Good Monday Morning From Bedlam Farm 10/3/16

October 3rd, 2016

The Bedlam Farm Open House is next weekend and I’ll be spending this week emptying out my School House Studio and filling up my School House Gallery with all kinds of wonderful art.

I thought I’d let you get a last look at the sheep before they were shorn on Saturday.  Hopefully Griselle and Biddy will never look like they do now, with their wool so long matted.

I still have wool for sale from Deb, Liam, Pumpkin, Kim and Socks.  I’m selling it all on my blog and at the Open House.

My Three Sisters Garden In October

October 2nd, 2016


I dug what was left of the manure after Scott took the pile for Pomanuck’s gardens.  It’s the stuff that’s been there for at least a year if not more.  Now, thick black earth.  Into the wheel barrow, I then shoved it into my Three Sister’s Garden.

I left the tomato plant, it still has some green tomatoes on it.  And a pumpkin vine, with some flowers. I dug up the corn and sunflower roots, knocking the earth from them, then tossing them into the pasture.  I did the same with the weeds and the small yellow cucumbers that never got the chance to grow long and green.

The wool that I used as mulch was matted and moldy.  I scraped it up and threw it in the trash.

I cut the heads from the sunflowers all around the yard and wove them into the pasture fence.  If the birds don’t get all the seeds before they dry out, I’ll give them to the donkeys and Chloe.

They already got the corn and sunflower stalks which they devoured in an afternoon.

Was my Three Sister’s Garden a success?

Not if it had to sustain me.  I picked the corn too late, so it was chewy and mealy.  I only got enough beans to eat one or two each morning for a few weeks.  And mostly, to my surprise, I only grew one zucchini.  The weed of the vegetable garden and I only got one fruit.  But a friend did harvest the flowers and fried them with pork for dinner.

Three small pumpkins decorate our porch.  And I cut up the few  small round cucumbers to flavor my water.

The tomatoes, not a traditional part of the garden, are still green.

Still, I’d say my Three Sister’s Garden was a success.

I may not have been able to eat much from it, but it brought me closer to the earth in a way I hadn’t been before.    Sticking a tiny seed in the ground, watering it and watching it grow into something that could keep me alive, is pretty magical.

It also helped me  grasp just how dependent people in my part of the world used to be  on  their gardens for sustenance.   Not only in the growing season, but in the winters too.

The root cellar in our 1840’s house, complete with old pantry shelves and plaster walls,   (and which keeps a constant  temperature of 50 degrees) has bars on the windows.  Those canned fruits and vegetables were money in the safe.   So much work, not just growing it, but canning it too.  And what if it was a bad year,  too much rain, or not enough.  All the things that could go wrong in a garden.

My Three Sister’s Garden made me see how disconnected I am from the gifts that the earth affords.  If I had to grow all my own food, I’d either learn how to do it quickly or starve.

Next year I’ll grow corn again.  And pick it sooner.  I’ll clear the grasses around the cucumbers to give them the space  and light they need to grow.  I’ll plant some cherry tomatoes, because I love them when they’re fresh off the vine.  And I’ll try some winter squash along with pumpkins, because it tastes so good.

I realized when I planted my Three Sister’s Garden that it was about the size of one of my quilts.  I like the idea of laying a blanket of  seasoned manure on top of the freshly turned soil.  It freezing with the first snow and melting with the spring thaw in preparation for planting.

But for now the nights are getting longer.  And inside the house I wrap my pink quilt around me and cherish the idea of the long, slow, dark winter.  Thinking of hibernating bears and sleeping gardens.  Winter’s work.

Jane McMillen And Her Pincushions at The Bedlam Farm Open House

October 2nd, 2016

Their little car was full.  Packed with tubs of pincushions, and displays, even an outdoor tent.   When I asked Jane if she would do a video,  she gave me the most incredulous look.  “Not me,” she said.  But her husband Tom gently prodded her with a smile.  “Why not?”

The thing I’ve found  about artists is  that once they start talking about their work, there’s no stopping them.  So it was just a matter of asking Jane a question or two and she was off.

Jane a delightfully quirky person.  With a great sense of humor and a very generous spirit.  She also does beautiful work.  Which you can see in the video.

You can get to know Jane a little better through the writings on her blog  Little House Home Arts. 
( In her latest post she suggests: “Love and Peace Through Quilting” would indeed “make America great again”)

To buy Jane’s work (and it’s a lot more than just pincushions)  you can click here.  If you see a pin cushion in the video that you’re interested in and  you don’t see on Jane’s website you can email me at

Poetry At The Bedlam Farm Open House. Jackie Thorne Reads Her Poem “No One Can See”

October 1st, 2016

Jackie Thorne is one of the poets who will be reading her poetry and selling her book  at the Bedlam Farm Open House  on Saturday, October 8th.

Her poem “No One Could See” which she reads in the video, is one of my favorites.  Her first poetry book, Gone To Ground, is filled with poems of self discovery and her connections with the earth.

You can read more of Jackie’s poetry and other writings  here on her blog Creative Journey Woman.  And you can buy her book Gone To Ground from Connie at   Battenkill Books  and support an independent bookstore at the same time or on Amazon.

Carol Law Conklin, Making And Selling Her Batiks at The Bedlam Farm Open House

September 30th, 2016
By Carol Conklin

Batik By Carol Law Conklin

Last June I made four video’s of Carol Law Conklin making her batiks.  Sunday,  October 9th at 12:30 at the Bedlam Farm Open House Carol will be giving a demonstration of how she makes  a batik.

It’s truly a magical thing to see.  How she creates a horse or landscape by dripping wax then dying the fabric and repeating this process again and again.

Carol makes her batiks available to us in so many forms.  You can purchase the originals, but she also prints them on functions objects such as trivets, mouse pads, cutting boards, note cards, scarves and pillows so they can become a part of our everyday life.

She  prints them on fabric too (which are a lot less expensive than the originals). They can be framed or  incorporated in your own creative endeavor.

Carol’s art hangs on my walls and sits on my tables and counter tops.  I get to see and use them everyday.

You can see all of Carols wonderful creations here on her website Amity Farm Batik.  And if you can’t make it to the Open House you can buy her work here.

Here’s the first video I made of Carol creating a batik, this past  June.  You can see all four videos, which shows the whole process, on my You Tube Page.

Elizabeth Heyenga’s Tallow Balm, At The Bedlam Farm Open House

September 29th, 2016
Elizabeth Heyenga's Tallow Balm

Elizabeth Heyenga’s Tallow Balm

Elizabeth sent me a sample of her Tallow Balm last winter.   We got to know each other online.  It was one of those quick connections.  She responded to one of my posts in a way that made me want to hear more of what she had to say.

I used her Tallow Balm throughout the winter, mostly to soften and moisten my hands, but also on my legs and arms, which dry out too.  I gave some as a gift to my friend Athena.  I know Athena can be particular about the lotions she uses, so when she raved about Elizabeth’s  Tallow Balm, I knew it was something special.

At some point I got the idea to sell it at the Bedlam Farm Open House.  It had something to do with Elizabeth’s dedication and passion surrounding the balm and also that I wanted to be able to share it.

Elizabeth is a healer and began  making her Tallow Balms for her clients. When they asked to buy more and she saw how it was improving their skin, she decided to start her business Lizzie’s Pure Living. 

I asked Elizabeth exactly what Tallow Balm is.  She said it “was a farm tradition. Lard was plentiful and free, when rendered it is the perfect base for a balm. When made from grass-fed cows it is nutrient dense and offers vitamins that plant-oil based skin care cannot. It is very high in A, D, E, and K.  And  has an abundance of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), an anti-inflammatory, and palmitoleic acid, a natural antimicrobial.”

That explained what it was made of and why it worked,  but what really resonated with me was when she said,  “I work with herbs, flower essences, and essential oils, so formulating blends for therapeutic effect and pleasant smell has been a natural fit and very enjoyable. When I make balm I work in a mindful state and imbue the balm with healing intention”.   That, and the fact that it really works and smell good too.

If you aren’t coming to the Open House but would like some of Elizabeth’s Tallow Balm you can email her directly at

Elizabeth and Olive. Olive helps clean up by licking the tallow up from the floor. Hence my guiding principle: if you won’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin.

Elizabeth and Olive. Olive helps clean up by licking the tallow up from the floor. Hence  Elizabeth’s guiding principle:” if you won’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin.”

A Video Of Sara Kelly’s Painting For The Bedlam Farm Open House

September 29th, 2016

Sara Kelly just dropped off her work for the Bedlam Farm Open House.  She has framed original paintings, a calendar of her paintings and matted prints.

I’m excited to have Sara’s work in my gallery.  It’s all so colorful and magical.   And as you can see in the video, Sara is a lot of fun.  Her laugh is known around Cambridge.  And I found it to be contiguous.  Always a good thing.

You can see more of Sara’s work here, on her blog  And at the Bedlam Farm Open House on October 8th and 9th.

Paula Bogden’s Collage’s At The Bedlam Farm Open House

September 29th, 2016
By Paula Bogden

By Paula Bogden

I looked at the number  on my iphone.  I didn’t recognize it.    Sometimes I’ll get a text message from someone I don’t know.  Often it will have a picture with it.   Something someone saw in a museum or gallery and thought I might like.

It’s always a little unnerving and feels invasive, uninvited.

This time I liked the picture I was seeing and  noticed something familiar about it, but I was in the middle of blogging, so  really only glanced at it before dismissing it.   It was probably a half hour later, when I walked into my studio that it hit me.

Paula Bogden was sending me photos of her collages for the  Bedlam Farm Open House.  And the image was familiar to me because it’s from our back porch.

You can see the background papers that she made a while back on my Events Page.  And now you can see what  they became.    And here’s another….

By Paula Bogden

By Paula Bogden

“They don’t all have pictures from Bedlam Farm”, Paula texted me.  I know as an artist she used her photos that worked best for the piece.  It’s nice that some of them are from the farm.

(So much layering and depth.  Why do I love that arrow so much?  I’m not even sure.)

To give you a sense of size, the image is 8×10″ in an 11×14″ mat.  They don’t have titles yet, but they may come from the words in the collage.

I can just picture them on my School House Gallery walls.  I cant’ wait!

You can see Paula’s work, her photography, collage and writing here on her blog Little Scraps of Magic.




Getting Along. Fate, Minnie and Flo

September 29th, 2016

Red avoids Flo, but Fate can’t seem to leave her alone.  Even though she’s afraid to get too close to her.  And then there’s Minnie who wants to be everyone’s friend.  Somehow, the all work it out.

When I Wasn’t Nice. No More Surrender.

September 28th, 2016

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When my ex-husband and I were coming to the end of our marriage, he accused me of not being nice anymore.  I understood that this meant I had stopped subjugating myself to him. I had stopped surrendering.

This tactic worked in the past, it was a matter of survival for me, as it is and has been for so many women.We learned how to manipulate men, because that was the only way we could have any power at all.

Until now.

As a matter of fact I learned to submit to it early in life.  Of course I wanted to be nice.  As a girl I was taught that’s what boys and men like in girls. And demand.

I can remember my older brother doing something like taking my doll and strangling it, or taunting me about the way I looked.

When I tried to get  back  what was mine or defend myself, he would turn all sweet and act like he was hurt.  “You’re being mean to me,” he’d say and act sad.

And I fell for it every time.

I didn’t want to be mean.  I wanted to be nice.  Even if it was at my expense. That was what I had been taught, what was demanded of me, especially from my father. Who was not, I noticed, nice to women.

The men didn’t have to be nice. I did.

So when I watched the Debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and Trump started whining that the campaign ads that  Clinton was running weren’t nice,  I felt my blood rise.

At the moment it happened, I didn’t understand my physical reaction, but reading about the debate afterwards and thinking about it, I now understand. It got very personal, for me as well as Hillary Clinton.

Can you imagine if one of the Republican Candidates that Trump debated in the primaries stood on stage and whined that Donald Trump wasn’t being nice to them?

Talk about a double standard.

The thing is Trump expects that kind of thing to work for him because  Hillary Clinton is a woman.  He expects her to feel bad about not being nice to him, because that’s what his experience with women has been.  In my experience, it’s what many men believe.

And that’s why Trump sees nothing wrong with saying it. To him, it’s just the way the world works.

My heart is pounding as I’m writing this.  Because since the debate I’m seeing that the misogyny that I experienced growing up in my home is so wide-spread and accepted that a presidential candidate in 2016 doesn’t know that it’s not okay to call a woman  fat, pig, dog, slob.

I used to think the problem was me, there must have been something wrong with me. I don’t feel that way any longer.

Donald Trump doesn’t know there’s anything wrong with  calling  former Miss Universe Alicia Machado ,” Miss Piggy.” And that there’s anything wrong with the  idea that her gaining weight is a problem for him, which gives him the right to subject her to being publicly humiliated and harassed.

I grew up hearing my father call women the same names Donald Trump calls women.  And I’m not blind to sexism.  I see it all the time through out my whole life in the way that only someone who is subjected to it can see it.  Some sexism is so subtle, and has become such an expected part of my life that  I don’t even notice or take exception to it.

In the article   Hillary Clinton Will Not Be Manturrupted  by Jessica Bennett,  Bennett spoke of how men and boys are  regularly talking over women and girls and interrupting them  (Trump constantly interrupted Clinton in the debate).

Because of  Bennett,  the word  “manturrupting”,  which defines this phenomenon, is now a part of our vocabulary.   The article claims that women are less likely to speak up, to be heard and often have their idea taken away from them by men.  ( Zelda Fitzgerald,  Robert Lewis Stevenson’s wife, Fanny Stevenson and Vera Nabokov  are the first to come to mind).

This hit me hard, because this is about a persons voice or loss of it.   And as someone who only recently found her voice, I know how important it is.

I don’t think I understood how prevalent this idea of manturrupting was until reading this article and seeing it occur in the debate.  I always took it personally, like there was something wrong with me for not speaking up.

Now I see there’s something wrong with a society, where this is accepted.

The idea of the first woman president in not lost on me.  I get choked up every time I think of it.  I hear a lot of younger women saying it doesn’t really matter to them.  And a part of me thinks that’s good.  It means they didn’t grow up with the sexism women of my generation did.

But there’s still so much sexism that goes on in this country and much of it is  just under the surface.  So we may not even understand what’s really happening until someone gives it a word.  Like manterrupting.

I guess the good thing to come out of Donald Trump being a blatant and unapologetic misogynist is that it puts it all out in the open.  We get to see how many Americans, both male and female feel the way he does.  And we get to witness and explore the more subtle aspects of sexism through his interactions with Hillary Clinton.

I can’t wait to vote for Hillary Clinton, who I’m beginning to see as the Crone Archetype.

In our time The Crone is  known as a repulsive, older woman, a witch to be  ostracized from society.

Traditionally, she is the wise and powerful postmenopausal woman.  Both feared and loved and “ever ready to rekindle the inner fire of your creative souls.”  As you can see, she’s already doing that for me.