Practicing my booth set-up on our front porch helps me to assemble and arrange my space when I get to the actual sale, without finding that I am missing necessities.
This was supposed to be a crazy-busy week of preparations for the Cracked Pots Ungarden Recycled Art Fair coming up on Saturday, March 6th at The Grand Lodge in Forest Grove, OR. A few mosaics are yet unfinished in the studio, waiting for coats of paint on the frames or grout touch-ups. However, Anouk became sick with a flu this week and was home for three days, requiring my full attention. I had to focus on what I could accomplish in the house, including bookkeeping, cleaning, and sewing projects. Mike has been away at a conference, so I didn't even have nights to catch up. I had to let go of my expectations and just accept that I would be short a couple of the larger, more expensive items I hoped to sell.
Here it is Thursday and I leave tomorrow, so it is too late to finish in time to pack the work. It will have to wait for the next show, or I will submit it to a gallery, which means I pay the gallery 50% if it sells.
In the meantime, I have one commission waiting for installation, a small one nearly completed, a sheet of wedi on my easel with the design drawn on for a backsplash, and I'm expecting a deposit for a small public art project that will be complete at the end of April. I am a little bit overwhelmed.
The garden is waiting to be tilled and for planting to begin. I am hoping to get out there next week, finally. I have planted some greens and peas in my kitchen garden, since it is right outside the back door. Rhubarb, chives and leeks are coming back strong on their own, as are all of the berries throughout the garden.
Our chickens are laying again! In fact, we are getting 4-5 eggs each day from only 6 birds, which is a much better ratio than last year. We really missed the full nutrition of fresh eggs over the past 2 months. One of our first projects will be to divide half of the chicken yard and enclose it with chicken wire, including the top. The chickens will then have access to an outdoor area where they will be safe from raccoons during the winter and when we are not home. Most of the time, we will allow them to free range as usual.
We had a remarkably mild winter, very much in contrast with the rest of the country. We have been enjoying an early spring,which we expect to pay for this summer, as a drought is anticipated. There was not enough snowfall in the mountains to provide adequate water supply through summer, so we are preparing to conserve water in coming months. I wish we had rain barrels - something to put into future plans.
Our big, new thing this spring will be the addition of bees to the farm. We ordered one hive, which we will pick up in Eugene in April. In the meantime, we will need to invest about $200-300 in a hive structure and equipment. We've been told that it is important to have more than one hive, but one is as much as we can afford right now.
Mr. Tom (turkey) has been displaying nonstop macho behavior lately. He fluffs himself up and struts around his mate all day, shimmying to beat the band. He is intimidated by me, and sidles away when I approach him, but as soon as I turn my back, he runs at me, pretending to chase me off. Sometimes I humiliate him by picking him up and holding him, just for fun. I can't wait to see if they can successfully mate and hatch some turkey chicks. So far, no turkey eggs.
It is another gorgeous day out there and I have a lot of catching up to do on this one day I have to myself before a busy weekend. Off I go to try to sell my recyled art to the masses, wondering as always if this is the best use of my time and creativity. The fact is, though it would probably make more financial sense for me to be at work in the studio on commissions and higher-quality art panels, I enjoy the opportunity to leave home for the weekend and participate in something. We get to take a small trip as a family, stay in a hotel, swim in the pool, hear some live music, and see all of the fantastic work that the other resourceful artists bring to the show. Last year, I broke even after travel expenses. This year, I hope to get paid.