Dinnertime on the Homestead

Dinnertime, 2019, Archival Digital Print

The flock is molting now so added protein is important. Yesterday it was warm scrambled eggs with herbs, salmon, and 8-grain wheat toast. They gathered together in the communal meal, making soft happy sounds.

Nicky, the feral cat I’m hoping to tame, got eggs too. They are so plentiful now and such a perfect protein that the hens actually give back more than they get consume.

I repeat myself, but the pleasure of  being part of the land in the way living here has given me is so pleasurable.  I am grateful.

 

I need a plan

I need a plan while hoping the Giant doesn’t climb down that beanstalk, 2019, Archival Digital Print

It dawned on me last week that what makes The Homestead magical, or put another way, what my land elicits in me, is the sense of magic and wonder I felt when I was six or seven. It is the gift this place gives me. Everywhere I walk, explore, see, I make finds I hadn’t expected.  It’s quite preposterous, I know, and I don’t expect anyone to believe me though anyone who has walked it when visiting feels it, too.

The beanstalk in this photo (actually a Wild Grape Vine) is an example.  It is growing in the lush green of the ravine behind the dog pen.  It is a steep drop down there where Deer, Fox, Raccoons and Nicky, the feral cat, run and travel. The Wild Turkeys, too.  The pond is lower and to the right of this photo so this area teems all year ’round with comings and goings.  There is a density here as well, so every day there is a new surprise, a new animal, a new sound, a new flower.

It isn’t a stretch to think that one dusky evening, I’ll be out there with the dogs and hear what I first think is thunder, the dogs will look up and stand perfectly still, my eyes will follow as the ground starts to shake and we’ll see those huge hairy legs start to descend from high above. I’ll open the gate and we’ll run like hell into the house.

Drawing Photography Painting

Snow Drawing with Twig, 2019, Archival Digital Print

Snow Drawing with Twig, 2, 2019, Archival Digital Print

 

The two photographs are part of my continued interest in images which merge drawing, photography and painting into one seamless medium which emphasizes the experience of seeing over the experience of naming.

First Snow

Thinking of Southern Sung Painting, Archival Digital Print, 2018

Our first big snow and the roads were bedeviling last night.  I left town on an earlier train trying to get home before the worst of it hit.  But Amtrak is not reliable and we were stopped for forty minutes in the Bronx because of a stalled Metro North train ahead of us.  This is customary now.  Infrastructure deteriorates by the day and our politicians dawdle.

Once in Hudson and heading home, the white sheets of snow,  the winds, and the lack of any guide other than the midline studded strip, made for impressive conditions.  I missed the turn-off from 9H but was able to back up on the highway since no one was on the roads.  Turning off onto my country road it was worse, but the sight of a huge plow blinking red and white like a happy Christmas tree up ahead was a beacon and it guided me safely home.  After feeding everyone I fell into a deep and grateful sleep.

All worth it to be able to live in this paradise.

The Eternal Reliability of the Turning

TockTock Free Ranging in the Plant Shed, 2018, Archival Digital Print

There is reassurance in the turning of the wheel and in spite of the things that seem disruptive, each settles in and is absorbed as life continues, the sun rises and travels through the sky and sets in the west only to rise again into our eternity. Maybe not all of eternity but certainly in ours, the life of a mite relative to all time.

My new boy TickTock escaped his crate when I brought him home from a Connecticut farm and is free-ranging in the plant shed.  My confidence in being able to catch any living bird has been challenged by this fast and beautiful boy.  I keep telling him about the six hens who await his morning song and beautiful feathers but TickTock wants none of it.  He’d rather perch and poop on my washing machine.

 

The Artist’s Pleasure

Sunday Morning Convocation, 2018, Archival Digital Print

Photography as a valid member of the Fine Arts has always been problematic. What is there is there which means that the nuance and encapsulated time compression of Painting doesn’t hold the energy of a masterpiece or if it does, not in the same way. Photography is nonetheless a thrilling medium capable of both the outlandish and the sublime. The recent visit to my yard by a Bear set off ideas and potential events.  I was trying to get the feel of a Bruegel.

 

An Unexpected Visitor

 

Feeder, Lawn, Bear, 2018, Archival Digital Print

This huge fellow visited my front lawn on Tuesday morning around nine. He was only interested in bird seed and decimated the feeders. I was sitting on the back porch steps when he arrived in his black-hole black, a darkness I have never seen on an animal before and his huge brown snout. What good luck to see him so close!  After thirty minutes of looking around he wandered away.

 

July 31, 2018

The Back of the Rose at Dusk, 2018, Archival Digital Print

This has been a spectacular week in the Hudson Valley. The endless rains have stopped though it is still moist, the temperatures are comfortable and the foliage lush. Even the young Hawks are less noisy as they learn to hunt on their own. I put the first nest box in with the hens last night.   It was immediately popular.  They know what to do.  I am learning a lot and these new experiences feed my imagination and sense of wonder at the bounty of the world. There’s always too much to do, too little time and without sounding sugary I feel as if I live in an unending transcendental experience.  I do not understand how I got here but know it was destiny not mere chance.

 

Hen’s Delight

Fresh Local Corn with a Side of Polenta, 2018, Archival Digital Print

The girls are eager for fresh corn; not so much about cooked polenta. I try various foods to see what they prefer.  It’s clear. They see the corn arrive with me and start making happy sounds — not clucks but other little sounds of pleasure in their throats.  Watermelon is a second on their goodie list.