Sunday, April 29, 2012

Gardening and Cats

The weather here, and elsewhere, has been so changeable that I have not started the garden as yet. We had a week of 80n degrees in March and have been freezing for most of April, with some snow and sleet.

The little garden at the side of the driveway has done well in spite of it all. The purple swamp iris bloomed, as did the forget-me-nots and there are these little white things that popped up this past week. I don’t know what they are or where they came from. I know there were a few of them last year and now there are a lot of them. The mystery lily has spread and when it blooms this year there will be three separate plants. Last summer the main or “mother” plant had six blooms at the top. Quite showy.

Once again I neglected to thin out the Stella d’ oro lilies and they are so bunched together that I don’t expect them to bloom very well. I have heard it’s heavy work and that you have to take a very sharp knife or an axe to separate the bulbs and them I’m afraid I will replant them upside down and they’ll end up blooming in China. Or Australia.

While I was out taking pictures of the little white things, Sateen (our name for him) came purring over. He’s a stray who’s been in the neighborhood for five years. People try to take him in, but if there are or have been other cats in the house, he sprays, even though he’s been neutered. The woman next door feeds him and provides him shelter in bad weather in her garage. He’s very needy and he also drools. He is beautiful though. We are still missing Dupree. There was another stray around a few weeks ago, a lovely tortoise shell with Siamese markings, but she was quickly adopted by a neighbor. I think we need a cat.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Another Favorite Thing

A while back I wrote about some of my favorite kitchen things and plumb forgot a very important item. It used to be easy to find a brown pottery tea pot, even at the five and ten. When my last one bit the dust, back in the early seventies, there was not one to be found. When Polly made her first trip to Europe, which was going to include England (the Brits are very clear about not being in Europe which is a place they got to on holiday), I asked her if she could bring me back one if she happened to check out a Woolworth’s in London.

What she brought back was not a five and dime tea pot. It’s a beautiful Derby Stoneware pot with a light blue lining. It makes great tea. I bought it a tea cozy at a Woolworth’s in Scunthorpe in about ten years ago. That’s another thing that was hard to find over here. Just about the tie that cozy became threadbare, my friend jay Bell knitted me a charming number that the tea pot and I just love.

My shiny brown pot is now almost forty years old and looks like new. I think with all the trendy kitchen shops now tucked into every mall, one can probably find a brown pottery pot (not china, but pottery), but I treasure this one.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Painting Away

Been painting for the first time in a long while.  I’m experimenting with as looser style than I used to do. Still inspired by Gabrielle Munter. Emily sent me a delicious calendar this year and each month is a treat. I just love her use of color. I have a book Emily gave me a couple of Christmases ago, which shows some of the black and white photographs she worked from and the places she   saw around her in the Murnau area. (Since there was no color photography at that time, at least for the casual photographer, you can see how she actually saw things in her paintings. All of the subjects were right around the little house in Murnau where she and Kandinsky lived together. It’s just before the Alps begin, with a lot of little lakes and the mountains in the near distance.

The picture above is of a vacant house down in Holmes County. I happened to drive past it as the sun was rather low in the sky. The back of the house is missing, and the light in the windows is the sun, not indoor lights. I have been meaning to do this painting for a very long time and decided to just plunge in and think like Munter. I may do another one of the same subject, because this was fun to do.

The painting below is base on a picture that Ellie took of the wild cat, Francine. I haven’t met her, but she is the subject of many hilarious photos from the Petrou homestead in Erding. This one was so colorful and I couldn’t resist. I don’t think I have quite captured the zaniness of Francine, who is very photogenic in a wacky way. Both she and Izzy, the alpha cat of the family, are extremely nutty felines and I have Izzy’s photos on my refrigerator door, replacing grandchildren’s pictures. My beautiful granddaughters are much too glamorous for the likes of a refrigerator door.  Anyway, I love the photo of Francine contemplating the ennui of a late winter afternoon, close by a glass of wine and l’heure bleu.