News From The Barnyard

Lulu and Fate

There’s not much for the donkeys and sheep to do all day and night with snow covering the ground.

I did see a trail leading out to the back pasture.  It stopped under the pine tree, where I imagine they were reaching for the pine needles.  I put a little chicken wire fence around the trunk of the pine a few years ago when they were eating the bark and that has worked.

There were some more tracks along the marsh, where the sheep and donkeys can pick at the taller grasses and low bushes.

I also put a big branch, that fell from the maple tree during the summer, in the pole barn for them to chew on.  Most of the barn is now wrapped in chicken wire, but somehow, the donkeys always seem to find some bare wood to chew on.

It’s supposed to get warm again next week, in the ’50s.  That’s kind of hard to believe since it’s been snowing all day again.

I prefer snow in the winter.  If it’s going to be cold and dreary, at least the snow brightens things up.  But It’s hard on the animals.   So I hope, for their sake, at least some of the snow melts next week and the animals can move around more easily.

Otherwise, it will be a long winter for them.

European Winter Birds

Out my studio window

There isn’t a lot of color when I look out my studio window this time of year, especially when it’s overcast.  But I do see color in the movement of the birds as they flit back and forth from the lilac bush to the birdfeeder.

Wendy said my Winter Bird Potholders are like seeing the birds through a frosted window. I love how this speaks to the softness of my designs.

Then, I was surprised when Chris reassured me that the birds in my potholders were indeed winter birds.

Two of your birds wrote Chris,  are European robins, one of the most defining images of Christmas and the dark season here in the UK. It seems nearly every Christmas greeting card here features a cheerful little “Robin Redbreast”. The others seem to be Blue Tits which are commonly found in our gardens in the winter, dominating the bird feeders and cheering up my dark days with their antics.

I’ve already sold a few of these potholders.

This happens sometimes when I post pictures of my work before it’s finished.  So if you ever like something you see on my blog, even if it isn’t finished, you don’t have to wait for me to post it in my Etsy Shop.  Just send me an email and let me know.

I’m planning on finishing these up and putting them up for sale in my Etsy Shop next week.

My Winter Bird Potholders

Car Dogs

Jon and Bud

A part of me wonders if it isn’t genetic that Boston Terriers sit on the console between the front seat in a car.  We never taught Bud to do it, but it has become his place when he rides in the car.  And our Boston Terrier Gus did the same thing.

Zinnia, however, immediately lays down and falls asleep in the back seat of the car.  Like Red, she’s so quiet, sometimes I forget she’s there.

The two of them often take the morning ride to the post office and bank with us.  Both good car dogs in their own way.

News From The Barnyard, Liam and The Twins

Liam, Asher and Issachar

While the rest of the sheep and donkeys ate from one feeder, Liam and the twins, Asher and Issachar were feasting together at the other feeder.

Since Zelda died I feel like Liam has become the leader of the flock.  Zelda was a natural leader, Liam seems to be a leader by default.

But he has turned out to be gentle wether.  I was worried about him as a lamb, he was always getting into trouble and I thought if he wasn’t castrated he probably would have turned out to be an aggressive ram.

Liam has welcomed the young twins and it seems like they look to Liam as Zinnia looks to Bud and Fate to learn the ways of the farm.

Jon And Zinnia, Old Friends

When I looked up from reading and saw Jon and Zinnia sitting together, I saw more than just Jon and a cute puppy.

What I saw was timeless.

Even though we’ve only had Zinnia for three weeks, I sensed a connection between her and Jon that felt ancient.  Suddenly she was no longer a puppy but the embodiment of the relationship between dogs and humans.

A friend told Jon she thought that “As an older spirit dog, Red perhaps had the power to call a puppy to a task.”  That made sense to Jon and he wrote about it on his blog.

Maybe that’s what saw when I looked over at Jon and Zinnia and took this picture.

There certainly seems to be a grounded connection between the two of them. As if they’ve both been doing this a very long time.

Fate’s Determination and Hope

The snow has made it difficult for Fate to “get the sheep”.   She runs around them in a tight circle trying to avoid the deep snow, but she doesn’t have many options.

She either runs through the snow or not at all.

But she doesn’t give up.   When Fate stops circling she looks at me like the next time I tell her to “get the sheep”  the snow will be gone and she’ll be able to do a spectacular outrun again.

Winter Birds

Some of my new Winter Bird Potholders

In the summer, when I take my bird feeder down, I forget how much it means to me to be able to look out my studio window in the winter and see the birds on the feeder.

In the summer, the birds don’t need the food.  They migrate back to the wetlands at the farm, and I see them everywhere. The red-winged blackbirds, Killdeers, Turkey Vultures and so many others, that I don’t know the names of, but know are there.

The birds at my feeder bring the color of summer flowers to my drab winter window. Their movement compensates for not being able to see the sheep and donkeys grazing and the hen pecking around the farm, looking for food.

I don’t know if the birds in the potholders I made today are winter birds.  But they make me think of the birds at my feeder.  The ones that bring life to these dark winter days.

I love how soft the birds in these images are.  I tried to emphasize that quality in the fabric I used to create the potholders around them.

I still have some more that I can make.  It took me a while to figure out the feeling I wanted for these, but now I think I’ve got it, so maybe the next few will go more easily.

I’ll work on them again tomorrow.

Shadow Drawings

I’m trying something new inspired by a photo I took of me and Fate, a drawing I did while waiting for my friends to show up at the Round House Cafe and the illustrations of Jacqueline Ayer. 

I was first drawn to the distortions made by shadows.  But I also wanted to get that spontaneous and confident feeling of a line, like in my drawing.One of the shadow photos of me and Fate

A page from Jacqueline Ayer’s book The Paper-Flower Tree
The drawing I did waiting in the Round House Cafe
Working on my Shadow drawings….


Full Moon Fiber Art