Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Living on the Land

It has yet to be one week living in the new house on our land. It has been stressful moving our belongings and settling in to the new area and new lifestyle. The new lifestyle is a shared experience with our daughter and grandson, so accommodating everyone's habits and routines will take some time to adjust to and incorporate. We haven't as yet moved our furniture and other items from the "before" house. We made several tiring trips loading the cars with what we felt would make us comfortable in the interim until the "before" house sells and all items at once will come into the new house. I suspect there will be a combo yard sale as we weed out items we don't need and are duplicated.

Mounds of Top Soil referred to as Anthills by some.
Meanwhile we have spent a few nights in the stillness and the darkness of the countryside. Maybe it
is the construction soundness of a new house or just a quiet area, but I haven't heard anything during the nights. And it is definitely very black out there. We are also adjusting to a very long driveway of 1400 feet to the road. The distance from the road may be another reason for the stillness . It should indeed be an interesting experience in the winter snows to come. The house area is not landscaped yet and we have mounds of top soil piled along the drive where it was scraped off for the road construction. This will be used to level and grade the yard area so that we can finally seed and not be hostage to the muds in the rains. I am also missing my flower gardens which  I experienced in the "before" house. I will pot some of those plants requiring thinning and bring them here to the new house. But I shall have to patient until the grading is complete. My daughter, however, has the vegetable garden in already.

There is a deer in that hay!
Whether we enjoy fresh produce will be up to the deer and my husband's attempt at a garden mesh fence to hold the large creatures off from that area. They are not as timid as I thought deer should be and look at us with indignation as we yell and whack sticks to chase them away. There are tracks everywhere so it wasn't unexpected that we would be visited by these animals. There is at least six in a herd that may all show up or a few at a time. I was surprised at how large and solid an animal they were, as they jumped away from fairly near the house. The scarecrow is obviously just a decor for the garden. I shall have to get a good photo of the deer the next visit by waiting a little more before trying to run them off and before the mesh fence is complete. I am sure that they will visit in the next few days as they have been regular in their appearances.

Another project is the cutting of the hay in the  fields. It has become very high and gives the deer cover and courage to visit. I do not wish to run into any other animal residents while trying to force a path through the hay. Although I haven't heard from anyone in the area that there are ticks here, I prefer not to test out that theory. The hay at present is acting as a fence to keep me from exploring further into the fields. So a call will go out for the farmer that will bush hog the land for us. Then I plan to walk the entire area  and take out my pencils for sketching and painting. I desperately want to record the area in my art.

We are beginning to feel a little like this is home and should be settling more as we bring in some other belongings to the house and become familiar to the area and the towns. It has been a very impacting transition. And we recognized all the newness is the stress that we are feeling now. That will dissipate as we become familiar with a routine. Twenty-two years in one house and place does not shed as quickly as expected with a total change in lifestyle.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Near the Natural Spring
A mile or so from the new house stands a natural spring site where many in the area stop to collect water. It is an active popular spot. Over time it seems others have augmented to the natural beauty of the woods environment. There are a few benches built into the woods inviting people to come in and enjoy the site. Another addition is a flower box where someone has planted colourful blooms. It is slightly rocky and steep but open with worn paths up the slope and deeper into the trees. 
There is a spot paved off the main road where two cars could comfortably park and access the water. The water comes from a pipe into the rock and flows into a large wooden barrel that overflows with another pipe running the water into a ditch. Mention the spring on Greenhill road, and everyone seems to know the location. 
I had entered a project offered by the art house site out of Boston. It asked for entries to take on a mystery project. Intrigued, I decided to take up the challenge as I like the fact it would mean giving away your artwork as a public site art piece. I began the piece and immediately thought of the spring area for a public art site. Looking up into the woodsy area, an artwork could not be missed.  Enthusiastically I decided it was a good opportunity to get back into my sculpture. I wanted an easy material that would take the elements. I had some winter stone plaster and cement product that I thought would work well especially as there was limited time to the project and sculpture is a slow building process. It had been a few years since I used this material.
While I got the wire mesh structure ready and applied some burlap dipped in the winter stone to the wire as an armature, the package from the art house project arrived. In the entry was a theme I hadn’t expected but I was already into my piece. Luck was with me and my idea piece suited the theme perfectly. The theme was, “Robots take over an elementary school.” I chuckled as I had the child already in process and it was waving with a hello, enthusiastically. This is how I think robots would be received coming into an elementary school.  I would use a more contemporary method because of time and exaggerate the body language but make the face realistically so that it is received with familiarity by viewers.
When completed, my husband attached it to the site and it showed up well in the woods environment, seen easily from the spring well head.  I am sure it will be received with a chuckle as it greets the people collecting the water. It is anonymous as the mystery part of the project and will be interesting to see how it is accepted and if it remains on site. Each time we go up to the land during the build or when we move there, we will view the sculpture piece in the woods at the spring. MY little touch of self in my new home.