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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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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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