Makers gotta make

Hi Everyone!

I am trying to sneak this post in quietly while the puppy is sleeping. Honestly it is just like having a two year old running around again. I can’t take my eyes off of her while she is awake because she will get into something and I try to cram all my work into her two hour morning nap. It’s exhausting.

So 2022 is here and I am juggling lots of things at once. How is your January going? Things are supposed to slow down in the winter, but I really don’t think that ever happens in my life. I am trying to do more cozy activities. The Scandinavians know how to do winter so I am embracing as many of their traditions as possible to get to Spring without diving into my usual Winter depression. Currently three pairs of socks on my feet, wood stove going, candles at night, more books to read and forcing myself out into the cold for some walks.

We are still working on the studio, but I now have three tables up there full of creative endeavors. Yours truly is spending at least an hour a day in her UNHEATED studio. I have one space heater and will probably move another up there soon. Yesterday I had my three pairs of socks on, a hat, fingerless gloves and three layers of clothing while just happily working away on three different projects. When it’s your thing you just do it!

The 2022 plan is to revamp my pitiful Etsy shop and hopefully my website. I am thinking in April I will have a one or two day sale of original paintings and drawings. I am also trying to post current work on Instagram and my Facebook page a few times a week (search for Bloomtown Studio both places) so you can see what I am actually doing in my attic hideaway. Currently I have two drawings in the works and a couple of unfinished paintings I need to get to. With it being so cold I don’t think the paint works as well as it should so I have been concentrating on my drawings. Here is a video of the beginning of one. Yes, to many people this probably seems pretty boring, but I’m processing what I want to do with this piece and pondering life.

I am also working on a knitted sweater for DH and sewing myself some much needed clothes. Yes, I know there are stores that have these things. First, I extremely dislike shopping (hate seems too harsh). Second, I “inherited” boxes and boxes of both yarn and fabric from DH’s Mom and Grandmother. Both ladies were talented makers and left behind very nice fabric and yarn. I kinda feel like it should be used and not wasted. Grandbabies have been getting blankets, DN is learning to crochet with some of it and I am using all of it that I can. There are also several quilt tops and quilt pieces that I am planning to finish.

I suspect many of you that read this crazy blog know exactly what I’m talking about. Makers gotta make. It’s our thing. It’s our sanity. It’s our duty to use our talents. Yes, those folks who don’t have this blessing/curse don’t understand why we will spend hours and hours making something. Something that may or may not be actually good or usable in the end. Something that may not be appreciated when it is received as a gift. I quit worrying about it and you should too. Don’t try to explain it and don’t get your heart hurt when a gift isn’t appreciated. Hopefully they will realize that if you put so much time into something it was given with EXTREME love. We don’t give people these things if we don’t love them! We can go to the mall for a gift for those people.

The grandbabies are wrapped in blankets made by my hands from yarn that belonged to their great-grandmother. DH will get to wear a sweater from yarn that his Mom bought probably hoping to make him one herself (the colors screamed DH). I get to wear clothing I made, that I like (can we admit that some of the styles out there are yucky and the quality is awful) from quality fabric and if it falls apart I can only blame myself. Making things is therapeutic, frustrating and satisfying. What’s not to like? You are going to spend that time doing something. I would rather be making than watching TV and not accomplishing anything.

Gotta get going. The puppy will be waking up soon.

Have a great week!

Faith, Hope, Love, Grace, Peace,

Christel

A revelation

Hi Everyone!

I think it’s time to accept that for the time being this blog is gonna be a little sporatic. My best laid plans keep flying out the window. I’ve had grandbabies to watch while their parents have to take care of life stuff and DN has been home AGAIN for the past week and a half for quarantine. Her entire history class got quarantined because of a few students that tested positive. God willing and the creeks don’t rise, she gets to go back next Tuesday. There are a few things that get pushed to the bottom of the To Do list when life gets crazy and this blog is one of them.

I hope all is well with you and everyone is working in some fun and relaxation occasionally. Over all we have been good here. I did have to take a few days off from the garden because I had just worn myself out. I desperately needed some R&R. Of course it was DH that pointed out that I was running out of steam and that I needed to take a break. I must have been complaining about being tired all the time and trying to weasel out of cooking dinner one time too many. He has gotten used to home cooked meals every night and if you knew my husband’s capacity to consume food you would understand why he was becoming concerned.

Along with the above conversation I was complaining that I just couldn’t find time to get upstairs and do any artwork. Like many women (not all, but I suspect the majority), my priorities start with the family and work down to myself. My schedule was to feed goats/horses, take care of the garden before it got hot outside, do the cleaning/bills/laundry/cooking and then if I was lucky I MIGHT (but rarely) have enough energy to do some artwork. So, DH said it was time I rearranged my schedule to the following: Goats/horses, garden, ARTWORK, cleaning, laundry, cooking. So I decided to try it even though it made me feel a little guilty.

Well, well, well, it has been working wonderfully! I get up to the attic (no, it’s not finished, but it is to a point I can work in it) while the temperature is still comfortable (no A/C yet and it’s been in the 90’s). I work until 11:30ish when it starts getting hot. It has been amazing how much I can get done in the approximately 3 hours of attic time. Currently there are 8 paintings in various stages including a commission of 3 small paintings. Top that off with the fact I still have energy to take care of the daily chores after I’m done and my mental clarity has been soooooo much better. No building resentment because my life is all work and no play either. Ok ladies (and any men who might have been doing this too) don’t do like I have always done and put yourself last. At least occasionally move yourself to the top of the list to save your sanity.

I have honestly felt like a new person. My day goes smoother. My brain works better. I’m not tired and cranky all the time. I get my much needed alone time.

The weather is cooling off and by George, I’m going to be spending more time in the attic. I need to reorganize lots of stuff along with doing the actual artwork. Then I need to a paint as DH puts the finishing touches on the drywall and trim. Oh Happy Day!! I love my people, but I sooooo need this now.

I will share some art with you next week, uh, next time I’m here. Stay safe out there and do something for yourself.

Faith, Hope, Love, Grace

Christel

Photo by Raul Varzar on Unsplash

Learning curve

Hi Everyone!

How has your week been going? Things here have been slightly less hectic than last week. Today has been my taxi day. DN had to get her new glasses, braces wire fixed, and dentist visit. In the middle of those I had to pick up some tax info and get the dog’s meds. All this before NOON!

Tuesday school started back up and I had the house to myself again. I celebrated by going out and sketching a while around the farm. I wanted to sketch the horses since they are always one of the most difficult things for me to draw, but none of them would cooperate. So I drew old buildings and hay bales.

Yesterday my plan was to finish a project that I have been struggling with for a few weeks now. It is requiring me to learn new software. We all know how much fun that is. So, I go to open the file I need to finalize and…it’s 95% gone. Yep, hours of work just gone. I have no idea how or why. Bad words were said. This has been one of those projects that could turn out to be a good source of income or it might be a bust. I won’t know until I try, but I will try again next week when I can recover from the high aggravation factor.

Last week I mentioned that I was up to some creative endeavors with a couple of coffee bean bags. So, what exactly did I do with those coffee bean bags?? I made kitchen curtains. I don’t know about you, but when I move into a house (and I have moved into alot of houses) I need to live with a place for a while to get ideas of how I want it to look. Our kitchen has been a struggle. It has one wall of the original 1955 wood paneling that DH dearly loves and immediately let me know that no paint brush will touch it. It has 1990’s oak cabinetry that once again, you-know-who doesn’t want to paint and quite frankly it would be pricey to have someone paint. I have painted cabinets before. That was enough for one lifetime. There are light blue laminate countertops that are not in great shape and mismatched appliances.

Now my decorating style is eclectic primarily because I like very old stuff and I like very modern stuff so it becomes a mismash. Granted, I like the lovely current farm house decor, but let’s be real, real farmer types cannot have wall to wall WHITE. That becomes red Carolina clay color in a split second. We wear boots that daily tromp through dirt, grass and manure. The previous owners put gray tile in the kitchen and while it is very practical, I don’t really like it. To be real again, I will live with it. Not gonna be tearing up perfectly good tile that will outlast me.

Back to the coffee bean bags. My moment of inspiration about curtains gave me a direction to take the kitchen. They are rustic, but not sweet rufflely country. I already have plans to paint the countertops black to tie in with the stainless and black stove (the white dishwasher and fridge will be replaced eventually). DH and I found a sweet deal on two cool bar stools at the ReStore that are wood and black metal. All that ties in the black and the wood. The other kitchen chairs from the ReStore are going to get painted white to lighten up all that dark wood and go with the walls and windows. The rest of the decor is vintage. I lean heavily to the 1930’s and 40’s. Luckily we happen to have some nice pieces from DH’s family that have found a home in the kitchen. I would love to replace the cabinet and drawer pulls, but there are tons of them. I would bankrupt us just with pulls if I got all new. For the time being I will probably get creative with the brass (gotta love those 80’s and 90’s brass things) and black paint and replace a little at a time. Whew!

That’s about it for the creative stuff here. I did get back on a horse yesterday for the first time in over a year. Back when I was taking my grief break, DN and I started taking horse back riding lessons because uncles/husbands shouldn’t try to teach family members, especially a couple of mouthy females. I was loving it, but then a kidney stone happened, followed by Covid. We stopped the lessons. Next month DN will have wrapped up soccer and band and we plan to get back to the lessons. I can’t wait. Even though I had DH lead the horse (horse is still in training) instead of me taking the reins, it was good. I remembered my posture and my weight shifts, etc. The horse, Cinder, is a big, lanky Tennesse Walker. I swear it’s like riding an elephant he is so tall. We won’t even discuss the graceful (NOT) assent and desent I made on said horse. No cameras allowed!

So, I guess whether it’s software or horses, there is a learning curve and everything rarely goes smoothly. I will ungracefully get back on a horse and ungracefully repair my computer file, but will learn new things in the process.

Have a awesome week!

Faith, Hope, Love, Grace

Christel

Things that make you go Hummmmm

Hi Everyone!

I hope you are well and life is grand in your part of the world. Unfortunately with the state of the world right now many people cannot say that. The rest of us need to do our best to comfort and support them when we can. I have two dear friends right now who are dealing with big family issues. After reading the details in our group text, all I could really say is “the plates we have to spin at this age sure do get heavier and heavier”. DH and I had a similar discussion with DN about personal responsibility and how adulting is tough, but it is not wise to expect others to solve your problems. We can’t solve each other’s problems, but we can support each other through them.

Things here have been fairly uneventful and I’m always grateful for uneventful. No animal drama and not too much teenage drama (parents of girls, you know what I mean). I got to enjoy a funny Facetime with my daughter in SC and my wide open 2 year old grandson. We have a granddaughter turning one tomorrow and will be celebrating with a big birthday bash on Saturday. All practices for DN have been cancelled today so I don’t have to run the taxi service at all. It’s the little things I appreciate more and more.

I have been working on some artwork, but not anything I can share right now. DN starts back to school full time, in person after Spring Break so I am trying to get back to my original 2021 plan of putting in 20 hours a week of actual revenue producing work again. If I can figure out some new software (I have been figuring out new software since 1985!) I will share what I’m trying to do. Work on the attic has been slow but steady. DH added more joint compound to the drywall and I have been sanding and painting. We hope to get the last of the drywall bought in the next week and pick up the pace.

During this week I have noticed several conversations we have had about weird coincidences happening in the world and a “could this happen” question about mobile banking, etc. Sort of random things like the fact that I have seen many, many new sheds/barns going down the road this week. A lot of stimulus checks must have gone toward new sheds.

While I was working on the whole new software learning ordeal, I wound up going down the NFT (Non-fungible Tokens) rabbit hole. Have you seen where people are selling this artwork on blockchains for millions of dollars? Don’t think for a moment that I understand this stuff or plan on selling any artwork that way, but it put my poor little brain in frizzle mode. Millions of dollars for artwork that only exists in digital form? You don’t print it out and put it on your wall? It just sits on a computer or the blockchain (don’t ask me to explain blockchain technology. I am not capable.), but you can resell it if you purchase it and actually make royalties from it. I will watch from the sidelines and see what happens with this technology. Maybe it will be a big thing for a while or it may be a big bust or scheme. Maybe some people just have more money than good sense. Raise your hand if you would be willing to help them out with all that money and put it towards something more tangible!

If any of you want to chime in on the whole NFT thing please feel free. I would like to understand it better because I’m a closet geek about these things. What things make you go “hummmmmm” when you hear about them? It keeps life interesting.

Have a great week!

Faith, Hope, Love, Grace,

Christel

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Royal drama

Hi Everyone!

How has your week been? Hopefully it has not been as challenging as mine has been. I’m a day late and a dollar short thanks to the crazy. There will not be a drawing lesson this week either. I will do my best for next week.

People who live fairly urban / suburban lives probably think not much happens out in the country. Let me assure you that it may be a different kind of drama and excitement, but it is drama and excitement just the same. There has been some Royal Drama in the news lately and someone asked if I watched the interview. Nope. Don’t really care. I have my own form of royal drama around here to deal with.

Tuesday night – dog wakes me up around 1 am needing to go out. This is very unusual. Odie has a very set schedule that does not include going out after 9 pm. He is also known for his 17 hour bladder. Seriously, he has gone 17 hours without peeing. His choice, not ours. There might have been cold rain involved. Anyway, lets just say that he had an upset tummy. And he had an upset tummy at 2:30 am. Then again at 3:45 am. Wednesday was just a joy to get through. For some reason he didn’t have all the tummy issues during the day.

Wednesday night – dog wakes me up around 1 am needing to go out. Repeat above pattern. I am feeding him rice and pumpkin for his intestinal problems and he doesn’t seem to feel bad. On the other hand, I am barely functioning.

Thursday is difficult, but Odie seems to be better. Mid-afternoon I drag myself outside to do some work in my garden. I hear banging and rattling coming from the barn. No one should be in the barn. I peek in the crack between the doors and see two horses helping themselves to food in the feed room. One, the door on the other side of the barn was closed earlier. Two, it is a bad, bad thing for horses to feed themselves. Three, the feed room is supposed to always stay closed and latched.

It seems that the “too smart for their own good” horses have learned how to bang their heads against the back door and jar the brace loose to pop the door open. Normally this would not be a huge issue, but the feed room was accidently left open. Horses, for all their big, burly size, seem to be somewhat delicate in my opinion. Like, if they eat too much grain or rich grass they can Founder (Founder (laminitis) in horses is a serious condition of the foot caused by the pedal bone rotating and pointing towards the horse’s sole. It is also one of the most common reasons for disability and lameness in ponies and horses. This is extremely painful and in some cases it may be necessary to euthanize.) or Colic ( “colic” means “abdominal pain,” which can have a variety of causes and treatments. Colic also varies greatly in severity. A horse may have a mild bout of abdominal pain that is resolved with a single dose of medication. Other times, colic may necessitate surgery, or unfortunately, euthanasia. All instances of colic in horses should be treated as a potential emergency.). No matter how hard we try, we have lots of horse drama around here because we have smart horses.

As I am running the two horses out of the feed room and the third one who is trying to get into the feed room, out of the barn, I see the two remaining equine. Christy, our oldest horse and Spark Plug the donkey. Somehow they have managed to get themselves locked into one of the stalls together. I try hard not to impose human emotions onto the animals, but I kid you not, the expressions on their faces said “IT WASN’T US. WE WERE STUCK IN HERE THE WHOLE TIME!” I had to stop and laugh.

Woven in amongst all the above crazy, I had honeybee drama all week. After last week’s post where I said the girls were ok, I began to get the distinct feeling that they weren’t. I kept seeing less and less forager bees. By Wednesday I had decided the Queen was dead and most of my hive as well. I had my usual cry over dead bees. Then I called a beekeeper to order a new nucleus of bees even though every time I say I am hanging up my veil when I lose a hive. I’m sitting out there with the hive, watching a few bees come and go, trying to decide what to do about the few remaining bees that I’m sure are still in there. Then I see something odd. A small clump of bees on the front. I look closer and I see what looks like a Queen bee. What the??? Then it dawns on me that the girls had probably sensed the old queen failing or dead and made a new queen and she was outside to go on her mating flight. Well, dang.

Today, I decided to break down the hive and see what was going on in there. Honestly, I was expecting just to see a lot of dead bees and nothing else. I really didn’t think that young queen would come back or make it back to a dead hive. I open up the hive and see a small cluster of bees. Probably no more than 50. These were the ones I was wondering what to do with if they were still alive. Then I see THE QUEEN! She was back.

From here I am going to do the quick version of several hours of work. Run get small hive box called a nuc that holds 5 frames of bees and beeswax foundation to concentrate food and warmth for THE QUEEN. Put queen and attendants in nuc, move old hive out of way and plop down the nuc in its place so forager bees know where to find home. Run around putting old frames of honey far from the nuc so robber bees won’t come hunting it and kill new queen (nature is harsh). Text my brother-in-law to see if he can spare a frame or two of bee larve (brood) to have new nurse bees to attend queen when she starts laying. Put sugar water at nuc for quick food. Look over at side of nuc and see a new clump of bees on the outside. THE DANG QUEEN HAS COME OUT OF THE BOX AGAIN. Put post on beekeepers site on Facebook to find out what to do. Told to leave her alone and attendants will walk her back in the box. They did. BIL brings me two frames of brood that I put into nuc. Run around cleaning up my mess in case it rains and look back at nuc. THE DANG QUEEN HAS COME OUT OF THE BOX AGAIN. At this point I’m done. She is on her own. I have stressed and slaved over the girl long enough. But I really, really, really, hope she is mated, gets back in the hive and is as good a Queen as her mother and grandmother were. Maybe not as cranky as her Grandmother. She had serious attitude.

The video is of the second time I found the queen outside with her attendants. She’s under the pile. Now I just wait and watch and hope this has a good ending. I hope I have not bored you with farm life drama. It’s what we love even though we need our heads examined to keep up with all these critters.

Have a great week!

Faith, Hope, Love, Grace

Christel

Crown Photo by Ashton Mullins on Unsplash

Video by yours truly

Lesson 1

Hi Everyone,

Yes, I kinda sorta delayed this post because of three beautiful sixty degree days. It’s still February and I needed to be outside to soak up Vitamin D. Today is back to cold, gray and rainy. I will mention that I did not sleep well last night so this might be a struggle. Call me out if something I put in here makes no sense.

Last week I mentioned that I will do a drawing tutorial for anyone interested. Once again, I do not consider myself a teacher. I am the constant student if anything. This is meant to be a means of creativity and stress relief. Listening to a podcast this week I heard of the ever rising incidents of suicide happening. We have to find ways of looking after ourselves especially mentally with all the continuing crazy. So, if you are so inclinded take these lessons and spend about 15-30 minutes a day practicing this week. I will add more lessons to give you more skills. Don’t stress or go perfectionist on me. These are supposed to be fun, not great works of art.

Materials needed: paper (nothing fancy – copy/printer paper, etc.), a pencil (#2, mechanical, whatever you have), an eraser (a good one on the end of the pencil is fine).

Here is our reference picture. I tried to find something simple, but challenging.

  1. LIGHTLY sketch the basic shapes. Notice that my sketch is loose.

2. Now, the trick is to look and really SEE the lines and shapes. Tell your brain to shut up, because it will tell you what it thinks the gravy boat should look like, not what it really looks like. Take your time and see where lines connect. Begin refining the shapes.

3. Keep working on the shapes and lines. Don’t think about what the object is. Right now it is simply lines and shapes that connect. Notice where I erased and moved things a bit. It is good to put your drawing away at the point you are beginning to feel frustrated. Take some time away and then come back with fresh eyes to make corrections. Just some time away will allow you to see the places you need to adjust. Every drawing and every painting I do comes with the frustration stage. It’s normal. You just have to deal with it and work through it.

4. Here is your homework. Yes, homework. Go around your house and find objects to draw. Don’t overthink this. I do suggest keeping it simple to begin with. Now, every day spend 15-30 minutes drawing one of those objects. Anyone and everyone who has taken a beginning art class will tell you that this is standard operating proceedure. Over the years I have filled many, many sketch books with crappy, daily sketches. You know what happens? Just like playing endless scales on a musical instrument, you slowly get better and better at seeing shapes and shadows (we will get to those). Your hand starts working with your eyes instead of your brain and you get into that lovely FLOW phase where the world drops away while you intensely focus on what you are doing.

I am working on pulling together some reference materials you can check out if you decide you want to delve a little deeper and learn from better teachers.

Have a lovely week. Don’t watch too much news. It is truly bad for you.

Faith, Hope, Love, Grace

Christel

Settling into winter

Hi Everyone!

What can I say? 2021 is so far giving 2020 a run for its money in the crazy department. I know we all hoped it would be different even though I think most of us knew it wouldn’t. I waffle between avoiding what’s going on out there and checking frequently on what’s going on out there. Balance, I guess. Not sticking my head in the sand to pretend all is well, but not dwelling on the “what is going to happen next” thoughts.

Now that the holidays are over and school is back in session, I’m once again attempting a schedule and settling into the slower winter pace. The slower pace is about the only thing I really enjoy about winter. It has been wet, cold and gray here most of January so far and it is so depressing. Thank goodness for our fireplaces, candles and soup.

Here are some recent paintings that I am working on. They are not quite done yet, but close. I’m still working on these wood scraps from our barn and probably will be for a while though I’m itching to get my oil paints back out. Unfortunately I do not have a safe place for oil paintings to hang out while they are drying right now.

I seem to be leaning toward birds at the moment. The kayaker is an outlier for me. I usually avoid landscapes, but I saw a lake and an island or mountains in the wood and decided to work with it. I’m finding that the wood picks my subjects sometime. Same thing with with owl. Today I am sanding and staining more wood to prep for next week’s paintings. Hopefully these current paintings will be in my Etsy shop soon. DH is really liking the owl and I’m kinda attached to the rooster. We are already overrun with my artwork now so we can’t keep everything. Some of it needs to go live with other people and hopefully they will enjoy it as well. I finished painting our hallway on Saturday. That is where most of our family photos and some of my artwork will live. Once I sort all that out there may be a big sale and/or a giveaway through Facebook or Instagram. I will keep you posted on that.

Since we all need to stay on top of our mental health these days, I thought I would share a few YouTube channels that I have been binge watching lately.

Streamline Art Video – I just found this one this past week even though it started with the lockdowns and has been posting almost everyday since March. Lots of quality art instruction from established artists. This old dog is learning some new tricks from these videos!

The Last Homely House – Kate may be my long lost sister from another mother. She is amazingly creative in everything she does. She quilts, sews, knits, crafts, cooks, gardens and is a beekeeper. She did a series where she cleaned out all the drawers in her crafting area. Never in my life would I think that would be interesting, but I found myself mesmerized. She tells stories about some items and I found myself trying to decide if I would keep an item right along with her. It helps that she has piles of creative junk like I do and I know the struggle is real.

Arne and Carlos – Even though these guys are knitting designers their channel is not just for knitters. I have enjoyed their “Sit and Knit a Bit with Arne and Carlos” series no matter what I am working on. They are funny, down to earth and seem like super people. They talk about their life and culture in Norway and just life in general. When Covid goes away and I win the lottery I am going to go to one of their workshops on a cruise through Norway.

Please comment if you have any stress relieving suggestions. We can use all we can get these days.

I’m going to wrap this up now. Currently I have DN practicing her flute here in the living room with me and Dear Son and Girlfriend running the vaccum in the back of the house. Concentration is severely limited! I will look back on this one day and think, “Those were fun times back in 2021”. Right now I am developing a headache. Oh, somewhere on here should be a new email address – christel@bloomtownstudio.com I think it is.

Stay safe out there.

Faith, Hope, Love, Grace,

Christel

In my wildest dreams…

Hi Everyone,

I hope you are well and life is calm.  For the next nine days I will be juggling the usual life stuff, last minute paperwork for our closing (it doesn’t end I guess until the ink is on the paper), packing again, arranging utility changes and all the last minute things I haven’t thought of yet, but am suffering anxiety over.  Don’t plan on seeing a post from me for about two weeks.  Next week will be chaos and the next will be spent trying to find things in the chaos.

Every year, to get a discount on our health insurance, we have a wellness evaluation. Now D. and I live pretty healthy lives and don’t worry about this too much, but I usually get tagged for wellness coaching due to what can only be explained as a genetic cholesterol glitch where my LDL is just high enough over my HDL to flag the system. Any way, besides being annoying, I get to talk to a nice nurse three times a year about life.  Last week was my first call. After going over all the questions and talking life, the nurse said something to the effect of, “sounds like your only real health problem is stress”. NOOOOOOOOO, really???

So in my last post I hinted at something that I was working on.  This thing is my latest attempt at some stress management. Twice before in my life I have been in some very serious, super high stress, life stuff that took a toll on my health. This time I have been trying to, if not put myself first, at least put myself close to the top of the list so that I can keep looking after the people I need to look after.  Last week we had to take Dad to the hospital again.  I don’t need to be in the room next to him.

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What am I doing you ask? Remember this picture from my last post.  See the big guy in front? That’s Asher. Asher is my horse.  Now, I never, ever, ever expected to have a horse of my own. When I was a girl and asked my Dad for a horse, I was pretty much told that if we couldn’t eat it then it wasn’t living on our farm.  It’s another whole story to explain that we ALWAYS had cats & dogs that DAD brought home and we didn’t eat them!

Fast forward through about four decades. I had taken every chance I could to ride horses, but over those four decades it averaged out to about one, maybe two, horse back rides PER DECADE.  AND on most of those rides I have been thrown off or run into tree branches in attempts to knock me off or taken very unexpected fast rides uphill / downhill to barns or generally had my wits tested by almost every horse I have ridden. AND I keep getting back on horses.  Seriously, I’m crazy if you haven’t read this blog long enough to figure it out.

 

To add to the crazy, I go and marry a guy who not only loves horses, owns a few, trains them and at one point did endurance competitions that were 50 – 100 miles on horseback. He has some experience with horses.  D. took Asher (then known very unimaginatively as Pinto – he’s a pinto colored horse) as payment for training Cinder (big horse in the back of the picture that we now also own).  D. then proceeds to tell me that Pinto (aka Asher) is my horse.  Nowhere in my adult life have I ever thought I would have my own horse. I cried. I still cry.  I changed Pinto’s name to Asher which means happy & blessed. I still cry.

Asher is a Tennessee Walker. He’s big.  He’s the Alpha male in the herd. He’s curious and never misses a leaf flutter, a deer in the woods or stick crack under his feet. D. says he’s gonna be a cool ride.  In other words, I am totally and completely inept at riding my own horse! So I’m taking lessons.  No, not from D.  I love my husband and want to stay married to him.  We all know that taking lessons from a spouse is not the best way to promote harmony in a marriage.

I have had two lessons so far from a very experienced rider/teacher/stable owner who is close to my age and has the ability to explain in detail what I need to do to stay on and control a horse.  It has taken me out of my comfort zone, taken my mind off the rest of my life and focused me like a Jedi knight trainee.  I wish I could take a lesson every freakin’ day!

Our four horses are at different levels of experience with riders. Two are veterans of the teaching ring, having put up with many students over the years.  They have to endure my clumsy signals for a while yet so I can practice before I start training with Asher.  He’s almost as green as I am.  Stay tuned for more adventures in riding!

My goal is to one day, when it has been “one of those days”, saddle up my Asher and ride off into the sunset…watch it and ride back home.

Go do something that makes your heart pound, your breath catch and grin like the cheshire cat.

Back in a couple of weeks.

 

I was soooo wrong!

Hi Everyone, 

I’m writing this early so life doesn’t get away with all of my time this week. Ok, so I am also stuck at home while we get a new heat pump installed and am limited on just how much I can do here today while the installation is happening. Just fun stuff like laundry and oven cleaning. Anyone else have one of the new stoves with “steam cleaning”? Hate it!  Worthless. Our stove went out during the hurricane last Fall and the big box store couldn’t get in any new appliances so I was stuck having to take a floor model with the “new” “steam cleaning technology”. Glad I only paid the floor model price! Don’t get one unless you plan to let your toddler clean the oven. It’s that safe and useless. 

What was I wrong about, you ask? I was wrong about it taking six months to sell our place. We got an offer last week just a few hours after I posted here.  Yes, in one week we were under contract! Our realtor had said that property always sold fast for her in our area, but I was kinda skeptical. When I told her that I had settled in for a six month ordeal, she told me that she had been getting worried because we hadn’t gotten an offer in the first few days!

It still hasn’t quite hit us, but when it does there will be wide spread panic around here because we have NO PLACE TO LIVE at the moment. We have talked to a couple of people and are waiting to hear back. We have until the end of June to get moved. Yeah, I felt the panic oozing in as I typed that. Those of you who live where we are moving to (they know who they are) please message me if you know of any rentals that will be available June 1st. 

Saturday my uncle passed away and another piece of my heart is gone. He was the life of the party wherever he went and many holidays he graced our table and kept us laughing. Recently I went with my sister and cousins to visit him. We spent about two hours catching up, laughing and maybe choking back some tears. Gosh I’m so glad we had that time with him. He will be dearly missed. Please keep my Dad and his sister in your thoughts and prayers. They are all that is left of a great big, loud, close knit bunch of siblings. Take every opportunity to spend time with your special people. You won’t regret it. 

Well, that darn oven is not going to clean itself (but it SHOULD!) and it has to be shiny and clean by June. Have a great week!! Send boxes and tape please!

A simple escape

Hi Everyone,

How was your week? I have been running behind this week because I escaped last weekend further into the mountains with my two best friends from college. The three of us have over 30 years of history together and do our best to reconnect in person once a year. This year we found ourselves (thanks to the research of the planner member of our threesome) staying in a super cool converted cider house on an apple orchard in Virginia. A few years ago we discussed how we would like to start taking classes when we were away on these trips. Once again our Planner came through and booked us in a class held right on the orchard, walking distance from our Cider House abode. We learned how to graft apple trees. 


D. and I purchased several heirloom apple trees a few years ago, but before we could get a proper fence around them, the ever present and ever hungry deer ate them down to the ground. So much for that investment! Needless to say, I was tickled to take this class for a whopping $12 that included three trees to take home. Since my planner friend (a former science teacher) just wanted the experience and not the trees, I happily paid for her class and got her trees as well. So six different varieties of apple trees currently reside in one of our closets for a couple more weeks (as instructed) then will spend the summer SURROUNDED BY FENCING outside until we plant them this Fall on the new farm site. 

The rest of our weekend was spent catching up on life and eating quantities of junk food that we generally avoid the rest of the year. 

Back to reality this week has included more cleaning out and home repairs and animal maintenance. D. and I are trying to get back into Spring/Summer fitness. The extended daylight hours and warmer temps include many more hours of work. I have been trying to get my bees ready for splitting the colony (hopefully to prevent them swarming) and honey flow. D. has been cleaning up horses and checking their feet. All the mud this winter has been tough on them. Anyway, we are eating better and trying to be more consistent with the vitamins. 


I just finished this painting of my favorite flower. I love the simplicity and determination of the Daisy. Every summer our pasture is covered in them in spite of being regularly trampled by equine and often brightly bloom through drought conditions. Tough, beautiful, cheerful. What’s not to love about them? 


A quick update on my monthly decluttering challenge. I am still running a little behind, but not too far. If I were to count everything that D. has cleaned out of the two barns I would probably be way ahead. Drum roll please. 1,163 items removed from house or storage! There is much more to go but our largest walk in closet can now be walked into instead of burrowed into. All family members have pitched in, if not happily, at least willingly. Today I drag out the summer clothes and we start paring down the winter wardrobes. The majority of the decluttering has been donated, but there has been a good amount that had to go into the trash. Why do broken things stay stuck in corners of cabinets or closets? 

That’s it for this week folks. I have summer clothes to pull out and I promised the chickens a clean coop today. Have a productive week and catch up with some friends!