Christoph Hitz
Country Living
Forward Payment
It's been awhile since my last post here on Drawger. In short, my family and I did some downsizing, we sold the house, packed up the art studio, moved a garage full of tools, and migrated to a new house early Spring this year. We packed things up, threw things out, cleaned and sorted for days on end. Giving things away can be very time consuming, liberating, and painful all at the same time. My old studio was located in the basement of our old house (picture a New York loft with ample room to spare). On the contrary, my new studio will be located in a garage, albeit a garage that needs a radical renovation.
Anyway, in this new downsized, double-dip world I found something, that no matter where I'm at, helps me find my daily bearing.
I find my daily bearing by turning on my studio radio to my favorite station: WAMC. I discovered the radio station soon after moving to the Catskills in
2000, and I've been a loyal listener ever since.
WAMC covers a wide range of affairs, from topics like health, new books,  trends in publishing, media, copyright, computers, sports, and education, while also streaming the BBC news and other NPR productions. There is an astonishing amount of information that floats my way while I'm sketching and working on my illustration projects, and it's all commercial free.
About 3 times for 1 week, through the length of the year, the station runs a full force fundraiser program to cover its cost of broadcasting for the entire year. With the ongoing giant sucking noise in my wallet, and the guilt of not forwarding any funds, I felt compelled to do something for this wonderful radio station.  Last fundraiser, Alan Chartock, the founder of WAMC,  told the listeners a big tale of a guy trying to sell a huge batch of canaries that wouldn't sing. The tale is reminiscent of all the stories of false promises and crummy deals that are plaguing the country right now. So on a whim, I sketched out an idea for a t-shirt. A few weeks later I sent a layout proposal to WAMC, they loved the idea, and with the help of Somanyroadsprinting the T-shirt was printed and is now available for this week's fundraiser. If you are a listener, make a donation and ask for the new Singer/Dancer T-Shirt and you will be a well dressed, better informed insider.
My Wacom tablet tends to interfere with my radio; I started to stream the station via iTunes. With traffic increasing on the internet, I think it's a wise move to hold on to the radio for now. ( Picture me smiling)

Infringing on a proboscis.
Emmett getting ready to cut a big smile
This year I grew quite a variety of gourds, zucchinis, butternut squashes, pumpkins, bottlenecks and Turkish turbans. My favorite eating squash has to be the butternut, followed by a baby zucchini. No matter how much we saute, bake and cook them, by the end of the year there are always too many gourds left over, resorting in friends and neighbors all trying to get rid of "damned" gourds.
Young Pumpkin
Looking through our heap of bottling gourds, Emmett mentioned that some reminded him of Goldin's noses. Soon the idea of building a Pumpkin Guy out of our summary of left over gourds was hatched. We figured he is going to have a big smile with a giant proboscis, holding up an Obama 'O8 sign.
Body parts?
We would have him sit on a plastic crate at the end of our driveway, waving to cars and pedestrians alike. We stacked the pumpkins on the plastic crate and used the sledge hammer to ram a steel rod through the center, giving "Stanley" a solid spine to endure the elements.
Happy Halloween
Emmett got the job to carve the face. "I'm going to carve some Goldin buck teeth, too!" he hollered and went to town. A tiny turban squash would adore Stanley's charming face.  Fancy pants stripped zucchinis were used for his legs, bottling gourds for his arms and and his stately proboscis.

Happy Halloween.
We aimed for maximum cartoon impact this year.
Bottlenecks gourd in spring
I saw the first car stop for pictures this morning, I had no idea about the power of the "schnaz"
End of Summer

Initially, I had plans to upload some pictures of my  garden with comments guiding you from Spring to Summer, then I changed my mind to some "drive by photos" I took on the way back from our vacation in the Outer Banks, North Carolina.  I did end up bringing the powerbook, scanner and  the Wacom tablet  to the beach house, working on a job until the wee hours. It turns out I have to wait until I can show the project here.  In June, I photographed an incredible local historical stone house, illustrated a few editorial jobs and I'm currently designing a website for an event management company. Yup, It was a fine mixed bag of a Summer with all kinds of surprises and changes. This summer I came across a tomato salad recipe in a few publications, including the New York Times, that seems to reflect this summer. To my surprise the white peach tree that I planted last year has produced about 30 peaches this year and the yellow cherry tomato plants are at peak production. I can't think of a better way to conclude this Labor Day.


Equal amount of tomatoes, cut in wedges, or sliced
Equal amount peaches, pitted and sliced
1/2 cup 
      Red onion thinly copped
Fresh mint leafs
3:1 Olive oil / Balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Work with what you have, I'm sure any farm stand tomatoes and peaches will do.
Tapped Out.

The sap is dripping in my neck of he woods, the two professional sugar houses down the road look like something from the past with their steady stream of smoke and steam rising to the sky. I tapped eight trees in my drive way and made about two gallons of maple syrup with the use a propane outdoor cooker. Alex who let me  borrowed some taps and buckets called and invited me over for a tour, I figured I bring my cool pix and shoot some black and white.
Snow Day
Photomotion #2
This mornings first glance out the window said it all, Mother Nature had dished out a clean white blanket of snow for New Year's Day. Soon everything started to look like a big black and white etching. By early noon I could no longer contain myself, I had to go out and take some pictures of the quarter size snow flakes tumbling from the heavens. I constructed a camera shelter out of a plastic milk gallon container and mounted it with my Nikon Coolpix on the tripod. Just as I was set up and ready to shoot, I felt like I was in the right place at the right time. 
We grow'em, we pick'em and we carve'em
Finally a good use for the crookneck gourds....
Halloween marks the end of a long growing season in my garden. I had planted some crookneck squash, butternut squash, zucchinis, eggplant and pumpkins in early spring by sowing them from seed. The crookneck was supposed to grow into a nice little yellow squashes for stir-fries. The bees and mother nature had an entirely different plan, I soon noticed freakish orange looking pump-cinis  and zuc-kin's growing in my raised beds, in addition the crookneck gourds turned into a leathery gourds. The damned gourds definitely  had there own way of getti'n this Halloween started early. Over all I had a splendid garden year growing salads, raspberries, gooseberries, asparagus, 10 different heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, bok choi, swiss chard, leeks, beets, peppers and a wide variety of herbs. The strangest plants I planted this year had to be kiwi vines and wild ginseng. The most remembered dish this year was zucchini flower tempura.
Happy Halloween.
Deborah and Emmett carving away on the porch.
I planted the pumpkins behind my compost bins, the early ones grew into hefty 100 pounders.
Emmett liked the green side of the pumpkin, initially the face had teeth, with his best toothless voice he proclaimed "it has to be simple this year" and cut them all out.
Classic Deborah.
Ah, Yes, pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin soup.....heehaw!
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