I finished designing my Emily Dickinson, Secrets quilt. I still have to back and tack it, but I think I can get it done by the end of the week. I have a few people who are interested in it already. That feels pretty good.
After taking the video in my studio this afternoon, the pile of firewood outside my window still taunted me.
So when I finished designing my Emily Dickinson, Secrets quilt and packing up the last of my I Am Enough posters, (UPS delivered the mailing tubes today), taking a walk in the woods with Fate and eating dinner, I was back outside tossing the last to the wood into the woodshed and stacking it.
I got most of it done, but it got too dark and I was too tired to finish. But I did have some insights stacking these two cords of wood.
One of them is something Jon wrote about on his blog tonight.
It’s about my desire to do my part on the farm because I don’t make as much money as Jon does and how Jon often feels like he can’t do as much of the physical work. We talk about how we each couldn’t live here without the other. And that really, we’re a perfect match for living this kind of life together. Each doing what the other can’t.
But still somehow we each also always feel as if we’re not doing enough.
Another thing that happens when I stack wood is it brings up memories of my old life, of the hard physical work I used to do restoring old houses with my ex-husband. At that point in my life, stacking wood was a chore that became a burden.
But as those memories came to me this time, I recognized them and let them go, as I learned to do when meditating. And then I wondered if I hadn’t finally come to the point where I stacked enough wood to work all the memories out, like sweating the poison out of my body.
And I thought this because I began to notice that instead of memories, new thoughts were coming to me. And then, just recognition of what I was doing. Noticing how my body felt as I bent over to pick up the wood and how my left hand couldn’t grasp the large heavy pieces like my right hand could.
And each time I came out of the woodshed back to the pile of wood I looked at the sky or felt the breeze or really saw just how green the grass is. I was experiencing what was around me and my place in it.
I was being in the moment.
I also felt the satisfaction of filling up the woodshed with wood. Of knowing that when the winter comes, I’ll be bringing the same wood into the house and burning it in the stoves, warming our old house in a way that the baseboards can’t.
Even thought I’m not cutting the wood and hauling it to the house, or paying for it to be done, stacking it makes me feel more connected to the process. Acknowledging the sacrifice of the trees and being even more grateful for them.
This time of year I just want to be outside.
I spent the morning packing up and shipping out most of the orders I got last week and over the weekend for my I Am Enough posters and postcards. I meant to get them done on Friday night, but after calling Bingo at The Mansion, (which Jon and I do most Friday nights) I realized I was worn out from the week and went to bed early.
I ran out of shipping tubes, so I couldn’t get all the posters in the mail, but I ordered more and they only take a day or two for me to get.
By the time I got back from my class at The Mansion and fed the animals, it was 4pm and too late to get into my creative head and go to my studio. Anyway it was so beautiful out, I didn’t want to be inside anymore.
So I stacked a little more firewood and took the wooden storm windows off my studio.
Tomorrow I’ll be able to open some windows (The old School house that is my studio leans a little throwing off square some of the windows making them impossible to open) letting the fresh air in and the old winter air out.
I was careful as I carried the storm windows through the gate where a tree frog was hanging out.
I gently unlatched the chain passing it slowly and quietly over her head, trying not to startle her. (I don’t know if it’s a male or female, so I’ll call her a female) She only moved once then settled right back down again, already used to me and Fate going back and forth through the gate.
Such a pretty animal, I hear tree frogs all the time, along with peepers and bull frogs. But I rarely see them unless one of the cats leave a dead one on the porch. And I’ve never seen a tree frog here before. So it was a treat and a pleasure to be able to get so close to her, to even take some pictures and know that she was as comfortable around me as I was around her.
I plan on getting to my studio early tomorrow morning to work on my Emily Dickinson Secrets quilt. I did get into my studio with the intention of doing some yoga, and got sidetracked by the quilt, demanding my attention.
I moved some pieces around, placing them where I thought they looked best. It really is like doing a puzzle that only I know what it will eventually look like.
“Can I hold your babydoll”, I asked Jean. “I’ll babysit while you draw.” Jean is always ready to laugh, a look of delight came over her and she handed me the doll.
Jon and the Army of Good bought dolls for a few of the women who live at The Mansion, the Assisted Living Facility where we both volunteer, and Jean loves to carry hers around. I held the doll for the hour long class, sometimes sitting her on my lap, while Jean worked at coloring in the picture I drew on her tote bag in black marker.
“These totes are just the right size to hang on a walker,” Julie, the Activities Coordination told me.
I hadn’t thought of that. Jon bought Sylvie, another resident, some small totes and she couldn’t use them all so I decided they would be the perfect project for my art class at The Mansion.
I drew an owl on one bag in black marker and colored it in as an example of what they could do, but everyone had their own ideas. A few of the women who showed up for the class, weren’t able to do a drawing so Julie and I did one for them to color in.
One woman didn’t want to draw at all, but she did want to watch. I gave her the bag I made and she said she’d give it to her daughter as a gift.
Wayne and Ruth, the newly “married” couple, made bags for each other.
Mary made a bag for her granddaughter whose birthday is coming up.
Madeline made a bag with her husband’s name on it.
And Jean tried not to laugh when she told me she thought her bag was ugly.
Last month when I went to The Mansion to teach a class, only Peggy showed up. This time we had to pull another table over there were so many people who wanted to draw.
I remember my mother telling me she used to belong to a sewing circle when she first started working full time. She said it was more about getting together with other women than it was about sewing.
That’s how I’ve come to feel about my monthly art class.
Madeline tells us stories about her life. Today she told us about her husband who was a professional photographer and her trip to Italy to meet her husband’s family who did not approve of her not being Italian.
Jean told us how she used to iron her children’s socks. And we all tried to help Alice remember a word she had forgotten when she tried to tell us a story that she never got to finish. Peggy always joins in the conversation and gave her bag with a drawing of a horse on one side and a butterfly on the other to Julie.
But even for the people who didn’t talk as much, I got the feeling they still enjoy the company of the rest of us. That just being together and working on something similar is important enough.
That’s how I’ve come to see the monthly art classes. As a time to create together and just be together.
A couple of days ago Jon and I took Red and Fate for a walk on McMillan Road. Red didn’t get far before laying down on the side of the road. He was in pain or maybe just too tired to walk.
This never happened before. Even when Red stopped herding sheep because of his cataracts and spinal injury, he was always able to go for a walk.
So Jon and I have been thinking about Red and how much longer he may be with us and we made a podcast today talking about that and about grieving for animals in general.
It sounds like it could be a very sad podcast, but it isn’t really. We both believe in celebrating the lives of our animals and enjoying them as much as we can for as long as we can.
You can listen to our ninth podcast Red’s Story, Grieving For Animals by clicking here.
Or you can listen to this podcast or any of the other Katz and Wulf On Bedlam Farm Podcasts on iTunes or Google or by clicking on the Podcast button on the top and bottom of my blog.
It finally stopped raining long enough for me to do some gardening this weekend and rearrange the back porch.
Minnie and Flo have adjusted well to the new accommodations. There’s still plenty of places for them to sleep and now someplace for me and Jon to sit too.
The annual plant sale was happening at the Methodist Church in town, I got some Iris’s.
Strangely many of mine, along with a few other perennials didn’t come back this spring. One of the women at the plant sale said some of her perennials died too. She thought it was because of a couple of nights,early in season, where the temperature went below zero.
So my garden was kinda empty and where there used to be plants sprouting, now the soil was covered in weeds.
Looking at the weeds, I thought about the hand painted sign I pass on my way to Bellydancing that reads: Perennials $5 each. I’ve been meaning to stop there for a couple of years so Jon and I made the trip this morning.
There were tons of pots lined up on wooden boards, pictures of the kind of flower each would produce in front of them. The plants were small, obviously dug up from the garden, but the variety was huge.
I got six perennials and left the money in the tupperware container, when a woman came out of the house asking if we found everything we were looking for.
“I was on the third floor.” she said, “so it took me a while to get down.” The huge brick house has the date 1796 over the doorway. On the state line between New York and Vermont, it must have been an Inn.
This afternoon I planted all the flowers and seeds I bought in the past two days, but there was still lots of empty space in my garden, so I went back out to get more seeds. I found a big bag of Zinnia seeds for $10 at the nursery just up the road.
The little wire fence is enough to keep the hens out of the garden till the seeds grow big enough to survive them.
I also planted basil, dill, parsley, and cilantro in the herb mound. Herbs I know Jon will use in the kitchen. I’m planning on my own creative version of the a Three Sisters Garden again too. But that and the dahlias will have to wait till next weekend.
Although the sun is still shining, so I may get back out there yet…