Monday, September 6, 2010

Happy Labor Day!

I hope everyone is enjoying their long weekend as much as I am. Labor Day itself brought rain to our neck of the woods, so there was no grilling for us today, but after our weekend, staying inside and getting some projects done was welcome.

We spend the extra long weekend hanging out with my dad, who came down for a visit. Thursday night the two of us had dinner at home together, and it was so nice to just spend time with him. I couldn't tell you when the last time I had five interrupted hours alone with my dad was.

I had an appointment Friday morning, and Brett needed to do some stuff at home, so Dad checked out a local bike trail and had a great time. Then we went and picked up jambalaya for lunch (white beans for me). After Brett went to work, my dad and me checked out some of the shops around town and bought some fabric for a project he wanted me to do for him, and had dinner at the gluten free place, Truly Free Bakery. I loved my cheese and pepper pizza and Dad was really surprised by how great his avocado burger was. I think he didn't have high hopes! We also got some cupcakes and a muffin to take home for dessert, which were delicious.

Saturday, we spent the day downtown. We had lunch (after we had a lot of trouble finding an open place!) and walked around Third Street. We spent a few hours in the Old State Capitol and learned a ton about the history of Louisiana politics, which was great for us non-natives. Then we walked along the river for a while and headed home for a nap and some dinner.

Sunday was the day we had been looking forward to all weekend. We got up early and drove to Breaux Bridge and met a guy named Butch who took us into the swamp for a tour. We saw all kinds of birds, spiders, frogs, snakes, and yes, GATORS! Plus tons of beautiful old cypress and tupelo trees.

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Real life owl! We got to see him fly and it was completely silent. I'd hate to be a snake or a frog and have him sneak up on me.

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This guy was a little baby compared to the one above. He's still a juvenile, less than 10 years old. Male gators keep growing until death (females stop around age 10), but their growth slows way down around that age. The best way to tell their age is by their markings. The darker, the older

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This is in a protected nesting ground for herons and egrets. No boats are allowed in during nesting season. One thing I thought was interesting was that the gators actually serve as a sort of protection for the baby birds, because they eat raccoons, nutria, and other small animals that will eat them. Of course, if one of the baby birds fall out of the nest, the gator will eat it too!

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I love the swelled cypress bases.

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We stopped for lunch at a hole in the wall on the way home, and then rested the rest of the day after our adventure. If you're ever in the area, seriously, spend the two hours and $20 and go to Cajun Country Swamp Tours in Breaux Bridge. It's worth SO much more.

Today, my dad left for the long drive home, and Brett had to work. I touched up the paint around all the trim in the living room while watching the Hoarders marathon. I'm so excited that it's done! I was hoping to touch up the ceiling as well, but I'm having some pain in my left hand, and there's no way I'm rolling. It will have to wait until I can rest my hand for a while.

With Labor Day marking the end of the summer season (but not the end of oppressive heat) I knew I had to take down my red, white and blue wreath. We've had a green berry wreath since last Christmas, just changing the ribbon and the accent color with the season, but I was ready for a change.

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My criteria were that I didn't want to leave my house, and I didn't want to spend any money. So I was resource limited. I decided to take some inspiration from our swamp tour, and go with a cypress wreath. Luckily, we have a cypress tree right in our backyard (they also grow on land, but the trunks don't swell at the bottom unless they're in water, and the cypress "knees" don't come up). I cut a few branches of greenery, making sure to get some of the balls.

Then, I started the long task of taking the old wreath apart. It was a huge pain, and I had no business doing it with my hand hurting so bad. But I got it done!

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Then, I trimmed down the greenery and started wiring it to my grapevine wreath.

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Once I had it mostly covered with greenery, I had to figure out the hanger. I was pretty sure I didn't have a ribbon I would want to use, and after digging through my craft box and my fabric stash, all I found was bright orange grosgrain left over from my apron. Halloween isn't quite what I'm going for!

So I knew I had some leftover rust colored silk that would be perfect for fall. I cut it into strips and made a wide bow. It's a lot more orange in person than in photographs. The finished product is a bit more wintry than I hoped. But I'm thinking that as the cypress dries out, it will turn brown and be the perfect fall wreath. Here's hoping!

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