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Drawing and a Trip to the Farm

I’ve become an early riser this week in order to get more drawing time in during the day. By the time early evening comes around and the sun starts to go down, I’m beat and I don’t want to do anything other than drink tea and read a book. So, all this week I’ll be setting my alarm clock for 6, maybe even earlier if this is a successful venture.

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This past Friday, the girls and I went to Ardenwood Farm. I LOVE going to farms: so much inspirational material! The girls love the chickens and the goats, but my littlest is not very fond of pigs in the flesh–she loves the movie Babe, but stand her anywhere near a pigpen and she’s not a happy camper. I love them, though. They have the life (at least until they get to be optimum size).

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I love going to this farm in particular because of the eucalyptus trees and old farmhouse with its cottage gardens and gazebo. I like the mix of plants: there are a lot of traditional cottage flowers, like irises and columbine and roses, but there are also a lot of tropical and subtropical specimens. I’m planning a drawing of a cottage garden for sometime in the near future–they are just so magical. You can almost see the fairies fluttering around the leaves and petals!

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I need to find my little Canon Elph camera for our next excursion. I like that better than using my phone, and combined with a little Photoshop Elements, I really like how the pictures turn out.

Hopefully will finish the “Stillness” drawing this afternoon!

THROUGH the ample open door of the peaceful country barn,
A sun-lit pasture field, with cattle and horses feeding;
And haze, and vista, and the far horizon, fading away.

–Walt Whitman

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Seasonal Gardening

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Mena and I have been putting in the winter garden. I love this time of year, even though the days are shorter and the sunlight arcs lower in the sky and everything grows a bit slower. All living things are entering a dormant period, a much needed time of rest. Still, it’s incredibly beautiful here in California, and I am getting some garden surprises.

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I knew I would be harvesting a lot of radishes…so that’s not surprising. The “Easter Egg” variety is beautiful! I will be roasting these for dinner the night my mom flies in from Pennsylvania.

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Collards are still going strong and are so beautiful after light rains. Their leaves hold the water in pools, and the plant looks to be speckled with jewels. The mullein in the background is humongous now! I cannot wait until it grows the long stalk and blooms!

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Here is the surprise: my pattypan and yellow summer squash are still growing and producing fruit! I can’t believe it ๐Ÿ™‚

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And the lovely Musque de Provence is positively taking over the lower terrace by the beautiful meandering live oaks. Two more pumpkins on the vine, and I’ll be pureeing like crazy come time they turn that nutty orange color. I am very curious as to how they taste; we’ve never grown this variety before!

Ending with a quote, post-election:

โ€œWhether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do.โ€

โ€• Wendell Berry

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A Time for Every Purpose

Nearly finished with the studio. Anthony has only to put the window trim in (the baseboard is actually in, just not in the pic), and it’s finished! I’ve moved most of my supplies in, including the computer and printer. So excited to have a room of my own, in the words of one of my favorite writers ๐Ÿ™‚

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Got a bunch of dirt and some manure to prepare the garden next to the keyhole bed…have to come up with a good name for that one, instead of always referring to it as “the garden next to the keyhole bed.” I love planning a garden…and it’s so satisfying to see it growing in, maturing, becoming what you imagined it to be, and more.

In the veggie garden, summer squash is still chugging along, radishes will soon be harvested, another batch to be seeded now. Mesclun has sprouted, to be picked when young and put into my daily juice!

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Rosemary is blooming and lovely, and the bees are in heaven. Going to take some cuttings. I’m planning on planting a hedge just below the last tier of the terrace and above the live oak, one of blackberry and currant and rosemary. I’m going to do a bit of guerrilla gardening and stop on the side of the road next to a local park where I noticed the blackberries growing wild and take a few snips!

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Looking forward to October and cooler days and nights and keeping busy inside with painting and baking and reading. And going to the parks on off-season when we don’t have to pay for parking! I really do miss truly delineated seasons, especially fall: the sweeping mass of color in all the foliage, the smell of wet leaves and the cold, everything in a golden haze at sunset, when the air is so crisp and clear it makes everything seem hyper-real.

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I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.

–Henry David Thoreau