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Once in a while, an art commission comes along that becomes an unexpected source of great enjoyment. The drawing process takes on a life of its own, and I feel almost like a spectator as the image takes shape on the paper. That’s what happened recently, and here is the result. I haven’t done a pencil portrait in years, so it was fun to watch this one unfold.

Meanwhile, in the garden, I’m slowly working my way through the not-so-enjoyable process of clearing the summer beds. Over the next couple of weeks — working in the early mornings, before the mercury reaches those stifling 90s — we’ll spade up the soil to loosen and aerate it, then add a layer of compost from the bin.  The winter garden is my favorite.

…And, in the rapidly dwindling fennel patch, 25 fat Eastern Swallowtail larvae are munching, munching, munching the days away. Click here to see how far they’ve come in four short days!