Winter has arrived with a bang.....very early and is staying on....for sure!
Our DEER Stanley has arrived at the bird feeder with his wife and kid in tow this week.
He's older and bigger and more .... tired. Hopefully increasingly wiser! From appearances he can make it through another winter. We are thinking he's looking good but hope he knows he is safe here and can continue to father many more youngsters in the neighborhood!
The water is very high for this time of year. A rainy summer especially up north has given us a great supply. The mosquitoes have reached a new fever pitch. Just waiting to see how soon the frost will arrive and take care of those pesky biting problems.
This time of year brings an assortment of art tours but I decided to do my own THANG this season by being "open" at my own studio a few weekends a month. Since I spend nearly every afternoon out there it just seemed to make sense.
Getting the main barn area presentable is always a problem and keeping it that way is an exercise in futility! Whether it is neat, or not, the show must go on. The Fresh Art Tour is going on the first weekend in October. I wasn't entered early enough to be included officially on the tour map this year, but will plan to be open for the three days anyway. Will try winging it!
My Etsy shop has been growing and I'm up to over 70 items offered now! The sales of these little Crazy Legs boxes has been one of the top sellers. I appreciate the "likes" and "shares", too! Thanks to all who are so supportive of this new offering.
The blessed event occurred Friday morning, before we left for our day, and it involved the hatching of four baby geese. They were properly placed under Mother when we left, but were decidedly LEAVING THE NEST when we got back.
So we let Mommy and her babies, daddy and the two uncles take care of the clan over night.
THEN....the word came through that a NEW MOMMY would be taking over the rearing of these young.
My brief Facebook post about these youngsters prompted my friend and super farrier, Kari Hoyer, to say YES, indeed, I shall rear those youngsters at my beautiful home in Esdale! The spring that sprouts from the backyard, and makes a 3/4 moat around her home......yes! It will be perfect for these lovelies.
So, a little more than 24 hours and the four little geese have their new Mommy! And her name is Kari.
Thank you for offering these four youngster a great place to grow up!
Another work in progress: starting the Etsy shop for sherristudio! This process has been going on since May, but I resisted posting because I wanted to have something to show before I started trumpeting the news. Learning a new format, finding measurements, taking the photos and and trying to keep things organized has been time consuming, but I'm getting the hang of it now.
Getting new photos of everything has been interesting to say the least. I get WAY too much help from my chickens. I have a display that I move outside to hang the glass, try to catch the sun in the afternoon, try to hold up a reflective panel, get a few shots, and how much help are these birds? Well.....take a gander:
A simple photo of a danish heart. Here comes Barney the barred rock rooster.
Then he gets a little red hen over for company.
Next thing you know, he gets an urge and ..... HEAVENS TO BETSY!
It's been interesting getting gardening done between rain storms. This not-so-little snapping turtle helper was inside the chicken wire fence I have around the peas and cabbages. She had been digging holes and presumably laying her eggs. After getting hung up in the fence on the way out, she took a rest and wasn't too concerned about a human being close. After all, I DID get her to the other side of the fence!
Yes, I'm ready for my close-up!
Maggie was intrigued by this funny rock in the mud puddle. Mmmmm? A much smaller cousin of Ms. Snappy Pants.
AND THEN, I found a beautiful moth out at the barn this morning. I love how the eyes look like an owl. That would scare it's enemies away.
A BEAUTIFUL day at Catfish Corner! The snow and ice is receding and the horses are happy, the dog is happy, the chickens, and the humans!! The grip of winter will probably try to make a last stab or two, but this weekend and today has been proof that there is, indeed, an end in sight.
It was a great winter for painting and creativity. I loved every day of it, other than the days my hands froze so bad I thought I might faint. The STU DI O was a happy place to spend winter. Donnie made lots of suet feeders of his own special design which was a special event every time he was out there with our Maggie. It's fun to have our happy family together in another location other than in front of the fireplace. Paisley, the shop cat, loved all the extra attention.
The walls are covered with new art, old art, and the CLUTTER is overtaking!! This is the no-holds-barred look at the world of an artist. The place is a mess but it's a comfortable, come-on-in kind of discombobulation.
I opened an account with FAA last March and just kind of played around with it while not taking it too seriously. But in recent days I found myself making some decisions about how and where to present my art.
The whole limited edition print market is too daunting for me at this point in life. I don't have the drive to be promoting myself at art festivals every weekend like the real artists, do! So....basically, I'm lazy! But not too lazy to get busy and use the tools I have at my fingertips. My profile at FAA will allow collectors to peruse and purchase, if so chosen, a variety of sizes and types of prints, be it paper, canvas, metal, acrylic, etc. So it's a win-win for everyone.
The past few brutally cold days have been spent at the computer getting images uploaded. I found I have several pieces of art that need to be rephotographed because there are just too few pixels. That is going to be a several days job alone as frames will have to be removed.
Overall, I'm happy with the amount of work that has been accomplished. It's been a walk down memory lane of images I haven't seen for a long time, too. More to do, but the the effort has been more than worth it. The site made my first sale yesterday.......thank you, thank you, thank you!
The flags were flying off the pole when we had our blizzard on Thursday. The weather reporters had us on pins and needles about how bad it would be. Our predicted 7-10" of snow turned out to be more like 5"....... probably because it RAINED so much and tamped it down. The result on Friday was a big icy mess. The truck doors were frozen shut and Don had to take hot water out to get them released. The snow just couldn't be scraped off, it was glued down! Trucks were heated from the inside out to get the ice moving. But the funniest part of the snowy ordeal was the PONY JAILBREAK!!!
Since we have had all this cold weather, our daily routine has been to run the water at the barn every 6 hours or so. This means a late run out to the barn and the night of the storm "someone" (ok, me) must have left the gate open by the waterer when she put the hay out.
Fast forward, my usual 3 a.m. wake up, and I'm looking out the kitchen window to see black horse forms out by the barn raiding the goose feed. OMG I need to get dressed and get them in! Thinking ahead, I got a bucket of sunflower seeds from the garage and came out bearing gifts to the wayward equines. I hollered, "PONIES" and they came running to me and followed nicely back to their place on the opposite side of the fence.
Once morning came I could see they were probably out FOR HOURS! There were tracks everywhere. All the bird feeders were cleaned out, they went down the lane to the 40 ac. field, to the 3 ac. pasture and even down along the creek, (which is one place they never want to go), they went down the driveway about 3/4 of the way; places they would not like to go alone, but with their herd complete they were on a wild adventure.
Things were pretty quiet on the horse paddock Friday. They had tuckered themselves out, eaten a boatload of birdseed, had a wild escape and found out that no one was going to stop them until they stopped themselves.
Just like kids, give them enough space and freedom and they can grow.
These didn't make it into the show. Oh well, maybe next year!
"Frosty Toes at Catfish Corner" - pastel 16x20"
"Frosty Toes" was done from a photograph I took a couple winters ago from the perspective of being at creek level. Most of my other "Catfish Corner" series were from a higher vantage point. And, yes, my toes were frosty when I was slogging through the snow to take the shot that chilly morning.
"Rough Elbows" oil on canvas 16x20"
Another photo outing involved hoar frost on a massive and ancient cottonwood tree. Tradition is the only thing holding this tree up! The base is probably 5' in diameter and is HOLLOW. I could stand up in the center of this tree. It towers any other tree in the area and it's knarly! Someday it will no longer stand and I'll be glad to have this memento of a unique and beautiful tree.
I had ten enthusiastic beginning stained glass students last Wednesday. I was contacted by Kitty Latane, Pepin Community Ed director, to offer a class and after some thought I decided to go for it.
Other than a couple other teaching experiences (like 15 years ago!) I have not had the experience of being on the instructional hot seat. It was kind of nerve wracking and it didn't help matters when I ran my palm into a sharp point and was the first one to head to the bandaid box! But, rather than throwing in the bloody towel, we pressed on and completed the Danish Heart.
Arranging the pieces of the Danish Heart before being soldered.
In all the years of having Studio Works I hired people to work for me and then taught them how to do stained glass. It's quite the novelty to be PAID to teach it this time around! This week we will be making heart ornaments and shamrocks in keeping with the season.
Almost two weeks of bitterly cold weather, no fun, no rides,....... except an unlimited amount of HAY and no exercise! We came out of the box today and I led Cerra, with Chy and Ty at large, to the 3 ac. pasture to burn off some energy.
It was almost like guiding three bombs ready to explode on the way out there, and once the halter came off the fun began. At 28 degrees it was a balmy day with NO MOSQUITOES in sight!
Sorry, Cerra. Your massive belly is showing.
As mine will be soon, too.
This is BREAD weather! My super easy bread recipe comes out at this time of year. It's so delicious, we have devoured three loaves since the first of the year.
Dutch Oven Bread
In a large bowl, add
1 1/2 c. Warm water.... I use potato water from boiling potatoes.
1/4 tsp. yeast.... sprinkle over the warm potato water
1 tsp. salt.... stir into the mixture
3 c. Flour.... dump it in and stir it up
Cover with plastic wrap and I slightly warm up the oven and leave it there overnight. (12-18 hours is good)
In the a.m. I punch it down and form it into a ball and dust with with whole wheat flour, or oat flour, corn meal, etc. Lift up the ball slightly and get some underneath so it doesn't stick to the bowl. Let it rise (I do this in the slightly warm oven again) for a couple hours, until it's about double in size, before you take it out to heat up the oven. If you have a warm place to do the rising part, yay!
Preheat the dutch oven, lid and all, at 450 degrees. Make sure it's really hot before you dump the bowl of dough UPSIDE DOWN into the hot dutch oven. Extra flour and all. Don't worry if it doesn't look perfect, shake the pot and get it in the center, and put the lid on.
Bake for 35 min. and then take the LID OFF for 10-15 min to brown it up.
Take the loaf out of the dutch oven and let it cool on a rack for an hour before you crack it open. The outside is crusty and crackly! Just like those expensive loaves at fancy bakeries and the inside will be soft and luscious.
Sorry, I have to go...... I think a piece is calling for me right now.