Tuesday, April 21, 2009


No, I'm not moving from Little Creek. It will take more than lost jobs and living like a grad student once again to get me off this mountain! I have decided to start a new blog - fresh outlook and all. So, come visit me here:


and we'll see what happens.

I like change. Change is good.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Opening your eyes

crow art, originally uploaded by maggies farm.

I saw the crows out in the chicken yard yesterday before I went to let the poultry out. They like to visit and search for morsels the domestic birds, in their spoiled condition, leave behind. They left a record of their passing in the snow. For a brief time it was there - a perfect pattern of searching. Soon the tame birds would obliterate their mark.

One thing I am relearning is to see things around me. Not just look, but see. We all have the ability to see beyond looking. Sometimes it takes effort. Sometimes it is a moment of grace. My painting project is helping me. Looking for a moment, I'm seeing many. Choosing a moment is a little harder. And there are successes and failures. That is fine. The successes make it all worth while.

What did you see today?

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Isabella Rose Gigglefoot

Isabella Rose Gigglefoot, originally uploaded by maggies farm.

Rose has been a member of our clan since this fall. We received her from Monkey's old preschool class, where she was getting a bad rap for attacking 3 year olds. I personally don't hold it against her. What would you do if small children kept grabbing you and poking their cute, chubby little cheeks in your cage? I think bad classroom management was the cause of Rose going rogue...

I believe the phrase that greeted me that fateful day from the Head of School was, "Maggie, this rabbit needs you!"

She now only attacks Charlie. She does not like him. Seriously. It's like a scene from Monty Python - Holy Hand Grenade, anyone? He is afraid. Keep in mind that he also thinks the goats start each day with plans to manipulate him... With me, she's quite the snuggler. And while from time to time, she puts on a bunny show of fierceness to the Monkey; she has learned that all children aren't evil. Everynight when Monkey and I read, Rose hops quietly around the room. She'll sit on our laps or bounce around the room to her own tune. And boy, can she bounce!

I never thought I'd own a bunny. But she's actually rather sweet and easy to care for. I don't think her personality was meant for a busy class full of small children. And she's oh, so soft. Just look at that nose!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Watching clouds go by

For the last couple of days I've been sitting on my porch, painting. The temperature has been mild and I've taken full advantage of it to paint plein-aire. I have always prefered painting in the studio with the climate fully under control and the bugs out of my paint. From time to time I would venture forth with my materials and paint outside. I usually was unsatisfied with my work, and the bugs and dirt in my paint. I'd retreat to the studio to start something "serious".

changing weather

It's hard to explain the feelings I'm feeling with my painting a day project. Not only is the structure of one painting a day helping me to get my mind and hand back in artistic shape, but it's letting me see things differently. While I love to take photos of "the view" and compare them day to day, month to month; it's an entirely different experience to paint it. The photographic image catches one precise moment. Painting takes time and light changes, colors shift, clouds move. I become much more aware. Even in the studio, painting from life, I am drawn in to those moments of observing, of becoming hyper aware.

Each little painting is finished quickly and set aside. It has taken away the percieved seriousness of what I am doing. It does not have to be perfect. There is always tomorrow. And tomorrow the subject will change, the light will be different and the clouds will move.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The last view of 2008

31 December, 2008, originally uploaded by maggies farm.

Today is blustery. No, today is gusty. Wind gusts of 50 miles an hour, or so, are keeping the wind chimes clanging and the trees roaring. Every now and again something odd blows across the front yard and into the edge of the woods. Frequently something ominously bangs or creaks. Still, it's absolutely gorgeous outside.

Yesterday was so mild. I was hoping to paint outside today. I think I'll head out to the studio after lunch and work from a relatively draft-free environment.

The daily paintings are going well. I'm painting more naturally/realistically than I anticipated. And I'm thinking a lot about how I like to make my art. Once I have some sound theories, I'll write them down, or maybe not. Maybe I'm thinking too hard.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The more things change...

too big
From this....

mr. smug
... to this in 9 months.
What a year.

For the last year I have said that 2007 sucked. It did - my mother died, friends died. It was not a happy time. I thought it was the worst year ever. I now revise my earlier thoughts and crown 2008 the worst year ever. Worst. Year. Ever. (Don't worry, this post gets better I promise)

Let's recap, shall we? Back pain, lots of it. Add hip pain as well. No obvious cause. I spend months and thousands on physical therapy. Little relief. I can at least move again. Collapse of economy led to collapse of Charlie's company. I get laid off by my husband. Hmm... Another summer of drought conditions means gardening is hard. Gardening at our level with back pain is hard. Chickens won't lay eggs. Promised money from past clients refuses to arrive in our coffers. Internal restructuring of budget at Little Creek Farm means the Monkey must leave sweet Montessori school and start public education. Two days before Christmas Charlie is laid off from his job.

Now the positive. I can move again and have started my own physical therapy - walking. The Monkey and I are taking daily walks, talking and watching the world go slowly by. Collapse of the company gave me more time to paint and spend with the Monkey. Garden did surprisingly well during drought. We built a root cellar and it is stocked with loads of potatoes, beets, and jars of canned produce. Chickens who don't lay eggs make wonderful stock. They also make us laugh as living yard ornaments. Ducks do lay eggs and are even funnier to watch. Coffers are empty - I'm trying to think of something positive, really I am. Oh! At least we've been able to pay our mortgage. And my anger at the clients who just didn't pay us is subsiding, they are probably worse off than us. Maybe.

And while I love Montessori education methods, Monkey was not really happy this year in a much smaller class. Enrollment was down to the lovely economy and her class was really just too small (there were only 3 first graders). Her best friend left and she felt all alone. It's not good to see your child so lonely. Her new class in public school seems much more suited to her personality. There are lots of kids, a giant playground, the cafeteria, music class, art class, computer lab, LIBRARY, gym and more activities. She is very excited to start.

And Charlie... He's a smart, talented guy. He's been stressing. This was not the plan. He should be able to find another job. I've also accepted the fact that I probably won't find the "perfect" job anytime soon. I'm now looking at anything that will help pay the bills. From my point of view, this is the perfect time for some reinvention. Perhaps I'll find the perfect job. Who knows? And all the drama has actually brought us closer together. We spend more time together. We talk more. And we still have hope. Which is good. Very good.

Perhaps 2008 isn't the worst year ever. Let's call it a year of change. And change is good, right?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Growing with the season

cold frames, originally uploaded by maggies farm.

Gardening is understandibly slow right now. Under these little portable greenhouses/cold frames lettuce and greens are thriving. Beets are flourishing. These little plants have been easy to fool, even with the below freezing temperatures we've had the last couple of days. There's no need to pull weeds and nature has been providing the moisture. I could get into winter gardening, if it weren't for the cold.

I happen to think Charlie's design is rather ingenious. The only flaw seems to be their ability to catch the wind and go flying. Far. Far Away. These houses are securely anchored to posts after a couple of blustery days set them sailing. We had high winds the night before last and the one frame that was not covering a thing, thus not anchored, ended up about an acre away in the woods. Remarkably, it held together.

They are neat and tidy, efficient and multi-purpose. I'm planning on removing the plastic in the spring and replacing it with wire. Then the little greenhouses can become little chick and duckling nurseries. They will also allow us to get the tomato plants out and protected earlier. And think how pretty they'll be covered in row cloth. Sometimes Charlie amazes me with the things he comes up with. He couldn't stand the look of my natty row covers and had to come up with something that met his high aesthetic standards. I have to admit they are much prettier than my hoops and cloth coverings. I'm pretty lucky to have him.