Sunday, March 22, 2009

Gone Fishing....Be Back Soon.

Well, the studio remodel project is slow going. It is, after all, vacation and Spring has sprung in the Southwest. There are birds to be watched, flowers blooming everywhere in the garden and fresh herbs and veggies to be eaten fresh from our very own plot and cooked in deliciously simple dishes enjoyed at sunset sitting with my wonderful husband in the garden (whew, huge run on sentence there). Thank goodness my dear man is a lover of dirt - I have certainly reaped all the wonderful benefits of his passion for all things growing and green! I think it is true that it tastes better when it comes from your garden and you get to pick it. I got a lesson the other night in how to properly cut spinach and herbs so that new growth can emerge. Pretty damn cool!

Today we ventured to the best nursery in town to meander through the fields of plants. We happened upon a huge selection of roses in every color, size and variety imaginable. Such a coincidence (if there is such a thing....) as yesterday we were on a garden tour in town and ran into the queen of roses. She gave us lots of information and advice on when, how and what to plant. Roses seem to me, brown thumb that I am, elusive and complex. The Rose Queen simplified it tremendously and we are now planning our rose garden that will sit outside the studio window (lucky me!). Back at the nursery, we were able to see all the plants in full bloom and take photos so we know which bare root roses to ask for when we are ready to plant. The Rose Queen strongly advised us to plant bare roots in January and not fall into the tantalizing trap of planting blooming roses now as it is better for the rose bushes that way (must be a desert thing). We will take her advice and spend the summer and fall planning the space and prepping the soil for all our exotically named varieties (Falling in Love, St. Patrick's, Marilyn Monroe, Pink Passion, Bob Hope....and on the list goes).

Oh, and we had to go feed the farm animals down the street at our local urban farm. There is something to be said for living in an older, urban area where there are no home owner associations, rules and regs, etc. etc. etc. We live in an older area of town, some houses lovely and unique with character, others not so much. The wonderful thing is that we have urban farms within 5 minutes of our home in most any direction. Our favorite is Marlette Farm (no website) which is run by a local family that has been in the area for several generations. They have a large piece of property right in the middle of town which they turned into a rescue for goats, sheep, pot bellied pigs, minature horses, burros, chickens, geese and the occasional duck. They support the farm with their own funds (no non-profit status....we know because we asked to make a donation at one point). There is nothing more therapeutic and grounding for me than to go feed the lovelies some fresh carrots from the farmers market. It is such a positive experience for so many people who bring their children on their evening walk to the farm to bond with animals and give them treats. I will get some pictures of our four-legged friends on our next visit so you can meet them.

While avoiding the home project (it really is too nice to be indoors!) I have been enjoying longer, more frequent visits to our favorite coffee place in town, Lux. It truly is the best place to hang out, drink coffee roasted fresh on site and eat high-calorie, homemade goodies that are too good to pass up (even if my pants are getting tight...ahem.)

My goal is to get the studio mostly done before I return to work in a week. I did spend two full days sorting, sifting, recycling, tossing and testing ink pens for good working order (all 300 of them). I have to admit I was more than a little overwhelmed by all the supplies I had collected in the last 5 years (the last time I went through everything). In keeping with my desire to simplify, I am keeping those things which still speak to me and donating the rest. I made a nice big box of art goodies for our next door neighbor's kids - all 3 of which are aspiring artists in their own regard. The rest will go to donations or, in some cases, in the recycle bin. This leaves me with a dining room table, breakfast bar and a couple of shelves worth of stuff. Still a lot to work with and still things that truly speak to my creativity.