Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems. ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Being Home

Enough of the Pacific Ocean, walking on the beach and thoughts of rogue waves sweeping me to my watery death. I want to spend a few days blogging about being HOME, on the mountain... being at one with the deer and my dogs... hiking and doing my solitary thing that I do best. I will return to the vacation on the ocean in a few days. I just need to ground myself in the beauty of the winter foothills for a while.

The prayers and rain dances worked. We have had rain, off and on, this week and there's more to come. It's not going to change the direction of the drought here in California but it's a relief for the parched ground and feelings of dread that plague the mind.
Last Saturday we had our neighbor "D" over for dinner. He watched our house the week that we were gone. He fed the cat and the chickens, picked up our mail and... He blocked traffic on our country road so that we could get in and out with the monster RV. It's probably not completely legal, but he does it for us anyway, so we don't have to worry about meeting a hay truck or teenagers on, basically, a one lane road. The folks who do stop and wait are mostly regular users of this river road and use to delays. Coming home, he blocked the road at our entrance and no one came by. That's how much traffic we have to deal with... on a Monday afternoon. He likes to do this. What a guy! He's one of the good people in our life and he deserved a home cooked meal. It's small payment for his efforts.
So, when he arrived he brought me more deer antlers.
Yes, more. He gave me some a few weeks back for a project I was doing and so, he brought me another one. Plus... he brought me a very cool deer head with antlers.
I know this is probably not too exciting for some of you, but I love this stuff.
Nature is a work of art and the skeletons are amazingly beautiful if you really look at them... closely.
After I bleached and cleaned the deer head, I let it dry on the porch and then brought it inside .
This was found here, near the river somewhere. We will never know why it died. A mountain lion attack, a disease, remains of a hunt during deer season. I don't know... but I think it's beautiful.
The skull is brittle near the shattered nose but the rest is very hard. Some of the back teeth are still attached.

Look where the skull fits together. Doesn't it make you wonder how this all happens? Why there is one shape for a deer, one for humans and one for each animal on earth. Amazing!
Look at the antlers and the growth pattern.
Intricate, complex and amazing. I think this skull will go on my wall somewhere. I know I've said that I would never have a taxidermed head of any animal on my walls, but this is not stuffed, killed by man (as far as I know) or a trophy for someone's collection... and I think it's a work of art in its present form.

The single antler was cleaned and stained.
It sits on top of a gourd bowl that I edged with oak bark. This antler will be the handle.
I used some Howard's walnut Restor~A~Finish on the antler. It gave the bleached and dried out bone a darker, more finished look. I could, now, use some clear wax on it to shine it up a little. We'll see. I will tie the antler on with leather straps.

I've been hiking up into the hills behind us. One day this week we were in between rainstorms and a cold front came through. It got really cold. That's when I like to walk and hike. The wind was blowing, the air was cold and the spirits of the forest were calling me.
I bundled up... I mean bundled... layers... hooded sweatshirt, heavy socks, my gloves and a lined raincoat.
I walked up the road to the well.
Walked by Maggie's grave.
And continued on up to the ridge.

I touched everything. It's important to touch things... to find a connection and reassure myself of my place in this life. This makes me feel alive. Touch is real. It's comforting.

It was so cold. My fingers were numb and red. The photos don't show the cold. My fingers don't look red, but they were. I would keep putting my hands back into my pockets to warm them.
Then I would hold the camera with my right hand and take pictures for a while. It's a ritual that keeps me grounded and gives me purpose.
Annie was waiting for me when I got back to the house. She's had an attitude ever since we got back from vacation. She keeps giving me that look... you know, that cats can give you when you do something they don't like? Yes, that one.
She didn't go for a walk with me... not even up to the well.
She's being a bit aloof.
She'll get over it.

This morning we had rain again. Not a lot, but it's wonderful and it smells so good.
Everything is soaking up this gentle rain.
 Tiny sprouts of bulbs that I planted last year are coming up. Spring is emerging from the damp earth.
Even one of the garden ladies seems happier about the rain. She generally seems a little sad... but I felt that she was looking at the rain darkened walk and garden... and feeling happier in her own quiet way. Anthropomorphizing the planter again Farmlady? Yes, I guess I am.
Her ivy hairdo is looking better this week. Maybe she's just happy about her hair.
You know how woman can be.

The first daffodil had opened.
 It's so good to be home.


  1. welcome home...the antlers and skull are beautiful...i love the art in the cracks and where the antlers meet the skull....

  2. welcome home....beautiful antlers andI love your basket
    your garden lady is quite pretty
    and I am sure you loved every drop that fell
    Nice to have such a good neighbor
    now take it easy and enjoy home

  3. I love the way your spirit looks at life. The wonder and amazement, the colour and the reason, you touch them all. Just as you touch me with your words. I want some antlers!

  4. Bulbs sprouting and daffodils opening ----- OMG! Here I sit in 8F weather, wind blowing, a wind-chill advisory in effect and about 4 feet of standing snow (in the low spots). Since October we've had just over 7 feet of snow fall. At this same time last year we had only 20 inches.
    So happy to hear that you are at least getting a little rain. Every drop helps.

  5. Hooray for the rain...I'm so glad to hear that you are getting some much needed moisture!! You've got daffodils beginning to bloom??? Oh my goodness, that's so cool. It will be months before spring will show it's colorful head here. The pictures of the skull are so interesting too...and I love how you made the horn into a basket handle.

  6. I love the skull and antlers. Using the antlers for the handle on your basket is a very cute idea. So glad you are getting some rain that you needed. Daffodils and bulbs already blooming and coming up spring is in the air but not here it is still cold. Have a blessed day. Madeline


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