Postcards from the Ledge – 7

So…yesterday I turned 62.

A wonderful day book-ended with a spell in the sky chair. This sunset deepened and lasted for almost two hours. Ta very much nature goddesses.

And a heartfelt thank you to all who reached out to send birthday greetings. You all know what it means and it seems like one of the ways this crisis is impacting our worlds is that the tenor and quality of distance socializing feels genuinely kinder. So let’s keep paying that forward. Good on Ya humans !

We were told to expect clouds all day yesterday so, when the sunshine hung around and around I gave in and putzed in the garden.One ridiculous caper found us wetting ourselves after trying to move just one bale of straw. Now it was rain soaked so that added extra weight but I’m guessing close to 80 lbs. I can normally lift dry bales with some effort and, as you’ve read here,  I used to be able to point a finger and rely on Kory to tote those bales.

Alas, the virus, so Pat and I tried…and collapsed after that first bale.

Lunch felt like a good idea so we retreated and treated ourselves to a viewing of …Fantastic Fungi. Wow. Our son Jon turned us on to this movie and movement. You can rent or buy it only from their website…click here. I highly recommend for every curious mind…especially for inquisitive youngsters. They are going to get to see and drive monumental changes in our planet in their lifetimes based on this science. Pick the biggest screen you have access to and get the room nice and dark…enjoy.

The rest of the day was peaceful…planting here and there and checking under the fleece…

The salad bed planted two weeks ago is coming along…slooooowly. Carrots and those beets on the left and spinach on the right had overwintered. I yanked most of the beets as the roots were gnarly. Carrots ok. Spinach ok too. Three lines of lettuce seeds had no germination so I replanted. Radishes are firing up. Side dressing of Dr. Earth’s organic fertilizer and a good soaking and back goes the fleece.

A mediocre supper of Ina’s roasted shrimp, (the shrimp had lots of freezer burn and it should have been 400 degrees in that oven) was lifted by a wonderful sauce of mayo, ketchup, mirin, touch of teriyaki, capers and curry. And we binged two more episodes of Ozark. Late comers we are only on season one. Whew the dreams I had after that…suffice it to say it was a relief to open my eyes this morning and see that the orange jump suit had been left in that nightmare.

These posts are getting long and are mostly just my own way of leaving breadcrumbs, but I will share this morning’s escapade as a PSA.

We had to go out into the world to take Finn to the vet.

It’s all good…don’t fret…Saren…she’s fine…

But part of our goal is to stay on top of a couple of issues that trouble the old gal and part of that regimen is regular shots and meds that we had run out of. In this state, Veterinary Hospitals are considered essential but they are asking to hold off on normal checkups and shots with the exception of Rabies vaccinations. Fortunately for Finn she was due for a rabies booster. And fortunately for us, eternal gratitude to Saren for all things dog here, our vet practice is bang on top of this new world order.

Hill Street Veterinary Hospital

…and a great shout out to Finn’s hero…Dr. Sara Alfano.

They have walk-in hours in the mornings, and a carefully orchestrated protocol for curbside care.

After hearing the tenor of the experts changing over the weekend, alerting that the coming couple of weeks would see the worst impact of this virus, we decided that a quick controlled visit now would be best for Finn.

The only exception to our own protocol was that Pat got to ride along. The poor dear hasn’t been in her car, Martha, for almost a month and that deprivation has been real for her.

Finn requires the aid of a very heavy ramp to help her into the back of the Volvo but we work well as a team and not being able to do HER absolute favorite thing…riding shotgun for her buddy in the car…is an even greater deprivation around here. So…the whole damn family loaded up.

Gloved and masked we drove up and parked. Called the office. They got things ready. Tech came out with mask and  I got Finn out. They whisked her up the ramp and into the clinic. Dr. Sara called on my phone and we chatted about Finn’s treatment and meds and got to check in on her, Sara. As one of our special people…we worry. All good she says. The tech brought our girl back out with a bag of meds. We paid via phone. And Bob’s your uncle that was that.

We took the long way home so we could see the flowers and our favorite trees and, since I got out of the car and was in contact with the bag and the harness Finn wears which they had touched, I performed the decon drill and gave Finn an extra treat and here we are.

A great big high five paw of a thank you to the staff and Docs who made that experience go so smoothly. It honestly felt very weird to leave the house, to see other humans, so little traffic, a small group of teenagers in the high school parking lot standing six feet apart and chatting. And I was hyper aware of the invisible villain lurking just beyond the closed windows of the car.

It feels good to have that addressed and done with and now, after a quick walk around the sunny garden, I can settle back in at the easel.

I think these three are a perfect fit for today…all were Saren’s dogs and all were Finn’s pals…but her Bestie was and always be… Tallie…

Nina – 2010

Margie -2010

Tallie – 2010


Finnegan smiling at 11

This is a very special day for our family.

We have had a Bernese Mt. Dog by our sides for the last three decades.
Gabriel, Gulliver and Finnegan.

Finn is the first one to see her 11th birthday and she still shows up for work with that smile every day.

Our hearts are full to bursting with love for this champion of our souls and we are gonna give her some special treats today.

Happy Birthday Finn !!!


Ten Year Challenge

Today this sweet loyal generous companion bodyguard and all around champion of our hearts…is 10 years old !!!

That is a VERY special birthday for a Bernese Mountain Dog.

Our little Finnegan is a giver of love.
To everyone she meets.

A wise soul
a beautiful presence
part healer
come jester
my rugged apprentice
our tender minder
and bestest of pals.

Dear Dear Finn…we love you too.

I’ll take this ten year challenge and then some…


Solstice Gardening

A little dirt on your hands…in December ???

You bet.

I’ve been watching the forecast like a hawk and we’ve got a slight warming trend for the next week or so…averages above 40 and near 50 degrees. And coupled with the sunshine Finn and I headed out this morning to soak up some of that vitamin D, and I thought you’d like to join us.

In the photo above you can see those beds which Kory and I tucked in for the winter. The two in the foreground have some plantings and a cold frame. Let’s take a peak…

Under that tunnel on the right is an earlier fall planting of carrots. I invested in those tunnels for the first time this year and they are terrific. The manufacturer is Haxnicks. I went just now to Amazon to find a link but they only have the fleece version. The one shown here has a poly netting. Very sturdy and allows a lot of light in as well as terrific insect protection. They also make a heavier shade version which I’ve used with great success in deep summer heat. I’m using this one to cover the carrots and provide a structure over which I can drape a heavier plastic sheeting for insulation. We’ve had weeks of sub-freezing temps and so far they are not dead…so that’s a win.

The mini greenhouses, one shown on the left, are new this year. They fit the bed perfectly and I anchored them to the wooden frames for extra security. I did find that link…click here. (Actually I just checked the link and it is not the exact one shown above but it is the same manufacturer. Might need to do more surfing than I have time for right now to find the right one.)

So far I love them. I had a larger version of them years ago and, in the warmer winters, it gave me a full extra season of growth for kale and chard and even some pop up spinach volunteers.

You can see this swiss chard, planted last march, is still going strong and is my go to smoothy ingredient.

Today it was time to experiment with the second one I bought, and so the flat of seedlings which have been keeping me company inside the studio were ready to rock and roll…

I popped out a few of the kale and Hakuri turnips and out we went…

My theory is that this one may be warmer than the other as it is sheltered from some of the winds by the greenhouse which may also throw back some warmth from the south facing sun.

Here you can also see the easy access from the zippered panels.

Boy did it feel great to sit on my garden bench and hold the Hori Hori knife, and just like that they were planted. I have zero expectations that newly planted seedlings will make it planted this late but I live in hope these days.

It wasn’t in the original plans, but I thought adding one of those tunnels here might give an extra layer of warmth, and it worked out perfectly as a support for…

Yep…the christmas lights.

Somewhere I read of a  gardener putting a string of lights inside a cold frame to add a tiny bit of heat during the night. Why the hell not. I can never get enough of christmas lights.

I’ve put the compost thermometer in there so I’ll have some idea of the comparison between the two covered beds.

As you can see, a solid 43 degrees before I covered was promising.

And here we are all bundled up and ready to grow…maybe.

 

It’s a sea of mud out there now, and shortly after I wrote last week’s post those pesky Muses actually did show up and have made up for my basket of angst by hurling half a dozen new and sparkling challenges my way.

So…as Finn conquers…it’s time for me to get back to the easel…

But Oh My Goddesses did it ever feel good to be out working in the garden on this almost Solstice day.

 

 

 


Final Stretch

7th Inning Stretch

This is almost what my studio kitchen looks like today…

Add a kitchen table, stacks of art books and magazines,
two baskets of laundry, another row of teacup shelves,
a different iron, and a large bernese mt dog at my feet…

and you would be welcome to come join us
as we head into the final stages of preparing
to leave for the Granary Gallery show !

I left the ironing ’til last.
Despite my predilection for sweats and smocks,I do try to make an effort to look respectable
when I leave the studio and venture out into the real world.

And, while this heat dome is determined to hover over the east coast,
I am determined to let linen
keep what little air movement there may be…flowing.I’m halfway through the ironing.
For the last two hours, Finnegan has been laying in front of the air vent.

I needed a break, so I’m writing to say hey,
stay frosty out there my friends,
and island breezes…here we come !


Thinking ahead…

The call came in at 3:30am from the hard working vet that Finn was out of surgery and doing well. I had caved in at midnight so it was early this morning that I got the message. Now my flu ravaged body may still be weary but my spirits are high. By this time next week all members of my little family should be off of antibiotics and we can say good riddance to displaysed  elbows and rattling pneumonic lungs and maybe even to … snow ???

I’ve got to pass along our thanks to all of you who have been checking in and offering help and that all important compassionate ear of support… you will never know how those words and gestures of kindness reach in and lift us up.

One person who has done some heavy lifting in that department is our friend Saren. She has talked me down off of many a ledge especially with dear Finnegan’s trials. I was checking in with her early this morning and felt like a corner has been turned. The sun is shining, there is a definite warming in the air, and when I took the time to look I found the first signs of spring in the studio yard…

Can I get a witness ???

Through the darkest days of this long hard winter I’ve been taking myself to one of the happiest and most anticipated events of my year…the Sheep and Wool Festival !

The warm sunny first weekend in May when the Howard County Fairgrounds fill up with color and fiber and everything sheep. The crowd is full of my kind of people…old back to nature hippies who dress in sensible clothes and parade their knitted and woven creations and scour through the straw strewn farm shed stall to replenish their supplies of yarn and fleece and needles and sheep dip, etc.

There are many happy memories there for us and I’m so excitedly looking forward to making that trip this year…we may go both days !

My spinning wheel waits behind the snow shovel…

And I’ve got one great big panel up on the easel that needs to be finished before then…

But by golly I can feel it getting closer…I am dreaming now of coming home with a nice bag of fleece in the truck and oiling up the old wheel and sitting on the warm sunny porch with Finnegan stealing bits of wool and running down the walkway with it flying up over her shoulders in triumph…



Granary Gallery Show

Well it was a wild week up on the little island of Martha’s Vineyard… the show was a huge success, there were many new adventures, new vistas to investigate, a little bit of poison ivy, lots of early morning walks on the beach, many evenings of friendship and fine feasts, way too many kudos and not nearly enough sushi…and now that we’re home again I am rejuvinated by the enthusiastic response to the new paintings and ready to dig deeper and take the work to a whole new level.

Here is a gallery with some of the highlights of the trip…

check out our little apprentice as she visits the island for the first time…from the big boat to the bigger ocean she was a trooper… she left the last of her puppy teeth there and is now settling in to her cushy day job here in the studio…

another new adventure was being interviewed for Plum TV which has stations in lots of fancy vacation spots…they followed me around for a day with cameras and two delightful cinematographers…and our friend Barb followed them…very much looking the Annie Lebowitz part…

we had our usual techno breakdown on the night of the opening so there are only a couple photos… but I went in the next day and got some shots of the gallery to give you a feel for the place …just imagine a few hundred people milling about with mixed beverages and kind things to say and you’ve got the rest of the picture…

and then there are a few shots of good times with good friends and some views of the pond house where we whiled away the week that was… and of our visit with Ted to Menemsha and a stop over to Jane Slater’s, my teacup muse, and a chance for Ted and Herbert to catch up on some laughs…then, finally,  a tight squeeze on the new ferry back over to America…

I’ll let you check this out while Finnegan and I get back to work…

be well, Heather


Old friends make new friends

A breakfast party !

breakfast-party

With two of our favorite girlfriends… Amy and Sue. We go waaaaaaay back and finally found a slot in all of our busy schedules to reconnect….they brought the bagels and we brought the puppy kisses.

welcoming-her-new-friends

These women have the most powerfully positive and peaceful energy and Finnegan was instantly in tune and in love…

 kisses-all-around

Amy even gave Finn her first lesson in the Art of Wi …

amy-teaching-finnegan-how-to-wi

But all this excitement was tiring out the wee one…

sues-got-the-touch1

and it was time for a flip flop nap for Finnegan…

sleeping-with-flip-flops

Angels walking among us ….

thanks gals…

love ya, H