"Gather ye rose-buds while ye may." Robert Herrick

"Gather ye rose-buds while ye may." Robert Herrick

Hello Friends!

Friends, Romans, countrymen...y'all. Foodies, gardeners, artists and collectors - let's gather together to share and possibly learn a thing or two in the mix.

Donna Baker

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Mellow Yellow

Well, I started out this post and was going to title it bitch, bitch, bitch.  With all the hard work on the gardens this spring and summer, we'll be lucky to get much.  The rare spring and early summer torrential rains did a number on the vegetables and fruits and now an outbreak of tomato hornworms has killed/denuded most of my tomatoes, my favorite fruits in the home garden.

But, the weeds have no problems growing.  I've had poison ivy already this summer and the ticks are in plentiful numbers.

I did see a baby Buddha's hand last night on my citron tree.  After nearly losing everything in my greenhouse this winter due to the propane heater running out of fuel, I have a few different citrus trees putting on some fruits.

May be able to make some more limoncello this year.  I could drink that whole bottle right now (but it would kill me).  But, then, I think, in spite of the 100 degree temperatures we are having and will have through August, it really isn't that bad.  I can take it.  I'll just stay in the house for the rest of the summer, or as they say about when life gives you lemons...

I'm going to the city today to see my kids and grandkids.  That is what I need.  Oliver chilling way back several summers ago.  He just turned 6.  How did that happen?

Isobel is excited to play in the sprinkler and she'll be 8 in September.  Will wonders never cease?

And my baby bumblebee, Penny Lane, is about to turn 6 months old.  What more can a person ask for?  

Friday, July 24, 2015

Turtle Time

It's turtle time again at the farm.  You can see how exciting a life I lead here.  Be that as it may, I do get a kick out of feeding the fish and turtles every evening at one of the ponds.  I have many water turtles there, but the meany snapping turtles have become quite bold.  Before I knew it the other eve, one had sped out of the water and was two feet away from my feet before I noticed it.  There is a male and female.  And, they love leftovers.  I called them meanies because they usually only like live baby fish that are waiting for me at the edge of the pond when I arrive and they are considered an aggressive species.  Their ancestor, the Alligator Snapping Turtle, can weigh 250 lbs. but thankfully I don't have any of those in my ponds.  They usually stay in streams and rivers.

They can stick their necks out very far and I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Here is a young Red Eared Slider turtle coming for a snack.  There are many of these in the pond.  Unlike the box or land turtles around, their feet are much larger and webbed for swimming.  Some of them have become very friendly and used to me while others float offshore with their heads above the water waiting for me to toss slices of bread their way.

This one decided to try Thai noodles.

When the other one appeared, it decided to score the chicken tender and quickly swam away with it.

So many cute creatures at the farm right now.  Tiny tree frogs, peepers and toads about the size of your little fingernail are everywhere.  I wonder how many we've squished.  A box turtle was feasting on some of the fallen peaches this morning and of course, the crows were calling me.  I was watering all the potted plants, it was 8:00 am and I was sweating like a pig.  It will be 100 degrees today and I won't be going out again until this evening to feed.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Where The Wild Things Grow

With the unbelievable weather we've had this year so far, about the only things we are going to harvest are the wild things.  Wild flowers, fruits...  I picked these wild plums from an old grouping of trees that haven't produced a crop in nearly 3 years.  I had nearly given up on them, thinking the trees too old and that they had stopped producing.

I've been watching them since spring and find the deer under them daily as they love to eat the plums.  They are finally ripening and I picked nearly two gallons this morning.  It was cool and windy.  Such a treat after weeks of having to stay inside most of the day.  I can't do 100 degrees.

I'll make juice of these for jelly and our 5 month old grandbabe Penny Lane.  It really makes me wonder about the old saying feast or famine.  Can you imagine how the farmers had to depend on the weather and whatever, to feed their family throughout the year?  The wild blackberries did just so so this year as did the mulberries.  The indians that used to live around here were nomadic and roamed the plains; would set up new camps, perhaps following the food sources?

There will be plenty more of these.  I'll let you know if I am covered in chiggers tomorrow.  

Thursday, July 16, 2015

I Got Nothin' But Pomegranates

It is so hot at the farm, I can only stand going out in the early morning to water and check out the plants and trees.  It is still in the 90's after dark, and did I mention the humidity, which makes it seem much hotter - the heat index they call it on the television.  I don't want to know that it feels like 110 degrees outside.  It makes it worse.  

Nevertheless, my pomegranate shrub/bush is coming along in this heat.  First, the beautiful colored flowers.

Then, the petals wither and fall off.

Then the fruit begins to swell.

And here is my adolescent fruit.  It's about the size of a golf ball.  Last year I only had one fruit and this year many more, though 50% of the fruits failed.  I will be gifted with several this year though.

If so inclined, you too can grow pomegranates in a pot (gets too cold here in the winter to plant outside).  Just look up Logee's Greenhouse @ www.LOGEES.Com.  Be careful though.  They have so many things the gardener cannot turn down.  Patchouli plant?  Vanilla bean orchids?  Cinnamon bark plants.  A greenhouse full of different citrus trees?  It is addicting.

Thursday, July 2, 2015


I didn't know it until I was older, but I am a perfectionist.  Early on, I thought perhaps it was a good quality to have.  


Perfection is unattainable. Nothing is ever as I wish it was; it's never good enough.  The pie might have had a more symmetrical lattice crust on top and on and on and on...

Being a very curious person, (I believe I told you I used to read encyclopedias for fun), I have leaped into everything that interested me, headfirst, without fear or abandon (every mother's nightmare wild child).
It is how I learned.

This could go on and be too lengthy, so I'll cut to the chase.

On my creative side, my oil painting has always been a thorn in my side.  Never have been satisfied with my work.  I have always used the old master's glaze technique for it was what interested me (and was the only one I knew how to do). 
Just like a carpenter's tools or a surgeon's instruments, an artist's brushes too have specific uses.  You must know which brush to use.

Over the years I have come to love modern/abstract art.  Picasso is a personal favorite and a more recent artist, George Condo.  My list is long.

I've always wanted to do some modern paintings, but didn't know how.  I bought handfuls of palette knives and don't have a clue as to the use of each one, and it will be a steep learning curve. 

So, I went and bought the largest tubes of oil paint I could find, a regular sized canvas and went to town on it.  I had a ball.  I learned something too.  You need a good underpainting/drawing to start with.  Oh, I do love shortcuts, but, well, you know... another lesson.

I'll show you a tiny bit of the painting - a heavy impasto and just trying to get total canvas coverage like with the old technique.  It has been a lot of fun and I'll keep trying.  My goal is to do some very large canvases.  I told you. Dive right in there head first.

Did you notice the hand model?  It will be holding the title of the painting.