Monday, April 20, 2015
Sunday, April 19, 2015
Step 2 was to clean out the old dead garden, immediately followed by step 3, putting back the gravel into the bottom of the jar. I also sprinkled in a little compost to sort of anchor the gravel. Then step 4, which was to stuff the new moss into the bottle, not planting it, but just sort of pressing it toward the ground with a chopstick or a dinner knife.
The cork on my bottle has an interesting story connected to it. I've had this very large cork for several years, and it happens to fit perfectly in the mouth of the bottle that is my jar. I found the cork in Italy behind some abandoned buildings that included a cantina (wine cellar). There were some very large jars for storing wine, and a couple of them had old corks stoppering them still. I took one and brought it home, and I carved a relief print on the top of the cork. The abandoned buildings were in a very old village named Salci, and a friend who had been born there told me that the coat of arms of Salci had been a bull standing over some snakes. So that's what I carved on the cork (drawing 4463 is actually a print made by stamping the cork on a stamp pad and then on the parchment). Drawing 4464 is of the cork itself, now serving as a stopper for my moss garden, which dries out very quickly with out it.
Saturday, April 18, 2015
Friday, April 17, 2015
Still in the back yard woods I saw a pretty stand of bluebells and so many Mayapples. On through the broken stile and out onto the hillside the mountain view is gorgeous. A lone Canada goose was strolling around; then it took off and flew into the wheat field. I walked along the road a short bit in order to cross the bridge, and right after that comes the trail. One of the first little places along the river , which this trail follows, is the spot where J and I put in a coracle that we made a few years ago and tested it out. It floated! We played in the little boat all afternoon, the culmination of two summers of making that coracle. We may remake it so that it's easier to paddle this summer.
The trees along this part of the trail are amazingly animated and hung with large liana-like grapevines. It's a very rain-forest-like place. Soon I came to a rocky part of the trail that climbs up high above the river. Up here there were many wild flowers including crane's bill, Mayapple flats, blue asters, spring beauties, and Solomon's seal leafing out. I passed a picnic with a guitar player on some rocks in the river; then on the right I could see the white barn and some sheep sitting in the field facing the west. It was getting ready to rain, very dark and cloudy, and the sheep were acting like cows before a storm.
Then I passed the spot where Michelle and I rebuilt our cairns this past fall, and I am happy to report the cairns are still stacked for the most part, and the plants have filled in so that the cairns will not be so easy to reach this summer. I could see a field of something bright yellow in the distance-- mustard? When I reached the River Bend area I hit 1.5 miles and turned around, making this an easy three mile trip. The rain held off until right after I got home. Oh-- the yellow on this page comes from the stem of the golden celandine in my garden.
Thursday, April 16, 2015
Next came the fun of locating our inadequate adjustable wrenches, both shown on the right. The real killer of the project was removing the worn and impossibly- welded- to- the- end- of- the- threaded- thingy that sticks out of the bottom of the tank. At least an hour of not-very-pleasant behavior on my part as I embraced the toilet bowl in order to stick my head under the tank and squeeze my left hand and the wrench or pliers or whatever they are in a death grip on the slippery plastic lock nut (4438) and turned it clockwise about 250 partial turns. This process was described as "Remove lock nut by turning clockwise."
The rest of the process was easy; so if I don't count the hour of creeping the lock nut slowly around the shank (warped and deformed), or the fifteen minutes of drying out the tank with a sponge, I guess I DID install my new Fluidmaster in 15 minutes!
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
From there the walk goes down the mountain by way of a beautiful grassy hill full of wild flowers, ending at another stile. I crossed the dirt road and went into a field that has just been planted in wheat (last year it was corn), and I walked all along the edge of the field and looked at the mountains at the back of the field. I crossed the river on a little bridge (not shown) and entered another stile that led to the trail along the river. I turned left and shortly came to the gate to the trail, two trees that form an opening. Shortly beyond that is a grove of golden bamboo, from which I was sad to notice Owl Man is missing.
Students were skinny dipping in the river near the grove-- it's the time of year when classes in the afternoon become sparsely attended on warm days. Coming out of the grove I passed a wonderous knobbly tree, and then the chicken yard. The trail took a dive back into the wooded river edge, under a wooden pergola-like frame and over a small bridge over a creek.
Soon I came to some frog ponds, now alive with tadpoles, and two bird blinds. After that is the old archaeology shelter, where we stored our equipment when the dig was open in the 90s. All along here the air smelled like roses and honeysuckle and the river gurgled and birds sang. The main trail continued on along the river, but I left the river and headed up the mountain on the Muhl Trail. I couldn't really show it on the map-- this is NOT to scale in any way-- but this trail goes steeply up and up and up, passing overlooks through trees where you can see the farm fields down in the valley. At the top of the hill the trail has a T intersection, and I took the right fork, which led sharply back down and into Michelle's subdivision, which has beautiful views. It was 1.82 miles to her house, but I added a little on to the return trip to come out an even 4 miles round trip. Took about an hour and ten minutes.
Monday, April 13, 2015
I learned today that Necco no longer makes lime/green because a few years ago when they removed artificial flavors and colors they were unable to achieve a satisfactory lime flavor or color. So if you buy a roll today you'll have only seven flavors, and they aren't exactly the right flavors either.
Sunday, April 12, 2015
The funny little tubular thing (4407) is a straw wrapper from a Thai restaurant downtown, where we ate this evening. And the window, not an especially interesting or lovely drawing, is a significant milestone for me: This window was in a building on the far side of the next street over from the restaurant. I was sitting facing a window and looked across a vacant lot/building site, and I could not only see the window but I could count the panes with no trouble-- without my glasses (which I have worn since I was 8 or 9 years old) and with no contacts or surgery. Nothing beats regaining clear vision after so many years of blur and depending on the crutch of glasses. And best of all with no loss of super clear close vision without reading glasses. Thanks to the Bates method and my teacher, N!
Saturday, April 11, 2015
Our friends L and B came over this afternoon and we made a quiche using dandelion greens from the front lawn as well as leftover kale that had overwintered in the square foot garden and new growth green onions also from the square foot. This was a spectacularly good quiche! I wrote the directions around the edges of the pages, but here they are in more readable form:
Make the crust out of 2 cups of medium grit cornmeal and 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour and 1/2 cup olive oil and 1/2 cup cold water. Mix it together with your hands; then press it into a pie pan. Meanwhile sauce a medium sized yellow onion in olive oil. You can at this point add the spices to the pan and salute them too, or else add them later. Put the sautéed onions into the crust. Then beat up seven eggs (three of ours were Banty hen eggs, so you will need maybe 5 regular large eggs), add the tumeric, cumin, coriander, and black pepper if you haven't added it to the pan with the onions. Put in 5 dollops of full-fat plain yogurt and 1/2 cup of half and half or other milk-like liquid: coconut milk, almond milk, etc. Add 2 T Dijon mustard, 2 T dry white wine, 3 T tamari or other soy sauce. Sprinkle paprika over the top. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes. If it's going too slowly, bump the over to 375 and lay a tent of aluminum foil over the top so it doesn't scorch. It's done when a dinner knife comes out clean and nothing looks wobbly. The top will also puff out a bit.
Friday, April 10, 2015
Thursday, April 9, 2015
In the center of the left hand page is a small passport and credit card case that I made for P today. He bought one of these cases at a luggage store earlier this week and tried it out for a couple of days to see how big of an annoyance factor it had. He quickly decided it had more compartments than he needed and was too bulky. So he asked me to design something minimal that was RFID proof, and here it is-- made out of a foil-lined matte black Counter Culture coffee bag. This view is of the side that faces the wearer and holds the credit cards. The passport slips inside, and the outside is plain black. There is a small line of text that says certified organic. The cord is a plain black cord from our supply of straps and handles, all gleaned from the giant Goodwill by-the-pound store. If you want one or something like it, FB message me or email me at weRpiecework@gmail.com. It's not on our blog yet.
Next to the passport case is a chimney that I drew in the woods when it was nearly dark. And on the opposite page are some mayapple stems and an ant event. I had noticed that there are two kinds of mayapple plants-- single leaved stems and double leaved stems, and only the doubles bear flower buds. I learned tonight that these plants are actually members of colonies of plants growing from a single root. And nearby was a colony of ants that seemed to all be coming out of a single hole and moving grains of pigmented clay a short distance away from the hole. A few steps down the path were several more of these single hole projects. I remember spending the time of an entire baseball game happily watching ants move grains of soil with then-two-year-old Barnaby up in New Hampshire. Colonies of insects and plants-- fascinating. I think those single-leaf stems must be just food factories while the doubles handle reproduction. The clay color is just a blob of the real thing rubbed on the parchment.
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Book & Print Arts Collective (click here for information about or about joining the collective) we had a short pre-meeting demo of making a book cover with pockets out of a single sheet of paper. I was very much reminded of a letter I received from a friend in Barcelona that was folded in a tricky manner (4376), and that letter had reminded me of really old letters that folded into their own envelopes. Once in a museum in NYC I saw a letter in which the negotiations for the purchase of Manhattan island were laid out; it was written on one side of a piece of paper, and the paper was folded down into a tiny envelope.
When I finished folding my envelope-like sheet of paper, I sketched a few people during the discussions that followed:
When I finished folding my envelope-like sheet of paper, I sketched a few people during the discussions that followed:
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Monday, April 6, 2015
Sunday, April 5, 2015
It was very tempting to use lines on these small objects; but I made myself slow down and draw the values and textures. Slow and oddly relaxing.
Saturday, April 4, 2015
Friday, April 3, 2015
Up in the left hand corner of this page is a nice sample of yellow celandine sap. The flowers are beginning to emerge, and the sap is up and plentiful. Has anyone out there ever used this sap as a dye or ink? The docent at The Cloisters told me it was used in Medieval times, but she didn't know details about how it was prepared for use or if it could be used as is.
Thursday, April 2, 2015
I pulled into our road this afternoon on my way home and had to halt in front of a group of students who were getting ready to move the herd of cows from a field on one side of our road to the pasture on the other side of the road. I love to watch the moving of cows, and it was especially fun this afternoon as there are so many babies, and not everyone was happy to comply. The students encouraged them to leave the little field, walk down a short slope, then cross the asphalt road (and keep going in spite of the distraction of a few cars), travel over another patch of grass, and then go through the gate and down the hill into the pasture. A large cow and three babies refused to leave the little field. The students were yelling Hooooooo bow-ah, c'mon! The cows ran to the back of the field. Finally a student caught one of the babies and carried it across the street (4334) while the other students walked behind the mother, who was interested in following the student with the calf, and chased after the other two babies (4332 and 4333). I drew as fast as I could but only caught the gestures. Like drawing a river flowing!
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
I already have two bags that I like very much-- drawing 4319 is one that F made as a market bag prototype and that I've used as a carry-on bag before. It 's just a little bigger than I really need and lacks a flap. Drawing 4320 is a canvas messenger bag that I bought in Brooklyn and that I use on most trips these days. It's a good size and is relatively light; but it has heavy, clunky hardware on the strap and en excessively stiff patch of Velcro. I would also like a flat outside pocket for magazines or small books.
On the left is a drawing of my proposed bag. I piled up all the folded clothing and measured to get the dimensions. I stuffed everything into the messenger bag, which was closest to the dimensions I had gotten, just to check, and everything fit fine with a little extra space. So I proposed a shorter height. I redesigned the strap so that there was no hardware at all and thinned out the velcro a bit. Plus I added a flat pocket across the front (but have since decided it would be best across the back so that the flap doesn't interfere with it). I decided to go with a lined birdseed bag, super lightweight but strong material, and put a Lotus fish recipe bag design- a lazy dog fishing with a school of fish eluding the hook- on the flap for fun. More fish will swim across the back pocket. Can't wait to make it tomorrow!