Life, art, and nature on Maryland's Eastern Shore.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

OLD MAN WINTER

Old Man Winter was rather late to the party this year, and now we can't get him to leave. I don't mind the snow so much, but my old eastern shore bones are not accustomed to this level of cold. I have had some fun with my camera though, and renewed last year's fascination with frozen bridges. 
Choptank River
Choptank River
Dorchester County. We actually kayaked here a few months ago.
Also managed a couple of quick trips to Blackwater where not a lot of creatures are stirring, besides eagles, who are not only stirring but nesting, a few heron, and this disgruntled penguin.
Exercise caution when landing in icy conditions.
We've had frozen pipes in the house and barn, but were able to get the water flowing with no ruptures. Lots of folks on the shore were not so lucky. I think by now even Scout and Nigel are tired of playing in the snow. 
Inspired by the frozen marshes in and around Blackwater, I am working on this...
Vintage fabrics and papers, hand and machine stitched on a cotton print of my hand-painted background. It's a process!
 One last thing. While we've been having all this wretched weather, we have had the most spectacular sunsets. This one in particular, had a peculiar beam of light shooting upward from the horizon. 
I think Mother Earth is dangling these little treats in front of us at the end of the day as compensation for what we've endured, such as the icicle bending wind that has accompanied the deep freeze.
Stay warm blog friends! XO

Saturday, February 14, 2015

VALENTINE'S DAY

Happy Valentine's Day, blog friends!
Mixed-media art quilt. Vintage and photo-printed fabric/paper.
Wishing you love, chocolate, roses...and a cuddle buddy. Stay warm. Looks like Old Man Winter is about to get a little crazy around here.
Scout and Nigel

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

HELLO FEBRUARY

The first days of February were bitter cold with howling winds, but ending in glorious sunsets. Mother Nature, doling out a little treat for bearing up bravely. Reflections in the ice on the river made these sunsets especially beautiful.
The groundhog may have had bad news for us, but the weekend was a taste of spring. Stayed busy on Sunday with outdoor chores. It was warm enough to take Abby's blanket off, so of course she had a good roll (or three) in the mud.
Nigel supervised, in the manner of the country gentleman he is. Leaving the dirty work to me.
We went into our little woods, I with my camera and Mike with his bush ax, to look for fallen branches. A number of wasp's nests had been shaken from their perches.
And now, this...
Has become this...
We are in the midst of an ice storm today, and as I have already had one near miss today, clinging to the handle of the back door with one hand and my camera with the other as my legs went out from under, I am planning to hibernate and cuddle with my dogs, shuffling very carefully out to the barn when need be. All this cold and ice, and we still haven't had one good snow storm. There's still time, if the groundhog was accurate.
Stay warm, blog friends. And upright, if you happen to be out on the ice. XO



Thursday, January 29, 2015

WHERE I'VE BEEN

The past few weeks have felt a lot like this...
At times like this...
And even this...
My parents, in their mid and late eighties are experiencing serious health issues. They live an hour away and since Christmas I have discovered there is not enough of me to go around. I am so grateful for the support of my husband and children, cousins, my dear MIL, and others who are too far away for hands-on assistance but keep in close contact by email and phone. So important to have a sympathetic ear at the end of a long day, particularly last week, when they were both in hospital at the same time. 
On the upside, my Fitbit is very happy with me. That hospital parking garage allowed me to rack up some serious stair step points.
Anyway, I'm not telling you this to whine, just wanted to explain my absence. I've missed you and this blogging thing terribly, and hope you will bear with me while I sort things out. 
I did manage to start working on this, before things got crazy.
Because I am feeling so stretched at the moment, I was delighted when this happened. I intended to make a early start yesterday, but...
A neighbor, of the "not a horse person" variety called at 7:30, to say he'd spotted a horse in his backyard. "Quite large, with tan and white spots, and a braided tail." My first thought was whew, not ours, and then...what to do? After some calls and texts around the neighborhood, we established who it belonged to, but couldn't reach them, and so I set off with a bucket of grain and carrots, and a lead. It's quite a hike to the neighbor from here, but I made pretty good time (pleasing my Fitbit again), and shook my bucket of grain in the direction of the last sighting. This adorable little face peeked around from behind the garage, and made me laugh out loud. The stray horse was a mini, which had looked much larger to the neighbor who hadn't yet had his first cup of coffee. I brought her home and stashed her in a stall, leaving a message for the owners to pick her up at their convenience. I was secretly hoping she'd still be here when I returned from visiting my folks, but she was gone. Still, it put a little button on my day. In the past few months, we have found a kitten, two beagle pups, and now a miniature horse. What next?
Don't you just want to squeeze it?
I'm off now, and I promise to be back before long. Nigel misses you, too. XO


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

THUMP: THE POST-CHRISTMAS SLUMP

That thump you hear is me coming back down to earth after drifting along in a cookie fueled, largely unscheduled, haze for the past ten days. The last child left on Sunday, extra cat and dog in tow. It is incredibly quiet. Eight extra paws creates a lot of extra noise and activity. I miss it.
I was hoping to have something really exciting to tell you. Mike surprised me with the news that I was getting a horse for Christmas. So in that frantic week before Christmas I made the time to drive up to Church Hill with a friend and take a look at Jack. I brought him home for a ten day trial and vetting.
In the end, I decided he was not what I was looking for and sent him back, but still, how lucky am I, to be married to a man who after thirty-four years is still trying to make my dreams come true? This isn't the end of the story, I am now seriously looking for the right horse. Abby is anxious to have a new barn buddy and I am hoping that come spring, I will be hitting the trails on my own horse, because some dreams never die and horse crazy little girls grow up to be horse crazy middle-aged ladies. It's a fact.
Santa also brought the fever/aching/coughing flu, and I spent the day after Christmas in bed, and the next day running around disinfecting doorknobs and light switches, hoping no one else would catch it. They didn't. The weather was mostly dismal throughout the holiday but we did manage a couple of quick trips to Blackwater. The bald eagles were out in abundance.

On Saturday,  despite the miserable weather, my daughter and I grabbed our cameras and headed to Old Trinity, hoping to take some photos of that lovely old graveyard in the mist. We left Mike and Kelly's boyfriend holding down the fort. We were barely out of the car, when they called to say there were three stray horses in the yard, and what should they do. We determined pretty quickly where they belonged and told them to call a horse savvy neighbor for help. The trio had managed to break a hinge and knock down a pasture gate while their owners were away. By the time we got back they were rounded up and restored to their pasture, though not before leading Mike and Sean on a merry chase around the neighborhood. Luckily they ran toward the river and not the highway. Really sorry not to have gotten pictures of that.
There was even more four-legged excitement the next day when a neighbor from across the highway knocked on our door. "Are you missing a pair of beagles?" he asked. I wish. I told him they didn't belong to us or anyone in our neighborhood. He asked if I wanted to hold on to them, as he was taking them to the humane society the next day. They had been chasing deer on his property for three days, before he caught them. Well no, I didn't want to hold on to them, but I certainly wanted to take a peek. Mistake. I peered into the back of his truck. I picked one up. I was lost. Husband and daughter came out. They were lost. Long story short, I would keep them in my barn, and take them to Talbot Humane on Monday. 
There are no words to describe how sweet and wiggly and adorable they were. Each time I went into the barn, they were a little less timid and more delighted to see me. It was hound dog heaven. 
Our first married dog was a beagle, also a Christmas present from my sweet husband. The man knows the way to my heart involves four legs and fur. We both have a soft spot for hound dog eyes and silky ears.
We fed them, bedded them down in an empty stall, and took lots of pics, some of which I posted on Facebook and within a couple of hours had over a hundred shares. After four hours, I was on the phone with the owners, and by nine pm they were on their way home. They had escaped from their kennel and their owners had been driving the back roads on the other side of Trappe for three days, never dreaming they would make it down this far. A happy ending and a fun distraction to ease the end of holiday blues.
Last night we had a gorgeous sunset sky and today we are having our first light snowfall. It has given me the urge to make soup and crochet. I am not very skilled at crochet, but I have some gorgeous alpaca wool from Outstanding Dreams Alpaca Farm, which has inspired me to improve.
Hope your New Year is off to a cozy start. I will keep you posted on the horse search. I've already received a couple of tips this week. 
XO,
Mary






























Wednesday, December 31, 2014

HAPPY NEW YEAR

From me and all the four-legged helpers here at BarnBugStudio, wishing you a happy and healthy New Year!!!