Friday, May 30, 2008

Mysteries on the Farm

Today is perfect. It's sunny, no wind. And all the farm is peaceful and quiet.

Yesterday was chaos around here. Then, when I went out to move Raymond, (my blind sheep) from his day pen to his secure night pen, I found the cord that holds the sheep gate closed had been cut cleanly through. Luckily the sheep didn't know they could've pushed the gate open. I shudder to think what would have happened to Raymond if he got loose in unfamiliar territory. Here's a picture of them last winter. Raymond is in the middle, Pedro on the left and Wingtip on the right.

Our dogs were barking non-stop yesterday. I feel bad that they bark so much at deer, our own horses, the wind, that they are like the dogs who cried "Wolf!" So, I don't take them very seriously. But, I think they may actually have been barking at someone on our farm yesterday. The sheep pen was a mystery.

Then . . . I went to feed our llamas dinner. We have water tanks out in our pasture pens for the horses and llamas which are far away. Since they are far away, we leave the hose in the tank that needs to be filled up the following morning. Well, not IN the tank since if we filled it and then turned the water off, our hydrant would pull out all the water due to the whole vacuum thing. So, we weave the hose through the pen panel and then let it hang just above the tank. It's weaved through 4 rails. But, when I went out to move the hose to the new tank last night, it was not weaved through the rails. Instead, it was loose on the ground and pulled straight out up a hill. Some person had to unweave it and lay it out like that yesterday. It wasn't my husband and it wasn't me. I'm confidant that my horses and llamas who lack thumbs would be able to pull this off as they haven't even attempted in all these years. In this picture the hose is pulled back to a different tank that's out of the picture.

Sure enough, today, the dogs aren't barking. It's so peaceful and quiet.

I know this sounds a bit paranoid. But, we lived next door to a man who called himself "Crazy Larry" for seven years. He was convicted of animal abuse before he moved here and he continued once he moved here. He shot guns at our property, our animals, our house, at our mailbox and once right through our bundle of mail, off his porch, in the middle of night. He was very threatening. Last year, a fire was started in the middle of one of my good neighbor's pastures. It could have been very devastating. It was a miracle that it was found early on and put out. His activity was very mysterious after that. Fences have been cut here, which is a big deal when people have their horses, cattle, llamas, sheep, etc in the pastures and if one got out on the roads, not only could it die, but if hit by an unsuspecting car, a large animal like that can kill people in cars. It's very dark out here at night. That can be devastating.

He's moved only a couple miles away now. He's very angry with this neighborhood for calling the authorities when he slowly starved his dogs and pasture animals to death.

So, the fact that the dogs AREN'T barking at all, not one peep, today has me a little worried about these strange occurances.

I'm just going to start blogging about them so there is a record if anything should ever happen.

But onto the ART! I've been drawing some ideas for someone interested in me creating a logo for them. I have a good picture in my mind, so this is a lot of fun.

I'm also working on a custom greyhound pet portrait wooliture that was won in an auction that benefits the Greyhound Rescue of Ohio. All greyhounds are so beautiful to me and this girl is no exception. She's a beautiful brindle who holds her ears in the most elegant way. And I'm working on two German Wirehaired Pointers' portrait wool sculptures that I completely adore. There is a gorgeous whippet wooliture on the horizon, too.

Then, I will be working on sheep and herding dog paintings, drawings and woolitures to take to the June 13th Sheep Herding Trials at the Colorado Horse Park. Here's a smooth border collie watercolor pencil portrait of "Harley" that I made a while ago and a weird/funny sheep illustration.

Does anyone else like eating lemons with salt? I had a friend in fourth grade who loved to climb up in our lemon trees and eat the fresh lemons with me this way. I'm eating some today. Here's to you, Julie!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The artist on the farm blog has begun!

Soooooooo. I have started blogs in several places, but decided to finally have a REAL blogspot blog. This will be my official keep writing in it blog.

Today is my 7th anniversary with my husband that I met in first grade! Seven yeeeeeaaars.

My husband was too smart for kindergarten, so he skipped it and ended up in my first grade class. Yes. He WAS younger than me until his birthday which just went by 05/04. Now he's old exactly like me. But, for 7 months each year he gets to lord over me how youthful he is compared to his older wife. That's okay. I was taller than him for years and I lord that over him. Here's a picture of us in fourth grade to prove it. We were both in Mrs. Zeeveld's class. We are in the back row all the way to the right.

Fourth Grade of me and my husband

We both ended up in an independent study group from 2nd grade through 8th grade together with 12 or so other students. Then we went to the same high school, too. So, I've known him forever. We never dated . . . or even flirted. I knew him to be very polite and a total teacher's pet in every class. He always ended up being a teacher's assistant. One memory I have of him in HS was when he pointed out to me my flawed french r's . . . "that's OUVRE la fenetre, Gina" Thaaaaanks. :D LOL

Well, he got married, I got married. I had a son and never thought of dear short little husband to be. 15 years later, after being divorced for a decade, I searched and saw his 10 page perfectly typed profile. I wondered if he remembered me. He thought I was someone else at first that he liked! LOL Then, he was like, "Oooooooh. THAT Gina." But, we ended up talking and chatting extensively. I visited him in Az. He visited me on my new farm in Colorado. Turns out he's a huge "trekker" (fan of Star Trek series for those not in the know). I had just bought a descendant of Capt. Kirk's beautiful Saddlebred horse. So, my husband to be was hooked.

Our marriage was just with us in front of the judge in the courthouse. Then we had chocolate peanut butter pie at a restaurant afterwards to celebrate. Here's a picture taken at that time

We've had many, many, many, many, many, many obstacles thrown in our path these first seven years. Unbelievable obstacles that I may go into later when they come up. But, for now, just believe me, we have been through A LOT. Through it all, our faith in God and his taurus dogged determination and strength have seen us through. He's my hero for so many reasons. (I have to stop to wipe a tear from my eye so I can see. Really! That was not sarcastic.)

He works so hard which lets me try to make a go of my dream of being an artist living on a farm. He drove over an hour each way partially on at least 25 miles of dirt roads that turn to slop in bad weather to his full time job. (I also worked full time in minimum wage jobs at this time on the same horrible dirt roads.) But, he put himself through full time school at this time, graduating with honors and going on to pass his CPA exams on his first try while working full time and supporting all of my son's sports events all over the state.

Having his CPA accreditation, he is now working two full time jobs in accounting. He has such a talent for streamlining and organizing his workloads, that he is able to do the same amount of work of a full time person in less time. He is only doing this because the Colorado Horse Park where he was working full time, has stated it will close if a buyer is not found. He was encouraged to find another position. So, when he looked, he was surprised that he got hired so fast. But, after checking with the other management and former owner, was assured that it was okay to take this new job. He refuses to leave the Colorado Horse Park in the lurch, though. So, he still does all the work he did before while also working at his new job.

Meanwhile, I'm here taking care of the farm and creating art and trying to do all the business things to let people see my wool pet portrait sculptures and other pet portraiture and hopefully, like them and want them for themselves. My end of bringing in the finances has not been nearly as productive as my husband's. With the cost of gas, the commute, the minimum wages that I earn, the falling apart jeep that I own and the stress it brings into our lives and farm, it just isn't feasible for me to work outside the farm anymore. This is the first year that I've been able to stay here and work solely on the art and the farm. We've always heard it takes between 5-10 years for new businesses to take off, so we do the best we can to be patient. I have to do everything to the best of my ability right now in the hopes my husband's sacrifices will be meaningful for him and me. He truly has been my hero and I love him dearly for giving me this opportunity to follow my heart. He is an amazingly strong man and he's super intelligent.

We've had our share of problems and fights . . . believe me! But, by God's grace and all the hard work with attention to integrity and detail we can muster, we will steadily build a future together, offering the world the fruits from the gifts God has given each of us.