20 Potholders

August 10th, 2016

potholders

I’ve never designed so many potholders in one day.  A new record, 20 Potholders.

When I found myself staring at a potholder I was working on too long, I took a break.  And I took many. Tea with Sandy, lunch with Mandy, a drive to the Co-op for milk and snacks.  Feeding the animals and brushing the equines.  By the time I made the  last few  potholders I came up with a new design.  Something I never did before.

Tomorrow I’ll sew them all together and they’ll be ready for Dahn to take to Tanzania with her next week.  But I’ll tell you all about that tomorrow.  My mind is barely still working tonight.

potholderlast

Good Wednesday Morning From Bedlam Farm 8/10/16

August 10th, 2016

With Jon’s Birthday on Monday, I forgot all about my Monday Morning Video.  So instead, here’s a Wednesday Morning Video from Bedlam Farm.

Home Again

August 9th, 2016

Fanny Lulu fate

Jon and I got home from our overnight in Vermont for his birthday this afternoon.  I used to dread coming home from vacations, even tiny ones like this one.  But I don’t anymore.

It’s always grounding to see our animals after time away from them.  And I’m really ready to get back to work, having been inspired but the things I saw when I was away.   Not that I know what those things are or how they’ll influence, but I trust it all the same.

I just have a couple of hours to do a little work in my studio before we have dinner with friends.

Over the next couple of days I’m going to make some potholders for that same friend.   She does humanitarian work and will be taking them to Tanzania to give as gifts to some of the people she knows there.

I better get to work.

Ally To The Gods

August 8th, 2016
Jon and Flo, last winter

Jon and Flo, last winter

This morning I opened up one of our Hafiz poetry books that was sitting on top of a pile of books.  I read the poem “If What You Say Becomes Memorable”  It made reminded me of Jon, of his blog, his work.

If What You Say Becomes Memorable   By Hafiz

Most that is said is really like a distant echo. 
Few minds are strong enough,

free enough of prejudice and arrogance for
original thought to want to pass through.

The body is like a vase, a bell that can chime.
It does so to varying degrees in response to
every experience and feeling.

The value of vases can differ, as you know,
quite a bit.

How does heaven assign worth to our sounds?
It comes down to this:

If what you say or do becomes memorable to
another in times of need,

an ally are you then considered by the gods.

Happy Birthday Jon, Lucky Me

August 8th, 2016
Jon and his familiars, Red and Fate

Jon and his familiars, Red and Fate

When Jon is taking a picture of someone, he always tries to loosen them up by saying, “Look at my bald spot”.  It usually works.

I remember when Jon and I were just friends, he always wore a baseball cap.  One of his books had just come out and he was getting ready to go to New York for a TV interview.  He asked me if I thought he should take his cap off.  Of course I told him, understanding what a big step it was for him to be seen by so many people without his hat on.

He called me after the interview and  proudly told me that he didn’t wear his hat.  After that, his baldness no longer seemed to be an issue.  And now he jokes about it.

I guess some people might say that comes with age.  And that’s probably a part of it.  But I know quiet a few people who are a lot older than Jon and are still uncomfortable with the way they look.

Some people shut down the older they get.  But Jon keeps spiraling up and out.  Growing and changing is a constant process for him.   And the older he gets, the more he seems open to it.  The more he evolves.

Lucky me, that I get to love and live with such a man.  And lucky me to know him at this point in his life,  when he’s so much more himself than he’s ever been.  Being young has it perks, but there can also be many benefits to being older.  I don’t even know if I could have loved the younger version of Jon.  But I do know I love the person he is now.  And that I’m selfishly grateful that he was born 69 years ago today.

 

The Front Porch

August 7th, 2016

queen flo

Our front porch is really pretty and inviting.  We have two wicker benches and one chair all with comfortable cushions. There’s a couple of tables and in the summer I put a few of our house plants on them.  There’s bamboo blinds for shade and privacy from Route 22, which runs in front of the house.

But Jon and I rarely sit there.   Sometimes on a Sunday afternoon, I’ll take my book and some tea out there and snuggle in for a few hours of reading.  Sometimes I’ll bring my computer and blog from the front porch.

As the back porch has become the domain of Minnie and the hens, the front porch is Flo’s.

Almost anytime of day you’ll find Flo sleeping on the front porch.  I feed her there in the morning and in the afternoon.  It’s her own little palace and she occupies the space with all the attitude and sense of entitlement that cats possess.

I’ve never seen Minnie on the front porch, (although Flo does use the back porch, Minnie is more generous I think) or the hens.  When I do sit on one of those wicker benches to read, Flo always comes and curls up next to me.

Sometimes, when the moon is full,  and I get up to go to the bathroom in the night,  I can see the front porch glowing blue through the window.  It’s hard for me to resist that kind of moonlight.  It pulls at me.  “Come, it says, “sit in my cool fire for a moment”.

I’ll sit on the wicker bench, staring at the moon high over the hills across the road.  Flo is often there winding herself around my legs.  If not, I know she’s out hunting, maybe she can’t resist the moon either.

I didn’t know I could be immersed in light.  Just as on a hot day, when I swim in the river, the water holds me and cools me.  I feel like the moonlight is including me in something I’ve always been a part of but have forgotten.

There’s no cars on the road that time of night and between the strange light, the quiet and the stillness, it feels like I’ve stepped into another time.  A time when humans were closer to the earth.  When the rhythms of nature had a greater influence on us.  When nature was as important and close to us as the people we lived with.  When nature was our family.

Was that really ever true?  I don’t know, but that’s what it feel like to me, sitting on the front porch in the moonlight, with Flo doing figure-eights  around my legs.

My Rainforest Potholders

August 5th, 2016
Rainforest Potholders

Rainforest Potholders

I made 21 of my Rainforest Potholders  in all.  Now I just have a few squares with lizards on them left.  I’ll make them into potholders next week, then I’ll have used up all the fabric.

They went pretty quick, but I guess the colors are really fun and animals pretty appealing.

Now it’s time for the other part of my work.  Collecting the money, writing receipts, depositing checks, packing them up and mailing the potholders out.

Deb and The Bear

August 5th, 2016
In the Pole Barn

In the Pole Barn

I got a text from Ed Gulley today.

Yesterday he came to take Deb’s body.  We put her in his truck and  he drove with her back to his farm.  I know lots of farmers have a place they put their dead animals.  I assumed a pile someplace back in the woods.

But Ed texted:    Not that it matters, but thought you’d like to know that we bury all our animals and I put Deb next to the bear figuring their spirits have crossed before.

Oh it matters, I wrote back, Thank you, Thank you.

 

Deb, Taking Her Place

August 4th, 2016

 

Deb

Deb

Deb was fine yesterday morning.  I took pictures of her grazing with the other sheep.  Of her and Rosemary hanging out together.

It seems so “all of a sudden” with sheep.  But in the afternoon, when we let the animals out to graze Deb ran into the fence then fell on her side.  It wasn’t until later that we knew the problem wasn’t that she hit the fence, she hit the fence because something was already wrong.

She stumbled out into the pasture, disoriented,  not able to find the flock.  But she found the fence and leaning against it, followed it back to the pole barn.  The other sheep quickly followed her.  Supporting her.

Jon was on the phone immediately and the Vet came a couple of hours later.  After examining her, he gave her three injections and left four days worth of injections for us to give her.  There  were three things  he thought it could be. (I honestly can’t remember what they were) If it was one of them we would see a big difference by the next day.

By noon today she wasn’t better, she was worse.  Both Jon and I know how sheep quickly get sick and die.  That, most often, there’s little that can be done for them.  That the Vets only have so many solutions.

I’ve had sheep for about five or six years and I’ve seen it happen more than once.  How they suddenly seem to get sick.  How they don’t get up again.

The first time it happened I wasn’t sure my sheep Tess wouldn’t get better after collapsing in the field.  I had to trust Jon.  The difference is that now I feel like I can pretty much tell when a sheep is so sick and suffering so much, it’s more humane to kill her than keep her alive.

I could see it with Deb this morning.

When Jon went into the barn with his rifle to shoot Deb, I stood outside and repeated  to myself, the Loving Kindness chant I’ve come to depend on whenever I’m feeling scared or sad or need to be comforted.

May you be filled with lovingkindness, may you be well, may you be peaceful and at ease, may you be truly happy.  

I heard the gun shots and a little bit later felt a letting go.  A shift in the reality I have known for the past three years since Deb was born.  It’s like she slid from one space to another.  Like the puzzle pieces slightly morphed to accommodate this new reality.  I cried for her and me earlier in the morning, I didn’t cry then.

Yesterday, when we first separated Deb from the other sheep and got her in the barn, I sat next to her, quietly wondering if I was being of any comfort to her.  She was leaning up against the gate that opens into the pole barn.  Liam, the wether, who was born around the same time she was, was laying down on the other side of the gate, as close to her as he could get.   I knew then she was getting more comfort from being close to him than from me.

So I left her to be with her flock.  Every once in a while she would call out and one of them would answer.

This afternoon, when Jon shot Deb, all the sheep went out to graze.   I laid a tarp over her and thought of Eve Marko’s blog post today called  Take Your Place.  

She wrote:
“It’s as if the trees are saying take your place among us. The small shrubs that struggle in vain for sunlight in that place of shadows, they’re saying take your place among us. The branches fallen on the ground say take your place among us. The grass that’s brown because we’ve had no rain tells me: take your place among us. Take your place.”

 

That's deb on the left with her mouth open. She was born making noise.

That’s Deb on the left with her mouth open.  When she was born, she came out baaing.

Moonlight Garden

August 3rd, 2016

moon light garden

It was poet Margaret Bednar who gave me the name for this quilt when she left a comment about it on Instagram.  “like a flower garden in the moonlight” she wrote.

And I knew she was right.  I started making the quilt around the time of the full moon.  I thought of how I could see as if it were daytime, but how the light is so different.  And how the gardens are quieter.  Resting from all the activity of the bright summer sun.

All of that was happen subconsciously.  On the surface I was thinking of  the painter Alma Thomas.  I hadn’t heard of her until I saw a reproduction of one of her painting in The New Yorker.  The painting caught my eye and the article held my attention.

Thomas  looked to the colors in her gardens to inspire her paintings and often imagined what those gardens would look like from the sky.

To me, her abstract color field  paintings, made me think of quilts.  Small individual shapes of color with just enough space between them, like a stone walkway, to make them dance within the canvas.

If I look at my quilt as if I were seeing it from the sky, I can easily imagine it  a garden of flowers, in the moonlight.

Alma Thomas was the first African-American woman to have a solo exhibit at the Whitney Museum in 1972.  She was 81 years old.  She said, “Through color, I have sought to concentrate on beauty and happiness, rather than on man’s inhumanity to man.”

Reminds me of how Mary Oliver chooses to sing the beauty of the natural world, bringing hope, instead of focusing on its destruction.

Often my work consumes me and sometimes it seems selfish and small.  But I am aware of my responsibility as an artist to put good into the world.  My work isn’t overtly political, although, just by the nature of who I am it does have a feminist streak that runs through it.  What I’m sending out into the world may be tiny in comparison to everything around me.  But  I do hope and strive for it to bring light and to form a connection with the people who get to see and own it.

My work isn’t loud, but quiet, like a garden in moonlight.

Moonlight Garden is sold.

If you want to see some of  Alma Thomas’ paintings click  here.

The back of Moonlight Garden

The back of Moonlight Garden