I finished creating “houses” around the remaining batik drawings that I wrote about yesterday. I have nine total. But it was dark outside before I got to take a photo of them all and the lighting in my studio threw all the colors off.
But this is a photo of one named Flower House that I took in the daylight.
I think I’m going to make most of them into potholders. But if any call out to be something else, I’ll listen to them.
Zinnia has been with us for six days and she’s learning to get along with all the other animals on the farm. Today she heard Lulu bray for the first time and yesterday Flo swatted at her, letting her know that she’s not interested in being friends just yet.
Fate seems to be accepting her mostly by ignoring her a little more each day.
Zinnia is undeterred and up for it all.
You can watch the video of Jon training Zinnia here.
You can see a couple of Suzy’s goats just under the edges of her latest shawl in the background. The same mohair goats that some of the wool in Suzy’s shawl came from.
One of the reasons that Suzy’s shawls are so soft is because she washes them in a natural solution after she makes them then hangs them out to dry using those colorful 1950’s clothespins.
This is the shawl that Suzy made from the wool that I posted on my blog last week. I love the lacy edge on the one side and the curl on the other. I feel like these colors warm me up just by looking at them. I can imagine how they would lift my spirits on those gray days of winter.
Like all of Suzy’s shawls, this one is handspun and handknit and is one of a kind.
Suzy’s Pink and Red Shawl is 49″ long and 15″ from top center to bottom point. It’s $138 including shipping. It is sol You can buy it here.
Fate is still trying to figure Zinnia out, but she and Bud are like old friends. Bud is gentle with her even when she bites on his ears. They love to play in the back yard. It’s good for them and for us.
I bought the dress at a thrift store years ago, always with the intention to use the unusual batik images in a quilt or potholders. But every time I tried to work with them I found the images too strange, or the colors dulled to whatever piece of fabric I put next to them.
But on Friday, after coming home from my weekly lunch with my friends Mandy and Athena, I pulled the stack of small batiks, which I had already cut from the dress, and knew I needed to finally give them a place in my work.
I found the image that, before, I could never figure out and now saw as a crying eye.
The colors in the batik no longer eluded me. I found them quickly enough and just as easily put two walls and a roof around the crying eye. I wanted the child-like house shape to be obvious, so I surrounded it with a solid color, with the comfort of an old pair of jeans.
Then I chose an awkward flower and gave it a greenhouse to grow in.
So often when I talk to my friends, or with Jon, we are still dealing with issues that came from the reality that we didn’t feel safe in the homes we grew up in. And we still feel so unsafe in the company of our families that we choose to see them seldom if at all.
I’ve talked to lots of people who wanted to have children to try and “do it right”. To give their children what they didn’t have. I chose the opposite. Not to have children at all. I saw myself in the words of a character from Anne Patchett’s new book ” The Dutch House” when she said about childhood…”I wouldn’t want to do that to anyone, especially someone I love”
It’s most likely the coming holidays that have brought up in me the heightened anxiety that I’m feeling around my family issues. I’m much better dealing with the holidays than I used to be, mostly because I’ve let go of the traditions I grew up with. And each year Jon and I try to figure out what works best for us this time of year.
As I continued to make the potholders on Friday, I realized that I was trying to make a safe place for those batiks that sat on my studio shelf for so long.
Surrounded by sunshine and blue skies, always with a way out, I sheltered the strange batiks in a harmonious environment. I found that with each one I created, I began to feel better.
I have more batiks in my studio and I know what I’ll be making in my studio Monday morning.
Although it was 3am a soft pale blue light filled up the small kneeling window next to our bed. I wasn’t sure if it was a full moon but it was close enough.
I don’t always wake up having to go to the bathroom at night, sometimes I sleep through till morning. And even when I do wake up, I always get out of bed and go downstairs to the bathroom reluctantly.
But it was early Wednesday morning, the day after we brought Zinnia home and I was glad to be awake at 3am.
I pulled on the sweater and leggings that were on the chair where I left them when I undressed for bed. I could hear Bud snoring in his crate and I opened and closed the bedroom door quietly behind me so I wouldn’t wake Jon.
First I went to the bathroom, then I let Fate out of her crate, put on my winter coat and gloves, opened Zinnia’s crate and put her collar and leash on her. I didn’t turn on the outside light. Although it was overcast, the almost full moon still lit up the sky and thin layer of snow on the ground.
Fate ran to the pasture gate and I walked Zinnia around praising her when she peed.
Then I lingered. I looked at the trees and bushes in the yard flattened into silhouettes by the moonlight. The moon was small and high over the hill across the now empty and quiet Route 22, which shone white under the cast of the bluish-yellow night sky.
My world, that I know so well in the daytime, takes on another reality at night. And each night it’s different from the last.
When I have a puppy to get up for in the night and take outside, I get to watch the moon wax and wain, track its position in the sky, notice how the dark changes and look for the constellations I’m familiar with.
As much as I love being outside early in the night, without a reason like taking a puppy out to pee, I only do it a few times a year, when something inside me insists on it.
I first did it for Fate, then Gus now Zinnia.
Having a puppy again is as much a joy as it is a disruption. And under most circumstances, having to get up in the middle of the night would be a chore and nuisance. But I find that I automatically wake up when we have a puppy who needs to go out to pee in the night, and it is one of the disruptions that I delight in.
Zinnia and Bud are quickly becoming friends. She and Bud are already beginning to play and he’s surprisingly gentle and tolerant of her.
When we’re outside I’m shivering in my winter coat but Zinnia doesn’t mind the cold or the snow. She runs through it and lays down in it. We don’t stay out in it too long, but she bounds and jumps around like a little lamb
Maybe that’s what Fate thinks she is and that’s why she stalks her. Zinnia pays attention to Fate, backing off when she should, but she hasn’t given up trying to play with her.
I have no doubt, that just like Gus and Bud, eventually, Zinnia will win Fate over.
It is my potholders I often go to when I need settling.
I have hardly had any time in my studio this week since picking up Zinnia on Monday and Tuesday. But yesterday and this morning, I breathed deeply when I stepped into my studio, a pile of scraps on my floor, a few potholders from last week lined up on the next to it.
Nothing to do but find the right pieces of fabric to sew together. At these times, my potholders become priceless to me. The act of making them focuses and grounds me.
I take my time, not thinking of how much I’ll be selling them for and how much they actually cost to make. They are like small sketches, that both challenge and soothe me. I am keenly deliberate, time becomes fluid, undulating instead of linear.
I wish I could do this all day, stay in this mystical place. But I have other commitments, picking up my car from the garage where the snow tires are being put on, taking care of the animals, blogging checking my email which I’ve neglected for a day and this evening, Bellydancing.
Good things to do, but things that bring me from my potholder daze out into the world.
Much the way Zelda was sitting in the pole barn, as if waiting for us, the morning we euthanized her, Izzy was laying down in the barn this morning.
The other sheep were with her, but I was easily able to move them out of the barn without disturbing Izzy, who stood up, but wasn’t interested in following them.
Jon had his rifle and I closed the gates leaving the two of them alone.
I put hay in the feeders and as I filled up the water buckets for both the sheep and chickens I heard the shots and in moments, Izzy was dead.
I sat with my hand on her for a few minutes as her body quietly spasmed. I was a little surprised at how much I cried. Maybe it was because I didn’t have as much time to prepare for her death as I did for Zelda’s. I’m not sure why, but Izzy’s death touched a sadness deep inside of me.
Jon had already called our neighbor Jack who said he could come by after work and take Izzy’s body to the field behind his house. The ground is already frozen so digging a grave isn’t an option. Jack did the same thing for us when our sheep Deb died. This time of year, especially, the coyotes will be quick to find her.
Izzy is a big sheep and even with both me and Jon dragging her from inside the pole barn to the gate, where it will be easier for Jack to get her on his truck, it was hard work. I covered her with a canvas tarp but wasn’t ready to go back to the house.
I headed out to the back pasture, thinking I’d go for a walk in the woods, but then I heard Socks’ baa and when I turned around I saw that the sheep had left the hay they were eating and were following me.
Like a good shepherd, I guided them to the small patch of grass on the hillside where the sun had melted most of the snow. Fate circled the sheep joyously and when I squatted down Asher and Issachar came over to me. Asher leaned against my back as he grazed and Issachar put his face to mine.
“Well” I said to them, “It looks like you came at just the right time.”
Izzy was the first Romeny I adopted, when Donna, who worked at the hardware store in town, offered the four sheep to me a few years ago. We eventually decided to take the other three because Izzy was such a friendly and easy-going sheep and she had beautiful wool.
Jon called them the “Gang of Four” back then because they always stuck together. But over the years they all just became a part of the flock and when Jon and Izzy were in the pole barn together before he euthanized her, it was my Border Leicester, Socks who stayed outside the barn till I moved her to join the other sheep at the hay feeder.
For the past six months or so, Izzy has spent more time by herself than with the other sheep. A very unnatural way for a sheep to live. If she were in the wild, she would have died long ago, prey to some preditor.
I am grateful we were able to give her a quick and easy death and that her body will return to nature.