Words in Print!!!

My article was published - woohoo!!!! A heavily edited version of my earlier post- The 2nd Annual Descent of the Urbanites, was just published in a local weekly paper, The North Fork Journal.
There was even a little link to the article on the front page!!!!
I was excited and honored. As I may have mentioned previously, I had to pare the original piece down from 1380 words to 634 !
The editor of the paper shaved it down even further - taking out about 62 more words and re-wording the opening paragraph. It had to be between 500-600 words to fit.
I have to say, she did a great job.
It is obviously much easier to to edit, when you are not personally attached to each and every word that falls out of your head and onto the paper!! How egocentric is that!! LOL
Florence mentioned having lunch with a writer friend, discussing this very issue of editing.  The friend quoted Hemingway, who called editing "murdering your little darlings"! How cool to think I have something in common with Hemingway!!!

While researching this quote,  I discovered a similar phrase has been paraphrased multiple times thru' the ages, and has passed thru' the lips, pens, and typewriters of many different writers.
. It was first attributed to William Faulkner, but then thought to have originated in 1916, from Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch- "murder your darlings"
Apparently, writers all feel the same about their words. Or, I guess, anyone like me, who puts pen to paper (or fingers to computer keyboards!)
Stephen King wrote in his 2000 book On Writing (which I have somewhere around here!)
"....kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.."
 " It’s always easier to kill someone else’s darlings than it is to kill your own.“ I guess that was why it was easier for the newspaper editor to cut down my words to fit!!!
 Some other truisms I discovered that I can totally relate to:
I always try to write on the principle of the iceberg. There is seven-eighths of it underwater for every part that shows. — Ernest Hemingway 

When rewriting, move quickly. It's a little like cutting your own hair. — Robert Stone 

I don't know where this is heading, but it all came out of the excitement of having my words published.Woohoo!!!

Tea on Tuesday

As I sit here drinking a Twinings Pure Rooisbos from Finland (!), I am sorting thru' some photos taken at a tea class at Julianna's the beginning of October.

The class was about the different material types used in creating teacups - porcelain, redware, ironstone, etc.

 There is another class on Thursday evening- What's in Your China Hutch - Part 2. Can't wait!!!

               I figured it was about time I post the pics from Part 1 !

                                                 My friend Judy, waiting for class to start

We all brought our own teacups - Judy brought a lovely one from her friend, Lennie. This was Lennie's mother's teacup- unusual "flocking"  on the pedestal teacup and saucer.

A crazed ironstone pitcher below

                                                Some beautiful cream Wedgwood Queens Ware

                                                    Vintage traditional blue Wedgwood

       My beautiful teacup above - looks like Shelley - but it's English Staffordshire-thrift store treasure!

Please visit Kim and Patty for a list of other tea lovers- drop by any Tuesday for a visit,  to comment, or to share your tea on Tuesday!!


Short and sweet- giving away an extra copy of Somerset Studio - the art of paper and mixed media- Sept/Oct 2010.

I had ordered the Oct 2011 issue from them, and was sent this one in error. 

Somerset made good, by sending me the one I asked for, free of charge!!:>)

Doesn't matter that is from last year - the designs are timeless.


Thank you!!!

Just had to share the cool thank you card I received from Lauren, after the Descent of the Urbanites Campout!!
                                      A kind of pyrographic image of Yoshi and an AK on wood!!!!

The reverse was a thank you note on aged paper- I'll just show you a corner-

How inventive- will have to ask her how she did that!!!
One of the best thank you notes ever!!

Found Objects Insect House

As we all know, bugs will live just about anywhere!!

They are not choosy....any rotting stump will do!!!

Places you do NOT want them to live,  work well for insects also!!!

Recently, I came discover,  there are people out there, who like to create homes for insects.

Well, now, I am one of them..........................................!

After writing about Michelle's wonder-full bug houses, in a previous post, I decided to try one myself.
Mine is no where near as artsy, or symmetrical as Michelle's. I did not cut anything to fit exactly in the box. Her advice was to just  tightly pack (jam it in there) all the items, so that when you turn the box over, nothing falls out.
I did that - altho, I only very gingerly tipped the box over, to test it. It's tight, but, a few bugs will most likely be able to dislodge the objects after a time!!!

Sunday was a nice day, and I wanted to keep John company, while he was grazing out back. So, I gathered my pile of found objects and sat out back with him.

My bug house filler consisted of twigs, book pages, a piece of wool, rusty nails, bullet casings, old wood, bones and teeth found in the field, some bamboo, and a few other pieces of woodland detritus I have gathered.

This is the first box below, dug out of the old shed (seen behind John). After looking at it, I decided it was a bit too big, too heavy,  and too ambitious for my first insect home!!! So, I will save this one- to be cleaned up and rubbed with linseed oil for a future use.

The box below is a freebie - a Korbel Brandy box from the trash- I took the lid off - perfect size for a starter bug hotel!!!

  This is one of the many bones and animal parts discovered in the garden and woods.

The workbench, with a found jar and some of the gazillion English Walnuts on our property

                  Finished- with some lichen covered bark and weathered raffia as roofing


                                                         Closeup of the upper "levels"!

Final location - my old American Beauty red wagon, with another bug house (never made it to a tree to house a bird!)

**You can click on the photos for a closer look - I notice blogger has a new way of showing them when you click on one.

The Pulse

Woohoo- I am included in Seth Apter's Sunday Pulse .
Please drop by and check it out!!
He's got a GREAT and inspiring art blog!!!!

Is It a Wood Sculpture or an Bug Dwelling?

My blogger friend Michelle, who is from Poland, creates some wonder-full art, journals, and jewelry.

I just checked her blog this morning, and fell in love with this great box she created!!!!
It is a garden bug house - but I would love it just as a piece of art!!!

Since I am so easily distracted- I think I will head out to the woods today, and the wood pile, to gather pieces for my own little wood shrine. Even tho' it is a bit chilly, I know there will be starter bugs already residing within the pieces of wood!!! 

There is a stray piece of firewood, just outside my basement door, with an artsy grouping of fungus attached, that would be just PERFECT for this!!!And I already have a small cache of lichen covered bark I salvaged from the wood pile!

It will be a cool wall hanging for the barn!!!!

I tried to show one of her photos, but could not - so visit her blog (link above), tell her I sent you, and check it out!!!

A Mini for a Mini !

Last week, when the hay rack got dragged out for the winter, the question came up - what about Yoshi???

I thought I would probably just pull a board out of the hay rack, so little Yoshi could get at the hay. Right now, he can reach the full round bale, if he stretches his neck, but when it gets eaten below the top rail, he'll have a problem.
Not to mention, when the big guys eat, he comes away covered with what falls out of their mouths!!!

             So, Mr. Green Jeans made a Yoshi sized square bale hay stand to match the large round bale one he made for the big guys!

                                                         A surprise to me - and Yoshi !!!

                                   Mr. Green Jeans making last minute adjustments to his creation!

                                 Yoshi..................wake up............we have something for you!!!!

Ears forward- all cautiously checking this thing out!!!

Hmmm- just my size!!!

Cisco, the buckskin, is checking it out also. If it has food in it, he's right there!

A few seconds after the above  photo, Yoshi got a bit closer, Cisco ate some hay from the big rack, and dragged it across the little tin roof. The nails on a chalkboard sound sent Yoshi flying (below)!

But, he was soon right back, checking out the hay in HIS little rack!

Spoiled? Yup!!!!

Return of the Urbanites

For me, autumn really begins with the Annual Descent of the Urbanites Camp Out.
This is the 2nd year in a row that we have hosted my 28 year old son and a crowd of his urban artist and musician friends in our back field.

Altho’ Michael (above) attended JMU and graduated from George Mason, until recently, he lived in DC. Now in San Francisco, he is working as an accountant for PricewaterhouseCoopers. Accountant by necessity, musician in life.

This camping extravaganza was organized last year, with an “Oh, by the way, mom, I’m going to have a camp out at your place in October with about 15 of my friends! You can read about it on Facebook. You don’t mind, do you?” 
Well, we didn’t mind, and Mr. Green Jeans ,(aka Larry McNally), and I look forward to this now annual outing!!
The campers take care of everything, altho’, there is some set up involved prior to them showing up!
Last year, there were about 15 campers. This year, Michael was expecting up to 28, but I think there were about 20-25, from California, Philadelphia, DC, Maryland, and Virginia.

Here is Michael's FB page invite (I didn't see this one either, until after the event !! LOL) -you have to know him to fully appreciate the humour:

What the Spirit Tells Me (and how it carried me away)- a Camping Trip:

358 days following Trip I, we embark on Trip II. It will be the same, but different. The same in most aspects. Different in ways I'm not yet sure. Though, I am sure of one thing - I want to hug you all.

Many things will be replicated:


- Camo beer cans

- Music
- Cold weather
- Giant barrel fires
- Good people
- Horses, guns, and dogs
- Peeing outside
- More things

For those unaware, the trip takes place on my parents' land in Fulks Run, VA. They own 40+ acres.

We will depart at roughly 1pm Saturday afternoon and arrive between 3 and 4pm, in the style of a funeral caravan. We'll pick up and leave on Sunday whenever those with cars choose.

Things to bring: everything

I've invited more guests this time so we absolutely need people who have cars to volunteer their services. Especially since there are a handful of people who are coming from out of state (myself included).

If you can drive, please make note in the comment box below.


What - A camping trip

Where - Fulks Run, VA


The day before they arrived, Mr. Green Jeans set up the camp area- mowed a section of the hay field, connected 8 heavy duty extension cords of interminable length, to reach from the house to the “band stand”!
The band stand consisted of 3 sections of plywood on the ground for the drums and amps. Next year, we hope to have a hay wagon for the band!

Larry set up a fire pit, with half a metal drum on a cement slab, dragged out picnic tables in the tractor bucket, and strung a strand of tiny white Christmas lights along the top of our partially completed grape arbor.

Since Michael couldn’t carry a tent on the plane, his dad set up his own huge 40+ year old tent (saved from the party days of his youth)!!

I did the food prep and baking. The campers were bringing their own food, but last year we made them breakfast, so it’s now kind of a tradition!

I baked 2 caramel coffee cakes, pre made 2 egg casseroles (local recipes provided from the ladies at Fulks Run Grocery), got 5 dozen locally grown eggs also from Fulks Run Grocery, and made sure we had enough paper plates, cups and plastic utensils- so there would be minimal dishwashing!!! I so did NOT want to clean up after all those people!!!

My daughter, Katie, volunteered be the Sunday morning chef, cooking for 25. Bless her!!!!

The first carload of campers arrived from DC, at about 5 pm Saturday. We had a total of about 8-9 cars, 10 tents, maybe 20-25 people. I never did get an exact count of attendees!

Last year, we had a little city dog camper – Pixel was a tiny white terrier with a brown dyed mohawk (very urban chic!), who had a blast, doing everything my big country dogs did, right down to swimming in the river! Pixel and his owner did not make it back this time, but this year’s token city dog was an adorable little shih tzu, Wicket, who followed his owner everywhere, and had the best time!

The local economy again had a boost, from the last minute food shopping, as all the city “kids” drove into town.
The tents were all set up before darkness fell, the fire was roaring, and the campers set to making their dinner.

All were told, if they needed the bathroom, just come into the house in thru the garage, and use the facilities!
One girl, Kate, from Philly, was so happy to just be out of the city for two days (as I think they all were!), and thanked us profusely for letting everyone come!

Everyone just thought the Gap area was so beautiful, the leaves were just starting to turn color here and there, and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect!
The neighbors had been forewarned about the campers and the music!  The band started at about 9pm, and played on and off ‘til about 11:30.There was a few second break midway thru, to listen for the coyotes, who might have been singing along.....

(Mike McNally drums, Philadelphia Tom, back to camera, Kyle, DC)

The parents (that would be Mr. Green Jeans and I ) retreated early on – this was not OUR party, after all!!!The party probably went on until about 2 or 3am.

(Pat McNally, Lauren Malechek, Katie McNally)

Morning came, and thank goodness, the fog was minimal, unlike previous days, when it hung around ‘til almost 10am!

Lauren Malechek, my son’s girlfriend from Berkley, CA, was up at the crack of early, cleaning up the campsite. I found her later, sitting in a camp chair, with her watercolor journal in hand, gazing at the mountains, in the direction of Garnett Turner’s cabin situated above Chimney Rock. Lauren really wanted to do some plein air painting, but there is just so much you can do in a short 24 hours.

At about 10am, my daughter Katie made a “rockin’ “ breakfast, as one guy described it – delicious down home, artery clogging cooking – mounds of eggs, bacon, sausage gravy with biscuits, along with the coffee cakes, egg casseroles, coffee, tea, and Showalter’s apple cider. Everything was pretty much devoured! Every seat in the house was taken, standing room only!

No Sunday morning brunch is complete without political discussion – a lively round between liberal Philadelphia Tom, in his red, white and blue tie dyed t-shirt and ultra conservative Archie Bunker (aka Mr. Green Jeans). They parted friends (whew!), agreeing to disagree!

Later, the two got together outside, over guns no less!!

                                          (Philadelphia Tom and Mr. Green Jeans)

Larry gave shooting lessons to all who wanted to “play”. Tom is an expert with a video game gun, but admitted that shooting the real thing is a whole other ball game! Even the girls got to try – with an AK-47, a 12 gauge single shot shotgun, and a target set up in the field. Last year, one of the campers was very proud of the bruise he received from the rifle recoil – something to talk about at the office on Monday!

The only things they did not get to do this year were crossbows and tractor driving!! Not enough time, and the tractor was hooked up to toss the hay for baling. We timed it WRONG again this year. Another day or two - and we would have had all this urban muscle to help load and stack the hay bales. We will have to set up a better plan next year!!!!

                                                              (Lauren Malechek)

Patrick (not pictured) from DC, is a self-proclaimed foodie. A fan of RoadFood .com, he was excited to discover that Fulks Run was the home of the famous Turner Ham he had heard about on NPR. He was extremely disappointed to find out they are closed on Sunday!!! Patrick will just have to show up earlier at next year’s camp out! I did run to Fulks Run Grocery on Monday and get a package of sliced ham with cooking directions and a Turner Ham brochure to mail out to him.

The other big highlight of the camp was my little Forest Creek’s Yoshi. Yoshi is my year old mini donkey, and he was the star, and loved every bit of attention showered on him!!! Ever the little watchdog, with a loud braying warning system, he quickly figured out, that if people came in with me, they were ok!

                                     (Sofia and Yoshi, foreground/ Jimmy and Cisco, behind)

Everyone was so surprised to discover that donkeys come in miniature, and this was as big as he would get!! 

Sofia from Maryland was entranced, and had several visits and photos with Yoshi. Jimmy, Michael’s former roommate from DC, just loved Yoshi and Cisco (the other star), our big “blonde” quarter horse- and Jimmy was tickled that Yoshi seemed so interested in Jimmy’s fashionable lime green high top sneakers! Everyone thought horses to be such “noble beasts”- with cell phones taking innumerable photos.


              Before we knew it, it was time to go home, and the great tear down and pack up began.

                                      Determined to get it all back IN the car- they did!!

                                                        All too soon, it was all over.

Most were packed and gone by 1pm Sunday for the long drive back to the big cities.

Michael and Lauren had a 7:30 pm flight from Dulles, back to SF. We left at 3:30 to drive them. It was a teary goodbye (at least on my part, altho’ I am sure Mr. Green Jeans got a little misty eyed), as we left the young couple at the entrance to Dulles International’s Virgin America Airlines, to head back to their life in California.

It seems so quiet around here…..I am already planning, counting down the 358 days, and so looking forward to next year’s

                                            3rd Annual Descent of the Urbanites!

                                  (If you have not read about last year's campout - here's the link )