26 August 2014

Making friends…extraordinary ones


If you have been following my Tahilla Farm days at Collage of Life you will know that I have a fondness for naming animals. I feel a kinship to some animals and often bestow a name, the first name that comes to mind. We have "Priscilla" the Porcupine and her baby "Pia", two turkeys…"Thelma and Louise" and have recently brought two others into the fold, one I call "Stupid"  and the other one…"Harold".

20 August 2014

If you live in New England…..and love gardens


Juniper Hill Farm, New Hampshire
Photo: Joe Valentine

If you live in New England
and love gardens...
there is something pretty special 
happening in our corner of the world.
I think you will love it!

 2014 Open Day Program for the 
is finally here.

12 August 2014

In the woods…the light of being



I caught it the way you do when you reach out to catch the string of a balloon before it escapes your grasp and you give yourself a high five for still being quick enough to catch it.  I caught that corner of my mind that gets clouded with words, ideas and emotions, the corner that you sometimes need to retreat to when life gets topsy turvy…and it all happened in the woods at The MacDowell Colony on Sunday.

For those of you unfamiliar with The MacDowell Colony, it is the oldest artists' colony in the United States. Founded in 1907 by Edward MacDowell, a composer and Marian MacDowell, a pianist, both artists wanted a peaceful place to create and to be able to share their special retreat with fellow artists. Their search started in 1896 with the purchase of a farm in Peterborough, New Hampshire. Fast forward 118 years and their mission, to provide a place for artists to work peacefully and harmoniously amongst their peers...is thriving. Over 6000 artists have walked through and around the pines, flora and fauna on this 45 acre property where artist studios sit quietly in the landscape.

Their are only 32 studios and as you might imagine, this is a prized and highly sought after experience with an application process that rivals admission to Harvard. (So, I have been told). I believe it..who wouldn't want to experience the greatest depth of their creativity at The MacDowell Colony, when notable artists such as Leonard Bernstein, Thornton Wilder, Milton Avery, Alice Walker and Alice Sebold and many more have done the same.

I have to be honest, I had not heard of The MacDowell Colony before life at Tahilla Farm. When I stacked up the pros and cons for purchasing a farmhouse at the end of a country road in a town I had never heard of before…in the woods..well, let's just say, the story behind The MacDowell Colony helped to tip the balance. A country retreat..in the woods, down the hill and up the hill and around the corner from the oldest artist colony in America? Let's just say it was a moment of clarity.

Back to Sunday...when I attended Medal Day, the one and only day when the colony is open to the public. It is also the day when The MacDowell Colony recognises an individual artist who has made an outstanding contribution to his or her field with the Edward MacDowell Medal. Last year it was the composer and lyricist, Stephen Sondheim, this year it was Betye Saar, a visual artist, and true hunter and gatherer, one who creates beautiful collages and assemblages of  collected objects often found at flea markets. When Betye mentioned in her acceptance speech that she has lived through 89 revolutions of the sun I smiled…and when she said "I feel this medal says for me, 'You go, girl'"…I joined everyone else in the standing ovation of this remarkable woman. I get the impression their is no stopping Betye…at any age.

Curiosity
about the unknown
has no boundaries,
symbols, images, places and cultures merge.
time slips away.
The stars, the cards, the mystic vigil
may hold the answers.
By shifting the point of view
an inner spirit is released.
Free to Create

Betye Saar
1998



After the ceremony, the crowd of over 1000 dispersed from the under a white tent for a picnic lunch on the beautiful grounds of the property. After lunch, a three hour allotted time period was allowed to walk into the woods to discover and meet the current artists in their studios.


And this is where I caught 
the light of being...
in the woods of The MacDowell Colony
where life happens in..

 a studio


on a bicycle


and a simple porch.



The porch is where artists are able 
to take their passion to the next level.




If the ideas are slow to flow…
they can sit and think about it





                                                         and consider their next project




In the woods one can find solitude




with a mountain



 The MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire 
is where artists are given the space


to contemplate and create


where white pines stand tall


and a library window awaits



It was here, standing on this porch where I caught
my proverbial string..when that corner of my mind cleared 
and I realised I was back in control again.





It was all so simple..
Edward and Marian MacDowell 
experienced it all those years ago…
in the light and shadow of the woods,
in the sway of a rocking chair on a porch...
you can find the light of your own being.
You just have to be open to it.

Thank you for letting me share this occasion with you. 
I chose black and white, in an attempt 
to let light and shadow speak for itself.
I hope it worked.
;)



To learn more about The MacDowell Colony
…click on the links below




Michele Mattei, Betye Saar, 2012;
Image © Michele Mattei



10 August 2014

The other woman..a happy dilemma


A Family Affair!
Our eldest son, Patrick, called us earlier this week from Australia to announce wonderful news. He proposed to his girlfriend, a gorgeous Aussie girl, Cherie, and she said yes! They have been dating for a while and I had a feeling it was only a matter of when. The when is now. We are thrilled for them both and share in the excitement for a 2015 wedding in Canberra, Australia.

My son, Patrick, and his bride-to-be, Cherie 

But..dear readers, well, I have a bit of a dilemma. I wonder if I should tell Cherie about the other woman in his life, the one that he adoringly sent a love letter too at the tender age of seven? That's right…he sent it and I saved a copy, because..some mothers do things like that and I am one of them. When a boy has a dream..well you just have to do what you have to do.  Carrie has now been replaced by Cherie..so there you have it, a match made in heaven! I just hope she knows what she is getting into…as he still loves Star Wars and she may see a Princess Leah costume in her future. AHH... love….I have no doubt that they will have a wonderful and adventurous life together. :)









More news from Tahilla….

I count my days at Tahilla Farm by the number of moons I get to sleep under. I am three moons down with one moon to go before flying back to Vietnam. In fact, on the full moon in September, I will be in transit and Tahilla Farm will officially be under construction. Am I nervous? Yes and No. There is still SO MUCH TO DO…


July full moon and counting...

Mr. H flew back to Vietnam this morning, having to reduce his three week visit into one week. He told me not to stress out too much before flying off. I have been here before. Moving is never easy, whether it is country to country or in this case, house to barn and storage facility…especially when you are tackling it on your own and easily distracted by rainbows.

Rainbow passing over the barn at Tahilla Farm this week.

The house needs to be cleared out, every inch of it, but we won't talk about that now…because if I do, I will start to hyperventilate and I do not like to hyperventilate when I am writing. Always tricky blowing into a bag and typing at the same time. ;)

This Virgo has a plan and I know it will work…I have a month, right? Worst case, I can pull out my Princess Leah costume (if I can still fit into it) whip out my lightsaber and call on the powers that be to help me…or I can retreat to our hammock and think about it tomorrow.


...thinking…thinking…

PS..if you wonder where Jeanne has gone 
and who this strange woman is that is writing this post,
I promise she will return one day soon…she is still thinking and wondering...
if she could still get her hair into the braids needed for the Princess Leah costume.
Always a dilemma!

Best wishes for a lovely weekend!

Jeanne xx
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