Thursday, October 31, 2013

Creepy Halloween

Creepy Halloween sounds so much more fitting than "Happy Halloween", doesn't it?  Halloween is supposed to be creepy, because that's what makes it fun, after all.

Whether or not you believe that the gate between the worlds of the living and the dead will swing open on All Hallows Eve, a cemetery can be an intriguing place...

Please allow me to share with you some of my favorite "haunts'...

                                                                     Cemetery in Bloomington, IN

                                                              SpringGrove Cemetery, Cincinnati, OH

                                                                New Orleans Cemetery, photo by Louis Martinie

The festival observed at this time was called Samhain (pronounced Sah-ween). It was the biggest and most significant holiday of the Celtic year. The Celts believed that at the time of Samhain, more so than any other time of the year, the ghosts of the dead were able to mingle with the living, because at Samhain the souls of those who had died during the year traveled into the otherworld....Virtually all present Halloween traditions can be traced to the ancient Celtic day of the dead. Halloween is a holiday of many mysterious customs, but each one has a history, or at least a story behind it. The wearing of costumes, for instance, and roaming from door to door demanding treats can be traced to the Celtic period and the first few centuries of the Christian era, when it was thought that the souls of the dead were out and around, along with fairies, witches, and demons. Offerings of food and drink were left out to placate them.  ( Jack Santino, The American Folklife Center)

                                       shop window in Richmond, VA

                                                                          St. John's Church, Richmond, VA

The oldest gravestones I've ever seen were here.  At this church, Patrick Henry uttered the famous words, "Give me liberty, or give me death."

                              This burial is so old you can no longer make out any words or carving at all.

                                                                                        A beautiful place.

                                                               SpringGrove Cemetery, Cincinnati, OH

                                                           SpringGrove Cemetery, Cincinnati, OH

All Hallows Eve
By Dorothea Tanning
Be perfect, make it otherwise.
Yesterday is torn in shreds.
Lightning’s thousand sulfur eyes
Rip apart the breathing beds.
Hear bones crack and pulverize.
Doom creeps in on rubber treads.
Countless overwrought housewives,
Minds unraveling like threads,
Try lipstick shades to tranquilize
Fears of age and general dreads.
Sit tight, be perfect, swat the spies,
Don’t take faucets for fountainheads.
Drink tasty antidotes. Otherwise
You and the werewolf: newlyweds.

Who knew Dorothea Tanning wrote such things? Enchanting!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

At Last, the Spell is Broken...

Well, that's what I had planned to title it, anyway...

I'm anticipating the inevitable questions here.  Like, "Is she turning into a bird?"  "Is she turning back into a human?"  "What's that weird thing on her head?" "Is someone chasing her?"  "Is she going to fly?"  "Is she falling off the mountain?" "What's the ladder for?"

Why do they always expect me to know this stuff? 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Story of My Life Story

There were times when I wondered if I'd ever finish this one.  It went well at the beginning, but as it progressed I kept getting stuck, so I would put it aside and work on something else for a while. When I did complete it, I had trouble getting good photos of the piece; I had to re-photograph it 3 times!  But here it is:

Story of My Life Story
ingredients: vintage book cover, vintage paper doll, found objects, image transfers, monotype prints, vintage fabric, map fragments, vintage book pages, child's writing paper, jewelry findings, stitching

Most stories, if you really think about it, are stories of stories. If the story is a recounting of the events, then each time the story is retold, even in our own minds, it becomes the story of a story.  By the time a person is, say, in their 50's, those earlier events are stories that we have told ourselves over and over again - altered by the passage of time, emotion, and tricks of the memory.  Changes in our perspective through learning, as well as intervening experiences, add new layers of color to our stories, probably more than we like to admit.

Life does not consist mainly, or even largely, of facts and happenings.  It consists mainly of the storm of thoughts that are forever blowing through one's mind. ~ Mark Twain

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

All the Doings at Shabo-Mekaw

 Welcome to Shabo-Mekaw

 mountain laurel

Scout, Sunny, and Arlo would like to welcome you to Shabo-Mekaw.  Well - actually, Scout would like to eat grass, while Sunny and Arlo would like run down the driveway.  You can follow if you like...

The field, formerly known as the blueberry field, and beyond it, the pond...

... which Arlo enjoys immensely on a hot day, as you can see.

Update on Construction Progress

One thing we had to do this spring was to fix leaks in the chimney so rain won't get inside. Mainly this is done by shoving cement in all the cracks and in the holes between rocks where it has fallen out; this is called 'repointing'. The ladder was just to sit on, so my butt wouldn't slide down the metal roof.  It is not at all comfortable, btw.

We attached a porch to the front of the log cabin, complete with cedar posts and a metal roof, and it turned out great, if I do say so myself.  It will provide a cool place to sit, and most importantly, keep rain off the front logs.

Though we had already done the porch floor in stone, we decided to spiff it up with these old, used bricks.

First we had to cover the stone floor with sand and crushed limestone...

Here, Scout and Arlo are chillaxing on the finished left side of the floor while we continue working on the rest.  We cemented the bricks in place around the edges...

... and got the other bricks laid down, but have not yet filled in between them.  Obviously, the stone steps will need to be revised as well.

Todd has been working very hard on the inside floor,

 and has a lot of the sub-flooring in place now.

He's also been trying to seal up the space between the soffit and the roof, to keep the critters from getting in.  Now he says we have to lift up part of the roof.  Whaaaaat?!

Bird Morning

 A couple of weeks ago, I went down to the swirl hole (the part of the Kinneyconick Creek just below our cabins) early in the morning. Usually, I don't get a chance to take pictures until afternoon.

 It was glorious - still and quiet except for the sounds of birds, with mist rising from the water. As the sun was beginning to clear the hill on the other side of the creek, the contrast between dazzling mist and deep shadows was exquisite.

 While I had my camera on the 'macro' setting ...

... because I was so into photographing these really cool dew-covered spider webs,

two great blue herons flew directly over my head!  They're very fast, and the camera was on   

So I switched  my camera back to the normal mode in case there were more...

... when suddenly a kingfisher flew right in front of me, going in the opposite direction from the herons. I aimed and shot wildly - it was even faster than the herons - and got this horribly blurry picture.  (No, I do not have a DSLR.)  I circled the kingfisher so you could at least tell that I wasn't making it up.

Less than a minute later,

a third blue heron followed the other two, heading upstream. 

Here's what they actually look like:

A few more early morning creek photos:

You can see the mist better where the light comes through the trees...

A view of part of the swirl hole, looking upstream from the island.  I'll never be able to show you the whole thing, unless I hire a plane...

The last time we left it, our sweet home-away-from-home looked quite lovely.

The tour guides would like to thank you for coming with us, but they're too tired...

See you later, alligator (or - whatever you are)!