Most of my life I worked on my art as family and my career allowed.  Now that I am retired from a rewarding career in IT I am blessed to be able to work on my art, and now also my writing.

 

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

I also enjoy gardening.  I have a large garden with raised beds that’s fenced from the deer.  The ducks have their own house in the garden.  I’ve grown roses in most of the garden for several years now.  A few 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.

Lately I've been squeezing art journaling in between my writing and illustrating. This spread is my favorite so far. It's a combination of collage, several painting techniques, and text.

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What's happening in the

garden -

the first frost, as well as an unauthorized visit by three fawns, has things looking less than great. But that's gardening - ups and downs 

Fiona loves to be outside with me while I'm working in the garden. Her favorite task is to lay on the driveway and keep a careful eye on the many turkeys who spend much of the day in the yard.

This is the rose bush closest to the gate. It was the first one the three marauding fawns encountered, and they apparently really enjoyed it. They also sampled violets. I was going to thin those anyway!

I did a poor job of taking care of my chrysanthemums this year. Three of them died over the winter - don't know why - and I found that very discouraging. The three that died included two of my favorites. I'll do better next year...

Here's another of the surviving chrysanthemums. Two things I didn't do this year are pinching them back during the spring and staking them up so they don't slump over.

An oak tree hangs over part of the garden and this year there's been a bumper crop of acorns. After collecting these, I stored them in the shop. But by morning many of them had disappeared. We found them in various drawers. After a few more days of this I set up a night vision camera and saw a rat with an outstanding work ethic!

Here's a view of the carpet of sweet pea volunteers that sprouted in one of the garden paths. I'll leave them be, but I suspect they may not do too well unless the rain next spring lasts longer than usual. There are also some that sprouted in the flower bed itself, and I've planted 50 more seeds. The sweet peas are my garden favorites.

background image courtesy of Nathan Anderson from unsplash.com

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