Sunday, May 21, 2017

Garden Notes - May

Though there are tomatoes, peppers, and herbs hiding in there somewhere still, the "vegetable patch" has been overtaken by flowers. Can't help myself.

We've been enjoying very beautiful weather over the last couple of months.  With warm, sunny days and cool nights, the garden is rejoicing.  All but the first two photos are of the new bed with wattled borders that we built over the winter.  It was part gardening project, part history project, part construction project.  My boys helped me build the wattled border walls, line them with landscape fabric, and gather rich topsoil from the woods to fill it with.  It was a lot of work, but it was fun, and the result is a rich and well-draining soil the plants seem to love.  It was a good lesson for our homeschooling family as well.  We learned that with hard work, creativity, and borrowing from the knowledge of the past,  you can make something really beautiful with very little money.  I've been snapping photos like mad, wanting to paint everything I see! Especially this fabulous red poppy.  This is the very first poppy I've ever been able to grow, and I freely admit to swooning over it shamelessly.  I have dubbed her the May Queen as she is definitely the queen of our little garden at present.  I have a feeling she may be dethroned in June when that giant of a sunflower towering over the garden in the first photo comes into bloom! I can't wait. Yes I can. Slow down time! slow down! I want to savor every blossom, every petal, every leaf. every day.

Blessings, friends!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

May Days

Aaaah! Lovely May days have arrived.  Foxgloves, daisies, and honeysuckle are blooming along with hundreds of wildflowers.  The air is now warm and humid, but pleasantly filled with the mingling of damp, sweet earth and fragrant flowers.  Every morning and evening the doors and windows are flung open to fill the house with the sound of birdsong and the rich perfume that fills the air.  It's a glorious time of year.  We have been spring cleaning!!  How do we manage to collect so much stuff in our tiny little house?  A carload is being packed up to be delivered to the Salvation Army charity shop.  It feels good to have space to breathe.

The foxglove sketch was done in my Daniel Smith watercolors that I've had for a year now but have been too intimidated to open and use.  They're glorious! They make me feel like a better painter as they honestly do a lot of the work for me.  Such a great investment, and I am not afraid to use them anymore! The curved steel leaf is one I forged at a blacksmithing symposium at Tannehill Ironworks. My two boys (great big strapping boys now!) have taken up an interest in blacksmithing, and I couldn't resist getting in on the action.  It's a whole new world of creative possibilities!! Dear husband has set about building us a home forge, and we are super excited to get cracking.  The boys want to make weapons, of course.  I want to make decorative pretties - drawer handles, towel rods, curtain rods, garden tools, etc.  I have so many ideas!!

The tiny little potters wasp nest and the intricate trails left by the leaf miner are some of the small natural wonders which captivate me.  Nature amazes and thrills me on a daily basis.  Every walk in the woods feels like an exploration, an adventure!  Naughty Shep upset a turkey from her nest early one morning, and feeling very proud of himself, delivered me the gift of a still warm egg.  I couldn't bear to scold him.  I thanked him and put it in my pocket.

Wishing you the joy of many May flowers in your neck o' the woods :-)


Monday, April 17, 2017

Why I Blog

Every single day there are tiny little miracles unfolding all around us.  I didn't always know this.  I wasn't always attuned to it.  I was sleepwalking.  And then I went through a sort of crisis around the age of 40 or so, and thanks to a lot of prayer and the benevolence and grace of God, I woke up. Not all at once, but gradually, over time.  It was like a veil being slowly lifted from my eyes, and ever since then I have seen it and it has changed me.  I am not the same person I was before.  I see things in a different way, and I most definitely think about things in a different way, and I am so grateful.  I was not a happy person before.

Sometimes I ask myself why I blog.  What is the point? It is one drop in a thousand oceans, one voice in a vast multitude, and sometimes I feel a bit lost and overwhelmed in the crowd.  But today I think I realized why I blog.  It's because I am so very grateful for what I can now see, and I want others to see it too.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Recent Sketches

My dear mother bought me this little faux bois pot, which I love, and I put one of my orchids in it. I love how it looks so much, I decided to sketch it. I really learned a lot on this one, and it was so much fun rendering the bark like texture on the pot. I imagine this little pot will be the subject of a great many more sketches.

Every year in early spring, our house is invaded by ladybugs.  This one posed for a sketch.

my beloved little anole. You've seen these many times here on this blog and will probably see them many times more.  They are sort of like wild pets, if that makes any sense.  They live all around our house and are my constant companions when I'm outside on the porch.  They love my flower pots where they hunt for insect prey and meet girls.  What I love most about them is how they look at me, curiously, and without fear, studying me too until I get too close and they feel they must move away - just a safe distance.  They are obviously as curious about me as I am them. Once I uncovered an earthworm while digging in a nearby flower bed and I offered it to one.  He ate it immediately without any hesitation as if it were the most natural thing in the world to accept a meal from a giant. 

A note to Valerie: the ladybug and anole are in the beautiful journal you sent to me.  I finally got the courage to use it!!  thank you, again for your encouragement and support always. bless you!

Monday, April 3, 2017


A watercolor. 


Mushrooms in the treetops! about 25-30 ft up in an old dead tree.

best dogs ever.

red earth.

copper beech close-up


Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Window Garden

I love my window garden.  It's in my corner. My little creative corner where I sit and read or paint or stitch.  The light is beautiful here, rain or shine, and the plants love it.  They're so cheerful and so pretty in their variety of textures and colors.  I like looking at them close up like this.  You can really see the subtle shades of pinks and blues and grays and greens.  For me, wherever there are plants, there is a sense of calm and quiet.
I transferred the design from my sketchbook onto a bit of cloth and added a few stitches.  It's tiny - only about 4 in. square, and I'm thinking of making myself a fabric coaster with it.  I can also see it on a throw pillow or the cover of a nature journal.  Lots of ideas fluttering about.