My husband and I returned from a vacation to find fresh green leaves unfurling, violets blooming and birch catkins forming. The pussy willows had shed, exposing the soft leaves lining the pond’s edge. Blue Jay’s had once again nested in our rhododendrons behind the house.
Last night we slept with the window open for the first time. A symphony of crickets, birds calling in the night, and even distant coyotes sometime in the twilight hours, before dawn. As day broke, the chirr of sleepy little songbirds filled the damp morning air.
I’m an incredibly lucky woman to have a husband who works from home, since long before Covid struck. Throughout the day, I wander upstairs to visit while he’s at his desk between meetings, and make lunch for us each day. My art studio is nearby, but recently I’ve been focusing on our farm.
Our little farm on our little mountain isn’t your typical farm. We have rare and fancy breeds of poultry. Our chickens became ill last fall with a highly contagious incurable disease likely caught from a wild bird, or farm visitor who trespassed into a coop. The state veterinarian get involved and in the end, we were forced to euthanize all 68 birds.
My life was already upheaval at the time with family drama and was shortly followed by two surgeries on my arms over the winter, leaving them in casts for weeks. My recovery has been slow, both physically and emotionally from all these changes and losses.
It was in this time I decided to start something new. While recovering from the first surgery I decided to start getting back in touch with my artistic side. Having kids at a young age, I’d been thrown into the workforce and left behind notions of perusing my love for creating, crafting, and exploring art.
I plugged away at techniques, learning to use new materials and endlessly watching tutorials over the winter. Depression hit again as my recovery just didn’t happen as expected. I couldn’t use the sander, jigsaw, drill, or rotary tools—so I put my focus on sourcing poultry to start our farm over this spring.
We retuned from our two-week vacation just last Friday. It began with an eight-day cruise in the Caribbean, porting in Miami. We visited Grand Cayman, Curacao, and Aruba. Spoiler alert, the first two were pretty tourist-trappy. Curacao felt unsafe. There were tall concrete walls between pastel stucco houses topped with large shards of broken glass. All the businesses had bars. Aruba was by far the best. We went on a snorkeling tour in a catamaran for a few hours. Though, I must admit, a waffle house on Grand Cayman did have the best coffee I’ve had in a long time.
The second week we spend driving from Miami, FL on a meandering route up the East Coast, back to our Farm in Bucksport, ME. We stopped at several farms to pick up eggs to hatch—a total of 261 eggs. In stark contrast to the luxury of the cruise with formal dinners and attire, I pulled on a chicken-themed T-shirt, a hat, and jeans. We camped in a tent wherever we could find a good spot as we made our way north, zig-zagging from state to state. The remote Blue Mountains one day, Atlanta the next. It was truly epic.
Now that we are back home, the eggs are safely in the incubator, finally unpacked, and mostly caught up on housework—it’s time to get back in the studio. It’s a mess in there. It looks like a tornado hit. Reorganizing and focusing on finishing things that I didn’t have the strength to before will be rewarding.
Between starting seeds, endless lawn mowing, and finishing the barn up, and caring for hundreds of chicks… I will start working on the art I love again. I’m ready to make things again. I’m ready for a time of healing and growth, both personally and with my businesses. In between taking Chip on long walks and rides in the boat of course.