Hopalong Hollow....

Hopalong Hollow, where the Blueberries grow sweet, and the moss feels soft beneath your feet.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Our first art show of the year is behind us.

And now, it is time for the REALLY important stuff:


 Armed with numerous seed packets, promising  spurting growth and endless and delightful summer color, and 85 roots that simply thrill the mind's eye with images of 6 foot Hollyhocks and Bright blue Delphiniums spreading for yards and yards, one cannot help but be excited.

It is what we gardeners strive for; All that COULD be.

 We garden-folk are exceedingly positive thinkers;  THIS years garden will be the very best and  THIS year, the Lavender WILL produce basket's full of blooms and THIS YEAR, that penstemon seed will  really take off and those miniature pumpkins won't rot on the vine.
 Here is what I admire about those who "toil in the soil";
we don't really think of it as toil or work...even though it is. When you are digging that hole to sink the naked and dead-looking bare-root rose, you are thinking about a fabulous, heavenly scented, fat bush filled with luscious, cascading pink roses.
 When you carefully bury the scraggly looking Phlox root, give it a good drink and mark the spot, you are imagining how gorgeous those tall lilac colored bunches of bloom will look amongst the even taller pink coneflowers and the shorter blue catmint.
Scattering minuscule seed hither and yon causes you to reflect on how wondrous it will be if those red Poppies actually DO come up and bloom at the same time as the deep Blue Bachelor Buttons.....and the pale blue Toadflax. 
 Gardeners are dreamers AND doers.
A beautiful garden is a lot of work, but it is soulful and satisfying work.

By the end of a gardening day, you may be sweaty, covered in soil, and aching from head to toe... but you know that what you've done is to create a garden... a wonderful, wonderful  
When Spring arises, and you poke around those garden beds to see what has actually survived to please us all for another season, it is like a miracle!
And every day, it gets even better.
If you get 2 gardeners together, the conversation can go on for hours with talk which may seem like a foreign language to those who haven't caught the garden bug.
And speaking of bugs....
The insect hotel we built last year has been a huge success. 
 Just watch them as they work!

After all the newly hatched bees moved out, the emptied apartments were soon being refilled by more mother bees. 
It seems that everyone is busy in the garden, yet,
We still need a place to sit, and imagine.....
and a place to think...
about where to put that great garden prop you just discovered.
So, to all of my fellow garden lovers, let's go outside and get our gloves dirty! 
PS. WOW! Mulch was on sale today, 5 bags for$10.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A quick hello

This is a quick post, as we are heading out tomorrow for Nashville to set up our first show of the year. I've been absent, with nary a moment to check on blogs or to write one myself.
With countless garden chores, (85 roots to sink, seeds to plant) AND, the job of finishing up all the critters to take to the Country Living Fair, I haven't had a moment of relaxation.
The hare and kitty above are nearly done, so they posed for me.
Needless to say, I will still be stitching on the 3 hour drive and all night in the hotel room.
Bonnets, missing limbs, rabbit tails, etc.

 Hopefully, by the time the show begins on Friday morning, I will have 11 cats and 7 new large hares and at least a dozen  mice and small bunnies.
 Geez, I haven't even had a chance to name anyone yet!
When I get home, I will have many garden posts to share, and I will breathe a sigh of relief.
Fondly from the Hollow, Jeri

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Pussycats and A newly discovered story by Beatrix Potter

 I had to take a brief time away from my drawings to prepare for 2 shows in late April. 
 I've been working on pussycats.
I have a very difficult time capturing the essence of the feline and practiced by forming 11 heads. I knew that if I kept experimenting with techniques, I may eventually get it right. Unfortunately, kitties are not my forte, but I will keep trying and trying until I have it down.

   The faces are slightly odd, with each one being completely different from the next, much to my dismay.
 I think they will be much improved when they have bodies, millinery, baskets and frocks.
 I have to admit my strength is in forming rabbits, not kitties.

 But I digress...
Speaking of Kitties. I recently learned, from a British Publication called the "Teddy Bear Times", the following:
Three handwritten manuscripts from 1914 were recently discovered in the Beatrix Potter Archives, along with a rough watercolor illustration of a black "Kitty-In Boots." The tale was unfinished due the circumstances of the time, such as the "Great War", and the manuscript was left, as is.
Below you see the little colored sketch done by Beatrix.
 With such an exciting discovery as this, it was no wonder that Warne and Co., (Miss Potters publishers from the very beginning) decided to bring this new tale to life.
Those of us who have always loved the work of Beatrix Potter should be thrilled at the prospect, but who could do the artwork that would be compatible with Miss Potters lovely, delicate and sensitive painting style?

The story-telling  and the artwork of Beatrix Potter are like a fine fitting glove. Without one, the other seems rather null and void, to me anyway. The graceful and soft paintings are one of the main reasons we love her work.
 What a task it would be to find the perfect artist, one who would compliment the story of the little black pussycat, to Miss Potters satisfaction.
     First, I think the artist should be British, and second, the artist should be someone who feels a kinship with Beatrix, and third, the artist should have the light, airy touch and talent displayed by Potter herself. I can think of at least a  dozen British artists equal to the task. 
Therefore, I must tell you that I am completely bewildered by the choice of artist.
A well-known cartoonist.
Personally, this is not the style I see in my imagination when thinking
 I think this is an odd decision by the publisher.
Meaning no disrespect to the above artist, but as an admirer of Beatrix Potter's work for over 30 years, I  protest the choice.
I am sure the  artist does great work in his chosen genre, but I, personally, would 
 have picked a Fine artist to illustrate Potters long lost story; One who could imitate her style more precisely.

Tell me,what your thoughts are on this matter, fellow Potter Fans?

Sunday, March 20, 2016

When one job becomes DOZENS

Ever notice how one job leads to another until things are completely out of control? That's what happened to me 2 weeks  ago, when I decided to Spring Clean the studio. It all began innocently enough; until I decided that the antique kitchen cupboard housing many art supplies and chocolate/beeswax molds would be more useful in the Edwardian style bathroom. So I remove every single item and drag the cupboard to the loo. 
And refilled with toiletries.

 Okay, so now, where do I put all those art supplies and molds?
Well, I'll just empty and exchange the current dresser in bathroom and drag IT to the studio.
  The drawers held a lot of supplies, but I was still left with a stack of Chocolate molds to contend with.
  Eyeing the stair landing with the little green cupboard, I thought, Ideal! I will place them  in the green cupboard which is posing as a doll hospital...
  but then where will I put all my broken doll parts? Okay, just stuff em in a basket.
 That's settled.
But I still have a dozen or more molds.... hmmmm.
 I think I really need some shelves in the studio. JAMES!!!!! 
Now, how can we put up shelves when that blasted pine armoire is in the way... I will just have to move the Armoire to the guest room.

 Dang, it won't fit in the guest room unless I completely rearrange the furniture IN the GUEST ROOM... after all, it is a very small, tight room.
Everything has to fit like a puzzle.
  Well, that is much nicer and cleaner.
James built me shelves that reach within 15" of the 10 foot ceiling, but they needed a table to sit upon. Hence, I must move the very long, old printers table, to support the shelves.
That gave me more than enough room for the remaining molds. 

I'll need another chair in here; let's get the old secretary chair out of the barn, sand it, stain it, oil the gears and replace the wheels? Thanks again James!
Now, where will I put my sewing machine which WAS sitting on the pine table?  I know, I'll just take that little night stand out of the guest room, and move it to the studio, after all, it doesn't fit in the guest room anymore , what with the pine armoire taking up half a wall.
Good grief!
 And that's not the half of it. I won't even mention all the sorting ,sifting, shining, dusting,re-arranging and "boxing for the Goodwill" that went on.
A job that was to take 2 days, took 12.
 And all because of a little Spring Cleaning.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Spring WALTZ...

This will make you SMILE
Spring Waltz by Chopin
 Turn up your volume and enjoy the beauty.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Dear Donkeys...

Dear Donkeys, 
 how I love your soft muzzles,
 and funny lips...
  Your huge liquid, brown eyes lined in black...
 and white
 and your FUZZY, WUZZY supersize ears,

 I adore your delicate little hooves that support those hefty bodies,
and your playful and sweet dispositions.
 I love how you BRAY and come a runnin', whenever I call to you.
  I love my dear donkeys.
  If you have read the Hopalong Hollow GAZETTE for any time, you may remember how I came to have 2 lovely donkey gals.
 We first adopted the "year old", Ursula, to become the guardian donkey for the goats and sheep.
    She did her job well. 
About a year later, when I was making my daily visit to the barn to feed treats to all the ladies, over the hill trots our Ursula, with a wee baby donkey, running alongside and still wet from birth! 
       There were NO male donkeys within 5 miles of here and we had no reason to believe that Ursula was pregnant. She was always a chunky donkey, but I just thought her healthy appetite was responsible. Apparently, she had already been pregnant when I adopted her!  Donkeys carry their young for 12 months.
Seeing that beautiful little baby donk trotting alongside her mommy  was a touching and memorable moment. I couldn't believe it. I named her Jemima
That was a wonderful day!
Jemima is almost 5 years old now, and her mama Ursula is 7.
Now I will tell you a secret, please don't let this get out to the other barn ladies: MY donkeys are my very, very, very favorite of ALL the barn folk.
So I think they deserve more than one page in the garden book,

they deserve 2 pages.

 I adore those dear donkeys. Did I mention that they LOVE fruit AND vegetables?
Which is why it's so fortuitous that James just walked in the door with this:
I am always pilfering his carrots for the donkeys. He made me promise to save at least 10 carrots for his cooking... we negotiated that down to 5.
See ya later, gotta go up to the barn to give the donks a treat!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

SHEEPS goes Baaaaaaaa......

Yep, that's what they say. And each sheep has a different voice whilst saying that same word. I can tell from afar, which of my sheep is BAAAAAA-ing.
When first looking for sheep, I had my heart set on black face sheep and went on a mad hunt for them in our area, farm country.
 At first, I was shown Jacob sheep, How weird, I thought, what's with all those horns?!!
some of them had 3 sets of horns! OUCH.
We can't take THAT home!
Four Horned Jonah Sheep by Alan Shapiro | Stocksy United:
( Photo courtesy of Pinterest)
 And we didn't..
 Instead, we brought home a 
 2 Suffolk
and 2 Shropshire

They were all baby lambs when we bought them.
Ten years later, I am down to only 3 sheep.
 Sheep are rather dimwitted, so there is not the problem of "escape artists", as in the goat world. 
Sheep are gentle, sweet and always hungry.
My sheep and the Allium.
You would never let them stroll the cottage gardens, the Allium would be eaten in 2 seconds. But they produce fat and fluffy, piles and piles of wool,
 and look very serene grazing in the meadow.
 And they never eat the daffodils!
 Another drawing for the garden book, only 2 more to draw.
Today I am working on the Donkeys.
What are you working on today?