Radical Pruning

For weeks now, my response to the pandemic, has been to do lots of radical pruning. What does that mean?  You might think that it means cleaning out my studio or office or some other sort of spring cleaning that many artists spent the month of March doing. I applaud them! 

No. My radical pruning happened outside the house. I took a deeper look and, with knee pads and sun hat on, and armed with sharpened clippers, really went to town on the dead wood! There were plants that had never been pruned, mostly large bushes that had been ignored for decades.

“Dead wood” means old gray branches that take up room without doing any good for the look or health of the bush. I did radical pruning on bridal wreath spirea, blue mist spirea, potentilla, roses, red twig dogwood, and barberry. I removed old branches at the ground, and depending on the bush, removed little tiny spindly branches also, leaving the mid-life branches with the best size and color.

Rose after radical pruning






Red Twig Dogwood after pruning.


This was a satisfying activity, because I kept thinking about the metaphor of dead wood and old white men running the country. I can do little about the old gray leaders in government, but I can prune! Dead wood be gone!

At the same time, I felt a lot of gratitude for my very own old white Sowada man, who helped bundle sticks and haul them away. Thank you, Felix!

Lots of sticks to bundle






With the extreme pruning out of my system, I have moved on to transplanting some perennials into new spots, artfully placing rocks, and helping Felix plan a new raised bed in the back yard. Although not the same good feeling as radical pruning, it still feels pretty nice, because it is a form of composition. Arranging, combining, seeing the contrasts, using what you have in the garden or the refrigerator. I love this stuff!

When the virus was new to the U.S., a friend shared a word that her husband made up. It was flabberwhelmed! Very apt I thought. I have been trying to come up with my own word combinations. Featherchatter is the increased perception of birds talking. So loud! Cleanify is self-explanatory. Nodtoyou is the friendly we’re all in this together smile, wave, or nod from one neighbor to another, that in other times might not even happen. Mugsclutter is the zoom screen of flat faces in front of cluttered backgrounds. Another phenomenon of virtual meetings is interuptusoom. We also have prettydogpurrcat with all the extra attention given and solace provided by our pets.  And lastly splitflix, which is the back and forth of TV gloom and doom news and complete escapism. If you have word combos of your own, send them along as comments. 

It really is time to get back into my studio though. I need to schedule this back into my day, and do my composition with fabric








I am aware each day that the virus is doing a radical pruning job on humans and other animals of this planet. Great loss. There are no words that communicate the scope. Stay well and appreciate the silver lining of the times.

The recipe for April has sprouts in it. However, if you don’t have these, probably chopped cabbage and lettuce would substitute well. Chicken  Trio/Sprouts Trio: Combine left over diced chicken with cooked (cooled) diced sweet potato and quinoa to total 3-4 cups. Add olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, onion powder, and basil. This mixture will go on top of the greens or sprouts trio. Combine chopped lentil, clover and alfalfa sprouts with oil and vinegar and salt. (I chop the sprouts because they are easier to eat.) Lentil sprouts have a unique flavor that pairs well with the chicken trio topping. There should be 4 or more cups of greens or sprouts.

Sprout Towers



Drying a bit on a towel

Chopped alfalfa sprouts



People are influenced by what they experience. The current pandemic has many of us even more focused than usual on what it is we want to do with our time, and what we want to say.  I will share with you my newest artwork (created February to mid-March), and what I was thinking about. This… Read more »

Keep Going

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Just Right

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Abstract Art Quilt

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Art Plus Location

I have recently returned from a wonderful visit with my girl (old lady) cousins that took place in Lexington MA, near Boston. We did a great deal of talking and eating and seeing artwork. My dream vacation realized!  So even though some of the conversation had to do with aches and pains of old ladies,… Read more »

September in the Studio

    Above is the small mock up version of “Long View”. I have been working on the large version that, when complete, and remodeling to the building is done, will hang in the State Hospital in Evanston, Wyoming. It is 38 X 54 inches . I was able to use my usual ironing surface… Read more »

What to do next?

We grapple with this question over and over in our lives, year to year, day to day, and hour to hour. There are some big questions about what to do next, but there are the simple prioritize-my-time sort as well. Because it is summer, I’ve had difficulty smashing-cramming-condensing four hours of exercise and gardening into… Read more »

Adventure Abroad

In June I traveled overseas, and for twenty-five days was away from the safety and boring routines of home. The countries visited were Switzerland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary (cities – Zurich, Prague, Olomouc, Bratislava, Vienna, and Budapest). I was with my traveling cousin and the Gillette Chamber Singers. The experience was good, great, delightful,… Read more »