Art Show at the Winery

August 14, 2007 at 8:04 pm | Posted in art, country living, dating, faith, family, flowers, food, gardening, gifts, knitting, love, marriage, photography, relationships, romance, summer | 15 Comments

Oil Painting of an Apricot with Blue Butter Crock by J L FleckensteinThis weekend marks the beginning of the six-week art show of my oils and watercolors atThe Winery at Marjim Manor in Appleton, New York. The Niagara Wine Trail Wineries are hosting Art Weekend, August 18th and 19th and I am the featured artist at Marjim Manor.

My husband and I traveled a portion of the Niagara Wine Trail on our anniversary, visiting a total of six wineries that day. Of the six we visited, Marjim Manor was by far the most beautiful in my opinion. It is situated near Lake Ontario in a beautiful fruit farming community. Owned by Margo Sue Bittner and her husband Jim, the Winery is operated by Margo. Jim Bittner is a partner in nearby Singer Farms; the wines made at the Winery at Marjim Manor are made primarily of fruits from Singer Farms.

The Manor is gorgeous and has quite a history that goes with it, including a few ghosts that seem to haunt the place. There is a beautiful wrap around porch where most of my oils will be hanging, while my watercolors will be hanging in the interior foyer. Follow the link in today’s blog to the Marjim Manor website for more information and stories about the Winery and the people behind it.

Two Black CherriesIf you would like to attend the show, I suggest you visit this weekend if possible because some number of the paintings will be gone by the end of the weekend. I will continue painting during the six weeks of the show and hanging new paintings as they are available, but I have no idea what the overall display will be like at the conclusion of Art Weekend.

Today I present to you three pieces from the show, and over the three weeks or so I will reveal one painting daily on my One Painting a Day blog, so that even if you are too far away to attend the show, you will get a chance to see all of the paintings. After Art Weekend, once I know which paintings are still available, I will begin offering some of the remaining paintings for sale via eBay auctions or directly on my I Live on a Farm website.

As for the sneak preview paintings featured on today’s blog, I offer some background on each.

The first piece is a painting of an apricot that looks quite a lot like a peach. It is positioned in front of a pretty little blue butter crock I use for storing vintage buttons. This one is oil on pure eucalyptus hardboard; the size is ten inches by ten inches.

The second is a painting I created of two cherries my husband and I picked at the u-pick cherry orchard out at Singer Farms. We picked a few pounds of several varieties of their cherries one beautiful afternoon in July, and I photographed samples of each variety on my pretty north-facing stone window sill before we ate them all. For the art show, I created half a dozen cherry paintings. This is an oil on pure eucalyptus hardboard; the size is six inches by eight inches.

Three Pears Laying Down an Oil Painting by J L Fleckenstein

Finally, “Three Pears Laying Down”. This is an oil painting on antique barn wood from our barn. Our barn is about 200 years old, and the cedar siding on it is about 100 years old to the best of our knowledge. During colder months and harsher weather, pieces of the siding break off and fall to the ground especially on the west side of the barn. I started collecting pieces of it last winter thinking I ought to come up with something artistic to do with the scraps of wood. One idea I have is to create oil painting on them. This is the first I have done, and I am pleased with the texture and the way the oil paint looks on the antique barn wood. The texture of the wood is quite rough, so I prepped it with three coats of acrylic gesso before creating the painting. The size is approximately three inches by ten inches.

In total, the art show will begin with twenty-one oil paintings and seven watercolors. Over the next few weeks I will reveal each of the paintings on my One Painting a Day blog, as mentioned above.

I will be at the Winery at Marjim Manor Saturday the 18th from one to five, and Sunday from one to four … so if you can come by and would like to say hello, please do.

To those who have been sending their well wishes for the art show, thank you so very much. I will keep you posted as it progresses.

Very best wishes,


Annual Pig Roast

August 6, 2007 at 1:18 pm | Posted in blogging, country living, dating, faith, family, food, free knitting patterns, gardening, Holidays, knitting, love, marriage, photography, relationships, romance, summer | 20 Comments

A view from the Pig RoastI am a vegetarian; I have been for many years.

I stopped eating red meat on my eighteenth birthday, and stopped eating other meats one-by-one over a short period of time after that. For years I ate salad bars when I went out to dinner, to a point of getting very, very tired of salad bars. It used to be difficult for me to come up with healthy forms of protien that I enjoyed eating, but today I can find a delicious variety of soy choices both at the grocery store and often at restaurants.

This week is my birthday week, and tomorrow night my husband and I will join my sister-in-law and her husband for dinner at our favorite Irish pub. They have a delicious rueben sandwich on their menu which I request with a garden patty substituted for the corned beef. Oh, it is good. That, their homemade chips with a tasty dipping sauce, and Guiness on tap make for a delightful summer dinner out and birthday treat. Meeting at that pub for a birthday dinner is a “tradition” with the four of us and it is incredibly easy to orchestrate. One person says, “So, are we meeting up at O’Lacey’s for ____’s (fill in the blank) birthday this week?” and everyone says, “Of course!”. There is never a need for discussion, just mention O’Lacey’s … we’re all in.

Another tradition in my husband’s family is the annual Pig Roast down at his nephew’s place. His nephew has a 100-acre farm located on a hill, overlooking picturesque hilly farmland near Bath, New York. My husband’s contribution to the Pig Roast has always been to take and set up a 20′ x 40′ party tent as well as tables and chairs from our church. He also takes the gear and ingredients necessary to make many, many pounds of salt potatoes.

(I have to say, my husband makes perfectly scrumptious salt potatoes. I never knew they existed until last year at the church’s annual chicken barbeque. He makes the salt potatoes for that event as well. Very excellent.)

Queen Annes LaceWe take a camping tent and stay overnight, as do other people. Last year we stayed over two nights, but this year we opted to make it a one-nighter because I need to get in as much oil painting time in preparation for impending art show.

The weather was beautiful; though warm, there was a cool breeze blowing from morning until night so it was easy to stand under the shade of any one of many wonderful trees to cool off instantly. Although there was plenty of work to be done from morning until night in order to set up for and feed some eighty people or so, there was also plenty of time to rest and relax between chores. Music played all afternoon and evening … and much of the night when we early-to-bed people were “sleeping”. In the weest hours of the morning a few of the latest party animals went over to the neighbor’s garage and had an impromptu jam session with electric guitar, drums, and keyboard which was actually quite good and pleasant to listen to as I drifted in and out of sleep.

We have a wonderful tent we bought last year at WalMart for about $50. When we bought it, the attraction was simply this: a tent for $50. The price was what sold us on it.

But, the first time we used it — which was last year’s Pig Roast — we could not get over the wonderful design of the thing. It is spacious at 11′ x 17′, with plenty of floor room to set up a queen size air mattress. It has hanging mesh pockets inside for snacks, water, or what-have-you as well as mesh cup holders. There is a mesh attachment that goes up in the “ceiling” where you can hang damp things to dry. The entire top is mesh, then you have a nylon “fly” cover so there is plenty of air circulation as well as privacy. It also sports two large “boot” pockets on either side of the front “porch”. The boot pockets zip from either the inside or the outside so that you don’t track wet mud or loose grass, etc. into the tent. There is a little zippered slot for running an electric extension cord in if you so desire. Then there are two large zippered windows on either end, and the front “door” has two layers, one is mesh so you can have a view outside if you like, the other is nylon when privacy is needed.

We have plenty of room inside for the mattress, our suitcase (okay, doesn’t sound much like roughing it, I know), a chair, and whatever other belongings we might have brought along. And even with all of that, there is plenty of room to get around.

I love that tent!

And I love it more because it cost so little.

I have no idea what this is but it is prettyThe Pig Roast was a very nice, quick little get-away that gave us a great reason to spend time with family being active and productive while also having a good, relaxing and refreshing bit of time away from home and normal work.

Sunday morning we got up and enjoyed a lazy morning of conversation, coffee, and bagels before tearing everything down, packing up, and making the pretty drive back home.

The summer food — watermelon, baked beans, cucumber (from their garden) salad, grilled squashes (from their garden) , my husband’s salt potatoes splashed with a bit of melted butter, coleslaw, and soft chewy cookies and brownies, was perfect in its simplicity.

I never did look at the pig though, I don’t like that part.

I’m a vegetarian, you see.

Hope you are having an enjoyable summer wherever you are … with or without meat.


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