Meandering Thoughts

Meandering Thoughts
Summer

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Excitement Builds

Oh My Gosh, I am almost too excited at the prospect of getting the tipi up again this year.  It is suddenly "that" time.  For me it isn't a date on the calendar that tells me, it is the change in the cycle of seasons.  We are suddenly moving from late spring into early summer.  Things change less quickly, you just know from past experience, the change is happening. 

Crops are in the ground, clover is blooming in the hay fields, the spring storms are less dramatic.  A calmness comes with the summer days.  Every thing is settling into a routine, most critters are taking care of their young and the birds are on nests.  Gardens are flourishing and sun is bright.  These are the signs I look for, the signs that tell me, it is time to put the tipi up!

My tipi is becoming a little weather worn, it's not as white and strong as it once was.  I am hoping to get another year from this special tipi.  The bottom edges that are anchored to ground are showing signs of sun and water wear.  I am thinking of alternative solutions to repair and secure the lodge.  It might require quiet time sitting on the ground and doing some hand patching if necessary.  Not a bad thing really, making it a ceremony, giving thanks for the protection and joy it provides.  You know, of course, that the tipi lodge was not found in Ohio, it is a plains Indian lodge.  The homes for the Indian people of Ohio were built from tree saplings, which were plentiful a hundred years ago. 

So you might ask, "why do you have a tipi?"  My answer is this; For some reason I am drawn to the the Indian culture.  I don't claim to have any Indian blood, my family ancestry holds secrets and it has been lost to me.  I do know that for some reason my artwork and the Native American flute and the tipi all feel natural and right to me.  I do know that I truly believe that living and connecting to nature feels right to me.  I refuse to fight what feels good and right inside my heart.

In the old way, the indigenous women put up and took down the tipi lodge.  It was their home.  If the man of that lodge displeased the woman, he may come home to find his belongings outside the lodge, knowing he was no longer welcome.  Putting up a tipi lodge is really hard work, it took women helping one another to put up these lodges when a new camp was established.  I need the help of my wonderful husband and our son.  Often times our daughters come and the grand-kids and sometimes a friend or two.  The real labor comes from the help of the men in my life and for that I am grateful.

This week the request for help had gone out to my husband and son.  They know my desire, I will be patient, it will happen at a moments notice.  It may be at the end of a day or in the early morning.  The tipi will go up between camping with the horses, cutting hay and picnics at the neighbors.  I must have everything ready for the moment that Spirit puts us in the same moment.  It's almost like being a kid that has no concept of time, but knows Christmas is coming.  The excitement and anticipation builds.   Oh My Gosh, I am so excited!

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Golden Arches

I love technology, I don't really understand how it all works, but for the most part it is very exciting to use the computer and connect with people around the world.   I love having the GPS in the car and helping me find the way around a busy city.  I love being in the right lane when getting ready to exit because our GPS friend, Clover, tells me what lane to stay in.  I don't really like it much when she doesn't trust me to follow my instincts and I pick the better route.  She argues with me when this happens, then her name is not as sweet as Clover.

When I started my Wild Gourd Studio business ten years ago, interesting things began to happen.  It has to do with my last name being McDonald.  For some reason technology has decided that we are chain eating establishment.  We live on a country road between three very small villages that have no chain restaurants.  Somehow, somewhere in the tangled web of technology our home phone number is listed as a McDonald's Restaurant.  I choose not to eat at such a place and my wonderful husband doesn't support them due to their views and support of gun control.   Not writing a political blog, just meandering a little. 

Cedarville is a college town, people come for sporting events, summer camps and whatever else that draws out-of-towners.  We have seen increased traffic on our road, some drivers are unusually slow or use our driveway to turn around in.  The most annoying thing that happens and has given me a reason not to answer the home phone, is the calls.  Just this evening I got a call about the type of toy we had, my brain couldn't comprehend what they were even talking about, I failed to follow any part of the question.  Then I found out they were talking about the new movie toy that comes with kids meals.  We have taken calls in the late night asking if we could handle a bus load of hungry kids.   My husband loves when we get that call, he always says that they are welcome to come, but his wife doesn't like to cook, might not find the kitchen open.  We have talked to drivers on their cell phones as they drive past our house, asking directions, telling us they can only find a corn field at the address their GPS is giving.  I also love it when they want to know if we are taking applications for a job.  I love telling them there is no application necessary, I have lots of jobs around the home place that need doing.  I even get mail to the restaurant chain.  It is just some quirky glitch in our modern technology I could live without.
Moral of this story, don't call me on the home phone looking for a restaurant, no one is cooking at McDonald's today.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Out of Focus

Maybe it's the coming full moon, maybe it's the sudden summer heat, or maybe I'm still recovering from the Flute Discovery Retreat.  Maybe it is my concern for the friends in my life, maybe I have writers block or maybe I really need to spend time in meditation and with my flutes.  I can't seem to get anything done.

I took a tour of my out of control gardens the other day, things are blooming early this year, they too seem to be a little out of sync.  The weeds are already tall and roots are deep, I can't seem to pull them loose from the earth.  Maybe I need to have a little talk with them first.  I hear you laughing, sometimes it helps, I swear it does.

I got my hammock out the other day.  I'd been waiting for it to be warm enough.  Well, it got warm enough and I was certainly ready for my first long nap in the hammock.  I remember trying to wake up and struggling to see clearly and would quickly be pulled back into a deep sleep.  In my dream I couldn't see clearly, I'd taken off my glasses before I closed my eyes and it somehow made my dream fuzzy too.  I seemed to only see things in my dream without my glasses, everything was fuzzy and out of focus.  That is how I feel out of focus today.

About the only thing I did accomplish this week is mowing.  It only takes an hour to mow around the house, trees and gardens.  It took longer today because I mowed the tipi area.  I was shocked how tall the pasture is already.  At the tipi area you can see where the tipi sat last year.  Remnants of the last fire is still there.  I laugh when I think of this fire, my dear friend and I slept in the tipi that very cold night in November.  She kept putting logs on the fire that night, she claims never to have been so cold in her life.  I don't believe this, it wasn't that bad! 

I can't help but smile when I work on the grounds at the tipi area.  I remember occasions when we have had full moon drumming.  I almost fall off the mower laughing and remembering the night a friend (male) was pushed to the back of the tipi while three women moved in to spend the night and share the same fire.  I remember my grandchildren spending the night with me and the morning thunderstorm that shook the earth.

I can't wait to get the tipi up again, I need to connect again to sleeping on the earth.  I need my friends to come and share it with me.  I need to drum under the full moon.  I need to hear the flutes inside the tipi, the sound of the flute and the smoke of the fire, carrying our prayers into the night sky to the Creator.

Ahhh, I feel better already................

Monday, May 24, 2010

Flute Discovery Retreat


The weekend at the Flute Discovery Retreat was more than I could have anticipated.  The only real expectations I had were spending time with people who seem to be seeking similar things from life.  We all seem to want to know more about the Native American style flute.  We were eager to learn where and why the flute has such power to capture your heart and what it means to the indigenous people. There were some people at this retreat that don't play this amazing wooden instrument.  There were others that have been in touch with the flute for years and there were others new to the journey.  All of us have the same experience, we hear the peacefulness, the heart-song, the soul and the power to heal that comes from this humble wooden flute.

We crave that song coming from the flute.  The secret is that song is coming from the person playing the flute.  It is our breath that gives this beautiful flute a song.  This sacred breath comes from inside each player, travels through our hearts into our lungs and into the flute.  The song we give this flute is our personal heart- song!  And when we play, we share it with the universe.  When we pray with our flute it becomes even more powerful, it takes our prayers to the wind and on to the Creator.  It  is no wonder we stop when we hear this music in the air.

I have been playing the flute for a little over four years now.  I have discovered while listening to many artists perform something very interesting.   I hear each of their heart-songs and no two are ever alike.  Each has their own style, intonation's, pauses, accents, and dance.  Each player has their own joys and sorrows that come out when they play their music. 

In our flute circle we have some wonderful Cd's with background music that we use to accompany our flute music.  Often two or three people will take turns playing during the same background piece.  Each player, while playing to the same background, will have an entirely different song!  I think this is amazing! 

On Saturday night around the campfire,we gathered with our drums and flutes, some would drum, some would play flute, and then it would change.  We know the drumbeats are the heartbeat of our Mother Earth, when we drum we send healing energy and prayers to ALL things that live on this earth. 

An awesome thing happened  at the campfire that night.  At some point two people were taking turns playing the flute across the fire from one another, a kind of call and response.  During this conversation with two flutes, another person went away from the fire and into the trees, when the pause came in the two conversing at the fire, the flute in the trees played.  When that flute paused one at the fire picked up the next response and then passed it to the other, when he finished the flute in the trees again responded.  Then suddenly another flute player joined our conversation in another direction of the grounds.  Each of the players seemed to instinctively know when the other finished and it was their turn to play.   One of the players at the fire then went to another corner of the grounds, it it became a circle recognizing each of the four directions, one in the East, one in the South, one in the West and one in the North.

The amazing part of this, none of this was arranged, spoken or suggested.  It was a Spirit guided event.
I am honored to have been witness to this amazing moment of hearing heart-songs being offered to the clear night sky, to the stars, to the moon, and to anyone who was listening.

Now isn't that amazing?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Living in the Moment with Friends


Richard and I have company for the weekend.  We love having company come to enjoy our world.  It is always a special time.  We tend to change our normal routine and pause awhile to enjoy our visitors.  Our doors are always open to friends.  We put a pot of coffee on, if the visit was expected, there might even be cookies with your coffee. 

I love when my visitors come and sit on the studio porch, watch the hummingbirds come to the feeder, they can look out at the flowers and just soak up the amazing energy our little piece of heaven holds.  Relaxing, sharing stories, contagious laughter and sipping our coffee.  Time stops, we are caught in a moment I don't want to end.   However time also flies, we look at the clock and wonder what happened, where did time go?  It's as if we have been in a time warp, like our little world stopped and yet the earth continued it's spinning.   We are oblivious to that happening.  When it does happen, you know something special was going on, you were living in the moment and that is what life is about!

Last night I went to bed thinking about our friends and the things we did today.  I fell asleep smiling.  I remember waking from time to time, if only for a second, and I'd smile again and think of my friends who are visiting for a weekend.  The love, the acceptance and warmth of this friendship is felt throughout my being.  I find that I'm happy just knowing there is more to come, we have the entire weekend.  What a blessing good friends are in our lives.

I have many good friends, they are the  people I want to spend time with, people who want to spend time with me.  Friendship is a give and take kind of thing, you can't be a friend if you only take, you also have to give.  I have often tried to seek friendships that were very one sided, it doesn't work.  It's like playing catch, you throw the ball, the ball is normally returned.  Sometimes the ball is not tossed back, you know the game just won't last, you run out of balls to toss.  This lesson has come to me a couple of times, it is a hard lesson. 
I look forward to every shared moment with friends, I am hungry for those moments, it seems to be an addiction.  I crave it more and more often, like someone who wants chocolate.  Can you have too much chocolate?  Can you have too many friends? 

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Garden Scavenger Hunt


Last spring I worked really hard getting the gardens around my house in some manageable state.  This year you would never have guessed.  The gardens this spring are lush and thick with flowers that belong and others that have come to join the party!   I don't know how this happens, but every year I am more accepting of the things happening in my garden.

I got this brilliant idea last year and decided to finish the concept this year!  I think it is done and I couldn't wait to share it with someone!  I have kept with me over the years things I LOVE in an album, photos, articles, and this one list just kept coming to mind.  It is copied from a book that belonged to a friend, the book was called, Cultivating Sacred Space, by Elizabeth Murray.  She wrote that gardens have certain elements to create a relationship to a sacred idea.  So I devised a Garden Scavenger list for my grandchildren or anyone else that wants to play and search for things in my gardens.  The list will probably grow and change as the gardens grow and change.  Listed below is a few of the things you could find in my gardens and some of the sacred ideas behind the objects.

Arch - the arch is a representation of the rainbow.  It stretches from earth to heaven and back again,
           symbolizing the integration of power and love.

Gate -  a symbol of transcendence, it marks the departure from one world to the next.  What kind of gate do you think this one is?  Sanctity/privacy?  Does it open a new world for you to discover?  Does it serve as the threshold to the Fairy Garden?

Twinkling mirrors and pretty beads -  they hang from the archway, dancing with light in the breezes.   (these were added after the photo)

Bells and chimes -  throughout the gardens, invited to ring by the wind.  They symbolize the awakening to the life dreams, prayers and visions. 

Fairies - although the ones you might see are made of metal, they remind you to step gently, for
             fairies dance and play among the flowers and may be hiding while you are on your quest.

Ladybug tea party -  the ladybugs are having a tea party in the fairy garden.  Can you find the tea set
              near the blooming coral bells blooming in the spring.

Quote on a stone -  what does it say?

Winged Angel  -  he hides in the boxwood, he watches you as you walk the path around him.  (you can walk the garden paths in the winter too!)

Paths  -  they serve as a "metaphor of our process and our pace".  Slow down, enjoy life, look at the flowers, spend time in "your garden."

Glass Bulbs - are colorful, bringing pretty light to the garden, how many can you find and what colors
               are they?

Bamboo - although it bends in the wind, it doesn't break, serving as a reminder to endure and overcome
               adversity.  In my garden the bamboo holds pretty bottles in the fairy garden.  How many
               did you find and what colors are the bottles.

Fountains and water features - flowing with prosperity and abundance of life energy, water elements
               change the feel of the garden.  

Those are a few of the things listed, I also have Goldfish to count, Birdhouses to find, Garden flags, Tree faces, a toad house, swings, elephant ears (in the summertime), naming the cats and dogs and whatever else I can think of to cause one to walk through my gardens.  Do you think it will keep the grand-kids busy for a little while?


Photos come from 2009 spring and winter.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

1988 Journal

Yesterday I pulled my journals off the shelf to just have a look through a couple, to see what kinds of things I wrote down.  The first one I looked at was the 1972-73, the first of my venture into journals.  It is a little surprising to read the one line notations.

On October 15th, 1972 our son Ryan was born.  He was born on my Grandpa Brenner's Birthday, I'd forgotten that.....   Throughout this journal I recorded things like the first smile, dinner at my Mom's house, who came to visit, and all of Ryan's firsts that year.  I cannot believe he was getting cereal at a month old or that he had orange juice two weeks later!!!   My daughter would be shocked at that today!  She didn't start her babies on solids until at least five months. 

The second journal I picked up had an interesting list of things on the back page that happened in 1988.  It was titled:  "Things I'd Like to Remember and Some I'd Wish To Forget."   I will share these memories with you, as I did with Ryan and Richard this morning. 
The passing of Kathrine Gregg, (my mother-in-law) a mother, a grandmother, a friend.  (sudden and sad)
My brother, Brian, had two strokes before Christmas.  (effected his speech, right arm and leg)
My favorite cowboy, Dave, was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease.  (he recovered)
Our competitive ride season brought awards and two 300 mile blankets.
Trisha won an Arabian Colt from Dr. Fricke.  (that colt is Knipper, the pretty bay horse in many of my pictures)
We bought a '79 motor home.  (our "new" camping vehicle!)
'88 drought made very poor crops  (my husband farms a little on the side.)
A friend went through a divorce, moved to a new house, had a great barn and hay for his horses.
We inherited an old station wagon from my Grandmother, Gladys Rankin.  (the kids would hide when we drove it, they were totally embarrassed.)
Ryan turned sixteen and played Football.
Trisha is in 7th grade, playing volleyball and basketball
Emily, my baby, turned ten years old.  Loves soccer.
Richard went to Kansas City with the FFA.  (Richard was an Ag. Teacher for 36 years)
The 4-H club took a trip to Washington DC and stayed in the home of Mike and Fran DeWine. (he was our congressman then)
The kids had great fair hogs this year.

I thought this was very interesting, you may not.  It does show how cool it was that I kept some record of events in our busy life.  I made me smile to remember those things.  I wonder what else my old journals will reveal to me?

Photo:   2004 Journal cover.  While loading the photo for this blog, I flipped through the pages.  Tears stream from my eyes when I read about having to deal with an aging horse with a rectal tumor.  My heart hurts and miss this beautiful horse we called Feasty.  I have written about him in other blogs, he was certainly one of our most entertaining horse when it came to stories!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Share a Part of Yourself, Write.....

Some days writing comes easily for me.  I use the word writing very loosely, I've never thought much about writing, more than journaling, making lists or corresponding with a friend.  Even journaling was pretty hit and miss over the years, especially when my children were small.  My teachers in school would never have considered me a writer from a look at some of my English grades.

I have a stack of journals that start back in 1972-73, Ryan was born in '72.  Not sure what happen to the journals I may or may not have kept for the next few years, they start again in 1984 and continue on into 2009.   I haven't opened them  since stacking them away.  I wonder what secrets they hold for me today.  I could probably spend the entire day looking through them, remembering events that would have been forgotten, had I not written them down.  Most of the writings were of everyday things, no poetry, no wise words.  Things are not so different today when I write a blog.  Maybe the thing that is different, some of the stories are from a past memory, one that was filed away and now is a chapter in my blogs.   

It has taken years to come to the place I find myself today.  A place that I can take time each day and write a few words.  Even if it isn't earth shattering or complex, just writing it down releases some need to express myself in words.  Is it so different that painting a picture, carving a gourd or even playing a flute?  It is all about finding a creative outlet for the spirit inside yourself to come out and to be revealed.  Not everyone needs to reveal themselves in a public way, doing it in a private way is just as important to your spirit.

I often ask my girls if they wrote down the funny story they just shared with me.  I can't help but think it will be forgotten if not noted somewhere.  I've given as gifts to my girls and dear friends, blank journals, so that they too will have a treasured place to write.  Many have, many haven't and some journal off and on.  I would highly recommend journaling, blogging, or letter writing to everyone.  I fear the emails and face-book is making things too easy, a one line thought, a quick response and it is over.  Don't you just love to get a nice long letter or card from someone?  Reading it over and over, knowing how wonderful it was that they took time to write a special note and mailed it to you.  The greeting cards I make and sell are always blank, giving someone a chance to fill the insides with their personal messages.  Give someone a little gift today, send a handwritten letter to a friend.  I promise, they'll love hearing from you!!!  


Photos:   Two of my greeting cards
 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Organization or Clutter?


Today is an interesting day for me.  I can not determine a particular goal for the day.  I have no creative inspiration, my house is clean and it's going to rain again.  I'm not really worried about this, I can always find something to occupy my time, but I have no aim today .  A friend told me this morning to not get greedy about my need for creative inspiration, it could be taken as quickly as it was given.  I do understand that, I will honor that message and will just do what comes to me today.

As I sit in front of the computer I realize what a messy person I am.  I wonder how I accomplish anything.  There are at least a hundred  scraps of paper in front of the key board, each with an address, a note, or a quote.  There are notations to google this thing or that, last months incomplete grocery list, and even my ideas for the inside of last year's Christmas card.  I'm finding phone numbers with no names, there are art show applications with deadlines long past and even a list of my favorite songs.  I have found notes that I think I can toss and turn it over to find some important little thing I need to remember.  That doesn't even count the number of business cards I harbor there as well.  These cards are of flute-makers, other artists that have caught my eye and there are photos I've scanned to attach to blogs and never got them back to the photo album.  Oh look, here under all my little scraps is the red rock I brought back from Sedona, AZ.  Of course there are a couple of flutes to play while my slow "high speed" Internet connection  is downloading or uploading.

I know that I am not alone in my clutter, I think many artist's have this problem, you can correct me if I'm wrong and I am sorry to let this secret out.  I swear it's probably not a secret to anyone who knows us!  Otherwise I can be trusted to keep an important secret, really!

With my house being already clean and my creative needs fulfilled for the moment.  I might just try to go through all these little notes of important information.  I have a beautiful leather bound book I purchased at Village Artisans, made by Bill Felker, I now keep nearby for all my favorite quotes.  Hummm, maybe I'll add my favorite songs to this book too......   It is now a matter of going through each scrap of recycled paper to find the quotes.  Maybe if I stack similar information in the same pile, but that won't work if there is something on the back.  I might have to rethink the stacks, maybe I should just pick up the notation and deal with it immediately.  Sounds easy, but then my thoughts start meandering..........   I still really need to plant those root bound impatients.

Photo:   my computer area.
             P.S.   I laugh when I looked at the picture,
                       wondering why I have a screwdriver in with the
                       ink pens.  And you have no idea of the really
                       important stuff under the rug under the keyboard! LOL!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Rainy Day Sentiment

I am in the studio again today.  I am working on a beautiful new design.  It is raining here, the rain is falling heavily and there is thunder to be heard.  I have the studio door open to the porch, I hear the rain hit the tin roof of the porch, my mind begins to wander as I work.  I look at my dogs napping on the rugs near me, content to sleep, I wonder about their dreams as they whimper in their slumber.

The Cd player is providing additional music for me to listen to, it sounds nice with the rain.  My mind drifts to the musicians who are filling my studio with their personal sound, each is different and each is amazing.  You might already know the music, I'm sure, it comes from people who play the Native American style Flutes, it is about the only music played in the studio.  My brain travels back to Musical Echoes in Florida, again seeing the faces of these musicians, Mark Holland, Scott August and newbie Jonathan Ward.  I delight in the conversations and laughter that was shared during that weekend, can't help but smile as I work on my gourd. 

The next Cd that begins to play it is from John Two-Hawks, my mind races to the future.  Next week John Two-Hawks and his wonderful wife Peggy are coming to my center of the world to put on a Flute Retreat!  I get excited just thinking about spending time with them and my other  flute friends. 

The rain falls, a cleansing is welcome.  Not just outside, maybe inside me too.  I burn some sage, say some prayers.  The gifts in my life are abundant and I am grateful.  As my mind keeps meandering about the important things in life, lingering here and there, all the while a beautiful gourd is coming to life on this rainy spring day. 

Photos of my newest gourd creation!

The Other Mother's Day Gift


I think my children were trying to come up with the most unique and wonderful gifts they could find this year in 2010.  My son, Ryan, calls me Mother's Day morning, he is at work doing Sunday overtime.  My son is a very hard worker, he graduated from a vocational school as a welder and has worked with the same company since '87.  Not many people are so lucky today.   His job has changed over the years and he has moved into more specialized work.  When offered a chance to work overtime, he takes it. 

After work Ryan stops by and I'm in the studio working on a card order.  I am happy in my studio, the doors are open, I hear the birds, breeze blows through and my Cd's fill the air with flute music.  Ryan and I chat and he tells me that he'll be bringing his lovely wife Tere and the girls down for my Mother's Day gift.  Oh, I'm not going anywhere, he gives me a hug, kiss and an "I love you" and I tell him how sweet he is.  He tells me not to tell anyone, it will blow his cover.  Guess what Ryan, I'm telling the world how wonderful you are!!!!

Pretty soon Ryan and his family come calling.  The girls excitedly carry in beautiful cards and a pot of pretty snapdragons.  They are beaming ear to ear.  "Guess what Grandma, guess what we came to do?"  Who could possibly guess, weren't the flower and cards enough?  "We came to brush all the horses for you," they say. 

All three of my horses are in their twenties now.  Bones, my horse, is twenty-nine, the oldest.  For the last couple of years he has had a difficult time shedding his long hair.  Our mini, Chance, has the same problem.
They look like sheep they are so matted looking.  Knipper is the only one that sheds naturally, his mane is thick and long and are in dread locks every spring.  I hate admitting that grooming my horses in not on the top of my priority list these days.  Twenty years ago the horses were brushed and ridden at least three times a week, almost year round.  Interesting how life changes your priority lists.

The horses were haltered and tied to the hitching rail, did they have visions of another time?  Did they rem-ember being gathered up, groomed and saddled and then taken out into the fields for a good run with wild and joyous freedom?  Were their memories of long past endurance and competitive trail rides racing through their heads.  Those were my thoughts as everyone hovered around the horses, chatting, laughing, and grooming.  We even shared a couple of stories of "remember when?".

In the afternoon sunshine, Bones, lowered his head a little, half closed his eyes and savored the brushing, even though he really hates that process.  Knipper loved having his mane and tail detangled, he thinks he's quite good looking when his mane and tail are flowing in the breeze.  Chance love the attention by the girls, he is just their size and he didn't move a muscle while they worked on his long hair and his beautiful mane and tail.  All three horse were treated with apple slices, they were hugged and loved upon.  What could be nicer on Mother's Day?

Photo:  Right upper:  Cait leading Bones and Lizzy on board.
            Lower left:   Cait with Knipper
                                Lizzy with Bones, allowing them to graze.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day 2010


Today is Mother's Day.  The sun is shining in my world and it is chilly.  I am in awe of the power of love in my life.  From my wonderful husband and children and friends.  I see this love in other things too.

I may have mentioned the robin nesting on the lamp at the front door.  This Mother choose this perfect spot for her nest.  It is high enough to keep the "hunter cat" from bothering the nest and it is also protected from rain.  Their nests are made with mud and grasses, if these nests become too soggy with water and the wind is blowing, they will fall from the tree branch.

I have been watching these robin parents.  They hatched what I believe to be only one egg.  I can't really see in the nest, I am just too short.  I have seen the robins coming to and from the nest on the lamp and knew they were feeding baby birds.  The activity was constant to and from.  The parents caring for the young, searching for insects/worms in the yard.  They are good parents instinctively.

Two days ago I went out to get the mail, totally forgetting about the robins.  As I came back toward the house a baby bird flew from the nest, into the ground cover near my feet.  His wings were well developed and yet he still had downy fuzz on his back where feathers would soon come.  The parent robins were there in a instant, chirping and hovering and causing a lot of commotion.  I knew if I lingered the cats would come to see what the ruckus was and this could be the end of a possible fledgling.  I went quickly in the house and looked out the window.

Things calmed down immediately.  Whew.  Now all I could do was say a little prayer that this baby would be safe.  The parents will take care of that baby if it comes out of the nest too soon.  I turned it over to a greater power in my prayer.  

Today, I see the robin parents, hopping around the yard.  As I continue to watch them looking for food, I suddenly see the third robin.  It is the one that left the nest early.  He now has tail feathers and looks almost adult like.  He follows one of the robins around the yard and the one he follows feeds him.  I am rewarded with the knowledge that my prayer was answered.

As a mother I understood the distress caused when a young one leaves the nest too soon.  As a mother I know I can continue to nurture, leaving the nest is natural and normal.  My children have fledged and are doing great!  I am a very happy Mother. 

Photo:   Not robins....   but last year's hummingbirds

Saturday, May 8, 2010

This Years Mother's Day Gift

My children are wonderful, I may have mentioned that before.  Mother's day is always remembered.  I am happy to receive cards with loving words, I know they are heartfelt.  I have gotten flowers, a sweet smelling Lilac bush and even a red Japanese maple tree for the yard.  All are wonderful and appreciated.

This year for Mother's Day my girls have decided to give me a gift together.  I'm very excited about the gift, although I'm also a little nervous.  My gift will arrive on Tuesday about 9 am and I have to get my house in some order before the arrival. 

I know some of you have probably been following my blogs awhile, you will know why I'm a little uncomfortable getting a gift like this.  I have to admit that at this stage of my life there are some things that just aren't as important as other things.  I wonder if my girls understand this or if they just can't stand it any longer......  I think they are sweetly telling me I need help!

Have you guessed what my gift is?  Shall I give you more hints?  Do you hate to dust, mop the floor and take down cobwebs?  Do you put off spring cleaning because it is just going to take too much time?  Have you figured it out yet?  I can't wait to share!  They have found a lady to come in and do my Spring Housecleaning!  Oh my gosh, can there be a better gift in the whole world?   They are so excited to have found something to make my heart race with excitement!  Woohoo!!!

But wait, oh my gosh........   I need to get ready for a house cleaning person!  Oh dear, I can't let someone come into my house and see that stack of books sitting on the table, waiting to be read.  I can't let them see I haven't swept the dog hair up this week.  Oh no, I really should pick up......   And what about the flutes laying in every room.   Will she know they are not to be waxed and polished?  Should I try to find some order to the pile of mail that needs addressed on the dining room table?  What about all the outdoor stuff that blew into the house from my open windows with no screens yesterday.  (we have screens, I just hate them!) 

When she comes and does her day of work my girls have hired her for, will I be totally spoiled and long for her to come back?  It would be so nice to have someone come and do this on a regular basis, maybe I'd actually be able to think about cleaning the corner that surrounds my computer.  And what do you do with yourself when someone is cleaning in your house?   Do you leave?  Do you hide in your bedroom?  Do you go have a massage and forget about about the dust bunnies hiding in places you ignore while she is cleaning your house.  What if she becomes tangled in the giant spider web and needs help getting out.  Or maybe her vacuum becomes clogged with hidden dog hair and she can't finish the job.  What if she comes to the door and faints.   Oh dear, this is causing me to be a little queezy..........  am I dizzy with excitement or embarrassment?

Friday, May 7, 2010

A Mom's Blessings

Mothers Day is coming.  I am the mother of three wonderful children, Ryan, Trisha and Emily.  They would make any mother proud, I am so glad they are my children.

I remember once when Ryan was visiting a friend, he was eleven or so.  The mother of Ryan's friend said to me when I picked him up, "He is so polite, and even carried his plate to the kitchen."  I wondered if she had the wrong child, wow, some of the home training did stick.  Our children always carried their plates to the kitchen after a meal, otherwise that same plate left on the table might be used the next meal.  I hoped to instill in my children that there is always a consequence for everything, good or bad. 

Ryan is now married to a wonderful woman, Tere, and they have two very sweet girls, Cait and Lizzy.  Ryan is a wonderful Dad.  He is very hands on as a husband and father, it is nice to see his loving and caring side.  Ryan is always a phone call away from helping me when I need a hand.  I love this about him.  He is very much like his Dad in this way, always ready to help someone.  He has a good heart and a wonderful smile, he is a great son.

Trisha is my oldest daughter, is married to a wonderful man, Bill.  Trisha and Bill have four beautiful children, Aidan, Kellen, McKinley and Tatum.   Trisha is so much the superwoman Mom.  I hope she allows herself to relax a little.  With four children, that could be difficult, I don't know how she does it.  If children can be like a parent, she is probably the most like me.  I see the same "blondness" about her that I am, sorry Trisha.  She is focused and smart and such a good mom!  She invents ways to teach her children in the smallest ways and makes learning fun and interesting.  It would be nice if she lived closer, I could maybe more help to her than I am now. 

Emily is my youngest, she is a teacher and has a quick and a little sarcastic kind of wit, I love that about her!
She is an amazing woman.  When she sets her mind to something, she can do anything!  She is running her first half marathon this coming weekend.   She is also near enough to help me out when I seem to be in a crisis.  She has helped me do art shows, clean house before company comes and will clean the kitchen after a meal at home.  What a sweet and loving girl she is.  She always asks me if she can do anything for me or if I need anything.  She is very thoughtful like that.

Being a Mom is something I never really thought about, it came naturally, although I really felt totally unprepared.  I didn't really know I was unprepared, that comes with youth, good thing instincts kick in, I suppose.  I look back, trying to remember how I managed with so little knowledge about raising responsible, caring and thoughtful children.  I have to say it was just dumb luck.  Maybe it came from the way I was raised.  I think the Creator just sent to this Mom, good kids. 

Trisha will often ask me how I coped with this or that challenge she might be going through.  I often tell her that I don't remember that problem.  I'm sure I had to deal with it, but in the big scheme of things it was small and maybe not important enough to mark as a stepping stone.   You just follow your instincts, you'll know what to do.

I'm not saying I raised this three alone, Richard was always there, keeping things in balance.  I'm just sharing my contribution, it is almost Mother's Day.  I cherish being a Mom to these three amazing children.  I've been blessed.  Not a day goes by without me knowing that I've been very lucky.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Morning Graditude

This morning is one of those mornings.  Mother Earth is wearing her brightest smile.  I awoke to beautiful sunshine.  Everything was wash clean again by the rains in the night.  There is a breeze in the air, rustling of the new bright green leaves.  The heady scent of my lilac bush fills the morning air.  Everything seems to sparkle from the drops of water still resting on plants and leaves. 

Long before the sun was up, I heard a bird.  I have no idea what bird it was, it was already announcing the start of a new day.  I lay there only a moment listening, I wasn't ready to join him, sleep took over any thought of getting up.  The birds here are all busy with their spring chores, courting Cardinals will feed their mate a seed from the feeder.  The barn swallows use the soft wet earth as the glue to weave their grasses into the perfect nest.  The Northern Oriole is singing in a clear and perfect pitch for his mate to come to our trees and build their nest.  I am astonished how they find the tail hairs from my horses to build their perfect nest basket.  The robin has been feeding her babies on the front porch lamp for more than a week now.  I can't quite see them, but soon they will peek above the nest. 

I'm delighted to see the first tree swallows in over three years.  After the two week ice and freeze in many states, we had a noticeable decline in tree swallows and bluebirds.  The numbers dropped to were they were in the eighties.  The tree swallows are building a nest in the box behind our mailbox.  Did you know they always decorate their nest with a feather or two before they lay first their egg?

I forgot, I believe I was sharing how beautiful this morning was...........   I know for sure that on a morning such as this, I have to say, "thank you".  I don't know who hears that gratitude, well, maybe I do, it just has to be said.  It is what I believe is a perfect moment and I want to keep it close.  I want to savor it and sit with it for as long as I can.  Think I'll take a flute, my coffee and go outside right now.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Gardens are out of Control


A new month on the calendar, it is May 2010.  A shiver of panic comes to me, I'm already behind.  In what exactly I'm not sure.  Maybe the fact that the flower gardens are already blooming flowers that aren't due to bloom for a couple more weeks.  I have yet to pull the first weeds, what was I thinking when I tried to establish all these flower beds.  Richard said he could solve the problem, roundup and a mower will change my out of control beds.  Not sure I can give it up that easily, but it is tempting.

Some of the beds are filled with ground cover, they are in somewhat raised beds, we can't possibly mow this unless you want to move beautiful old limestone rocks that I gathered from an old dairy barn that was lost in the 74 tornado.  Oh, I was much younger then.  Making a new planting bed was just one of those ideas that took hold and evolved into something bigger than planned.

I am a person who sees few boundary's.  There is always a way to make things work.  We couldn't afford beautiful flat limestone rocks.  That didn't stop me, I just got into our bobcat (my favorite piece of farm equipment) and put on my gloves and gathered my own rocks and brought them home.  I did have good help from my son with the big stones.  Ryan was probably about ten at the time, he already thought, like most men, that  I didn't need to move these rocks to make a flower bed.  We did it anyway and so it began, the stone border flower beds. 

Have I mentioned my love of stones?  I would watch my neighbor pick up rocks in the spring from his newly tilled fields, he'd take these large stones and dump them in a place along the fence line.  Removing big rocks from a field is an effort to save your equipment when planting or harvesting.  I'd always ask if I could go through the rock pile and bring some home for my flower beds.  Upon getting approval, I'd get into my trusty bobcat and go gathers some stones.  My wonderful husband would just shake his head when I started the bobcat and bounced my way across the farm field.  I still have a big pile of limestone rocks that I purchased from another neighbor, they were delivered and emptied in the horse area.  I still haven't found the perfect home for them.....   I am waiting for the inspiration and desire to begin another flower bed.  Right now it isn't looking good.  Spring came too quickly this year to add them to flower borders that already exist, these borders are already covered with trailing vines and and ground cover.
I have another garden that is fenced with beautiful wrought iron, created and built by my wonderful husband.  It has a lovely swinging gate and an archway to enter the garden.  I remember on Mothers Day about ten years ago our girls and I went to get quickcrete so that I could make a "stone" pathway through this garden.  I mixed the quickcrete with water in the wheel barrow, then proceeded to fill a mold with the mixture.  It set up quickly enough that I could remove the mold, turn it a quarter turn and do the next section.
By the end of Mothers Day I was happy and exhausted!  Today you can hardly walk this pathway because of all the plants (some are actually flowers) that have filled the garden.  I like plants that self seed, the garden is mostly purple cone flowers.  Lily's , Peonies, Iris, coral bells, wild violets, hostas and weeds now claim the rest of the space.  I have lost control..........  I think I need a gardener.

I actually have waiting to be planted a flat of red and white impatients, it's pretty early to plant them, frost is still a threat and as I walk out the door they greet me every morning, in hopes today is the day they can stretch their roots into the blue flower pots of soil! 

Last year I was so happy with myself when I actually harvested the giant bulbs of elephant ears and stored them in my studio for the winter.  Today I have one bulb that is already shooting out a leaf, looking for the sun in the dark corner I have stored them.  Yes, it is too early to plant them too, maybe if I keep them on the porch it will protect them from threats of frost. 

Oh dear, just writing this blog makes me feel even further behind, I should be out working in the gardens this beautiful sunny May morning.   Enjoying the fact that rain has softened the earth, I could be listening to the birds sing.  Did I mention I heard the wren this morning!  Maybe I should go sit on the porch with a flute and talk to the birds and flowers.  I wonder if the hummers are back, the feeder is waiting for them to arrive.  I heard the Northern oriole on Saturday and the barn swallows are back too.  I think I am meandering again, this is why things don't get done.  I love spring!


Photo:  upper left: some of the rocks and stones I've moved
            middle right:  looking into the fenced garden
            lower left:   purple cone flower and butterfly