Category Archives: Outdoor living

Let’s get outside, plant something and watch it grow!

Winterwriting

Egarden looks quiet and peaceful, doesn’t it?

Or does it appear to be a random collection of sticks and stems, weedy looking patches of undergrowth and dreary, dead leaves?

I think it depends on what you might be looking for in comparison to what might be there.  You might wonder, but if it doesn’t show itself right away, you could worry that it might be long gone. Wait.  And then, wait some more. It’s there.

Since some things won’t be growing in these cooler winter months, I decided to try my hand at sprouting a plant from an avocado seed.  That’s not as easy as it sounds, because when I plant something out in eGarden during the summer months, I am able to measure the growth I see fairly soon.

As I read information about sprouting a plant from an avocado seed, the chances of successful germination might make even the most avid gardener shudder–I mean, seriously? It could take a long time for that seed to germinate, if it did so at all, and even then, there would be no guarantee that there would be anything to harvest.  Why. Even. Try. Right? Who has that kind of time to spend on something that’s not a “sure fire thing?”

I do. I did.  Because I’m curious about a great many things. I have a desire to try things new, and old, despite what my Mama would’ve called a “stubborn streak” that most likely encircles my entire body by now. I rather think of it as persistence.

And so I began. I decided to try three plants, rationalizing that surely at least ONE of them would do SOMEthing. The first one (A1) appeared to come forth rather quickly and I’m happy to report that it is now working toward its’ own personal growth spurt and is over two feet tall. (Not pictured here.)

But these other two have been in my window for a very long time. There was about a two month wait between the sprouting of Plant One (A1) and the small plant you see here (A2) and still, from the other (A3) there was nothing for a very long time.

Until today.  If you look very closely, you will see the beginnings of roots forming underneath the seed. Soon there will be a growth that will sprout from the top of the seed itself and a stem will begin to form. Then it will become what it is meant to be. It takes time.

I share all that to say this: I know the writing/artistic projects that I am working on will come forth and grow into something WHEN IT IS THEIR TIME, and until then, I continue to work at something I love, nurture and develop my own creative spirit, and encourage other creatives I know. It is Time Well Spent.

Happy Creating to you, today and every day.

 

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Simple Gifts

“Simple Gifts” is a Shaker song written and composed by Elder Joseph Brackett in 1848. The song has been adapted and rearranged many times by musicians since then.  I find it wonderfully haunting and lyrical, and felt as though I wanted to learn to play it on my dulcimer.  My version is played “by ear” and adapted to my own style of strumming.  Here are the lyrics (to verse one):

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free

‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,

And when we find ourselves in the place just right,

‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained,

To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed,

To turn, turn will be our delight,

Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.

Research shows me that the references to “turning” in the last lines are identified as dance motions for traditional participants, and by the time the music has ended, everyone would’ve ended up back in the place they once started. There are other verses, too.  You might want to check out this lovely song on your own.

Farmer’s Market Season is over for the year, so I’m able to get a lot of work done around the house.  I spent time in Egarden this past weekend, cleaning out overgrown weeds and saving flower heads for seeds for next year. And a recent wind storm gave me a BUNCH of sticks in the grassy area between the house and the alpaca pasture. I’ve collected them to use in the fireplace soon, but for now, am also making some of these.  They will be used for flower vases or other decorations.

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I spent time cleaning out around a fig bush, from which I harvested figs for making jelly.  But I also cut out and saved…..kudzu vines!  I’ll let them dry out, then soak again to weave into baskets or wreathes.

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Simple gifts from nature. Seems like so little, but really, they have the potential to be so much more.

Happy Creating!

 

 

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Back On The Trail (Again!)

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I’m getting ready to attend one of my favorite writing conferences–the Southern Breeze SCBWI Writing and Illustrating for Kids (WIK) conference, close to Birmingham, AL. It will be great to visit with writers and illustrators– meet agents, editors and art directors. I always learn SO much from these conferences and come away inspired and with plans for creative projects. Plus, I get to visit with long-time friends who are creative spirits, too. We share news, tips and talk about our individual creative “path.”

So I put on my hiking boots today to take a walk in the backwoods. It’s so DIFFICULT to pack for these conferences. There’s so much to think about!! I can’t decide what to take along with me, and you know I want to do a lot and all at the same time!

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By the time I got deeper into the woods, I could hear the sound of the water in the creek. No cars. No phones. Nothing to create a distraction. Just the sound of my own footsteps as I crunched through the leaves.

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I went as far as the tree house before I stopped to rest. The sun provided a nice canopy over the bend in the creek. I took out my sketchbook, fully intending to spend some time writing or drawing while I was there.

But I stopped. I just stood still and listened. To my breath and the beating of my own heart.
I hope to include that in my writing and illustrating.

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Happy creating to you, too!

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The Popcorn Wagon

After restoration

After restoration

Would you like to have some popcorn?

Fresh!

Hot!

Melt-in-your-mouth-with-butter-good.

Living on a creative path can take me in so many directions. Like when my significant other comes in and says, “Look what I found! We didn’t have one,” I know by now I’m going to be in for something special. That’s one of the things I enjoy about him—-his finding of the most unusual and creative distractions.

Before restoration

Before restoration

The Wagon was a sad looking little thing when it first came to us. Rust here. Rust there. Actually, rust was everywhere. You could see the ground through the floor when you looked inside. You could see light from the sky when you looked up, too. Dirt and dust and more rust.

I sighed. “Tell me about it,” I said.

And his story began, about the guy who had previously owned the wagon, who said it had come from an amusement park back in the early nineteen-seventies. About how it had been in storage and how most of the parts came along with it. He thought. And wouldn’t it be great to “fix it up” and put a real popcorn machine inside? Wouldn’t that be fun for Movie Night? Well, yes, I thought so too. The restorations began.

One of the things I’ve appreciated a lot about this project has been the joy in research for my writings/drawings. I actually LIKE looking for clues and trying to see where they might lead. I don’t know who the people were who carved their initials on the inside of the drawers in the wagon, but I appreciate the fact they left a few coins in there which were dated in the late sixties. I appreciate the help we’ve received from people who thought it might be a this-or-that and who gave us a website or contact name for information. I am grateful for people who actually answered the questions we didn’t know how to formulate because we didn’t know what we were looking for in the first place. And I will TREASURE the information, when I get through it, from the person who pointed me in the direction of an entire 220 plus paged catalog of photographs of a particular popcorn company. When I get a confirmation from a certified source, I can tell you what they’ve said.

I know, I know. You might be thinking, the girl has gone too far down the path. She does too much STUFF. Are you asking yourself, “Does a Popcorn Wagon have anything to do with Creative Living? Writing? Drawing? Alpacas? Spinning or Weaving?”
I’d like to share a quotation, if that’s all right with you:

“It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.” ― Vincent van Gogh

When we show a movie on the side of the Big Barn on a starry night, we will have the MOST amazing popcorn to go along with it. What a wonderful finish to a creatively busy day.

Are you doing what you love?

Well done!

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Filed under Life on the Farm, Outdoor living, Writing