Saturday, December 31, 2022

Photo of the Year 2022...


Photo of the Year 2022

"The Weaver"

Who would have thought that a lowly spider's web could win such honors.  :~)  I am quite surprised that the hubby suggested it for he's not much of a bug and spider kind of guy.  

"The Drought Buster"  2022

"The Watering Hole" 2022


The girls looked through Journal pages and chose their favorites.  I was pleased because these are favorites of mine too.  

"Sing One More Sweet Song" 2022

How can one, even in the cold dark days of January, forget the song of the Summer Tanager?

Millie and I are now back up to 287 consecutive walks.  On February 23, I wrote on my calendar, "Another winter storm hits.  3 inches of sleet and freezing rain.  I am not feeling well.  It was an early walk ahead of the rain & sleet.  370 walks.

Continuing on the 24th, I scribbled, "I am sick.  The ground is treacherous.  There is very little traffic.  Schools are closed.  I did not walk."  My streak was once again broken.  I missed 12 days of walking.  Millie surely was happy when we were back on the trail.  So was I.  

I will not be making resolutions this year.  They are such a bother when I am already doing the best that I can.  I am, however, naming this year, My Big Creative Year 2023, in which I plan to live and breathe all things I consider art.  (Even arranging the refrigerator can fall into that category.) 

"You have to be a little careful with me because I actually make art out of everything."  ~ Dorothea Stuffer


"I must continue to follow the path I take now.  If I do nothing, if I study nothing, if I cease searching, then, woe is me.  I am lost.

That is how I look at it ~ keep going.  Keep going come what may.  But what is your final goal, you may ask.

That goal will become clearer, will emerge slowly but surely, much as the rough draft turns into a sketch, and the sketch into a painting through the serious work done on it, through the elaboration of the original vague idea, and through the consolidation of the first fleeting and passing thought".

~Vincent Van Gogh

Happy New Year and many happy creative days to you, dear friends!  Thanks to all of you for your visits and kind words here.  


Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Winter Solstice...


The night sky picture above was taken last winter with my cell phone (which impressed me greatly).

 I tried to duplicate that same night sky on this journal page.  The quote is from Thomas Hardy in "Far from the Madding Crowd, which seems so applicable at this time of the year.  

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 

 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.  

And the angel said unto them, Fear not for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And his shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger."  

~St. Luke Ch. 2, 8~13


So, a new season is officially here and, according to all reports, Old Man Winter is going to blast us on the first full day of winter with strong cold winds.  We are expecting rain and snow in the morning changing over to just snow in the afternoon.  Temps will fall sharply, with an overnight low of 2 degrees. We are hoping there will be no repeat of last year's storm.

I have worked hard the past month cleaning house ~ organizing, rearranging, and clearing out some unwanted and unnecessary things. I wanted to make a fresh start come January l, when I plan to go into a semi-hibernation mode.  The picture below, which keeps circulating here and there, is a perfect illustration for what I have in mind. (Except that I would like to be the one resting in the chair.  Ha Ha!)
That roaring fire surely looks good, doesn't it?

I hope all of you stay warm and toasty and have a very Merry Christmas.  Take care....

Happy, happy Christmas
that can win us back to the 
delusions of our childish days,
that can recall to the old man
the pleasures of his youth.
that can transport the sailor
and the traveler,
thousands of miles away
back to his own fireside
and his quiet home!

~ Charles Dickens

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Sage and Me...


It has been a rainy day here; perfect for putting up the Christmas tree.  But did I do that?  No.  I did what I like doing best on a day like this ~ cleaning and moving stuff around.   Even Sage, the fellow there beside me, now has a new place to hang. He does look happy, I think.  :~)

As I have said here many times before, I love a rainy day.  This is looking toward the east through the sewing room window.  This is the only room in which there is a bit of Christmas beginning to show up. The little tree has been fluffed but there are no decorations yet. (Granny Marigold I got the idea of fluffing my tree from you!  :~)

Millie and I took our usual walk over the hilltop trail this morning before the rain began.  It was pretty much the "same old bench, same old squirrel, same old giant bowl of spaghetti,"* until ........... There he was watching us - he, the same black coyote that, I feel sure, terrorized us on that dark night trek over the hill that I wrote about in my last post. 

I fumbled for my phone to try to get a picture, but by the time I pulled off my gloves and retrieved the phone from my coat pocket, he had disappeared into the woods.  The wolves in this picture from a Google search do, in fact, look a lot like our coyote.  I loved his dark thick coat and his just being there in all his majestic wildness.  I so hope he can dodge those flying bullets for it is deer-hunting season here and many a hunter would like to bag this beauty.  

I haven't done much water coloring in the journal lately, but I did finally finish the brick paver patio in the Shanty Garden.   The final touch was definitely the addition of a heavy clay chiminea that I got for my birthday earlier this month.  I can't wait for our first fire in it.   

* A quote from the cartoon Oswald that I used to watch with my young grandson.

Monday, November 7, 2022

The bird is on the wing (in more ways than one)...


Caught you! (On the Stealth Camera)

Yesterday was one of those days made for exploring, so that's what Millie and I did.  It was, indeed, a day well spent for we know these beautiful days of fall won't last long.

The heavy rains of last week did worlds of good for the pond, so that it actually looked quite lovely in yesterday's sun.  The spring-fed stream of water that feeds the pond seemed lively and quick as it tumbled over rock and root toward its destination.  Millie and I decided to follow the stream backward and search for its source, which we did find after much tearing through briar and bramble.  

  I was reminded of the 1970s mini-series, "In Search for the Source of the Nile," which told of the obsession of European explorers' quest for the headwaters of the famed African River.  


My obsession right now is to finish this little sketching journal before New Year's Day, at which time I plan to go into semi-hibernation mode that I am so looking forward to.

Omar Khayyam (1048-1131)

A Persian polymath, scholar, mathematician, astronomer, philosopher, and poet, widely considered to be one of the most influential thinkers of the Middle Ages.

Omaar Khayyam was born of Khorasani Persian ancestry, in Nishapur in 1048.  Although open to doubt, it has often been assumed that his forebears followed the trade of tent-making, since Khayyam means tentmaker in Arabic. 

As a mathematician, he is most notable for his work on the classification and solution of cubic equations, where he provided geometric solutions by the intersection of conics.  Khayyam also contributed to the understanding of the parallel axiom.  

As an astronomer, he calculated the duration of the solar year. 


I made this sketch from a picture of a marble statue created in his image.  I wasn't sure how he should be dressed, nor in what colors would be appropriate for the time in which he lived, but I thought surely there would have been indigo for dying cloth. I love having him and some of his poetry here in this little book. 

To all of us the thought of heaven is dear-

Why not be sure of it and make it here?

No doubt there is heaven yonder too

But 'tis so far away-

And you are here.



Dead yesterdays and unborn tomorrows, why fret about it, if today be sweet.



To wisely live your life, you don't need to know much.

Just remember two main rules for the beginning:

You better starve than eat whatever

And better be alone, than with whoever.



Come, fill the cup, and in the fire of spring your winter

garment of repentance fling:

the bird of time has but a little way to flutter ~ 

and the bird is on the wing.



Friday, November 4, 2022

There comes a day...

There comes a day every so often that is just not quite long enough - one in which all the pieces just won't quite fit together.  That happened to me a couple of days ago, so that I was left wondering if my 208th consecutive walk over the Hilltop Trail might be the piece that was left out.  

But, as we all know, this life is not for the faint-hearted, and faint-hearted I would not be.   (Webster: faint-hearted ~ lacking courage or resolution, timid)  

I grabbed my stick and flashlight and called my dog.  We were off.  It was quite dark up that old trail through the woods, but thankfully once we reached the top, we had just a bit of moonlight to guide us on.  But wait, I am getting ahead of myself...

We were almost halfway to the top when Millie heard or saw something just the other side of Frank's fence.  She darted under the wire but quickly drew up short, when the most hideous scream, hardly out of the circle of light, filled the night, echoing off every cliff and crevice of that old hillside.  I was chilled to the bone and my every hair must have stood on end.  I thought of turning back but decided to go on. I hoped that Dan would come in his side-by-side to look for me, but he did not.  The screams or cries or yelps, however they could be described, followed us until we were almost to the pond. ( I recorded them on my phone.  I was so sure that Dan would be impressed at how brave I had been, but he seemed unconcerned.  :~)

I spotlighted all the same old favorite places which all of you have seen so many times before.  There's the trail that turns back near the top of the hill.  And further on, the most photographed tree along the way, the old persimmon that grows on a small peninsula that reaches into the pond, underneath which fairies live, I am sure.  I must have a zillion pictures of that tree in every season, but never had I photographed it in the black of night.  

There's the pretty little sassafras tree I keep threatening to steal roots from for making a bit of sassafras tea. It looked beautiful in the moonlight, I thought.

 And finally, there was home.  I did not double back and walk the trail in the opposite direction as I often do.  No, I didn't.  I went inside and locked the door.  Walk #208 just might be the last time "I Go Walking After Midnight," as Patsy Cline once so beautifully sang.  But, oh my goodness, it surely was pretty up there on that old hill with nothing but Millie and me and one old coyote, and.........who knows what else!

Saturday, October 29, 2022

A Rainy Day and thinking about things...

The big oaks outside our doorway are doing their thing ~being magnificent and beautiful~ even on this rainy day (which I am loving).  

This old cement pot decorated with oak leaves and acorns is one of my prized possessions ~ just perfect for a little hillside garden carved out among these gigantic old white oak trees.

But it was in the Shanty Garden that I worked this week, where I rebuilt the brick sidewalks.  I took out the angled walkway and formed instead a right angle which worked out much better.

I did, however, run into one rather large problem, which I think, with Hubby's help, is now solved.
I have a cow, a pet really, that comes to the back fence to nibble on scraps I toss over  ~ things like potato and apple parings. ( I am careful not to toss anything over that might be harmful to the cattle.)  The problem arose when Old Pet and some of the calves began to nibble on straw and pull up the weed barrier that I had put down in the new garden border.  There were only two solutions ~ abandon the project or put wiring over the planks.  I chose the latter.  

Here Ole Pet is trying to reach through the planks to eat from the bird feeder.  Oh, but back to my story...  

We had various rolls of old fencing, some quite rusty which were even more to my liking, that was just the right height.  And, as a bonus, the old fencing would cost zero dollars, which is pretty important these days when the cost of almost everything is soaring.  I presented my plan to Hubby, and, abracadabra, here it is tacked to the planks along the new border so the cattle can't reach under and through.  I think it looks wonderful!  Hubby is still a bit dubious!  But, it looks as though Old Pet will just have to be content with potato parings (and maybe a handful, occasionally, of sweet feed especially made for cattle.) 

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

The Seamstress...


My mother was a seamstress, so this one's for her.  She lived and breathed everything having to do with needle, thread, and cloth.  Her epithet should have definitely read, "I cannot count a day complete until needle, thread, and cloth meet..."  But that's with one exception.  She did not sew on Sunday, unless, as she sometimes said, "... the ox is in the ditch."  Her mother had admonished her as a young girl for sewing on the Lord's Day  by saying, "You'll be taking those stitches out with the end of your nose come judgement day."  

This is my favorite drawing thus far.  I dressed it up a bit with a piece of Deb Lactivia's hand dyed brocade for a collar and hair ribbon.  (I don't recall Mom ever having worn such a ribbon in her hair, but I think she would have worn one well, for she was quite pretty.

I took up needle and thread a couple of days ago just to see if I could still do a little needle-turned applique, which I have always enjoyed doing.  These little one-inch squares were a bit fussy to work with, but also fun as they reflected the colors going on outside the windows.  

However, after having stitched for a couple of hours, I was ready to get back to some sketched and watered colored pages which has been such an enjoyable project.  I can surely ditto Ann Wood's words here, "A large part of the value of this project has been getting somewhere I did not plan to go.  That's the huge benefit of a daily art practice.  Stuff turns up."  It's the stuff that keeps turning up that I am enjoying so much.  

A while back, friend Kathy sent me some of her exquisite eco-dyed papers.  I am sure she would agree when she finished these that "Stuff turns up."  I can't think of anything that says fall like these papers do.  I love them.

This week marked my and Millie's 200th day walking anniversary.  I am gaining on that 1,347 day record we had back before last winter's blizzard and sickness.  I have actually been surprised this week at how pretty some of our fall colors are now following such a hot, dry summer.  Hopefully this trend will continue right into November.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Field Notes...


Rain this morning... after such a long time without this blessing.  .4 of an inch.  

The little flower garden has been stripped to the bare bones.  A 48 inch border has been added along the fence.  It has now been covered in landscaping fabric and straw.  Seeds await next spring's planting.  

It seems that the woods are becoming more colorful each day. 

Pink along the trail... I have been missing the pink zinnias.  I am calling the colored sketch below, "Klee and Me."  I have been noticing that he often uses touches of pink in many of his paintings. 

Thursday, September 29, 2022

My Cup Runneth Over...


Fall is off to a magnificent start here on the hill, and I am determined that we'll not be allowing a single moment of it to slip away without our being in the midst of it all.  

At day's end, it will be a front row seat for Millie and me to watch the spectacular sunsets being offered now, free for the taking. And what is that front seat, you may ask?  Well, a picture is worth a thousand words they say, so here goes...  

It's the same ole log on which we sat earlier to listen to the whippoorwills' calls, and later on, to the sweet songs of the summer tanager.  Yesterday, a late evening breeze blew across my face and ruffled my hair as we sat watching the spectacle of the setting sun.  My cup truly did runneth over...

  There was a visitor to the garden yesterday, and oh, what a beauty it was.  Even though I have already ripped out and cut back most of summer's flowers, I was happy that it found something satisfactory upon which to dine.  

Thoreau definitely had the right idea when he went to the woods to live "to learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived..."  

I sketched and painted in watercolors this young naturalist, thus adding another entry in the Journal that seems to go on forever.  He seems to be quite young here, but then he would for he died a young man.  He is well-dressed here even though he scorned wearing fine clothing.  Of course, he would not be wearing such a fine suit there at water's edge on Walden Pond.  

Hubby mentioned the other day that he needed to move the old dead log.  I will admit to cringing a bit, but I know it needs doing.  Maybe he will leave a piece of it of just the right height for my sitting.  

I know this old hill is a place I have photographed before...but even now I must do it again and again.  Each picture seems different in one way or another from all the others.  It is a place that I love.  

"The way I'd like to go on living in this world wouldn't hurt anything.  I'd just go on walking uphill and downhill, looking around, and so what if half the time I don't know what for ~"

                             ~Mary Oliver