Sunday, November 17, 2019

selling images not goats*


Remember around this time last year, when I made an assortment of blank greeting cards and matching 4x6-inch magnets, showcasing some of the very photogenic Cloud Harvest gang?


Well, as 2019 rolls to a close, I'd like to offer the remaining stock at a reduced price.
In case anyone would like one. Or more than one.


In the past year, I've sold the card-and-magnet packs for $15. 
and the magnets alone for $10.


Now, for a limited time or until they are all gone:
the card-and-magnet packs are $10 and the magnets alone are $5
postage within the US included.


I will be happy to send them internationally,
but I will ask the buyer to pay any postage over the amount the US domestic mail would cost for the same package. That seems fair to everyone, I hope.


The magnets are 4x6 inches, the cards (blank inside) are a hair bigger,
so the magnets can be mailed inside the cards as a little gift.


The cards are already packaged with magnets and I don't want to reopen the clear, compostable envelopes, so I don't plan to sell cards separately. Or we could say, a card alone is now $10. and you'll receive a matching magnet at no additional cost :)


If you are interested, just email me at
with your selection and I'll follow up with an email within a day.


Please note: I have more of some images than others, so first come, first served.


By the way, the back of each card looks like this:

*About the title of this post:
I have recently declined multiple requests to sell goats, although it certainly would have made economic sense to sell livestock just now as we head into Winter - the most expensive time to keep an animal even under the best circumstances.
It felt like the right decision not to sell the goats, but it did occur to me I might put a teensy bit more effort into helping them support themselves through the sale of cards and the like.
I tend to be a little low-key about things like this. Very low-key. Almost silent and invisible, in fact. So this post is probably as "hey everybody! big sale now!" as will appear on the blog. To be honest, I feel a little awkward about even this, but if it works, well...
at least I'm selling images, not goats.
Thanks :)

Saturday, November 16, 2019

saturday shuffle

Wednesday was a very, very long day.
Thank you all for your kind thoughts!
They helped.

Thursday likewise, but at home: non-stop working about the place, with a couple of hours of able assistance from my Occasional Helper.
Yesterday ditto, except without the able assistance. But with the electrician,
who restored power to the outbuildings, one month after the storm and the fallen tree.

HUZZAH!!! No more frozen water buckets!

I've been so very tired, and totally "done" when evening chores are finished.
Too tired to eat. Too tired to sleep - which is such a weird thing,
but I'll bet you've experienced it too.

Today I'm hoping to get back into a rational rhythm, so to speak.

I'm starting by posting these snaps of recent #DailyMarkmaking efforts.
Some nights it's been literally just a scribble - I'll spare you those! -
and these are terrible snaps, I'm sorry.
But if I wait to take more, it will be tomorrow. Or Monday.
So I'm just going to post them here and keep moving.
I won't be moving fast - or "fast enough" according to the goats - 
but I shall continue to creep along and get somewhere eventually.


Wednesday, November 13, 2019

almost wordless wednesday

I'm going to be away for most of Wednesday, for a doctor's appointment an hour East and several errands on the way there and back. Morning chores will be done early and evening chores will be done late.

So now, at 1 AM on Wednesday, I'm uploading three photographs taken on Tuesday, all within a few minutes of the sun going down. And I'll see you on Thursday, I hope.


Tuesday, November 12, 2019

hazel catkin

Azalea's daughter, Hazel Catkin, is dressed for Winter
even though she has never seen Winter before.

 Hazel is a sweet goat, and reminds me of her mother as a youngster.
Last summer she would only eat her oats if I held the pan for her.
I would sit in my sketching chair, directly in front of the massive barn fan, holding the pan. Hazel would trot right over - she knew the bigger goats couldn't steal her supper while I was there, so she really relaxed and enjoyed her oats and a bit of attention. For me, it was the best ten minutes of many a day last summer.

Today, when I enlarged the above photograph, I had to laugh:

She reminds me of a kitten who got distracted while having a wash
and forgot to put her tongue away.

I wish I could breed Hazel next year, but I won't ever breed her nor will I breed Azalea again, as much as I love the qualities and personalities of both. You may recall that Azalea had a problem with a weak horn when she was a baby, and to my dismay, both her kids have had a similar issue - one weak horn that, in the general rough and tumble of babygoat life, would sometimes get banged and bleed a bit, and possibly break at the tip before gradually becoming strong and solid. As the goat - and the horns - grow, one horn remains shorter than the other. It becomes only a cosmetic difference, but still, it's not a trait I want to risk perpetuating.

So there we are.
Two of my nicest does, neither of whom will be adding offspring to the herd.

This is just the way things go when it comes to breeding animals.
There are sometimes disappointments, and losses, and hard decisions.
I try to focus on the positives.

Here's my favorite photograph of Azalea.
Notice anything?


Saturday, November 9, 2019


Less than a week ago, with several days of rain predicted,
I headed to the terrace garden to pick a few zinnias.

Since midsummer I've had a few zinnias in a range of sizes, shapes, and colors, in little vases and jam jars around the house. The flowers last for days in water, and sometimes even change color as they begin to - well, I was going to write "fade" but when a flower turns from a coral-rose to purple, it isn't really "fading," is it?

With so much rain predicted in the first week of November, I thought that might be the last handful of zinnias I would be carrying up to the house in 2019. And it was.

Thanks for another grand year, zinnias!

It was just last year, when on a whim I started some zinnias from seed in the tiny greenhouse, that I discovered how generous and joyous these plants are. Many of those tiny seedlings were eaten by insects before I could get them into the garden, but the plants that survived just grew and bloomed and grew and bloomed, right into late Autumn. They were one of my greatest joys in the 2018 gardens.

The bees and other pollinators certainly enjoyed them, too.

All day, every day: bees on the zinnias.

I saved some of the dried flower heads at this time last year, and planted the seeds this Spring. I planted a single row of seeds. That was all.
And all summer, I was greeted with:

The plants grew two to three feet tall, and branched out to form a wide row.
I ran a line of soft rope at knee-height along the the row, to help support them.
Maybe next year I'll make a little picket fence just for the zinnias.
Because I'm saving seed again this year.

Of course.


Friday, November 8, 2019

a gentle reminder

There was a tiny chance of snow in the forecast last night.
And that's what we got: a tiny snow.
If the air hadn't still been very cold, sunrise would have melted it.

I hastened outside to give the hens a Special Breakfast,
see what Hazel and Bud thought about their First Snow,
and take a few snaps.

Because I didn't bother with gloves - or a coat, for that matter -
I soon realized that it was indeed very cold.
Had to thaw the ice in gate latches and break ice in the water buckets.
I took only a very few snaps before heading inside
to hold my fingers under cold water for a minute, then warm water.
Ahhh. That's better.

Then I had a bowl of curry for breakfast.

I'm not saying I feel like this mushroom:


I feel like the mushroom behind that mushroom.

But the sky is becoming a pale blue and it's not raining,
so today is going to be a fine day for doing things.
For doing All The Things.
I hope!
Because this tiny snow is the gentle - if chilly - harbinger of Winter.
And there are just a few things that still need to be done.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

to the pond

Rain is predicted today, so yesterday I made "take Piper to the pond" a priority.
We haven't gone for many of our favorite Autumn rambles at the pond because the Highlander has been in the shop several times recently, and usually for more than one day each time.

It's one of those repair situations where fixing Critical Issue A (to the tune of over $900, which made me blink) unfortunately leads to Critical Issues B though D. The tally is now over three thousand dollars, and yesterday when I got the call from the office manager at the garage saying "your Highlander is fixed," I felt a bit like Charlie Brown and the football.

Anyway, after morning chores and getting the truck back, I brushed Piper thoroughly so that any burrs she might pick up in the woods would be a bit easier to remove, and off we went.

Can you see all those little specks on Pip's coat? She went through a stand of goldenrod and picked up a few seeds to disperse along the trail.

Sniffing is one of Piper's very favorite things to do.
She did a lot of it yesterday;

The colors were phenomenal.

So much green and gold.

Piper ambled to and fro while I took photographs
and picked up bits of things to possibly sketch someday. 
It was while I was photographing this pitcherplant... 

...that Piper went into the bog.

I don't know if she intended to go in, or if she was thinking of having a drink and was taken by surprise by the sudden depth of what is usually just wet ground.
But in a flash she was in muddy water halfway up her ribs, and her effort to turn around and get out only made her feet sink deeper into the muck.
Thinking she might panic, I quickly squelched over and grabbed her collar to give her something solid to pull against.
Result: one very stinky, mucky hound and one equally mucky shoe and trouser leg. I didn't take a picture, but Piper looked very much as she did in this blogpost - with a higher waterline.

Piper was expecting to carry on rambling and sniffing as if she wasn't soaking wet and dripping muck, but since it was chilly and windy, our ramble was curtailed.
Even worse from Piper's point of view, the moment we got home she immediately had a very thorough bath.
After which, everything I was wearing went into the washer with extra detergent.

We are so clean now.
All ready for today's rain.


Saturday, November 2, 2019

first cut

I've probably mentioned the incomprehensible barrier that immobilizes me
every time I think about trying linocut printmaking.

Yes, that thing that almost everyone I know had a chance to try in grammar school. "Linocut? Oh yes," they say when I ask. "We did that in art class when I was 12!" I don't know if it was the limited arts program in my school or what, but it was never an option. And for at least 30 years I've wanted to try it, because I love woodcuts and wood engravings, and linocut seems like the easiest way to experiment. I mean, kids do it in art class, for goodness sake! How hard can it be?

Over several years I've acquired bits of gear: an ink roller from the cat shelter tag sale, a few pieces of lino added to my semi-annual watercolor order (amazingly, ordering watercolors has become a routine!), a starter set of printing inks, and the same Speedball carving tool with multiple blades that I imagine schoolkids use for their carefree adventures in linocut. Everything but a bench hook - to hold the lino steady on a table while cutting - which could be easily built with scrap wood.

This past month, which is "#PrintOctober" on twitter, I decided to either do it or stop thinking about doing it. The adventure began quite merrily on the 1st. I sat down to sketch a design and...immediately got bogged down. What to draw? What to DRAW? Settling that question took a couple of days and even a little poll amongst the twitter art folk, who kindly gave me a nudge. Okay, onward!

Next, I watched some videos about how printmakers transfer a design to the lino. I had to wait til I could go to the library on the next Saturday to print my drawing at the correct scale for my 4x6 inch block. But when I got to the library, their computer was inexplicably Not Working. It would be three days before I could get to another library.

It went on like that all month - every little step forward turned into a delay. Meanwhile, of course, I kept doing the Daily Markmaking, and this might have made it easy to forget about the printmaking altogether.

Well on October 30th I looked at the calendar and thought, "Wholly guacamole, the month is almost over!" I did what I could have done a month ago or a year ago or ten years ago: I drew the design directly on the block, consciously eliminated all expectations, and began to get a feel for using the cutting tool. I still had no bench hook, but it didn't matter because my spine has been so troubled for the past few weeks I couldn't have sat at a table to work anyway. Nope. I got in my "zero gravity" position, wedged the block between my knees and my worktable, and making very very sure my left hand was never within a 180 degree arc of the blade, I began to cut.

Dear Readers, I can report that there is a lot more work to do,
and a lot to learn along the way,
but my first linocut, an ellipse framing Japanese anemones,
is now a Work In Progress.


Tuesday, October 29, 2019

transplanting tuesday


We've had a couple of rainy days, and tomorrow is predicted to be the first of three more rainy days, so today - which only looked like rain, all day long - was my do-or-die chance to plant the new blueberry bush, transplant the strawberries, and move a big clump of anise hyssop that got tipped up when the bigtooth poplar by the barn was blown down in the recent storm.

milkweed, detail

After morning chores, I got stuck into the job.

(By the way, the photographs are from a few days ago.
They are from the garden but not directly related to this post.
I didn't take a camera outside today because I needed to Focus On The Work.)


Now, at 4 PM, I am patting myself on my aching back (only mentally, I can't reach) for having gotten all three tasks completed. I've also had a lovely lunch - fried egg on a brioche roll with mayo and lettuce, and a glass of guanábana juice.

(A local store has been selling the soursop juice for a dollar per can lately, and although it is not quite what I vividly remember drinking on a very hot day in Puerto Rico, it's refreshing. And I was certainly glad to have it on hand during the recent four days without water.)

goldenrod, detail

Moxie has joined me and I'm idly wondering when I'll have to switch from my back-length heating pad to my back-length icepack. Maybe when I can't feel the heat anymore?

 I am in no hurry to try to move, so I'll just stay put for a while.
Unless Piper wants to go out.
Or Della wants to come in.
Or there's some sort of mayhem in the paddocks.
(Please, please, let there be no mayhem in the paddocks.)

Until then, just blogging. And sketching! That's coming up next.