Lost & Found

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Lady bug swarms on the Lewis Creek Trail

It hasn’t been all ladybugs and butterflies, but there have been quite a few.  Life is definitely different up here and at first I felt a little adrift, a bit lost.  After almost 10 months, I think I am finally finding a rhythm that feels right.

Most days begin with a ‘morning walk’, which mainly consists of 3-or-so miles before dawn on the country roads around our acreage.  I  have to admit that I am a morning person, the DH not so much.  However, as it is regularly 100*F during the day in the summer months, I rarely have to use my bullwhip.  What really gets me up is what I call my crepuscular friends. We regularly see deer, coyotes, foxes, birds, squirrels, foxes, bobcats, even an occasional skunk, though thankfully we mostly just smell those.  This has become my favorite thing about living here.  Apparently, this little bit of ‘outside time’ is necessary for my mental health, or so I have been told.

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Just before we put the temporary melamine counter tops on. We still can’t find anyone up here willing to make them with the 1/8″ clearance this modern design calls for. Still holding up hope!

The thing I miss most about the Bay Area (Besides my friends, that’s a given!) is the food.  All that fresh, delicious, varied, tasty, healthy foodddddd!!!  Ah, Berkeley Bowl, in the winter months, I almost run screaming from the Raley’s and drive down to the Bay to fill my car with fresh fruit and veg!  We’ve been doing a LOT of eating in.  In Oakland, we would eat out at least 3-4 times a week. We couldn’t help it!  Sushi, tea leaf salads, burritos and curry, how I miss you!  In comparison, our little corner of the Sierra Foothills is a vast wasteland of culinary competence.  The bright spots are few and far between. Let’s just say, we are saving tons of money and I don’t even mind cooking!  Even DH is becoming a cook!

DH & I have also joined the new local gym, which serves as our social hotspot as well.  Yoga, spin and bar classes in the Mountains; Who’d have thought it?!  We do a bit of hiking and exploring as well, but the drive to make our lives more liveable has been the priority.

Since September, my art has been limited to mostly sketching, print-planning, and photography.  Printmaking needs space and we were so crammed into the workshop with construction materials that it was nearly impossible!  Work has mainly consisted of completing our half-finished living space.  On-demand ‘hot’ water or not, an outdoor shower is NOT pleasant at 9*F and snowing!  That provided all the motivation needed to meet our Winter break deadline to install kitchen and bathroom cabinetry, tile, fixtures and appliances.  I have become quite a good tile setter!  Just in time to move our meager furnishings into something resembling comfy for our reunion with the DD, home from college for Christmas! We actually managed a real indoor shower on December 23rd – an early present!

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Before

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After

And after a brief burn-out period, we started attacking the workshop projects; organizing and rearranging to find enough room to produce a small etching and linocut pulled for a local gallery exhibition.  However, after that experience, it became apparent that this October’s Sierra Art Trails, the major open-studio art showcase in the area, would be fast approaching with dozens of projects needing completion beforehand.   We made major headway on cleaning up the ‘construction site’ landscaping theme we had going on right before we took off on a long-planned vacation to the British Isles and Ireland. (That’s another day’s post!)  Now, there is plenty of parking for the hordes (I hope.) that come to visit and see printmaking in action!

 

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The newly installed rolling flat file / inking station, press and studio ink cabinet ready to go! Can’t wait for the glass top to cap the flat file!

After our return, we attacked the workshop with gusto. DH fired up the welder and finished my rolling flat-file worktable and inking station, which now matches my rolling press cart – wheels and all!  Meanwhile, I converted an under-utilized, spare rolling tool box into a studio tool & ink cabinet!  This was particularly fulfilling since the upper half of the cabinet was actually a gift to Tim from my father early in our union, and probably dates to my childhood.

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Ready for its first inking, this 15 x 11 linocut will debut at the Sierra Art Trails!

DH also came to the painful, but necessary conclusion that his beloved, but too bulky, first-woodworking-bench-he-ever-built needed to go to a friend to make room for more useful and efficient storage.  After rearranging shelves and organizing space, a real print studio has been born!  The glass table top for the rolling flat file arrives on Friday, but I may just have to use my old glass inking slabs – can’t wait to start pulling prints again!  Meet ‘Bushtits’ (working title), which will have its gallery debut at the Sierra Art Trails this October!  First color goes on today!

 

 

 

 

 

P.S.  A computer disintegration (not crash) left me with only my iPhone pics to use until the recovery process is complete (fingers crossed!), so pardon the image quality!

 

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