Sidney, Last Year


This week Sidney has his first dentist appointment and we were given the day off…so I’m reaching back into my now VAST archive of pictures of this small person…and this is how he looked last year at this time…what a miracle of growth these first few years are, and how lucky we have been to watch it happen on a weekly basis…

4th of July, 2014


Broom guy



We were children, we are parents (some of us, anyway) we are grandparents (lucky ducks) and the wonder of living in an age when images have been  captured never is more striking than when one is remembering the many moments WITH fathers, AS fathers, and on.  I guess I’m not going to identify all the people in these photos, but I suspect you can probably guess who they are…and really, it doesn’t matter…maybe I’ll start with my own Dad as a boy…


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Happy Father’s Day!

Recipe Time…Fresh Ricotta


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The David Tanis “City Kitchen” column in the New York Times on Wednesday featured a recipe declaring that fresh ricotta …”Elevates the Simple to the Sublime” and it looked delicious, so we tried it.

IMG_5573 All true…this was sooooo good, and with summer coming on, you need to give it a try.  Quick, easy, simple and delicious.  Here it is, with a few illustrations…

Summer Pasta with Zucchini, Ricotta and Basil

serves 4-6 (I made a half recipe and it could easily have served four)

Extra-virgin olive oil

1 small onion,finely diced

2 pounds zucchini sliced into 1/4 inch rounds (or slice zucchini length-wise before slicing…I did)

salt and pepper

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 ounce basil, 2 cups loose leaves

NOTE: the recipe in the paper has you making your own pesto, but I like a brand of pesto made in Eugene (available at Lifesource for Salemites) and it worked wonderfully…

1 pound dry pasta, penne, ziti…I used gemelli…

8 ounces fresh ricotta, about 1 cup, pinch of crushed red pepper, zest of 1 lemon

NOTE:  not the hard usual grocery-store stuff…try to find fresh sheeps’ milk ricotta.  We learned last summer that ricotta is a by-product of the pecorino romano process and is just soft and unbelievably delicious (I used a brand called Bellwether Farms Sheep milk Basket Ricotta…also Lifesource, Salemites)


1. Put the pasta water on to boil and then saute the onions (and garlic) over medium high heat in 3 tblsp. olive oil (5 to 8 minutes).  Reduce heat as necessary to keep onions from browning and then add zucchini and plenty of salt and pepper…cook for about 10 minutes, turn off heat.


2.  If making your own pesto, do so now.

3.  Cook pasta al dente, drain and RESERVE 1 cup of the cooking water.

4.  Add cooked and drained pasta to the zucchini and return to medium high.  Add 1/2 cup pasta water, the ricotta, crushed red pepper and the lemon zest, stirring to distribute.  Adjust seasoning and cook 1 more minute.  Mixture should look creamy…add a little more pasta water if necessary…add pesto and some grated romano, stirring to incorporate…Spoon pasta into warm bowls and serve immediately…and YUM!



Last year about this time we visited a lovely small cheese factory in Italy where the sheep were milked twice daily to make the freshest pecorino romano and ricotta…we arrived at lunch time for the tour and the day’s work was done…all ready for the tourists in special outfits to take a look…


Last Year at This Time…


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No trips for us this summer…too much work to do…but we are thinking fondly of LAST summer when we repaired to a villa in Umbria with George, Jennifer and Fanny for a pretty fun and luxurious week which looked like this…(I’m trusting even my most stalwart readers can’t remember back this far…).  R and I started in the countryside and then headed to Florence…To see some art and to meet up with George, Jennifer and Fanny…






and then we took off for the villa…


Though my photos seem to be all food oriented, we DID do things other than eat and drink…








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Summer at the Hallie Ford Museum, and Elsewhere…


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Friday night was the opening of the two summer shows at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art here in Salem.  The BIG summer show is the work of Portland sculptor Mel Katz, with also the very fine show of drawings by artists Christy Wyckoff and Tom Prochaska.


Mel Katz was to speak at 5:00 but got caught in traffic, so Museum Director John Olbrantz gamely did some adlib, and then they rolled a video piece on Mel and his work that had appeared earlier on OPB Art Beat….


Mel video

with Mel arriving just in time to catch a glimpse of himself being interviewed…(he liked it)

Mel arrives

Mel then told us about the evolution of his work over the years…process, mediums, steel and plastic and wood and concrete…the origins of his vocabulary, his alphabet…

pattern pieces 1alphabet 3

then off to the museum we went to see the show. (Photo Note: openings are not the best photo ops, so my photos reflect that…just get down to the Hallie Ford Museum and see the shows in person…you won’t be sorry…)

maiin gallery

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pattern pieces

My favorite show though is Christy Wyckoff and Tom Prochaska’s drawing show up in the print room.  The two artists spent a month following “In the Footsteps of Charles Heaney”…driving and drawing in central and eastern Oregon, where Portland painter Charles Heaney (1897-1981) loved to go to work and gather images.


Together they have produced a wonderful body of work that stands alone, but also has many Charles Heaney references.  Curator Roger Hull wrote the text for the show and chose several Heaney prints, a drawing and a painting from the museum collection to serve as a reference point for the Wyckoff/Prochaska work.   With museum staff Jonathan Bucci and David Anderson, Hull organized the display cases and the effect is a fascinating sort of point/counterpoint visual dialog with Heaney’s work…it’s a gem of a show (and I’m not saying that because I’m related to the curator…it really IS a gem of a show!)

Christy and Tom


Heaney town


Christy town

get it?  All of these shows at the opening provided the most valuable moment of discourse with living artists, talking about what they do and why…one of the many reasons that the Hallie Ford Museum is such a treasure.  On Sunday, June 14, 2015, from 2-3 p.m. in the Roger Hull lecture hall at the museum, Christy Wyckoff and Tom Prochaska will talk about the trip and their resulting work.  Don’t miss it…

TomChristy and Michael K.

After the opening gala we were able to catch the last bit of a hotly contested croquet match, watch the light fade behind the mountains, and have dinner with friends…summer…at last.




Today it was hot and bright…perfect day for a Minto Island Growers lunch…

IMG_4376Cartpizza oven


They got a bucket of water out for this small customer, who had brought along his plastic shark collection…


and all we could think of was Italy…where last year at this time we were sitting by a pool…


Summers pile on one another, the twists of life and fate are in the narrative, and we remain thankful for good art, good friends, and good food.


“Farm Stories”


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I once read that the images that are imprinted on an artist’s brain in the first five years are the images that play out through all of their creative lives.  I don’t know if this is true, but I can imagine that it is, after finding a book that was my favorite as a young child.  The book “Farm Stories” was published in 1946, and probably given to me soon after.  The stories were not interesting to me in the least…this I remember clearly.  The illustrations, by Gustaf Tenggren, were powerfully attractive to me though, and still have a resonance.

I thought I’d put them here to explain to myself why I like dark blue and white checked fabric, quilts, stormy nights, window views, simple flowers, random objects floating in space, the west, and so on…you get the idea, and probably have such a book in your own library somewhere…









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…and speaking of Farm Stories…the MIG farm cart is open for lunch!!








Portland Art Day


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Off to Portland today on the Louis Bunce trail…and other artistic endeavors.  A beautiful sunny day at the end of spring…we visited a Portland collector to look at his Louis Bunce paintings that R might borrow for the 2017 show of Bunce’s work at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art.  He has some real beauties and we had a fun hour…with me doing a little peeking at other things on the walls…

This big blue Bunce painting is new to him and looks wonderful in the house (what…no view of the whole thing?  egads…)

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…and then I turned around and found this terrific Fay Jones diptych…


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But back to Louis Bunce…a beauty from 1958…IMG_4169


…and he has some wonderful Clifford Gleason paintings on view that were a delight to see…

Clifford Gleason

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…as R often says, “an art historian’s work is never done”…


…and not only does this guy collect art but he gardens too and sent us away with a bag of fresh radishes…



and then on to coffee…



Dayna Collins’ show at Guardino



and a happy hour G&T plus a bowl of Brussels sprouts and BBQ tofu at the Bye and Bye…YUMMY!


Home we go…long day which began with ukulele graduation…I borrowed the hat…



Brief Quilt Interlude


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Memorial day weekend, the travel quilts are finished, back to work on the show quilts…low blogging energy today…so…here’s the “ugly Fabric Challenge” quilt which I quilted in the car down to and back from Asilomar.  Twice as year somebody in the quilt group produces some less-than-ideal fabric, everybody gets a piece and goes away and makes a (usually) small quilt.  June is the reveal month and here’s mine…


The fabric this time was mine—a value village 5-yards-for-$1.89 score–TOTAL, not per yard, but really not a fabric I wanted…alas.  It’s the flowered stuff…(“but it was so cheap…”)


and for the back I used a nice piece of Indian cotton…also VV…


and I finished the rescue quilt I’ve been dragging around with me in the car for a few months…and it came out really good I think.  I used a piece of very old pink fabric and turned it wrong-side out to make it lower volume.  Any new fabric I auditioned just didn’t look good…



and now back to the blackbird quilt.  I’m showing you now, because right now it looks pitiful, but I think it will be good when I’m done…


Guess I’ll go plan a picnic for two for tomorrow!


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