Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Learning something new (machine applique)

Hello, everyone.

At the monthly meeting of Sewing Club (so called here) we learned about machine applique--one of the members had requested it--and carried nascent projects home to complete.

In the process, I learned more about my older sewing machine, a computerized Kenmore that is actually made by Janome.  There was a sampler of stitches made:

View of the front of the stitch sampler, with the stitch numbers written by the rows

The reverse side, with both sets of sample stitches showing.
The sampler's orange-plus-white rows were done first, and the orange bobbin thread pulled up to the top of the fabric. (Also the zigzag row tunnelled a lot because there wasn't enough stabilizer underneath.) Thinking it over, I realized that I'd used shiny embroidery thread on top, with dull regular thread on the bottom, and they just aren't the same weight and stiffness of thread. I switched out to a bobbin loaded with the blue shiny embroidery thread and the stitches were a lot better.

They did still pull through a bit--even though the thread tension on the top thread was loosened.

I settled on the "star" or "snowflake" stitch for most of the work, and one of the "buttonhole" stitches for the part of it that just wouldn't work out well with the stars.

The top side, stars around the ironed-on heart. Note the basting stitches holding the two layers of stabilizer to the underside.

This is how the stars came out on the underside.
 The button hole stitching, apparently, missed its date with the camera. It was put on the edges of the ironed-on letters spelling a name. There were just too many and too sharp of curves on those letters to use the stars.

The actual project, for which I shopped the stash, is a pillowcase. I used quilting cottons. The red in the picture above is a Kona cotton solid. The heart is one of the many, many fabrics in the printed cottons stash.

Friday, September 15, 2017

New hiking socks!

Hello, everyone.

The old hiking socks, both the 4 pairs of gray liner socks that walked through Portugal and the new 3 pairs of "original weight" socks that started to walk the Camino del Norte, were feeling confining on my toes lately. Maybe they shrank--well the gray ones had been subjected to the automatic dryer at least once and probably have. Certainly the original weight new ones were making my toes noticeably wider inside the boots.

And I'd gotten some toenail stuff going on the first day of the walk from Irun. (They're growing out but they're still a wee bit weird.) I got to thinking about toes and toe boxes and socks, and realized that this pair of boots is at the upper bleeding-edge limit of the old socks' size. That number is not at the very edge of the next size up, however. This seemed like a thing to try out.

Behold the new, size Medium, Injinji socks: one liner (gray) and one "lightweight".

They have each gone for one neighborhood walk. (That's pretty much all that's happening until DH gets his foot cleared for action.) They've also gone through the washer and then been drip dried. *Always drip dry hiking socks!* The darned things shrink.

They were comfortable and didn't get all bunched up inside the boot. More information may come later, after they get more use and longer rambles under their belts.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

A neck chain for the shell pendant

Hello, everyone.

As mentioned a few days ago, there has been a project to get the bead-woven shell element back into use.

Thanks to this entry on Pinterest, and a careful study of the beads available in-house (that means stash usage) a neck chain was woven and put onto the shell.

The lobster-claw catches are on the front, not in the back. It means adjusting the routine when adding it to an outfit, but that way the chain can be completely detached if there should be a reason to do so.

Beads used: silver bugle beads from the craft store, silver-lined 15-count rocailles and blue 11-count Delicas from Fire Mountain Gems. Strung on 6 pound Fireline. (I love working with the Fireline!)

Monday, September 4, 2017

So I tried another Pinterest idea

Hello, everyone.

It's been purging season around here. (For non-US readers, purging means throwing away a lot of stuff.)  And purging includes trying to pretty up a bathroom.

This also counts as stash usage! The tray was lying around the house, and the cotton ball cup and toothbrush holder were already there, but not well displayed.

The swab-jar used to hold olives. I used a bit of steel wool to roughen up the paint on the lid and applied two coats of gold spray paint. The knob was floating around in my toolbox.

It really holds the swabs nicely, don't you think?

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Beading, re-using a piece and using up stash

Hello, everyone.

Y’all may remember the peyote-stitched shell image that I had made and hung on a purse in 2014…the purse was just the right size (too small for a lot of junk) and I liked it a lot. Unfortunately, it became dilapidated over time, and I had to get a new purse. The new one has no place to hang the blue shell dangle.

So the shell, after being cut off of the old purse, has been sitting around in the assortment of bead things that need to be dealt with. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Starting another fidget mat

Hello, everyone.

Fidget mats are supposed to be very useful (at least for people who were fidgety before they became ill) to assist dementia patients. There are lots of them on Pinterest.

The mats are also great ways to use up stash! This time, the base fabric is cushion cover fabric, a poly-rayon chenille design of assorted circles and squares. Very modern! The color tones are browns and creams.  The zipper element thus got a contrasting color for its flanges.

While applying the zipper to the mat, I noticed that the pins were difficult to remove.

It's good to have a tweezer around! It worked really well to just nip those tips in and pull the pin out, and even to then insert the pin into the pincushion on the machine.

The zipper element, a fairly common part of fidget mats, is there for the sole purpose of being opened and closed. This one got a small blue heart added behind the zipper--three cheers for bead stash!--so the person can find something under there besides the base fabric of the mat.

The mat is presently ready for binding.

As y'all can see, there are a lot of neutral colors in this one. The flowered circle is a re-used piece of embroidery, which has been backed with muslin and made into a pocket, with a little bit of lace added to ground the circle a bit. The ribbons sticking up from it hold a cheerful button that can be slid back and forth along the ribbon. The animal print at top left is faux-fur, and it's really soft! The chenille pattern gives texture all by itself, and some of the design elements were outline quilted to increase their prominence. There are buttons to the right of the pocket, some with beads on top of the button, and a dangle loop from the red rosette holds an enamel cross (removable for laundry.) There is also a sprinkle of beads in the circle next to the fur, and the green dangle can be moved around, as well as allowing a person to slide the silver-colored tube bead up and down a little bit. The zipper tape is left over from one of the Fabulous Pack Duffels made last spring, with an extra pull added so it's a usable zip.  (ByAnnies.com has directions on how to do this.) Also the red-ribbon rosette, which sits around the shiny gold button but is't sewn down, can be spun.

All the mat needs now is bias tape around the four sides and it can be given to the person. (There are two more chunks of this chenille fabric waiting in the wings to become mats also!) I'm thinking that if there is enough red bias that would be perfect.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Sharing the fun (embroidery)

Hello, everyone.

Recently there arose an opportunity to share the fun of embroidery with DGD--who is just about kindergarten age.

This Pin had been saved with the hope of future use--and the source site talked about using the method with children about the same age. So we were off to the races!

There was a stack of foam plates in the pantry. There was a large assortment of DMC thread wound on cardboard bobbins. And there was a packet of size 22 tapestry needles. (Big enough for the whole 6-strand thread, not super-sharp, and easy for her to hold.)

First she tried a couple of random stitches to get the feel of sewing with the needle. (Which isn't all that different from the cardboard sewing cards in her toybox at home.) Then she traced the outlines of  a heart, to practice following the line, and then her initial. After that, she moved on to a more-complex piece: a flower with 4 front petals, 4 back petals, and a center.

The reverse. Freezer tape used in lieu of knots.

The front.
With this age, even if they can thread the needle themselves once in a while, it's still just at the edge of their coordination abilities, so an older person needs to help with that, and with keeping the floss from making a knot on the back.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Something new on the saguaro cactus

Hello, everyone.

There is something new on the lower part of one of the saguaro cacti. I'm not sure whether it is a branch trying to form, or a flower bud.

This is forming on the east side of a cactus with full sun and an uninterrupted west exposure.

I want to say it's a little baby branch, but who knows? The whole plant is about 12 feet tall (?) and this is only about 2 or 3 feet up from the bottom. Do they branch out that low?

Saturday, August 5, 2017

A photo from our last day of walking on this year's pilgrimage

Hello, everyone.

Things have been busy around here--not in an interesting way, just busy--and there just hasn't been much time for the blog this week.

This photo was taken, after DH injured his leg, at the parish church in Deba:

The only thing that was done to this photo was to use the color correction thingie in Photoshop...the medieval carvings are all inside the narthex (covered entryway) of the church and there is just a whole lot of color left on the stone.

I think you're supposed to read it from the bottom up: bottom row, from the left, the Annunciation with an angel, the Visitation, the Nativity, the Presentation in the Temple (these four are all part of the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary) and at the right the homage of the Wise Men. Middle row, from the right, the Dormition of Mary (when she died, or "fell asleep" in the term of St. Paul in his epistles) and apparently the whole rest of the row is about the Assumption of Mary, with the heavenly court as witnesses (?) The top is the Coronation of Mary, with the Holy Trinity represented (Jesus and the Father on thrones and the Dove of the Holy Spirit placing the crown) and accompanying angels. These last two are part of the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary.

The figures next to the flat portion appear to be the heavenly orchestra with instruments. Outward from that, a floral row (the red part) and some other figures that I don't know.

We noticed that it was really neat when we saw it, but the distraction of the injury kept us from seeing just how neat it is until we looked back at pictures later. I have noticed that a lot of the Camino pictures have more in them than we realized when we took them--one benefit of using them for computer screen background!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Progress on the Tech quilt

Hello, everyone.

This is just a small update on the Tech quilt progress. The top is finished, and the next step is to lay the backing (not chosen or made yet) and the batting and then the top down somewhere flat and pin-baste the whole thing together for quilting.

This photo is cropped a bit, but y'all can get the idea. It has been a good stash-busting project, even though there were a few new fabrics bought to  balance out the ones in-house already.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

More Valley birds

Hello, everyone.

The corn crop grew, and dried off, and was combined (harvested with the machine that cuts and prepares the cobs,) and then the farmer began to disk the stalks into the dirt.  I had seen a pair of the Karakara (Mexican eagles)  on the disked field the other morning, but my photo didn't come out well.

The Karakara is said to be mostly a scavenger, but it is beautiful and not bare-skinned on the head and neck like many vulture-type birds. Lately we have seen a few around the neighborhood. Possibly it is the existence of more established neighborhoods with their yard trees getting tall now that draws them. This has been a very busy year for birds.

There is a small bird photo, though: the whistling tree ducks are scavenging the dropped corn kernels (maize kernels) that were knocked off during the harvesting process. They are coming around in the morning just after sunup and in the evening before sundown.

You can see their pink beaks. The one in front seems to have something to say!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Body pillows

Hello, everyone.

With DH being laid up with Da Boot, we’re learning new things without getting out as much.

Da Boot has rigid plastic on the bottom, and metal splints along the sides. It weighs a bit. And when DH would move in his sleep, his other ankle would get clobbered by Da Boot. Sometimes it got hit so hard that a scab resulted. This is suboptimal sleeping, to say the least. I thought of all the ladies I know who have used a Body Pillow (about 5 feet long) to support their legs and hips during pregnancy. They all love the things.

So I bought one, and also a washable cover for it. Then I was faced with getting the cover onto the (long, long) pillow. After trying a couple of ways, this was what I came up with.

1       With the end zipper open, crumple up the pillow cover sides into a donut, trying not to twist the cover. This will be a little bit like getting ready to put on one leg of a pair of pantyhose. 

2      Insert the end of the pillow into the bottom of the cover, which is next to the top because of the crumpling.


3       Pull the sides up over the pillow, switching from side to side as needed. 
4      When you have it up to the top, zip the cover and place it into the ready position for use. (pic of pillow on end of bed)

The Body Pillow is much more popular now than it was when it came home. It protects the other ankle very well and supports the injured leg into the bargain.

If any interested readers have found another way to get that long bag onto the long pillow, please feel free to chime in with a comment. 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Playing with decor

Hello, everyone.

I tried out a new look for the foyer of the house...it may still change but this is the current draft.

Yes that vase had a prior life holding wine. What was that trendy saying? Oh, yes: "Reduce, reuse, recycle. "

Photo is of the Portuguese historical site at Valenca. (Please excuse slight misspelling!) This fort sits at the border with  Spain. We passed through there on the Camino Portuguese in 2015. The river there is the actual border.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

More Valley birds

Hello, everyone.

It's been busy around the place. As a result, the dog walking has been missed for a few days. Today, however, the dogs got their walk. We just wandered the neighborhood--with DH still in the Boot we don't want to get too lost in the woods--but we did see this bird at the drainage "pond" (looks like a ditch to me) and after we got past him so the sun wouldn't be against us, got this photo:

I thought he was really tall but maybe he's just another one of these:

Yellow-crowned heron? This is another part of the same ditch.

Both of these were taken about the same time of day. (The dogs need to go out early, or else it's just too hot for them to be out walking. We've been getting up near 100F for days and days.) And, as y'all can easily see, there are limits to the amount of camera gear that can go along on a walk with two leashed doggies! These were both taken with the cell phone.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Returning to our days of Camino walking this year: leaving San Sebastian

Hello, everyone.

While it's obvious that there are not a lot of days to talk about, it occurred to me that we did learn some useful things in the days we did walk, which others would possibly want to know about. Thus these periodic posts about our walk this year.

The last post on this brought us to the city of San Sebastian. This is a good-sized city, a beach town, with a bridge over a river in the midst of it. Once you hit the beach area on the way into town the shells seem to vanish. Apparently the folks in S. Sebastian feel like it's not that hard to find your way through their city. (They do give out maps at the tourist office.) Turning left and going along the beach, there are some really gorgeous flower beds to pass, and as you go along you will find occasional signs for the Turismo office. Obviously, those are something to follow. The short version is: go along the beach and cross the bridge, then go a ways farther. The Turismo is past the McDonald's and in the midst of some other tourist agencies. There are some public benches for resting outside and some ornamental trees. The ladies at the Turismo are very helpful. After staying in a pension in the area, and having some pintxos and wine for dinner with a fellow that was also walking the trail, we got up in the morning (not quite as early as the sun!) and started walking in the lowering, dribbly clouds. We passed the harbor area and then passed the lovely manicured garden/park with the stone statue of the Infanta, and then found a hotel bar that was open and serving coffee. They also had little bocadillos and pastries. The rain came down for real for a few minutes while we were having our bit of breakfast. By the time we left, the rain had pretty much stopped. We continued along the beach, looking at the map and wondering where we were supposed to go next. (No shells yet! Nor yellow arrows.) We came to the end and found ourselves at a tee junction.

At the tee junction, not being sure what to do, we went right. We found ourselves looking at the Funicular building a few minutes later. Just as we were about to do the absolutely wrong thing (climb the stairs next to that building) DH noticed a lady in a third story window waving and pointing back the way we came. We took her advice. And as we approached the tee junction again from the side direction, a gentleman  came up along side of us and told us that we needed to go straight for a little while. He also accompanied us up to the corner we needed to turn at and pointed out the shell sign on the pole. (God bless both of these kind folks!) We turned right at the corner and followed 3" square blue shell stickers on sign poles until we found the path across the headland.

The Camino path over the headland. Note the yellow arrow on the pole.

The map of walking trails in the province (?) next to the trail cutoff.
This trail is a mostly-gently sloping set of switchbacks that climbs steadily until the pilgrim is looking down at multi-story apartments, and then comes down again. There are no scary moments and the main difficulty for me was simply that I had not gained my climbing legs yet. (It takes several days to get one's fitness up at the beginning of the walk, and especially so if one hasn't done much hill climbing before the trip.)

The remainder of the day was a lot of walking past beautiful farms, villages, views of the ocean, and so on. Much of it was on bitty little trails. I really felt for the bike riders who were pushing their bikes past us on the one-butt-wide rocky trails to reach a place they could actually climb aboard and pedal again. The trail does not go past any facilities to speak of, rather like the day before, but near the end of the stage one does enter a lovely fishing town that has bars and possibly also places to stay. We elected to cross over and stayed in Zarautz, as it was only another few kilometers uphill and down past some pretty farms.)

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Progress on the Tech quilt

Hello, everyone.

Y'all may remember a little while back a red and black elephant square. This is being turned into a quilt for DD2, who requested one.

One of the gray and red
filler bits for around the elephant is this one:

Top right corner of the quilt, with ray of sunshine in one corner.
Sharp eyes will note that some of the Texas Tech print has made its way into the corners. (Goes with the blanket on the elephant's back.)

Much, but not all, of this quilt is being done out of stash fabric. The many grays are mostly left over from the pink and gray whale quilt that was done last year.

The large piece above is a 6" square. The four patch squares in this part include one where the red squares were pieced from red and white strips. There were a lot of those squares made.
Making them went along swimmingly--and all of the squares had the red squares in the same corners. The red squares with a white strip along one side. Oops. These four patches can't just be rolled 90 degrees to get a flipped square with the red corners in the next corner around. I had to make some more to get the needed mirrorwise ones. (There may be some gray-and-red mug rugs in the works down the road a bit.) But things are working out.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Returning to our first day of walking in Spain

Hello, everyone.

The last post left off at lunchtime. One would think that lunchtime was only half or maybe three-quarters of a walk day. But if the pilgrim doesn't elect to stay the night at Pasajes/San Juan--some do, and after the difficulty of the first half, it's probably far from a bad idea--the route carries on into San Sebastian. (Sorry, the Basque name of the city escapes from me at the moment. Anybody who knows and wants to put it into the comments, feel free.)

There are a couple of marked ways out of the little port town of Pasajes-San Juan. At least, that's what the guide books say. One is said to be easier (meaning less steep) and the other is said to be scenic.

We followed our noses and didn't look around to find the easier way--even though we'd talked about not wanting to climb the very steep stairs to the lighthouse, that was what we ended up doing. There are some pictures we took, early on, on the stairs. Later on there were more decrepit steps, some with rebar poles to steady the risers...and some of the steadied risers and even treads had disappeared over time. This is not a staircase to run up!

Before the stairs began: the water is so clear, the rocks are so neat!

Near the bottom of the endless stairsteps

You can almost tell here that the size of the treads and risers varies. It varies more later on. At the very top of the steps, there was a picnic table. I'm not ashamed to say that we lay down on the benches to rest a minute before continuing on.

There were some really pretty views. There was a bit of paved road, and then the trail went off pavement and continued on along the sides of the hills.

Looking down at San Sebastian, just before the trail began its steep descent into the city

Saturday, June 24, 2017

A digression back to present time: dog walk

Hello, everyone.

Today I got going early (it's been about 105F/40C? for some days in the afternoons here) about 8 with the dogs and we walked on some soft, plowed dry dirt and then some hard dirt that's more of an access way for the ditch pictured below. Then returned by way of the soft stuff--not a big distance, but some intensity. The softest parts of the plowed dirt remind me of walking on the third afternoon in Portugal, where the powder dry dust was inches deep and gave very little purchase to tired feet, approaching the mesa of Santarem.

We saw an unusual bird watching the water in the "holding pond" (looks like a ditch to me) on the way.

Bird on a crossing pipe
I estimate he's about two or three times as big as the boat-tailed grackles that fly all around here. He has white eyebrow flashes and yellow legs and a thick, straight beak like a kingfisher. But I wonder if he's a kind of a crane? Any bird experts that want to chime in with a comment and helps us all out are welcome to do so!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

First real day of walking

Hello, everyone.

In the last post, we arrived at the albergue in Irun.

Once there, laundry was done, and hung on a line on the balcony. User tip: if it's already 5 pm, your clothes may not get dry before bedtime. Also, they do have a second balcony there, if the first one is full of clothes. (Drying laundry on the balcony is normal in northern Spain, nobody thinks anything of seeing it.)

We wandered out after a bite to eat. We should have found a grocery and gotten water bottles and maybe some nuts, but we were tired and didn't think.

The next morning, we set out. The trail leads up a very "nature-y" way to a chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe, then goes left and into the hills. Not that the previous walk leaving the city was flat! But it gets hillier. We were fortunate enough to have dry conditions for this.

These are a sample of the "road" surfaces we walked. There were some actual asphalt surfaces as well, with no shoulder, but those didn't get photographed. These are as wide as actual car-type roads because occasionally people drive on them. And some parts had been improved with a load or three of coarse sand. (Thank you, somebody!) As y'all can see, one's eyes need to be kept peeled. (That's "be alert!") Also, no matter if it does seem that one can go at a good pace, those rocks aren't quite as far apart sometimes as they look. More so on the places with ancient paving stones. I got toenail blisters on this day, either on this part or in the afternoon. I have now learned that just because it seems like the toes are sliding around in the boot a little, that doesn't mean you should tighten laces. In my case, had I loosened the laces and slowed down things would have been better.

This in various permutations was the morning. We did descend down tiny paved lanes and steps into Pasajes/San Juan (also called Donibane I think) about noon. There is a little tiny shop on the first plaza you come to with a full chiller of water bottles. After almost chugging the water, we got onto the little water taxi-ferry and rode across the harbor to the other side.

Once across, we wandered until we found a bar and ate bocadillos with cafe leche for lunch.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Recapping our arrival to begin the now-interrupted pilgrimage

Hello, everyone.

This is just a few bits about the flight over and finding the albergue.

We had a flight from our town to DFW, then from DFW to Madrid, then from Madrid to BIQ in France. This last is the airport for Biarritz, a beach town, Bayonne, and Anglet. From here, people often go to St. Jean Pied-de-Port to begin walking the Camino Frances. Our way was a different direction this time.

We caught the bus from the airport to Hendaye, then walked from the bus stop across the bridge to Irun in Spain.

This is not the much-photographed bridge with the colorful Spanish arms displayed at the midpoint. That one was closed. Apparently they are resurfacing it. This bridge was perfectly fine and we had a sidewalk to walk on.

We crossed over and began walking. Eventually we found ourselves near a church of Our Lady. This was interesting, but was not anywhere near the albergue in Irun. We bumped into so other pilgrims. Eventually a couple of us found the albergue, and, being possessed of great kindness, went back over near the church where we and another person were wandering and led us to the albergue.

Before we got that far, though, we saw the river nature walk.

The river is apparently tidal and brackish here. We saw boats, oysters (?), fish and swans. Also local folks strolling.

This artistic word was close to a map of the city.
The trick we had missed about finding the albergue, apparently, was in not turning left on a huge road that crossed over the many, many train tracks of the railroad station. (I had seen the sign and thought it was a highway. Perhaps it is--but it's the turn to take.) After crossing over that, one turns right down hill--involves some steps--and then goes around the block to the other side and the albergue is about halfway up toward the huge street that one has just left.

Probably we wandered around for about 5 kilometers or so. This, we discovered the next day, was nothing. But that can wait.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Update on things learned so far

Hello, everyone.

This is a small update on things we have learned since the forced end of our walking this summer. Three lessons so far:

(1) Wet rocks are slick.
(2) There are more than one model of crutches. They are not functionally equivalent.

The crutches (muletas) the pharmacy in Spain had
 The Spanish crutches only go up to about the elbow. (I have no idea whether the more classic form below was also available. Maybe I should have butted in and asked the doctors to write a note describing the recommended model? but that might have yielded what we got anyway.) All of the patient's weight is on the hands. The cup like shape at the top, which is just above the elbow in use, is only to keep the crutch straight. DH found it extremely uncomfortable. Making them more so, the pharmacies had nothing like athletic tape or handlebar tape or tennis racket tape to pad that hand grip. It's just unadorned hard plastic.

Crutches from a pharmacy in Texas (more expensive but not high priced)

The Texas crutch is not unaltered--when DD2 got it from the pharmacy while we were flying in, she also got a package of "crutch pillows" which makes them more comfortable to use--the pillows are on the top where it goes under the armpit and on the hand grip. Not wonderful and great, y'all understand, but more comfortable. Also appears to me to be more stable as the torso is involved in bearing weight and steadying the stick with this model.

DH saw our own physician for his recommended 1 week followup and now he has a "boot." (This is a removable gadget, which comes in various types, to immobilize the foot or ankle. This one goes all the way up to the knee.) The boot is more comfortable than the previous splint and when he is allowed to begin putting weight on it, the rigid sole will also help.

The doc says that when everything is healed, DH will be able to walk on trails again.

(3) There will be a set of hiking poles for DH, as well as the set I use, when we resume our interrupted pilgrimage. You may not need them for 9/10 of your pilgrimage, but on the day you need them, they pay for themselves.

Friday, June 9, 2017


Hello, everyone.

We are now home.

On our way walking into Zumaia, a lovely town on the coast, we saw a flower that I don't know. It appears to be a bulb. Something related to wood hyacinth? Feel free to comment with information if y'all know!

For all of you who are counting, yes, this was the third and last day of our walking. We didn't see the famous flysch rocks in that area, that we know of, but there were interesting vertical layers visible where the way into the town had been cut into the hillside. This little blossom was growing here-and-there in the grass. These blossoms are about 2.5 cm or so, there were some a bit bigger and some smaller.

Monday, June 5, 2017

The Camino surprises (with correction)

Hello everyone.

I'm posting this from Bilbao, a lovely city. We arrived here a bit early, because DH fell on a wet and rocky trail. Apparently we aren't meant to make it to Santiago this trip.

He has a fractured tibia. (Correction: it's his fibula--that's the thin bone at the back.)

Moral of the story: you never know what lessons the Camino will give.

After this happened on the  way into Deba, we trained to Bilbao and found a place at Pension Manoli. We were so worn out that we took a three hour nap when we arrived. Today, after a good night's sleep, we went to the urgent care clinic. Then to the hospital.  There we learned that it was a trip ending  injury.

Part of the Camino is accepting what comes. Various local people have been wonderful.  Perhaps next year we can return to Bilbao and resume our pilgrimage to Covadonga, Oviedo, and Santiago.

Sunday, June 4, 2017


Hello everyone.

This is a view from the approach to the lovely town of Zumaia on the coast.

Those little bits of random cloud are wet. It drizzles a lot in this region.

We have seen a lot of friendly dogs. Some of them are hiking with their people. Some are in their little tote bag sized carriers.

We also passed Billy the goat, tied out on the path doing his "mowing" job. He was perfectly civil, too!

Friday, June 2, 2017

First day report

Hello everyone.

Yesterday we walked from Irun to San Sebastian,  which is mostly being called by its Basque name of Donostia.

This is the view we saw when leaving this morning.

Harbor of the city, about 0730.

Yesterday's distance walked was 26.5 kilometers.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Pilgrimage 2017 is on the road

Hello, everyone.

We are departing today for the Camino del Norte.

El paisano! Who we will certainly not be able to see until we return to Texas.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Time is rushing up at us

Hello, everyone.

I had promised to say something about the socks that are going with me on the Camino del Norte.

Here they are.

A blue, a white, and a pink pair.

As y'all can see, they are all toe socks. (Injinji socks, actually)

Not everyone is suited to these socks. In my case, in 2014 I walked in regular hiking socks. Even aside from the boots being about a half-size too small for the job, the socks were wrong for me. My toes were all over each other and there were loads of blisters.

In 2015 I took some regular socks and Injinji liner socks--with the same boots. (New insoles though!) The shoes did not accomodate double socks. They did go well with just the liner socks. They weren't too thick, I had almost no blisters, and my feet were happy campers.

Now it's 2017 and I  have new, larger boots. Thus the new, regular-thickness Injinji socks.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A small break from routine

Hello, everyone.

The blog has been somewhat inactive because we had someplace special to be for a couple of days.
 This might have been obvious from the color scheme (red and black) of the elephant block,

They had commencement (this was one of four ceremonies!) in their basketball arena. As y'all can see. this allowed them to use the "Jumbotron" to give everyone in the place a really good look at their family members crossing in the front. It also meant that there was plenty of seating. This may have been the best organized commencement ever, and because it was in the basketball arena there were concessions selling coffee.

The visit to Lubbock, for us, requires 2 days driving each way. (For my European readers, this is because Texas is huge.) We just like to have a more pleasant experience, so we split the 12 hour drive in two. This also allows us to stop over in either San Antonio or Kerrville en route. (Second link is for the geographic area called the Texas Hill Country.)

The elephant quilt is progressing...meaning that a design is in progress for the rest of the quilt. (The elephant is the center of a three foot by three foot block right now.) Expected final size is 5 feet by 6 feet. (approx. 1.5 m by 2 m) It is not expected to be finished until after we complete our pilgrimage.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Pilgrimage preparations

Hello, everyone.

We are getting ready to go on pilgrimage again.

One of our preparations is to spray the packs with permethrin  to fend off assorted bugs that might be around.

The clothes line is good for holding the pack while spray is applied.

The brown grass, by the way, is because there hasn't been much rain lately.

In a future post I will show the socks that are going with me. I need to take a picture of them still.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Because she's sweet

Hello, everyone.

It's been hectic lately and I see that there hasn't been a post in the last few days. Sorry!

Cuddles checking out the volunteer shrub. (Manzanilla, also called Barbadoes Cherry, a native shrub.)

Being a dog, she's not often in a photogenic pose. This week she cooperated when I had my phone.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Volunteer flower

Hello, everyone.

The garden was blessed with a very striking volunteer flower this spring.

This is the annual Prickly Poppy. (It's not really a poppy, those are perennials that won't grow at all in this climate.) The leaves are unbelievably prickery, and the sap is smelly and yellow. But the flower is gorgeous.