Thursday, May 30, 2013




So much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain 
beside the white

      William Carlos Williams 

                   I have always loved that little poem.  I have heard that it has been analysed to death for all it's possible subtle meanings but because I like color and art I appreciate it for it's simple visual image.

                   I happen to own a red wheelbarrow and some white chickens and I know exactly what the man was talking about.

                   I tend to like narrative poems.  Something that portrays an image or a moment in time.  Something I can identify with.  Not too long ago I came upon another little poem about a red wheelbarrow by an author named Gabriel Gadfly. (Yes, I guess that's his real name)

                   At the time I stumbled upon it (literally) I had a broken right leg in an awkward leaden cast and was unable to do my usual tripping through the woods and gardening that I very much enjoy.  Because of my venerable state I thought  that was why I was so open to the sentiment he stirred up in this poem.  I thought that was why a little tear stained my eye as I read it.

                  However, long after my leg had healed I read it again and felt that same little pang of connection.  Was it because it was now ingrained in me and my experience, or is it simply just a damn good little poem... a love poem.  Whatever,  I'll share it with you


I Have Put The Red Wheelbarrow To Use

Since your leg is broken
and you cannot easily go out,
I have brought the garden
into your bedroom.
I have emptied your
chest of drawers of your
underwear and your shirts
and filled it with clean
black soil, with explosions
of yellow red chrysanthemums,
clustered bellflower,
stalks of bright snapdragon.
There are sunflowers
standing in the closet
where you hung your
summer dresses
(it was the only place
the sunflowers would fit.)
It has taken me hours
to cover the floor with
dark sweet earth and
fill the carpet with
fresh shoots of grass
(yes, I even brought
the green beetle,
the wriggler earthworm,
the polka-dot ladybug,
because I know
how you love them.)
Be careful with the
wisteria hanging over
the bed. It is tacked up
only precariously,
but it was a necessary
final touch.
This poem © Gabriel Gadfly. Published Aug 12, 2011
See more of Gabriels poetry  Here

Saturday, May 18, 2013


The young couple invited their elderly pastor for Sunday dinner. While
they were in the kitchen preparing the meal, the minister asked their
son what they were having.
"Goat," the little boy replied.
"Goat?" replied the startled man of the cloth, "Are you sure about that?"
"Yep," said the youngster. "I heard Dad say to Mom, 'Today is just as
good as any to have the old goat to dinner"

                          I recently explained to a friend that  goats are not for the faint of heart.  I believe you have to be of sound mind and body to own a goat (or completely the opposite).
                  You cannot have just one goat.  They are herd animals and if you lock up a lone goat it will cry and complain.  It  sounds a lot like a woman being attacked or raped.  Trust me.  Or just ask my poor concerned neighbors!

                  Just yesterday I bent over in the barn and before I could blink my goat had pulled out and swallowed my favorite earring from my left ear.

                   I also have a goat who helps my pony escape from his stall.  This involves two actions, lifting and pushing a lever.   I wouldn't have believed it, except after seeing him go out the driveway and head for town for the third time, I hid in the barn and witnessed it myself.

                  Awhile back I made the mistake of forgetting my cell phone on a hook in the barn.  Only the goats could have reached it and unhooked it, but why they had to drag it over to where the cow could piss and s..t on it I'll never know.   I was not pleased, and neither was the Rogers salesman when I passed it to him for repairs!  

                  Don't get me wrong, I love my goats.   I have learned and finally adapted to their escape tactics, their curiosity, and their energetic antics.

                  The goat in the photo is Abbylove.  She is now sixteen years old and is quite calm and a bit feeble.  In earlier times though she was always planning and scheming.  You can tell by the grin on her face.

Monday, May 6, 2013




                  This is a watercolor 16x20  based on a photo I saw on a site called Paint My Photo a great on line community where photographers put on their photos for artists to paint.

             The photo was begging to be painted in my opinion and was put on by a lady 'Lillian Lee.'  If you are a photographer or do art of any kind join Here and it will become a source of thousands of free photos to use in your work.  The community is amazing and interactive and there are lots of little niches to join and explore.

                 I'm essentially a 'closet artist' painting smaller pieces that I give to people as gifts.  Now that I'm taking out big brushes and waving them around and slopping on gallons of paint it's fun and feels right.  I see that term 'emerging artist'.   I think I'm still one of those.  Shame it took me sixty years! 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013




 " God loved birds so he made trees.  Man loved birds so he made cages"

Jacques Duval


                      Not long ago I acquired peafowl  and I'm no expert on their sex lives but I'm learning.  They don't reach sexual maturity until about two to three years and my hens are barely two yrs.   The male peacock though is over four,  and you can tell come April his thinking turns amorous.   Like a lot of males he struts and spends a lot of time on his appearance.   He spreads his elaborate tail feathers and rattles them to attract the females.   He circles and seems to push out his private parts and 'wink' at the hens.   They seem aloof,  uninterested, and continue picking the various insects falling from  the garden plants.  He's irritable and he screams a lot, but bless him, at least he spends a lot of time on foreplay.   If he has been lucky enough to have  a sexual encounter I've missed it.   Perhaps I tell him,  next summer when the girls are a bit more mature, and bored with the same old garden tour they will be more impressed.

                 I did get a surprise  though, when one of the peahens started acting strangely.   She would disappear for most of the day and them come home to frantically gulp some food and water and tear off again across the field.    She reminded me of myself when I was working as an  E.R. nurse.  No time for a decent lunch or bathroom break,  just rush rush.  She had that same familiar wild look in her eye.  Then the final straw.   She stopped coming home at night.

                 One misty afternoon in late August I decided to follow her.   She sprinted across the pasture and through the page wire fence.    By the time I did a not so graceful  critical-crotch  maneuver over the fence and picked myself up to check for broken bones  she was in the woods.     I eventually found her sitting in a hollow looking glassy eyed.    At first I thought she might be ill.    Although fairly tame, I can't normally touch or  'pet'  these birds.   They keep an arms length distance.  Now just as a heavier rain started to fall I reached out and ran  my hand over her back.

                 Slowly, very slowly,  she stood up to reveal five perfect eggs.

                 During the day my peafowl are free range but every evening at dusk they come home and roost in the rafters of the barn.   They are safe.    I know I'm probably pushing my luck.    There's hardly a day that I don't see a coyote prowling the perimeter of our fields, not to mention the raccoons and hawks.   Now here she was venerable, and because of her age and what I understood,  her eggs probably weren't fertile so it was all for nothing.   But how was I to know for sure?    So I did what seemed sensible.  I went back to our barn and built her a nest.

.               Up in the hay mow and partially covered with a tarp and the softest hay I could find it was a glorious nest.

                I went back to find her still sitting there  meditating.   I put her eggs in a bag and she let me lift her without much fuss.   Once I had the right grip I headed off.    I knew I'd never get over that fence juggling a ten pound struggling bird, so I walked the quarter mile perimeter to the gate.    It was raining briskly now,  and my hair mixed with hay and sweat was plastered to my forehead.   I was soaked to the bone.   My glasses were steamed up,  and  I needed to pee badly.   But I felt it was a noble thing I was doing so I stumbled on.

               I deposited her on the  nest and gingerly slid the eggs underneath her.    I wanted to crawl in myself it was so calm and inviting up there in the rafters.   I sighed  knowing what a wonderful conscientious farmer-woman I had become and went in the house to clean up.

              Thirty minutes later she was gone.

              She didn't come back for two days.   I couldn't find any more eggs and she ignored the penthouse nest I had constructed.   After a week I bit my lip and destroyed the eggs.

                   Sometimes I'm even a little angry that we import wildlife to a country where they don't belong. We lock them in cages and stare at them.  We expect them to cope in a habitat they're not adapted too.  Next season I will be ready.  I'll get an incubator and try and keep the females penned.  They are here now, a part of my life on Windy River Farm.  All you can do is try and protect the things your love.

             Are you having any fowl adventures?