Flying Fox Studio

Just comments about my art, kids, animals and the eccentricity of it all.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mr. Benjamin Button is a very fine bird indeed.  We like his chameleon ever-changing head color and the retractable "snood" that hangs over his beak has given us more than one laugh.

 Sometimes he is pale and washed out, then puffs and the color is almost instant, red, blue and violet.  We just adore the silly thing, and to think he is only a few months old, being hatched in May, I think that is when he arrived, and now he is huge and still has poundage to add.

He is the same breed as a "factory" turkey those, mass produced for consumption, the ones raised in large lots don't ever become such beautiful birds.  We think he is quite the looker.

Last month I was in a fiber store, bad idea, and saw a beautiful bit of fluff, a pale lavender mix of merino wool and silk.  Gorgeous stuff, so I bought it. For many years I have desired a spinning wheel but they are quite expensive and there are many other priorities around here, so when I spin, I use a hand spindle. 
It seems whenever I use it, I cannot help but think and imagine about the thousands of years of history connected to hand spindles.  For thousands of years every particle of woven clothing was produced from thread spun with a spindle.  Clothing was expensive, not only monetarily but in the very life hours of the people who produced it.

 For instance a linen shirt would take a year to make from start to finish.  The flax planted, weeded, grown and harvested.  Then bundled and soaked in water to loosen the undesirable plant particles, the bundles were beaten and flailed and then combed through large spiky teeth to align the fibers and clean out debris.  The fibers were spun and dyed if desired.  A favorite dye was indigo, which was set with stale urine. Lovely job. 
The looms were warped and the cloth woven. Then the pattern was cut out and the shirt entirely sewn by hand.  Not exactly a quick trip to Walmart for a T-shirt.
The bit of fluff  ( 4 oz) was spun into nearly a thousand yards of very fine yarn, then plied together and knitted into an Estonian lace scarf.  It is pale and delicate and I love it.
Now this week I need to concentrate on re-doing the chicken house and making it  bigger.  I don't want to, really, really don't but it must be done before cold hits.  Sigh.  Wish I had some muscle and motivation!  Some people would suggest I ask my husbutt and grown sons but I might as well pound my head against cement and get the pain and frustration over with.
One interesting thing about having turkeys, they coo.  As I sit here in my office with the window open I can hear them just under the window making soft cooing sounds.  Who-da thunk it. Sweet, soft dove-like sounds from such large odd birds, always comes as a surprise.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Stupid blogger. It did allow me to upload one picture, this is Benjamin Button in full display, we love this funny bird.  Every day he runs in to the house or at least onto the front porch to get his bowl of cat food.  The birds LOVE cat food. It annoys the cats.

Well, I sure wish blogger would let me post some pictures, since I have them, and these are good ones too. How frustrating.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

New arrivals

This last month has been an odd one to say the least. It has been a wonderful time to find and connect with family and also the sorrow to lose a family member.  I have been most grateful for those experiences.  And also grateful and thrilled for the new arrivals which have found their way to my little home.
The first is an amazing and gigantic cabinet which I have coveted for years. I LOVE it!  The second picture is of an exquisite love seat from the mid-1880's.  It has a noble provenance. I will strip it back to its original walnut finish, retain the old stuffing which is still in good shape and re-cover it with needle point.  This is going to be a huge project and I may regret the needlepoint idea.
 This little love seat had been on my covet list for many years also.  I have been pinching myself all month for my blessing and good fortune, the gratitude has been overwhelming.
 The vanity?dresser which Tasmanian is sitting his fat butt on, is part of a bedroom set my grandparents bought for their wedding. I am unsure of their exact wedding date but I am guessing around 1910.  I am thrilled beyond words to be it's caretaker.  The lovely dresser and headboard have also joined it, and I will cherish them too. 
The last picture is of my beautiful stained glass windows and the linen covered antique couch, and yes it is covered in plastic, there are too many animals around here I don't trust and that would mainly be Hemi, he is a renown pisser to use a earthy phrase.  Excellent cat in every other way but his mother never taught him properly about using a cat box, he marks things as his own constantly and  he is a fixed cat too.

There are so many projects around here to finish it seems absurd, and I keep thinking of more to do.
The chicken house needs to be expanded before winter and I would like to finish all the trim work in the house....sigh.
There is a ton of research too for several large paintings I am planning and instead of doing what I should be doing I have been spinning.  That will be for another post, and I will show you what I have been doing.

The garden was poor this year, probably got too hot too quickly, the gigantic squash plants we had such hope for succumbed to mildew and they were a total bust, we were so disappointed.
The tomatoes were gigantic but have not set fruit, the ones at the top of the garden are setting huge fruit and hopefully will continue and we will get something out of them before frost.
The chickens and ducks ate the beets and lettuce. There were curse words involved on my part, but the peach tree yielded a bushel and a half of lovely, small but delicious peaches.  They have been bottled and some frozen and right now in the fridge is a delicious concoction of peaches sugar and heavy cream.
We have dined on fresh little potatoes and fresh beans, zucchini literally seconds away from the stalk, light delicate honey from our own bees, and eggs from the chicken and turkeys.
Speaking of turkeys, Benjamin the tom has grown at a spectacular rate. We are crazy about him, what a wonderful bird.  He walk right in the house to get his bowl of cat food. He loves cat food!  We are so glad we have him.  The turkey hens like him too and though he is twice their size, he is scared to death of them. Very funny.