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?

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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 🙂

IMG_1184

Trying to get better pictures…

Photographing paintings is very challenging. It’s hard to get a good representation of the real thing. Individual computer monitors, lighting, contrast, brightness, glare…. it’s something I’m really struggling with.

My brother was kind enough to come take pictures for me today but his computer died before he was able to finish burning them for me so I only have a few to post.

I’m finding this one is looking a little dark on my monitor…

painting, Two Ravens  on a birch branch full moon

Looks really dark on my monitor.

I never did post any close ups so here are a few that I took with my iphone, so not the best quality but it’s what I have.ravens, birch, full moon, moon, night, branchmoon, raven, night, crow, birchraven, night, moon, birch, carylic, paintingraven, branch, birch, moon. I haven’t named  this painting and would love to hear any feedback on that.

It’s been much longer between posts than I had hoped it would be but you know how it is, life gets busy sometimes. I have managed to get a bit more painting done on the piece I posted about last. I wasn’t happy with the neck on one of the birds and ended up changing that and in the process I made the background much more vibrant. I love bright green. My house is bright green, my studio walls are bright green and Atreyu’s room is bright green. With spring finally peeking at Nova Scotia I am craving colour! This painting should fit the bill!bright, spring, green, ravens, crow, branch, work in progressHere is a little close up of the heckyl and Jeckyl 🙂bright, spring, green, ravens, crow, branch, work in progressThe guy on the left is the one I adjusted the neck on. Here is what it was before in case you were wondering…

raven painting

before

and the guy on the right now…bright, spring, green, ravens, crow, branch, work in progress

 

I’m planning on adding some apple blossoms next. But first I am off to take Jaxxon for a walk with my friend Sydney and her gorgeous, huge doodle named Finnegan. I’ll post later with an update after I start the flowers. Hope you are all having an awesome long weekend!

NIght Owls, Unite!

I have come to realize I’m a night owl. It takes me all day to get ready to be productive. Trey is gone with his Dad and Glenn is back in Alberta. I thought I’d get a lot done today but had a discouraging start in the studio today. Just couldn’t get the background quite right for a painting I wanted to start. I took a break in the early afternoon and made vegan seitan donair meat. Whooo boy! For anyone not from Nova Scotia, donair is a spicy meat, shaved thin, placed on a greek pita, with red onions, tomatoes, sweet garlicky donair sauce and mozza cheese. It’s generally seen as a greasy fast food best eaten at pizza corner on your way home from a heavy night of drinkng. I’ve never really been one for drinking but I used to love eating donairs back when I was an omnivore. I am a reluctant vegetarian and have been for the better part of ten years. I like meat, I like the taste, smell and texture of meat. I like how satisfying it is.  I’ve been exploring the wonders of home made seitan, aka “wheat meat”. It’s awesome. high in protein, chewy, tasty and very satisfying. So today I decided to try this recipe http://vspot16.wordpress.com/tag/vegan-donair/… it’s awesome! I can’t wait for Glenn to come home so he can try it too. Step daughter is making it tonight for her BF who is a chef, wonder what he’ll think. Ah, he’ll love it because she made it 🙂

Anyways, back to the real reason for posting, after a donair break to recharge my creative drive I finally made some headway with a painting. Still have a way to go but I’m off to a good solid start.

Here is the background with some outlines taking shape

ravens, crows, painting, acrylic

outlines of ravens

 

ravens, crows, painting

Just starting to block in some tones

raven, painting

bit more done

raven painting

getting there

crow painting

still needs lots of work

 

And I think that’s it for tonight. Trey comes home tomorrow and I need some rest. Going to join this creature….

Poodle, sleeping, dog

Let it ALL hang out!

 

I’ll post more tomorrow and hopefully get caught up on all the blogs I follow. It’s been too long….

Summer chaos

There is no denying it. It is most definitely autumn. I finally brought the last the garden had to offer into the house yesterday. Two zucchini, one tomato the frosts had somehow missed, two tiny but sweet ears of corn and a smattering of rebel sugar snap peas. The winter squash are still out but the frost is still light enough to leave them.

This was my first vegetable garden and it was spectacular! What a great introduction to gardening for sustenance. I can’t wait to do it all again next year – but BIGGER and better 🙂 I’m definitely hooked.

Don't you just *love* bees?

Don’t you just *love* bees?

My son went back to school September 5th. Grade 3. Time really does go by much too fast. I always feel like I don’t do enough with him during our short summers.

Big Brown helping Trey and I put in a new flower bed.Hanging out along the river

Hanging out along the river

My partner was home with us for two months which was great. Although I must say it definitely added to the chaos. You never know what is going to happen until it happens when he is around. Sudden trips to one end of our province or another happened with no more than 5 minutes notice it seemed. Hard for an eight year old who needs routine and even harder on a 42 year old who needs routine and lots of time to shift gears. Not much painting happened between the garden, swimming and unannounced road trips. But it was so nice to have him home every single night. That’s one thing with him working out west, it’s lonely once the boy and the animals are all tucked in for the night.

The late Mr/ Fawkes with some of his lady friends

The late Mr. Fawkes with some of his lady friends

We lost a few chickens over the summer. Three hens died of peritonitis which we traced back to our lovely Mr. Fawkes. The vet figured it was his chronic vent gleet that was infecting the girls cloacas.

Bubble BathTough guys have bubble baths too...

Tough guys have bubble baths too…

After months of daily baths he was the sweetest and calmest rooster which made it even sadder that he had to be culled. We were lucky enough to have the handiest handy man ever working on our addition. Jack killed him for us and buried him by the river. The girls have been directionless ever since Big Daddy died last year. They were just starting to accept Mr. Fawkes. Since his untimely demise, my favourite hen, Breeze, has stepped up to the plate and assumed cock of the walk position. She has become quite ornery with me and pecks my legs viciously now instead of gently when she wants to be cuddled. She still stretches to be picked up but immediately attacks when she is set back down. She’s even growing spurs! I haven’t seen her mount anyone yet and I can’t imagine how the two young roosters will make out with her once they come of age. She is one ferocious chicken!

My transgender chicken, Breeze, looking for blackberries and legs to peck

My transgender chicken, Breeze, looking for blackberries and legs to peck.

Breeze angles for a ride to the tim horton's drive thru

Breeze angles for a ride to the tim horton’s drive thruTurn your back for a minute with the car door open or the window down and you may have a stow away on your next trip for groceries...

Turn your back for a minute with the car door open or the window down and you may have a stow away on your next trip for groceries…

We had major renovations completed this summer which also added to the chaos. Our front deck is finally done. Hooray! And we knocked a wall out between the original house and the addition. Only took three years to finally make it happen. It was two months of daily renovations and I think I handled it very well. Certainly better than I would have two years ago. We still have painting to do and more renovations once Mom sells her house and makes the move from the big city to join us. But for this year I think we are done.

So with Glenn back to work and Trey back in school, I have almost no excuses to avoid painting. I’ve joined forces with my very talented friend, Lisa Sullivan and together we are challenging each other to get more painting done. It’s going very well and I’m so glad to have her encouragement! I’m working on a facecrack  facebook presence and will link to her art page when I finally take that plunge. I still haven’t figured out how to photograph my paintings but I will be working on that soon. My brother, Phil Bourgeois (http://philbourgeois.zenfolio.com/ ), has kindly offered to help me when I am ready. In the meantime, here are some rough photos of what I’ve been up to…

Work in progress. Working on this today.

Work in progress. Working on this today.

Chief Sitting Bull and three wise men. I was really pleased with the way the ravens turned out in this one. It's only my third ever portrait and I'm quite proud :)

Chief Sitting Bull and three wise men. I was really pleased with the way the ravens turned out in this one. It’s only my third ever portrait and I’m quite proud 🙂Working on this today. I'll post an update when it's finished.

Three wise guys

Second in series

Second in series