Some Things Are Easy – Like Drawing – And Some Things Are Just Hard – Like Sadness

The hard part first. Late yesterday afternoon Lee broke down and said he didn’t want to stay here anymore. He wanted to go home. He wanted to see his brother who died several years ago. He wanted desperately things I could not give him. I tried explaining that this has been “home” for nearly thirty years. And if he meant returning up north where our grown children live then he would be very cold and stuck inside for months. I pointed out the windows at all the things that he has done here over those thirty years. But in the end all I could do was let him cry, try not to cry with him and then when enough time had passed, I poured us both a very stiff drink.

My dental hygienist, who went through this with her mother, told me just yesterday morning that I should get someone to just come in and get to know Lee and vice versa. Maybe sit with him for an hour or so. She told me that I did not need a professional service for Lee, but sort of a friend.  I had to be honest and tell her that we knew no one who would do that …… be a paid for friend. She suggested I ask our mutual cleaning lady if she knew someone who would like to come and get to know us for some financial compensation.

I will now start looking in earnest for that person. I will also watch Lee more closely and try to find a way to keep him from such overwhelming sadness that seems to come later in the day. As I write this he is sleeping in his chair and I have an eye on the impeachment hearings. We will both need those drinks in a couple of hours.

Now for the good things.

This morning Lee helped me unwrap the third and last section of contact printed sheets for another accordion book.

I am piecing it together to get the twenty-eight pages that are in the Bush Book. This new one will need a cover and then be ready to start painting in wildflowers.

Only three more double pages after this Luna moth and the Bush Book will be finished.

And now the latest four days of Drawing a Day with Haiku.

Plucking and strumming

is what this little fellow

is trying to do.


She has been sewing

persistently many years

and still not finished.


My tail wags, ears flop

head continuously dips

in an empty bowl.


Some chickens cross roads

just so they can show possums

how they should do it.

Lee and I used to make these kinetic toys. This dog and possum ones are ours. The chicken pecks at the road on the other side of the double yellow while the possum nods his head and moves his tail up and down as he appears to follow the chicken. The weight that holds the strings underneath is a possum with tire tracks across his flattened body. Possums are our most abundant road kill.

We had so much fun with these.

Til later.

The Weather Is Cooler – I’m Staying Inside

Lee needs to spend time outside every day…regardless of the weather. Here he is re-stacking his rocks down below. He is constantly rearranging them. Keeping an order to something is very important.

By the time I got back from the gym this morning,fixed his breakfast and filled the feed buckets for him to feed the birds and deer, we had this sunrise. It quickly turned cloudy and dull.

So this morning I decided we should cook up some meals for the freezer. Lee is still fairly good at chopping up vegetables and pulling chicken off the bones. So a big pot of chicken soup, a meatloaf, lots of french toast cooked up and placed in waxed paper before freezing, and the start of a puttanesca sauce to finish Sunday. The house smells wonderful.

Last week we had two meals from four chicken thighs over dressing.

Pure comfort foods.

I also had time to work in the Bush Book. A mole and Canadian goose were added to the bear pages.

And a good start on the next section.

There is a bobcat, hummingbird and tufted titmouse joining the skunk and cardinal. I have now drawn in all but the last double page with all the critters on my list. Then I went to the studio and cut all the sections for the next book that will have wildflowers painted within the marks. It is a bad time of year to make contact prints, but I will use what I have here in the yard. I don’t think it is a worry to get good images…just some suggestion of place through marks.

And of course the Drawings A Day with Haiku.

I cut the basket

short in this drawing because

I ran out of room.


From Indonesia

a small and intricately

woven container.

Another hand-carved

wooden box from the kitchen

holds some essentials.


A basket-like box

waits to collect small odd bits

that then go nowhere.

Two chickens pecking

away at nothing with strings

below being pulled.


He raises his axe

and slams it down on the log

with little result.

I am going to do all the kinetic toys that Lee and I collected or made. Such good memories of us working together in the shop. Me coming up with ideas and Lee cutting out all the parts. A carver in Ann Arbor made the wood chopper and the next two I will draw. He had a distinctive style. Then I will move on to the ones we made. I must say that holding the paddle and swinging the weight below just to hear and see the resulting action is very satisfying.

I might bring them all back upstairs for both of us to play with.

Til later.


Another Few Days Have Whizzed By

The routine of every day being similar to the last one seems like time would drag by. But it goes rather fast now. Could be age, could be that there is so much to think about doing that even in the not doing there is no time to shut down. I am keeping up and that is all I can ask of myself right now.

I do need to get back to the Responsibility Hands drawings though. Lee has a bit more problem with how he eats things. And how he “helps”. I have to gently remind him to use his fork or take advantage of the knife beside his plate. Soup is an easy meal. One bowl and one spoon. A stack of crackers on the counter is an easy thing for him to figure out.

This morning when one of the cats lost her breakfast, before I could get to it he used the cat litter scoop and couldn’t figure out why it was such a mess. “Thanks, lee, I’ll get it.” In his mind cat mess was cat mess…so it is whatever makes sense to him at the moment. I just have to keep that in mind and move quicker. We can still find some of this stuff funny.

So back to the Bush Book. I have decided that I will have withdrawal when I finish this book so am planning on dyeing some pages with sticks and other debris from outside using some iron and tea and pigments as well. Then once I get it all bound like Lorraine’s book, I will fill the open spaces with paintings of wild flowers from this area. I will even put in those enchanting little pockets that she did. I figured out how to cut my strips of paper to make those pockets without any waste of papers.

Here are the latest two double pages.

I exchanged the mourning dove that I had drawn in for a raccoon. Then I just had to put in a shield bug as the house if full of them this winter. The nuthatch I moved to the other side of the leaf. That white lined sphinx took forever to get looking passable!

Here I put in a Carolina chickadee and female rufous-sided towee and a black bear listening to the honeybee buzzing nearby. The open area between the leaves facing each other were perfect for the backside of a bear. The next set of pages has been drawn in with a red cardinal, bobcat and a few other things. After doing the raccoon I went back to the squirrel and rabbit and improved on their fur. I need to put the tracks in on several pages now that they have started up again. The large bumble bee is the middle of the book so I do have a ways to go.

Here are four days of Drawing a Day and Haiku.

A Peruvian

replica of very old

buried Chancay dolls.


I’m from Africa.

Completely colored with tar

and adorned with beads.


What a lovely tool!

Bought in a second hand shop

down in Mittigong.


It was the door spring

wrapped over the handle end.



Not much else new. I have not been able to get back to the heads down in the studio. Those take me too far out of reach to keep an eye on Lee. I haven’t read any good books lately. I have discovered the section of the grocery store where I can buy pre-cooked pasta like stuffed raviolis. They are perfect to put in the freezer when I can’t get to cooking dinner. Boil frozen for six minutes while sauteing mushrooms, asparagus, spinach, garlic. Then toss in the ravioli with marinara sauce and some parmesan. Super meal in no time!

Tonight it will be chicken thighs with dressing and asparagus. Simple and makes the house smell delicious.

That is it for now. I am just not in a ponderous mood or there would be more.

Thinking of friends in Australia and wondering if a recovery is even possible. So much loss…

Please help if you can. There are so many worthwhile places that need help down there.

Til later.

A Very Good Few Days Here – Bad Days for Australia

This artwork was accepted into the Waterhouse Exhibit at the South Australian Museum this past year. My goal with the work was to press home how very vulnerable Australia is to climate warming. Using the book, Fatal Shore, by Robert Hughes, I cut several Eucalyptus leaves from the pages. Then colored them with the watercolors made from the soils of Australia and finally burned all the edges. I made a dust pan for them to be swept into.

When I left this beloved country last April I gave several of these leaves to friends there and then placed the rest in and among Eucalyptus leaves in some of my favorite places.

I weep for the country and all the suffering to be endured by some of the most resilient people I have ever known. If you can make a donation of any kind to those working so hard to help, please do. I chose the Country Women’s Association of New South Wales and intend to give more to other charities covering the losses of their people and wildlife.

Here at home it has been a good several days. I was thinking that Lee might become too confused with having a student here for a day of white line printmaking. I was afraid that I would have to end our sessions but instead Lee was looking forward to Kent being here and greeted him in the driveway with an offer to help him bring in supplies. I even did some of my own work while working with Kent. A good day indeed!

Also I am keeping up with the drawing a day and haiku.

I had to have this

African incised gourd from

the Smithsonian.


Baskets by Lee Cole

can trigger a return to

beloved Australia.

I knotted in all

my African beads and bronze

while dressing this gourd.


This gourd end has been

turned into a percussion

rattling instrument.


And the Bush Book now has two more double pages.

A bluebird, copperhead snake, box turtle and katydid.

One very big bumble bee.

More later.

Tonight I will make Lee and me some tomato-bacon soup to go with leftover quiche.

I will have some Australian wine and think of the friends there who still may not know if their homes survived.

Til later.