Sunday, April 29, 2012

a botanical interval, in New England and Appalachia

post #83
    I just can't resist.  It is April, after all, the greatest growing month of all. Two of the places where I have been recently have to be shared here before summer takes us over.  So next week I will continue with the alphabet, but today it is NEW ENGLAND and APPALACHIA.
    Last Saturday I visited my sister Robin's favorite place near where she lives, THE GARDEN IN THE WOODS, located in Framingham, Massachusetts, and run by the New England Wild Flower Society.  She's one of their lecturers, and this was my first time to be there.  I hadn't planned to take my camera, because it was sunny and the middle of the day, but, as usual, I appreciated Robin talking me into it.  They feature rare and endangered wild plants, some of which my sister also has in her home garden.  I took the mile long walk while she took part in a training session there about the newly completed digital database that covers all New England plants! 

I was fascinated by the pairing of skunk cabbage and American False Hellebore (Veratrum viride).  I grew up with skunk cabbage in our neighborhood swamp in Connecticut, but I never noticed Hellebore.  The texture on these leaves intrigues me!

Couldn't resist the Appalachian in the name.  I plan to research this soon.  (Appalachian barren-strawberry)

The leaf of the bloodroot plant grows after the flowers have finished.

I've never seen these charmers before, but I went for the artistic view, and now I can't read the signage!

This sign works better!  The mottled look of the leaves covers up somewhat for the sunlight that can so easily make plants look washed out mid-afternoon.

       Any questions about the New England photos can be answered by Robin.  Any at all!  I expect to have a few more precise titles soon.
      When I returned home to Appalachia a week ago, I knew I would have missed many of my April favorites.  So yesterday I precariously sat in one place near our first waterfall and took several photos of different things I saw.  Four of these "seeings" are next.  I love doing that.  I see so much more playing with my camera than if I just walked by.  And the variety invariably astounds me.  Again, I was there when the afternoon was no longer cloudy, so the sun is a challenge for the photos.
      Thank goodness for Aprils every year.  And for treasures in our lives.

behind me

where I came from

the waterfall the stream goes over

right above me -- a photo I need to switch to black and white!

the log bridge on the way back to the house

a bit steep, back near our second


Sunday, April 22, 2012

some more letters for Appalachia, Bluebird, Creek

post #82
     Monday -- Today I'm immensely better rested than yesterday after returning from my trip.  I am eager to try out four more letters from the work-in-progress which I began sharing a week ago:  APPALACHIA,    BLUEBIRD,    CREEK 

E   e   --           ear tags                 eggs 

ear tags, on black calves

gathered eggs, in a wire basket

F  f   --      farms           ferns            forest            friends            fledglings
farmhouse, along our ridge road

raising hogs on the farm


fiddlehead fern

Appalachian forests

family friends
high school friends

two downy woodpecker fledglings

G   g   --        garden            goldfinch         guitar           groundhogs


goldfinch, molting, in the early spring

all the way gold, by late spring

"groundhogs boiling coffee"

 H   h  --    hay           hay rake           horse            house            hummingbird

hay rows, hay rounds, hay fields

 horse-drawn hay rake, no longer in use


       Now I just need to take a better photo of a horse out our way!  There are many.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

a new project, a work in progress

post #81
     One dream I have that won't go away is to do more books for children.  I loved working on Counting on the Woods and the opportunity over the years that it has given for speaking with kids in schools.  Even though illustrating with photos is not wildly popular within the children's book world, to put it mildly, how boring life would be without tackling major challenges!
     In the meantime, George Ella Lyon has drafted a picture book to use with our new grandchildren.  A sweet friend!  Her idea is that I would then provide the pictures from ones I have made over the years on our 100 hilly acres of forest and waterfalls plus some from nearby.  Such a "job" has seemed like a daunting task until a few weeks ago.  For one thing, I couldn't figure out how I could set aside the time to work on it.  
    Recently, however, I had the idea of using this blog for next few weeks to try out some possible images.  I could experience how the connections feel between her ideas and my particular images.  In addition to the fact that I love doing this blog, which makes things fun, doing a bit of her book in a weekly format takes the pressure off tackling the whole at one time.  This is not how a book is usually assembled, but the heart of the process is the same -- digging ever deeper for what works and feels right.  A whole that comes from bit by bits.

   So here is the deal.  Her framework uses the alphabet, not necessarily to teach letters but as an organizing principle.  Hmm, maybe I should talk about this less and just do it, to let you all figure some of this out on your own!

TITLE:   APPALACHIA,  BLUEBIRD,   CREEK      [a grandparents' ABC]

A  a   --     Appalachian mountains          Appalachian spring

Appalachian mountains

Appalachian spring

B  b    --         barn           bluebird          boat           bugs          branches

Binion barn, with spider web quilt square

eastern bluebird

beneath the branches

C  c  --     chickens              creek                cardinal              cave           cliff


the creek bed, during a dry spell

male cardinal

female cardinal

Kentucky cliff

D  d --           deer                  driveway                   daffodils        ducks

A deer was here!

our driveway, in winter



       As always, in these posts I enjoy sharing my process.  Not all the photos I post are the perfect ones, not all my ideas are fully formed, and I never intend to imply that anyone has to do as I do.  This creative stuff is all about each of our particular paths, not just the destination.
     Also, this weekend I am away from home.  Therefore there are a few other photos I will be adding to this A-B-C-D section when I return.  I am thrilled to have started this project, and any comments will be appreciated.  In fact, when the book words are in italics, it means that I added them to George Ella's draft.  Once a lot of bits are in place, she and I can keep what we want, see each bit within the whole, and go from there.  Welcome to this journey!!