Bedlam Farm Blog Journal by Jon Katz

18 March

Saturday Afternoon, An Insanely Busy Day. Sledding, Art Work, Rock and Crystal Store, Laotion Food, Hair For The Snowman. I Loved Every Minute

by Jon Katz

We have one more morning to spend with  Emma and Robin. Robin ended dinner by asking if Maria and I could come and visit her in New York. I said we would love to if it was possible.

Emma told her about my impending decision to amputate my big toe; she wanted to know more about it. I said I’d let her know what was decided. They leave just after lunch tomorrow, taking the train back to New York City.

We blew paper straws at each other for an hour after dinner. She’s getting quite good at it.

This visit had a lot of firsts for Robin – a snowman, sledding, animal rock sculptures, Laotion food, plus making art with me and with Maria. Robin took a lot of tumbles on her sled down the back pasture; she took it like a champ, like a Willa Cather woman.

I’m posting the photos in separate chunks.

I’m saving all the animal stuff for tomorrow. Some of it was very touching.

I’m losing the ability to think clearly, or stay awake, let alone type. I think Robin has some supernatural power somehow; she simply never tires.

I wasn’t like that when I was 6 or any age. I don’t know how Emma does it with so much humor and grace.

Maria and I admitted to being exhausted, we went to take a 20-minute nap, and I bow to Emma; I forgot what it’s like to have a bright, active, and independent child. And I have one.


Zinnia ran alongside Robin every step of the way. We just never ran out of things she wanted to do, we only ran out of time to do them.



The sheep hardly believed it, it was like going to the movies for them, they watched the whole sledding in bewildered but were fascinated.


Robin had some spectacular falls; she laughed through everyone. I almost got run over by a sled twice. Zinnia went running along with her every time.

She slipped off the sled half the time; she went down smiling.

Robin has the idea of giving the snowman (dissolving in the warmth) some hair taken from fungus and moss growing on the side of trees.


Snowman with hair made mostly of moss. Robin stopped at sideburns.

The two artists spent an hour or so painting together and discussing art. I joined in. I got some valuable instructions. Robin asked me how I became a photographer.



We went out for lunch at a brewery that makes and sells Laotian food, a first for Robin and Emma. Robin wasn’t crazy about it; Emma was.

I invited Maria, Emma, and Robin to a Schuylerville store selling rocks and crystals. Maria bought me a stone, and I bought her one. Robin chose two small animal rock sculptures: a dinosaur and a dog. Emma got some bath soap.

I am exhausted. I’m making a pasta dinner and will pass out or sleep. More photos in the morning. I loved this assignment, a challenge, and a task of love.

18 March

Robin Builds The First Snowman Of Her Life. Maria Taught Her How To Do It

by Jon Katz

It was one of the most exciting moments of Saturday.

My granddaughter Robin has never seen or built a snowman; she lives in the heart of every urban Brooklyn. Maria said, “let’s do it,” and Robin jumped at the idea.

So did Zinnia, who loves kids and loves hanging out with them. She watched every second closely.

Maria showed Robin how to roll the snow, and they both had a great time.

Robin’s First Snow Man. She had never seen one. Carrot for a noise, raisin for the eyes.

There was a lot of time spent shaping the Snow Man’s head. It was a small one; the snow was hard and icy. Zinnia ate the first carrot and raisin.  I told her to stop and she did.

They did a lot of designing, scraping, and planning; Zinnia was fascinated. At one point, Maria looked at me and said, “Grandpa, do you want to help build the snowman?” Grandpa did not hesitate. “No,” he said.

After all, somebody needs to record this milestone event. After building the snowman, the two went off to throw some rocks over the fence and into the pasture. They had a great time with much laughter.

18 March

Good Morning, A Full Day. My Blue Sky Is Back (Sort Of)

by Jon Katz

My Blue Sky reappeared after a long absence. I missed it. Soon, I’ll head over to Emma and Robin’s AirBnB apartment to bring them here for breakfast.

We have a full agenda, feeding chickens and donkeys, heading out to a rock and crystal shop (I’m getting Maria, Emma, and Robin a stone or crystal), then lunch at the new Laotian restaurant.

Robin and Emma are going back to New York Sunday. I’ll read another book or two to Robin, and I have some pictures I love to sort through. More later. Maria and I will have a quiet cup of tea together before the excitement starts.

We are a little low today; a good and much-loved friend is very sick.

Bedlam Farm is working its magic on my granddaughter. Photos later. Robin saw and built the first snowman in her young life. It was a sweet thing to see; Maria showed her how to do it.

I told Maria to never again tell me she wasn’t good with children.

17 March

Robin’s Here. Paper Straws Were Flying In The Restaurant…

by Jon Katz

We met Robin and Emma at the Albany Train Station and stopped for lunch on the way home. Soon, we were shooting paper straws at one another.

When we got home, I read from a couple of new books I bought for her, and she painted a bit. She sold me the Daffy Duck painting I wanted for $5 (she quickly got over wanting to give it to me for free), and I sat with her while she painted.

Maria took her out to the barn to visit the chickens and see the other animals. I’ve ordered wood-fired pizza from Shift for dinner. We’ll eat it here.

Then I’ll drive her to the AirNb Emma has rented just down the road. I have a whole box of paper straws I ordered for the epic paper-straw-blowing battle Robin, and I will have at dinner. I’m hiding them until then.

They are still out in the barn almost an hour later.

In the morning, we’ll make some breakfast and then we’ll go out for Laotion food for lunch and a visit to a new rock and crystal store in Schuylerville. I want to buy Robin a rock or crystal, and perhaps Emma (Maria also).

They’re going back to New York on Sunday. Robin is great fun; she is also exhausting. She has an amazing amount of energy and curiosity.

I hope to get time to talk with Emma, who seems happy but tired. That’s the father speaking. I broached the idea of Emma visiting the farm for a couple of weeks this summer. Emma likes the idea. We’ll see what Robin has to say.

I don’t think she’s quite ready – the country is still very strange to her – and I don’t want to push it until she is.

More later.

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