Hours of tedium and help from amazing friends turned this from an oft-heard comment (“Your drawings look like they could be paint-by-numbers!) into an actual book out in the real world.
Thanks to all, with a special shout-out to all the people who saw a woman in the road staring intently at their home over the edge of her sketchbook, and simply shrugged and went about their day without thinking too much about it.
I need to do a follow up post on waffle beds in the garden, possibly another on the new hive of bees, and I still haven’t planted out the spinach. On the other hand, my studio time has been very productive (and the spinach seeds can wait another few days).
If you live on the island, you’ve noticed that the rocks at Compass Harbor are black basalt, bleached with salt-grime and truly spectacular in the late afternoon sun. If you also said to yourself, wow, I bet that view would be very difficult to paint, you would be correct. Here’s a first attempt:
View from Compass Harbor to the Porcupine Islands, late afternoon. 24 x 18 inches, oil on panel
As an update on the 14′ x 20′ studio building project in the back yard – we have achieved window trim! And it’s beautiful.
These small casement windows will provide excellent ventilation. There are also large windows on the north wall, and newly installed glass sliding doors into the second floor. The crew had to take them apart to get them up there on the scaffolding – good news is that nobody died. Those sliders weigh a ton.
Here’s the first look into my space on the second floor (just before the doors went in). This is going to be a wonderful place to paint!
Still to do: battens, remaining trim, roof, and stairs on the exterior, first floor flooring and track lighting inside. Stay tuned. . .
May has turned to June and the garden is taking over. We’re currently under 16 hours, 35 minutes of daylight, folks, and the plants are loving it. Of course, on the twenty-first we’ll start counting backwards toward December. Nobody tell the beans, OK?
The garden changes with the weather: one day of sun,
and one day of rain.
The bees love their centura highway.
The bees have been busy in the Seckle pear where every blossom has started a tiny brown fruit. I’ll probably have to thin these this year.
Flats of seedlings still waiting for the gardener, and a new slate-topped bed where the old peach tree used to stand. (Moment of silence for those ghost bushels of peaches. . .)First outside laundry day of 2013! Please don’t tell my mother that I wash and hang darks and lights together. She did individual loads of wash by person and then divvied it up further by dark/light and general amount of soiling. Now that I think about it, that probably made sense given my brother’s clothes would be covered with hay chaff and machine oil – still too much decision-making for me.
Meet Mr. White and Mr. Pink. These are nucleus hives, called “nucs“, and they are crowded with four frames each of bees, drones, and their queen. We brought the nucs home from Skowhegan on Wednesday night but the transfer has to be done on a sunny afternoon while the bees are flying and this is our first good day since then. Fortunately, I work for an organization willing to let me off on a weekday afternoon for a bee emergency.
I always wear full suit when I’m going to be deep in the hives, but I prefer to work bare-handed. I was stung on the pinkie in the first 30 seconds, so went and got my church gloves on. The frames were full and made the transfer nicely. One nuc had a few supercedure cells, which I knocked off with my hive tool. Now I just hope they settle in and we can avoid a swarm.
These photos don’t really show the cloud of bees in the air – which is something you really notice while you’re working with them. The sound of thousands of bees, the smell of wax and honey, the warmth they give off in the hive, the simple energy and industry of the hive; none of it translates well to media. On the bright side – neither does getting stung.
We drove up to Abnaki Apiaries on Wednesday night to pick up two “nucs” (nucleus hives) of Bob Egan’s Maine bees. The weather nicely cooperated by not pouring rain so hard that we couldn’t see, and the non-highway part of the trip was very scenic. We arrived at 8 pm and it was still light enough to chat with the Egans and admire the piles of varied color nuc boxes under the huge old maple trees and lilacs in the front yard. Then we loaded Mr. Pink and Mr. White (with apologies to Quentin Tarantino) into the back of the Honda and headed home with @ 16,000 bees.
Meet Mr. Pink:
That picture was taken the morning after we brought them home. I popped the screens off and they’ve been free to fly around the garden (during breaks in the torrential rain) since Wednesday.
The next step is to transfer the four frames full of bees from the nucs to the full hive boxes, but that may have to wait till we have sun on Tuesday – when I have to be back at work. Good thing R is now interested in beekeeping AND self-employed.
The garden continues lush and green under 3″ of rain a day for a week:
Connie T., who lives a half mile further down our road, has a flock of chickens which lay beautiful blue, tan, and stark white eggs. I know this because occasionally I come home to a box of these beauties on the doorstep – what a treat! She also makes Pysanky, the beautiful Easter eggs that that have been made in Russia and the Ukraine since prehistoric times. No actual eggshells from that time exist, but ceramic replicas have been found from all the way back to the 3rd millennium BC. Legend says that pysanky keep the Serpent at bay, and that as long as sufficient numbers are made each spring the horrible monster will stay chained to a cliff in the Underworld. Thanks, Connie, for making the world a safer place!