My Posted Sign in this mornings snow.
It’s that color of some oak leaves. Not red, almost pink, with some of that oak leaf brown. This weekend I felt like hibernating. It was cloudy and cold. We had plans to go out both days, but decided to stay in, with a cup of tea and book, a cat on the couch, both wood stoves glowing. But those oak leaves, the softness of their color compared to the blazing oranges, yellows and reds, they speak of gentle warmth and comfort.
At the beginning of the winter I decided I was going to try and experience the change in weather as if it were happening for the first. Without the dread of dreary November and the expectations of being perpetually cold and craving the sun. Then I had a dream. It was of a twig of a tree, about two feet tall. On it were four oak leaves, representing the four directions. The leaves were velvety soft in texture and color and when I touched the one closest to me, pollen came spilling off it into my hand.
That’s what I was thinking about when I designed this quilt. The other piece that I made with the drawing of the tree, called Hibernation, which I wrote about earlier this week, will be the beginnings of another quilt. I found that they didn’t actually work together, but are two separate pieces.
So my new quilt is called Autumn Oak Leaf. All the solid reds and tans are corduroy, making it warm in color and fabric. The icy blues remind me of the cold winter air. It has pieces of an old patchwork pillow sham in it and tea-stained Vintage Hankies. Lots of the pattens on the materials I chose just happen to be leaves.
I’m waiting for some batting to come in the mail then I’ll back it and tack it.
Freedom Burns My Bones
I gather myself
in the bathtub
crouching in its heat
How can it be that I’ve lived in this house
three years and this is my first bath
Why have I deprived myself this pleasure
When I no longer believe
that suffering will save me
I want to live like the heroine
in the book
The independent one
who makes her own decisions
or feels remorse and does it anyway
The bath water is so hot
it makes the cold air
on my naked body
Freedom burns my bones
And I melt into the sun.
Remember our lamb Liam. The one who got stuck in the wall of the barn, the one who got bit by Simon and had some broken ribs. He almost knocked the shearer down, when he tried to catch him then was kicking the whole time he was being shorn. And lately, has been confronting Red. So he’s trouble and a trouble maker.
And the saga continues. This time it’s his wool. Full of burdock. It’s true he’s not alone in this ,Ma and Deb’s wool is also full of burdock. I expected it of Ma, all summer she had a face full of brambles, and so it makes sense that Deb, being her lamb, would also be full of burdock. But Liam’s mother Suzy, had the cleanest wool of all the sheep. The two seemed inseparably, but it appears that Liam was hanging around with Deb more than his mom.
The past few days have been unseasonably warm, so I’ve taken advantage of the weather and have been skirting the wool (Skirting means picking out the branches and brambles, all the big stuff you don’t want in yarn). I did Deb’s wool first. It took a couple of hours to get it all clean. After that I decided to leave Ma’s and Liam’s ( I had a feeling about Liam’s wool with his reputation for trouble) wool for last. Yesterday I spent two hours skirting Liam’s wool, all the time thinking, between this and the vet bills, it will be a long time before I break even selling his wool.
But Ma’s wool was even worse, and there’s more of it. Today I spent an hour and a half pulling out burdock and I’m still not done. But at least she’s the last of it. I think another hour of work and I’ll be all done. I keep thinking it will all be worth it when I get the wool back. I don’t know if it’s true, but believing it keeps me going.
Hunting season starts on Saturday, but we’re already hearing gun shots. Practice I think, but me and Lenore won’t be walking in the woods for a while, makes both of us nervous.
But we are still walking along McMillan Road, where there are plenty of Posted Signs. A few weeks ago, Jon took a picture of the shadows of leaves on a sign post that the Posted Sign fell off of (now just a rectangle of plywood). That photo gave me the idea to go back to that sign post when the sun was out and casting leaf shadows and paint the shadows on the sign.
Today was the perfect day. The sun was out when we walked this morning casting some leaf shadows. Less leaves now than in the picture Jon took, but enough for my purposes. So, on the walk up the hill, I drew the shadows on the sign in marker. By the time we walked down the hill the sun had moved casting more shadows. So I drew them too.
Then I went home and got some of the house paint from the basement and a couple of brushes, water in a mason jar and paper towels. I drove back to the sign and painted the shadows. There was one lone shadow cast on the sign as I painted and it reminded me that even with the painted leaves, the sign would constantly be changing depending on where the sun was and how the plants in front of the sign changed with the seasons.
Maybe, if the sign post is still there, I’ll do a leaf shadow painting in the spring and summer in different colors. I imagine the green paint will be faded by then, and the layering could be interesting.
I usually take the weekends off, which means I don’t go in my studio and on Saturdays I don’t go online. But this Saturday I got the urge to make a few more of the potholders I started making on Friday. I was inspired by an old patchwork pillow sham that I cut up. After making four or five potholders, I wanted to make something bigger. I had a small piece of fabric from the back of the pillow sham with a spiral on it. Just a little square and I put it on top of one of the tea stained hankies then put a piece of red and white flowered material (one of Lenore’s bandanas) under it. Using the same fabric I made the potholders from, I started piecing together a quilt.
Today I added the red corduroy.
But then I got another idea and made this:
I stitched the tree on a tea-stained hankie then added the fabric around it. My idea was to put these two together to make one quilt. But when I got them both to this point, I just couldn’t get them to work together.
By the end of the day, I decided they were two separate pieces. So that’s where I am right now. Both pieces came out of an urge of the moment. It was like I didn’t have a choice, I just had to make them. If they don’t speak to me in the morning I’ll put them aside until they do. I like them as they are, I just don’t know where they want to go.
The two young hens have taken to walking around the dog run. None of the hens have ever done this before. The first time I saw them fly over the fence and Frieda was in the yard, I was a bit nervous, wondering what she would do. But it seems Frieda has either accepted that the hens live here and so she should leave them alone, or she just doesn’t care anymore. Whatever it is, Frieda now shares the dog run with the hens on a regular basis. They’re not the least bit afraid of her and she doesn’t seems to pay too much attention to them either.
Minnie and Flo have taken over. The barn, the porch and now the house. The dogs defer to them and Jon complains he has no place to sit. (They have him charmed and confused. He fusses over them, lacking the confidence he shows with all the other animals).
In the summer they live outside, but this time of year every time you open the door, they magically appear either inside or out. Where ever they weren’t the moment before. Minnie hobbles around the sleeping dogs, making her way to the couch. She’ll snuggle with Lenore, licking her ears and sometimes, Lenore nuzzles her back (you catch more flies with honey). But Flo, the smallest animal on the farm, is Queen (off with their heads). She swats at Minnie and hisses at Lenore. Even Frieda keeps her distance, afraid to get too close.
How is it that these creatures have taken over the house so completely. I can only guess we’ve been bewitched. Cats are known to be familiars to witches, helpers with their magic. But these cats have evolved. They work for no one but themselves. Still we all seem to benefit somehow, just by their presence. By their snuggles and their purrs. How else to explain why we invite them in. Like vampires at the window, we can’t resist.
The cold weather and coming winter makes me want to hibernate. I must have some bear in me.