Signs of Spring, and Preparing…

Signs of spring are everywhere, and the Christian Lent is begun. It is a time of preparing — for new birth, new life. Across the road at our neighbors’ Zaca Ranch, calves are being born all over the place. Our cowboy and moral compass Wyatt took some  photos. He’s got an eye, that Wyatt.

Awww, wook.

Cow and calf, by Wyatt Cromer
Cow and calf at Zaca Ranch, photo by Wyatt Cromer

Wyatt and his lovely wife Brie are about to have a young’un of their own, literally any minute now. I’ll keep you posted… The little dickens is taking his time. At this rate he’ll go straight from hospital to third grade.

Speaking of labor, pruning is underway in the vineyards. They do it all by hand. It is painstaking work. But don’t talk to mothers giving birth about pruning being painstaking.

Pruning in Oak Savanna Vineyard, Rancho La Zaca, photo by Wyatt Cromer
Pruning in Oak Savanna Vineyard, Rancho La Zaca, photo by Wyatt Cromer

I would ask this dude what he is listening to, but I would likely have no idea who he was talking about, like when I watch the Grammys, which is slightly depressing.

Oak Savanna Vineyard at Rancho La Zaca, pruning underway, photo by Wyatt Cromer
Pruning at Oak Savanna Vineyard, Rancho La Zaca, photo by Wyatt Cromer

Artist Camille Dellar and I finally got out there again to paint. Yipee, though it was a little nipee and windee. In these conditions, my hair looks like a chicken’s behind. Which is sometimes more than I can say for my painting. But this was a good day.

Frances painting in vineyard, photo by Camille Dellar
Moi painting in vineyard, photo by Camille Dellar.
Oak Savanna Vineyard, Rancho La Zaca, oil on canvas, by Frances Schultz
Oak Savanna Vineyard, Rancho La Zaca, oil on canvas, by Frances Schultz

Here is Camille’s. Love her mountains and how she put those light strokes on top of the limestone fenceposts.

Oak Savanna Vineyard, Rancho La Zaca, oil on linen by Camile Dellar
Oak Savanna Vineyard, Rancho La Zaca, oil on linen by Camile Dellar

She is a pro, obviously. It always fascinates me how two people see the very same scene so differently. To see more of Camille’s work go to She is great.

Spring of course is not without its surprises. The next day at the ranch it snowed. Seriously, in Southern California. We were all running around squawking like we’d never seen a dang snowflake. But we won’t talk to New Yorkers about snow.

Speaking of New York, where I’m back to, and preparing (there’s that word again) for a few friends for dinner, my trusty sidekick Gina and I went to the flower market, which I love to do.

That last sentence might win the prize for record number of commas.

The flower market doesn’t look like much from the outside…

NYC flower market
Bundles of quince and pussy willow at wholesaler U.S. Evergreens, New York flower market

But once you’re in, it is so wonderful.

NYC flower market
NYC flower market

Back uptown and best of all, over at Memorial Sloan Kettering (not quite as fun as the flower market) I had a good report on the bosom-smash, aka mammogram. This year begins number eight, cancer-free. Yipee again! Ladies, make your appointments if you haven’t yet. Here’s my post on the subject of, as my friend and The Silver Pen Hollye Jacobs puts it, dealing with F-Bomb Breast Cancer, which WAY too many of us must do.

NYC flower market
NYC flower market

Yes spring and Lent are seasons of preparation. And yet I am oh so mindful that, prepare as we will, all we have is today.





    1. Thank you, Ellen. Yes this is the gray damp time of year, isn’t it. We have a bit of sunshine in the City this morning, but it is meant to rain/snow later. I know you are happy to hear from Al Roker this morning… 😉

  1. Always love to see your paintings, always love to see flowers…you are so right, all we have is today, so easy to say so hard to live by…. The Balinese have got it right – they have no word for the past or the future – they live fully in the present tense….

  2. So happy to hear of your continued good health! I love your painting; thank you so much for sharing your and Camille’s work. What a lovely scene to paint!! I’ve always wanted to go to the New York City markets, but I’m never there long enough to enjoy any flowers I purchase. I must go anyway and just experience it!

    1. Thank you Traci, so nice to hear from you. The flower market is not near what it used to be, alas, but it is still a thrill to go.

  3. Frances, I continue to enjoy reading your blogs. Know that you are bringing smiles to many. Happy Lent to you! The best to you from all of us at SMS!

  4. Lovely way to start my day, your great news and beautiful photographs! I would title the first photo “Peace” and the one of you “Happy.” As to those tulips and roses, they make me want to dive in. Continued good health to you, Miss Frances and carpe diem!

  5. If that wasn’t one beautiful read! enjoyed every thought….and the humor you include….
    Good health to you! only those of you who have kicked Cancer in the face KNOW the battle it sets you up for…
    However..then you have insight to the beauty in this world some of us just blitz past…thank you for making us stop and LOOK…”smell the roses”
    you made my day! Luann

  6. So glad to hear of your continued good health!! I also LOVED LOVED LOVED your painting. I like the 3D aspect of it plus the colors and concept you used. Thank you for sharing with another Southern girl that you were “preparing” to do something. That’s almost as good as “fixin’ ” to do it!!!!!

  7. Congrats on your test results. I just had one myself-still hate it. Thank you for starting my day with beauty. I would love all of those pink roses for Valentine’s Day.
    xo, Lissy

  8. I love reading your Blogs which remind meof what is really important. After reading yours this morning I went outside and picked huge bundles of white Quince. They come from bushes from the first Atlanta Flower Show which Ryan Gainey gave me from his garden at the show. We are both much older but those bushes bloom right on time every Spring. Happiness and good health to you.

  9. Great to see U.S. Evergreens where we used to go for all major church feasts and fasts… loved dealing with people there and the sheer scale and variety of vegetation that would find its way to that space on a street in Manhattan!

    And love your paintings, of course.

    And why hadn’t Brie ever heard that she was supposed to eat Chinese food?

    1. Oh my, the angels must have guided me to US Evergreens and Eddie! Thank you Randall, and Ash WEdnesday blessings. Brie is in labor as we speak!

  10. Thank you Frances. You always brighten my day with your thoughts, words, and lovely gifts of rainbows, flowers, paintings and photos. I live vicariously through you. Thanks.

  11. Loved the pictures of the NY flower market. Many moons ago I went to the Amsterdam flower market… what a great memory. Congrats on the good test results.
    Happy Valentines one day early !

    1. Mary Alice, Becky, Laurette, thank you for writing and for your gifts to me, and to your families and friends. I heart you all!

  12. Frannie- loved reading this. and wonderful painting, dear….
    and i’ve never actually known what quince is, but have always loved this line in The Owl and The Pussycat-
    “They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
    Which they ate with a runcible spoon;”

    Best to you !!

    1. Thank you dear Annie! I love the line from The Owl and the Pussycat. I knew what quince was but had no idea about the “runcible spoon.” Apparently it is a curved fork with three sharp prongs. I am so glad I know that now. Love to you, and thank you for writing, xo Frannie

  13. Frances, your oil (Oak Savanna vineyard) is wonderful! So tranquil – reminds me of a tapestry I had long ago. And congrats on your 8 year success – indeed, all we have is today. Live life to its fullest!

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