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Archive for inspired by nature

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.

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!

celebrate . Happy Fall, Y’all!

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The temps may get over 80 today in Mississippi, but on this first official day of fall, God has treated us to a very nice, cool autumn morning! I’ll take it with a smile and a “thank you!” It inspired me to say “Happy Fall, Y’all” with my morning watercolor and some glimpses of autumn of a year ago. We may have a few more weeks before it’s fully pumpkin weather, but a girl can still dream.

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morning letters . wednesday 081314

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I’ve been drying a couple of sprigs from the garden in my studio and Burl Ives came to mind this morning! Happy Wednesday!

summer of water . friday 061314

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It’s been a lovely week around the Pond with some fun design projects, writing, painting and some unexpected time with my kiddos. Have a great weekend!

summer of water . Thursday 060514

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found . feathers

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Feathers collected from our backyard and walks through the country.

found 021414 . Heart Rocks

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Happy Heart Day to you! From our collection of heart-shaped rocks.

found . woodland nostalgia

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When the kids and I took this trip to our farm earlier this year, they began a mission to create some kind of natural history “exhibit.” It’s possible “exhibit” was one of their reading class “amazing words” and thus produced a keen interest in it’s meaning. I can’t really remember, but they set about scavenging the spring walks for items to include in the exhibit. They even scoped out a newly cleaned out (but ancient) barn to house the exhibit. I’m sure when we return to the property later this fall, more work will be done on the project, but meanwhile, their idea has been fermenting in my brain ever since.

I love the idea of exhibit specimens. Those random, but highly detailed objects that seem to catalog and document one thing or another. They are closely akin to collections, which I also love, and I’m sure they are the ultimate reflection of the truly obsessive pack-rat spirit.

Since I tend to have one of those obsessive pack-rat spirits, I seem to have acquired a huge trove of “specimens”. A recent weeding through of my parents’ attic confirmed that these pack-rat tendencies go way back. In fact, to this day, I firmly believe that anything created or acquired prior to 1980 should be kept as sacred. Further, my role as serial collector extends to all manner of ephemera found here and there.

Looking through my parents’ attic contents made me curious to look back through other boxes and shelves and bins to re-familiarize myself with things that have perpetually inspired me. I decided that a new series on Plop! would be fun — posts cataloging various specimens found through the collections or added as new inspiration emerges. I don’t know how the series will evolve — whether as random collections of items, like items or items centered on a theme. I’m still playing around with the photography and backgrounding, but you get the idea. I’m excited about revisiting past inspirations. I hope you enjoy it too!

This week’s specimens…

1. Oyster shell gathered from Long Beach, Mississippi

2. Buffalo wooden nickel — printed on back with “Southern Trailer Dist., Inc. – Recreational Vehicles Pas Road Biloxi”
I can’t be sure, but I believe it’s circa sometime in the early 1980s

3. The youngest baby deer in a 3-sibling set of porcelain figures

4. 39¢ Indian Corn U.S. stamp dated 2006

5. Blue Jay feather discovered this spring in our back yard

What do YOU collect? And, if you have any of these same treasures among your specimens, I hope you’ll let me know.

log . Wood, Stone and Water

As I mentioned a few posts ago, we are at our family farm house in Noxubee County for spring break. We’ve been enjoying some great weather and time together. Through our outdoor escapades, the kids have decided to curate a “science exhibit” of interesting finds. The finds have been interesting, indeed, and the process of collecting them even more inspiring for me. I thought I’d share a little documentation of our pasture journeys in search of water, wood & stone. Our “finding” has including walking, jumping, climbing, painting, building, talking about family history, playing impromptu instruments, searching, laughing, discovering… Fun times! I hope you have the chance to do some of the same this week
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