Saturday, July 26, 2008

Neil's Garden

You know it's humid when moisture is condensing on the outside of the window. I just got back from a walk and it's like walking around with a blanket on your head today. But that's not what I was going to write about. This is what our neighbor brought over yesterday from his garden. Vegetables right from the garden are so different from what you buy in the store. Even the squash is good, really good, like something you would choose to eat, not just because you think you should.

Neil has to be the most thoughtful neighbor ever. A few weeks ago a storm was coming and the wind was blowing really hard. The tin roof on our shed out back was coming loose and flapping in the wind so Neil brought his ladder over and screwed the roof down so our stuff wouldn't get wet and didn't even say anything about it until about a week later. He does things like this all the time. He's offered to plow up a place for us to have a garden out back, which I would love, but JD does not want any more work to do in the yard and he doesn't think I will take care of it so that it looks neat enough due to the unfortunate episode with the tomato plants by the fence one year. He may be right but we have differing ideas about how the yard should look. I like things left in their natural form, overgrown if you will, while he likes to prune. He is always wanting to cut limbs off our little trees and trim the shrubbery.

But this is not about us, it's about good neighbors. Thanks Neil. I hope you see this.

Monday, July 21, 2008

When You're Wrong, You're Wrong; Or There's An Elephant In The Room

Let me begin by saying that we don't have a comfortable chair in the house and there's nothing in the budget for new furniture. So I saw this chair sitting in the driveway at a yard sale this weekend and it was really fat and comfy and the upholstery wasn't terrible and I thought I could slipcover it for that easy care rumpled look (I am not going to say shabby chic because that phrase is so overworked and makes me want to barf) so I bought it. JD went back with me to load it in the truck and I should have known I'd made a mistake when it filled up the truck bed. And he hated it. Then we had to open the double doors to get it in the house. No, I'm not going to leave it in front of the doors. Yes, that is a 50 pound pail of spackling sitting behind it. I need a photo stylist. That green sofa it's next to? that's a huge sofa. We can't even get it up the staircase. But this monster chair dwarfs it. I cannot imagine anything this chair would look right with. It's like a prop from Honey I Shrunk the Kids. It just didn't look that big sitting all by itself in the driveway. Now what do I do? Give it away and cut my losses or throw more money at it and buy material, possibly camouflage, for a slipcover? Can I find a place where it will be all by itself so it doesn't look quite so ridiculous? I do so need a comfortable chair.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Art is Hard

This is what I would like to do with this painting. I've been working on this @$#%& painting for two weeks off and on, and it just won't come together. What seemed like a daring composition now just seems wrong. Parts of it seem stiff and pasted on. I can't trash it because I've put too much time into it but the more I put into it the worse it gets. I should be working on something else and let this one simmer but here's the thing: I HAVE NO IDEAS. I have 3 shows to do this fall and I have nothing.

I go through this a few times a year and I just have to keep telling myself it will pass and I'll have some ideas and the work will start flowing again. But these blank times are so hard. It's hard to work from home anyway, and I don't even have any little kids around. It's sounds great. No fighting traffic, no commute time, no one to notice if you're late or if you take a two hour lunch - but it takes so much discipline and that I don't have. The two hour lunch turns into three hours and then there's a load of laundry you need to do RIGHT NOW, and the dog really could use a bath and the flowers need to be watered and I need to check my email about 20 times a day because you never know when you're going to get something really important and first thing you know you're working ten to four. With two hours off for lunch. Anybody that has to go to an office every day will probably hate me but, I NEED SOME PLACE TO GO TO EVERY MORNING.
This is where I would like to have my studio. It's next door and it looks like a jail in this picture but it has burglar bars because it used to be a store, one of the first stores in town; the people we bought it from said it was over a hundred years old. It's kind of charming inside; it has the old board walls and a pine floor. I just can't justify the cost of heating and cooling it when we have so much room in the house. Heat I could do without, air conditioning is not optional. Maybe one day.

Friday, July 11, 2008


I just found out about something really cool. Actually I heard about it some time ago but only last night got around to joining the group. First let me say that JD has a woodworking shop where he builds custom furniture. So we have a lot of wood scraps and bags of sawdust which we have been leaving for the trashman. Ok I confess; we burned the wood scraps (this is the country; you can do that) and feeling oh so guilty. I would have loved to have saved them because I am a packrat and save everything but there was no way. So like I said, last night I joined the local group of Freecycle and today I had three people wanting the wood, and one person wanting the sawdust! Wanting bags of sawdust! I feel so green.

This is such a great idea if you have something insanely heavy like a sofa bed you don't want to move or, say, boxes and boxes of magazines. Which is what I'm going to try to unload next.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Summer Idyll - Mulberry River

We live very close to two beautiful free flowing rivers - the Mulberry and the Locust Fork. I wish I could say we spend a lot of time here but the truth is we don't. Seems like it's hard to catch the river at just the right time. Either it's so low the water is still and warm as bathwater, or it's at flood stage. I am totally faking the swimming thing here as the water is only about knee deep. That's my dog in the water with me. Bear loves the water. He has a big fluffy tail that is apparently waterproof because he swims and swims and it never looks wet.

I've had Bear for seven years now and he is the first dog I have owned since I was six. Unlike many people in the country, I keep him in a fenced yard. So every morning I take him, on a leash, for a long walk. Apparently this is a novel concept around here as I am known as that lady who walks her dog. I have actually been introduced as "you know, she's the one that walks the dog." He's really fluffy and has dark patches on his tongue as he is part chow. Don't ever say the word "chow" to an insurance man. It is not a plus when you're trying to get homeowner's coverage.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Wild Roses

This is one of my few gardening successes. I think they've tapped into the septic tank. The first year we were here I dug up a couple of wild roses from the edge of a road and it's a good thing I did because they were sprayed with herbicide the next year and killed. These bloomed the second year but then the next three years they were struck with some kind of killer mildew that caused the buds to fall off, even with diligent spraying. Almost lost the flowers this year but then I tried Neem Oil, which is an organic product but still apparently deadly as it requires a hazmat suit, gloves and goggles to use, and managed to save them. Why is everything so hard? For Pete's Sake they're WILD roses.
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