Saturday, March 31, 2012

Hill Country Red Okra

Here is an older illustration again from, I think, around 2009 or 2010 of Hill Country Red Okra:
I just read on wikipedia that people eat not only the seed pods, but also the leaves either cooked or raw in salads. This is something I'll have to try. I've had a lot of okra, but never the leaves.
So, starting now I will probably not be posting everyday. We are now leaving for hitch hiking on Tuesday and I imagine it being more difficult than it is worth to post every day, but I will surely still post often. I just realized today after trying to plant a bunch of stuff in the garden before we go that I am probably going to be tired and busy in new and different ways so I didn't want to keep up the promise of blogging everyday. So, I guess savor these okra for a few days and I will post again soon.

Cherokee Purple Tomato

Since we were visiting with Juneau's old friends and family in Franklin, TN all day, here is an older drawing of Cherokee Purple Tomatoes:
The SESE catalog tells me that these are a pre-1890 Tennessee heirloom, reportedly of Cherokee Indian origin. It would be interesting to somehow trace these tomatoes back to their parent varieties even before the Cherokee grew them since tomatoes are originally from South America and were spread after the Spanish Colonization of the Americas. I would just be curious what hands the tomatoes and their seeds passed through and how many cultures to become this dark disease-resistant variety today.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Couch Potato

I didn't get to painting or drawing today so instead here is an old charcoal drawing that I did of my friend and roommate Katie from college:
I had gone to visit her family with her and I think I remember this as the day we went to the ocean, which was a pretty far drive, and when we came back we were both really tired. So, she zoned out in front of the TV while I drew her. I was sitting on the floor closer to her feet than the rest of her and, as I was just drawing what I saw, her feet turned out looking much bigger than they really were, but I think it's a kind of neat effect.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Eden Gem (Rocky Ford) Muskmelon Finished

Here is the finished illustration of Eden Gem Muskmelon:
I think this one turned out pretty well. I discovered with this that the white colored pencil draws over the gouache really well, which was nice because in most of the pictures I saw of these melons' leaves they had a bit of a highlight on the edges. Using the colored pencil looks smoother in the end than scraping off a little paper with a razor.
And.... I have no more to day about that. :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

More on the Eden Gem

I worked a bit on the Eden Gem Muskmelon illustration today:
...and I have not much to say about it.
But I found a fun old article from USA Today in 2004 about a man who grew a world record sized cantaloupe in Alaska, 64.8 pounds. The same man had the world record for a number of other things: a 75.75 pound rutabaga from 1999, a 42.4 pound kale and 43.7 pound kohlrabi from 2001, and a 63.3 pound celery from 2003. I guess he was really trying.

Monday, March 26, 2012


10Here is an older drawing, from 2009 I think, of Portulaca, also known as Rose Moss or Moss Roses:
I didn't realize when I did this one that the SESE seeds are a mixture of yellow, rose, white and pink flowers. So, you can just imagine these in more colors. The SESE catalog says that these portulaca are capable of storing water in their fleshy stems, and that portulaca is drought-resistant and grows well even in poor soil once established. This I believe for sure after reading on wikipedia that a common weed, purslane, is also of the portulaca species. I suppose then that this flower would not only be pretty, but edible just as that weed, purslane, is. Hm, I imagine it's just as tasty too. That's a good bonus. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

One of the First Veggies

Today I spent some time finding old drawings and paintings in preparation for our travels. This way I can still post something on days when I don't manage to actually make art. So, since today was actually one of those days, here is possibly the first drawing I ever did for Southern Exposure:
If my memory is correct, I think someone from SESE had asked me to just draw a general bush bean as an example of what my illustrations would look like, and this is what I came up with. I guess not too much has changed since then except that things have gotten more elaborate and my medium is different. It's neat to think back to when I asked if they needed someone to draw for them and if that person could be me. I don't think I realized then, or that anyone did, that it would turn into a huge on-going project for years.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Eden Gem Outline

Here is the beginning of an illustration of Eden Gem, also called Rocky Ford, muskmelon:
This is an unusual muskmelon as the flesh is green, instead of what I think of as the normal color for muskmelon flesh, a sort of peachy orange.
I have not much to say about these melons today. I guess I am too tired to think of much. :) It has been a long day of getting the house ready for the return of the kitty and house owner, and of trying to get our stuff in order and somewhat packed up for our next adventure, which will be hitch hiking to a bunch of people and places over the next three or four months. I am both excited and nervous about this. We are choosing to hitchhike for a number of reasons. One of which is that it is of course a cheap way to travel and we are trying to save up money to start a little community somewhere. Another is that it is better for the environment since it uses no extra fossil fuels to get us where we are going, just some that are already being used. Another reason is that it is sort of fun and exciting and we will probably meet some interesting people. And another is that it is one way to move closer to living without money, which is something I am very interested in doing, or doing as close to as I can. And even another reason is because so many people are afraid of it, but they fear it only because of the very small number of bad things that have happened to hitchhikers or people picking up hitchhikers that have been sensationalized in the news and in the movies. The chances of this actually happening to an individual are very small and I imagine that going hitchhiking and having good experiences, or just no problems will be very empowering. I also know many people who have hitchhiked without trouble and even has a good time. So, I suppose that this makes me feel better about it than others might.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Sketches again

We are still without electricity. So, no veggie painting today, but below are a couple sketches done with a Sharpie. I wanted to give the self portrait another go and I think this one looks more like me. The other sketch is of one of the lazy kitties here sprawled out on the porch couch. This cat is named Taz and he believes that everything in the entire world belongs to him, including you, and apparently this couch.
Being without electricity has been kind of a relief. I really appreciate the internet and email and the electric stove here, but since they've been unusable I've felt more free. When things like the computer are available I can get caught up in them. This is why I don't like to have TV around either. And not having the stove meant we had to cook over a fire, which was iust nice. We made sushi which we were planning on doing anyway without any problem. I also hadn't been reading much lately and it's been nice to get back to. I'm not sure I would have done that if the electricity had been on. This is all making me happily imagine starting a little community in the future where we use minimal amounts of electricity. This was sort of part of our plan already, but having this current experience of feeling more relaxed when electricity is unavailable is just shining a little bright light on the idea... a solar or wind powered light that is.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Image transfer experiment

Today we have no electricity so I couldn't draw veggies from pictures on my computer and I am posting on here from the phone. Instead, I read this book on image transfers and played around with the idea... I think I managed to post the outcome below?
Anyway, I know that this would have been possibly easier on a computer these days, but it was fun to try a new craft. What I did was tape over the top of an image, or paint over it with clear acrylic medium and let that completely dry. Then I flipped it over and roughed up the back with some sand paper. Then, I sprayed it with water and rubbed it with my fingers until the paper rubbed off the tape or medium. What's neat is that the ink stays behind so that you have a transparent image. I will post on here what it looks like at this point too. Then it was time to just have fun collaging.
If I were to do this again, (I don't know if I will), I would make the background very bright so it would definitely show through the other images easily.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Red Salad Bowl, Plantain Tea, and Another Silly Thing

Today I finally finished that illustration of Red Salad Bowl Lettuce:
So, apparently, as I just read on wikipedia, lettuce has something in it called Lactucarium, or Lettuce Opium, that is a mild opiate-like substance of which both the Romans and Egyptians took advantage by eating lettuce at the end of a meal to induce sleep. I've never noticed myself getting sleepy after a salad, but I guess I will start to pay attention now.
Another fun and useful plant tid-bit I keep meaning to write on here about is that plantain leaf tea is good for allergies. I learned this from that book, The Moneyless Man, (thank you mom for the Christmas present). Juneau has pretty bad allergies and he says it helps him. I have also been wondering if I am developing allergies because sometimes I have itchy eyes and a bit of a runny nose and I like to imagine that this helps me too when I drink it, but who knows what is really going on since I am not even sure if I really have allergies. Anyway, you just pick a few leaves, we like to chop them up, boil some water, make some tea and voila, allergy relief. Here is what the plant looks like in case you don't know and want to look for it in your yard:
And lastly, here is an improvement on yesterday's video. It seems pretty much the same at first, but be patient and you will probably laugh.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

bamboo and the temptations

Today was a day of starting some more seeds in flats, taking care of sick kitties, playing music, and a little bit of harvesting some more food from the yard. This means I was bad and didn't make any visual art again! I guess it comes in spurts and the current time is more like the lull. Anyway, today the food from the yard was bamboo shoots:
Above is what they look like when they are still in the ground. You can either just break them off at the ground or get them a little bit lower with a shovel. Juneau and I haven't cooked them up yet, but when we tried them raw we both thought they tasted like raw green beans.
Here is a picture of what took me about five or ten minutes to harvest:
I just read on wikipedia that some bamboo can grow up to 39 inches in a 24 hour period! Wow! I guess that's good since the San Diego zoo website tells me that Giant Pandas spend at least 12 hours each day eating bamboo and they can eat as much as 84 pounds of it each day! While I'd like to imagine that Juneau and I are little pandas eating our bamboo, we are clearly not going to go this far.
And here, lastly, is one of the things I did while Juneau was working. I'd like to consider this my art for the day and also my tribute to The Temptations... well, maybe it's not good enough for a tribute exactly, and maybe it is more silly than they would like... Nah, I bet they'd appreciate a little silly. 
I can hear what my older sister would say if she were to watch this: "You're such a dork." But I know it would be in a loving way. Hehehehe

Monday, March 19, 2012

An Old Genovese Sweet Basil Illustration

I took the day off with Juneau, which was nice. So, now I am putting up an older drawing of Sweet Genovese Basil:
Wikipedia tells me that basil, although we normally think of it as something added to Italian food, is native to India, where it has been cultivated for more than 5000 years. It also tells me something else that I find kind of interesting and exciting which is that some varieties of basil are perennial. Although, I guess it is less exciting since you have to be in a warm tropical climate.
Anyway, basil is great and it comes in lots of varieties that I have never tried like lemon, lime, holy, cinnamon, anise-scented, and lots more. Maybe one day I will be able to grow them all and do a taste test. Wikipedia tells me too that the varieties that are not sweet basil are used more in Asia.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Today I felt like taking a break from vegetables so I just did a couple of sketches. First, is one of Cleo and Diva sharing a seat on the porch:
Animals are hard to draw from life because they don't sit still. Probably even if I could speak cat and ask them politely to model for me they would still not sit still. Even if I reminded them that I clean up after them and feed them morning and night and take care of them when they are sick, they would still probably not sit still. They would probably then rub against my leg and purr and ask me to pet them, which, of course, I would do.
The next sketch is of myself. I put it up not because I like it, but because it is some artistic thing I did today.
I can pretty much draw anyone, but when it comes to drawing myself I can never really seem to do it. I can make it look sort of like a relative of mine that could have existed but doesn't, but not me. I know other people who have this same problem. I don't know what it is exactly except maybe we can't look at ourselves objectively, or maybe we have an idea of what we have looked like throughout our lives and we draw a sort of conglomeration of those. Or maybe it's just that we all get funny looks on our faces when we are concentrating on drawing. :) I know I do that. Maybe that is why this one looks kind of mad, hahaha. Or why my nostrils look flared haha. Do I really do that when I draw?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Beginning of Red Salad Bowl

Here is the beginning  of an illustration of Red Salad Bowl Lettuce:
Looking at pictures of this lettuce and trying to find individual leaves to draw is completely impossible so instead I am ending up painting shapes and patterns that I see.
Here is a bit of the history of lettuce from Wikipedia with a bunch of little fun facts:
The earliest depiction of lettuce is in the carvings at the temple of Senusret I at Karnak, [Senusret I was the second pharoh of the Twelfth Dynasty of Egypt. He ruled from 1971 BC to 1926 BC], where he offers milk to the god Min, to whom the lettuce was sacred. Lettuce was considered an aphrodisiac food in Ancient Egypt, and appears as such in The Contendings of Horus and Seth. Later, Ancient Greek physicians believed lettuce could act as a sleep-inducing agent. The Romans cultivated it, and it eventually made its way to the Papal Court at Avignon, France

Friday, March 16, 2012

Finished Delicious 51 Muskmelon

Here is the finished illustration of Delicious 51 Muskmelon:
And I don't have much to say about muskmelons today, but I do want to talk about the awesome soup we had last night. The yard around the house we are in is not your regular short cut lawn, but instead it is full of wonderful edible things. So, last night I went out and grabbed a bunch of hen bit, onion grass, and chickweed and stuck it all in a pot with a little curry powder, garlic, tamari, a little olive oil, rice noodles, miso and in the end some extra salt. It was so good! It reminded me of Italian wedding soup. The wild greens tasted like oniony spinach. Eating wild food like this, especially things that grow all over the place, that are considered weeds, is even better than gardening to me, kind of like dumpster diving. Except this way it's like your getting local organic greens for free, (which you can sometimes find in the dumpster, but not always). It takes no effort, no tilling, no pesticides or herbicides or fertilizers, no fossil fuels, no anything but a knife and a bowl in which to put the greens.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Delicious 51 Muskmelon Installment

Here is the Delicious 51 Muskmelon mostly done except for adding the important part of the sort of netting on the surface, which I will get to tomorrow:
If you were to have asked me what a muskmelon was a few years ago I would not have been able to tell you because I always heard them called cantaloupe. I suppose it is maybe a North versus South thing, or maybe Midwest vs East. I'm not sure. It would be fun to do a survey and make a map of it.
Thinking of this just now I looked up a map of soda versus pop and someone, actually a number of someones, has made one. Here is one from the New York Times that shows the most common term used; pop, coke, soda, or other: