Category Archives: in the artist’s closet

A few things.

Hey folks. 

I know it’s been a while.

Last time I posted was in Autumn.

And I happened to be in a ‘Verizon zone’ and was able to post from my phone.

An Autumnal moment in the cathedral. I admit to rarely taking the time to walk around the farm to visit everybody. 

‘Everybody’ being all the babies, all the seeds I happened to have the good fortune to touch and plant some time before.

All the plant-beings in the cathedral I planted.

I write that to remind myself, because I find that I forget. And start to doubt my doing any things of benefit.

Although it’s raining as I poke at my little phonefacekeyboard, this photo was taken after the first big snowfall on November 22nd.

We got more snow during that snowfall than the entire last Winter.

I’ve housesat for various kitties…

Some who love their kale…

Some who like their space…

Some who look very sweet, but are like the The Oatmeal’s whiskey cat.

I’m very grateful for the cozy homes, for the use of laundry, for the connections over the years.

And as I watch the miles tick on, I’m ever grateful I was able to purchase a car back in 2001 that is still running.

Many miles gone by, many years… learning to drive standard in hilly Ithaca was humbling, and driving out to California cemented the training.

It’s been over 10 1/2 years since returning to Ithaca.

There’ve been many jobs.

After one of my employers was suddenly let go after a downsizing, I was laid off this past summer soon after moving.

It really knocked me out of orbit. Seeding (and cats. and family. and friends.) was one of the few things that helped keep me (sorta) steady.

(That’s me, btw. It was taken by one of the on-farm interns & he shared the photo with me.)

And that’s Sebastian, the ginger tabby with the tiny meow and a huge purr.

I applied to a LOT of jobs. 

Some of which I was qualified for, some not.

Eventually I picked up part-time work with a friend who grows sprouts.

These usually live outside in a greenhouse, but there was below-freezing temperatures, so inside they came, where they got ‘a little leggy’.

Still just as tasty, though.

It seems to be a good fit. 

It’s mostly behind the scenes, and all three of us get along, and it’s pretty mellow while all the work gets done.

The above photo is along my most favorite (and to my mind, most beautiful) road in the county back in October.

I’ve been trying to ‘get behind myself’, and so despite all the inner-critical-voices/chorus, I had cards printed up of some of my artwork…

I worked with a woman-owned printing company in town, purchased 100% post-consumer content recycled envelopes…

Found some nice glassine sleeves (which were probably meant for candy…) to protect each card & envelope pairing…

And with some freely offered new (recycled content!) food containers & paper, made up some packages to sell at the credit union’s holiday craft fair.

I didn’t take a photo of the table with all the cards, unfortunately.

But to my surprise & delight, with an email and two Facebook postings about the event, a whole bunch of friends came out to support my work.

I was really blown away by all the visits & support.

I’ve never really had faith in the artwork that comes through me.

But I started to question: what if I just trusted it… let it be what it is…

It’s far too easy to compare myself to classmates who have work at The Whitney, or The MOMA. Or places like that.

The art that comes through me simply isn’t like that.

I’ll admit, I still think of leaving. Of moving somewhere else. Try to find a place where the rent isn’t so high. Or where I don’t have to run into people who aren’t really friends anymore because I said something or did something that upset them.

I’ve thought of moving to go back to school… maybe for biology… or phytotemediation… but that takes a lot of math & chemistry. Which I basically suck at.

And the truth is, i love seeds.

Maybe that knee-jerk reaction will always be to move, to run.

Aversion is so my go-to habit.

I’m so grateful for the friends who are still my friends despite my (very) imperfect ways.

I wish I was perfect, but I’m not.

I’m trying to befriend myself, with all of my imperfections.

This year I’m going to try to drop the whole trying-to-be-perfect thing. It wasn’t such a conscious thing, and I’m not succeeding at it anyhow, and the attempts at it seems to just create more tension inside.

A sort of letting-go practice. Or allowing. Or awareness, I suppose.

To quote my Yaya, “who needs it?”


I know I’m leaving out a lot, but engh. It’s okay.

This is one of the cards that didn’t make the cut. But it’ll become mail to someone.

Wishing you gentleness and steadiness, a sturdy ballast for all to come.

Thanks for reading, for your encouragement, and for whatever acts of creativity you can get behind yourself for.

(Or with. Goodness I was never good at grammar…)

Wishing you all well.

May the planets smile kindly on you all through 2017.

Happy Anniversary.

That’s a Spring Beauty from a couple weeks ago.

It’s Spring Ephemeral season. That brief stretch when the forest floors have light and some warmth & these lovely beings emerge, bloom, fade, and sinense as the leaves in the high canopy unfurl and gather light from the Sun.

A woods walk was in order.

Miraculous, and thankfully perennial.

Spring Beauty and Blue Cohosh.

(Blue Cohosh sticks around for longer, but emerges with the others)

In an earlier stage of life, Blue Cohosh shows up a gorgeous deep dusty plum color, shifting to green.

(I wish my vocabulary for the various greens was extensive & specific… I’ll need to work on that.)

Hello, Hepatica.

Notice the three-lobed leaf from the previous season… Three lobes corresponding to the three lobes of the liver.

You can see this season’s leaves, fuzzy & unfolding in its time.

Dutchman’s Breeches.

Such adorable blossoms. They are nearly exclusively pollinated by bumblebees. 

Double (flying) Dutchman’s Breeches?… Anyone else play jacks as a child? My sister taught me how to play when I was 8 or 9 years old. Double Flying Dutchman was one of the most challenging levels.

(Thanks M!)


Only a few were blooming the day I went for this walk in Late April. Many were in bloom the following week (on a phone-less walk).

I just love this plum-green stage in the Blue Cohosh plant…

This is not Oni, my cat of 10 1/2 years. (He’s all spirit kitty now.)

Please say hello to Nemo. Who could be Oni’s distant cousin.

Fortunately I was able to be with Nemo for a stretch of time in March.

(Black kitties is da best.)

So today is my tenth year since returning to Ithaca, after four years away, with my cat, Oni.

Happy Anniversary!

11 & 1/2 years is the longest I’ve lived anywhere as an adult (if you count the time before I left…)

It’s my fourth season with Nook & Cranny Farm.

Spring shares just began this past Sunday, May 1st.

It caught me by surprise. I’m in my own little seeding & transplanting world most of the time I’m there.

For me, the season began in February, seeding Alliums.

Shallots, Onions, Leeks, Scallions.

And greens, after being transplanted into high tunnels, were harvested just days ago.

Infant spinach that now waits for me to sauté with last season’s garlic. Tonight, after work.

Another image from February. We tried a new method to keep track of the many Allium trays.

I don’t have an image of the trays in their current green stage, but they’ve began to be transplanted last week. Tonight they’ll complete the rest of the trays.

This method was too complicated, and spray painting edges of the trays will likely be next season’s method.

I hope to blog a bit more this season & dye paper again. It’s been a while.

We’ll see how things unfold.

Till then, happy anniversary day & wishing you all a joyous, long slow spring.

Good morning & weighing.

Good morning human who is reading this.

Thank you for following my blog, even though the content has perhaps been not-so-thoughtful or deeply reflective this past year…

My previous bank of photos will not upload to WordPress, so I currently have a small amount to draw from

Unless I want to dip back to older post images.

Which would be fine, but there were other things I meant to write about.

use it or lose it… So the saying goes.

So I need to get out and take more photos & hope that the new ones will somehow, magically (because I don’t understand such things) find their way to the photos that can be chosen from for posts.

I’m really good at wasting time.

Granted, I’ve been working a lot. 6 days a week for a long time. But this week I have two days off in a row.

And I feel guilty.

That’s messed up.

Thing is, there are things I need to do.

Write an essay for my application.

Print out a recommendation form a friend filled out for me, for the above mentioned application.

Go to a copy shop to DO that.

Sometimes I just don’t want to get into my car to go anywhere. People drive more & more aggressively.


I’m a masterful procrastinator.

No, I’m not proud of procrastinating.

It’s a terrible habit.


Know what else I need to do?

I need to ask for help. For support. With loan stuff. (Because I have no idea how to do this. Because I’m going to need to go into debt. For school. Something I’ve managed to mostly avoid up to this point in my life.) 

And with computer stuff. (Because I don’t have a computer, & I need a computer, for a program that’s starting sooner than the end of the month.)

It’s hard for me to ask for help. To admit I don’t know. 

And it’s embarrassing to admit that.

I can admit I don’t know, finally, but it triggers something in me where I usually wind up crying because I feel “stupid” & I assume that others think I’m stupid, & I often wind up trying to figure things out in my own, because it’s embarrassing for me to cry in front of people.

And for the people who may be reading this who HAVE helped & supported me because I asked for help might be thinking: she asks me/us for help all the time…

It’s because I trust you.

To not judge me as hardly as I do myself.

And because it’s safe to cry in front of you.

Because that happens easily & a lot lately & that’s hard to be seen crying but maybe you didn’t know that.

Things are changing. They are always changing. And this is a change-place in my life, so I need to do things differently.

I want to be more open & do the things I’ve been wanting to do & putting off.

Time is fleeting. It just goes.

And for the people who have followed this blog, even when it’s simply been the good morning view out the west window

Which offers subtle, and not-very-breathtaking views of the sky & slow-change of tree, thank you.

It has also been a location device, as well, given my nomadic nature with the house sitting.

& for my paranoid self that worries about nobody knowing where I am sometimes.

My bird-way of saying: I’m here! I’m here!

  I’m going back to school.

I’m going to take out a loan.

I need to purchase a computer & learn how to navigate my way on it.

I’m going to need to ask for help & support to do this.

It’s probably going to kick up whatever shame that triggers tears & fears & i’m just going to have to keep on walking with a handkerchief & a puffy face.

It’s easy to give up.

But I want to try this new way, for me, of a long-term-goal which could be of benefit to others & to myself, for years to come, if I happen to live to years-to-come.

So thank you, salted banana friends & followers, for being interested & for reading or looking, for caring & to the fellow bloggers who share their world (inner & outer) – a deep bow to you.

You’ve enriched my life & buoyed my spirits through this past year.

Thank you & good morning.

Remembering reminders after forgetting.

I forgot to relate to my suffering with curiosity.

I don’t even think it was a matter of forgetting, because to forget, one has to remember, or have some sense of mind-awareness of it in the first place.

So I guess I wasn’t forgetting, but merely embroiled in a cloud of an internal swirling mix of thoughts, projections, worrying, misperceptions, feelings, & emotions.

Sounds like fun, no?

(Raise your hand if anyone out there feels things really deeply)

O hiiiiiiii!

Stop, & pause & breathe.

I forget to stop. To stop & breathe & just feel, notice, be curious about what is happening inside & outside.

Curiosity out the window

I need to invite curiosity to be my pocket roommate & constant intimate companion.

There is a kind of gentleness which comes automatically when I turn towards the critters & the wild things of this world

Even the weather outside receives the open attention & wonder

This mind sometimes not so different from a box of potatoes gone growing…


Interesting, lovely, amazing even – the will & intelligence of the potato

(Hello Compost)

This quality of attention rarely gets turned around

But that needs to change.

Meditation practice has helped yes

And I need to continue with sitting practice, & to not only read the Dharma –

(Thank you Pema for your practice & writing. thank you Margie for reminding me to re-read When Things Fall Apart, & thank you Mielle for sending me the book in 2009)

– but I seem to require listening to the Dharma as well.

It’s like a returning, a remembering, a face-palm “o yes, THIS! I forgot!”

I’ve been avoiding listening to Dharma talks, because for a while the talks just triggered the thinking about someone who (relatively) recently broke up with me & so I just stopped listening to avoid that trigger.

But it’s my medicine.

My medicine.

And since I’m not in a Dharma community, it’s up to me to surround myself with whatever medicine helps tend to this mind.

Seeding helps, working with plants helps 

Listening to the Dharma helps…

Making art…

Taking photos, noticing beauty in & of the world

Today is a new day

To practice, to remind myself, to remember when I forget

& to practice the kinder attention.

Gratuitous photo of Genuine, enjoying her grass

(Thank you, Jean, for the photo!)

May you remember the feeling of kindness as your experience of this day unfolds.

Idea for sharing, considering riches, & what-if’s.

this mind

For better &/or for worse

Travels through each day with the often visiting phrase: 

what if…?

A dreamy mind.

For worse, 

it perpetuates fears & worry.

For better, 

it dreams ideas into the world.

And hopefully it’s not just a trap to avoid being present with what is.

This region has had what I would call “a real winter”

I’ve written before that I love winter.

This region is currently rich with snow.

Which is great, it acts as an insulator for plants, will replenish water tables, & is beautiful too.

Perhaps there is plenty to share.

This is a letter-drawing for my young friend who turns 3 in May.

He is bonkers for all things truck, tractor, motorcycle, & especially heavy machinery.

(He’s also a willing snow shoveler)

And the Southwest & California might be in need of some water.

If anyone is inspired to share this with engineers or people involved in the train/railway system, feel free.

(I already emailed it to the Mayor of Boston)

I’m not an economist, or anything like that, but if many people tended to railways, building & maintaining it, as well as the solar desalinization plants, not to mention all the humans who could person the backhoes & dump trucks, and many farmers & farm workers & so forth, that could add up to a lot of work for the benefit of many.

What if we shared the wealth?

5 Element breakup rant & in praise of Winter.

I love Winter

The feel of it
The smell of it
The look of it
The sound of it

Even if I’ve been sick nearly a month
I love Winter.

Walking outside this morning on my way to work
Greeted by sunshine & the fresh smell in the air

(Nothing cuts through a mucus stuffed nasal passage like 18 degree air)

My spirits lifted instantly upon smelling that snow-coming-soon air

Our Greater Lungs are exposed in Wintertime

The Tree People

Without them we’d be so sad
We owe them our deep respect & protection

This is our vascular system!

Reflecting the past couple days on the breakup which occurred back in October
I keep visualizing cutting the invisible cords that run all the way to Minnesota.
I usually try to pull back the cords
But not this time.
It’s big scissor time

Scissors, machete, shears, whatever works.

Let the cords fall where they may
Compost & seeds & all
Let wildflowers & bee food grow there

We are in Winter
The Water time – the Mystery time

There was a detour
I was headed in a direction, heart full on, totally willing, and the Universe has other plans.

We’re on a Detour, honey.

Let’s remember the 8 Worldly Dharmas, please.

Let the minerals from Autumn grief feed the Waters of Winter

I have no idea where my life is headed.
That’s right
I have no idea at this point.

I think I used to be embarrassed to admit this
But not anymore
This is the truth of where I’m at today

Winter Mysteryville.

Blessings on the silent creatures
The Trees, the Bees
The ones we depend on for so much

May we one day soon give them the love & care & protection they deserve

Blessings on all beings

Seed trials & attempting to change a habit.

It’s that time of year

When the seed catalogs arrive one after another

This year, I decided to run some seed trials before placing orders

I still have a fair amount of seeds from when I was farming
But didn’t know if they were viable

Mammoth red rock cabbage gets composted
Zero germination


The alliums, which are said to only have a year viability, did stellar – no doubt due to being kept meticulously cool & dry in multiple baggies tucked in the refrigerator since 2012

Hell yes

Even the notoriously fussy shallots germinated well

Yes yes yes

Sierra Batavian lettuce did well

Alas the Concept Batavian goes to the compost

Scarlet Nantes carrots will be seeded in 2015

Shin Kuroda carrots did fair… Tempting to keep them & seed heavily when planting

May do one more trial with this carrot…

Was asked by a friend if I was testing the seeds I grew
And I hadn’t yet, but began today with the parsley


I guess I was nervous – it being the first time growing parsley for seed

I’m trying to pay attention to the thoughts in my mind
Since the habit of identifying with the thoughts is SO strong
I’m trying to be mindful of the thinking habits

I could see a procrastination fear habit right in plain sight
Fear of failure.
So don’t even try.
…like if I don’t test it, then I won’t know – that is, I won’t know they won’t germinate

But they might!

Thing is, even if they don’t germinate
I tried
And it was a fun experiment
And I can try again with seeds I purchase in 2015 if need be

Aren’t they so pretty?
With their stripes?

Parsley seeds are not the tiniest, but they are small

Handling the seeds released a wonderful bright smell
Bright & bitter

Let the parsley trials begin!

A quarter teaspoon to soak in hot water

And another quarter teaspoon in cool water

Double trial
Why not

The parsley seed coat contains a chemical which inhibits germination
So soaking the seeds (and changing the water twice) can take a week off of the three week germination period…

I wonder if fuanocoumarins could be a natural weed inhibitor…?

Lots of parsley seeds!

Onto a sheet of paper for ease of pouring…

Seed divination, anyone?

Using the composted seed’s envelopes

Thank you FedCo seeds of Maine


Zippy ramble on Shallow things, the Beauty of things, & Need.

I have never seen an ugly tree
Never ever ever.

I have seen only beautiful trees

Yes, I’m partial to particular trees
Like this Shagbark Hickory

I have never seen an ugly vegetable
They are only different from each other, even if of the same variety
Each one unique

Take this leek, for example
The vibrant color!
The subtle shifting of hue (or is it tone?)
The way it sorta looks like a sawn plank of wood

Is a leek like a tree?
Or is a tree like a leek?

I have always been drawn to things that show time, age, revealing something which speaks of change & impermanence

Things that unapologetically show by their beingness the effects of weather, seasons, the Elements colliding with that very thing

Like this bit of road

None of us are spared the effects of the winds of time

I will spare you a recent photo of myself
An image caught of this 43 year old face
Gone through seasons of gardening & farming
And more recently, grief, which brings its own character

Wrinkles & silver hair coming like snow

I probably should use eye cream or something

And I will admit to looking at this 43 year old person-tree image, not with the eyes that sees the beauty in trees, or vegetables…
Too much judgement of this surface which is with me every moment of the day
*hiding behind fingers shame*

But the thing is
I really want to see the effects of time & seasons & weather – the external & the internal weathers

I will win no beauty pageant
Would never qualify for one in the dominant culture in which I live
And that’s okay

So I keep to the woods

Where I am reminded of the sort of beauty I long to embody

The world in which I was born into promotes capitalism & profits

I would rather focus on a world where need is the lead

Like a marked path in the woods, need in the world leads us where we, or rather, We need to go

What is truly needed?
Wendell Barry speaks to this.

(Absolutely worth your time to watch the interview with Berry)

William Douglas Horden speaks to this.
Vendana Shiva speaks to this.
Bill McKibban speaks to this.
No doubt, there are many others…

This post is a zippy ramble
Of shallow things
Of things quite important
Even if
They are not being mentioned on tonight’s news reel

Wishing you
A relaxed belly
An unhurried walk in a place of quiet beauty
Wishing you generous, gentle eyes upon yourself & the world around you
The courage & faith to respond to what is needed in this world

Blessings on all beings

Hopi Black Dye Sunflower Seed dye & heartbeat.

My heart beats a bit faster
Just sitting here, tap tapping with the tip of my finger on the surface of the phone face
With the thoughts about the Hopi Black Dye Sunflower Seed dye.

Time is relative
Long, in terms of time, is relative

This is over four years coming
What I would call a long time coming

This Hopi Black Dye Sunflower Seed dye

I had tried to grow Hopi Black Dye Sunflowers each year since 2010,
finding the seed in the previous Winter

But various conditions occurred

Seeds didn’t germinate…
Seeds were disturbed & eaten by critters in the barn…
Young, tender plants munched down by critters in the field…
Running out of seed…
Trying again year after year with critter munching being the main decider.

Everybody’s hungry.

But this year


And for the past couple of weeks, with the preparations (and even writing this) I notice a sort of anxiety/excitement feeling in my heart

With each step closer

You ever want something so so much and the closer you get to it, the stronger the anxiety-feeling in your heart?

THAT feeling.

I’ve been trying to make room for this
(& all of the) feeling that blows through this organism

All of the Weathers

No matter what Moon phase

Trying to hold space for, to make room for all of the feelings to come through the pasture, so to speak.

Breathe, Marney

So this process, which has become precious, important, and I bring my attention & thanks to it

Honoring the heart-longing

And so, from seed to seeds

Allowing them to soak for two days in a pot of water

Brought to a boil, and simmered for 20 minutes

Then after sitting for two more days
(Thump thump thump goes the heart getting closer)

With the simple tools, and small stack of paper


It was at this point I considered putting down the phone/camera – out of concern that i could spill the dye…..


“…the greater the risk, the greater the glory…” ?!?!??

Not a lot of dye, so gotta try to get all the goodness…


All of it!!!

I found that if I put my fingers below the seed pile on the strainer, more liquid would flow through


There’s probably some law of Physics which explains this
But I never took physics, sadly

Yeah, this looks a bit post-Halloween-nails-creepy

Gettin’ wild in the kitchen…


Step by step




I had hoped to dye 24 sheets of paper
But it would have been squeezed, so decided to pause at 18 sheets


Settling in after some minutes

Thump thump thump
Goes the heart

Breath & 5 senses anchor.

Someone wise
Many years ago
Once told me
That it’s easier to fall down, than to get up.

It’s true, I’ve found it to be true.
Gravity always wins.

It takes effort to get up
It takes effort to focus the mind’s eye away from a habitual landing place

In the case of grief
In the case of loss
The quickest mind route is not unlike the tongue
Going over and over to the place where there was once a tooth

Someone wise
As an antidote
Told me to focus on what was present in my life

For me, this is an uphill practice
An effort full practice
This mind running habit stories
Wild mind
Unruly rabbit.

The habit has been to focus on what’s missing, the loss
Like that tongue, feeling feeling feeling into where there is no longer a tooth


There is much present
So much
There is a great richness in my life

And even when the grief feelings get overwhelming,
There is the breath
to focus upon, to ride like a wave, bringing me to the next and next and next moment

There is always something
Always something present
Always something to focus upon which lives in the realm of presence

Staying in the sense realms has been helpful
What is here?

Where are my feet?
Where is my bottom?

Very nitty-gritty
Very basic.

There is the breath.

It’s come to this
This is my anchor these days

Whatever works.