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New Pug Design!

Pugs-Illustration

I am so excited about this design. As you can tell I am on a “dog in the garden, on the furniture” kick. The offical name is Posh Pet Digs- Cutting Hedge Portraiture of Your Favorite Pet. One of the things I love about doing dog portraits is researching the various breed that is being featured. For instance…I didn’t know that the Pug is often referred to as the Foo Dog. They were originally bred for Chinese royalty and yet THEY consider THEMSELVES royalty! As an artist I have the opportunity to incorporate the numerous elements into an image that captures the personality and sometimes the history of the breed. I hope you like this design. It’s one of my favorites!

“Puglets Portrait” is available on notecards, lavender sachets, linen guest towels, limited edition prints and limited edition pillows.




Overwintering Rosemary

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Overwintering rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is quite easy if you have enough available light and are diligent to not let them dry out. I recommend potting them up from the garden before danger of frost and putting them in glazed ceramic containers or foam based planters. Terra cotta drys out very quickly in a heated space. I have lost many rosemary plants in the winter due to drying out. Rosemary is very unforgiving.

Use a peat based potting mix with some sand mixed in so that the water soaks through the roots evenly. Rosemary does not like wet feet so be sure to provide good drainage. Adequate light is essential. My rosemary plants are situated in front of my south facing french doors to bask in the winter sun. I also use tiny pebbles on the surface of the soil to act as mulch to help keep the moisture in.

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Happy Potting! It is such a treat to enjoy your own fresh herbs in the winter.

A wonderful recipe for using fresh sage and rosemary from the garden is  Tuscan Herb Seasoning. Simple and savory… you will love it!




Tuscan Herb Seasoning

This is my favorite way to use sage and rosemary from the garden before cold temps set in. This simple rub is delicious on pork tenderloin as well as chicken and vegetables. It can be used as is; however, I always make extra and dry it for later use. In the photos the ingredients have been tripled.

Tuscan Herb Seasoning

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 TBS kosher salt
  • 1 small bunch fresh sage (about 30 leaves)
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary

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On cutting board, mince garlic with salt.

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Place herbs in a mound and coarsely chop.

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Add garlic salt and chop them together to make a coarse rub.

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The salt can be used right away or dried in an uncovered bowl. I like to leave the rub in a large plate and let it dry on the counter for a couple of days. Every other day or I stir it to let the particles on the bottom have more exposure to fresh air.

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The dried salt rub can be stored indefinitely in a clean dry jar. Some of my foodie friends will be getting some in a pretty jar during the holidays… don’t tell.




The Other Woman

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Machinery is getting moved around at the farm. I can hear tractors, trucks and the combine faintly. It’s that time of year again. The corn has turned that beautiful soft pale ochre that I love. It sparkles against the dark fall sky. The clouds are getting fluffier, bolder in their reminder of what is coming.

It’s often a stressful time of year. Farmboy comes home from his 9 to 5 job, changes clothes and goes to the farm to do what is possible in the dark. Thankfully the combine has lights. He often can go into the evening long after the kids have been put to bed. They miss him and so do I.

Farming was foreign to me growing up in Mississippi. My grandparents had land and cows. Every now and then timber was harvested. My grandfather had the most beautiful vegetable garden. Our freezer was always stocked with brown peas, butter beans and okra. That is all I knew about farming.

Sunset-at-Farm

The first time I visited Farmboy’s farm I was enchanted- the barns, the land, the sunsets. On the surface it was all so romantic and picturesque. I was so naive. I was clueless. I didn’t know the dangers of spinney things, the neverending jobs, the dependence on the weather, the delicate relationships of farm families. To me, harvest meant- Cornicopia! Harvest moon! the warm fuzzies! The first year after we were married I was in a state of shock. I mean, I know I got married… I saw the pictures. My husband was no where to be found. Now, memories are funny… especially mine because I seem to have so few of them, but that year was tough. I wondered what in the world I had done. I’m no princess but geez, how do you compete with a mistress so demanding?

Sixteen years later, how lovely that mistress is. She is still demanding, sometimes dangerous and wildly unpredictable, but how she revives me. How she revives Farmboy. He would suffer without her. Now I am happy when he is with her. She is good for us. She is a blessing. She embraces our children. I’m thankful that they have this taste of life. Both of our children have slept strapped to their dad in a baby bjorn in the heated cab of the combine on snowy nights. I am also thankful that Farmboy has a job off the farm. He doesn’t like the term “gentleman farmer” but I think its fitting because for us it works. Somehow he and his dad make it all happen after hours and on the weekends. I don’t know how full-time farmers do it but that is another post.

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Rocco and Henrietta

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Hmmm. What does this boxwood want to be? A chicken. That is what I heard while browsing the nursery. It spoke to me. My kids got a big kick out of telling their cousins that “Momma heard a plant talk to her”. The plant wanted to be a chicken. “Henrietta the Hen”came out of the little boxwood. Soon after her mate Rocco the Rooster found his way out of another boxwood. They greet our visitors at the start of the front walkway.

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There are many farm animals that I would love to have… the whole kit and kaboodle. Chickens, geese, SHEEP, goats, calves are on my list. Oh, I forgot ducks. I am currently at my peak of mouths to feed on this farm between the kids, horses, cats and dogs. Therefore I have decided to create in topiary all of the farm animals that I would like to have. This way I will hopefully not go over the edge of insanity… I’ll just give it alittle trim.

Just imagine two topiary sheep grazing on the meadow with a third looking up to see who is coming up the driveway… a yew giraffe nibbling on apples trees in a orchard. Yikes. I’m on to zoo animals now. Anyway… you get the picture. I’ve got alot of work to do. Either way.




ABOUT

Hi, I'm Michelle. I am an artist/designer specializing in unique topiary themed illustrations for the Home & Gardener. I live on a farm in Upstate New York with my husband, aka Farmboy, my two children affectionately known as "La La" and "the Bean" and a small petting zoo of other family members.

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This blog and all of the creative elements ie., written content, illustrations and photographs are the sole property of Michelle Masters Studio and cannot be reproduced in any form without the artist's permission.

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