Saturday, August 18, 2012

Do Whatcha Wanna...

This is the title of the last episode of Season 2 of 'Treme'.  If you haven't seen the HBO series...and if you love Blues music, drama and don't mind hearing the 'F' word a lot- watch it!  The series begins in New Orleans just 3 months after Hurricane Katrina.  The people in the stories whose lives intersect are just trying to get their lives back together.  It's awesome and it left me searching my library catalog for other material written about the culture of New Orleans and the impact of Katrina on the people there.

'Do Whatcha Wanna'....

This is a hard concept for me and many people like me.
We understand the concept of getting a good education, striving to get a 'good' job, amassing wealth for long-range security (imaginary?) and juggling that with giving the best to your family and enough to your community.
Whew...what's left to 'Do Whatcha Wanna'?

For many of us, having a couple hours a week to pursue our passions is all there is.  If you are like me, carving out even a couple hours a week to 'create' feels like a luxury.  Sometimes there is a guilty feeling attached to taking time for myself to create something that will have no tangible value.

I envy those people who seem to know at an early age what they want to do - what they need to do - and are willing to sacrifice most other things in order to pursue that need.

I'm on the downhill slide towards 50.  It's taken me longer to realize that my life won't fully be lived unless I make time to 'create'.   Still now, it's hard to justify spending an afternoon painting or felting or writing when there is a to do list waiting and people or animals needing something from me.

Thinking about that earlier in the year, I connected with some like-minded artistic women to form a little art group.  We met once and shared some ideas and inspiration.  Great supportive women all of them.  We even made a silly name for the group.  The decision was made that we could arrange the time around my schedule of work and family life - since the rest are empty-nesters who are retired from their paying jobs.

Guess what?  I haven't arranged the second meeting.  No excuses.

What do YOU do to make sure you make time to 'Do Whatcha Wanna'?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Mostly Photos

I'm sharing a few pictures of the farm from this week.

We enjoyed a long Civic holiday weekend by just hanging around home.  It was perfectly relaxing.  The weather on Monday was perfect - sunny but not too hot or humid.

Here's a picture of my small herd enjoying the day doing what they love.

We put our hay in the barn early in the summer, but our back unfenced fields that don't get hayed do need to be cut to keep the bush from taking over.  Also, we use the fields for ball-play and walks with the dogs, so it's nicer to have the fields cut than try to wade through the growth.

My teenage daughter gets to use the newer model estate size tractor.  She loves being a tractor operator and she's very good at it.  This is a talent that she wouldn't have discovered by attending high school but I encourage her to investigate machine operating as a career choice. 

Hubby loves to drive his old (I can't recall if its 1939 or 1941..but it's old!) Allis-Chalmers that he fixed up last year.  In fact, it's got a small bench seat on it and sometimes he takes me for a romantic ride around the fields in the evening.  (My friend's partner has a new shiny convertible...I get an orange repainted tractor...)  It's bouncy!

The choke cherry trees are full of fruit.  We have a lot of these here which attract the birds, as well as bears.

This is a picture of the creek that runs between the house property and the barnyard.  It's very picturesque.  When I cross it, I am always looking to spot a beaver, ducks, muskrat, or other little creatures. 

We are harvesting our favourite summertime dish these days.  Fresh yellow beans, boiled and served with butter.  

By the way - my daughter's zucchini sales went really well and she had extra money for the midway!  She has the entreprenueral spirit and dreams of selling at the market next year ;)  Funny, she didn't find that talent at high school, either...
I could write further on that but...Oh - but don't get me would turn into a rant....;)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What Makes The Heart Sing

Last weekend, I participated for two days of The Artist's Garden hosted by Ash Creek Pottery in Callander, Ontario.  This was the 10th year of the event.  It's a awesome event.  It's great to meet new people, talk to old friends and see some works from talented artisans. 

It was a hot, humid weekend with thankfully only a sprinkling of rain during the day and night (sorry to the farmers but scrambling to save my product in a downpour is not fun.)  I had the best spot for a booth, with nice breeze and guaranteed shade in the afternoon.  Plus, it was the closest booth to the tea room, so I was able to convince the church ladies to deliver the pie and ice cream when the mood struck.

It's always a lot of work to pack up my shop and set it up somewhere else.  Coupled with the effort to produce the product in my booth, it's obvious that I will not be paying all my household bills from my farm-based yarn business any time soon.  I hear a lot of comments from people who don't 'get it'.  People who don't understand why I would want to do it.  ``So much work``, ``so hard to compete with the price of imports``...yada, yada, yada.  I get especially suspicious stares from people I knew from my former IT career, where "billable hours" rule the day. 

Why do I do it?
Simply - because it makes my heart sing.

Sitting outside at this lovely venue, I spin the most lovely brown alpaca through my fingertips for hours (which is like a day at the spa for me).  Having three little talkative girls of 3 and 4 years old stand and watch my wheel for most of an afternoon and ask me questions makes me feel connected.  Hearing strangers complimenting my yarns, so soft and colourful, makes me feel proud.  I showed my Canadian made spinning wheel to a visiting tourist from Wales who is also a spinner.  I shared my weekend with other wonderful artisans and their family members who I now know just a bit better.

I don't golf.
I don't 'get it'.

But this...I do.

Recent additions to our household include two 3 year old German Shepherd half-siblings, Junior (sable on the left) and Sadie (black on the right).
We are really enjoying them after being dog-less for 16 months or so.
They are very well-trained and very loving to their pack (that's us now!).
German Shepherds are very intelligent dogs.  It`s important that they are kept challenged.
These two came from a young family who spent a lot of time training them.
Puppies are adorable, but being able to find these really super dogs already trained is like winning a lottery. 
At 82 lbs and 62 lbs respectively - they do fill up the house!
And hopefully I won`t be finding bear poop in the back yard anymore.

Jimena the alpaca kept a good eye on the dogs from the barnyard, alarming to the others quite often for the first few days.  She's calmed down now.  We've started walking the dogs through the pasture on their leads after supper on our way to one of the large back pastures that we use for off-leash exercise.  The alpacas are curious and wary of the dogs, keeping their distance and a fenceline between them.  Our other dogs never went to the barnyard or pastures.  These dogs are more intent on keeping an eye on  the ball-thrower ('Chuck-it') that we are carrying to the back field - they know it means loads of fun.

The chickens, though, are living dangerously.  The other night, when we entered the alpaca pastures to walk through with the dogs, the chickens all decided they were going to follow us out to the fields and walked with us like a gang of minions within the danger zone of the dogs.  I'm not sure what was going through the dogs minds or the chickens...although I am reminded how small a chicken brain is and perhaps how well-behaved a dog can be.

On the gardening front, we have proved that despite our lack of ability, our inexperience, the lack of rain, the groundhogs, the potato bugs, our lack of weed control (this gathers lots of 'Tsk, tsk'ing from other gardeners)...we still get to eat!
Think about what we can produce when we get better at this!!!

Despite making oven-baked zucchini sticks, whole wheat zucchini load with blueberries and pecans, garlic and parmesan fried zucchini, freezing shredded zuchinni for winter use and adding zucchini to everything I cook...alas, we are swimming (almost drowning) in zucchini.
My daughter thought we had found our calling when she discovered how many zucchinis were hiding under those big leaves. 
I've written enticing sales ads for the zucchinis that I've given away at work.
The neighbours don't eat zucchini apparently (what!).

But my daughter is an optimist and future entreprenuer.

Zucchini's for sale!!!