Monday, June 23, 2008

It's a Cape Primrose!

Doc's mystery flower (see yesterday's post) is a Streptocarpus or a Cape Primrose. They're related to both the African Violet and the Gloxinia and require similar care. Now, maybe I can get it to bloom this winter as it's really a lovely flower.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Doc's Mystery Plant

What is this? A year or so ago I got a cutting from a plant in my vet's office. I babied it and kept breaking off stems to root more plants. Then I set the hanging pot outside this summer on our covered porch. It must like this location as it's finally covered in buds. I thought it very fitting that I noticed the buds when Doc came out to give shots to my horse. I asked Doc what the plant was but she couldn't remember so I'm hoping one of you will recognize it.

This is a quickie watercolor of the first open bloom. If it's unidentifiable by my painting, I'll post photos (then go get some w/c lessons!) but I really think this looks very much like the plant. The leaves and stems are fleshy and fuzzy. The blooms are sort of dainty and a violet blue color with lighter lavender pink on the tube part of the flower up to where it attaches to this long, almost wire-like thing (I don't know what it's called!) that extends from a new growth leaf cluster. This wire-like thing is a dark maroon color and the stems of the plant range from this maroon to a light greenish color. The stems are long and drooping so it looks very good in a hanging pot.

So, if you know what it is, please let me know! I've tried to search the internet for it as I've been caring for it in a rather hit or miss fashion that it didn't seem to appreciate. I'd like to know what it is so I can care for it the way it needs to be cared for.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

View FromThe Porch

"Deer in Orchard"
Jan Gibson

This is a quick snapshot I took this morning of a doe in our back orchard. She is eating some of the green apples that are falling. The trees are loaded this year and are doing some self-thinning even though my husband has been doing a lot of thinning himself on both the apple and peach trees.

It appears the fruit trees will have an abundant crop this year if all goes well. I think the deer and other animals are taking advantage of the fallen fruit and eating their fill before we can get out to clean up under the trees. I suppose they're helping us to a certain extent but they don't eat everything. The deer tend to take one bite out of each apple then leave the rest for some reason. Maybe they're sampling each apple trying to find a ripe one - who knows with deer! So, they actually don't help a lot and sometimes leave more of a mess than what was there to begin with. They also "deposit" some undesirable elements such as feces and ticks. Ticks have been very bad this year and much of the tick problem is due to the deer population wandering around our property.

Although I don't hunt myself, I'm very much a hunting advocate as I've seen what can happen when any animal population grows as quickly as the deer herds around here do. But, my husband doesn't hunt either and doesn't want anyone else hunting on our property. I can't blame him. We allowed a couple of people to hunt when we first moved here about 20 years ago. We thought these individuals would be responsible hunters but they left gates open and really stirred up my horse and the cows we had at the time when they pulled into the yard well before daylight. They also left the trash from their snacks and invited their friends to hunt with them when we had specifically asked them not to. Needless to say, hunting is no longer allowed here.

It's a shame as deer cause more accidents around here than just about anything else. It's hard to find a driver out this way who hasn't had either an accident or near-accident involving a deer. Plus, since there are few natural predators left around here, the deer are becoming smaller and I see some that are crippled or otherwise abnormal.

I agree that the deer are beautiful and that my position on hunting is not a popular one. However, many of the hunters around here rely on hunting to add to the family's table. Most are not just trophy hunters. I'm sure this year with food prices skyrocketing that there will be even more hunters out there trying to cut the grocery bill. I would gladly share the deer population here with them if I could - both for the sake of the hunter's families and the deer themselves!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Little Joe - Finished (maybe)

Painting copyright Jan Gibson

Photo courtesy of and
copyright to
K. Kline
used with permission

Well, I think Little Joe is finished. I'll probably see some things that I'll tweak but I don't want to mess with it too much and ruin it.

In kind of a rush today so am going to post and run. I'll try to post more later!

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Update - Little Joe WIP

"Little Joe"
copyright Jan Gibson

Here is a small update on Little Joe, the watercolor painting. I still have a ways to go as I didn't have much time this morning.

The vet is coming to give Bonnie (my horse) her shots and I have some straightening up to do with the house. Just as I neglected my shower, etc yesterday, I neglected vacuuming, dusting and other stuff that needs to be done to the house also. The loggers are back in the pine forest next door, and, while it isn't real close to us, the dust they stir up seems to be drawn here like a magnet to iron!

I don't know how much I'll get done on the big project but I do plan to work on it. I'll at least start on the third piece, I think. I'm saving the two largest pieces until last - sort of working up my courage to tackle them!

I'll update Little Joe again as soon as I can.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Making Progress

No, not progress on the puppy but on the "big project". To be honest, it's been kinda boring to be painting all of those tiny, repetitive icon-type things so I'm very happy to have moved on to a sort of scene this morning.

This is more of my kind of thing and I got so into it that I'm sitting here in my pj's (yes, STILL in my pajamas & I know you've done it before too!), my teeth aren't brushed and neither is my hair! Just wanted to update the blog then I'm off to get started on a little personal hygiene and some clean clothes along with some lunch!

I'm very excited about the way things are moving right along as I'm nearly half-finished with the project. Of course, I'm usually in here working by 6 (yes, that's a.m.!) or before, take a break to go do barn chores between 6:30 and 7 then come back in here to work some more. Normally, I would work through lunch if the painting was going well, but today found me at a good stopping point so I'm going to take a break for a couple of hours. That helps me re-energize and re-focus and I can see things with a fresher eye.

So, I'm going to log off here and go do the happy dance all the way to the shower!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Little Joe - A Watercolor WIP

This is Little Joe, the puppy I said I wanted to paint in my last blog post. He's actually what most people would call a black puppy, but it you look closely, he has many colors in his coat and I'm building up to black with those colors.

Of course, this is not finished by a long shot but I guess I talked myself into painting him in the last post. I know I'll have to work on him between other painting projects but at least he's started - just don't expect a daily update! lol

I'd like to plead the case for black animals again as they are usually the last to be adopted. I know you can't tell much from this wip since I don't have a lot done on him, but he's really precious. I just don't know how anyone can resist such a cutie! So, if you're wanting a new dog or cat, please consider a black one. They know when someone special adopts them and will love you all the more for choosing them!

Monday, June 16, 2008


Because my project is to be a gift, it was deemed prudent to wait until after it's all finished and delivered before posting any more about it. So I removed the last blog post.

I assure you I'm working very hard on it and it's going along at a good clip.

Posting here may be a little sporadic as I also have a couple of other things I'd like to fit into my schedule if at all possible.

One is the lone surviving puppy from a litter picked up by our local dog catcher. Soon after the pups were taken to a rescue organization foster home, all but one contracted Parvo and died. Such a heartbreaking thing to have happen! I saw photos of all of the puppies and they were sooooo cute!

The other project is a painting of a magnolia blossom. Our hot, humid climate is made bearable by the fragrance the Southern magnolia bloom releases under such oppressive (to us) conditions. We had to cut down 2 relatively large Magnolias last year when we built our house but we have one large one left down by the barn and it's in full bloom right now. We also rescued 2 seedling trees from beneath the trees we cut and replanted them in a better location. Magnolias are messy because the large leaves are tough and leathery and take forever to decay once they fall. Even though the Southern Magnolia is evergreen, the older leaves will fall from time to time to be replaced by new ones. It's kind of like human hair, I guess, & I'm glad neither the leaves or the hair fall all at once! lol

Anyway, I like working on my big project but if I need a change of pace, the puppy and the magnolia are next in line!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Accelerated Time

I don't know where the time goes any more. Back when we were kids, time just dragged, but now it flies by so quickly that it seems there are more minutes missed than remembered.

But, it's summertime here. Summer is the time for gardens and being able to get outside more with more things requiring our attention. It's been HOT here though for the past week or so with daytime temperatures being over 100 degrees and night temps being in the 80's. That's hot for this time of the year even for a region that is normally hot and humid.

Yesterday the official high temperature was over 100 degrees at the airport about 60 miles from us. Our thermometer read 116 degrees on the north side of the house during the hottest part of the day! And yesterday was the day the horse hay was cut and baled and we had to go pick up the bales out of the field.

Last year there was a hay shortage and we paid an outrageous price for really junky hay from upstate New York or somewhere out of state. It was old and weedy and only barely acceptable to feed my horse. This year, we wanted to get enough hay to last the winter from the first cutting as it appears that there may be another drought this summer. Usually we buy part of the hay needed during the first cutting then buy the rest from a subsequent cutting to try to keep our hay as fresh as possible.

Anyway, my dear husband is the one who actually picks up the hay from the field while I get the easier job of driving the truck between the rows of bales. The old truck isn't air conditioned so even the easier job isn't that pleasant!

Both of us were hot and sweaty with bits of hay and chaff stuck to our wet skin. My hair was more than just damp and was sticking up in spikes from where I kept "fluffing" it to try to cool off. It's times like this when you know you've chosen the right man to marry if he still turns to you with a big hug and kiss in celebration of the completion of a downright nasty job!