Monday, August 27, 2018

Splash of Lime II

A bunch of limes slices...
What can I say about limes?
As it turns out, I think I can say a lot about them.

I do not remember ever having a lime as a kid.  I don't remember my mom ever buying one or having one in the house.  We were pretty much an apple-orange-banana family. Honestly, I don't even remember seeing limes in the grocery store when I was little.

I remember the first time I fell in love with limes.  (Surely, it wasn't the first time I'd ever tasted one, but maybe.) Ron and I were at a Christmas party with people he worked with. (Yeah, that means I was an adult! And, it was at his current company, so that means I was at least in my thirties.)  The lady hosting the party was from Mexico, and the food was Mexican.  I remember there was a bowl of lime wedges on each table.  I asked what they were for.  She said, "Squeeze them on your food... on everything!"  I thought that was weird, but I did it... and LOVED IT!!!
Just a little splash of lime on everything...
Changed my life!

Well, "everything" meant anytime I had Mexican food... until a few years later. At a family reunion, my nephew made corn on the cob.  Sounds pretty normal, right?  But... instead of butter and salt... he'd used cayenne pepper and lime juice!  What?  Why?  But, you guessed it... LOVED IT!

But wait!
There's more!
When I was in Indonesia this spring, they put a lime slice with everything too.  We had rice at every single meal, and beside that rice was what? A slice of lime.  Who squeezes lime over rice?  Well, Indonesians do, and now so do I... LOVED IT 
They also served a lot of watermelon there; a thin slice or two was kind of like the dessert at the end of the meals.  (Seeing them whole at the markets, they weren't the big long ones like we have, but little round ones.)  And on each watermelon slice was a little lime slice? Who'd ever think about squeezing lime on watermelon? I guess Indonesians thought of it. Mmmmmm.... So good. LOVED IT!

I don't drink. (Okay, full disclosure... tried it... twice... was not at all pleased with myself either time... decided that was enough of that. I have enough trouble behaving myself with just plain Coke!) Anyway, I don't drink, but if I did, I'm pretty sure my favorite would be a margarita... I think that's made with lime... wait let me Google that... ... ... yeah... a margarita would be my drink! 

I'm chuckling at myself for having so much to say about such a simple little thing and wondering which section I should scroll up and delete. Nah... I like them all.
Such a simple little painting, but I love it.  I rarely paint with so much blue, but it seemed right for the background of this one.

An Indonesian market -
You can see the limes in the front
and the little round watermelons at the back.

A different Indonesian market -
Same set up though.
Lots of limes for sale.
Original oil painting on 12"x 6" wrapped canvas.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Floating Down the Buffalo River

The Buffalo River is a place that people from Northwest Arkansas are very proud of.  Lots of people go "float the Buffalo" on weekends.
Ron & Andrew 10-11 years ago.

It's easy to see why this river is so loved.

When my friend asked me to paint his favorite spot, the Buffalo River, he gave me four photos to choose from.  After I finished the big 24"x 48" painting, I went ahead and painted one of the other choices.  It's not nearly as big, but I think it's lovely.  

Original Oil Painting on 12"x 24" Wrapped Canvas

Friday, August 24, 2018

Buffalo River

"America's First National River: Established in 1972, Buffalo National River flows freely for 135 miles and is one of the few remaining undammed rivers in the lower 48 states. Once you arrive, prepare to journey from running rapids to quiet pools while surrounded by massive bluffs as you cruise through the Ozark Mountains down to the White River." Those are the words from the National Park Service.

"This is my happy place, the place I love to be." Those are the words my friend used when he showed me the image on his phone and told me he wanted me to paint it.

This gives you a little perspective about its size.

Original Oil Painting on 24"x 48" Wrapped Canvas

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Kitchen Counter in August

I love the way the kitchen counters look in August.
Harvest... a little different every day...
Always a sense of satisfaction to see it there on the counter.

Not getting many eggs since 1 hen is old and 2 are new mamas.
We'll see if this bread & butter pickle recipe is delicious.
So many cucumbers this year!

The deer tried, but I won that battle! 
Kraut is one of those things you either love or hate... no in between.
Full disclosure... The cabbages were from my sister's garden.
Spaghetti sauce for the freezer.
Tomatoes with basil, oregano, chives, onions from my "pot garden"...

Because I grow herbs in pots!
A few pretty little marigolds to bring the outside in.
They always remind me of my mother.
Maybe I should paint them.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Baby Chickens!

Day 21! So Exciting! 
First it's just a crack, then a hole... and it's moving!
Peep! Peep! Peep! 
Who knew that they started peeping BEFORE they hatched!

First Sylvia got broody.  She was a good little momma and faithfully sat on her four eggs.  One broke early on. A second one hatched a few days early and just wasn't ready. One was a dud. And the other one had little LaurelAnne (a.k.a LaLa) in it!  We love her so!

 LaLa has grown so fast!

Next Dolly got broody.
Actually there were six eggs. Sadly, one hatched too soon and just wasn't ready.  Another got stepped on in the nest during the first hour. But these four seem healthy and happy.

 I've got to get these little fluffs named!
Sweet Aunt Fancy.  She is always nearby helping out with the chicks.
While The Reds (Red Red & Other Red) pretty much ignore them.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Tweet IV

I've painted this little friend several times.  It (as well as Apple Slices) is kind of a perfect starter painting for a beginner. As I've painted alongside the new painter, I get to end up with a little painting too.

Each time I paint a little bluebird, it triggers a memory.  My dad used to sing a silly song in the mornings, my version of an alarm clock.
Birdie with a yellow bill, 
Hopped upon my window sill,
Winked a shiny eye and said,
"Aren't you ashamed, you sleepy head?"
Original Oil Painting on 6"x 8" Wrapped Canvas

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Apple Slices VI

An apple for the teacher...
Teachers went back to school this week.
I'm not a teacher any more.
So, what am I now?

I loved being a teacher for 32 years, but I finished. 
Not for a moment have I longed to go back, but it's a weird thing not to be a teacher any more.
So, who am I now?

I've been through several phases of figuring out this not-being-a-teacher thing. 
So, how many phases until it feels normal? 

One weird thing is that form you get at appointments:
Name ☑ 
Occupation... sigh... What to put?  "None" or how about "Undecided" or just leave it blank?

Another weird thing was the last day of school this year. 
It marked a whole year... a whole year...
At first I wondered what I'd done with a whole year. 
Had I just piddled a whole year away?
So I made a list: 
  • Helped my dad settle into a retirement center
  • Pilates and yoga 3-4 times a week
  • Disney World with the kids
  • Started hanging paintings in the doctor's office
  • Three different crafting weekends at Welcome Home Retreat
  • Read the Bible through
  • Visited the Grand Canyon, Saguaro National Park, Sedona, stood on the Corner of Winslow, Arizona
  • Editing project for a petroleum consulting firm
  • Time with our daughter in Maryland
  • Present with Jolene in her last days
  • Cabin in West Virginia (lovely, but much like my own back yard which is free)
  • Spent a week in a hospital room with my sister
  • Monthly visits with Aunt Anita and helping her write her memoirs
  • Big trip to Indonesia where we worked in an orphanage, in village homes, and in several schools
  • Chickens
  • Garden
  • Cooking
Ok... Maybe I should stop beating myself up because of all the little jobs that I was sure I would get to right away... I suppose haven't been a complete sloth... 
But it sure has been wonderful to move in slow gear... work a crossword puzzle...  read a book... go to lunch with a friend... paint... scroll through Facebook... sit on the back porch and watch all that goes on...

So... I still don't know what to write in that Occupation blank...
...It's okay.

Original Oil Painting on 5"x 7" Wrapped Canvas
Click "Apple Slices VI" to purchase a little apple painting.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Backyard Friends - Update

I know you're all checking your blog feed daily to see if there's been an update to our raccoon / possum issues... (Click here if you missed the beginning.)
You wanted a raccoon update....
Well, let's talk about it...
We set up a fairly technical alarm system... Here's how it would work. The raccoon (We'll call him Ed) would try again to open it, hear the clatter of falling tin cans, run for his life, and vow never to return. 
Four tin cans on top of the chicken food bin... Ahhh... But wait... There are only three cans up in the picture.  The other can was an Eagle Brand milk can... Perhaps I didn't rinse it well enough... I think Ed liked the taste (because, let's face it, who doesn't!) and carefully removed it to take back to his home for a late night dessert.
Next we set up quite an elaborate safety system for the bin holding the bags of treats. A bucket of rocks on the lid.  When Ed tried to open the box, they'd fall on his head.  (I know... I know, it must seem that I attended and received an advanced degree from the school of Wile E. Coyote!)

Let's see how that worked out...
Yep!  It worked... well... sort of... We heard the ruckus, hopped out of bed, turned on the light, and ran around the side of the house to find Ed, rubbing the knot on his head. He just furrowed his brow and sort of scowled is disgust at us both.  Without a word in his defense, he just turned and left.
Now, you really need to open click on this photo and zoom in... right there in front of Pounce (our cat). Do you see where Ed has managed to pull the plastic bag from the sunflower seed through the side of the bin?
What??? How?
Yeah... Ate right though the side of the bin lid!  
Well, there weren't any little plastic chunks on the porch, so I assume he ate it. Hmph!  Serves him right!
Tummy ache and knot on the head aside, Ron gave him a very stern talking-to about the the rudeness of his destruction of property as he ambled away.
I switched out the oyster shells and scratch (Basically they're rocks that apparently are good for chickens to eat sometimes so they can use them as "teeth" to grind up food... Don't quote me on that... Better check with a real chicken blogger person.) and put those in the canisters with lids that flip open and put the good stuff in canisters that have screw tops.
When Ed and his buddies come back, let them have a few hands full of rocks to munch on.  See how they like that.
But, maybe they won't come back. You see that little opened box of Irish Spring.  It makes the whole area smell like... well... like Irish Spring.  Its supposed to keep the deer away, so maybe it will work for Ed and company too.

As I sit on my back porch and write this post, it's becoming pretty clear that Ed has daytime spies that are keeping an eye on me.