Thursday, July 31, 2008
They were so pretty and looked so edible -- BUT, I remembered taking a walk with a mycologist years ago. This was a botany professor who really KNEW his mushrooms. During our walk, he pointed out various fungi -- everything from aminita (highly toxic) to puff balls -- but when he said that he, knowing all he did about the wee things -- would never eat any from the wild-- well, I was convinced to leave these pretties in the field and eat only those I purchase from the market! LOL
Still, I brought these pretties home to sketch -- they're a little funky in their placement since I propped them against a wall to get a different view of each of them ... but I still love their velvety feel and rich earthy hues.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Hot hot hot here!! Going to close to 100F today -- the air conditioners are buzzing hard and long ...!
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
It's going to be another scorcher today. Students have finished their summer semester and many of the instructors (not me, sigh) are off for two weeks. It's quiet on campus ... a rare moment experienced only between sessions and much enjoyed ...!
Monday, July 28, 2008
I just couldn't leave our visit without sketching my beloved flower pots!
Off to work again and returning Arby to the rest of 'her' owners. It was a fun, busy weekend --- and we could all use a bit of a rest! LOL
Sunday, July 27, 2008
This is one of two arbors located at the edge of Jefferson's vegetable garden. Not only are grapes growing on it, but also some types of beans - like lab-lab (Hyacinth beans) and others.
His grape vines, Jefferson was known to be ' fond of the 'grape,' are grown beyond this arbor, but these structures were so pretty to me against the foliage and Smokey Mountains, that I felt compelled to paint at least one of them!
According to folks at the Monticello Vineyard, Jefferson was never a huge producer of grapes or wine. But today, Monticello wines are being produced ... some of them rather nice ... all of them rather expensive!
Nick, Emily and Arby are getting along pretty well -- I'm not sure who among them encourages all the chasing!
Saturday, July 26, 2008
These gardens, masculine in design, formal, geometric and bordering two sides of of the Great Lawn, are enclosed by an undulating brick wall. Individual gardens can be entered through attractively designed gates or from the residence/building to which it is attached.
There were flowers in many of these gardens, many more filled with huge old trees and lots of shade. In total, I think there were less than 2 dozen gardens, some larger than the others. What struck us most was the incredibly INGENIOUS use of the space within the enclosed walls. Whether the land had a deep slope, was flat, or rose in small inclines, the garden design made excellent use of all of the specific features of the land. Pathways curved and wove around the property so that there was a feeling of 'expansiveness' even if the space was actually very small.
In this map (http://www.virginia.edu/webmap/ACentralGrounds.html) look toward the Rotunda ... if you enlarge the map you can see many of the pathways around each garden.
As we continue studying ways to best use the space for the Arboretum gardens, Jefferson will certainly play a role in helping us make the best use of our own space.
Emily and Nick come today so computer time will be limited. Arby is certainly keeping us entertained -- while we try to 'train' her to NOT climb the curtains -- SIGH!
Friday, July 25, 2008
Robyn a dear friend and incredible artist residing in my beloved Italy, and Donna who paints the most cheerful and FUN paintings that never fail to make me smile, have graciously honored me with these awards.
The rules for accepting this award are:
1. Choose 5 blogs you consider deserving of this award for creativity, design, interesting material and a contribution to the blogging world.
2. List the name of each person awarded and a link to their blog.
3. Show the award and the name and blog link of the person who presented you with the award.
4. Show the link to the Arte Y Pico blog.
5. Show the rules.
I am ever the Libra, I'm afraid, and simply cannot 'choose' a mere five blogs ...I visit many daily and even more FLICKR sites that absolutely make my day. I comment as frequently as I can to help encourage others to keep painting and writing and creating ....and I hope by doing so, that my 'nomination' will be imbedded in my words.
So I'd like to thank Robyn and Donna for the generous and kind awards, and pass them on to the writers and painters and artists linked to this blog.
Blessings, ladies ... and heart-felt thanks. I'm heading to your sites now to read YOUR words and marvel at your talent .... thank you for encouraging me through the work you do and the comments you grace me with ... may my words cheer you as well!
There were about a dozen of the pots in all ... some 'at work' and some put to the side as though their 'job' was finished.
We asked the gardener about them.
"They're blanching pots," he told us. "Jefferson would place them over the kale as it was growing to 'whiten' the green leaves as they grew." Apparently, white leaved kale is a delicacy and believed to be sweeter than the normal green leaves.
I had heard of blanching asparagas and other vegetables -- but not kale -- and NOT with such beautiful pots!
She 'hangs around' the Arboretum, and Arby 'visits' each of us during the week or over the weekends. Since we'll have Emily and Nick with weekend, Arby is with me.
I introduced Boots to Arby last night -- and though Boots isn't thrilled, they aren't fighting .... LOL
Opps ... just heard something crash ... it's going to be an 'interesting' weekend!
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Although the day was in the 90sF, we so enjoyed this huge (over 1000 feet LONG) vegetable garden set against the mountains in the distance (as well as the orchards, vineyards, house ....!!!).
Gardeners were working in the rows and we had a chance to ask questions about the types of vegetables raised, the harvesting, pesticides, herbicides, irrigation (overhead for the most part), heirloom plants and the like. We walked the rows noting that so many of the plants tha twe grow in the Arboretum's vegetable garden were the same. We noted all the herbs mixed within the rows as well as the huge and numerous rosemary plants. I especially liked the tee-pee style of twining some of the beans growing there. And f course, the wee house adds a nice touch! LOL
One thing to note for the garden. In Jefferson's time, the plots within the garden were planted according to the part of the vegetable eaten - leaf (ie lettuce), root (ie carrot), or seed (ie tomato) --- we suspect that planting this way would ease how deeply the soil had to be tilled ....carrots, for instance, needing soil better tilled so they would grow straight deeper into the ground. You wouldn't have to till as deeply for lettuce, for instance.
Below this ridge holding the garden, are the grapes, fruit trees and ornamental trees Jefferson also grew. I'll get to those as I can this weekend ... we have the grands Saturday night.
Back to work and my piles of paperwork!
The day we arrived, we walked throughout the gardens at the University of Virginia ... another designed garden by Jefferson -- small, walled gardens with incredible use of space, each tiny area beautifully appointed with evergreens and flowers, a good amount of shade from old, huge trees, and tiny niches for 'secret spaces.' My feet were so sore and my head so filled with ideas, that all I could manage that night was a view of my worn shoe! LOL
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
This was sketched from a photo from last year's garden. The birdbath doesn't hold water, so I've converted it to a bird feeder. THIS year, the flower bed is taken over by black eyed Susans and purple cone flowers...
Monticello was fabulous .... and we head home today -- tired from taking in as much as we could, lots of walking in very hot temperatures, and lots of chatting! LOL We learned so much and have ideas for the Arboretum to incorporate with some of the other ideas gleamed from our trips ...we're going to be even busier!!
I'll post some photos of Monticello tomorrow as I can ...
Looks like we're in for some storms en route to home, slowing the long trip...
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Since I don't have a scanner with me, I will be posting some of my older sketches I haven't shared yet -- this is one of them.
It was a long drive to VA ... but safe, thankfullly.
We arrived at our motel, checked in and headed to the University of VA to look at their incredible walled gardens. Wonderful study .... then a trip to downtown for dinner .... A long, very hot day ...but good, and already worth the trip.
Today we head to Jefferson's Monticello for a study of their gardens. It's supposed to be even hotter!!!
I will be scarce on the net ... but will try to catch up with blogs as I can.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Another super-busy day yesterday and time only for a very fast sketch -- so I realize the honey jar is a bit wonky ... but in case folks might be interested in the recipe for the cantaloupe preserves, I decided to post this before leaving for VA ...
Have a great week!
So after our morning at the fest and purchases at the Oxford Farmer’s Market, we decided to stop for the honey. We turned into the driveway by the sign looking for a stand, another sign, or someone to ask about the honey. We weren’t sure if we were supposed to ring the house bell or wend our way to the hives …. But stopped when the driveway ended. We were just turning the car around when we noticed someone following behind us in a golf cart. We got out of the car and inquired about the honey.
“It’s in the garage,” he said, “Follow me.”
In the garage, Tom (bee keeper, home owner, gardener, new-friend) showed us the gallons of golden honey he had strained that morning. He was justifiably,proud of the dozens of bee hives he keeps and the honey he renders. We chatted with him about his garden, Oxford, honey and bee keeping, delighting in his friendliness and similar garden interests. After a while, his wife came out of the house and asked if we ever tasted ‘Spiced Cucumber Rings.” I told her that though I love cucumbers, they didn’t agree with me, but she thought I might be able to digest the cucumbers since they were cooked and not raw. And I am SO SO GLAD I did – they were INCREDIBLE!!! They reminded me of those red, spiced apples – cinnamon-tasting, and sweet and spicy – and I offered to buy a jar. We continued chatting, all the while just enjoying the sheer ‘neighborliness’ of spontaneous get to gether.
We talked about the Cantaloupe Festival, and Tom was telling us how much he loved the Ridgeway Cantaloupes. Well, one doesn’t have to even ask before we were sharing our dozen! Tom’s wife asked what I was going to do with all the melons, and I told her that I was going to make preserves.
“I’ve never heard of those in all the time I’ve been making preserves,” she said. So I told her about my love of wild foods and coming across a recipe years ago. After more discussion, she asked if I’d share the recipes --- and we exchanged phone numbers so I could give her proportions.
Then she shared that she had just put up dozens of jars of plum jam. And I was swooning!!! “Where did you get the plums?” I asked, “C is just CRAZY about plum jam,” I told her about my plum adventures when we lived in Durham and a neighbor shared his Damsons.
“My son has a tree,” she told me.
“If he ever comes across a seedling,” I begged, “Please tell him I’d love to buy one from him. Charles just loves those sweet/tart little plums!”
Well apparently, I didn’t have to ask either, and she generously offered a bag of plums that she didn’t have time to render into jam.
We chatted more and I offered to help Tom pick butter beans when they came in, explaining that with working out of town, how much I missed my own garden, since I wasn’t home enough to care for it, how C and I would sit on the porch after a hot day, a citronella candle light, us chatting, all the while shelling butter beans --- and Tom promised to share his figs and call me when the beans were ready. He showed me his multitude of hives and insisted I take home a bouquet of Zinnias from his garden – flowers, he planted, because his wife loved bouquets of flowers.
Touching .. all of it.
When we got home, I sent C back to Tom’s with a couple of jars of jam I had made, the recipe – the last jar of cantaloupe preserves I had on my shelf, and a notecard of Oxford haybales – knowing they’d appreciate a scene from our town.
But this hour – was the hightlight of our day.
We left Tom and Irene feeling jubilant with that wonderful ‘down home’ feeling that made us fall in love with Oxford and the way of life we aspire to live despite working far from home. It was the exchange of friendship, generous stories, food and friendship that we once shared with the farmers across the road from us before they passed on, that made our decision to remain in Oxford despite high gas costs, long, long work hours, a week away from those we love – worth every minute we can spend HERE – here in the home and town and people we love. Our hour with Tom and his wife reinforced the reason we do what we do – justified and renewed our commitment to continue doing the long commutes and long hours a bit longer … so that we can return again, weekend by weekend, to this place … this home, these friends.
And all because of that sweet, golden honey. I always knew it had magical powers.
We'r offf to VA to continue our studies of southern gardens .. be back in a few days ...
Sunday, July 20, 2008
I have to admit that when it comes to ‘super-activity’ – it’s feast for famine around here. Though so many of our days are ‘busy’ -- super-busy days like yesterday are fewer – and much longer between …
We got up early to hit a few chores prior to the cantaloupe festival. By 8 am I had finished spraying for weeds around the house, straightened up, and readied the house for a friend who’s coming tonight.
We left for the festival soon thereafter – not sure what to expect. As we drove the 30 miles, we watched the most incredible display of clouds – billowy things that shaped and shifted before our eyes … from pure white to deep grey … portending rain sometime later in the day.
We arrived at the festival, parked and walked a bit to the fairgrounds -- already bustling with vendors and people. We noted the large area set aside for purchasing the celebrated cantaloupes. Ridgeway is filled with history … always a farming region, it has had its boom and bust days, and today is noted for the sweetest cantaloupes in the state. And indeed they are incredible!
The festival itself is small, but interesting and so reflective of the close-knit town. The booths were busy as well with free samples of the fruit, pamphlets for historic walks and driving tours of the area, antique shops, bed and breakfasts and the like, and free maps of the county. Town folks sold tee-shirts and gave away sunscreen (the sun was truly BRUTAL yesterday, and it was over 90F by 9 am!), bags and small backpacks. There were vendors with photographs and paintings, funny and bright yard art objects, cookbooks, bake sale and yard sale types of items, and such as these. But small as this gathering was, what struck us was the absolute JOY and FRIENDLINESS of the folks manning each booth we visited. People at the festival are proud of their farming heritage, their town and their way of life, and they enjoyed sharing it with whoever stopped long enough to chat. It didn’t take long to visit everyone there – and though we might have been hoping for more to see and do – we left feeling really, really good -- as though we had touched a piece of that Americana that had brought us to live in this part of North Carolina in the first place.
We picked up our dozen cantaloupes and headed back to Oxford. We got sidetracked at the Oxford Farmers Market – itself no more than eight or ten vendors – but we chatted with folks we knew and brought home more tomatoes that we’ll dry for winter use.
En route to home, however, we stopped at a house only a mile from ours when we noted a handmade sign ‘Honey for Sale.’ And that stop was a highlight of our day. More tomorrow …
Saturday, July 19, 2008
I cut a few pieces to sketch ... what an incredible tree!
The day with Laura and Sue was much fun! We spent some time at the Ackland Museum for exhibits featuring water and the garden. I was somewhat disappointed in the garden exhibit -- I suppose my expectations were different than what was presented -- but the water exhibit was VERY interesting - especially as we discussed the various pieces.
We endulged ourselves with a huge gelato for lunch (which should have also been my dinner - but oh my was it fabulous!!!
While our intention was to sketch a bit, somehow we didn't get around to it at the time ... nonetheless, the company was terrific and the outing most enjoyable!
Today we're off to the Cantaloupe Festival, then dinner with some friends. I hope to get in a few sketches ...
Friday, July 18, 2008
My husband says it reminds him of the "Road Less Traveled" ...sometimes I think it's the kind of road I've been on so often and that's why it appealed to me ... a bit of curve, a hint of flowers, the trees beckoning me on ...?
It's been a busy week and next will be even more so --
I"m off today to head to the Art Museum to catch a new exhibit with some friends, then if the rain holds, a festival tomorrow, and dinner with friends.
I'll be sketching as I can ...and I am so looking forward to some relaxation time with folks I love ...
Have a great day!
Thursday, July 17, 2008
It's going past 90F today, so I foresee a slice or two in my future ....! My NEAR future!!! LOL
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
My mouth is watering ............
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
I painted this a whie back and thought I'd post it today. Rebecca's gardens are still filled with flowers, but the vegetables are coming in fast and furious -- and so table bouquets are not as plentiful .... so I used a reference photo for this practice.
BTW, the stem for the left hand rose was forgotten --- I added it after I scanned this!! ooops ....
Monday, July 14, 2008
We stopped by the side of the road to snap photographs ... absolutely surprised and delighted to come across such wonderful, well-preserved old buildings.
The farm was occupied and obviously operational so we didn't stop for long ... but will probably, as time permits, return to chat with the owner. We did notice that it was a 'Stewardship Farm' - a designation meaning that the farm was being exceptionally well run and cared for -- and as evidenced by this one structure alone -- we could agree.
The thing that was most touching to my husband about this particular farmhouse, was that, old as it was, unoccupied as it was, the wreath by the store, was still intact.
Touching indeed ...
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Our Plein Air Event - Sunflowers Antiques and Barn
Originally uploaded by linfrye
Our 'return' event found us outside Chapel Hill near Jordan Lake at one of the most unusual gardens and antique barns I've seen! Paintings, knick-knacks, flowers, garden object d'art, vintage items, wooden objects, and so many 'pretties' to oooh and ahh over. FUN!
Though the day was hot, there was ample shade for everyone! Many of us spent a good amount of time catching up with one another.
I settled under a huge tree to try to capture a 'part' of the wonderfully festive garden that necklaced the 'barn' -- itself painted a riot of color and scenes with contents I could have spent the day examining -- I merged a few of the objects in front of the barn into one 'view' ... but I took a lot of photos to return to this magical place again and again!
It was SO good to be back with these artists again!
Saturday, July 12, 2008
I painted these quicklly after a day with the grands -- lots of fun!! We picked blueberries and blackberries from our bushes, walked in the heat, even managed a nap! What was so fun to see was Emily -- all of 4 -- being able to quietly get close enough to moths and butterflies (those sipping from my flowers) and 'catch' them gently between her wee fingers! We went exploring for 'insects' and with her sharp eyes, she even spotted an inch worm on the ground in the middle of the woods! Nick doesn't want anything to do with 'bugs' ... but when their father was a young teen, he had a large insect collection -- all identified and labled -- and used it to help me teach nature workshops! Ah, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree ...!!! LOL
Off to a plein air event today --it's supposted to be over 90F ... so we'll see how much I can get done before I turn into a puddle!
Friday, July 11, 2008
We found this roadside area brimming with Queen Anne's Lace and wild grasses, and I loved their softness against the wooden posts and barbed wires. One would think in these challenging times of high gas prices, the roadside mowing would be lessened -- but it was really difficult to find many areas left to the wildlife!
It'll be a busy day and weekend -- I have the grands today, a paint-out tomorrow and C's music group on Sunday .... I hope everyone has a great day!
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Grapes and wine production are becoming popular alternatives to tobacco production here in NC ... but I can't help but dream of Italy whenever I think 'grape!'
We've had rain all week -- a bit more and we'll be out of 'drought' status! YAHOO! The rains are plumping up our tomatoes, vegetables of all kinds, and yes -- those North Carolina grapes!
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
This landscape, based on a photo from Wet Canvas, was far more complex in the photograph, with many more shrubs and grasses. It took far more planning to decide what I could ELiMINATE than it has ever taken me to decide what to include ....!
Still, I am always left with the question -- is it enough -- would a bit 'more' be better?
Is one ever fully satsified with one's decisions in this regard?
(More ran predicted today -- and meetings off campus -- have a great day!)
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
A busy, paper-filled day upon my return to work. By the time I finished with registering students at 7 pm and made my way to the B&B, my eyes were bleary ....
I worked as quickly as I could on this sketch for my daily practice, and though I know there are dozens of ways I'd improve it, by 9 pm my eyes had given up -- and so this remains a loose interpretation! LOL It has a bit more bright yellow in real life, though ...
I'm afraid there's more paper/computer work in store for me, and since we're supposed to have rain all week, it'll be indoors kinds of things. I'll try to rest my eyes a bit today -- afterall, I have SKETCHING to do!!!
Monday, July 07, 2008
Had a bit of sunshine yesterday and took a walk ... the scent of wet grasses, refreshed trees, flowers and soil seemed to swirl with sweetness with each foot fall ...truly a blessing.
It's back to work today with meetings, grants, registration and plan making ... it's been a restive few days -- for which I am ever grateful.
Have a great week!
Sunday, July 06, 2008
C and I managed to get to the Durham Farmer's Market yesterday before the rains set in ... and brought home our first tomatoes!!! corn on the cob, okra, fresh beef, free-range eggs, goat cheese -- a feast indeed! And funniest of all -- we met our farming neighbors from OXFORD !!! So we're hoping to take the grands at some time to visit a few more farms in the area to see chickens, goats and the like.
Meantime, thunderstorms keep me indoors and strolling through saved images (this one from Wet Canvas) for painting practice. I have quite a few images from Italy, and they ALWAYS make me nostalgic to return to a place that so felt so much like home. This scene is one in particular ... how often we'd see these pots of pretty flowers outside ochre-painted homes. Just LOVE these views!
Saturday, July 05, 2008
I grabbed my outdoor gear and sat under my Wax Myrtle tree to sketch one of the purple Butterfly Bushes before the sun made its way over the trees.
These shrubs are always filled with buzzing bees and sipping butterflies. I have several of them around the property, and it seems they attract more butterflies than any of my other flowering plants. Even in the hottest time of the day, butterflies seem to find some kind of respite in these flowers.
Friday, July 04, 2008
It's Independence Day for the US .. the day we celebrate our independence ... yet yesterday I was reading the newsletter from one of our local Farmer's Markets and the focus wasn't on 'independence' as much as it was on 'INTER-Dependence' -- which I think rings more true to me.
While I believe in self-sufficiency, especially in these days of high prices and so many of our trusted establishments being exposed for fradulent behavior, I don't know of anyone, or any group, or any establishment, that doesn't depend on 'others' in some way or another.
We depend on family members and friends for encouragement, support and love, our employers for an income, farmers for our food, construction workers for our homes, doctors for our healthcare, etc., etc. As the world grows ever smaller, we become even more 'dependent' on others for economic and political stablity.
Here in the art community, we depend on our friends for friendship and encouragement -- and I can't but help but think that is a GOOD thing ... it keeps us working together, especially toward common goals.
So today, Independence Day, I'd like to take a moment to thank YOU for the INTER-Dependence of your friendship, encouragement, support and kindness ..... and CELEBRATE our working together! Not to take anything away from our country's celebration, but more to bring the concept a bit closer to home.
HAPPY JULY 4TH!!
Thursday, July 03, 2008
(The original has a bit more yellow to it than I was able to adjust in this scan).
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
The grant-writing season has begun -- I'll be bogged down in paper for a while as I begin the arduous process of preparation, planning, drafting, writing ...but the temperatures have cooled a bit -- high 80sF, low 90sF .. wonderful to be able to walk without breaking into too much of a sweat!
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
'Tis the season for this flower -- the JCC Arboretum is filled with them, my garden is sporting a number of varieties, and even the native daylilies along the roadsides are in bloom. Further, the North Carolina Department of Transportation has a very successful 'wildflower' program whereby acres of wildflowers are planted along many of our highways. Included in these plantings are bright yellow and orange daylilies, thus expanding the range and viewing of these cheery blooms.
The flowers are also edible -- simply remove the calyx (green part that holds the petals together) and the reproductive structures -- and the petals can be consumed raw or gently sauteed -- either open or in bud. During one of the classes I taught years ago, we tasted daylilies of different colors -- and yes, there were differences in the tastes!
Have a cheerful day!