Wheatgrass, The Promise of Spring

March 19th, 2015
Lulu and Fanny

Lulu and Fanny (and Red in the background)

Walking through the streets of New York City last month, Jon and I came upon a tiny, elegant, outdoor corner shop with a woman in it selling flowers and grass.   The flowers were beautiful, but it was February and seeing that green grass growing in a little square pot, well, it was like a miracle.  I hadn’t really thought that I missed the grass, but seeing all that green was like bathing in sunshine.

The woman told us it was wheatgrass and asked if we were getting it for our cats.  She said they loved it.  Well, I wanted it all for myself, but when we got home, not wanting to be selfish, I put it on the kitchen floor and called the cats in.  They looked at me like, Where’s the cookies, completely ignored the wheatgrass and complained until I gave them some cat treats.

So now, the wheatgrass was all mine.  I put it on the windowsill during the day and on the mantle at night.  I watered it everyday and watched it grow.  I never imagined I’d get so much pleasure out of a pot of grass.

As the grass started to grow I joked with Jon about mowing it.  But I didn’t really want to, I wanted it to get long and straggly, not a suburban lawn, but the wild grasses of the African Savanna.  The stuff the lions sleep in and the antelope hide in.

But this morning I noticed that the tips of my wheatgrass were turning yellow and it was starting to fall over the edge of the pot.  So I got  my scissor and gave my wheatgrass a hair cut. And I knew as I was cutting it that I would have to do something special with the clippings.  I thought of the chickens (because they always come to mind when I have some food-like stuff I don’t know what to do with) but I gave them some old sunflower sprouts last week and they didn’t eat them.  So then I thought of the donkeys.

Now the donkeys will eat leaves off a tree and even dead leaves from the ground, but they won’t eat old lettuce or spinach.  I don’t know why, I tell them it’s leaves, but they just don’t go for it.  But wheatgrass is grass.  And it’s been a long, long winter and a long, long time since the donkeys have eaten fresh green grass.

I remember hearing about a documentary years ago about a gorilla who spent a good part of his life in a concrete cage in a zoo.  The film showed him finally being released into a natural environment in another zoo.  The first thing he did was lay down and roll around on the grass.  I always imagined his joy at touching the earth once again.

Of course it not quite the same, but I thought of that gorilla when I held out my hand with the wheatgrass in it to Lulu and she gobbled it up.  Fanny did the same and they both wanted more.  I know they understood what a gift it was.  There was a calm that settled over us and I leaned the side of my face against first Lulu’s neck, then Fanny’s.  They were soft and warm from the sun and smelled like donkeys smell, earthy and dry.  And there was a stillness and satisfaction that seemed to settle over all of us.   This handful of grass such a great gift.

Next winter I’m going to grow wheat grass in the house if I can.  And every now and then, when it needs a mowing, I’ll delight the donkeys with some fresh green grass when the ground is covered with ice and snow and spring is months away.

Wheatgrass after mowing.

Wheatgrass after mowing.

More Crow Potholders Sold Out

March 18th, 2015
Sewing some more Gift from the Crow Potholders

Sewing some more Gift from the Crows Potholders

I opened the envelope and pulled out the crow fabric.  Last week Kenna emailed me and said she had a little more crow fabric if I wanted it.  I would have hugged her if she didn’t live hundreds of miles away. Not only do I love making the Crow Potholders, but there were so many people who wanted them, after they were sold out.

So now there’s more.  My Crow Potholders are Sold Out.  I designed seven today and have fabric to make more.  If you’re one of the people who missed out on getting a Gift From the Crows Potholder and would like one, just let me know.   Or if you’re seeing them for the first time and want to know the whole story click here.   Either way if you’d like one you can email me here at maria@fullmoonfiberart.com.  The potholders are $17 each + $5 shipping for 1-2 and $7 shipping for 3 or more.  Shipping is a bit more outside the US.  I take checks and paypal and will have a new batch of  Gift from the Crows Potholders ready to ship next week.

My latest batch of Crow Potholders

My latest batch of Crow Potholders, still to be made into potholders

Snuggley Cats

March 18th, 2015

snuggly cats

Minnie and Flo keeping warm on one of my quilts early this morning.

“Home To Me” My New Quilt For Sale

March 17th, 2015
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Something made me want to cut up those old linen napkins and sew them back together again, making something new.  It was like rearranging something inside of me. Shifting the pieces around and letting go of the parts that didn’t work anymore.  And keeping the stuff that contributed to the essence of myself.

The knowing of this reconfiguration came from spending that day at Blue Star Equiculture.  Being around the horses and people who I felt connected to.   I came home exhausted and slept, waking up a little closer to understanding.

That day, I pieced together this quilt.  I started by cutting up the linen napkins with the blue flowers on them.  Then I sewed them back together in a way that somehow made more sense to me.  I did this again and again with different embroidered linens.  Thinking of the women who made them and what their lives might have been like. How their creative impulses may have been limited to decorating pillowcases and table runners, because it’s what was expected of them.  And I felt with each cut I was blowing those expectations apart. With each cut I was affirming who I am and my place in this world.

I sewed the orange lion next to the cut up linens first.  Because he is wild, the opposite of embroidered linens and what they represent.  Then each patch of linens got a piece of the wild.  And they came together making something complete.

Growing up I was criticized for being too sensitive, too emotional.  The idea’s I expressed were often ridiculed. I came to think there was something wrong with me, that I was crazy.  So I learned how to hide this part of myself. At Blue Star I found myself surrounded by people who saw my sensitivity as a good thing.  It is through this and my emotions that I’m able to communicate with the horses the way I do as well as make my art.  I have a few good friends who affirm this part of me and Jon has always loved me for my emotions and sensitivity, and now at Blue Star I’ve found another community of people who think and feel the way I do.  Who understand those parts of me that I felt I had to  hide for so long.

I feel like when I slept so deeply that night, a shift occurred inside of me.  And when I made this quilt it was the illustration of that shift.  Me embracing that part of myself that always seemed dangerous, even crazy.  Me accepting that there is a place for me and the more true I am to myself, the more the world will open itself up to me.  It’s like me coming home to myself and knowing that I belong.

“Home To Me” is Sold for sale.  It measures about 67″x75″ and is $300 + $20 shipping (shipping is a bit more outside the US)   If you’re interested in it you can email me here at maria@fullmoonfiberart.com.  I take checks and paypal.

Detail of blue flowers and Lion

Detail of blue flowers and Lion

Detail with white bird

Detail with white bird and cut up linen napkins

detail

detail with bird and snake and cut up linens

 

detail with cut up linens and fish fabric

detail with cut up linens and fish fabric

The back of "Home To Me"

The back of “Home To Me”

 

No Small Talk and Good Food

March 16th, 2015
Dinner Sunday night

Dinner Sunday night

I laid in bed in Debbie Glessner’s guest room on Sunday afternoon.  We just got back from Jon’s talk to benefit Debbie’s Dog Therapy group and I was tired. (Debbie started the group eight years ago with her friend Wendy.)  Not from listening to Jon’s talk, it was a really good one with lots of audience interaction, smart questions and ideas bouncing around.  I was tired because I was up for hours the night before, sick from food poisoning.  I was feeling better, but I was tired.  And I was considering not going to the dinner that we had to leave for in less than an hour.

It was a fund-raising dinner for Debbie’s group, people had paid to have dinner with Jon.  So I didn’t have to be there, and honestly, I wasn’t looking forward to it.  I’m not good at small talk, and didn’t feel like I was up for hours of talking even though I knew a few of the people who would be there.  And, I wasn’t hungry. So, as I laid in bed, I knew I had the perfect excuse not to go.  And when the alarm went off I was just about to tell Jon I was too tired to go,  but then, I changed my mind. I’m not sure why, I guess it was partly that I wanted to support Jon and partly that Debbie had made me feel so welcome and included I wanted to be there.

And I’m so glad I did.  Because it was a really warm and interesting evening.  The conversation was thoughtful and fun, none of that small talk I was dreading, but really satisfying conversation about animals and people and art.  I think it had  so much to do with Debbie and Wendy, the kind of people they are, honest, sincere, grounded, generous, well meaning and really good at what ever they choose to do.  I think because of the type of people they are , they draw good people to them.

So the dinner was actually enjoyable and I met some really nice people and heard some good stories. Like how Wendy was disappointed when her husband got her ruby and diamond earrings for Christmas one year, because she was expecting him to get her a goat.  Or how Dee grew up on a farm and  showed pigs in 4H  and  intuitively learned to ride horses.

And I did a lot of talking too, spouting off about my work and the animals.  I’m still surprised when people  listen to  me and actually seem genuinely interested in what I’m saying.    Sometimes I just have to remember I’m not the person I used to be.  The person who was afraid of joining in the conversation, afraid I’d say something stupid, afraid of being ridiculed.   I have to admit, I’ve come to love talking about myself and my  work as much as I love hearing other people’s stories.

And I found that I wasn’t tired at all during the evening.  I was actually energized by it all and because the food was so good (salmon, potatoes and spinach, some of my favorites) I got my appetite back too.  I’ll have to remember this the next time one of these events come up.  Remember that it can be interesting and enjoyable. Especially when you have people like Debbie and Wendy making it all happen.

We’re in Bucks County with Debbie and her Dogs

March 15th, 2015
Jon and Debbie walking in the woods

Jon and Debbie walking in the woods

We’re in Bucks County PA staying at  Photographer, Debbie Glessner’s house.  A walk in the woods this morning with Debbie’s two Labs Hannah and Heidi. (There’s nothing like walking in the woods with a Lab) and now were off to Jon’s talk to benefit Nor’easter Therapy Dogs, which Debbie is a co-founder of.

It’s part of Jon’s Saving Simon book tour.  Less formal, because Debbie had welcomed us into her house, and  is taking good care of us.  And she’s fun to be with.  Hannah and Heidi are also constantly welcoming us as good Labs will do.   So far it’s been a sweet visit.

 

 

No Sweaters for my Gourmet Chickens

March 13th, 2015
The hen's new favorite hang out in the barn

The hen’s new favorite hang out in the barn

I didn’t buy the squid for the hens, it was left over from a few nights ago, so I thought I would  at least try to see if they would eat it.  I knew if I cut it up in long strips, so it looked like worms or spaghetti, there was a better chance  they’d eat it.

So I gave some to the cats, who were reluctant at first, but then got into it and brought the rest out to the hens.  I have this black plastic tray left from some takeout meal that I use for their food, so it put it on the ground with the cut up squid and watched.  To my disappointment, they pecked a but quickly lost interest.

So, I tricked them, I picked up the tray and started tossing long slimy stringy bit of squid in front of them.  Suddenly they were interested.  One at a time I threw pieces on the ground,  making them think it was something special, something that could stop at any moment, so you better hurry up and eat as much as you can…..

And they did till there were only the tentacles left.  Then they lost interest. But by then I had enough too.  (I mean that prairie woman didn’t throw the cracked corn one piece at a time, did she?)  I threw the rest in the garbage (no compost pile or pig yet) and felt pretty good about it all.

Jon teased me about it a bit, but I have my limits even if they’re different from his.  It’s left overs only for the chickens, I won’t be cooking them meals or anything  and I guarantee,  you’ll never see my hens wearing sweaters.

Someone else's hen wearing a sweater

Someone else’s hen wearing a sweater

The back of my new quilt

March 13th, 2015

new quilt w backing

Working on the back of my latest quilt, which I still don’t have a name for.  But I’m getting closer to understanding what it’s all about, I think…..

My Cave Drawing

March 13th, 2015
My studio door.

My studio door.

I started drawing on my door when Simon died.  I took the match that I used to light the candles on my altar and  used the charred end to draw a picture of Simon.  Now, each morning when I light my candles, I use the burnt end of the  match to draw something on my door.

The match always runs out of black before I get to finish a drawing, so I either leave it or continue working on it till it done.  Except for the first drawing I did of Simon.  When I think of it now it seems some kind of miracle, because I was able to finish the whole thing with one match.

These won’t last long.  They smudge and erase easily.  I like that about them.

I’m thinking of the cave drawings, where basically people did the same thing thousands of years ago.  Used the burnt end of a stick to make images on their walls.  It really feels like the most natural thing in the world for me to do.

Frieda and Me. A Journey of Trust and Protection

March 12th, 2015

 

Frieda Last Summer

Frieda, last summer in my studio

I still want to call for Frieda each morning when I go to my studio.  Sometimes I do, I just say it out loud, C’mon Frieda, I say as I’m walking out the back door.  Why not, I figure it doesn’t really make a difference if I do or don’t.   At some point I’ll be calling a new puppy to my studio in the morning and that will be great when it happens, but it’s not going to happen for a while. The puppies we’re  considering are not even conceived yet.  So for now, it’s me and a pretty flowered tin of Frieda’s ashes that I keep on my alter in my studio.  And sometimes I say hello to them, or touch the tin on my way out, I’ll admit, I even kissed it once or twice.

But working alone in my studio every day, reminds me of what Frieda did for me, of the journey we took together.  And it reminds me that I’m alone now, without her, because we both came out on the other side of that journey.  We both learned what we need to learn to live a less fearful and more loving life.

Protection and trust.  I remember sitting in the Dog Room at Old Bedlam Farm.  Jon and I were just becoming  friends, and he invited me over to meet Leslie, an animal communicator.  The three of us sat there, tea cups in hand and I told Jon that I was afraid that Frieda might hurt someone, so I kept her away from people. I felt I had to protect her so nothing bad would happen to anyone else or her.

Working his “Attachment Theory” magic he turned it right back on me.  He told me that, as a child I didn’t feel safe and was looking for someone to protect me.  At that moment, I honestly had no idea what he was talking about.  At the time I was still living in my family myth that my childhood was a happy, healthy one, with no issues or problems at all.  Intellectually it took me years to understand what he was talking about, but intuitively it struck a chord and I started crying.  At the time, I was uncomfortable crying in front of these people I hardly knew, but I couldn’t help it.  So I cried.

Now it’s all very clear to me.  My first dog was a Doberman mix and Frieda a German Shepherd/Rottweiler mix.  I never consciously wanted any kind of guard dog, but somehow I wound up with two.   That’s no accident.

So Frieda gave me the protection I needed emotionally.  I could put her between me and anyone I didn’t want to be around.  She was my excuse. And it worked until  I went to live with Jon.  Because she didn’t like men anymore than I did.  And while Jon was trying to train her to trust him so she could live in the house with us and the rest of the dogs, I was learning to trust Jon too.  And when I saw the kind of patience and care he took with Frieda, and knew that he was doing it for me,  I came to see and  believe that there really were good men in the world.

Feeling safe took longer.  That  only happened in the last year or so.  Could be around the time Frieda was starting to decline.  Could be I realized I could protect myself when I saw she was declining.  Because I can remember thinking that if Frieda died, I wouldn’t want another dog like her.  I would want a dog like Lenore.  A dog who was easy with people and I could take walks with in the woods and not have to worry about her running off. A dog who would sit in my studio with me, as Frieda always had, but not bark at someone when they came in the door.  Because after being alive for 50 years, I finally felt safe and that I could protect and take care of  myself if for some reason I didn’t.  I didn’t need a guard dog anymore.

And that was Frieda’s and my journey together.  We didn’t travel the world and have adventures, but learned how to live in trust and love.  We both learned that not all men are bad and that we could live in  a loving and happy home without fear coloring every moment of our lives.

So I may be alone in my studio for  a while, until that next dog comes, but it’s okay.  Because I’m living the life Frieda and I worked hard to get.  One where I can be alone, trust people and myself and feel safe. And Frieda’s off doing what ever it is we all do when we die.  But in a way, we’re still both doing the same thing.  We’re both moving on to what ever comes next.