New in the Garden (and the Journal)

Dear Liza,

Things keep coming up in our community garden plot. The zucchini sprouts have secondary leaves now, and I’ll need to move them apart a bit so they can have room to spread out.

Looking prosperous!

I’ve moved some parsley that was in our sunny window into the plot, so we could use that window as a nursery for re-starts of pumpkins and cucumbers, the seed of which have apparently died in the ground.

My painting of the Parsley in its mobile home….

Our house faces north, and we only have the one really bright window. New tomato starts have shot up there! I’ve started calling it “la fenetre magique”, which means magic window. When the tomatoes are a few inches tall, I’ll put them out in the plot, too.

On their way up!

I put a few sunflower seeds into the plot, as well, fitting them in between the currently tomato-less tomato cages. I’m keeping them wet and hoping for the best.

Dreamin’. ….

Enjoy your spring!

Love,

Grandma Judy

The New Hundred Acre Wood

Dear Liza,

I am sad to say that my bonsai forest, the Hundred Acre Wood, has died. The smoke from forest fires last summer threw off the trees’ seasonal cycle, and they didn’t survive the winter.

Hundred Acre Wood, before the fire
Hundred Acre Wood and unfortunate peasants, in the snow

So this weekend I replanted it with three new trees we got at Portland Nursery.

Cypress, cotoneaster, and larch

Replanting is always an exciting thing! It has the promise of new life and new beginnings. In doing a bonsai, it is creating a miniature world that I can visit right out on the balcony. I can imagine I am in a spinney in Wales or just up in Forest Park.

The New Hundred Acre Wood

Even in regular times, I spend a lot of time in my imagination. But this past year’s restrictions have given me even more reasons to walk around the backwoods of my mind, and it’s nice to have new trees, even tiny ones, to walk under.

Love,

Grandma Judy

More Sketchbook Islands

Dear Liza,

Besides being shutdown because of the Corona Virus, Portland is now dealing with Federal troops in our downtown streets every evening. It is also about 100 degrees by noon these hot July days. So I am staying inside.

My first, ‘accidental‘ map

I have taken Hitoshi Shigeta’s sketchbook islands, sent to us by Jennifer Coile, and run with it! I made a few islands in the original drip-and-spread method, but wanted the features to stand out more. I gave the accidentally created features more contrast with my paintbrush.

As I worked, I began to see where the snow would accumulate, how the melt would flow, and what the topography of the island would be. It became a very real, very happy place for me. I named it Welcome Home.

Making it real….

I realized that my calligraphy skills were not up to labeling the features on my map, so Auntie Bridgett suggested using cut-out letters and words in a sort of collage technique, and I am really enjoying it. Years of Portland Monthly, Better Homes and Gardens, and Sunset Magazines, and all our old maps are getting harvested.

Having gotten my island to this point, I am not sure what to do with it next. But my Dad always said that if you can’t decide what to do, maybe it isn’t time to make that decision yet. So I will put my maps in a safe place and figure it out later.

And what will I do next? Who knows?

Love,

Grandma Judy

Kestral’s Zoomy Bithday

Dear Liza,

We have now celebrated our fourth family birthday under the Corona virus isolation. Cousin Kestrel turned 9!

The guest list

As before, it was a Zoom birthday party. But this time, Auntie Katie made cupcakes and delivered them to the guests’ houses! So we got cupcakes with tiny dragons, kittens, and birthday candles on them. I know it made her day more complicated, but it sure was nice.

Kestrel and Jasper were at their Daddy Dave’s house, and once all the cupcakes had been delivered, we all lit the candles, sang, and blew them out. It was almost like being together. Kestrel opened her present from her Denver grandparents, a pretty dress with flying unicorns (which are called alincorns, as you know) printed on it.

I didn’t get a picture of Red Bob, sorry….

Dave had set up a Minecraft game online so everyone could play together, but since everyone has different equipment, it took a while. Vivian, one of Kes’s friends, passed the time by introducing us to her pencil topper, a one inch high rubber toy, who she calls “Red Bob.” Apparently he has a theme song, which goes, “Red Bob will eat you, Red Bob will eat you.”

Of course, this started us all on a line of thinking… Red Bob should be a YouTube star! He needs a melody for that song, and a refrain, something like “Yum, yum yum…”. This could be great!

Lenin’s fireworks

When the technology fell into place, we got another surprise. Kes’s friend Lenin had put an effect into her Minecraft world so that when Kestrel walked to a certain place and had her character jump on a rainbow colored keyboard, FIREWORKS were launched! It was so pretty and unexpected, and everyone was impressed.

When dinner was ready at our house, we excused ourselves and said goodbye and thanks to everyone for inviting us to such an unusual party.

I hope you have a nice day, sweetie. See you real soon.

Good night, everyone!

Love,

Grandma Judy