Signs of Spring and Stories

Blooming trees across the river.

Cherry blooms on the way back home from coffee in town.

A new sign at the turn down into my subdivision.

Getting greener at the river.

My furniture for the porch came the other day. Gravity was not working for me in putting it all together. Hardest part was keeping two washers together while lining them up with holes to get the bolts through. If you scotch tape the two washers together and then tape them to the hole, gravity will stay out of it!

They are very comfortable and fit perfectly.

I have black shades that can be lowered to block sun and neighbors’ houses. Here is the opposite wall.

It is a perfect size porch for one and a bit of company.

And then the new sleep sofa came yesterday. Perfect size because no pictures had to be moved over to be centered.

I went over to the llama shop here in town and bought a lovely llama blanket in a blue that matches the night skies in the stitched images and also is in the rug. The cats love it. We find it very comfortable.

Then the past two days I worked on the Sticks and Stones Book.

Right before dropping off to sleep the other night I thought, why not wax that book? So I did each page with a lump of Lee’s bee’s wax from his bee keeping days. It does odd things to the painted and graphited pages….makes it look older. And the feel is very nice to the hand. Here is a detail so you can see how the wax permeates the colors and paper.

There is an oldness to it now…not unlike old wallpaper in an abandoned house. I am not quite half way through and need to put it aside this weekend to do some stitching.  I am wondering what to do with those tempting fold down triangular pockets on each fore edge fold…and then there is the entire back side waiting for some hand written story about these stick and stones.

The idea of a story appeals to me because the other morning a new fellow came in while I was having coffee with the men. He sat with us and asked about where he could locate a long galvanized pipe to put up a yard light. He said he had no curtains on his windows there in the woods but sometimes had a creepy feeling after dark and thought a yard light would help.

Then in another conversation while we were pondering where a pipe could be found, he asked why one of the fellow’s dogs had such an odd looking collar on. We told him it had citronella in it and when the dog barked at customers coming in, he soon learned to stop because it gave out a whiff of the citronella. Now just putting that color on keeps him from barking.

He then tells me that a barking dog reminded him of a folk tale his mother read to him and his brothers about the Hobyahs. It is an early English tale written by Joseph Jacobs,  of an old man, his wife and a young girl living in the woods where evil Hobyahs dwell. The old man had a dog that barked every night and to get him to stop, the old man would, suffice it to say, do irreparable harm to the dog. Could be the Hobyahs took exception to this and ended up killing and devouring the old couple and stealing the young girl away in a gunny sack. Now what the benefit of telling this story at bedtime was, I can’t say. But the fellow looking for a pipe for his yard light was still bothered by it. I found the whole tale fascinating and had to look it up. There are newer versions, rewritten and illustrated but the old one read to him would be interesting to see.

Then it turns out in further conversation, that he went to school in the same town I did in Florida, and the places I could not remember too well, he could because he is fourteen years younger. It was quite a chatty morning. My social skills are definitely getting better and I asked if he could return to tell us when the light goes in and if he becomes less fearful of that lurking woods near his house.

So, I am thinking that my book with trees, leaves, sticks and stones invites an old tale to be written on the back. I like the idea of it written with a graphite pencil in cursive.  Maybe it could take the form of a series of letters back and forth….and maybe those pockets could hold hand made stamps. And maybe, just maybe, there could be drips of red sealing wax on the letters….

I need to put it away for a few days and give it some thought over some hand stitching.

More later…..

Too Many Pictures to Wait

We will start with the walk to the river near my house. It is filling up as the dam gets adjusted.

And wildflowers coming up by the river…

The violets inspired me to get back to the six way opening book that I was painting flowers in.

Next to this book on the shelf was this old attempt of mine to replicate Lorraine’s eucalyptus contact print books that she has sent me. The paper is not the best. I must have folded it against the grain because it is all ruffly on the fold. My leaves were not the best. But I just went ahead anyway and painted in some of the flowers that were blooming that Spring of a few years ago.

I am going to keep this book handy because its crudeness has a certain appeal. It already feels and looks worn out. Just the thing to paint in when I feel the same. Sort of a tattered collaboration.

The Meadow Book was opened again to capture the wintery feeling before Spring arrived.

I used different brushes and washes to get the tall dead cold grasses and a chilly mourning dove.

And another couple pages in the Sticks and Stones Book.

I promised myself to get out more by taking myself out to dinner every other Tuesday at a favorite restaurant of Lee’s and mine. By coincidence they sat me at our old booth. It was such a lonely feeling sitting there with no one across the table from me, and brought back other memories of the friends Lee and I always had dinner with there at that booth.

But I am going to return in two weeks with a friend from here in my new neighborhood. She used to live in our town before I moved here, and would stop by Lee’s and my workshop in town to say hi. Then life took her someplace else and then back to here where she would stop by Lee’s and my booth to still say hi. We shall have a good visit over dinner and remember things and people that used to be.

In the meantime I will keep busy here in my studio drawing, painting or stitching.

There was a nice view over our houses the other morning when I was walking back from town.

And an interesting, agitated sky that afternoon.

It was soon after the poetry reading at the library and my head was full of words in columns that spread through emotions.

Just now the delivery man left boxes that hold my new table and two chairs for the porch. I was hoping they would come all assembled and carried by two jolly fellows to wherever I wanted them. Instead I got one jolly fellow declining my request he stick around and put them together. So off I go with expectations that all pieces and parts are there. I will take my rubber mallet with me to give additional encouragement to misalignments.

Til later…..