Kaaren Poole artist and dog Fiona

It's been five months now since I lost my dear Fiona. I still miss her every day and can't imagine when-if ever-I'll be ready to take this picture down.

I live on ten beautiful acres in the northern California foothills with my sister who is also my best friend.  The beauty, peace, and occasional drama of nature and wildlife surround us.  We also enjoy our numerous animal family members – two rats, two guinea pigs, four ducks, seven cats, dog, and a horse.  They are a constant source of love and learning, and often amusement.

When I'm not working on my art or writing, I'm in the garden. It's a large one with raised beds and it’s fenced from the deer.  The ducks have their own house in the garden.  Roses occupy most of the space, but in the past few years I've also grown a variety of perennials and a few annuals for a cutting garden. One bed is devoted to tomatoes. About five years ago we had a large arbor installed and two rambling kiwi vines grow over it creating a shady oasis.  With that addition, the garden became a destination for conversation and relaxation, and not just a place to work.

What's happening in the

garden -

It's nearly Thanksgiving now. We've had a handful of rainy days plus a three-day storm that gave us nearly 8" of water. So the plants are happy, and I've been able to turn the irrigation off which I'm thankful for as it was getting pretty touchy with constant breaks, leaks, and clogs. With the cooler weather, the ducks are moving around the garden more and seem to be enjoying themselves.

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Blue's still here. She first appeared in April and she's still sticking with me though (to my disappointment) she wants to be an outdoor cat. I enjoy seeing her first thing every morning and just at dusk to give her food, and at night we enjoy a nice petting session. I'm smitten with this little girl!

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Perl, the undisputed leader of our four-duck flock finds all the recent turkey activity quite fascinating. What are they up to? he wonders.

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This particular afternoon in mid-November I counted 36 turkeys in the yard. They'd display and primp, then take a bug-eating break, then back to those ever-critical attempts to charm the ladies. As of yet, though, they're not that interested!

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The chrysanthemums are being very kind as they're treating me to so many blooms even though I neglected to stake them.

My favorites are Woolmans Century (the white one on the left) and Oriental Knight (the purple one on the right). In late winter I order rooted cuttings from Kings' Mums. They have a great selection, and healthy cuttings at reasonable prices.

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(left) The geraniums do well this time of year. I think the most glorious ones I've ever seen were in Monterey where it's cool and damp which is just what it is here now.

(right) Overall, the plants in the garden are green and healthy, but flowers are few. There are still buds on the roses, and they'll probably continue to bloom for another month or so, but sparingly. Although Even though it's late in the season, there's still plenty of work to do with dead-heading the roses and pulling the weeds which are certainly the most hardly and persistently sprouting plants I know! I can't really say the garden is beautiful right now, but it's still a place of peace, and I love being there.

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The tomato bed is beginning its winter rest and rejuvenation.

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Sweet pea seedlings are volunteering in the daffodil bed.

Creative Cross-Training

Last summer the art journaling bug bit me. Although I devote my weekday art time to my writing and illustrating, I've been squeezing art journaling into the weekends. With this recent spread, I've finished my third journal. "Stewarding Mice" is a combination of collage, drawing, several painting techniques, and text.

To see more of my art journaling, go to the MY ART page then select art journaling

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