Monday, September 1, 2014

A Year in Photos

There is a lot to catch up on, so this is a year in pictures...

Our Miracle Worker cutting steel pipe for fencing... In cattle country, it is the property owner's responsibility to fence out cattle, not the cattleman's job.  So, this will create a nice delineation of the property one day.

We had tomatoes in great abundance last year, so I decided it was time to try my hand at making jam.  Oh, tomato jam is the best!  You must try it, and on homemade pancakes!

 Our watermelon was greatly anticipated all year long.  It was worth the wait!

Since the tomato jam was a perfect delight, I decided we needed to harvest our prickly pears and make cactus jelly.  By the way, this is only a tiny sampling of the number of cactus pears needed to make an 8-jar-batch!


 Our homeschool moved along without a hitch.
To keep myself somewhat sane, I had to do some creative work.  These are stamps I designed and carved myself.

Craft cards stamped with some of my designs.

This is one of my favorite watercolors, a black throated-sparrow.  The watercolor painting is 2 1/2" x 3 1/2".

This is characteristic of my bookworm, reading is one of his pleasures!
A school 'field-trip' to our Grand Canyon.  That's one of the beauties of homeschooling, you can have a very flexible schedule and go in off-seasons to places like this!

Love apples and apple trees.  We plan to plant a small orchard of various varieties in the near future.

A swallow-tail butterfly sipping in the moist garden soil. 

My little herpetologist, doing what he loves!

Installing our water lines, which took a good month to accomplish since we put in about 700 feet worth of trenches.  All total, including electrical lines, we put in about 2800 feet worth pipe.  And we're just getting started!

Erecting poles for our homestead entrance, which will someday have a nice sign designating who we are.

That's us!

Burning off piles of accumulated dried shrubbery after a major rainstorm.

A view from under our native trees on the property.
You tend to love trees in desert climates!
Notice our fence (complements of MW) is starting to go in!

And here is a metate my oldest found on the side of our driveway.  What a find!  It must have been uncovered when Miracle Worker ran his road grader through to put in the driveway.
The dogs helping themselves to a drink of rainwater.

Miracle Worker discovered 'Frog Heaven' (after Duck Dynasty's Jase's comment of having found frog heaven), so he brought the family to see.  Much to the delight of the boys, they got to attempt catching frogs.

...And kissing frogs!
He wasn't too receptive to the idea, much as he loves herps.

And that, my friends is a brief photo journal of the past year or so!

There is so much more to come.  It is an on-going adventure of a life-time, literally.  These things do NOT happen over night!
Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Light Spring

Spring is beautiful.  Full of hope and renewal.
It's a time for doing new things, changing old ways.

As you may already know, I've taken the leap and put my artwork up for sale on Etsy.  Now that the kids are old enough to play by themselves and basically keep themselves entertained for a while, I have a little extra time to stretch my creativity once again.

Etsy is full of inspiration.  It has really helped me seeing other artist's work!  I finished the sketch above earlier today.  I love the simplicity and beauty of a well executed drawing!

My hens have begun laying beautiful eggs, Spring is in the air, and Easter is on its way!  This calls for a fine and simple egg still-life painting!

Now that Spring is here, it's also time for changing some old ways, such as leaving behind heavy, wintery, comfort foods.

Thanks to some further inspiration from my sister, I just made homemade street tacos! 
Oh, yum!

Simple.  Quick.  Delicious!

Here's what I did:
Sauteed Bell Peppers, Onions, Baby Bella Mushrooms
Load warm corn tortillas with sauteed vegies
Top with Cilantro, Lime Juice, and a drizzle of BBQ Sauce

Light and full of satisfying flavor.

If you would like some menu planning ideas, check out my sister's blog!

Happy Spring!

Linking up with the Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Planting Peas

We had snow last week, which makes it hard to believe we are so warm this week!  Just take a look...

I've been meaning to get out to the garden to plant peas earlier this month.  Something must have short-circuited my brain, because I couldn't bring myself to get out there in the cold!  Now with the bees buzzing, flowers blossoming, and the sun shining brightly, who could resist?

My garlic is doing beautifully...

the rosemary...


...sage, thyme and lavender are all doing well.  As I was watering them, the wonderfully pungent Mediterranean smells of these herbs wafted in the breeze.  A great reminder why I love to garden!

While I cultivated, planted and mulched, I was serenaded by quail calls!

A pleasant day in the life of a desert-dweller!

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Winter Grays

Yup, not, "The Winter Blues."  No, no, no.  Such is the impact winter has on me.  And I live in the desert where the sun shines most of the time!  I did my time in the Seattle, Washington area for a few years, and I'm done with that, THANK GOD!

A neighbor recently called me up and I answered the phone.  The first thing she said was, "You sound gray."  Oh, how perfectly right she was!  I had to laugh at her choice of the word.

Sorry to say, but I am gray this time of year.  The garden is long gone, the days are too short, work comes to us in tiny batches, and the holidays blasted in and out of our schedules leaving another hole of a different kind behind!  It's hard just trying to keep keepin' on!

So is it any wonder that I turn to my artwork to create a bit of Spring in my days?

There now!  Isn't that better?
Here's some more Spring-time therapy...

Ahhh, much better!

I painted these watercolors a couple months ago, in November.  Winter grays set in early for me!  Looking at them now, in their tiny format 2.5" x 3.5," fills me with hope and joy.  They make me feel like I've found a small, priceless treasure.  The best things come in small packages, don't they?

Isn't this funny?  I love the mannequin's presentation, as if to say, "Ta Da!"  I put this in my Etsy shop as one of the photos of this daffodil...

A simple one hour pencil sketch which represents my wintery mood.  The quick, dark pencil strokes testifies to my walking around my house like a caged animal!  Ha!  You laugh, but I'm serious!!!  Haven't you ever done that?  Sure you have, so I'm not alone in my temporary insanity...which is good.  I think.
And, the fact that a beautiful spring-time flower (sunny yellow, no less) is rendered in black and white is another commentary on my "Grays."  Happily, it is full of hope and the coming joy of Spring.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Another promising endeavor is bubbling to the surface...

"Flora and Fauna Desert Collection I"
9" x 12"

"Flora and Fauna Desert Collection II"
9" x 12"

Here's a general idea of what they would look like framed...

I love the exquisite beauty of a pencil drawing.  Discovering Rembrandt and Durer was all the confirmation I needed to prove the glory of the pencil drawing.

These two desert tag collections are really exciting me with what else I can do with them.  These are just the beginning!

So as the days begin to lengthen, I draw and paint.  Full of hope and expectation of the coming growing season.  Gray will soon be...Sunny!