Thursday, July 21, 2011

Brandywine River Arts Museum

This week we spent two days down at the Brandywine River Arts museum in Chadd's Ford.  I was researching our artists for next year's artist study and I discovered that one of our favorite artists, N.C. Wyeth, made his home in Chadd's Ford.  I figured that there must be a museum there and low and behold there was!  I had heard of this museum, but I did not know that it housed the paintings of N.C., Andrew, and Jamie Wyeth; grandfather, son and grandson.  We love N.C. Wyeth's illustrations for some of our favorite books such as Treasure Island, Kidnapped and Robinson Crusoe.  I was positively giddy when I found the complete set of the hardback classics that he illustrated at a used book store a few years back.

Realizing that we could go see the originals of these masterpieces, we were all very excited.   I signed the kids up for art lessons and away we went.
The outside of the museum was gorgeous itself and filled with wildflowers, and had it not been 100 degrees we would have spent more time outdoors walking on the trails along the river.
Each floor of the museum though had floor to ceiling windows on the side facing the Brandywine River so we could enjoy the view from the cool and watch Grace sweat it out while she worked on a sketch.  At least she was in the shade.

The rest of the kids had their class today.  They had a fabulous tour and then a craft time which was great fun.

I was not allowed to take pictures in the gallery but I couldn't pass this one up.  The kids are listening to their audio tours standing in front of Jamie Wyeth's pig.  I didn't know a pig could look so glorious but this painting was awesome and everyone's hands down favorite.
Jamie Wyeth's Farm Work display is up until September, so check it out if you get a chance.  The kids were fascinated with the paintings in that gallery.

We also loved seeing Howard Pyle's art work, a friend and contemporary of N.C. Wyeth, and also a very talented author and illustrator himself.  His books are favorites around here.  Otto of the Silver Hand, Men of Iron, King Arthur and the Knights of the round table, The Wonder Clock etc.

One fun bonus today was that we got to see Victoria Wyeth, the granddaughter of Andrew give a tour of some of her grandfather's paintings.  That was pretty exciting and she was an amazing tour guide. She wasn't what you would expect an art museum tour guide to be like and was VERY animated and lively.

I wish I could show you more pictures, but I guess you will just have to go and check it out yourself.  This museum is one hopping place and had lots of visitors both days that we were there, but it isn't overly crowded.  It is definitely worth a trip!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


We didn't plant quite the variety we had in the garden this year but just more of less types of veggies.   We decided to stick with the easy things that taste better fresh or are more expensive to buy.  We planted the beans in succession so hopefully we will have fresh ones all summer.  Basil, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, zucchini, spinach and cucumbers rounded out the rest of the garden this year.

Those are cucumbers climbing the poles, the Japanese climbing variety.  They took a while to establish but they are finally taking off.

I have marigolds bordering the front and back of the garden and I love it.  The butterflies love them too which is a nice bonus.

The zucchini are massive, truly enormous and I wonder why in the world I planted two.
I am glad I have this book on hand!
Zucchini Focaccia bread is a big hit.

This so called "4th of July" variety didn't quite come through as expected but it is farther along than the other tomatoes.  Looking forward to BLT's and fresh pasta sauce with freshly picked basil and oregano.

Next to the veggie garden we dug up a plot for Grace to have a flower garden.  I wasn't sure how well she would tend it but she is doing a great job and is now reaping the rewards of having a cutting garden of poppies, zinnias, cosmos and sunflowers.

It is such a nice feeling to look at the fruits of your backbreaking labor.  For me it really is worth it.  

In completely unrelated news, check out this shiner......
Now this is story he will be able to tell his grandchildren.  The other day there was a deer in our backyard (not uncommon) and the kids went out to look at it.  They all started sneaking up on it and apparently they got very close to it on the edge of the property.  The deer must have felt trapped and bolted, bowling Asher over as she went.   Poor guy was quite shaken up.  Of course if we had known what they were doing we never would have let them get so close but thankfully Asher is o.k. and nothing worse happened. And now he gets to say that when he was 3 years old he was run over by a deer.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Quiet 4th

We had a family party on Saturday so it was a quiet day around here today.  Hanging out with the kids, grilling chicken, sparklers and a bonfire.  We started a new tradition of reading the Declaration of Independence at the fireside.  Seems like we have this patriotic thing going lately when we have a bonfire.  Last time we were reading George Washinton's rules of civility.  What?  You've never read them?  They are hilarious.  Especially ones such as #16 - "Do not Puff up the Cheeks, Loll not out the tongue rub the Hands, or beard, thrust out the lips, or bite them or keep the Lips too open or too Close."  
We've read them enough now that when we bring the book out we will say things like, "Oh read the one about walking down the street, that one is so funny!"  And we all crack up laughing.

Anyway, I digress.  Back to the 4th.  It was a good day and certain people were so worn out they couldn't stay awake for the very stimulating readings.  Poor child.
And no I did not put the kitten there.  He is quite the snuggler.

Happy Independence Day!

It's been a very busy week but I hope to update soon.
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