I prefer winter and Fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. ~Andrew Wyeth

Saturday, April 5, 2014

If you've never been thrilled to the very edges of your soul by a flower in spring bloom,... ~Terri Guillemets

There are some days that are so beautiful that you take a walk no matter what condition you're in.  I have been going to a doctor for a bad hip and leg.  It's one of those age related, "took a fall with my camera and  I have bad feet too" syndromes. The kind of story that you don't want to tell anyone because you don't want people to feel sorry for you and you don't want them to say, under their breath, "She should NOT be doing all that walking, hiking and messing around with her camera in the wilderness or anywhere... AT HER AGE."
When does "... at her age." become the warning point in your life? Fifty... sixty... seventy... eighty? 
Once you take a bad fall and you are oh... say... beyond sixty, you don't bounce. You hurt yourself, and the hurt doesn't go away like it did 20 years before. It lingers...and then it decides to MOVE IN and set up housekeeping.
Well, that's where I'm at. It's all about the body. It's all about, physical therapy, doctors trying to figure out what is wrong with you and what they should do to make you better. It's all about limited movement and pain.
So, I'm not hiking as much right now. I'm walking on the river road. It's flat, doesn't put pressure on the joints as much and I meet people more. I'm getting out and about.
This morning I drove down to our entrance and parked the car, thinking about how I use to walk down and back up our very steep dirt road. That was 15 years ago, before my feet turned on me.

I parked and started walking. I looked back and thought about how far I should get from the car. My hip was starting to say things to me.
Then, the endorphins kicked in and I was good to go. The Prospector had walked down here, earlier in the morning, and told me, " You have to go down and see the Poppies. Take your camera."
I said, " I don't know. I'm not sure I can walk that far yet."
He said, "Well then, you're going to miss something beautiful."
That's when I went and got my walking shoes, put them on, and left. I'm so glad I did.

There are some days that are made for walking. This was one of them. Spring is here, in all of its glory. The birds are flying, the sky is so blue that it looks like a painting. The rain last week cleared the air and made the sunshine brighter. It smelled like sunshine... like earth and plants... and creek water.
I walked to the first bend in the road and as I came around the turn I saw something orange above me.
And to my left, down the hill... a field of poppies.
They were everywhere. Thousands of them... as if someone had covered whole portions of the hillside with paint.
More than any other year, it seemed as if Mother Nature was having a really good time out there.
As if the rain, the ground and the sunshine had conspired, with her, in some grand effort to create one of the most beautiful places on earth. 
As if our state flower decided to go over and above its required appearance this year and  make a statement to the world.
Even in the area burned by the fire, that almost took our farm two summers ago, the poppies were growing in profusion.
There were everywhere.
As if the fireman had reseeded with poppies (they didn't) and it took two seasons for them to come back. Last Spring was not as abundant, but this year...
Oh, my. Even the poison oak has taken a secondary roll in this parade.
This small flower, eschscholzia califorica, was elected as the state flower by the California State Floral Society in December 1890,  but the state legislature did not make the selection official until 1903.

Also...There is a common misconception associated with this plant, because of its status as a state flower, that cutting or damaging of the California poppy is illegal. There is no law providing the plant special protection in California.
All her life, this native Californian, thought that she would be arrested if she picked one of these little flowers. What deception.
So I will go back tomorrow and pick a few of the thousands that are blooming (on OUR property, I might add.) and bring it home to brighten my kitchen window and remind me of the loveliness of this place,
... but probably not. Old habits die hard.
It was an intoxicating walk. I may have a substance abuse problem with Spring. Maybe that is what's wrong with me this year. I'm having a reaction to the dry winter and now, I will be better in a few days... with a few more walks down my country road.
My hip feels better already. I think I may live to walk another day. Maybe I should lie down in the poppy field and see if the flowers cure my ailment. Yes...quickly... before the Rattlesnake come out.


Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night.  ~Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters of Rainer Maria Rilke

Monday, March 31, 2014

“Creativity takes courage. ” ― Henri Matisse

I'm working on my Fairy Doll.
MJ came over on Friday and helped me with the stuffing and a few other tricks of the doll trade. But, the problem is that she keeps leaving.
Remember her two dolls that she brings with her?
Well, she finally has the boobs covered with this cute little crocheted vest and her doll only needs hair.
She left me with instructions to draw a face, on paper and transfer it to the head. She also said to sew the legs and arms to the body.
Saturday I sewed the arms together...

 and realized that Amethyst only has three fingers... well actually a thumb and three fingers.Thinking I had made a horrible mistake, I looked at the pattern again. The picture of Amethyst has five fingers, but somehow I ended up with four. That was my first indication that something was seriously wrong.
Then I took a look at her head.
It seemed kind of small. I mean, I know that fairies are small... of course I do... but this fairy head was smaller than MJ's head and we both used the same pattern.
"Courage, Farmlady!"
I re-read the directions and they said that I needed to stuff the fingers, then lightly stuff the two finger unit and top stitch the fingers. 'Two finger unit'? I thought I did that, but there was still a finger missing. So, I followed the directions, but somehow I came out with a thumb and three fingers.
This little fairy doll is going to have three digits and a thumb, forever, because I'm not doing this over again and magical little people are... well... magical.  Maybe she'll just grow another one. I've decided that this little fairy is going to live with one less finger. It's called creative license.
But,it looks a little odd...
 That's only the beginning. Take a look at her thumb. (On your right.) I stuffed it too much and the seam popped. Now she looks like she had a badly wrapped up, wounded hand... I think she got it caught in my ineptness. But, she has a cute little dimple on her wrist, right where it's suppose to be.
"Courage Farmlady!".
By Saturday night, I felt like this doll looked... in pieces.
I left it all and went to bed. Sunday I walked past her from time to time but never picked her up. I rested from my doll making efforts for a whole day.
Today, I decided to be brave and draw Amethyst a face. That didn't happen either. I choked. I couldn't do it. I looked online for ideas. I drew a face on paper and then, when I started to draw it on the doll's face, I  froze. This was not going to happen without MJ right by my side. I've invested too much in this doll to end up with a face that looks like her three fingered hand... only in color.
So, I sewed her bloomer covered legs to the bottom of her body, using one of the Prospector's heavy duty pliers to pull the needle through the layers of fabric. Someone knows more that I do about all of this. There must be secrets to sewing into a stuffed body. Then, I sewed her ears and her arms on.
I can't even critique my efforts so far. I feel that I've failed her... but she is a work in progress and I will continue on.
One ear is bigger that the other. She has one arm that appears longer, because I stuffed the other one too much and stitched the elbow in the wrong place. Her head is not sewn on yet and she needs boobs... and clothing... and wings... and hair... and a FACE.
"Courage, Farmlady!"
I'm calling MJ tomorrow and bribing her (again) with lunch. I will ask her nicely if she will come over and help me finish Ms.Amethyst. Maybe I will cry a little over the phone for some sympathy.

I'm sorry Amethyst.I know that you are a wonderful little personality just waiting to be born. I will finish you ...and hopefully I can make you a sister too...  or maybe not.
I'm learning a lot. I know that I will never use old, unbleached Osnaburg fabric again for skin. It's not strong enough to be stuffed without a wider seam allowance.
And I know that your hand hurts, so I think that I may redo both of your arms.
And, at some point, you will have beautiful cloths, some wings and hair... and I give you eyes, to see us all and a mouth to sing some Gaelic songs.
Geallaim go mbeidh mé a dhéanamh go hálainn tú. 
(I promise that I will make you beautiful.)





Sunday, March 30, 2014

Hummer's in a Morning Garden

I remember Sunday Mornings when I was working. Sunday was still the weekend, but it was the "last day" of the weekend and it was all about "What do I need for Monday?" and "What do I have to do and where do I have to be?" It was all too short a day and no matter what I was doing, it always went by too fast.
Now, it's much different. I'm not working. I'm retired and everyday is kind of like a Sunday.
I get out of bed, greet the Corgi boys who wait at my closed bedroom door for sounds that indicate, "She's up!" We have our "I'm so glad to see you. Where have you been?" run about...  then we all go into the kitchen and I fix myself a latte.The Prospector is a very early riser and he always shuts the bedroom door so the dogs don't decide to jump all over me while I'm still sleeping. He's one of the good guys.
 (That's one of Squeeky's eggs behind my coffee, blown out and drying. I'm going to decorate it for Easter.)
Then I sit on the couch with the dogs and read the paper or watch the news.
Most mornings I go outside with the dogs. It's kind of a ritual. They expect the routine of it.
Our Abe Lincoln rose has the most beautiful "first rose of Spring" on it right now.
The first roses are always the most beautiful. I wish that I could preserve it like Squeeky's egg.

This morning I couldn't sit on the steps because it rained yesterday and the edges of the steps were still wet, so I walked around pulling a few weeds and talking to the dogs.
I noticed that the hummingbird feeder was almost empty and the Hummers were upset. Being the resourceful birds that they are, I saw them flying over to the Salvia plants near the fence.
I ran in and got my camera and now... I would like you to meet the Hummer's of my garden. The beautiful little creatures that come back every Spring and grace us with their presence.
We feed about 15 of them from March to November.
(Yes, that's Corgi hair on the plant leaves.)
I read that they go down to Mexico for the winter...but as soon as the weather starts to warm up, they arrive. With the mild winter we had this year, they may only have gone to LA. LOL! Maybe a small condo in Malibu.
We have two or three that stay all winter and we feed them all year.
We have mostly Anna's and Allen's, and once in a while, a Rufous or a broad-tailed. 
They are very interactive and, in the summer, if I put the sprinkler attachment on the hose and water with it, they will fly though it and drink while I hold the sprinkler.
I love these little birds. It's a sure sigh of Spring when they come back into our garden. My bird book says that they may nest in the same tree or bush year after year, a phenomenon known as philopatry... faithfulness to the previous home area. They will return to the same branch and build a new nest atop an old one.

Have a happy Sunday.