So well camouflaged, I spotted our Canada Goose couple in the pasture this morning. Last night I watched them as they circled the farm before landing for the night.
I know that in many places Canada Geese are seen as a nuisance. But even when I lived on Long Island, where they crowded golf courses and nested on the sides of parkways, I loved to hear them as they flew overhead, a sound of the wild in that man-made world.
In High School, I used to lunch with them.
The school bordered a park and I would take my lunch to one of the park benches, preferring to be alone outside, to eating in the cafeteria. I’d throw them pieces of my cheese sandwich and they learned to come when they saw me.
We get lots of geese flying over the farm. There’s a lake to the north of us and marsh and a cornfield they spend the night in to the south. But this couple is the only one that nests on the farm.
Canada Geese are so ubiquitous, I never though about them much, other than enjoying seeing and hearing them. But having this couple nesting on the farm makes me want to learn more about them.
It’s being a regular on Jon’s radio show, Talking to Animals that made me believe that he and I could create a podcast together.
Yesterday we sat at Jon’s desk in his study and did a test run. We set up an account on Zoom.com, sat in front of the microphone that Jon uses to create the audio spots on his blog and talked to each other about the new podcast.
It felt to me as natural as any of our conversations. And when Jon posted it on his blog, we got a lot of good feedback.
We always knew what we wanted the podcast to be about.
Once a week, for about 20 minutes we’ll be talking to each other about what’s happening at Bedlam Farm. We’ll talk about what’s new with the animals, what I’m working on and what Jon’s writing about. Similar to our blogs, but with this new medium of using our voices, our conversation spontaneously leading us from one thing to another and to places we might not have expected to go.
We’re working with a Podcast designer and Chris Archibee, the creative consultant at our web designer Mannix Marketing. They’re helping with the technical part and both think our vision for the podcast is a good one.
I believe Jon has a little more confidence in the podcast than I do. Mostly because, having worked in TV and radio, he has more experience with the spoken word.
This is a new medium for me and one I haven’t always been comfortable with.
But after doing an interview with Thomas Toscano, Jon’s co-host on Talking to Animals, about my work and then being on Jon’s the radio show, I’ve found that it comes kind of naturally and I enjoy it.
Which is a bit of a surprise for me, because the thought of talking in front of a room full of people terrifies me. The good thing about doing a podcast, is I never have to look at the people who are listening. And it’s essentially a conversation between me and Jon, a format I’m very comfortable with.
We’re calling the podcast Katz n’ Wulf on Bedlam Farm. We got the idea to use our last names in the title from one of Jon’s blog readers. I like the play on words and think it’s important to have “Bedlam Farm” in the title.
We don’t have a launch date yet, but we did do a test run, partially to test the sound since we’ll be recording from Jon’s office, but also for us to get a feel for what it will be like to do something like this and to see how it comes across to the listeners.
I see creating a podcast as a new medium for expressing my creativity. Even though our subject matter often overlaps, Jon and I have never worked collaboratively in this way. So that’s new too.
I’ll keep you updated on our progress. In the mean time, you can click here to hear the test run of Katz n Wulf on Bedlam Farm on Jon’s blog.
I didn’t know when I took this picture of the donkeys and sheep in the pole barn that there was a drop of snow on the lens of my camera. But I actually love what it did to the photograph. The “smudge” disrupts the photo making it somehow mysterious, as does how the photo goes in and out of focus.
“We have to get mooncakes” Nancy said, “they bring fertility. ” Nancy lived in Chinatown in New York City and the bakery down the street from her had fresh mooncakes to celebrate the Chinese Moon Festival.
I was in my late 20’s and working in a museum on Long Island, picking up some of Nancy Grossman’s sculptures from her apartment/studio, for a one person exhibit we were having.
I told Nancy I didn’t want to have children.
That’s when Nancy told me that fertility wasn’t just about having children. She didn’t want to have children either, for her, fertility was about creating art.
Two nights ago, Jon and I sat outside watching the fire we made to celebrate the first day of spring, when we saw an orange light glowing throughout the trees. It was the full moon. We watched it rise above the tree tops getting smaller and turning yellow then almost white.
I had been feeling the signs of my period coming on since the morning. A dull ache or momentary sharp cramp, the moisture inside of me.
I’m 55 years old and still menstruate.
Not as dependably as I have my whole life, or for as long. Now I often feel the signs twice a month, once, always when the moon is full.
My mother menstruated till she was 56 years old, so this might be my last year. Although I’ve been thinking that for years now and my body seems to have other ideas.
It’s only recently that I’ve learned to think of bleeding once a month as a blessing, instead of an annoyance. Even though I never wanted to have children, my body is doing what it does. And I appreciate its will.
My body has the same determination about creating as I do.
Maybe it was that mooncake I ate all those years ago.
Although I think having met Nancy, who was living the kind of creative life I only dreamed of at the time, did more for me than the mooncake. She was a woman I admired who understood that giving birth was only one way for women to create. And that we have the choice of how our fertility will manifest.
We finally figured out that when we want to get in touch with our new shearer, Liz Willis, we have to email her, not call her.
The mailbox on her phone is always full, but she returns an email within the day.
So Liz will be coming to shear the sheep sometime in April. She’ll get in touch with some of her other customers in our area and visit a few different farms in one day. I doesn’t make sense for her to make a trip to just our farm to shear ten sheep.
It’s earlier than we usually have them shorn, but the sheep are ready.
I didn’t shear Zelda, Socks, Griselle and Biddy in the fall, because they were shorn in late June so their wool wasn’t long enough in October. But now they have a full coat. And Suzy, Rosemary, Liam, Kim, Izzy and Pumpkin’s wool grows so fast and thick, theirs will be ready in another month.
Once again, I’ll keep some of the wool natural and dye some. I’m also thinking of combining some of the white wool with one of the darker colors to make a barber pole yarn (looks just like what it sounds like).
I’m on a schedule with the Vermont Fiber Mill, so even though I’ll have the sheep shorn early, it won’t be processed until July.
That means the next batch of Bedlam Farm wool will be available sometime in the fall. I know that’s two whole seasons away and I don’t want to be thinking about the fall when it just turned spring, but that’s the nature of the farm.
It’s been a while since I plucked this piece of wood from the woodpile and kept it from being burned up in the woodstove.
Ever since then, I’ve had plans for her. Not that I know exactly what she’ll look like when I’m done. But I do have some vague ideas about how to get started.
The first thing I wanted to do was have a way for her to stand up. I immediately thought of the hunk of marble that’s been kicking around the garden.
So I figured out where the holes should be and asked Ray, who made the work table in my studio, if he could drill through the piece of marble. He thought he had the tools to do it, so I made marks where I wanted the holes to be.
I happened to have two screws just the right length and circumference to put through the marble and screw into the bottom of the “legs” of the wood.
I was surprised at how easy it was. I actually marked the holes in the right place, the wood didn’t split, and it’s standing straight.
Now the fun part. Finding the goddess in the wood.
In between gathering wood for the bonfire, and having a really interesting conversation with Jon and Thomas on Jon’s radio show Talking To Animals about how we hear and communicate with our whole bodies and how animals do this too, I made some new Spring Potholders.
The last three series of Spring Potholders all sold out in a day, so how could I not, on this first day of Spring, make a few more.