Good Monday Morning From Bedlam Farm 10/24/16

October 24th, 2016

The Root Cellar

October 23rd, 2016


Our root cellar

Our root cellar with the bushels and bags of dahlia blubs

I’ve been in a lot of old houses, but I’ve never seen a root cellar in such original condition as the one in our house.   I think because Florence, who lived in the house for 80 years till she was 104 years old, used it until the last years of her life.  When we looked at the house before we bought it, it still had some preserves in ball jars on the old gray painted shelves.

There’s two  thermometers on the wall that always read 50 degrees.  One, a tiny glass tube about 2 inches long surrounded by metal and a newer, bigger plastic one.   Above them is a bare bulb with a pull chain.

The door to the Root Cellar is made from two pieces of hand planed wood, one of them 20 inches wide.   The walls are white washed plaster and there’s bars on the windows  (you can’t see the bars in this photo because of the sunlight).

At some point, probably Florence’s husband Harold, laid a slate and cement floor.  Maybe at the same time he put the electric in.

Jon and I  use the root cellar to store the dahlia bulbs and our fig tree  for the winter.  We keep metal garbage cans  there with extra bags of dog and cat food. All our paper files from the past 6 or 7 years sit on the shelves in cardboard boxes.

I don’t go there a lot, but when I do I always image what it must have looked like with its selves full of ball jars, bushels of apples and potatoes on the floor.   As I press my thumb on the old worn latch and push open the door I can almost see the blue jars glowing in the sunlight, that comes in from the small windows over head.  I imagine that having  all those shelves full of food is like having a woodshed full of wood and a barn full of hay.  A sense of security, survival for a season.

Someday I want to clean up the root cellar.  Sweep the floor and wash down the shelves.     I want to take care of it and preserve it just as it is now.  I can’t see myself ever using it for anything more than I already am.  But I think that maybe the next people who move into the house will appreciate in a way I can’t.    Maybe they’ll want to grow and can their own food and the root cellar will be one of the reasons they want to live here.

Digging Dahlia’s At Bedlam Farm

October 23rd, 2016

Skirt Wool When The Sun Shines

October 21st, 2016
Liam's wool

Liam’s wool

I’ve learned that skirting wool in the cold isn’t fun.  So this morning, when I went outside to feed the animals  and it was too warm for my sweatshirt, I decided it was a good morning to skirt my wool.

I’m working at the Cambridge Co-op this afternoon, which gives me just enough time to get all the wool done.

It was windy, but warm and I set up my plastic bags, one for the good wool and one for the junk, laid down a sheet on the grass and one bag at time, emptied the wool from my sheep onto the ground.   Then began picking through it, pulling out the twigs and leaves and burrs and feces.

Jon and I thought it would make a good video, I usually write twice a year about skirting wool, but we’ve never done a video before.   You can see it on the side bar of my blog (just to the right of this post) or  here.

Whenever I skirt wool, the animals come around.  Flo tries to sit on my lap, Fate gobbles up as much wool as she can before we can stop her and Fanny, Lulu and Chloe hang around the fence.  Minnie usually shows up too and Red sits next to Jon when he helps.

We have the wool from the Romney’s this year.  Lots of it was matted and so dirty it was unusable.  But I still got two bags from Griselle and Biddy.

We didn’t get all the sheep shorn, some of their wool was too short.   But I’m going to mix Suzy’s gray wool with Biddy’s.  And Liam and Kim’s white wool with Rosemary’s.

I’m curious to see what color Izzy and Griselle’s wool is.  And to see how they all turn out.  It’s the first time I’m mixing wool.  I’ve been told by my spinner friends that it makes for nice strong and soft wool.

We’ll probably bring the wool to Deb at the Vermont Fiber Mill next weekend.  And we’ll get it back in the spring.  I can’t wait!


“Rain Quilt” The Tradition of Diversity

October 20th, 2016



My Rain Quilt gave me a hard time.  It looked a lot different when I went into my studio this morning.  There were flowered pieces of fabric on either side of the dark blue.  I really like the way they looked.  They worked in the way that when I looked at them I knew they were right.

But the quilt needed more and I couldn’t figure out  to do after that.

So I tore off the two strips of flowered fabric and added the red.

I looked at it wondering what I had done.  I can’t remember the last time I used so much blue in a quilt.  And I was intentionally trying not to use red because I didn’t want to go in the direction of red, white and blue.

But there it was.  Yeah, maybe it’s mixed up with a bunch of other colors, but it said “flag” to me now no matter how I looked at it.

I gave into it.  Acknowledging that the election is there in my mind and my heart and now in my quilt.

Not sure what  to do next, I wanted to keep it moving.  That play of darks and lights and brights moving in and out.

When I laid down the black and brown fabric next to the red, it all came together.  It picked up on the blue and orange border around the triangle quilt pieces.  And when I didn’t have enough of it to go around the whole quilt I found pieces of fabric with similar colors.

And then  I found the elephant.

A little hard to see in the top photo, it’s in the bottom left corner, made up of all the colors in the quilt.

Detail of the Elephant

Detail of the Elephant

There is fabric in this quilt from the United States, the Philippines and Africa (that I know of) . I didn’t set  out to make a quilt about anything in particular. But now that it’s done  I see the coming together of the tradition of diversity.  Which to me, is what our country has always been about.

I still have to back and tack Rain Quilt, but I think it may be sold.  If not, I’ll be sure to let you all know when it’s done.

Cathy Wearing Her Vintage Hankie Scarf

October 20th, 2016
Cathy wearing her Vintage Hankie Scarf

Cathy wearing her Vintage Hankie Scarf

Cathy sent me this photo of her wearing the Vintage Hankie Scarf she bought from me.   It’s called Violets, because a few of the hankies have violets on them.

Cathy told me she always gets compliments when she wears it.  What more could I ask for?

I’m so glad she sent me this beautiful picture of her and let me know.

Bedlam Farm Open House Online Clearance Art Sale, Almost Sold Out

October 19th, 2016

“When do you want to make another video?” Jon asked me this morning.    I’ve gotten used to Jon asking me this question since we started doing video’s during the Open House to sell art.

I think it’s just my nature to be a little reluctant whenever  I’m asked to do  something.  I like to consider things, not rush into them.  But Jon’s the kind of person who throws new idea’s out into the world as soon as he thinks them.  He lets the idea live or die without him.

His question got my brain going and I thought of the few items I still had from the Open House.  They’d be perfect to sell on a video.

Jon thinks the videos are fun to watch even if you don’t want to buy anything.  Maybe that’s true, you can decide for yourself.  You do get to watch me stumble over my words more than once.   There’s nothing rehearsed about our videos, they’re pretty raw.

But if you do watch the video and  see something you want to buy, or have any questions about what you see, you can email me at

Everything in the video is 10% off.  And there’s shipping to be added on to each sale.

Here’s a list of what I have in the video and prices:

Vintage Hankie Scarf  Originally $45  with discount $40.00 + $7 shipping. Sold

Bedlam Farm Goddess Tote Bag, Originally $48 with discount $43.00 + $8 shipping. Sold

Chloe Kisses Potholder , Originally $25  with discount $22.00 + $5 shipping. Sold

Intuitive Patchwork Potholders , Originally $15 with discount $13 + $5 shipping  Sold

Liam’s Roving,  8oz bump,  originally $25 with discount $22 with $10 shipping Sold

Elizabeth’s Tallow Balm, originally $16 with discount $14.40 + $5 shipping  Only 2 left



Meeting Becca Addy

October 19th, 2016


Mike and Becca at the farm

Becca  and Mike at  Bedlam Farm

“How long have we known each other Becca?”  We sat in the chairs in the back yard.  It was the first time Becca and I met each other in person, but it didn’t feel that way.

Becca was one of my first customers, she still buys my art.  It’s been about six or seven years now.

Because Becca started a blog a few years ago, I’ve been able to get to know her in ways I wouldn’t have with someone who is mostly a customer.  Today she reminded me I encouraged her to start a blog, something I forgot.  And I know I can encourage all I want, but ultimately, it’s up to the person to do it or not.  And Becca does it.

I got to see Becca’s life evolve.  The story of how she got divorced, lost almost everything she owned in a house fire, worked two jobs one she loved and one, not so much.

Today she came to the farm with her fiance Mike and told me her plans to retire from the job she no longer wants and how she’s getting ready  to work full-time with animals.

I’ve watched Becca’s photography evolve too.  She’s been doing it for years and it gets better all the time.   I witnessed it change noticeably when she found love.

There’s nothing like love to open us up creatively.

I said to Becca the same thing so many people have said to me when they meet me for the first time.  “I feel like I know you”.

And I think I do know Becca.  Not in the way I know my friends who I see every week.  But through her writings and photos and the scarce email’s we exchange. And I know her story,  about coming out of a dark place, finding love and making a better life for herself.  I know it because it’s my story too.

It wasn’t by chance that Becca’s life changed.  She decided she wanted something different and she worked hard to get it.  I admire that.  I admire her.  And finally I got to meet her in person.

You can see some of Becca’s beautiful photos and read her story here on her blog Becca’s Event Horizon.

Minnie and The Hens Having Breakfast

October 19th, 2016


I guess I  put some good leftovers out for the hens this morning because they were all very interested in it.  Including our cat Minnie, who often shares breakfast and dinner with the hens.

And as you can see, Brown Hen is growing her feathers back after a few weeks of molting.  She’s looking pretty good again.

Starting Rain Quilt

October 18th, 2016


I’m calling it my Rain Quilt, because the quilt I cut apart (in the picture above) to make my new quilt from,   hung on the gate outside my studio for over a week.   It got soaked in the rain, dryed off in the wind and sun.  Got wet and dryed off again and again.

Jack, from Jack’s Out Back,  the antique shope and gallery in town, gave me the quilt.  He’ll do that sometimes when he comes across some fabric that no one wants.  He offers it to me for free.  He hates to see anything old get thrown out.

Most of the small triangles are polyester, not something people want in a quilt anymore.  So I decided to cut out the cotton triangles and sew them all back together.  A good way to get going again in the studio, because it really began as busy work.  Cutting and randomly sewing the small pieces together.

As I cut the quilt apart, I got to know better the large, looping hand stitches used to hold it all together.  Many of them were visible on the top of the quilt.  It made me think that someone very young or very old made the quilt.

An act of love and necessity, as so many quilts are.

The polyester held its color better than the cotton.  The triangles I used are mostly faded, but not worn out to the point where they would rip easily, as so many older fabric will do.

I started cutting and sewing yesterday afternoon.  Then today I got more done.  It’s slow going. But by the end of the day I was happy with I have so far.

Here’s some photos of the process…