Old Mr. Crow ALWAYS thinks he knows the answer to every question, but here he is arguing with a Purple Finch. Yes, I know the finch isn't purple, but I am not the person who gave it that name. Nineteenth century naturalist John Burroughs first described this finch as being dipped in poke juice.
Naturalist Roger Tory Peterson described this finch as looking like he had been dipped in raspberry juice. For those of you who confuse this bird with the House Finch, you'll find that the colors are different and the HF has a darkly streaked belly.
I've been away for so long because I have been spending my daylight hours drawing and painting and talking for hours at a time with my editor at Workman Publishing. Workman is one of the most amazing companies for making books. They care about every step of the process, examine illustrations, text, and everything that goes into a book. I know that when I work for them they will promote my book for many years to come, so it is not only an investment in time, but also an investment in the future for the new bird lovers I hope to reach.
All the hours I've spent watching Eastern Towhees and Northern Flickers paid off when I picked up my pencil and brushes, and started to draw and paint them. The strip of paper to the right is where I test colors for the feathers.
The beginning drawing of a kestrel, a finished painting of a Western Bluebird, and a feisty little House Wren building her nest in one of our birdhouses.
Our dear friends the Bassettis threw a small dinner party at their ranch and vineyard in honor of the finish of my finished (almost) bird book.
My grandson helped me prepare our potluck offering of homemade floral cheese. Mo went out to my little kitchen garden, harvested edible flowers, then made a confetti of them for the cheese. Yummy. See my posting on how to do this simple cheese. It is simple enough for a five year old to concoct!
Mo's floral cheese in a bowl wearing a collar of fragrant scented Pelargonium leaves
My dear friends Marilyn and Libby compare notes about life
Finally, after a scary drought, a big rainstorm has hit the central coast of California. I am overjoyed by the sweet song the rain plays on my roof and into the buckets and barrels I have throughout the yard. Plink, plink, plunk, plunk, plink, it was a concert out there last night. My garden already looks more vibrant and all the fruit trees are flaunting their colorful blossoms.
This post will be short, but I do have TWO wonderful give-aways. One is donated by Gardener's Supply Company in Burlington, Vermont–a 100% employee owned, green company from the green state. They've offered a $44.95 Deep-Seat Garden Kneeler. Give your tired knees a break and visit their wonder site to learn more about them.
Leave a comment, and I will pull a name out of a hat for the drawing on March 25th. Good luck!
Karen has donated an autographed copy of this book of country life that will be loved and treasured by farm folk to wannabe farmers (like me). Karen and her husband live on a small farm with an historic home that they've renovated and filled with antiques, extensive gardens, a fabulous pond, and a circus trainload of animals. Cats (11 at last count), three adorable donkeys, horses, dogs galore, you name it and they have them in their menagerie. Oh, and lest I forget it, two handsome and accomplished sons.
I'll pull a second name on the 25th for this book give-away.
Karen's book will touch your heart and kindle (or rekindle) your love for country life. Speaking of Kindle, it will also soon be available on Kindle if that is what you're hankering for.
Thanks so much for stopping by. I've been away from blogs and blogging for a few weeks now, but I will soon get back into gear and try to keep up.
All joys across the countryside tilting toward spring,
Some P.S. "Thank you"s:
Carol S. Y. THANK YOU for the fabulous old book on the islands of Maine. I love it and I love reading about places that are so much a part of our life now. One of the islands is featured in my first novel. I found facts in the book that I had never heard of before. Your gift is a joy as are YOU.
Mary Rae, your rainbow of handmade cotton dishcloths brightened my day. When I opened that envelope full of goodies, I let out a hoot of joy. Thank you so much, dear.
Karen Weir-Jimerson, a big thank you for the donation of the autographed book AND my personal copy. Jeff will read it to me every night after my weary eyes give out. I already read some of the stories and love them.