A Blog Hop!

My blog friend Margot Potter is participating in an international blog hop and has featured me and two other bloggers today.  Here's a link to her site; I'd like y'all to join her!

The DIY Doyenne's World-Wide Creative Blog Hop

Margot gave me four questions to ponder, sort of an artist's statement.  Here they are with my responses.

WHAT AM I CURRENTLY WORKING ON?

I'm almost finished with my latest miniature building, a little beach-side free library where miniature beach goers can leave a book and/or take a book. (Pictures to follow - watch this space!)  I have photos of my other little places on the page "My World in Miniature."  Take a look!  I'm also working on two contributions for Somerset Studio magazine, the Black and White and Gothic assignments.  Writing, too.  I'm about to embark on a poetry/photography collection.  I've done these as individual books before but never together. 


HOW IS MY WORK DIFFERENT?

Frankly, it's quirky as am I!  I love what's vintage, nostalgic, retro.  I quite consciously incorporate myself into almost every art piece, poem, photograph.  Details and mood are important. My work suggests that something's happening in those little worlds that may be difficult for some to sense, but I know what's there. 


WHY DO I CREATE?

I taught high school English for 37 years and spent a great deal of time inspiring others to think creatively.  I retired in 2006; now I have the time to produce for myself.  Yes, for myself! Self-publishing lets me put my writing and photos into organized collections. Oh, it would be nice to get paid for my writing and my art.  I wouldn't turn that down.  I have so many ideas in my head, though, and I simply have to get them out.  My little studio here at home is my favorite hideout.  Farm work occupies plenty of time.  Creative work occupies the rest.


HOW DOES MY CREATIVE PROCESS WORK?

I am inspired by other artists.  I save my issues of Somerset Studio magazine for reference and use them often.  I am inspired by the natural world around me.  True story:  My introduction to mixed media art was the finding of a few very small acorns and broken pine twigs.  I brought them home and designed my first piece with them.  Little forest findings are favorite materials!  My miniature buildings are usually  interpretations of places that actually exist; some are places that I would love to see in the real world.  I keep notebooks of ideas, quotes, and words.  Because I'm a voracious reader and note-taker, there's a constant flow of inspiration.



Fall Trees


Y'all may have expected a blast of fall color here, but our part of North Carolina is still pretty green.  When we get colors, we get a little gold, a few touches of red, and a fair amount of brown; the mountains lay claim to far more brilliance.  Here in the north central part of the state it's more subdued.

I've always been taken by the shapes of bare trees.  This one on our neighbors' land caught my attention this morning.  It's obviously been broken, most likely by strong winds.  It lives, though ---- relatively fresh little branches festoon its raggedy top.

Here on the farm we hear, see, smell autumn.  The crickets are quieter at night.  The bees slumber peacefully on sunlit flowers in the afternoon.  Two nights ago we heard a pack of coyotes close by.  They change their ranging patterns seasonally.  The deer have developed their winter-gray coats, and the growing fawns have long lost their spots while the bucks are losing their antlers.  I sense that familiar fallen leaves smell just a little bit, especially early in the dewy morning. 

I have never considered autumn to be a barren season.  Every sight, sound, and fragrance is unique.

"If you truly love Nature, you will find beauty everywhere." 
 Vincent Van Gogh  



Quiet Days - a few photos


Our fall hay cutting is just a few weeks away.  Early morning sunlight makes the northeast field even more beautiful.

 
Pretty weeds tangled near an old fence.
 
                                                       
I love this old farmhouse and have photographed it several times.  It's on one of my four-mile walking routes; stopping to take pictures means the walk takes longer.  Delightful! 

 Nice old barn.  This farm has been in the same family for many years. 

 
Expansive views, here a beautiful field, are part of why we love living out here.  That's red clay in the foreground. 


This is what we see as we approach our farm from the west.  That red gate is new.  It marks the old entrance, long gone.  I love that huge pin oak tree. 

Wishing y'all a peaceful day from here on the farm.

On the First Day of Fall...

Here's what's happening on this beautiful first-of-fall day.


 Our flowers are still thriving.  These zinnias are my favorites --- bright, hardy, and the color of autumn!  I cleaned out what was left of the tomato and melon plants awhile back.  They didn't do well this year; I did get, though, plenty of green tomatoes for frying.  They keep well in the freezer once they're sliced.  What went wrong?  I planted late and didn't fertilize first.  I made up for the fertilizing this afternoon, getting the soil ready for next spring.  My donkeys produce plenty of rich soil enrichment!  Need manure?  Bring your truck and a shovel!
 Vic trimmed back the donkey pasture a little.  The boys don't eat all of it.  They're not like goats who will eat almost anything.  See the chickens?  Whenever the tractor or mower starts, they run to it.  The equipment stirs up lots of lovely bugs for them.

Opie, Virgil, and Otis spent time at the fence waiting for me to give them treats.  The tractor doesn't bother them.  They're very calm critters.  Love 'em so!!!

 Ernest T. Bass, large and in charge, did his patrolling once he'd had his share of bugs.
We put an extra coop next to the barn for Rose, my newest hen.  Here you see Jennifer Morrison (barely visible under the open front) and Mrs. Mendelbright checking it out.  Rose won't sleep high in the pine trees with the others, preferring instead the top of the wood pile by the barn door.  The donkeys watch out for her.  Their very presence keeps away the predators; we don't even hear coyotes anymore.  I'm sure that Rose will learn to love her new coop, though.  She was in there earlier today.  Owning free-range chickens is a challenge.  I've learned a few good techniques to ensure their safety over these last three years. 

A nice quiet day here on Windy Hollow Farm.  Happy Fall, y'all. 

Meet Rose.

A few days ago we found out about a little hen who was rescued from the bank parking lot.  That precious girl has now joined my flock.  Here's Rose, a Rhode Island Red.  And yes, she
too has a Mayberry name; Rose was  the first housekeeper Andy and Opie had until Aunt Bea showed up in episode 1!



Her rescuer works at Southern States where we shop for all sorts of farm needs.  My six babies (now almost 6 months old) were purchased there back in March.  We always talk about our critters when we're there with those friendly folks, so our friend knew we'd most likely want this girl. 

Rose arrived yesterday evening.  After a few minutes of clucking and curiosity back and forth, the flock welcomed her, and rooster Ernest T. Bass took special care of his new hen.  I was so proud of him.  He led her to food and water and watched her closely.  He's quite a guy! 

Rose will lay brown eggs.  How pretty they'll look with the pink, white, and blue-green eggs laid by the other girls.  What fun!  What blessings!  Welcome,  dear Rose, to Windy Hollow Farm!

A Little September Photo Gallery

Slightly cooler temperatures, earlier sunsets, and a few photos of  some of my babies on this beautiful evening:

 Ernest T. Bass, always on the go.  He and the other chicks are almost six months old.  The hens lay beautiful eggs; Jenny's are a pinkish-beige, Mrs.Mendelbright's are blue-green, and Aunt Bea, Skippy, and Daphne lay white eggs.  My older hen Thelma Lou is still laying her pretty white eggs, too.  I can never find Lucy's.  (I think Ernest T. is a black copper maran.  Do any of y'all out there know what he is?  That breed is as close as I can figure.  He is the biggest rooster I've ever seen.)
 Sweet farm dog, now 14 years old.  His original name was Lucky, but we changed it to Louie.  We don't believe in luck, but we sure believe in blessing!  Lou is a shepherd/chow mix.  See that black tongue?
 Vic did a little fishing in our pond tonight, and Louie rode back with him.  That little XRT comes in right handy --- a nice little ride around these 55 acres!
 Sweet baby Opie Taylor.  It's not easy getting a donkey to pose.  I think Opie was expecting a snack.
 Sweet baby Otis Campbell.  A super-friendly boy.
 Sweet baby Virgil Fife.  (If you wonder about the name, he was Barney Fife's cousin in the old tv show.)  He looks a bit thin in this photo; Virgil is actually a very large, hunky donkey. 


Critter fun on the farm.  We're so blessed!

More Vintage Books: Fancy Manuals

More vintage books today, this time a little set of Audels technical manuals from 1926.  These are so cool.  My father owned these nifty books; each one is leather- bound, has golden-edged pages, and contains extensively described and illustrated technical instructions. 


Take a look at the opening page of volume 4.  (Click on the photo to enlarge.)  I love that quote at the top: "By hammer and hand all things do stand."


Isn't that a wonderful drawing? 


Here's another book.  The exposure setting I used to emphasize the title and author made the cover look odd; the book is actually black.  Notice that the author's name is done in script, duplicating his own handwriting.

 
 
 
And here is the inside --- with a surprisingly feminine, somewhat fussy blue and cream pattern.


 The book was published in 1892.  Haskins dedicated it to his father - "respectfully dedicated," he wrote.

As keeper of my dad's books, I want to show my respect for him as well.  He wasn't a tradesman but a bacteriologist, but he had lots of interests. I treasure these wonderful old volumes.