Saturday, May 31, 2014

Time for gardening, baby animals, and the birds are back!

The green has returned!!  My front yard gardening is going to be different this year. In the past  I gathered my annual flowers from various green houses whenever I had spare money from whatever errand I was running. I liked to tell myself that the $100 invested was worth the beauty of watching my "flower painting" grow over the summer.

This year will be different. With the news of the possibility of neonicitinoid treated flowers sold at big box retailers, and the connection with these pesticides  to the decline of bee colonies, I decided to concentrate on my perennials, and put vegetables and herbs in my front yard planters this year.   I will search out organics, and try to be more vigilant in my seed saving.  The humming birds have returned and are feasting on the nectar of the wild Columbine.  There is a planting of tall Russel Lupine, and a nice border of Wild Plantain, not only providing a nice border, but a good remedy for burns and bug bites. Other wild medicinals in there are Yarrow, nettle, and catnip.  The Grandpa Ott morning glories are waiting to climb over all of the Staghorn Sumac, also a medicinal, and source of a tea high in vitamin C. 

Out in back, in the barnyard, I have one litter of bunnies, several setting hens,  and my lambs are growing like the weeds and grass they dine on.
But the biggest thrill this spring, the one that makes my heart leap for joy, is the return of my friends, the Barn Swallows.    It's been about three or four years since I have had these playful darters swooping around me as I work out in the yard with my animals. I can't think of another bird that I share such a connection with, or that seem to "talk" back to me .   Several years ago, the nests seemed to fail,  I found babies on the floor of the barn.  Something seemed to be messing with their nests. We still had tree swallows that visited the yard from their woodland nests, but my cheerful Barn Swallows were painfully absent.  Until NOW!!  There are several pair back and building nests, and I am just delighted to see them again.
So yay for Spring in Minnesota!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Well I had a fall post, and this I will call my spring post. in between ...

Yeah a lot of white.  It's been an old fashioned winter of glorious proportion, and April 1st is kicking off with a joke from Mother nature, snow flurries.  I sit hunched by my bright light, sorting out my tasks for the day.
The highlight of my winter was a workshop I put on last weekend for fiddlers, and a concert the same evening.   Our guest artist was Brian Wicklund and I had a great turn out for both the workshops and the concert later that evening with Brian and guitarist Mike Cramer.
The old Coin School was the perfect classroom
I ran the whole thing myself, and it wasn't hard until the very end. I will know what to delegate next time so I can better participate in the workshop.  Tired as I was from it all it just filled my heart with joy to see musicians from all walks of life and every age from 8 to( almost) 80 getting together and learning new ways to play.  The concert was superb, I had never seen Mike Cramer before and he created a stellar performance with Brian.  

One of the resources that was instrumental in my publicity for the event was KBEK the radio station in our area.  They so generously gave away tickets for the concert for three days prior to the event and gave me invaluable coverage in the area.  Today I found on my Facebook feed that KBEK  is off the air.   My heart is very heavy, and I really hope that they are able to reorganize and bring back our live and local radio.  My daughter worked there as a DJ when she was in High School.   I was so excited for her, she was living a dream of mine, I have always been a radio junkie. KBEK was the last of a breed of radio station that was not fed from some tower in colorado somewhere with a disconnected voice popping in and breaking up the music and advertising. 

I really liked the immediacy of a live DJ on the air when it came to weather emergencies, winter and summer, school and activity closings, area events, local news, the station is a big part of our community and radio listeners here can consider themselves a part of the evolving history of radio as we see the passing of our live and local station.  Whatever happens, I hope it is the best for all involved at the station. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

We have enjoyed an extended autumn season this year, I had a few extra days to get things in before the snow.  The barn extension was completed, and I have the hay inside and dry. Most of my banty flock (chickens) I moved to a very cozy coop in the back, and Cesare' my rooster has three new hens that he is tending up here at the house. 
We are attending the GSR Goldsmith Reunion Show in Mankato this year.  I am really looking forward to seeing old friends, and this year my assistant will be Lily.
This show meets my criteria as a run by artists show.  They really know how to treat the participants at this show.  The entertainment is always excellent, and there is wine tasting and new foods this year from what I hear.
As the name would imply there are some fabulous jewelers at the hub of this event that has grown consistently over the years into a great show with a great variety of handmade quality items, of which some will be ours, if I get down to the studio and get to work! Later then, Denise

Monday, October 14, 2013

I snapped these pictures last week as I did a packing job for a friend.  Amy Sabrina passed away Sept 27th.
One of her requests was that I be the one to pack up her artwork to be stored.  You can bet I took my time and moved very slowly as I packed away the work of a departed friend.  I actually said little prayers every time I took a tile down or approached a tea pot on the shelf.   I did not want to be the one to break these now irreplaceable artworks.
The process took me through a journey in time as I wrapped up wall plaques that I remember seeing at "St. Kates" art show in the eighties sometime.  I worked my way through the working history of my friend and colleague.  I got to have one last look at the delicate details of the painting, and run my hands over the subtle textures of the glazes.  The tea pots and bowls surprised me with their sturdiness, as I swathed them in bubble wrap and foam and peanuts,  nestled in their boxes, taped up to be taken from the studio where they were created.   They were so Amy in that way.  Beautiful paintings,  dancing teapots with squiggly spouts,  looking fine and delicate on the shelf, but sturdy and well formed to the core.

Our community celebration of Amy's life will be held with a barn dance at her Sweetgrass Farm near Dalbo MN this Saturday Oct 19th  .    There will be a potluck dinner at 4, with tributes and stories at 5, with at dance at 6:30.  We hope all the Mad Cows, past and present can make it, and any other bands or band members who played at the barn dances over the years who would like to participate are welcome.
  A fitting tribute held in a barn that she so lovingly restored.  

Saturday, August 3, 2013

My potted garden
I truly love this time of year! The flowers are just getting ready for one more big bloom before fall, and I just can't wait until the Staghorn Sumac behind it begins to change.  Planting in pots is necessary here because we live on almost pure gravel.  I am lucky to have a good source of large pots from Paul.

I can rearrange the pots as the plants develop.  I just love my morning plant watering and taking care of the various plants. Some are my house plants that spend the summer outside, and there is a section that is still sunny that is full of Blazing Stars and different colors of Yarrow that come in after the Iris and Lillies are done.
Yarrow and Blazing Stars in the sunny spot

Thursday, May 2, 2013

I caught this proud fellow in the driveway , he hardly noticed me, as he was busy marking his territory.
It is a busy month for Morris enterprises , we are glad to be back at the Creative Drive again this year, scheduled for the weekend of May 18th.  We are at the Silver Bison Ranch, and will have all new items for the show, including Rita's wonderful bird mugs.
May 11 our dance band Mad Cow Band is performing at the North Folk Winery near Stark MN . We are playing at noon, with two more acts, see details here, I can't wait to see Paul Metsa!
I sure hope we can squeeze the gardening in between the snowfalls! What a spring!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

As early spring drags on looking more like February, a bright spot is the maple sap is running, and the temps are perfect for the harvest!  We have our first batch of Maple syrup, and may get another if the trees keep generously giving their bounty. 
So although the forecast isn't so great we are glad that much needed moisture is soaking into the earth, and anxiously await the gardening.