Down on the Farm

Blog surfing this morning and came across a post by Jodi at The Jolly Bee

She was talking about one of my favorite new shows that debuted not too long ago on Planet Green.
I have started autotuning it each week, so I don't miss it! It's on tonite, by the way.

  The show is called The Fabulous Beekman Boys - the name caught my eye, because I recall a hotel near my family summer home, in Rhinebeck, NY, called The Beekman Arms. I tuned in, just to see what it was all about - and I am hooked!!!
Two city boys, from NYC, pursued a dream to own a home in the country, and have turned it into both a home and a business venture.
I can so relate to some of their experiences, having moved from suburbia to the country - I call myself a country girl wannabe who got to be, having written about it in my other blog.

The "boys" raise goats, make cheese, have gardens, and rent out their home for functions. They are promoting locavore-ism in a big way in the town of Sharon Springs, NY. I do wholeheartedly support being a locavore!

One of the boys is a former VP with Martha Stewart, the other a former drag queen and now an author. They have a llama named Polka Spot, pigs, goats, and Farmer John to help them run the farm. Watching them wash the pigs for an open house, tying ribbons on the goats, and parking the farm equipment just so- with buckets aligned perfectly to suit one of the boy's type A personality, is just so entertaining!!

Mind you, I was NEVER than funny assimilating into the country life- but it is amusing to see how they are making a go of it - and VERY successfully too!

Josh's newest book, The Bucolic Plague, is now out- I am off to  buy it!!!!

Tea on Tuesday

I decided today's post would be a more light hearted look at the world of tea!
I follow a blog called Teapotsteapotsteapots Andy is an artist (there is a link to his own art blog in his sidebar) and he features tea related art in each of his posts.

The following links are some that I found scrolling thru his posts and sidebar.

One of his posts was about an adorable new book called Steampotville, where animals dress up and live in a town filled with teapot houses. It is touted as a book for kids and adults alike.  Gotta get this book!!!

Another art blog, from across the pond, has created a beautiful and bright teapot poster. He gets his inspiration, at times, from teapots he sees on teapotsteapotsteapots!

And for a clever and distorted look at teapots,tea infusers, and gravy boats- check out the metalwork of Mister Clarke!

Last, but not least, join the Tea Appreciation Society blog. A modern take on tea- one of the recent posts is about a woman who saves, dries, and dates all her teabags, with a little note saying where, when, and with whom she shared that cuppa!!! She has 32,000(!) teabags stored in 3 suitcases!!!

Today's tea is the good old fashioned powdered kind from the supermarket- surprisingly good! It makes a great iced tea, with a sprig of mint, fresh from the garden. A teaspoon of my lavender syrup makes it that much more special! Granted, a loose leaf green tea, steeped and then iced would be the right and proper way to do it. But, if you are short on time - this is a tasty alternative!

Some of the freshly picked lavender above, and a few of the lavender wands/bottles I've been making. The pile is much bigger now!!!

Please visit all our other tea partiers, and join us if you like! All are welcome!! Drop by Kim's blog for a list of all the participants.

Afternoon Tea at My Dining Room Table

I could have shown you the view out my windows, where the neighbor is mowing our fields - but instead I will share the view on my dining room table.

Thrift shop treasures, a turkey vulture's feather (it might have been more appealing to say a goose feather, but that would not be true!), a silverplate 1915 knife that I stamped with a reminder to myself, my spirit horses, dried peonies from the garden, and a tiny copper bird's nest I just wove (after inspiration this morning from Barbara and having seen the nests Patty has made). You can click on the photos for a closer look......

More Zentangles.......................

My latest effort, inspired by one created by those great folks at Zentangle!

This one took a couple of evenings in front of the tv to finish. I probably could have done more - but this will do! My favorite 'tangle is the zen shell. There were a couple of not so great ones on the clipboard, but since it will be covered with paper from time to time, it doesn't matter!

This was a run of the mill clipboard, that I painted with gesso, inked with Sakura pigma pens, some gel colors, and then sealed with Spar Varnish. Spar was what the Zentangle folks used, but I am not so sure I like it on mine. I used polyurethane on my hand mirror (see previous post) and liked the finish on that a whole lot better. The Spar was still tacky after 24 hours. I may try spraying polyurethane over the top of the varnish - but that may make matters worse. I'll see what happens with it in the next couple of hours.
You can click on the pix for a closer look - altho that will make the errors a bit more glaring!!!LOL

A Little Bit of Everything...........................

 Two of my latest thrift shop goodies -  my friend, the rummage queen, found one for me, I found the other -

She found this old patchwork quilt - can't even call it a crazy quilt - it is just a mishmash of feed sack and old fabric sewn every which way. No rhyme or reason, and repairs here and there, but somehow, it still  works!

The back is what used to be blue squares sewn together, and the binding is hand stitched. The patchwork pieces are machine stitched together, alot have been replaces or repaired, there are still a few holes here and there. I'm not sure what kind of batting/stuffing was used - but it's pink!! This very crazy quilt is in 4 large blocks of patches, is about a twin size, age- who knows?

The item I found is this  little honeycomb pattern vintage teapot, crazed and stained, but oh, so cute!!!!

Final find - this great old wire shopping basket, a stack of them were outside in the half price bin, at the local craft store - wish I could have gotten more of them!!!!

This final shot is just because it's sooo cute!!! My barn has 3 bird houses hanging on the outside, and one inside. The one inside has been used for the first time this year by a family of sparrows.
There is a starling nest in the eaves above one of the feed buckets, and another sparrow family set up house next to the clerestory style window up in the eaves.
Last year, a family of wrens took up residence in one of the helmets hanging on the wall - (they built nests in both riding helmets, but only used one!) This year, they came back, almost when I thought they had moved on to better housing- there they were!
The other night, I went into the barn,  and there was one of the fledgling babies on the floor of the barn - I didn't need him getting stepped on in the dark, and altho he was probably ready to be out of the nest, I picked him up and put him back in, and quietly explained to him his timing was a bit off!!  I took a picture (actually I took alot of pics, but this one about sums it up!)- he scurried out of the nest again and stood on top of the helmet glaring at me!! He was really not much bigger than a mouse and light as the proverbial feather. This was a few days ago - and when I checked the nest today - there are 4 little babies in there- and I am assuming the adventurous one is one of them! The mother wren is always close by. Wrens are so curious - most birds will fly up and away when you approach, she will duck down under the wood pile, or behind the trash can, and just keep a close eye- chirping to her kids the whole time.

You can click on the photos for a closer look.

Needless to say, those helmets will never be worn again!! Be careful what you hang or put on the ground, in a barn- someone will take up residence almost immediately!!!

A Fly on the Wall Look at the BP Debacle

UNbelievable!! "Big brother" might be watching you, but big brother is certainly NOT watching OUT for you!!!

Click here

Tea on Tuesday- Texas Tea

Today, my tea post is not on the cheery side, and I do apologize for that. But, it is one that needs to be brought up - especially for us who like to have clean water available for our tea!!

Remember the old Beverly Hillbillies tv show - the Clampetts made their way to Beverly Hills and a huge mansion thru the discovery of oil on their property - Texas Tea, as it was called in the theme song.

In the shadow of the never ending BP debacle, another oil controversy is emerging. This one is in danger of "attacking" where I live.

Hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking- digging for oil in the shale below ground. We here in Va, have the fortune, or misfortune, in this case, of living over the tip of the Marcellus Shale.

Several months ago, there was a meeting in the next town, discussing the pros and cons (mostly cons) of allowing the big companies in to establish wells in the fields and forests right here. I did not take much notice, not realizing the enormity of the situation.

Now, I do realize the necessity of oil in our lives. What I don't agree with, is the lying, cheating, and misinformation, and resulting damage to the earth, that gets that oil into our lives.  Something has to change!

Last night, I watched a documentary on HBO - Gaslands. What an eye opener that was!!! If watching the tap water coming out of a kitchen faucet shooting up in a huge flame when a match is put to it doesn't get ya', seeing film of desecrated land, animals dying, horses losing their hair, people becoming ill from the invisible pollution from the digging, fracking chemicals, and condensation tank emissions, might just cause you to think a minute.

On today's to do list, is to send an email to the local organizers, to find out the status of the applications to drill. Better late to the party, than never attending!

 The North Fork of the Shenandoah River is downstream for the proposed drilling site. That's "my" river below.

If you want to learn more about this, and to see if you live in an area that might be affected some day, watch the film Gaslands by Josh Fox  Another film that was shown locally, and I missed seeing, is Split Estate.
Also, google, hydraulic fracturing, hydrofracking, Halliburton loophole, gas drilling and its effect on the watershed. One link will lead you to another, and another, and another.............

Remember, Texas Tea is NOT the kind of tea you want in your water...........................

For more light hearted Tea on Tuesdays, please visit Patty and Kimmie for a list of other participants. Be sure to check out Kimmie's beautiful art work, depicting wildlife who are effected by the BP oil spill.

Please feel free to join us for Tea on Tuesdays- the more, the merrier!!

Zentangle Inspired.........

A while back I posted a picture of a vintage hand mirror that was beautifully zentangled. Turns out it was created by the Zentangle founder. She recently posted a pic of that same mirror, and in her post, answered my unasked question on how to preserve the design.
So, I took a leap, and designed my own - I happen to have a very similar mirror. Now, all I have to do is seal it with polyurethane- and fingers crossed that I don't mess it up!!! At least, I have a picture, if I do...............

Is This Art?

I think so!!!
I was thumbing thru' my son's Details magazine and came across a brief article on this Georgia artist.

Check out this "Ghost in the Machine" series by Erika Iris Simmons

Not only is it amazing art - it is recycling at it's best!!!! She takes old VHS and cassette tapes and incorporates them into her art. Her film reel of Alfred Hitchcock is very cool!!! Based in Atlanta, her pieces start at $1,000.

In a totally different art direction, I stopped at a yard sale over the weekend, and purchased this gorgeous tiger! When I first looked at it, w/o my glasses, I thought it was a photograph. Upon closer inspection, I realized it was needlepoint!!! A local woman makes these, just as a hobby and stress reliever. She was selling them for $10 each!!!  Each one was more beautiful and realistic than the next- I had a hard time making a choice. Altho she didn't have any at the yard sale, some of them are matted and framed. She sells the unmatted ones (all tigers) , like mine, for $10, to pay for her supplies for the next needlepoint project!!! I couldn't believe I was the only one buying one!! I have done needlepoint, but could never do anything like this!  I'll be keeping an eye out for her next yard sale!!! (I also got a small wrought iron plant stand for  a dollar!)

Tea Tasting and More...

Dropped in at Julieanna's yesterday for their monthly tea tasting and some chitchat. Susan, from Over a Teacup, always has a lovely presentation. Yesterday was a rooibos iced tea, or a black mint flavored tea, with mini scones and strawberry cake.

Part of the conversation was a discussion on the upcoming construction at Julieanna. They are planning to put in a kitchen, and rearrange a wall to accommodate seating for tea parties. I know I will be dropping in for tea!!!

Of course, one can't go to Julieanna without browsing, and inevitably, buying!!!! She has everything from teapots, teacups, windchimes, teacup bird feeders, upcycled china, jewelry by Julie, loose leaf teas, and antiques.

Yesterday, I noticed something I had been looking for for a long time, at a reasonable price, and I had to get it! I call it a sewing box - but I am sure there is probably another name for it. The liner looks a little newer than the box itself, and a couple of the jars need to be replaced - but it's mine!It measures 17" x 31" when closed.

One of the jars is kind of neat - it says "hospital size- for hospital use only". Pockets, jars and spool pegs- very cool!!

I also could not resist the calabash pin cushion from Hawaii!!! One can never have enough pin cushions, altho' I am approaching overload at this point!

I even managed to get a few Father's Day goodies at the adjoining bait shop - how convenient was that!!!

If you are ever in Broadway, be sure to check out Julieanna's, and sign up for their mailing list,(join their FB page too) so you won't miss out on the tea classes, tastings and special sales.

'Tangling and Doodling the Day Away............

Got a pair of tiny little moleskine notebooks - by mistake I got ones with lined pages. Little sketches won't work with lines, so they will be for quotes, thoughts and zentangles.

Here are a few so far..........................

This first one shown, is one that I did last night, and is similar to one I saw on Shelly Beauch's blog this morning! Even tho I don't know her, we must have been channeling each other!! How funny!

They are endless. I won't bore you with them all today!!! More another time!!!

Ponder This.......................

I recently subscribed to an online newsletter from  The DAILY OM (Thanks, Patty!)I thought today's email was well worth passing on. 

We live in a world where we sometime think what we say or do does not matter. There are days when I sometimes feel that I am but one teeny fish in a huge, over populated, and sometimes polluted pond. LOL

I have always believed the choices we make, not only affect ourselves and our own daily lives, but, unbeknownst to us, can have a ripple effect, touching the lives of people we may never meet.....that, of course, has not stopped me from making some really wrong choices in my day to day living, at times!!! I guess some of us need a reminder to think before we act, myself included!!

Below is today's email from The Daily Om- some food for thought for today:

"All motive and action affects the cosmos in some way. The principle of cause and effect is the truth that allows us to change ourselves and the world around us for the better. However, this same universal law is also at work when change is not at the forefront of our minds. Our intentions flow forever outward in the form of energy, affecting both the people closest to us and billions of individuals we will likely never meet. For this reason, we should strive always to speak, think, and behave with great thoughtfulness and compassion. The virtues we choose to embody can inspire joy and integrity in the lives of countless people, whether we touch their existence directly or not.

The influence we wield is infinite. In an effort to internalize our conscious understanding of the nature of cause and effect, we can never truly know how our thoughts, emotions, words, or actions will manifest themselves on the larger universal stage because it is likely that the furthest-reaching effects will fall outside the range of our perception. We can only look to the guidance of our conscience, which will help us determine whether each of our choices is contributing to humanity's illumination or setting the stage for unintended troubles. When we are in doubt, we need only remember that the cultivation of altruism inevitably leads to a harvest of goodwill and grace. Motivated by a sincere desire to spread goodness, we will be naturally drawn to those choices that will help us express our commitment to universal well-being. N
othing you do, however minor or mundane, is ever exempt from the rules of cause and effect. From the moment of your birth, you have served as an agent of change, setting forces beyond your comprehension into motion across the surface of the earth and beyond. You can exert conscious control over this transformative energy simply by examining your intentions and endeavoring always to promote peace, positive energy, and passion in your ideas and actions. While you may never fully comprehend the extent of your purposefully heartfelt influence, you can rest assured that it will be universally felt."

Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming - Tea on Tuesday

I have not been drinking too much tea of late - except for some sweet southern tea with my lavender syrup!!!

I recently purchased a Health Master blender - this is the GREATEST thing ever!! It could probably blend concrete if need be! I have been having smoothies every day. I prefer the ones with tons of fruits, but my daughter made one the other day, from a recipe in the Health Master book.

It is made with green tea- and is kind of yummy!! Here's the recipe - and I'm sure it is doable with just an average blender or juicer, if you slice up the fruit in small pieces.


2 cups green tea cold
1/4 honey dew melon ( we have substituted mango - equally good)
1/2 cucumber
1 apple cored and peeled
1 cup ice

In keeping with tea on Tuesday - a friend found me this vintage tin and a teapot drip catcher at the thrift store- thanks, Linda!!!

Be sure to visit out other ToT participants- see Kim's blog for a list- and please join us every Tuesday - all are welcome!!!!

****And, be sure to drop in to Jane Monk's blog for a birthday month giveaway of a fab zentangle travel mug- perfect for tea!!!*****

And, now, we take a moment for this brief commercial break..........

 I am, as a rule, pretty apolitical, but today I am pretty pissed off!! This BP/Obama oil fiasco has really got me riled.

What is wrong with this picture?? 54 days into this oil disaster, and Obama's administration will not allow Belgian, Dutch and other foreign vessels with oil skimming abilities who want to come in and clean up the oil to do so - due to an antiquated Jones Act! The act was put aside during Katrina- WHAT IS THE HOLDUP HERE!!!!???? 54 days is more than totally unacceptable!!!!!! If you haven't heard about this on the news, google this Jones Act and express your disgust!!!!
 Oil soaked pelicans- photo courtesy of IBRRC (which I believe is an international bird rescue  group)

'Tangles and Sketches

Been fooling around with pencil and pens, and here's what came out of it:

The last one is a collage for the Sketchy Card swap- 2 of diamonds.

This latest zentangling was inspired by 2 books I recently ordered - if you have never zentangled, or if you have been zentangling for a while, like I have, these are a great source of inspiration! They are both by the wonderful Sandy Bartholomew . Be sure to visit her blog!