My Housemate The Camel Cricket

The tiny camel cricket on my arm.

I was just about to turn on the water in the shower when I saw what I thought was a tiny spider in the tub.  I reached down to get it out and saw it wasn’t a spider, but a camel cricket.

I thought of how, Rob Dunn, in his book Never Home Alone wrote that camel crickets have been living in our homes since humans lived in caves.  There’s actually a cave drawing of one in the Trois-Freres Cave in the Pyrenees.  “…we have associated with camel crickets longer than we have farmed crops“, Dunn wrote.

Because of this, I didn’t see the camel cricket as an intruder, but as a housemate. And she seemed to feel the same about me because when I lowered my hand next to her, she hopped onto my finger.

I was sure she would jump off again, but she appeared perfectly at home walking around my hand and arm as I brought her from the bathroom to our cave-like basement, where most camel crickets live.

It might have been the warmth of my skin, but it took some coaxing to get her to hop onto the basement stairs where she could begin her life doing what camel crickets do.

If I hadn’t read Dunn’s book, I would have put the cricket outside, thinking it was where she belonged and had just wandered into the house by accident.

Recently I was talking to our neighbor Vince who brings us gravel for the pole barn once a year. He told me that new houses had to be sealed airtight, spraying foam and caulk in all the possible cracks that naturally occur when building.

I thought of the mold inherent in drywall that just needs the right amount of moisture to grow and I thought of the insects, including the camel crickets that live in our homes and wondered if they’d be able to find their way in.

My breath caught in my chest as Vince talked, I wouldn’t want to live in a house that couldn’t breathe.    I won’t want my home to be so separated from nature that a camel cricket couldn’t survive in my basement.

Rosemary Stickers

My new sticker with Rosemary on it.

I just ordered a new sticker, this one has my sheep Rosemary on it.  I can’t resist the special sticker deals that StickerMule (a company based not far from me in Amsterdam NY) has and how quick and easy it is to make and get them.

I already have stickers with my Flying Vulva and one of my Goddess’ on them.  I like to put these on some of the packages that I mail out.  Since I’m getting two new sheep on Sunday, I thought this photo of Rosemary on a sticker was timely.

Rosemary will be the perfect ambassador to put on next springs wool packages.

A Good Crab Apple Year

It’s a good year for Crabapples.  The shade garden under our crab apple tree is thick with little yellowish-green apples. I’ve heard these are the best cider apples.   We don’t make cider, but the donkeys and sheep love them.

This afternoon I threw some over the fence where the sheep were grazing, filled up a bucket with more and there’s still so many on the ground.

Fanny and Lulu each got a few, thanks for taking Selfies with me.  And they’ll get more tomorrow and the next day and the day after that….

Donkey Selfies

Me and Fanny

I’ve only taken a few Selfies in my life.  But today, as I was sitting with Fanny and Lulu, I got the idea to do a donkey and me Selfie.

The donkeys weren’t really into it, every time I put the iPhone in front of their face they backed away.  They don’t like it when anything comes at them straight on.  But for some reason, (I’m not really sure why) I had fun doing it.

Afterwards, I gathered a bunch of crab apples from under the tree in the yard and gave them each a few as a  thank-you.

Me and Lulu

Bedlam Farm Open House, Opening New Doors

One of Liz’s Sheep that she’s offering me. 

This is the frist Columbus Day Weekend, in many years that Jon and I didn’t have a Bedlam Farm Open House.

I believe that when we stop one thing, it opens a door for something new to come in.

All the years we had Open Houses at the farm I loved doing it.  It was a lot of work and it had its problems, but I always felt it was worth any trouble that came from it.

When we decided not to have an Open House this year, I felt relief.

Relief at the thought of not having to empty out my studio, relief at the idea of not having to put a hold on my work for the three weeks it took to prepare and doing the finishing work after the Open House was over.

There were, of course, many good things about the Open House too.  It was complex.  But I was ready to let it go.   And I believe that left a space for something else to come in.

This weekend two things happened that did just that.

The first was my dancing in the Worldwide ATS Flash Mob with my fellow dancers of the Bennington Beledi Bellydancers.  Dancing was in a way the opposite of the Open House for me.

One of the things about the Open House was that I was in complete charge of the part of it that was about the art and artists.   And there was safety in that for me.  I was choosing the artists, making the rules, controlling things as much as possible.

Dancing on Saturday evening, Bellydancing, in general, makes me vulnerable in a way I’ve never voluntarily allowed myself to be before.

Every class I make a ton of mistakes that are visible to me and the people around me.  I’m often singled out and in front of everyone try again and again to move my feet in a  way that they can’t seem to move.

But this doesn’t bother me.

In the past, I would have been afraid of making mistakes, or even well-meaning criticism.   Now I feel like I just want to learn.  And I’ll do what it takes to do that.

The other thing that happened this weekend is that our shearer Liz offered me two of her sheep.

They’re a Cormo/Romeny and Blueface Leicester mix.  A wonderful combination of wool sheep. I’ve been thinking and talking to Jon about whether to get them or not all weekend.

To me, these sheep feel like another possible way of filling the space the Open House has left.  Taking on two good wool sheep would be like making a renewed commitment to the flock and my business of selling wool.

If I add two new sheep to the flock I will have too much wool for the Fiber Mill I use now to process.  So this is an opportunity for me to get creative about how to sell the extra wool.  I’m just beginning to explore the different options and have the feeling that I can figure something out that I never would have thought of before since I didn’t have to.

Last year I was certain we’d have more Open Houses even if in another form.  But now I’m not so sure.

I like these new directions I’m taking.  Being more committed to and active on the farm (whether I get the sheep or not), and stretching my creativity in a new way through Bellydancing.


Emily, me, Kathleen and Julz dancing Saturday evening.
Full Moon Fiber Art