Meandering Thoughts

Meandering Thoughts

Monday, September 27, 2010


I started this blog a week ago, when I found that I had scheduled two events for the same day.  I am usually so careful about my calendar of events, for some reason it is now becoming a worrisome condition.  Way back in the early summer, I scheduled a drum making class as a creative event for "Getaway Weekends" in Yellow Springs, Ohio.  If someone wants to schedule something this weekend, they are offered several choices of planned events they can register for, making a drum was such a class.  I could have one person sign up or ten.  As yet, September 27, no one has signed up for a drum making class.

Later in the summer I was honored to be ask if I wanted to participate in the Yellow Spring Artist Studio Tour, by being a guest of an already established studio artist.  There are many artists in and around Yellow Springs and the studios are opened to visit with the artist, see the space they work in and even learn about an art form you might not have understood.  I was invited to set my booth up at her home and be the second artist on site.  I would possibly demonstrate some gourd work and offer my gourds for sale.   What an exciting event for me to do, I accepted this offer gleefully, totally forgetting about the Drum Making class for the Getaway Weekend.

Before discovering my mistake in scheduling these two events, I also sent dates to our Village Artisans schedule fairy.  I ask for early in the month dates to work at the Village Artisan co-op, the end of the month was already pretty full.  You'll never guess what date I said would work fine?  Yes, yes, the sixteenth!   And so I am scheduled to work in the shop on the sixteenth as well as the drum making class and the studio tour.  I am working to find someone who will trade work days with me.

I juggled the other conflict by offering the gourd drum making class on the sixteenth between 8AM to 11AM and then off to the YS Artist Studio Tour to demonstrate in my booth from 11AM to 6PM.  Things can be juggled around, if we remain flexible.  Seriously, I think my need to be flexible is being stretched to the maximum.

I'm also wondering what the number sixteen means..............  

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Taking a Break

Yesterday I sat for a moment on the studio porch.  I was taking a break from my gourds and recharging my cordless drill.  I decided that I must get twenty-five new gourds done before my Wild Gourd Studio Open House on November 12, 13 and 14th.  The drill is the most critical tool for cleaning the inside of the gourds.  I will attach to the drill a wire brush or a ball like thing with an abrasive coating to put inside the gourd to remove the membrane that sticks to the inside.  This is the second worst job of gourd work, it is dusty and because of the inside particles of dust mold, I must wear a mask and use my dust collector.  Not the most Zen kind of moments that people think about when they think of "artists". 

The first worst job is cleaning the mold from the outside before you can open the gourd and clean the inside.  Washing the mold is dirty and messy and requires old clothes, a good pot scrubber and lots of water.  It is all part of the process and when these two things are finished I can enjoy the next steps to creating.  Then I can become the artist and stop being the laborer. 

When I work on cleaning the inside of the gourds, my mind wanders, I listen the the music in the Cd player, it is most always flute music.  I think about the performers playing for me in the studio, I have met so many of them, enjoyed their classes, gone to their concerts.  It amazes me the journey the gourds have taken me on, a totally unexpected journey.  Then I remember all the amazing people I have come to know because of gourds.  My gourd supplier, my faithful collectors and the other admirers of my work, they all make me smile.

I started going to Fine Art Shows, selling my gourds because I couldn't stop making them, I knew I couldn't keep them all!  I was then exposed to the sound of the Native American flute during this time.  Then my gourds started changing, I stopped fighting my desire to do designs from the southwest, I started listening to my heart now.  I often ponder when everything in my life started to change.  I have been making gourd art for eleven years now, I am hoping to give an inventory number to my two thousandth gourd before November!  That doesn't count the many Santa's and Snowmen made, the ornaments and necklaces.  I only number the things that are my original designs and big enough to be considered collectible. I rarely make Santa's or snowmen now, it just doesn't feel right.

During this time I have learned to play the Native American style flute.  It was a surprise to me that I could play and I found that it seemed to fit somehow with my gourd art designs.  It seems both were allowing me to express something inside that I didn't know existed.  It felt like such a natural thing to me, creating these designs and playing the flute.  When you come to visit my studio, I hope that you can feel the spirit that lives in this peaceful place.  I am weaving a story in the designs on the gourds, I play my flutes and drum my drums for the gourds.   I burn sage and say prayers here too.   All these things are woven into the heart of the gourd work and it fills my life with gratitude.

My break is soon over, there are other things I could be doing while the drill battery is charging.  I work on the post card mailing for the open house.  A mailing of almost 600 cards will go out with the date of the open house and featuring guest artist and flutemaker, Billy Crowbeak.  I get excited, oh, I know it is still September.  Time is getting away from me, no time to sit on the porch and day dream while flute music plays in the background.  

Now I am wondering why I am writing a blog, I have gourds waiting! 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Harvest Season

Harvest season has begun.  We live on a road that is only one mile long.  We are surrounded by farm land and I wouldn't have it any other way.  The corn is totally brown and the beans have dropped their yellow leaves.  It is time to harvest.

Our little country road becomes a major route for big tractors, combines, headers being towed by farm trucks, giant wagons and semi's hauling corn from the fields to our neighbors bins.  The quiet and tranquil place we live might as well be next to a four lane highway with all the farm traffic.  It goes long after dark.  Big semi's rush past our house, their lights light up the night unexpectedly.  The hustle and bustle of the season is in full swing.

Other things have been going on in our neighborhood, things that are done in the dark and quiet of the night.  Things that are done while we sleep.  Our neighbors have been robbed of tools, four wheelers, and stolen copper.  Four young men were caught and because they were just beginning their night activity had no evidence of thief in their car.  They have been released, I feel sure they are probably planning their next break-in.  The farmer that lost his four wheelers had them pushed from the barn, through a bean field, a fence was cut and they were then loaded and removed without anyone knowing. 

Yep, lots going happening on our quiet country road this "Harvest Season".

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Gator

We have a "gator" in the back yard.  It's green and can move fast if you are being chased.  Not many of my friends have needed to be chased, but many love to catch a ride on the gator!   Well, maybe you have figured out that I'm not talking about an animal that lives in watery swamp lands in our back yard.  It is a motorized, two seated vehicle with a dump bed behind the seats.  It is a very handy farm tool for hauling the twigs picked up in the yard, taking hay to the field  for the horses and for taking sleeping bags and dogs to the tipi!

Some of my friends think I drive too fast when I offer them a ride.  They have even gone so far to have "warned" others about my driving!  I am a little surprised by this, some of these people do things that are much scarier to me, like riding motorcycles on roads without helmets!  Or maybe they have two wheeled bikes they ride with their feet strapped onto the petals of this bike, without a helmet!  Even with a helmet these things are scary to me.  At least my gator has four wheels and it is wide enough not to tip over, unless a corner is turned rather quickly to miss hitting a butterfly or a dog.  I am proud to say I've never lost any person that was riding with me.  However,  I can't resist a loud Yeehaw and Yahoo as I travel quickly out into the horse pasture.  After seeing passengers hanging on with white knuckles, I was thinking maybe I should have a release form for them to sign before riding with me.....   That should make them even more wary about getting in for ride.  Ha! Ha!

When I was younger, not all that many years ago, I rode a horse at break neck speeds through some wooded trails.  I remember the speed as the trees became a blur and the thunder of a horses hooves filled my ears.  I remember looking back at my riding friend as we wove through a little sapling grove, I thought she too was smiling as I was, upon second glance I realized she was grimacing.......  When we came to an opening in the trail, we slowed to a little trot and she mentioned that we could have trotted through the saplings and had a good run on the more open trail.   She didn't understand, with my horse an open trail was an invitation to being out of control, because he loved to run, he might even celebrate with a buck and I'd be off and have to pick myself up off the ground. Oh, did we love to Yahoo down the trails!  I do miss those days, my knees do not!

So the gator is slow when you think about the speed.  My grand daughter has her own experiences with speed and the gator.  Most would say a nine year old is too young to drive the gator.  I have ridden with my grandkids in the gator and feel comfortable when I finally let them drive alone.  It is good for them to learn the consequence of their decisions.   A couple weeks ago Cait hit a tree in our yard when she was looking at our dog who was riding shot gun.  I heard the thud, when she came back to the barn I see the fender pushed in and a dent in the plastic covered machine, the dog was not riding but walking on her own four feet!   Cait was so upset and even afraid, not because of the possible punishment, more at the reality of what happen.  I was saying  prayers of gratitude that she didn't get hurt.  I still believe that this is all good experience for future driving wisdom.  She will be more careful when her Daddy lets her drive again.

So maybe my friends who are fearful of riding the gator with me should ride the four wheeler with me!  Now we are talking speed!  I think they will be happy to go back to riding the gator to the tipi.  Or, perhaps they might decide to take a nice walk to the tipi. It's not all that far......   teeheee!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Circle of Life

Accomplishments are in the eyes of the beholder.   My wonderful husband could walk in the door this very moment and find me at the computer and think I've done nothing all day.   You see, I was also here this morning when he left.  Some things have happened today, I went to an early lunch with a sweet friend.  We must have talked for two hours. 
On the way home I felt fall in the air.  The day is perfect, the cerulean blue sky, a cool breeze rustles the leaves on the trees.  Amazing how in just ten days the leaves begin to take on a different sound and color.  We so need a rain, the ground is dusty where the horses walk, as they search for some grass worth grazing on.  The pasture has been baled again, my field of butterflies moved on to other places because of that, some have just moved closer to the gardens at the house.   I noticed the other day, while I was running water for the horses, the number of dragonflies that were in the air, catching flies and mosquitoes. 

I linger on the conversations my friend and I shared at lunch.  It is too late, I think, to start a new project in the studio.  I opted for a little nap in the hammock, it has been very neglected this summer.  I had to gather some fleece throws to put around me, because it is a little chilly in the shade of the big old trees today.  I know it will be a short pause in my day, I didn't bring enough blankets to the hammock, I am quickly chilled from the breeze and no amount of positive thinking will warm me up if I get cold.  I cover my head, it helps somehow keep me a little warmer.  I hear far off airplanes, my dogs rustling fallen leaves under the hammock, the cat with the bell on her collar is somewhere nearby too.  I hear the little fish pond waterfall and then I notice something I don't hear!  Are the hummingbirds gone, oh my gosh, it is time for them to move on.  I make a note to go and sit on the porch later to watch for them at the feeder.  I know it is very close to the date they always leave our little yard.  Fewer birds are at my feeders now, they are finding seeds from plants elsewhere.  The cheerful goldfinches land on swaying grasses and thistles and feast on seeds in the wild.  I wonder if they are loosing their summer yellows.

Soon I sleep, only an hour at most, my feet get cold.   I hear the slam of our mailbox out front, the mail has come and I am hoping for a package today.  A natural remedy for an ailment my two old horses have.  I say a little prayer it will be helpful to them.  Not a cure, but maybe some relief for them, they suffer from Cushing's disease.  I am again reminded that I live with all old critters now.  My horse is twenty nine and Trisha's horse is twenty four.  The mini, is probably twenty six.  My dogs are fourteen, twelve and eleven. I don't want to think about the days ahead. 

My meanderings have put me in a awkward place, how does one end a story that started with a beautiful fall day?  I think of the things I've learned about the change of seasons and here we are in the early stages of fall.  I have learned, it is with everything there is a beginning and an end, a circle of life is traveled by all who walk this earth.  We are all part of that circle, it can't be changed.  Enjoy today, the beauty of the sunshine in the blue sky.  Enjoy the people and critters you hold dear, it is truly the best gift in the world.  Yes, it was a nice lunch with my sweet friend, it's been a wonderful day.

Photos:  upper left:   Knipper and Bones
Black lab is Jessie
Gabby is sitting on the blue rug
Lily on the sidewalk
Chance eating hay last winter

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Looking Ahead

Sometimes things just have a way of getting away from me.  I go along day to day, getting lost in my own world.  That world changes from friends and family, to flutes, painting and gourds.  Of course, there are other things that also steal my time, things less obvious.  For instance, normal daily things like laundry, cleaning, watering flowers, computer time and mowing.   Then there are things in which you have no control, a much needed nap in the tipi,  wonderful friends that stop by to visit or a long needed phone call with a far off friend.  I love that these things happen and I am open to all the possibilities.  Yes, I love it all and I need it all!

Suddenly I realize it is September and I have so much to do, I could be overwhelmed quickly and could easily panic.  I haven't done nearly enough gourd work this summer.  I really would like to put some new pieces in Village Artisans, give my display some new energy for the fall season!  I also need to work toward my eighth annual Wild Gourd Studio open house in November!  More gourds to replace some that have sold this summer show season.  Plus, I have two shows coming up that I'd like to do some special pieces for.  One show is related to the Yellow Springs Studio Art Tour.  I will be a guest artist of my friend, Kathy Moulton.  My booth will be set up at her house during the Yellow Springs Studio Tours.  So anyone coming to participate in the studios tours this year will see two artists at each stop!  I also will be doing a show in Eureka Springs, AR over Thanksgiving weekend.   I'd love to get new work done for all of these events! 

There is also another project that I am working on that requires me to paint.  I am still not ready to announce this project, it is still in the infant stages of development and is just getting off the ground.  I hope to share more very soon, just know that it will take more thoughtful painting than just "playing" with acrylic paint on a canvas! 

So why am I sitting here in front of the computer, writing a blog?   I think I have an answer to that.  I have this other side of me that requires me to write.  Actually, it is a good thing, writing helps me process things, gets it in some order and helps me organize my brain with these fast moving thoughts.  It helps me to slow down the racing ideas in my head and focus on particular thoughts, this clears the way for more stuff to race around.  It is not unlike cleaning a closet.  Neatly folding and hanging things, creating some order, low and behold, there is a lot more room now for more stuff!   Woohoo!   If only I could really get my closets clean!

I'm now focused and heading to the studio, gourds are calling my name!!!! 

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Flute Gathering

Yesterday we had a gathering of the Massie Creek Flute Circle.  September surprised us with a very chilly morning and a good breeze.  I start the morning setting the chairs and tables up for my flute friends.  Getting the big drum out and my flutes and prepared the area with my own little ceremony. 

I was ready, or so I thought.  As my friends gathered under the shade of the trees, the breeze seemed to pick up.  I am shocked at the difference a week makes.  The weekend before we were sweating in ninety plus temperatures!  Today it's in the sixties.  The sky was clear and then the big fluffy clouds move through.  No warmth coming from the sun this flute circle meeting!  I started gathering fleece throws and other blankets for people to cover themselves as we sat in the yard.  Fingers were cold and flutes lost their voices to the breeze.  We persisted, we are truly harden flute aholics! 

A particularly large group gathered today, I think everyone needed to connect again.  After last weekends experience at Sunwatch, we were all a little lonesome for our little flute community to be in touch.  To share their new flutes and the songs those flutes have given, to tell their stories and to just be connected again.

My favorite part of the day dealt with everyone sharing the beginning of their journey with the flute.  Many stories were new to me, some brought tears to my eyes.  Again I feel we have been blessed.  We are all on a road that was a little unexpected, a turning point that totally has changed the direction of our lives.  Often we think our story is uniquely individual and we learn again our stories are so similar.  Each person that shared was sure it was only the beginning of  their flute journey, there is more in their future.  We are a family of flute people, traveling a path together with love, acceptance and the gift of music from our beautiful Native American style flutes! 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

September, Ready or Not

September first, oh my gosh!  What happened that fall has come so quickly?  Oh you might be saying, "Summer is still here, it will be low 90's today!"  I know differently, I have already begun to see the signs.  I want to hang on to the end of summer, when the days are a little cooler and the sun is not a harsh.  I don't want to notice the changes, but I do.

I actually began to notice last week, I just hated even mentioning it, for fear of accepting the truth of what is to come.  When I spent a couple of nights in the tipi and awakened to something tickling my arm.  I brushed off a black woolly worm that was walking on my sleeping bag.  He curled up in a protective ball and pretended to hide from me.  As I studied the ground and grass inside the tipi I noticed a couple more of these woolly caterpillars.  I don't know what the difference in the colors mean, all of these were solid in color.  I've seen no striped ones yet this year.  Yesterday, I saw them marching across the road, I can't help but wonder why don't they travel the direction of the road?  So this is the first official sign I made mental note of, regarding fall.

As I ran some errands yesterday, I detoured off the road home, just to drive a hilly, curvy road toward a local State Park.  Yes, I see that the trees are looking tired from the summer of heat and dust.  We need a good slow soaking rain, the earth has cracks that are eager to gulp the liquid from the sky.  Then it happened, I noticed the leaves of a certain tree turning brown and crusty, they are showing off their produce that will soon fall and be harvested by the squirrels.  I was shocked to see these changing trees among the still green forest of trees along the road. 

I travel down the road, toward the sun, I can see the humidity in the air.  It makes the air heavy, like summer.  I remember that this is the last day of August and soon the air will be clear and crisp.  I long for cooler air, breezes that rustle the leaves.  The entire forest will soon be the colors of gold, rust, brown and reds.

As I find my way back to the familiar traveled roads, I notice the farmers corn is also changing from green to golden brown, the ears of corn are no longer upright, but drooping toward the ground.  It will be an early harvest this year.  Does that mean an early fall? 

The birds songs have also changed.  It is not as amorous and cheerful.  It is quieter, they don't seem to start their songs as early in the morning either.  I watch the hummingbirds still come to the feeder, it seems there are fewer now.  I'll keep the feeders going for awhile, so the migrating hummers will have a place to rest and eat before continuing their journey.  I have heard the young red-tailed hawk calling and calling from a tree top, maybe hoping a parent is not far off watching over him, bringing him a little meal.  Is he ready to make it on his own?  The blackbirds are gathering in their mass formations of air dancing.  These groups will get bigger and bigger as September progresses.  One day I'll notice how quiet it has become, they will have moved south.

I look at my impatients in the flower pots.  I watered them again last night, they were wilted and leggy, they don't look as fresh as they did only a month ago.  I always start thinking about some carnations in fall colors to sit at the porch edge.  My sweetgrass is long and ready to braid and cut, it is harvest time. 

I just want to enjoy each moment of the change that is bound to happen, ready or not.....