Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Hats Off!

Hats off to the many people who have worked so hard to put together the annual Calvary Episcopal Church Advent Festival Bazaar again this year.  It's a major labor of love, providing substantial funding for community outreach, including dental care for the uninsured, food for the hungry, shelter for the homeless, riding therapy for the disabled and many other grants given to local agencies providing services for those in need.  It's so inspiring to see this dedicated group pull together to help others.  And hats off to people everywhere who open their hearts, homes and piggy banks in this season of thanksgiving  - and every season throughout the year! 

My small contribution?  I donated a felted hat last year that was quickly adopted by one of the bazaar workers, so I was asked to make another one this time around.  It was a near thing, since the bazaar is on December 1st and it the hat was still wet from the felting process and drying on its form last night!  One of these days, I'll choose a yarn that actually *wants* to felt.  My attempts always take about 15 full-length runs through the washer.  Other people tell me that theirs felt in less than a single washing!!  I did love this thick, purple yarn, though, so it was worth the extra trouble.    

I'm also delighted to be contributing another round of my special bird cookie dough for filling log feeders (the feeders, themselves, will be made by someone who has the tools and expertise to create them based on my brother-in-law's instructions -- he made the ones in my yard that have been featured in earlier blog posts).  The woodpeckers and chickadees will be happily snacking in few more yards this winter.  Oh, and the form that I used for the hat?  It was a great big peanut butter jar that I emptied while making the bird cookie dough. Everything is interrelated!  Hee hee!!  

I had grand plans to do so much more than I managed to accomplish (as usual), but I'm glad that I could help spread at least a little good cheer.  :)  Now, I just need to start in January and maybe I'll be ready in time next year -- I have some really cool ideas!!  (I can dream about better organization, right?)

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Forest and the Trees

My sister, brother and I have been doing a little bit of planned forest management on a piece of land we own in common.  Recently, we had a number of trees removed by a man that uses a team of horses to get into the woods and do the work.  This is nice because it doesn't tear up the ground or the two-track trails we have wandering through the property -- the big trucks and skids tend to leave big ruts and mud holes and other messes.  

It's also nice to work with small, family businesses that do a good job and take pride in their work.  Besides, I think well trained work horses are just awesome creatures. 

While work was in progress, my siblings went out to the site to watch the process and my sister shared some pictures with me.  I thought you might enjoy seeing a couple of them, too.  :)

The team has a snack to get fortified for the day's work. Aren't they beauties?  They're so solid and patient with the set-up, too. 

I think they make a very handsome team.  I wish I had gotten to see them in action with my own eyes, but my sister tells me that horses and human worked really well together, as well they might, since they depend on each other for their livelihood!   I have the sense that there was also mutual respect, though. 

Here are the veneer logs, all lined up in a neat little row by the side of the road, waiting to be hauled out of the woods and to the mill.  There are different types of trees in the lineup, some of which were taken out ahead of disease progression in the area - no walnut or anything else of extreme value, just good, solid timber.

And there they go off into the woods.  It sounds to me like they did a good job and we will probably invite them back to do some more work when the time comes.  :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mabelline and More...

Some folks who got the carving I did of sweet Mabelline as an invoice image (her photo is in the clue) have been asking if I ever had the chance to see her fawns.  The answer is yes, but it's really hard to get a picture of the little rascals, since they don't stop moving -- ever!  I have some amazing blurred images - even one of nursing babies, but they really are blurry.  I did capture one of the babies in pixels, though, and thought I would share so you could see.  I love the mother and child shot -- I took this one standing on a stool and peeking out the window of the Stampeaz packing room.

Here's one that I took from the deck overlooking the back woods, which is why it is looking down on the little cutie.  Mabel always gets nervous when I come out on the deck and try to take pictures.  I wish some manufacturer would make a digital camera that was really silent.  I don't know why they feel like they have to build in all the shutter noise and beeps that always scare the critters - it makes it way too hard to be sneaky with the wildlife!   

You can see that Mabelline has passed along some of her eye shadow expertise to her offspring.  Oh, and Mabel loves watermelon rind.  The little ones aren't convinced, but their mom loves to find the leftovers after I pack up my snacks to take to work (and feed the turtle).  These guys make it difficult to want to leave my house to go to the office every morning.  LOL! 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Balancing Act

My little turtle has learned a new trick!  She can balance a tiny watermelon seed on the end of her nose.  I don't know, do you think we are ready to run away and join the circus yet?  

Every morning she comes to see if I have anything wonderful to give her.  I actually think she may be watching my bedroom window to see if I'm awake yet, because she marches right up to the door, once she sees me peer out at the world.  She still loves her watermelon, although she branched out to eat some lettuce and a few blueberries over the last couple days. Watermelon remains her favorite -- by far.   

Many thanks to all who came and joined my birthday party.   I hope you enjoyed the celebration!  Interestingly enough, there was a piece of PZ Kut that sat around unclaimed for three days before someone finally snagged it --  and that was the day *after* I had planned to turn out the lights and sweep up the confetti!  So, I don't know exactly what that means.  It could mean that people are happy with OZ Kut and don't feel the need to scramble for the last few sheets of PZ, it could mean that everybody thought the celebration only went on for three days instead of seven, or it could mean that everyone's tired of my very foolish little games.  (Or maybe people just ate too much cake and fell asleep....)  In any event, it was fun to scramble the present around and have folks find it -- thanks for playing with me and thank you for the kind birthday wishes. 

Speaking of cake, everybody who ordered something last week has been checking under their labels, right?  I hid some cake under there!!  Really!  I did. Quispy cake...   :)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Thirsty Turtle - Really Thirsty!

I had posted pictures earlier in the summer of the turtles that came in for blackberry treats.  The saga continues.  I have had at least six different turtles, each with distinctive markings on their shells or heads or legs.  There is a sweet little female three-toed box turtle that has become quite a regular.  Until the last few days, she was happy with her blackberries, strawberries and grapes.  But a couple days ago, she became frantic and actually crawled up past my hand and nearly into my lap looking for something else when what I was offering didn't meet her need.  After trying everything I could think of in the refrigerator (grapes, cherries, blueberries, etc.) I discovered a small piece of watermelon I had left from dinner and wondered if it might hit the spot.  

She chomped right into it (you can see the little beak marks in the piece I'm holding in the picture above where she bit it) and ended up eating the whole thing in very short order.  She was absolutely desperate for the fluids, since we haven't really had any measurable rain around here since around the beginning of June.
Interestingly enough, I have made a little turtle watering dish that's low to the ground so they can reach it, but I guess it wasn't enough - or maybe it was the electrolytes and minerals she needed - who knows?  

I'm just so relieved that I found something that worked for her, since earthworms, slugs, snails and grubs are in extremely short supply this year, right along with water.  I also watered all the leaf piles in the back and front yards so that the turtles could find a cool, moist place to hide during the day (and maybe attract a beetle or two for them to eat). 

In other news, it's my birthday!  Look for a pretty little wrapped present, if you want to join the celebration this week.  You know what's in the package, of course.  :)  I will be putting a few up every day, so if you miss one, try back again later!  It's going to be a little like the Easter Egg Hunt, but with a less frenetic pace, since it will be going on all week.  LOL! 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Take a Chicken on Safari....

Yes, this is the long overdue Chicken Update.  :)  

The incredibly lucky Chicken is doing well, although she's not really a Spring Chicken any more and has stopped laying eggs.  I guess they only get a certain allotment in over their life span and once they're gone, they're gone.  But, that's okay - she's a happy little bird. 

When I was on vacation and everyone else was taking a nap, the Chicken was acting like she wanted to go out and have an adventure.  One of her favorite things is to go to what we call the 'old bridge site' and have one of us turn over logs so she can find tasty bugs and things hiding underneath.  So, that's what we did.  And so the adventure began. 

First, we had to take a little walk across the wide open grassland and over to the old bridge site to where all the favorite hunting logs can be found.  She's so funny - if you get ahead of her and look like you're going to turn over a log, she comes running and flapping her wings so she won't miss out on any of the good stuff.  
Once we get to the logs, she gets in place and when she's ready to pounce, I turn over a log and hold it for her so she can dive in and snatch tasty beetles and delicious centipedes (one of her personal favorites - they're fast, challenging and scrumptious to a chicken - at least that's what I think she's saying....).   It's hard to hold the camera and turn logs at the same time, so I couldn't get a very good picture of her diving for critters - she also moves really fast!

After we turned over all the logs, that little Chicken was still wanting to hunt some more, we ventured into the woods where we found some new logs to turn and she got to go on a bug hunting excursion through the deep 'jungle' grass, into tangles of vines and around gnarled tree trunks.   Brave Chicken on safari....  

Of course, after returning from a major hunting expedition, it's important to take a good, long bath.  She's so funny when she does this.  It's almost like she goes into a deep trance state and loses track of time and space.  The practice of Chicken Bath Meditation.

Then, cleaned and preened, she's ready to sit on a friendly lap out in the sunshine and recount the great and glorious escapades of the day.  (Don't you just love the sun shining through her comb?)

So, there you have it.  The Lucky Chicken is still doing well and is absolutely as lucky as ever.  :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Crane Your Neck....

This is a very belated post - this is actually from my vacation from some time ago, but I wasn't very good at keeping up the blog there for a bit - too much other stuff to keep up with!  But I still wanted to share it with you because I think it's awesome!  So, why would any sane (oh, wait -- scratch the sane part -- I forgot we were describing my behavior!), exhausted person go on vacation and get up at 4:30 in the morning?  Voluntarily.  Enthusiastically, even, if somewhat blearily.  Here's why: 

A person gets to see the most amazing and wonderful things getting out into the woods early in the morning.  Little warblers waking up and flitting through the brush, sleepy bears rambling around, and the occasional sandhill crane... 

I still haven't gotten to see them do their dance, but I did get to hear them making a huge racket a clearing or two away.  They're amazingly loud.  One of these days, I hope I'll have a chance to see the whole performance, but this was cool enough for me.  :)

Seriously- it's worth getting up unreasonably early in the morning to see something like this.

Don't you think?  And of course, if you've been quick enough on the draw, you may have found something else awesome.  Just sayin'...  :)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Blackberry Bliss

This morning, while I was cooling down from my exercise routine, I looked out the back window to see a box turtle headed toward the ground-level water dish at what, for a turtle, qualified as a dead run.  I knew that the sides of the dish would make it tough for a turtle - that one is primarily for deer and turkeys to come and get a drink, but other critters like it, too.  So, I grabbed a shallow dish filled with water and a couple blackberries and went down to greet my guest.  Usually, the turtles will retreat into their shells until I back away but this one apparently smelled the blackberries and marched right up to me and took one out of my hand.  Thirsty *and* hungry. 

Don't you just love the expression of blackberry bliss?  Munching with eyes closed and complete absorption.  This first one one ate four blackberries without flinching before wandering off to do other turtle things.  But when I looked up, I saw another, smaller turtle heading our way, so I offered it blackberries for breakfast, too.  It was more shy and did the shell retreat dance before tucking in to a juicy repast. 

When I gave turtle number two a third blackberry, it decided to just take the berry and carry it off somewhere to enjoy in peace and privacy.  And that's my story for the day..... 
The End.....  :)

Monday, April 23, 2012

News from the Merry Old Land of OZ...

Here is the update and sample carving information from ElectricMedic.  First the actual blocks.  The little fox is the same image on PZ Kut from the last round.  They sent it back to me for comparison purposes, since I wanted to see the differing gouge mark qualities.  Baby Bugs is Sample #1 (the same material Electric carved last time with the musical rose image) and Baby Taz is the new Sample #2 (which we've all been calling OZ Kut).   The fox image is able to sit on top of a quarter with a fair amount of space left over all the way around (except, perhaps, where the rose stem is sticking out), just to give you some idea of scale.   

I printed each one side-by-side on a piece of cardstock I had sitting on my work table - nothing particularly special with respect to surface.  In fact, I think it tended to wick a little bit with my Memento Bamboo Leaves ink because the pad is fairly new and pretty juicy.  The black ink is Versafine Onyx Black.   The lines on all these carvings are beautifully fine, and amazingly even.  I can take a couple of pointers away, just looking at Electric's finished carvings.  :)

Electric's preliminary sort of stream-of-consciousness thoughts ran something like this (Medic typed as he was talking and carving -- quotes from Electric and Medic are in bold italics). 

Using the regular staedtler , works terrific. It feels easier to use the staedtler on sample #2 than sample #1. The knife cuts through the material like butter. Much easier than the first stuff. Was able to make a deeper cut without having to put a lot of force behind it. That is all the prelim as I haven't finished carving the design. To me it is a winner but I will finish and then give the final report.

Medic's comment completely cracked me up, so I just had to share it: 

I was sitting on the couch and I heard these strange noises from the man cave. Lucky I knew what was going on in there otherwise I would have been curious. I heard...WOW....OH MY...THAT'S IT....THIS IS PERFECT.....SHE HAS IT......

That just made my evening!   LOL!  Then the pertinent bits from the final report went like this: 

The new material solves the problem we had with the first pertaining to knife cuts. I was able to cut deeper and bigger chunks with the knife and pull them out and also the materiel still ripped apart like it should, no rubber band problems.
Tried to use dull gouges and all seemed to work fine. The sharp gouges made perfect straight lines like a knife. The ones that are not as sharp still cut the material half decent but if you look close you can see slightly rough edges, not as clean as if using a sharp tool.
IMHO, I recommend running sample #2 only. That will please the vast majority of PZ White carvers. Definitely easier to cut with a knife and a sharp gouge still cut like butter.

So, that's what I'm doing.  A trial run of Sample #2 (A.K.A. OZ Kut) is in the extrusion schedule for this week!  (Yikes!)  That means that by the middle of May, if not sooner, there should be a brand new material for us all to try out.  I am looking forward to seeing how the actual extrusion process effects the material - there's a good chance it will make the block even better than the lab samples - I'm hoping so!

Once again, I hope ElectricMedic will chime in here and let me know if I have missed anything they think people should know about the future OZ Kut.  And many, many thanks for your gracious help with the testing. 

Monday, April 16, 2012


Clue was one of my favorite childhood games. It had mysteries and clues and could be played by a whole bunch of people of varying ages and everyone still had a chance to win, since both luck and skill were required to be able to solve the puzzle. Besides, it was always possible you might discover you had done the nefarious deed yourself, if your favorite color playing piece represented the murderer of the moment.

I left a pretty fair clue - or perhaps it could even be called a statement over on the Stampeaz Facebook page Friday. Interestingly enough, only one person cashed in. So, I figure that either everybody has all the PZ Kut they want or they're tired of playing my silly little games. ;-) Or, maybe they were just all out having fun (or hiding in their basements from the storms) and away from their computers over the weekend. We'll see.

You see, I've been trying to make space in the Stampeaz inventory room for a big pile of OZ Kut that will be landing in fairly short order. To do that, I have to find someplace else to put things (preferably at your house! LOL!).

So, now you've been given two clues. Was it Mama Cache in Adhesives with the Glue Pad? Was it Webfoot in Embossing with the Heat Gun? Was it ElectricMedic in the Accessories with the Magnifier?

Skill and luck.... :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Flocks of Phlox

First, I want to thank everyone who came out and played in the Easter egg hunt at Stampeaz this past Sunday. It was fun to try and keep ahead of all of you and scramble the eggs. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!

Wild phlox are blooming in my yard. I like to encourage the wildflowers, so I carefully mow around them. My neighbors all think I'm crazy. Okay, maybe they don't just *think* that.

The white throated sparrows usually take flight by the time the first really warm weather begins, but this year they've stuck around in spite of unusually high Spring temperatures. I loved the image of this little rascal in the dewy grass.

And the dogwoods were just so beautiful this year, I had to share another picture before they're completely gone for the year. We're expecting frost for the next couple nights, so the few flowers that stuck through the early heat wave will be gone when the cold snap passes.

In other news, the next test run of carving material is officially scheduled for the end of the month and I am very excited to say that my beta tester, Electric, thinks it's very, very close to PZ Kut, so even though it's still going to be white instead of emerald green, it's going land us in the merry old land of OZ Kut. It's been a long, long journey back, complete with flying monkeys and wicked witches (well, maybe it just felt that way at times - LOL!). The journey has also been filled with kind helpers and absolute wizards, so the road really has been golden, if somewhat rough and uneven. It looks like good things are coming soon. Now, where did I leave my ruby slippers....?

When I get the sample carvings from Electric, I will post them here, as I did last time (with his permission, of course). I would post my sample carving, but it would be a spoiler, since I'm currently using my test as an invoice image! :)

Also, thank you to those who tagged the Stampeaz Facebook page with a "Like". I appreciate your support! I'll have to think of a good way to throw a little party over there! Hee hee!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Cluck Old Hen

There's an old fiddle tune called "Cluck Old Hen" that's popular among old time fiddle players in my area. I'm not sure how old my hens are (I've now spotted two different ones roaming the woods out my back window), but they do cluck softly to themselves as they look for snacks.

Yesterday, one of them had the three Jakes in hot pursuit. She was far more interested in finding bugs and seeds and things to eat than in holding court for her admirers, though. That might be part of the reason it's so difficult to get a good picture of the girls. They just don't hold still long enough. I finally got one that wasn't totally blurred by her pecking around or moving along her merry way. The boys, on the other hand, have been taking the time now and then to pose rather grandly as they swagger through the woods. After all, they have to make a good impression on the ladies.

Speaking of good impressions, the deer have been grooming to look their Spring best - and to get rid of the rest of their warm Winter coats. They are *very* curious about the turkeys. One of last year's fawns was following one of the boys around and trying to get a good sniff of the strange newcomer to the woods. And as a result, I was able to snap this next little juxtaposition, which made me laugh.

So, the hens are wandering around amidst the dogwoods, phlox and other early bloomers this year trying to decide where they want to nest and lay their precious eggs.

If you look carefully, you might find an egg hidden somewhere at stampeaz.com, too. HappPZEaster! Oh - and Im' guessing that the Easter Hen may lay more than one and that she may not hide them all in the same place. They're tricky that way, those clucking old hens! :)

One more thing I almost forgot to mention! Stampeaz now has a Facebook page! I am not sure yet exactly how it might be used, but I expect I will come up with something! LOL!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Turkey Went A-Courtin' and He Did Trot, Uh-Huh...

It may be hard to imagine, but there can be rewards in staying home and working on taxes.

Or at least rewards for looking out the back window while taking a break from taxes and talking to my sister on the telephone -- which is what I was doing when I first spotted this handsome fellow.

I was unable to get a photo of him then, since he wandered out of range before I could snag my camera and get back to the window. When I had finished my call, I went out back to see if I could spot him anywhere in the woods, but he was long gone. I clucked a few times just for fun, and to see if I could get any reaction from him -- alas, nothing.

So, imagine my delight when I saw him wander back in the other direction an hour or so later, talking turkey and trying to find a sweet hen to woo. I don't know whether or not he heard me when I called earlier, but I got a big grin out of seeing him again. There haven't been any turkeys in the woods here for a number of years. I've seen a small flock about a mile from my house and from a distance across a big field, but not any closer than that.

I was totally amazed just a few minutes ago (these pictures were taken an hour or more ago) I saw a hen -- the very sort of sweet hen Jake had been looking for. She was walking through the woods (sans Jake) to the other side of the hill. She was too far over the edge to get a good picture by the time I realized she was there -- she was clearly intent on getting about her appointed rounds. Still, it was great fun to see that Jake had a potential lady friend.

I was also quite pleased that some of the beautiful golds and greens of his feathers showed up in the photos. It wasn't even sunny, so that made it especially nice to catch a little of the iridescence in his plumage. This guy does have a beard, but it's a pretty short one -- that's why I'm calling him 'Jake' - he's almost certainly one of last year's young. Next year, we'll call him 'Tom'.

I hope you enjoyed seeing him, too. :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hot Out of the Oven!

Happy Pi Day! (For those not mathematically inclined, 3.14 is the short form of pi, so March 14 is a perfect day to commemorate the beautiful simplicity of pi.) It’s always fun to try and celebrate Pi Day by eating food comprised of circles – there are many delicious round culinary options like carrot slices, shaped artisan breads or dinner rolls, pie, grapefruit or orange halves, peas, pancakes, brie (or other wheels of) cheese, pizza, blueberries, pi-neapple rings, quiche, of course, more pie.

The pie featured here was my first attempt at a latticework top. My sister-in-law showed me how it was done and, even though it looks terribly difficult, her tricks made it a manageable feat of beautiful pie embellishment. It’s rhubarb custard inside. Yum! So, be sure and stop by stampeaz.com and say, “Pi!” (Or is that Pi-Z Kut???)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Migrants and Residents

No, this isn't going to be a political blog entry. Rather, it's an appreciation of the wonderful birds that hang out in my yard during the Winter or pass through on their way to Summer nesting grounds. Or even just stick around all year long.

The purple finches pass through twice a year and sometimes stay for the cold months. They're wonderful little splashes of fuchsia in the branches and at the feeders.

Flickers are year-round residents, but they're more frequently seen on the ground in the warmer months, poking around for bugs. When it's cold, or until the bugs really get on a roll, they absolutely love the peanut butter dough I make for them. Well, everybody else does, too. It's like peanut butter cookies for the birds. :)

Yellow-rumped warblers surprised me with their taste for peanutty (is that a word?) goodness. They flew in with a flock of goldfinches and some pine siskins back in October and decided to stay for the season.

Yellow-bellied sapsuckers (sorry about the slightly blurry photo here) weren't as much of a surprise with respect to peanut butter, since all the woodpeckers love it, but the bluebirds love peanut butter cookie dough, too, and even learned how to pretend to be clinging birds so they could get at it! I'll try to get a couple pictures of them holding on for dear life - they're so cute - and they're absolutely stunning sitting on a limb in the sunshine. They remained with me all year this year, too.

A large contingent of goldfinches moved in for the Winter, and now all their cousins are flying up from their snowbird stomping grounds and having a snack and rest before flying on their merry way - they're eating me out of house and home. I won't have too much longer to enjoy them because they never seem to stick around to nest in my yard. They're also moulting and looking a bit motley these days. Patches of olive and yellow can be sort of comical - camo gone wrong. Perhaps they want to get all the awkward, transitional plumage taken care of before they move on to set up territories and go courting. Everyone wants to look their best on a date!!

Here's another warbler - it just tickles me how it learned to cling to the side of the feeder. At first, I would just stick some dough on top of the feeder log and they would fly down and eat that, but they decided they wanted more and learned how to do avian gymnastics.

And another flicker - I had seven or eight of these guys flitting around the yard last week. Pretty soon, they'll disappear into the woods to nest and won't come back until they're trying to keep up with their fledglings' appetites.

Bluebirds and finches don't mind sharing treats. I've seen three bluebirds and as many finches all foraging together. The cardinals share nicely with the finches and juncos and sparrows, too.

The downy woodpecker doesn't share quite as well. She doesn't want the bluebird to move into the bluebird house. She roosts there every night and has been known to toss other birds' nesting materials out the door when they tried to move in - this photo is pretty grainy because I took it really early in the morning. Madame Downy was surveying the world from her parlor window before going out for breakfast. That sleepy little striped face makes me chuckle every day.

What great entertainment -- way better than anything they've got on cable! ;-)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Happy Birthday, Barbie!

I did give a warning hint that I would be celebrating Barbie's birthday, remember? She's 53 today and still looking great. I gathered up a bunch of dolls yesterday and took their picture, since they're the reason we're having this party.

We can also celebrate Middle Name Pride Day today. Never heard of it? Well, I hadn't either. Barbie's middle name is Millicent, just in case you needed a little bit of trivia to share with some poor, unsuspecting soul. They'll shake their head - just like you're shaking your head at me right now. There's a reason for all this, though.

Because anyone who knows anything about dressing and playing with Barbies knows just how important it is to accessorize. :) Right? Oh, and if you place an order at stampeaz.com today, mention Barbie's birthday and you'll get the LTC I made a couple years ago for her 50th birthday - I still have a few. She was originally sent out for a Pin-ups swap, but I've opened her up to everybody, so you don't have to be a member of that group on AQ any more to see her listing.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus i Bawb!

Happy St. David's Day to everyone!! Thank you to Vyx for the lovely daffodil card I got in the mail. Beautiful carving!!

If you're wondering what on earth I'm talking about, St. David is the patron saint of Wales and it's a celebration for the Welsh and the Welsh-at-heart. The daffodil and the leek are traditional symbols of Wales, so it's a day to celebrate with a lovely bowl of potato leek soup and a daffodil on your lapel and a song on your lips. After all, Wales is a land of singers and poets -- it even says so in the national anthem.

My daffodils aren't blooming yet this year, but they're going to soon, if the weather holds. This is how the ones in my front yard looked in the second week of March last year. I thought the folks who got hammered with snow yesterday and today would appreciate the hope of Spring in the snow.

Yes, I'm celebrating - my lapel is adorned with a pretty little leek pin and I'm having a small party. You're invited, of course!!