End of the Plein Air Season

Its getting colder, so it was particularly nice to have a warm fall Monday for one of the last “Monday Painters” sessions at Spohr Gardens in Falmouth.  The fall colors across Oyster Pond added interest to a painting looking across the pond from the gardens.  With a turn to chilly weather this week, this may have been my last outing with the group for this season.  Other fall outings to Surf Drive and Chappaquoit Beach were also sites for other recent fall Monday trips.  It’s been a good painting year.

Surf Drive 1

Along Surf Drive – oil on board 11×14

Chappy Marsh View

Marsh at Chappy Beach – oil on board 12×16

Spohr Garden20141027-IMG_5028

Oyster Pond – View from Spohr Garden – oil on board 12×16

I can tell it’s fall, since I’ve picked up some of my crafts projects again.  I had a big stash of nylon netting waiting to be turned into “Scrubbies”.  Football games and World Series games are perfect opportunities to return to needlework!  We had run out of Scrubbies from my last big batch, so it was good to replenish my supply.  Nothing I buy works as well on cleaning pots, and they are gentle on no stick surfaces.  Also great for car windshields and other surfaces.



Wild Painting Weather

Several friends and I planned a plein air painting trip today to the shore houses along Surf Drive (on Cape Cod Bay).  This is a very scenic spot to paint and we chose to visit an area with both shore houses and marsh views.  What we didn’t count on were the huge remnants of the coastal storm that just passed us by.  The wrap around winds from the south and the high tides due to the full moon made for a bit of a wild painting session.  The breeze from the south was so stiff that we parked our cars on the south side of the parking area and set up the easels in the lea of the cars.  That helped a bit, but the wind intensity kept picking up as the afternoon progressed.

It was really funny to have the brushes and palette knifes almost torn out of our hands as we tried to paint.  I have a french easel that holds on to the painting board pretty securely, but we painters were really getting blown around!  We had blue sky, nice clouds, and the bright sun shining on the west side of the shoreside cabins, creating nice warm light and rich shadows.  I ended up with a painting that I’m pretty happy with, in spite of the crazy weather.  I’m glad I decided to go.

I’m hoping for quieter weather when we visit Monk’s Cove on Buzzards Bay next week.

Surf Drive Stilt Houses

Surf Drive Stilt Houses

My Friend Flo

My neighbor on the lake is a wonderful craftswoman.  She has been spinning, knitting, felting and doing other wool crafts for as long as I have known her.  Years ago we jointly ordered our Schacht spinning wheels and have been spinning and talking crafts in the summer ever since. I’ve journeyed to ‘North Country’ spinning get togethers with her as well as spun with her on her porch overlooking the lake.

This summer when I stopped by, she introduced me to her newest tool: a lucet.  Flo has a huge stock of wool roving, more than she could possibly ever spin (does that sound familiar, fellow spinners?); at a fair she discovered the lucet (an ancient tool that has been used for 100’s of years for braiding) and bought one with a large hole for bulky materials.  She has been braiding wool fleece, felting it, and then sewing it into beautiful rugs.  She says it goes very  quickly; she finally has found a way to use up some of that huge stock of roving!


Large Lucet that could be used for braiding wool roving


Various sizes of lucets available on Este







One of Flo’s specialities is beautiful felted hats.  She knits the hats with bulky handspun wool, felts them in the washer, shapes them into lovely hats and adds very special designs and trims. She has taught me how to do this, but my hats can’t compare to the ones she makes!  Flo works at a craft co-op in Colebrook, NH where her hats are top sellers.

Flo in Colebrook

Flo at work at the Colebrook Co-op Craft Shop

Here is a photo of typical felted hats and below are links to directions for 1)making the hats and 2) using a lucet.



How to Lucet

Flo also introduced our family to the joys of wild apples in the north country.  Every year we can, we pick up drops from roadside apple trees, which are remnants of old orchard trees and the tart taste of these heirloom varieties makes for wonderful pies and apple crisps.  I also cut up the apples for pie, mix them with cinnamon, sugar and a bit of flour, and freeze a good sized pie’s worth in a bag in the freezer.  Wonderful to enjoy the taste of Averill in the middle of the winter!

What a wonderful artist, friend, neighbor and craftswoman Flo is.  My admiration is showing!!!

Summer at the Averill Cottage

For the first time in several years we spent quite a bit of time at the cottage on Averill Lake.  This definitely was one of the coldest summers we’ve experienced in northern VT.   Early August was cold and so was mid September.  There was never a really hot stretch of weather, although the lake water was in the high 60’s and reached 70 for a while.  The swimming was good when the sun was out and the winds were gentle!

We had photographer/artist friends visit in early August; in spite of the cold and rainy weather we got some good photographs of woods, mushrooms and waterfalls. And one friend and I did some indoor painting, making copies of Van Gogh paintings and then paintings from photographs (too cold and rainy to try painting en plein air!).  We went searching all over for Moose, even driving to “Moose Alley” and the Canadian border in NH; no moose.  The only moose we saw bounded across the road only a few yards before we got back to the cottage!

Averill Moose

Blurry, but you can tell it’s a moose!

xColor Purple - Mushroom

Beautiful purple bolete along the shore of Averill Lake

xWaterfall - Beaver Brook 2

Beaver Brook Falls, Colebrook, NH

Over Labor Day weekend the nice weather drew us out for several hikes.  For the first time in many years we hiked to the top of Averill Mountain, where there is a lovely view of the whole lake, including our cottage.  We also hiked Brousseau Mountain, a really good rocky climb, which rewarded us with beautiful views of Little Averill Lake from the cliffs which we are told are the home of peregrine falcons.  We also hiked into Hurlburt Swamp in West Stewardston, NH, a Nature Conservancy property home to a northern white cedar swamp with rare orchids.

Loon Sunset

Loon on Averill Lake at Sunset

Averill L from Averill Mtn

Averill Lake from the peak of Averill Mountain

Hurlbert Swamp

Northern White Cedars in Hurlbert Swamp

L Averill from Brousseau

Little Averill Lake from the peak of Brousseau Mountain and the cliffs overlooking the lake

Cottage closing weekend was chill and dank and rainy.  We did manage a hike into Black Turn Brook State Forest on the Canadian border in Norton.  We saw a Spiranthes orchid and beautiful Sphagnum moss understory in the woods.  The cottage is closed now for the winter, although it is possible to visit for a short while if we find a weekend with special weather and some free time.  Averill continues to be a very special place!

Black Brook State Forest

Hiking into Black Turn Brook Forest in Norton, VT