May 29, 2014

Springtime in the Garden and the Studio

Firewood, by Sue Reno

The big locust is now firewood.  It was a casualty of the long, cold, dangerous winter that is finally fading into memory.  I spent a sleepless night during an ice storm, listening to branches breaking and crashing everywhere, and in the morning it was revealed that a main limb had split off from the locust, thankfully away from the house.  But I could no longer trust its integrity, and this spring it had to go.

Squirrel and Locust, art quilt by Sue Reno

Not only had it shaded us for many al fresco dinners on the deck, it was fodder for several art works.  The squirrels used it as a highway to access the birdfeeder, so I used its leaves for monoprints in Squirrel and Locust.

The Fledgling, detail, art quilt by Sue Reno It was also the vantage point and temporary safe harbor for fledgling robins on the way into the big world from their nest in the deck supports.  The Fledgling, from 2005, documents such an event; I just watched a replay, sans the tree, this morning.

Vegetable garden in progress, image 1, by Sue Reno

The safest and best direction for the tree guys to fell it was onto the part of the yard occupied by the vegetable garden.  I had to take up all my fencing, posts, and edging boards in preparation.  I use a permanent mulch system, but after all the disruption decided to have the plot rototilled and start fresh.  I spent a lot of time pulling out chunks of tree roots and raking the ground smooth, then re-edged it and started driving new stakes for the fencing.  Above you can see where I am planting canna rhizomes I stored over the winter.  The area in the upper right of the picture is the asparagus plot.

Vegetable garden in progress, image 2, by Sue Reno

Every big change in the garden is also an opportunity.  I will be grateful for the increased sunlight on my plants.  Above you can see the chicken wire fencing going in.  Its necessary to keep out the rabbits and groundhogs.

Vegetable garden in progress, image 3, by Sue Reno

Above I’ve finished the fencing and have spread the straw I use as mulch. 

Vegetable garden in progress, image 4, by Sue Reno

Here’s a picture I took this morning.  The garden is mostly planted, and all of those green daubs will be exploding into growth soon.  I will mulch the asparagus plot once I am done harvesting it for the year, in a few weeks. 

All of this was a great deal of unexpected,  time consuming heavy labor.  I’m not exactly complaining.  I enjoy heavy labor and digging holes and such.  I come from peasant stock and find grubbing about deeply satisfying.  But combined with the normal spring chores and maintenance on the perennial beds, and the rest of life’s demands, I have had scant time in the studio and am starting to miss my immersion in art.Silver Maple, heliographic print by Sue Reno Things were a bit of a jumble after my big adventure filming for Quilting Arts, and it took a while to get everything sorted and put away again.  I like a tidy studio.  One thing led to another with that project as well, and I did some heavy sorting and reorganizing.  One happy find was some half forgotten prints I made from silver maple leaves.  I’ve readied them as a hand embroidery project.

Needlefelting, reverse, by Sue Reno

I’m also doing some needle felting for some larger works.  I’m still working through some design issues with this one, but I’m willing to share the back of it at this point as it’s looking pretty cool. 

So, in summary—onward and upward!  Thanks for reading and commenting.

4 comments:

Allison Aller said...

Love seeing your garden...I think our gardens look like our quilts. (They do grow from the same source, after all.) I see grids, order, and the unexpected in yours! Mine are all over the place... ;-) I hope you will post more shots along the way this summer.

Anonymous said...

Love reading your blog & learning more about your process. Good luck with your sunnier garden plot!

Diane Doran said...

So sorry you had to lose a tree. I feel like some of ours are my friends. As you say, though, more sunlight will provide more opportunities.

Vivien Zepf said...

It's always sad to lose a tree; I know just how you feel. But thankfully it fell away from the house and you have lots of wonderful memories of it. Who would have thought a tree could provide such varied inspiration?