Sunday, October 31, 2010
Happy Halloween! This spash and splatter was done in fall colors in a loose, fun, "abandon it all kind" of way --- it started out merely as a splash with colors I haven't used much - then merged into colors of fall, and finally, a wild version of pumpkins ...
We accompanied the grands last night - along with my son and his fiance, their pup, Bently, their friends, and my son's future in-laws - on a house-by-house Trick or Treating! I have to admit that since moving to our woodland home, we RARELY see trick or treaters, and our neighborhood, with acres between houses, dark driveways, and roaming wildlife, doesn't encourage wee ones to venture.
About eight miles from us though, in a young, more suburban neighborhood, the community of homeowners went all out with decorations, hay rides for the children, costumes, treats, and FUN! I took some photos in the dark and posted those that could be recognized -- including Nick and Emily and Bently in costume just before the sun set. It was cool - in the 40s ... and yet all the walking, crowds, the kids dashing from decorated house to decorated house -- kept us warm enough! It was great fun!!
C hosts his jam today, and I plan to paint. The weather has finally cooled enough to believe we're in the middle of fall - and while I prefer warm temps to cold -- five months of temps in the 80s and 90s can be mighty fatiguing! LOL
Hope your Halloween is Spookily Successful!
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Returning home this weekend was a 'north with the fall' kind of travel ...our cool/cold nights (in the 30s last night) and warm days,and bit of rain have havecombined to finally encourage the landscape colors to glow and brighten. Finally, more reds, oranges and pure gold!
I've been swamped with obligations this weekend and with an unexpected 'do it late today' kind of meeting, it meant cancelling my painting time with Jodi. I've had little free time to sit and paint. Still, as I tried to work thru some items on my computer while waiting for my husband to join me in our late afternoon appointment, I happened to glance out of the window to see my hickory trees ablaze in gold! I simplified all the foliage and elminated the competing pines and dogwood reds to highlight, focus (and rush thru! LOL) this painting. I also wanted to remember that color - I used almost every yellow and gold on my palette ... my trees in honey and gold.
Today promises another busy time ...and we'll be trick or treating with the grands tonight ... Some towns are celebrating Halloween tonight -- others tomorrow --- for me -- I'll think Halloween tomorrow -- maybe the trees will be orange by then! LOL
I hope your day is terrific ....!
Friday, October 29, 2010
Splattering and splashing often produces results that are a surprise -- especially to the one splashing the paint! LOL
I was at a workshop this summer and in the break between sessions, began a quick splash and splatter - thinking I'd work on the piece when I got home and after it dried. I wet the paper by dropping water from my brush onto dry paper, leaving some areas unwetted, then dropped watercolor into the wet and dry areas in colors I liked. As the colors merged and the work dried, this face appeared ...
The next 'step' in the process would be to enhance some of the positive areas with more paint, or enhance different areas by negatively painting around the shapes.
I was studying the splatters to see what 'appeared' ... and almost turned this into a floral -- but the group of folks who gathered around me encouraged me to keep this face ... explaining that it was my muse and I wasn't to touch it! LOL
Anyway, I've left it as it appeared -- the first stage in a splash and splatter ---- So -- my first 'portrait' of the year! LOL
If this appeared in YOUR painting -- what would you do with it?
Temps are turning cold today and Jodi is coming to paint this afternoon. I've a ton of chores to do before she comes as well as chores to do this weekend in preparation for Lorrraine's visit next week ...
But oh my gracious -- the colors of the foliage are brilliant! We may just have to take an hour to capture the colors before the frost!
Have a great day!
Thursday, October 28, 2010
We've had several days of tornado warnings, severe winds, driving rains -- it's been skattered around the area with damages in different places. Here at work, we've been fortunate to avoid the worst of the storms ....
I wanted to capture these magnificent maples leaves BEFORE the rest of the winds strip them from the trees.
It's been mighty HOT - we set a record yesterday of 87F -- 19 degrees WARMER than our norm ... this morning I drove in to work with temps already in the 70sF! And yet this weekend we're expecting frost. Tornado weather to be sure.
Hope the rains hold off long enough for Plant a Row volunteers to finish outdoors ....
Meanwhile -- stay safe and have a great day!
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Some days it's just plain hard to find something you want to paint, or you're tired, uninspired or whatever. This week finds me that way -- we're had rainy days (thank heavens!) and HOT, deskwork-busy days that seem to be more draining than tiring. And so - a bit of meditative painting - something to keep the brushes wet and to 'tease' the muse.
I used the colors my friend Lorraine enjoys as I think about and plan for her visit the week after next. Though we visited this summer, it's been five years since she's been to my home and I'm so eager for her arrival! We'll attend weeklong classes at Art in the Carolinas and another workshop with Karlyn Holman -- and I'll need a vacation to recover ....But in the meantime -- it's dream time for me ....!!!
Meetings are on the agenda today and finding the plant materials for installation in the new garden ...
Already the temps are in the 70s with a high close to 90F ... whew!
Hope your day is grand!
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Berries! Berries! Berries! In my garden (and seen at JC Raulston Arboretum), the American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) is in its berriest glory!
This perennial, deciduous shrub grows 6'-8', has an 'open look' to it with branches that reach outward and can 'almost droop' when laden with fall fruit. Flowers are small and lilac in color and don't make much of a show, but the berrylike drupes that follow are the show-stoppers! Colors range from white to pinkish to metallic magenta and purple and against the yellowing fall leaves are what seems to sell this plant! While American Beautyberry is native to the southeast US, plantsmen have developed additional varieties that have a large landscape appeal.
Beautyberry prefers open shade (some sunlight, a bit of filtering sun), and is drought-tolerant. Birds of all types seem to enjoy the berries including robin, mockingbird, catbird and brown thrasher. Raccoon and deer have also been known to enjoy the fruit.
There is conflcting information about the edibility of the berries and they are not listed as 'toxic' or 'poisonous' on the lists I've checked. Some folks I know enjoy making a jelly from the berries - but I've never found the fruit tasty enough to be worth the work! LOL
I have several of these plants on my property -- one produces that incredible brillint violet ... and the other produces white berries. (I am finding some volunteer beautyberry plants - and they seem to be predominantly white-berried.) The white berries from the plantings at the Raulston Arboretum were turning a pinkish purple and I liked that a lot. They certainly caught my eye! LOL
We finally had a bit of rain yesterday and this morning -- and we could use a bit more. Temps are still in the 80s - today's heat about to break a record. But cooler weather is on the way, so we'd better enjoy the warmth while we can!
Have a great day!
Monday, October 25, 2010
While traveling in the mountains last weekend, we were surprised to find that so little of the landscape had turned our typical red/scarlet. Most trees remained yellow and gold - and only here and there a bit of red was evident - a few oaks, one or two sweetgums, and this lone dogwood.
We spent the night in a delightful tobacco barn turned cabin at Pilot Knob Inn. On our way to the main house for breakfast, the sun was just coming up over the treeline and virtually LIT this single dogwood at the entrance of the owner's home. I snapped a photo and decided I would paint that single brilliant red tree once I got home. I had to paint this several times before I could get the correct reds and background ... sometimes that Masa can be tricky!! LOL
Off to work for another week. We're trying to get another large garden completed before the ground gets cold ... so it'll be design work, ordering plants and working on pathways and beds.
I hope your week is terrific!
Sunday, October 24, 2010
The weather has been most incredible! Sunshine and warm afternoon temperatures draw us from the house (and art table!!) to spend time getting done those things that are more difficult to do when the weather gets cold.
Yesterday was filled with chores - including cleaning out and defrosting two outdoor freezers. DEFINITELY better to do in warm weather! LOL We ran errands, saw the grands and by the time I finished preserving more apples, there was little time to paint.
This was painted in a splash and splatter beginning, but finished more positively than negatively. I'm not crazy about it but liked the change in color against the dark berries.
During our visit to Raulston Arboretum last week, I took lots of photos of all the plants bearing berries - I'm fascinated this time of year not only with leaf color changes, but also with the many varieties of berry-type seeds that carry on the plant's next generation. From grapes to apples (botanically NOT a berry!! LOL) to these dark purple/black Viburnum berries, they are as varied in color, shape, and size as are the leaves ... another beautiful aspect of fall.
Today I take in a lecture on wild foods (my favorite topic! LOL) and dry more apples. Why do the weekends go by so fast????
Hope your Sunday is terrific!
Saturday, October 23, 2010
With the bit of rain we've had and the almost-frosty nights and bright sunshiney days, we are finally beginning to see a bit of red in the landscape.
This oak leaf and acorns were painted during our mountain trip last weekend. We were in higher elevations (2,500 feet) so there was a bit more red there than at the same time here at home (elevation approx. 325F).
What I love about sketching and painting leaves is the wonderful challenge of folds, color merges, shadows, form. And while all of these aspects are challenges in larger works, somehow they seem more acute on such a small, single object. Fun!
We had a good painting day yesterday - and I even managed to can some apple sauce and dry another nine trays of apples -- YUM! Getting ready for the winter to be sure.
We've chores to do today - but I hope to have a bit of time for more painting. Thank you all too for your most kind comments yesterday! You certainly brought tears to my eyes! Blessings!
The sun is still snuggly asleep as I write this morning, and the heater is going full blast. My radio station says we're in the low 40sF .... but we're expecting highs in the 70sF today --- heat in the morning, air conditioning in the afternoon -- whew!
I hope you have a delightful weekend!!! And as always, thank you for your visits and comments!
Friday, October 22, 2010
I painted this several weeks ago ... it's a scene I love - haybales in a field nearby - but to be different, I changed the colors, worked on Masa paper, and with the color changes, created a feel of twilight - when the light turns things rosy ...
Today, the bales in this field are neatly stacked in the farmer's barn and the fields, with temps still high during the day, continue to grow. They're turning more gold than green as the season moves closer and closer to our first frost.
Our group of volunteers enjoyed the short time we had at the State Fair yesterday. With the fair's emphasis on agriculture, we took in the small gardens - about two dozen 12' x 12' (approximately) plots that were designed and landscaped by different groups -- what creative, incredible works of art and horticulture! We saw 'candy land' gardens - a wonderful idea for children based on the popular board game, animal gardens with inclusions based on animal names (cattails, bear britches and the like), a recycled garden with all sorts of creative ways to use recycled materials in your garden, vegetable gardens including one from a neighboring county's Plant a Row for the Hungry volunteers, high school and college horticulture groups -- absolutely amazing!!! Of course the 360 pound pumpkin was a thing to behold too - reminded me of Cinderella's coach! LOL
Wish we could have stayed longer -- the day, warm in the mid 70s -- brought out thousands of people and such a busy place made it difficult to stop and chat with the vendors or to see everything we wanted -- but what sights to behold!
Today my friend comes to paint, and I begin processing apples and more persimmons ... We are expecting a 'scattering' of frost this weekend in my area -- so Jodi and I will probably spend a bit of time outdoors with the still-blooming flowers -- while we can!
Hope your weekend is wonderful!
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Though our nighttime temperatures are below 50F and often in the low 40s, our daytime temps are still quite warm -- mid 70s to, over the next few days, in the 80s! So our foliage is still predominently yellow and gold.
This old barn sits about 10 miles from my home among several other barns, grasses and implements that cover most of ground. I tried to simplify this scene for a quick painting after a long day.
Despite the overcast skies, the trip to the JC Raulston Arboretum was wonderful -- colors of flowers, trees and berries were richly saturated in the low-light, and the threat of rain kept most folks somewhere else. We found a TON of still blooming flowers including, would you believe, the most incredible sulphur orange cosmos that dazzled us against the deep dark of the evergreens it was planted against. Camellias, roses, cascades of pink lespedezia, yellowing leaves of sycamore, tulip poplar, redbud, berries of American beauty berry, Japanese Pagoda trees, rose hips and more -- just beautiful in the grey light.
After lunch we headed to the NC Museum of Art and began our walk around their woodland park to view the sculptures and native plants ... we walked about 1/'4 of the way down the trail when the heavens finally opened and we dashed indoors. We returned to campus around 4:00 to catch up on mail and phone calls and head to evening classes.
Today we take the Plant a Row for the Hungry volunteers to the State fair to view the gardens and observe the vegetables displayed in all their finest. We'll return to campus all inspired to grow more produce next year!
Hope your day is terrific!
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Sitting in a car traveling 65 mph along long stretches of Interstate tends to make me sleepy, and so when C is driving, I will often carry a photo or object to sketch and paint along the way.
This sunflower was painted in the car this weekend while traveling to the mountains ... It took a while to complete since we stopped here and there ... but it kept me occupied! LOL
All of our sunflowers are gone...the few we had on the property are all brown and dried and every now and then we catch a small bird picking a seed or two from a drooping head.
We're taking a group to a nearby Arboretum and the Art Museum so I'll catch up tonight ... hopefully!
Have a great day!
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Fall in the North Carolina mountains also means apples - and so we decided to travel along some of the smaller roads to see if we could find a local orchard or two to pick up some apples. We started by exploring some small roads in rural North Carolina, but wound up heading north and into Virginia. We must have stopped at over eight different farm stands and orchards!
Most farm stands had the 'standard, can-be-found-at-the-grocery-store' apple - Red Delicious, Gala, Fuji and the like ... but we were after smaller, less well known (at least to us) varieties.
Both C and I prefer apples that are tart and firm fleshed, and after tasting apple after apple across the miles we traveled, we wound up bringing home these four - Winesap, York, Stayman and Arkansas Black. Our grocers carry Stayman and Winesap (though not in large quantities) but Arkansas Black and York were new to us.
The York is a bit sweeter than I like, so I'll render those into applesauce this weekend. C prefers the Arkansas Black for eating out of hand, and I'll dehydrate the winesap and stayman because in the dried state, these apples have a wonderful, tart 'snappy' taste. Of course, we'll mix them for some apple butter - and I may make a pie or two ....
They're developing a large apple orchard at Horne Creek Farm with as many of the 'old' North Carolina apple varieties as they can find -- it'll be an incredible living historical record for our state and a continuation of some of our best apples!
Off to work -- have a grand day!
Monday, October 18, 2010
It's my favorite time of the year - harvesting, brilliant colors on the trees, and fruits and nuts are abundant! One of my favorite fruits - the persimmon - is now in season - and I'm afraid I'm eating too many of them!! LOL
The persimmons I painted are fuyu persimmons - an Asian variety that is larger than the wild American native we have in NC (Diospyros virginiana). There are basically two different 'classes' of persimmons - those that are astringent and need full ripening to become sweet (like the wild varities of persimmon folks ALWAYS remember tasting when unripe and having their tongues feel like they were coated with dust! These unripened fruits were also the culprits that caused their mouths to pucker!
There are also the Asian varieties such as Fuyu, Kaki, Sharon and others that are sweet when they turn orange and can be eaten while firm much like an apple.
I LOVE to dry persimmons and have them available throughout the year. I also render the fruit into preserves, breads, muffins,and pudding. Some folks make persimmon beer and a friend of ours is trying his hand at persimmon wine. My favorite way of eating them, though, is out of hand - cold and sweet.
We've planted several fuyus that are too young to bear fruit, but the wild natives on my property are bearing and fully ripe - so a walk around the neighborhood typically finds me munching on as many as those luscious orbs I can reach -- and those that the raccoons and possum haven't gotten to yet!
Tis the season for persimmons -- horray! Hope your week is terrific!
Sunday, October 17, 2010
We've been visiting some festivals and traveling the foothills of North Carolina enjoying the incredibly glorious weather! Temps in the 70s (cool for me!) sunshine, blue skies, and the changing colors of the hills and valleys. Though I learned to 'toss' paint (splatter) from Karlyn Holman several years ago, I wanted to apply that technique to masa. Since the initial washes are painted on Masa while the paper is soaking wet, doing so caused the colors to merge differently than on dry paper ... I enjoyed the difference in method and really love how masa adds a challenge as well as different look to similiar methods of painting.
The trees along the NC/VA border are more muted than this painting, but here and there, when we turn one of those many switchbacks or gaze over the valleys to the mountains, we were struck by the colors that can be seen. Oaks are turning wine red, tulip poplars, sycamore and the like are moving from yellow to gold, and the numbers of acorns we found on some of our walks predict a mighty cold, hard winter!
We visited the Horne Creek Farm Corn Shucking Festival yesterday. The gates opened at 10 am and by 10:20 am when we arrived, the parking lot was almost filled and folks were parking anywhere they could find a space. History came to life as volunteers rendered sorghum into molasses, natural plants into dyes, corn cobs into kernals. Music and dancing, food, including old Southern apples (drying, frying, being made into cider and apple butter) and sweet potato pies, brought the farmstead to life. Horse and wagon rides, pumpkins and hay bales, colorful woodlands, flowing creeks, and tons of children seemed to make the day 'fall festive.' I don't know that I have seen a small festival so extraordinarily well attended! Fun!
C revisited the 'jam' group we had met a few months ago when we came up this way for a vacation ... even then, they seemed like old friends. In the town, one of the retired teachers held a small art show for some of her students, and the community all pitched in for the reception. Each artist - hobbiest, professional - from oil to photography to acryllic to sculpture - won a trophy.
I do LOVE small town living!
I've painted a bit from the car, as well one can on winding roads, and just enjoyed the relaxing scenery and time away.
I hope the rest of your weekend is grand!
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Leaves turning, leaves falling, leaves clinging -- they're definitely on my mind and under my feet and in the air ...
It's fall .. and the leaves take center stage ...
Living in the woods as we do, we don't rake up leaves ... instead we let them carpet the ground and insulate the trees and shrubs thru the cold of the winter. As they decompose, they'll add needed nutrients to the soil and, in a cycle of birth and death and rebirth, continue the life cycle of the living plants from which they came.
Happy Fall Weekend!
Friday, October 15, 2010
With the rain and cold nights we've had recently, brighter colors are finally touching our trees.....Still, the drought conditions of the last months seem to have left the leaves of this dogwood very tired as they hang from my tree.
When I got home last night I noticed more and more of our poplars and sycamores turning a richer gold instead of worn-out yellow, and many more of these same species are losing their leaves quickly in the brisk winds. Seems like fall is coming on strong ....
This weekend will be filled with wonderful festivals and I'll be offline for a large part of it as we take in the some of those celebrations.
I hope your weekend is grand and filled with color!
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Our soap crafting workshop was a blast -- but I'm paying for it today -- so very tired. After a 16 hour day and a few hours sleep to begin it all again, the coffee in my cup JUST isn't strong enough! LOL I managed to sketch a bit during lunch yesterday -- but absolutely no time to apply paint.
This hibiscus was painted during a similiar busy time a few weeks ago when I had barely 30 minutes to paint. I didn't have time for a sketch so I went in directly with the paint (couldn't do that yesterday). I see things I'd definitely change if I repainted the flower -- but I post this today to remind myself that even in 20-30 minutes, the brush can be kept wet and moving -- and sometimes that's what's more important than the outcome.
We've Plant a Row for the Hungry volunteers this morning and a few more beds to install. Folks are returning for their now-hardened soap so it'll be a busy morning. We've all got our fingers crossed for rain, though ...we need it badly.
Hope you have a great day -- I"m keeping the coffee nearby! LOL
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
My husband and I took a ride into the countryside last weekend to see how the landscape was changing as the season progressed. We found many areas such as this yellow, muted roadside - the barbed-wire fences tangled with grasses, some small daisies and lots of goldenrod. Without the rain we have needed all summer, we have yet to find any vibrancy in the foliage.
Today will be a long, long day - meetings during the day and a soap crafting workshop tonight. It'll be fun if a bit tiring ...
I hope your day is terrific!
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
This time of year, the pink muhly grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris) is in full bloom -- and when planted en masse creates an etheral 'cotton candy' effect. Such a planting is perfect for this time of year when many state and county fairs are in full swing. Many of our highways, resorts and subdivisions have landscaped with this ornamental grass -- and even here at the Arboretum, folks stop in their tracks and ask what it is!
Muhlenbergia capillaris is a showy, perennial grass that can reach 3' high and 3' wide. The flower spikes - the silky pink inflorescence that looks like cotton candy - bloom in late summer and early fall and can keep their 'pink' color for 6-8 weeks. (There is also a white variety available.) They flowers will eventually turn a wonderful beige and give a terrific winter interest to any garden.
If you've ever visited the South Carolina lowcountry and have become enamored with the 'sweet baskets' created there, pink muhly grass is the "sweet" grass used (along with palmetto fronds and some pine needles) to create these incredible baskets.
I painted this from my own blooming muhly grass last weekend. There is a gap in our treeline that when the sun begins to set, strikes this particular clump of muhly with a glow that is like pink fire --- amazing!
I have tried to paint this grass for a while now, struggling to find just the right elusive 'wisp-ishness' to the flower spikes .. I 'think' I finally managed it ...
Hope your day is grand!
Monday, October 11, 2010
I watched a DVD by Jeanne Carbonetti this weekend and was inspired to try a meditative approach to my painting. This was the result ... plus a bit of my splash and splatter. I wanted to change my color palette too ... it was fun!
A nice, peaceful weekend with a predicted week of warm, dry weather. So many of the fields and woodlands we saw on our drive are showing the changes in the season, but with the lack of rain, there is a layer of 'dry brown' to the yellows and bits of red that are there. Leaves seem to 'droop' on the trees as if they're tired ... Perhaps a rain shower (possibly this Thursday?) would perk up everything a bit ...
Off to work -- Hope your week is terrific ...!
Sunday, October 10, 2010
This painting was done several weeks ago on masa paper. This particular day, the paper absorbed much of the paint, and the colors blended into such soft textures that it so remind me of a tapestry .....
I am still enjoying painting grapes as they continue to remind me of the fall season, even though this weekend and this week, our temps will reach up into the 80s ... Our cool nights have brought more color to the trees, though we are a long way from a total color bliltz.
The art fair yesterday was smaller than we would have imagined, but we enjoyed the day walking around a small town that had definitely changed into some wonderful art and craft shops. We also ran into friends of C's who were performing at the festival. This family and friends (the oldest is 17, the youngest 13) can play a mean bluegrass --- and it was delightful to chat with the parents of the group.
We ended the day with a dinner and the grands ... terrific to get out of the house on such a beautiful day.
Today, a bit of painting and another walk in the sunshine, and perhaps a short drive in the countryside to see how autumn is affecting my beloved roadsides.
Have a joyous Sunday.
Saturday, October 09, 2010
Arches 140# CP
I finally have had a chance to work on this challenge offered by Kate several weeks ago (http://www.flickr.com/photos/katek28/4999300158/). I began it at my friend's home last week, did initial washes at the car dealer's while my car was being serviced (wonderful folks -- they even let me sit in an unoccupied office to work!! LOL) and then yesterday between chores ... Thank you, Kate!
I have a soap crafting class to teach next week, so I in between painting, laundry and other 'musts' I prepared soap samples for the group ... Today we're off to an arts festival...
The weather is splendid and temps are in the mid-70s, sunshine, and leaves changing colors. I LOVE fall!!
Hope your weekend is wonderful!
Friday, October 08, 2010
The mountains here have already had a frost or two and our temps have dipped into the 40s at night all last week, but this weekend we have another 'summer reprieve' as we're expecting temps in the mid 70s to 80sF! It should be one glorious weekend!
We're planning a somewhat quiet weekend with a visit with the grands and an arts an crafts festival nearby and perhaps a drive into the countryside ...
This painting was done mostly from imagination and an earlier wet-in-wet project I tried on watercolor paper. I wanted to change the colors and add the textures of masa so played with these methods last weekend.
I'm off to do chores and hope everyone has a terrific day!
Thursday, October 07, 2010
When C and I took a long walk this weekend, we explored some of the trails at the Granville Athletic Park. The cool weather had brought out other walkers, and there were at least three soccer games going on. The woodlands were bright with the changing colors - though it will be several weeks before any 'peak' colors grace our landscapes. Still, the yellowing of some of the trees continues to confirm the season's turning.
What a terrific time we had yesterday! We visited the Center for Environmental Farming Systems, a North-Carolina based research site studying sustainable agricultural methods -- from animals to plants to energy produced and consumed. We learned so much! After a delightful lunch, we toured the reconstructed historical village of Waynesborough -- fun and relaxing.
Today we do more planting for the hungry. One of our part-time gardeners brought some chestnuts to me last week, and I've rendered them into chestnut bread to share with our volunteers to thank them for the incredible lunch last week.
We're in the swing of the year for festivals and outings and the beginning of the holidays ---
Hope your day is great!
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
I am still enamored with grapes and continue to try to paint them in different ways --(the operative word -- try!! LOL)
Today we take a group of Arboretum guests to view a Sustainable Farming System unit to look at various ways those of us who work with the land can do so with more a more sustainable approach. Following lunch we'll visit a restored historic village in the same county-- should be fun --
The morning is crisp, clear and a light jacket will be needed to stay comfortable in the outdoors all day --
I'll try to catch up with everyone tomorrow --
Have a great day!
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
This quick splash and splatter was inspired by a photo I took earlier this fall of our crabapple tree --- today, it's bare of both leaves and fruit ... one of the earliest trees to become bare on our property .... I know that the drought has contributed to this, but boy ...! I was hoping that the apples would have ripened before falling so I could make them into one of my husband's favorite jams -- but it wasn't to be this year.
We finished planting all 1,200 bulbs yesterday, and yes, I am a mighty tired lady today -- but the job is done and I can't wait until spring to see the colors!!!
Cool morning today -- with frost in our North Carolina mountains ....sweatshirt weather already!
I'm off to an early morning meeting -- hope your day is terrific!
Monday, October 04, 2010
The days are cooling and after the rains and summer of drought some of our trees have already lost all their leaves. The crapapple in my front area is already bare of both fruit and its leaves. This image is from one of the small farms nearby.
We took a long walk in the pleasant weather yesterday marveling at how some of the trees are already yellow, others still holding their green and others like the dogwoods, fading to dull red. I think with the cool nights this week we'll see more color...
Today and tomorrow we install 1200 bulbs to finish a landscape project, and later this week take a group on another tour ...
I hope your week is grand!
Sunday, October 03, 2010
It has taken me all week to find the time to finish this painting challenge by Bill (http://www.flickr.com/photos/lorus_maver/5023082097/). I began the painting during the week after work, but between meetings, late nights and other obligations, finally returned to it last night. I had attempted this several times trying to keep the light in the grapes, but didn't like how those were doing, so I returned to splash and splatter to achieve a looser, semi-abstract approach. I have thoroughly enjoyed all these grape paintings lately -- they, like colored leaves, truly speak of fall to me.
Got a lot accomplished yesterday including a delightfully long birthday visit with my son. Isn't it funny, how the older we grow, how very more important time becomes ... just spending an afternoon talking, playing Scrabble (he whooped me!!!), sharing a meal - means more than any THING in the world. Sweet, sweet gift.
C's final performances went well - and after all those long drives, long days and nights, he's mighty fatigued. Today we both rest! LOL
I went out this morning to feed the kitties -- mercy -- it's COOL!!!! I will have to begin packing sweatshirts for the week ... summer is just about over, though we usually have a week or two of 'surprise heat spells' sometime this month.
Have a great day!
Saturday, October 02, 2010
With the heavy rains we've had this week, the change in temperatures and the turning of the season, there are still a few stalwart flowers in the garden -- this salvia is one of them. The flowers reside in a corner of my front garden where the salvia sits among ornamental grasses. I have a larger patch of it growing in a more moist conditon in one of the gardens behind my house.
Salvia uliginosa is a perennial plant that blooms from early summer through fall. Bees, butterflies, hummingbirds are attracted to its blossoms. It has been described as an 'enthusiastic' plant in that it reproducts readily by underground stolons and can spread very nicely with little help. For those who wish to keep it a bit more 'contained', the plants are easily pulled out by hand. Though it prefers moist soil (another common name for this is 'bog sage') and can reach 50" tall, in dryer growing conditions, bog sage will remain around 3' tall. I love the 'heavenly blue' of the flowers -- a welcome addition to any garden, especially for all the winged wildlife it attracts.
Our temperatures have dropped considerably this weekend and are utterly delightful. C's performance last night was wonderful --- as I'm typing this morning, he's reviewing the videos of the group .... looks like everyone had a great time. He and his 'Sunday Pickers' return to the college for two more performances today.
I hope to get to some painting today ...and I hope my muse returns ... it's been a challenging week to paint!
Have a great weekend!
Friday, October 01, 2010
Thank each and everyone of you for your most incredibly kind and generous birthday wishes! Yesterday could not have been more joyous or blessed, and in all my years of birthdays, one of the most FUN and laughter-filled! Thank YOU for helping make that so!
After a long first-thing-in-the-morning meeting, my assistant and I returned to the Arboretum and to our patient volunteers. Our gardener had taken the lessons and tasks that day (we try to rotate these weekly so our volunteer sessions stay fresh and lively) and had just finished up when we got to the gathering. We talked about native foods, the rain we were so grateful to receive -- and then enjoyed a sumptious, over-the-top potluck luncheon! The food! The company! The spirit! Sheer magic! And such a joy -- truly. These women and men are honestly so kind and giving in everything they do that they seemed to radiate the sunshine through our over 10" of rainfall!
I finished up some tasks and then headed home. C helped me unpack the car and brought me the most glorious bouquet of flowers in tones of blue, purple, peach and yellow - utterly stunning!
With all your kind wishes, friends, family and the laughter of so many - the day couldn't have been any more stupendous. Thank you once more!
I had quite a number of awaiting things to address at home last night, and so painting time was curtailed ... this small work was done last week as I tried a few more ideas on paper ...
C and his jam group will be performing at my college for the school's Country Music Show --- a most exciting time for them! Congratulations to these men for all their hard work to have received this opportunity!
I hope to get in some needed painting time this weekend and to clean up outdoors a bit from all the rain !
Have a great weekend!