Saturday, May 25, 2013

African Turquoise

African Turquoise

       Last Wednesday I went to the Rings & Things bead show in Mesa and bought some beautiful African Turquoise.    I've never used it before, but I loved the small ovals and the pretty turquoise color.   It looked like the perfect stone to use for wire wrapping.  
    I used copper 20 gauge wire to add wrapped loops onto each bead, linking them together as I went.   Copper looks great with turquoise.   Probably because real turquoise is found with copper when its mined.
      I knew African Turquoise wasn't "real" turquoise when I bought it.   For one thing, I could afford it.   More importantly, Rings & Things had a sign that told about it.   I had to smile when I read the sign.    African Turquoise, it turns out, is a type of jasper---my favorite stone---that is found in Africa.      
       Before I went to the bead show this year, I had told myself I would not buy any more jasper.   Because I like it so much, I tend to buy it all the time.   I have a lot of it, and I knew I needed to branch out and try different stones.    So I had to smile when, despite my best intentions, I was drawn to the jasper. 
       It looks nearly identical to real turquoise, but at a fraction of the cost.   For me, it's a great substitute.  


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Quail Baby

        Earlier this year we had a nest of Gambel's Quail on our patio.    When the female quail first began laying her eggs, she would be all skittish and upset because we were frequently sitting nearby.    She would pace up and down, and both her and her mate would chatter.  He was especially loud and vocal about the intruders on "his" porch.   More than once we went inside so she would calm down and go on her nest.  
        Gradually she got used to us, I guess.   She would sneak into the patio quietly and get on her nest.   When she had laid about 10 or 11 eggs, she began coming in the late afternoon and staying all night.     We were always quiet and kept away from her, but she no longer seemed to mind us sitting there.  
         One day Kent saw that the eggs had hatched.   Only half of them, unfortunately, and neither the chicks nor the parents were around.    For days we didn't see them.  When we finally saw them, there was only one chick left.
         Today she had the chick inside the courtyard while I was inside the casita.    I heard her outside and grabbed my small Canon camera.    Because I didn't want to scare her away, I snapped the photos through the window.    

So there she is, a tiny fuzzy Gambel's Quail.