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.
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.
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.
Today Betty and I travelled south to Ellijay to assist our friend JoAnn Antonelli in an art project at her bed and breakfast the Martyn House. It's way more than a B and B though; its a farm, a nature sanctuary, an art and event space and a mountain paradise. The 130 year old farmhouse anchors a property with seemingly endless vistas of varied landscapes rich in design.
The property sings with spring. Flowering fruit trees, ample beds of violets and daffodils, emerging lily of the valley, hyacinth, and hellebores dot the landscape which rolls in and out of open space and into wooded areas where her indian gypsy faire tents await guests.
There are three smaller tents that serve as guest rooms nestled in the woods overlooking the main field, and there is one very large tent for events like the wonderful farm to table dinners they have. The little guest tents sleep two, and each have their own distinctive personality.
JoAnn has outfitted the tents with vintage linens and restored and refinished bathroom fixtures that she designed. The ceilings of the tents sparkle with tiny mirrors inside of golden stars. The tents have screened windows and ceiling fans as well as heaters making them a comfortable respite in all seasons.
A beautiful blossoming fruit tree beyond the porch was breathtaking against the sky.
A chair pair wait to be filled....maybe after the art project is completed.
The art project was to decorate 2 very orange porta-pottys brought in for the Martyn House's big tent events. We used Krylon Fusion paint which is for plastic. I was pleasantly surprised to discover how well and quickly it covered. We each did our own designs and they integrated nicely.
The wise owl advised me to take a break inside the big event tent when the spray paint started to get to me. ( Note to self: next time, bring a filter mask.)
Maya (pictured here) and Grace were relaxing inside the big tent.
JoAnn's john had a tie dye effect and was a great blend with the original orange color. Her designs reminded me of a hawaiian shirt, or maybe an island bar.
Naturally, my design had a bird and sky above foliage theme. We used various branches of leaves as stencils to create the patterns. Layering lots of colors gave the paintings depth and richness.
Betty used an ornate stencil and incorporated her signature pottery designs into the final.
Cheerful daffodils waved in approval.
When we finished we took a golf cart ride to the pond, looked at the new fish and tadpoles and watched the dogs swim and rough house. JoAnn pointed out clusters of jelly like blobs containing frog eggs. We took a tour into the forest to see a stick arch JoAnn made for couples to be married under and immediately Betty and I wanted to make one too....which we will in the next week or so. JoAnn bid us good-bye from her garden and we headed north in the old grey truck.
It was a perfect way to spend the afternoon, good friends, sweet fresh spring beauty and inspired and dreaming of ways to develop Chickory over the next years. Loved it.