Monday, October 27, 2014

My First Loaf of Bread!


I honestly can't believe I just made a delicious loaf of bread! Several weeks ago I bought some bread flour by accident. I tried it for regular flour for pancakes and it didn't work, so it's been sitting in my refrigerator since then. This morning I was getting something out of my food cabinet and a package of yeast fell out. I like to make what's called "Overnight Waffles" and they use yeast but you can't just buy one pack of yeast so that was shoved in the cabinet soon to be lost to my eyes, lol. Well, I looked on the package of King Arthur bread flour and I had all the ingredients. I added dried rosemary, fennel seeds, dill seeds and a course-ground sea-salt, and followed the instructions. It raised three times and I baked it at 375° for 40 minutes, and VOILA! I can't believe it looks as good as it does, and it tastes incredible. I'm very pleased with myself today!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

StillColour

Flowers on this purple leafed Tradescanthia only last a day, but there are many buds to lengthen their blooming season.

This gorgeous dahlia has only had a few blooms but they've all been stunning.

Yellow lantana has done very well this year.

My favorite blue morning glories are doing very well this late October. We may get a frost tomorrow night which will be their end, so let's hope not!

Even with half in the shade a red rose is still as beautiful.

The purple tradescanthia and yellow lantana look great planted together in the Victorian cast iron pedestal planters. They were spectacular  this year with geraniums, vinca, perilla, bright green sweet potato vine, and a few other annuals.

A nice row of glories!

"Banarama," the large yellow variety of dahlia in the garden has been a prolific bloomer.

Deep magenta rose changes to this gorgeous salmon-peach as it opens.

Blue morning glories bring the typical Autumn clear blue sky right down into the garden.

Tiny magenta Tea rose bloom is on its way out but it's still beautiful.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Happy Birthday Hoohoo


October 15th is always bittersweet for me, my late aunt Hoohoo's birthday. We usually have a frost before mid-October, ending our growing season, but this year, we haven't. I was able to go into my cutting garden and pick this beautiful arrangement of dahlis, zinnias, and a geranium bloom. Above, shot with the flash, every detail is clear and shadows are obvious. The table runner was woven by my dad on a small New England Morgan inkle loom. I was so lucky to have creative people in my family to teach me and encourage me to find my own creative outlets.

The same arrangement, turned around to show the other side. This photo was shot without the flash, but with the exposure time lengthened. Dahlias and zinnias and geraniums, oh my!

On This Day in 1925


October 15, 1925 —Gloria Isabel Sanborn was born to Anita and Charles Sanborn. I called her Hoohoo from the day I met her when I was 3 years old, fresh from Germany where I'd been born at the American Army base in Stuttgart and my only home for the first few years of my life. The story goes when our car arrived in Leete's Island my grandmother called out to her younger daughter and her husband who lived with her in the family home, "Yoohoo, they're here!" Apparently I mistook that as the name of my mother's sister and we immediately "clicked" with her first hug. She was my Hoohoo from that day on.
She and her husband, my dad's brother Bill, never had any children. Yes, two sisters married two brothers and we had a very small family all told. Hoohoo and I were pretty much inseparable and in a few years I would really need that when things went south in my life.
She bought me a pair of silver candelabras for my 6th birthday as I had already been playing the piano for four years by then and we stayed up late weekend nights watching Liberace on TV. She taught me to mix wallpaper paste, to match paint colors to fabrics, to plant daffodil bulbs, to dance the Jitterbug to 78s, how to wrap presents and tie a festive curled bow all by myself. It was understood I would never tell my parents how high the speedometer in her '58 Thunderbird went on the long straightaway between our homes in Leete's Island and Mulberry Point. We laughed like no one else was in the world; when I cried she held me and told me I was her little artist and that we felt everything just a little bit deeper than other people but that everything was going to be alright. We explored every square inch of the 200+ year old family home and acreage around it. We dug for antique bottles and what-have-you in the old gardens. We traced the lines of the old tennis court, overgrown with trees, and pretended to volley balls over the long-gone nets. We found wooden wagon wheels and old family Ford and Buick artifacts in the barn destroyed in the great '38 hurricane. We were thick as honest thieves.
She saw me excel in grade school, stumble in junior high, and graduate from high school and Vassar. She gave me her last Tbird, the powder blue '64, but her hourglass was running down. Her last ten years were spent battling cancer in almost every part of her body. I still have every letter she wrote me, every card she drew for me, every gift she gave me, including the envelopes. I even still have all those thing I gave HER as I got my gift of "saving things" from her.
I'm now a year older than she was when she died in '82, taken way too soon from all of us. So many things would have been different in my life had she lived, so many paths would not have been taken, but in the past few years I've been slowly becoming again the person she knew and loved. My demons will always be there. My past will always haunt me. I will always feel everything just a little bit deeper, but I also have a feeling everything will be alright. Hoohoo's little artist will make her proud.
Happy Birthday Hoohoo. RIP

Monday, October 13, 2014

Perfect Pesto Pasta!

I've been perfecting my pasta making technique lately. I finally got an entire batch to run through my vintage pasta press! Above, my fresh linguini, I didn't dare try anything finer like spaghetti yet. I used a basic Semolina pasta flour and recipe but I halved the olive oil amount and substituted fresh basil pesto instead. They have a nice, flowery, basil aroma and I bet they'll be tasty. I'm drying them now and will cook them in a little bit. Fresh pasta only takes a few minutes to cook, if that. I'm so happy it wasn't a disaster! It's so easy to get the dough too dry or too wet and I've had it clog up the press more times than I want to say!

Most of my tomato plants are done for the year but this 6-foot tall Sun Gold bush is still producing its small and oh-so-sweet yellow cherry tomatoes. They almost melt in your mouth!

Not a food, but this tiny Tea rose, glistening with last night's rain, looks just like a sugar frosting rose to me up close. Growing up I always begged for the flower decorations on our cakes, lol.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Bees' Knees

All In! Climbing into a white morning glory, this bee is going to get all the nectar. The bees are very slow at this time of the year and fly drunkenly when prodded. 

Honeybees absolutely adore this particular variety of dahlia, the simple single-petaled version. They have their pick of about a dozen different dahlias now but they mostly stick to these.

 I've seen as many as five bees on one flower! these two were still on the same flower the next day.
 
The centers of these simple dahlias are quite mathematical looking and ornate. 

Just Visiting

This little creature was hanging onto a goldenrod stem the other day. I pinch the plants back all summer and then they branch out and have more flowers now in the fall. They're pretty insect resistant so I was surprised to find this colorful but unidentified caterpillar on 'em. I left it. Nature's cycle of life is endlessly fascinating. 

This little feathery creature turns out to be a large Tolype, veddaria species (look here for more information). They're large white moths that are very active at night but completely lethargic during the day. They find a sunny spot and just hang out. I walked around with this creature on this oak branch and acorn all around the yard showing the other neighbors and it barely moved. It slightly moved a leg a few times so I knew it was alive, lol. That night, sure enough, it was flittering outside my window which has a bright light in it and I haven't seen it since.

Thrift Store Art Find

Roaming through a local thrift store today with June, I found this original watercolor tucked away in a corner. It was $1.75 and is signed. I did a quick search on the 'net but didn't find anything. The store's label on the back called it a self portrait so they may know more about it than I do. I think it's really well done. The condition of the artboard isn't great, and it's roughly cut in places. It may even have been used behind another piece for a while.  But she'll have a place out in the open now.

June also bought me a cool little telescope there. The next clear night or celestial event and I'm going to try to see it, lol! At the least I bet I can get the moon in pretty good focus.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Unexpected Fall Colour

Some of my favorite autumn flowers are asters. They come in all sizes and shapes and colors and wait until mid to late September to present their multi-petaled flowers to the world. This is a gorgeous purple aster in bloom right now at our local East Wharf beach. The plants are quite large, fully flowered, and attract hundreds of slow, pollen-filled bees making sure they have as much food as possible to bring back to their hives for these col, fall nights.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Yours Truly

Your humble blog host at the opening of the Guilford Art League's 67th annual juried show last Friday evening. My piece, "Suddenly, Last Summer" was selected to hang in it. Just about 300 pieces were submitted and  70 paintings were chosen so I was in very esteemed company! I rarely like photos of myself but I think this one came out just fine. The show hangs until October 4th, and for the local peeps out there it's at the Guilford Arts Center, 411 Church Street. It's just about 100 yards north of Exit 58 on I-95 and is open daily.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

"Morning Colour"

Fashion alert in the morning glory aisle! Beautiful green-detailed insect seems almost like a piece of jewelry.

 Hidden Glory, Crouching Camera...

Tiny tea rose bud is barely an inch wide, yet a perfect place for morning raindrops to collect.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Wish Me Luck . . .


I entered a juried art show yesterday, the first one in almost six years, the Guilford Art League 67th annual show. Entries were limited to two pieces, and I brought the two above, "Out On a Limb," left, and "Suddenly, Last Summer," right. They can accept one, both, or neither, and then there are some awards, as well. I'll be very happy to have at least one accepted!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

This September Morning

I walk around the yard every morning while my flowers are blooming. I need to do it earlier than usual when the morning glories start flowering. They're all done for the day and closed up by about 11am. Above, a gorgeous new dahlia. I don't know the variety. It must be one that I saved from last year from the 4 four plants that never bloomed. It's a bright, fiery orange and pink.

 A yellow honeycomb butterfly bush, Buddleia x weyeriana

My palest dahlia this year. Nice against the brighter colored dahlias and zinnias next to them.

Pink dahlia. This is a very compact bush, only about 18 inches tall but has put out plenty of flowers.

Reaching for the sun two varieties of dahlias look great together.

These are two varieties of dahlias, too. That's why I like growing them so much. For one family of flowers they're so incredibly diverse in color, texture, size, shape, everything you can image. The leaves all look pretty similar though!

The one sunflower stalk that reached maturity has had a dozen flowers. They're not too large, but the bees love them anyway! 

 Nice pair of pink Morning Glories today.

These are the colors that are flowering right now, various shades of pink and purple. There should be blue ones very soon.

Sunflowers in the distance and two pretty purple glories.

Morning glory leaves are heart-shaped!

Little blue wildflower blooms on a vine-like stem and takes over after the day lilies are done and their leaves dry up. One doesn't cancel the other out with their roots either so I let them both coexist in the same space.

Bright orange zinna. They flowers are small but the stems are tall and really producing flowers right now.

Pink zinnia and friend. There are hundreds of bees in the gardens at all times. It's great to see, but I know their position in our world is precarious at best.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

"Gordy's Chairs, 2014"

A cute little impromptu photoshoot at my dear friend Jane's house. . . A couple of "chairs" made from the tops of a champagne and a Proseco bottle. They were crafted by a close friend of Jane's during a recent vacation. Add in a flower from Jane's garden, a backlit polystyrene cutting board, and a windowsill, and, "Voila!" A garden fresh little sitting room for the "Borrowers."
  • A favorite series of books from my youth, the Borrowers, stories of the teeny tiny mouse-sized people that live in your homes "borrowing" things they need. They live behind the walls and under floors and are the sweetest, most inventive characters in fiction, lol. Here's a cool collection of their tales. I read them all when I was about nine or ten years old. I might read 'em again! The Complete Borrowers, here

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Endless Summer. I Wish

I walked around the yard on Thursday and made an impromptu flower arrangement. Liking to get at least two purposes out of everything I posed it around the apartment for an equally impromptu photoshoot. Here, in front of my 1930s moveable butterfly toy, Tinky Winky hangs around admiring the flowers.
  
In front of a portrait I've created of my mom at the age of 2. It's in a vintage frame with glass and I've matted it with dried flowers. I like the mix of old and new flowers here.

This variety of dahlia is called "Pumpkin Spice" but I think "On Fire" would be better. It's gorgeous in person, and it actually grew with its back to the sun, not facing it. It don't need no stinkin' sun, lol!

Lone Cosmos plant came up on its own this year. It's right in a corner of the enclosed garden, perfectly positioned.

Large "Banarama" dahlia will be open in a day or two.

This cream dahlia is planted in front of that magenta one. I have four more plants to flower, but so far I have several different pinks, two yellows, this cream, and an orange one. They're all different shapes and sizes, too.

From the same plant, this particular one has more than a dozen flowers right now.

Like a Celestial Alignment, these dahlias and a distant sunflower stack on top of each other from this angle.

Keeping with the space theme, these dahlia blooms remind me of those Hubble photographs of many galaxies together. Some are in focus and others aren't. The light from that faraway sunflower took longer to reach my camera, lol

 A pink morning glory has appeared! Here's in the morning shade.


In the sun!

The back of this morning glory, equally as interesting as the front. Bright pink is new this year.

Such a beautiful deep purple morning glory! So I have three colors this year, pink, purple, and blue. Well, there are wild white ones near them in the woods, but they're almost impossible to transplant. They grow at the bases of the wild roses with have so many thorns they're not worth getting near, lol.

 The back of the purple glory has a very vivid shade not visible from the front.

I have one sunflower that made it to maturity this year.



Pointing to the future.