Thursday, October 30, 2014

Season of Peace

The vines are beginning their winter rest after giving up sweet grapes in late summer.  They stand like soldiers as they wait for winter to remove everything except their dark gnarly vines firmly planted in the soil.  The afternoon is so quiet and warm and peaceful and so unlike the cold winter blast that is due in a few days.  I almost feel as if I am saying goodbye to a lover, as my heart rests in my throat and I gasp at this all too brief beauty.  I turn and at my back stands the unreformed woods also in all their glory, sheltering small birds and mammals and bracing for the winds and rain that will tear leaves from their branches leaving them in dark silhouette for the months to come.

Digital painting...hubris.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Branching Out

Orchards and Farmers Markets now provide hayrides, mazes, pumpkin carving classes, and balloon bounce areas to draw in the crowds and break even.  This is no longer the place to just go buy apples for apple least this market where we stopped yesterday was not.  The only apples they had were in the refrigerator!  But if you wanted a squash of some unusual shape, size, texture or color, they were ready.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Very Last Ball

The ferns are gilding themselves in bronze these days, almost as if they are putting on armor for battle against the coming winter winds.  They look bold as if defying changes and seeming to deny that they are facing an impending big sleep.

The fall rains bring out the best in the tree fungus.  Everywhere a tree has fallen from some summer storm it gets layered in odd bits and parts.   I think this one is called a turkey tail and since we have newly seen wild turkeys in our woods, I can only smile when these begin to emerge as the weather gets wetter and cooler.  I have read that less than 5 percent of the estimated 1.5 million species of fungi have been described, and their exact roles and interactions in ecosystems are largely unknown.  I know that I seem to see something new and different whenever I poke about in the woods.  How appropriate that these saprophytic organisms appear in their best form just before Halloween!

And the more the woods decorate themselves like a bordello the more the sun starts peaking instead of boldly shining through the leaves.  Almost as if he is embarrassed by the audacious flirting of the trees.  The trees know it is the last ball of the season and they want to be remembered until spring.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

An Autumnal Respite

It was a fall day almost too warm for my long-sleeved T-shirt.  I welcomed the breeze from across the lake as it cooled my back and also scattered leaves like dyslexic butterflies everywhere.

I had to carefully share the trail with bikers who were determined to recreate the Tour de France in these East Coast Woods.  The layers of sand and pine needles hid their fast approach.  I could smell coconut oil as they whizzed by while I hugged the edge of the trail.  Then I would get another 20 minutes of quiet peace.

There were other dangers as the tall oaks and beech trees threw their wares making popping sounds and with inaccurate sighting they just missed my head.  The ground was covered in smooth missiles.

I complained just a little for the obstacle course that had been thrust my way and the woods were all ears in sympathy.

The walk was 7.5 miles over tree roots, across compacted clay, trails of sand and even a mud puddle or two.  The background music was the sharp call of the jay and a rare hawk high in the blue sky.  If I was very still I even heard one lonely cricket.  Mid-way I stopped for a light lunch on a damp log and looked up at the light show just above my head.

I did find a few treasures which I will post in the future.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Bird's-eye View

Thought that I would share a birds-eye view of autumn in Ireland.  Taken from the top balcony of Blarney Castle a few weeks ago.

Friday, October 10, 2014


Saying goodbye to each precious fall day can take my breath away.  I have been down with the flu and finally able to get outside during this cool evening and watch the day being tucked into bed was just what this body needed.  The air was cool but also still as glass and not cold.  No hint of winter's breath whispered at the back of my neck.  Just the jewel tones of fall.  Just the promise that tomorrow will be an even better day.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Painting in the Garden

In a bit of a lull while working on getting my health back and thus doing some digital painting.  All of these below are digital paintings from Mount Usher Garden, a "Robinsonian" style river garden, in Wicklow County, Ireland.  This garden dates back to 1868 and is thus the living place of many champion trees...something we do not see in the United States so often.  It has won many awards.  More information can be found here.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Parts of Ireland are Subtropical

I wanted to comment on the comments on the post below.  I also wondered how Ireland could have such lush gardens and why everything ---really---was much larger in their gardens.  They also seemed to have fewer issues with bugs.  I 'think' it is because the island is along the Gulf Stream.  Yes, the warm waters that caress our East Coast also reach as far as Ireland and after looking at the plants and signs and chatting with a botanist, I realized that the climate is subtropical!  They can take plants from Brazil, Cuba, etc. and they do very well.  The nights are cool and the summer days are rarely hot.  Winters are not always harsh.  Perfect weather for growing plants!  And, like Washington and Oregon they get lots of misty rain.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

It Is Not All That Little.

I learned many things on my recent travel to the country of Ireland.  I learned that they may be a wee island with wee leprechaun and wee tales and wee poems and wee ditties, but they are huge when it comes to gardens.  Their flowers such as cosmos are the size of my fist.  Their colors are bold and bright.  Everything grows bigger and brighter in Ireland!  (Below were taken in Mount Usher Garden, county Wicklow.)