No Pill Bug Left Behind!

Things are stirring in the studio and I have some pictures to prove it. But first here is a story from the garden:

On Saturday we put in all the summer stuff: twelve varieties of tomatoes, yellow straight neck squash, zucchini, hot Thai peppers, jalapenos, sugar snap peas, cucumbers, radishes and assorted herbs. It was so beautiful all lined up perfectly in rows, dark composted soil neatly raked, mounds of fragrant cedar mulch in little donuts around each plant. On Monday it rained a lovely, long, soft rain and I thought to myself: "How perfect!"

Unbeknownst to me a silent but deadly attack was taking place all day Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. When I marched out to the garden to check things out yesterday afternoon I was dismayed to see two tomato plants completely chopped in half (or should I say chomped in half), a fan of slowly decomposing radish leaves on the ground and half of a squash plant gone. I bent down to take a look and discovered the soil moving. It was, I am sad to report, a veritable army of Rollie Pollies, Pill bugs in mass, Sow bugs on a mission, Woodlice at war. These little critters where attacking all my new plants by gathering in a group, surrounding the stem and munching it until it timbered to the ground. Upon closer examination I saw they were eating the roots as well. Argh!! What to do?

All afternoon I battled the critters. I dumped diatomateous earth over everything, poured coffee at the base of the plants, scattered coffee grounds, set orange slices out to trap them, picked off the bugs one by one and even squished them with my bare hands! Did you know that these ugly bugs are edible? It turns out they are related to shrimp in some bizarre way. I read online about one man who dared to scoop up a spoonful and try it out. I am not that brave or that desperate.

Today there are less around, but I lost a pepper plant and another piece of the squash in the night. By tomorrow all the plants I have been mothering for weeks on the porch may be reduced to stumps. That would certainly make me weep. I might even tear my hair out a bit. For now the Great Rollie Pollie War of 2009 roars on. I am preparing yeast traps as we speak!

Other parts of the garden are thriving so it is not all going bust. I have 4 new plants volunteering from my purple passion vine. The bees are out in full force, drawn by the amazing fragrance of the blossoms on the lemon tree. Yellow daisies are bursting out of a bush by the front door. The old fashioned rose is covered in beautiful little white buds that smell divine. I have a vase full on my desk right now.

Here are a few pictures of some new work. I am calling these things "experiments". It helps me to play a little if I don't have the burden of having to make ART hanging over me. Three pieces made with watercolor and gold pen.

These next two pieces I did for Lent and Easter. The Lenten piece was used for the cover of a Lenten Devotional that David and I put together.



Finally, and just for fun, a whale:


Assiduous Hours and an Inventive Polyglot

“I wish life was not so short, he thought. Languages take such a time, and so do all the things one wants to know about.”
J.R.R Tolkien

Drat! Despite my fervent hopes I have turned out to be a negligent blogger.

Sigh, weep, gnash teeth.

Life just seems to be full every day! My to-do lists dance in my head like sugar plum faeries gone to the dark side. Sadly, I always think I will get more accomplished in one day than I actually do. As an update here are a few before and after shots of projects that I have been working on. Sometimes it is impossible for me to make new art when things like this are lurking nearby.

A before version languishes in the garage

After, cheery in its new kitchen home.
(It's light blue.)

Before, a dreary old dear.

After, with burlap seat covers and a happy blue paint, darling!

When I think of people like J. R. R. Tolkien, who created entire languages in his spare time, I sometimes get very depressed and think I must be the laziest person on the planet. He not only created but also wrote poems in these new languages. He even wrote his personal journals in his favorite made up language. I think that particular one was based on Finnish which, as we all know, is a remarkable easy language to learn in the first place. My only consolation lies in the fact that it took him 12 years to write the Lord of the Rings.

Nonetheless, I will write again after I: get all my mending finished, sew some stuffed critters, finished the planting, pull the rest of the wild onions from the lawn and make a cape for my nephew. Oh yes! I almost forgot there is art to make as well. I am, after all, supposed to be an artist. I think somehow my days are full of shorter hours than everyone else. Sort of like my own personal wormhole. You see, I had planned to do all this while David is out of town for the next few days. I now see this is highly unlikely.

If by some small chance I do manage to accomplish this herculean feat, I will feel like this:
Until then, many happy Orange Julius to you, little cabbage.

“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.”
J.R.R. Tolkien