Friday, July 06, 2012

{this moment}

A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
:: Inspired by Soule Mama ::

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Online and Around the Barn

There are a few, specific, things I envisioned for the Bird House, when I first started dreaming it could be ours... a screen door in our room... out to the porch, garden beds and a coop, and a laundry line. I know, I have fancy tastes and visions. I also envisioned an outbuilding for the animals, tools, and supplies that go hand in hand with keeping chickens... basically a shed... with barn flare. We know how nicely that worked out!

Geoff and I hung a laundry line this week. Squeee! I love it. Granted, it's not exactly the view people expect when gazing toward the rising sun, and back country hills. I think if anyone complains about it, I will chime in too, and say "Sorry. I agree, it's unsightly having only one line for six people's worth of clean clothes. We really should have at least two more lines."

And we have garden beds, and rambling pumpkin patches. I love these too. Another area gardener was sharing her already orange, ripe pumpkins. Some of ours are nearly ready for harvesting. It surprises me. I am trying to not let it make me eager for fall, and brisk days. It's my favorite time of the year, but being anxious for fall to come sooner would spoil a perfectly lovely summer.

Our Flopsy bunny lives inside the barn, when she isn't napping on someone's lap. Today she is visiting the old hutch, above the pumpkins. Like the rest of us, we thought she would enjoy the cool day, the breezes, and the birds. She is as soft and sweet as she looks, and she smells like alfalfa and warm comfort.

Inside the barn, with the chocolate floors, and tea cup shelves, Chango naps, or watches the activities in the garden. From here, he can see the hummingbirds, Sanka, and Flopsy.

I finally started gathering the lavender that grows in our barrel. Why did I wait so long to do this? It's so simple, and satisfying. I can cut a handful every few days, and my reward is that more, and more grows back. Geoff attached a driftwood ledge for future cuttings to hang and dry.

The driftwood was collected by Geoff and Maria when they were beach combing, on the Central Coast. It makes me happy to see it in the barn... seeing anything in there, that has meaning, a connection, a story, is dear to me. Memories make an old stick a keepsake, and I happily recall camping with family and friends, the windy night and the anticipation of the days ahead.

Happy Fourth of July, friends!
We are having such a mellow, drifting day... no direction, no destination, no deadlines. Now, that's Independence!

Does it seem as though we live in the barn now? As though everything revolves around a tiny shed? We do sleep there, or at least nap. We read in there, and play with the Flopsy bunny. I sweep the floors, and open the drapes. I remind Geoff that I really do not have fancy tastes. Maybe, with a massive purge of too much stuff, we could give the Bird House the Barn Treatment. Yes. This is what I prescribe for myself. Simplify, please. Please, simplify.

And Chango looks as though he would agree. His gaze says, Dear, I've told you all along... you only need a place to nap, a place to stretch, some water and a dish.

Well, yes... that may be enough for a much adored kitty, but I think a bit more is expected of us. I understood your general sentiment though, Chango. You are wise.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012


Voted Most Valuable Player. Dominic is holding a team trophy for baseball, and apparently he got another award for MVP. My nephew, the athlete, the cutie pie, the natural. He's certainly got the genes for it, with a mom and dad like his.

Bill, and Alison, send me pictures and video clips from their mobile phones. I get to see everything, from treats at the yogurt shop, to swim lessons, video of my nephew hitting home runs, in the garage, and my niece, Marissa, practicing her gymnastics. When our mom is visiting there, I get more shots of the fun, of my northerly family. I love every one... the snow pictures, and the sleeping with the kitties pictures, the talent shows, and sleepy-heads at breakfast. I love that they are healthy, and happy, that Bill and Alison make the time to keep us connected, my mom, too.

I wish I could be there for baseball games and birthdays, for those sleepy-headed breakfasts. I never imagined I would live so far away from my family. It even makes me anxious about my own children... won't we just keep adding rooms, here? These are my MVPs... most valuable persons... family. I miss them.

Thank you Bill, Alison, Delia. Thank you for the glimpses, for the connections, for the calls, and the moments you share with us. I love that you do this.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Art Made

Friends. Blue sky. Enough supplies, not quite enough chairs, and pie. Plenty of pie. It was all we needed to get our party started. All, even the most reluctant, were plein air painters, sketchers, dabblers.

Darrahl was there as a lover of fine art.

Nathan, Darrahl, and Gabe were shifting gears a bit, since they came from the metal shop, where Team Paradox is busy with its summer project.

Here is Nathan's masterpiece.

He's heading back to Drexel soon, to his robot building job, and fraternity friends, but today he was a Bird House Artist.

It was good to see this artist too, taking a break from the metal shop, and sharing a quiet afternoon with blues and golds, and friends.

Gabriel's masterpiece.

This was the quietest gathering we have ever witnessed. Everyone was focused and immersed in their art. The tiny canvases give you a chance to experiment, to concentrate without getting to overwhelmed. Something about the size is liberating for the experts, as well as the timid.

This is Tatiana's masterpiece.
Should we tell her? That she left her painting behind? But then she might take it away, and I really like seeing it. Let's not mention it. Not for a while.

Max worked in acrylics. He likes the way the colors blend.
I like the way the paints boldly build up in Max's masterpiece.

Intent and purposeful, smiling and admiring. We were all engrossed, one way or another.

Quiet... well, almost quiet. We do have goats and chickens, after all.

Alex drew a compass. A brass masterpiece in ink.

Then he added paints, using the most convenient palette he could find.

This is a masterpiece in progress, by Janece.

And we have another masterpiece... Amira, and her pretty painting!

Emma, receiving critical approval from Darrahl. Her sunflower made me eager for the sunflowers that are rising strong in the garden.

One variety we planted, Van Gogh sunflowers. Cannot imagine plein air painting without sunflowers.

Emma's summer sunsational masterpiece.

Kiley shared her paints, too. But before I let her paint, I had to take her into the barn to meet our Flopsy bunny, because look at her marvelous dress!

And voila! We have another masterpiece!

Hello, Bambi. Poor artists, besides the distraction of goats and chickens, they have to contend with me and my Big Beautiful Black camera. Don't mind me, friends.

Bambi and her rosy masterpiece.
Time to walk the goats. Goat walking is legit fun. They amble, they lag, they dance, and turn sideways, they find digestible ingestibles, they prance, and look adorable. Goats!

Someone should paint the goats. Not the goats themselves... like do a portrait of the goats. You know what I mean.

Now for a little art therapy... we brought out the Flopsy bunny. How do you describe what happens to people when they hold a handful of silky fluffness bunny cuteness? It's just indescribably, almost unbearably, CUTE!

An untapped natural resource for healing, calming, for world peace, and serenity.

Sammay is just back from Hawaii... another natural resource for healing, calming, peace and serenity. Aloha, Sammay.
Sammay's masterpiece.
Matt, eventually, put down the bunny, and went back to working on his masterpiece. He is serenely talented.

Quiche, and quiche, and pie, and pie. My own artistic contribution.

I think Tatiana enjoyed all the varieties of art, crusty ingestibles, and animal friends. Ah, summer, you hold so many gifts, and goodnesses.

The Children Are Well

Is it too soon?

Every year I find myself without a good picture of the children, to send with a holiday card. But this. This one may be just right. Or... hold on a sec... let me just adjust something...

A daguerreotype, sepia. Yes. This, with a long letter about the summer holidays at the lake house, the children under the watchful eye of their governess, eating treacle tarts, and pony rides over hill and dale.