Believing In Good

Crane flies aka Mosquito Hawks mating

It gets to me. I don’t pay attention to every little thing that is reported.  To each misspoken word, or the horrifying ones.    I vote and I send emails to the  White House and my representatives when I feel the need.  I join a protest when I can.

I try to be informed without letting the hype take over my emotional life.  I will not give politicians who are in office or running for office the power to rule my emotions.  I will not live in fear of what might happen.  I will not engage in the madness.

First Bidens disastrous Debate performance  now a shooting and assassination attempt on Trump.  My mind leaps and bounds on how each will react, on  what will happen next.

But I try to reel it in.

I don’t have a god I believe in.  But I need a place to go when I’m in distress.

So I go to the idea of  Good.   Yesterday Jon and I sat in silence and I thought of the people at the Trump rally and Trump himself (who I have nothing good to say about)  and in the tradition of “Loving Kindness”  wished them healing and well being.

Then as I sat next to him, Jon went online and  bought some food for the Cambridge Food Pantry.

Thinking good, doing good.

Because I don’t want to be a hater.  Because it feels better to put good out into the world than bad.   I don’t actually know if it makes a difference, but it is what I believe in.

Then I went outside.  I walked barefoot on the grass, sat with the trees and listened to the birds.  I watched the wind dance the flowers and grasses in the marsh.  I weeded my garden to sooth my restless hands and tossed what I pulled over the fence for the donkeys and sheep to eat.

I thought…this is what’s real.

It is in nature that I find the natural flow of life.  The beauty and the disease, the baby birds that fly from the nest and the ones that fall to their death, the hollyhocks that still flower even with the rusty pock marks on their leaves, the spindly plant growing inside the compost bin.

And this gives me solace.  Not that everything will turn out the way I want it to, or that all will always be well, but that things will continue on.  And it is in that there is hope.

Waiting Drawing

Jon and I were up early this morning to get to Albany by 7:30 to see his Retina Specialist.  We didn’t have to wait long, (but long enough for me to do a drawing)  apparently first thing in the morning is a good time to get there.

The good news is that Jon’s eye is doing well.

I am using  a new  sketch pad for my Waiting Drawings since I used the last one up. It’s one I had for many years and has a attempts at watercolor in it.  So I started it from the back and I can use the back  side of the pages I already used.  It’s thick watercolor paper so it won’t leak through.   It’s also about twice as long,  but I’m keeping the format of the drawings the same.  For now anyway.

We got home in plenty of time for me to get into my studio and work on my Back Porch Potholders.

Believing In The Blooming Iris

I can’t remember ever seeing a Blue Flag Iris growing in the pasture this time of year.  But that seems to be happening lately.  Flowers blooming out of time.

The heat feels more oppressive today than all the days before.  It’s sunny, then the clouds cover the sky muting the landscape, then the sun is back again.

I rolled up the shades on the front porch and put the plants against the porch wall.  I opened the gates to all the pastures and pulled the generator out of the barn.  It’s plugged in and I went over the directions to remind myself how to start it.

There are high wind and thunder storm warnings, but there’s also a tornado watch in our area and the  areas surrounding us.

It’s unlikely, but possible, so I put some things in the basement too.  A couple of lawn chairs, water a sweatshirt, (it’s a stone foundation and dirt floor and cold even in this heat) and a 24 hour solar powered light.

I was concerned enough to stay home from Bellydancing, which little keeps me from missing.    It’s hard to know what the best thing to do is.  There are so many warnings that are too easy to come by.   Jon’s worried about me driving and I’m worried about him being home alone in a bad storm without electricity or worse.

It’s hard not to believe that the storms that are plaguing so many parts of the country including our neighboring Vermont, won’t come here too.

So far we’ve been very lucky.

Hopefully I did all these  preparations for nothing.  I think I’ll take the blooming Iris as a good omen.  Why not,  I get to choose what I believe, I might as well believe in something good.

Buy My “Flying Tampons” Potholder and I’ll Donate The Money To Buy Tampax Tampons For The Cambridge Food Pantry

You can buy my Flying Tampons Potholder here.

The Women’s Shelf at the Cambridge Food Pantry is empty.  They are in desperate need of Tampons.  Not it’s not food, but a necessity just the same.

You can buy a box of 34 Tampax Tampons for 7.57   on the Amazon Food Pantry Wish List.  Just click here. 

Or you can  buy my Flying Tampon Potholder for $  22.21+ $5 shipping and I will donate the money to buy  three boxes of Tampax Tampons.

I know a flock of Flying Tampons is not what people are expecting to see on a potholder, but just imagine how every time you use it you’ll think of how you helped someone when they really needed it.

When I first got my period, I didn’t tell anyone and for months I was  too embarrassed to go to the supermarket and buy pads.  (I never even thought of tampons back then) I spent a lot of time rolling up toilet paper and coming up with ways to make it stay in my underpants.  And I was fortunate enough to have the money to buy them.

So to me, having enough pads or tampons is a kind of freedom.  Which is why my Tampons are flying.

You can buy my Flying Tampon Potholder in my Etsy Shop, just click here.

Gardening, Intention and Neglect

Jon and Zip with bouquets of flowers from the gardens.

Despite the heat, I did a lot of gardening yesterday, and Jon who isn’t supposed to be out in it at all, took a lot of photographs of his flowers.

Sometimes he sat in the shade on the back porch photographing a bouquet of flowers, but he was also at his raised bed gardens, rearranging the plants and taking their pictures.

The poet Jane Kenyon said that keeping a garden is like writing poetry.  With poetry you move words around with gardens you move plants.

My day began when I took five or six Calendula from Jon’s raised beds and planted them in the emerging garden on the south side of my studio.  I’ve heard they are good at reseeding so thought it the perfect place for them.

The garden in front of my studio

To make room, I dug up a big clump of Chives.  I needed them closer to the house anyway so I can get to them more easily.

I put half in my Back Porch Garden and planted half in the front lawn.

The front door

While we were working, our handyman Dan was at the farm looking at some repairs that need to be done to the barn and house.

When we got to the front of the house where the stair panels on either side of the steps are rotting away I saw the tall grasses growing around the flower bed and up  through the broken cement as if I were seeing it for the first time.

I love what is happening with our unmowed front lawn, but for me there is a difference between intention and neglect.  And the front of the house looked neglected.

I knew what it needed and it was simple.

So this morning I got out my  lawn mower and mowed a path along the edge of the flowerbed in front of the porch.  I mowed under the lilacs and made a path through the front lawn.

Now it’s a wildflower walk.

I also cut the lilacs and maple branches that were growing into the walkway that goes from the porch to the mailbox.  I wouldn’t mind  the lilacs arching over the path, don’t want them obscuring it.

Then I pulled up everything that was growing through the broken cement except the lily.  Once again intention, not neglect.

After that I focused on another neglected spot by my shade garden.  I cut and pulled the vines and sticker bushes that were growing between the stone wall and pasture fence.

Kim and Robin eating the lilac branches that I pruned

When Jon and I heard it was going to be another hot weekend, we talked about going to a museum to keep cool.  But what we both really wanted to do was enjoy being home and doing some work in the gardens.

After we finished, Jon went in the house to cool off in the air conditioning, and I sat on the back porch.

Zip tried to climb on my stomach, but I gently pushed him away and he settled next to me on the wicker bench. I read about Eilis trying on a bathing suit in Colin Toibin’s novel Brooklyn, dozed and watched the clouds gather over the Green Mountains.

Chamomile Tea And Some of The Other Edible Plants Growing On The Farm

Chamomile

It’s only a small patch in the raised bed garden, about 1’x2′, but the chamomile keeps flowering.   Once a day I bring out a small bowl and pinch the flowers, the ones with the petals hanging straight down from the yellow center.   There aren’t a lot, maybe twenty at a time.  But the next day there are always more.

I keep the flowers in a wooden bowl in the upstairs bedroom where it’s dark, warm and dry.   The first ones I picked are already noticeably smaller.  Little shrunken, pale, yellow balls.

I hope to have a tin of chamomile tea by the winter.

I also grew Cilantro, Lemon Balm and Basil in the flower bed, each herb separated by a row of marigolds, that have yet to bloom.

I took over two of Jon’s raised beds, and  the herbs do wonderfully in them.  So much better than in my vegetable garden where they are easily dominated out by the bigger vegetables.

Next year I’ll put my Dill seeds in the raised bed instead of my vegetable garden.

Cilantro from the garden

Last week I dried some mint that grows in the garden just outside the back door.  I used to be more careful about picking it, until I found that it grows back even more after a harvest.  It dried quickly in the upstairs bedroom and easily filled half a tea tin.

I also put the mint a bottle of water in the fridge.  It adds the slightest most refreshing flavor.

Stinging Nettles

The Stinging Nettles are harder to pick.  I bring a basket to put them in into the barnyard where they grow, wear gloves, and cut them with a scissor.

They are a favorite of the donkeys, so I missed out on the first cutting.  Maybe like hay the second cutting is better.  Not that I’d notice the difference.

By the time the leaves dry, the sting is gone and I can just crumple them into a tin.  I’ll save the nettle tea for the fall or next spring when my hay fever is back.

Red Currents

I knew the red currents were ready to be picked with I saw a Blue Jay swoop down from the fence into the bush outside my studio window.  I owe my appreciation of Red Currents soaked in honey to Heidrun.  She wrote to me last year with instructions on how to pick them and make them a delicious topping to put on my yogurt.

Heidrun, who lives in Germany, was  upset when I wrote I was going to leave the Red Currents for the birds because she loves them so much.   I  had no plans of making them into jam and didn’t know what else to do with them.  But she made it simple for me to enjoy them.

She even told me how to use a fork to easily remove the currents from the stems.  I will always think of Heidrun when I pick, prepare and eat my Red Currents.

I have come to love growing the herbs that I use for tea and cooking.  But I enjoy finding the edible plants that grow naturally on the farm just as much, or maybe even a bit more.

The fresh nettle leaves can also be cooked up with a little soy sauce.  And this is going to be a good apple year.  I’m already feeding the small green apples that have fallen from our tree to the donkeys and sheep.

And there are plenty more.

I like learning about the plants and their uses a little at a time. Otherwise I’ll get overwhelmed and won’t retain any of the information at all.  This spring Jon and I made Dandelion tea and I know Calendula, which I just planted in the garden by my studio,  has many uses including making the flowers into tea.

Maybe I’ll try drying a few flowers.  I like the idea of mixing them with the mint leaves or maybe some of the Lemon Balm that I have not yet even picked.

Waiting… A Long Day

Making this drawing was the fun part.  I did draw over my Worm Farm notes. After all they were in my Waiting sketch book.  The fun part was letting them play a part in the drawing.  I left in the words that made sense (kind of) with my Waiting.

Once again I was at the Albany ENT getting my ear treated.  I’m grateful they have been able to help me and hoping that I can continue any needed treatment at the Saratoga ENT which is  closer to home and a much easier drive.

I’ll be back in Albany in another two weeks for sure, but after that, well, I’ll hopeful it will be the last time.

They are so booked up I have to take the appointment they give me and so far they have always landed on Wednesday, or Bellydancing day.

I was able to get Susan’s quilt in the mail before leaving this morning, but by the time I got home it was time to feed the animals.  That’s when we saw that Fanny was limping again.  She was doing so well this morning we told our farrier he didn’t need to come.

I’m not sure what happened, why she was limping so bad after doing so well this morning.  But I felt pretty good when I was able to scrape her hoof and pop the abscess myself.  I put some antibiotics on it and wrapped the hoof.  Jon has lots more experience this kind of thing, and feels confident that she’ll start getting better now.

So it was a full day already and now I’m off to Bellydancing. I thought about not going, I’m a bit tired   but just thinking about dancing brings up some of that energy that got zapped from the long day.

Fanny and Lulu grazing a few days ago

 

Summer Reading, Bedlam Farm Book Sale

The books we are selling

Jon and I have finished a few books and are now selling them in our Bedlam Farm Book Sale.  Each book is in excellent condition read by one or both of us.

The books are $10 each + $5 shipping.  If you see one you’d like just email me at [email protected].  Let me know which book or books you’d like and how you’d like to pay for  them.

I take checks, PayPal and Venmo. If you get more than one book shipping may be slightly more than $5.

Below are links to information on each book:

Table For Two  By Amor Towles  Sold

Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver  Sold

The Morningside by Tea Obreht

The Fox Wife by Yangsze Choo  Sold

Wandering Stars by Tommy Orange

Full Moon Fiber Art