ART COLLABORATION PROJECTS–NEARLY FINISHED!

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I BELIEVE THAT THE PEARS ARE NEARLY FINISHED! I may yet lighten the top portion, as to my mind it is still too similar to the forward pear and the lower background. Also, the yellow pear needs a little warming, rounding and shadowing at the bottom; it’s very close. When my piece is finished, then four of the the five paintings will be complete; only the arrangement needs finalizing. The Abstract and Laden Table collaborations are complete. I am eagerly looking forward to the next project (solo, that is).Pears_finished

Arrangement possibility #1

Arrangement possibility #1

Arrangement possibility #2. The Swiss Chard remains unfinished at the point

Arrangement possibility #2. The Swiss Chard remains unfinished at the point

The Abstract

The Abstract

The Laden Table

The Laden Table

WHAT HAPPENED TO APRIL & MAY?

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APRIL ARRIVED AND THEN IT DEPARTED. AND THEN MAY CAME ALONG. And now it’s June! We managed to get to central Washington and the Potholes/Columbia NWR/Seep Lakes area the first part of April to see the last of the Sandhill Cranes before they flew to parts north. And boy did we see them!

Sandhills on a dike at the edge of Crab Creek

Sandhills on a dike at the edge of Crab Creek

I don’ have a telephoto lens that is large enough to get in really close, but you can see the numbers. Just multiply by ten and you get the idea. They were spread out over a very large area. We figured there were 2,000-3,000 birds.

 

300 maybe? Multiply by 10.

300 maybe? Multiply by 10.

Sandhillcranes_1The central part of Washington is so different from the west side of the Cascade mountains. It is considered Shrub Steppe. Towering basalt cliffs and potholes scoured out by the Great Missoula flood of the last ice age.It is an arid, desert like environment with cactus and cattails alike.

Crab Creek basalt cliffs

Crab Creek basalt cliffs

There is a lot of agriculture in this area too; a benefit of the federal government’s reclamation project in the wake of building the Grand Coulee Dam. There are acres upon acres of potatoes, wheat, corn, alfalfa, apples, cherries and vineyards for winemaking. All of this intermingled with bird habitat. It is a real jewel.

Lower Goose Lake

Lower Goose Lake

This is a great migratory stopover for the Sandhill Cranes as well as many varieties of waterfowl and songbirds.

Fritallaria pudica

Wildflowers like this Fritallaria pudica ,were just beginning to bloom

Beaver lodge at Lower Crab Creek

Beaver lodge at Lower Crab Creek

It is a great area to hike, camp and watch wildlife. And this trip was a nice four day break from a renovation project that began last month.

Zigadenus; also known as Death Camas. It's quite .lovely

Zigadenus; also known as Death Camas. It’s quite .lovely

 

 

A SCHOOL BUS & RADISH TOPS

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LindaBus_4

A FRIEND OF OURS IS RETIRING FROM SCHOOL BUS DRIVING TODAY. I wanted to find a little toy school bus at Goodwill. What the groundskeeper found instead was a BIG school bus toy with an open top that I immediately saw as a planter! After a few holes were drilled in the bottom for drainage, I added window screen mesh on the inside to keep the soil in. I added a few homemade stickers and plants and here it is. I think it’s adorable and I think our friend will too.

LindaBus_5

 

Our friend is a dog lover who fosters dogs.

Our friend is a dog lover who fosters dogs.

ABOUT THE RADISH TOPS. I had intended to make this post yesterday after a prolonged hiatus of from the blog (too many other projects to deal with), but that bus planter was just too darn cute to leave out.

I picked some very nice radishes on Wednesday and the tops were too nice to toss into the compost. They had a slightly tart flavor and I thought they would make a nice ‘pesto’ type sauce.

grwingradishes

I combined the radish tops with some aspargus spears and four or five garlic scapes in the food processor.

Garlic scapes and aparagus

Garlic scapes and aparagus

Ready to purée

Ready to purée

radishpesto_1

Add some olive oil and a little salt, pepper, and purée until smooth. Taste for seasoning. At this point it can be put up in small jars, topped with a little  olive oil and frozen for later use or top with oil and store in the fridge for a couple of weeks. Cheese can be added just before using if you plan to use it on pasta in a more traditional pesto style.

I managed to fill a pint jar

I managed to fill a pint jar

We cooked a piece of Alaska sockeye salmon on the grill adding some of the sauce near the end of cooking.

Sockeye salmon with radish top pesto

Sockeye salmon with radish top pesto

Radish greens

Radish greens

Using radish tops was new for me. I knew they were not much different from most mustard greens other than the leaves being a bit fuzzy, so I thought: Why Not? It’s nice to figure out ways to get the maximum out of what I harvest from the garden. Maybe carrot tops will be next! How do you maximize your harvest?

 

 

PEAR PROJECT—MAKING PROGRESS

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Pear_progress3THE FIRST LAYERS OF PAINT ARE ON THE CANVAS for my piece of the five painting/pentaptych collaboration of pears, apples, carrots, swiss chard, and eggplant. I laid down the background using a mix of Pink Madder (Sennelier) and Burnt Sienna (Windsor Newton). The base layers of color for the pears and leaves are on. Next steps are to make the pears more dimensional, refine the shape and color of pears and leaves both, and connect with the other four artists will to make color adjustments to work towards a harmonious whole.

REDWOOD SEATING IN THE VEGETABLE GARDEN

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Redwoodseating_1OUR NEIGHBORS CUT DOWN FOUR OLD TREES, one red cedar, one redwood and two deodora cedars two days before Christmas. It was tough to see them go. One deodora was growing up against the gutter, so there was little other remedy. All of the trees were 50+ years old. I asked for three of the cut rounds; the two redwood pieces now have a second life as seating in the vegetable garden. The original ship’s plank bench that we set up (found on the property when we moved here) on a couple of terra cotta flue tiles, finally rotted away several years ago and we never really found a satisfactory replacement that seemed to fit. I laid down a level, crushed rock base for the rounds to sit on so they won’t come into contact with wet earth when we have long periods of rain (like our record breaking 9 inches in March this year). I removed the excess rock, added some soil and transplanted some creepng thyme around the base of the seats.

A long view

A view through the vegetable garden

A view through the vegetable garden

The combination laurel and horrible holly (who in their right mind would really plant this?) hedge provide a windbreak from the north wind and the pine branches overhead give a little shade from late afternoon sun. This is a pleasant, sheltered spot to sit and view the rest of the garden. Read a book. Take a rest and contemplate. Do some reading. Listen to bushtits and nuthatches in pine branches overhead. Inhale the sweet perfume of honeysuckle that has woven itself into the horrible holly. Have a drink and watch the sunset color develop. These redwood rounds are the perfect solution–they look right, they’re the right height for sitting, and they will last for a very long time.

Time to go and contemplate some garden planning.