Archive for April 4th, 2012

In the Studio


Let there be paint! The studio is looking fantastic! I love how painting the ceiling really brightened the room. (You can see a bit of yet unpainted ceiling in the back to contrast with how dark the entire ceiling used to be.) The walls, of course, are also much brighter with the paneling gone. It’s going to be a light, bright, airy space. Once painting is completed, the floor will start going in. Exciting!

Note to studio backers with photo rewards: Photo rewards are going out. Each photo reward must be handled individually as the order is shipped directly to each of you. I email each backer after the order is placed, so please bear with me as I work through each order. I place orders every day, and you will hear from me when your order is on the way, I promise. (I wish I could be faster and do them all in one day, but I also want to be careful and not make mistakes with photo selections or addresses, so when my eyes start crossing, I have to stop for the day.)

I also want to make a note about Patriot here.

For those of you who have children, remember what it’s like to be a first-time mother? And everywhere you go, people are giving you advice? And you don’t really know anything about taking care of a baby anyway, but all the advice can be a little stressful? And you just want to take your baby home and hide in a closet? Okay, maybe that last part is just me.

I didn’t just buy Patriot and take him home. I am adopting Patriot, and the adoption process extends for a full year. You can read more about the Heart of Phoenix Equine Rescue adoption contract here. A quote from that page: “We [Heart of Phoenix] retain ownership of adopted equine for at least the first year to be sure the horse will be safe.”

At this point, I don’t really own Patriot yet. The Heart of Phoenix Equine Rescue still owns him. Tinia Creamer, an experienced horsewoman and president of the Heart of Phoenix, has been to my farm twice now to inspect fields where Patriot will be kept and to advise me on caring for Patriot. From Tinia: “We’ve handled over 80 placements of rescue horses to date and are a group of life long equine owners before becoming one of the only non-profit equine rescue groups in the state, and we have advised Suzanne on what we know is the best and happiest way to care for Patriot. Remember, equine care must be tailored to the individual horse, and what works for one, will often never work for the next. We recommend care based on the individual horse. She has him on pasture at our recommendation.”

All of my decisions on Patriot’s care must be approved by the Heart of Phoenix, as per the adoption contract. And I’m totally okay with that. As a new horse owner, I really appreciate the guidance and mentorship. In fact, I view it as a benefit of the adoption process. I am doing my best to follow their recommendations in accordance with our contract. Please understand also, though, that a barrage of conflicting advice is really stressful for me, and makes me want to take my baby and hide in a closet. Only that would be a super tight fit, me and Patriot, so please don’t make me do that.

Thank you for understanding!

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Garden Notes


I took copious notes as I went around the house and studio with the previous owners this past weekend. I wanted to know what everything was! And I knew I’d never remember, so I wrote it all down.

Here are a few highlights.

I have a lilac! And it’s blooming!

This is a hydrangea. I should have pruned it in the fall, but it will have to manage. I’m not sure I should cut that back now. I’ll take care of it properly this fall.

I’ve been wondering about what is to either side of the steps to the front door. Those are laurels.

This is a cherry here to the side of the front porch. (And you can’t really see it beyond the cherry tree in this photo, but the other tree in the front yard is a mimosa.)

There are two apples trees along the creek. (There are another two apple trees way back in the second upper pasture, but I’m thinking those are deer apples, due to location.)

It was a good time to nail down what I’ve got because I want to get some more trees planted this spring. I’ve ordered plum, peach, apricot, fig, mulberry, paw paw, hazelnut, and sugar maples. (And yes, in the case of those that need pollinators, I’ve ordered more than one of different varieties.) I will be adding some berry bushes also, but I’m not quite ready for them yet.

I’m going to plant the sugar maples along the strip between the two access roads. Good thing sugar maples are so gorgeous in the fall, because that will be it for me. It takes approximately 40 years for a maple tree to grow big enough to tap. I’ll have them put “I hope you like the maple syrup!” on my tombstone!

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The Slanted Little House

"It was a cold wintry day when I brought my children to live in rural West Virginia. The farmhouse was one hundred years old, there was already snow on the ground, and the heat was sparse-—as was the insulation. The floors weren’t even, either. My then-twelve-year-old son walked in the door and said, “You’ve brought us to this slanted little house to die." Keep reading our story....

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