Saturday, August 29, 2009

Compositional Conversations

Our 2nd and 3rd artists have made their contributions to the shared project started by Terry Jarrard-Dimond (

Rebecca Howdeshell from Texas is shown here working on one of her own pieces. She was the first to get the project after Terry added the warm red shape on the blue/gray background.

Rebecca added an olive green rayon piece.

See Terry's blog (8-16-09) for Rebecca's full report on working with the project.

Beth Carney from New York then worked with project. She hadn't seen pictures of the piece before she received it in the mail, so she worked on it "upside down" -- or created a new orientation.

See her narrative about her experience on Terry's blog of 8-23-09.

Here is the piece as it was sent on to Shelley Baird in Ohio.

We're looking forward to the next report....

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Garden produce

As an experiment this year, we tried some carrots that were promised to present a combination of colors. We dug a few today to check out the claim and agree that these are as advertised. We'll leave the others to grow to maturity.

The rainy summer has been good for flowers. These statice will make nice ingredients for dried flower arrangements. They are ready for harvest and will be hung upside down in our basement to dry.

We use the canna lillies as an entrance point to some of our perrenial gardens. They are at the head of our row of grapes and brighten up the late summer and fall. At frost, we have to dig up the tubers and store them inside. Their spectacular display deserves the extra effort!

The perennial grass garden stands as a welcome to our arborvitae maze garden (now 15-feet high). The grasses are arranged in a matching double tear-drop shape and are interesting all year long.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Putting foods by

We have spent the last four days with time and effort devoted to the harvest and processing of the crops of the season. It is an old and satisfying human endeavor that brings us in harmony with the structure and timing of nature's cycles.

Marcia remembers working with her parents and grandparents as a young child in the 1950's. Bill joined the practice in the 1970's, and we carry on the tradition up to the present, and hopefully, well into the future.

This bucket shows the corn crop which was picked and shucked in the morning.

The ears are blanched, cooled and sliced, packaged, and placed in the freezer in the afternoon.

We worked up another bushel of green sweet peppers into stuffed peppers -- filled with meat, rice, and seasonings, topped with tomato sauce and adorned with cheese. They head to the freezer in smaller meal-sized packages.

We no longer grow our own peaches, but rely on Wayne County farmers closer to the lake for our yearly supply of Red Haven peaches. These separate from the pit with ease for quartering and placement in canning jars.

This yearly full job of preserving crops for future consumption has largely been turned over to large factory companies. We find the individual involvement pleasant and provides quality control and personal satisfaction of a high order.

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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Dad's Corn Planter

There has been an old John Deere corn planter in one of our barns for 40 years. Marcia's Dad, Ken Years, bought it in the early 1950's and moved it here when he purchased this property in 1968.

Bill Cooney, who was here to work on our old Ford tractor, spied the treasure as we were working on the sporadic starting problem for the often-used tractor. He has many old tractors that he has restored and thought the old planter would look good hooked up to one of them.

The corn planter was purchased in Sodus and Bill said the old company had been sold several years ago to DeLyser's, which has also since closed.

Here the new owner is looking over the old planter's bins (which have the original patent number still visible). He will repair the mechanics and repaint the old gal. He said it was in very good condition and had not been used profusely and would shape up wonderfully. We look forward to seeing the final refurbishing!

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Compositional Conversations Project

I'm very excited to have been asked to participate with 13 other artists in a project to create a work of art. The project has been designed and organized by Terry Jarrard-Dimond, and each of us will work on the project in turn and pass it on.

The goals of the project are to create an on-going conversation between the artists and between each artist and the work. There's also the hope that additional conversations will occur as others become aware of the project.

The participating artists are: Rebecca Howdeshell, Beth Carney, Shelley Baird, Gayle Vickery Pritchard, Judi Hurwitt, Leslie Bixel, Fulvia Luciano, Marcia DeCamp, Marina Kamenskaya, Paula Swett, Valerie Goodwin, Kathy Loomis, Leslie Riley, and Terry Jarrard-Dimond.

This is the starting point that Terry created.

You can follow along on Terry's blog . You'll see updates as each artist works on the piece, along with a mini-profile on the artist.

The project is also summarized on

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Priscilla's Bernina Garment

More pictures of Priscilla's wonderful garment. This is the 2-piece dress -- with its silver sheath and sequened full-length vest.

The coat and hat are edged with ribbon and yarn woven on a hairpin lace loom.

Priscilla created the beaded fasteners on the garment.

The coat also has ribbons hung from the shoulder.
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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Show & Tell at the Studio

Ren showed us the collage pieces she has made since the beginning of the month. Her plan is to continue to make one piece a day, and you can follow along on her blog.

Linda has been busy, completing several new pieces. On these three she was able to make good use of many embellishments that she has been collecting.

Priscilla's latest Bernina garment was just returned to her, and we helped her unpack it. Pat is checking out the muff, and Nancy is looking at the dress and vest.

The batik panel that is on the table is one that Linda got on her trip to the Quilt Odyssey show in PA.

Pat is modeling the coat that goes with the outfit. Priscilla made it with scrunched fabric that is heavily embellished with special threads and beads.
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Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Good and the Bad

Almost all tomato plants in our area have been severely damaged by blight. They all apparently were started by a large wholesaler who distributed them to many outlets in the Northeast. The blight spreads by spores, over-winters in the soil, and as you can see, is devastating.

Despite spraying with a germacide at the first sign of disease, we were not able to save our crop. We planted some 48 plants and will have virtually no harvest. We have learned that in a good year it makes sense to put up extra sauce and whole tomatoes. (....sounds like an Aesop fable!) We have done this in the past and have enough in the canning cupboard to get through the winter.

Our corn crop looks good. In this picture you can see the actual fertilization process, as tassle pieces from the top of the plant have fallen to land on the corn silk of the developing ear.

We have built our usual electrified fence around the corn planting to keep the raccoons at bay. We like this example of corn silk because it looks very much like an auburn hair wig!!

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Summer Lillies

We do not have a large collection of lillies, but the "star" variety adds a great deal of color to any spot and lasts for several years with minimal care.

Marcia is trying out her new camera here, and as a first effort, shows four specimans. We marvel each year at the wonders of nature!

All of these are located in a raised bed at the junction of our driveways between our two barns.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Trimming in the Perrenials

Mid-summer is a good time to control new growth in the formal perennial planting. Most of the flowers are in bloom and harvest is near for any wanted for drying.

Karen Johnson, our long-time landscaper, and one of her assistants, Clarence, tackle the job at hand. He fashions some bayberry, and she is trimming some spreading greenery. The west wall is made of timbers, and the area inside is a raised bed.

We have some mature Korean boxwood along the east boundary. Their rounded form trims beautifully, and Andre has almost completed this area.

Our pergola is covered by climbing roses and a late-blooming clementis. There are chairs and benches for a viewing spot here. The globe thistles at the left retain their blue color if picked before they open totally, and add to winter dried flower creations.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Lowell Quilt Festival - 5

Our last gallery visit was "The Fabrication of Imagination" at the All Arts Gallery.

This large "kimono-jacket" piece was embellished with many images.

This large canvas bag piece is titled "Excess Baggage."

Double click on the picture to read the writing on the outside of the bag.

I thought the mix of artificial decorations in this lovely garden was pretty neat. It was on our walk to the Tsongas Arena for the quilt show.

This sculpture is dedicated to the "mill girls" who worked in the factories in the city. The birds sitting on top of each statue are NOT part of the sculpture!
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