Monday, August 26, 2013

Five Green Peppers

Me: "Do we have a machete?"
Jim: "No....why?"
Me: "Well, I was thinking I might weed the garden."

Yes, friends, this summer's attempt at growing a vegetable garden has been a surprising mix of success and ridiculous failure. The lettuce went crazy, but the spinach never showed up.
The tomato plants grew from seed, but they haven't yet produced one ripe tomato.
The squash and the zucchini went berserk,
and I ended up with zucchini the size of watermelon.
The watermelon vines produced three least that's all I've found, after I tripped over them in the foot-high grass on the edge of the garden.

There may be more, for all I know, but I'm not going in there without backup.
The cornstalks are taller than I am this year, which is exciting, because they're the only things taller than the weeds.

Who knew you were supposed to pull out ALL the weeds? Or, that stomping them down wouldn't keep them down? I pulled out most of the little vines, but left a few of them, because I was pretty sure they were morning glories. They are now strangling the corn stalks, and the beans...and the tomatoes.
I did plant peas, of some kind, but I can't find them now.

I stumbled across a pepper plant yesterday and was overjoyed to find five green peppers, just waiting for me...perfect consolation for all the rotten cantaloupe I stepped on. Ugh.
Last year, I don't remember seeing monster weeds, or zipper spiders,
or losing my owl statue to a jungle of vines...
but then again, last year we had a drought, with a ten-day heat wave. Even the weeds gave up after that.
I did pull out the weeds early on.
I even threw down grass clippings between the rows, and around the tomato plants.
I picked lots of lettuce, a few squash, a few dozen zucchini.
And it rained a LOT.
I thought I had it made. That was May.
Then I left town...for most of June, and part of July. Gardens don't do well without supervision. You need a gardensitter. (25 year-old sons with jobs and girlfriends don't count.) You need someone to go out every day, pull the weeds, pick the zucchini, and maybe even cook some of it...
and mow the grass while they're at it,
so your watermelons and canteloupe don't get lost.
I'll have to remember that next year.
Furthermore, I will remember to pull up ALL the morning glories, while they are little,
because no matter how pretty they are,
they will turn your garden into one giant trellis,
just for fun...
and, maybe one zucchini plant would be better than eight.
Now, I'm going to go buy myself a machete.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

"The Last Rose" Oil on hardboard 5x7

When I take pictures, I usually think about what it might look like as a painting.  I took several pictures of leaves one day last fall... or perhaps the year before...  most of them I placed on the faded cypress wood of our front porch.  I actually managed to follow through and paint the oak leaves.  Jim claimed that painting before I was even half-way finished. The same day, I cut this rose off one of the bushes that Jim planted in the middle of our drive.  We have a triangle-shaped island of sorts, and we've tried several different things there, but the roses have looked the best.  They fill in early, bloom all summer, and keep on going until the first heavy frost says 'enough, already!'  This was one of the last roses I cut.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

"Autumn Leaves" Oil on Hardboard 5"x7"

     The end of summer, and the beginning of autumn always comes as a surprise for me. It seems like a mischievous prank; the shortening of the days, the way the sunlight changes and fades for seemingly no reason. Long summer days are the natural state of existence for me. I live in summer. I feel most like myself when the sun is high and the ground is warm and the lightening bugs appear and dance in the trees, and the Chuck-will's-widow calls from somewhere deep in the woods.  Must summer really come to an end so soon?  I think I wouldn't notice if it didn't happen at all, or until December, and only then if someone happened to mention it.

     Most people don't know that in Florida, the leaves don't fall off the trees until some time in March, when the new ones push them off. The trees just dump them, all at once, and put on their new leaves practically overnight. I realized when I moved to Kentucky, that fall and winter are real seasons. They show up, and show off, and stick around until you really get to know them, whether you want to or not.  Leaves falling here encompasses the very essence of the season. It's not a small thing. The color alone is worth living through it, at least once. If you have a yard, you really need to rake them up, so they don't kill the grass.  This is something that will keep you busy, and keep you from noticing how short the days are getting.

     I realize as I write this, that it's January, and snow is falling almost everywhere, and the days are getting longer. I did this painting back in October, because I couldn't resist trying to capture the mood, and embrace the change of season.  There are many kinds of oaks, but these are Pin Oak leaves. My husband loves Pin Oaks for their symmetry, and stateliness. This painting is for you, Jim. I love the oak trees you planted that line the drive - even before there was a drive, and for having a vision of what it could look like one day.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Flower painting #2 - Sunshine Yellow - 4"x4" oil on gessoboard

     This has been a year of so many new things, new people, loves, and losses. I loved this hibiscus plant we found at the nursery back in the summer. I took pictures of it before we decided to buy it. I had to paint it.  I've heard that anything yellow, with shadows, is difficult, because it isn't just 'dark yellow' - it's something different altogether. I found this to be true. It was fun experimenting, and mixing colors until I got is right.  I think I did, pretty much. I really like the way it turned out.
     Sad thing, though, about what happened to it.  Have you ever had a moment in time that you wish you could take back?...change something?...listen to that small voice inside your head?   I've had a few in my lifetime, some more impacting than others.  This one, not bad enough to cry over, but still....
     I took this little painting, along with a few others, onto my front porch one afternoon to photograph.  I was just about done, and had just set it down next to another small painting when my camera refused to work. It needed batteries. I went in.  For a split second, I thought, 'don't leave it there...pick it up, and bring it inside...' and then just as quickly, thought 'No, I'll be right back...and besides, it's not going to rain 'til later, and there's no way the dog could pick it up off the porch...'  Well, being highly distractible person that I am, I forgot all about the paintings.
     Eight hours later, after the wind and rain had stopped, my youngest daughter came in from the front porch, and said 'hey, look what I found by the front door!'  It was my little sailboat painting.  It was dirty, and had a chip out of the side.  Then I remembered.  OH NO!  I left the yellow flower painting out there, too! wasn't there. I felt sick.  It was nowhere to be found.  We looked a long time.  I thought maybe the wind had blown it off the porch into the bushes, but no.  My husband found it later, in the yard.  Never underestimate a dog's ability to get ahold of something it wants - and chew it to pieces.  Oh, I wish I'd listened to myself to begin with!  This is what's left of my sunny hibiscus painting.

     I may try to repaint it one day.  I have a brand new year to work on that...starting tomorrow. Happy New Year to all my friends, and may you be blessed in 2011.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Tabitha's Challenge: 100 Flower Paintings #1 'Little Favorites' 5x7 oil on canvas board

A couple of months ago, I showed my daughter some paintings on another artist's blog, some in a series, like '100 plein air paintings' or '100 faces'.  She told me I should do something like that, to challenge myself, and suggested either flowers, or birds. 100 of anything sounds un-doable in my world. But I accepted her challenge. I decided that flowers would be easier, to start, but of course, I immediately made things complicated for myself  by picking out 'flower scenes', instead of one little flower in a vase, or something simple like that. So, the challenge began.  Here's the first one I did.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Tabitha on the Beach 12"x16" Oil on Canvas

This is a painting I did last summer.  It was my first attempt at painting a beach scene, or water.  I started out a bit intimidated, but it all went pretty smoothly, and a lot quicker than I had anticipated.  It was a lot of fun.  This was from a picture of my daughter at the Gulf Coast, near Destin, Florida, taken on the last day of our vacation that year.  She was about 11 at the time.  It hangs in her room for now, and she loves it.  I've thought about giving it a different title, something like 'One Last Look' or 'Until Next Time', since Tab loves the beach so much, and always hates having to leave.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Kentucky Waterfall - 9"x12" My First Plein Air Painting

I'm back.  After a long winter with lots of snow and cold, wet weather, I came out of hibernation.  You would think that after living in Kentucky for 20 years that I would be used to the cold.  I live through it, but I don't welcome it.  So! For Christmas, my husband bought a small, portable easel for me, and I've used it twice, now.  I've been wanting to try plein air for quite some time, but, well, obviously, being the kind of girl that lives for warm weather, I would never venture out to paint in the snow, for instance. Probably not in the rain, either, unless it was very light rain, and warm, at that.  So, Monday, I packed up my stuff, and walked down by one of our seating areas in the woods, and set up.