What a beautiful winter we have had so far.
Mild and lovely.
Last week was filled with a few days of grey, but still wonderful.
Painting and sculpting has been going on, as well as lots of chores.
As you know, we stroll around our yard a whole lot.
The boys have their spots they check for bunnies and sniffs.
(which they can never catch, thank goodness).
And I have my own path I like to take.
I go south, then west, then north, then east, and back south, round and round.
I peek here and there.
I stop to eat arugula everyday (it's so abundant).
And sometimes, I get to see dry basil flower silhouettes just as scrumptious sunsets happen.
My garden is so crucial to my mental happiness.
It's just the balance I need between creating and refueling.
When I was 18 and made a full commitment to a life with art, I also took up gardening.
I had been painting since I was around 11.
But I had not been gardening until I was 18 and living alone attending University.
So perhaps, that is why I feel that my garden life and art life are one in the same?
They both healed me when I was on a path to find out who I was.
And stayed with me on a forever journey called life.
At the time, way back then, it felt that nothing mattered to me that other girls were interested in.
I was on such a quest to find the me I am.
Nothing else mattered.
It was a gift to myself, that I didn't even know I was gifting until much later.
Mostly because the search for one's self can be filled with emotion and challenges.
I think it is never too late to find or re-find yourself.
And since we are ever changing with time, I get to know new pieces of me every day.
I have often been asked, how do you find yourself?
When I began my quest at 18/19, I remember asking myself 1 important question.
"What do you like to do?"
At the time, all I liked to do was have fun, dance, party and be in deep love.
But when being in young love came with so much hurt, I realized...
I can't just be someone's girl and rely on that for happiness.
I have to be my own girl, and who the heck is she?
What does she like to do?
What sort of things does she like?
Boy, she loved digging in dirt and splattering paint around.
And, she still does.
I love the garden.
In fact, the other day I was watering one of my terrariums, and the smell of earth and moisture and dark soil and growing things just took my breath away.
There is this intense familiarity and calmness I find in those earth scents.
I love pinching mint in the morning and sniffing.
I love calendula sticking around all winter.
I love puttering around my winter garden.
A little dry and sleepy.
Moving big pots, turning other pots over and refreshing the soil.
Wondering what spring will bring with utter butterfly wings in the belly.
My brain feels very full.
The garden and paint splatters are my souls' necessary medicine.
I can be nervous and worrisome and obsessive, and I can even be sad.
I know this, so I get my balance from things I love to do.
My full heart, and my jumping around with glee almost every day, comes from the balance I know I need.
My balance is here.
Sometimes I wonder...
With everything I know now, about myself.
And the way the last couple years changed me by throwing change and challenges at me.
Oh, and acceptance.
Aaaand, falling off a cliff with arms outstretched in faith...
Can I always find my balance the same way I love to swim?
Is that how knowing yourself works?
Backward and upside down, and flipping through water like it's 2nd nature?
I hope so.
I hope the knowledge of the balance I need is so engrained in me, that my mind knows how to guide my soul to it.
If I ever get really lost.
I need sun, and soil, and fresh air, and paint, and fur, and love and music.
And a soft bed never hurts.
And most of the time love is actually within you.
Oh and, some clay would be nice too.
And if by chance, a hyacinth turns up on a warm in the sun, cool in the shade, winter day...
That would be extra lovely.
The one thing I know for sure.
You can never really please anyone.
No matter how hard you try.
We are all living our own human experience.
It can't be explained.
In the end, you come to find out...
I can only be true to me.
(that is, if you want to be happy)
I personally, have come to a place in my life where, I won't even try to please.
Or be someone I am not.
I just want to live a happy life, a simple life.
I have learned lessons and things, I can't even begin to describe.
All I care about are pups and gardens and lovee and ridiculous gulps of fresh air, drunk by the sun in the hammock.
I work hard on our property.
I love it so.
I am so glad to be here with all these boys.
Sometimes, the pups make me cry.
Especially, when Matty visits Baby.
But mostly, we run around chasing rabbits.
I think that's what we do at least?
I know there is lots of sniffing going on, and the rabbits have taken up under one of the sheds the last year.
I love this weird place of desert meets forest.
Of giant agave, and trimming trees and brush.
Taking turns sniffing around.
Filling up wheel barrows.
And when the first notes of early cool loving green appear around rock paths...
I have such an understanding of this plot of earth.
This morning there were hundreds of little baby leaves popping up on the orange tree.
It will be 80'F this week.
Winter mostly forgot about us so far, save for a couple cool snaps.
But he's tricky too.
Might turn up when you least expect.
This I know too.
The desert is tricky.
In its dry heat and dropping cold nights.
Mesquite trees know though...
Watch them for spring on the way, they say.
And, I do.
In this strange place where desert meets the forest.
Imagine barren desert, then high desert, and then mountain evergreens?
With agaricus mushrooms and the whole bit, right up in the mountain.
That's where I am.
The space in between.
The bunnies love to eat my sprouts.
I have found they are hollyhock lovers.
Old or new leaf alike.
So, I cover new sprouts.
And wait eagerly for what they bring.
Coreopsis, mountain garland, hollyhocks, siberian wall flowers, shirley poppies, crimson clover...
Imperial larkspur, evening primrose...
To name a few.
There have been ever so many rose hips this year.
The birds tweet at first sign of morning on the horizon.
The sun takes a while to come over the big mountain.
Loving our new guests, the black crows, and their zoo like memory sounds.
Pink mountains at sunset...
Last chance to carry logs around.
Yes, he has turned to little logs.
And insists on taking parcels from UPS.
No matter how heavy or awkward.
He delivers them to the front porch.
He gets the paper every morning, still.
But do not let him see you checking the mail.
Mail is his business, he takes it very seriously.
Who knows why?
But he does :)
Maybe he was a mail delivery person in his past life?
One thing's for sure.
At sunset, everyone runs around the yard one last time.
Fave winter dishes hit the dinner table.
My go to baked chicken.
It's easy as heck.
Or just veggies if you don't eat meat.
Season your veggies of choice, put them in a big pan with sides.
I like sliced potatoes and carrots and red bell pepper slices.
(I season with sea salt and garlic powder, and a hint of pepper, you can also toss in a tiny bit of olive oil, but if you are using skin on chicken, you don't need it)
Celery and onions are good too if you like them.
Then season your chicken well, and put it on top of your bed of veggies.
(I use sea salt and garlic powder on the chicken too)
Put a small pat of butter on top of each chicken piece for golden color.
(I do 4-8 pieces at a time depending on how big my baking pan is)
Then simply bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 400'F, then turn heat down to 350'F and bake another 30 minutes.
(I put a sprig of rosemary on my chicken before baking, but you don't have to)
Let the pan sit on stove top about 5-7 minutes before serving.
I love a beautiful dinner that is easy too.
After dinner light.
(yes, we still have lots of pumpkins)
After dinner dogs.
(I always put a sheet where they lay, they always get excited when they see me with a clean sheet)
After dinner play.
After dinner sleep.
Yep, that's our life, right up there :)
It begins all over again.
Garden, paint, garden, chores, computer break, make...
It's like one big ground hog day.
But, we like it.
So, there you go, endless babble.
How are you?
I am living in my own biosphere, what's going on out there in your neck of the woods???
ps: If you know a dog lover in Arizona, with a super loving home, that is interested in two small 12lb. beautiful little girl dogs, please email me. Or see the info on my facebook page. They need a wonderful, loving, forever home. They deserve it, they are so special. Sniffle. Wish I could take them in, but Lovee said, heck to the no because my two are already running the roost.