Wednesday, September 30, 2009

New tiny journals!

A quick announcement! Acorn Designs, a great local paper product company who are dedicated to using 100% eco-friendly recycled papers and inks (and I'm their graphic designer) has a very cute and fun new line of tiny journals. There are 20 designs, and two of them are mine...including the "star tree" which is shown here on the right. My sister-in-law, Patti Sobel, made the stones painting which is shown here next to the star tree, too!

You can check them out and order them here. Great little gifts!

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Yesterday was one of those farmers' market days that tax the spirit and sap the mind. It was chilly, the wind was wicked (one of my framed pieces blew over and broke, and cards were flying loose and free), I injured myself both with the car door and also while putting up the giant flapping tarp in the wind, a downtown festival kept many of the customers away, and the rain was falling as I loaded up the car. I got home and wanted nothing more than to crawl into a warm comfy place with some tea and a book....and a peek at the weather forecast confirmed my gut feeling that I should take Sunday off.

So today I have been enjoying a real Sabbath know, that concept of creating your world for six days and then taking the seventh to rest from your labors. I don't get to do this often enough, there's always something that needs to be attended to when I'm working here in my studio. It's pretty blissful, and I expect to wake up tomorrow refreshed and ready to work again.

It's raining and misty and dark here today, the dark side of the otherwise lovely Ithaca autumn. I lit the woodstove for the first time this morning, to take the chill off. And there are two new glossy fat black chickens in the coop, Pauline and Ida Mae.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Something sad and mysterious happened at home while I was obliviously gallivanting around the Yosemite wilderness. My flock of six chickens vanished. Well, five of them are gone without a trace, and only poor lonely Clara is left. She has been pecking around the yard in a desultory manner, is not laying, and seems quite sad to be roosting alone. She's been hanging out in the gardening basket by the door a lot.

Where did they go? I know there has been a family of young hawks in my woods, and I have seem them buzz around the coop. But I can't imagine that they could kill and consume five plump chickens in one afternoon without leaving any feathers or other signs of struggle. Did they get spooked and run away and then got lost? Did they miss me and set off in a quest to follow me? Were they nabbed by chicken rustlers? My friend Jean Elizabeth thinks they joined the circus.

So farewell to Martha, Ethel and Ruth, who have been with me since the beginning and laid such gigantic eggs. Also alas for Mildred and Agnes, the two lovely new wyandottes.

I hope to get two more hens tomorrow, black australorps...will keep you posted.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I didn't photoshop myself into this one

So take a close look at this photo, specifically at the ridge I'm on. Yes indeedily-do, I traversed that baby, scrambling over rocks and up ledges, trying to ignore the plunging drops on either side while enjoying the scenery at the same time. All the while, my friend Brian is ahead of me saying "I dunno, this looks do-able..." Holy crow, it was possibly the most challenging but also fun hiking adventure ever!

All that to say, I'm back from my second trip to Yosemite, and had a great time. The fire was over except for some tiny sparks in the woods while driving through, and everything came together beautifully for a grand adventure. Highlights included a tour of my old friend Dan's legendary "ahmond" farm, being lucky enough to have my pack carried up to Vogelsang by mule train, getting completely lost in the dark while following a short cut and finding our way back to where we should be going by literally following the north star and Jupiter, painting on the kitchen wall at Merced Lake camp, being woken by high winds and looming cows at the Mammoth Hot Springs, cruising through Santa Cruz (where I went to grad school 10 years ago) and hiking a total of about 35 high-altitude miles in Chacos.

Then a red-eye flight home and what felt like a 24 hour sleep, and a few days of getting back into regular life...

Friday, September 4, 2009

Big Meadow Fire

I am emerging from my cave, with apologies to all friends and family I was grumpy at this week. Another tall job with a short deadline, and that's all I need to say about that.

On more adventurous topics, now I can start to concentrate on the fact that I'm flying back to California on Sunday for another 10 day adventure in Yosemite! And this time it might start with more of an adventure that I was looking for, because there's a forest fire that's blocking the road that goes up to Tuolumne Meadows, where the trailhead I seek is located. To begin with, it's difficult to get to Tuolumne with public transportation (there's only one road, and the bus schedules don't mesh), and my angelic friends Dan and Mary Lee who live in Modesto were graciously planning on making a family adventure out of driving me up there...and all was going to be perfectly lovely and fun. But the Big Meadow Fire, a prescribed burn that got hugely out of control, is in the way and the road is closed from the west. One can drive in from the east, but it's a really really big circle. Something will work out though, and we can all keep our fingers crossed that the road might open again by Monday which would obviate all my current worries.

This all reminds me of one of my mannequin paintings. A few years ago my Dad scrounged some discarded store mannequins for me, and I used them for landscape canvas. Here's the forest fire.