welcome, and thank you for joining me on my farm and studio in southern lancaster county, pennsylvania

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

another farm and studio update

Last week I started the tender annuals such as tomatoes, melons, peppers, herbs and flower seeds indoors. Outdoors, beets, lettuce, and spinach went into the garden. So did the sheep muck from the barn - good times, folks. 

Spearmint went into its own bed in the garden paddock, hopefully to be followed by peppermint. I'd like to start drinking more tea rather than soft drinks.

The local conservancy was selling trees and so I bought 20 douglass fir which have now been planted out in the woods.

Sad to say that my winter wheat "field" that was planted last fall didn't make it. Most likely the sheep and geese grazed it down too hard - my fault for keeping them in the garden paddock for too long. And so I tilled it under and planted spring wheat in its place. Next to the wheat, a new bed has been tilled and oats have gone in - another new thing here on the hill. Hopefully these two crops will do better than the winter wheat. But hope springs eternal - I sure would like to try making baked oatmeal or whole wheat toast for breakfast from grains that were grown right here.  

Goslings are due to hatch on Saturday and Mayapple should have her lamb(s) by the end of the month. 

I have six mixed media pieces underway in the studio, most of them very close to being completed. There are also several in my sketchbook just waiting to have life breathed into them. Winter is a tough time for me, and I'm still coming out from under the proverbial rock, or hibernation, or whatever it is. But the good news is that creativity and productivity are on the upswing as temperatures rise and days gradually become longer!

A local building is being torn down and I was able to do a bit of salvaging. In addition to some miscellaneous scrap wood, I got several old windows that I plan to use to make a coldframe for starting plants in the spring, extending the salad season in the fall and keeping tender perennial herbs in the winter. 
There was also an old piano that no one wanted because it couldn't be kept in tune, so I disassembled it as much as possible for the parts. Quite a lot of bits and pieces come out of a piano that are very interesting. I took all the piano wire, the keys, and the entire striker/hammer(?) assembly as well as some of the wood. I could perhaps have gotten more, but the building was literally being torn down around me and so I felt some pressure to hurry a bit. I use quite a bit of wire in my sculptures, so that's a no-brainer, but the rest of the piano guts may sit in my studio for awhile before they are put to good use. It felt a bit odd to take apart a piano - kind of fun, but also like I was doing something wrong, somehow - like maybe the piano police were going to come and haul me away for disrespecting a musical instrument. Anyway, with all of the front of the piano off and the soundboard and wires exposed, it looked a lot like a harp. If I ever get another chance at an old tuneless piano again*, I'd love to try to mount that whole wire assembly on a wall. It was quite beautiful.

*So if anyone out there lives anywhere near Lancaster, PA or Northern MD, and wants to get rid of an old, tuneless piano, let me know and I'll come get it!


Sara said...

I just love the name Mayapple for a sheep! Our second hand sheep were all named for food-Pita, Cookie, Caramel. So we named their lambs Moonpie and Eclair. Maybe Jonquil would be a good lamb name..

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Can't wait to see what you make with "piano guts!" And I can relate to the feeling you had while gutting it; I would feel like I was violating it!