What I Saw In The Woods, Hope In Bear Scat

June 15th, 2016

living tree stump

Like a  stage or the perfect bed to nap in, I came across this living tree stump in the woods.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  The branches and leaves growing in a circle from the place between the wood of the stump and the bark.   The place where water and mineral are transported up and down the tree.  And the soft bed of dry leaves at its center.  Even a passageway, a break in the circle to come and go by.  I wish I were small enough to curl up in it to sleep and dream.

wire a d tree

There are wires throughout the woods.  Old fencing used to keep the grazing animals in when the woods were pasture.   Sometimes  the tree grows right over the wire, pulling it into its trunk  making it invisible.  Other trees get choked by it.

I don’t know the story of this dead tree I saw in the woods.  But I found it beautiful.  A sculpture of mixed materials.  The rough organic form of the tree and the circling, looping line of the wire.  The wire hangs loose on the tree, circling around it’s back and coming again to  the one spot where the tree absorbed it.

bear scat

Bear scat growing seeds.  Wonderous evidence of how the natural world works.  Bear eats the seeds then makes his rounds through the woods, depositing them in a bed of rich poop so they can grow and thrive.  I saw this scat soon after it was first dropped.  To see it blooming weeks later, I felt the hope that comes with new life.

Ed Gulley and His “Junk Art” at the Bedlam Farm Open House

June 14th, 2016

Ed Gulley is an Artist and a Dairy Farmer.  In between milking and all the other demands of Bejosh Farm, he makes art from the stuff he finds around the farm.  My years of art school tell me his art is called Found Object Art, but Ed, who never went to art school or has any kind of training in art calls it Junk Art.

And I’m not going to argue with Ed, because he’s always made art, so I’m sure he knows what it’s called.  Anyway, Junk Art sounds better and it’s uniquely his.

His most recent piece is a creature made from half a giant saw blade, tire irons an old chain and washers.  He calls it Mahonga Heila.  Ed says the name comes from an old cartoon he used to hear his friends talking about when he was a kid.  He never saw the cartoon because he was too busy working on the farm, but the name stuck.  Mahonga’s wife Sheila Heila, made from the other side of the saw blade, is in the welding shop as I write this.   And it looks like the happy couple may already be sold.

But I’ve said enough.  Ed can talk for himself.  And he does. Along with his wife Carol they have a blog called Bejosh Farm Journal.  On it they invite us all to the farm to see what being a farmer is really all about.

Carol takes the videos, which are as warm and honest as she is, and writes as The Farmers Wife (although she’s as much a farmer as Ed, they’re a team of two)   Ed is a natural storyteller, his distinctive voice ranges in subject matter from the price of milk to childhood stories on the farm to the saga of Mr Blockhead (one of his ongoing art works).

Ed will be showing and selling his Junk Art at the Bedlam Farm Open House June 25th and 26th.  And Ed will be there to give a talk and answer any of your questions.

Click here to see  Bejosh Farm Journal.


Jon is Fond of Minnie

June 14th, 2016


Jon and Minnie

Jon showing Minnie some backhanded affection, while Flo flirts on the step to his right.

Jon has never been a cat person.  Although he’s always been a bit in awe of barn cats, he never showed any overt affection toward them till Flo came along.

She quickly seduced him, claiming him as her person.

But Jon is discriminating with his affection and just because he likes Flo  that doesn’t automatically make him feel the same towards all cats.

This goes for Minnie too.  He likes to grumble about her, always finding something to complain about.  Which, of course, makes me defend her.

And so it goes.

Lately, in between grumbles, I’ve heard Jon say he’s fond of Minnie.  Just a little crack in that grumpy about Minnie heart of his.

Then last week I came out of the house and found Jon sitting on the back porch, scratching Minnie who was slinking around behind him.  No she wasn’t on his lap (like Flo who you can see flirting with him on the step to his right would be in a minute or two) but he had to  reach around his back to pet her.  And usually he just chases her away.

To me, that kind of effort goes beyond fondness.  I’m thinking soon Jon might even say he  likes Minnie.


Minnie Hunting In the Pasture

June 13th, 2016

Minnie Hunting

I know Minnie hunts because sometimes I see her eating small animals and because she couldn’t be as big as she is eating only what we feed her.  But today I saw her on the prowl.

She was in the wet part of the new pasture.  The place that floods in the spring and drys out in the summer.  This time of year it’s still muddy, but that, along with only having three legs doesn’t stop Minnie.

Kim McMillan and Her Felted Wallets at the Bedlam Farm Open House

June 13th, 2016

I had no idea Kim was such a natural in front of a video camera.  Between the laughter you get so see how Kim McMillan makes her wallets.

I can relate to her work space which is a creatively, happy mess.  Although I’d bet like me,  she knows where everything is.  (maybe surprised every once in a while by something forgotten).

I can also relate to Kim’s creative process.  That way of trusting a piece will take you where it wants to go.   One of the things artists sometimes have an issue with is knowing when a piece is done.  Kim doesn’t agonize over that.  As she says in the video, she’s finished with a piece when there’s nothing else to do to it.  Wise words for sure.

Kim will be selling her wallets and a couple of bags at the Bedlam Farm Open House on June 25th and 26th.  She’ll also be there  on Saturday, manning the register (or should I say cash box and Square) so if you’re coming to the Open House you can see her then.  If not, maybe you can get to know Kim a little better from watching the video.

Kim usually sells out at the Open Houses, but you can always see what she’s up to on her facebook page Farm House Buttons and Wool. 

Good Monday Morning From Bedlam Farm 6/13/16

June 13th, 2016

Loving Jon

June 12th, 2016


Anniversary Feet

Anniversary Feet

Jon and I have been married six years today.  But, from my experience,  love doesn’t count the years, it has its own sense of time.

I feel like I’ve known Jon my whole life and at the same time,  it feels  like our  love is very new.   I didn’t know, that I didn’t know what love was, until I met Jon.

It started with talking and listening.  Real conversation.   I somehow felt comfortable with Jon the first time I met him.  And at the time I don’t think I really felt comfortable with anyone.

Our conversations led to an intimacy that I had only dreamed of.  That I only knew existed from reading about it.

I still don’t understand it all, I guess we just connect at the points that spark.

I know our dedication to and encouragement of creativity  shines  bright in our love.

Somehow we were always able to see past the broken parts of each other to that unharmed center.  The essence of who we really are.

And I think in the process of loving each other, which includes learning how to communicate better, to trust each other,  to disagree with each other, we got closer and closer to that essence.

In my love of Jon I finally understood the importance of sex in a marriage.    I lived years without the intimacy and ecstasy of making love.  Now I can’t imagine living and loving without it.

And of course,  there’s the fun.  The joy of the ordinary as well as the extraordinary.   Like being able to enjoy going to the  dump together on Saturday afternoons.

Jon and I each lived at least one life time before we met each other.  I was in my mid forties, he in his early 60’s.      But to me it feels like my life just began when we started  loving each other together.

Once Again, Fate Doesn’t “get the sheep”

June 10th, 2016

“Look at this beautiful out run”  Jon said to me as we stood in the pasture, the sheep grazing almost out of sight.  Personally, I wouldn’t think of those words together, beautiful and outrun, but Jon was really excited about the way Fate ran  widely around the sheep in a “beautiful outrun”.  Then he told me to watch, even take a video, as he told her to do it again.

So I pressed the button on my iphone and took a video not expecting much, but trying to believe.    And Fate being Fate acted like Fate. I don’t even think you can see the sheep or her outrun in the video, but it doesn’t matter because it wasn’t the beautiful outrun Jon thought it would be anyway.

Morning Grazing at Bedlam Farm

June 10th, 2016

Yesterday all the animals were eager to graze in the back pasture.  Today not so much.

The sheep went because Red was there making them go.   Franny and Lulu gave in after some prodding.  But Chloe held her position at the gate.  It wasn’t until after we were in the house and she understood that we weren’t giving in to her requests to open the side pasture that she finally went to  graze with the rest of the animals.

Fran Welge and Her Mini Gardens at the Bedlam Farm Open House

June 9th, 2016

Last week Jon and I watched them movie The Secret Garden.  It made me think of when my sister Fran read the book to me  at bedtime when we were kids.  I think I only heard half of it, she would read long after I fell asleep.  But even though I didn’t hear the whole story I was always enchanted by the secret walled-in garden.  I still am.  It’s something Fran and I share.

Jon and I sat on the couch, the ipad with the movie on it between us.  And when Mary and Dickon first went into the garden I cried.  I still get teary thinking about it.  I’m not sure why. I think maybe because the garden, hidden behind that high wall, with years of overgrown ivy, was finally seen again by these two children who intuitively knew its potential.

Fran’s  Mini Gardens evoke the same feeling in me.  Held in a small clay pot instead of a high wall, they speak of nature, nurtured by humans.  They aren’t wild places but a coming together of us and the wild.  We humans are in the bird baths and flag stone paths.  Nature shows herself in the plants cultivated in a mini nursery in Fran’s back yard and transplanted into her gardens.

Fran has been showing and selling her Mini Gardens in the Bedlam Farm Open House for three years.  She comes with a van full and they’re all sold by the end of the weekend.  She’ll be selling them again on June 25th and 26th.  You’ll find Fran and her gardens  just outside my studio under the giant maple tree.

In the video above Fran talks about her Mini Gardens and how she makes them. She also shows some gardens in different stages of progress.    You can keep up to date with Fran’s Mini Gardens throughout the year on her facebook page Fran’s Mini Gardens.   And to  see the first Mini Garden that Fran made for the Open House click here.

One of Fran's Mini Gardens

One of Fran’s Mini Gardens from last year’s Open House