Sunday, May 25, 2014

Take a walk on the wild side....

Now I'm going to have that song stuck in my head for the rest of the day.

I took a walk around today and photographed my evolving flora so you can see how much it has grown since the pictures I posted yesterday, which were from two weeks ago.  I only had a couple of people stop by for the studio tour today, so we were outside for most of the day.  Taking pictures, chasing reflections, finding more garbage, tearing stuff apart.  You know, the usual.

This yellow flower wasn't there yesterday.  I swear it wasn't.

And hostas are busting up all over.  Especially in weird spots in the middle of the lawn.

I've got a flowering shrub that is blooming from the ground up.

Here is one of the buds that is about five feet off the ground:

That bear planter really needs to go, but when my mom tried to give him the boot a while back, he was too heavy to move.  Maybe he was still frozen to the ground.  Last week I planted a marigold in the front of the pot, and now the greenery in the rest of the pot has turned into these mystery flowers.

I've got loads of other mystery flowers too.  The yellow ones are on the side of the house, and the pink ones that look like weeds are in the front:

Maybe the yellow ones are weeds and the pink ones are precious heirlooms.  I don't know.  I DO know that the lily of the valley is taking over the world.

The next three pictures are of the same little flowers.  They are so dainty, but grow in the middle of the lawn.  I don't want to mow until all the flowers are done blooming - it would be such a shame to mow them down!

Roxie was trying to help me out in that last picture, using her footie to show the size of the wee small flowers.

What else.  The lilacs are not quite there yet.

Lots of the flowers here are some shade of purple.

The creeping myrtle is my favorite.  I love the dark, glossy leaves and the pinwheel-shaped flowers.  So pretty.

That wraps up our photo tour of the yard as of Sunday, May 25th.  All these pictures give the impression that I am over-run with flowers but that's not the case at all.  They are spread out everywhere, but I do have quite the variety, and there's more to come.  I've got a bunch of stuff that my mom thinks might be irises.  Time will tell.  They will probably be purple.

And now for the gratuitous poodle picture department:  someone was tired from all her reflection chasing today, and thought she would give Ruby's bed a try.

Uh, Goldilocks?

P.S.  I forgot to tell you about my job.  Next time....

Saturday, May 24, 2014


This picture is about two weeks old, so the ferns look a little different now.  Here are some other things that happened in my yard:

Did you notice?  I wasn't the only one waiting for things to blossom.

On Mother's Day I took advantage of a sunny afternoon and assembled my new grill.  I ordered the same one Ann just got - it came in a zillion pieces but it was $95.00 with free shipping, so I was happy to build it myself.  Plus, I now have a decently-furnished patio on which to put it.

See poodle in the background?  She was busy all day.

Thank goodness for windchimes that make reflections.  Unfortunately, it is hanging on a building that is not long for this world.

All of this stuff looks totally different now.  The daffodil croaked, the lily of the valley has gone crazy and the jonquil never actually looked like that - I over-saturated the picture because it looks really cool.

This weekend I am participating in the Vermont Craft Council's spring Open Studio Tour.  I've mentioned that already, right?  So last weekend we had some glorious weather and everyone on the planet was out buying annuals.  I needed to do something to help the entry way to my "studio" so I jumped on the flower-buying bandwagon.  But first I planted a sink.

Yes I did.  You would have, too.

Then I filled some pots for under the windows on the front of the house.

I was trying to be frugal so I reused a few pots I found here - everything painted turquoise.  Gotta love a good can of spray paint.  I also painted this chair that I found here at the house.  It used to be black:

And, since it is located almost right next to that chair and we are talking about reusing stuff, sometimes found objects turn into something interesting:

Anywho, back to the entryway.  I ended up with this:

Oh I do love hot pink flowers.  I found that ladder hanging on the back of one of my sheds.  Pretty old and cruddy, and perfect with the flowers.  My entryway still looks like shit, but hopefully people will be distracted by all the flowers.  Although I would be perfectly happy if zero people show up.  That is not to be the case, however, as we are currently at the end of the first day and four cars have been here with a total of 11 people.  We met a fabulous couple who are my neighbors up the road; a woman came with her daughter and the daughter recognized Delaney's photo on my wall - they were in the same ceramics class last year; one car was full of people who probably wished they hadn't bothered to stop - they didn't stay very long; but, the funniest of the bunch were the first two women.  They drive up from the Boston area for the studio tour and go to a different part of the state each year.  Another mother and daughter duo, and it was the mother's birthday today.  Her name is Lee and she is 91 years old.  As a present to herself she bought three of my paintings - Hot Lips (my first cow), the second of my pink landscapes that I named "Snow Melts Into Spring" and a brand new sheep that I hadn't even photographed or named yet.  Woo hoo!  Awesome. Happy birthday, Lee!  You are my new best friend.

In my next post I will tell you all about my foray back to the land of the gainfully employed.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Fair-weather Fowl

Quick, here's a new rooster I painted:

First I wanted to name him "Rubberneck."  Don't ask why, for some reason it felt right.  Then I thought he kinda looks like a weather vane, hence "Fair-weather Fowl."  Or maybe he should be called "Vanity Fair."  Or just "Elvis."  Now I'm getting confused.  I pilfered that frame before I left Montana and needed to paint something to fit.  (Aside to Derek:  it had been upstairs since the dawn of time.  I'm sure we were never going to use it for anything.)  The Open Studio Tour is only a few weeks away and I suddenly realized I've got very few new pieces.  I'm not sure anyone is actually going to come, but just in case I want to have something to show for myself.  Plus, I didn't want you to think I spend all my time rummaging around in my backyard garbage dump....

Saturday, May 3, 2014

First days of May

I love my new kitchen.  The only thing that would make it better would be if it had a salad bar.

Speaking of none of that, I forgot to mention that when Kathy and the kids were here Abby helped me take down a fence.

All the posts were loose - the one on the far left is pretty rotten - so it was a matter of lifting the posts one by one and holding the fence up until the whole thing was out of the ground.  Then Abby filled in the holes so a certain active dog doesn't step in one and break a leg.  Originally I hoped to reuse this fence somewhere else but the rotten-ness factor (is that a word?) makes me think it will be easier to start from scratch.  So I moved it out of the middle of the grass.

Yep, I moved it all by myself.  Don't ask how - it's a trade secret.  I also took down the fence back in the corner.  It went in the "rotten" pile.

Poodle keeps bringing sticks out of the woods and racing around with them.  It's funny to watch because she is adjusting her gait to that of a smaller dog.  I think it makes her feel like the yard is bigger.

She helped me with another yard project the other day, too:

See that extra large, 55 gallon contractor garbage bag?  And the pile of crapola next to it?  As the snow started to melt I saw what looked like plastic over there sticking out of the ground.  So I did what any four-year-old would do.  I pulled on it.  And kept pulling on it.  I unearthed a couple of big glass bottles, some plastic soda bottles, some other miscellaneous plastic bits, and two ginormous sheets of plastic.  Like tarps.  One of them is in that bag.  Most of the other one is the pile of crapola.  Kathy thought maybe it was put down to control weeds.  But no, that would actually make SENSE.  This stuff was all balled up.  It was deja vu all over again.  Remember last fall when I pulled a whole bunch of plastic out of the woods at my old house in Montana?  I'm guessing this stuff was originally wrapped around lumber and has probably been in the yard since the house was built in 1994.  I would not have been at all surprised if I found a dead body wrapped in it.  In fact, if I HAD found a dead body, I would have said, "Oh, there it is."  No body, but I might have to burn the clothes I was wearing.  After filling almost two of those 55 gallon bags, I had to cut my losses and leave some of the plastic buried -- I couldn't get the rest out.

We interrupt this story, which is finished anyway, to bring you some poodle on a red couch:

That's my girl.  She loves the red couch.  Thank you, Wayne and Eletra!

Okay, new story that still involves my yard.  Today is Green Up Day in Vermont.

Say what?

For those of you who don't live in this fair state, Green Up Day is the first Saturday in May and was started by then-Governor Deane Davis in 1970.  It even has its own wee small wikipedia page.  The state provides bright green trash bags and encourages volunteers to go out and pick up trash along public roads.  Individual towns organize their own events (Agency of Transportation employees take care of stretches of major highways) and the day is basically geared around volunteers getting out and helping to beautify their community.  I decided to concentrate my efforts on my own yard.  Yes, I know, it's not a public road, but it needs more help than most public roads.  I recognize that my one acre is incredibly insignificant in the grand scheme of things like, you know, the entire planet, but to me it is important to know that my one acre is healthy and can actually breathe.  Right now it is a garbage dump.  If I could sue the previous owners for non-disclosure, I would.  I had a stern conversation with them in my head today.  In fact, I was downright mean and ugly to them. This is what happened.  I started my tire pile:

I'm having an informal contest to see who can best guess how many tires I can find on this property.  Let me know your guess - I will send the winner a prize.  (Not a tire - I promise.)

So back up a minute.  Literally, take a couple of steps backward and take that picture again.

See that disturbed bit of ground behind the tires?  That's an old palette that was mostly buried by a pile of leaves.  I flipped it out of the way, and you would NOT believe what I found underneath it.  First, there was this:

What the???

Then, I found almost everything you can see in this next picture except the license plate, the brown window box and the floor mat:

Oh.  My.  God.  That was all in a space the size of a PALETTE!  This is why my internal conversation with the previous owners was ugly and mean.  That dumpster can't get here fast enough!

Wow, whew, deep breath on the count of four.  In, two three four, ... out, two three four.  Repeat.  I must cleanse my eyeballs after looking at that picture:

Okay, that's better.

My one crocus has, well, croaked.  Lots of other stuff is growing, but I don't know what any of it is.  If you can identify anything in these pictures (except the birdhouse - I've got that one), let me know:

Sorry, I don't think anything in that last picture is actually in focus.

This little bugger has been trying to bloom for days.  I don't know what it is -- a daffodil?

And the trees are budding:

And that's all we've got here for today.  Except for this quote:

I am going to try to pay attention to the spring.
I am going to look around at all the flowers, and look up at the hectic trees.
I am going to close my eyes and listen.

-- Anne Lamott