Life as I know It

My photo
San Luis Obispo, California, and South Bristol, Maine, United States
Author ~ Illustrator ~ Lecturer

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Sweet Song of Rain

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.

Dear Friends,

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 creation

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!

Also, my friend and author Karen Weir-Jimerson has written a wonderful book called So Much Sky. If you've been a fan of Karen's writings (I know I always read her column in Country Home BEFORE anything else) or if you're just learning of her, you'll love this book. She now writes for Country Gardens magazine, a Meredith publication.

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.


klk said...

I'm always happy to find a blog post from you -- it's like sipping tea and visiting with an old friend.

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

Congratulations on the completion of your book Sharon. I would feel like I had finally given birth if I ever finish my book. Starting a book is easy, it's the finishing that's hard. Your drawings are so lovely. It must be wonderful to be so talented.

Mozart's Girl said...

How wonderful to catch up with you, my sweet friend, and see what you have been up to! My parents celebrate their Golden Wedding in 3 weeks time, and we are planning a surprise lunch for them. I may get my youngest nephew to help with some floral cheese as an appetiser! It looks wonderful. Love to you both and many congratulations on the nearly-finished & most beautiful creation! xoxo Rachel

Elizabeth said...

Your drawings are amazing, especially the little Wren by the yellow birdhouse. I have been enjoying making some birds in wool lately and they are so much fun to have around the house! Congratulations on your new book, a treasure for sure. Thank you for the nice giveaway, I would to win the beautiful book!

Anonymous said...

Look forward to reading your new book of birds with such beautiful drawings. Nanc N

Kay G. said...

Dear Sharon,
I cannot wait for your bird book to come out. Your drawings are perfect. You are like Beatrix Potter, all those years observing and studying have paid off nicely!
So happy to see this post from you and to celebrate with two giveaways. How nice!

Rori said...

Congratulations on your completion of your bird book! I can't wait to have another Sharon Lovejoy book on my shelves. You are so blessed to have such wonderful friends to celebrate with.

Happy@Home said...

Congratulations on the completion of your newest book. It was such joy for me to read what goes on behind the scenes and to have a sneak peak at your bird paintings. I love them all. The birds are so active here in NC right now and we have an Eastern Bluebird couple who are busily making a nest in one of our birdhouses.
The cheese makes such a pretty appetizer and you have a darling little helper there :).
I just placed and received an order from Gadeners Supply. I also own the kneeler which has been a lifesaver for my lower back issues.
The book sounds like a most enjoyable read. So nice of you to offer these giveaways.

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Congratulations on finishing up your third book. I know it will be enjoyed by many. Your drawings are always wonderful, so much love and joy have gone into them.

Oh my I would love to win that kneeler/bench. I have such a hard time getting up and down out of the garden these days. This looks great! I've been using a milk crate to sit on while I weed, etc. and it's hard getting up from that.

I bet the book is lovely by Karen. It would be wonderful to live in the country and have so much sky.

Whoever the winners are, they will love these great prizes.

The party looks like a great success and how neat that your grandson helped make the flower cheese. :-)

Have a great week Saron.


Robin Larkspur said...

Sharon, so happy about the (almost) completion of your book. You have been teasing us with tantalizing photos of the art process, and I look forward to seeing the book in its habitat (book store). The floral cheese your sweet boy made looks fab!! I would love to enter your giveaway for the book "So Much Sky". It looks so very interesting. I already have the kneeling bench, a gift from my hubby. Take care, and enjoy the rain!

jerilanders said...

Toss my name in the watering can! I would love to win the book, although I already know the joys of country living, I think it will be a great read.
Speaking of rain, we have had 3 glorious days of it, I can almost SEE the plants growing from my window. Congrats on finishing up the book. How nice to have such friends that actually throw you a party!

steph said...

So very excited to know that we have a new book to look forward to soon!! Congrats on the (near) completion!!! (Such teasers you offered up--those drawings are amazing!!!)
Wonderful giveaways, too! (I just discovered my dog chewed up my kneeling pad....sigh.) And Karen's writing is always so inspiring!! Would love to be entered for the drawing.

Susan said...

I love when I see a post from you and I get a front row seat into your day(s). I wish we had just rain, but every morning we're waking up to snow--doesn't last on the ground, but it's a gentle reminder that Mother Nature is in charge...always!
Love to you, dear friend <3

Blondie's Journal said...

A big congratulations on your completion of the book. I can't wait to see it! Your paintings are just beautiful. And it looks like you had a great celebration!

I'm so glad you got your much needed rain...we have been having gorgeous weather here in the Midwest, we truly appreciate the warm temps in March!

What a sweet and wonderful giveaway, the book looks very interesting!

Have a great week!


Michelle said...

Glad to hear from you and see that you have finished your book! Congrats!

Sharon Lovejoy said...

How wonderful to awake to a BRIGHT and glorious day with my gardens in happy, rain drenched glory. I love it. Everything looks so wonderful.

Flower Lady dear, this is my 9th book, with two more in the works. Hope to publish 20 before I leave Mother Earth, but first let's just get through this one. I am nearly finished with the other two and maybe can share some of them someday soon.

Joys to all of you out there. Happy Sunday. It is breakfast in bed for me today. Hurrah. Jeff read two chapters of Karen Weir-Jimerson's book to me and it was WONDERFUL. I especially loved reading about shearing her sheep and she ended it with the words, a close shave. Great writing in this classic book.



Teri said...

Congratulations on the "almost" completion of your book. I, too, am happy to finally have some rain here in No. Cal. And last night we received some snow! I awoke to a covering to white outside. The plants are loving it but I'm hoping that the snow hasn't damaged some of the things I got to "excited" about when we weren't having any rain. Oh well. There is always another day. I would love to be in these two drawings. Sign me up for both of them please. Maybe one of these days I even win!!

Unknown said...

Can't wait for your book to come out and add to my collection of your other books! Sounds like a great giveaway -- I'm in!

Julie Marie said...

Hello Sharon... your birds are just beautiful, I can hardly wait for your book! Looks like you had a wonderful celebration as well... I so love our feathered friends, and can't wait for your book to come out... we have so many Kestrels on the wires high above the creek down the lane from my home, I love watching them, and one day was gifted with a beautiful feather from one from above... please enter me in your generous giveaway... wishing you a most beautiful Spring day, xoxo Julie Marie

jaz@octoberfarm said...

i wish we would get some rain. or snow or fog or hail. thunder and lightening would be welcome. anything but this endless hot sun!

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Dear Sharon ~ I had to go back and read your post again to see where on earth I got 'third' book from and realized my mistake. You had written 'bird book', not third book. Sheesh!

I wish you could smell that rose, it is heavenly.

Love and hugs to you ~ FlowerLady

Robin said...

I have one of those kneelers and it is fabulous! Whomever wins it will be a lucky person. I enjoy your posts very much. I was glad to see a new one.

Evelyn Vincent said...

Go ahead and add me to the drawing too, thanks for the opportunity and offerings! :)

Much success on your book!

Lili said...

Oh to have some blooming flowers here to make some of that glorious flower cheese! Your illustrations have me excited to be able to order your bird book when it comes out. (I always could use help figuring out the difference between a purple finch and a house finch around here.) I must excuse myself from your newest giveaway as I was very lucky to have just won your last one. So glad to see a new post from you Sharon...I was having withdrawal as spring is approaching quickly here! xoxo ~Lili

The Crop Doctor said...

The cheese is delightful, I will try that . . . nice to see the Borage that is so healthful as well as beautiful, and the scented geraniums as a accent is lovely!

I knew there were more than three books since I have more than three myself = )

A contest? How fun . . . throw my name in please, and congratulations on the new book. Can't wait to add it to my SLJ library!


Gert said...

Oh how I love your are so gifted! Congrats on your new upcoming book!! The party looked fabulous! How fun that must have been!


Anonymous said...

I was happy to see another post from you today! Your paintings of birds are spot on. Congratulations on finishing another book toward your goal.
Martha Ellen

Anonymous said...

so happy about the book-I'm so glad it's almost done. I have a garden kneeler but would love a copy of Karen's book-I always love her columns.
Your grandson is adorable!

Audrey said...

Hi Sharon! I've only recently discovered your works via Kay at Georgia Girl With An English Heart.
She recommended you to me because of my love for birds. I have a pile of your books on the nightstand right next to me, in fact! Your illustrations are just divine. I look forward to your new book ~ I intend to buy it for my two girls. So happy to find your blog today!

Dena said...

How wonderful to come in from the blustery weather for a sit and sip of tea and find a new post on your blog, I do so enjoy them...second to your books....I look forward to your bird book...glad you have your much needed rain..we should get some tonight. My radishes and sugar peas need it...Happy Spring to you...

kj said...

hello dear girl, i am delighted to read this post.

what a tweet to know your book is 'becoming' right now! :i can't wait to see your bird illustrations ^)

'so much sky'--what a great title. i will like to read this and i hope i win it. don't you think it's time i won something? i am so deserving :^)


Jude Walsh said...

I so wish I could draw and paint like that! What a special kind of joy that must. Beautiful!

Anonymous said...

You continue to soar with your special talents. Thank you for sharing your wonderful world over so many years. I too am looking forward to your new book. It looks gorgeous. Congratulations! Jane in Nevada.

Sonia said...

What a nice party for your almost finished book! Can't wait to see it! Especially love the illustration with the bird gathering nesting materials! So beautiful!
Miss Bloomers

Unknown said...

Looks like a wonderful celebration Sharon. I'm sure looking forward to your new book and I would love to be entered in both drawings... Big Sky looks right up my farmgirl heart alley! As always so nice to hear an update from you...!
xo Deb

Little Bird said...

What a feeling it must be to finish another beautiful book! I am so eager to hold it in my hands and enjoy every page! Congratulations, gifted lady!

Thea said...

Finishing your book feels ALMOST as great as getting published! Have a blessed day, my garden friend. t

Lori said...

Hello Sharon! I am so anxious for your new book - yeah! Spring is popping here in Indiana. I have to keep reminding myself that it is only March. The last week we have been in the 80's. Blessings to you!

Andrea@That'll Do Farm said...

Tossing my name into the ring. The kneeler would be great for helping me up, but the book would also be great for those days I've spent too much time in the garden and don't want to get up! Thanks for hosting such a nice contest.

Vee said...

It is always intriguing to watch the process or see a glimpse of it. (I am praising the crows today for building a nest in the pine tree across the ravine. Because of them, the turkey vultures flew on past instead of roosting in their usual haunt. What a blessing.)

And the project must be very nearly done if there's already been a wonderful party to celebrate! It is fun to see such pretty treats decorated with edible flowers. That sounds like something the grands would enjoy.

The broken leg grand spent the afternoon out in the 72F weather safely parked in an adirondack chair like a 90-year-old watching his mother do her spring planting. Four hours later and he could have stayed another four. No bugs, just the delights of a beautiful day.

How fun for you to be gifted with a book that shares so much information about the very island you have written about. That would be fascinating, I'm sure.

Enjoy the rain...

Kristina said...

So lovely to "see" you this morning! The rain is falling here in parched, warm-much-too-early Nebraska. I have so trees blooming and I'm afraid Mr. Frost will nip them before May arrives. Please throw my name into the hat for your lovely drawings. So good to read about your doings. Take care!

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

Oh, your paintings are lovely and enchanting--I can't wait til I can buy the book to hold in my hands! Some things just can't be appreciated unless you hold them in your hands--Nook and Kindle are fine for novels, but art books must be held!
The gardening bench would be so amazing--I am so "stove up" from all the yard work we did this weekend.
I do love the writings of Karen-Weir-Jimerson--really miss her and the Country Home magazine--I will be looking for her at the gardening magazine!
Have a lovely week!

Darla said...

Always love your blog and delightful give-aways!

Kimberly said...

Years ago I purchased "Sunflower Houses" when my children were small. I get lost in it every time I crack it open. Beautiful book. I'm so glad to have found your blog.

Now I must go dig in the dirt. :)

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

I am so eagerly waiting to be able to buy a copy of your bird book. Your illustrations are lovely! They just make me feel happy all the time!

What a lovely giveaway you are having! I just looked at the deep seat from Garden Supply........Of course I thought I wanted one in green, and then remembered how many green garden tools I lost before I began painting their handles red! Do you think something this big in green could just disappear? I wonder........

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Hi Kristi in the Western Reserve,

YES!!! You could lose it just depending on the season. Think of how big and lush things get during the summer.

Love Gardener's Supply and how in tune they are with our gardening needs.

Joys to you,



I had to chuckle, Sharon at your sweet attitude about the rain. Up north here, all we see is rain so my attitude is less than pleasant these days. Not really though. If it didn't rain in March, I'd think something was wrong and the green landscape makes every drop worth it.

Did you know you can download a Kindle to your computer for free? I just learned this and did it last night. It's really easy to do on Amazon. Now I'm going to be watching for all those free e-book offers.

Take care and keep feathering your nest. :)

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for leaving a comment on my blog!

You are a very talented artist! I love birds and taking photos of them! Congratulations on your finished book!

Terra said...

Oh please do enter me in your two give aways. I need a kneeler like the one you show. I love birds too, and we have purple finches and house finches. You are right, they are not purple. More like the stain on our fingers from raspberry juice.
The party for the near completion of your book looks like fun.

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

I can hardly wait for the new book to become available! Speaking of birds, PBS has been showing a spectacular show about Hummingbirds. I hope you got a chance to see it. :)

It's so unusually hot here that I know my garden is going to be confused.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the near-finish of your book! I have a small stack of your others on my coffee table, to help me plan the next afternoon with my grandchildren. And it's finally warming up here, so it's inspiration that's timely!

Please add me name to the hat for the garden kneeler. I could not believe it when I saw it in your post. I was just looking at the same one today in their catalog, decided I couldn't swing it and maybe it would go on sale. I did something to my right knee last month, had two x-rays that showed nothing, but am doing PT in attempt to strengthen it. They say it's a pulled muscle, but it's enough to make me cry, which is why I was gazing at that kneeler. Myabe I should get one and just kneel and pray for a miracle...!

Thank you for being a special source of inspiration for me here.

Rebecca in NY

LesleyAnn said...

Thank you for the opportunity to win a nice gift in your giveaway!

Your drawings are spectacular. I love bird books. There's nothing like enjoying a few hours on the deck watching and listening to the birds.

Unknown said...

I've been seeing the badge for Grimy Hands Girls Club and decided today to see what it was all about. I put it on my anything about the garden.

I see you are having a giveaway...please include me! Warm hugs, Esther

Donna OShaughnessy said...

Look at that ! 53 comments before me. If you ever doubt that you are missed, doubt no more. I love your blogs. And I adore your art Keep them coming

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Awww, Donna, thank you.

Here is my dream. When Jeff and I drive across the great US of A this summer, I would love to have tea parties with a blogger in each state we visit. Wouldn't that be neat???

Love it.


Elizabeth Trotter said...

Enjoy reading the updates on what you're up to. Still miss your column in Country Gardens magazine!

If you come through Kentucky on your planned trip this summer, you are definitely invited to my place! We could have tea in the gazebo with all the flowers blooming around us. Lemon blueberry scones with lemon curd are one of my favorite indulgences...trying to tempt you here!

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Uh oh Elizabeth, your invitation is wonderful. Lemon curd, scones, a gazebo, flowers–what could be better? I'm up for it if we pass through Kentucky. I adore Kentucky and had the best time there last year with the Herb Society members, the folks at the Arboretum, so many great memories.

Please keep in touch!


Kim said...

Congrats on your third book. I can't wait to enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kim,

This will be Sharon's ninth book, not third.

Husband Jeff, aka personal assistant

Mary said...

Congratulations on your latest book, and on your rain. After months of drought we've been getting rain again in Texas, and our wildflower season promises to be the best in years!

The Painted Garden said...

Hi Sharon,

Congratulations on your almost finished book - I love your art and your books and look forward to your new book. To hold a book in my hands and pour over the words and pictures is one of my greatest joys.

I live in Southern California and also enjoyed the rain last weekend - I spent some time cathching up on your blog posts while sipping a cup of tea and curled up in front of my computer wraped up in a vintage quilt - LOL - reading your post on all things old and wonderful - your blog is such a joy.

Please enter me in your drawing.I am a member of the Grimy Hands Girls Club and loving it.

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

Have missed you
Can't wait to see your bird book.
Your drawsing are beautiful.
Put me in your drawing...

Cottage and Broome said...

Your drawings are wonderful! Good luck with finishing up your book project, looking forward to it. Thanks so much of stopping by, Laura

troutbirder said...

I so enjoy reading. And learning about successful authors. Congratulations. Here I'm listening to raindrops with great relief. Our six month near drought may be ending.... :)

Rock rose said...

Your floral cheese sounds really interesting- and I have the flowers. Must try. said...

Your bird illustrations are beautiful! I know the book will bespectacular.

Comfrey Cottages said...

Yea for your rain! Mo is so adorable making his cheese:) A celebratory party is so great! lol! the children and I are very much looking forward to this new book, Sharon. That kneeler is sooo nice with the hand bars to help us get back up, once we are down!I love true stories about where people live like So Much Sky. Is it set in Wyoming, Big Sky country? When we went there camping, I walked out of the camper at nite, looked up, and declared, "they have more stars here!", lol! love, Leslie xxx

Vicki Boster said...

Hi Sharpn--
Your bird sketches and paintings are amazing. You have the great ability to breathe life into your art- not everyone can do that. You will welcome many new bird lovers into your fan club with the publication of your newest book. I'm so happy for your success.,

As always- your talents just blow me away. I hope you are finished soon so that you can take a break.

And yes--- the smell and sound of a welcome rain is a blessed thing--

Ps- thank you for sweetly supporting me and leaving such lovely comments. You made me blush--

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Hi all,

Karen Weir-Jimerson's title, So Much Sky, refers to her farmland in Iowa. Believe me, since the land is so flat you DO notice more sky.

Karen explained that when her east coast Mother-in-law stepped out of their car at the farm she looked up and said those words, "so much sky." True.

Joys to all,


Anonymous said...

I love your bird drawings!Your book is going to be fantastic!
Jenny P

Lydia said...

Godspeed on the about to be book. It must be like a child that we can all hold at the same time?

Carol said...

Dear Sharon, Your bird paintings are wonderful and I am certain you will inspire others to become active bird watchers! So glad you got the rain you needed!! Yummy cheese and lovely presentation. What a sweet helper you have. Best of Luck on your book!! Carol