Last Sunday’s SONSI event at All Sorts Acre began with a leisurely tour of the farm, accompanied by the sweet and friendly dog Beauty. Jennifer and Tim have put a lot of work into creating a productive and beautiful landscape. I loved the forest gardens, peppered with fruit trees and bushes, squash and potatoes, and the occasional chicken (among other things). We also invaded the chicken coop and the sheep pen and found the animals to be both wary and inquisitive.

© Steven Potter August 2010

It rained just long enough for us to head indoors and enjoy a fantastic spread of food for lunch, with lots of lively conversations. We discussed pet peeves related to to illustrating, among them: illustrations that are obviously copied from photos, butterflies that “fly” as if they are pinned, watercolours that unaccountably end up blotchy, and a lack of local – and affordable – science illustration classes. (Feel free to contribute your own illustration pet peeve by adding a comment to this post).

After we dragged ourselves away from the food, we had a look at Jennifer’s wonderful paintings and delightful studio. She demonstrated how to felt wool and we saw examples of her fine work.

A couple of us managed to squeeze in some field sketching and photography, though it was tempting to continue exploring and conversing instead. Just sitting and watching the chickens was quite entertaining, actually.

No, this is not a mutant chicken, it’s a Silkie!

A heartfelt ‘thanks’ goes out to Jennifer and Tim for welcoming us into their home for this occasion. Also, thanks to everyone who was able to make the drive and for sharing some delicious lunch fare. As always, I felt like the conversations could have continued for much, much longer.