Friday, June 16, 2017

10,000🎇

 
It felt right to walk down the east river trail like any old day and see what I could see.  A sow was in a grassy pasture with around 20 piglets; a hen scratched the dirt and pecked.  And suddenly there were five digets in the count, as quiet and unexpectedly unremarkable as traveling across a border on a night train.
 
But really, how could I resist the mama finally breaking free of the piglets and grabbing a little rest in the mud pond?
 
And the wooly lambs are getting close to growing up.  As Shiko Munakato says:  The mind goes and the tool walks alone.

So I will take a little vacation from posting,  but I'll be back in a couple of weeks.  Thanks for all your heartening encouragement and cheer-leading these past four years!  I can't stop drawing, and numbering is interesting.  Tonight a good friend gave me a party, and I spread out all 44 books for people to look through.  Now I want to sit with them and see which seeds they contain, which directions they point to.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

S-l-o-w-l-y

 
Down at the river a team from Wildlife & Fisheries or some other uniform-wearing clipboard-carrying organization was seine fishing for something.  The net was as big as the large Pawley's Island hammock that I made out of a clothesline when we first moved to NC. 

On the right is the perfect heart stone that I found right after watching the team seine.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Mysterious Forms in a Rhododendron Slick

 

Strange fleshy white hollow forms like miniature hats are growing on a few wild rhododendron leaves in a rhododendron slick that skirts the west river trail.  No insects were around.  After studying and drawing them I googled them and have concluded they are rhododendron galls, also called azalea leaf galls and pinkster galls..  They differ from insect galls in that they are made by the spores of a fungus.  Early settlers reportedly pickled them and considered them to be a delicacy.  

Jesse As Odalisque

 
Really,  this cat loves to lounge voluptuously.
 
He was rolling in the grass while I stood offering my ankles to the mosquitos, which have arrived in terrifying numbers.
 
 

(Backup) Odd Revelations of the Bamboo Grove

 
In the grove of giant golden bamboo along the east river trail new shoots are pushing up from the forest floor.  Shaped like skinny teepees, they emerge very rapidly,  growing around ten inches a day.  If you're not having a clear eyes day or if it's dark and you're whipping along the trail it's possible to kick one of these and snap it off, as the middle one above was.
 
Along with the surreal bamboo shoots are fantastic rhododendron twigs and occasional broken stumps like howls of outrage.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Not Listening

 
Happily the TVs were turned off at the hairdresser's this afternoon.  No whining,  nasal,  lying little ferrets could be heard.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Graduation!

 
Jacob graduated from high school tonight!  Here he is on the right drawn from up in the bleachers while he was listening to one of the speeches.
 
Here are some great backs of heads drawn while we waited for over sn hour for the ceremony to begin.  I drew on my program because I had left my sketchbook back at Jacob's, where we spent most of the day.
 
Another back.
 
On the left and center are two sketches of Jacob's dad, whos moved constantly and who looks nothing like the drawings.  The odd black bird is a giant turkey vulture standing in a grassy field drying her wings.  This is a drawing from yesterday.
 
Three sketches of Kate and one of Pad Thai sleeping in his cat tower..  I am going to slow down drawing now so that Ivreach 10,000 on Friday, four years to the day of starting.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Siesta Time in the Chicken Yard

 
Lots of grooming and dust rolling, napping and standing still;
 
but most interesting was the hen who yawned widely as she plopped down in a dust bowl and closed her eyes.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Odd Revelations of the Bamboo Grove

 
In the grove of giant golden bamboo along the east river trail new shoots are pushing up from the forest floor.  Shaped like skinny teepees, they emerge very rapidly,  growing around ten inches a day.  If you're not having a clear eyes day or if it's dark and you're whipping along the trail it's possible to kick one of these and snap it off, as the middle one above was.
 
Along with the surreal bamboo shoots are fantastic rhododendron twigs and occasional broken stumps like howls of outrage.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Better Than the News

 
Down on the farm the mama pigs are pregnant again and eating peacefully in the grassy field where they live.  Alongside the pig pasture milkweeds are blooming, and while I was drawing a flower, a female monarch fluttered down and stayed drinking nectar for as long as I needed to draw her.
 
At the other end of the pasture another sow was grazing, and at my feet were a number of totem-like rocks.
 
Here are a bird and two people.  I brought four of them home, and after I drew them I used a little watercolor to tease out their features.  I'll bring them back tomorrow and the rain that we get most evenings will wash them clean.
 

Monday, June 5, 2017

Little Plants for the Palette Fence

 
Maya and I are building a fence in my yard out of old palettes.  The fence will have planter boxes built in.  Saturday we bought the plants, and we plan on finishing the job this Thursday.  The plants look so good out on the porch!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Cartoon Jesse

 
Just as it's supposedly harder to write short than to write long, it's harder to draw a good cartoon than to draw tight realism.  At least in my experience.
 
Jesse was grooming wildly this afternoon, so each cartoon is also a quickly-done gesture drawing
 
except for this post-grooming pose in the garden.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Chicken Checkup

 
Three chicken tractors, one on wheels for easy moving from place to place, one that needs a fork lift to scoot it around, and one temporary shelter made from hoops of pvc covered with chicken wire covered with a blue tarp.  The young blacks on the left were in the yard near the temporary shelter and were very subdued this morning.
 
The older blacks were loud and rowdy over near the permanent house.  The rooster especially was annoyingly raucous and blustery.  The stinging nettle plant to the left gave me a tingly burn on my flip-flop-clad left foot as I headed off the chicken trail back to the river trail.  Nettle is delicious and very nutritious,  but you need to steam it and then stuff ravioli with it or scramble it into eggs. Also makes a fine infusion.  A few weeks ago I saw some students gathering it very carefully from near the chickens.  Like all the rest of the plants around here this spring,  the nettle is flourishing.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Canoeing

 
My friend M and I took my canoe out on Beaver Lake.  We paddled across and halfway around the lake, then  pulled into a beautiful little backwater for a picnic. We lounged in the canoe surrounded by water pickeral, many little fish, dragonflies, and lots of birds.  Munched on spectacular avocado and hummus sandwiches on Ezekial bread, olives, luscious strawberries, and fig and olive crackers.  Cattails like spindles of wool.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Down on the Farm on This Dark Afternoon

 
I noticed all the animals in the pasture this afternoon hanging their heads.  Many of the sheep were lying in the long, lush grass.
 
Call it pathetic fallacy, but I suspect the animals felt sorry for us people today.  At least the little mule who watches over the sheep is competent and qualified  to do her job.  At least the lead steer in the herd knows how to find good grass patches for his fellow steers.  No blustering amateur imposter leads the herds to poisoned water or invites the coyotes in to decimate the group.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Searching for the Lion Pillow

 
Nate has lost his beloved lion pillow from babyhood.  He and his Dad are describing it and have sent a photo of it (partly obscured by Nate's head).  These are the drawings I am sending to them for feedback so I can make a replacement.
 
Tricky!
 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Rhododendron Sprites?

 
All of these twigs are on a very large dead rhododendron tree that was uprooted in the wake of an enormous tulip poplar that was uprooted and knocked over in our fierce tornado-watch winds last week.
 
The one non-rhododendron thing is 9898, which was lying under the tulip poplar and may be a part of a tulip poplar cone.

Monday, May 29, 2017

New Elephant Grass Hat

 
My friend K in her new elephant grass hat from Charlie's Quilts and Sew Much More in Little Switzerland
 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Jesse on Silky Blue Coop Produce Bag

 
Jesse's current favorite bed is a small silky blue bulk produce bag that I brought home from New Hampshire  last winter.
 
You can just barely see it sticking out to the left.
 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Tree Maps, a Flock, and a Small Herd

 
I started out looking for holes in trees.
 
But then faces kept jumping out at me.
 
Love these little flocks and herds, up to their bellies in grass, moving like tides.