Meandering Thoughts

Meandering Thoughts

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I'm not quite sure where this is going.  Sometimes just putting words to my thoughts helps me to process something that is on my mind.  Yesterday, as I visited with a couple of friends, the same topic came up with both. It has caused me to ponder how quickly things change. 

We go along in life, living day to day, things are pretty good.  Things have a way of changing and for the most part you adapt and adjust, the course stays pretty consistent.   You are happy, you may be in love, you may be learning what fun retirement is, the world is yours and it is wonderful. 

Suddenly something really BIG happens to alter your entire way of going.  Something happens that in your wildest dreams you wouldn't have expected.  My friends and I discussed this yesterday.  We looked back to only six months ago or as far back as last year. The changes have been dramatic for my friends.  Unexpected deaths, a stroke, medical crisis, unexpected custody of grand children or love that you thought was all important, ended without explanation.  We are living through an economy that has caused job losses, at this moment there is a major crisis in the Gulf Coast area.  The lives of so many people are now  forever transformed.  The impact is difficult and it has a ripple effect as the days continue to move along.  What we thought was so significant is no longer important.  Living with dramatic life changing events is all that matters.  It is called survival.

I watch my friends adapt to these changes, I listen to them as the wonder what happened.  I hear them say they went to bed one night and awoke the next morning to life changing circumstances.  I have listened as they try to figure how to cope with these changes and I am amazed at the strength and endurance they have.  They are moving forward, doing what has to be done to survive their unplanned crisis.  The power of their faith and persevere surrounds them now.  They wonder what happened to the dream and the life they had only a day ago, six months ago, a year ago or more.   They continue to move forward, they are making new dreams.  I am honored to know these people, they are teaching me about the meaning of real strength.  They are also helping me to be a more compassionate person, a more giving person and a more loving friend.  

When I say my prayers during the day, I wonder when it changed for me.  I'm embarrassed that those prayers so long ago were self centered and for things that seriously didn't matter in the big scheme of things.  I now pray for my friends that are struggling, I pray for all the animals, birds, water critters, even the insects......  I pray for all the living plants, the heavens above and our Mother Earth.  I wonder when I realized that we all need each other to survive another day.  I am learning to be compassionate for all things that live.  We are all on this earth together, trying to survive the changes.  We all need each other to do this.

Photo reminds me of a quote:  What a caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls a BUTTERFLY.     ~  Richard Bach ~

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Ice Cream

A break in the hot and humid week we have had in Ohio was celebrated last night with a trip to get ice cream.  It seems the Model A Ford truck was purchased just for this reason, to make a run for ice cream.  We haven't gone for this cool treat in some time and it's happened twice in the last month!

This trip was a little further from home to a kind of yuppie area at the edge of a busy population.  We took all the back roads to avoid people that may be in more of a hurry, the truck runs about forty MPH.  The cooler early evening is the perfect time for a drive on the country roads. 

Air conditioning consists of the windows being open.  The joy of feeling fresh air cannot be explained, there is a freedom about having the windows open and smelling the air.  The joy of actually seeing the countryside at a slower pace.  I was most upset at not taking my camera, I missed the picture of a flock of gold finches in a patch of thistle that went to seed.  There was a beautiful picture of a pond and an elderly fisherman with his pole over the water.   I also missed the mares and foals in a pasture, the foals bucking and kicking as they ran and played together.  I am astounded at the corn fields, most are taller than me and I swear, they will tassel before the Fourth of July.  In the old days, the saying for corn was, knee high by the Fourth of July.  This year it is well beyond that!  We also saw many fields of first cutting hay drying and to be baled tomorrow.  Talk about a wonderful smell...........   you just don't get that in a car with the windows rolled up as you travel four lane roads.

We arrived at the fancy little ice cream place, Richard backs into a shady spot were we can sit and have our ice cream and watch the other people coming and going.   Both of us ready for the cool treat.  Funny, we hadn't even had supper yet and we were getting ice cream!  My friend said, "Life is too short, always have desert first!" and so we did.  Richard always has a chocolate milk shake and I will usually have a hot fudge sundae.  Yummy!

My wonderful husband goes to the window to place his order.   People come and go and I am watching their reactions to our old truck.  I have noticed some interesting things about people, not the adult people, I notice the children.  I wonder what in our genes makes boys look with wonder at the old truck and little girls just skip past without a glance, obvious to the truck.  How does that happen, I didn't "teach" my son to like the mechanics of cars and trucks, I didn't teach my girls not to be interested these things, it just happened.
Oh my girls, like myself think the old truck is pretty cool, we don't need to dwell on it's coolness.

So while I'm sitting there, on my ice cream date, a man comes over and within minutes he and my date are talking about the truck.  And right there in the yuppie ice cream parking lot, my wonderful husband raises the hood of the old truck...................  I shake my head and continue to enjoy my hot fudge sundae.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Wild Gourd Studio Video.wmv

Wild Gourd Studio is now on YouTube!   I am so excited to share this with you today.  Hope you enjoy my passion for gourds and the wonderful music of John Two-Hawks.  Black Cherry Moon is one of my all time favorites from his CD, Honor. 

Thanks for watching!  Check out my website, and

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Moody Day

It's raining this morning.  I didn't get up to the sun shining on our little center of the world.  It is the second day of summer for Pete's sake.  Thunder is rumbling and the wind picks up a bit and then the rain comes.  It is going to be dark and gray all day according to the weather map. 

Morning coffee with the wonderful husband didn't go well, I must escape.  He can't mow and his beans haven't been sprayed, all because of the rain.  I try to sympathize by saying how I understand, my flower beds are overrun with weeds.  I get this look and am then told that the flowers are not a crop that will be lost if not sprayed.  I explain that I understand and was just trying to relate.  It's no good, we seem to be talking a different language this morning.  It's as if my morning visit with my normally reasonable husband has been rained on too. 

So it seems the mood has been set and I must figure out a way to break the spell.  I come to the computer and see what the "other" world is doing.  It seems nothing much is being said yet this morning.  Yesterday I was blessed with many phone calls from my far away friends, they brought so much sunshine to my day.  I need that again today, I need a little of their sunshine right now!  I fear this is one of those moody days, were everything is just a little off. 

Okay, I must change the direction, it's only 9:45 AM, it's going to be a long day if I don't muster up some sunshine.  I will start by going to the studio, turn on all the lights, get some music going that lifts my spirits.
The dogs are invited to share the space, looking at me hopefully for a few cat treats and then they will take a nap.  I am going to pick a gourd and create magic in my studio.  I will forget about the rain and find my own sunshine this morning.  Wish me luck!  Oh, and if you are feeling really sorry for me, call me!  I'd love to chat with you.  

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Wild Fruit

Back when I was a kid.............   We have all heard our parents say this, I am no different and I feel the need to share my life growing up.  Things I haven't thought about in years come flooding back with only a word or a little trip around the field and seeing what grows in the fence lines.

This is raspberry season.  I remember as a kid having to go and pick those beautiful, sweet plump raspberries.  I am sure we came home with purple lips and teeth, because you couldn't help but snack while you filled your bucket.  There is nothing better in the world than picking a sun warmed fruit and plopping it in your mouth.  You can taste the sweetness of the sun in little raspberry.

I favored picking blackberries over raspberries, they were usually bigger and I always thought they were sweeter.  Blackberries are later in the season, I'll bet this year they will be especially big and juicy with all the rain we have had.  I also learned at an early age the anything this wonderful did not come easy.  The blackberry and raspberry bushes had razor sharp thorns.  Those thorns would shred your arms and legs, so you had to wear long sleeves and jeans.  Then you had the bugs, mosquitoes and spiders and of course it was always hot, humid and sunny, you couldn't pick berries on a rainy day!

My mother always made the best jam and jellies with our gatherings of these summer berries.  When winter came, you could almost taste that sunshine again.  You forgot the bugs, thorns and heat.

When our kids and I were riding horses together, our favorite thing to do was stop at the mulberry trees and have a snack.  It was cool because we were up high enough to reach the sweet fruit that grows on these trees.  The horses would impatiently move around the tree while we had our fill and then we'd be off again.
Those berries are ripe now, I see evidence of the fruit in all the bird's poop on the car, on the sidewalk and the stains on my tipi.  I know the birds love the sweet fruit as much as we do.

Oh these plants still grow in the wild, those wonderful birds are spreading the seeds from those fruits in the fence rows, in the wooded areas and other wild spaces.  You can still find these uncultivated sweet fruits, you must get off the beaten path, climb through unmowed grasses and weeds, on a hot humid sunny day and there will be a thorny patch of juicy sweet berries waiting to be tasted and savored.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

It's Hay Season

It is hay season in Ohio.  This year it is also the rainy season.  The hay crop is thick and lush this summer, we have had good rains and sunshine, both necessary for growing good hay.  Our need to bale hay is to feed my horses, our son's horses and a friend's horses.  We are talking nine horses total.  That doesn't sound like many horses in the big picture.  We don't bale tons of hay, nine acres.  Wow, that is an acre per horse and we bale three times a year.  Each time we bale the crop is thinner.  Yesterday they baled about six acres and have three left to cut and bale.  They put up about 450 bales.  Maybe a couple hundred waiting to be baled.  Richard didn't get in for supper until nine o'clock!

Our hay baling equipment falls into the antique division of farming.  Richard uses his forty-four year old John Deere tractor, he bales with a baler that is thirty-five years old and the wagons pulled behind are sixty, fifty and twenty-five years old.  Using this method for baling nine acres is okay, just antiquated.  In Ohio many farmers are baling a lot more than nine acres.  Our neighbor is baling our horse pasture today, the pictures are of him and his modern equipment.  Bales are rarely man handled any more, these bales are much bigger and are moved and stacked with a fork on the front of the tractor. 
I'm sure my wonderful husband gets an ulcer when it comes to hay season.  Well, I think he started getting one back in the spring, it seems to flare up again this time of year.   Everything to do with farming hinges on the weather.  I can see the shift in his ability to cope in March and April.  He starts worrying about when to get the corn planted.  I call this time in his life "PPS" or Pre-Planting Syndrome.  Richard farms the ground of a friend, only 62 acres in corn and beans.  They also maintain 10 acres of wildlife area, planting corn and providing cover for the wild critters (every farm should be required to do this).  To Richard it could be 1000 acres, for all the stress he goes through to get it done at the proper time.

Anyone who lives with a farmer knows their mental state is a little unstable.  Getting the corn planted is one thing.  The question is always;  will it come up, what if we get a good frost and there is the constant battle with weeds.  Then we go through the same thing with the planting of  beans.  He worries about flooding and replanting and getting the crops sprayed before they grow too big.  So lets say crops went in the ground, have come up and are growing, he still worries if they are getting enough sun and enough rain.  Taking a drive with him in the car is called "road farming."  I hear how his corn isn't as tall or as green as someone else's.  And then constant comparing of rain gauges from one side of town to our side of town happens after every rain.  When fall comes so comes "PHS" or Pre-Harvest Syndrome.  Because we have so few acres, Richard hires someone else to harvest the crops.  Sixty-two acres are not the first on list for someone to harvest.  Will the crop yield be good, will it be dry enough that we aren't docked for moisture content, do we sell any on the futures, what is the cost of storage until we sell next year?  I'm always happy when crops are in and my wonderful husband can stop worrying about things he has no real control over.   When winter comes we have a time to heal up the ulcers before it all starts again in March and April.

Back to hay season.   When we were kids, we had to help with the hay and straw.  We farmed around 200 acres and Dad had dairy cows and beef cattle to feed and bed for the winter.  We worked really hard moving bales off the wagons and in the mow.  It was hot work too, you baled hay when the sun was shining!  Kids today have no idea how to do this kind of work.  I know, I know, I'm from the old school.  I say get the kids out of the house, let them find some summer work.  Back in the day......   the boys loved working for the farmers, they got to toughen' up for football season, got a tan and had some extra money in their pockets!   As my friend and I were remembering our times helping in the hay, she shares her favorite memory, it was the reward after the work was done.  She said they always went to the Dairy Queen for a chocolate shake.  Sweet, sweet memory!

Oh, okay, back to hay season................   So Richard listens to the weather morning, noon and night trying to figure out when the best time to cut hay.  He and our friend are on the phone each morning, planning the strategy for the next day or the coming week.  Meanwhile he is getting the mower, tedder and baler ready, their yearly check up and greasing.  When the hay is cut, it is then tedded to fluff it up to dry better, if the ground is damp or there is heavy dew, it might be tedded again and then raked into rows to bale.  Hay that gets rained on is always dusty and if it doesn't dry well can be moldy.  All of these things are not good for the horses.

In our antiquated way of doing hay there is a tractor driver and one or two people on the wagon, stacking the hay to take to the barn.  The hay is then unloaded and stacked in the barn.  We always say, "Having hay in the barn is like having money in the bank."  You never know when a year might yield bad hay or a drought with little or no hay.  So I am pleased to announce we have hay in the barn and it didn't get wet!  Oh, and my favorite thing about hay.... is how it smells in the barn.  Nothing sweeter than new hay in the barn!  My other favorite thing about the hay, I love watching my horses diving muzzle deep into a flake of hay on a cold snowy day in January!     

Friday, June 18, 2010

Grandchildren are Amazing

I have enjoyed some Grandma time with my wonderful grandchildren this past couple of weeks.  Richard and I went to Kellen's sixth birthday party not too long ago.  He doesn't like birthday cake or ice cream, so we had a cookie with a candle in it.  He was all smiles when we sang Happy Birthday and his sister McKinley did the "cha cha cha" chorus.  I remember when he decided to come into this world, Richard and I were at an art show for the day.  I couldn't wait to close up the booth and go to the hospital to meet this little guy.  It is hard to believe he is six now, he'll be into kindergarten this coming fall. 

While at Kellen's birthday party this year I tried to get all six of our grandchildren to stop for a picture.  No easy task, when we ask them to sit together on the sofa, we kept saying to them, "squeeze together, squeeze together more" and then just before the cameras started clicking Baby Tatum was put on Aidan's lap.  Say "Kitty", they all smile and say, "kitty".   The picture is good, Grandma is happy.

I love it when the grandkids come to our house for a visit.  They get to do things here that is exciting and different.  Oh, we don't have the usual toys to play with, our toys are "farm toys".  They like driving the gator, brushing the horses and taking pony rides and they love when Grandpa gets the tractor out.  Our big horse pasture is a good place to practice driving. 

Cait and Lizzy have pretty much mastered driving the gator, they can start it on their own, they take turns driving, they are learning to back it and they go in and out of the gates.  They also spend time messing with the horses, putting halters on, leading them around and getting on a horse so the other can lead them.  I saw them use the gator as a mounting tool when getting on one of the horses.  Coming to Grandma and Grandpa's house is a time for finding creative things to do to keep busy.  Catching toads, filling water tanks, picking up pine cones and feeding the fish were on the agenda too.

I am looking forward to the next visit with all of the grandchildren, I am planning an art project while they are all here and a scavenger hunt around the gardens.   Maybe we'll have a campfire and hot-dogs and spend the night in the tipi. What fun!

Photos:   Upper left:  Cait, Lizzy, Aidan and Baby Tatum, Kellen and McKinley
               Other pictures of grandkids at Grandma and Grandpa's

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

No Words Are Needed

Wild Gourd Studio went to a show this last weekend.  The show was almost two hours away from our home.  A wonderful friend went with me, she is always great help and really good company.  The Fine Art show we attended is held in a beautiful setting, we were on well kept grounds, lots of room to spread out and show off your art.

Just one little problem.  It is difficult to set up an easy up tent and hope it stays where you put it when thunderstorms come calling.   After ten years of outdoor shows, I have learned to anchor to the ground whenever possible.  May not look pretty, but my tent came home with me.  There were some tents that were tossed and tumbled and art ruined when a storm moved through on Saturday night.  I'm glad it wasn't worse, we had no serious rain during show hours.

When doing a show outdoors I love taking my Native American style flutes to play and will play off and on throughout the day.  These flutes will often call people my direction and maybe they'll step into the tent and look at my gourd work.  That is only part of the plan, I really love playing the flutes and find it relaxing and entertaining to myself as well.  My dear friend also plays the Native American style flute and we often play together.  It's not that we play the same songs, we play in the same key or a complimenting key.  We have learned to drone for one another or she is excellent at echoing what I have just played.  We play only what comes at that moment, what comes from our heart and through our breath and out the flute.  Sometimes we are overwhelmed at how wonderful it sounds!  We do know a couple of songs that others might recognize, Amazing Grace, Silent Night and Cherokee Morning song.   Mostly our music comes from somewhere that is unplanned and unrehearsed.  That is what we do best.

While at the show I noticed a beautiful three generation family walking around.  The grandpa was holding his little three year old grand daughters hand, she had a green balloon in the other hand and they looked like the Norman Rockwell kind of family at the art show.  I noticed while they were there, every time I picked up a flute to play, this grandpa would be somewhere nearby listening and smiling.  This went on for a good while.  As time went on, he came closer and closer to listen.  Linda and I were playing together at one point and he stood behind us, watching and listening and smiling.  I turned to him and ask if he'd like to try a flute.  He put up his hands and shook his head and said something.  The only word I understood was "China",  I realized he didn't speak English. 

The coolest part of this story..............   I have discovered two things in life, two things that is prevalent to the entire world.  Two things that everyone understands, no matter what part of the world, what your life circumstances, or what age you are.  Those two things............... a SMILE and MUSIC are universal!  Isn't that wonderful AND amazing?

Photo:  Booth at an art show 2010
            Flutes and more flutes

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Birds of June

This has been an unusually wet June.  I'm not complaining, everything is a lush dark green and seems to be thriving.  Flowers are blooming like crazy, weeds are out of control.  Birds seem so joyful all day long.  Lawn mowing has been a challenge, mowing is being done about every 5 or 6 days depending on the rains.  I love not having to water my few flower pots and sweetgrass.

Yesterday I mowed the yard.  It was enjoyable, when I mowed the pathway to the tipi, I saw the barn swallows following me, they will catch the flying insects as I mow.  Our horse pasture hasn't be mowed for hay yet this year, due to the rain.  I know I should be thinking about the critters that count on this hay in the winter, my horses included.  Instead I delight knowing the birds can finish nesting before the mowers take down their cover.  I saw a meadowlark fly off when he thought I was too close.  Meadowlarks will sit on a wooden fencepost and sing a lovely song.  I am thrilled they are nesting in our meadow. 

I mowed in front of the house, where our mailbox and a bluebird box stand.  There were a pair of tree swallows in this bluebird box.  I watched them build their nest and lay their eggs.  I stopped bothering them when the female started incubating the eggs.  Yesterday I noticed those baby tree swallows have fledged.  There were five of them sitting on the wires over my head.  The parents sat down on the same wires but further away.  All seven, happily soaking up the sunshine.  I wondered how the parents got them to all line up on that wire, all facing the same direction, very well behaved little birds I think.

The barn swallows are nesting in our barn.  Richard isn't happy that I like this, I insist if he closes the big barn doors, he must leave the people door open for them to come and go.   They do tend to make a mess on his tractor.  And now that he has his Model A Ford truck in there, I hear even more about the mess they make.  So I tried not to say anything about the old bed sheets he found to cover his precious truck with!  Oh, I could close the door and keep them out of the barn, I fear their next choice of nesting is on the rafters of our studio porch.  They have already enjoyed roosting there at night.  I have had to change their minds about that idea.  Their poop on the rugs and chairs are not appealing to visitors that come and sit on the porch. 

I found another hummingbird nest in the front yard this week.  Again it is about 12 feet above the ground on the branch of a tree.  How you might ask am I able to find these nests?  It takes a little time to just observe.  I noticed a hummingbird hanging out, not at the feeder or feeding from flowers.  As I watched this little bird,  I see she is gathering spiderwebs to use as the glue to hold the nest of lichen together.  I have noticed this behavior from hummers before, they would appear at windows or under chairs.  Then I saw her fly to the tree branch.  That is when upon close observation, I found a little nest that looks much like a joint or wart on the branch.  This is the third little nest I have found.  Amazing what you can do when you are quiet and alert to your surroundings.  Timing of this event is just before the trumpet vine begins to bloom.

I have also been watching a pair of robins that have taken up residence on the lamp post at the front door.  They have just successfully fledged their second nest of baby birds this season.   I will keep count on how many times they fledge babies this year.

The abundance of birds in our yard is amazing.  I am still feeding black oil sunflower seeds.  Usually I stop feeding seeds when summer comes.  There is usually enough for birds to live on without my help.  I have found  the birds continue to come and eat seeds.  The woodpeckers, the nuthatches, the cardinals and of course the sparrows.  It has been delightful to watch them, even in the summer. 

This morning I was shocked to see from my window, a bird that had be hit by a car on the road in front of our house.  I went out to discover it was a beautiful homing pigeon.  The bird had leg bands and so I took the numbers down.  By doing a little research on the computer I found the club that issued the leg band and called to report the loss of the bird.  A very nice enthusiastic man called me back, he was able to identify the owner of the bird from his records and will advise her of the accident.  He also shared lots of information about training the birds and talked about racing them.  Amazing the things you can learn on a hot humid summer day in Ohio.  This beautiful bird will be buried with a little ceremony in our horse pasture.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Forty-One Years Today

Anniversary day.   Married for forty-one years to my high school sweetheart.  There was a point in our marriage that I'd been married to Richard for more than half of my life on this earth.  That anniversary was rather shocking to me, kind of mind boggling.  An yet, here I am today and I can hardly remember a time that we haven't been together. 

We went to different high schools, rival schools.  Date nights were at football games, basketball games and school dances.  We always went to Friches after the games, backing the car into the same spot and watching all the cars parade around the loop looking for a place to park.  Food was ordered through a speaker system and delivered on a tray that hung on the window.  Music played on the radio from the late 60's, the Beach Boys, the Lettermen, Mamas & the Papas, Roy Orbison, Beatles, Bob Dylan, Righteous Brothers, Animals, Rolling Stones.......... I could go on and on.  What a great time for music!  (This Friches was blown away in the 1974 Xenia Tornado.)

In the summer we were immersed in our 4-H events, we belonged to the 4-H same club.  The Greene County Fair and 4-H camp were the highlight of our summers.  We had so much fun at the fair.  Richard showed dairy calves and we would sit on his show box for hours, holding hands and visiting with friends.  Show days were always fun, washing the animals and keeping them clean for show.  Of course, I had my own "girlie" projects, it was much more fun hanging out in the barns!

Many good memories from that time and more in the forty-one since that time.  How very lucky to find the person you want to spend your life with, to have a family with and to grow old with.  

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Look into Past Anniversaries

Anniversary's are always special.  They should be honored in thought, if not in action.  I have found that just the mere act of acknowledging our  anniversary with a hug and kiss is often just as special as a planned event.  We did get married on June 14, 1969, in a farmers life this is hay season.  Since I have horses, hay season is very important, sometimes more important than an anniversary celebration. 

I was trying to recall some of our Wedding Anniversaries, after forty one years, many were forgotten.  So I went to my journels to see just what was written on that date.  Richard came in to see what I'm doing and I am knee deep in my research.  He says to me, "I thought you were going outside to pack the van for your show."  Oh, I reply, "I just had a great idea for my next marriage blog."  He gives me a look that I know well.  He doesn't think when I am at the computer I am doing anything productive, even though he has read many of my writings, he really doesn't understand the my drive to write about our life.  Of course, I am familiar with this look because I have seen it all our married life.  What I consider "work" is too much like play in his eyes.   I enjoy my artistic side too much.  Work doesn't have to be physical labor, who would call this work?  I am meandering again......  after forty one years, you'd think he'd finally understand my obsessive/compulsive personality, just sayin'.  This is a topic for an entirely different blog....... "Living with a retired husband!".

Okay, back to the topic of how we have spent some of our anniversaries over the years.  I hope you enjoy reading them, it really shows a variety of adventures our life has journeyed over forty one years.

Our first Anniversary 1970-  We had just moved and we were cleaning the inside of a barn. It was a hot, dirty and dusty job!

1984 - Concerns for Grandpa Everett, he'd just had triple by-pass surgery.

1985 - We traveled to Louisville, Ky. and stayed at the very fancy Seelback Hotel.  (16th anniversary)

1988 - Serious drought conditions in our region, worry about hay and our well water, didn't celebrate.

1989 - Traveling to California in a big motor home, with family and horses.  We were at Donner Pass on our anniversary.  (20 years)

1990 - Thunderstorm brought one and a half inches of rain in thirty minutes, power out.

1991 - Our niece Carrie brought red roses over, we then took the kids and horses camping and a friend brought pizza.  Now that was camping!

1992 - Lazy Sunday, friends came to visit.....

1993 - anniversary fell on a weekday, so weekend before the 14th we were in Ohio Amish country. We
baled hay on the 14th.

1994 - Tuesday....   I was recovering from a weekend of endurance riding and family camping.  Richard was baling hay...........

1996 - We went for a drive and got ice cream.   Seemed like a date.

1997 - Rode horses at Cuyahoga Falls, contacted my high school friend, Carol ,while there. Great catching up with her.  Also a friend from NY joined us and we were surrounded by family, friends and horses.  too much fun!

1998 - Working for a Doctor at this period of our marriage.  Watching Lily with her growing puppies.  Did nothing special.

1999 - We held a big party at our home for our 30th.  We were also celebrating the graduations of  Emily, Trisha and Tere from college.  Everyone invited their family and friends, it was quite the event!

2000 - Dinner out

2001 -  Dinner with friends in Cincinnati.

2003 -  Richard had his first attack of diverticulitis, he was very sick

2004 -  Spent the day moving daughter Emily into her first house.

2008 -  Celebrated Father's Day at Ryan and Tere's house.  All the family and grand-kids came.

2010 -  No plans yet, we might go for a ride in the old Model A Ford truck.  It's getting new wheels today!

So you see, it's not the anniversary celebrations that keep the marriage successful, it is the way you spend your days together.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Marriage 101

Marriage..........    Do the young ever really under-stand what marriage is about?   I didn't have a clue, I have pretty much gone through my life a little clueless.  I learned the things from my mother that I thought would prepare me for married life.  I was aware of doing laundry, cooking meals, dusting the house and other homemaking skills.  I probably learned things just from watching a stable marriage between my mother and dad.  I just didn't realize I was learning those marriage skills.  We may have studied Family Life  in the Home Ec. classes in high school, but there was no depth in those studies.  You only learn about marriage when you are married.

I remember when Richard and I talked of marriage, I told him that I wanted to grow old together.  What did I know of growing old when I was in my twenties?  I can tell you I knew NOTHING, I was clueless.
Growing old together was a somewhat romantic notion in my mind that we'd be sitting back, gazing into each others eyes, talking about important things and just slowing down, I didn't even consider I'd be sleeping with a Grandpa!   I maybe thought we might be sharing our wisdom of being married for so many years with our children.  Of course, I never envisioned gray hair, strange body shapes, Richard being unable to hear well.

I love it when a news person asks someone who has been married sixty years or more, "What is the secret to a long marriage?"  Who can answer that question with a sentence?  It is not one thing!  It isn't that easy to sum up sixty years, it isn't easy to sum up the forty one years.  I suspect as we continue our married life, it is going to continue to change and grow.

I will share that growing old together is not as romantic as I thought it might be.  We have long ago stopped gazing into each others eyes.  We squint to look at each other without our glasses.  I think our Creator knew something when he deemed that our eyesight would fade as we age.  Looking too closely at one anothers wrinkles is a little shocking.  When did our faces change so much.  Do we really look like one another as we have grown older?   We know for sure that we don't look as old as some of our acquaintances!  On the other hand, we aren't being carded when we order a drink, and we easily get the senior discount without being carded either. 

One of my favorite stories happened a couple years ago.  As I try to recall when, it was maybe four years ago now, another symptom of growing old, where does time go?  Anyway, we were out west, going to a concert to hear our favorite "Indian rock group", Brule'.   The directions (GPS) told us to turn right, we did and it seemed unlikely, this was a gated community where everything is neat and manicured, all the same color and little golf carts were used for cars.  GPS must be wrong, we were in a retirement community!  We couldn't imagine that Brule' would have a following in this age group of people.   We saw a community center where people were gathering, so we went to see.   To our amazement, we were with people our age, they just had a lot more money than we did.  This was a reality check!  We were getting older and didn't know it had happened!

As far as talking about the important events in our life, it is already obvious to each of us, we don't need to talk about it.  He collects as many things as I do, they just happen to be different collections.  He loves going long range shooting, tractor shows and old car shows are recently added to his list.  I go to Native American Flute events and Fine art shows with my gourds.  Important events are discussed over morning coffee and breakfast and then we are off to do our "jobs" for the day, we'll meet again at supper and discuss what happened that day and tomorrow it all begins again!

Slowing down is two sided coin,  If you are talking about our ability to do the things we used to do, yes, that has begun to slow, we didn't know about aches and pains when we were twenty's!   The other side of the coin, things never slow down.  Getting together with family and friends requires an appointment calendar!   In July, Richard and I will be passing one another on the sidewalk with our luggage being pulled behind.  I'll be coming home and he'll be leaving.  We have somehow managed to schedule our special interest travels so that someone is always home to take care of aging horses and dogs.   We don't seem to have time to sit and rock and share our wisdom to anyone who wants to listen.  I remember my Grandpa and Grandma sitting in the rockers on the porch.  It may have been they only stopped just to visit with us or it was at the end of their busy day.  When you are in your twenties you think maybe your grandparents spent the day in the rocker just relaxing.   Let me tell you, our rockers are lonesome for us to sit in them!

Being married for over forty years has taught us much about the art of compromise, not letting the small stuff become big stuff, respect, honesty, caring and of course love.  All else will work it's self out, somehow.
Having wonderful children and grandchildren are a bonus.  Having friends fill our lives is a gift.  I have no regrets, it has been a good marriage.  We have been Blessed!

Photo:  Taken of Richard and I on our anniversary 1989 at Donner Pass.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

June Wedding

Our Anniversary is just around the corner.  My high school sweetheart and I were married on Flag Day, 1969.  We started dating when I was sixteen.  Our first date, we went to a high school dance, I even remember the dress I wore.  It was white background with rather large blue flowers and green leaves.  You might in fact see something similar on the streets today.  Well, that is if people were dressing up and going somewhere special.  Dresses aren't as stylish as they were back in the 60's. 

My mother made this dress for me.  Most all of our clothes were made by my mother.  I remember wearing dresses in elementary school.  By high school we all were wearing skirts and sweaters.  The TV show  Band Stand comes to mind, that was the time period and the style of clothes we wore.  I loved that show, of course I couldn't dance like they could.  I'd sit on the edge of my chair, just watching, hoping their dance moves would make their way to me.  I always felt very rhythm challenged, my insecurities about that have stayed with me all these years.

When Richard and I were engaged, we set our wedding date for six months later.  He would have just graduated from college and it seemed the perfect time to marry in June.  My mother made my wedding dress.  She started it long before June, when it was cooler.   The dress was a simple design, long A line style with a train, there was lace over the dress, long fitted sleeves that came to a point at my hand.  The veil was long and very simple, with lace on the edge and little pearls hand sewn on.  I think I still have my dress, tucked away in the cedar chest.  I haven't looked at it in years, but I still have it.

My mother also made our wedding cake.  Back in those days there was a simple reception held at the church.  All the guests visited, waiting until pictures were over to have some cake and punch.  It was all very simple and over in a few hours.  Very unlike the weddings today.  How did things get so out of control and elaborate?  About the only thing we purchased were flowers and they were for just the bridal party as I recall.

The things I remember most about the wedding are these things.....   I got my hair cut a week before the wedding,  big mistake!  We didn't go to have our hair done every month in those days, just for special occasions. Well, it was pretty short and after sleeping on rollers (that is what we did then) it was also rather curly.

I remember how hot it was, I could hardly get my dress on, the fitted sleeves that fit so nicely when it was cool, did not slide on as easily when there is humidity.  I remember the photographer was late and walked in the door as we were walking down the isle as husband and wife.  The first picture taken...... I look a little aggravated.

The last thing I remember is going home after the ceremony, hanging out awhile with the visitors there.  Then we headed to a cabin in Michigan, on Torch Lake for a week long honeymoon.

Sounds simple and quaint compared to todays weddings.  I would do it the same today, simple and quaint.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


What makes a friend?  What kind of friend am I?  These are questions I pose this morning because of something that has happened, yet again.  I may be equally as bad and that is certainly my concern as I write this down.

To me a friend is someone who shares common interests and goes out of their way to spend some quality time now and then.  A friend always wants to know what is going on in your life, how it makes you feel and listens when you speak.  A friend accepts your short comings, and still likes you.  Friends are always ready to help, even if it is inconvenient.  A friends door is always open and a cup of coffee is waiting.   A friend is there through the good and bad times.  It doesn't matter if I see my friend on a daily basis, just knowing I can pick up the phone and call and they are there with an open heart, oh yes, that is a friend.  A friend makes you feel like the most important person in the world to them, they are concerned, caring and prepared to drop everything to help you out.  I pray I am that kind of friend too.

Usually this person comes into your life because of common interests.  So saying this I realize that through my life as my interests have changed, so have friends.  When I was a kid, my nearest and dearest friends were my classmates.  Most of them shared farm life, 4-H, and school with me.  Some of them have remained friends to this day.  We visit now and again and find a way to keep up with each other's life.  Many have gone their way and as hard as that was after we graduated, it was a fact of life.

A couple years after graduating, I married my high school sweetheart.  Most of my life then centered around our life, making new friends and having new families.  Then the babies came and the circle of friends became other friends with children.  Good times we shared then, just living life.  Many of those friends are still friends, but that too has changed, we all are on another journey in our lives.  What brought us together were our children and school and 4-H.  It was the best time!  I kind of miss those times, in the last couple years we started celebrating birthdays together.  It has been great catching up with those good old friends again.

The next phase of our life brought to us a group of horse friends.  The kids and I started seriously riding horses for endurance and competitive competitions.  Camping with people who shared a common interest in horses was wonderful.  This was a time that I felt great adventure and freedom to be in nature and share that with my kids.  I have loved horses all my life and I believe it was one of my favorite times of life.  My friends from that time period are still very special today, we try to get together a few times a year.  I have one friend from this time that was especially important.  She kept her horse at my house, we trained together and traveled together.  Then life happened, jobs changed and they were on the move.   It used to hurt my heart greatly that she was no longer riding horses with me.   A door closed...........   So I opened another door and found my other best horse and personal friend.  (she is reading this too)  She and I are still good friends, we are often in touch and we are keeping up with each other through our blogs!  Love reading her stories!  We share many good memories.   As we travel through this life, my horses and I have retired from fast and furious riding.  So I live that wonderful excitement through my friends that are still riding.

And now another phase and new friends are being brought to my life.  These friends are artists, musicians, and those traveling the same spiritual path.   I am rather amazed at this turn of events in my life.  I have never thought of myself as an artist and yet I have found an artistic side that has surprised me in gourd art, painting and music.   Music... who would have thought?  My greatest ability was to turn on the radio or play an eight track tape.  Now I play the Native American style flute.  I have been surrounded by wonderful friends that are artists and the music fills my life with more friends.  Many of these friends are also connected to my spiritual beliefs, some are friends because of my journey with the Spirit side of things.   I am blessed to spend time with all of these people call them my friends.  These are the people I love sitting with and talking heartfelt things, sharing art and flutes.  It fills me up as much as when I was a young mom talking with other moms, or when my only thoughts centered about the children and horses.  This is the best time of my life.

Can life get better than this?  I am sure I have ask that question in every growing stage in my life.  Does that mean I enjoyed each of those times to the fullest?  I think it does.  Through all these periods of my life, I still had the constant, unwavering love of my wonderful husband and our amazing children and now grand children.

So maybe your asking, what does all of this have to do with the questions posed above, is she just meandering, lost in thoughts that have nothing to do with the beginning?   No, I remember, it has to do with friendships.  I just wanted to share first that I know that friendships change, life changes.  I have had disappointments in my friendships.  Did I require more from a friendship that someone else could provide?  Have I disappointed someone because they may have expected more from me?  Yes, to both questions.  I admit, sadly, I may have not been as good a friend as I should have been at times.  I also have been hurt by the lack of friendships that I thought were the most important thing in the world, only to find it was less valuable to the person I was calling a friend.

My heart has been trampled by so called friends, the ones that used me to their own gain, the ones that took more that they gave.  Oh, I know, I allowed it to happen.  Each time it happens I learn new lessons about friendship, I become wiser each time it happens.  Will I put up a wall and not trust that a person is in my life as a friend?  I hope not, I don't want to let some spoil the possibilty of a new friend in my future.   The one thing I have discovered about myself as I have made this circle, I will trust others to do and act as they say.   Walking their talk, if you will.  There are people in this world that aren't honorable and genuine.  I say a prayer this morning that I am an honorable and genuine friend to others.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Tipi is Up

Last night, about six in the evening my son, Ryan arrived.  Richard, my wonderful husband was already finished with supper and I was gathering the rest of the items.  The tipi was going to go up now, ready or not.

I have always felt that many hands make the job easier for all.  Last night I realized that might not be true.  It was just the three of us and I wasn't as much as a participant as I would have liked.  I'd been to the dentist and had a tooth pulled.  Ouch!  Not suppose to lift or be doing anything that required much effort.  So I got to give instructions.  Now most of you know how well that works sometimes and the reverse can be said of men telling women.  It is a fair statement and I share this information with a smile, sometimes it goes well, other times it is like talking a different language. 

Maybe they took a little pity because I wasn't 100% and in no mood to debate how we did it the first year or even last year.  When you only do something once a year, it is difficult to remember the details and even if that detail worked.  With well written instruction and drawings in hand, I proceeded to tell them exactly what the instructions said.  The tipi went up perfectly! 

Due to the wear on the tipi canvas we were all a little worried about the finished step, anchoring the canvas.  It looks like the canvas will see another season.  I have a few repairs to make, but for the most part, she is up and beautiful.  Today I will go out and have my own ceremony inside this tipi lodge.  Listen for some drum and flute filling the air with gratiude and blessings.

Show Season Begins

It is going to be a busy summer and fall for the Wild Gourd Studio.  My first show is coming in less than two weeks.   I am headed to Granville, Ohio.  The show is called Granville Art Affair and Wine Festival.  It is the second year for this event, held on the polo field in front of a mansion just barely at the edge of Granville.  Last year we had a wonderful show and even could see the polo ponies playing a game on the field during the show!

My van will be packed sometime during the week of the show.  There is always so much to remember when I go to my first show.   The display and easy-up tent are already packed in the van.  I will have to make a list of other essential things for the show before leaving.  I have already ask my dear friend to help me and she has agreed.  This is very important in the scheme of things, she is wonderful help, she knows the routine and the booth goes up pretty quickly.
So much stuff goes, there are table coverings, boxes to sit the gourds on, making them different levels, screens for the sides of the booth, this is both for a pretty booth and hanging items from.   I must remember chairs and cooler (with food and drinks), the office supplies, tables, sunscreen, and of course gourds.

Since this is the first show, I alerted my wonderful husband, so he could have the van ready, oil changed, tires checked and whatever else must happen.   I have made room reservations, two hours from home make it a little far to commute.  We will have to get up very early Saturday morning to get to the event and set up the booth.  I always feel a little frumpy when we set up the morning of the show, we are bound to get hot and sticky.  It is just too costly to set up a day before the show and spend the night.   Then we must look presentable at 10am when visitors pour into the event.  I guess I'd rather look frumpy than spend another hundred plus dollars to be fresh on show day. 

It is amazing the cost involved with doing a show.  First finding a show that is a fit is not easy.  Gourds are one of those items that has a very grey line, is it really fine art or a craft?  I call my work fine art, someone else may not.  The cost of a jury fee and booth fee are always considered.  Then there is van expenses and room expenses if you go too far from home.  That is if you are already established as an outdoor vendor.
There are always expenses to consider if you've never done this before, booth, tables, coverings and the artwork itself.  I have spent a lot of money over the years on booth expenses, gourds, and decorative accents for my projects.  All of these expenses trickle down into the price of the artwork.  I don't know any artist that really charges for the time involved in creating the art or gathering the supplies needed to finish a piece.  Oh my, I wonder if  I've blogged on this before?   Sorry, if I'm repeating myself. 

My second show of the season is my favorite!  It is held in Hocking Hills (Ohio), it is called the Lilyfest.  I know I have written about this show before, so I will not elaborate.  This show will be July 9-10-11, 2010.  My dear friend has said she would help with this show too.  I'm so lucky to find a friend that enjoys helping.  It is difficult to do a three day show alone.  Really hard to just sit in your booth for hours on end, a break now and then is wonderful.

I have some gourd projects that I need to finish up before the show next week.  I need to get away from this computer and head to the studio!   If you happen to be in the neighborhood for the upcoming shows, please stop by and chat with me.  You'll find my show schedule on the website,