Dreaming of Summer Magpies

I’ve been watching our resident magpies keeping themselves busy poking around in the snow for hidden treats, and am reminded once again how entertaining my dapper black-and-white friends can be. I think magpies are the most under-appreciated members of the corvid family, taking a backseat to their raven and crow cousins, and I’m not sure why. I think they are lovely with their long, glossy tails and bright white wing patches, and just as personable as any crow or raven I’ve encountered, though I love them all. For entertainment value you can’t beat a corvid.

Watching them now in the depth of winter has me dreaming of summer and a painting I did for my June show:

Summer Magpies: 18×24 acrylic on canvas, $600. Available for viewing or purchase at The Art Shop Gallery, Homer, AK.

The painting has a dream-like quality that seems especially appropriate now that the warm summer air seems like a lifetime ago and a world away. I’m just glad my magpie friends have stuck around to bring a little cheer on a winter’s day.

Stay cheerful, folks. Summer will be here eventually.

Sandhill Crane Sunset

New painting to share.

I just can’t get enough of these amazing birds. They will be taking off by their hundreds and thousands, heading south soon in their raucous yearly migration. It’s quite a sight, but I hate to see it happen, not only because I love seeing them around, but because it means summer is at its end, and fall is here, with winter close on its heels.

The colts are just taking their first tentative flights, so I figure we have a few more weeks with these beauties yet, so I’m greedily drinking up all of the sightings I can. And then it’s only memories until next spring when they arrive en masse again.

The painting, Sandhill Crane Sunset, is 12×24 acrylic on canvas and is available for purchase. I haven’t decided yet if I will be making prints available for this title. If so I will post that info along with the picture info in the gallery.

Summer in the Alaska Garden

Things are really growing around here! Just look at those brussels sprouts and potatoes!

It’s hot. I mean, not South Florida hot, but still…

We’ve had record breaking heat here in Alaska this year and have been struggling without the relief of our usual cool coastal rains here on the Kenai Penninsula. Wildfires are raging all around the state and everyone is being so very careful not to burn anything or do anything that would cause a spark. Keeping fingers crossed.

Here at the Twin Spruce homestead we are doing our part by keeping our garden well-watered, and the veggies are responding by growing like crazy. So I thought I’d share a peek into our summer garden.

The Asian greens, arugula, lettuce and spinach have all bolted from the heat, but the potatoes are loving it. I am having to mulch the broccoli beds to keep the soil cool–a first around here, where I’m usually concerned more about growth being retarded by too cool soil!

Keeping the greenhouse from overheating has been a challenge, but with the addition of some well-placed fans, we are managing. And we have some pretty green tomatoes just starting to fill out as our reward. We’ve also been harvesting and drying herbs for the winter. I just put up a pint of dried oregano today and tomorrow I will start in on the sage. And just look at that chamomile! I can already imagine chilly winter evenings with a warm cup of chamomile tea by my side. Yum!

How’s your garden growing?