Sunday, August 15, 2010

Yuck or Yum?

A couple of days ago, I picked our first tomato. Today I went up to water the plants and saw an interesting pattern of darks spots on the ground. Then I noticed that several of the tomato plants were half-eaten. The only culprit that would do such a thing is a tomato hornworm. I found one, then a bunch and yanked them off (they hold on tightly!). I dumped some on a red napkin for contrast and photographed them for your viewing pleasure. One is trying to escape to the upper right; he (she?) didn't make it. That spiny thingy is on the back end. And that other thing that looks like a tiny green hand grenade is caterpillar poop. Just in case you were wondering. The other pics can be used for ID purposes in case you have a problem in your garden. They're about four inches long! Clearly, mostly yuck. The yum factor? A wild food fan once told me that he liked to dip the worms (caterpillars of a sphinx moth, really) in batter and fry them up. Yum!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Fells Paintout

A couple of weekends ago, I spent two days painting at The Fells in Newbury, NH ( with a group of plein air painters. We were described on the website as "renowned," but it was a relaxed, fun group. The estate belonged to John Hay, who started his public life as Abraham Lincoln's personal secretary. The house and almost 1,000 acres of beautiful gardens, fields and woods on the shore of Lake Sunapee served as his summer place.
The weekend started out sunny but quickly clouded up. I started painting the end of the house when the sun was making lovely dappled shadows, but they faded fast. My second painting on Saturday was done under a threat of rain; I called it "Clouding Up." Both of these are 9" x 12" oil on gessobord. Sunday was a bust. I had decided to tackle a larger 12" x 16" painting and was painting away when someone yelled that the rain was coming. The clouds were black! I folded up my big easel as quickly as I could and just made it onto the porch before the rain came down. It was light rain, but just enough to keep most of the expected crowds away from the wet paint sale in the afternoon. So, my paintings came home with me. Still, it was a good experience. The hosts supplied the artists with snacks and water both days and we felt very welcome. I got reacquainted with some people I hadn't seen for awhile and met some new folks, too.