It has been far too long…. an Update

BE PREPARED… it is long…

As I sit day after day and love my life, I often wonder what life might have been had I followed my heart instead of what everyone else wanted me to do and to be. I spent way too much time working my way into a Bachelors Degree after allowing everyone else to guide my way and then somewhere I decided money was the way to happiness. My dream never really was to save the world. It was to move to West Virginia with my best friend in high school and go to college down there – at that time I had no idea what I really wanted to do. I just wanted to do something. However, I do believe deep in my heart I knew what I wanted all my life. I wanted to be an artist – I wanted to go to art college in Chicago. This I learned while spending my days in in school suspension. I would finish my school work for the week the first day or two and then have many more days to do what? So I drew and I wrote and I sketched. That was 25 or so years ago. I never really followed either of those dreams. I followed the path to the money because growing up so poor you have nothing to eat wasn’t what I wanted for the rest of my life and when I found out I was pregnant with the greatest love of my life – she would not grow up the way I did – bounced all over everywhere never knowing where home was. That I managed to half do – for about 2 years – oh I was all over and so was she. She will tell her story some day. I was running to the money and away from the life I never wanted to return to. In the end I came back… but not the way I grew up. I have spent many an hour in therapy (they finally told me there wasn’t much more they could do for me – I had reached all the goals we had set and then some) and then many more in recovery and working my program. It was here that I learned how to be me. The authentic me. The one that is sitting here writing this with tears in my eyes. The one that is allowed to have tears in her eyes ever so often – the one that knows it is ok to be sad for a loss – the loss of a person, family, pet – including chickens, or the loss of the innocence of my daughter. In all my heartbreaks, I am confident she broke my heart the most. I knew she would some day move away, what hurt was the way things happened. Oh, no I was not the perfect mom, hell I am not even sure I was half a good mom. I do know most of what I did was for her – I wanted her life to be better than mine. I didn’t want her to be sitting here in this moment writing something like this. Wow, ok, so I digressed a little. I live in what feels like me to be a mansion. I have lived in places like 6 times smaller than where I am now and some places a little larger and in more dangerous places. Anyway, I digressed just a little… I wonder what would have happened if I had followed my own heart? I have always been an artist – I have something I drew from when I was younger and in PA with my grandma at the cabin. I look back and see just how far I have come. I have done some amazing things and been part of history in the making – the kind that is in the history books. I am published, and will be again before the end of 2022. I believe everything in my life has led me to this moment. I do not believe in fate or destiny. I believe we make our own decisions and we write our own path. I am an artist- I am a pretty amazing one too. I have allowed my work to be auctioned for a good cause. I have not one but two mosaic tile benches to attest this also. I look at some of my work and am amazed at how good I am. I look at my photography and am amazed… I still prefer film over digital. In the end, I manage to capture that one second in time, that instant that needs to be remembered. My mother dotes on my photography, while at the same time putting herself down saying her art is not good enough – her stuff should be in a museum somewhere. I am currently curating my own photography showing – I am attempting to capture the unsung hero, you know that farmer you drive past on that back road and do not even see, that farm house that sits in the middle of 100 acres, the corn rows as they emerge from the ground and you do not even notice, the man and woman and children that get up to make sure you are fed. That is who and what I have captured. I have captured it without barely a human in sight… it will be a sight to see… I believe it is one of my best works yet. Ah, yes then there is one of my other passions, sewing – I have been given the opportunity to make this my life, my business, mine, all mine. But it is not all mine. It has been a 37 year road with so many bumps and heartaches to get to here. My beginnings go back to my grandmother and most recently (thank you Covid for some positive) the other unsung heroes – those that have allowed me to learn from them through virtual workshops and other “classes”. I have studied the basics, the couture, and am most enthralled with historic. I have spent most of my life with my head in science and theory. History allows me to have my head in reality and theory and use the best of all my abilities. I can research and learn and then come up with a potential topic and then research it to see if it has been done, if not, I can then write about it. But most of all, I use not only my intellect but also my creative when I am designing garments or a custom sewing job. I have one more passion that I never even considered. Horticulture! This is an ongoing adventure – and most of it is gardening – this allows me to “put up” food to save money the rest of the next year. But when I am out there, even when it is hard work and HOT (sometimes I have to come in for a few) I get to play in the dirt – I know some might not quite see that as playing, but really, at the end of the day and I am sore, I can tell you it is worth every single minute. It is not only healthy food, but healthy work. I prefer to be outdoors. I may not live in the Appalachian Mountains, but I live in the foothills and I can go home to those mountains in just a few hours. My grandma once told me (made no sense at the time) “you can take the girl out of the country, but not the country out of the girl”. Here today in these foothills there is really no place I’d rather be – ok, maybe Northern Georgia or Tennessee, still the same – I live in a rural county and a rural community where neighbors know each other and talk to each other and HELP each other when times are rough and people are down – or all at home because a global pandemic created a new opportunity to get to know those neighbors we might not have really known before. I could probably keep writing but the moral of the story is… after so many years, I am following my heart… I am letting my intellect take a time out… … I will add some photos another day and maybe some links… I am on Instagram and my business can be followed – https://lucky-7-studios.com – there is so much more… there is another post in the near future,…

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Keeping a Nature Journal A Book Review

Keeping a Nature Journal by Claire Walker Leslie and Charles E Roth is both inspiring and invigorating. As an artist of many years, this book gives me the courage to go out and keep doing what I do, only now with a better feel for Keeping a Nature Journal.

There are 4 Parts and 11 Chapters.

Part 1: Getting Started

  1. Discovering Nature Journaling
  2. Beginning Your Journal
  3. A Sampling of Journaling Styles

Part 2: Journaling Through the Seasons

  1. The Ongoing Journal
  2. The Autumn Journal
  3. The Winter Journal
  4. The Spring Journal
  5. The Summer Journal

Part 3: A Seasonal Celebration – A New Selection of Pages from Clare’s Journals

Part 4: Learning and Teaching Nature Journaling

  1. Getting Started with Drawing
  2. Teaching Journaling to Groups of All Ages
  3. Journaling with School Groups

I will be completely honest, I had begun to read this book many a year ago and even flipped through the pages and used some of the pages when I would teach Nature Journaling. That being said, to read it from front cover to back cover, opened my eyes to a myriad of thoughts and ideas I had never thought before. Their idea of Nature Journaling is not simply confined to “Nature” in the most common sense, but nature is tied to each of us, and each of us is tied to nature. Everything is part of nature.

On page 7, they distinguish a diary from a journal; “It is important to note here that whereas a diary or personal journal records your feelings toward yourself or others, a nature journal primarily records your responses to and reflections about the world of nature around you.”

Charles E. Roth states in the Preface, “I wish I had kept a journal that recorded my childhood discoveries of nature, and people’s reactions to them.” It was not until college that he began to take detailed field notes of his natural history observation. I, too, often recall my many discoveries growing up, not just nature, but in life in general. I have often sketched something here or there along the way, but if they are not in a “book” they have been lost among the many moves I have made over the years.

Last year, I began to sketch a few more things here and a few more things there. I take my sketchbook, aka, Nature Journal, with me, everywhere I go. There are many times, like at the airport or in the hotel, I wish now I had sketched or painted instead of using the camera. The camera just doesn’t really begin to capture what my eyes truly see.

This book does not start off with a lot of you should do this and you should do that, or you need this item and you need that item, it begins with an introduction to recording nature. “Nature journaling is the regular recording of observations, perceptions, and feelings about the natural world around you.  The recording can be done in a wide variety of ways, depending on the individual journalist’s interest, background, and training.” (p. 5). It goes on to talk about the medium and the format and their point is, you can record anything and everything in any form using any medium, drawing, writing lists of what you see, the weather, a poem, notes to look something up later. YOUR nature journal is ALL yours. There is no right and there is no wrong way to use it. The key is TO USE IT!

The benefits of nature journaling are far and wide and to list them all, would be tedious and cumbersome. The two most important benefits I take from nature journaling are the time to slow down and really see what I am seeing – is that a Northern Cardinal or is that a Tangier? Is that a Grackle or is that another type of black bird? Are those barn swallows or house swallows? Are my cherry trees really beginning to bloom already? By recording these observations in written and in sketch form, I now have a recording of who is visiting my property and when. I can then look back year after year to see if the populations are increasing or have I lost some of my bird friends? I can tell you after a few years if the cherry trees beginning to bud in February was a fluke or if it is a regular occurrence.

The key information to record in your nature journal when observing: (written or drawn)

  • Your name àunless it is written inside the cover of your journal
  • The date
  • The place
  • The time (does not have to be the exact time)
  • Weather
  • First impressions
  • Wind direction
  • Cloud patters and cloud cover

Begin Drawing:

  • Ground observations
  • Eye-level observations
  • Overhead observations
  • Whole-landscape observations

The wealth of information covered in this book is too much to include in this one blog. I may come back at a later time and cover some of the other parts of the book that I found very useful and helped me find my way. But at this time, I would recommend this book to ANY beginner or novice nature journaler. It will give you the confidence you need to go out there and put the pencil to paper, so to speak.

Journaling Through The Seasons

If you have read this far. Thank you. I do not receive any financial income from any person for discussing their work. I do not have any affiliations with any book store or any company. In all honesty, if you can go out and buy the book used or have your local Independent Book Seller bring it in for you, that is a much more feasible way to purchase the book.

So, for now, have a great day and I look forward to seeing ya’ll real soon. Feel free to leave a comment or a link to your posts.

Here is the Scoop

I have a calendar and I have a plan. And I am 3 weeks behind my plan already. My goal is to post something every other week, at least, sometimes more in a week, sometimes less. So you may see this post today, and then see another later this week. This is my way to get my voice heard.

So what you will see here is a conglomeration of things:

  • Nature Study Updates
  • Nature Study Book Project Updates
  • Writings, musing, and photos about my garden, the farm, the challenges, and the successes
  • Writings about life in general and thoughts that run through my head
  • Writings about my personal businesses: Lucky 7 Studios and Adams Consulting
  • Comments, thoughts, etc… about other peoples writings/posts
  • Writings about my research and being published — which by the way I just submitted an article for a magazine right before I wrote this — will keep you updated!
  • Other things I am involved in — for example: Salem Second Saturday — Come pARTy! in Downtown Salem as we celebrate the ARTS! (August 10, 2019) and other things
  • My art, quilting, sketching, and miscellaneous musings.