Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Watercolors. Autumn 2023


Autumn field

In the park

In the park

Cold day

In the park

These watercolors were painted in October. I hung them on a stand and corrected them, added to them... in general, I tried to bring them to the point where I could show them to you. And then I scanned and edited the size of the paintings by cutting off the edges of the white paper.


Lonely maple  

These watercolors capture my impression of the fall colors; I am always amazed at how brightly colored the leaves of the trees are in October, and how the color of the water and sky changes on a cold day.
October day
The October days were quite cold +4C, I made sketches in the park or photographed the landscape. When I got home, I started painting. 
I want to say that I bought new paints in tubes. They are made on the basis of gum arabic, which gives them greater brightness and they do not dry out on the palette for a long time.  
You might like some of my new works, I'm still learning and grasping the intricacies of watercolor technique.

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

"Autumn" By Vitaly Bianki


"...Autumn has already come to the forest. At first, when all the leaves were painted in bright colors, it was very beautiful. Then the angry winds blew. They tore off yellow, red, brown leaves from the branches, carried them through the air and threw them to the ground.

Soon the forest thinned out, the branches were exposed, and the ground beneath them was covered with colorful leaves.
Every now and then flocks of long-billed sandpipers and unprecedented ducks suddenly appeared from somewhere. 


They stopped at a river, in swamps; During the day they feed, rest, and at night they fly further - in the direction where the sun is at noon. Flocks of marsh and water birds were flying from the far north.
Now new guests arrived from the northern forests every day: winter was already beginning there.


In October, angry winds blew, but it did not always rain: there were also fine, dry and clear days. The cool sun was shining welcomingly, saying goodbye to the falling asleep forest. The leaves that had darkened on the ground then dried out and became hard and brittle. In some places there were mushrooms peeking out from under them..."

I found for you an excerpt from a story "Autumn" by Russian writer Vitaly Bianki  (1894 -  1959), he was a popular Russian children’s writer and a prolific author of books on nature.

What's your Autumn weather like - warm or rainy? Are strong winds blowing or is summer still extended?

Friday, October 27, 2023

Wild Mushroom Hunting


Edible forest mushrooms are a tasty excuse to spend time in the forest. The forest in which my family and I picked mushrooms is dry and slightly hilly. Pine and birch trees grow here, and there are large boulders. Wild mushrooms - these delicious edible mushrooms are perfect for beginner pickers!


There are many different edible species of mushrooms and I want to tell you about Boletus (Boletus), and Chanterelles (Cantharellus)

One of the most popular edible mushrooms is Boletus edulis, which is also called porcini, king Boletus or penny bun. Some of the most popular and valuable of them include king Boletus and bronze Boletus. Many novice foragers begin their mushroom journey by studying these wonderful mushrooms.


Boletus, also known as porcini mushrooms grow in the wild. They have a unique fleshy cap and thick stem, a distinct appearance with a fleshy, spongy layer on the cap and pores on the underside. The stem is easily separated from the cap. 

In Europe and Russia, fresh Boletuses are available in summer and autumn. Dried, canned and pickled Boletus mushrooms are sold all year round. I love Boletus soup or fried Boletus mushrooms with potatoes and onions.

Chanterelles (Cantharellus)

There are many different types of Chanterelles. They thrive in moist mixed deciduous forests and coniferous forests in the northwest. Most Chanterelles are golden or yellow in color, as well as some white and blue species. Chanterelles are highly valued in cooking for their unique taste and ease of preparation. They can be fried, dried, cooked in wine and much more!

They taste and smell like fresh apricots, and the aroma is absolutely unforgettable when you go home with a basket full of the harvest.

These yellow or orange, funnel-shaped, fleshy mushrooms are the best-known consumed species of wild mushroom. Some Cantharellus species have a fruity odor and a slight peppery taste. Beneath the smooth cap, these mushrooms have gill ridges that extend down to a stipe (pedicle) that tapers downward from the cap. True Chanterelles have wrinkles or ridges on their stems.


I love hunting Chanterelles because there are always a lot of them in one place. In addition, they are rarely affected by pests - flies, slugs, worms. How do I cook them? I usually fry Chanterelles with onions and vegetables, and the cooking time is no more than 10 -15 minutes, because they shrink greatly.

Have you ever picked wild mushrooms in a forest? How do you use mushrooms? 




Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Autumn Works In the Garden

 It is always difficult to determine the exact time when it is necessary to cover tender plants for wintering. It happens that snow falls in early October and when I work in the garden, my hands get cold in gloves.  

And there are years when October is warm. On such days, previously covered plants may become wet from evaporation of the soil under the cover. And every year – “when to cover tender plants” is a big question.


Rose F.J. Grootendorst after a snowfall

In the middle of this October  there were several nights with temperatures of 0 C. Not all plants could withstand such cold weather. It snowed this week and I decided to cover my roses and clematis.

A David Austin rose under cover. I had to shorten its branches.

I installed a frame of metal arches and placed a plastic shelter on top. To prevent the wind and rain from tearing it down, I secured the shelter with stones and bricks.


A climbing rose 3 m long under cover.

Сlimbing roses tolerate frost and snow well, but they must be protected from rain to prevent mold on the branches. 

Other perennials, such as phlox, peonies, and irises, require pruning. It rained a lot this week. Autumn rains are very beneficial for rhododendrons and azaleas, which do not need shelter.

I will have to trim and tie Euonymus, Elaeagnus argentea, and spirea so that the snow does not break their branches.



Elaeagnus argentea

I covered young plants in the ground with fallen leaves.

There are a lot of juicy berries ripe on the chokeberry bush. They are left for birds wintering in our climate or flying to the southern regions. 


What a good harvest of apples this fall! This apple tree was pruned in height and width last year. And here is the result - juicy sweet apples in abundance.


As you can see, my to-do list turned out to be big. The rest of the flowers and bushes are waiting for my hands in other days. The plan is best carried out in good warm weather without rain.


It's always interesting to look at clouds. They float quickly, form rain or snow clouds, and in the evening I admire a beautiful crimson sunset.



What is the weather like in your place in October? What work do you have to do this season?

Take care.

Saturday, October 7, 2023

Walk In October

Quiet autumn days have arrived, when the weather changes throughout the day. In the morning it may be drizzling and at noon the wind blows the clouds, the sky turns blue and the sun peeks out here and there. I love to walk on such days, my mood improves and the sun's rays remind me of summer days. Of course, I don't walk far and rely on my capabilities. If I get tired, I sit on a bench or on a log, take photographs, and make sketches for watercolors.

In October there are no annoying mosquitoes and small flies as in July and August. Sometimes wasps and bumblebees arrive looking for a hole for the winter. They don't pay attention to people, they have their own worries. 

Birds are preparing to fly to warmer climes. Geese and ducks gather in flocks. Young birds try out their wings. It's nice to look at young birds. They don’t yet know that the road will be long. They shout joyfully and push each other. 

Small birds that winter with us are beginning to look for places to feed in winter. Three titmice flew onto the porch yesterday and were looking for food. I thought it was time to put food in the bird feeder for them. I need to replenish my supplies of grains and seeds.


When I got home my appetite was good. After lunch, I made a work plan to prepare the garden and house for winter. I'll tell you in the next post. 

It's all for now. Take care.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Alexander Pushkin's poem "Autumn"

Excerpt from a poem, 1833



They say ill things of the last days of Autumn:
But I, friend reader, not a one will hear;
It quiet beauty touches me as surely
As does a wistful child, to no one dear.
It can rejoice me more, I tell you frankly,
Than all the other seasons of the year.
I am a humble lover, and I could
Find, singularly, much in it that’s good.



 Oh, mournful season that delights the eyes,
Its farewell beauty captivates my spirit.
I love the pomp of Nature’s fading dyes,
The forests, garmented in gold and purple,
The rush of noisy wind, and the pale skies
Half-hidden by the clouds in darkling billows,
And the rare sun-ray and the early frost,
And threats of grizzled Winter, heard and lost


Each time that Autumn comes I bloom afresh;
For me, I find, the Russian cold is good;
Again I go through life’s routine with relish:
Sleep comes in season, and the need for food;
Desire seethes—and I am young and merry,
My heart beats fast with lightly leaping blood..... 

Alexander Pushkin, who lived from 1799 to 1837, was one of Russia's greatest poets. Pushkin is considered to be the father of Russian literature and Russia's greatest poet. 


P.S. I love all the seasons, unlike Alexander Pushkin :)