Tag Archives: leisure

I Adore Hollyhocks

stretch

stretch2Well yesterday it was time to get busy. Outdoors in August, as you can see I need a sweater. Brrrr … I am still waiting for my hollyhocks to bloom. And frankly they look too frightened to come out of their coverings!

A chill has settled into the air. The day before I in the yard with the cats, wearing my down-filled jacket, whilst they ran around in their little fur coats. Even the birds have begun to stuff themselves.

My art show at ArtPoint is coming up in November, and I now must set my plan in action. This was a huge canvas to stretch, approx six feet by 4 feet and I had been meaning to tackle it for ages. The stretcher frame was gifted to me, and the old canvas had to be removed to give way to a new one.

With such good construction it was worth reusing. Reuse-recycle! It is huge-barely got it into my studio. I am hoping it will be the signature piece for my show in November, unless that is too large an undertaking for this upcoming show. Let’s see what transpires.

yellow hollyhocktwo bees

hollyhocks-heirloom

I hope the plan will include an Indian summer. Seems we have not had much summer at all. Perennials planted previous years supplied some blooms to enjoy. That has been the extent my garden this year and was certainly worth the effort.

I adore hollyhocks and some are in bloom throughout the neighbourhood. These are favourites of mine, truly heirloom variety. The bees were lovingly surrounding them and burrowing in deep, covered in pollen. The delicate yellow seemed to best loved by the bees, not pale rosy coloured ones, equally as beautiful. Perhaps a more exquisite flavour was what drew them.

Pause to Refresh

Mount Rundle Reflections

Home from a refreshing day in the mountains. The weather was optimum. Fresh air, sunshine and good company-how can you go wrong? We strolled around Vermillion Lakes. Here is a view of Mt Rundle from that area. No paintbrushes with me this trip-just my camera. However I really must take them with me next time for some plein air painting.

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We had lunch in Banff, and went to the Upper Hot Springs, which is a sulphur pool and had a lovely long soak. Sorry folks-no swimsuit shots. Here I am on the main street of Banff after our soak. How fortunate to be so close to the mountains to afford a simple day trip. The mountain town was abuzz with activity and crawling with tourists.

Vermillion Lakes is known for moose although we didn’t see any this time around. Some of the area is marsh like, and was heavily populated with red winged blackbirds as well as other varieties of birds who perch on the reeds and cattails surveying their paradise. I felt as though I was peering into a child’s picture book. No lucky bird-in-flight shots that day, only a memory etched into my mind’s eye.

Coming up soon-a NEW commissioned painting which is top secret until I post it here, so stay tuned. Now and for the next couple of weeks is prime time for viewing alpine flowers in the Rockies. Here’s a couple from my day to share with you.

Alpine Flower MauveMountain Coneflower

Never A Dull Moment

Robin Nest

Look at what has appeared just outside my bedroom window! This had to have been yesterday or today. I know for certain it wasn’t there before that. I have a sneaking suspicion that this robin and her mate are the ones who were displaced from the cedar tree.

Cats

These birds have picked a busy spot, over the back deck, near the back door which is high traffic around here. Not sure about the electrical wires being an ideal choice. Fortunately, it looks as though the nest will not be accessible by the interested parties you see here.

Robin Bath

They are enjoying all the luxuries of a fine hotel, including the bird spa. The house is due to be painted next week. Wondering if anyone has suggestions on how to protect the nest. I also have bird houses with no vacancy on the other side of the house, and I am hoping they will be unscathed by the house painting.

In Flight

Chances are the birds won’t be in it, when people are around, but the eggs might be. Wondering if it is covered in plastic, while they are spraying will do the trick, just so long as no one touches the nest. I would not like to see them ousted again.

This was a lucky shot, a still captured from a video I took. With these birds outside my window, I am anticipating I will have a natural alarm clock. Just hoping it isn’t going to be too early, but then that is wishful thinking, as I believe they are up at the crack of dawn.

garden

Here is my favorite spot to sit in the garden, which as of yet, is still sporting dead stalks from last year.

Today was hot, with a breeze offering welcome relief. Great weather in store for the entire weekend. But the yard work may have to wait, as I am considering going to Fish Creek Park for a little plein air.

And lastly, please send healing thoughts to my mother. The quilt you see on the garden bench, was made by her. This is her blog. She has recently been diagnosed with a temporary condition, requiring prednisone, which without proper treatment can lead to other complications. We are awaiting the test results, so your prayers are welcome.

In the meantime, have a marvelous May long weekend!

Gardening & Such

Gardening & Such

Look at these juicy cherry tomatoes … pick them fresh off the vine to toss into a salad … yum! When you grow your own, things taste better. I have about a dozen hollyhock blooms now … birds have plucked off a couple so I pressed them in my flower press. Amazing how delicate the petals are. Perhaps that is why the leaves are so tough. Hollyhocks are very ancient, having been found in the grave of a Neanderthal man, I was recently reading somewhere. My hostas have bloomed.

Cherry TomsHollyhocks BunchHostas

Despite the altitude here, this year has been exceptional for growing things. Some peony plants will be going in very soon, as I have the perfect spot readied for them. My solar-powered gardening-yard lights are great. I highly recommend them. My place has gone through a process of decluttering, and I am painting.

I began a layout on a new commission for one of my regular patrons. Also a landscape possibly three feet by four feet is in the works. I never did learn the meaning of the word ‘boredom’! I should have some new artwork to post soon.

Our weather is cooler for the moment, with hotter weather promised for tomorrow. Not a fan or air conditioning unit can be found anywhere in Calgary as they are SOLD OUT! This has been the hottest weather in about thirty-five years. Hope everyone is having a wonderful summer.

I thank you all for your readership, and for your lovely comments-one and all. I have lost heart for commenting momentarily, since the bug I have posted about in the bug blog has never been addressed here! Does anyone have any idea how to fix this or has anyone else been experiencing this?

No matter what you are doing … make sure you make time to smell the flowers!

Smell the Flowers

Summer Sustenance

hollyhockfence_sm

I have been gardening, fending off the Magpies who like to steal the portulaca from the planters as well as the shiny river stones from the bird bath. I awoke yesterday morning to a pair of swallows procreating on the fir tree outside the dining room window.

Exciting news … my first ever homegrown hollyhock bloomed yesterday! Since being introduced to hollyhocks via Georgia O’Keefe’s paintings, I have admired and photographed them in a variety of locations. Finally I have my own, this one is a double apricot, I think.

Biennials are rumored to have minds of their own. Blooms may only appear every two years-or not. I suppose the climate will have the final say, so I may have to wait and see. If anyone one has suggestions on how to keep this blooming-please share!

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We have been in the throes of a sweltering heat wave in the west. The hypnotic drone of dog days melding together under the summer heat. We have had a day’s grace of about 25C then back to the thirties. Thundershowers predicted for tonight came today and produced some amazing cloud effects. If you look closely, you can see a plane flying into this one.

The other evening, in the neighbour’s yard a charm of about twenty five magpies, could be seen loudly jeering at the cats who were strolling the neighbour’s fence. The sound was deafening and they had to be shooed off one by one. I don’t want to encourage the magpies to hang out here, as they raid the nests of the smaller birds who live in my birdhouses. Cats didn’t seem too bothered by this mockery or were at least too proud to show it.