where does the time go and how *does* she do it?

Where does the time go? I can’t believe it’s been so long since I posted last. I have been busy, at least I think I have been, however I don’t seem to have a lot to show for all my efforts. Mostly I have been working on my garden. The growing season here in Nova Scotia is quite short and time is of the essence when it comes to getting your plants in early enough to have them develop into ripe fruit and vegetables before the first autumn frost. We built four new 8′ x 4′ vegetable beds and had to extend the fencing to enclose this and keep the chickens out. Currently I am in the process of building four more small 2.5′ x 2.5′ foot raised beds for winter squash and snap peas. So far I have in cherry tomatoes, regular tomatoes, Swiss chard, head lettuce, leaf lettuce, winter squash, watermelon, corn, asparagus, celery, snap peas, bush beans, beets and some zucchini. I will be putting in pole beans as soon as the corn is tall enough which should be in a matter of a week or two. I love gardening but it is time-consuming. The flowerbeds have needed weeding and still do although I have managed to get some done.

In other spring/summer news, we got seven new baby chicks in May, four speckled Sussex and three barred Plymouth Rock.

chicks

speckled sussex, chicks,

Trey with his new babies

Unfortunately one of the speckled Sussex died in the first week that we had it, not sure exactly what happened it just passed away one morning. I had one part Plymouth Rock that was not growing, all the others had feathered out and she still had nothing but fuzz and a couple feathers on her wings.

Plymouth rock chick, speckled sussex, failure to thrive

tiny plymouth rock chick between two chicks the same age as her.

She was smaller by quite a bit- probably less than half the size of the other chickens her age. I left them outside yesterday and sadly she did not come home at night. Perhaps it was too soon to let them out unsupervised. I know the Eagles have been circling over our property quite a bit lately. Generally, they don’t land, but perhaps one of them decided it wanted chicken McNuggets for lunch. Little Mama has also hatched out two eggs. Not sure what they will look like as they are just eggs from my 1/2 auracana and the mutt Rooster that we currently have. They sure are cute though.

Breeze has recently decided that my two year education in massage therapy must not go to waste and is demanding more than just cuddles. She wants full on chicken massage. I may have found my true calling. At one point she actually had her head laying in my hand as I worked on her neck and wings. She sure is cute in a terrifyingly demanding fluffy dinosaur descendant kind of way.

 

One of my young hens from last year was attacked by something (probably a cat) and had to be nursed back to health. She was in bad shape when I found her, she had been missing for three days and when she showed up her face was swollen and cut up and she was bald in many places and quite lame. I put her in a Rubbermaid container and kept her in my studio for two weeks so she had time to heal without the other girls pecking her. She certainly enjoyed all the special food and warmth. I have to say I didn’t appreciate her rather pungent perfume though. But I’m so glad she pulled through. She’s especially curious and friendly now after having so much one on one time in the house. So that’s the latest chicken drama.

cat attacked chicken

Looking worse for wear

In other news, I’ve recently taken up running, which I’m quite proud of. It’s another thing I always said I would never do and like the other things on that list, I’ve been forced to eat my words. I’m actually enjoying it, which quite surprises me. I’m running out on the dyke lands near Atreyu’s school after I drop him off in the morning. I first started running on the trails behind our house but one of the Nova Scotia power workers stopped to inform us that there was a mother bear with three cubs in the area and that she had just been spotted an hour ago over the hill where we run. Trey had been telling me he could hear something in the woods but I didn’t take him very seriously (although normally he doesn’t say anything like that so perhaps I should have). I’m just glad we didn’t see her. So my cousin told me about the Dyke lands and I have to say they are much nicer to run on as they are quite level, theres a cool breeze and you can see for miles.

dykes, marshland, standard poodle. nova scotia

running in the dyke land farmer’s fields.

And I’m proud to say that I am seeing progress in my cardiovascular health. Which is the main reason I wanted to start running, although I have to admit it would be nice to lose a few pounds. That hasn’t happened yet. Which is disappointing as I have been consistently running 3 to 5 days a week for 45 minutes for almost three months now. Initially I would walk and run. I was probably walking more than running but now I am up to running most of it with a couple short breaks to catch my breath. I am so proud 🙂

poodle. nova scotia,

Beautiful morning

poodle

Rainy day walk

We had my very good friend Gabby come to visit with her three awesome children. They only stayed overnight but it was so nice to see them. I sure wish she would move to the east coast…At the very least I hope next year they can stay longer.

Glenn has been home and then back to work a few times since I posted last. Its always nice to have him home, even if it does mean my schedule gets scrambled. I don’t know how other people manage their lives so smoothly. I am in awe of women who are mothers and work outside the home and manage to present a polished face to the world. I don’t work outside the home, I only have one child (who is in school) and I feel run off my feet. I consider it a successful day if I manage to shower and make my bed…

congratulations

To be fair he has kept me quite busy over the past few years as we have struggled to help him find his place in the world. But I truly don’t know how people do it. I am so grateful for the life I do have as I don’t think I could keep my sanity and be fit to be around if I had more on my plate. For years I did work full-time and I managed somehow to keep things pulled together. But I wasn’t a Mom. I’d be a crazy, cranky Mom if I had to work full time too….

patienceAs it is, I consider it a successful day of parenting if nobody died.

 

I don’t feel like I could do it now. I just feel like my life has been one chaotic event after another and I’m not as resilient as I wish I was. I’m trying but it doesn’t come easy. I adjust to one thing and then there is another life changing event. I feel like I just suck at managing change and challenges. I better keep working on that since we are also in the planning stages of adding on to our house, once again. Mom will be moving in as soon as her house sells. I am not looking forward to the chaos of renovations, however, I am looking forward to the finished result. The house should have better flow and having mom here will be awesome. Trey is super excited. He keeps saying his dream house would have everyone living in it together. Poor child should’ve been born into a large family but I guess that kind of was the plan, it just didn’t work out that way. He so wanted siblings he tried so hard to love his stepsister even though she was going through her difficult and unpleasant teenage years and was frequently hateful to him. He doesn’t hold it against her though, he still wishes that she and her older brother were living here at home with us.

Creatively I have been painting just not finishing a whole lot. I stalled on my last piece I posted about as I couldn’t decide what to do regarding putting a quote on the painting or not. I had a quote in mind however I was nervous as my hand lettering is not that good. Perhaps the suggestion to leave it as is and make prints with a quote on them is wisest. I have been trying to get into the studio for at least two hours every day to work on my art. I know once I get in the studio I always enjoy myself and the time passes without me noticing however it’s hard to get there some days when you know seeds need to be planted, dishes need to be washed, laundry needs folding, and you want to take the dog for a run, etc, etc… I know it’s all about priorities and as Melissa Dinwiddie (http://melissadinwiddie.com/) and Corey Huff (http://theabundantartist.com/) stress; you have to put your art first if you want to be successful. So here are some pictures of some work that is in progress in the studio right now. Some of the pieces are closer to completion than others but I thought I should post something since it has been so long.work in progress, painting, crow

painting in progress, crow

early stage of painting in progress

crow, raven, painting

in progress

raven in oak tree

getting close to being done

raven, oak tree

I’m curious about the people who might be reading this, do you struggle with making your art (or dreams)a priority? Do you have a studio in your house? Or is it away from home? I would think having a studio away from my house would probably mean I would get more work done. Perhaps I will be able to manage that someday. In the meantime tell me how do you do it? How do you manage to get everything done in the run of the day? Is it easy for you? Or do you struggle as well?

The Easter Bunny is extinct!

There are no chocolate bunnies left in the Annapolis Valley! Oh no! What will we do?

So at the last minute I realized I don’t have any easter chocolate for Trey. Whoops. I made a desperate trip out to town to see what I could find. It wasn’t much. Everyone is cleaned out. And there were still lots of people out looking besides myself. (good to know I’m not the only bad Mom) There was actually a woman at the superstore customer service desk in quite a lather because she knew someone who bought two whole cases of chocolate bunnies there three days ago and it wasn’t fair because now there is none left for everyone else!!!… And I swear, although I’m crazy at times, it wasn’t me doing the complaining. It’s only candy, and although it *is* chocolate, even I know no one is going to die without it. The crap those customer service ladies have to put up with must be enough to make them slightly batty.

crazy

Oh well, I did get a chocolate chicken and some tootsie rolls and jelly beans for his treasure hunt. His main thing is a Dungeons and Dragons introductory redbox kit and a needle felting kit. Yes, I am trying to home grow a geek. And I’m proud of myself for making the rhyming clues that go in each egg weeks ago so it shouldn’t be too bad tomorrow night. Since Trey is with his Dad I have an extra days grace, we won’t do the egg hunt until Easter Monday. So hopefully I’ll get more painting done tomorrow. Here is where I think I will leave off…

Crow, branch, apple blossom, spring

I’m cross eyed so it’s time for bed. Hope you have a peaceful Easter Sunday tomorrow 🙂

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raven, painting, night, moon

I’m baaaaaaaaaack!

Ok. So my husband was home for three days and is gone again. I love having him come home but three days isn’t enough. Although I must say it makes the time we do get together extra special (and extra spicy – nudge nudge, wink wink. Say no more, say no more) And at the same time I certainly accomplish a lot more when he isn’t around. So it’s all good I guess. Trey is gone with his Dad for March break so it’s just me and the poodle beast.

Poodle, rescue, standard poodle

Jaxxon the rescue poodle

I’ve been running errands, getting lots of exercise and eating the super healthy things I like and no one else does, helloooo red beans and rice! And most importantly, I made it back into the studio! Huzzah!

I’m just on a quick lunch break, although it’s closer to supper, oh well – time flies when you’re having fun! So I thought I would post some progress pictures 😀

just chalking in the outlines…

raven, painting

chalk outline

starting to block it in…

raven painting, moon, night

stage 2 of ravens

Adding more paint….

stages of painting, raven, night, moon

stage 3, adding more paint

starting to add some definition and body to the second raven…

acrylic, painting, ravens, moon, night

mostly blocked in

other guy….

raven, painting, moon

close up of other raven

Now I’m going to do a quick little spark exercise video and then back to work! I’ll post more later 🙂

 

 

 

 

Why the crows gift?

I decided to call my blog the crows gift because I feel crows have given me a great gift. Something no one else could have given me.

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I’ve always loved birds. Growing up we always had budgies and as a teenager I had a menagerie of small parakeets, lovebirds, cockatiels, budgies. And I loved the individual personalities of all these little feathered creatures. 25 years ago a psychic told me he could see huge glittering wings behind me and that crows were my totem. Even now I love my chickens, each one with a distinct personality. They bring me great joy. I’ve always loved all animals but birds and dogs have always seemed extra special to me.

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For a long time I wanted to paint but didn’t. I wanted to, but, I wouldn’t let my self. To be fair, it really was only me that was stopping me from painting. I’ve had time and supplies and supportive family so there is no real reason I have never really worked at painting. Self-doubt and voices from the past told me I couldn’t. It wasn’t safe to try. After all, as my grade 12 guidance counsellor told me 20 odd years ago, I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t a *real* artist. But, somehow last year I got the courage up to try. I was inspired by a photograph of a crow and as an exercise I decided to try painting it. And it turned out. Better than I expected. My brother and husband were encouraging and so I chose to paint another crow and this one turned out even better. And so I kept painting crows. I worked on learning about how acrylics work. I started giving greater thought to shading, texture, expression, light and shadow. (I am still learning about all of this with each painting). My successes at this point were giving me a much-needed boost to my artistic self-confidence. I started to believe that maybe I could be an artist. Somehow it felt like this was a gift given to me by the crows themselves. I felt and still do feel a strong connection to my subject. It’s like an artistic life line. I try to give them a presence on my canvas, a voice, a face. Individuality. To see them. And I feel like they are giving me so much in return. They are like signposts guiding me towards the way back home. Somehow they have given me back myself. And for that I am truly thankful.

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