Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas....

to all! Christmas just rolls around so fast. We got this message in one of our Christmas cards. It's very shareable and I find it's very true, too.

"The older I get....
       the simpler my holiday preparations become,
       the closer I feel to old friends as I write Christmas cards,
       the more I cherish the oldest ornaments,
       the more fondly I remember Christmases past,
       the longer I hold onto a Christmas hug,
       the more I realize that Christmas is a matter of the heart,
       the more I enjoy giving than receiving,
       the more I try to see Christmas through the eyes of a child,
       the longer I sit at night in the glow of the Christmas tree,
       the more wondrously beautiful the Christmas story is,
       the deeper my awe at God's infinite love,
       the more I love Christmas!
                     Author unknown

It's been a really nice day with about 4" of fresh new snow, and mild 20 degrees which made it just right for trying out the snowblower for it's first official outing of the year. That and a fresh batch of homemade donuts and the warmth of the fire .... a lazy afternoon it is!

Hanging out with Santa at Refuge Farms - The Store 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Something to Crow About!

When the little chicks arrived just before the 4th of July my lone rooster in the bunch had a little green dot on the top of his head.

When that little green dot wore off, I lost track of the little guy, and frankly, I thought he was gone. A hawk here, and owl there.....the pile of feathers in the pasture. Not everyone makes it to be of old age around here. It wouldn't be the first time a young rooster met an early demise.

But early this week when I let the flock out in the morning I heard the unmistakable call of a young rooster! The tin-horn, weak bellering.....not really a cockadoodledo, but the sound of someone stepping on a kids toy that has half-dead batteries. There he was....right in front of me and I didn't even know he was there!!

Ideally dressed just like a female barred rock hen, there he was! It's embarrassing!! He was camoflaged as a hen all this time. Other than the fancy comb and wattle. 
He blends in while he struts around with his little group of hens and guards them. Now that he's old enough to start a crowing, I can hope that those hens will be starting to lay any day now.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Flag Raising at CC

I bought Don, the Happy Norwegian, the Norway flag for his birthday in March. We got the flagpole in July and managed to get it installed in November. Procrastinators that we are.

This link for the Norway flag had some interesting history about the origins of the flag designs:

It's notable that this style of Norwegian flag was first officially flown in 1899.  In 1905 Norway regained its independence and could now fly its flag openly to welcome its new Norwegian King -- who was Danish!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Alex and The Fisherman

Fall fishing at Catfish Corner has been productive! Alex is very curious about the whole process and helped recycle some of the parts that we find less palatable.

Alex has earned himself another name. Don thought he should be given a more nordic Eric. Which is fine....Eric it is. However, I had to expand on that moniker to be Eric the Complainer.

Eric the Complainer is quite deaf and I don't think he can HEAR himself because his voice is horrendous. Loud, plaintive and, well, it's kind of annoying. Hate to say that, but a complainer he is. He doesn't like commercial cat foods. Which is probably a good thing! But it comes to me that I have to have a menu for his voracious appetite.

Fish guts! Yum! A fried egg for breakfast, raw hamburger for lunch. Evening dinner might be some roast and mashed potatoes. You name it, he'll eat it. As long as it's not "cat food".

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Moods of Wisconsin

The intrepid band of Art Girls installed the new exhibit at Wings Over Alma yesterday. Moods of Wisconsin will be up until mid January so there is plenty of time to take in the show.
Jan Brunkow (l), and Wendy Ike (Art Girls!) stand next to Wendy's beautiful watercolors. The theme this time is focused on the abstract and impressionistic views of Wisconsin scenery and objects.
It's a colorful and intriguing display of oils, photography, watercolors and other multimedia art!

Visit Wings Over Alma Art and Nature Center and get your MOOD on!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

More Stained Glass.....

It's been a very productive summer out in the shop. And right now lots of new glass is being placed at The Store, in Menomonie, and also to the White Oak Gallery in Alma for the fall season.
I really love the warm autumn colors and I am constantly trying to find new color combinations that are fresh and exciting.

It's not 50 shades of blue, but 8 or nine for sure! 

Panels for kitchen cabinets. The long narrow shape made traditional stained glass techniques less desirable. These were done with individual copper motifs that I cut out and distressed then glued directly to the opal pale amber glass. The barbed wire was created with copper wire twisted with the barbs just like the real thing only in miniature. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Cat Magnet

Here we go again! Don told me I had better come to the house. There was a cat up the tree. Might be trying to kill birds. You better check it out.

A can of cat food later, we became fast friends. A trip to the vet indicated he was a HE, already neutered, kinda old....maybe, very undernourished, but had no dread diseases like leukemia or FIV. A bad tooth to be removed in the future, some eye ointment for now and a revisit in 4 weeks to booster the shots. No ear mites, even though he has a pronounced cauliflower ear! No fleas....another blessing!

$200 later, we have another cat.....WHICH IS AVAILABLE FOR ADOPTION! But we know that probably isn't going to happen. People like "pretty" cats. Not old cats who look kinda beat up, with ookie eyes, and funny ears with rips and tears.

What's in a name?
That was the next question and as I posted on Facebook he had his ideas of what he wanted his new name to be. I asked him what he wanted to be named. Had lots of good suggestions from the FB crowd, too! But one night I woke up in the middle of the night with the name Alex. OK, Alex it is. Imagine how embarrassed I was to find out he wanted to be named Aristotle!  Oh, well. Sorry, Alex. Or Aristotle. You have a simple name and a simple home and we hope everything works out just fine. Lots of love included. No extra charge.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Summer So Photos:

Man! It's busy around here!
Ramona and Warren Bradshaw presenting the colors at the NBHA Barrel show, Pepin Arena.

Jess Sterry riding at the MNSCHA show. The Pepin Trailblazers had two sorting events this year. The arena is only a half mile from home so I have no excuse for not making it there to work!

Over grown perennial garden is attracting grass eaters.

Only took two months to redo it! Many loads of mulch hauled.  Check out my abs of steel!

Just got the new chicks---four varieties this year. Buff Orpington, Barred Rock, Production Red and Black Sex Link. The little green dot signifies the Barred Rock rooster.

Sampling the new potatoes from the garden. Mother Nature has blessed us with rain in the nick of time.

Lots of baby birds. I think this one is a young purple finch. Its sibling left the nest yesterday when we surprised each other. He flew right up into the branches of a pine tree. Yay!!!

"Huey" the goose who was raised by chickens, continues to stay with his flock of hens. He's hot and cooling off with his bill open. Cerra wants her picture taken!

Horse lessons with Fran Latane and Farrah Green. (The old lady with Cheyenne.)
And then there is the art work being completed.......for another post!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Store

I had not seen or heard from friend, Sandra Gilbert, for months! What was going on? I finally caught up with her at the Refuge Farms breakfast and learned she has opened THE STORE! Refuge Farms held an annual yard sale for several years and with all the donations came the problem of what to do with items that didn't sell. a store!

Main Street Menomonie, WI, now has a great new shop for high quality used and new items. The former department store next to the existing antique shop was available for rent and Sandy took advantage of the opportunity to have a place to sell the wonderful goods she has had donated, and also to rent out 10x10 booths to other sellers.

This is where it got even more interesting for me. Would there be room for me to rent a little spot to sell my wares? I have been making stained glass and art all winter and it would be great to have a place to put it. It turns out it's the perfect solution for the basically lazy me who would have NO interest in having a store again. Yes! I could have a spot. But not just any spot. She thought I should have 25' of the FRONT WINDOW! Yay! The glass shall sparkle and a silly idea of having a retail store just presented itself.

Things moved quickly as I gathered up what display pieces I had saved from my Studio Works days. Within two weeks I was set up and having fun with my new little enterprise.
Sandy's motto for the Farm is "Horses Helping" in this case it helps me, as well as another seven sellers, to have a slice of a retail presence. In turn the helping also goes to the horses as all donations to Refuge Farms are sold to benefit the horses in her care. 

The Store, as it is called, is an extension of THE FARM, so the name just stuck as the logical choice. Where else can you find quality used furniture, antiques, vintage linens, collectibles from primitives to fine china and everything in between? At The Store!
SherriStudio jewelry display at The Store

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Loving Spring!!

So many things happening and Catfish Corner is really buzzing. All the spring chores and lots of clean up after the May 2nd snowstorm brought down many branches.

Sorry to harken back to the dreaded snow but it does serve to make us really appreciate our lovely days now.
The eagles have been busy with their nest and feeding their brood. Here is one taking a glob of dry grass up to the nest. Our banks were flooded for a long time this spring and the water is still very high.
I got to join the two Sandy's....Sandy Murphy and Sandy Gilbert at the Refuge farm breakfast up in Menomonie. The equine star, Dude, was featured and everyone was so pleased to know he is adjusting so well to having his eye removal operation. No more pain for him!

Friday, April 12, 2013

New Wings Exhibit Opens

Our art committee met on Weds. to set up the new exhibit titled "Working For A Living".  The exhibit will be up until July and it pays homage to those hard working people and animals in our lives.
The Farrier - pastel

The Drover - pastel

The reception is going on this evening from 5-7 pm at Wings Over Alma 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

More Fall Images

Meadow Ablaze - Pastel 12 x 16
Our winter is just continuing to hang....which has been good for putting in studio time. I'm continuing to add to the fall theme by making use of the many reference photos I took.

Colors by The Tracks - pastel 12 x 16
The Minnesota bluffs in the background and the foreground is the Wisconsin side as viewed from our alfalfa field. I love the early fall colors when there is still some green to offset the gold and reds as they emerge.

As much as I love fall, I have also been working on some winter landscapes which will be coming up later! Someday it really will be spring and then the real outdoor work will begin around here.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Arts West 34

The L.E. Phillips Public Library has provided the list of participants in the annual juried show. I didn't win a prize with my "Portrait of Helga" but I do feel honored for having made it through the jurying process. The variety of art included paintings, pottery, sculpture and multi-media works. Something for everyone.

I haven't entered an art show since high school so it was a good experience to go through the process and learn the ropes. I'll try again next year!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Our Deer Stanley

We had these two characters we named Ollie and Stanley appear in 2008. Toward spring they started coming up in the evening to raid the bird feeder. It's really fun to watch them so close and I took lots of pictures through the windows as they made their way through the yard.
They even had their boyish tussles! Which is probably why Stanley ended up with a gouged right eye. The next year only one came back.....our one-eyed Stanley.
He passed by the trail cam a few times. Always distinctive because only one eye reflects. It was amazing to see he could fight off the infection and that it healed as well as it did.

This photo was taken last month. We are figuring he is about 6 years old now. His antlers are getting bigger every year, but now he has a bad left front leg! He's hobbling around on it, but he's none too quick and the hoof appears to be very overgrown since he isn't wearing it down.

His right antler is ragged and broken off, too. He's been fighting. Notice the bulging ankle. Poor Stanley.

As of last week he has reappeared sans antlers. He has also been letting the wife and kids come up and eat after he gets his fill. Sweetie that he is. Keep well, Stanley! Hope you can recuperate and be with us for another year. You are always safe from hunting as long as you stay at Catfish Corner.

And, yes. I am going looking for those antlers!

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Glowing Season

Friend Jan and I were tooling around the backroads of Pepin County in October to visit some site on the Fall Art Tour. We had played hooky from actually participating in the event and was looking forward to visiting other artists this time around. The lovely fall day presented many photo ops and inspiration was swirling around like the fall leaves.

"The Glowing Season" - oil on canvas - 20"x24"

I just finished this oil of one of the scenes I photographed. The barn roof and cupulo was peeking out and looked like it was being overtaken by the tall dry corn. The rusting barn roof had sprouted a few holes on the right side where the sun shone through onto the weathered boards. At the end of the growing season, we were treated to "The Glowing Season". 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Juried into ArtsWest

I just got word this morning that one of my entries was accepted into the ArtsWest exhibit. The Portrait of Helga will be moving to the L.E. Phillips Memorial Library in Eau Claire and will stay there until April 9th.
One of my many unofficial new year's resolutions was to enter this show. After lots of procrastination and the realization I only had TWO pieces of art I deemed show worthy that were recently completed.  I think I got my application in two days before it closed. (Almost talked myself out of it.) I had also entered the Portrait of Laddee which was declined. That piece is more abstract, so maybe this will bode well for my style of art.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Winter Watercolors

I love the quiet and solitude of January. It's been too cold and icy to do much outside other than taking care of the animals....who are doing fine, by the way.

Last winter I decided to try to learn about watercolors. I have always admired watercolor artists because I think WC is really hard! It involves letting go of illusions about how something might turn out.

Inspiration came from my favorite watercolor artist, Jody Bergsma. She is SO talented, a huge success in the commercial world, and the CEO of her own publishing and distribution company. Jody Bergsma's website and blog offers videos of her paintings in progress and offers so much educational material to help people paint. And she freely shares all of, for FREE! She works from a constant source of abundance and is truly a loving and giving person on top of all that talent. And a horse girl, too!

As an artist, I would not copy anyone's work. As a student, I had to get over the fact that I AM trying to emulate her art. And not doing a very good job of it!! How full of myself I had to be to think I was going to just pick up a brush and paint like Jody!

Jody Bergma's rendering of crows

I love how she designs the composition. It's so full of images and really tells a story. She uses graphic additions that tie into the overall theme. I could spend all day studying her paintings, but now it's my turn to try.
My first watercolor ala Jody style in 2011

Too funny! But as I always like to have to start somewhere. Here are some more attempts:
This was an early one. Very loose in style. I just like big cats and slopping paint.

Flowers are fun

Trying to find my own style...

Keeping at it.....

Switched to butterflies.
That's enough for now. Next time I'll add some of the ones from 2012. No... I haven't improved but I am having some fun with new styles and techniques.

Thank you, Jody Bergsma, for your generous spirit and inspiration!