Sunday, November 20, 2011

update on Autumn - art, garden, chickens and goats...

Humpback Hostas, Coloured Pencil on Colourfix Paper, 6.5" x 23"
copyright Teresa Mallen

Here is an update on how my Humpback Hostas piece ended up looking. It has been set aside in my studio for quite a while. I can see one area I am going to give a slight tweak to and then it shall be done.  

I have been working on some other are a few ink and coloured pencil drawings...

Grouse Feather, coloured pencil on Stonehenge Paper, 4" x 6"
copyright Teresa Mallen

...a funky mushroom, coneflowers, Blue Jay feather and a chicken feather (sorry for the dark picture, a very cloudy day and the lighting was terrible, didn't get better with editing either)

Remember when we took photos and had the rolls of film developed at a photo lab? I found this sunflower picture in a box of arty photos that I took some years ago and I have started a pen/ink/cp piece based on this reference.

Sunflower work in progress, pen and ink and cps, 4" x 6"

I haven't been posting to this blog recently as September and October are harvest months here on our small farm. We grow a lot of food, imagine a year's worth of vegetables and you get the idea. The apple harvest was extraordinary this year. My husband and I picked several hundred pounds of apples. Goats love apples and so do we! We are making some hard cider this year for the first time.

Fall is also the season for the grape harvest. A quick trip to the 'little Italy' part of Ottawa resulted in the purchase of several crates of grapes which my husband has now crushed, pressed and fermented. The wine will eventually be transferred into bottles, oodles and oodles of bottles of lovely red and white wine. We are being mentored in our wine making efforts by a neighbour who is in his 90s. He has made award winning wine and he learned his skills as a young man from the elders in his village in Hungary. While the wine has to age yet, the first samples are tasting very promising indeed.

picking apples on a perfect fall day

We had a very hot, dry summer and I think our chili pepper plants liked the weather as there was a bumper crop this year. I guess we are going to be eating quite a bit of spicy food this winter!

I planted around 100 tomato plants and probably another 25 self seeded from last year's crop. They too loved the hot weather. I make all of my own pasta sauce, salsa, soup stock etc. and there is nothing like the taste of organically grown tomatoes from the garden. Oh and did I mention that I started all of my garden plants from seed in the house under grow lights, last February?!!! Yes, all...all of the 100 tomato plants, 50 cauliflower, 50 broccoli, 25 brussel sprout plants, peppers, squash, herbs etc... no purchased seedlings, not one. Many come from saved seeds too. Oops, I did buy some seed potatoes but they were the exception.  

Our young chestnut tree produced a good crop, enough to fill a good sized pail.
when food is beautiful...dried beans from the garden

When the garden harvest is coming to an end, the chickens are allowed in. They love scratching around in the soil looking for bugs and worms.

You might recall my fox story of a few months ago...well the foxes are still here. We see them often in the late afternoon catching mice in the meadow. All of the chickens are still here too! Here is Roosty doing his strut on the front lawn (a couple of hens are in the background behind him).

Goats love tomatoes and here young Ella waits for a cherry tomato to be brought in closer...

Ella's big sister Leah is enjoying a tomato too...

treats and snacks time...Jonah reaching for a chunk of apple...

just picked cherry tomatoes get shared with Veesa...(while little goats watch with envy below)

And here is Leah enjoying having her back scratched...goats so love being brushed too.

Finally, my Cellophane Symphony piece was selected for a feature on Design and Balance appearing this month on the Coloured Pencil Society of Canada website. Also, the prospectus for the CPSC juried exhibition in 2012 is now posted.

Now that the frenzy of putting food up for the winter is behind me, I shall have more time for posting art updates. I am just starting a new piece, fairly big and orangy-yellow...I like a nice orangy-yellow colour! :-)


Ann said...

wow. Great post! Your hosta piece looks fantastic. It must be stunning in real life at that size! It also looks like you have had a very bountiful harvest. The wine making sounds like fun. All of that canning, not so much. Best to leave that chore to you :-) I bet it is all delicious though!

Teresa Mallen said...

Thank you Ann! I am glad you like the hostas. I think it is one of those pieces you either get or you don't. Abstracted realism isn't everyone's cup of tea. The garden produce is indeed delicious and I do a lot of freezing which makes things very simple...I am not one of those gals that painstakingly boils water to soak tomatoes and remove skins nor do I press out the seeds. No way...a quick wash and into the freezer bag they go. They taste fabulous and work terrific in all recipes! Sometimes folks just overcomplicate things. :-)

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Ann!

Jennifer Rose said...

that is one very happy content looking goat :)

homegrown food just tastes so much better :)

the hostas look really good, they glow

Teresa Mallen said...

Thanks so much Jennifer. Yes, a very happy goat! We call it their coma face - when you are giving them a good scratch, their eyes start to glaze over and partially close and they get this look on their face that seems to indicate that they are in a different place right now. Many coma goats here! LOL