Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A spate of domesticity

The moist scent of pears fills the house as I type with purple fingers. I am on my 4th sauce pot. So far, I have bagged 10 qtrs. of sauce. I have also done up the Italian plums. The best crop we have had in a long time. Four full loads in the 6 tray dehydrator - that should be enough to satisfy my genetic predisposition for preserving food. Well, I might have done more, but the 60 mph winds on Saturday brought it all to a halt. In a blast the fruit was down. Now a blue river runs through the orchard. The rains that accompanied the wind, while appreciated, were not enough to hardly wet the top layer of the ground. We have never witnessed such dry earth here. It has been a hard summer in many regards. Fires, water issues, plant stress and loss not to mention being cranky in 90 degree weather!

An ancient urge has come from the 'genes' to prepare for winter in every way we can. Even if you have to buy 'store bought' fruit. I must say the peaches were perfect and lovely - not like my homely home growns.  The dried fruit will be lovely in my homemade granola come winter.
I don't know if you noticed, but about two weeks ago the season turned. It was quite dramatic here. One morning it was summer and the next day you could feel the change in the air. Autumn was suddenly on its way. We immediately went into action  - Mother Nature had spoken quite clearly - prepare she said. We cleaned off the roof and gutters of the pesky fir needles, cleaned out the chimney and replaced one section of stovepipe. I call this part of the story - The Pride Before The Fall. We were so proud we accomplished so much without the normal fuss. We knew we might have to clean off the roof once more before the winter rains because the trees are exceptionally dry but Saturday's wind storm took us all by surprise. I wish I could say the roof was swept clean by the gusts, but no, the roof is now littered with huge branches and PILES of needles.  Later has come sooner than predicted.
Acceptance.... a word we struggle with. It has been 'that kind' of a summer. The summer of attempting to move forward on plans only to be delayed or thwarted. We did make some progress in reducing, recycling, releasing many of our things. It seemed like the right thing to be doing at this stage in life. (pre-winter (before death) planning so to speak). I was pleased with our results - a fresh and clean office for two. We should be able to share the space at the same time during our retirement years... I hope. This de-cluttering, cleaning, reevaluating did cause some disruption to the whole house system - even to the outbuildings and my studio. Apparently I am a - should I say this out loud? I am a paper hoarder! With the help of Marie Kondo's book - The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I was able to address not only my little cache's of paper scraps but to understand my desire to keep them. She calls it life changing. I believe her - it is. Her motto is only keep what you love. Sigh, not only did we do the office, but also my studio.  Time will tell if we are changed people. I hope we are. We still have the rest of the house and the outbuildings to go, but she says it takes about a  year to do the job. It is really a creative process to finding one's true nature. I hope the rest goes easier because I want to get back to my other creative process -  making art.
As I reported in a previous blog I had a book accepted into the "Dirt?  Show".  I am thrilled beyond words - my work is in the same case as one of my favorite on-line artists - Sandy Webster! I love her work! Her entry is a small little book of sublime beauty. She makes her own earth paints and is inspiring in many other ways. Here the postcard announcement and links to the on-line catalog for:
Dirt? Scientists, Book Artists, and Poets Reflect on Soil and Our Environment

In Honor of the 2015 United Nations Year of Soils

An interdisciplinary exhibition featuring natural history specimens, artist books and poems selected from an international call for entries.
Exhibition Dates:August 6, 2015 to December 4, 2015
Collins Library, the University of Puget Sound
Opening Reception:September 10, 2015, 5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
Collins Library, the University of Puget Sound
Thanks to our community and campus partners:  Slater Museum of Natural History, Department of English, Catharine Gould Chism for the Humanities and Arts, Department of Art, Puget Sound Garden Club, The Evergreen State College, Puget Sound Book Artists, and Tacoma Smelter Plume Project - Dirt Alert! of the Tacoma-Pierce Health Department.
On-Line Catalog:  www.pugetsound.edu/dirt
Events Calendar
  • Exhibition Opening - September 10, 2015 from 5:30 - 8:00 p.m. Reception will be held from 5:30 - 7:00 p.m. Light refreshments will be served. Curator Lucia Harrison will then give a lecture entitled “Intersections:  How Artists and Scientists Can Collaborate to Create Environmental Awareness” from 7:00 - 8:00 p.m.
  • Art/Science Salon - September 17, 2015 from 4:30 - 8:30 p.m. Tour the exhibit and attend a talk by Lucia Harrison (Visual Arts) and Abir Biswas (Geology) from The Evergreen State College.
  • Educator and Student Night - September 24, 2015 from 4:00 - 7:00 p.m. Learn about “Staying Healthy with Polluted Soils” with Walt Burdsall from the Tacoma Smelter Plume Project and “Combining Art, Literature and Science in the Classroom” with Lucia Harrison.
  • Earth Pigments: Hands-On Activity & Family Reading Hour - October 3, 2015 from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m Make acrylic, egg tempera, and watercolor with soil pigments with Curator Lucia Harrison and join members of Puget Sound Greek Life for stories about soil.
  • Dirt? Poets Reflect on Soils and the Environment - October 15, 2015 from 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
    A Poetry Reading with Regional Poets featured in the Dirt? Exhibition. A celebration in conjunction with Tacoma Arts Month.
All events are open to the public and will take place in Collins Library, University of Puget Sound.
If you are in the area - do come see the show!


  1. Attending to the home fires...always a good thing. Glad you're downsizing a bit, it's definitely life-changing to let go of stuff. I hope you're able to collect those downed plums, what a shame if not. Excellent news about being accepted into that show ~ hearty congrats! xo

  2. Thanks Connie. The heavy rains split those plums on the ground I am sorry to say. I processed at least a bushel basket of them. Two old farts in a small house don't need more than that! Next year, if they produce like that again, I will have to arrange for some gleaners.

  3. I'm fascinated by this post...had to go up to my computer to see those plums better. I've never seen anything like it. And I have been wanting a dehydrator for some time now. I haven't mentioned it yet, but we are moving, so we have been going through our "treasures" too. I've become a bit of a minamalist over the years,so it hasn't been too bad...yet. Wait until moving day. I'll be glad when it's all over and excited to share a few new pictures on my blog. Congratulation on your upcoming event too! Very exciting, I have enjoyed your style of work and printing techniques!

  4. A few days have passed. The river of blue may now be a sea of sauce. Good luck with your move. Blessed be nothing so they say, yet the simple life is quite elusive at times. I look forward to seeing photos of your new home. Regardless of what you photograph you continue to inspire me to keep observing and noticing the world around me. Thank you.