Sunday, April 30, 2017

Lovely Woods, Vengeful Thoughts

Yesterday's progress, glacial but promising!
And then this morning the big news is the elongation of stems.  Still no opening of blooms but the raceme is slowly forming.
And the florabunda roses (I know-- they are evil invasives) are open and making everything smell like a midsummer moonlight. And the sunlight is sweetly warm -- and suddenly two little rat-looking dogs burst around a bend, no owner in sight.  They stomp through the flowery trail verges;  they pee every few feet,  they scuffle around in the tender new growth and poop.  Then along comes their owner, smoking a cigarette in spite of the trailhead sign that says dogs must be on leads and no fires of any kind.  I want to lob a pine cone at her but instead I ask her to leash her dogs and stop smoking in the woods. She informs me that she has been walking these trails for years and will not be bullied by me.  I call campus security while she glowers at me.  I sincerely hope they towed her car but I doubt they would although they promised to come out right away and nab her. Grrrrr!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Peering into Mysteries

The bigger the plants get, the redder their veins,
except for the two damaged plants, the one on the left of which is hanging in there and forming some little buds, and the second from the left, which is drying up and being taken over by tiny black beetles. How do the beetles know which plant is ready to be decomposed?  This whole process has given me goosebumps.  We know nothing.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

A Little More Slow Unfolding

I wish I could communicate to you how crazy exciting this slow blooming is for me!  Every morning now I jump out of bed and head out to record the progress.  I think 9663 will have open flowers tomorrow.  When I passed by it 40 minutes after I drew it this morning the little bloomletscwere standing up straighter already.  I don't think 9664 is going to make it even though it's trying.  Something evidently snapped off its first bloom shoot.  Today I dragged a couple of 6 ft long fallen branches to form a kind of barricade to nudge hikers and dogs to stay out of the area where they're growing.   Yesterday a dog off its lead loped over to where I was drawing and almost stomped all over the plants.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Orchids Individuating

Yesterday there were eight orchid bloom shoots, but today I could find only seven.  I was able to look back and determine which is missing, and it is the newest shoot.  Lots of color peeking out today.  I really hope I can find that missing shoot tomorrow.  The plants in the area are growing up fast, plus it was early morning and the light might have been obscuring the little shoot.

When I hit 9650 today I subtracted from 10,000 and discovered I have only 344 to go after today's batch.  From here on out I'll put the countdown number under the count up number.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Color Beginning

Not only are the little putty root orchid shoots growing like mad, but today some of them are showing interior magenta seed-like flower buds (I am guessing here). What really interests me is how different each shoot is.  After drawing them so much I can now recognize them as individuals, even though they change each day.  The more I look the more I can see.  I had thought 9649 was going to die since it had been chomped on;  but it continues to grow in spite of being very short compared to the others;  it even is among the first to show some magenta.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Life Victorious Over Death Crackers and Other Wonders

If you're searching in vain for a good recipe for Life Victorious Over Death crackers, look no further.  Above is my friend K's recipe, given to her by her friend S.  I deeply love the name of these crackers:  it reminds me of my childhood neighbor's description of someone who looked sickish: " He looks like death warmed over reaching for a cracker". ( Is this an old New Orleans thing to say?)
Here is a small pile of the crackers, along with three buttons from K's button collection.  The designs on the crackers are pressed in using the press shown in 9624.
And also shown in 9626.  The roller is to cut the cracker dough apart after stamping it.
When we got home I slogged down to the trail in the icy rain to check on the orchid buds.  They have grown around 3/4" since yesterday!  Very quick sketches, splotched with rain drops.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Day of Miracles and Wonders

All during the fall and winter I've been watching a patch of fifteen putty root basal leaves on one of the Jones Mountain trails.  These odd crinkly, dry-looking, winter-surviving leaves are the leaves of the elusive and very picky orchid, Aplectrum hyemale.  I've been searching for one of these orchids for years to no avail, but this winter's flourishing crop of basal leaves gave me hope.  
When I passed the leaves this morning I noticed they were beginning to deteriorate, so I crouched down near the ground and noticed what I thought was a mushroom.  Close observation revealed that the tan shoot was attached to the stem of a basal leaf.  An orchid was coming!  I then saw more at the bases of six more of the fifteen leaves.  Check out this link for much more info.  I'll be visiting and reporting every day until the seed pods form.

The morning's other wonders were the yellow celandine blooming in my front garden as well as a flying wild turkey.  I love yellow celandine for their golden sap, which was used as a substitute for gold in low budget Medieval  manuscript painting.  I used sap from the stems to paint the yellow flowers.

Friday, April 21, 2017

In Margaret's Studio

At crit group this morning: top- M's dog Miss Bee;  bottom- one of M's papier-mâché dogs
Left- three more papier-mâché animals; right top- Miss Bee asleep ; right bottom- awake.  

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Rusty Things

I had a beloved red tricycle just like this one when I was five and six years old.  Today I was dropping off a couple of books at a friend's house and I spotted this tricycle,  just like mine, in her garden.  This tricycle is rusty but you can still see that it was red at one time.  
Next to the tricycle was a scattering of other rusty things, including this turtle shaped trivet, this ancient water faucet handle, this railroad spike and wrench, and a coiled up wire from a tea kettle handle. Also the rusty nail next to but not in the same scale as the trike.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Two-Day Catch-Up to 9600

Yesterday we designed and made a large carry-all using as a base two clear plastic packages from new pillows.  In order to duplicate the prototype I first drew it from all angles.
I also drew details of construction for future reference.
And finally a view of it folded flat for carrying in a car or luggage.
I rounded out yesterday by drawing a few random desk objects.  Note:  the tail is NOT a trophy from Jesse.  I found it in the middle of our street.
The rest are of Jesse lounging in P's study after a rainy night out.
He was moving around quite a bit at first.
Finally fell asleep.
Woke up -
Back asleep with his face squished  on his right paw.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Egyptian Onions Heading Out, Walking Like Egyptians

The Egyptian Walking Onions are heading out.  One is already bending down.  The bulblets are packaged in Arabian Nights-looking turrets with exotic finials.  As I sat in the dew-damp grass to paint them I spotted minute black aphids on some turrets; so feeling only slightly bad, I Safer Soaped the little boogers.  

Sunday, April 16, 2017

A High Edge

P and I walked through our back hedgerow and stepped over the broken stile into the high pasture behind our house for a picnic.  This is the view across the valley.  Today I noticed for the first time that there is a frolicking green water dragon whipping through the field that abuts the river!  This landform is a very auspicious feng shui feature besides being graceful and lovely.
Grazing near the water dragon ( which is a stream or underground vein of water essentially) was the herd of cows with babies.  And surrounding our blanket were the plants that feed the cows.
Interesting that plantain, red clover, and dandelion are all good medicinal herbs for humans too.  On the right is the perfect floppy light blue hat made by my friend E's aunt in South Africa and brought back by E's parents.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Another Edge

This morning was cool and bright and bird-filled yet bug-free;  so I dragged my yoga mat out onto my little studio deck to practice.  And while I was holding a pose that involved resting my chin on my leg I glanced up and spotted a few catkins that had fallen from the mystery tree that hangs over a corner of the deck. I had never before noticed that the catkins have the form of wooly caterpillars at one phase of their development.  

So I scooped up a few (without noticing the tiny caterpillar (9566) that was perfectly camoflagued on one catkin.  When I was studying them/drawing them I discovered that the white fluff is straight and grows out of a minute ovule/anther and that the unit looks like a troll doll head. (9565).  Eventually the microscopic seeds at the end of each hair matures and the fluff is released onto the wind like dandelion seed fluff.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Going to an Edge

May apple flowers are blooming along the river trail.  I agree with YoYo Ma's statement that the job of an artist is to travel to the edge and report back.  So I crouched down and literally put my head on the ground so that I could get a good look at the sexy world of may apples in bloom, and here is my report:  not only do the stamens look like tiny banana hands, but the anthers are lush and beginning to swell.  And the flowers smell delicious. 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Beautiful Friends

At our book and print arts collective meeting tonight wonderful Clarissa Sligh told us about her art process in the production of her very moving books.
I was handicapped in that I had left my pen at home and had to make do with a credit union ballpoint pen.
Oddly enough the pen was very fine to write with on the very soft cotton paper of the first two pages and even okay on the third harder and somewhat seedy textured page.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Old Orchard

As I was standing in the very old apple orchard studying the trees I heard a very soft shlump-shlump sound.  I turned my head slowly and saw two turkey ladies wading through the tall grass under the trees.
I remember being in this same orchard one late afternoon with four-year-old Jacob and seeing the tree trunks glowing with some kind of insect-repelling whitewash.  We both  stood silent in amazement at the sight: white trunks, pinkish blossoms, light green grass, long fingers of apricot sunlight.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Sheep and Lamb Studies

We took our visiting co-in-laws from NJ for a walk down to see the sheep and lambs and piggies yesterday.  
The lambs obliged by being extraordinarily cute.  It was afternoon nap time and moms and babies were under their shade huts.
This evening I went back down to check out things and found a new small wooly sheep alone in the milk cow pasture.
Back at the lambs I noticed how the babies are growing.  Their coats are getting thick and one has legs that are newly wooly.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Hot Cross Buns for Palm Sunday

The perfect hot cross buns are baked by the City Bakery bakers-- not toosweet but flavored with spices and lemon rind and studded with currants.
  Making an appearance in our backyard today was an enormous groundhog, who has a large hole in our hedgerow.  The chickens down at the farm were sitting in clumps in the cool evening air.  A couple were picking in the dirt, but none were really running around.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Turkeys and Tulips on the Move

A large wild turkey man came strolling through the garden this morning proudly strutting and doing his male turkey thing.  He was alone and didn't stay long.  Then about 15 minutes later I glanced out and there was a little hen turkey poking around on the lawn and in the garden.  She moved so fast I could only try to grab gestures.
This afternoon it's back to spring, and two apricot tulips are hosting some ant and bee pollinators.  Happy to see honey bees!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Grape Hyacinths Making Seeds

I picked a small bunch of grape hyacinths from the edge of the garden last week.  Today seed pods have formed on some of the blooms.  Most blooms have dried up but a dozen were pollinated and are turning into tri-lobed seed pods, every bit as beautiful as the blooms.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

New Shoes/Old Shoes

First the new shoes-- two pairs of Keens, one denim blue and the other cadmium red.  I wanted the reds, but I thought I would get tired of red shoes day after day; and since they were 20% off, and since they're the exact shoes ( but in different colors) as the tan Keens I've worn and loved all year until the inner soles are ripped and ruined, I decided to get both and trade them off and on and have them for two years.  They are spectacularly comfortable for hiking and driving and doing everything else.  I can also slide them off and on and wear them with or without socks,and they're wonderfully light for traveling.
The old shoes are Erik's tiny size 2 baby tennis shoes.  I remember getting home from walking him in the backpack and one shoe would be gone, and I'd have to retrace our path to find the shoe.  These must be 40 years old and were in the cedar chest with a couple of other baby things.