Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Simple pleasures

Produce stands opening again are a sure sign of spring.
In our valley, we hold them dear, not only for the local produce they sell, but as a social hub, a meeting point.

Neighbors rendezvous after a tour of the flower fields for a piece of fresh halibut and some seedlings for the garden. Perhaps a carton of organic duck eggs (remember, you are not in the city here.)

And an ice cream.

You can not leave without a cone.
It would almost be a crime.

A decadent cone, too, is a rite of spring.

This is the stuff of which memories are made.

A lifetime of  happiness consists of relishing these small, daily joys
and seeing them for the treasures they are.

Too soon the last drips are licked.
The light is turning golden.
I tuck the sketchbook and camera back into my purse
and we head for home.

Simple pleasures really are the best, aren't they?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Our little town

What fun to live in a small town, where you can bike past the library and have your neighbors shout greetings from their car, dog leaning out the window for a sniff of spring.

Past downtown, and that charming little steeple, past the coffee shop where everyone knows everyone, past the tiny Thai cafe where two sisters are already chopping vegetables, laughing all the while...

It was early morning and we had already packed the Easter boxes with food for the hungry. Soon I'm pedalling back over the bridge toward home.

What an amazing impressionist painting I saw in the water below...

like Monet come to life right here, right now.

Ours is an ordinary town full of extraordinary pleasures...

shadows on the bridge,
dandelions sprinkled on the sides of the path atop the dike along the river...

And then, just below that beautiful river there are the tulip fields.

I am alone here in all this splendor.
Sun shines through the petals as I bike along, wind ruffling my hair. 

I am by myself here in the fields, singing at the top of my lungs.

So much splendor and I am alone with all of it,
drinking in those amazing colors, ready to spill it out onto paper when I get back to the studio.

For some odd reason I just love to lay back along the row and gaze at the tulips from the bottom up.

And when you're alone, you can do just that!
There is nothing more refreshing than sunlight through flower petals.

Then I hop on my bike again, cycling down the back road for home, and the pleasures of our own garden. Cherry trees in bloom beside the studio window, where I sit sketching little boxes for a new collection that will be out in January.

Like Anne of Green Gables, "I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string."
And this is just such a day in our little town.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Splendid creativity

Inside the studio, it's a bustle of activity
and outdoors it's no different.

Splendid creativity as far as the eye can see.

Someone once said, "Beauty is God's gift to artists."
I believe it.

I've been working a lot lately and playing hard in short bursts, with little time for sleep.

I'm aware again how even the finest art, our creativity, all our joy in the process is such a wonderful yet weak imitation of the amazing creation all around us.

All this really is a love letter from God...
Every leaf and cloud,
every puff of wind and every shade of the rainbow.

Pretty amazing, isn't it?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Bloom time

Our little valley is beautiful in every season but never more than spring.

And this year seems the best of all.

Every square foot is jam packed with miracles.
Even a simple path to a farm house shines.

 Tulips and daffodils in splendid brilliance that goes all the way to the horizon, looking for all the world like a travel brochure come to life. 

 That lush, lush shade of green seen only in spring.
Barns and flowering branches.

You can't take a single step without seeing something amazing...
even the dewy grass is beautiful.

I am so thankful for the place I live,
rich with color and beauty,
especially in springtime,
seen from a bicycle as you pedal with a dear friend,
laughing down the lanes, painting for hours in garden and fields
 and making memories you'll cling to long after the blossoms have gone.

Monday, April 7, 2014

New life on the farm

It was farm time again today.

 "Aurora's kidding!" Janelle shouted down the stairway. "Let's go!"

 So off we dashed, and found the first baby just barely born 
and being licked clean.

Half an hour later, tiny hooves could be seen, then a nose. 
The second twin came into the world.

We watched their shaky attempts to stand and begin to feed.
New life. Springtime.

Twins, both girls from champion doe Aurora.

My farm collection is well underway, sketched in the notebook with recipes to match. 

Roosters, ducks, hens, goats... 
even nettles being made into gourmet ravioli.
Goat milk and abundant eggs.

Oh, farm life.

There is beauty at every turn.
Rugged beauty, 
unvarnished and spontaneous.

I love the authenticity of country life, 
the changing seasons bringing fresh beauty every day.
Not easy, but so genuine and without pretense.

New life on a little farm,
so precious, so American country, so simple and real.