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Spotted Dog Farm Blog

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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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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The Seasons

The ferns are going nuts on the farm these days, reminding me that it's the season of growth.  I've been spending more time on farm work than jewelry work here lately, which is pretty much the beauty of the seasons.  I remember when I was a lawyer I'd think "am I supposed to do the exact same thing every day for the rest of my life???"  That seemed... unlikely.  I'm not really wired like that.  

I can definitely report that that is no longer an issue.  In the last few days we've cleaned out the gutters on the outbuildings, emailed the humane society to see if we can adopt some working cats for the mouse problem in the flower building (our last farm cat died of old age a few months ago), dug a giant drainage ditch around the run-in shed, changed the belt on one of the big mowers, moved a ton of mulching material into the beds for next year's garden, had the truck die while sitting in said garden, gotten the truck towed out of the garden and off to be fixed, hoed a ton of weeds out of this year's mini-garden, poked a bunch of holes in a soaker hose that was no longer soaking - thus turning it into drip irrigation, mowed and mowed and mowed, and weed-eated weed-eated weed-eated, had a guy with a track hoe come fix the drainage on our pond so it is now filling back up (yay!!!), hauled many many loads of rocks up to fix an issue where our driveway was washing, played a lot of badminton, re-seeded a section of the bank where the track hoe dug into it for the new drain pipe, started training the goats to go out on a picnic to whatever patch of invasives I'm trying to get rid of that day, fed hundreds of baseballs into the pitching machine for Sam, and done a lot of hot yoga.  What I haven't done is make much jewelry.  Which I think is fine - I'm a big fan of the seasons - both in nature and in life.  

This season is always one where I feel like the farm is growing up around me faster than I can stay on top of it, and everything needed to stay on top of it is breaking at the same time.  But in reality I love having all of these projects going on at once, and feeling like I really *have* to be outside all day.  Because in the cold months I'm all about the studio, and responsible work projects.  Which makes it all the more delicious that in the summer we're more focused on things that are growing.  Fortunately I also tend to stockpile a lot of jewelry in the winter, so this pretty much works out. ;) 

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Everything Bagel Bracelets

Things are rolling along in the studio these days... we'll have the new Spring collection out on Monday (yay!) with some old favorites along with some some fun new ideas.

Chief among the fun new ideas - the Everything Bagels.  Yep, that's really what we're calling them - mainly because that's how they came into being.  We were looking at all of  our flowers in the studio - lots of flowers, in lots of colors, and loving how they all blend together even when they aren't in a thought-out design, and one of us said "we should use those like an everything bagel - where you just put everything on it and see what happens!"  And since one of the main benefits of a creative business is the ability to try out just about any idea for better or worse, of course we made one.  And we *loved* the way it turned out!   Everything Bagels rule - both for breakfast and in resin jewelry.

So the spring collection is going to be the maiden voyage for our Everything Bagels.  They're for the adventurous at heart - no two of them are alike, you don't know exactly what colors or flowers you're going to get, you just know that it's going to be bold, and vibrant and awesome.  A metaphor for life, yes?  Embrace the unknown, and do it boldly.


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How to Run 100 Miles. Or a Creative Business.

I read the best blog post yesterday - over at Oiselle.  Oiselle's high on my list to begin with - they're women-centered creative badasses, and they make the best running shorts I've ever worn.  I tend to yoga more than run these days, but their roga shorts are still my summer uniform.  One of the perks of being a creative entrepreneur that works out of a treehouse?  Running shorts as uniform.

(seriously, if running shorts are your thing check these out.)

One of their runners, Devon Yanko, wrote an essay yesterday about how to run a 100 mile race.  And it was interesting in its own right - I've sometimes thought about ultras.  But what really struck me was the parallels to creative entrepreneurship.

Yes, it's amazing to chart my own course and decide what I want my business to look like, and then chase down that vision.  But you know what?  It's a heck of a lot harder than just showing up for work and letting someone else chart your course for you.  Now to be honest I'm not all that great at being told what to do, so for me having my own business is a dream and I'm incredibly grateful for it.  But still... it can be hard.  When things aren't working out exactly the way you'd hoped, or a project that you thought would take a week is now on week 5, or your amazing new idea ended up being neither amazing nor new... it can be a bit of a gut check.  So this essay hit some of the spots I've been pondering lately.  I encourage you to check it out, but here are the parts that I particularly liked.



Yes! How powerful is that?  Our perceptions of our own capabilities and limits are the most powerful thing.  That's one of the things I try to keep in the front of my thoughts - change all of your possibilities just by changing your mind.  Because the only person who defines my possibilities - that's me.


This one made me laugh because it such a perfect restatement of one of my mantras of the last year: "prepare to be uncomfortable."  Because the sad truth is that growth never happens when you're inside your comfort zone.  In fact I had this exact same conversation with a friend of mine who's a new yoga teacher - she's so looking forward to teaching, and a little freaked out at the same time.  So, just like any new venture - get ready to feel uncomfortable.  Because it won't be easy, but it will be rewarding, if you can just make yourself keep going.  In fact, that leads in to some of my other favorite parts of Devon's essay:
This last one might be my favorite of all.  I tell Sam this all the time - and try to remember it myself - that perseverance trumps almost anything in life.  Talent is great, luck might be even better, but for the long run it's perseverance that gets you where you want to go.  And that's why this mug from Shop Compliment is sitting on my desk:
It's an homage to Elizabeth Warren, of course, but in the bigger picture it's the blueprint of getting the life and business I want.  In the end, what counts the most is determined forward movement towards the goal.  So for all of us out there:  nevertheless, we persist.


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