Monday, November 26, 2012

Blog, Interrupted

Hello All!

No worries...nothing dastardly has happened at Chez Green Woman.  Life has just been rather busy lately, and sadly the blog has paid the price..  A smidgen of my month goes as follows:
  • I've been working like crazy on secret Christmas projects....which can't be discussed on the blog until after they are gifted.  Booo...
  • Early this month my friend Janet lost her battle with an aggressive form of breast cancer.  I was very honored when her husband asked me to speak at her memorial service...and while I was happy to share my memories of our special friendship the experience did rather knock the stuffing out of me.  I've been giving myself some time to grieve.  She deserves every tear.
  • A week or so after that I saw a surgeon about my gallbladder, and the long and short of it is that I'm having the blasted thing removed on Friday.  I know that this is absolutely the right decision, but I'm still rather nervous and that makes me not much fun.
  • On a happier note, we discovered during parent-teacher conferences that both of our children are brilliant! 
  • Also, we hosted Thanksgiving this year - much to our children's great delight.  Sean and I have officially voted it our most favorite Thanksgiving EVER!  (Bonus for me: I convinced his whole family the Brussels Sprouts are wonderful.)
In other news, I've used up all of my free photo storage with google, and am trying to figure out what to do about that.  On the one hand, even though the monthly fee is nominal I'm not crazy about having to set up a monthly payment for anything.  On the other hand, my blog would be pretty worthless without photos and as of this week I can't add any more pictures to it without buying more storage.  What to do....what to do....

Truth be told, blogging is likely to be spotty for a while.  While I'm not anticipating a difficult recovery, I have been warned that I'm likely to be rather on the exhausted side for at least a few weeks.  SO, please hang in there with me!  I promise I'm not disappearing and will be back to regular blogging just as soon as I am able!  

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Molly Dolls!

 This is a long-overdue post...my apologies to my girls!
 They wanted me to share their creativity with you...which is something I try to do as often as possible anyway.  Art is VERY important in this house. 
The weekend of my high school reunion, the girls had to give up something they love very much - our school's annual fall festival, the Stallion Stampede.  They were troopers about it, but we knew they were disappointed so we tried to make sure they had as much fun as possible that weekend.
 
The girls fell in love with the Molly Dolls at Molly Roberts Studio a year ago.  At first there was lots of begging for us to buy them their own dolls...but at some point they decided they wanted to MAKE their own dolls.  (Such great kids!)  Molly graciously agreed to do a private class with them...and fortunately she was available the day of my reunion.
 
And aren't they fabulous?!
 
The girls had a great time, and their Molly Dolls are now treasured toys.
 
Plus, they want to make more!


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Interminable

 Every once in a while a project comes along that just never seems to end. 
 
You work and work and work....but for some magical reason you never get anywhere. 
 
This shawl is such a project.  (Oddly enough, I never felt that way about the Princess...despite it's 325 or so hours of work!)  I've been working on the edging FOREVER, and am growing rather annoyed that it's not done.  The problem is that it's only a six row edging, which is much shorter than most of the edgings I've added to shawls.  With 86 repeats per side and 11 repeats per corner.....it feels like I've done it a million times and I'd really rather move on to something else.

And in order to move on to something else  I really need to get this finished!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Working Farm

 I posted this picture on Facebook this afternoon, with the title, "Claude, Dennis and Doc."
 
Little did I know that a simple picture was going to lead me into one of the most bizarre conversations I've ever had....and that I would be defriended over it.
 
I've been pondering the situation, and while I'm not horribly upset about losing that 'friendship' (It was someone I knew on an acquaintance level in high school.), I do want to make a few things crystal clear so that there are no more misunderstandings.
 I come from a long line of farmers.  Both families worked the land for as long as anyone can remember, raising both crops and animals.  While we didn't actually buy our property until I was in the fourth grade, my parents did share a herd of beef cattle with my grandparents when I was small, and I can remember the days when my grandfather was a professional dairy farmer.  My father bought our farm when I was in the fourth grade, and when I was in the eighth grade we finally built a house and moved there.  The beef herd has been a consistent presence, and at various times we've also raised chickens, rabbits, and the odd goat or two.
 My parents are some of the most responsible, thoughtful, loving people I know.  They were raised to respect the land and the livestock in their care, believing with all of their hearts in wise stewardship of all they own.  You would be hard pressed to find sheep or cows with better lives.  My parents love their farm, they love their livestock, and they love the farming lifestyle. 
 Yes, part of that lifestyle is that we do butcher and eat some of the animals we raise.  We've always been a beef farm, and from the beginning the plan has always been to butcher and eat any excess sheep once the the flock was established. That's right...we are going to be eating some of these cute and fuzzy sheep...and we are going to enjoy it.  These animals are not pets, they are livestock. 
 The fact of the matter is that it is literally impossible to keep every single animal that is born on a farm.  Good animal husbandry requires making careful decisions for the good of all.  In order to maintain a healthy group of animals you must do three things.  One, make sure you understand exactly what the purpose of your livestock is, and make every decision with that goal in mind.  Two, carefully breed in order to improve your animals and/or carry on the best traits.  Three, make sure that you only keep as many animals as your land (and your finances) can support - culling the herd as necessary.  Sometimes you must also make humane decisions to end the life of an animal who either carries bad genetics or is ill.  Each and every animal must contribute in some way, shape or form to the overall health and vitality of the farm.
I know that it is kind of hard for a lot of people to wrap their heads around the realities of working farms like ours.  Believe it or not, it is very possible to love and enjoy each and every sheep (or cow, or chicken, or rabbit, or...) and still make the decision to butcher this one or that.  I think what people often don't understand is that we hold a very great deal of respect for our animals.  It's AMAZING that one animal can be full of so much potential!  Sheep, for example, are magical creatures able to provide wool to keep us warm, meat and bones to nourish our bodies, pelts for rugs and clothing, and - yes - companionship and entertainment as well.  Nothing is wasted, and nothing is used without thought or respect.  Beyond that, there is immense value in having an intimate knowledge of where one's food came from - and in how it was raised - but that's a story for another day.
 I sincerely hope that if you are a vegetarian or a vegan or an animal activist or simply someone who has a tender heart that you are not offended or upset by what I'm sharing.  Please believe me when I say that I do respect all differing views, and can honestly understand (especially given the existance of factory farms, which are truly horrific, and other such abuses) why you might believe as you do.  I do not at all seek to change your mind...but I do ask that you please afford me the same respect and open mind that I am willing to give to you.
 
I am profoundly grateful to my parents and my grandparents for having brought me up as they did with a firm grounding in our farm lifestyle. Each and every day I see their love for their sheep and cattle, and I share that love with them.  Nothing brings me more pleasure than working in the fields and in the barns, and - as you know - I hope to one day live that dream on my own farm.
  
I wouldn't have it any other way.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

My Dad, The Artist

Until now, my father's artistic ambitions have been limited to his annual "Egg Man" at Easter.  The man is a brilliant veterinarian, a gifted minister and born farmer.
 
The one thing he is NOT is artistic.
 
Which is why it surprised me to learn several years ago that my father had been saving empty vaccination vials for YEARS to make into a Vile Dog sculpture.  I believe the subject came up shortly before his official retirement.  While the details of the conversation are now lost, I do remember being rather stunned with Dad's idea.  It was just so bizarre....and so unlike him!  He went on and on and on about how pretty the empty vials were...how the light bounced off of them just so.  Mom confirmed that he had been saving boxes of the empty vials for years....which was another shocker!
 
Yes, my Dad is prone to rather odd ideas once in a while.  Despite his rather pragmatic, humble background, though, he is somewhat of a born entertainer.  The more bizarre the better!
 
To be honest, I never thought he would get around to MAKING the Vial Dog.  Neither did my mother, who just rolled her eyes at the boxes of empty vials in the barn.  I managed to forget all about it after that first conversation.
 
Little did I know...
 
Enter Molly Roberts, a friend of my parents who just so happens to be a gifted artist with her own studio in my hometown.  The long and the short of it is that - based entirely on this year's egg man performance and a whole lot of good-natured teasing about Dad's 'talent' or lack thereof - Molly goaded Dad into action.  Dad got to work, and the Vile Dog made it's grand debut in Molly's shop over the weekend.
  
Dad asked me if I would share the story of the Vile Dog with my blog readers and facebook friends, and so I am quite happy to present:
 
The Vile Dog
By Ed Piepergerdes
Mixed Media Sculpture
November, 2012
 
 My dad chose the shape of a Dachshund because 40 years ago he was nailed by a particularly nasty Dachshund.  Legend has it that he snarled, "You Vile Dog," at the biting beast.
 OK, so I KNEW what the vials looked like...and I'm totally shocked by how beautiful they actually are in the final piece.  Dad was right...who knew?!
 The body form is made of wire, and Dad used clay and paint to build the head and the toy.
 Ahem...the man is a vet....
 ...and anatomical correctness was important.
 His favorite color is orange.
 Here are the girls for perspective.  The darn thing is awfully close to actual life size....
 And for someone who's never sculpted a darn thing in his life, the shape is incredible!
I agree!
And so did all of the people at Molly's Studio last weekend. 
They think he should try to sell the thing on Ebay or Etsy.
 
and now a confession....
I really, REALLY want a Vile Dog of my own!
I would SOooooo put that thing on permanent display on my mantel.
Christmas, Dad, Please?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Kid Stuff!

Thought I would share some kid pictures from several recent events.
 Tanith's first ever piano recital.
She was SOOOO very excited!
This is my girl who LOVES music...and who, I suspect, has a great deal of talent.
 It was Gillian's third recital,
and we are so very excited because she's finally playing recognizable music!
Her selection for the recital - Night On Bald Mountain.
 Of course....Halloween.
 Gillian did her pumpkin all by herself this year!
She's better with knives than her mother....
 Tanith was a diva.
Note the mirror ball earings and singer's headset.
 Gillian was Bloom from the W.I.N.X. fairies.
Sooo pretty!
 The husband gets counted as a kid on Halloween, too.
Apparently he's a video game character....nerd.
 Girls On the Run, fall 2012 Celebration Run!
 She can't wait until she's old enough to join in the fun.
Dad and his favorite running partner!
They completed the 5K in 33 minutes...which I personally think is insanely fast!


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Disaster!

 December, 2008
May, 2012
 
Miss Gillian came tearing into the kitchen a week or so ago, in a bit of an upset. 
 
When I asked her what was wrong she rather emphatically told me that there was,"a DISASTER!"
 
She's not prone to gross exaggeration, so I was a bit surprised at this response.
 
What exactly was the disaster?
 
Her favorite pink sweater absolutely doesn't fit anymore.
 
Poor kid.

She wants me to make her a new one....