Thursday, May 5, 2016


I've heard about ramps ever since we moved to Asheville in the mid-80s but today was the first time I've ever actually seen them.  Whole Foods has a bin of local ramps!  I grabbed a bunch of them to paint, and tomorrow morning I'm going to scramble some eggs with bacon and ramps.  They have lily-like leaves, which makes sense since they're in the amaryllis family.
I have a friend who finds them in some woods nearby but won't divulge the exact location.  Ramp festivals are popular in towns in the areas where they grow.  One interesting fact I found is that the city of Chicago was named for a dense patch of ramps that grew in the marshy land near Lake Michigon.  The native people called them shikaakwa.
The Ramp Festival at Cosby, TN, chooses a Maid of Ramps.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Monday, May 2, 2016

Much Info on the Lotus-like Plant!

First a quick couple of sketches from yesterday-- people eating at Thai Orchid:

Well, not the cows, but the two above and on the left.  The cows I drew today from inside their pasture.  I found out that Bellpepper is actually the little milk cow's name, and the big wooly sheep are nameless( at least according to the farm student   that I talked to).
Now press your nose close to this page or find your magnifying glasses, because I crammed eight drawings (life sized) and all the info I could find on this page.
This pod is the same as 7044 from 04.30 only drawn much more carefully from life while I was squatting down a few inches from the plant so I could see all the details of the pod.  The rest of these I drew from pictures on my phone.  The real plants are growing in a raised bed under a shade (drawings 7062 and 7064). 

I learned that the plant is a Jeffersonia Berberdaceae, commonly known as ground squirrel, twin leaf, helmet pod, rheumatism root, or yellow root.  It is so rare that people are asked to not harvest it.  Students at the college are growing it along with other native plants and medicinals. 

The flowers are white, with eight petals and yellow center parts. Inside the pod (which looks like a knight's helmet when it opens along a dehiscent line) contains a nut - like seed.  All parts of the plant are useful , especially the roots.  It is powerful medicine (read at the bottom of the page) and is poison in the wrong hands!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Garden and Farm Walk

Someone asked me how I would ever find 500 more things to draw by June 15.  This afternoon 's walk through woods, college garden, greenhouses, and farm is my answer.  There is never enough time to draw this stuff!  A ceramic man's head filled with oyster shells and tiny sedum plants, mysterious pods, a greenhouse with long rows of last season's kale plants looking like eerie palm trees in the milky light, ducks, chickens, a milk cow in a little pasture with a few sheep (who have finally been shorn but are already loading up again).

Friday, April 29, 2016

Fagioli in Fiasco!

Several years ago I spent two summers in a little Tuscan village.  One of my favorite foods there was something called    
fagioli in fiasco-- an impossibly wonderful olive oily subtly flavored dish that featured plain white beans.  I looked up the recipe in an italian cookbook but it involved putting the beans and water and oil in a clay flask in the ashes of a fireplace for many hours.  I couldn't find a clay flask, and I eventually gave up on it.

Then last weekend B and L came over with a sack of dried fava beans and dumped them in a pot of water and simmered them for an hour with some olive oil and a little tamari--And made fagioli in fiasco!  

So today I found fresh fava beans in Greenlife, and herein you will find this ancient and stupendous comfort food recipe!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Clay Sketches

Inspired by Adelaide Hall's crocheted figures, I sketched a few more.  They made themselves in a way.
I started to notice similarities to Egyptian tomb figurines, among other small figures.
I am extremely drawn to these things but not at all sure why.
And below this one is the one I did a couple of weeks ago.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Egyptian Walking Onion Arabesques

My Egyptian walking onions are doing this bursting out movement that looks like someone dancing inside of a silk bag.