Saturday, November 28, 2015

Milkweed Pod and Nut-Like Rose Hips

This blown milkweed pod was all that was left of a patch of last summer's orange flowers.  Nearby in the herb garden were large, nut-like rose hips bursting open to show their orangey seeds.  I was so surprised to see how big these rose seeds are, always thought rose seeds were minuscule.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Two-Day Catch-Up: Four Mile Walk with a Pen

M and L and I met at the trailhead to the river trail and set out to show L the wonders of this trail and all of its little meanders and sideshows.  First stop was the chicken yard, where we found a bunch of chickens roosting inside the house, and some white hens enjoying a dust bath outside.  They look like a hat on the horse, but the horse is actually an entirely separate endeavor.  This is one of the two draft horses that live down near the garden and chicken yard, but it kept moving and swaying, and I gave up and just let my eyes and pen move with the horse.

We stopped to look at fish in the river, and then we squatted down on a rocky beach and all made cairns.
We ended up at the ponds down by the old Owen plant /park where we found among the mallard ducks and the white ducks a couple of American coots with their white bills.  They were diving and dunking and in constant motion.  At around two miles we ended up at M's house, and while we were taking a short break I drew her frozen Charlotte in its plangent little homemade dress next to a teacup and saucer.  To the right is a strange plaster sculpture installed outside the stone meditation hut along the Jensen Trail on campus.  The life-sized man with his draped plaster shirt and pants is missing his face but still has his large tennis shoes.  He sits in the woods  and watches people walk by on the trail.
No farm walk is complete without a visit to the sheep.  These are so very wooly right now.  The little milk cow that shares a pasture with them in at bottom right.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Full Moon and the Little Free Library

If you hike the Beaver Lake perimeter trail you will find this little free library nestled along the bank between the water and some houses, after you leave the wooded part of the trail and before you get to the point where you leave the trail and walk along the sidewalk for a bit.  This little box is full of books, and you are invited to take a book, pass it on, return it, or donate books of your own.  You can also write a note in the notebook.  What a great idea!  If you can't wait to take a reading break, you can sit right down on one of the many benches along the trail and read away.  I donated three books this time.  I'm greatly enjoying the book I took last time I passed it.

The moonset this morning was mostly obscured by a bulky hemlock tree that grows across the street on the edge of the woods.  It was somewhat overcast, but still dramatic and fun to watch while clinging to the edge of the mattress in order to get a view of this morning's moon position.  Then while driving home from the lake, I saw tonight's moonrise, the full moon at last.  It was mostly clouded over and looked like a poached egg in may ways, still wonderful.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Moon and Chips

I thought it would be fun to try to draw some chips so that they look real enough to eat.
I think 5988 comes closest.  The moon is almost full tonight, and it rides high in the eastern sky with a soft halo around it.  

Monday, November 23, 2015

Moonset and Chickens in the Cold Wind

At 3:30 this morning the enormous moon shining in our window woke us up by.  It was setting in the perfect place in the sky for its beams to stream through the opening between the window sill and the blind and land across our bed.  I reached over and yanked up the blind, and we were able to lie back and watch the show in complete comfort.  The moon sank behind the mountain top and illuminated tree trunks and branches that actually grow in the woods across the street, but from our angle it looked like they were on the mountain top.  I painted this from memory with references to the tree tops this afternoon.

Today was windy and cold, not just cool;  I was curious to see how the chickens were dealing with the icy blasts.  Those giant Jersey blacks were so fluffed up that they looked like turkeys.  Their feathers were dancing in the wind.  Other than that, it was business as usual in the chicken yard.

Sunday, November 22, 2015


I scooped these up along the greenway this afternoon  and put them in my pocket.  It was far too cold and windy to draw them on the spot.  When I got them on my drawing table I was astonished to see how intricately patterned they are and how astonishingly complex their architecture is.  From the left:  a dried Chinese lantern seed pod, two shrunken sycamore balls that seem immature and much pinker than the bigger ones, and some poke seeds in their inky dark little pods as well as two that are broken out of their pod.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Persimmon, Dissected and Seedless

Some of you might remember the useless quest to find a persimmon with seeds, which I was on last year at this time.  Well I am a slow learner.  The other day I saw a pile of smallish persimmons at Whole Foods.  They looked like the seedless ones, but the sign said they were organic free range cruelty-free non-GMO cage-free persimmons, so that sounded like they would have seeds, right?  Well, no.  Apparently persimmons reproduce by pathogenesis or something these days.  They're still that wonderful happy color, and they still have an interesting pattern where the missing seeds should be.    
But they don't have seeds-- at least not the ones in our grocery stores-- and no amount of dissection will turn up even an undeveloped infertile seed.

The stapler was on the desk at BookWorks, where I was working this afternoon in between drawing sections of the persimmon.