I got a new CD from a fairly unknown artist, and I feel like I should share the joy with everyone I can. His name is Wheatbread Johnson and the album is called “Boogie Fool.” It’s a really solid blues album with some songs to make you laugh, some songs to make you cry, and some songs to make you eat some pie! (Okay, not pie, fat back ribs, I think he said.) Anyway, the guitar playing is extraordinary. On his last album I heard, Dinosaur on the Moon, he was already seriously strong in the chops. Now, with Boogie Fool, he’s filled it out with some backup singers and sexy banter. My favorite song is the title track, Boogie Fool, which is just a gem. It’s one of those I’ll play over and over in the car.
You can buy Wheatbread’s CD easily and securely by sending $20 via PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include your mailing address in your order. (Don’t worry. He cool.)
In this shepherding demonstration, I utilize voice command to teach lambs how to walk through a gate by telling them to “Go through the doors,” or “use the gate, Lambicans,” in a highly exasperated tone. When their performance is not satisfactory, I let them know by saying, “Seriously? You don’t see that?” because everyone knows that four day old lambs understand sarcasm, and respond well to critique. You can see that the end result is highly satisfactory. I let the lambs know they have done well by muttering “dorks” under my breath. This lets them know who’s boss!
Right after I recorded this, and shut the gate, I turned around and noticed that Yoshimi and her new lamb, Spock, were still on the wrong side fo the gate.
We have had so many lambs! Nine lambs, now, alive and well, though some of their mothers seem unfit and insane.
This is Corvette. Corvette always jumps the fence, and I had decided to never breed her, because as cute as it is to see a sheep gracefully hop a fence, like a dream sheep above your head in bed, it’s a good thing to be able to control your flock. I didn’t want any future sheep to inherit her athletic abilities and tendency to wander.
But, mysteriously, she had a lamb! Since having the lamb, a ram, she has rammed him, flipped him, and then jumped the fence and run away and left him. But, I didn’t give up. I caught her and brought her back and gave her a little more space and a little better fencing. This morning, after a wicked thunder storm, she let him nurse without me even tying her to a fence post! Progress.
Her lamb is a jumper, too. He just jumps around her in circles.
This poor ewe (Yoko) is huge preggers and has something going on with her muscles so she can’t stand up. I’m supposed to keep her comfortable until she’s ready to give birth, and then (according to the vet) “wash your hands well, take four deep breaths, reach your hand in and pull the lambs out.” Easy! I’ll let you all know how that turns out.
This morning, after our big rain, Yoko was lying in some real soggy hay. So, I half dragged/ half walked Yoko to higher ground (she’s so heavy), wiped her off with baby wipes and put her on a pile of hay and an old comforter, with a sun umbrella and some snacks (lawn clippings from the first mow.) Yoko seems comfortable. The whole time I was moving her, I had this song “She’s so Heavy,” going thru my head. John Lennon wrote it about Yoko Ono when she was pregnant.
There is one bottle lamb. Z named her “Tulipia.” (Which actually sounds like a fish to me. Maybe she will like swimming?)
Going out to feed the bottle lamb has made me go outside during every time of day. Last night, I met a little frog:
Early this morning, I saw our chickens have escaped their fencing:
And now for some pictures of what are probably terribly inbred lambs:
He’s really adorable, I swear. You just can’t see him because he’s black!
Maybe we should hire out our castrated rams as studs.
That little unexpected lamb died, after he caught a chill. Zanimal and I spent about eight hours trying to warm him up the next day, but he died, anyway. We were all very sad about it.
If only the weather weren’t so cold, but what can you do? We weren’t expecting a lamb at all.
And then we got some cute little chicks!
Being newly sensitive to the dangers of young animals getting cold, I noticed right away when this little guy was shivering, and a stuck him in the oven for a bit! Then I put him in my pocket to carry him back out to the farm. Now, he’s doing fine.
We didn’t breed the sheep this year, because we have enough sheep! We did get two lambs and an adult ewe from a friend last fall. So, that made twenty-five. “When are you lambing?” everyone in the sheep community kept asking.
“We aren’t lambing this year,” I told everyone.
Today I noticed a new little wooly one. Where the heck did that come from?
Some observations led me to the mother- one of last fall’s lambs that we got from a friend. She was only about five months old when we got her, but the only explanation is that she was pregnant upon arrival. Either that, or virgin birth. We should probably name him Baby Jesus.
Sometimes, it takes me a little bit longer (or even a lot longer) than a month to create a new book. And yet, it has been sort of implied at the “Love to Color” $25 a month level of my Patreon that you might receive something every month for your $25. Last month, the book wasn’t ready, and the $25 a month subscribers just got a post card (that was actually a weird game, but anyway… subscribe at $4 a month if you want to see that stuff). I felt bad for not sending them anything larger. So, this month, I’ve been working a lot with wool. Thanks to the great people at the Cat and Crow in Mounth Horeb, Wisconsin, I’ve learned A LOT about working with wool. But still, no book yet this month.
So, I’ve decided I’m changing the $25 a month level of my Patreon. Instead of just books, you’ll get whatever sort of art I’m concentrating on that month—or, if there is a new book, you will get two copies of the new book! So, basically, you’ll NEVER MISS ANYTHING. You can be 100% Artsy Fartsy supporter all the time. Artsy Fartsy A.F.
In fact, I am changing the name of “Love to Color” level to “Artsy Fartsy A.F.” (It’s redundant, I know, because everyone knows “A.F.” stands for “Artsy Fartsy,” but I like it.)
Because I didn’t send anything to my supporters last month, this first original art piece going out to all $25 a month supporters is actually worth more like $70 – $140 (I’ve sold similar items to local collectors). I call them “Wallflowers.” They are a culmination of all I have learned about wool, a combination of wet felting and needle felting, all made from the organic wool we grow directly from our wooly friends out back (A.K.A. the sheep). Each fantasy creature has a flower growing out of her head. You can mount it on your wall, or plant it in your garden and see if it grows! (It won’t.)
How many will I make? I will make one for every new person who becomes a patron this month at the $25 a month level. And, after that, maybe there will be a book next month. Maybe another art piece. I have a possible project in the works with another member of the Tenderfoot Collective, and that would go out to you, too, sometime in the following months.
For this month only, you can get a unique, hand-made Wallflower of your very own by going to Patreon.com/Shoshanah and signing up at the $25 level. Thank you in advance for your decision to support my art and to bring more beauty into your life.
Over the weekend, while my daughter and husband played Minecraft, I was painting a cat in a fez. It’s fun to paint cats in hats.
I painted the background first, then the fez, then finally the cat itself, which I envisioned as a Russian Blue. I was painting it grey. Zanimal, age 10, came up for a snack and regarded my painting critically,
“What would you say is the focal point of this painting?”
“The cat, of course.”
“So…” she said.
“I think it should be a lighter colored cat, so it would stand out better. Then your eye would be drawn to it more.”
“It’s wearing a red hat,” I said.
“Still… it should be lighter.”
“That’s nice,” I said. “When you do your cat painting, you can make your cat a light colored cat.”
She went back downstairs. I put away my grey paints. I squirted a big glob of black onto my pallet.
And now it is a sweet, black cat painting. Yes, I am petty. But I am satisfied with my black cat.
When I go to the Red Cross and give blood regularly (you’re welcome, hundreds of people whose lives I’ve saved!) they are like super nice.
Sometimes, they give you cookies– not just a few cookies, I mean, like 120 cookies that you can put out at your Holiday Market Party. And that’s nice. It is. It’s really, really nice. But, I don’t know. I mean, I know I’m being nice when I give blood. I know I’m being a good person with that and all. They say “thank you” a lot. They are swell people, and that should be enough. I mean, it is. It’s enough to do a good deed. It’s just… it could be more fun.
Improvements for the American Red Cross
Instead of calling me and saying “the need is great,” what if the Red Cross sent me a telegram with a red skull and crossbones indicating that it was time for me to come?
Instead of driving myself there, what if a hearse pulled by three black horses came to my front door, driven by a large white man who never spoke, only motioned with his strangely stiff hand for me to get in?
What if it weren’t in a nondescript building, but in a gothic mansion in a part of town that you never realized was there, because it was always enshrouded in fog?
What if the people who greeted me were dressed all in black, eighteenth century evening garb?
What if there was a basket at the door where you had to leave your cross necklaces and garlic candies?
What if the questions were asked in a Transylvanian (or Pittsburgh, Pennsylvanian [just as weird]) accent, with seductively raised eyebrows at key points?
What if there were bats in the belfry?
What is a belfry?
I like vampires. I do hope the American Red Cross considers my questions to them. Also, a serious suggestion: When I am done giving blood, while I am sitting there drinking my juice for fifteen minutes, ask me to schedule my next appointment before I go. The Red Cross could be like the dentist. Also, another serious suggestion: Will yougive blood? Because they VANT YOUR BLUD! Or, you know, they probably want to “save someone’s life” or some such junk.
*Members of Artsy Fartsy Coloring AND Colouring (a Facebook Group) get a PDF copy of Morbid Mandalas for free, just for being in the group! To join us, hop into the horse drawn hearse that just pulled up to your front door. Make sure and bring your coloring AND colouring supplies! Once you get to Facebook Town, you might be staying there for a wee bit longer than you intended…
**Donators to my Patreon get a creepy postcard from me each month! Try it out. It’s fuuuuuun. (Imagine Bela Lugosi saying that.) Fuuuuuuun. Eeeet’s fuuuuuun.