Diary, musings on life, people, interests. Posting my poetry

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Location: Lacey, WA, United States

I have a Certified Artist/Teacher degree with the National Society of Decorative Painters. Taught decorative painting, color theory, calligraphy and other art related classes for 12 years. I enjoy using my artistic talents, especially to update furniture and repurpose found items. I am married to the world's most wonderful husband. We celebrated our 48th anniversary this year (2016). We have raised six children, three boys, three girls. Have 10 grandchildren. Through the NSDP I have paintings in the White House, Blaire House and Smithsonian Institute. I was given the honor of being the Chair of the Pacific NW, "Breeze and Brush" Decorative Painting Convention. What fun we had! I like keeping healthy and enjoy life. I love humor and people. God has been good to me!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Charolais Bull Sign

Oils on plywood, May 1978

When I first started painting in 1973 I used only oils.  I appreciated the slow drying time and the ability to work the colors longer and blend them well.  I painted in oils for years until I started experiencing some allergy problems and switched to acrylics.

This is one of the largest projects I worked on using oils.  A friend of mine, who was also a fellow painter, had owned land where she and her husband lived.  They decided to raise some Charolais cattle and asked if I would paint a sign for them.

Her husband cut and sanded the wood and set it up on sawhorses in their barn for me to paint.  It measured six feet wide by four feet tall  Thankfully the weather was warm and comfortable for the time it took to paint it.

I gave the board several coats of a dark blue acrylic paint and sprayed the dried surface with Matte finish for a good painting surface.

I took pictures of their Charolais bull and using large rolls of tracing paper, that were cut and taped together to match the size of the board, I sketched the outline of the bull and then transferred it to the painted background using a white, artists, transfer paper. 

I had to use much larger, flat brushes for such a large project.  To base the body I used a regular, soft bristle, paint brush like you would use to do trim in the house. I worked on a section at a time starting with the head, applying shading, highlights, color and blending.

The whole project took me several days to complete, but was such a pleasure to work on.  


Sunday, November 02, 2008

Here's A Puzzle For You To Solve

I just posted this last night and already I have an answer from both my garden website and one of the comments on my Blog.  'Anonymous" on the garden site and "Slightlylooney" who commented on the Blog said it was a Wild Cucumber; Marah Macrocarpeae.  I looked it up o the internet and "Bingo" that is exactly what it is.  Thank you so much!!  The puzzle is solved after six months of searching for an answer.  Such interesting information on this plant.  It grows from January through April.  I picked the one I had in May.

Would you believe it sometimes has a hundred pound root?

It's also nice to know that people actually do view my Blog.  Thank you, that is very much appreciated!!

Do you have a clue what this plant is?  If you do, please leave a comment.  At the bottom of this posting click on the comment box and type in what you know about the plant.  I would really appreciate it.

I am on a wonderful gardening site and have posted it there also but haven't discovered yet what it is.  Looking forward to your comments!!

In May of 2008 I made a trip to Jamul, CA, a suburb of San Diego, to visit my children and grandchildren.  My three grandchildren and I had gone for a walk and when we returned to the house we were looking at some of the trees growing by the patio when I discovered a vine growing through the tree that had the pod, in the picture above, hanging from it.  I had never seen anything like it before.  We picked it and waited until mom and dad came home to ask them what it was.  They didn't know either.

So I brought the pod home with me and immediately took these pictures of it.  I searched the internet for a clue, choosing different subjects; California plants, pods, spiny pods, gourds etc.  I didn't find anything that looked like it.  Jamul is in the hill country about forty minutes from downtown San Diego.  It is very dry and gets hot.

The pod measured four inches long by three inches wide.  The spines were very pointy and bent in different directions.  You could handle it, they weren't extremely sticky.

I placed the pod on the buffet and pretty much forgot about it.  A week later when I was cleaning I found that the bottom end, opposite the stem, had burst open.  The inside, as you can see, was white, soft and moist.  There were four chambers with beige colored seeds in each chamber.  The seeds were smooth and shiny and had a little darker brown on one end.  Altogether there were 12 seeds.

I imagine when they burst while hanging on the vine, the seeds would drop to the ground, into the dead foliage, dirt, etc. that is under the tree, sprout and grow.  I tried placing them in a pot on top of dirt and covering them with leaves.  I placed the pot in the direct sun but nothing happened.  I'm sure that Pacific Northwest weather is not even close to the heat they have in Jamul.  I was a little disappointed they didn't do anything.


Hot From The Oven

I've always wanted to put these together but had never taken a picture of my cinnamon rolls until now.  Love digital photography!!  I did the painting in 1978, it was done with oils on masonite and still hangs in my dining room.  It is a constant reminder of all the times I have made cinnamon rolls.

The cinnamon rolls were made in October 2008 only I didn't have to sign or date them, they didn't last long enough. :-)  We were having a new furnace installed the next day so I made a batch large enough to share with the installers and I also took some to our neighbors across the street as a thank you for loaning us their electric heater.
I love baking cinnamon rolls, the wonderful aroma of yeast bread and cinnamon, the pleasure of having something warm straight from the oven; and in this situation, without a furnace, it kept the kitchen and dining room toasty for a while.

The poem I wrote in November of 2005.  It only took me thirty years to get the painting, cinnamon roll pictures and poem together; Now I'm satisfied!

Baking Time

The coffee is perking gently in the pot
The oven is on and getting hot
The counters are clean for the fun to begin
And I'm still searching for the rolling pin.

Before I mix I must grease the pans
It's hard to do later, with dough on your hands.
Pre-heating the oven is always wise
The heat it exudes helps the dough rise.

Bowls for mixing, cups to measure
Some used for years, a real baker's treasure
The big wooden spoon looks old and beat
It's had years of experience at mixing each treat.

A most wonderful aroma begins to lurk
The dough is covered and the yeast is at work
Punch down and knead gently, form into rolls
Add butter, sugar, cinnamon; line them in rows.

Into the oven slide the dough-laden pans
A masterpiece from the baker's hands
A pinch of salt, powdered sugar and heavy cream
Add a spoonful of vanilla for glaze that's supreme.

Pour a fresh cup of coffee or a tall glass of cold milk
The rolls set before you have a texture like silk
With butter and smiles the rolls they consume
Just a hint of cinnamon is left in the room.


Beauty In The Garden 2008

Early in the year, sometimes as soon as February, the Crocus push their way up and out of their winter bed and smile at the sky.  I love to see the appearance each year of my Crocus, it tells me that spring is right around the corner and the daffodils, tulips and Ajuga will be blooming soon.

Soon my tulips are pushing through the soil, with their lovely green leaves and long stems standing at attention.  The flowers soon open with the help of the sunlight and nod in the gentle breeze.  A beautiful carpet of Periwinkle Blue Ajuga stocks covers the flower bed,  a sight to behold.

And Sean is ready with his shovel to plant, transplant and weed.  A gift from my daughter Amy and grandchildren Emma and Aidan.

Soon the Lilac tree in back is budding and the buds turn into large clumps of gorgeous, fragrant Lilacs.  The Lilacs only last a few weeks, especially when we have spring showers.  I take full advantage of the season and have bouquets of fresh Lilac in the house the whole time.

There isn't an air freshener on the market that can take the place of a large bouquet of Lilacs.  The fragrance is wonderful but the beauty of the flowers is calming as well.

For our dog Betsy, nothing is more relaxing than being able to lay on the grass in the warm sun.

I don't cut the leaves back in the fall on my Sword Fern.  During the summer they change from yellow-green to medium green and then to a dark green.  They stay green all winter and are so nice to have in the garden.  It is important, in the spring, to know when to cut them back so I check the base of the leaves almost every day.  At the base, new fronds are forming, all closed up like the fingers on a fist.  I cut the old leaves before the fronds start unfurling.  Then it is so much fun to watch the new growth open up and stretch into beautiful new, fresh, yellow-green foliage.

The ferns are unfurled and growing and Blue is checking to see if I remembered to change the water in the birdbath.  He gets several drinks a day and loves to curl up between the birdbath and ferns to nap and watch the birds and squirrels.  He has given up thinking he can catch them.  The squirrels are so used to him they ignore him.

Another of my favorites, the Licorice Fern, or Black Fern.  The stems are black and the fern is delicate and lacy.  It is in the perfect location where it has enough light but is also protected from the wind.  It has to be cut to the ground in late fall, but come spring it pops back up again to keep us company.
This is Mylo, one of our buddies.  He is a very loving and laid-back guy.  He is between the Ivy and the California Lilies, one of his favorite spots.  It is nice and cool on warm days and out of the way where no one can bother him.

Mr Frog plays his French horn by my giant Hosta.  The Hosta has beautiful light lavender blossoms.  Sometimes it grows so big it covers Mr. Frog and I have to rescue him.  He inspired a poem, can't remember if I posted it in my blog, I'll have to look.  If not, I may come back and post it here.

I found the poem that I wrote in 2006 here it is:

Play Your French Horn Froggy

Relaxing in the garden
Early in the morn
Froggy by the Hosta
Tooting on his horn.

Work, or stay and listen
Decision leaves me torn
He sits, as the leaves
His little head adorn.

Lovely garden music
I could never stay forlorn
Froggy's played his tunes
Since the day that he was born.

As spring passes into summer the plants begin to mature and together they paint a beautiful picture that is soothing and calming to the eye.  On the fence next to thermometer is a squirrel feeder.  I am so glad we started feeding the squirrels, they have been such a joy.  I have heard from so many people what a pest they are.  I don't view them as a pest, they are so much fun to have around and are so smart and inventive.  It is a commitment on your part if you feed squirrels and birds, you have to remember to fill the feeders regularly and keep them clean.  It isn't fair to start and then stop, they depend on you.

Here is one of my squirky friends.  They are a constant source of smiles, laughs and entertainment, and yes - I know it's a bird feeder!  The squirrels and birds have worked out a good arrangement, they get along just fine.  If the squirrel is on the feeder it usually knocks plenty of food onto the grass for the birds.  When the birds are on the feeder the squirrels feed on the ground.

Any position will do as long as he can eat at the same time.  We have since added another feeder next to this one, it has a slanted roof that the squirrels can grasp at the top with their back feet.  They hang down from the roof and are just the right length to be right next to the seed tray.  You can't beat that!

Of course, if you become friends with the 'squirrel feeder filler' you get special attention.  This is my friend "Buddy".  The first time I offered him a peanut I thought his neck was going to snap he held it out so far and his little eyes were so squinted he could hardly see, he was so afraid of me. But he gingerly, and very quickly, took the peanut and ran.  After a few months he knew I wouldn't hurt him.

Now he climbs up onto the top of the bird feeder to look into the window and almost waves to me to let me know he's there.  He loves apple slices with peanut butter.  I feel so privileged to have his friendship.