Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A new painting....

It is always exciting to have something new to frame. This watercolor is about 18"x 22" with sepia ink and lots of Prismacolor pencil work. These dramatically back~lit walnuts are just showing their new spring buds.  There is something magical about this Volcano meadow.  I drive by it twice a day, and I am fascinated by the shapes of the trees and the lush grasses.  I find myself returning to it again and again for subject matter for my paintings.
This one will be one of my entries in the Amador County Fair in July this year. You may view it in person at the Sutter Creek Gallery, until then...

...giclee prints are available :)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Small successes...

I just read Jenna's blog.  She has been milking her doe, Bonita for one month.  I am proud of her, and remember commenting on one of her blog posts last year that she should add goat's milk to her farm :)  GOOD for her!!

Tonight, I was out in the garden after settling my goat friends for the night.  I was looking at all the healthy weeds that have exploded in growth and thinking "OMG.  HOW am I going to get all these under control?" I have SO much to do and I am anxious to plant my green beans, and I have to clear another area for two more potato boxes. I have been weeding a little every evening after work while it is cool, and I am making slow progress. My onions are doing very well.  I have seedlings started in the greenhouse, and they all look healthy. My herbs are starting to grow, and my celery is growing taller. I have peas to eat, and spinach ready and I harvested a romaine lettuce yesterday. All is well.

My friend Alison told me that she is going to grow some veggies in her yard in Sutter Creek.  Deja said that Andy is clearing their space, getting ready to plant. Rachel is talking about planting some things in pots at her new place. Dawnia is getting ready for her tomatoes. My Mom and Dad still grow pots of tomatoes in their tiny manicured yard.

I remember planting a tiny veggie garden in a corner of our Oakley home in the '80's, and how satisfying that small effort was. My advice is GO FOR IT!  Even if you plant one wine barrel with a tomato and some basil, or a shady pot of lettuce seeds~small successes are still successes!

....Hmmmm, I wonder where the tomatoes should go this year?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Got GOAT cookies?

Whimsy LOVES her cookies :)

As I go along from day to day, I learn little tricks that help me in some small way.  I had to teach myself how to milk.  THEN I had to learn that each doe has her own style.  Then I had to learn that some goats are actually quite insulted when you are milking them.  Bella is a good example of this.  Bella is one of my Rosasharn does.  Her mother is Mariposa, one of their loveliest and most accomplished does. Bella freshened the first time with an udder to die for! It was large and perfectly formed. The first time I put her on the milk stand, I thought she was going to have a heart attack! The look of shock on her face alone should have warned me this was not going to be easy.
She kicked, scratched, did flips, laid down, yelled, kicked, scratched, knocked the bucket over the fence....you name it, she tried it. Off the stand she was perfectly mannered, easy to handle.  On the stand it was something like trying to milk a mountain lion. I read everything I could.  I WAS PATIENT.  I was kind, and reassuring.  I was persistent.  I had a regular schedule.  I tried playing music.  Different KINDS of music.  I tried singing :/ I tried massages.  I tried treats. Soon, I was bruised and bleeding from scratches, my patience at an end. Exhausted, I unclipped her and went and got Hummingbird, who, although not very trusting of people, was a perfect angel on the milkstand.

Now I have Honey, who is Bella's daughter.  Honey is not as easy as she could be, but with a few adjustments here and there, and a few well timed goat cookies, we manage to accomplish what we set out to do.  I have learned to use an "underbelly bucket" to keep her from laying down.  Now she is pretty steady on the stand.  Her doeling Bond is a "one sided sucker" so I only milk Honey's right side. Honey milk is creamy and delicious!

....I am more patient than a goat is stubborn...