Thursday, April 28, 2016

Guest Suite - Day 2

It's later than usual so this will be brief.  

When I left the house for an appointment this morning, this is what the men were doing.  If you look carefully, you may be able to tell that there is a raised section of dirt on which two men are standing. Around the edges there is a "sidewalk", a lower area.  That lower section is the firmly packed earth at the excavation level.  The men put dirt back in the hole to form the raised area.  I have no idea why, but they certainly made it very precise and neat.

When I came home after several errands (including a chat I'll tell you about in a later entry), the men were getting ready to leave for the day.  LOOK!!! The base of the foundation structure has been poured and leveled off beautifully.

It's a long step down from our family room, isn't it?  I had hoped you would be able to see the design their leveling made in the wet cement (I can never remember which is correct - concrete or cement?), but it doesn't show up.  Ah, well.

Having nothing to do with the above conversation, can you see through the sliding glsss door that our orchid cactus is almost in full bloom?  The Christmas/Thanksgiving/and/or sometimes Easter cactus just finished with a few more blooms, too.  It's had several blooming periods this year.  Nice that something has - our forsythia is a bust again this spring.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

And the Work Begins!

The excavator arrives.

The patio was well built and getting it to break wasn't easy.

But it did break . . .

Watching the patio break up into pieces was mesmerizing.  We never really used it - the shape was wrong for such a small  patio - so neither of us were sorry to see it go.

After that was gone, the digging began in earnest, and the hole began to get deeper and deeper.

This is the man who dug around the sides and made everything neat and square.

He also did the measuring to make when the man in his machine asked.  I'd wondered how they would know when to stop.  

By the end of the day, the hole was finished, and now the concrete can be poured for the foundation.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Venice Watercolor Study

Painting class today and after a gathering of good friends - what could be better?

Because of all the harum-scarum since last Tuesday, I had done no work on transferring the drawing to watercolor paper.  However, since I knew that would probably be the case, I planned ahead so my time would not be wasted.  In accordance with that plan, I made sure to pack up my kit the night before so I wouldn't be so rushed in the morning that important items would be forgotten.  To my usual kit I added all my paints, my paint chart/guide, and a pad of 9 x 12" watercolor paper, and last week's paint tests.

The plan was to do some more paint tests with my own magenta and a different yellow (both matching the ones on my color chart for my target hue) that I didn't have with me last week.  Then I planned to start a study without any drawing at all.  I would paint as much as I could of the scene in the time I had without any underlying guide.  

Here's the drawing:

Here's today's start on the study:

The sky: it was going to be a problem if I copied it from the photograph where it was just plain gray.  Boring as well as not a good clue to the need for the open umbrella.  Plus, I just want to practice clouds.  After a few combinations, I chose to use indigo and burnt sienna to make my gray for the sky and for the rest of the painting.  I had fun with that big cloud!

Next I wanted to work on the canal.  I felt it looked very green in the shadowed areas (on the left) with a grayish cast over all.  What you see is the wet-in-wet green wash with some areas I had to "lift" as it had flowed into what is the lighter part of the canal.  An added gray wash will be done at a later time.

But while I waited for that to dry I began working on the buildings in the background - behind the bridge over the canal.  I used the gray I had mixed and added more burnt sienna.  The roof is a color I plan to use elsewhere in the painting, and the building on the left in another color that if it isn't too bright will also appear in other places.

Okay, you say, that's all very well and good, but what on earth is that wavy white area immediately above the dark cloud?  Good question.  On our walk one gray morning last week, I noticed a cloud formation that did exactly that and thought this would be a good place to try it out.  Right now I think the sky above that "white wave" is too dark.  If it were a lighter gray, it might work better.  

Monday, April 25, 2016

More Spring Cleaning

No pictures today either, and once I explain, you wouldn't want to see them if I took any.  Our final (I certainly hope!) renovation was expected to begin today, but it's cold with rain scheduled for early tomorrow morning into the day, there will be no excavating.

I'm not too disappointed as it gives me at least two more days before things begin.  It's also laundry day, so I decided to spend the entire laundry time in the basement clearing the wall near the excavating (men will need access for heating ducts, electrical thingummies, and other arcane stuff).  We went through some of this when the studio was built, and someone had the brilliant idea to move the furnace (which, to be fair, was a very good idea).  At that time, we already had a ctidy basement and didn't have to do much other than making sure nothing got in the way - or so we thought.  

After that work, the basement was a royal mess.  Turns out more things had to be moved because there was so much that had to be re-wired, re-this and re-that due to excessive age and/or overly economical building in the first place.  Be that as it may, I admit that after that project we didn't immediately rush down to pick up.  We've dilly-dallied, made sporadic forays, pushed things around, and basically ignored the job until now.

Now I am not only tidying (which wouldn't have taken that much time despite what I've said); I am also sorting, re-organizing, and/or throwing away.  That always takes more time than I plan.  Doesn't matter as it's almost done.

What I have to do next is start on the family room.  There's not much of a mess in here, but there is a lot, really a lot of things that need to be removed.  

If you move something, you have to put it somewhere else.

What do you think?  


Friday, April 22, 2016

Quick Notes

I am so lucky to have such a varied group of dear friends!  You've heard about the two friendship groups ( art quilt friends and quilting friends), our (D's and mine) family, and my school friends.  

Today I met two of my very closest school friends - women I have known through my 20 years of teaching and the years of retirement since then.  One of those two I have spent years with - teaching a combined Social Studies/English course and the years following her retirement (she left before I did) taking the YA class together.  The other woman has a daughter the same age as mine, and as she reminded me, she still remembers standing on the stairs at school, crying as we compared notes on our young adolescent daughters. 

First we had to exchange some Christmas gifts.  Yes, I can hear you!  I said Christmas, and it's almost the end of April, but that's what happens with long-time friends who have busy lives in different locations.  Christmas, birthdays,any celebrations: you grab them when you can, when the time is right for you to be in the same place at the same time.  That's what we did first thing.  

Then - second, we went to our favorite restaurant for lunch.  One had the special omelet, another had the special quiche, and I had the special grilled mahi mahi salad.  We were there for 2- 3 hours eating good food and enjoying catching up on others not present - follow teachers and former students.  We exchanged our own news and laughed over what's happening as we get older.  Then they drove me home and rode off - all of us still laughing.

Friends . . . how lucky I am to have them all!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Report on Art Quilt

Spent most of the day working on the new quilt.  I finally got smart and put everything up on the design wall; it really changes the appearance of one's work.  And it does make it a whole lot easier to affix the pieces.

 Seeing it from a distance instead of spread out horizontally on a table in front of me changed my mind about its size.  Make that its dimensions.  I had been thinking that 24 x 36 would work.  Now I'm considering 20 x 40.  Tall and thin may suit this design better; actually I'm pretty sure it will.

I also thought I'd show a photo tonight so this afternoon I whipped out my phone (it was handy) and took a photo.  I just spent about 15 minutes trying to find where it went (yes, I did mail it to myself after I found out it hadn't synced successfully).  Something is gong on with my phone of late (I am overdue for a new one) and the connections are iffy at best.  Did I find the picture on my computer?  No.  With my luck it will probably turn up tomorrow.

So, I guess you'll just have to take my word for it.  Design wall?  Yes!  Re-size?  The better option! Photos? Of course!  Share those photos?  Well, not tonight.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Challenge is a Challenge

The quilt I am working on is taking longer than expected.  I have a very rough sketch, but the actual choice of fabrics, placement, and method of construction is being decided in the moment of construction.  I've never worked like this before so it is certainly a challenge.  

Challenges are one way to grow, and I do believe in them.  BUT I wish they (or at least this one) weren't so time consuming and difficult!  It had seemed fairly straight forward in the beginning, but it isn't.  

Right now I am still working on the background, or I should be.  Today I found myself distracted by 
shadows even though I had decided to start with the lights and only adding darks after the lights were established.  Every now and then, I'd find myself picking up darker fabrics and trying to create a shadow.  Then I realized, I was merely trying to add depth to something that irritatingly flat instead of continuing with the basic instead of chasing the chicken that was crossing the road.

Next I became enamored with one of the foreground elements.  Heaven only know how much time I spent figuring out how to make them look realistic.  Background, I reminded myself.  Stick to the background.

By the time I had to stop for the day, I had two thirds of the background in place and fabrics chosen as possibilities for the rest of it.  Nothing is fused in place or sewn down yet, though. My goal had been to finish at least laying it all out today.  

Well, I have to take the stand that all of those distractions will help me later on.  I hope.  It's certainly not progressing in a linear way!

And that's why it's a challenge.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Venice is a Go

Much scurrying around ensued this morning as D continued to try to find a ride to the polls (an activity he began last night), and I tried to get my gear together for art class.  He finally asked our next door neighbor who had returned home from his early morning workout in time for D to ask him for a ride.  So even though I had called Sharon to tell her I might be as much as an hour late in order to get D to his job at the polls, I was able to get to class almost on time!

I was very, very glad to get there early because although she found no fault with the perspective of the major building on the left, she did have a few issues with the open shutters in the building beyond it, and I had to agree with her.  It did take take turning the drawing upside down for me to fully appreciate what she didn't like about them (sometimes I can be too wedded to my own idea/s to see what someone else means), but once we did that, I concurred and erased the offending shutters.  Then there were some questions about the buildings behind the bridge, and again I agreed and added or subtracted where needed.  The final discussion we had was about the placement of the figure on the bridge.  While she/he is not smack in the middle of the sketch, she/he is in the middle of the bridge which made me a little uncomfortable.  The decision was that the figure is all right where it is, but the umbrella will have to be moved a bit.  Right now the back of the open umbrella lines up exactly with the edge of one of the buildings - not a good thing.  When I do the tracing and transferring of the picture onto tracing paper and then on to watercolor paper, the umbrella will be moved a bit.

After that, I spent my remaining time testing color mixes for the buildings.  Haven't gotten the right mixes yet, but at least I know which ones don't work.

I stopped in to vote on my way home and found the polling place busy but not swamped; they'd only been open about 20 minutes.  Then off to buy fruit and eggs before going home.  It's been a quiet rest of the day.  I finished taking out the last of the quilting on the Vermeer quilt and after some research found both the best way and the best design to stitch in the now non-quilted areas.  

Monday, April 18, 2016

The Value of Critical - but Friendly Eyes

There's nothing like discussing one's work with like-minded friends.  I am lucky enough to have two groups of such friends and spent part of today with one group.  This was a meeting of two other women who are interested in making art quilts.  It's another case of shared enthusiasms leading to even more excitement; I always feel rejuvenated after one of these days.

C was working on her white fabric floating flower.  It's a lovely piece that has evolved from an experimental scrunched up piece of fabric that was then stitched to hold its shape.  Bugle beads were added and surrounding fabric cut off.  Now her plan is to "float" the flower on linen which we all concurred would be an excellent idea."seascape" that she had started some time ago and was hoping to get back to.  All of her work is done without agonizing over planning which is something I envy and hope to be able to emulate some time.

Another innovative quilter is K has been working on a series of "seascapes" for as long as I have known her and even before that.  She is the Queen of Scraps not only because she keeps them and has bags full, but also because she really uses them to great effect.  Her pieces are usually on the small side, but today she showed us one in progress that is much larger and has great promise.  K is fearless when it comes to trying new materials in different ways.  

I learn a lot from these two, and I also get invaluable help from them on my own work.  Today I had only that rough sketch I've mentioned with me, but they were able to understand what I hoped to do.  They helped me with some questions I had about techniques.  Then we talked about "Another Chapter . . .", my Vermeer inspired quilt.  I haven't been happy with some of the quilting I did, and they agreed that it should come out.  That's what I wound up working on today - picking out the unwanted stitches. Fortunately they also had suggestions about what and how I should requilt the resulting bald spots!

It helps to have someone else take a critical look at one's work.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Report on Two Projects

D spent the weekend at a bonsai show so I had a lot of time to myself.  Despite some time spent with good books and a movie or two, I did accomplish a lot - though, as always, not as much as I would have liked.  The books and the movies might have compromised work, but for me they were needed breaks.  There are times when one needs a break - especially if something isn't working, or something happened that was unexpected, or if the creative thinking hadn't gone far enough.  Then a break can give one's brain time to come to grips with the issue or issues.  It helped a couple of times, but there are still some problems that need solving.

First, working on the quilt: I had my fabric chosen, but as always I had to pull out a few more when I either didn't have enough of a color or when what I had chosen didn't work.  That was also when I realized I had to be sure I knew where the light and the shadows were.  I thought this was rather clever - I took a blue highlighter (so I could see the drawn lines through the marker) and colored in the shadowed places in the sketch.  Then I used an orange highlighter (didn't have yellow) to color the lights.  That way I now know exactly where those areas are, and I can see them at a glance.  They leap out at me but do not obscure the original sketch.

Second, I was able to spend time working on the sketch of Venice.  It took more time than I thought it would because I decided I needed to re-work the background buildings behind the bridge.  There were a few lines I hadn't erased that drew my attention to that area, and once those were taken care of, I fussed over what I perceived as unfinished.  

Was I merely delaying working on the building in the right foreground?  Yes, probably.  But I did go back to that, also.  One of the problems was that this will be a watercolor and one that I want to be loose.  Nitty picky details aren't loose.  BUT I have to know what the building really looks like in order to know what can be left out or what can be simplified.  Does that make sense?

For comparison purposes, here is the first sketch:

And here is the result of this weekend's work:

The two sketches are difficult to compare because of the quality of the copied sketches.  Among other things, the second one has a shadow on it that almost seems like it belongs in the drawing.  But it is the best I could at short notice (just before I sat down to write this entry).

There are a couple of things I'm not happy about, but I am going to take it in on Tuesday and ask for Sharon's help.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Changing Times

The last two days have been spent enjoying family.  After spending months working on business for the Mid-Atlantic Bonsai Society, D took Tuesday off.  We did a little of this and a little of that.  One of his choices was to go to downtown Schenectady and have lunch at Pereca's.  A very good choice.  We each ordered the individual pizza with the same toppings and thoroughly enjoyed the very crisp, thin crust (reminding us of our trip to Italy) with sweet Italian sausage (Sidoni's - another local product), mushrooms, artichokes, and capers - lots of capers!

On our way home, we discovered that the Schenectady landmark, the wonderful building with the coco-cola ad was gone.  How could we have missed that fact?  It was covered in the Schenectady Gazette of September 30, 2015.  But we don't take that paper.  Here is part of the story from that paper:


Schenectady's 'Coca-Cola' building demolished

Broadway building with Coca-Cola advertising on wall.
Broadway building with Coca-Cola advertising on wall.
. . . . . . . . .
The early 1900s building was recently demolished after Highbridge Development of Schenectady purchased it from Frank Stewart in April for $20,000. It’s unclear what the future plans are for the property.
This undated photo shows the Coca-Cola sign, center, on the side of 412 Broadway in Schenectady, which was built in the early 1900s.
This undated photo shows the Coca-Cola sign, center, on the side of 412 Broadway in Schenectady, which was built in the early 1900s.
John Roth, CEO of Highbridge and Plank Construction, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Ray Gillen, chairman of the Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority, said he is unaware of Roth’s plans for the property.
Although the building was not designated as historic, Schenectady Heritage Foundation Chairwoman Gloria Kishton said the building’s sign was a staple and its demolition is a loss for the city . . . 
Ironically, when BD and E visited us, we took them to lunch at Pereca's and returned home by the same route.  We came to a red light at the intersection from where one could see 412 Broadway, and I pointed the ad on the building to E as I took out my phone a snapped a photo.  I believe she took one, too.  I am sure that all of us commented on how fine it was to have that reminder of earlier times still standing.
Not for long, as it turned out.
We didn't let that spoil our day and went on to the movies later that afternoon.  Changes occur and they're not always good, but we have our memories and, if we're lucky, our photos.  

Monday, April 11, 2016

Daily Doings

Busy day today as it is Monday, my traditional day for laundry and house "stuff".  After starting said laundry, we hared off to a copy center to have my latest quilt plan/sketch re-sized (ever so much easier than trying to enlarge myself).  The original was 17" x 21" or something odd like that.  In the beginning I wasn't very enthusiastic about my idea so I just grabbed a piece of 24" x 36" newsprint, folded and tore it until it was a more manageable size for what I had in mind.   By the time I finished, though, I really liked my idea and wished I'd left the paper alone.  Hence my trip to the copy center where they will return it to 24" x 36". Ironic, right?  They will also make a few more copies so I can cut elements out to use as patterns for fabric pieces if I want. They just couldn't do it today.

Then it was grocery store time to purchase various necessaries for a dinner for D.  He saw a recipe in our newspaper that simply cried out to be made (I agreed with him).  As a result, tomorrow he will be served Cheesy Grits with Shrimp, cornbread, and asparagus.  His choice for dessert is bread pudding - in the oven even as I write.

I also worked on a simple project that has been very recalcitrant.  The first time I tried to get it going, I ran out of the desired fabric.  Really???  She who buys fabric by the yards didn't have enough?   Hard to believe, isn't it?  But it happened.  Yesterday I bought a coordinating (I originally typed "cooperative"- good word for this instance even though not quite right!) fabric, and the work began this afternoon.  Hmmm.  The sewing machine had issues (snippet of thread caught in its innards), I had issues (failed to cut all needed pieces), and pieces cut properly didn't feel like playing in this game.  

Bah, humbug!

Oh well, the loads of laundry were done, bed changed, phone calls made, and, as I said earlier, the bread pudding is in the oven (sans topping - ran out of sugar - sigh).  

Another day marches off into the Past claiming victory over me.  

That's okay, though, I stuck out my tongue as it went by.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Dry Tortugas - Fort Jefferson

Okay, I am sure that at some time or another, I have indicated that I'm not a real fan of forts.  When left to wander on my own and look at a fort as simply another architectural wonder, I do all right.  If, however, a fort visit includes a guided tour with lots of talk about weapon storage, battles, munitions, numbers, etc, I try to sneak away.  Unless it's a truly ancient fort.  

Anyway, at Fort Jefferson on the Dry Torturgas, I was able to sneak about looking for good photographic material - starting when we got off the boat.  The first group of pictures will be birds - and the color of the water:

Pelicans may not be the loveliest of birds, but their plummage and its color make a wonderful contrast with this beautiful water.

This next one is a favorite of mine.  It's an accidentially wonderful composition including, I think, a black-headed plover.  Gorgeous blue water, waterlogged wood, and  a random twig added to the overall effect.  I know, the yellow paint also is a plus!

Then there are the photos from the inside of the fort.  There were several taken from inside the walls looking out through the gun portals (very few cannons around any more).

I like the fact that I have both a fort picture and a bird photo all in one in this next one.

The last one - well, I do wish the weather had been better (so did D who had a rocky stomach on the boat ride getting to this island) because this would have been prettier.  But it wasn't so it isn't.  You can see the ocean and the fort in the background, the lighthouse in the middle distance, and the flag in the foreground.

Actually, if you ever get the chance to visit this fort (on a nice day with calm seas!), I recommend that you do so.  It really has a very interesting history.

Okay, so I admitted it.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Venice Drawing

This is called "taking a break from Key West even though there aren't many more photos to show" - too long for the title, though.

Today I worked again on a drawing for a painting.  I do believe the day lily is pretty much a dud, and I have little interest at this point, anyway, in pursuing it any further.  One of the photographs of Venice has been on my mind for quite some time so I decided to give it a try.  Before Tuesday's class I did a rough sketch using carpenter's pencil (the lead is about 3/8ths of an inch wide), and during class I began a new sketch using mechanical pencil.  Because there are many buildings and a bridge I didn't get very far during class.  Today I spent more time on getting the perspective as correct as I could.

After taking a picture of this, I decided to make the second building a bit taller even though that isn't accurate, and made sure the person was behind the railing on the bridge over the canal.  There are a few invented buildings in the background (with some lines that I forgot to erase), but I think they are necessary for the composition.

The building in the foreground needs a lot of detail added, but I was tired and will tackle that when I am fresh.

If the drawing is finished before my next class, I will trace it on at least two pieces of paper and start working on them as "preliminary studies".  That way if I've made any egregious errors, I can change them before a final painting is attempted (especially since I always manage to overlook something dreadful in a painting that then haunts me every time I look at it -  in the San Antimo painting I shifted the drawing as I was tracing it and never noticed until too late - brother D noticed, though!).  Perspective in this one shifts around so much that I have to be especially careful, and sometimes one has to emphasize something to make it appear correct.  

Then there's the problem of the architectural details.  I would like this painting to be loose, but the building in the foreground has wonderful stonework.  How much would be too much?  Then there's the canal.  I think I can handle that, but . . .  And the colors (which are one of the reasons for painting this scene)?  It's a rainy day so everything will need to be muted and wet looking . . .

Lot of challenges to keep in mind and to keep me challenged (as though I need more challenges?).  It will be fun, that's for sure!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Another day in Key West

Happily ensconced in the post-Road Scholar hotel and schedule, D and I were able to return to our usual morning walks and reaped the benefits when we found this wonderful bakery.  The morning light shows it off very well, but the contents made it worth doing without sun if necessary.

I fell in love with the base of this this palm frond; beautiful pattern and color.

 Another in what has become a long list of nameless tropical flora.  Isn't this an amazing flower?  This hedge was another benefit of our morning walk.


This restaurant became another favorite eatery despite the street construction that made it less easy to negotiate getting there.  

I found Pepe's not only a good place to eat but suspected it could be the type of place I'd enjoy painting.  So . . . on the same walk that allowed the photo of the yellow flowers, D agreed to circle by Pepe's where I thought the light might be interesting.  I was right.

More harbor shots on the same morning:

Finally, a watery, abstract reflection of the railing against which I had been leaning.

That morning walk yielded more than exercise!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Another Mixed Bag

A little of this and a little of that today.  Once again I am feeling very over-extended.  Tomorrow is a bit of a nightmare.  Workmen coming at 7:30 a.m., painting from 10:00 - 12:00, crazy quilting from 
1:00 to 3:00, home to let in another worker at 4:00, and finally, off to our friends' house to watch the last in the women's basketball championship series.  That is a bit tight, but what is really getting me crazy is the list of Important Things that Must Be Done Soon!  When am I going to get to that list?

So, I will return to my New Year's resolutions, take a deep breath, and deal.  I'll let you know how that works!

Anyway, here's a stress reliever - another day in Key West!

This is a cruise ship coming in to dock in the early morning; it may not look very large at this point, but oh, my!  They are BIG!

This is a street scene that with the buildings, people, bicycles, colors, and palm trees all of which say Key West to me.

Another specimen that I have to check in my tropical plants of Florida book.  I really need to remember that before I start writing entries!

I have several (okay, many) photos taken in and around the harbor, but I eventually found what really said "painting" to me.  These are the scruffier boats in the harbor.  These are the ones people like you and me use to go out and catch fish or to putter around for a bit. They are clearly banged and battered, not spiffy like the clean white schooners, torpedo boats, or cruisers that shriek wealth and privilege.  It's not my favorite shot of these hard-working boats, but it's one I took as we wandered around on the seventeenth.

While we were nosing around the harbor, we headed over to the Sea Turtle Museum.  It didn't have a lot to see, but it was worth going to.  It's run by the volunteers who watch over the sea turtles nesting sites and protect the hatchlings.  They count the number of hatched eggs, take care of the late hatchlings that frequently have trouble getting to the sea, as well as a lot of record keeping.  It also had a section on the turtle industry, the historic slaughter of sea turtles for food.  Indeed, the building was once part of a turtle cannery, I think.  It was a big industry for some time.  The gray building at the right is the Museum.

This is just an amusing sign post we passed on our way back to our hotel.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Butterfly House

Whoever does the research for this blog should be fired.  Last week photographs of quilts were mistakenly said to be in the Hemingway house.  WRONG!!! They were in the Audubon home.  Whew, I certainly feel better now that I corrected her mistake.  There will be strong words, shaking of finger, and stamping of feet going on the next time I see her (in the mirror)!

It was Thursday, March 17th that we went to the Butterfly House in Key West.  My photographs do not do it justice (my new camera does not have a rapid fire option - or if it does, I haven't found it, yet), but I will post a few of them for you to see - with a caveat.  The Butterfly House was small and very crowded with both butterflies and people.  Our guide tried to give us a tour, but other visitors want his attention also.  As a result, he was distracted from what he was saying by the questions of others, I was too far away to hear him anyway, and as a result, I can't tell you the names of the butterflies. 

Don't strain to find the butterfly in the next one as it's merely a photo of a lovely blossom.

This is not a butterfly, it's the wonderful, huge  cecropia moth.

At the end of the "tour", we were given free packets of common milkweed which made up for any disgruntlement I may have felt about missing out on information.  

I just hope the chipmunks won't like milkweed!