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

The Week That Still Is

By: Jon Katz
That Week That Still Is

That Week That Still Is

In my tumultuous, unpredictable and sometimes erratic life, I'm not certain I've had many, if any, weeks quite like this one. And it is by no means over.

First, Maria decided to go to Calcutta to teach the victims of sex trafficking how to make potholders and she raised thousands of dollars in a couple of days to do it.  Then, after months of haggling and waggling, my publisher express keen interest in my next book proposal and started the process of buying it.

In between, we rescued two more Romney wool sheep in a wild brawl on a hillside in involving Red, some goats, a big horse, a ram and three ewes.

And tomorrow, it appears my daughter will give birth to her first child, my granddaughter.

I admit my head is spinning, I am off-center, distracted and more than a bit disoriented. If ever a week promises to change my life, it is this week.

I am mostly reeling from it, and it all appears to be good, even great.

Several people have asked me if I am affected this week by memories of the two children list to a then little-known genetic disease about thirty years ago. I imaging there are echoes and triggers from that, my flashbacks to being in the hospital in Baltimore are not kind.

But no, I don't feel fearful or panicked about the birth of Emma's child, she has been monitored throughout and is in good hands. She will be fine, and my granddaughter will be fine. I am essentially optimistic in nature. As a reporter I learned that bad news finds you quickly. There has been none.

I expect to go to New York City in a few days to meet this new person in my life. Another new chapter. Even by the rather lively standards of my life with Maria, this is an unusual week.

Maria is thrilled about her trip to India, so am I. I am happy to have these beautiful new sheep. I am very excited to get to work soon on my new book "The Lessons Of Bedlam Farm." I guess Maria is right, I don't appear to be over quite yet.

And yes, there is the Portrait Show. Tonight, in between text messages from my daughter – I don't think she uses the landline phone any more for any reason – Maria and I began assembling the frames, mattes and photographs for my portrait show, which goes up in two weeks (the reception is from 2 to 4, Sunday, September 18 at the Round House Cafe, 1 Washington Street, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816, the public is invited.)

I don't really want anything else to happen this week, except for Emma to have a healthy kid as easily as possible.

I can't keep track of all the important, even momentous things that are happening in our lives, they are hopping up and down in my head like popcorn out of the cooker.

Last night I was up till 4 a.m. watching old British mysteries on Hulu. I hope I sleep tonight. Oh yes this afternoon, I went to see my diabetes medical specialist, he said I looked great, didn't need to come back for six months.

He said I could eat sweet corn every day, just not too much. I am dozing off, I am so tired, but I wanted to put this photo up of some of the flowers in our hanging basket. There is a lot of nasty stuff flying through the air around us all now.

What is my role? To bring color and light to world and explain it to you. To offer a safe place, and despite my occasional grumblings, a respite from the rancor and ugliness of the outside world.

I am ever grateful to have so much good and exciting news to report, and glad to be able to share it with you.

Hang on.

Posted in General

Hay!

By: Jon Katz
Hay!

Hay!

We are starting to fill the hay up with first cut hay for the winter. I have to admit that I am never at east after August 1 if we don't start loading up the barn with hay. There are few sweeter feelings for me when the first chill comes to have the shed filled with firewood and the barn filled with hay.

For the first few years I lived her with animals, I did the silly outlander thing of buying richer second cut hay for the sheep and donkeys. That, many farmers have told me, is like feeding the animals Thanksgiving Dinner every night, it fattens the animals up, often beyond what is good for them.

Alfalfla-rich second cut and constant feedings of grain are not healthy for equines or sheep, they do not replica the food in their natural environment,  it is not  healthy for animals to be overweight.

We've found a wonderful source of hay – Brian and Sandy Adams from the Up and Over Farm in nearby Shushan. It is great hay, the bales are big and tightly twined (material for the next Fiber Chair, soon to get underway.)

It is still hot and stick hair, but one day soon we will feel the first sharp chill of autumn and then, winter.  The grass will begin to fade, it will yield less and less nutrition.

We will be ever so grateful to have this hay in the barn. My goal every year is to start feeding hay to the animals in early November. Sometimes we get that far, sometimes not. Today we got 30 bales into the barn. Brian and Sandy are good people to work with, Cassandra, the Cambridge Valley Vet Tech who works so lovingly on Red, is their daughter.

If they can raise a daughter like that, I guess right that their hay is top notch. We ordered 90 more bales and Sandy promised to have them in the barn "before the first snow flies." Sweet words for me to hear. I see in the photo that Red was peeking around the corner, keeping an eye on me as usual.

Posted in General

The Art Of The Forest, Cont.

By: Jon Katz
The Art Of The Forest

The Art Of The Forest

These shadows are delicate, graceful, there is a lot too look at and consider when the sun bursts through canopy and waves a magic wand.

Posted in General

The Art Of The Forest

By: Jon Katz
Art Of The Forest

Art Of The Forest

I am enchanted to discover the art of the forest. I have to look for it, I don't always see it. When the sun is behind me, not in front of me, the forest leaves cast their shadows on the weathered old bark of the trees. These imprints stand out in the forest, every time I walk there, I see something I did not see before, every day I appreciate the craft and beauty of the world, of Mother Earth. I love the interplay of light and shadow on the sun, the leaves and this old tree.

Posted in General

Donkey Love

By: Jon Katz
Donkey Love

Donkey Love

Maria is crafting a new potholder series, she is calling it "Donkey Love," and there is no question about who or what inspired it. She is charging $25 for these potholders, plus shipping. they will be described and sold on her website.

Donkeys can be the sweetest of creatures, and also the most willful and independent. They are capable of enormous affection, they love to sidle up to the people they love and just be close them. They are also inseparable from one another. Today a big box of classy eco-tote bags (made in India) came to the farmhouse. This is turning out to be quite a week.

I sold a book, Maria's going to India, I'm about to be a grandfather.

Posted in General