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Spotted Dog Farm Blog

Summer Recap

As is usual for me in the summer, I didn't keep up with the blog so well.  It's not that nothing was happening - it's more like too much was happening, and I was having fun living it, without wanting to stop and document it.  That actually seems like a pretty good philosophy - keep moving forward with the fun - so instead of wishing I had kept a more complete accounting, I'll just move on with the highlights.

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It's A Wild One

This winter has been a wild one so far.  For the last few years we had these mild, easy winters - usually punctuated with one or two snows, but for the most part no big deal.  It was equal parts delicious and anticlimactic.  This winter, on the other hand, has been a different beast.  January has been cold.  Like COLD. 

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The Cookies Are Coming

I’m back!  Weeks of jewelry making and jewelry packing and emailing and website listing - over!  And it was fun, and I’m grateful, but - I’m for sure ready to shift gears.  And, unexpectedly, my gears shifted towards Christmas cookies.


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Meandering Around the River

This week I wasn't so adventurous with the weekly excursion.  Mainly because I've been doing a lot of work and a lot of yoga, and was a little slack at making the time.  (Well, I did have one previous weekly outing, but that ended up mainly being breakfast and the food co-op, and that didn't seem worth documentation.)  So this week I again was a little on the short end of time, so instead of heading to Max Patch (which is high on my list), I instead just went down to the park at the river and walked around.  Verdict: still fun.  Not exactly full of wonder, but fun.

It was one of those perfect blue North Carolina days, and there's was still just a bit of color in the trees.

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Sunrise from the Top of the World

This morning I made it - I hop scotched up the Blue Ridge Parkway chasing the sunrise from overlook to overlook, and it was glorious.  I may have let out an involuntary laugh when I realized how ridiculously beautiful it was to be watching the sun rise from what feels like the top of the world.   

Here's the progression, starting about an hour before sunrise.  

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Almost Sunrise

I've been wanting to watch the sunrise up at one of the overlooks, but so far haven't made it.  And technically speaking I didn't make it this morning either - I was about 20 minutes too late.  But the views were still amazing, and it made me think I might actually shag my ass out of bed on Friday and see the sunrise for real.  Until that happens - enjoy what almost sunrise looks like from the Blue Ridge Parkway.

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Loafing Around the French Broad

This week the excursion 'o fun fell to Friday - I wasn't all that organized about it, and I woke up on Friday like a zombie.  Sam played double header baseball games on Thursday night that didn't end until 10 pm (and it was so cold that by the end of the games I was sitting completely inside a sleeping bag and had a hand warmer in my bra.)  So we were going to be low on sleep anyway, and then Steve picked that night to go completely apeshit from about 2-3 am.  I'm guessing he had a legitimate reason when he started - probably coyotes or a bear - but after about a half hour I'm pretty sure he was just practicing his barking.  Despite a few very cranky yells from me, it took him another half hour to settle down.  Good thing we love him.  So Friday was not looking like it was going to be the most productive morning of my life, and then I had a great idea - search out something interesting.  It wasn't like anything all that productive was going to happen that morning anyway.  So I headed off to get some tacos, and then completely aimlessly pointed my car towards the parkway.  

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This Week's Excursion - Mt. Pisgah

This morning Pisgah was absolutely stunning - no clouds, bright blue, and cold but not too cold.  I hung out on the observation deck at the Inn, as per usual, but then decided if these outings are all about getting out of the rut, I should do something new - like go up to the tower.  So... off I went.  Despite owning several fancy hydration packs, and more technical clothing than regular, I wasn't the least prepared. Nope, this was like a pop-up hike, in skinny jeans and a sweater, while carrying my hand bag  - still totally worked.  

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Back to The Artist's Way

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve owned The Artists Way by Julia Cameron & Mark Bryan for quite some time. I’ve been kind of inspired by it, I’ve read the first few pages several times, I’ve implemented the journaling advice to quite good effect.  But that’s it - I’ve never actually read it, or done anything else suggested in the book - until now.

A few weeks ago I decided I was going to really read it this time.  Frankly I was a little sick of all the dude bro business books I’ve been reading.  They’re good - I like Tim Ferriss and Grant Cardone - but I was feeling the need to balance the scale of inputs a bit.  And also kind of feeling like I was in a rut.  I hate ruts.  So… enter The Artists Way.  For real this time.

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In the Words of Eleanor Roosevelt - Go Surfing

This weekend I did something I've wanted to do forever - I went surfing.  We were at Folly Beach (my favorite beach, and incidentally the place to surf in South Carolina), and there were surf schools everywhere, and we did it.  But here's the weird thing - I've wanted to try surfing forever.  But I never did, and I'm not sure why.  For some reason it seemed kind of intimidating - like the barrier to trying it was too big.  And that's weird, because I'm not usually someone who gets too wrapped up in that sort of thing.  I've raced mountain bikes, ridden a mountain unicycle, done ocean water swim triathlons, and galloped many horses over many, many cross country jumps.  But surfing... I couldn't quite get my head around it.  Partly it's a practical consideration - I don't go to the ocean often enough to really understand it, and I don't love to mess with things I don't understand.  I grew up in the mountains - I get the mountains.  Like, when people fall off a waterfall (which happens around here more than you'd think), the people who grew up here feel terrible for them, but we also wonder why on earth they were at the top of a waterfall.  It's really slippery, and a lot of current, and even when you think you're a safe distance from the edge you aren't.  So I didn't want to be that person at the ocean - the one doing something that was obviously not a good idea if you knew what you were doing, but maybe wasn't so obvious if you didn't grow up there.  

But that's a problem that's easily solved by taking lessons, right?  I mean, the whole point of taking lessons, in addition to teaching you the skill, is to save you from yourself.  And so on this trip, it finally seemed like not an insurmountable thing to try surfing.  Possibly that was partly because Sam is old enough now to want to try it too, and Clark was a somewhat bemused but willing participant also, and so we decided to take a lesson together.  And it was - crazy fun.  Like, crazy fun.  The kind of fun where all the way home Sam suggested increasingly-more-frequent schedules for us to go back to the beach, and googled surf boards, and I social media stalked the surf school.

And there's an interesting lesson here, although I'm not quite sure what it is.  On the one hand - isn't it Eleanor Roosevelt that said you should do one thing every day that scares you?  Or Chrissie Wellington.  Or maybe they shared similar sentiments.  In any event I do believe that - if there's something you want to do but you're afraid of it then it's probably a sign that you need to figure it out.  But on the other hand - maybe the lesson is that the universe provides the right time for things, if you're listening.  Maybe a few years ago it wouldn't have been so great - Sam wouldn't have been so fired up about it, it wouldn't have had the promise of a family thing that it has now.    So maybe the lesson is in both of those things - don't ignore something you really want to do, but listen for the right time.  Or something like that.  

In any event, we're now all scheming how often we can return to Folly, and in the meantime if you're ever near there I highly recommend Shaka Surf School.  I knew this was going to be the right place when we started our lesson with yoga.  Hello.  And then we progressed into the ocean, and it felt like a tiny sliver of this whole new world opened up. Doesn't get better than that.



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