Wednesday, January 6, 2010

General update on homestead and business

I've written a few entries about our efforts to grow our own food and to engage in the Slow Food movement. (Confession: Until this year, I thought Slow Food meant taking your time eating.) It was more challenging with Mike's mom visiting over the holidays. This is the woman who has refused to drink our organic milk in the past because she thinks extra chemicals and hormones MUST be added for health purposes. We generally take her to the grocery store on the way home from the airport to make sure she has food that she likes. So, for the first time in months, we ate salad with our meals.

It's one thing to live with unusual food choices as a family, but it is another when we have visitors who aren't used to eating pumpkin three times a day. And I felt fine about adding some out-of-season ingredients during the holidays.

Besides, it is getting harder lately to put tasty meals together with the food we have available. On Christmas Eve, which is also my dad's birthday, I made a special dinner of Buffalo roast (grown about a mile and a half away), salad, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie (our pumpkin).

Unfortunately, I used many of our frozen veggies to make a big soup, but it turned out awful. Even I couldn't eat it. What a waste of hard-earned food! Overall, we are getting about one egg per day, we still have a lot of chicken and some vegetables in our garage freezer, and there are a few loaves of zucchini bread left. I just harvested the last of our carrots yesterday. Every morning, I make Mike a smoothie from our carrots, chard and blueberries. I add strawberries, bananas, protein powder and juice from the store. As winter progresses, we are buying more and more food ingredients, but trying to pay attention to where they come from and choosing organic.

An abandoned bunny joined our family two days ago. His name is Uncle Wiggily, and he was left behind when a family moved from their home. Anouk has been begging for a bunny for years, so she's thrilled. We are still figuring out where he will live, but so far, he's settling in fine.

As for my business, I took a break from mosaic during the past couple of weeks, mainly because my studio was in a state of complete chaos, and I didn't have time to clean it. In the evenings, I worked in the house on fabric experiments and some projects for us that I had been putting off. Now I'm preparing to start 3 new commissions and creating new art panels for galleries and a recycled art festival in March.

I've had many ideas over the past few months that I haven't had time to realize, so I expected to get out there and whip out some of those. However, I find myself making something totally new and different. Suddenly, I'm working small and abstract, piecing together little bits of glass into inset rectangles on drawer faces. I have this nagging feeling that I'm wasting time, while I'm doing it, like I should be working off of the sketches in my notebooks, concocting masterpieces. Last night, I realized that I have something to learn from these little, simple mosaics, and I need to follow that urge. It could be as simple as a need to play, and to let go of the pressure to make something grand and impressive. Besides, these small pieces will provide some items that I can sell in a lower price range.

It's a new year and everyone seems to be looking toward spring. Bulbs are already coming up in the garden, and by the end of the month some of the trees will have small buds on them. I have a sense of a new beginning for me as well, with ideas brewing, new projects, and many goals to work on.


  1. I love working on small pieces and agree that they always serve one purpose or another. For me it is often finding what works and what doesn't on a small scale so later when something similar comes up (larger) I know what to do! I'm happy to know you are back to mosaics and look forward to what you create!

  2. I took the small pieces to Matter Gallery and the owner loves them. I have experimented in the past with not grouting, with mixed results, but I am really embracing it lately. The small mosaics also allow me to use many of the interesting materials I've collected that would be lost in a large mosaic. And, you know, in this economy, small is affordable. It is a new direction for me and I like it!