Wednesday, February 28, 2018

morning light

No one values the quality of light more than a photographer.

And cats.

Della gave me this picture for a present this morning.

Thanks, Della!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

catching up a bit

Well. The laptop is back and, after a couple of initial hiccoughs, is being put through it's paces, bit by bit. Photographs have been uploaded. The optical drive has been tested with an audiobook on CD and soon - since a trip to the library this morning - a movie on DVD. So far, so good. Time for a little blog post.

Let's see. What's been happening? Well, there's been weather.


 Snow. And more snow.

Also sleet, hail, freezing rain, and warm sun.
It's February. Anything can happen.

I've been trying to get things done, indoors and out.
Little by little.
Emptied and washed the kitchen cupboards, then reorganized.
Rearranged the stilt barn, so there is room to sneak just one goat out into a little private dining area for a special bucket of grub.
Got some of the construction disorder under control.
Made two long trips to pick up goat supplies.
Started my first seed list for the 2018 gardens.
Took hundreds of photographs.

Della - a rare portrait!

Wednesday was in the high 60s (it snowed on Thursday, hailed on Friday) and my Occasional Helper was here for three hours. We got a few things done, which is good because he is taking the month of March off. I sometimes don't see him for a couple of weeks, but a whole month in Spring will be quite a difference. I may have to pull my socks up and work harder. Or look for a Very Occasional Helper?
No, probably that first thing.

I've continued with the Daily Markmaking; last night was #54. It's a watercolor based on a photograph of Sambucus in a recent snowstorm.

Some nights I suddenly realize I am dozing off and haven't done any markmaking. So I grab a pen or brush and look for something I can work on without getting out of bed. Like the knitting basket on the porch table, or the last winter squash on the windowsill.

Here, Moxie is closely observing the start of a watercolor sketch:

Hope your weekend is going well!

Monday, February 12, 2018

monday notes

Lately the weather has fluctuated between bitter cold and right-around-freezing, the latter feeling downright balmy by comparison. And after a Sunday composed entirely of rain, I am relieved to report most of the vegetation has been freed from that dangerous coating of ice seen in the image above.

The ground, however, is another story.
These are paths leading to chores:

The ice cleats are getting quite a workout.

Someone mentioned seeing a bobcat the other day.
It's not exactly common to see a bobcat here, but this is the time of year when it's somewhat more likely. They are focused less on being invisible to humans and more on socializing with other bobcats.

I have no bobcat to show you, but here is some local wildlife.
Very local.
A little too local.

 This squirrel was taking a brief break from trying to chew it's way into the attic. It is perched snugly between two Barnyard Theatre floodlights, on the power line that runs between the porch gable and the workshop. Surrounded by wiring, in other words. And this squirrel was unimpressed by the woman standing in her slippers on the ice below, shouting crossly and waving her arms because she had been awoken by the awful sound of something chewing the wall.
The little ventilation opening at the peak of the gable is blocked with wire screen, but clearly more must be done and very soon; I cannot allow squirrels into the attic again. Maybe this one raised babies here before. Or maybe this one was born in my attic. Well, squirrel, it's true what that fellow said: you can never go home again. I watched a squirrel carrying leaves - one mouthful at a time - up an oak the other day, making a proper squirrel nest. Kindly choose a nice tree and do the same.

When not shouting at squirrels, I am continuing my daily markmaking efforts.
This was last night, #42:

Painting was a nice distraction while backing up tens of thousands of image files to external drives. I later fell asleep during the backing up - midway through 2015 - and had to finish this morning. Because...tomorrow the laptop is going back to rehab for another "7 to 10 days." Not everything was fixed on the recent visit, and enough is wrong that it cannot be ignored. I'm not thrilled with the idea of being computer-less again, but as far as the repair goes, I feel hopeful. The laptop has it's own Case Manager this time.

So this blog may be quiet for a bit, but I'll try to visit yours via the Tiny Cellphone. Apologies in advance for any spelling errors in comments - I can barely see the cell screen so the keyboard tapping is pretty hit-or-miss.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

wednesday with words

Well, at least the forecast was accurate.

Heavy snow, beginning in the morning.

And continuing for several hours.

In case you are wondering, these goats and several others were standing out in the falling snow by choice. They were standing next to the stilt barn, which was empty. The Clubhouse - the space under the stilt barn where even the biggest goats can shelter comfortably - was also empty.

Don't ask me - I don't know. I checked in case there was a monster or a demon or a cranky raccoon in the barn but found nothing amiss.

So I distributed more hay indoors and out before returning to my own little shelter.

In the afternoon, the snow changed to sleet - again, as predicted - and evening chores were done in a world where every exposed surface was covered with a glistening coat of ice. Slippery for critters and dangerous for trees. It's pretty to look at, but that's the only nice thing I can think of to say about it. Tomorrow's forecast is cold but sunny, and my fingers are crossed that the sun will melt the ice from the trees before a wind comes up or more snow falls.

I'll leave you with this not-very-good picture,
taken as I was coming in from evening chores tonight:

Does it make you feel like you are right here with me?

If so, better dress warm.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

turning the january page

It's been a bit of a rollercoaster, has January. Ups and downs, with a lot of snow, torrential rains and flooding, extremely cold weather, and occasional bright days when I have gratefully taken hundreds of photographs.

My workaday world has been one of entirely treacherous footing, which changes nothing about the daily chores except that they take longer. It's a relief when there is snow to walk on instead of ice! I think Moxie agrees, as it makes her commute to the barn much more pleasant:

Piper has been spending a lot of time in recent weeks sensibly snoozing on her couch. She usually accompanies me on the short penguin-walk to the letterbox, but must wait for reasonably safe conditions before we go walking in the woods. We've made the most of it whenever possible!

The biggest January news in Goat World - apart from the ongoing hoof-trimming which always results in heating pads and icepacks for the trimmer - is that the handsome buck returned for a brief visit on Sunday. Now both Vinca AND Azalea may become mamagoats in June! I haven't gotten a good picture of either one this month, so here instead to represent the entire Cloud Harvest Cashmere herd is a January portrait of LeShodu, my Matriarch doe who turned 13 last May:

"And STILL the Boss!"

What I've really wanted to write about all through January - and in December, actually - is the wrapping up of the final "mystery" phase of the 3-part construction project. But I haven't, because it isn't. Wrapped up. In fact, there has been a series of absurd delays - not caused by me or by the carpenter, I hasten to say - beginning in November. November! And I don't want to say anything more about it, partly because it might give away the "mystery" and partly because my head might explode. So...

...moving on to a very different project, my Daily Markmaking effort of 2018 has progressed nicely. I've drawn or painted a little sketch every night in January. Here are a couple you haven't seen:

Something I really enjoy about watercolor is the way it looks close up. For example, here is a "detail" view of the above:

(I just enjoy this.)

It snowed again last night, so February is starting off as February often does.

And on we go!