Monday, March 25, 2013

"Daffodil Donkey"

I like the patterns of light and shadow on her dirty white coat. We think her name is Sunshine ~ how appropriate! I met this scruffy little donkey last weekend at Daffodil Hill. I see her every morning on my drive to work. While I was visiting with my daughter and grandchildren, we were fortunate enough to hear her lovely voice, when her owner brought her and her pals a flake of hay.

I LOVE donkeys.  They are beautiful, but humble. Surefooted and cautious ~ slow to trust, but willing to try. I want to rescue a donkey or two. 
It is a GOAL. 
I love their loooooong ears, and the sound of their brays. Donkeys and goats are mostly compatible, and donkeys make GREAT guard animals. They will chase a coyote (or a dog) and stomp it if they catch it. 
They will also clean up that alfalfa my does refuse to eat because it has touched the ground.

OH, yeah, I want one.  

...FiddleSong Farm needs a donkey....

Saturday, March 23, 2013

...Smilin' Sal....

It was a gorgeous, warm sunny day here today. The birds were screaming in the trees.  I accomplished a few tasks that I had been putting off ~ some gardening chores, I washed and polished the floors, did some laundry, and made a box for Jenna's painting. Smilin' Sal will soon begin the long journey to upstate New York. A huge smile lit my face as I padded the painting with recycled air pouches and taped it up. I love that feeling of doing the right thing for the right reason. Sharing art is a wonderful thing, and Jenna is going to just love her painting....  

On Wednesday it rained. It started around midnight, and continued throughout the day.  I LOVE the rain.  I love how it makes the air smell, I love that it washes away from the trees the dust that has settled on their leaves and needles, making them sparkle with good health. I can almost see them taking a long, deep sip of the cool water trickling down through their soil. 

On Thursday, I drove up Fiddletown Road on my way to work. The mist was thick and beautiful, casting a soft glowing light where the sun filtered through the tree branches. 
There is something magical about mist. 
My inner voice says "I would love to paint this.  But how do I describe those misty trees in paint? There really is no color, just a soft blue-gray, with hints of darkness and light here and there."  Then I realize that the most intriguing thing about what I was seeing, was that movement cause by my passage. The way the sun filters through and behind each passing tree ~sometimes hiding, sometimes defining branch and leaf and needle ~ creates a sense of mystery.  I drove slower and slower, barely seeing the road, soaking in the atmosphere ~ feeling as if I was witnessing a miracle of Nature.

...sometimes the simplest things in life can give the most joy...

Thursday, March 14, 2013

...a lovely couple...

Mel and Olene Mountain dance at their granddaughter's wedding

These sweet people are two of my favorites. Mel and Olene reside in Florida, near Tampa. I met them at the age of four years old, when they became our neighbors and our best family friends. We share so many wonderful memories with this kindly couple and their children. Summer barbecues and pool parties, visits to a lovely chalet in Incline Village, and so many delicious seafood dinners at the Riverview Lodge in Antioch. 

I have some special funny memories, too. Sandi and I sitting on her bedroom floor, playing barbies and sharing secrets. Craig and Wayne and I digging a fort behind the fence, and sharing Army peanut butter sandwiches. Charlie trying to keep us ALL out of trouble :) Playing football in the street until dark.  

When I listen with my heart, I can still hear our laughter.

Olene is still my mom's best friend. She is an avid reader and art lover, and has done so much to encourage me through the years. She is a cancer survivor, a strong willed Christian woman, and dedicated to her family. I love her soft southern voice and her cultured manner. I would walk a mile for one of her hugs, in the snow.  I owe so much of who I am to her influence.

Mel Mountain is a force of nature. I have a very early memory of him coaching me "That will be 'Yes, Ma'am and No, Sir' young lady" ~ I still say that to this day. He taught me about respect and integrity. He was never too busy to listen to me. He loves to tease, and tells stories about me as a homely little girl riding up to visit with him and saying "Mr. Mountain, guess what?!"  It seems I was a little neighborhood gossip in pig-tails. Mel taught me how to prepare the best glass of iced tea, and how to make a mean martini :) One of the high points of my life was when Mel said to me "I'm proud of you."  We were sitting in my humble cabin talking about my career path.  

Mel is fighting his own battle now. I think of him daily. I want him to feel my prayers and know that I am walking along beside him, holding his hand, all the way from California. 

I want his family to know how much I treasure those memories ~ and that I love all of them. 

...sending love from California....

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

...juncos...cheeeep entertainment.


I have two house cats. Sissy and Tubby. Sisters from the same litter. I raised them ~they were born on my sofa. 
Tubby is purry and vocal. LOVES to be petted. Slightly neurotic.

Sissy is aloof. Sissy has rules. Sissy will allow you to pet her ~while she stands on the bathroom counter.  ONLY.  If you make a mistake, she might bite.

Sissy and Tubby are house cats because the outside cats pick on them. 
They are spoiled rotten. I buy them wheat grass from Raley's.  
I think of ways to entertain them in case they are bored....

This weekend I spent in the studio. Sissy and Tubby sat in the window sill and watched. It was a nice sunny day, but they didn't choose to go out on the deck. 
They looked bored. 
So, I found some stale bread and tore it into tiny pieces. I took it outside and lined the deck railing with them. While I painted, Sissy and Tubby were slightly entertained by several juncos who hopped around the deck railing eating the bread. 

...I like dogs.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Rachel's Plum Blossoms

"Rachel's Plum Blossoms"

I spent today in the studio.  It was a beautiful sunny day, and I am always torn between working in my garden or painting.  I am preparing for a featured artist show at Sutter Creek Gallery for the month of May, and I wanted some more botanicals. My daughter Rachel took  photos of some lovely flowering plum trees, and they were so delicious that I had to paint them!!!  I like the way this turned out with my "Wendy-esque" colored pencil added.  This is about 13" x 13" and will go to my photographer tomorrow....

....a day spent creating art is NEVER wasted time...

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Happy Birthday, Sissy Jane :)

Hope you are having a GREAT time in Disneyland!!! 
Love Grandma and Grandpa :)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Cooooool piggy...

Lucy HATES the snow...

FiddleSong Farm just would not be the same without Lucy. Potbelly pigs make interesting pets. They are pretty fun and easy to train, and have individual personalities. They are clean and don't smell at all. They are funny and lovable, but they have some very special needs that cannot be ignored. Just like any family pet, when you adopt a pig into the family, you are committing to provide care and shelter, good feeding practices, and a safe haven for the life of this animal. Potbellies can live up to fourteen years, and they are NOT for everybody! 

When we adopted Lucy, she was a darling little squealer! She weighed about 10 lbs, and quickly learned to go potty in a litter box provided especially for her. We made her a salad every night to go with her special pig chow, and she LOVED grapes!!!  I didn't have any idea what having a potbelly for a pet would entail, so AFTER we brought her home, I got online and started searching the Internet for all of the helpful hints that I could find. Looking back, I wish that we had done a few things differently, but all in all we did OK, because Lucy has turned out great! If you are considering a pig for a pet, find all the information that you can FIRST!! Too many piggies end up at animal shelters having been neglected or abandoned, just because their people didn't know what they were getting into.

Here are a few basic hints:
1. ALWAYS spay or neuter your piggy!! (We didn't do this, and BOY are we sorry!)
2. Don't let your pig eat too much. A pig can literally eat itself to death very quickly, so be vigilant about keeping all food products safely out of your piggy's reach. 
Feed in moderation~ a fat pig is unhealthy.
3. Too hot or too cold is not good! Potbellies are tropical animals, so protect them from extreme temperatures.
4. Watch out for dogs. Even your own dog could be your pig's worst enemy. Our dog Jack is a little jealous of Lucy, so we keep Lucy separated from the dogs unless they are supervised.
5. NEVER REWARD BAD BEHAVIOR WITH FOOD! If your pig "snouts" the door at pig dinner time and you feed her, she will snout the door every day FOR THE REST OF HER LIFE. Pigs have a memory like a steel trap, and they have incredible problem solving abilities, which leads us to~
6. A gardener with a pig better build her fence "pig tight". Lucy checks the garden gate EVERY time that she walks by it, because one day I left it unlatched.
7. When your pig is naughty, TELL HIM! Your pig can tell by the tone of voice if you are unhappy with him. "LUCY, NO!" stops her in her tracks, and she thinks about what she is about to do. Usually this is enough to change her mind, unless there is something edible within her line of sight, then it is:CHARGE!!! EVERY PIG FOR HERSELF!!

Lucy's Cozy Cottage, complete with heat....

Friday, March 1, 2013


"Perfect Hope"

On my drive home tonight, the sun was just setting in brilliant opera. I passed a large yard with daffodils blooming. They were just starting to open, yellows and oranges--some whites. The sunset was just enough that they glowed! I slowed as I passed. I rolled down my window and I stole one deep breath of pure springtime. 

As a nurseryman, I sold literally tons of daffodil bulbs. They come in several different color combinations. I sold tulips, hyacinths, and snowdrops. What we didn't sell, we would plant up in pots of rich soil. They would be blooming right on schedule, enticing buyers to purchase on impulse. Planting daffodil bulbs is like mailing yourself a package to be delivered in the spring. 

...I will never have enough daffodils...