Miss Peach and I spent all morning arranging names on a white wall. I wrote each name in a different color of chalk. Then When Miss Peach pointed at a name with her tail, it would be marked in a a specific chalk color. I got this idea from the marking harness for a ram during breeding season. It worked swimmingly.
Scroll down to see the video of images and art from the workshop.
I am bathing in gratitude, not only for the guests that participated in my workshop this past weekend, but in my life, my farm and my animals. I had many private moments of pride for the donkeys and other creatures who all seemed to rise to the occasion in one way or another.
The donkeys are naturals, they needed no prodding to share themselves. They never wavered from their duties as silent healers and conduits for inner peace. I am especially proud of Matilda - I had moments of my chest swelling to the clouds as I watched her to go up to different guests, place her nose on their shoulder, stand patiently with her eyes showing of her soul. Many spoke of Matilda through out the day.
Stevie also partook, and won a few hearts. This too made me swell for him too. Old Man Guinnias also was a favorite in our barnyard session as one Rosie and her varied language.
I want to give a special thank you to Roy, a guest on Saturday, who agreed, on the spot, to a mediation and grace to Giacomo at his grave site within the donkey area. We gathered around the grave, and Roy led us into our inner eyes and minds, and we all became part of Giacomo. The old donkey we lost too soon was defiantly with us and his spirit was as non threatening and non judgmental as it always was - just like Pino, Paco, Lucia and Matilda. He knows me.
Miss Peach appreciates all the nice thoughts and notes from people on her arrival to Apifera. She will be pointing her tail at a name and sending off a "Love Floats" book to one person. We intended this tail pointing to occur this week, but so as not to be rushed, we will be doing this next week, we promise. So you can still participate in Miss Peach's tail pointing exercise by visiting this blog post.
Thank you to all her current supporters. Stay tuned until next week.
I always admire how calm every creature remains when a big event is coming up, like Pie Day or the Workshop. The Dirt Farmer is the same way, calm oh calm, no reason t scurry around and clean and fuss and prep - no, it all gets done...somehow.
Um, I'm the somehow...that would be me scurrying around and prepping.
So I told Pino,
"Look, my little sage, you must promise to be here in the morning on Saturday, and not late from one of your early pre-dawn rides with Jane."
Jane is a hen. They often fly off together to dream and scout new shrubs they might like to nap near.
I meanwhile am all excited for the arriving Workshop people on Saturday and Sunday. It appears to be an eclectic group, just the way we like it in our barnyard of misfits. My task today is simple: bring the pumpkins in so they can commune with us while we eat lunch. Okay, there are other things to do, but hoisting those pumpkins over Boone's fence will take some doin'.
I shall not write until next week after the Workshop magic has been blown off my skin. I never shower immediately after an event, I like to maintain the Payne's Gray dusty glow for at least a day.
Honey Boy is not worried about aging for he has all he needs to feel safe and secure- warm shelter in the wind, shade in the sun, food in is stomach, fresh water on demand, someone to scratch the out of way places and cross species companionship.
But what many of you might not know is Honey Boy also sports a natural comb over. He wears it very well and hopes someone might take notice of him at this weekend's Workshop, perhaps capture the essence of it in chalk on paper.
I heard the sound of hens rushing over fallen leaves packed crisply into dirt, 'Good-byes" whispered from aging sunflowers and an old goat in the distance eating the last string beans hanging overripe on it's vine.
Miss Elberta Peach has arrived at Apifera. She wants one of you to get a copy of Love Floats. If you don't know the story, it goes like this:
One day, I was minding my own business, and a cat fell out of the sky...via a casual trip to the vet to pick up dog wormer. I entered the clinic and chatted with the staff at the front desk who know me well after eight years. Just then, a very grumpy woman came in the door and sternly announced she had a stray cat in a trap, in her car, and "was not taking it home no matter what." The staff politely told her they were full up [they already have many cats dumped that they care for until homes are found], and the woman repeated several times she was "NOT bringing that cat back home". We all looked at each other instinctively knowing that cat's fate cat would be a roadside dumping.
"I'll take her, " I said, not knowing what the cat was or what shape it was in.
The clinic was kind enough to take the cat in on the spot and look her over. She was a lovely, tame orange female tabby - quite rare. And she was spayed. She liked to be held too. When the woman trapped her, it was in the middle of a two week heat spell of 95+ degrees, and we think she left the poor cat in the live trap for a couple days - she was panting heavily and was dehydrated.
Since the woman who brought her in was no help in giving us more info about who might own the cat, if anyone, we decided to keep the cat at the clinic to make sure she was okay after her long, hot entrapment, and to see if anyone would claim her. The woman had trapped her just a couple blocks away, and everyone in the small town knows of the only vet clinic so would go there if they lost a cat.
But no one claimed her. So she has been reborn as Miss Elberta Peach.
The vet graciously gave her free room and board for 7 days, and a free exam. But her meds, tests and vaccines cost $98. So, I will send a copy of "Love Floats". to one of you. Just pay your $5 and Miss Peach will point her tail at one of your names later next week. Of course you can pay more, but this makes it easy for everyone to play along with Miss Peach.
I hope you will visit my "Healing Creatures", an ongoing journey from grief to expanding wings, all with the help of the felted souls birthed in my studio.
The real animals walking around Apifera merge into me and reincarnate themselves in my art. They have strong voices, voices I hear all the time in my head, whether I'm with them or not. My God, they are wise, and entertaining, even in two dimensional form of a drawing.
But like a child cutting figures out of a magazine and trying to make them into paper dolls that can walk, I yearned for my creatures to climb out of the paper and become an entity I could touch, groom and hold.
A beautiful stray cat arrived on my farm three years ago and I set out to pay him homage in a drawing. But I kept seeing my father's face in the cat who had died shortly before. The cat became my father and my father became a felted cat. Soon mice began talking to me.
I had a day full of wierd emails, where I felt like I was the only working artist/writer in the world being rejected by...everyone. I suppose that's not logisticaly possible, but that's what it felt like.
So I went to the barnyard, and there he was, still limping along. I sang him the chorus to that old rock song,
"We are the champions, my friend, and we'll keep on fighting 'till the end..."
The Head Troll, otherwise known as Frankie, has had a busy and prosperous summer. Prosperous because she's managed to eat more than her share of breakfast and dinner, busy because, well, she's the Head Troll, Head Trolls are always busy.
I snapped this picture right as she was showing off some of her best Head Troll qualities - yelling out to any wandering chickens that they better not come cluckin' on her pile of hay. I put hay all around the barnyard which creates a musical-hay- chair-game, with goats scurrying from one pile to the next, usually being prompted by The Head Troll's instruction.