Sunday, September 4, 2011

                                        Yesterday I should have been in the studio, painting….
                                                      no doubt about it. Why wasn’t I?

Majo,  Kansas City artist

Enjoying the music and
wine on the Veranda

 Simple….BIG day at the winery! After a miserably long, hot summer, we have finally been given some absolutely lovely weather! Gorgeous blue sky, gentle breezes and 74 degrees! Glorious!

Cindy, Mistura Fina, and Stan Kessler
 I was just going to drop by the vineyard and winery to take a few photographs and visit with Majo, my good friend and fellow Somerset Ridge Painter. As I pulled up in front of the winery there were cars parked everywhere! I instinctively knew I was going to work. I washed wine glasses, cleaned off the tables out on the lawn, washed more wine glasses, grabbed my camera and took some shots, washed more wine glasses. The afternoon flew by…..but no painting. But I sure had fun!

Cindy and Dennis, the owners, had arranged for some fabulous musicians to play on the veranda….Mistura Fina with Stan Kessler! Lots of Brazilian rhythm with a Bosa Nova/American Jazz approach! FUN! People took their wine out on to the veranda, or to the tables on the hillside; they brought picnic lunches or enjoyed the food items the winery has available in the tasting room. We had Frisbee players, Bocce ball enthusiasts, music lovers, cigar aficionados, art lovers….and even the 2 horses next door decided to entertain over along the fence. They actually posed for Majo to paint their portrait!

Big fans of the crowds at the vineyard

Yep, it was a good day at Somerset Ridge Vineyard and Winery! Not so good at the studio………..

Did you ever have one of those flashbacks brought on by an aroma, a smell? It is amazing how the mind works. Let me explain, NO! not how the mind works (particularly mine!) but rather how a smell sent me back, way back, into my childhood.

Those of you who have been reading my blog since the beginning, January 2009, know I’ve shared many memories and recipes from the Ogg Family Farm. My mother was the youngest of the 5 children of William Clyde and Minnie Florence Ogg of Ray County, Missouri. The farm had been in the family for 3 generations by the time I was born. I spent part of my summers visiting my aunt and uncle, Clarence and Zelma Ogg (don’t you just love the names!), and many holidays, particularly Memorial Day. Being an out of doors kind of girl, I loved to wander around the farm, climb on the tractor, run down to the fishing pond, and look for kittens in the barn. This morning I was transported to that barn, all because of a whiff of dried grasses. Many times I drive down country roads to get to Paola, where my studio space is located. Country roads are so much better than highways! Driving at 35 to 45 miles an hour as opposed to 70 to 75, gives me the chance to think about my painting; thinking about the canvas on my easel. That morning, little did I know that I was about to be transported back to the 1940s!
Here in Kansas, the fields are now dotted with hay bales. Food for the livestock during the coming winter months is an important part of farming. Huge fields are dedicated for just that purpose. As I was driving along with my windows down early that morning,  my car was filled with the soft, summery smell of just mown dry grasses.  That is when the barn filled my thoughts.
The barn was huge; it had a hay loft and I can still smell the combination of the dried hay and the hard packed Missouri dirt floor. As I shuffled through the hay that sifted down from the loft above, the laser-like beams of sunlight that streaked through the spaces in the walls, made the tiny particles of straw dust, dance and glisten. Of course, it played hell with anyone who had hay fever, but I was allergy free during those days!
Once inside the barn, I would stop and let my eyes adjust to the light, and listen for the soft mewing of the latest litter of kittens. It was heaven. The smell of that old barn will apparently stay with me forever. So will the memories.
After a day of wandering, I would wash up at the old pump on the back porch. I’m not sure how you can love an old pump, but I did. The water was always cold, crystal clear, and tasted better than any glass of water from the faucet back home in Columbia, Missouri! The fact that it was part of the world’s greatest screened in back porch might have something to do with it. Actually, I loved every nook and cranny of that farm house.
I certainly can’t share memories of the Ogg Family Farm without including some food memories. As I said, many holidays were spent there, with holiday foods! Old family recipes, such as my Grandmother Ogg’s Corn Bread Dressing come to mind….there was nothing like the food on the farm! Piping hot biscuits, homemade salt rising bread, fresh green beans slow cooked with country smoked ham and onions, Grandmother’s Chicken and Noodles, heavenly Hams, fresh from the farm’s smoke house, so big they barely fit in the oven! Wow….I miss the farm!
My favorite farm breakfast features corn! My Mom says they didn’t use Maple Syrup, but they did have a steady supply of Sorghum Molasses, her favorite. But for me, pure maple syrup drizzled over these buttered Corn Fritters and running over onto a big slice of fried Country Ham, suits me just fine!

Ray County Corn Fritters 
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
12 ounces cooked corn
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups flour, unsifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
dash of pepper
oil or shortening for frying

1. Beat egg in a large bowl. Stir in milk, the corn and 1 tablespoon of oil. Add and beat in flour, baking powder, salt and pepper.
2. Drop in tablespoons of the mixture into deep or shallow hot oil (375 degrees). Fry until golden brown, 2-3 minutes on each side.
3. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot. If desired serve with butter and a healthy drizzle of syrup. (OH yes! I desire!) I might add some like a couple of fried eggs, over easy, and even hash browns with this breakfast. As for me, I just want the corn fritters and fried ham! (with butter and syrup, of course)

Lesson Learned:  Childhood aroma memories can make you hungry!

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy
oil painting by Kay Tucker

Somerset Autumn on Wea Creek

Somerset Autumn on Wea Creek
Oil Painting by Kay Tucker, Private Collection


oil painting by Kay Tucker

Kansas Storm

Kansas Storm
oil painting by Kay Tucker, Private Collection

Watercolor Collage

Watercolor Collage

Tempo al Tempo....All in Good Time

Tempo al Tempo....All in Good Time
48"x36" sculptural painting by Kay Tucker