Obviously I haven’t been here for a couple of weeks. I can only blame a few incidences of family life crazy and some priorities. My attempts at a schedule are in vain.
I have managed some artwork though. I worked on this rooster painting some more and a still life. The rooster will probably make it to completion. I’m not so sure with the still life. I am struggling to “say” things that are in my head with the oil paintings. There seem to be some changes in my work coming. When I have broken through the learning curves I will share those. Right now I am thinking, sketching and learning.
My biggest accomplishment was finishing the portrait of my grandson for my daughter’s 30th birthday present. Drawing family members is stressful. If not blood, there were definitely sweat and tears involved with finishing the little guy.
I also spent a few hours making some Valentine’s Day cards for the shut-ins at church. I had some old ones that had been hanging out for years and then I used some fabric scraps and mixed media experiments to make the others. I forgot to get a picture of it, but I also painted a dinosaur with a valentine for my grandson. Fun stuff.
Hopefully I will get some more items on my shop this week. It’s going to be very Spring like here so the temptation to escape outdoors may be more than I can resist. There is a day or two with rain in the forecast that might give me some computer time.
I have some fruit trees I need to go prune (should have been done a few weeks ago) so I will leave you now.
I am doing a quick check in before 2022 gets away from me. Several times I considered getting a post done here before Christmas, but those of you who know, know I would have only whined the whole time about how much I don’t like Christmas. Folks, I try. I try so hard every year that now it’s beginning to cause me some pretty serious anxiety. It’s Monday morning, December 26th and I already have half my decorations down. I am so over all the extra stuff in my house, the sugar overload (and the extra 5 lbs that goes with it) and the relative that has given away, thrown away, donated or returned every gift I have ever given them. Pretty sure I could give them the winning Power Ball ticket and it still wouldn’t be right. Anyone else have one of those?
Ok, I still slid into whining. Sorry about that. I hope all of you who celebrate Christmas had a wonderful one. I certainly don’t mean to be a Debbie Downer for the whole world. I also hope those of you who have been in the Siberian Polar Vortex path are beginning to thaw out and get to your family gatherings now.
I already have my 2023 planner filled out and ready to go. Even though January and February are bleak, I can at least start getting some seeds planted, the days are getting lighter and I have 6-8 months before I have to start dreading Christmas again.
We have plans to take our niece to see a college she is considering and that will give us a road trip to the mountains. I need to plan a visit to see my daughter and her family AND we have a wedding in the family this year. Ooops, we have two weddings this year. Happy things.
I am planning on finishing the studio, getting an online store going and lots of painting this year. Currently, I have three landscapes in the works. I don’t generally do landscapes, but am trying to work on some new skills. Below is a work in progress. Yes, it’s a little bleak looking too, just like the mud photo at the top. Gray and muddy is the state of being most of the winter here. Snow is rare.
Gotta go. Unfortunately I have to brave the after Christmas shopping crowds so the kid can finish her shopping and spend some of her Christmas money. Prayers would be appreciated. I will check back in next year!
Check it out, I’m on time this week. It has been quite a while since I made my normal schedule. This week has been calmer. Not without it’s crazy, but less crazy.
Along with my normal activities I have been helping DN get ready for a trip next week. That has involved some shopping and getting her a travel Covid test. Now we are to the packing up part. We also still have a donkey with a leg wound that requires DH and me to give him an antibiotic shot every evening. I cannot begin to tell you how much I look forward to that. NOT. Spark Plug the donkey is not happy about the shot or that he is having to stay in the barn 24/7 right now. Donkeys have long memories and ours holds a grudge.
I accidently found a yellow jacket nest with my wheel barrow. I escaped without a sting, but DH and one of the horses got stung. DH had a bad reaction almost immediately. No breathing problems but immediate hives. I gave him Benadryl for the hives and he kinda over reacts to Benadryl too. He slept through the majority of the day. In my opinion a yellow jacket is devil spawn. They are just evil. Luckily DH and the horse only got one sting each. Usually the whole hive will hunt you down. We took care to eradicate those devils last night.
Monday was riding lesson day for DN and me. Remember last week did not go so good for me? Much better lesson this week even though it was still almost 90 degrees. I did not over heat and almost pass out this time. My body and brain began to put back in practice all the little things you are supposed to do on the back of a horse. It’s been about 18 months since I last did any riding. The stable we last took lessons at was primarily English style riding. We are now at a stable that teaches Western riding. Much bouncier. Trust me, my body needs to speed up the muscle memory. Moving the next day is kinda slow. Of course the teenager is just fine the next day. ( Insert eye roll here)
Last week I mentioned that I had entered an art show and I was notified on Tuesday that my piece “Creak No More” was accepted. Woo hoo!! The show starts on July 1st. We have made some more progress on my studio. I now have one installed light fixture. This coming week I hope to finish painting that end of the attic and set up my easel. I will have light to work by! Talk about testing my patience. Where is my darn Fairy Godmother when I need her to wave her wand and get this done? Worthless. Absolutely worthless.
Have a great week. I should be doing a post next week, but it will be a semi-vacation week for me and DH. If I go missing it’s because we are either out having some much needed fun or I’m tackling a big project without teenager interruption.
Hope you are well and all is good in your world. I’m slightly late, but squeezing this in finally.
This past week was the first week of summer for us. DN was officially on her first week of summer vacation because she keeps those grades high and only has excused absenses, thus no final exams to take. She did, however, have to finish the driving portion of driver’s ed. Warning for our neighbors, she gets her permit in about a month and a half.
My week has been filled mainly with gardening, yard work and exciting things like a new crown on a tooth and new glasses. I did manage to find a couple of hours to get some sketches and painting in. Nothing I’m ready to show yet, but it’s a much needed start. I pulled out the supplies and set up again in the guest bedroom. Normally as soon as I do that I can count on guests showing up. Not that I don’t want to see them, but it is sort of like Murphy’s Law. Attic work has not happened this week because of hot, dry weather. In other words, put plants in the ground and water, water, water.
Last weekend we successfully got hay in the barn. Anyone with livestock (or spoiled horses) knows just what a relief that is. I really can’t say “we”, because this year the brunt of the work fell on DH and my brother-in-law. My sister, DN and I pitched in where we could, but we got off easier than most years due to a couple of events.
DH and I had most of our potion of the hay round baled by one of my distant cousins. Much easier on older backs! My sister’s and BIL’s llamas don’t eat as much hay as our spoiled horses. I went by my cousin’s house this week to pay him and wound up spending an hour or so catching up on life with him and his wife. I have found out that catching up with family and old friends has definitely been one of the best things about being back home. It has been very hard to keep up with everyone when you have lived away for over 30 years and only got home for occasional visits to the immediate family. Now I miss seeing and catching up with friends where I lived previously. Hopefully I can start rectifing that soon. In the past couple of years I have lost family members and very dear friends in too fast a succession. When the opportunity presents itself for a visit now, I tell my little pea brain that is poking me with a To Do list to finish to just shut up. Time is short and very few chores won’t wait.
On that note, in a couple of hours we are going to the funeral for the father of two of my childhood friends. I couldn’t tell you how many hours I spent at their home or they at ours. Our parents were close friends and our moms ran a business together for several years. In my mind I have run through many, many good memories made with this family. Of course we all have so many things to do anymore, but dang, time passes so fast. Try to find some time to call someone you have lost touch with or really miss but have been “too busy” to visit. I’m very guilty of being To Do List driven but am trying hard to mend my ways.
Have a wonderful week and go visit someone special.
Yes, I was busy last week getting things ready for a visit from my favorite two year old. At least this time I didn’t have a baby and a puppy to chase.
This week is hay week. The week that everything goes on hold until the hay is safely in the barns. All our neighbors are on the same schedule I noticed as I drove around our end of the county today burning that precious gas. Yes, we live in one of the areas that was hit hard with the gas pipeline shut down. My brother-in-law has twice had to go to the next town and visit 4 gas stations to get enough diesel to run the tractor. Every trip is calculated. I even canceled a doctor appointment this week (just a check up) because it didn’t seem to be a good use of gas right now.
Anyway, I thought I would share some of the pictures from our weekend. Even though they wear me out with that energy, I love a two year old. To see the world through their eyes again is pure joy. Everything is new and exciting. Brayden had to tell the horses good morning and night night every day. He’s still intimidated with the size of them, but enjoyed watching them come into and leave their stalls.
He helped me plant some veggies in the garden, ate wild strawberries until I was afraid he would be sick, blew dandelion seeds every day (I should have one heck of a crop of dandelions next year) and LOVES a tractor. He sat on my lap and we watched my bees go in and out of the hive, visited with the goats and the chickens and guineas. He liked chasing the guineas!
I got to take him to one of my favorite places on earth…the “creek” on our family farm. It’s a natural spring that flows over large rocks and has now officially been played in by 3 generations of our family. Four generations if you count my Dad playing there as a boy, long before he owned the land. I have yet to meet a two year old (or any kid) that can resist splashing and throwing stones in water. When he’s older we will see if he can be still long enough to look for minnows and crawdads.
You watch your kids and grandkids to see if any of your DNA is visible in their looks, mannerisms and personality. Time will tell on most things, but I discovered that my love of ice cream made the genetic cut. I mentioned getting some ice cream and the boy about lost his mind. I have always felt the same about ice cream. Ten years from now when he’s at that disgruntled middle school age, I bet I will still be able to cheer him up and see that mischevious grin when I mention ice cream.
If you have any two year olds in your life, don’t plop them down in front of a TV or computer game. Take them outside for a walk. I garantee you will see things you haven’t seen for decades and remember just how cool life in the wild is. Just sit with a two year old and watch ants working away or blow some dandelion seeds to watch them float away and see just how amazing it all is again when you see the smile and hear the squeal.
Yes, I went MIA last week. I believe I mentioned that we would be keeping one of our grandkids over the weekend. What I did not know until Thursday (when I normally write my posts) is that their new puppy would be coming along too. Now, I can usually juggle normal chores with a baby, but a baby and a puppy is a whole different thing. Add to the list that the puppy has some health issues and requires medication and baby + puppy = full time job. So last Thursday I went into high gear to finish any major projects/chores before Friday evening.
Even with DH and DN to help out, we had our hands full because the puppy kept us up several hours Friday night. Saturday we were exhausted all day but you can’t rest much with a baby and a puppy. Luckily both got a nap or two in. The baby was easy peasy the whole weekend. She was just the normal active 9 month old cruising the furniture and crawling around. The puppy on the other hand was cruising around trying to find more things to get into than the baby. He especially seemed to like chewing on our kitchen cabinet pulls! If you have ever had a baby/toddler and/or a puppy you know that if you can’t see them or hear them then you better be finding them ASAP!
Saturday night was slightly better. DH and I were out walking puppy and our dog at 3:30 am, but we got some sleep. Sunday night there were three people and one old dog that slept like the dead after baby and puppy left. Our dog, Odie, was a trooper the whole weekend. He tolerated the baby pulling his ears and poking her fingers up his nose and the puppy not only sat down on him, but took his bed part of the time. Odie just gave me a look that said “I didn’t sign up for this!”.
This week I am in gardening mode, attic work and beekeeping. I really think the months between April – October I need to call this blog “Bees, Babies and Blooms”. That pretty much covers most of what I am doing instead of artwork. I have a list I am trying to get to, but it’s a challenge right now. Next weekend we have another grandkid coming to stay so if I’m MIA next week then you know why.
The photos are of many of the lovely blooms happening here. We have spent almost a year and a half of uncovering flower beds and shrubs and trees from layers and layers of ivy (poison and English!), honeysuckle, and wild grapevines. Under all these vines have been so many lovely plants and flowers. This Spring has been more surprising than last Spring as we have uncovered more irises, lilies and old roses. We still have more to go and I have lots of thinning to do because these plants are so excited to see daylight again that they are bursting at the seams in places.
Have a great week and I plan to be back next week, but you know…babies, blooms and bees are happening here.
I hope all is well with you and yours this week. Anyone else sick of winter yet? Here in North Carolina we had one of those Spring teaser days this week. I spent the entire day outside working on projects. It was a glorious 60 degrees with sunshine and too good to waste inside. No regrets for thowing all my indoor projects aside. We are back to grey and gloomy with impending rain now. Typical February weather for us and extremely depressing.
Today I started on the fox painting above. In case any of you wonder how and why I pick my subjects, they are almost completely random right now. I have many personal photos that sometimes become paintings, but in the case of the fox, I used a website called Paint My Photo. Photographers upload their photographs and give permission for artists to use them as reference material. I have several files of images that I like saved and when I need a subject I just go and look through them until one them says, “paint me, paint me!”
Eventually I plan on doing more series and maybe have some deeper thoughts added in, but for now, under my current situation, I just paint random things that make my heart sing a little. I am drawn to the non-human creatures. You get direct and honest feedback from animals as long as you learn their language. Laid back ears on a horse, a donkey or a llama is a warning that they are not happy. A certain twitch of a tail will tell you the same thing about a cat.
I will digress a moment and tell you a quick story. Our horse Cinder is an absolute sweetie and everyone who meets him loves him, BUT he quickly gets bored and finds mischief. Day before yesterday I watched him pester our horse, Asher. Asher is the Alpha here and was trying to nap, but Cinder wouldn’t let him. Everytime Asher dosed off, Cinder poked him with his nose or nipped at him. Asher finally got fed up and chased him off. I thought that was the end of it.
Yesterday morning I was walking the dog before dawn and noticed Cinder standing in the pasture alone while the other equine were in a group by the barn. I told DH that it looked like Cinder had been excommunicated. He said, “funny you should mention that, something happened between Asher and Cinder last night after feeding.” He went on to explain that when he let them out of their stalls after their supper there was no usual calm strolling out of the barn. Instead Asher immediately threw his head (dominate posturing) and chased Cinder out of the barn, nipping at his rear.
It seems that Cinder’s antics had gotten on everyone’s last nerve and he was temporarily kicked out of the heard for a day. I was in the barn last night for feeding and Cinder wouldn’t even come into the barn. He’s usually the first one in. It took some persuading on DH’s part to herd Cinder into his stall and those big, brown eyes were very sad and confused. Things seem to be better today. Like I said, animals keep it honest and direct. Cinder will probably behave better now…for a while anyway.
Now back to the fox. I’m painting this fox today and I kept getting a glare from the overhead light on my reference photo. Then I couldn’t get my canvas to stay still. Did I mention that I’m now painting on our guest bed? Only slightly better than trying to paint on my lap in the living room. I can only use acrylics right now because I have no where to let paintings dry if I use oils. I have a love/hate relationship with acrylics and after using oils this summer I am finding the fast drying time of acrylics very irritating. All those feathers and fur I’ve been painting lately would probably be easier with oils.
I am SO ready to get to work in my attic. I daydream of having my easel set up ALL THE TIME. Lighting that I can control. Tables I can leave my mess on and not have to clean up to eat dinner or have a guest over. Supplies that I know where they are and not have to hunt through a dozen mystery boxes.
“When will your attic be done?” you ask. I have no idea. This is where we are right now. I started priming the drywall last week, but I haven’t quite finished and I can’t set up my easel until that overhead piece goes in, then the lighting. It’s a little bit of torture having to work one bit at a time. No, it’s a lot of torture. I have the vision, but we are no where near it yet. Sigh.
I am not going to stop doing what I’m doing. It’s taken me a lifetime to squeeze out the small amount of time I have right now to do this. I ain’t gettin’ any younger here! I will admit though that this is the most impatient I have been over something, maybe ever. You might want to say a prayer or two for DH. He has to live with me.
Yes, I missed last week. No super excuse other than I was still digging out of boxes and we were getting ready for a cold spell. New Readers, my long time readers will tell you that this is my whining season. I am not cold tolerant. You have been warned.
I did spend Halloween with my favorite grandson. It was a quick (if you consider 4.5 hours quick) drive down, spent the night and back on the road the next day. We have an annual family get together and of course it was that Saturday. Anyway, my daughter’s neighborhood goes all out for Halloween and we had a great time teaching Buzz how to score some candy. He figured it out in the end, but got Goldfish crackers instead of candy. He’s a work in progress.
Our family chicken stew (for more info on that very local pot of glory go back into the October archives) was fun and relaxing thanks to one very beautiful Fall day. Perfect for eating outside and catching up by the fire pit. It was nice to have the new place come with a ready made fire pit!
This week has been COLD, COLD, COLD by Southern standards. Lows in the 20’s don’t normally hit us until January and February. So D. and I had to spend last week getting the four leggers situated for the cold. We also got our FOUR chimney flues inspected and luckily one was clean enough to start using. The rest are getting cleaned this coming week. We are wood burning folk. No gas logs for us. Thus chimneys must be cleaned every few years.
We also found out that our frost free outdoor faucet is NOT frost free. The dang thing froze up. Hauling water from the bathtub all the way to the barn in a five gallon bucket is not my idea of winter fun on a 20 degree morning. Then there is the fun of waiting for the water hose to thaw so you can fill the water trough or breaking the ice on the water trough. Yes, I’m officially winter whining. Eventually there will be a water line to the barn, but it’s a toss up on whether that happens first or the automatic gate opener. Getting in and out of the car in the cold and rain is not fun either. Whine #2.
The good news is that most of the boxes are out of the dining room…again…for the third time. Yes, it has been filled three times and three times I have opened and sorted all those boxes. Some just went upstairs (more on that to come). Now I just have to tackle the ones in the sunroom and pack house. Lordy.
More good new…I FOUND MY ART SUPPLIES!!. They have been packed up since January I think. I made a makeshift studio in the newly cleaned out dining room. Here is a photo of the future official studio. Ain’t it purty!? Ok, so not yet. Imagine white bead board walls and built in shelves. That’s where we are heading…after the horses have stalls built in the barn. Yes, I rank below the horses. I can’t say much because the pups got this cushy new bed while our bed springs and mattress are on the floor until I get our room remodeled and buy a new bed. The last one broke in the first move of the year.
That’s the news from Lake Wobegone. Oh, wait. Wrong place, but almost as cold. Have a great week and stay warm!
I hope you are well and for those that had the snow bomb dropped on them, I hope you have shoveled your way out. In a few hours I am going to attempt freedom with my little car.
We survived the storm pretty well. I suspect we ended with 16-18 inches of snow, but we had so much wind that it was hard to tell. Some flat areas had 11 inches but we also had drifts that were 24+ inches. Higher than the tops of my tall rubber boots. Great fun when walking the dogs. Not! The power stayed on and we were cozy and well fed. Maybe too well fed with all the snowmaggedon goodies I had made.
The animals were some comic relief. D. left the horses and donkey in the barn Saturday night so they would be out of the worst of the storm. Midday on Sunday he let them out so he could clean and restock their food and hay. I was watching as they came from behind the barn, trotting through the snow, tossing their manes. Then they stopped, looked around, looked at each other, then turned in unison and trotted back to the barn.
The chickens were just as bad or worse. D. opened their house door when he let the horses out. Five hens poked their heads out the door and refused to come out…FOR THREE DAYS! They would make a quick run for water and the bread crumbs that I tried to bribe them out with, then hightail it right back in the house. The only creature around here that doesn’t seem to have an issue with snow is fat Sweetie Pie. She put on her winter blubber last month and has been happily playing in the snow. Sweetie Pie loves her life in every season.
Sunday was the perfect snow day. With careful planning we only had to take care of the animals, then we were free to read, sleep, watch TV, eat, while staying cozy next to the wood stove. It was wonderful! Monday we knew school would be out but there were daily chores to do and D. got the truck out and went to work. I had time to start a new drawing. Tuesday, no school, chores, food is getting low. Wednesday, no school, Danny’s day off but Miss L. and I were getting cabin fever so we required a trip to the Dollar General to see other human beings. Today, Thursday, NO SCHOOL. Miss L. is running out of reading material and I’m running out of ways to keep her busy. We are getting my car out today if I have to hitch it to a horse!
Oh yeah, all that lovely snow is slowly turning to MUD. Lots and lots of mud. Muddy horses and donkey. Muddy dog prints and boot prints on the floor. Constant mopping. Soon there will be muddy chickens. Sweetie Pie is the only one who manages to stay pristine. Rain starts tomorrow. The mud will last until about July.
So next week begins the influx of family for Christmas. If you don’t hear from me it’s because I’m cooking and cleaning like a wild woman so I can have some quality time with my kids while they are here. Let’s just say there is a good chance I won’t be back until the first week of January 2019!
Stay safe, warm and have a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year!
Hope you are well. I’m moving slow today. Last night was another one of THOSE nights where I slept fine at the beginning, was awake in the middle, fell asleep again just in time to have to get up and start my day. Ugh. I’m beginning to think my sleep may be affected by incoming weather fronts just like my sinuses. A dull sinus headache started during the sleepless hours and I know there is a big winter weather front heading our way. I should come up with some sort of weather and moon chart to track this stuff. I will add that to my next lifetime To Do list. It’s not very likely to make it on this one.
This week has been focused on that big weather event heading our way. Lots of wood gathering and splitting (D. and Miss L. handle most of that) for heat and possible power outage. We all have been taking steps to make sure the animals have warm places and unfrozen water. I have been making sure to keep plenty of sugar water out for the bees so they can get through what’s coming. I have the hives insulated for the storm and the 11 degree night on Monday. They won’t be showing up in Better Homes & Gardens but it’s done. The chickens will either be getting a complete coop clean out or a new layer of bedding depending on my time and energy. They have finally begun to pull out of molting season and need some extra nutrition. If you have never seen chickens during molting, just imagine semi naked hens and feathers everywhere. Not a chicken’s most handsome time of the year.
I have also been planning winter condition meals. Food that can be heated on our wood stove should the power go out. There will be a big pot of veggie soup ready and I thought some oatmeal dark chocolate chip cookies would be in order as well. Personally I LOVE a good snow day (no more than two though) where, after the animals are taken care of, there isn’t much to be done except settle in with a good book, hot chocolate (I made some of that too) and cookies. Fabulous!
Most of the Christmas shopping is done and I plan to wrap gifts this weekend. I’m starting on a certain baby shower plan as well and that is on the weekend To Do list. I have not been showing any artwork lately, but I am getting some done. There is some experimenting going on and that is an awkward stage sort of like adolescence so I’m kind of embarrassed to throw it out in the world yet. Hopefully something more refined will begin to show up soon and then I will add them back into these posts.
If you have been reading here for awhile you might remember that back in May I made it a goal to start fixing some much loved and often used items. Anyway, to finally update you on my progress, I have fixed the stone necklace in the first post, repaired a necklace that my bonus daughter brought me back from Italy that had a broken clasp, cleaned out a pile of old jewelry and replaced some buttons on several garments. After a few decades of being missing, my charm bracelet from high school reappeared. Since it went missing before I could add many charms to it, I am slowly adding some now as I find bits and pieces that hold memories for me such as one of the earrings I wore when D. and I got married. The other was lost and the survivor was just hanging out in my jewelry box.
Two major practical fixes happened this week. The binder of Favorite Recipes finally got reorganized! Years ago I got tired of trying to remember what cookbook those favorite recipes resided in and started writing them down or cutting and pasting them into a binder. The binder has been a hot mess for several years and it was beginning to take me almost as long to find them in the binder as it did in the cookbooks. Thanks to winter (I’m trying to be positive about this season) I have a couple of unclaimed hours most evenings right now and made use of one of them to fix the binder. Eventually I plan to make a nice cover for it, but for now it is reorganized and no longer stressing me out.
My other major fix was my fallen apart and out of control password book. Yes, I write them down. My memory cannot hold them and yes, I realize that if the book falls into the wrong hands our life will be a total mess for a long time. It’s either waste hours of my time trying to figure out passwords or put them in a book. I do not trust online password storage so don’t even mention it. I have a few hiding places that even the most determined robber would have to be very brave to enter. So, I am almost finished with categorizing the current passwords and eliminating the defunct ones. I am feeling very accomplished and organized right now!
So yours truly has been a busy girl. Next week I will update you on our first winter snow and how we all fared.
Stay safe and warm out there. Fix a few things then give yourself a big pat on the back!