August 10, 2010

Make Time for Nature

"Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature and it will never fail you."
- Frank Lloyd Wright

So many wise women left so many great comments filled with sage advice after my last posting and I encourage you to view the comments for inspiration when creativity is stagnate in your life.  One common bit of advice was the suggestion of turning to nature for inspiration and healing.

Taking this advice, I returned to our farm in the country and after a few days I became more grounded and  had a better idea of where I am presently and which direction I wanted to explore.  Time spent at the farm seems to ground me, it seems to stop the whirling of my mind and brings a peaceful steady rhythm back into my life.

I am so blessed to have this place deep in the country on the prairie and the generosity of spirit from some brilliant women that follow my blog and take the time to lend a helping hand by offering a bit of their wisdom to me when I need it most.  I am so thankful for that.

 This farm is my true home now, and no matter where I travel or where I sleep, it is the place I long to return to again and again.  It's nice to feel a connection to a place that makes you feel so connected.

This is the owl that lives at the farm with her mate.  Each evening at dusk they arrive to perch on the gutters of the house or in the limbs of the oak trees.  After many failed attempts I managed to get a photo of them which led us to pull a book from the shelves and the closest match we could find is the Barred Owl.  Just look at those eyes...

Look at the size of this majestic owl perched on the gutter.  It's a huge bird with a wing span of about 5-6 feet.  Their flight is completely silent and they will swoop from the trees making no sound at all.  As big and powerful as they are we have seen smaller birds chase them away whenever they get to close to their nests.   The owl will soar past with a smaller bird close behind squawking loudly.

Look at this great sweater with the knitted owls encircling the neckline.  It's that time of year that my mind begins to wander to knitting projects for the Fall.  I am currently working on some super soft open mittens in a vibrant grape yarn.

They are so soft and will be great hand warmers this Fall when hiking on my favorite trails. The color of this year reminds me of grape juice.  For the knitting enthusiasts out there - this is my favorite knitting pattern site called

Summer Zinnias that grace my table are one of the joys of the season for me.  I plant them every year and can't imagine Summer without them in my garden or tucked into a vase on my table.  Their vibrant colors seem to scream Summer - reds, pinks, yellow, orange - the colors of my Summer.

Over the weekend, I harvested more elderberries to juice, helped my parents process 85 pounds of tomatoes from their garden, did a bit of junking, read a book, and enjoyed snapping some shots of the farmhouse.  I am still learning how to use my new lens, but I think I am beginning to get idea.

One of my favorite farmhouse finds that I hung on the wall next to a delicate embroidered curtain in my living room window.  I like the play of something so delicate and feminine next to such a masculine farm shovel.   I love the wooden handle and the unusual galvanized metal scoop with the open tines.  I believe someone told me that it is a potato shovel for scooping potatoes from storage bins.

If anyone has any ideas how this shovel was used on the farm, please share the information.  It is the only one of it's kind that I have seen at the various farm auctions I have attended.

Another little raccoon in the dry creek bed at the farm over the weekend.  He was looking for minnows and crawdads in the puddles in the creek bed.  Oblivious as he went about foraging or did he just not care that I was parked on the bridge snapping photos of him.  Even when I whistled or called out to him to look my way....he just kept focused on the task at hand - searching for an afternoon snack.  Another lesson from nature - being in the moment.

Lovely tarnished silver continues to thrill me.  I love the soft glow of the silver shining through the layers of tarnish.  I use it under bouquets of flowers in crystal vases, as coasters for my coffe table, on my dresser to hold my jewelry, as back drops for my china cabinet, and on my fireplace mantel.

I also am drawn to enamelware containers.  This is my composting pot that I keep in the kitchen to collect potato peelings, onion skins, salad bits, tomato skins - well, you get the idea.  This enamelware commode is perfect for the task - form and function!  It's roomy, has a lid and a nice wooden handle to carry it out to the composting bin.  If you like this composting container, I will be adding a few to my Etsy site soon.

My mother, was amused that I would use a commode for a composting container and wasn't sure if it was appropriate for the kitchen given it's checkered past.  She also thinks it's rather strange to hang a dried weed on the wall.  However, she is my biggest fan and loves to come over and wander from room to room to see my latest addition to the decor usually saying - I would have never thought to do that...

Like this whirling vintage GE fan sitting on one of my favorite green stools that has such a great patina of green chippy paint.  There is something so nostalgic about the sound the fan makes as it whirs and oscilates back and forth on the stool.  My parent's had stories to share about fans like this when they were young.

My Mom told the story of the oscillating fan that was so noisy keeping her awake at night as a child and her sister in law in the bedroom down the hall that would fall asleep listening to a transistor radio balanced on her stomach each evening that would wake everyone up when she rolled over and the radio clattered to the hardwood floor in her bedroom.

There's something so comforting about the nostalgia of stories from childhood shared as the sun begins to fade in the West. 

Blessings - Julie


Lesley said...

Ahhh you are back on form Julie! It sure suits you to be on the farm.

A lovely interesting post to read. I envy you the owls. SO gorgeous. What a privelage to have them so close to you.

Love the open mittens you are working on. What a scrumptious colour.

I too love my Zinnias! The last so long in the garden don't they and such a n array of bright colours. Healing to the soul.

Lesley x

Anonymous said...

I love zinnieas as well.I have lots in my garden, it seems they are the only things that are doing great this year.Its been soooooooooo hot lol.Love the sweater to cute.Im like you im starting to think of crafty things and crocheting for fall.

Jann said...

Love your photos! The owl, especially, is so interesting--I've always loved wild birds but have only seen real owls at the nature centers, never in any other setting. You're so blessed to live where you do!

Riki Schumacher said...

Excellent Julie, you're getting there. Seems nature holds so many answers for us all. Big hug, Riki

Paul_Yorke/Floater said...

Your photo is not a Barred Owl.
Barred Owl have brown (almost black) eyes.
They don't have ear tufts.
This looks like an immature owl.
maybe a great horned.