Monthly Archives: April 2012

Backyard Garden Sketch


Do you remember a few months ago when I failed big time on harvesting black walnuts?  My harvest resulted in much work and no payoff. Zip. Nada.
And to tell you the truth years ago that would have been just enough to discourage me from trying again. I would have believed the negative thoughts in my head.

But do we give up when we fail?

NO! N. O.
We never give up. We don’t give up when our harvest fails. We don’t give up when our art fails. And we don’t give up when life seems to fail us as well! We push on with as much force as we can muster and ask God for help and guidance.


So this year, I’ve constructed a few raised beds in my backyard and dove into as many gardening books as I could get my hands on. This sketch shows my layout for the cold garden bed (carrots, lettuce, and spinach). The compost bin is made out of 3 half-size wooden pallets that I cable tied in the corners. Hay is the bottom layer, then kitchen scraps…etc. A plastic tarp covers the compost bin to help keep rain water out and heat in.

Four weeks ago I started the cold crops from seed and today I have little baby sprouts….awe so cute!


Garden bed #1 (8’x4′).
24″ chicken wire all around to keep the rabbits from eating everything. Marigold plants do not work…they eat those too! This bed will contain beans and tomatoes later on.


Tiny Scarlet Nantes (carrots) starting to grow.


And here we have Bibb Lettuce which has a nice dark green color in comparison to the Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce I planted which is a yellow-green right now. These will have to be thinned out soon.

There are many battles up ahead, I know. With God’s help, we can overcome. Every challenge makes us a little stronger if we don’t give up.


Sketch Class Results March 2012


A little cold and a little gray….but that didn’t stop our fun at the Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center Sketch Class!

I saw a notification on the Illinois Bird List website that a pair of Osprey were building a nest on the platform in Long John Slough, so I was very excited to tell the group and see it for ourselves. We did spot the Osprey and nest with binoculars. We also observed one flying above the Slough. Oh YES! Birding excitement in the morning!


We decided to face south and sketch the new nature center building from across the slough. Each one of us found a comfortable spot and got to work. Alanna has found a bench that serves as a table too! Good idea!


Michelle’s mini tripod chair is light weight and can be carried anywhere. Got to get me one of these!


Katie and I choose the cold wet ground where we can spread our art table all over the place. Dirt is fun. Way fun.


Ce Ce and Sue made wonderful sketches but had to leave early. It was so nice to have them along!

March_31_LRS_012 Photo by Alanna

Photo by Alanna.
The rest of us painted as much as we could. There was a lot of moisture in the air and our watercolors were not drying. We decided to finish at home.


Here is our work in progress.


This is my finished sketch. Spring is about one month early in my area. I love the redbuds, however I am concerned how early everything is developing.


No class is complete without a short hike (optional). The redbuds are beautiful but are the insects ready? This is my way too early spring concern.


We also found some Dutchman’s Breeches which are also out about one month early.

That was the theme of the day, cold but beautiful! The next class is Saturday, April 28th. Hopefully it will be a tad warmer.