Saturday, March 20, 2010

I Brake for Donkeys

I am partial to donkeys. If my father's people came from County Kerry in Ireland doesn't it follow that they may have owned a donkey to convey peat back to their cottage, and that donkey's name could of been Sally or Seamus? So its in the blood. Thats why I visited the Donkey ranch today in Harmony, just a few miles from our house.

They came up to visit me as I sketched. Donkeys like people. They are kind and sociable and I'm not just making that up. I have a first hand knowledge.The summer I was nine, the donkey ride came to our town and set up in the school playground.
I stood in line, plaid shirt starched , my favorite jeans turned up at the ankle and blue keds tied tight. I hoped for the furry, taffy colored burro with the flicking ears and thats just who I boarded. His name was Tommy. I thought I would take a benign stroll around the playground with the other kids who were riding at a steady gait in a large cirle, but Tommy had other ideas. Get away ones.

As soon as I was situated, bridle in hand, he tore off down the hillside and to the open field, carreening towards the eucalyptus grove. My ponytail streamed behind me as his hoofs pounded over the dry summer grasses. Soon the head handler galloped along beside me and bellowed "Tighten your knees!, Pull his head up!"

I knew riding terms from watching TV westerns, but for a moment I wanted to run off to the woods too. Me and Tommy camping under the canopy of stars, eating beans from an old tin pie plate while coffee percolated on a smouldering oak fire. But the ramrod cut us off and we stopped short. He pushed back his stetson and scratched his head. "Never seen the like" he said. and we turned and plodded back. My legs shook and my rear was sore, but I felt a little bit like Annie Oakley. I made plans to memorize cowboy songs and learn to play the harmonica.

Back at the playground I climbed off and felt sad to leave, but Tommy flicked his ears at me and almost sort of smiled. "What an adventure!" he seemed to say. and it was.

Donkeys can live to be fifty years old. That means my wild and free loving friend could be chewing spring grass in some field today, just like the one in Harmony. Maybe once in a while he even thinks of me. I know I think of him. Love ya, Tommy, wherever you are.

The tattered outlaw of the Earth,
Of ancient, crooked will
Starve, scourge, deride me
I am dumb
I keep my secret still.
from The Donkey by Chesterton

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Green Fingers

On Friday I delivered a pottery order to Birds of a Feather on Main Street, and thats when my temperature started to climb. Because the sun is back out on a regular basis and I think everyone around town has a case of March Madness. One of my first symtons is always a craving for nasturiums. On the way to Bonnie's I stopped at our garden center and found myself swooning over bags of compost and flowered garden gloves, which I never wear. I like to get soil on my hands and my knees damp through my jeans.

For the last few years I've been using the Hit or Miss gardening method. I have planted and lost, but I am not deterred. All arrows point to woody herbs, shrub roses, scented geraniums and the afore mentioned golden lovliness of nasturtiums.They grow so well here that I feel like an accomplished gardener as I tuck them in every available space around the fence. Even though I know in my soul of souls that even Charlie Brown could succeed with them. All my garden horizons are dripping with froths of Magnolias in blossom, clematis exploding over doorways, and cabbage roses so enormous I could lay my head on them to rest from all my gardening glories. In the meantime I've got the rustics.

I left the garden displays long enough to take pictures of some of the lovlies Bonnie collects for her shows. A gardening friend.

This is only a smattering of the ribbon.

A rural looking bird cage that relembles a cottage.

Can a person get heart palpitations over a garden hat? Yes, I'm living proof they can.

Candlesticks from Bonnies. With dark cherry wood showing through worn putty colored paint.
And though my house is beginning to be mistaken for a florists shop, I couldn't resist the potted deliciousness of this homespun nasturium, 'Black Velvet' . Its so much more than a pretty face.

I wanted to share Lesley's work from Bird Ahoy. I sure was fortunate to win this beautiful necklace of carved stone, which is so light! The stone is carved with a key, and the second stone asks as a fastener. Simple and the kind of piece that goes with everything. The earrings too, light and simple, and a surprise from Lesley, they are going to go with all the grey I wear. Yup, love the greys. Thanks so much, Lesley! Both pieces are beautiful.


The Spring comes in

when no one is looking.

You're lying in bed

with a cold in your head,

Or you may be cooking;

Putting new covers on the chairs,

When, suddenly, taking you unawares,

A thrush in the orchard starts to sing,

and once again, you have missed the spring.

Reginald Arkell

xx and happy planting


Animals who garden

Animals who garden
Donkey with green paw