Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Greening of the Woodlands

       It has been a busy time.  My sister, Debbie and her husband Stan visited for a few days, and we celebrated all our birthdays at once as they are so close together.  I have had a couple of small orders to print, frame and send out.  And I have been sort of a mental fog with not much coming to mind to write about.  I have been trying to sort out this mess of a cabin as well.  I have gotten so far behind with housework and clutter and all that.  I feel a bit over-whelmed most of the time.  But spring continues to come bursting forth and it is more beautiful than I thought it would be after the freezes.  The Dogwoods and all the new leaves are coming on strong.

        The spring green of new leaves (that is only here for such a very short time) is filling the branches so fast.  The creatures that live here are out enjoying the fantabulous weather right along with me these days.

       And this is what my view is out of one of my studio windows.  Will try to get some pics of the birds at the feeder soon.  I do so love this place.

       The images looking through the trees are not only beautiful during the day.  The other night when I was coming home from a visit to my Mom's this was the view presented to me as I was coming up my driveway.  Beautiful!

More to come soon.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Tenacity of Spring

         I love the tenacity of Spring.  After the two hard freezes we have had Nature has decided it is still the time to continue on.  Even though it is still too early.  Even though we can still have more freezes to ravage the new spring green blush of tender buddings.

         The Dogwoods are now starting to peek out through out the woods and I fear they will meet the same end as the Redbuds and Azaleas.  The Dogwoods' white blooms stand out sharply in  the dullness of the winter woods.  Still I whisper, "Too soon, too soon."

       But I hope life is like Spring.  That at the end of life, when all appears dried up, dead and gone.  That out of that lifelessness there comes a new life springing forth.  Surely God meant Spring to show us that fact.  That you can't kill off life with "hard freezes" or "too early deaths".  That every spark of life tenaciously continues on in some form or another somewhere.  Always.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentines wih a little Ranting

       First of all, Happy Valentine's Day everyone!  I hope your day is filled with Love, Blessings and CHOCOLATE!!  I do plan to indulge a bit in the chocolate area.  Hot Chocolate this morning and some Dark Hershey's Chocolate this evening.

       But that is not the total focus of this post.  Oh No, not at all.  About a week ago I showed you some of the early bloomings happening here.  Beautiful Redbuds popping out up and down the road and all down into the woods.

       Just beautiful little pink blossoms on the Redbuds.  The road is lined on both sides with these trees and it is quite spectacular, I say, when they are all in bloom.  They were just getting started and I so look forward to the spring blooming every year.  But, remember . . . I told  you here it was way too
early for spring and, sure enough, I was sadly so right.

       Saturday and Sunday night it went way down into the upper teens.  TEENS, I say.  18 DEGREES here both nights and into the low 30's last night.  So you know what has happened.  Yup!  No pretty spring here this year, damn it.  Oh No, what's left is just little damp bits of pink bloom falling onto the roadway and those blooms yet to fall. 

And the azaleas, too, are just so sad.
And, so there, that is my ranting for the day. 
 But then, there is always ...

for consolation.  Ha!

xoxoxo xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Gray and Misty

       A gray and misty day today.  A good day to be inside and working on Token Dolls and Totem Animals for Gifts of Avalon.  There is an "Art Walk" there tonight in the Millhopper area and I hope the weather clears for them.  I will take in some prints as well as Trudy has asked me to bring in some work for consignment.  Since the Artisans' Guild is no longer in that area it will be good to have my work back in that area.  A short post today as there is much still to be done. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Clouds and Such

       Another absoLUTEly gorgeous day!!  I can truly say this has been the warmest and most delightful winter in the last 20 years since I've been here.  The clouds today were just spectacular. And such a variety.  The above is looking to the north.  All big and billowy bunches of cloud.  Beautiful.

      To the southeast, they became more wispy and then there was one that I shall call a "feather cloud".  I haven't seen this kind of formation before and wondered how that vertical formation came about when around it most others were of a horizontal kind.
       I am now being a lot like my dad.  He loved the clouds.  Especially when he was flying.  We have scads of his cloud pictures taken from plane windows.  We would tease him that a little scotch on the plane maybe had a bit of influence on his appreciation.  Unlike him, I don't care for flying at all.  I giggle as I see these pictures I've now taken and post them in happy memory of him.  Me thinks I'll have a little scotch in memory a little later on as well.  ;-)

       And more clouds peeking through the trees at the end of the road.  Lillebedt was scuffling about in the woods down there and I was headed back up the road when she realized she was being left behind.
       She just came full tilt to catch me.  I try to take her out everyday for a bit of exercise as she is so full of energy.  I ride my scooter and she runs and hunts, chasing squirrels and lizards.  We had been out for quite awhile at this point so she was getting tired.  The newest trick she has started lately is, when she is tired she comes and jumps on the floorboard of my scooter to catch a ride for a bit.

       Now isn't that just the happiest little face you ever saw?  I know, I do go on about her.  Wendy tells me that she is now the middle child and Lillebedt (treated as the baby) gets all the attention.  I do think she is a bit jealous. And so now,  here I am an old woman with a little dog that I talk to and adore immensely.  Who'd a ever thunk it!!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Too Soon Spring

Red Bud in late January!

       I took this pictures a couple of days ago and it is too soon for spring!!  We have had an exceptionally warm winter this year and it has confused the plant life.  We are still apt to have freezes well into late February during a "normal" year.  On some occasions we have had them in March!

 You can see the faint blush of pink peeping out 
down through the woods.

 And along side the road.

Azaleas, also, are beginning to bloom with their fat, pink buds.

  And then opening into this GLORY-essness!

Wild Blackberry blooms are poking up out of the leaves.

 How very fragile and spindly they are.

Aren't they just so dainty and beautiful.   They are about 
an inch and a half in diameter.

And then there are the wee little violet leaves 
poking up everywhere.

And already some are blooming. Such delicate little things.

 See how small they are compared to the leaf litter.

       And what I am afraid that will happen is this.  Just before everything gets all blossomed out and beautiful we will get a freeze and all the blooms will fall off and we will miss the most beautiful time of the year.  It has happened before.  It is such a short time that everything is out in full bloom that I just hate to miss it and have to wait another year for it to happen again.  Maybe we will get lucky and avoid a freeze this year.  I do hope so.  I love the blooming out with wild flowers to come.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Baking Bread 101

        What a DeLIGHTful day we had yesterday.  Wendy and I went over to my Mom's place to bake bread.  Mom and I used to do this regularly years ago but haven't done it for oh such a long time.  Wendy had never baked bread with us as a grownup.  So off we went.  Mom already had her bread mixed and baked by the time we arrived so as we would all not to be too crowded in the kitchen and oven.  She baked a basic white bread.

Wendy decided to mix up a Peasant Bread recipe
and shape it into "Boules".   Just a  fancy
bread term for round bread loaves.  

And it is rising up so pretty!

         And while those were rising, I mixed up a batch of what I call "Birdseed Bread".  A mixture of whole grain Spelt and white flours with Sunflower, Sesame, Poppy, Flax and whatever other seeds I happen to have on hand.  I formed mine into traditional loaves.  And now we wait while it rises.

Meanwhile, Wendy's bread is baking up
most beautifully in the oven and comes out
round and golden and very tasty!!

Soon to be followed by my Birdseed Loaves.

       Of course we sampled all and decided we liked the Peasant Bread the best.  It's texture and flavor made it a definite recipe to keep.  Mom's white bread was okay but not as good in taste and texture as the Peasant Bread.   The Birdseed Bread was good and just needs a little tweaking.  A little more honey, more spelt flour and less white flour, and dry roasted sunflower seeds as the ones that I used were probably done in oil and seemed to have a strong flavor and tasted a bit old.

       We decided we would do this on a somewhat regular basis and try different recipes each time.  Will let you know and pass on the good ones.  So here goes:

A Peasant Bread
(makes 3 small or 2 medium boules or 1 loaf)

3 to 3 1/2 cups bread flour               
4 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 pkg. or 2 1/4 tsp. dry active yeast 
2 Tbsp. soft butter
1 1/4 cup warm water

In a bowl mix together 1 cup of flour, sugar, salt and yeast.  Blend in the soft butter until well mixed.  Gradually stir in the water mixing well.  Add another cup of flour and continue mixing well.  Stir in the remainder of the flour to form a soft dough.  Cover and let rest for 45 minutes.  With floured hands punch down dough and shape into boules or loaves and put on a greased cookie sheet or into greased loaf pans.  Cover, again, and let raise.  You can make cuts in the tops with a sharp knife if desired.  Bake at 375F for 20-30 minutes depending on the size of the loaves or boules that you make.  Turn out on to a rack and cool.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Artisans' Guild

       I worked a shift at the Artisans' Guild last Monday.  I have been a member there since the spring of 1991 and it has been in existence for over 40 years.  It is one of the oldest Art Co-ops in the country. 

       There 55 local artists exhibiting there and all within a 25 mile radius of Gainesville.  Everything in the gallery is locally made.  There is so much talent displayed there.

       And so many different mediums.  Paintings, pottery, jewelry, wood turning, leather crafting, quilting, fiber arts, silk painting, just to name a few.

       It is such a lovely space.  If you are ever in Gainesville, Florida, it is a place not to be missed.  It is located in old downtown district with much to see and do around it.

        And then today is a special day as well.  It is my dad's birthday.  He would have been 88 today.  I bid him a happy day and I know he heard me.  Such a lovie.  Here he is with my niece, Jessica, a few years ago.

        And I think that's it for today.  My warm ol' waterbed is calling me on this chilly night.  Tomorrow we bake bread.