Monday, March 17, 2014

The Eagle and The Chickens

As I was looking for my Book of Remembrance, I found a box of diaries and poems.  This is one I wrote in 1977 after hearing this story.  I thought it would be good as a poem.

The Eagle and the Chickens
(a poetic adaptation of an anonymous story, 1977 by Judy Nelson)
One day I worked in meadow and field.
The soil I plowed and planted and tilled.
My mind was on matters far from this ground.
When fluttering, struggling, an eaglet I found.
How had she wandered so far from her home?
Her parents not near, she was lost and alone.
Mostly just stunned, her wounds were not bad.
She didn't fight, but was tired and sad.
I carried her back to my home-fire near.
To tend to her wounds and allay any fear.
My chickens adopted her into our coop.
Food and protection with this motley group.
The days passed quickly and she grew strong.
Soon ready to fly back where she belonged.
She learned to scratch and peck and scratch.
These poultry, not nearly her match.
Proud she grew, but still stayed on…
I knew her wings were sufficiently strong.
            Had she forgotten how to fly?
            To hover regally through the sky?
I wondered what's wrong, then sought to try
To coax this young eagle now to fly.
"Fly little eagle, up to that blue!"
At last I caught my aristocrat creature,
And took her where the mountains could teach her.
"Other eagles live here," I told her, "I know."
Then urged her again, "You've got to go."
"Rise to your talent, you gained at your birth."
"Rise up from the fence, the coop, and the earth."
"Fly, little eagle", I eagerly cried.
Nudged her, encouraged.  She finally tried.
Proudly, she soared, first to the tree.
Then, to the cliff, then back to me.
"Go on," I urged.  "You CAN arise!"
Then, joyfully, she flew up to the skies.
Up past the trees and circled from view.

I knew you could do it.  Little eagle, I knew.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Searching For Chocolate

What…? You say, why not just go to any store and get chocolate, if that's what she is in search of?  Aah, the chocolate that beckons is not sweet and reeking of cocoa powder.  It is the chocolate color in fabric for rug making. 
That is my most used color and one of the most difficult to find in thrift store sheets.  They surely make chocolate colored dye. (I even toyed with the idea of using cocoa for dye…but no, it is too precious to waste on dye.) I have dyed fabric before mostly in grays.  I have a large stash of ivory and white sheets, colors which I rarely use.  Why not dye them? 

(If you want to see some of the rugs that I make, take a look at my rug blog: http://dreampackerrug.blogspot.com/)

 So, make a trek to the store, not for Hershey's kisses, but for Rit's dye.  Alas, Smith's does not carry any brown dye.  Hmmmm. What makes brown?  Complimentary colors.  Red and Green?  So, I got red (wine) and dark green.  Followed the instructions, for stove top dyeing…adding salt.  Wetting the fabric first.  Stir…dissolve, then add the sheet to the pot. 


Whoa, the green is mostly gray and adding the red….well, it doesn't really produce brown.  Did a few items and looked at the result.  Wow, tie dying.  Dried them in the dryer and inspected the colors and patterns. The patterns were so gorgeous that I couldn't possibly cut these works of art into strips to make rugs.  (These photos do NOT do justice. click on any photo for an enlarged image.)









I still needed brown, though.  So, I searched for the natural dye that would make dark brown.  Black Walnut bark?  No, don't have that.  Coffee? 

Doesn't make DARK brown, but it might brown down the gray a bit.  So, into the basement to retrieve the old can of Maxwell House (probably at least 30 years old. Looks like coffee holds up well under long term storage. No weevils.) So, I made some coffee, probably not brewed properly because all I have ever done with it…is  colonic irrigations.  Tried dyeing with it and it just made a light tan. 

Oh, well, back to the Dyeing Board.
Back to a different store and found Dark Brown dye.

  Yay, Walmart!  Got some more white sheets at the Salvation Army.  (Did you know that they donate all their date expired bakery items to charities such as the Salvation Army?  Where it is distributed for free.  Yay, Walmart again. ) I found a beautiful King size chocolate colored top sheet, brand new at Savers for $6.  It was so gorgeous and luxurious and was 100% Indian cotton with an astronomical thread count.  That one goes on the bed.
Any way tried again with the sheet dyeing.  The new brown dye was not very brown and turned out more gray.  Hmmm. What would warm up the color?  I have Orange Kool Aid.  Added a package to the color bath and yes, it did warm it up. (Colorfully speaking.) Got some more interesting items.
Many thoughts went through my head about what I could do with the beautiful fabric.  Art Quilts? Skirts?  Blouses?  then I thought of Tablecloths.  Yes, that is it.  I will be making some beautiful art tablecloths that coordinate beautifully with my china, even the blue and cream.


I was also excited to find a way to use vintage white print sheets, just add a little color.




Friday, February 15, 2013

Raspberry Leaves into Mystical Meadow



 In April of 2011, Bob began this painting inspired by a photo he found online.  He called it "Raspberry Leaves".  He worked on it for a few months on and off.  In March of 2012, he reached an impasse and didn't know where to go from there.  So, it sat for another 9 months.  I looked at it, nearly every day, seeking for inspiration.  I knew it had potential, but didn't quite know where to go.

Here is a collage of the original photo and the painting as of Feb. 14, 2013


Painting was begun in April of 2011


As of December, 2011
The upper right hand area was the most unfinished.  I knew that was the key to completing this painting.  I looked through hundreds of photos of trees to get inspiration.  I gathered a few photos and made overlays, clones and collages.  I did some clone work on the meadow.  I wanted to see a "trail" leading the viewer's eye into the background.


One of the first "Clones" January 29, 2013


Another "Clone" and overlay



Then, I found this photo taken at Snow Basin


Then, came up with this overlay, which gave a template for adding the mountains in the background.


Feb. 6, Bob added the mountains. I love them. But the background trees needed more work.  They were flat and lifeless.

 so I used this partial of the painting to create ...


Another clone...this time from trees in photos taken on the road up to  Mirror Lake.


Bob was able to transform his "blobs" into forms that resembled trees.  He did some more tweaking and now the painting is 98% done.  I really love how it turned out.  Just looking at it, you wouldn't guess how much time and effort went into it.  (Including my hours of research) 
 For me, It's like painting without the hassle of actual paint and clean up. 
This is a painting that you can get lost in  (or at least WANT to get lost in it).  I think it has a "magical" quality…slightly ethereal, mystical and unreal.  The leaves in the foreground are back-lit and just glow. They are iced slightly with a cool blue/white  frosting.  They are almost "otherworldly". 
 As you gaze into it, more elements emerge.  "Oh, I didn't see that before."  "Those mountains are amazing.  They just kind of melt into the clouds."  (Click on any one of the photos and a slide show will open with enlargements)

  If anyone is interested in their own piece of amazing art,  we can have high quality giclees made. 24 x 36.  They would be about $250.
February 14...98% done



Sunday, January 27, 2013

More Than Feeding Horses and Husbands

    Yes, I am so ready for Spring...(well, maybe not quite yet)  But, definitely ready for the ice to melt.  Oh....where is soft, fluffy snow when I need it?  
Of course, there are my regular chores...feeding horses and husbands, but I am so grateful for many other things that I can choose… for so many interests and the freedom to flit from one to another as the inspiration hits.    

          I love retirement.  I miss the associations I had with wonderful people, but I don't miss the office politics and the late night commutes.

People ask me what do I do?.....The answer is "Whatever I want."

          So what, if I can't go riding . I can watch horsemanship videos and read books.  I can clean saddles.  I can read my children's blogs and books.  Love it!!  I can browse genealogy and family search.


          I can organize.  I have gone back to an old card file system from 20 years ago. Makes sense and now I can also put it on the computer.
My Bead and Oil room is now semi-organized and the massage table is clear! It is now my Sewing room, too. (My old sewing room is now our Sauna and Art room.)
          I can create. I have been creating some new essential oil blends.  Part of the fun of my research is coming up with names.  Sometimes, I  recycle a favorite name of a discontinued recipe.  My newest blends are : Five Powers, Arrowhead, Citrine, Dark Horse, High Rain, Sacred Splendor, Chaco and Magic Leopard. An old blend, Tea and Roses has a new name, MokiPurification is now TomahawkFruitcake is now Marzipan.  I have been updating my Aromatherapy Blog.

          I can enjoy watching the beauty of High Definition. Mostly, I limit myself to 1 or 2 hours of watching TV per day… Lately, I am hooked on West Wing.  I never saw it when first broadcast. Yep, totally hooked and in love with 3 main characters. I also have enjoyed Murdoch Mysteries, Sherlock and White Collar, all on Netflix streaming.  The only shows I watch on commercial TV are Downton Abbey, Tabernacle Choir and Equitrekking.   

         I can Facebook and Pin. I check Facebook and email at least twice a day and Pinterest at least once a day. Getting so I really like Pinterest. Not only is it a way of bookmarking, but is easier than scrolling thru favorites. So many great ideas.   It's amazing how much one can learn about the personality of a person by browsing their pins and boards.  Themes surface.  It's almost as revealing as Toe Reading.  J  
          I can work on my Master's Thesis Project.  ( You didn't know I was working on that?  Ask me about it.)
I am also working on a book for publishing.  (Hmmmm. Didn't know that either?  Here's a clue….I was inspired by
Wildbound and her photo books.  I figure I can do a whole book with just my own photography now). I have been going through ALL my photos, selecting my favorites, deleting duplicates and ones that have no impact. 

           In going through photos, I keep an eye out for inspiration for Bob's Art.  In looking through my Canada photos, I came across a photo that I had overlooked before…one taken in a place called Johnston Canyon in Banff, Alberta.


          Somehow, I was drawn back into it.  It reminded me a little of Bob's previous painting, Rocky Canyon, but this place REALLY exists.  At first, I didn't care for the tree in the front right and did some extensive photo editing to remove it. Then, after looking again, I changed my mind and decided it added depth and texture.

  I did some more editing and added some ferns and mosses to the rocks on the right. 

 I think ultimately, Bob will move the tree to the right, so it doesn't cover up part of the waterfall.  I don't think people really realize what goes into creating a painting unless they have done it.  I truly considering photo editing an art form, too.  I spend countless hours editing for different effects.  I am always looking for the drama, energy, movement, emotion, light, texture, color, contrast.

       I can research quotations having to do with Nature and Wilderness, etc.
(That is totally fun…)
 “...while I am alive, I intend to live.” 
 
Everett Ruess

“Good luck is opportunity meeting preparedness.” 
 
Deepak Chopra

“The trail is the thing, not the end of the trail. Travel too fast,
and you miss all you are traveling for.” 
 
Louis L'Amour

“Never laugh at live dragons.” 
 
J.R.R. Tolkien

“Well, I must endure the presence of a few caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies.” 
 
Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry, The Little Prince

"Sometimes we get bound up tight by people or events around us. All we have to do is change our stance. When we are willing to change the way we stand on issues and problems in life, change the way we look at things, sometimes the grasses (rewards and solutions) become much more plentiful…"..  CowboyBob


 Well, you get the idea.

Feel free to send me any quotes you think would go in a book of my photos.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

End of a Cottonwood Era

The cottonwood trees were on the property when we bought it 33 years ago.  Through the years, that grove became the "treehouse", a magical place for children to play in.  Evergreens were planted west and east along the property line to the "alfalfa field", which eventually became Greystone subdivision.  The cottonwoods soared high and the roots grew plentiful under the asphalt driveway.  In 2006, Bob made a decision to take down as many of the trees as possible to prevent a possible "falling on the house or cars".  They took down several trees, including one that was still very much alive and heavy.  The wind caught it, it twisted, and it came down on the garage roof, causing some damage.  (daggone, I didn't get a photo of that).  Thanks to insurance, the cost of the damage was covered.  


The trees in 2006 before the carnage

2006, beginning of the chain saw massacre

This was not the one that fell on the garage, 2006

aftermath, 2006...sniff***

At least we got some nice wood.
Fast forward to 2010.  Look at the background, several new trees have sprouted up to 20+ feet
Fast forward again to 2012.  Several of the trees are dead or have partially died.  A strong windstorm brought down 3 dead ones that lodged themselves among the living. At least they caused no damage at that point.  Tree Blazer Bob determined to bring them down.  
March 23 2012, Before and after

We used chains and truck, just the two of us

And brought down all three dead trees


Determined to "take care" of the rest of the trees, some of which were still alive and some were half dead, Tree Blazer Bob  hired a neighbor with a back hoe.  March 30.  Holy Back Hoe!  Wow, it can sure do a lot of damage.


At several points, Back Hoe Rider Bob had to ride up in the bucket to saw and to attach towing straps.

"That was kinda scary", quipped Cowboy Bob.









Thankful for good neighbors willing to lend a hand and a chain saw.

It looks like wind storm destruction of great proportions, but at least we had some control.


I miss the trees.  We even took down one huge pine tree that was dying from the top down and it's little friend, a volunteer cherry tree.  Wow, what a project!



The only casualties were: the tree water system; the basketball standard, and a few sprinkler heads and pipes, and 3 young cottonwood tree sprouts.
We did have to leave one standing.  However, he promised me he won't fall down.