Tag Archives: Life On The Farm

Old Dogs, New Tricks

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Yes, I’ve heard that old saying too. “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Supposedly to be an explanation of how it’s easier to teach something new to someone younger. That expression has been around since the 1500s, and quite possibly just as inaccurate then as it is now.

To my way of thinking: it depends on the dog.

From time to time, I try to teach myself a few new tricks. I like to think I can knit and am mostly self-taught when it comes to that. There’s something oddly self-satisfying about the repetitive hand motions which accompany knitting, crocheting or hand spinning. While researching hand spinning, I came across a general statement about how Gandhi used spinning as a form of meditation and if he did, I understand how that works. My mind is clear, yet focused, and I can use that time to allow the most amazing creative thoughts to develop. Multiple points of view(s) are explored, plot points developed, dialogue planned, characters fleshed out: when I use that time as a technique for writing, it frees my creative consciousness to go to a whole other place. I’m not just spinning or knitting. I’m WORKing my brain! If I knit while riding a recumbent bicycle, I’m working my body as well. (Before you ask, the answer is yes.)

My friends who knit socks are encouraging me to give socks a try. So I’ve watched them, watched videos, knit and UNknit the same sock multiple times. The sock has to fit my foot and calf, right? (Yes) But it will go in a shoe, so does it matter if the toe is all the way closed? (Yes) Turning the heel part of the sock is a whole-other-matter. And you need two socks that sort-of match to have a pair of them.

My creative path to making socks is evolving. I can make two fairly good “tube” socks, with no heel. I am learning to knit from the toe-up and I enjoy having made my own double pointed knitting needles out of wooden dowel sticks. Granted, my work looks like a tiny porcupine with all those needles sticking out of it but that’s not what’s important. Just like those messy first drafts, I am working it out. Even if I have to unknit later, even that will have taught me something about the process. I will learn to knit a heel; short rows seem to be the way to go. There are SO many ways to knit a sock.

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Looks like a toe has begun to form, doesn’t it? As I keep going, maybe the rest of the sock will appear.

As I keep writing or drawing, I’m fairly certain the ideas will come together, too.

I’d show you a photograph of one of my dogs, but she’s not in the mood to pose for a photograph. The offer of extra kibble-bits just won’t do it.

The dogs suggest I come back later. They’re wise to me.

I think I’ll go knit. Or write. Or draw.
Happy Creating!

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Filed under DIY, Handmade, Life on the Farm, Writing

Serenade

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Homer can really sing. He throws back his head and aMAzing sounds come forth.

His “warning cry” sounds like a cross between a gargle and a yodel. Think: Tarzan yell, if you remember what that sounded like on early Saturday morning television. Or if you’ve ever watched any of the Carol Burnett Variety Shows (1967-78) or caught them as “re-runs,” remember? She always had a request from someone in the audience to do the Tarzan yell and she always obliged.

Go ahead—try it yourself. Tilt your head back and let it fly.

Feels good, doesn’t it?

My barn/studio is in the pasture beside the alpaca shelter. I can sometimes tell what’s happening right outside my doorway just by listening, like I used to be able to do when my kids were younger. The sounds of tussle, tussle, thump, thump in an adjoining room would be followed by some kind of outburst from one of the kids. Then there would be the sounds of hurried footsteps as one child chased the other down the hall.

Alpacas do that, too. One animal gets too close to the hay that another animal was thinking about eating and it begins. Tussle, tussle, thump, thump, WARbling sounds and one is chasing the other through the pasture. I stop what I’m doing to watch–to pay attention–and listen. I give them a few minutes to sort it all out. They love cool water, so turning on the water hose is a good method of distraction. They crowd around me for a drink of fresh water. I hose down their legs and in a few minutes, all is forgotten. They roll around in the dirt together and soon they are eating grass in the pasture.

I smile. I remember. I laugh out loud. Something about all this seems familiar.

I smile because I have the privilege of watching my own three sons grow into fine young men. I remember days of trying to figure out positive encouragement as they learn skills to be able to navigate their own waters.

And I laugh out loud because, well, it feels good. Will you join me?

AAHHHHHeeeaheee………Ah!!!

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Filed under Life on the Farm, Writing