Thursday, January 21, 2010

Captiol Evening

I met Houston, Garrett and Sara downtown DC the other night for an Oberlin event at the State Department. We gathered at the new bike station across from Union Station, where commuters can store their bikes for an annual fee. It's a beautifully shaped building, like a long, glass, football. About 100 bikes can be kept here, with the bikes safely stored under glass.

Who knew DC could be hip?

Houston comin' in from the cold.

The bikes are brought in and if the lower racks are filled, an upper rack is brought down, the bike locked in....

...and up it goes for the night. Awesome for DC for spending the million to put the 'Bike & Roll' in. Forward thinking.

Then it was off to the capitol for a meet & greet with other Oberlin grads and the president of Oberlin.

I'd never been to the Senate building and enjoyed looking up

and up

and down

and over

whoa! messocables

and through

and down.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Goodbye Mocha

Another sad day at Dancing Leaf Farm. My Mocha, Queen of the Field, has passed away. She lived a very rich life of 17 years here on the farm. She was my best buddy in the field, always by my side, so friendly and a bit needy. The last few years she was really skinny but ate all the time (I asked her what her secret was....exercise, exercise, exercise!!!) Sheep do have a hard time keeping weight on when they get older.
Sheep have a heirarchy and Mocha was at the top of the pecking (or butting) order. She demanded respect and she got it. After shearing, they have to set it up all over again because they don't recognize who was the leader after losing their coats, so they butt heads and the winner gets to be the queen. Mocha always won.

One spring I let all the sheep out into the fresh green grass. They behaved themselves for a couple hours, then started down the road, so back into the fenced field they went. But I got some great photos of Mocha in the tulips.

Here she is with Brambles, her BFF. Brambles is even older but still can kick butt. I dare say I may catch Brambles with a tear or two.

Mocha always had the most beautiful wool, until recently when all her energy went into trying to keep weight on.

After shearing I think she was grateful for getting her long wool coat off so she could frolic in the grass.

She was always in the front of the pack, making sure she got the grain or the pets and attention. Lately she'd become a bit annoying as she was basically attached to my leg while I was out doing my barn chores. I rather liked it though, but she did get in the way. I'd be carrying a bale of hay and there she'd be, underfoot making me trip. I don't have another sheep like her but maybe one of them will step up, relax and become my best farm friend. (bff)

During the last snow, making her way over to me, hoping for a snack.

Goodbye my sweet girl. I'll miss you.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Last week 4 girlfriends and I took a 3-day pastel workshop in Chestertown. I took this same workshop last year and enjoyed it so much I wanted a repeat. Penny hosted all of us at her beautiful river home. Our first morning there we awoke to a light dusting of snow. It seemed the perfect 'painting' of white over the landscape, making for a pastel of its own.

The river is frozen, with just a channel in the middle that is still free flowing. One morning we were lucky enough to see 4 foxes skittering along the ice, scaring geese.

When we arrived it was in the high twenties, but warmed up to a balmy 35 by the time we left.

Three days of picking up beautiful pastels and applying to colored paper. Fun!

Pat is an experienced pastel artist and all her paintings showed it. She has such a great style.

She painted a view from her new home.

...and I painted a scene from a photo I took last summer in Maine of Peter making hay with his work horses. I still need to do some definition on the horses. I wanted a loose, free style.

On the way back to Penny's one night, we had to take a detour to see this amazing sunset. We have inspiration for future paintings.

This was a great way to start the new year, creating, spending time with girlfriends, drinking wine and telling fun stories. We are all so lucky.