Monday, October 23, 2017


Our June and part of July was definitely dominated by our fig harvest. Our little tree was producing like never before! When we planted it 11 years ago, it was a merely a little stick, maybe a foot tall.
Every day for a few weeks we picked a couple of bowls of figs. Luckly they don't all ripen at the same time.
I bought a food dehydrator and dried what I thought where huge amounts of figs.
We indeed had a couple of big containers filled with dried figs and then Daniel discovered a recipe for a rye sourdough bread with dried figs, which is excellent and freezes really well. So, we've already used most of the dried figs and have decided that next year, we'll dry even more of them. 
Of course, we also made a lot of fig jam, some with lavender, another batch with thyme and also a few jars with orange blossom water.
All of them delicious! 
We made a rustic fig tart, 
fig pizza with goat cheese, caramelized onion and pine nuts, 
but the best recipe that Daniel found this year is for Roasted Fig Agrodolce. We made several batches for the freezer and it is delicious just on crackers or - like in the photo below - as an appetizer on toasted baguette with goat cheese or cream cheese. Next year, I'll definitely make more of that to freeze!
To be honest, I was glad when the fig season was finally over, but I'm happy we get to enjoy the jams, the dried figs and agrodolce in the freezer yet for some time to come.


Monday, October 16, 2017

A Long Overdue Update!

Wow, this was a long break from blogging! I was going to start again in September, but then we were preparing for a hurricane evacuation and Daniel's start of school. We ended up being able to stay home during Hurricane Irma as it had weakened to a tropical storm, but we didn't know until the last day. Luckily, we had no damage at all except no power for four days, which was nothing compared to what others experienced and are still experiencing.
I also spent the summer trying to understand the mind-boggling political situation in this country and the world. I will continue to keep my blog free of politics, but I did want to mention it here since it defined my summer to a large extent.
The paintings above and below were really fun commissions I worked on during the summer.
It made me feel quite powerless and so sad and angry to read about what this current US administration is doing and undoing. And then came the unbelievable natural disasters that were happening too fast and were too destructive to fully comprehend: incredibly strong hurricanes, earthquakes and now the deadly fires in California.
There was and is so much suffering so close to home and all in places we have visited. They are all places we love. And I have to say, this year's hurricane season was so unbelievable and so much more stressful as we often didn't know if we were going to be directly in the path. I'm so glad the season is finally winding down and the communities affected can heal and rebuild.
I noticed over the summer how my art was changing. At the beginning of the summer I still liked working loosely with acrylic inks and acrylic paint. I liked the element of surprise. Not so much later in the summer. There had been too many surprises that I had no control over and I noticed how I craved taking my time with my art and drawing more intentionally and realistically.
I found a wonderful young British artist on Patreon whose tutorials have taught me so much. Here's the link if you are interested. The golden retriever above I drew with charcoal pencils and my nephew I rendered with graphite and charcoal.
What I really want to learn is how to draw realistically with colored pencils. I followed Kirsty's tutorial for this kingfisher bird using colored pencils and solvent and absolutely loved it.
I used to think I wasn't patient, but that's not true. I am so enjoying these drawings that take me many hours to complete. I'm working on one right now that's going to take me a few more days until it's done. Again with colored pencils.

Thank you for sticking with me. I have missed our interactions. I'll do a few more blog posts with all the photos I've taking over the summer in our garden and a few knitting projects I've finished or am still working on.

In the meantime, I hope you are all doing well!!