Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fruits of the Garden

My minimalist garden is really bearing fruit. For the first time ever, I have not planted too much. I have so little that I still have to go to the Farmers' Market. However, what I have is good. I have two barely producing tomato plants, Early Girl, and I think, Sun something. I also have a very nice crop of beans.

I just love fresh green beans and this year I planted the beans from seeds I saved from last year or so. I had no idea what they were. One hill popped right up and started climbing up the redwood poles that The Artist put out for them. The others had a much more difficult time of it, but two finally took off. I didn't realize it until tonight, but the two others in the second hill were really bush beans, not pole beans. However, the pole beans turned out to be Kentucky Wonder, yum, yum!

The first, fast-growing hill of pole beans had me puzzled. I had never had those beans before. Wide, bumpy, long beans from white flowers. I remembered that I had once had some scarlet runner bean seeds, so I looked them up in the Sunset Gardening Book (the bible of Western gardening) and sure enough. Scarlet runner beans can have either red or white flowers.

The scarlet runner are really good beans, but I can understand why they aren't grown commercially. The pods are all different sizes, and it makes cooking them difficult. But they are really good. Very meaty with big seeds. Sunset says they can be substituted for lima beans when they get big. But raw or steamed, they are great!

In my photo, the scarlet runner are in front and on the right. The Kentucky Wonder are on the left.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Open Studios Reception

Life With an Artist means attending all The Artist's shows and functions. Today was a big one, the annual Open Studios Preview Reception. Here's The Artist with his piece, the Lutrell Harp. He took his own stand this year so that the piece would be close to being at the correct height. The life of this Artist is that pieces are not always hung in galleries at the correct height to see the details. This year, after arguing with sponsors for too many years on whether his preview piece could be longer than 36" (which many of them are) and then having it either hung in a strange place, like at the end of a wall or at a height that only a 6' tall person could see it, The Artist decided to enter a floor piece. It worked! (The Artist is actually sitting down here.)

The Artist is getting a white stripe in his hair. It adds to his artiness.

It's always great to see so many people we know in one place and it's always a high spot of the year socially for us, even if it was a little chilly today. The fog was in. The gallery only holds about half the people who attend, so the food tent is outside. Many of the people from the hills didn't make it in. Why should they, if it's 80 there and 50 in town?

An artitious time was had by all.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A Tribute and a Huge Change in our Lives

Mother of the Artist did not make it. She passed away Thursday evening, September 4 in the Emergency Department of the hospital where I work.

She was such a neat lady. 91 years old. Raised two fine artist sons. Brought up by her grandparents in lumber camps in Eastern Oregon, she spent one winter living in a converted boxcar. I always thought that was so cool, and even did a painting of what was left of the sawmill when we visited what was left of the town several years ago. (No boxcars then and very little track.) I think she was rather embarrased about it. She once described to me how there was a living room and a bedroom and a kitchen with a bathtub all laid out in the boxcar.

The Artist will no longer begin his week with the "Mom runs" to get her groceries on Mondays.

The Artist and I had her record into the computer some answers to questions last Christmas. That just amazed her. ("How does that work?" "It's magic, mom.") We would sit her down with one of us and get her to tell us what message she wanted to send someone. Then we'd email it. It's hard to imagine that someone could not really fathom how computers work in the least nor even give a whit, but she didn't. Even solitaire with a mouse was a little too much to handle. Give her playing cards and a bridge hand any day.

So here's to Mom. Chocolate-lover, Price is Right fan, San Francisco Giants devotee, insatiable romance novel reader ("but not those historicals"), indefatiguable bridge player and independent woman, mother and homemaker. Always a big smile and never a bad word about anyone. Proud that she never used a walker!

We will miss you so much and will love you forever.