Thursday, December 14, 2017

Meanwhile in the Bull Pasture, Flerding

When the news makes me feel like committing unspeakable acts, I go down to the pasture and watch the flerd.  

Saturday, December 9, 2017


No mystery here— just the blue pickeral pod that I’ve been incubating curling back its opening to reveal its jewel-like seeds.

But here’s the mystery object,  shown in three views.  The name is encoded in the letters above.  Enlarge the letters to better decipher.  What IS this thing?

Monday, December 4, 2017

Possum Bones, Pigs and Sheep

I’ve been waiting for this poor possum to stop smelling sovI could get close enough to draw it.  Mostly fluff, a few graceful ribs, and a snakey tail.  Also here the smiley sow and some pretty moss.

I like this pot sherd even though it doesn’t look that old.

The lambies are getting big and wooly!

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.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Sheep at the Fiber Fair

Finally a chance to get really close to sheep!

All different breeds and all groomed for the show.

A Shetland ewe

And a Shetland lamb ram

A big Icelandic

At the end of their competitions some owners had their sheep shorn, and here is a master shearer at work.  The sheep was relaxed and looked like it was lying back in a barber’s chair.  The shearer wore interesting Australian felt shearers’ moccasins.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Odd Duck

Three ducks — a male and a female mallard and the unusual green-billed duck above— were dabbling around the dock at Beaver Lake yesterday.  There are apparently many hybrids of mallards, who breed freely with other duck breeds as well as with geese.

The steers were very close to the fence ;  it feels like being in the middle of the herd.

Late afternoon on the farm.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Hydrangea, Late Phase

This bloom is from a hydrangea that put forth cream-colored flowers in July, which turned blue in August, then pink in September, and now light green with violet in October.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Trying Out New Paper

A tumbly pile of cheddar black pepper boules at City Bakery
Walking after yesterday’s torrential rain I found this downed cattail near the flooded lake.

Also right after the all-day rain, this late rosebud growing outside of my studio window

Sunday, October 22, 2017


These jewel-like seeds cluster in their pods.  The seeds are edible as long as the water they’re growing in isn’t polluted.  They can be roasted or eaten raw for a snack, and they can also be ground to make a nutritious flour and added to your bread flour.  You can find pickeralweed in wetland areas.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Monday, October 16, 2017

This Year’s Disappointing Persimmon and the Hidden Life of a Peony

Every October persimmons appear at Whole Foods, and every October I imagine hopefully that this year they will be local persimmons and will have seeds in them,  and I’ll be able to forecast the winter weather according to the Old Farmers’ Almanac.  So even though there was no sign saying LOCAL— actually I’ve never seen a persimmon tree here— I carefully chose one and rushed home to cut it open.  Yet again it was a mass of bright orange quivering jelly-like pulp without a seed to be seen.  

On a happier note, M brought us a pink peony bulb/corm/root thing Saturday, and after I dug a proper hole for it I took a little break and drew it while it was still sitting on the grass watching me dig its new home.  It began to look like a Medieval hill town to me—