Sunday, July 23, 2017

heading in

It's been a lovely three days, weather-wise. 


Piper and I spent more than two hours in the woods one afternoon. I didn't bring the camera - which is why you are looking at pictures of bees in the garden instead of Piper in the woods - and Piper was determined that I was not going to open a sketchbook. We walked and sat and watched little birds skimming over the water and one of us picked blueberries and one of us went kerplunk! into the mucky pond. 


Actually, it's probably just as well you are not looking at pictures of Piper.
~~~

One sunny morning, a very playful Moxie suddenly joined me in the big garden where I was getting ready to do some work. Outdoors, Moxie is usually intent on hunting and not at all interested in socializing. So when she actually invited me to play, I of course forgot all about working.



Della and Moxie do play together outdoors, and hunt together too, while I'm puttering around or doing barn chores. When I decide it's time to go back inside, they do not always agree with me. I often have to locate one of them by watching the other. Moxie is nearly invisible in undergrowth, but Della is usually easier to spot. Here's Della in full camouflage mode:


~~~

Evening chores done, heading in to make supper.


Dessert will be blueberry cake.
~~~~~

Saturday, July 22, 2017

and ye shall find

Yesterday I went looking for a yellow daylily.

Last year, a lovely one bloomed along the top of the steep bank garden between the driveway and the Upper West Side paddock. I hadn't noticed it this year.

Until I went looking.
I looked down onto the garden from the paddock above -
it was a sort of low-altitude aerial reconnaissance mission -
and there it was, rising lemony in a sea of green:


I made a note to get in there on the first decent day, to remove clinging climbers that are complicating the lives of perennial plants I am taking pains to encourage.

If there is one thing this season of rain has made clear, it is that procrastination is a fool's game. So today when I got back from the recycling run and trip to the library and feedstore and dairy, I went down with pruners and a huge plastic tub to fill with clippings. Tsuga and her girls spotted me right away and ambled down to the fence to await a salad delivery.

Fern:

Tsuga:

The bank garden has come a long way in the past three years or so.
It's a lot of work to try to reclaim it, but the rewards are great.


~~~~~


Sunday, July 16, 2017

fun in a box

 This exciting box arrived yesterday. It was expected.

Usually I open packages right away, but yesterday was a tough day, physically. Instead of thinking my exciting package would turn the day around, it seemed more likely that the difficult day would dull the joy of the package. So I waited til today.

 A week ago I decided to augment my set of Staedtler watercolor pencils. I had to choose a different brand, so that I could order from Open Stock and choose each color individually. I've been very happy with the Staedtlers, so I hope these Faber-Castells work well with them.

 The individual labels peeled off easily, which is very nice. The last time I bought pencils from an art supply store, the labels were not only thoroughly stuck on but also wrapped in tape, right around the entire pencil - talk about overkill. Nothing gets those labels off, and it's a nuisance when trying to sharpen the pencils.

 Woo-hoo!
Staedtlers on bottom, Faber-Castells on top.
(And in case an eagle-eyed reader notices it, there is one Caran d'Ache pencil, also. I bought that one last year when I was really craving Payne's Grey.)

Today I began working on an ink drawing with watercolor.
Here's the ink:


And here's the beginning of the watercolor:


If it comes out well, I'll post another picture.

If you've never used watercolor pencils, I encourage you to give them a try. Here's a close-up look:


So. Much. Fun.
~~~~~

Saturday, July 15, 2017

brief gardening update


Some of the candy roaster squash seeds that were planted one week ago have sprouted in the Very Raised Bed!



And I'm hoping this is a top-setting onion, often called an Egyptian Walking Onion. I was late getting the sets planted because I didn't want them to rot. I'm hoping to get these established this year, and have an ongoing supply of onion-y, shallot-y, chive-y goodness forever and ever.



I am finding the milkweed flowers quite remarkable. Some have already faded, so I am spending time looking at them closely each day. I think if you left-click on my images, they open in a separate gallery window at a larger size...might be worth a look.

During a break in the rain yesterday, I went out and pulled weeds from the steep bank garden for a couple of hour-long sessions. It was soggy work amongst the wet foliage, but some progress was made and the goats enjoyed the harvest of bittersweet, wild grapevine, and mock orange. I had to stop and walk back up to the house to get online for a few minutes, to check the toxicity of the mock orange (Philadelphus). The only risk I could find was that the seeds might be poisonous to some animals. So I broke off all the tips of branches with seed pods, before carrying the rest to the goats.



The black raspberries are ripening! Usually there are only a few ripe at one time and - just as with my precious blueberries - I eat them on the spot. This time I was able to pick a little cupful and put them aside for a supper of berries and yogurt. Yum.

I hope you are having a wonderful weekend!
Anything special planned?
~~~~~