This Doesn’t Happen Everyday

Today a shiny gigantic tractor trailer pulled into the farm with a Massey-Ferguson tractor strapped down on the trailer. Farmboy and Farmer Russ were all smiles. The tractor isn’t new per se’ but it is new to us and is in great condition. Isn’t it a beauty?

It drives me crazy when Farmboy and Farmer Russ are shopping for equipment. It seems as though they always have to drive to another state to find what they are looking for. This tractor was found down in Southern Pennsylvania and Farmboy has been anxiously awaiting its arrival so that it can be used for Fall harvesting/planting. The enclosed heated cab is also going to be very cozy when snowblowing the driveway this winter.

Every now and then I have to get into one of the tractors and move it or help with something. I have this innate fear of running into a building when I am behind the wheel. You know, a mental lapse… which one is the clutch?… which one is the brake?… oh no, that’s the gas!…. CRASH! It happens every time I drive a tractor. Not the actual crashing into something… just the overwhelming fear that I will.

The fellow who delivered the tractor was an interesting guy. Originally from Oklahoma now living in PA. Apparently he is like the Jesse James of tractor trailers. His “rig” was all tricked out. A chopper version of an 18 wheeler. Who knew? You could tell he took great pride in fixing up the 20 yr old truck. I was a little concerned about whether or not he could see over the dash board.

Just another day at the farm… ; )

New Paintings

Bound by Steel & Water

28 x 21 unframed Original Watercolor on 300lb. Fabrino Artistico Paper

Miraculous Miss

9 x 12 unframed Original Watercolor on 200lb. Arches Paper

Composition of Blown Glass

21 x 28 unframed Original Watercolor on 300lb Fabrino Artistico Paper

River Basin  at Taughannock Falls, Ithaca, NY

12 x 16 unframed Original Watercolor on 300lb. Arches Paper

The above matted paintings will soon be available on my website under the Fine Art heading. Each painting is double matted with 1/2 in. reveal in 100% rag archival matting with archival foamcore backing. The pricing will go up once the pieces are framed for the upcoming Clothesline Festival Sept 11th & 12th. For more information please call 888.313.0239.

Tears and the Toot Fairy

LaLa lost a tooth. The one that she had been wiggling and playing with all day. It’s not the first one… but so far it’s definitely the most traumatic.

Lost it while she was in the bathtub. I’m downstairs doing the dishes, water running and I think, “Do I hear something?” “Is that a child crying?” “What IS that noise?” Water off.  Listen. Wailing. Bloody murder screaming. I race up the stairs fearing a broken leg on the slippery tile floor. I get to the bathroom to see a naked child screaming… standing up (no broken leg), screaming. “What is it!?” I yell over the screaming. “What happened?!” Incoherent screaming ensues as she explains that her tooth has come out and blood is apparently gushing out of the wound.

I’m a girl. I CAN be dramatic if the need arises but Lord help me, that child has got Golden Globe written all over her. It was all I could do to hold myself together. It was one of the most precious things that I have ever experienced as a parent.

Upon hearing all of the screaming and feet running up the stairs LaLa’s dad comes flying into the room wondering what on earth is going on. The Incoherent Screaming Replay starts. I get her a towel and the three of us hug and sit on the ottoman. This is going to take a while. Farmboy assures her that all will be fine and goes downstairs to continue his game with the Bean. I get the privilege and honor of sitting there with my daughter listening to her raw fears and I am struck with her tender heart. The beauty. I hear wails of how that tooth will be missed. It will be so alone. The other teeth left behind won’t know where it has gone. The tears, so many, so big. Eyes so swollen and red. Oh, that the tooth never should have been loose. Oh, that it never should have come out. Now this is the same child that at dinner was determined to pull it out in front of us at the dinner table. Being the proper parents that we are… we told her she couldn’t do that. She would have to wait until after dinner and go into the bathroom. I guess, truth be told, we didn’t think she’d actually do it.

She cried because she had lost something God had given her. She cried because her other teeth would miss the lost one. She cried because she wasn’t ready. I cried inside because I wasn’t ready either. For any of it. She would talk and then lean into me and cry until all of the tears were out… for both of us. I reveled in that moment. Loving and embracing the beauty of it. I wanted to run and get it down on paper as soon as I could because my memory is terrible and I feared not recalling all of it.

How do you take a picture of a Kodak moment without a camera? Words. Girls. Little girls. Big tears. Red eyes. Despair is despair. Is there a measure to a child? What do they know of earthquakes, oil spills, world hunger and AIDS? Missing. She feared the other teeth would miss not getting to say good-bye to this one. Her teeth didn’t feel like her teeth anymore. She asked if she would have to lose other things… like her Blankie. Hell no! Of course not! I still have my Henry. The little teeth had to leave to make room for the bigger ones, that’s all. She was right on schedule. She is perfect. Just the way she was expertly designed.

Eventually the hugs, tears and sobs slowed and I suggested pajamas and a Toot and Puddle book wherein their little cousin Opal loses her tooth. LaLa was thrilled. A few tears fell while getting ready for bed. After showing her brother the hole and expressing her sadness over her different smile he reassured her that “her smile was always beautiful no matter what because SHE was beautiful”. Oh, how you make me proud tonight Big Brother.

So we piled up in the bed with her lovingly decorated envelope for the tooth fairy. Covered with stickers- her best, most favorite ones we tucked the envelope under the pillow and I proceeded to tell the story inserting “Tooth” for Toot and “Toot Fairy” for the “Tooth Fairy”. She was hysterical by the time the story was over. A precious night…had to write about it. Now, where is my glitter and where are my wings. ; )

Do you have any tooth fairy magic? Please share!


Studio Happenings

I was so happy with my first tomato this summer that I had to document it!  Isn’t it a beauty? I must say that it was delicious and I’ve eaten a tomato and basil sandwich EVERY day since they’ve ripened. Yum.

I am very inexperienced with fruit trees and have no desire to spray them. To my surprise one of the two apple trees that I planted last year was ladened with apples! Some of them have some scab (I’ll save those for the horses) but many of them are lovely. A friend whose father has had fruit orchards for many years has stopped spraying his trees and I am very encouraged that perhaps I will be able to forgo treating them chemically. My theory in the garden is to plant more than I need knowing that some veggies/fruits will succumb to pest. In the end there is plenty for our family, friends and extended family – no chemical treatments necessary. I have finally gotten used to knocking off bugs/slugs into soapy water… I suppose there are worse ways to go! Still gives me the major Willies. What are some of your favorite garden treatments?

Oops! This post went from artwork to gardening in no time flat! It often happens around here. More art and less gardening coming soon! : )

Young Entrepreneurs

End of summer… LaLa is dying to get on that school bus for her first day of First Grade. The Bean knows what is coming and doesn’t mind the days dragging on.

Farmboy and I thought that a corn stand would be great for The Bean this year. His cousins who are older were also interested.  The boys made a table in June in anticipation of holding this year’s harvest.

It’s hard for me not to have visions of a giant festival of corn when a “corn stand” is mentioned. I think big. Why not? I like a spectacle, don’t you? Farmboy often wonders “why does everything you do have be a spectacle?”  I tried to stay out of it… really, I did.

I helped set up my art festival tent at the end of our driveway. The boys took the golf cart down into the field and loaded it with corn. I painted a couple of signs, put some tablecloths out and the boys were good to go. It was an interesting experience. Friday I found out that earlier in the morning one of the kids accidently picked field corn instead of sweet corn. Eeegads. Embarrassing. Especially when Farmboy encouraged his friends at work to stop in for some of the best sweet corn they will ever taste. Ooops. We had a discussion about “quality control” and how important it is to double check what they are selling for its quality. We weren’t sure how much had been sold. Farmboy made a few calls to let people know.

It was painful to watch as they counted change back to customers. The Bean made it clear that they were perfectly fine without me there. I took advantage of the situation to spend a little time in the studio to prepare for an upcoming show. La La and I spent the entire day on Friday making cupcakes for her cupcake stand. On Saturday the 1st Annunal “Windswept Farm Sweet Corn Extravaganza” took place. There was sweet corn, of course, lemonade, cupcakes and brownies, not to mention some tomatoes and cucumbers from my garden. Farmboy, Aunt Kim and I moved the stand further down on the farm across the street from the community recycling station – its gets alot of traffic on a Saturday morning.

The kids earned some money, ate alot of cupcakes and brownies and drank alot of lemonade. This year we have decided to let them bask in the money that they have earned. They have a taste of economics and we will hit them with the full picture next year when they have to think about how much a bag of corn seed costs and how much fuel is required to plant that seed. They are all ready talking about how they will make next year better and I am encouraged by their enthusiasm. There were a couple of hiccups- the field corn and a woman came back because she had only 4 ears when she purchased 6. Gasp. Blush. Embarassement. But they were apologetic and generous giving her extra because of their mistake. I wish that I had been taught the principles of business when I was young. I look forward to teaching the kids.

Next year all of those balloons are going to have to be put into their budget. How have you encouraged the entreprenuerial spirit in your children? Any creative ideas?

A Snow White Sighting in the Garden!

I heard she was also seen at Sherwin-Williams last week.


Hi, I'm Michelle. I am an artist/designer specializing in unique topiary themed illustrations for the Home & Gardener. I live on a farm in Upstate New York with my husband, aka Farmboy, my two children affectionately known as "La La" and "the Bean" and a small petting zoo of other family members.


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March 5th-13th
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