Sunday, July 14, 2019

weekend seen

This chipmunk shinnied up the pole holding the bird feeder.
S/he paused a couple of times on the way up, to look around.
At every pause in the climbing, s/he slowly slid downward,
like a little cartoon character.

But once the buffet was reached,
there was plenty of time to eat and look around.

Ms. Piper also enjoys looking around. And sniffing.
Whatever she was sniffing here, it was fascinating!
She stood perfectly still for a couple of minutes.

We went to the woods today for the very first time this summer.
You may not be surprised to hear that it was very hot and humid.
An hour of walking was plenty.

First we walked down into our favorite little streambed looking in vain for cooler air,
then back along a flat trail that Piper really likes.

The bugs were so bad we both wore the Seriously Awful Spray.
Piper seemed unbothered by the deer flies, thank goodness. 
But if I stopped moving even long enough to take a picture,
deer flies took bites out of my fingers and my face.
Many of the photographs I took today were too blurry to share.

Say, readers, here's a question for you!

Are there any fungi aficionados reading this?
If so, I would love to know if that silvery color on the surrounding vegetation
is an incredibly thin and perfectly even layer of released spores.

There were a few similar examples nearby, at various states of maturity/decay.
Can't think what else it could be, but I'm surprised I've never seen this before.
The color stood out so much, my first thought was
that someone had used marking paint.

And here's another colorful thing, but less mysterious:

a "bead" of a "bluebead lily" in the process of turning blue.
They turn quite a dark blue - this bright, light blue was a surprise.

Well, Piper is sound asleep and the sun is beginning to drop behind the trees,
which means evening chores are waiting.

 Time to get busy.


Saturday, July 6, 2019

Thursday, July 4, 2019

world watercolor month

July is World Watercolor Month, and people all over the planet are trying to paint something every day and share it. Since my daily markmaking habit feels pretty solid (today is #550) I've decided to push myself a bit, by expanding beyond my usual sketchbook or card or miniature size. I have a watercolor pad of 11x15-inch sheets, and if that doesn't sound very large, let me tell you this: it looks vast to me before the brush first touches the paper! There are about 20 sheets in the many will I have to paint before it feels as comfortable as the 5.5x8.5-inch sketchbooks? This iceberg is painting #3, and it's the first one I like enough to share with you. I hope if you are having the kind of hot, humid weather we're having, the thought of ice and ocean will make you feel a little cooler for a moment or two.

Do you happily jump into new adventures,
or do you have to push yourself to try new things?
And if the  latter, how do you do it?
I'd love to hear!

Thursday, June 27, 2019

thankful thursday


The tiniest breeding bird in Massachusetts.

Brightening even a rainy day.

Need I say more?

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

seven sketches

Pencil sketch made in the barn while keeping an eye on Hazel.
She had broken a horn tip and was feeling vulnerable.
She soon felt much better.

Another breakage: I dropped two of my porcelain watercolor dishes
before I even had a chance to use them.
They come in a set of five little stacking dishes and one cover.
Now I have four dishes and no cover.
This is, as they say, why we can't have nice things.

This watercolor card was painted on the Solstice.
I was thinking about how the sun comes up behind my hemlock tree.

And these standing stones at Avebury were drawn from an historical photograph.

These not-standing stones are in the South Paddock.
Moxie kept me company while I was painting
but she had a challenging time trying to stretch out comfortably on the highest one.

There have been very, very few iris flowers this year - I don't know why.
Maybe more will bloom before the summer is over?
I live in hope.

Meanwhile, I have the rudbeckia -
although a goat first tried to have a piece of this one!

Thursday, June 13, 2019

wordy thursday

At the moment, rain or shine, my world is many shades of green.
These pictures were taken yesterday, when it wasn't raining.

I was checking a transplanted clump of Chelone lyonii
and there next to it was this razzle-dazzle:

A nice surprise - white spiderwort appearing in an unexpected place.

The first comfrey flowers of 2019:

Last year, my comfrey plant grew so tall and wide
it got flattened by it's own weight in a rainstorm.
And then continued to grow upward from it's prone position! It was huge.
I was told that comfrey doesn't need full sun, and "full sun" areas are at a premium here, so in the Autumn I divided the root mass and moved most of it to a new bed by the east boundary stone wall.
Now there are two plants, both doing nicely and beginning to bloom.
It remains to be seen if either or both will turn into another massive shrub-sized plant.

 Every year I look forward to jack-in-the-pulpit:

There are a couple of places where I expect to see it
and am careful not to cultivate until it is safely up.
But I always find it in other spots as well.
It often becomes hidden by other plants growing up around it -
as this one, now surrounded and overtopped by violets.

And concluding today's program:

one of the new rudbeckias.

Three are already blooming,and the fourth has several buds.
I don't know if any of the flowers will be as brown as my original plant,
but they are certainly bright and cheerful and very welcome.


Monday, June 10, 2019

markmaking monday

I am still having a difficult time uploading images.
It takes ages, and sometimes, after waiting and waiting, the upload still fails to work.
But I'm going to try!

Here are the most recent Daily Markmaking efforts, #523 - 526.

 Another goat-plucked stem of dame's rocket.

A plum, based on an illustration.

Another illustration-based sketch.

Some of my sketches are on heavy watercolor paper
in the form of postcards or folding cards.
This one is a folding card.

I hope all is well with you and yours, dear readers.
Things have been rather challenging here lately,
but the gardens are very slowly getting underway.
How about you?

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

three happy things

First thing:

This little postcard-size oil painting arrived from Scotland today.
The artist is a Canadian landscape painter, Roberta Murray.
My snap does not do it justice - it is a gem!

It was one of the donated postcards in the Twitter Art Exhibit 2019, which each year moves to a different location around the world, holds a gallery show followed by online sales, and each year donates the proceeds to a different charity. The postcards are all priced at 30 pounds, or 4 for 100 pounds, and this year I decided to treat myself to one by skimming the requisite $48.01 from the grocery budget.

Bonus: a week of innovative eating! I cleaned out the bottom shelf in the cupboard where many interesting things had been hiding, and also indulged a serious fondness for jello, which I had sort of forgotten about. So it was a big win, all the way around.

And I am giddy with delight at this painting!

Second thing:

If you've been following this blog for a while, you may remember one of the (supposedly) perennial plants I bought a few years ago - a rudbeckia with velvety almost-brown petals.

The plant did not survive the winter, unfortunately. I loved it so much I've tried to replace it each year since but have never seen it. Until today! One of the many nurseries that kindly emails hard-to-resist offers on what seems to be an hourly basis alerted me to a major sale on perennial plants today. For some reason, I decided to scroll through all the plants, pages and pages of them, even though many of them were already marked "Sold Out." And there, at the bottom of the last page, the very last plant in the perennial sale, was a plant that looks exactly like that marvelous brown velvet rudbeckia. It had originally been priced at $20, and the sale price was $6, so...I ordered four. I will plant them in different locations to see what conditions they will enjoy most, and I will try to keep at least one alive as a potted plant through the winter. I am so excited about this!

Funny note:
after placing the order I thought sternly, 
"I've got to get a hold of myself.
These self-indulgent weekends could become addictive!"
Then I realized it's Wednesday.

Third thing:

By some kind of miracle, I was able to buy another 30 bales of hay and put them in the roundtop today. It's first cut grass from 2018, and should see me through until first cut 2019 is available.

Makes the rudbeckia and the painting seem like quite a bargain, doesn't it?


Friday, May 24, 2019

a week of kerria

The Kerria japonica began to bloom a week ago.

This is my favorite phase - simultaneously displaying all stages of buds and blossoms.

This shrub was here when I bought the place, and has grown and grown.

This year it is vast: an intricate, wind-dancing marvel.

After one week, most of the buds have now opened.
The entire shrub appears more gold than green,
and glows even on a rainy day:

The flowers are rather delicate.
From now on, every rain and strong wind will leave petals on the ground.
I wanted to share it with you before that happens.

Daily Markmaking last night: Kerria japonica, 2019.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Sunday, May 12, 2019

postcard: piper

Greetings, faithful readers and also anyone who just happened upon my blog.

The laptop is back.
It is working just about as well as it did before it was sent for repair.
This is a tad discouraging.
Actually, it's very discouraging indeed.

Also, the hard drive was wiped, so everything has to be reloaded and reset.
It's taking a while.
I'm not rushing. I really can't rush.
Because every time I try to do one of the things I used to do routinely,
I hit a dead end and have to download software first,
then consult or reload saved files from my external drive back to the laptop.
This does not always go smoothly, and it never - literally, never - goes quickly.

That said, I will keep plodding along in my spare time, and hope to be back writing actual blog posts soon. Meanwhile, I will at least continue to post a snap or two just to say "hello."

Speaking of which, during my laptop-less period, I've tried to read and comment on your blogs via my phone. Sometimes it worked. Many times, I laboriously tapped out a comment only to lose the whole thing, including the page itself, when I tried to post! I don't know if my clumsy fingers were at fault, but it's quite likely. So, if I haven't said hello via your blog comments, please know it wasn't for lack of interest - 
or for lack of trying.

Piper says, "Smile! Might as well!"

Monday, April 22, 2019


The wild ginger is beginning to unfold!

It's been 10 days of internetting on a wing and a prayer...reading blogs and sometimes managing to leave a comment, but not blogging. Using twitter because it's short and fast, but rarely succeeding at posting even low-resolution images - which I don't much enjoy posting, anyway.

Raindrops on new columbine.
Nearly every photograph I've taken lately has been during, or just after. a rainstorm.
It's been...wet.

Short repair recap: after two visits - the second today - from a very nice Tech person, and five new parts, HP says I now must send the laptop in. The good news is, I'm still under warranty. The bad news is, I will now be internetting on my small, non-fancy cellphone, for who knows how long.

In the past week I’ve already begun to feel sort of isolated and with the prospect of sending the laptop to sleep-away camp, I can almost imagine myself drifting right out of the internet and vanishing.

I guess we’ll see!

The maples began flowering on Saturday!
Even in the rain, there is a reddish tinge to the canopy.


I want to tell you about a fundraiser to get an MRI scanner on Shetland. I’ve been following this community effort for a while, and was especially impressed by a woman who went out and gathered seeds from native Shetland wildflowers to sell in little packets for the MRI fund. Unfortunately for me, she couldn’t send them to the US.
But what a great idea!

And now...a lovely woman has handknit a Fair Isle pullover and is selling it on eBay with all the money going to the MRI fund. If you’ve ever wanted a genuine Fair Isle sweater, here’s your chance to bid on a beauty. It’s got soft colors and is made of vintage Patons Moorland pure Shetland wool. Did I mention hand-knitted?

Please pass this info along if you can –  I'm not sure how much "reach" the knitter has, and it’s such a good cause. And it's such a generous gesture on the part of the knitter. I am in awe! Please share my awe!

Here is what I hope is a working link to the eBay page

I wish I could post a picture here. Even if you are not interested in acquiring a wooly sweater, it’s worth a click just to look at the pictures. Check out the view of the inside!
Well, I just dropped it to say hello, spend a couple of hours trying to upload photographs, and then go back out in the rain to move goats for the night. The photographs loaded slooooowly but they seem to be here - huzzah! Maybe I'll try to load some drawings and schedule them to post while my laptop is away. Like sending postcards. Just so you don't forget me :)