Monday, July 14, 2014

Off to Germany!

Mama eating BBQ oysters

Tomorrow I leave for two weeks in Germany with cousin Anke in Hamburg.  I'm excited, nervous, happy, and tired of packing.

And I'm already just a tiny bit homesick -- and I haven't even left.
Murphy in the truck when we went to get water

Bruce filling the water tank

Arby breaking in my new purse

Tonight's glorious sunset shining above our empty pond
 Frogpond (such as it is) will be fine without me for two weeks.  Germany calls!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Bone Fence or Interesting; but is it Art?

In five days I'll be off to visit Anke and Wolfgang in Germany.  I'm so glad that I decided to see them this summer -- I was very close to putting it off for another year because of feeling completely drained of energy from my hectic teaching year.  By the time school let out, all I wanted to do was crawl home and stay there.  However, with a bit of rest and time, I realized that getting out to visit people and places I love would be the best remedy for my tired mind and worried heart.  So next Tuesday off I soar, away from Frogpond for two weeks.

Naturally there is a lot I must do to prepare for the trip.  And just as naturally, I'm not doing any of THAT stuff.  Instead, I'm working on very important projects that have absolutely nothing to do with my impending trip.  Such as...The Bone Fence.

Some people collect stamps, or shoes, or cookbooks.  I collect bones.  This is the cheapest hobby I have ever engaged in -- I just keep my eyes open while on walks and when I see a bone lying in the grass or dirt, I take it.  As I take many walks, my collection has gradually grown into quite a heap outside the garden gate.  Most of the bones came from a dead cow from the neighbor's property which had aged to a bleached white over the years.  I developed a routine of picking up and bringing home one bone at a time until, eventually, I had all of the cow (or at least, all that the other animals had left for me).  I added a few deer remains and one antler that I found on our back hill.

I've always had an idea to do something "arty" with my "collection" but never got around to it.  And so my stack of bones kept growing into a messy sort of hill.  However, my impending trip to Germany galvanized me into action and I got them out of the dirt and onto the fence in a single afternoon.

The above picture was taken from outside the garden looking in.  Here is Arby, the Welcome sign and my newly wired-up bones.  I also added metal hoops that I'd saved and repurposed from two old wine barrels that had rotted away.  Wiring bones and hoops is a more difficult task than one might think -- gravity has a way of causing things to slip downwards, sag or fall to the ground.  I also struggled to place everything as pleasingly as possible.  In the end, I got tired of the whole thing and just wired bones and hoops any which way.  Which is probably why I'm a teacher and not an artist.

When I showed my creation to Bruce, he (so rarely at loss for words) said nothing, but just looked.  I laughed and told him, "Well, there go the property values!"  and he gathered himself together and told me that he liked my bone fence very much and it should stay.  I think he feels about it rather like I do -- it's weird, and sort of ugly but also funny and sort of beautiful.  So it will indeed stay.

I love how the individual bones can look like faces.

Others look like swooping bats, or birds or manta rays.

Here is a deer skull that, admittedly, needs a little more aging time.  The turkey feather embellishment was Bruce's idea.

In all the years living here, I've only found one deer antler.  This is it.

The plan is to wire up my new finds as I bring them home from my walks.  I'm curious what others will say when they see my strange, macabre fence art.  I don't suppose I'd better quit my day job quite yet.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Cat Tracks

It's been hard to blog lately.  It's sad to write about a place called "Frogpond Acres" when the pond has dried up.  I knew that the summer would be a hard one.  Drought is such a hardship.  It's so very dry that the wild animals that live around us are desperate for water and are coming to the water basins we have around the house.  The more common animals that come around to get their drinks are deer, quail, raccoons, skunks and turkeys.  And then there was this track...

It's a very large cat's paw.  A mountain lion, perhaps?  We're not sure.

It's a very big kitty paw!

Tonight Bruce has the game camera set up to see who is coming up to drink.