Monday, April 19, 2021

Still At It

I have a lot to learn and a long way to go but I'm enjoying the journey and realizing that each thing I paint, no matter how unsatisfactory, had taught me something.

I tried one of the exercises in this little book -- a path through a bluebell wood. Mine falls far short but I got to practice using masking fluid, spattering, and making shadows.

Then I tried working from one of my photos.

Yikes. This is a travesty. Need to make it less like a snow storm and more like a riot of apple blossoms. More shading in all those blossoms. Oh dear.

This may be a time to bail out and start afresh. Not like oils and acrylics--you can't just keep layering. 

As I said, each picture is a learning opportunity.


Saturday, April 17, 2021

Pasta alla Pancetta, 'shrooms, and Ramps

My  little ramp patch is putting forth so I harvested a very few leaves. I'd love to use the bulbs too--but then there'd be fewer ramps next year. When I find fresh ramps for sale, I buy them and eat a few and plant the rest--which is why I have a ramp patch in the first place. Someday someone may be able to harvest more freely here . . .

But not yet. I'd like to see them all crowded before I remove any. So just a few leaves went into last night's supper.

I sautéed diced pancetta with garlic to ramp up, as it were, the flavor of the ramps. Then some sliced mushrooms, a bit of butter, and the julienned ramp leaves, along with a grind or two of salt.

I used whole wheat spaghetti--which has come a very long way from the early cardboard-flavored versions, and stirred in the pancetta/mushroom/ramp mixture, along with a bit more butter and some grated parmesan. It was tasty, quick, and easy.  If you don't have ramps, just use more garlic.  A green salad on the side along with some red wine . . . yeah, boy!


Friday, April 16, 2021

A Crowded Calendar?

After a year of having a blank slate of a calendar, I find that appointments and other things are elbowing their way in. And I'm surprised that it's seeming a tad stressful. What, a mammogram, book club, and grocery shopping all on the same day? No way. Change that mammo appointment.

Yesterday seemed a bit harried--I had to go over to Mars Hill to return a recorder I'd borrowed, stop at Silvers Mill to inquire about next week's shipment of chicks, pick up a few things at the grocery (remember, until a month ago, John had done all the shopping,) and be back home to meet with a friend and discuss the Appalachian Heritage program she's working on for her school. And then a little prep for my Zoom writing workshop that evening. No big deal--except it seemed like it was. 

Ay, law--I've been spoiled this past year with a whole lot of dolce far niente.

Is this Covid re-entry anxiety? I find myself shaking my head at my whiny little bitch response to what would be a very ordinary, nay, even leisurely sort of day for most people. 

I used to be better at this stuff, always trying to make each trip of the farm serve many purposes and even enjoying negotiating a tight schedule. Now, while I'm delighted to have a bit more freedom, I can see I'm going to have to pace myself and take that freedom in small, socially distanced doses. 


Wednesday, April 14, 2021


A sweet little girl. . .

A traditional childhood moment . . .

And she brought a favorite book outside . . .

No, she's not actually reading it. And I cannot explain why she considers this particular book special. But she does and has ever since she first (well over a year ago) picked it up from the bookshelf just outside the bathroom and said it was her 'medium-size poop book.'

She doesn't call it that now. In fact, she pointed to the author's name and asked if it was Maurice Sendak. I cleared that up and spelled out the title for her.

No matter. There's still something special to her about this book. 


Monday, April 12, 2021

Soft Opening

It felt like a rehearsal for next year's (fingers crossed) Easter party. Virginia cousins (adults vaccinated!)  were visiting and the planned camping  and family cookout were detoured by the rain to the new shop.  

It almost felt like we should be breaking a bottle of bubbly over the front door--what a grand way to bless the new building!

Kids having fun . . .

Josie was so delighted to have her cousins to play with. . .

She was also sporting a new haircut, courtesy of her mama and Cousin Amelia.

Does it make her look older? Seems to me it does.

But that is NOT her beer.

Wonderful food shared, conversations, the occasional hug-much like times past and times to come.

It was a fine soft opening for the new shop as future party venue.

And then, as we were enjoying the food and the pleasant company. . .

The sky lit up with a golden glow . . . much like the light in the eye of a hurricane. . .

Or a benediction.