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

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!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

CHRISTMAS CATCH-UP

Good grief, time is flying and there is so much going on in my family life right now, that it is hard to find a moment for the blog. In the past few weeks we said good-bye to a sweet aunt, a dear friend and a family member were diagnosed with serious illnesses. My brother and family visited from the west coast (a very good thing), and of course, there's Christmas. I'm trying to stuff Christmas preparations into the cracks between these unsettling events. There is also a very big Christmas surprise in the works, but I'll save that for a bit later.
Fortunately, I have a good team to help me with the Christmas prep. Here's Nigel trying on his Christmas jammies...
He looks so solemn and dignified in these photos, but the second I say, we're done, he loses his mind and gallops to the fridge...that holy receptacle of all the best people food. Leftover rotisserie chicken was the payoff today. 
My tree is up, and most of the tabletop decorations are arranged, but my shopping remains unfinished and there is baking and wrapping to do. It will get done. It always does, but oh the stress of it all...
Hope your Holiday prep is ticking along and that you are taking time to breathe. Easier said than done. XO.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

HAPPY BELATED THANKSGIVING

Goodness, the holidays are  approaching at warp speed and I haven't even wished you a Happy Thanksgiving. Our house and table were full, and I'm guessing our guests enjoyed themselves, as they ate twice, stayed late, and then opted not to take home leftovers but to come back the next day and do it all again. Good times.
Caught up with old friends, visited Outstanding Dreams Alpaca Farm to see the crias, shop the farm store and buy a load of hay, and walked off some of our pie at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge.
Twister, the sweetest alpaca ever!
Going to make a scarf from this super-soft alpaca wool.
This week, I'm taking a bit of time to work on this, from my photo of Old White Marsh Church.
The sun, the moon, and the high stars, make all my mortal dreams come true. Mixed-media on linen.
That Christmas tree sneaked in there while I wasn't paying attention. It happens, when you're trying to work while a thousand holiday to-do's are banging around in your head.
Here's a helpful holiday hint for you...if you are sitting on the floor and your foot falls asleep, give it time to wake up before you make a dash for the phone. You could give yourself a nasty sprain, which won't make all that shopping and to-doing go away. You'll still have to do it. With a limp. You're welcome.
Now I'm getting ready for more guests to arrive next week. Can't wait, though it would be super helpful if the rain would stop and give me a break from muddy paws.
Talk soon. XO.



Friday, November 14, 2014

DOORWAYS

"There are things known and things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception." ~Aldous Huxley

From photos of Old Whitemarsh Church that I took a few weeks ago...
The view through the doorway of Old Whitemarsh Church. Fabric version.
The weather has turned, so it was a good day to stay indoors and be cozy with the dogs and a pile of needlework. It's so chilly, in fact, that I'm going out to blanket Abby for the first time this fall. Stay warm, blog friends.
XO
"Be an opener of doors."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A KITTEN STORY

You may remember that a few weeks ago I found a kitten under the engine in my truck. It took several neighbors and an hour to remove her. Unfortunately, she bolted and climbed up under a neighbor's car and eventually disappeared. I was running late and couldn't hang around and search, though for the next several days I put food out and kept an eye open. I was certain I would never see her again.
Last Wednesday, I was shocked to spot her on the patio, drinking water left out for the dogs. Over the next couple of days, I caught glimpses of her coming out from under our hay shed. I find it hard to believe that she had been hanging around for weeks without my seeing her. I'm outdoors a lot. I suppose she was sneaking into the barn at night to eat cat food. Our Scoutie has a strong prey drive and I was afraid the dogs would catch her before I did, so I called Talbot Humane for advice, and bought a trap. We decided to prop the shed door open and set the trap inside so she would have protection if we caught her in the middle of the night.

On Saturday afternoon we set the trap and waited, peeping through the windows every two minutes. Couldn't help it, I've never tried to trap a cat before. Eventually, she appeared and climbed up into the shed, where she ate an entire can of cat food without tripping the latch, and darted back under the barn. We'd left the safety on. Point, kitty. We reset the trap and again she went into the shed, eating her weight in kitty tuna without tripping the latch. She was too lightweight. Kitty scores again.
Fortunately, the raccoon/feral cat sized trap that I bought came with a bonus chipmunk/baby squirrel sized trap. We set it and went out to dinner.
She was in the trap when we returned. Poor little thing, she was scared, having no idea that she had just won the stray kitten lottery.
We didn't try to touch her that night, just shooed her into a dog crate with all the kitty comforts I could think of, covered it with a blanket and said goodnight. The next day we took her outside and let her out in a portable dog pen, she was wary but curious, eating well and using her litter box.
I took lots of pics of this sweet face and put them on Facebook. I asked friends to share. I offered to throw in cat food, litter/litter box, and even a pie. It worked. She is going to friends, who saw that little face and were smitten. I am thrilled to know she will be loved and cared for in a home where pets are treated like family.
This kitty is delightful. I thought it would take at least a few days for her to trust us. Not so. On Sunday, I stroked her with my heavily gloved finger (thought she might bite or scratch) and she leaned into my hand. By Monday, I was picking her up and playing with her, and she was trotting over every time I opened the door to the little room she was in for safekeeping. She spent most of the day lounging in a big dog bed.
I went to Petsmart and bought her some kitty things.
Yesterday I baked the promised pie, and delivered her to her new home. 
Chocolate Bourbon Pecan, and yes, all my pies have ponies on them.
Have to admit I was a little sad about it. We had bonded. I admired her survival skills, her positive attitude, and her ability to adapt so quickly to new surroundings. She admired my head scratching skills, the bottomless bowl of cat food, and cushy digs in the little library.
I did have a moment of panic yesterday when I let the dogs out and they ran straight to the shed, sniffing around the foundation. Made me wonder if there might actually be a litter under there, and this little girl was just the tip of a feline iceberg. Keeping my eyes open.

Wishing you some happy endings of your own. XO.