Second Cut Hay To Stay Warm

January 8th, 2017

It’s in the low teens today, so we gave the animals some of the second cut hay.   It’s richer in protein  and nutrients and will help keep the animals warmer.  It tastes better too.  You can see how much the sheep are enjoying it.

Drawing in the Snow

January 8th, 2017

A drawing in the snow.  Done by a vole, I think, and a rabbit.

Slow Day

January 6th, 2017

I think it’s from getting my tooth pulled yesterday, that and the prescription Motrin I took for the pain.  I’ve been tired and low all day.   It took me hours to design four potholders.  I just didn’t have it.

I took a nap in the afternoon then Jon and I spontaneously ran off to the movies.

We saw Hidden Figures.  It’s about the mostly unknown (unknown to me for sure) African America Women mathematicians who were instrumental  in the space program.  It didn’t have the grit and hard edges of real life, but it’s the kind of movie that is enjoyable to watch, can reach a wide audience (I can imagine it being shown in schools) and tells a story that is inspiring  and in many ways, still relevant.

I think it was perfect for my healing body.   Now I’m off to bed.

The potholders I made today

Passport Tooth

January 5th, 2017


I asked the assistant if I could have the pieces of my tooth that the dentist just pulled.  She said I could as long as I didn’t touch them. I wondered why, but didn’t ask.  After all, it’s been in my mouth for almost 50 years.   I assumed it was just one of those medical safety precautions.

It was my first time to this office and everyone there was really nice.  The dentist was kind and did a very good job.  He had to break my tooth into three pieces to get it out.  Once again I was grateful for the invention of Novocaine.

When I asked, I wasn’t sure why I wanted the tooth.  But the feeling to have it  was so strong, I couldn’t resist it.

Later I thought how my tooth had done such a good job for so long.  And when it stopped doing that, it caused me face an old fear and brought up in me a strength I didn’t know I had.

My friend Athena called it Sacred.  Alchemy.   I think I wanted to honor it.  It’s more than just medical waste to me.

The ground is frozen now, but in the spring, I’ll bury it outside my studio.  I see it as a passport tooth.  Bringing me from one place to another.


Linda’s Quilts, In Their New Homes

January 5th, 2017

I love to see my quilts being loved and well used.

I made five quilts for Linda, all gifts that she gave to her family for Christmas.  One of her son’s sent this picture of the quilt he got as a gift from his mother.

Seeing my quilts hanging on my studio wall after I’ve finished them is so different from seeing them on a bed.  And it’s even better to see them on the bed or couch or where ever someone chooses to put them, once they’re in their new home.

No longer mine, the quilt gets to live its own life.  I love being able to send my quilts out into the world.  I hope each one brings beauty and warmth to the person who owns it.

Linda’s husband got to choose the quilt he wanted first. He told Linda that this one “Called to him“.   He’s not sure if he’ll use it on the couch or bed.  I like how it becomes three-dimensional on the couch.  More a sculpture than a painting.

Which ever he chooses will be the right choice.

A Night Away

January 4th, 2017

How is it that last night Jon and I were just less than a half hour from home, yet it felt like we were far, far away.

Virginia, I though as we left the motel room this morning.  We could easily have been in Virginia.

And last night, as we drove through the sleeting, windy, dark,  for no more than ten minutes,  we came to a restaurant that made us feel like we were in Colorado.  Deer, antelope and buffalo heads hung on the wood-paneled walls.  We were the only ones in the small room,  cozy in the corner.   The muffled  noise from the bar, two doors away,  kept the restaurant from feeling desolate.

And the motel room was just what I expected.

I put the lily Jon bought me on  an unusually elegant table near the door.  Turned the heat up.  Then pulled a chair over to the valance which was drooping over the window and hooked it back onto the curtain rod.

I’ve always been drawn to the American idea of the road trip.  I love trips where I drive all day, stop where  and when I want and don’t know where I’m going to sleep or eat until I get there.

That’s not exactly what Jon and I did last night.  We knew where we were going to stay and where we would eat.  We had passed both the old motel and restaurant many times on our way to Manchester Vermont.

But as we pulled into the motel, I pretended we had been driving all day and were grateful to finally find a place to stay for the night.  And when the wind started rattling the windows,  it made the room into a safe haven.

It was Jon’s idea to make reservations at the motel so close to our house.  And I was all for it.

Sometimes, in the summer, I watch the campers and motorcycles drive by our house and imagine what the people in them think about the farm.  I wonder if they see the animals, if it’s a landmark or memory for them on their trip.

Why can’t we do this at home, Jon asked me as we sat in the motel bed reading.  Relax like this?

Because we work at home  and the computer is only a few steps away.  Anyway,  there’s always something to do at home even if you don’t work there.

We could have been almost anywhere last night.  An anonymous motel room, the landscape made invisible by the sleet and moonless night.

So close to home, we couldn’t have been further away.



Kolkata Diary. Good Advice From Dahn

January 4th, 2017

A new Ogg Winter Scarf I started working on today.

If you have any advice for me about traveling to India,” I messaged Dahn, “I’ll be happy and grateful to hear it.” 

Dahn Gandell is my friend and a minister.  She’s the one who asked me to go to India and teach the women there how to make potholders.  She’s been to Kolkata many times so I figured she’d be able to tell me what I need to know.

Her message back to me was long and ended with the words, I guess that’s more that enough for now. 

Here’s some of what Dahn told me…

Keep my shoulders and knees covered.

Bring cash dated after 2006 and/or use a debit card.

Expect to see men peeing in the streets, it’s part of the Indian Culture.

Keep your money in an inside pocket of your bag and never put it down anywhere.  (Unless we’re at one of the regular location, then the ladies and girls will try to take your bags so you don’t have to carry anything.)

Don’t try to filter your own water, there’s always bottled water available and every place we go someone will give us Chai which is safe to drink.

Get a Z-pack (antibiotics) in case of a respiratory infection from the smog from cars and crematoriums.

Carry Baby Wipes, toilet paper and hand sanitizer in your bag.

“…we just tend to go with the flow and don’t let anything freak us out because whatever happens is supposed to happen and we can deal with it.”

This is all good to hear, but Dahn’s philosophy about not freaking out, is the best advice I can think of.




Kolkata Journal. Imagining India

January 3rd, 2017

It’s finally becoming real.  The idea of my trip to India, which began months ago was more of an abstract idea to me than something that would really happen.

Now it’s a little over a month away, and I wake up at night thinking of practical things like having a bag big enough to hold a bottle of water, but not so big it’s cumbersome.  I think of ways of having my iphone/camera always handy without having to always be holding it in my hand.  The last time I traveled out of the United States I went to the bank and got Travelers Checks.  Remember those?  I’m finding out how money works now.  And soon I’ll be able to get my Visa.  It can only be applied for a month before travel.

Yesterday I took the calendar off the fridge and wrote India in the box for February 12th. On the 26th I wrote Home.  Those words bracketed fourteen squares on the calendar.  Two whole weeks. Half the month.

The last time I left Jon and the farm was to go to Gee’s Bend, Alabama, three years ago.  And that was for four days.

If I can’t imagine something, see it in my mind, feel it in my body, it’s not real to me.  Because I’ve never been there, India is not real to me.

So I’ve started trying to imagine myself on the plane, reading a book on my iphone.  In the hotel blogging on my computer.  Taking pictures in the markets, the ones I’ve seen pictures of online.  And teaching the girls and women at the Women’s Interlink Foundation how to make potholders.

It’s still hard for me to believe  it’s because of my potholders that I’m going to India.

I’m busy preparing, but I don’t want this time to be just about getting ready to go.  I want to feel the excitement too.  The joy of the adventure.

This morning I stood in front of the mirror and looking into my own eyes, I said out loud,  You’re going to India.  You’re going to India!  Imagine that.  Did you ever think that would happen?  You just never know. 

In the mirror, I watched the smile spread across my face.  I felt my heart start to pound with excitement.   The warm oranges, maroons and yellows of India, that I’ve only seen in movies and in photos, flooded my vision.

“Holy Shit” I said to my reflection, “You’re going to India”


Fate’s New Dog House?

January 2nd, 2017

When I was a kid, I was always  pretending I was a dog and using my grandmother’s desk as a dog house. I think Fate’s watching the birds at the feeder, but I can’t say for sure.

My New Ogg Winter Scarves, Sold Out

January 2nd, 2017

I explain it all in the video, but I have to say  again, it was almost magical the way the first scarf came together.   It was as if all the  pieces were just waiting together on my shelf for me to find them and sew them into a scarf.

My Ogg Winter Scarves are $60 + $8 shipping.  I finished the third scarf that I was working on in the video.  There’s a photo of it and the other two scarves below.

If you see one you like or have any questions,  just email me here at  I take checks and paypal.

First Ogg Scarf Sold

Pink and Gray Scarf Sold


Leaf Scarf Sold