Day One hundred and seventy one
size 6 in x 8 in, 15cm x 21cm
Today was beautiful. There were no appointments to make, the sun shone and I got some weeding done. I bumped into people in town who could do each other good once they were introduced and I had found that one needed to practice Spanish and one needed to practice English. Lovely aunt was happy and to cap it all DIY Dad got to incinerate food outdoors for the first time this year. We sat out in the garden and watched the sun set as we waited for the food to be cooked. A crescent moon emerged among the peachy coloured cirrus clouds and a bat flew high among the oak trees before the light had even half gone.
This morning I saw at least two brimstone butterflies, possibly a holly blue and later a large brown of some sort. I pulled seedling grass from the garden beds and probably thirty seedling of Hypericum , the garden is infested with self sown Linaria, Aquilegia, Geranium pyrenaicum, Prunella, Verbena bonariensis, Salvia, Verbascum, willow, as well as the usual docks, nettles, creeping buttercup, wood avens and forget-me-not. I leave the forget-me-nots and verbena and some of the others but the Hypericums have to go as do the sedges that sprout up everywhere.
The painting is of a strange fruit , I have never eaten it , I will tell you its like next blog. It is certainly colourful.
#171 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog
Click here to bid size 6 in x 9 in, 15cm x 24cm
There was a classic shepherds warning this morning lighting up the bathroom with a coral glow. By ten it had begun to rain and has continued on and off all day.
I was very lazy today the children got just what they wanted, pizza at lunch and fish and chips in the evening. The only homemade thing they had all day was an apple crumble which was cooked with the pizza.
Maths continued on the kitchen table, in fact a sheet of it appears in todays painting.
#148 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog
Sunrise over next doors building project, they are getting ready to roof this bit I think, but the scaffolders
had to be told to take the scaffolding poles off the new fence. The sky was actually several shades brighter
than this, honest.
Click here to bid size 7 in x 9 in 17cm x 22cm, charcoal and wash on Fabriano paper
On Friday I started to investigate the problem of what happens to the GCSE curriculum as it seems possible to me that local schools are only teaching a part of the syllabus; they may not be alone in this.
I started with OFSTED as they have given the school, where only part of the GCSE syllabus was taught to my son, a good report. They have not heard of the problem and tell me that it is not really within their remit. They suggested the Department of Education. The D. of E. said that they were not aware of a problem and it was not the sort of thing they dealt with. They suggested two more organisations, OFQUAL and QCDA, the people I spoke to here had casually heard of teaching to the exam but they saw it as something the media went on about. They finally said that it could only be dealt with in writing, so now I must wait up to two weeks for a reply.
Meanwhile I am contacting an academic who has said something about this in the press and I will try and find a journalist who can shed some light on the matter. No1 son thinks I am nuts; if a GCSE can be got by doing half the work he believes that can only be a good thing…..in the short term son, in the short term.
I was waiting for the paint to dry on my painting of the day and shaking out some clean washing when something started buzzing in it…it was the biggest hornet I have seen this year it must be a queen. I got it into a wine glass in the end and took it out to take it’s chance in the cold wintery night out there.See picture below:-
Recently painting of the ceiling has been more to the forefront of our minds than watercolour but we ran out of brilliant white and what with the twittering and the lumpen teenagers on half term I didn’t remember to get another pot. Anyway DIY Dad has retired to bed early with a cold after a miserable day negotiating time sheets with colleagues who want to bill 31+ days a month……
I have finished putting apples away now and just have the remainder left to get juiced on Thursday. The picture is charcoal and wash of fruit nearly ready to store, I just wrap each good fruit in newspaper and put it in the shed which is cool( but not very cool yet on sunny days like today). The garden is full of jobs that need doing lots of things need rescuing from the cold before it does for them.
#147 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog
The body as thick, no thicker than my drawing pencil…shudder.
size 8 in x 6 in 20cm x 15cm watercolour on heavy weight rag paper
There are more than 700 apples on the database of the apple key so it is quite surprising when, after answering seven or eight questions on the apple in hand, one variety is chosen by the keying process.
If the apple has an unusual shape in some way( inside or out) it keys out quite fast. The difficulty in using a key is in deciding whether the feature in question fits one answer or another. The apple key I am using allows you to drop questions that are hard to decide and this allows the identification to be made on points that are unambiguous.
I think one of the trees in the orchard is Calville Blanc d’Hiver, it certainly is a cooker and unlike the old English types has very narrow cavities for the pips, it also keeps its shape cooked; I tried a few slices boiled and they remained whole.
Neatly it is one of the parents of Ellison’s Orange or at least a very close relative of that parent. The parent mentioned in Joan Morgan’s book is not listed in the National Collection. I have drawn a little family tree for three eating apples I have been thinking about and however English we think they are they are very very French in their breeding.
Life at the moment is overshadowed by Maths and Physics and a battle of wills raging over the kitchen table between DIY Dad and No1son. DIY exclaims that something is so very very obvious and No1 son groans like an unhappy cow. DIY Dad has to be avoided at this point or he will catch hold of me and start telling me about quadratic equations and the curves produced and the blinding simplicity of it all as if I can do it all in my head! It’s possible to burn any amount of food while trying to give sufficient attention to avoid insulting a man on a mission. I can still do quadratics but only if I have my head down over a piece of paper with NO DISTRACTIONS, therefore I can no longer do quadratics.
I have gone back to the charcoal pencil for this sketch of some of our tomatoes. The heating process (day 135) has been successful in that they did not all succumb to blight as they ripened, however I think it has also made them a little softer than they would have been otherwise. We had some losses still but below 10% and I am certain that without treatment we were heading for 60% or more losses. There are some lovely angles and shapes in the stalks and sepals.
#141 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog
size 6 in x 4.5 in 15cm x 12cm watercolour on heavy weight rag paper
A Good Crop of Cookers
This is a very rushed post. There has been too much to do today. I decided to tackle the honey fungus , buy a sack of potatoes , locate a plasterer, and find somewhere to juice apples closer to here than the place I’ve used before.
Once I had got hold of the cleaning fluid that has a second use as a fungus protector, I dug up all the three tufts of honey fungus. I then poured solution into the holes and then poured it over the bases of all the apple trees roses and shrubs in the area. It smells just like Jeyes Fluid, which always reminds me of the toilet arrangements at Guide camp. Apparently this can cause it to fruit more because its underground ‘bootlaces’ are knocked back , however the article goes on to say the spores can only infect dead wood. (Whereas the rhizomorphs or bootlaces can infect happy flowering plants and treees that I really want to keep) Then I decided to remove lots of stuff that was getting too big to let me check that there were no more signs of the lurgy hidden beneath. I ended up with a pile of cut stuff the size of a sleeping pair of hippos.
Opened my blog today and found someone from Australia selling cures for nail fungus attempting to post without saying anything about the subjects on the blog, are they a huge fan of watercolour or are they just trying to sell me a cure for my cured nails? I keep my nails sweet with neat tea tree oil and metallic green nail varnish. I must have put toenails in as a tag at some point and that had lured them or some automatic post generator to my site. Either that or they can smell my feet from Australia! Or they think honey fungus is a toe disease and not a pathogen of woody plants.
This apple is a James Grieve well it could be, we keep getting revisions on the community orchard apples.
#139 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog
size 6 in x 7 in 15cm x 17cm watercolour on heavy weight rag paper
Today and yesterday were wet on and off, wind and rain, horrid inside and out. It would have been fine inside as the house is warm without being heated due to the insulation being so very good. However we were engaged in a mammoth circulation of our possessions to clear space for a plasterer to mend the hole where Matt, the builder’s labourer, fell through the ceiling. Having established that he didn’t need an ambulance I considered finishing the job and kicking him through to down stairs but relented. After all there’s nothing about a load of fibreglass, muck, plaster and sawdust on your bed to make one upset, is there? The problem with bad builders is they are bad in so many different ways. By the time Matt went through the ceiling I was ready to believe he had done it deliberately. I was aware by this stage that the owner of the company was not asking us for money in a sensible systematic way and then panicking that he didn’t have money to cover wages and asking for it at short notice and then if it wasn’t obtainable in time blaming us for the short wages that I am sure the men suffered from time to time.
We also need the new cupboards plastering so nothing can be stored there, the hall and landing need painting shortly so nothing can stay there, our new bedroom needs the floor sanding so…sorry where is all this going …in the studio?…and you think I will be able to use a press in there and work round it all?…ah yes I could throw it all away but….I don’t really want to. There is a view upheld by tutors at college that an artist collects and that this somehow vindicates their body of work. They were encouraging collection in other words, I cannot imagine being in a position where I needed encouraging hoarding, sorry collecting things, it is a great failing of mine, but I am not sure that it makes one artistic.
At one point I came to the baskets where my best jumpers were stored and the woolly walking socks for Christmas stockings. These had been fine at Christmas but since then some devastating American form of clothes moth had got in and gone through a shawl that was so fine I had not known it was wool and all the jumpers were full of gaping holes. I thought the socks looked rescueable and microwaved them to kill any living creature…how was I to know they weren’t 100% ? After less than two minutes small patches were turning into melted black ooze and smelling utterly dreadful. I am not popular with anyone. After extensive airing and cleaning the smell is still lingering in draws and cupboards.
The community orchard apples have been to West Dean (with someone else) and back and some of the identifications agree with ones we got by using an online key…Carlyle Codlin and Laxtons Reward. One each to DIY Dad and I. We are in disagreement with the experts on a number of other apples but I think I have one of the pears; Packhams Triumph is an Australian pear but was planted in the UK. It makes a decent crumble and I suspect it would juice rather well and eat well later on.
The grapes came from the market and once the boys had recovered from the shock of” PIPS!?” they disappeared very fast.
I also insisted that we picked the cooking apple tree today as the wind was starting to knock the apples off in bulk. No1 and No2 son refused to put on their shoes for a long time until harsh words and threats got them outside. Before we had finished it began to rain and still we picked. In the end No2 was enjoying the rain and being up a tree until me on the ladder and him in the branches were getting along famously. We have nearly cleared the tree and have a giant stack of apples which now need sorting and wrapping for storage in the shed. I think I will get about five trays of top quality apples and plenty for now and then some for juicing.
The best part of today was visiting a lovely open studio in a village with old friends. There were paintings, sculptures/cabinets and quilts which were really restoring, the artist Heather told me she had planned for a year to make it all work well. Her studio looks over their garden to the Downs.
#138 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog
size 4.5 in x 4.5 in 12cm x 12cm watercolour on heavy weight rag paper
Last night we had a power cut right in the middle of a box shifting fit. I found myself in a maze of unfamiliar objects with no lights.
Blog went out of the window and sons and DIY Dad, robbed of electicity dependant activity, went to our bed and were read Tolkein aloud by candlelight. I decided to continue with my bonfire in the dark on my own, it sort of worked for a while.
Anyway I did this quick sketch of a perfect Ellison’s Orange from high up on the tree, no sorry I was not high up on the tree, the apple came from there. It’s done with a charcoal pencil and wash
#137 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog
How Autumnal is this?
And finally the Cobea Scandens decided to flower.
size 6 in x 12 in 15cm x 30cm charcoal and wash on heavy weight rag paper
Today and for the last few days DIY dad has been playing musical chairs with the radiators downstairs, this is a rush job as soon we will need functioning radiators- we will have reached the equinox in the morning. First of all a new rad. appeared in the dining room, and then one disappeared in the downstairs loo, then another went in this room and its replacement which used to be in the dining room can’t be put on the wall because the screws are wrong, or the rawl plugs, some small but vital widget is not what it seemed at first and its absence then derails the whole process.
What with that and a rather unsuccessful woody walk I got a little late in the picture painting but here are the maddest of the tomatoes. One looks like a teapot and the others are just rude.
Yes, it seems that the unending supply of ceps has ended.
Yesterday we uprooted all the tomato plants and brought the fruit inside. I will burn the haulms as there is a little blight on them. The tomatoes were bred to have some resistance to blight which may be how they have survived so long outside.
I set up the dessicator to heat the green tomatoes to 40 degrees for twelve hours, if this helps there will be a huge supply of ripening tomatoes. The idea is that the heat does not damage the fruit but finishes off the blight so that it doesn’t infect all the ripening fruit. See article in The Organic way issue 200. www.gardeningorganic.org.uk/tow
#130 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog
http://www.etsy.com/shop/lemonaday 6 inches by 5.5 inches, 15cmx13cm, charcoal and wash on heavy weight rag paper
This was a difficult day, wanted to go to London to see hospitalised relative but there was no decision to be had until 4.00pm on whether they were to be discharged. I ended up waiting for phone calls and faffing around in the garden inbetween times. They have been discharged now.
I did get two plants out of containers and into the ground; had to dig through six inches of pure clay left by the builders in one places. The plant I put in the shady area is called Kirengeshoma( I just had to look that up in the Chiltern Seeds catalogue). It really is a beauty for damper shady corners or along hedges or walls. It grows in the walled garden at Nymans and in the higher garden at Great Dixter. It copes with sun as it was in the sun most of last year in a pot. It dies down to nothing but now feisty nettle like shoots are reaching up. It should be ok as I found topsoil six inches down and I gave it a good mixture in its planting hole , plenty of water and some slow release fertilizer. Look it up, its a gem.
#32 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog
6″x5.8″ 15cm x 14.5cm watercolour on heavyweight rag paper
Oh the aromatic joy of a freshly baked bun, the thought of sitting with a book, the bun and a tea in a quiet room with no teenagers….I asked would they like to help make the buns yesterday,” I just need to finish this battle” from one and with the other “uh…hot cross buns …Awesome!….” In fairness his eyes almost left the screen for a second. Once it came to eating them- then I had their attention.
I got to this bun late last night and captured the last of a nearly extinct race in charcoal and watercolour, like mayflies they lasted only a day. They were so good I might set to and make another 30 for Easter Sunday.
Enjoyed the drawing in charcoal it felt more dynamic than the watercolours, a change.
Oh yes and did get the course work back for Easter holidays but in the mean-time I had complained and actually got to hear from the head who claims the good news is the work is fine …so how come its fine when they were writing to us saying it wasn’t and he’s had only two chances to add a little to it since then. I am convinced that teachers tell parents that the work is marvellous just to see the parents go away with a smile …emphasis on the go away of course. Actually it’s a C grade No1 son says which means the school will have less interest in improvement than if it were a borderline D, however personally he needs a better grade as he wants to do the subject for A level.
#10 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog