Monday, June 20, 2011

Father's Day Ice Age extravaganza, or Ice Age, part 5

We ended our journey with a delicious dinner at the Riverside Grill in Basalt, Colorado, where we literally ate beside the Frying Pan River. Like most all the rivers in Colorado right now, it's roaringly full. Here's Paul and Michaela:

Corbin and Zack:

Rachel and Jared:

and more Corbin and Zack:

Zack asked the waitress what was in the river. He was wondering about beavers, but she looked surprised for a moment and then answered "Fish". So I told her he was wondering if there were any beavers. She said that there'd been one up river last week, but he'd gone on somewhere else.

Ice Age bones, part 4.

There was only one bone that had been pulled from the site that we were allowed to touch; a bit of tusk from either a mastodon or a mammoth. But they had some other touchable things, like this saber-tooth cat skull cast, and the saber tooth cast beside it.

Another interactive spot for the kids was the bone dig. They had some kind of sandy material in which they'd put some fake bones, and the kids could don construction gear and grab brushes to "discover" them.

All of the people who ran each part of the exhibit seemed to be having as much fun as the kids. The lady in the far right in the first "dig" photo (above) was so enthusiastic when a bone would be discovered (even though it's probably the umpteenth time this weekend it's been discovered!). The woman who ran the ice age trivia game (at which I won a rubber bracelet and a mammoth temporary tattoo....okay, everybody got one, but I still felt like a winner) was most helpful with the questions, nodding her head or shaking it as she asked each. I told her she was no Alex Trebec, but she was having fun, and she helped make it fun for us. The lady who was helping with the sloth race (in which you could put on a furry suit and roll on the ground and run on all fours) actually got down on the floor and rolled in an attempt to get Zack to participate. He still declined, but I thanked her for "throwing herself into it for us."

I don't recall ever being in Snowmass Village before. Paul said he'd been there a long time ago, and it seemed way different now. I asked him if there were still mammoths there when he'd been there. The part where the exhibit was, the conference center, was on the side of a hill...a reallllly steep hill. Looking down the road meant really looking DOWN the road.

And looking up the road was looking UP the road. I don't know how anyone drives that stretch of road with snow on it (which at that altitude is a frequent occurrence), or for that matter how they walk it. Even with no snow, the grade is incredible, and the thin air doesn't help. My thighs were burning after about 10 steps.

It's really just now spring in Snowmass Village. Lilacs were blooming, and lots of other flowers.

All in all, a beautiful place to visit, but I wouldn't want to spend an ice age there.

Ice Age bones, part 3

I asked to have my photo taken with the life-size mastodon poster (and made Michaela join me). I'm going to hang out with mastodons more often; they make me look petite.

Here's Paul with the mastodon poster.

Rachel and Zack with the life-size mammoth poster.

Is this a photo-op or what? That's Rachel, Paul, and Michaela (left to right).

And Jared, Zack, and Corbin.

These are photos I took of photos lying on the table in the bone exhibit room. Discovering the bison skull and the bison skull as found:

The very cold and snowy digsite. The researchers and volunteers have had to contend with weather issues; snow, mud, and very limited time frame. The building of the reservoir will start again in July, with the rest of whatever is under the ground to be covered by an impermeable layer, and then water, effectively saving the remaining finds for future paleontologists to uncover and preventing amateur bone diggers from stealing them.

Ice Age bones, part 2

Here's the juvenile mammoth "puppet", Snowy. At first it was displayed on a stand, and looked just like a cast of bones you'd find in a museum, but later we were amazed to turn around and see the thing walking! There's a man inside, near the front legs, and he uses his hands to move them forward or backward. They are attached by wire to the back legs, which move right along too. Somehow he could also move the head a bit, as he used the tusks to nudge small children.

The first bones pulled from the dig site were those of a juvenile mammoth, so it's appropriate that this "little" guy got a starring role at the show.

I think most of these are labeled within the photo. As always, if you click on the photo, you'll get a larger version (and you can read the fine print on the cards).

Snowmass Village's Ice Age Bones

Yesterday we drove to Snowmass Village to see an exhibit of Ice Age bones that have been pulled from the reservoir-in-construction site over the last 6-8 months. They will soon be sent to the Denver Museum of Science and Nature for research and hopefully, display. But first, here is a view of the back seat as we drove up:

Corbin and Zack

and Michaela. She said it was fun, but you'd never know it by the look on her face.

View of Mt. Sopris.

And finally, the bones! Acetabulum is part of the pelvic bones. In another photo (2 down) you can see the other side of this bone and the ball socket where the femur bone's ball fits.

Those are TOE bones. Huge toes!

The ball socket.

Sacrum is part of the lower end of the vertebral column.

Thoracic vertebrae of a mammoth. The triangular hole on the left end is where the spinal cord would go through. We wondered at the height of the protuberance above that (extending to the lower right in the photo) and later figured out that that massive bony ridge is there to support the muscles that help move the massive beast's back and hold up the massive head (see the baby mammoth "puppet" in photos in the next post). During dinner, it occurred to me that that line of muscles would correlate to the loin of a deer or elk (I've butchered a few of those beasties, and know that the loin is the choicest meat). This particular bone ridge was about 18" long; talk about a steak! Bacon-wrapped fillet mignon, anyone? You'd need the whole pig!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Here's what I've done so far on these blocks. This first one has a lace cameo that I've almost totally covered with beads, including some tiny leaf shaped glass ones that I thought I'd never find a use for. I added a corner of vintage lace from a recent yard sale find. I love adding the gimp trim in a meandering, looping form. I think that's how my mind works, actually.

I'm really happy with the seams on this block. I too often go for the botanical looking seam treatments and I'm trying to "branch" (sheesh, I even talk botanical) out and do less of those and more...what? geometrical? I don't know what to call it, but I know it when I see it.

Had fun with the flower centers here. They're made using an encrusting stitch, which is simply 3 beads threaded together and stitched down so they stick up. Varying the colors of the beads works best for a textured look.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Glimpsing heaven through the clouds

I pieced these three blocks after I did that one for a friend. I just enjoy this color combination. I used it for my For the Birds round robin blocks, too.

I'm challenging myself to use only white, cream, or beige embellishments on the white and cream parts of the blocks, with the only color to be "leaking" out of the colorful center patch. To that end, I've now added lace motifs and some gimp trim.

This one has a corner of a vintage linen piece. I've found some lovely vintage hankies and linens lately and I'm determined to use them, not just take them out and fondle them occasionally.

I've actually done quite a bit of work on these since these photos were taken, so I'll try to do an update on their progress soon. I'm terrible about remembering to take "before" photos, so "yeah me" for remembering this time.
I'm not sure what they'll be when I'm finished, but the phrase "glimpsing heaven through the clouds" keeps rolling through my head, hence the title for this post. Perhaps a wall hanging? It's just like me to name something before it's even begun!
I had names picked out for my kids before they were conceived! I've had the name Io picked out for our next pet, and I don't have any idea whether it might be a dog, a frog, or a hairless rat.

Growing (oddly) in my yard

Now, I've never claimed to have a green thumb. The things that grow best in my yard are the ones that planted themselves, or that someone else planted for me, and that simply need the occasional watering by me.
The red hot pokers are of the first variety. They were growing here when we moved in, though I didn't realize it until months later, in the spring. They usually look like this:

Although they are usually farther along by this time of year. We've had a prolonged cool spring that has slowed them a bit, but they almost always bloom for my birthday, which is nice of them.
However, this year, I'm seeing some....oddness. A couple of the flowers have forked like this:

And one has a 3-way going on like this:

Maybe I used too much of the Dr. Strangelove's Atomic Fertilizer?

These purplish feathery flowers have planted themselves and spread far and wide. Does anybody know what they are?