Chicago’s weather is really kicking my butt right now (snow mixed with rain for tomorrow) and I am desperately pining away for spring. Since we can’t seem to get a week of good weather here and, frankly, since my current piece is making progress at a snail’s pace I thought I would divert your attention with some hopeful pictures of sunnier seasons and more than you ever wanted to know about me through the story of my fake farmer fantasy. BTW, the pictures really have nothing to do with the story, except they are in North Carolina. One day I will return to art related postings.
I think these are fiddlehead ferns
As an introduction to these pictures, I have to tell you that my long time fantasy is that I have a parcel of land in Asheville, NC and that I live a fake farmer’s life. I say fake because I am not really interested in getting up at the crack of dawn (I already do that), killing my own food, or depending on my country skills for a livelihood or food. Really, I don’t even want to do really countryish things like canning or baking my own bread. I wouldn’t mind growing a vege or two. I do love to garden.
My Garden in Chicago. Ken built the structure, but we hadn't shingled it yet.
I want to live in Asheville because it has an incredible arts community, gorgeous mountains, friendly people, the Blue Ridge Parkway and great restaurants like Salsa’s. What more could an artsy, hungry girl want?
Love those falls
My farmer fantasies spring from my youth summer camp experiences. They were some of the happiest, simplest times of my life. I went to camp in Oconto Falls, Wisconsin for about 4 summers or so. The camp had the unfortunate name of Gay Acres (GA) which was pretty terrible, but when gay began to mean gay, it was changed to the Vacation Farm. I always thought this sounded a bit like some sort of country asylum. These were exceptional people, but they needed to leave the naming to someone else.
Rhododendron root formation on walk through Craggy Gardens
GA was on a working dairy farm, but the focus of camp was horses. We rode horses, fed horses, cleaned up horse crap, had mini rodeos, trail rides, learned to jump horses, rode bareback. and generally did all the dangerous things that kids today aren’t allowed to do today because of liability. They even let us try to ride a cow. In the course of camp I was bitten, kicked and stepped on by horses and developed a love for the meanest ones. I think this was the groundwork for me later working with kids with behavior disorders and autism. I also volunteered to wake up at the crack of dawn and milk cows and baled hay with the meanest, scariest farmer named Marvin. Marvin scared me, but I sure loved those cows, even though cows have a perpetual case of diarrhea and you had to be careful moving around them. The barn was a magical place with kittens and a ginormous hayloft which always felt like a secret place away from the rest of the world.
As an aside to this incredibly long aside, my husband and I were coming back from Door County, Wisconsin and I was feeling nostalgic about the old camp days and I made him help me track down GA. We went into town and asked the local librarian and she directed us to the old camp which had ceased to be a summer camp 30 years ago, but was still owned by the same family. We drove to the camp and, even though it was now a bison farm, it looked exactly the same. I sat there in the car and told Ken stories about all my camp adventures and got a little teary eyed. Then I called my sisters that went to camp with me and left them weepy messages filled with nostalgia. Oh, I should add that Ken had had the stomach flu the whole time we were in Door County and was just getting over it. In short, my husband is a VERY good man.
Much to my husband’s frustration sometimes, I developed a deep love for my idealized idea of the rural life and being surrounded by critters of all kinds. I have been trying fill our house and yard with critters ever since.
Bigass frog that moved onto the patio
Anyway, I fuel these country fantasies with the best magazine in the whole wide world: British Country Living which combines my love of all things farmy and beautiful stuff about the British countryside. It is basically all about fake farming combined with quirky Britishness that will make you want to be a fake farmer, too. My favorite feature is the monthly “Poultry Pinup” which tells you all about various breeds of chickens you can raise. They have put me on to all kinds of ideas like rescue donkeys and gypsy caravans. If I only didn’t live in the Chicago suburbs! God, I love those Brits (I guess that’s why I married one). Ken is ready to cancel my subscription.
In closing, here’s a springy piece of mine:
- Crane Series II (C) 2008 21.5″x21.5″
Any other fake farmers out there???????