Here are 2 of my attempts at portrait drawings (25 minute sessions) from this Monday night “life drawing” class. We did portraits of a beautiful high school volleyball player who sat real still, which makes the drawing or painting much easier on all of us.
When I started going in January 2021, I was terrible. No matter how hard I tried, I could not get a likeness of the model. Now, things are improving. It is amazing what a little practice can do.
This class is an artist date night for me. I get to see fellow artists and visit with what is important to us. We are a fun group of artist’s and we have all become friends. We meet for a three hour life drawing session with a live model every Monday evening at Terry Lee’s studio in Coeur d’Alene, ID. However thanks to good old COVID, attendance dropped, so we changed to 2 Monday’s each month for the rest of the summer. You can contact Terry at the link above or myself anytime if you’d like to come join us. There is nothing more challenging to draw than the human form.
We discovered an entertaining sprinkler fascination for one of our dogs. He goes crazy playing with any sprinkler as he takes off running, jumping and trying to snatch droplets out of the sky. Here is his serious face as he notices that I have the sprinkler ready to spray in my hand.
Of our two children in retirement, “Max” is our tri color guy who is a running child, and the more sedentary redhead is “Hurley” who is more elderly. Hurley likes to sit in pools of water or mud instead of chasing a sprinkler around. Hurley sits in the background watching as Max sprints to catch the water.
Max loves to play in the water and we love to be able to enjoy this with him.
During our rock wall adventure in landscape, sometimes, you run into a really large boulder that really should be made into a piece of solid playground equipment. Here is one that we found this week. This had to be moved so we could cut a dead tree down where we are going to build our rock wall in front of our house.
How many tires are actually on the ground as Pete moves it around with the Kubota? As we move this heavy rock, notice the squished front tires when the rock is being pushed. Do you think it just may be a little beyond this piece of equipment’s capacity? Sure hope this little tractor is up to the test.
Roll, roll, roll. Push, then tilt.
This granite guy has a flat top just perfect for climbing on, and two stairs on one side with a single stair on the other, it’s perfect for the lawn area. The grandkids have already tried all the surfaces out for us.
If you are an expert “operator” of equipment, or rock mover, anything is possible. Really, just ask Pete!
BTW. Expert, as defined by my father, is a drip under extreme pressure.
Besides, if Peter breaks the tractor he knows how to order the parts and fix it himself. What is the problem? It takes real talent to move rocks while using equipment that is lighter than the object that you are trying to pick up or move. Just last week Pete had to re-weld the shift lever twice for this poor little tractor. It broke while doing “the impossible”. I wonder what this Kubota tells all the other pieces of equipment in the yard… after the moon comes up each night. It would be interesting to put a baby monitor down there at night to see what the tractor tells the lawn mower, and rototiller when we are not there.
Here is a pictorial sequence of hooking up to move a big rock with a tiny garden tractor and a chain. Simple, really! Sometimes you have to start with digging a little to be able to reach underneath and put the chain around it.
Then you hook the chain to the bucket and start to back up real slow and pulllllllll.
I can see this little orange Kubota sweating as it strains.
Look at how interested Max is in seeing the rock move. Not even.
When it reaches where it is going to rest for now, placing a rock under one edge allows us to easily hook a chain around it next time without having to dig under it.
Okay, now imagine doing that all day long, to make a Ph. D pile like the one at the top of this post. Are you wondering what a Ph. D pile is? A quote from Pete, “It is a stack of rock Piled Higher and Deeper!”
The wild honeysuckle vines are blossoming here in the Inland Northwest, this is the variety that grows in the wild around here. The way it creates a little “cup leaf” with a group of blossoms appearing in trumpet shapes before springing open is fascinating. Hence the name “trumpet honeysuckle“, here is more information from www.garden.org, if you are interested. It may be simply be an orange celebration in honor of the hummingbird population returning, but, none-the-less it is beautiful to witness.
While clearing the slope outside my kitchen window last year, we discovered two small pines totally engulfed in vine. They were goners! Honeysuckle is a ferocious vine striving to climb any tree or bush till it eventually chokes them out. The hummingbirds love these flowers and deer tend to leave them alone. So, we took the time to carefully unwind and transplant the vines into the landscaping off the kitchen deck last year.
This area is beginning to look good with plants beginning to take shape from the transplants last year. The two trellis covered with honeysuckle serve as bookends to iris planted between. Hurley seems to enjoy his little yard by the kitchen.
Now here is a real expert, “Lady” knows exactly how to show pure love. It is really simple. I doubt that anyone has any question about what she is saying.
Sometimes life gets all filled up with chores, duties and jobs. Things happen and everyone gets worried and all the texting and fretting begins. Then, a fresh dose of unadulterated love smacks you right in the face, fully reminding you of what is really important.
Love is what is important.
Next time I feel overwhelmed I will remember Lady’s sweet face and the power of what friendship can do.
Early Spring is the time to witness beautiful fruit blossoms which can tempt any artist into rendering their beauty. On top of that the air is full of flower fragrances, especially with Inland Northwest lilac scents drifting across the land. It is a cornucopia of eye and nose candy.
Our garden has apple, pear, peach and cherry and choke cherry trees all blossoming and setting on fruit. Hopefully, all the fruit will come through and provide a wonderful harvest.
Combined with this extensive array are other garden wonders soon to come; the blackberries, strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. Then the huckleberries up in the mountains later on. Well…. hoping for lots of canning this year.
I am going to have to apologize to the dogs for accusing them of getting into our burn pile and making a mess. They both looked at me like, “It wasn’t me!” and I didn’t believe them. Now, we know who the real culprits are and here is some video proof.
My focus was to get a good closeup shot of the bleeding heart that is blooming in the garden. I had my handy dandy camera with me. Why? Because, you never know when a fantastic photo will come your way. And, honestly a cell phone just doesn’t cut it. I was able to capture this splendid example showing how this flower got it’s name. The unopened blossoms really look like a little heart dripping some blood off the base. Wow! It may not be the most romantic name for a flower but it sure fits doesn’t it!
Then I glanced behind there, where the sprinkler was watering the corn rows at the compost pile. I noticed maybe a small hummingbird getting a bath in the sprinkler. Wait a minute… that is not a hummingbird it is a black and yellow butterfly.
When the water sprinkled, he opened and shut his wings a few times and then basked in the sun till it came round again. I’m not sure if he was getting a drink or if he was actually getting a bath.
Now, I am waiting by the bleeding heart bush and am on a mission. Can I get a good picture of him without getting the camera wet or scaring him away? It was a good practice in patience.
Then, he finally flew toward me at the bleeding heart bush. I did what any artist does, I took as many pictures of him as I could in the hopes that one would come out.
Check this out!
It pays to notice the colorful miracles all around us. Wa La!
Here is the first little bucket of spears asparagus harvested this year. It has a mixture of older roots that produce the thicker guys and quite a few baby spears that I cut so that these newer plants concentrate on producing roots instead of stalk. I will pick about this much every two days from our one row of mature spears. Last year Pete and I planted another 6 rows from seed so in a couple more years we should be able to make pickled asparagus and even take some to the farmers market.
There is nothing like slightly steamed asparagus with butter and garlic. Yum! We look forward to this short season crop. It has lots of nutrients that re-energize us as we get our garden planted and going in spring. Here it is cleaned and ready to put in the pan and the compost is in the white bucket on the left. Experience the flavor of freshly picked spears and you are spoiled for life.
This crop take the patience of Job to start in the garden. Multiple years before you get a reliable harvest, but, it is truly worth all the effort. I started the first 25 foot row by buying those expensive 6 roots for $9 at the farm supply store. Roots were all that was available in the seed books and store, so I was under the impression that you had to start asparagus by a root. Wrong, bare roots work but that is not the only way to go.
You can plant them with seed just as easily. If you let the plants go to seed and collect them in the Fall, you can save a lot of money in increasing your asparagus output. Asparagus produces a lot of seed, so I don’t understand why the outlets that have seed charge so much for it.
Planting takes soil preparation requiring you to dig channels that you fill back up as they grow. The goal is to get a lot of root going and it takes patience, care and time. The biggest difficulty I had with growing this was lack of information to help do that. It is hard to weed around starts if you don’t know what they look like as they start to come up. They do not look like the adult plant, so I murdered a lot of my starts before I caught on. Here are some pictures of how they look in the early stages.