Good Monday Morning From Bedlam Farm 9/19/16

September 19th, 2016

Jon’s still not feeling well, so Red and Fate and I went out this morning to let the animals out to graze.  All that clanking you hear in the video is me trying to open the gate with one hand as I continuing filming.

Socks, one of our Border Leister’s, was limping badly for a few days.  So we confined her to the barn and gave her penicillian  for a three days.  Yesterday afternoon we let her out with the rest of the sheep again.  She seems all better, running this morning with the flock.

Jon’s Portrait Exhibit, Already A Success

September 18th, 2016
Jon and Kelly

Jon and Kelly, who Jon first started taking portraits of.

It just felt good.  Most of the people from Jon’s photos showed up at the Round House Cafe today for the Opening Reception of Jon’s Portrait Show.   Their families came too and our friends and people from the town.  Scott and Lisa filled the front table with food from the cafe.

Jon’s show is doing just what he meant it to do.  Bringing attention to people in the town and the importance of small town life and business.

It felt  good to witness it and be a part of.    Jon has a bad cold, and was sipping tea the whole time,  but that didn’t stop him from talking to everyone who came.

I  especially liked introducing the  people from the photos to each other.  Even if they didn’t know each other there was an immediate connection between them.  They now had something in common.

The place was buzzing with energy and chatter.  Everyone looking at the photos, talking about their favorites and why.

Some art receptions can be  quiet and somber.  But this had more the feeling of a community picnic.  People coming together with a common purpose.

Jon already sold two photos and yesterday there was an  article in our regional paper The Post Star about the show.  I’d say it’s already a success and it’s only just begun.

Red sat at the door of the Cafe greeting people and Mickey, one of the people in Jon's show sat on the curb across the street.

Red sat at the door of the Cafe greeting people and Mickey, one of the people in Jon’s show, sat on the curb across the street.

Finding The Teacher In Me

September 18th, 2016


I met Gail when she invited Jon to speak at the Library where she works in Connecticut a couple of years ago.  Since then we’ve kept in touch on-line often recommending books to each other.  Sometimes I donate books that I  love to her library after reading them.

Gail been a quilter for a long time, but I understood what she was looking for when she asked me if I could teach her to make quilts the way I do.  Not from a pattern, but in the Gee’s Bend way.

My inspiration, the quilters  of Gee’s Bend Alabama don’t follow patterns when they make their quilts from discarded fabrics.  Their tradition is to make each quilt different.  The only gauge of its success is that the woman who made it likes it.  Now their quilts, which they originally  made to keep them and their families warm,  hang in museums and galleries around the country.

I’ve thought about teaching  for some time.  And now it seems to be coming into my life.  It started when I said yes to teaching women to make potholders in India.

When Gail asked me to show her what I know, I thought it the perfect opportunity to get some teaching practice.   So we worked out a price  and a date.   Not long after Janet,  another reader of my blog, suggested I teach an Intuitive Potholder Making class at the Creative Conference which happens the day before out Open House.  It’s a workshop of 5 or 6 different  art and writing classes that people from Jon’s Creative Group on Facebook attend.

The teaching thing seems to be happening.

Gail got to the farm late Friday morning and  after introducing her to the animals, we went right to my studio and got to work.

The first thing I told her do was choose some pieces of fabric that she liked from my stash.   I get most of my fabric for free from people who generously send it to me so I’m always glad to share it.

Then I told her to choose two pieces of fabric from her choices, cut them into sizes and shapes of her choice and sew them together.  It’s an additive process.  You start at the beginning and keep going until you’re done.

Gail told me that making quilts from someone else’s patterns has begun to feel like factory work for her.  She hand quilts her pieces, and finds that to be meditative, but was yearning for something more creative when it comes to designing the quilts.

Basically what I was teaching Gail was to unlearn all she knew about piecing together a quilt.  Forget about straight lines and matching corners.  Forget about color theory and traditional  patterns.  Forget about cutting your fabric to predetermined sizes and shapes.

And that may sound easy, but if you’ve been working within the confines of a strict system of traditional quilting it can be hard to let go of.

At one point Gail stood at the table in my studio looking at all the pieces of fabric in front of her. “I don’t know what to do next” she said.  I could hear the panic rising in her voice.  I know that feeling of having too many choices.  “Why don’t we take a break”, I said.  “It’s almost time to let the animals out to graze.”

We opened the gates so the animals could graze and spent some time with the donkeys, while Fate ran circles around the sheep.

When we got back to the studio, Gail knew just what to do.  And I left her alone to work for a few minutes while Jon and I did some more chores.

Gail finished one potholder then started on another.

“Oh, that looks good” I said looking at the fabric Gail had pieced together.  ” Are you having fun?”    “I’m kind of a serious person” Gail said,  “and I want to be honest with you, this all makes me a little nervous”.

We talked as Gail worked, getting to know each other a little better.  I made sure not to hover over her, but to give my opinion when it seemed she needed some help.  Hoping for a good balance between the two.

“Wow”‘ I said as she was sewing the last pieces on to the second potholder.  I was really excited with what she had done.  We both stepped back looking at her design.   “That’s really good” I said pointing out how well  the diagonal lines worked and the perfect placement, shapes and sizes of the pale pink fabric.

We hung the finished piece on the wall and Gail decided she needed to cut off a strip of purple from the edge.  “This is fun” she said.  I don’t think I cheered and clapped my hands, but I wanted to.

As Gail was leaving she agreed to take some fabric home and do some work on her own.  Then she asked if she could come again and work on a quilt.  I hope she does.

Working with fabric in this way is good way to build creative confidence.   There are no precious materials involved to worry about “ruining.” And making mistakes is a part of the process that often leads you to create something you might never have thought of.

The first thing I told Gail before she gathered fabric was to stop thinking.  This kind of creativity doesn’t come from the brain, it comes from the gut.  It’s about following your intuitions and trusting yourself.

For me working this way not only built my confidence in the creative parts of my life, but it worked its way into all parts of my life.  Helping me to find my voice and inner strength.

And now, I’m beginning to bring it into the world, not just through my work and writing, but maybe through teaching too.

After Gail left I was elated at the work we did together.  It gave a boost to my confidence about teaching  that I needed.  I found it very natural and easy.   And that feeling made me want to teach some more.





“Goddess With Lightning Hair” For Sale

September 16th, 2016
Goddess With Lightning Hair

Goddess With Lightning Hair

I’m feeling my power. In my body it lives in the bottom of my belly.  Picture the moon, dark except for a crescent of light on its bottom, like a boat on the water.  Cradling its potential.

I keep thinking that bear came to me in my dream and helped me understand my fear and how to deal with it.  And like the  King in the story of The Handless Maiden I’m taking my  “inner knowing out into the world and putting it  into practice without mincing, muttering, or apologizing”.

That’s the kind of strength I’m feeling.  It comes from taking action.  From doing instead of procrastinating out of fear.  And with each action, no matter how small it is I get a little stronger.  And with that strength comes a feeling that I have a right to be doing what I’m doing and it makes me want to do more.

I can see all these shifts in me pictured in my Goddess with Lightning Hair.  The power and the movement, being grounded and being connected to the higher self.  Not apologizing for what I believe and do. And also an acknowledgement of the whole, of being one small part of something much bigger.  And at the same time understanding the importance of each small part.

A few days ago Jon and I were talking about my visiting with his daughter Emma and her new baby Robin while he has a meeting with his editor in New York.  I was unsure at first.  I’m not  experienced with babies, and know this is a sensitive time for Emma.  It could be a difficult few hours.  But then I thought if I can go to India and do my work there, I can certainly spend time with Emma and Robin and be of help in some way.  Even if it’s by just being good company.

I feel my sense of self expanding.  Each strength building on the one before it.  Not just outwardly, but inside me too.

Hair has long been a symbol of a woman’s power.   Many belief systems try to control it.  Making women cover it up, tie it back, pulled into a bun.  How many women have taken their power back by letting their hair down or shaving it all off.  Shaping it in their own way to say “this is who I am”.

Lightning hair, like Medusa’s snakes, that’s pretty powerful stuff.  I’m not surprised she just made herself known to me now.

My wallhanging of  my Goddess with Lightning Hair is for sale.   It measures  20x 24″ and is $150 + $10 shipping.   If you can feel her power and would like her in your home, you can email me at  I take checks and paypal.



Suzy’s Gloves At The Bedlam Farm Open House

September 15th, 2016

Suzy Fatzinger’s fingerless gloves and the three shawls she made for the Bedlam Farm Open House last year sold out quickly.

This year she made more.   Once again, hand spinning and knitting each one.

And not only will we have more of  Suzy’s beautiful work at the Open House, but Suzy will be here too.   On Saturday October 8th, you can find Suzy just outside my studio door, with her spinning wheel.  So you can see just what goes into the gloves and shawls that Suzy makes.

Suzy has goats and an Angora bunny along with a couple of geese, (who are new) on her farm.  You can see her goats in the video she took showing her gloves.  The white pigmy goat sniffing the gloves is Willis, the brown one is Harry.  Leo, who is scratching himself in the video is an Angora goat.

Suzy gets her roving (which she then spins into yarn) from a few different places.  The white gloves in the video (and in the photo below)  are made from Bedlam Farm wool.  Liam’s wool  to be exact.

Suzy's gloves

Suzy’s gloves

Jon Poses For A Portrait

September 15th, 2016
Jon and Scott Carrino at the Round House Cafe this Morning.

Jon and Scott  at the Round House Cafe this morning with some of Jon’s photo’s hanging behind them.

It was Jon’s turn to pose for the portrait.

This morning we went to the Round House Cafe where Jon has his Portrait Show,  Cambridge People, Those Who Stayed Behind, a Celebration of Work and Community.   A photographer from The Post Star, a regional newspaper, came to take Jon’s picture for an article about the show  that will run in the next few days.

We got there a little early giving us time to chat with Scott Carrino, (the owner of the cafe)   and  to eat a very yummy blueberry galette.

The Opening Reception for Jon’s Portrait Show  is this Sunday from 2-4pm.  The Exhibit will be at the Round House through October 23rd and will be up  during the Bedlam Farm Open House on October 8th and 9th. ( Click here for more information on the Open House.)   The Round House Cafe is at 1 Washington Street Cambridge NY 12816.  Click here for more information on the Open House.

Bedlam Farm Barnyard

September 15th, 2016

Last night the moon was so bright it wouldn’t let me sleep.  So I went outside and opened the gate to the back pasture.  The animals followed me.

When we got up this morning instead of opening the gates to let the animals graze, at 7am we closed the gates.  The animals had already been grazing in the moonlight since 3 o’clock.

This morning they were happy to be back in the barnyard.  Soaking up the warmth of the sun on this cool and breezy September day.

Goddess With Lightning Hair, Cont.

September 14th, 2016


My Goddess and I are making progress. This is as far as I got when I stopped for lunch.  Now I’m back at it.  I’m going to ask her what else she needs.

Queen Flo And Her Many Kingdoms

September 14th, 2016


Flo has many Kingdoms.

In the warmer weather it’s the front porch.  Either on the wicker benches or under the porch.    In the winter she moves to the woodshed and on cold nights, into the house.

I’ve never seen Flo in the barn when Minnie hangs out and I’ve never seen Minnie on the front porch.

Some kingdoms, like the pasture and back porch they share.  And some they don’t.

Minne On the Wood Pile

September 14th, 2016


For a cat with three legs, Minnie gets around.  First the hay bales now the wood pile.