Friday, June 27, 2008





I welcome comments / feedback. I'm (again) playing with the camera (rather than getting chores done), and learning some new things about color adaptations, etc. Your thoughts?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Tanya, Tanya, oh Tanya, can ya,

tell us how your garden grows??
With a rare, beautiful, red Night Blooming Sirius,

deep purple lilies,

delicate peach lilies,

A lovely Anthurium,

And three happy Buddhas,

All in a row.
(Stay tuned for glorious white datura soon to bloom!)

Friday, June 20, 2008


This morning I was working on transcribing Daddy's letters onto the computer, and it's most timely, considering what I wrote yesterday, that today I came across this...

"...One thing I always enjoyed having was a pet crow. The last one I had came from Maryville, Tenn. It fell out of the nest, and my cousin found it and gave it to me. Several years back, Uncle Monroe Shook raised a pet crow which carried off everything it could carry in its beak. Uncle Monroe left his glasses on the front porch not thinking about the crow, when some of the family saw the crow flying off the barn with them in his beak.. They said it looked like the crow was wearing them the way it was flying. It flew to the barn. When one of the girls sent to search for the glasses, she found a hat-full of shining objects where the crow had carried in. A knife, spoon, and a fork was among part of the findings. Also glass, nails, pieces of wire and a wrench which Uncle Monroe thought he had lost. Someone killed the crow not thinking it belonged to Uncle Monroe. I have had a lot of enjoyable days hunting crows. I guess I have shot a thousand or more the past few years. I enjoy calling them in with a mouth call. This morning a crow came to my feeder and carried a slice of bread off while I was standing near the feeder. They watch me from a distance and know exactly when to come and carry off whatever I have left for them to eat...."

Written in a letter from Papa to Samuel, May, 1986
(I transcribe his letters exactly as he has written them, making only a few changes in spelling.)

Thursday, June 19, 2008


My dad loved, honored and respected crows as one of the most intelligent birds on the planet. As a child, I'd go crow hunting with him fairly regularly. He'd hide me in a rhododendron thicket, give me a gun (which I never shot) and tell me to sit still and wait for the crows to come in once he started calling to them with his crow call.

He had a repertoire of various calls he'd use to lure the crows in; he could imitate a juvenile crow in distress call, a wounded crow, angry crows after a hawk, flirtatious calls, a dying crow, etc. He knew which one to use at whatever time in order to pull the wool over the savy birds' eyes in order to bring them his way.

A couple of times, Papa let me try to participate in the calling, but I just didn't have his talent, and his frustration at my inability to bring in the crows led me to quit trying. However, when he gave me his crow call several years back, I knew he wanted me to try again and again. And so I have since his death.

Day before yesterday when I got home, there was a group of crows in the pine trees at the end of the side yard. I fetched the crow call and listened closely to their exchanges. Then, I gave it a shot. I didn't do anything fancy like Daddy used to; I just listened and responded, trying to make the same sounds the crows were making in the tops of the pine trees.

Much to my surprise, every one of them started cawing right back at me. We did a call / response thing for probably 30 minutes until I gave up. It takes some pulmonary stamina to maintain the repetition and level of their call. ( I'll attribute breathing techiques in yoga to my ability to sustain my end of the avian conversation.)

Boy, it was neat! and I was excited!! I just couldn't believe I finally succeeded in calling in the crows. What I most wanted to do was call up my dad and let him listen over the phone. Then I realized that through them, Papa was talking to me. The lively conversation, the playfulness of the crows, and their seeming desire to connect with me lets me know all's well with Papa as he embraces his new existence in the world of spirit.

Thanks be....Namasté...
(Art Credit: "Talking to Crows" by Louise Louviere)

Monday, June 16, 2008


Since tomorrow is the last day I officially have to be in the office, I've been thinking about what it is that I REALLY want to get done this summer. As any Virgo (I'm a double Virgo at that!), I've begun to put my list together:

I want to...
~go home to Boone and spend some time in the mountains
~hang out with my kids (a week in Vermont will be my special vacation with them)
~clean out the basement and make paper (a leftover from last summer's list)

~clean out the garage (ditto to above)

~type on Daddy's letters every day

~do as much work for Cuba as possible

~stay on top of the weeds (an annual chore for the list)

~get my Etsy shop up and running

~read a couple of books

~exercise (a top priority...other things on the list may not get done, but I HAVE to get my body moving)
~watch some good movies

~organize and sort / clear out closets (a leftover from so many years back I can't count them)

~sew a couple of things

~work on the Arts & Humanities series a bit...

The list will expand as I have more time at home to see the many things I can't think of at the moment.

My decision for Wednesday, however, is to take my first day off and do as little as possible!

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Yesterday on the phone, I told my sister I hadn't allowed myself to do much thinking about what Father's Day would be like without Papa around this year. It's not that I hadn't thought about the day as it approached; I just didn't want to acknowledge Papa's not going to be on the other end of the phone when I call home this afternoon.

As I watched the tribute to Tim Russert on TV this morning, I couldn't hold back the tears any longer. I feel sorry for all the Russert family, in particular, for his son, Luke. I know what it's like today not to have my father here to talk to. I'm lucky he lived 55 years of my life.

But as I write this, the music of the birds flitting about outside and the crow calling in the distance bring Daddy close by my side. The sun's out on this glorious morning, and some of the seeds I planted last week are peeping through the ground. If Papa were here at the farm, he'd be sitting out on my back deck, taking in every movement in the brush, every bird in the sky, every cat in the field. As I walked down to my sparsely planted garden a minute ago, I could see Zeb in my mind. I'm sure he'd remark about how pitiful the beds look at the moment, but he'd be glad I have a few things in the ground nonetheless.

I'm going to pull out Daddy's crow call and slingshot later on today. I've been studying the sound of the crows, listening carefully to their calls and "singing" them in my mind. Now, I just have to see if I can imitate them with the crow call. I've also been picking up round rocks to use in the slingshot. My goal is to hit a special place on the barn, a place I watehed Daddy nail countless times from the back porch. Then, I'm going to devote the afternoon to typing away at his stories as I get them in electronic form.

I want him near me all day today....I want to sit in the silence and hear him give thanks over Sunday lunch....I want to hear his dry-witted chuckle....I want to see him feeding his squirrels....I want to leave a lipstick kiss on the top of his head....I want to hear him over and over in my mind telling me "I love you, sweetheart."

I am thankful for this day and for many blessings, one of the greatest of which is to have been "Zeb's girl."

(Daddy and me - Summer, 2005)

Friday, June 13, 2008


Solo Exhibition - Joe Davis
Utah State University - Logan, UT

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Despite the fact those of us you see in the photo had our heads squashed between headsets or our eyes crossed reading composition after composition for 8 hours every day at the AP Reading in Spanish in Louisville, KY for the past week, we managed (with very little effort, really) to have an absolutely GREAT time.

Here's the secret to our fun---We hung out "a lo cubano!"...Despite the incredibly poignant and tragic story each one has to tell about leaving his / her beloved tropical paradise, these folks know how to live life to the fullest and laugh and dance and tell jokes and love / respect each other deeply.

Let's see...we ate in a Cuban restaurant twice....we sang and danced at the Cuban restaurant for most of both evenings...we went to Churchill Downs twice, the last time thinking we would watch history in the making if Big Brown won the Triple Crown...(he came in last, much to our chagrin, especially since we all had purchased Big Brown memorabilia just in case he made history) and, we even went to the Louisville Slugger Museum (surprisingly interesing) and the KY Arts & Craft Guild (quite nice).

Here's our parting group shot, taken just a few minutes before we all went our separate ways...OH! rumor has it that Ileana will celebrate her 50th birthday in March...The cubanos adoptivos might just have to go to Houston to help her celebrate!

Photo - Front Row---Yoli (Venezuela), Inés (Cuba) - - -Back Row --- Ignacio (Cuba), Ileana (Cuba), Ysidoro (Cuba), Tanyita y Ricardito (Cubanos adoptivos)

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

PEACE .....

(photo by Tanya, - Spring, 2008)
If you haven't checked out One Million Peace Signs lately, take a gander. (link on the right of the blog)...Some pretty neat photos..

Monday, June 02, 2008


L.....LOTS and LOTS of Kleenex piling up in the trash can beside the computer...
L.....LITTLE or no relief in sight....
E.....EXTRA doses of Rescue Remedy, Stinging Nettles, and Feverfew...
R.....RED, swollen eyes...
G.....GRASS, HAY, WEEDS...all things that produce offensive little pollens....
I......ITCHING eyes, ITCHING roof of the mouth, ITCHING ears, ITCHING throat...
E....EERGH !!!!
S.....Sneeze, snort, sniffle...sneeze, snort, sniffle... sneeze, sneeze...snort, sniffle...

It's so, so pleasant.....

Sunday, June 01, 2008


It's peony time here at The Farm, and it's a banner year for these majestic flowers. Last evening, I cut a bouquet and brought them in for the dining room table centerpiece, and this morning, they've filled out spectacularly.

Although many, many people talk about the sweet scent of the peonies, I, who pridesmyself with having a KEEN sense of smell, can never smell these flowers. I don't know why my olfactory sensors never pick up on peonies, but I don't smell a thing with them in the house.

I'm waiting for the deep, deep magenta bush to open, and once it does, I'll post a shot of it as well.

Also, there's more farm news to report since we have two new cats here (making a total of 8 felines). Brett's cats survived a 16 hour airplane ride from California and arrived at The Farm in the wee hours Saturday morning. We welcome Oscar and Felix to their new home. I'll post a few photos if they ever get up the courage to come out from under the couch long enough to pose.

Off to head outside....It's another glorious morning!!