Monthly Archives: August 2017

Painting wildflowers

Swamp Mallow – wildflower, watercolor, pen and ink, Kit Miracle

After almost four months into retirement, I’ve been able to devote a lot more time to my creative side.  This means time spent in the studio as well as venturing out for plein air painting.

One thing that I’ve been having fun with this summer is painting wildflowers.  With 90 acres, plus the many streams, country roads, fields and forests in the area, there is plenty of subject matter. In a ten minute walk in almost any direction I can snag a handful of different wildflowers.  And the variety keeps changing throughout the season.

Joe Pye Weed – wildflower, watercolor pen and ink, Kit Miracle

My love for wildflowers was born in college when I took a couple of terms of field botany.  (Please don’t ask me to categorize any plant through Gray’s Botany; I have totally forgotten how.)  But I spent one summer doing an independent study of wildflowers with my amazing professor, Lucky Ward.  We would travel together on dusty back roads, collecting samples for the college museum and to press.  What an experience!

Goldenrod – wildflower, watercolor pen and ink, Kit Miracle

Wildflowers have always remained beloved friends even though they are often overlooked by many, or just considered “weeds.”  Too bad.

Trumpet vine – wildflower, watercolor, pen and ink, Kit Miracle

So this summer I’ve tackled identifying and painting a lot of local flowers.  These are not botanical drawings but merely simple watercolor with pen and ink sketches.  My aim is to capture the beauty that surrounds us in the small bits of color that we pass so blythely by.

Evening Primrose – wildflower, watercolor pen and ink, Kit Miracle

So, what to do with all these little paintings?  I decided to start an Etsy shop called, of course, My90Acres to sell them.  No sales so far but I’m hopeful.

Queen Ann’s Lace, wildflower, watercolor, pen and ink, Kit Miracle

Meanwhile, I’ll still be hiking through the weeds, chiggers and all, to see what is blooming this week.

Red clover or purple clover, watercolor pen and ink, Kit Miracle

Jewel Weed – wildflower, watercolor pen and ink, Kit Miracle

Toadflax – wildflower, watercolor, pen and ink, Kit Miracle

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Night visitors and animal thieves

Living in the country, we often have furry visitors, especially at night, and especially when the garden comes in.

This year the raccoons ate ALL the peaches!  Dang!  And they took out the entire second crop of sweet corn.  Fortunately, we were able to put up some from the first planting.

Pears on tree in the orchard.

This year our pear trees are giving us an abundant crop.  The branches are drooping with the heavy fruit.  I put up two buckets of pears this week which will taste pretty good in a cobbler this winter.

Unfortunately, a lot of other critters like this fruit.  My dog barks at night at the invaders but since he is tied up at night (due to his penchant for visiting the neighbor’s chickens), he can only bark. (And keep us awake.)

So, I set up the deer cam to see who was grabbing his attention.  I expected to see a lot of raccoons but was surprised at what I did see.

A family of foxes visits often  They eat a lot of windfall but, like the fox in Aesop’s fables, they will try jumping up to grab a low-hanging fruit.

Fox with pear

Fox at night, eyeing low hanging fruit.

Mystery night creature. Probably an owl.

But the real surprise was the coyote who has become a frequent visitor.  I think this is a female based on the size compared to my dog.  Also, she is probably feeding pups as she returns many times, even during the day.

Coyote with pear. Probably taking it back to her pups.

Coyote on Alert

My dog sniffing around after running the coyote off this morning.

In the long run, I don’t really mind sharing.  Just leave something for me.