Meandering Thoughts

Meandering Thoughts

Monday, August 30, 2010

Sunwatch Memories

My heart is exploding with joy I found this weekend at the Sunwatch Flute and Art Gathering.  I often find it hard to relate such feelings of utter contentment.  Only because it touches the inside of me with such fierceness.  It is difficult to be so filled with this joy, love and peace and then TRY to return to the fast pace world of living, without loosing those weekend feelings.  I want to hang onto every moment, every conversation, every smile, every warm hug, and every flute note that danced through the village at Sunwatch.

I want to remember the conversations, the sharing of ideas, thoughts and art between the vendors.  Meeting new people, sitting awhile to chat.  Learning about them, hearing their story, their journey with their art, and wanting to know more.  It is a special time when you are gifted with such friendships, I hold these moments close to my heart.  I want to know more and hope our paths will soon cross again.

I want to remember the dragonflies that landed and the flutter of the butterflies.  I want to hear the Canada geese fly over and the gold finches singing in the nearby tree.  I want to remember the heat of the sun and the relief of sitting in the shade of these trees.  I want to remember the the joy of seeing beautiful artistic flutes that artists have created with such love.  I want to remember walking barefooted on the warm earth, where the first peoples walked years and years ago.  I want to remember with gratitude the gentle breezes that would occasionally sweep though the grounds with delight, teasing us with summer warmth and the promise of fall. I want to remember the smell of sage smoke in the air as it drifted throughout the village.  I smell it now as I write this and I have none burning.

I want to remember the people that were kind enough to come in my booth and look at my gourds and say nice things, some even purchased a piece to take home.   Will they know the love and spirit I felt when creating that gourd design?  I'm pretty sure they will or they wouldn't be taking it home with them.  I am so grateful for everyone who stopped by my booth to talk and share.  That is the gift they brought to me.

I want to remember the friends that gathered at the back of my booth, to sit, rest, play their flutes and visit.  The circle of chairs was big at times and then small at other times.  I want to remember the Massie Creek Flute Circle who gathered to listen while Brent Haines talked about "Playing Together at a Flute Circle".  He is a wonderfully kind and friendly soul that smiles easily and  makes incredibly beautiful flutes!

I want to remember my friends that helped me load up my booth at the end of the show.  It was so very hot, they went above and beyond to make it easier for me to pack up to go home.  The life of an artist isn't easy, packing up is never fun.  It is so nice when friends are willing to help, I will remember them with so much gratitude and love.

I want to remember how hard it was to say goodbye.  Tears sting my eyes this moment, the thoughts of how long a time it will be before I'll be able to gather with them again makes me sad.  I miss them already and it was only yesterday that we parted.   What is it about this flute family that my heart longs for?  I think I answered that question in my meandering thoughts above.  Blessings to all who made my weekend special.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Art and More Art

Yesterday I got up early to get ready for the cleaning fairy!  I know you are thinking I am totally spoiled.  Think maybe you are right!  I did to give up my monthly massage to keep my house clean, it was a choice because I don't really have extra money to do both.   It has been so worth it, my house has fewer cobwebs, the floor is swept in every room and the kitchen is mopped.  Oh, I could do these things and I do, just not all in the same day, so it never really looks like it happened at all.   I love that my girls were sweet enough to bring the cleaning fairy into my life for my birthday and Mothers day presents. 

The coolest part of all this.....   I left her cleaning house and went to my first art class of the entire summer!  I didn't know how much I missed my classes.  I have this wonderful artist friend that holds these classes in her home.  The space is well lit and she is full of helpful suggestions.  I must admit I'm not her typical student.  I am a gourd artist, my art is carved and painted on a thee dimensional canvas. 

I have never taken "art" classes beyond elementary school, when everyone created the same paper colored thing to hang on the windows.  I have taken some gourd classes to learn weaving and some carving.  I disliked the idea of using a stencil to apply artwork to a gourd, something in me wanted to free hand my work, I think it's my "I can do it my way" kind of thing!   My drawings in the beginning were very primitive and have been perfected into a style I'm happy with.   My painting leans toward that same style of drawing, less realistic and more primitive.

Yesterday I was the only student in art class.  I requested some help in changing up my heavy handed way with color and moved into the more acrylic watercolor style.   Oh, it was so much fun to see things in the thin watered paint.  Rubbing out, adding color, blending and basically allowing the water to carry the color into the background.  All of these terms are mine, probably not art terms, so forgive me.  I know there are many of you that have studied art and are so talented, I'm still learning and experimenting.  My teacher is very good for me, guiding me and suggesting this or that and I try to listen, there is some part of me that she just allows to be me and happily lets me keep my style.  It is her aim not to change me but teach me how to apply techniques to my own style. 

She is such a gift to me.  I have used many of her teachings when I do my artwork on a gourd now.  If you could see my first attempts at gourd art and compare it to work I do now.  I wonder why people every encouraged me by purchasing some of my early gourds!  If they had not, would I still be doing gourd work today?   Would I ever have taken an art class?  Was all of this part of the Divine plan for me?  I think so.

While I was art class, my house was being cleaned and my printer was finishing the printing of some new Art greeting cards.  I am excited to add these cards to my line of other cards and will be taking them with me to a show this weekend at Sunwatch Indian Village in Dayton, Ohio.  This event is the Sunwatch Flute and Art Gathering.  I hope you'll stop by and see my new cards and just say "Hello".  It's going to be a wonderful weekend of Native American Flute music, art and wonderful people!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Getting Another Flute Fix

We are gearing up for the next big "flute fix".  I'm excited because it is in my area, I only have to travel to Dayton, a good half hour drive from my house.  This will be my fourth flute gathering for this year.  Each have been different and interesting.  It would be difficult to pick a favorite.

I have found there are certain things that make these events interesting and worth attending.  It helps if all the vendors and performers are willing to leave their egos at the door, creating a place of balance and peace, giving the opportunity for all to be a shining star in their own right, supporting one another and encouraging all of us who are less talented on our journey with the flute.

Then it is the flutes, the beautiful hand crafted Native American style flutes are amazingly different from booth to booth.  Now who would think, they are all made in the same basic way, but each has their own sound and their own song.  The more vendors the better!  I love looking at the drums, the bead work and other amazing art.  You just have to touch and play them all to discover their own special gift! 

The next important factor is the vendors, they have become friends.  They are people that are as close as a call on my phone or a quick email,  just to keep in touch between events.   They are like dear family, brother and sisters, each sharing a part of themselves as well as their creative gifts.  I have new friends from across the United States because of these flute gatherings!  It has been a real blessing!

I love the music, most events have a variety of amazing talent that perform before a crowd of grateful listeners.
I have enjoyed hearing performers from all around our country, learning their sound, talking with them, buying their Cd's and listening to them in workshops.  I marvel at the talent featured at these events.  It is wonderful to go to these flute gatherings knowing that I'm going to be treated to new and amazing performers.  The Potomac Flute Festival doesn't have the same performers two years in a row, giving us a chance to be exposed to different performers and their music style.  I love the variety of artists brought in to make this happen, it opens the doors for us to learn about many other wonderfully talented people.

Then there are the workshops I have participated in.  So many have been awesome.  Everything from drumming with Sterling Green, a masterclass with Cornell Kinderknecht, and playing with other instruments, with Ann Licater. Other favorite classes were taught by Randy Granger, Mark Holland, Hawk Henry's, Kevin Locke, Brent Haines and many others.  All of these workshops were in intricate part of the flute events at Potomac, Musical Echoes and INAFA, keeping me involved and active during the entire event. 

I am already planning next years "road trips" to other flute festivals.  My good friend and I are hoping to go to Zion Flute Festival (Utah) in May.   We are looking forward to hearing our dear friend, John Two-Hawks perform at the Zion Flute Festival 2011.  We are looking forward to hearing other musical artists that we haven't heard before.  Of course, we are marking our calendars for Potomac and Musical Echoes too.  I don't expect to grow tired of these festivals, they are so much fun!  

This weekend at the Sunwatch Flute Festival will be fun because I am a vendor at this event.  I enjoy not only talking flutes but also gourds.   I meet so many nice people that come into the Wild Gourd Studio Booth!   Many are now Facebook friends, it has been fun getting to know them and keeping connected.  I am pretty amazed at the flute community on Facebook!  The world of the Native American style flute is very big and I love being connected to them all!  Stop by my gourd booth and say hello on August 28 and 29, 2010.

Photos of friends, performers, teachers and vendors from various flute events.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

My Outlaw Husband

Do you ever think that you are living in the wrong time period?  For instance, my husband is very attracted to the old west.  He has watched all the old westerns on TV, not just once, he watches them over and over.  He knows the actors, the kind of guns they carry in the movie and his favorite movies have John Wayne in them.  It matters not if the movie is black and white or color.  If you ask him if he has seen this movie or that movie, he'll ask you if it has John Wayne in it!  It has been difficult over the years to get him go to take me to the movie theater or watch other types of TV movies.  This explains why we both have our own TVs.

My wonderful husband has over the years acquired the perfect black hat, long coat,  vest, shirt and scarf and on a trip to Santa Fe found  the best boots ever.   They come almost to his knees.  Richard started growing a beard in 1976 and has kept it since that time.  We have watched his beard and hair go grey at an early age.  It now is snow white.  He was mistaken for Kenny Rogers, back when people knew that Kenny Rogers as a country/western singer, something I'd forgotten until the other day.   It was always interesting to go somewhere for dinner and have people stare, only to have them ask later if he was Kenny Rogers.


Well, my wonderful husband has become a You-Tube video star!  He has always been a star to me and others who know him, maybe not  to the rest of the world.  He did a photo shoot a couple  weeks ago in our own back yard.  He was dressed in his black clothes,  guns on his hips and a rifle in  his hand.   Our friend John Two-Hawks took the photos and put them to one of his new  songs under the band name "Badlanders".  The song is titled "Legend of the Outlaw".
We played the video for our two grandsons and they were sooooo impressed!  Their Grandpa was a gun slinging outlaw in a video!  They watched with their own play guns and holsters on their hips, eyes open wide in amazement.  Our three year old grand daughter looked at her Grandpa and said, "Will you make a movie of me too?"  Grandpa is their hero!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Self Discovery

This morning I am sitting with coffee and thinking about conversations and encounters I have had in recent weeks.  I have tried to write down my dreams, ponder their meaning and I often wonder if there is a message in them.  I always have more questions than answers and often ask for help from the angels, guides and our Creator.  I think many of my answers come instantly and instinctively and very often, in talking with my friends.  I believe that  people come into my life for a reason, helping me along the way to grow, discover and learn another perspective perhaps.  I also believe that things are shown to me, if I don't get it the first time, it could mean I just wasn't ready.  By the second or third time it is shown to me, I will have this "Ahaaa" moment!  I love when that happens!

I have discovered many teachers on my journey through this life.  I'm not talking about classroom teachers.  Self-discovery has come throughout the life experiences with everyday friends as my teachers.   I often wonder why certain people are immediate friends and others just don't seem to click.   I marvel at how our paths crossed at that one moment to make a forever impact.  It is times like this that I feel I've known someone forever and maybe we've only just met.  I love finding those people in my life, I find it most interesting that they come to me just when I am ready for them.  Or maybe they came once before and I wasn't ready, only to have them return, at that perfect moment.   Just when I am ready for what they bring to my life and hopefully I bring into theirs.  Weaving this web, it is always connecting with people who help make the web bigger and stronger.  Recently, at a retreat, it was discussed how we are all in our own circle, our circle touches several other circles and those circles touch other circles.  What we do in our circle effects all those other circles as it ripples outward.  Fascinating to think about, don't you think?

I like thinking about the people in my life, I wonder if they know how important they are to me?  I wonder if I am making an impact on someones journey.  Do I make a difference to someone else in this world?  Isn't that what it's all about........... making a difference?  We can all make that difference to someone, your spouse, your family, a child, an elder, someone you pass on the sidewalk.  My self discovery is being open to the possibilities.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Open Windows

We are having a reprieve from the August heat.  It is heavenly to open the windows at night and hear all the night sounds.  It is heavenly to feel the cool fresh air coming into the house.  I could just lay awake and enjoy those sensations of being outside in the late darkness of night time.  I would enjoy being in the tipi on such a night, should have been out there last night. 

I listen hard to hear the owl above the chorus of crickets and other night insects.  It is down right noisy at night right now.  I wonder when all this noise began, I have always called it the Sounds of August.  Did it happen on August first or did it start quietly in July and then build to this crescendo?  As I listen for the owl again, I think I may have been mistaken, it could have been my wonderful husband breathing, as he is in deep slumber.  Or maybe it is one of the two dogs snoring as they sleep nearby.  My ears hurt from trying to distinguish the sounds from inside and outside the open window.  Then I hear the owl again, yes I knew he was out there, somewhere.

I listen for the coyotes too.  Sometimes they will howl in the night.  This sets off the neighborhood of dogs barking.  I want the dogs to stop, so I can really hear the coyotes.  Oh, it isn't that I am fond of the coyotes howling, there is something very frightening about that late night call they have.  And it isn't that I'm really afraid, it is something else.  Something I can't quite describe, maybe it is the wildness and seems somehow out of place in our daily life.  Have we lost touch with that wildness in our world today?  We have forgotten that wild things still live and they have adapted to our houses and fences and roads. 

I know certain places I can always expect to see deer in the early mornings or evenings.  They graze openly in fields and even yards.  I once saw three deer at the side of someones house, eating the new growth leaves on a bush.  I wondered if the people inside that house had a clue that the wild critters were so close. 

I always watch for the animals and especially the birds.  Yesterday, as I sat outside, enjoying the wonderful day.  Dark shadows crossed my yard, causing me to look up to see what was flying over.  I was hoping to see my friend the red-tailed hawk.  It happened to be bigger than a hawk, it was the buzzard searching for something as it glided in the sky above me.  I wish I could fly like they do, being able to see things from so high up.  Who would I love to visit as I flew over their yard?  (I am smiling at the thought!)

Soon my mind is comforted by all of the night sounds, the insects, the owl, my husband and dogs and those wild sounding coyotes have created a lullaby that allows me to sleep ever so peacefully.  Dreams find me in nature with the wild ones, I can talk to the animals and birds and they can talk to me.  All this because I opened my window to the world last night.

Photos:   a deer near homes in Yellow Springs, Ohio
               a red-tailed hawk

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Darn Hot in Ohio

I can't believe how hot and humid it is here in Ohio!  It has been so hot here that walking into our house is like opening the refrigerator door and stepping inside.  At night the windows develop condensation on the outside and you can't see through the window.  When the windows are like this, we know it is very hot and humid outside.  Readings of 92 degrees and 96% humidity is HOT!

On top of this heat the chance of a thunderstorm is bound to cause the sky to explode, bringing fast hard rain, thunder and lightening.  The coolness that follows such a storm is brief.  Often times it creates another steam bath of humidity dripping weather, only to bring another summer thunderstorm.

Yesterday was such a day.  One more equation was added to this heat, we were outside under an Easy-up tent doing a fine art show!  It was so darn hot that within ten minutes of setting up my booth, I was sweating enough to look like I'd taken a shower in my clothes.  This show was within five miles of home, so I was able to sneak away.  I went home for a quick shower.  Within ten minutes of returning I was damp with sweat. 

The show was filled with amazing artists!  Most people enjoyed the tree shaded lawn, I felt so sorry for those who were not under the shade of trees.  The temperature difference was so much cooler in the shaded spots.  Our tree always had friends lingering nearby to be cool.  We were all like wilted flowers on a sunny day.

Then it happened, little bursts of cool breezes would shoot through the grounds, as we looked toward the sky we saw the dark clouds moving our way.  People that have cell phones were able to view the weather map and saw the storms moving our direction.  Nothing serious, but rains were coming, sides were let down and anchored to the booths, people who sprawled outside their space condensed themselves into the 10x10 tent.  People would crowd into the booths to stay out of the sudden downpour.  We found out later that an inch of rain came in that thirty minute shower. 

Many vendors decided to pack it up early, even though there was another couple hours left to the show.  The shower only cooled us off briefly.  It got steamy hot and another storm was moving into the area.  Most managed to get packed up before the second storm.  It was an abrupt end to the show and yet I think all the vendors were happy to call it a day. 

I was lucky enough to have the most amazing friends and a wonderful husband helping me pack up my gourds and carry all my booth stuff to the van!  We all got good and wet.   The tents and table coverings are still trying to air dry.  Humidity is still heavy and storms are still a possibility today.  I am looking forward to cooler days in the near future, it is already mid August, how long can this heat possibly last?

We got home to signs that the power had been off, the phones have no dial tone and I think my little DSL modem is blown again!  I am getting tired of these little annoyances!  Darn it is hot............

Friday, August 13, 2010

August Night

I awokened shrouded in fog.  It is August 13th and last night we lay on the ground outside the tipi to watch the meteor shower.  We lay on mats and blankets and look toward the heavens.  The sky is clear and the stars are twinkling.  My friends and their children, my daughter, my wonderful husband, the dog and I are there to see the often quick flight of the falling stars shooting across the sky.

It was after midnight when here and there our friends left to go home to their beds. It just was Emily and I now.  We were enjoying the coolness of the earth after another very hot day of 90 degrees.  The dampness fell leaving the grass glittering from our far off barn light.  The lightening bugs flew above the plants in the horse pasture that surrounds my tipi.  Just that day we found the pasture to be alive with the butterflies of summer.  The night crickets sing a song that is almost deafening in the quiet.  We heard noises of other animals that we couldn't see in the dark.  Were they fighting or playing, our dog Jessie went to see.  She soon comes back, panting from the effort and all is quiet again.

Emily and I discuss going back to the house, neither of us willing to move from our place under the sea of stars.  Hoping to see just a few more shooting stars before calling it a night.  We can't come to any decision about leaving and cover up a little more to protect us from the cool dampness.  The dog lays nearby on her own blanket.  We hear the owl in the distance, he sings a comforting song.

We drift off into sleepy dreams.  The stary sky changes as the earth revolves slowly and we sleep.  Once again we are awakened by noise from critters in the dark, Jessie growls and we wonder what she knows that we don't.  We quietly lay there watching again for those falling stars.  It isn't long before we are asleep again. 

I remember waking again, the birds are starting their morning song and you can no longer see the stars, there is a beautiful glow to the sky, although it was still dark.  I know that sunrise can't be far behind, I see that fog has covered us, our hair is damp and blanket are dripping with moisture, and yet we are dry underneath them.  At 6:15 am the sun is just starting to rise, I am delighted to see a morning sunrise.  I say a little prayer for the coming day, knowing it will be filled with the joy and laughter of our dear Arkansas friends.  I am so filled with the wonder of it all, I just had to share it with you.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bad Days Happen

......Storm clouds............

I hate having a bad day, it has been a stormy day for me.  I don't have many and I'm not sure if it has to do with my attitude about life in general or I am lucky and don't have many bad days.

Yesterday, we received a letter from our electric company that our meter has been replaced and the old one has be "off" since April.  They have estimated our usage consumption to be similar as last year and have assigned us an amount to pay, in addition to what was already paid.  Of course, they give us an easy schedule of installment to pay over the next twelve months.  It is outrageous the bill they have given us!

I proceed to get my bills together, for this year and last year and call the company!  There is no way to get to customer service directly, you have to listen to the options and push buttons and long minutes stretch into more long minutes.  Finally a live person!  I hand the phone off to my wonderful husband to talk, I am already too mad to focus on numbers.  He asks for the person responsible for "figuring" our bill and he is suppose to call back, this has been three hours ago.  He must be out to lunch.  Richard is gone and when this guy calls back, I will have to get it all figured out!

I am still mad at our electric company for the tree incident.  A couple months ago a guy came to us and said they were cleaning up the electric lines of tree branches.   We have trees growing around the lines in our barnyard driveway.  I told them they COULD NOT cut my trees if I wasn't home.  It was agreed.  I left for the weekend for a show and they waited until I got down the road and then came in and cut those trees!  They look terrible!   I was sick when I saw them, I almost cried.   Don't they understand that we live here and this is our home and what they do effects our space?  I don't imagine any one of those workers would do the same kind trimming in their personal yards!

Meanwhile, I tried to do business (calling our electric company) on our land line phone, the one I replaced two days ago because the storm damaged to our other home phone.  Guess what, it isn't working.  I'm suppose to figure out if it is the new phone or something about that phone line.   Of course, that is another call to our phone company and pushing more buttons.   I put in a request for service.  The recording tells me they will be out sometime Saturday before 4PM.  That is four days from now.  I want to talk to a representative, but no real person comes on and they end my call.  An hour later I finally figure out a way to get a breathing person to talk to me, it did little good still I have a Saturday before 4PM appointment.  It seems Ohio is in a phone crisis due to all the bad weather. 

Since I'm complaining I will also tell you that I am not happy with our insurance company either.   We had roof damage to our house because of the falling branches.  We talked to insurance company, to let them know we had damage.  Okay, then we call someone to repair the roof, our temporary fix didn't keep the water out and now we have water damage to the ceiling of our living room.  The repair people made it out on Saturday, three days after the storm.  They fixed our roof and there is no further leaking.  I called the insurance company to report that the roof was fixed, she said, "Oh, you were only to temporarily fix it so we can come look at the damage and approve having it fixed."  Really?????   We have had off and on storms since and we aren't suppose get it fixed?  Too late, it's fixed and I'm wondering if the bill will be paid by insurance now.  Why do I pay for insurance?   Things are out of control!

I'm trying hard to calm down.  I am trying to let it go, it is all little stuff in the bigger world picture.  Thankfully my cell phone is working and I am in touch with friends that help me see how to focus on the important things.  I guess the thing I have learned from all of this, my friends are there to make me laugh at my brief period of craziness.  As I end this I am feeling better.  It will all be resolved in time and with some patience the storm clouds will pass and the sun will come out again in my world.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Our Trees

It's been a long hot summer here.  I don't remember summers being this hot when I was a kid.  I think part of the reason is because we lived in a woods, the shade from all those trees really kept us cool.  We have shade over our house, big old trees, the coolness is obvious to me.  I love those trees.

The trees unfortunately are not considered good trees.  They are fast growing, soft maples.  I understood, more about these trees after the storm we had last week and big branches fell from one tree and onto the roof of our house.  The branches came down with loud thuds, one after another.  I grabbed my flutes, with the little dogs close behind we left the room in which they were landing. It was rather frightening.

We have talked often about the need to trim back these trees.  I have a hard time with trees that have been pared back to look like little square branch boxes sitting on a big old stump.  It's not natural and too controlled.  I really hate the way a place looks in the winter with pruned trees.  I hate giving up the shade over our house in the summer. 

I wonder what would happen to all my shade loving plants that have thrived all these years in cool and dark places.  The birds also have found these trees to be a great place to raise their young.  I know my little frog pond will be filled with algae because of more sunlight.  Sleeping in the hammock might also be less protected and cool from the sun.  Trimming the trees will change the entire climate of our beautiful yard.  I am still pondering this problem about what to do with these trees.  There is no easy answer.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

It Seems Small, And Yet.......

Sometimes it is just the smallest thing that catches your eye and you continue to watch in amazement.

Today I went to the tipi for a little nap.  It had been a busy day, I gotten up early to finish a few little things before Massie Creek Flute Circle was to start at 9:30 am.  It was a perfect day to have the circle in the yard, the temperatures were cooler than they have been all week. The trees provided shade, mostly.  I brought out the big drum for playing.  Shortly my friends started to arrive. 

What fun we had playing flutes, visiting, and drumming.  The drum was good today, loud and powerful.  It all felt good, a "flute fix" for sure.  Many stayed around until almost 2 pm, there is always so much to talk about.

When everyone left, I sat outside under the trees, feeling very blessed by such good friends.  I played my flutes to the sudden quietness, feeling happy and lonesome at the same time.  It was over too quickly.  Later I start putting things back in their places, the drum goes back to the studio, tables and chairs to the van for my next show, flutes back in the house.

Suddenly I am very tired, I hear the tipi calling to me.  Yes, even with it's shredded side because of the storms eariler in the week.  I long to go out there to take a nap.  As I lay on the ground in the tipi, and gazing toward the sky through the torn canvas, I see the red-tail hawk fly over.  I watch the butterflies flutter from plant to plant in the pasture.  It is amazing the movement of this summer pasture.  Sleep came easily.

A nap of an hour or more steals my time.  I am awakened by the phone, I smile as the ring tone sings Lionel Richie's song "Hello".  The first line is, "Hello.  Is it me you're looking for?", I love that ring tone!  After I talk to my friend, I lay on the earth and the smallest thing catches my eye.  I reach for my glasses so that I can focus.  It is a busy little ladybug!  She goes quickly up a blade of grass, only to reach the end as the grass bends from her weight and drops her gently to another blade of grass.  An so she goes from one grass stem to another, seeming to be in such a hurry and getting no where.  I wonder is she eating along the way, things so small I can't even begin to see?  Why is she in the tipi?  I have always found them in the yard, close to the house, among the trees.  Is she lost?  Then upon closer look I see another, further away.  She is traveling in the same manner.  I wonder if she likes the free fall as the blade of grass gives under her.  Just then a dog walks through the grass were my ladybug friend was.  Could my little dogs weight hurt the ladybug, what a giant my twelve pound dog must be to a ladybug!  Soon I see her climbing another blade of grass, all is well with the world.

The August Storm

A few days ago I was sitting at my computer, I'd just finished a blog and pushed "publish" when it happened.  A snap scared me out of my chair, lighting had come too close.  I soon discovered my computer was no longer on line, I found out later my blog wasn't published.   My DSL modem was no longer working, my computer time was finished until a new modem was purchased. 

I turned the computer off and the winds picked up.  Large branches fell onto the roof of our home.  Rain began and then hale.  The hale was marble size and a bigger.  I thought of my car, wondered if it would have more damage from these frozen fast falling ice balls.  The power flickered and then was out for good.  Then hard rain came, it lasted twenty minutes and was over.  We were without power for about twelve hours.

I went outside, everything was quiet, branches large and small littered the yard and big ones on the roof.  Leaves are torn and shredded throughout the yard.  Then I looked toward the tipi, out in the horse pasture.  A gaping hole was showing a half a dozen lodge poles on the south and west side.  The wind started working a tear at the bottom, and then it followed the seam line across the tipi, leaving the torn wound exposed to the world.  I was sick when I saw it.  I was expecting to have four more months of time in the tipi.  

I could stitch the canvas of the tipi together, maybe it would finish out the summer and fall.  After going out to look at the damage, I am fully aware how rotten the fabric is, the sun and weather have taken it's toll.  I will have to order another cover for those lodge poles.  This is not cheap proposition, I am pondering how to afford it.  This will certainly curtail my flute purchases if a new canvas is ordered.  Maybe I could suggest to my wonderful husband that it would be a nice early Christmas gift, I'll probably also have to suggest it could include Valentines, Birthday and Anniversary of 2011! 

Next week we were planning to spend a night out there, watching the meteor showers and then when we can no longer watch the night sky, crawl into a sleeping bag in the tipi and dream wonderful dreams.  At this moment, we could be in the tipi and still see the night sky, no need start the evening outside the lodge.  I'm trying to see the whole situation in a more positive way.  In truth, I am still looking for the positive, this moment I am still rather sad.  I know things will work out, I just really love my tipi and the quiet place it has held for me.  Just now, I'm a feeling little exposed to the world.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Greene County Fair, 2010

This week is our county fair.  I remember the Greene County Fair from when I was a kid and am overwhelmed by the changes that have taken place since my teens.   Oh, I know, I'm remembering another time, like old people do, I never thought I'd be remembering things from the past in such a melancholy way.

Our county fair is one of the oldest in Ohio.  This year it celebrates 171 years of continuous memories.  I'm sure folks older than myself remember those days fondly and with some yearning to go back to those old times.  Back when I was a kid, the grounds were shaded by the biggest old trees.  The barns were spacious, the air moved through them and the floors were dirt.  The animal pens were wooden and easy to climb into.  The most important part about the wooden framed pens, you could sit balanced on the top board and visit with friends and keep an eye on your animals!  The hog barns were a maze of short wooden gates blocking the way of any escaping hogs.  Some people wish for longer legs to look more elegant and to add height to their stature, I always wanted longer legs to cross those many hog gates that were always four inches taller that I could climb gracefully.  I remember the dairy barn full of local dairy herds, the boys would actually sleep on hay bales beside their cattle, to keep watch on them through the night.  (Of course, girls were not allowed to do this!)

On September 20, 2000, another tornado blew through Xenia, Ohio.   This tornado took out most of the fairgrounds beautiful old trees and many of the barns.  It was decided to rebuild the buildings and rearrange the grounds.  New barns of metal were erected, the ground was covered in cement and black asphalt.  You can go to the fair now and not have to worry about getting your shoes muddy when it rains, there is no mud to be found!  All that black asphalt is hot!  The barns are hot, the ventilation in the metal barns is not enough to keep me happy.  All the animal pens are metal bars, barely enough room for two hogs to be comfortable and cool.  The isles are narrow, no room to stop and talk to your friends.  To climb into the pen and get to the show box, where all your necessary supplies are kept, requires youth and coordination!  The little hurtles and gates that I used to have so much trouble with have been replaced with hinged metal gates, I have to admit, I do like that.

When I was a kid, from the age of nine until I graduated, I was in 4-H.  Some of my favorite memories of growing up were being in 4-H.  There wasn't many projects I didn't take.  Some years I carried as many as nine projects at a time.  I remember showing beef steers and hogs.  I took sewing, numerous cooking projects, first aid, photography, refinishing furniture, demonstrations, Ohio birds and I did demonstrations.  I also was a Jr. Leader, which required me to help during events at the fair.  At least one of my projects each year went to the Ohio State Fair the following week.  It was so much fun and the highlight of my summers.

What I don't remember is my brother and sister also had projects, probably as many as I did.  I honestly don't know how my Mother was able to keep it all straight.  We always made it on time to our events with just the right clean clothes!  How on earth did she do that?

Oh my gosh,  I'm forgetting..........  My three children were just as active, with as many projects as they could possibly do and demonstrations from cooking to grooming a horse.   They showed hogs and sheep and steers.  We even went so far as to take our big old motor home to the fair grounds to camp for the week!  I remember running to the laundromat just to keep clean jeans for the kids to wear.  How on earth did I do that?  Oh yes, you might be thinking that my wonderful husband was there helping along the way.  Not necessarily, he was an Ag. teacher for thirty six years and had his FFA boys involved in their own events and projects.   My wonderful husband was there if we needed some extra help and he was always there when the kids showed, helping with moving the animals from place to place.  Thank goodness the kids were dependable and responsible.  They always seemed to be where they were suppose to be on time and without the help of a cell phone!

Yesterday I went to the Greene County fair.  The entire family, Aunts, cousins and Grandparents, came to watch Cait show her hogs.  She had a big smile on her face and her parents were very proudly watching too.  That part of the county fair experience hasn't changed.  The accomplishment of a project completed successfully, ribbons were Cait's reward.  Having one pig penned for second place in her class was exciting. Our reward was watching Cait show her pigs, which she loved doing.  For a moment I was able to block out the heat of the barn, the treeless landscape, the asphalt grounds and enjoy the wonderful smile of my children and grandkids at the county fair once again.