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Archive for farm days

sojourn . Starting Spring at Busy Bee

March is coming to a close with all its fickle Southern tendencies! For a month that always ushers in the Spring season, this year’s has sure given us the full spectrum of Mississippi seasons from winter freezes to summer heat. My children were out of school for Spring Break a few weeks ago, and we were able to spend the week at Busy Bee, our family farmhouse in Noxubee County. I always enjoy taking time there to unwind, enjoy unstructured family time, and get my fix of pasture walking and breathing in country air. This year, our Spring Break weather included some cold and rainy days, but we made the most of it, squeezing in at least a few of our favorite farm adventures.

I don’t know if it’s because of the burst of warmer weather we had early in 2017, but I can hardly remember a time at Busy Bee when the pre-Spring days were SO green! Although we had some freezing temperatures, the pasture carpet was full of new life. In these early Spring days, the green seems the most lush before summer’s heat has the chance to tire it out. Of course, I always have my camera with me, and it was fun to capture a few glimpses of how Spring on the farm cracks through the more stark color and contrast of winter. For us, it was a week of seeing two seasons at once, sometimes in the same frame. I came home with renewed energy and excitement for the ideas I’ve wanted to tackle this year.

sojourn . Summer Days at the Farm

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[so many greens]

My oldest has been talking about memories a lot lately – not necessarily specific ones, but more the concept of having them. And how they’re associated with places. Busy Bee, as we call our family farm land, is one of those places that has instilled memories for me, and it’s always been my goal for my children to have them there as well. We’ve set aside weeks to spend at the farmhouse each year to help build those memories, and it was neat for me to realize again this summer that the memories are taking hold.

We usually take a week of farm fun around Memorial Day to kick off our summer vacation. This year, as we were driving on the gravel road leading to our property, Travis noticed the typical cows in the fields. They are almost always black ones like the ones my dad used to keep. Now my uncle keeps a similar breed on our property. I think what caught Travis’ attention was the unusual red cow in the field. After pointing it out, he commented that it wasn’t like the ones on “our farm.” And then, “See Mommy, we have memories here.” It was a small and unselfconscious declaration taking ownership of one of our places and experiences. And it brought a smile to my face. What joy to have my children enjoy some of the same experiences and build some of the same memories I had as a child!

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[fairy stages?]

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[growing wild all over, but not quite ripe]

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[trumpet vine, somehow this has made it to my yard over the last year]

We spent the week enjoying more of our favorite farm adventures… walking the gravel roads, throwing rocks in the creek, noticing a thousand greens, digging through fallen trees, exploring the woods, finding old animal bones, the tree bench, gathering sticks for a bonfire, s’mores, driving to the “back back” and checking out fences, rocking on the deck, picnics by the barn, discovering blackberries, cooling off with a dvd marathon, sleeping late, and lots of conversations. I try to document our journey with photos and sometimes paintings. This trip, I painted most days on the deck each day, and the kids joined me a couple of times. Maybe that will become another tradition.

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[found cow bones now repurposed to dig in a tree stump]

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[does anyone else see a fish?]

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[my grandmother’s fig tree still producing]

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[old milk barn window with vines]

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[Elisha’s tiger]

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[Maggie’s sun]

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farmpainting6 [Memorial Day 2016]

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sketch journal . Tues 112415

 

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I’m enjoying some Thanksgiving family time this week at the farm and getting back to my sketchbook.

sojourn . Glimpses of Fall Break at Busy Bee

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We were very excited to spend part of last week at our family’s farm land for the children’s Fall Break. We enjoyed many of our usual farm activities, and I thought I would share a few inspiring thoughts and views discovered there. We aren’t usually at the farm until later in the fall, so this time we had the chance to see a nice mix of summer and autumn as well as a few wild flowers and plants we don’t often get to see.

We call the farm “Busy Bee” after an old African American church that was once located in the area. It may be just a name our family uses, but it’s stuck since I was a child. For this trip — and for the first time in a long time — I left my laptop at home and had a welcomed break from work activities. I didn’t even take my paints or sketch book, and I didn’t miss them! A true sign I was due for a mental break from creative activities.

We filled our days with down time, conversations, and walking in the pastures. We found a couple of new trees to climb, checked out the hay yard, walked the Southwest end of the property, and explored the Dry Creek bed (which was actually dry this time of year). It was a much needed change of scenery for me and for the kids, and in that void of deadlines and creative pursuits, I had the chance to let the whirling of thoughts and ideas in my mind settle. I came home with this small reminder written in my journal…

It’s hard to take the right steps forward if I am not disciplined to spend time listening to my own inner voice.

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fallbreak15g [pasture wildflowers we haven’t seen before]

fallbreak15f [sometime rust can be very colorful]

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fallbreak15d [lilypads forming on the back pond]

fallbreak15c [the remaining two walls of an old hay shed – before my time]

fallbreak15a [an honest to goodness tree bench discovered in the woods at the Southwest corner]

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sojourn . Summer Farm Views

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The children and I are spending this week at the farm to celebrate the start of summer vacation. It’s a great excuse to enjoy some down time, play time with the kids, exploring, and good times free sketching and painting.

We were last here in March when the scenery was just beginning to show signs of spring. Now, we seem to see green in various hues peeking through every possible crevice, and the pastures look almost completely full of growth. This trip, I brought my Canon SLR, and I took a short walk to capture some of the scenes after we arrived. I loved these views of the “nail hole constellations” in the tractor shed walls. In a dark, shadowed space, the tiniest pin hole of light just seems to grow and vibrate.

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oh happy day . Muddy Waters

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It’s Friday, and this installment of my Oh Happy Day! Gratitude Project is a dispatch from the farm where we’re winding down our spring break week. We’ve spent spring break here for the last several years, but this year has been a little different — and maybe a little un-spring break like. I usually spend some time with plein air watercolor while we’re in “the country”, but this week I’ve taken a break from drawing and painting. I’m still nursing a recuperating sprained ankle, so some of our usual farm activities like walking the pastures, climbing hay bales and such just haven’t been possible. Plus, it’s been very cloudy and rainy this week, so we’ve had to be extra patient for time outdoors.

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With so much rain (and snow) over the last month or so, and some still hanging around this week, we are surrounded by mud and water here — so much so that we almost decided not to come this year. Still, the time, as always, has held the blessing of quieter days, staying up late, sleeping in, laughing, reading, and just hanging out together. I’m realizing more and more how precious those days really are as we try to keep up with all our normal weekly activities. Even with the rainy and muddy weather, I’m grateful we still found some ways to carve out the nature time that is the hallmark of our farm days. Perhaps one of the most needed blessings has been the freedom to simply let go and run feet first and unrestrained into the muddy waters around us. We’ve visited the creek every day to throw rocks, run through the puddles, and splash in the low places funneling water through the culverts. At least the children have. My ankle isn’t quite ready for running, but I’ve done my share of cheering, laughing out loud at the escapades, and at least walking through the mud at a much slower pace. Sometimes when rain takes things out of the ordinary, you just have to embrace the muddy waters. And be thankful.

In my normal habit, we still had enough dry skies for me to capture a few photo glimpses of farm days and nature’s still lives, if only the views from somewhat level ground this trip! Here are a few…

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This rain and a few milder temperatures this week have made some green come alive! Our spirits are totally ready for spring, and I think the earth may be ready too. I have a few recap posts on this winter’s snow day escapades, and then I’ll be ready to get inspired by spring in full force. Stay tuned!

Oh Happy Day!

summer of water . Tuesday 060314

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I call this one Cow-ish 🙂
Happy Tuesday from the farm!

summer of water . saturday 053114

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It’s been raining off and on today, so it was a good day to get out the paints. I’ve been really enjoying painting every day this summer so far. I thought I would share a few photos of the inspiration for today’s abstract sketching. This stump is from a HUGE pecan tree in the farmhouse backyard that was dying and needed to be taken down. Yesterday when we arrived at the farm, I snapped a few pictures of the symbiosis still happening even thought the tree is dead. Lichen? Fungi? Some of you knowledgable in botany/biology will have to let me know. I was just intrigued by the overlapping shapes growing so closely together.
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summer of water . friday 053014

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The kids and I are spending the next week at the farm with my parents for a change of scenery and a kick-off to summer vacation, so I’ll be posting paintings from here for a few days. We arrived late this afternoon when the sky had some gray clouds rolling in. But, that was only the weather — no reflection on our disposition.

We’re somewhat roughing it in the tech department at the farm – just using data plans for internet connection (and a personal hot spot for work pinches. At home, I’ve been scanning the paintings so you can see the more crisp and uniform color. Here, I’m relying on photos with farmhouse lighting, but you’ll get the idea.

I’m not sure how we’ll feel about art time over the weekend, and I’m not holding myself to the daily painting on Saturday & Sunday. We’ll see how the days go for the next Summer of Water installment,

Best of Botanicals Exhibition

I’m very pleased to share that one of my photographs has been accepted for the Best of Botanicals exhibition opening on May 22 at PHOTO, a fine art photography gallery in Oakland, California. The national juried exhibition will benefit the San Francisco Botanical Garden. It will be on display until July 12, so if you’re in the San Francisco/Oakland area I’m totally jealous! I hope you’ll visit the gallery and tell me all about the beautiful botanical imagery.

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“Winter Fencerow” ~ Haley Montgomery

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