time the four of us doubled over in laughter and disbelief. She lost at least twenty yards on her tee shot, and had an unplayable lie in the cactus. Her second tee shot flew down the middle, of course.

jumping cholla cactus 
Jack gave us reason to applaud with awe, first when he even found his ball in the ravine off to the right of the fairway and secondly, when he managed to get a club on a nearly impossible lie; hit the ball squarely up and left over the trees, and land in the center of the fairway short of the water hole.   Applause Applause.  

Our great day gave us bragging rights for low score in the clubhouse on day one, but another story took place behind us that seemed even funnier.  Walking up a long par four the lady in the group experienced numerous penalties. Already laying eight 100 yards
The Gallery North Course
short of the green, she turned to her husband and asked his score.  "I'm only three in the bunker, go ahead and pick up," he replied. His skulled shot out of the bunker landed him in the desert behind the green. With great humility and humor he chipped several directions, adding penalties when needed, and eventually finished the hole with an eleven. The total team score landed them in last place on day one, but gave us reasons to laugh, and admire the ability of couples to remain happily married after couples golf. (Rumor has it that they drank a few beers the next day, relaxed to the music of Maroon 5, and had fun.)

Golf channel may not broadcast our humorous and amazing shots, but then we play for fun and memories, not a paycheck.  They awarded the trophy after day two to another team. Something happened
javelinas with babies up by the green
to our magic from day one, but we did enjoy watching the javelinas grazing on the golf course. 

In the end, perhaps the greatest shot of the day came from Mother Nature's approach shot to the beginning of the day.
Sunrise over Marana by Bert Fredericksen

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Layered Stories, Warmth for the future

Many stories lived in the past, and sadly died.  Quilts and furniture often are handed down, and maybe for a generation the story is told, but then it drifts away.

Double wedding ring quilt .. 1950's
Recently, I looked at my "Art Gecko" bed and realized that I, too, am guilty of carrying stories they might die away. Last year I bought a double wedding ring quilt at an art show, where I learned about quilt stories.  Inside a plastic bag attached with a safety pin, I found the story of the quilt itself.  The quilt sold in an estate at St. Paul's Episcopal Church,  and someone had the foresight to share a glimpse of the owner's life story.  These words broke my heart.       "Her name was Nira......She lived as an old maid since 1961."   I don't want to think her life lonely and sad, but it jolted me to think how our words label people.  Why did she own a double wedding ring quilt? Who gave her the quilt? These questions will go unanswered, but at least I can pass on a piece of Nira Ellen Smith's life story. 

I have several favorite quilts, but  my fragile baby quilt touches my heart the most.  This is an example of what I wrote, then placed in a plastic bag and pinned it to my quilt, so that the story will live on even when I'm gone. 

   Hand pieced cotton quilt made for Letty Stapp on her birth .. in Arcadia, CA by her paternal grandmother,...  This hand stitched squared pattern was used as a baby quilt, then stored for several decades. It is approx.. 50” x 40” trimmed in now frayed pink cotton; the rows create a pattern of solid color then a child’s playful cotton.  These colors now adorn my Art Gecko room. My grandmother, who pieced the quilt,  died a week after John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas in 1963. My grandmother lived in Wichita at the time she made the quilt. As child and teenager I often displayed this quilt.  It did not, however, travel to college with me nor to Killeen, Texas... Upon my divorce in 1973 and with a two year child the quilt joined me, along with a red trimmed wedding ring quilt made by my daughter’s great grandmother Roberts.The baby quilt traveled with me as I moved from Oklahoma to Kansas.. My daughter now cares for her granny's quilts. After retirement we returned to Norman, Ok. The quilt is displayed on a twin bed in my “Art Gecko” room, where I write, dream, and play.  The colors of the quilt still, as they did in my childhood, soften me and keep my heart happy. (*Quilt story pieced together on  January 21, 2016, by Letty Stapp Watt.)

Stories are attached on inside corners. 
Once the story is written and attached to the quilt, the stories become layers of history, layers of lifestories, layers of memories, and layers of warmth as they once were. 

I still have my mother's crochet blankets to label, and I plan to write the story I know about one antique piece of furniture that has been handed down.  That story will go in a plastic bag, and I will tape it to the inside drawer.  

For information on Quilt Care and collecting antique quilts please visit this site:  Buckboard Quilts

What ways of sharing history are using in your homes?

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Frost Flowers

Nature holds so many surprises for those lucky enough to explore her daily gift shop. Darlene just happened to be a lucky voyeur one cold early morning at Grand Lake.  Outside, the normally brown grasses of fall and winter sparkled with tiny bouquets of flowers resembling cotton candy or spun glass.

With camera in hand she stepped out among these natural beauties that seem to be found where tickweed grows.  This tickly plant, known more as a nuisance because of its seed ticks, is sometimes called frostweed (Verbesinia virginica) or Indian tobacco.   Unseen and unknown by most of us, at a perfect time of weather changes these tiny little weeds create delicate ice sculptures we call Frost Flowers.

The science seems fairly simple. When the ground temperature is still warm enough for the plants root system to be active, with juices flowing upwards, and the air temperature drops below freezing, then the moisture in the plant freezes, and ice crystals push out through the stem. Nature keeps her gift shop open for these ethereal crystals
to grow, as long as the juices flow, the air temperatures remain low, and the plant is shaded from the sun. How ironic that the early morning sun which gives these frost flowers their glow and sparkle, also destroys the sculpture.

                                    Nature's Gift Shop is Open.

Other sites to visit for more information on Frost Flowers:

Thank you Darlene Bowline for sharing your story and photos of these fragile creations by Mother Nature.