Saturday, November 30, 2019

looking back at november

November was a lovely month, and quickly gone.
There was a lot of rain, but also many clear, bright days.
I loved the clear mornings, often very cold, usually with frost or a dusting of snow.

More than once when I began morning chores I didn't even get as far as the barn before turning around and going right back to the house for a camera. 

Because when rays of the rising sun make it through openings in the trees,
the frost disappears in a matter of moments.

So much color everywhere.
This was new: multicolored leaves of the blueberry bought from a nursery in October:

Not all the November colors are bright, but just look at this:

in early light, the Chelona leaves glow like polished bronze.

November was a time for seeing the "first" of some things...

...and seeing the "last" of other things.

And we had to put a little more effort into being comfortable.
Piper will not allow a blanket on her couch -
I put one on every day, and every night she digs at it until it falls off.
So I experimentally made her a nightgown by cutting the sleeves off my lambswool zip-neck sweater.

She holds very still while I put it on her,
so I think she must enjoy the extra coziness.
She wears it when we go for walks on very cold days, also,
and looks Very Smart.

Moxie and Della divide their time between outdoors and inside,
and both enjoy sleeping in wooly beds by the woodstove,
which has been going non-stop all month.

But when I need to flatten out my back for a while, any time, night or day,
one or both cats will keep me company, which I appreciate very much.
Cats have taught me everything I know about how to be "in the moment."

 Last night I did the Daily Markmaking by painting this fern:

Painted with my left hand, because Moxie was sleeping on my right hand.
It was fun dabbing away with my non-dominant hand. I'll certainly do it again.

And now it's time to do tonight's markmaking before I fall asleep,
which will be very soon.

Goodnight, readers.
Here comes December.
Keep your fires fed.

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.