Thursday, November 30, 2017

Five Distinctive Piggies

Maya and I spent a good long time down in the chicken and pig yards yesterday as the sun was setting and chores were winding down.  We saw around a hundred red hens running in groups near two chicken tractors.  But the best were five mama pigs who seem to be either between pregnancies or just barely pregnant.  For once no babies were pursuing them.

We discussed them at length and finally settled on names for them.  Down Doggy piggy did a yoga stretch that was astonishing in its length and duration!  Tongue piggy let her tongue hang out constantly!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Dragon’s Teeth and Secrets

What’s left in the corn field, a dragon’s skull with many teeth?  

Secret book unfurled and spread out on its box/display stand


Cover of box

Friday, November 24, 2017

Sweet Time Yesterday

Above— lush and exotic giant elm mushrooms as a centerpiece at the sweet thanksgiving gathering we went to.  Our new friend C actually grew these in a plastic bag full of mulch with spores in it.  As beautiful as they are, they are just as delicious to eat, we were told.

After dinner C, B, D and P played music, 2 fiddles, a dulcimer, and a mandolin.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Gleaning/ Napping

The farm crew members have harvested the corn in the far back field.  I enjoy walking along the newly-cut field at sunset, sort of a Romantic Millet’s Gleaners feeling with the crows circling and geese dropping down in the apricot light and single ears of corn here and there, mostly stripped of kernals this late in the day.  Not actually very romantic to think of people actually living on these meager pickings.

Jesse takes frequent daytime naps on cold days but still spends his nights out.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Lemongrass, Hyacinth, and More

This sweet-smelling lemongrass came from L’s garden, good for simmering into a soothing tea as well as for using in Thai cooking.

I still need to draw people in meetings;  and these hyacinths blooms were undaunted by our light frost this morning.

Saturday, November 11, 2017


I’ve spent a lot of time lately knitting secrets into a scroll for an artist’s book on the topic ‘Secret.’  In the process I learned a lot about steganography, or the concealing of a message, image, or file within another message, image, or file.  Go to to learn all about what Madame DeFarge was up to as she sat knitting before the guillotine in Tale of Two Cities.

I wish I had known how to do this in high school, when passing notes in class got me into lots of trouble—

Sunday, November 5, 2017


I was waiting for L to come home the other day, and got so entranced by her front porch things that I almost wanted her to be late.  This broken ceramic hand with its appendages, the specimens from the bone table—

And out in the dried up frost bitten garden by our front porch one of the dwarf hibiscuses is putting forth blooms as though it were still August.

I can never resist pulling into the driveway by the white barn and sketching the leisure bulls.  

Thursday, November 2, 2017


Have you seen this lone,  dried-up looking, green and white striped leaf lurking in the fall and winter forest? This is the winter stage of the putty root orchid, the tiny blooms of which I watched avidly last June.  In winter the chlorophyl-laden single leaf makes food for the plant even when snow covers it and icy winds flatten it.  Meanwhile underground a complex root with bulbous corms stores the starchy food.

I found fifteen of the leaves where the flowers came up last summer.  I dug up one leaf and the corm to which it was attached to see if the corm really had adhesive putty inside.  It does!  Native people and early colonists/settlers/displacers of Native people are said to have used this corm’s sticky pulp to mend pottery.  I tried using it to adhere a piece of paper to this page.  It works very well— dries flat and it can be reversed with water.  The putty root is not endangered in NC but check its status in your area before digging any up.  I replanted mine in our front garden.