Rona2: Day in a Pandemic Life

We are working, still, harder than ever it seems.
As we have no employees and the people we work with all have their own studios, it is an easy thing to do except that now we spend much more time at the studio, both working longer hours and also cooking there, making art in my studio area.
Someone on Instagram did a challenge to do your day in storyboard fashion…

My response!


MEORW!  Wake up NOW!

Good thing he is so cute.
Every morning, and Gibbs does not know about corona!
He has his own internal clock… NOW!
I yell at him and squirt him with water and he gets us up at 6am.


To the studio for ginger-brown sugar-coffee…

Fresh ginger is yummy and so good for you…
we chew a little through out our day.
Usually our cats go where we go… but not always.


I begin to read the bad news,
which is all there is these days.

If I am depressed I skip this and sometimes just check in with friends before I start work.
The day I documented it was not painting work, like a piece of furniture, but working on reports both for institutional clients and then marketing — estimates and our blog.


At MPFC we don’t do coffee breaks, but combin’ breaks.
All four cats come running for combins (that is how we say ‘combings”) and get a treat.
Izzee, whose tail you can see below, is not on board yet.
This is a daily ritual, pre-covid… in the studio gotta keep the cat hair down!


We finally got a delivery of toilet paper from Who Gives A Crap!
YaY!  We buy by the box for the business and we were running low.
Finding this company was a gift — bamboo, no plastic, they do good charity work,
and the paper roll lasts twice as long because it has substance.

I am using the paper covering for tip-ins to write on (see bottom).

Deliveries now are a big deal, with different protocols… they are left inside our door downstairs (behind locks) and dated, until they can come upstairs.

Exhaustion between 2-3 pm is common now. 

I hate it — I have literally fallen asleep at the computer.
Stress, worry, sometimes not sleeping the night before but mostly stress and worry.


I make dinner most nights at the studio.
Another gift of the pandemic was it spurred me to try Rancho Gordo heirloom beans.
If you are new around here then you don’t know but I am a FANATIC!!!!!

I make a pot of beans twice a week and yummo
they make four meals plus a little leftover for a snack….
Heaven in a bag!

I don’t want you to try them…
More for me.


Summer the sunsets are the most beautiful.
Sometimes we see them as we are leaving…


Best time of day.  I put my head on Mitchell’s lap and usually have to share that lap with one of the gurls, and fall asleep early.  The difference now is that I wale up at midnight
and do not go back to sleep.  Worry and stress… or just sleeplessness.
That is a downside… and happens much more than before.

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Rona2: A Change

I’ve been a mostly one-journal gurl for awhile now, but with all the writing I am doing during this pandemic, I decided to go back to two journals.  It is an attempt to save money — the Hahnemühle Nostalgie Sketchbook (left) is a few dollars less — but also, it likes inky written thoughts a bit better than the Hahnemühle Toned Watercolour Book, right.

I am journaling every day, and sometimes several pages… anger, frustration, sadness.
The watercolor journals will be used for times when I am going in to do a watercolor and I know it.  This does mean that sometimes I start a watercolor at the Nostalgie book, and I kick myself, because they can’t take multiple washes or lifting like the watercolor book papers.  But I will try this experiment and if is doesn’t work, switch again.

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Rona on Grey, Rancho Gordo Eye of the Goat Beans


Trust me, you are going to get bored hearing about my bean adventures…
but Rancho Gordo and their beans are keeping me going in this pandemic!
I have ordered many different types of beans and *SHOCK*
I can taste the diffeence in the bean types!  Who would have known.

Yes, I am now a fanatic!


Rancho Gordo Ojo de Cabra or Eye of the Goat Beans beans were my next choice;
Swirling mottled brown and pink beans.
Soaked them for two hours because that is what happened;
made them in the studio kitchen and got called away.
No bacon for these beans, but a thing I do with the very good juices
from a whole roasting chicken.  I cut the fat out of the inside of the roaster,
and our roasters are raised GMO-free.  So when they are roasted only a little bit of fat
and a lot of gelatinous juices sit on the bottom of the pan, and I put them into
an ice cube tray and save them to throw in rice and beans.
There is usually only about an eighth of an inch of chicken fat on the top of the cube,
so low fat, high flavor!  This is what was used in cooking these beans,
along with the soffritto and LOTS more chilies!


After washing and making sure no stones were in the bag,
I soaked mine for 2 hours in my Dutch oven, covered with about 1 inch of water,
and used the water RG suggested as part of the cooking.
I sauteed the onion to make it a bit sweeter,
did not cook the chili, garlic, carrots and celery.
I put everything into the pot, with the seasonings and stock and
another cup of water… I wanted liquid, which they call pot liquor.
As Rancho Gordo suggests, I turned up the heat and let it have a rolling boil
for about 15 minutes, then turned it down to simmer for two hours.

We ate them as a meal…
topped with chopped avocado,

a bag of corn chips and a good hot salsa.

Ingredients:
1 lb Rancho Gordo Ojo de Cabra or Eye of the Goat Beans
3 T or so olive oil to slightly saute the
1 large yellow onion, chopped
(that was what I had on hand, but I think I like the red onion better)
about a cup of the chicken drippings with the fat…
1 T chopped garlic
(I keep Christopher Ranch organic bottled on hand;
I think it is almost as good as fresh, and is a life saver in the pandemic)
6 heaping T Blackened Chili Pesto or
3-4 blackened hot peppers (depending upon size), chopped
3 carrots, chopped (if huge then quarter and chop)
3 stalks celery — leaves welcomed — chopped
Seasonings: Only 1 t garlic salt (I don’t add salt until the end), 3 T cumin, 1 T pepper,
and as we like heat, 1/4 t dry crushed chipotle chili peppers
1 qt chicken stock
Later, salt and pepper to taste!

Always organic or non-GMO, humanely raised. It matters!

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Tools: Hahnemühle Toned Watercolour Book

I’ve never filled up a journal before reviewing it!
As this became my Corona-Virus Journal,
I quickly filled it up with paintings and writing
about this strange time we are living in.

I’m a huge fan of Hahnemühle’s papers, and my go to journals are either Hahnemühle Watercolour journal or for sketching and fast watercolors, the Hahnemühle Nostalgie Sketchbook.

Now the new Hahnemühle
Toned Watercolour Book
will
take the place of my white ones,
or at least stand tall as one of my favorite alternatives. The toned
papers come in two colors, grey
(my favorite) and a warm beige.

Let me say how surprised I am
about the grey paper used with watercolors!  When I was first
given a sample to review, I truly thought that this would become a
book whereby I did a LOT of ink sketching with light watercolors in muted colors, a direction in which I was heading. I was pleasantly surprised at the colors, and it changed my art again! This grey toned
journal is my very favorite journal!


Before I get into the journal details (which are very like the white watercolour journals)
let me share the surprising color applications.  The first is the beautiful
deep jewel tone color on the pale grey paper!
Above, an unusual color mixing chart — GORGEOUS!
To have the jewel tones read in this manner was a huge surprise for me.

Below, compare the white paper (left) against the grey paper (right, and labeled),
noting the brilliance and depth of colors on both… different but not inferior!

Secondly, I have been
playing  with waterproof
and water soluble black and grey inks used with
watercolor and letting them move into each other in unusual ways.  The interplay of the watercolors mixed
with the black and grey inks introduced before the watercolor washes makes
for surprises, and the grey toned paper is wonderful
for these inky watercolor sketches.  The grey paper
does not limit me as I
thought it might.

The grey paper takes graphite pencil and water soluble graphite well, left.  HB graphite pencil erases completely without ghosting. Ink does not move as smoothly on cold press paper as on Nostalgie (hot press paper) — fine points pens can hang up a bit on the slightly textured paper, above, and sheen inks don’t shine well.
No different on this paper than any cold press watercolor paper, a bit of skipping except in wide points (M, B, Stub Nibs) or very wet writers.

I tested the Fineline Masking Fluid pen on the grey paper
The test went well, as I thought it would — all bits of Fineline were removed and watercolor was accepted fully over the top of the removed masking fluid.

Details: The journal is quite like the white Hahnemühle Watercolour journal
in terms of construction and quality, though a different cover.
The linen-like cover has a different weave so you can easily see the
difference if you have both white and toned watercolour pages.
At this time it does not come in A4, but in A5 and A6, and a square 5.5″ format.
There are 30 sheets of acid free paper.
Hahnemühle Toned Watercolour paper is 200 gsm or 95 lb
fine grained surface structure on both sides — as is the white paper —
and as there is no right or wrong side to the grain, this means 60 paintable pages,
no curl when I use them even with wet washes.
It has a serious rubber band that will not stretch out of shape, and a ribbon.
The only downside is no envelope…  I add one to the back!

 Hahnemühle has a commitment to environmental responsibility, which means
the world to me.  I vote with my $$$, and just as I switched to fountain pens to
reduce plastic waste in my ink drawings, knowing I am buying from
a company that is interested in environmental stewardship is important.

They are working to get the new product in stores across America.
In the USA at this time they are sold at:
Wet Paint (one of two stores I frequent online),
In Canada:
Gwartzman’s Art Supply in Toronto,
Above Ground in Toronto.

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or check out my new, improved dkatiepowellart.com

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Rona2: Protests and Riots and Looting

Midweek, and several days since the protests started.
I’ve thought about this so much, and partly has been self-serving, as we worry about
our own business not too far from downtown.  I/we think about where our country
is heading all the time, and talk about it frequently; this is one of the issues.

Above, the overhead of the park the night the cars were overturned and burned.
The news was ablaze here as well as other places, about the protesters violence.
But Mitchel and I remembered Antifa and the Proud Boys from other times, and also though about how peaceful protests have been before those two groups showed up.

We were thinking the protesters were infiltrated.
There are forces trying to drive our country apart. 

Images of peaceful Portland residents protesting moved me,
and I am sorry that this is not the choices that are  shown nationally.
When the police in Portland — who by the way have not been accused to my
knowledge of murdering or being violent with POC — took a knee during a protest,
I was sorry to hear that many thought they were being manipulated.
If any show of grace or outreach is seen as bullshit, then we are doomed.

As the nights progressed, the numbers grew, and the peaceful aspects of the
protests became clearer.  Finally Mayor and Councilpeople and Police all said the same, which is that it appears there are a few who want to make it violent.

Plus the news is getting dumber and dumber, not just here but everywhere,
and I think they too print/post news that is incorrect to draw a following.
Sloppy words when sloppy words can kill people?  Terrible.

A highlight for me was when Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty nailed the newspeople
at the first conference, because she watched hours of footage and seen the faces of looters and those inciting violence, yet she said she noticed the news ran the same two images over and over, of two black men out of over a dozen whites… She was pissed and
I applauded her for that.  “Small town”  coverage.; she could look them in the
eye and blast them.  We’d noticed, and we’d  not watched hours of footage.

As the numbers swelled and stayed peaceful, and the leaders got the gist that
they were being played by agitators, my heart swelled.  I love the images of
a thousand (and growing daily) each night on the Burnside Bridge laying for
the number of minutes it took Derek Chauvin to murder George Floyd.

BTW, it was a hard video to watch but I did.  I waited until I could handle it, then wept.
After watching it, there will never be anyone who will convince me that Derek Chauvin didn’t act in cold blooded murder, nor that his cronies around him were not accomplices. They should all be put away for life.  It was a  horrid lynching in front of my eyes.

The truth is, most of us discover where
we are headed when we arrive.
~ Bill Watterson

It feels like it is time to make demands, which I’ve not heard except from
Governor Andrew Cuomo, who daily now says he wants the demands, and suggests some.  From a transcript of his talk on 1 June 2020, starting around the 8-minute mark,
and I have edited a lot out to discuss my point:

“We have to take a minute and ask ourselves, what are we doing here?
What are we trying to accomplish? … I share the outrage and I stand with the protestors. You look at that video of the killing of an unarmed man, Mr. Floyd, it is horrendous…
It’s frightening. It perverts everything you believe about this country.

“There’s a moment for change. And is there a moment here? Yes. If we’re constructive and if we’re smart and if we know what we’re asking for. It’s not enough to come out and say I’m angry, I’m frustrated. Okay, and what? … You need the answer.  I want common sense gun reform…. what does it look like? … I want to address income inequality? Okay, what do you want? Here’s what I want. Minimum wage of $15.00, free college tuition.

“Yes, you express the outrage. But then you say, and here’s my agenda.
Here’s what I want. That’s what we have to be doing in this moment... There should be a national ban on excessive force by police officers. There should be a national ban on choke holds, period. There should be independent investigations of police abuse. When you have the local district attorney doing the investigation, I don’t care how good they are, there is the suggestion of a conflict of interest. Why? Because that D.A. works with that police department every day. And now that prosecutor is going to do the investigation of the police department that they work with every day? Conflict of interest can be real or perceived. How could people believe that the local prosecutor who works with that police department is going to be fair in the investigation?”

My reflections so far on paper, below.


Note, not Mike Tyson — I am so bad at sports figures — but Michael Vick.

“We Shall Overcome” is most commonly attributed as lyrically descended from
“I’ll Overcome Some Day”, by Charles Albert Tindley, 1900.

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In Support


Like others my age, I lived through early modern lynchings.
For me the awareness of it started when I went to college.

There, black RA’s told us what the university was not telling us,
because mine wanted to keep us truly safe — which was our greatest threat to bodily
harm was from middle aged white men, and our bikes were in danger of being stolen
from the black kids nearby.  She said, “Look it up in police records.”

Then there was Rodney King, and the progression forward.
I wasn’t raised that way, but I also know now that being a person of privilege
means I don’t under stand what it is like to be a person of color —
even if I try to mindfully walk in their shoes.

My Chinese friends tell me what they are going through because of what Trump
has said about the virus, even though there is no proof of that from the scientific community — and even if there was, my friends are AMERICANS.

My black friends have told me of being harassed by police for just being black.

Unacceptable.  Unimaginable.

I am not of an age now to put myself on the street in protest,
but I can go dark for this week to show support for POC.

I don’t know what good it will do but it feels right to me.

Be back on the 8th

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Rona on Grey, VSW Kenya

Virtual sketching has been a nice escape:
water on the lake, sailing away!

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Tools: Fineline Masking Fluid

A few years ago Tracey Fletcher King turned me onto Fineline Masking Fluid.
I tried others and found them sticky and thick and messy;
not what I wanted in the ways I wanted to use a masking fluid.

Fineline’s masking fluid is a clean eraser-like material once dried,
and releases even when it is left on overnight or for a few days,
which I found very important when using it on larger watercolors, below.

But maybe the best thing about Fineline is the distributor…
you can get a nice fine line or small dots every time —
which I’ve never seen in other applicators.
In the third image above, you can clearly see the two sizes:
18 gauge (larger, yellow, top), and 20 gauge (smaller, blue, bottom).
I have always used the smaller 20 gauge applicator
(yes, the larger number is the smaller applicator).

Below I show various ways I use masking fluid.

Above, you can see how I filled the small collapsed sail in with the fluid;
this allowed me to brush colors across the sky and waters.
The masking fluid is a bit blue; when it is removed with a kneaded eraser
the paper creates the crisp white sail.

Above, I tested the masking fluid on the grey Hahnemühle Toned Watercolour Book.
I wrote big blobby letters across the page, thick drips, and let it thoroughly dry.
This is very important!  It must be dry before you add watercolors over the top!

A wash of pink and orange watercolors went over the masking fluid.
I let them dry, and AFTER the watercolor layer thoroughly dried (patience is key),
I removed the masking fluid using a kneaded rubber eraser, and added
marigold orange watercolor over the linework and some of the original wash.
The masking fluid completely lifted, allowing the watercolor to adhere to the paper again.

Tips for success:
1) Use Fineline Masking Fluid.
2) Plan your layers in advance.
3) Let layers dry thoroughly,
both the masking fluid and the watercolor layers.
4) Double check for wetness before removing the
masking fluid gently with the kneaded eraser!
5) Cap the bottle each time you are finished…
Do NOT let it set open!
When capping, plunge the needle in and out of the tube
several times to clear it before capping.

On the images of my Great-grandmother’s crazy quilt
in a Hahnemühle Watercolour Journal,
I used masking fluid to save the inked stitches.
Left, you can see the wide places of white before I filled in stitchery.

Below, examples of masking fluid
in larger watercolor images on watercolor paper
that took several days and layers to finish.


First layers of Masking fluid… then waterproof ink and watercolor.

 After I painted the yellow on the flowers and Quin Gold on the brass mirror,
I then added a second layer of masking fluid to the top of the petals I wanted
to preserve yellow, and a little to highlight the brass mirror.


Detailed flowers and sky over the top of the new masking fluid.

Darkened second layers in leaves, removed masking and splattered!
Masking fluid was on two days and still removed nicely!

An example of using Fineline Masking Fluid on a large area to ensure
no watercolor slopped onto the Bald Eagle head!

In this example, I painted the yellow on the brass pole and flowers,
then added masking fluid to the top of the areas I wanted to preserve yellow.
Tiny dots on saddle and saddle blanket and harness allowed me to paint
without having to be careful of those detailed areas:
I practiced perfecting repeating dot sizes before I did these —
it takes a bit of practice if you want them even.

   Final with the detailed masked areas painted, or not, after they were removed.


My favorite “Rose Dore” teacup, painted using Fineline Masking Fluid
on a sketching quality paper, the Hahnemühle Nostalgie Sketchbook.
Almost all my teacups use masking fluid for the details!

Follow me to hear the announcement
for an upcoming giveaway next week!

Fineline Masking Fluid can bought through Amazon,
large stores online like Blicks,
and through their site (you can buy from them directly in Australia).
They sent me the giveaway items!

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Rona on Grey, Dishes I Will Not Name


Our studio dishes…

Mitchell and I both love the bright colors of the dishes (Fiesta) that we now call
“the dishes that will not be named”.
The colors cheer me…
Finding some Chinese storage dishes that match the brilliant colors was lucky —
they go from table to fridge and compliment our no-name dishes!


I am still waiting on Fiesta’s lawyers and the CEO, Elizabeth McIlvain,
to release the block they have on my images so I can sell them
I made a mistake, and mentioned their name (we call them by that name in our home,
it was unintentional), and I complied by changing the description,
but they, and Etsy, will not release the hold on my product.

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Feeling Fried


Okay, I am taking a little break for a few days —
Just busy with work…. feel stretched too thin.
But I wanted to say one thing… in case you had not noticed…

MOST OF US ARE FRIED.

I mean, walking from room to room forgetting why we went there…
Not remembering the name of an object we use every damn day…
Or our friend’s names…  or our own…
Now I look at Mitchell and tell him that he should develop
an ability to read my mind, because I can’t read my own!

Then there is the continual tiredness.
I don’t care of I get a good night’s sleep or nit, I am bone tired these days.

So be kind to yourself about it —
It is not you, but you in the age of Rona Virus.

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SoCS: I Wanna…

I  journal mornings with stream of consciousness exercises,
and participate in Linda Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday  whenever I have time.  I write to a timer, 15-20 minutes, no editing except spelling, and of course I add my art!  You can join us!

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “want.” Make the word “want” the first, second, or third word of your post. Have fun!

I wanna! I wanna! I wanna! I wanna! I wanna!
Waaaaah….. that is the cry of the children of the Great Right…
At any expense, they want to go play.

Don’t get me wrong , I want this crap virus to be over…
I want a cure, I want to stop worrying if we have to go to the post box,
I want to go back to a better normal than before.

But not at the expense of feeding the virus.

Oh, feeding the virus is the same right now as feeding the egos of the stupid rightwingers who are stomping their feet and insisting that this virus is not a big deal.
Who wanna go play in the bar at the beach wanna get laid wanna drink and party.
Stupid is going to kill us.

What is below is not part of the free writing….
I just had to add this.
The first week in may there was a rally in Salem with these yahoos at a thousand strong.
Now coincidentally Salem had a huge uptick in viruses reported
I wanna Governor who THINKS (key word) to see where the party without masks
was so she can point that out but Kate Brown is ineffective.

And a second edit!
Instacart just did our order from the grocery store and came not wearing a mask.
I was PISSED!

For the rules, go to Linda’s blog;  feel free to join the fun!

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Rona on Grey, MORE Fudge

I rarely do layerings but my Rona journal has lots of them, above!

My hunny wants his chocolate!!

I have been making fudge with what I had on hand
(I ordered supplies now so soon the fudge will be made “correctly”):

Roughly a 10-oz package of organic semi-sweet chips
+ 8 Alter Eco Classic Chocolate Truffles,
MELTED TOGETHER over a low low heat.
Turn off heat and
Add one can of Organic California Farms Sweetened Condensed milk and mixed.
Poured onto wax paper set into an 8×8 pan and top each bite with one pecan… about 25 pieces.
Set in the fridge for a few hours, remove, cut into bites  — and replace in the fridge.

I can make it while washing the groceries that are delivered.
Yup, I wash or set into a container for 4 days ALL groceries…
In bleach or soapy water, or wiped down.
There is no way I am trusting whet is sitting on shelves into our
home right now without being de-loused — or de-ronaized!
I guess that makes mea fanatic…

I lock the cats out of the studio galley when I am using all this bleach,
and they hate it.  Cats are contrary, and want what they can’t have…
When the door was finally opened they rushed in and
checked every dang little normal thing out as if it was magic…  a wonder to be celebrated!

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Rona on Grey, Zoom Sketching

Had my first Zoomie session!

It was just a play date, using lines and fooling around in various ways:
I had hoped for more social interaction, but had fun all the same.


I also played with tools I don’t often pick up.
This was done with a wide mop brush and inks…
What was on my desk at the time.


Then I had one last fast sketch of my lovely Buddha head with  the inky colored hair.

I quit like her —
yup, a gurlie Buddha head full of colorful tresses!

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Rona on Grey, Rancho Gordo White Lima Beans


Finally received the box of beans from Rancho Gordo…
Been reading about them, and now I had to have beans…
a staple during this damn Rona visit.

I started with 1 lb of the big fat White Lima beans.
They would tell me what I needed to know,
because if they were not THAT GOOD, then why pay these prices?

OMIGODDESS, THEY ARE THAT GOOD!
Not my mother’s bag-o-beans!

What I did with them?
One goal: I wanted to see how little meat/fat I could use and still have an
excellent savory pot of beans better than my mom used to make.
She used a whole ham hock or ham bone!
We are cutting back on meat, paying a bit more to buy
organic/non-GMO and Certified Humane
and so this was an experiment.  It worked!
(List of ingredients below.)

Rancho Gordo has a lot of info about cooling beans on their site.
After washing and making sure no stones were in the bag,
I soaked mine for 2 hours in my Dutch oven, covered about 1 inch,
and used the water as they suggested as part of the cooking.

I used just 4 oz of good certified humane bacon from Niman’s Ranch,
(about four pieces of bacon)
chopped in bean-size bites and fried crisp in a small pan…
I added a bit of the stock and scraped the bits to make the beans taste even better,
and added the garlic and peppers and set aside.

I made a soffritto**
(See below, because I have been making this my whole life and just learned the word!
Who new I was this fancy?)
I sauteed the onion to make it a bit sweeter.
Then in the hot pan (fire turned off) I added the carrots and celery.

I then put everything into the pot, with the seasonings and stock and
another cup of water… I wanted liquid, which they call pot liquor
and as Rancho Gordo suggests, I turned up the heat and let it have a rolling boil
for about 15 minutes, then turned it down to simmer.

Our pot of beans was done within just over an hour…
I watched it every 15 minutes after the first half-hour because the beans looked
like they would cook faster than an older bag of beans, and they did!

Amazing heavenly hot spicy limas with
the flavor of a whole ham and yet, very little meat!

Ingredients:
1 lb Rancho Gordo White Lima Beans
4oz Niman’s Ranch Certified Humane bacon
I qt chicken stock
1 T chopped garlic
(I keep Christopher Ranch organic bottled on hand;
I think it is almost as good as fresh)
4 heaping T Blackened Chili Pesto or a couple blackened hot peppers, chopped
1 large RED onion, chopped (that was what I had on hand)
3 carrots, chopped (if huge then quarter and chop)
3 stalks celery — leaves welcomed — chopped
Seasonings: Only 1 t garlic salt (I don’t add salt until the end), 2 T cumin, 1 T pepper,
and as we like heat, 1/4 t dry crushed chipotle chili peppers
(we should have done more peppers for us).
Later, salt and pepper to taste!

Always organic or non-GMO, humanely raised. It matters!

** (We go to Wikipedia under mirepoix): A mirepoix (/mɪərˈpwɑː/ meer-PWAH; French pronunciation: ​[miʁˈpwa]) is a flavor base made from cooked, diced vegetables, usually with butter, oil, or other fat, for a long time on a low heat without coloring or browning, as further cooking, often with the addition of tomato purée, creates a darkened brown mixture called pincage (French: pinçage). It is not sautéed or otherwise hard cooked, because the intention is to sweeten the ingredients rather than caramelize them. It is a long-standing cooking technique in French cuisine.

When the mirepoix is not precooked, the constituent vegetables may be cut to a larger size, depending on the overall cooking time for the dish. Usually the vegetable mixture is onions, carrots, and celery (either common ‘pascal’ celery or celeriac), with the traditional ratio being 2:1:1, two parts onion, one part carrot, and one part celery.[1] Mirepoix is the flavor base for a wide variety of Western dishes: stocks, soups, stews and sauces.

Similar flavor bases include the Italian soffritto, the Spanish and Portuguese sofrito/refogado (braised onions, garlic and tomato), as well as the Turkish variation with tomato paste instead of fresh tomato of the eastern Mediterranean/Balkan region, the German Suppengrün (leeks, carrots and celeriac), the Polish włoszczyzna (leeks, carrots, celery root and parsley root), the Russian/Ukrainian smazhennya or zazharka (onion, carrot and possibly celery, beets or pepper), the United States Cajun/Creole holy trinity (onions, celery and bell peppers), and possibly the French duxelles (mushrooms and often onion or shallot and herbs, reduced to a paste).

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Rona on Grey, VSW African Flamingos


Virtual sketching has been a nice escape:
my choices take me to palm trees or water…
or African Flamingos!


The forget-me-nots send a message…
even though I have Mitchell with me,
we still feel more disconnected…
Our friends don’t drop by to say hey… They can’t!
Music is the savior… daily.

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Rona on Grey, VSW Kenya Beach

A virtual walk on the shores of Africa…

Drawn to interpreting the lines…


And then had to add color!

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Rona on Grey, Linda Posie

Reconnected with my
best best friend from high school!!

It is a long story, but crazy family members broke us up by lying to each of us…
We were kids, did not know or even consider that they might do this —
and I was in college and she still in high school,
so it is not like we ran into each other.

Broke our hearts.

I was nervous about being hurt again…
but then it melted away and we talked for 3 hours.
I am not a phone talker — hate it actually —
and when it was over my head was spinning and I was exhausted,
EXHAUSTED…
but happy… Upset that we lost 46 years.
Happy to have her in my life.

Linda, this one reminds me of the
Eenie Meenie Bikini shop!

She has been battling Covid.
Wear a mask!

We shared all the oldies —
When it was not cool!!

RIP Little Richard!

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Rona on Grey, A gift from Idaho

A package arrived in the nick of time…

I was desperate for an onion and we were out of coffee!
An unexpected package from Marianne in Idaho brought us both,
plus color in ink samples and a lovely hand-painted card!

Izzee caught duty as inspector, and likely smelled Marianne’s dogs on the package… Hmmm, not so sure as her tail fluffed out!


This gift made a huge difference in
our days and touched us deeply…

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