Progress Report


Today is mild with a lovely breeze out of the northwest with fingers of clouds stretching into yesterdays solid blue. Im racing to get in 9 tomato plants and three peppers in time for the rain tomorrow. A woodpecker is working hard on the snag just beyond the tree line; the pecking a deep rhythm of hollow echo. Mourning doves, the waterfall, tenacious dry leaves rattling and holding fast to hardwoods and harley davidsons way off in the distance are the music for the day. The radishes (above) are up, firm and healthy and the carrots have wee little airy shoots just beginning.

Lettuce is in great shape. I took a few leaves for my salad last night and they tasted good. I have butter crunch, romaine, red sail and another red i forgot what.

I planted this mesclun mix called "valentine" a mixture of red and green lettuce. Since i am not a volume farmer, i have to be a boutique farmer. I want to have some unusual offerings for the farmers market this year. I was attracted to the spotted lettuce and can already tell which of the tiny seeds are the spotted, the solid reds and the green with red edges. I didnt get them placed well, there are clumps of leaves too tight together. Hopefully, in a week or two i can move them apart a bit. If not, i'll eat the sprouts while working.

Peggy Jean enjoys a romp in the field; every day a little greener.

The hens are out all day everyday getting spoiled. They will not tolerate confinement now, they complain bitterly and loudly when i am late to let them out. Im trying to keep them cooped until they lay; im short some eggs which means they are in the yard somewhere. I found a few in the big bag of mulch in the barn. A few years ago i thought Red had stopped laying. Then i found a clutch of over 20 eggs in the bottom of a hose caddy. But they need to be out eating greens and insects. Yesterday i turned over a rotting log to let them get at tiny termite nits.

The silver maples are just beginning to bud. From a distance, they still look bare but soon they will have that fresh spring green color to them. They call them silver maples because the underside of the mature leaves are a dusty silvery color. When the wind blows the silver shows and it is beautiful.

dont-take-my-picture Trout contemplates todays mischief.

I am growing the chard mostly for my garden scans. I will be looking into ways to prepare and serve it - i dont think i want to do anything that makes it lose its spectacular color. Im a bit disappointed i dont have any of the ones with bright pink stems. But this red is pretty good.

blueberry The blueberries are waking up.

This was one of my garden scans from March....

And this is the painting i made from it.

I am working on three others for an upcoming show called "Weathervane: 4 Artists, 4 Directions" opening at the Atlanta Fulton Public Library May 6th; a part of the Downtown Atlanta Art Walk. (You're invited).
I decided to work from my garden scans because i have gotten in a rut as an artist; i work from my mind's eye too much. So in addition to painting these for the show, its like a disciplinary action i have taken. I need to train myself once again to really LOOK at things and try to record them as they are. This will be very helpful later when i return to my regular process. As you can see from this side by side comparison, i am in no danger of being literal or a realist.

The studio is finally in the dry! Next comes the wiring, the insulation, the sheet rock and the floor. And then i can at least move in it and use it. Hopefully, by May. Then i will get to the outside as soon as i can afford to.

From inside the studio i can see out every direction. In this corner, i have a great view of the deer path. I might hang my big moultrie game feeder out there and see what i get. I need a wildlife cam.

Speaking of wildlife cams...have you seen the Owl Box? Its a live streaming camera of a pair of barn owls raising their new fledglings. Yesterday i saw them bring a rat or squirrel in to feed the babies. its amazing. You can watch the owls HERE

This weekend i am looking forward to a visit from my sister, who is going to participate with me in the Plein Air Festival here in Blue Ridge! How it works is on saturday you arrive and the judges stamp your paper or canvas and you are given a map of pretty destinations around town. You have until 3 pm sunday to turn the work in for an exhibition and judging. They stamp your paper or canvas so you cant just show up and produce something you did in your studio. Im excited about it because i never paint on site. I either paint from my imagination or memory or photographs. I plan to take lots of photographs of the event and will report back here on sunday. Have a great weekend everyone.


  1. This is a little slice of heaven- err- maybe a big slice! I'll put my tomatoes in the ground next weekend per the advice of my uncle who's a master gardner. I want to grow blue berries too- I need to work on that, they've become my new favorite food.
    I got my first beehive last week, and tonight I'm going to my first bee keeper meeting in the next county. I'm looking forward to cracking the hive open and taking a look, but I want to have my bee hat and veil before I do :) I don't care for any more stings on the nose!
    Miss you! xoxo

  2. What a great visit you've given us. Beautiful garden photos, lovely hen portraits, mischievous hound and a peek into your process and method as an artist. I know it's wrong to envy but dang, the art studio is making me want a little photo studio. Thanks so much for sharing with us and hopefully you'll be sharing your Plein Air results.
    PS where are the beets?

  3. Bonnie post.

    Well done on appropriate use of the word "wee".
    You have attained Grade 1 in your Scottish Language Diploma.

    To attain Grade 2, demonstrate understanding and appropriate use of the word "flummoxed" in a future piece.


  4. Has anyone ever told you you have a very nice cock ?

    I'm still trying to figure out this K9/Chickory connection.

    Anyhoo, Heff planted tomatoes in one of those "Topsy Turvy" contraptions (see about 3 posts back on my blog) and so far, they're doing nicely.

    See ya for the Smackdown.

    Wurd Up, Dawg.

  5. Wow Chickory, you really know how to make a visit come to life on this blog! Your close up photography of the garden goodies are just wonderous. Maybe even splendiferous.
    Really like your new disciplined work from the garden scans. Your use of color is stellar and I love those intense colors on the dark ground.
    You have one lucky sister if she gets to come play in your kingdom!
    Looking forward to the post show post :-) Have a great weekend.

  6. my goodness! look at your new painting! wow, is all i can say.

    i just love peggy jean's strut .. lol ..

    thanks for the tour of your place. i do need to come check it out.

    heff is curious about the k9/chickory connection?
    grrrrrrherhahaha ..

  7. First, poor Heff! (heh) Fergit it Heff, it ain't an easy figger, an' all's ya gonna do is git yoreself dreadfully flummoxed.

    Pup, youse really really onto somethin' wif the new process-them garden scan paintings is prime stuff.

    This peek into yore garden gave me an idea! Come back an see mah Tres Heures --added some jes' fer yore new avocation.

    Plein Air? An the Atlanta Walkabout? On that latter, doan walk into no kedergree eatin' varmit.

  8. ahhh I have been by here a few times - just wasn't in the mood for commenting I guess. Your painting is gorgeous ! and well .. your Peep wreath - Rocked ! common' you did win first prize in the Peep-a pa-looza didn't you ?? Hugs & Kisses to Trout and the pup from Missy D and me. xo S (oh yeah and greetings to the chickens from those darn chats)

  9. I am in love with that painting. Love. And the photo of the hens in the yard. And your studio. And your corner of this universe. Totally in love with the painting.

  10. mayden: uncle is right to be cautious...seems theres always a late frost blast but i started early anyway. i do have some of my stuff in raised beds that i can cover.

    so excited to hear you are going to keep a beehive! what good noble work that is, they certainly need the help and it will benefit your garden greatly. i might try this myself. inspiring!

    i miss you. why dont you and foamy drive over this summer? we will float down the river and have a bonfire. xoxoxox

    shamy: a lot of this stuff i put in because i wanted you to have something to play with in the kitchen. you would be here this weekend had it worked worries though there will be more in fall.

    i never put the beets in. grrherhahaha

    ardlair: ha! i see aunty beat me to using flummoxed! aye, i will surely get my plaid diploma when i present you with a fine trout from my own back yard.

    heff: all the time, up until the point i chopped its head off.

    K9 and chickory. a curious couple. the topsy turvy! one of the best rated TV products of all time. way better than the snuggie. yeah, i will see ya on the lobster game buddy. booo ya!

    fishy: that background color is layers of red and greens. makes an awesome substitute for black. the net cant show the layers well. i cant wait to varnish will bring up so much. i am starting a green and white one now. im excited about seeing my sister and having a play weekend.

    foamy: i want you to stop talking aobut visiting and come on over. bring mayden. we will strut with peggy jean through the cohuttas. and thanks about the painting. hopefully i will have another by the end of next week.

    aunty: not in atlanta. in BR. i love that you added to you post and the BIG pictures are way better. thank you!

    susan: there you are! i am your neglected friend now that you are in lurve. grherhahaha. ive missed you. thanks for coming by. i doubt i could win the peeps challenge. there were so many great entires. i loved xl's, boxers, divas, savannahs...all of them were awesome. it was my first karmic kitchen entry.
    love to all of you from the hens, the dogs and my own cowboy sans cowboy mustache.

    pam: i posted it for you. remember that painting i showed in progress a few weeks back? i was hard up for a canvas so i painted over it and did this instead. good call, huh? thank you friend.

  11. LOVE the studio!!!!!!!

    just barely have wifi, so that's all I can say.

    xoxoxox. Have a fabulous weekend.

  12. hey babe,
    been a looooong time.
    I deeply dig the moonwalking chicken
    And you know what? This is a blog that inspires multiple comments all with substance and depth.

    This is a really good place, I see why you have chosen to focus here.
    Good luck on the art contest with your sister. I wish it was me in the sunshine painting on site with you.
    I'll finally be graduating soon. In about a month.
    At that time I will be unemployed and maybe with extra time to catch up on what's been going on.

    Your studio looks like a great place to create.

    I truly wish i could express to you the valuable place that you hold in my life.
    I wanted to come over to make some small offering of continued friendship and admiration.

    Peace out, home skillet...

  13. Wow, so much stuff in your post so much stuff to comment on.

    Firstly, I am tres jealous that you get fresh eggs to cook with! You and Dani and your purdy hens! I love fresh eggs!

    Your part of the world looks beautiful, I love the mountains. The silver maples will be really gorgeous when the leaves shoot out a bit more! Trees look almost flourescent in the spring the tiny leaves are so bright!

    Your studio looks like it will be so inspiring! You must have a lot of quiet time, lucky you. I just called the office for the apt. block next door, the stupid pick up truck's alarm keeps going off cuz of the garbage truck...sigh.

    I love your flower painting, I see what you see but can never execute it myself! haha! You make it look easy.

    I ate that same brilliant chard only last night! Weird.

    the Plein Aire sounds fun, have a good weekend with your sister. Thanks for the look see into your life.

  14. Thanks for keeping the BR photos up on the side bar, I get tickled every time I see them. Dreamboat and manly, a good combo! (Ok, they just made me want to go back to bed to snuggle with my big bear man...later! x)

  15. Oh, I meant to say something about working from your mind's eye (sorry to be a comment hog!) I always get amazed when I'm in NY or Chicago at one of the museums and am checking out the paintings of times past. I see all the realism of the paintings of let's say, a battle scene. The artist sees every muscle of the horse, every blade of grass, the shadows. Talk about a mind's eye, how did they do that back then? No cameras to jog your memory!

  16. yeah...Diva's question. makes me realize we ain't so fabulous as we think we is...them middle ages folks were onto somethin'

  17. Good morning Chickory,

    You always have so much going on, really is impressive.

    Try to sauté the Chard with a little olive oil and garlic. It's very tasty.

    The studio really is comming along. The deck out front is huge, gonna need to get a couple rocking chairs for it.

    Good luck with the show this weekend.

  18. A "still" from Deliverance ???

    "Squeal like a pig for me !!!!"

  19. the studio is coming along nicely. Hope you haven't had any visits from the previous contractor.

    As for the chard, I smell throwdown or Dim Sum Sunday ingredient.

  20. chickory,

    studio looks fantastic!

    chickory looks fantastic, too,
    and your new painting... brilliant

    you are SO blessed(!) -- enjoy

    × × ×


  21. I like your comment about mind's eye versus recording eye. And that painting is amazing.

    Thankfully, this post – and I'm sure future ones – will allow me to live vicariously through you, since I have no idea when I'll be able to tend my own garden. Maybe I'll be able to at least get lettuces in when I'm back in two weeks. And I'm a little scared because temps have suddenly soared, which means I've got at least a couple hour's worth of watering to do in addition to everything else.

    Which means I really shouldn't veg out with the owl cam, now should I?

  22. can't wait to see the finished studio :)

    critters and plants are doing really well, and the painting's are great...

  23. The studio (are you going to give it a special name?) is coming along very nicely. I can imagine the wonderful fresh lumber smell inside!

  24. Okay, I am moving in with you. I'll be there tomorrow. Anything I can bring? Fabulous!!!! xox Pam

  25. boxer: yay. i love it too. and cant wait until i can actually USE it. slowwwwwwwwww progress. enjoy the weekend with your daddy.

    vanille: hey hey, hay hay. youve been missed. how are ya, grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrl? you know what? you can pick up with me where ya left off and its like no time passed between us, sixter. when youre a graduate, well try and make our meet up the real deal, kay? xoxoxox. so glad to see you.

    diva: this is a beautiful corner of the world, but if you want anything out of the ordinary, food wise, you had better grow it. you cant even buy art supplies around here. cant wait to paint flowers and much more in that studio because my art junk is crowding up the cabin in a very big way. and i hate clutter. it psychologically distresses me.

    oh burt. my love for young burt reynolds has made me a target of ridicule. see my comment to heff re: burt.

    realism is a discipline. but i am not attracted to realistic art emotionally. i love minimalism for that. however, realism, and in my case, trying for realism, is just a step towards better informing future departures from realism. and retraining myself to really observe and not be lazy. thanks for all these comments - always great to see you.

    aunty: the amazing thing about the middle ages especially work like your recent post examines is its incredible modernity in both execution and weird allegorical abstractions.

    karl: ive been thinking about getting some rocking chairs. there are some amish ones at the ace hardware i like a lot. they sort of glide though, not rock.

    day one of the plein aire was fun. i chose to paint violets growing in a drainage ditch. most people are doing houses and trees, waterfalls and thinks with a lot of space. i think i am going to be the only one working at the macro level. i have to finish tomorrow, its a gainst the rules to work on it at have to do it outside looking at your subject. we'll see how it washes out. i'll report the results tomorrow night.

    heff: buried deep inside this blog, is the story of my dust up with "nephew" a deliverance like local. in this post i wish for burt reynolds and his compound bow. i use burt on my sidebar as a kind of talismen against weird country people. grrrrherhaha

    buzz: i am growing the chard to paint, not eat. however i plan to try karls approach to chard. NO visits from the previous builder ...probably thanks to my video surveilience system. grherherhaha

    /t: dont i know it! blessed yes. thanks 't!

    moi: did you look at the owl cam? its so cool. you really cant beat a bird that regurgitates a rabbit and feeds it to her young. too bad that you have to travel during growing season...but your gig so worth it. i will save you a salad. ;-) thanks about the painting too.

    laughing wolf: ha! that makes two of us. hopefully by august? no, i better be in there by the end of may. at least the inside. thanks for your kind words about the painting!

    xl: grrherhahaha smells GREAT! i hope sheet rock smells good. thats next.

    yoborobo: are you kidding me? bring skellies! LOL. i'll get the guest room ready.

  26. "i use burt on my sidebar as a kind of talismen against weird country people. grrrrherhaha"

    * * * *

    After Manly Pointer steals Hulga Joy's wooden leg durin' a toss in the hay:

    “Her voice when she spoke had an almost pleading sound. ‘Aren’t you,’ she murmured, ‘aren’t you just good country people?’”

    (Flannery O'Connor's "Good Country People")

  27. My, my, my. What a fantabulous post, plus all these interesting comments and responses.

    Chickory, your corner of the world has me in awe every time I see your photos and read your tales. I'm also looking forward to seeing more of your painting and finding out how the plein aire thing unfolds.

    If I could ask a newbie question: What do you mean by your garden "scans"?

    Spent my weekend with "good country people" doing the lobster thing. Looking forward to seeing everyone's entries.


  28. i see i have an errant apostrophe there... sorry :(

    getting set up inside by next month is a good goal :)

  29. Wow!! Chickory dear what an amazing post, just about every subject here to delight us and your photographs and words are wonderful.
    Love the vegetables, so healthy and green and colourful; I want to be a chickory hen :) ... they are beautiful, Peggy Jean looks as if she is dancing; great to see dearest Trout looking so well and beautiful; the silver maples are so lovely; blueberries, what a taste sensation.
    I just love the paintings of your garden scans, I hope you will paint the scans of the pear and cherry blossoms,their colours were just beautiful; the studio looks great, I love the front door, it is the same as mine ... and have fun at the Plein Air Festival with your sister sweet girl.
    I love visiting here, it is good for the soul. xoxoxo ♥

  30. your studio is perfect! I cannot wait to see the finished! So, 2 things... don't you have a site where I can go look at your stuff and see what I might like to purchase? That reads a little bit dirty, but you know what I mean. ;) second, I need your expertise on the whole growing plants and whatnot. do you mind stopping by when you get a sec??

    thanks. x.

  31. I felt so serene while reading this. You have to pipe in audio of birds chirping and maybe a babbling brook or something.

  32. nice studio!
    wish I was of the top ten best insulators in central Indiana, I am. (not's true)
    It isn't so hard, and if you do it yourself, you get a better job done.

    Hey...I came by the other day (in my dreams) and I saw Trout carefully carrying eggs from the hens pen to the hose caddy.
    The painting was very cool, too.
    Be sure to touch bases with Elliot (Elliot's Gallery) in Atlanta. He's a good guy (I think) and if you tell him where your art is, he'll go look, and maybe talk business with ya.

    Then again, I'm getting nervous about the show on the 30th of this month.

    Which brings me to, you'll never believe what I won (at ...
    right out of the blue!
    No...not the mega million, although ever since that conversation, I buy a ticket sometimes...

    Oh well, back to work with my lazy butt. Give ol' Trout a kiss on the nose for me.

  33. hey c

    this is turning into
    one very l-o-n-g weekend

    × × ×


  34. * Everything looks bright and fresh and too perfectly pretty. I feel like I've taken a vacation just looking intently at everything. *


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