Category Archives: Farm

My Muse

I am so very lucky to live in a most bountiful place, surrounded by trees, flowers, streams, and stars. All of this natural beauty impresses itself into my artwork much like I impress leaves into clay.  My husband and I have planted hundreds of trees on our farm since we moved here so many years ago.

spring

summer

fall

winter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have collected leaves, bugs and other natural ephemera for as long as I can remember, I’m still partial to the red leaves of fall.  When I started making “leafy” pottery I tried to turn clay leaves into bowls and such but the age old question asked by many through the years is “but can you eat spaghetti out of it?”  No.

I did find ways to use leaves to print onto thrown ware and tiles, from super simple to extra detailed.

dogwood leaf bowl

leaf print on tile

 

 

 

 

 

 

My latest leaf product has come full circle, individual ceramic leaves that can hang on the wall or sit on a table, or both.  Click on store in the upper left corner to see all of my products.  I’m currently running a coupon code in my online shop for $10 off any order over $50, good until January 30,2018.  Just put HOLIDAY17 in the coupon space at checkout.

falling leaves

falling leaves

Who let the cat OUT !?!?

The usual cry around here is “Who let the cat IN!!”  This spring however we have had to lock up Liz for the sake of two Bluebird,one Tree Swallow, and three or four Barn Swallow nests.  Oh yeah, let’s not forget the Hummingbirds.

she looks so sweet

she looks so sweet

We live on an 80 acre farm with several out buildings including a huge barn so all nine of the cats live outside my house.  There are exceptions for illness and old age but they are only allowed in my pottery studio and the breezeway.  As long as they don’t break anything.

Liz lounging in the barn doorway, now that's a breezeway

Liz lounging in the barn doorway, now that’s a breezeway

Most of the cats have had their summer of carnage when they were young but usually some strategic mouse traps at the base of the bluebird houses, a well thrown glass of water or letting the dogs out kept things under control.  But Liz is a holy terror.  She hides under the red poppies to grab unsuspecting Hummingbirds.

I love red flowers so do Hummingbirds

I love red flowers so do Hummingbirds

She also thinks it’s a great good game when the Barn Swallows dive bomb her.  She waits for them to swoop into range and tries to grab them out of the air.  Barn Swallows build their nests in the most unreachable spots you can imagine, not even a coon could get them.  Yet they insist on putting themselves at risk and of course if the parent dies…

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Barn Swallow nest stuck in a corner of the porch roof

Most cats outgrow this penchant for birds, they get harassed too but they keep their head down and move it along.  They sleep under the car instead of on top of it and I even had one old cat, Floyd that laid out in the sun and let the Mockingbirds slam right into him.

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Floyd and Trip, two old cats

So we’ll see who wins this battle of wills.  My plan as usual is to feed her till she’s too fat to care.  It’s worked on most of them so far.

dry cat food again?

dry cat food again?

excuse me

excuse me

perhaps you didn't hear me before

perhaps you didn’t hear me before

The real question is what level of damage can I stand!

Then I remind myself, baby birds are baby birds,

cats are cats

and clay is dirt.

Time?  That’s all I have.

PS.  Cali was another holy terror (she nailed a squirrel when she was still a kitten) but these days all she wants is IN !

Cali blending into the clay

Cali blending into the clay

 

 

 

Ode to Kato

With a bladder the size of a peaDSC_6340

and the attention span of a flea,

 

 

 

DSC_6322I romp through my day

and sleep where I lay

I think this life is the bee’s knees!!

 

 

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The world’s my favorite chew toy!

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I’m gonna grow into a big boy!

 

 

There’s just one command

I won’t understand

Why must I go out to make wee wee!!!

I said he'd grow into a BIG BOY but I had NO IDEA HOW BIG!!

I said he’d grow into a BIG BOY but I had NO IDEA HOW BIG!   This pic is Kato on his first birthday 6-30-15 it’s the same flower pot different flowers.

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Barn Swallows nesting on the front porch

The nest is in the upper right hand corner.

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About two days after a pair of Barn Swallows successfully fledged a brood of four babies from their usual nest spot in the attic of the grainery, they got busy building a new nest on the front porch.  They started building on June 15.

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they collect mud and plant

fibers to build with

 

every 10-15 minutes another bit was added

 

 

 

 

DSC_6068 as you can see it was hot outside and you might also see a reflection of the glass as I did my documenting in air conditioned comfortDSC_6073

 

 

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it is a two birdie job from sun up to sun downDSC_6084

finally on or about June 19-20 (solstice time) eggs were laid and sitting ensuedDSC_6227

EUREKA the feeding begins July 17  I hope you enjoyed your down time MomDSC_6233 DSC_6237 DSC_6239 DSC_6250 DSC_6251 DSC_6253

Looking like some pretty angry birds there are four but it’s hard to get a good group shot with all the jostling  I kept the cats away with some well placed glasses of water
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and then there were three…

DSC_6284 and then there were two…DSC_6288 and then they came back for visits for a few days..

DSC_6293hope to see you all next year…….

If you would like a cd of the pictures in this or any other post for a screen saver contact me.

The Hungry Hordes are at the door

The winter of 2013-14 has been relentless.

The deer have annihilated my arborvitae and the HOLLY BUSHES, I mean, who eats those prickly things?  Hungry deer that’s who, come to think of it pine is one of their favorites, ick.  We have electric fencing but you can’t fence in everything.

four does

deer in the back yard

Turkeys have been spotted in the front yard, thanks to Xena who lit up like a christmas tree when she saw them working their way down the edge of the garden.DSC_4680

Blue Jays and Cardinals have been emptying the front porch cat dish.  I do keep five seed feeders full and two suet spots, I guess the birds prefer a meatier diet in the winter. DSC_4985

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Larry does NOT find this funny!!!!

 

And the horses would love to see some green grass.  They are so stoic.

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Solstice Tradition

a line of spruce trees looking back toward the house

a line of spruce trees looking back toward the house

My husband and I have been tree huggers since before we met and one of our most enduring traditions is planting a solstice tree every year on or about New Years Day.

Planting a living being that will hopefully outlive you is a very positive way to start a new year/rotation of the sun.  Even on those days when it was cold, muddy, windy etc.  and all I wanted to do was stay inside, I warmed with the work and felt very satisfied with my small contribution to Mother.

all decked out 2013

all decked out 2013

This years tree is a Norway Spruce.  We favor spruce out here over pine because pine is like chocolate to a deer, not that they can’t damage a spruce tree by rubbing antlers on the trunk.  Weird fencing usually thwarts this, I have also used some of the spray repellents but beware they smell BAD and if it’s close to the house well, ……….yuck

That reminds me of a funny story, one year our tree was waiting outside for it’s big week (that’s right only ONE week indoors) and I was sprinkling kelp water on some outside shrubs when I had a brilliant idea, kelp is for stressed out plants and a newly dug tree was surely stressed, so I thoroughly doused said tree in fishy kelp.

Cali kitty keeps company

Cali kitty keeps company

 

on the porch ready to go out to the field

on the porch ready to go out to the field

 

 

 

After my ever patient  spouse washed the offending tree three or four times and we tried to shake off most of the extra water, it still smelled.  Not so much that we didn’t give it a week of glory with all the trimmings!  And maybe a spritz of scent.  I think I went thru an amazing amount of scented candles that year.

Where's Jay?  He's pulling a Tree.

Where’s Jay? He’s pulling a Tree.

Once the week of glory is over and its time to plant the tree, a hole must be dug.  We favor smaller trees.  They are easier in all respects and more likely to survive.  Some tips for the survival of a newly planted tree: Dig your hole wide, but only as deep as the original rootball.

Dig the hole wide but only as deep as the rootball

Dig the hole wide but only as deep as the rootball

Fall and early winter are great times to plant trees as the roots will grow all winter.  For the first year fertilize lightly and water heavily.

The last step when planting especially in winter is mulch.  We do a whole bale of hay, laying out the flakes in layers around the trunk.  This helps prevent heaving by insulating the rootball.

hauling hay under the watchful gaze of Xena

hauling hay under the watchful gaze of Xena