Lil eating a pear on Dogwood

Lil and I jumped in our car and headed out for a girl's day this morning. I took her to one of my favorite places~ Dogwood pasture. It is a beautiful cow pasture on the campus of where I went to college. Up at the top is a wonderful shade tree where you can sit and see the mountains. The area of NC where I live is so often jungley and thick~ so to have the open space is such a treat. The other lovely part about this special field is that it is so many other's favorite place too. and I don't mind sharing this. It is too big, and too spirit filled to be captured by my heart alone.
We finished off our girl's day by eating watermelon in the pool:It was the perfect fruit and sun filled summer day.



Completely unrelated to this picture (which is of some paintings I am working on) is my news that Lilikoi stopped nursing last week. I wasn't sure if I would share something like that here~ it seems a little personal maybe~ but I can't deny that it is a huge and exciting shift in our household. I also feel like our nursing relationship was sweet right until the end, and I want to be an advocate for following your gut in aspects relating to nursing.
I have a few friends who nursed well past two and said it was great. I have a few friends for whom nursing became a battle and a source of aggravation and tantrums around this age. The first rule I set for Lili was no nursing power-struggle-tantrums (It is probably a joke that I am claiming she was following a rule of mine rather than I was just blessed with a child who happened to comply). Other things I did not want:
  1. I did not want to have her pulling at my shirt in public.
  2. No drive by nursing. Nurse for 30 seconds, go back to play, come back to nurse for 30 seconds a minute later...
  3. No biting or being mean to me while nursing.
So I always said as soon as any of these things start happening, or if it all of a sudden just feels right we will stop. We had already gracefully weened down to three nurses a day~ morning, nap time, and bedtime. So at bedtime a couple weeks ago out of nowhere I heard myself asking her if she was ready to be all done nursing. She looked at me a little puzzled and said "More". But then I continued to ask her a couple times until one night I thought I might be able to get away with ending it. Our conversation went something like this:
I asked her: "Does Gita nurse?"
"Noooooo, Gita is a big girl, she is all done nursies. Does Kessy nurse?"
"Noooooo, Kessy is a big girl, she is all done nursies. Does Lo-Lo nurse?"
long pause..."Yes???"
No, Lo-Lo is a big girl. All done. Is Lili ready to be all done or do you want one more nursies?"
"All done."
"So, Lili is all done nursies?"
"Are you all done or do you want one more?"
Then she looked down from my eyes, and to my breasts she said, "Buh-bye".

And that was that. She needs reminding each day that she is a big girl now and nursies all done. But overall it has been perfect. I personally have a little grieving to do around letting it go. I have loved our nursing moments of silence and connecting. But now it is like a new era of potential closeness has opened for us. I have been singing her to sleep each night and cuddling face to face, and I love it.
She seems to be taking this new change seriously, because I swear this last week she just seems so much more grown up...


You know, it was only a year ago that our road got Internet service. I keep thinking: HOW did I ever live without it? There were moments in the last two weeks that I felt seriously isolated and stuck. I missed the blogs I read and the feeling I could contact a friend at lightning speed. It certainly was a wake up call to how much I rely on it too~ everything from my business to looking up recipes and the weather... Am I (we) addicted to it?

I am sitting here trying to think of how to sum up 2 1/2 weeks and it feels daunting. I know there have been some really amazing days and some days of wading through thick self doubt. So much can happen in such a little amount of time. I will say I read more books without the glow of the computer to suck me in~ that was a plus.


Once again lightning stuck Stone Mountain a few days ago and took out my Internet~ so I will be absent for a little while.
I miss you all!


new work

"one of these days"
8" x 8"

I am loving the color palette on this new piece. It reminds me of the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan~ ever been there? The island is known for it's fudge, lilacs, interesting history, horse drawn carriages, bicycles (it is an island with no cars), and vibrant minty colors~ it is quite the experience. Alex and I spent a few days there when my dear friend Carrie got married there a few years ago. I think northern Michigan has this magical sparse beauty about it, and the island itself feels a little like a fairy tale (minus the horse shit smell everywhere). Half of the island is preserved in it's natural state and has walking and biking trails throughout... We had such a lovely time there. It was sort of a last child-less hurrah for Alex and I.
Anyways I am rambling... have I mentioned that NeNe (Mother-in-law) and Randy are house-sitting a house right down the road for a month? AND, they are considering trying to make this area their new home!!!? I will post some pictures of this soon.
Well, as I signed off in jr. high,
ttfn. (ta ta for now)


letting go

"Letting Go"
8" x 8"

I finished this painting this morning. Alex pointed out that it seems kind of sad. I hadn't thought that before he said it, but then as soon as the words were spoken aloud, it seemed true. When I set out on my rest series journey I wasn't sure how far I could go focusing on one thing before I got sick of it. I have been pleasantly surprised at how rich it has been for me so far.
Q: What did Sushi A say to Sushi B???


"you are safe"

"Fear says I will keep you safe. Love says: you are safe."
"You are safe"
12" x 12" x 1.75
(will be in the shop sometime next week!)

I was in my studio working on this painting this week and was inspired to add this quote that I had remembered from this wonderful blog post that Katie wrote~ only I didn't have the exact quote. So, it isn't word for word~ so I am not sure what that makes it... A hybrid quote? Some English teacher (my Dad? Tom Eslick? Mrs. Lemeris from 8th grade?) may strike me down for this sort of behavior~ using quotation marks when it isn't quite right, not even a footnote in sight! But artistic license is what I will call it today.
Right or wrong, or not enough credit directed in the right places~ it still is a lovely thought.

also, you can click here and here to visit two very nice blogs that featured my paintings! Thanks Lynsey and Gina!


life and death and 100 of the cutest things you have ever seen.

I have been wanting to write a blog post about my feelings on the expansion of our co-operative farm for awhile now~ ever since the day I took my first bite of our goat Thunder to be exact. But it is so sensitive to me, and hard to clarify my own internal conflict over eating an animal I cared for.

There was a small period of my life about 10 years ago where I was a vegetarian. From that time I came to the realization that it wasn't eating meat, it was the treatment of the meat when it was alive from both a health perspective and humane perspective that I had an issue with. I have no desire to go into the horrors of factory farming here, but I will say that it breaks my heart, and I have tried to shy away from that option as much as possible. Most of the meat I buy now comes from this incredible farm that is about 20 minutes away.

The past couple of years we have owned milking goats and egg-laying chickens. It wasn't until Thunder was born that we were presented with our first hard choice. Although it can be possible to find a male goat an alternative home, in general male goats are eaten after a half year or so (One of our goat books actually recommends drowning them immediately after birth). As he was our very first baby goat, we named him before he had stood up on his little shaky legs. We knew it was risky since there was a chance we would eat him, but we couldn't help ourselves. Six months flies by though, and soon enough this past winter we were stuck with the choice of Thunder. I will admit there was a part of me that wanted to send him away. Let someone else eat him, just so long as I didn't. There is no logic behind it. Why would I send away meat that I knew had been raised with love and good food, to in turn eat meat from somewhere else where I didn't know the conditions of the animal's life? It made no sense, but my heart sort-of wanted that anonymity.
There is a strange comfort in the disconnectedness with food, esp. with meat. If I can eat a pepperoni pizza without thinking about the cow and what sort of life it lived I am happy. Deep down am I happy with this ignorance? probably not, but on the surface it sure is a lot easier to see it as spicy pepperoni instead of unhappy cow who never saw the light of day.Thunder's Leg

I think a lot of this boils down to the lack of death in our country. I guess there is just as much death as anywhere else in the world, but we don't see it. We see roadkill, and maybe an open-casket funeral every once in awhile, but in general death is absent from everyday life. When I was in Italy dead animals would be prominently displayed in the open air markets~ whole chickens dangling from their feet, pig heads, legs with the bones in them. There was a connection for me between what I was seeing and what I was eating there. But, I don't see that here in the US. I think Americans might even have a pre-occupation with death (think of all the TV shows) relating to this lack of connecting with death.

Anyhow, we stepped up our farm this year when we took on 3 pigs. It was the first time we have gotten an animal specifically to eat. The male goats we will eat, but we are always hoping for female goats. The pigs, and now 100 chickens we bought specifically to eat. I am coming around to the idea, and feeling good that the meat I will eat was raised in a clean, happy place. I think this is one of those times in my life where I am tempted to say that ignorance was bliss, but then again, not really. What IS bliss is eating a good quality food that was lovingly handled. I figured I had to bring this whole conundrum up today because we got our one hundred day-old chicks in the mail today and my first thought was "They are so cute. I can't believe I am going to eat them." Hence getting me thinking about the good but hard choice to eat the animals we touch.

Here is the video Alex took of Lilikoi and me meeting them for the first time (we were running errands when they arrived). I have watched it several times, and the look on her face brings tears every time.