Cricket Song Farm

Cricket Song Farm

Thursday, January 30, 2014

old, dead, twisted trees

I have always been fascinated with old dead twisted trees.  I think they tell an amazing story without saying a word, and having the Grand Canyon in the background makes the story even better.

Took these photos on our way back from Phoenix. They are taken from the south rim.  Hopefully on our next trip we can spend more time and catch the view from the north rim.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Spring Fever

I've got a bad case of it!  Every year about this time I catch the bug.  I need to be out digging in the dirt, not shoveling snow.  I really shouldn't complain, it has been a mild winter.  Soon our neighbor will begin the calving season.  I can look out my back window and watch the mama cows caring for their young.  Cow's make the best mothers.  Watching the baby calves running and frolicking with their tails held high in the air always makes me smile.

 It won't be long before I can move the geraniums from the sunny south window out
into the yard........well, I guess it will be a while yet.

In the meantime, I will sit by the fire and spin, work on some oil painting commissions that I should have finished long ago,  enjoy a cup of hot chocolate and pour over the beautiful seed catalogs that have been filling my mailbox.  Yes, the best medicine for the dreaded spring fever is an empty seed order form (just waiting to be filled) and a bit of chocolate!

                                                   read an earlier post about the dreaded

Friday, January 24, 2014

Sitting Pretty

I'm a rough and tough farm gal, but that don't mean I ain't got a bit of a "girly" side.  No, you will never catch me a wearin' PINK..... however, I don't always stomp around knee deep in.......well, let's put it this way.  I like things PURTY and SPARKLY just as much as any gal.  I wear a skirt (and cowboy boots of course)........ sometimes even around the house.  I have always had a hankerin for old stuff fixed up with ribbons, lace, and odd bits and pieces of linen or velvet.  Sewed all my clothes when I was a teenager, cut up old worn out Levis to make unique jackets and skirts, even made fancy prom dresses for fellow classmates to earn myself a little spending money.  Well, I am finally getting my own art studio.......just kicked (with my pointy toed boots) everybody and the furniture out of the living room and hauled in all my art and sewing supplies.  So have a peek at my studio, where I spin wool into yarn, paint, create my quirky projects, and yes, they are even a little "girly".......

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A is for Arizona

A is for Arizona
a couple of my kids making the letter 

On our way to see my son who lives in Arizona we stopped for a much needed
break from traveling and

walked across the old bridge

that accesses the Navajo Nation

where we found Sarah and Daisy selling their hand made
jewelry,  I purchased this fetish necklace for myself for Christmas.
Years ago (about 37 to be exact) I worked in a Indian Curio Shop
selling tourquoise jeweleryy, Navajo hand-woven wool rugs, Kachina Dolls etc.
I always wanted a fetish necklace, but being a poor college student
it wasn't in the budget
Thanks, Sarah I'm glad I waited so I could have one
made by someone I know.
I'll see you on our next trip down.

the beginning of the Grand Canyon on the North side

this newer bridge currently used by traffic

wish I had this in my back yard

trees stumps and a wooden spool
make a great table and chairs

Friday, January 17, 2014


The Banana squash is stored on the wooden shelves in the basement. 
The squash will last all winter if several precautions are taken.  In the fall when the squash is harvested I let it cure for 2 to 3 weeks before I bring it into the house.  Every night after it was harvested, I covered  the squash with several blankets to keep the frost off.  The warmth from the ground will keep the squash from freezing.  When the rind is cured ( it should be difficult to pierce with your finger nail)  the squash can be moved in for the winter.  Be sure you only store the squash with a thick orange rind, cook the soft rind squash within a couple of months before they rot.  I have heard to wash the rind with a diluted bleach wash that prevents mold and decay.  I don't want to put bleach on my food so I have never tried it.  This year I had a little longer growing season and was able to get a few Banana squash to mature.  They are stored all winter and used to make delicious
squash pies,
cut into sections and baked with a roast and other vegetables, or peeled and steamed.
  Anyway I cook this vegetable, it is delicious.

I added new yukon and red potatoes, thumb print carrots, freshly harvested
 storage onions and banana squash
to a large pork roast.   Placed all ingredients in a large roasting pan and cooked for several hours.

One year after a particularly good winter squash harvest, I made a large 
box out of hay bales to put the squash in until I could get it all hauled in for the winter.   I covered the squash with blankets every night this kept the heat in extremely well, allowing me more time to get it all hauled.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Home-made potting soil

Soon I will be starting my tomato seeds in little pots on the warm south facing window sill.  Here is a recipe for a good all-purpose potting soil.

                                                                     1 part perlite
1 part peat moss
1 part purchased organic potting soil
1 part composted manure

This mixture will provide good drainage.  However it will not support a plant over a long period of time.  The nutrients will soon be depleted and you will either need to re-pot with new soil, or use a good organic fertilizer.

At the farm this is the soil I make to start my seeds in:

1 part good-ole farm dirt
1 part composted goat manure
add hay leaves gathered from the bottom of the hay stack
or composted tree leaves

mix well in the old, rusty wheelbarrow and wheel it to the front door

to plant:
tear of a section of towels with seeds and
place on moist soil 
 cover  with about 1/4 inch with more soil.

look here for information about 

keep moist until sprouted
you can put the containers on top of the fridge for extra warmth
put in a south window as soon as they sprout
turn daily to prevent leggy starts

when sprouts are 1-2 inches tall, 
transplant to individual containers

to save tomato seeds for the following year, simply spread in a thin layer
on paper toweling

label the towels with the variety name
keep in an air-tight jar when completely dry
store in a cool dark place

unfortunately no-one was home to share this with,
 I had to eat it all myself!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A simple art exercise that won't break you out in a sweat

 An artist resides in everyone........ it is the way you decorate your home, the photographs you take, how you landscape your yard and gardens, the way you dress, how you comb your hair.  Everyone has the ability to create art in a variety of ways.  Here is a simple drawing technique to try.  Use a ball point pen, or a fine tipped marker.  Now think of something you want to draw.  Place your pen on the paper and draw
without lifting
your pen
off the paper.  Drawing in one continuous line, make the form or shape of the object.  It doesn't have to be perfect, that's the beauty of this exercise, it can't be exactly, proportionately correct. 
 Try It! 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Picking Pineapple from the grocery shelf

I imagine most of you already know this, but I didn't and found it fascinating.  Thought maybe there may be one or two of you out there who didn't know this bit of wisdom, thus I will share it with you.   The other day while in the local grocery, who by the way sells organic carrots..... thank you very much,......anyhow, I was standing eyeing the pineapples.  I love fresh pineapple.  A lady next to me was picking one out also and kindly explained to me how to pick a pineapple that is ripe and ready to eat.
(I try hard to always buy local or organic,
 however, I do treat myself to a fresh pineapple once in a while)

Simply grasp an inner leaf and gently pull
if it pulls out easily, the pineapple is ripe!

So I found a good ripe one, peeled and sliced it for supper.  It was ripe, sweet and delicious.
Who knew?
I didn't

I do however know how to tell if a watermelon is ripe using a straw from a broom, but I can't let you in on that until summer..........

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Wisdom for the new year

A new year is here.
  What will it bring along with it?  How will we face the challenges of day to day living?  Will we look at the glass half empty or half full?  I have made some goals or "new year's resolutions", not too many,  just a few that I can accomplish.......well, maybe.  Here's wishing you all a HAPPY NEW YEAR and hoping that it is filled with laughter, joy, love and the wishes of your heart!

Time doesn't stand still......
do you march along with it
living every moment of every day
or does it pass you by
while you are waiting for just the 
"right time"
to take a chance,
to try something new, 
to follow your dreams,
to live?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

getting my ducks in a row

Hope everyone had an exciting new year.  Have you made your "New Year's Resolution's"?
 I have spent the past week trying to get all my ducks in a row.  Moving furniture around, rearranging the dining room, getting my studio re-vamped so I can paint full-time, and get something accomplished without having to move something......... to find something...... and then move it yet again.  Good progress is being made, shelves brought up from the basement to place my boxes of vintage material, linen, and lace on so orders for Gypsy Bags and lampshades can more easily be filled.  A couch brought in from the dining area to set in front of the fire, and all my frames and canvases sorted and several oil paintings hung. Three large pieces of furniture painted and my quirky, vintage, brass and crystal chandeliers hung in place of all the lights in the house.  Yes, I started the year out with a  top to bottom ......move everything around........ just to give my teenager and husband something to do....... for the few days they have been home.   Really they have been a wonderful help and willing to get the house in order.  As the furniture was moved from room to room, my son began to make good humored fun of his dad who just happens to grunt as he works.   By the end of the day he had been dubbed...........
  "Sir Grunts-a-Lot". 
 Just wanted to say a great big thank you to my son for all his help and especially to my  

"Sir Grunts-a-Lot"