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“Your real duty is to go away from the community to find your bliss.” – Joseph Campbell
30 September 2016

The Bedlam Farm Tote Bags. The Open House.

By: Jon Katz
The Bedlam Farm Tote Bags

The Bedlam Farm Tote Bags

Earlier this year, Maria created a whole new line of art, illustrated and signed tote bags, each carrying one of her artistic themes – animals, goddesses, voice, empowerment, feminism. She made these for the Open House next weekend but is also selling them on her website, they are $48 apiece plus shipping.

I love the spirit of them, they are each different and idiosyncratic.

The tote bags are made in India, are eco-and worker friendly.

Posted in General

Okay, Robin Is Cute

By: Jon Katz
Robin Is Cute

Robin Is Cute: Photo by Emma Span

Okay, so Emma sent me this photo of my granddaughter Robin this morning, and I have to say this baby is kind of cute. She also has the beginnings of a grade A smile. The photo did make me want to go get on the train and chug down to Brooklyn, but alas, reality intervenes. We have the Open House coming up, we are both crazy  busy, and you just can't go down to New York City every week.

Text messaging is good, though, I can keep up from afar with no trouble. I like that smile, it made me want to smile back.

 

Posted in General

Hope Springs Eternal

By: Jon Katz
Hope Springs Eternal

Hope Springs Eternal

Hope springs eternal in Fate. She may not like to push the sheep around, but she loves to be with them, and run around them and sit in the pasture with them. Perhaps she was a sheep in a former life, and can't bear to harm them, as one blog reader has suggested. When I came out to the pasture last night to cook something on my grill, I saw Fate waiting in the fading light, forever hopeful I will open the gate and let her in. I did.

Posted in General

Best Open House: One Week Away, Here Comes The Art

By: Jon Katz
The Best Open House

The Best Open House

I have a very strong feeling about our October Open House this week (next Saturday and Sunday, October 8 and 9, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.). The first art has begun arriving, including the spectacularly original paintings by local artist Sara Kelly "Two Top Mountain," on sale for $120.

I love the feel of this Open House. On Saturday, the equines will get their hooves trimmed – open to the public – and the sheep will get shorn, also open to the public, including the Romney Gang Of Four.

We should have some amazing wool from the Romneys, come and see it for yourself. There is a big fiber element to the Open House this year.

Poets – Mary Kellogg, Jackie Thorne, Tom Atkins – will read poems, Maria and I will talk about my next book (she will talk about the passage to India),  and she has assembled a remarkable group of  talented artists, most of whom will be on hand to show their work and answer any questions about it.

Two spinners will be working under a take to make some beautiful things out of our Bedlam Farm wool, now converted to skeins and roving. Ed Gulley will be here with his  very fresh and original folk and farm art, including several of his instantly popular wind chimes (every one sold in June.) He's also bringing a cow to milk.

Red and Fate and I will, of course, be showing off and explaining our herding work. People have come to love Fate's highly original herding style, she is happy to show off. And Red is a master performer. Both dogs will be on hand for autographs and greeting. People can meet the donkeys and the pony. Bring carrots (not dogs.)

I felt in the past year or two that the idea of the Open Houses got skewered a bit. I was running around like a maniac, and had little time to talk to the good people who shopped up. Maria holes up during the Open Houses in her studio, the art shows she sponsors have become increasingly popular, the art is diverse – jewelry, pincushions, wondrous lotions and balms, winter mittens, paintings, water colors, scarves and tote bags, potholders, hanging pieces and quilts. People often stock up for Christmas, the work is original, unique and affordable.

In a sense, the Open Houses are about two things – sharing our lives and animals with you, and giving Maria and her fellow artists a venue to share and show their work. It is, in many ways, more her show than mine, more her Open House than mine, and there is, of course, a part of it that is ours.

Maria's art shows are stunning now, a testament to her evolution as an artist and a human being. She really knows how to choose art, display it and sell it. It's exciting for me to watch this growth over the past few years, every day she does things she never thought she could do.

It is a celebration of our lives together, really, we live open lives and share them. I think we are getting back to that focus.

The details of the Open Houses are presented on Maria's website more than mine, you can find them here.

She is writing this coming week about each of the artists. Sara Kelly dropped off her work yesterday, more is coming on Sunday. Hope to see some of you there.

Posted in General

Video Red At Work: Law And Order

By: Jon Katz

Part of Red's job – any working dog's job – is safety, maintaining some law and order on unruly and impulsive animals. Sheep, like some presidential candidates, do not have much impulse control. When we open the pasture gates, they tend to rush them, and if we are not careful, we can be injured or knocked down. Lots of people with sheep have had serious knee injuries from being run into.

One of Red's main functions is to keep the sheep away from the gate while we are opening them. Real sheep work on farms is not neat and pretty like the herding trials. It can get messy and unpredictable, lots of contact in close quarters. I took a video of this this morning, so you can get a feel for keeping order here, one of the many things Red excels at. Come and see.

Posted in General