Monday, July 20, 2009

Wine Country By Any Other Name....

Well, July is my month for loafing. Not working. First the "Family Fourth", then vacation time took up a chunk of our month. And late last night we returned to voicemails, emails and requests that will take both of us weeks, if not months, to catch up on.

The last 10 days we visited Germany and France. The studio sat cold, the garden and animals watered and fed by others who were fed by them in turn.

And, Alan, Sarah and I enjoyed family time in Europe, along with the wine country in the Alsace region of France and along the Rhine in Germany. For some reason, even away from my home in the middle of two wine appellations in North Carolina (YAPA Valley and Swan Creek), I wound up in two wine areas across the ocean. It wasn't intentional, just within easy travel distance of my sister's home.

Nor was it intentional to find that several villages contained high numbers of potters shops along with those vineyards. Ideas abound, both for throwing and painting. And long walks with my niece, Lauren, in the forest near her home in Kelkhiem, proved fertile ground for new trees and wildlife visions that will be working their way into clay form.

Quaint villages in the Alsace region open up to hillsides of vines above.

And abundant rock walls dotted with ancient castles break up the lines of vineyards along the Rhine.

As much as I enjoyed the hillsides of grapes in these countries, I must say...I love calling North Carolina home. And, nothing rivals the rolling hills, verdant fields and blue skies I came home to!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Nest Full of Hungry Baby Birds

Just back from the mountain house for a long 4th of July weekend. 31 family/friends gathered on Nana and Granpa's hill (only 5 at our house...thank goodness), and a great time was had by all (I think?).

These little fellows were our alarm clock. Mother bird built this nest a while back (during a painting and staining session at the house) and we just let her go. Unfortunately, we had a rainy spring and she made the nest of mud and moss. They look as if they're ready to leave the nest, and once they're gone we'll have to remove the mud and mess easy task from the boxing, but not so from the cedar siding.

Until then, joyful voices and hungry heads peak out from the messy, too small, nest.