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When I Wasn’t Nice. No More Surrender.

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

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When my ex-husband and I were coming to the end of our marriage, he accused me of not being nice anymore.  I understood that this meant I had stopped subjugating myself to him. I had stopped surrendering.

This tactic worked in the past, it was a matter of survival for me, as it is and has been for so many women.We learned how to manipulate men, because that was the only way we could have any power at all.

Until now.

As a matter of fact I learned to submit to it early in life.  Of course I wanted to be nice.  As a girl I was taught that’s what boys and men like in girls. And demand.

I can remember my older brother doing something like taking my doll and strangling it, or taunting me about the way I looked.

When I tried to get  back  what was mine or defend myself, he would turn all sweet and act like he was hurt.  “You’re being mean to me,” he’d say and act sad.

And I fell for it every time.

I didn’t want to be mean.  I wanted to be nice.  Even if it was at my expense. That was what I had been taught, what was demanded of me, especially from my father. Who was not, I noticed, nice to women.

The men didn’t have to be nice. I did.

So when I watched the Debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and Trump started whining that the campaign ads that  Clinton was running weren’t nice,  I felt my blood rise.

At the moment it happened, I didn’t understand my physical reaction, but reading about the debate afterwards and thinking about it, I now understand. It got very personal, for me as well as Hillary Clinton.

Can you imagine if one of the Republican Candidates that Trump debated in the primaries stood on stage and whined that Donald Trump wasn’t being nice to them?

Talk about a double standard.

The thing is Trump expects that kind of thing to work for him because  Hillary Clinton is a woman.  He expects her to feel bad about not being nice to him, because that’s what his experience with women has been.  In my experience, it’s what many men believe.

And that’s why Trump sees nothing wrong with saying it. To him, it’s just the way the world works.

My heart is pounding as I’m writing this.  Because since the debate I’m seeing that the misogyny that I experienced growing up in my home is so wide-spread and accepted that a presidential candidate in 2016 doesn’t know that it’s not okay to call a woman  fat, pig, dog, slob.

I used to think the problem was me, there must have been something wrong with me. I don’t feel that way any longer.

Donald Trump doesn’t know there’s anything wrong with  calling  former Miss Universe Alicia Machado ,” Miss Piggy.” And that there’s anything wrong with the  idea that her gaining weight is a problem for him, which gives him the right to subject her to being publicly humiliated and harassed.

I grew up hearing my father call women the same names Donald Trump calls women.  And I’m not blind to sexism.  I see it all the time through out my whole life in the way that only someone who is subjected to it can see it.  Some sexism is so subtle, and has become such an expected part of my life that  I don’t even notice or take exception to it.

In the article   Hillary Clinton Will Not Be Manturrupted  by Jessica Bennett,  Bennett spoke of how men and boys are  regularly talking over women and girls and interrupting them  (Trump constantly interrupted Clinton in the debate).

Because of  Bennett,  the word  “manturrupting”,  which defines this phenomenon, is now a part of our vocabulary.   The article claims that women are less likely to speak up, to be heard and often have their idea taken away from them by men.  ( Zelda Fitzgerald,  Robert Lewis Stevenson’s wife, Fanny Stevenson and Vera Nabokov  are the first to come to mind).

This hit me hard, because this is about a persons voice or loss of it.   And as someone who only recently found her voice, I know how important it is.

I don’t think I understood how prevalent this idea of manturrupting was until reading this article and seeing it occur in the debate.  I always took it personally, like there was something wrong with me for not speaking up.

Now I see there’s something wrong with a society, where this is accepted.

The idea of the first woman president in not lost on me.  I get choked up every time I think of it.  I hear a lot of younger women saying it doesn’t really matter to them.  And a part of me thinks that’s good.  It means they didn’t grow up with the sexism women of my generation did.

But there’s still so much sexism that goes on in this country and much of it is  just under the surface.  So we may not even understand what’s really happening until someone gives it a word.  Like manterrupting.

I guess the good thing to come out of Donald Trump being a blatant and unapologetic misogynist is that it puts it all out in the open.  We get to see how many Americans, both male and female feel the way he does.  And we get to witness and explore the more subtle aspects of sexism through his interactions with Hillary Clinton.

I can’t wait to vote for Hillary Clinton, who I’m beginning to see as the Crone Archetype.

In our time The Crone is  known as a repulsive, older woman, a witch to be  ostracized from society.

Traditionally, she is the wise and powerful postmenopausal woman.  Both feared and loved and “ever ready to rekindle the inner fire of your creative souls.”  As you can see, she’s already doing that for me.


Bedlam Farm Wool For Sale

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016
Deb, Pumpkin, Kim, Suzy, Liam, Socks

Deb, Pumpkin, Kim, Suzy, Liam, Socks

We picked up my wool from Deb at Vermont Fiber Mill on Sunday.  And now it’s for sale.

Each skein is 200 yards and is $25 + $6 shipping for 1,  $8 shipping for 2-4 and $10 shipping for 5-10.  All the wool is Worsted except for Suzy’s which is DK.

I also have 8oz bumps from Liam and Zelda.

If you’d like to buy some Bedlam Farm Wool please let me know whose wool you want and how many skeins.  Also let me know if you want to pay by check or paypal.  You can email me here at

Here’s what I have available in the order as shown in  the photo above:

9 skeins 3 ply worsted 200 yards each

Deb was our sheep who died this year.   She was Ma’s lamb.  She was a Border Leicester/Cheviot mix.  Her white wool has a yellowish cast to it.

 11 skeins of 3 ply worsted 200 yards each

Pumpkin is Socks’ lamb.  He’s a Border Leicester/Cheviot mix.   His wool is a soft brown.

6 skeins of 3 ply worsted 200 yards each

Kim is a Karakul.   Not a pure white her wool is a pale ecru in color.

Suzy:  Sold Out
12 skeins of 3 ply DK 200 yards each

Suzy is a Border Leicester.   Her wool is a light gray.

5 skeins 3 ply worsted 200 yards each

Liam is a Border Leicester/ Cheviot mix.  He’s Suzy’s lamb and his wool is close to Kim’s ecru in color.

2 skeins 3 ply worsted 200 yards each

Socks is a Border Leicester.  Her wool is rich dark brown.

I also have bumps from Zelda and Liam.   They are 8 oz each and $25 + $10 shipping.

I have 2 from Zelda and 2 from Liam.   Sold Out

I put a couple of skeins of wool aside from each sheep to sell at the Bedlam Farm Open House on October 8th and 9th.

Liam and Zelda's Bumps

Liam and Zelda’s Bumps







Gloria Houlne’s Glass Block Paintings at the Bedlam Farm Open House

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016
Gloria Houle

Gloria Houlne’s Painted Glass Blocks

When Gloria Houlne found 60 Glass blocks at a construction site she gathered them up and brought them home.  Always curious about experimenting with new materials and mediums, she decided  to paint on them.

Sometimes cathartic, sometimes meditative and often, simply a joyful expression, the recycled glass blocks became both painting and sculpture.  They change with the light that passes through them satisfying Gloria’s interest in the spiritual quality of color and their vibrations in a new way.

I first saw Gloria’s paintings on board  which have an aboriginal feeling to them.  Patterns created with many individual shapes and colors reminiscent of both weavings and microscopic images.  They undulate and flow, creating their own  abstract worlds.

“Mostly,” she wrote to me ” it is just a pure spiritual experience where I reach into the well of creation and what comes out is a collaboration between myself and source inspiration.”

I’ll have Gloria’s Glass Blocks and some of her original designs and note cards in my School House Gallery at the Bedlam Farm Open House, October 8th and 9th.   I love introducing some abstract work into the mix of realism and functional art.

To see all the varieties of Gloria’s work click here.

Gloria Houlne

 By Gloria Houlne


Morning Grazing at Bedlam Farm

Monday, September 26th, 2016


Rosemary, Grazelle and Izzy

Monday, September 26th, 2016



Good Monday Morning From Bedlam Farm 9/26/16. A Year Of Monday Morning Videos

Monday, September 26th, 2016

When I started doing my Monday Morning Video’s a year ago, I wondered if I’d be able to keep it up for a whole year.  Now I can’t imagine not doing them.

It’s partly because of the very positive response I’ve gotten from them from so many of you.  And partly because they’ve just become a part of my life.

I remember thinking how much they would change with the seasons, but last winter was so mild the differences from season to season were subtle.  I keep hearing this winter will be a cold and snowy one.  And I keep thinking how good it will be for my videos.

You can see how they’ve entered my life and I hope they’ve entered yours  in a good way too.

So thanks for watching and Good Monday Morning From Bedlam Farm.

Jane McMillan’s New Chicken Pincushions At The Bedlam Farm Open House

Sunday, September 25th, 2016
Jane McMillan's Chicken Pincushions.

Jane McMillan’s Chicken Pincushions

Jane’s new Chicken Pincushions look like they walked off an animated film.  Each with its unique personality.   These girls will feel right at home on Bedlam Farm.  And I have a feeling they won’t be in my School House Gallery for long,  but finding their way to new homes.


And if you’re looking for something a little more subdued, there’s Jane’s Two-Tone Wool Pincushions. Each has a special button on the top.  I bought one of these a few years ago (and you know it gets a lot of use) and it still looks brand new.

Each one is stuffed with crushed walnut shells to keep your needles sharp.


These are Jane’s Biscounu (“the ones that look like biscuits”) and Pennyrug Pincushions.  I told Jane I always get hungry looking at her pincushions.  They look good enough to eat.


I’ve always seen Jane’s work as soft sculpture.  You don’t have to sew to want to have them around.  Jane’s Flower Pot Pincushions are the only ones not stuffed with crushed walnut shells.  They are little miracles  that remind me during the cold dark winter that soon the gardens will be filled with flowers again.  Jane’s flower Pot Pincushions range in size from about 4 inches to about 1 1/2 inches.

And I don’t have a photo of them, but I’ll also have some of Jane’s traditional Fruit Pincushions.  Lemons, oranges and  plums.  And some of the needle books too.

You can see more of Jane’s work on her blog Little House Home Arts.  And it’s not just pincushions.    Although Jane works a lot with felted wool, she’s also a quilter, along with many other talents  (One being canning. Her peaches and pickles are delicious) and a writer.    Jane’s blog  is thoughtful, funny, instructive and very real.  Click here to visit  Jane at Little House Home Arts.

And if you can’t make it to the Bedlam Farm Open House,  this October 8th and 9th, you can buy Jane’s work on her ETSY site.  Click here to see what else Jane has for sale.

From Sheep To Wool To Gloves and Shawls

Sunday, September 25th, 2016
Some of this season's Bedlam Farm Wool

Some of this season’s Bedlam Farm Wool

It couldn’t have worked out better if I  planned it.

At the Bedlam Farm Open House in just a couple of weeks, it’s going to be a sheep to wool weekend. (Click here for more info on the Open House)

First Suzy Fatzinger (who is making those yummy fingerless gloves) said she’d be coming on Saturday with her spinning wheel.  I pictured her sitting outside my studio spinning her magic.

Then another friend, Sue Smith said she’s bring her drop spindle (that’s a way of spinning wool with this little wooden disk with a dowel attached to it.  I can’t wait to see Sue do it, because I’ve tried to and found it impossible and fascinating at the same time) her spinning wheel and her knitting.

This was good enough.  We’d have the whole wool process on display over the weekend.

Jon and Red (and Fate, not really) herding the sheep.  Jim McRae will  shear  the sheep.  Suzy and Sue will spin roving into wool and Sue will be knitting the wool.  And you can also  see and buy some of Suzy’s hand spun and hand knit gloves and shawls.  The finished products.

The only part of the process that’s missing is cleaning the wool and making it into roving.  (I’m sure there are some people who do this part of hand, but most people send the fleece to the mill)

Then Jane McMillan (who has a new chicken pincushion this October) offered me one of the tents she uses at her art fairs.   Suddenly Suzy and Sue had a stage.  I could see them under the tent a glow and warmth emanating from them.  People sitting with them watching and asking questions.

I think spinning, like quilting, has a communal aspect to it.  When I see women spinning together, it’s like seeing women quilting together.  A coming together in work and friendship.

But then it even got better.  Yesterday I picked up my wool from last June’s shearing.  So now Suzy and Sue will be spinning and knitting with Bedlam Farm Wool.

It completes the process.  From Sheep to wool.

This means I’ll also have wool to sell at the Open House.  It seems the sheep are going to be the stars of the weekend.

Some of Suzy's handspun and hand knit fingerless Gloves

Some of Suzy’s handspun and hand knit fingerless Gloves

A Family Of Rats In Central Park

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

I bought a knish from a street vendor and made my way up 6th Avenue  to Central Park .  Jon was meeting with his editor from Simon and Schuster and  I had an hour and a half to myself.

I chose the park over MOMA because the line there was so long, by the time I got into the museum,  I’d only have thirty minutes or so to look at the art.  First I found a bathroom in the park, then a bench near a pond to sit on.  There was a log with turtles on it in the pond and as people walked by they stopped to look at them.

What they didn’t see was the family of rats scampering around the underbrush right in front of them.

I couldn’t stop watching them.   They’d run up the tall leafy stems, chasing away the birds who sat on the tips.  Then they’d circle around, chasing each other in and out of the holes at the edge of the black top path.   At one point a really big rat ran across the path and into one of the holes.

I thought how rats in a natural environment appear so different then when you see them in the subway or on the street.  And even worse if they’re in a restaurant or home.  But running up the tall plants and chasing each other in the grasses,  they were more like rabbits or squirrels.

Humans have a way of taking away  or messing with an animals environment, then, when they do their best to survive  under the new circumstances we demonize them.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d put out a rat trap in my house in a minute if one decided to move in.  I guess that’s the advantage we have over them.  But they’re pretty hardy and don’t give up easy.  And I have to admire them for that.

Going To New York For The Day

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016


Tomorrow Jon and I are going to New York.  I caught Jon’s cold, but I’m feeling good enough to take the train ride and either go to MOMA or walk around Central Park, maybe so some drawing, while Jon meets with his editor.  I was going to spend time with Jon’s daughter Emma and her new baby Robin, but since  I have a cold I don’t want to take the chance of passing it on to either of them.

Maybe we’ll all have lunch together, at this point our plans are fluid.

I imagine I’ll post a few pictures from our trip on facebook and instagram.  Otherwise, I plan to be back blogging on Sunday.