Hopalong Hollow....

Hopalong Hollow, where the Blueberries grow sweet, and the moss feels soft beneath your feet.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Bye Bye Birdies and a lovely gift.

Today was moving day for Pea babies... well, I guess they aren't exactly babies anymore.
Here they are in their traveling case.

The Pea-peeps were adopted by someone special...
When first he called me in response to my ad, I was amused by his offer of a barter: 2 turkeys in exchange for a pair of peacocks? Well, if you've read this blog for any length of time, you would know that I've had a less than pleasant experience with my turkeys Gus and Woodrow,who, thankfully, ran away from home to live with the wild turkeys. So, I was not interested in a trade, but I was very interested in the caller. I inquired of him why he wanted peacocks? Did he live in the country? What kind of life did he plan for these birds..... and on and on and on. After about 15 minutes of conversation, I was very impressed with this person as he seemed very responsible and a true animal lover. I determined that my pea-peeps couldn't ask for a better master and offered to give him a pair of peas, after all, I merely wanted my birds to have a good home.
Meet Josiah, bird lover and new peacock owner,
Josiah is  the tall one.
The family came to the Hollow and we got acquainted. It turns out I knew Josiah's mother, Tammy, about 17 years ago when we both participated in a monthly antiques show  nearby. I have a fabulous cupboard I had purchased from her and she has my artwork in her home! What a fun coincidence, and what a lovely family.
They adopted my birds and I adopted this family.
I couldn't be happier to have met them, and  am content in the  assurance that my pea-babies will have a good life with them. I decided to part with 2 males and 1 female.  The Pea hen Mother, Hettie Pepper, is lonely without her little ones and has been searching for them all day, but I promised her she could lay eggs again next Spring and start a new family.
Part 2
Last week,  a package arrived in my mailbox and upon opening it I was flabbergasted to find this beautiful basket with a note.... "After reading about Hopalong Jack, I was inspired to weave this blueberry basket  for you....:"
In my Book, "Hopalong Jack and the Blue Bunnies", Jack is a rabbit trying to stand out in the crowd of 23 brothers and sisters.

 Upon seeing a Brilliantly Blue peacock in the meadow, Jack has a clever idea..
 He gathers hundreds and hundreds of Blueberries in his basket...
."Never before in history had there been such a blue bunny!"
Now, Jack is different from all the other bunnies!
That is, until THEY  roll in the blueberries and turn blue as well. 
"Never before in history had there been SO MANY blue bunnies!"
Now, You know about the Blueberry basket.
This is just wonderful

I met the creator of this basket at a show in NY this year where she purchased 3 books.
This gift was totally unexpected and will be treasured for a very long time. Not only is it beautifully made, but the thought behind it, being Jack's blueberry basket, makes it very dear to me.
I don't know if she reads this blog, but ,Thank you Sharon, a note is on it's way to you!

  I hope all of you have a pleasant surprise this week as well!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Barn chic, and a show in Louisille KY


The smell of fresh hay loaded in our barn is the nicest of Autumn scents. Freshly cut and baled, this should be enough to see the girls through a mild winter, we hope.
 The donk's mouths are watering
but they can't have this hay till until their meadow has turned brown.

 The chicks in the barn are very particular about their furnishings, and a 2 story apartment is a must.

Shabby Barn Chic is the favorite decorating style of the barn-folk
and they like plenty of cozy corners for egg laying,barn chicks like to hide their eggs.
The pantry must be replenished with corn, chicken scratch and animal crackers with regularity; barn folk have very large appetites. As a matter of fact, eating is their favorite pastime.... presentime and futuretime.

Barn- folk are very big on wall art.
 (not a real mouse in trap, the real mice live under the barrel)

  And sculpture.

Take it from a barn chick, Barn livin is the best!

Part 2
Our art event in Louisville last weekend was an eye-opener...

And here is why...

The section of town where we set up our booth is Victorian heaven.

 The streets are lined with these fabulous restored homes. This area was once derelict and forlorn, with the properties going to ruin.
But not anymore. Blocks and blocks of homes have been beautifully restored to former glory days. Not exactly Barn Chic, is it?

  I looked upon this house for 3 days, as it was right in front of my booth.

You may have believed that Kentucky was just bluegrass, split rail fences, old log cabins, Thoroughbred horses and the Kentucky Derby..
But you probably haven't been to Louisville.
In addition to good weather and beautiful scenery,

Still, I am happy to be home on the farm. Tomorrow, a pair of Pea babies will be going to their new home..I will miss them.
Till next time, 
Fondly from the Hollow, Jeri

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Posting from a hotel room

I am not on our farm, or in my studio or in the garden ( but this is what the restored garden looked like this morning, before we left town for the 4th art/craft event in a month; still blooming!
It has filled in so nicely.

  This is a rather mish-mash post, so please indulge me. I am sitting in a dull hotel room in Louisville, Ky. with my laptop. When we have an "important" art event, we leave a day early, just in case we have van TROUBLES along the way. Nothing worse that a transmission going out, or an alternator gone berserk or a U-joint gone KAPUT or a broken steering column..... any of the above can occur when it is the least convenient, and we should know,  because these very mishaps have happened to us in the past. It doesn't matter how great your vehicle is, or if you have a brand new motor or if your "ride" had a thorough check up before leaving town... anything can happen. But, this time it didn't, and for that we are grateful.  Especially since today is my Birthday. So how does one enjoy a very big birthday whilst having to travel the highways and by-ways? Well fortunately, there was a pretty good Antique shop along the way where  I found some diamonds in the rough...
  Here is a metal lawn glider from the 1940's, ugh!, painted an icky aqua with more than a tad of rust here and there... but it GLIDES so beautifully!  NO PROBLEM. I Know I can revive this with  chalk paint and distressing techniques and I'd been looking all summer for a special bench for  my restored  new garden... and it GLIDES so beautifully! The old side chair is covered in rust and it will require  more work..but it, too, GLIDES so beautifully! Gliders are the best! (even better than rockers)
In the same shop, I found this rather mundane little broom closet for a mere $40. I'd actually  been looking for a broom closet  in which to store tall garden tools on the porch. It is quite dark and bland, but that's what paint is for. It has very nice feet.

 I can just see it now, sitting on my porch all cleaned up with an ivory, distressed and waxed finish.
    Because our van is full of art stuff and books we will have to collect these items after the show, on the way home.
I must  show you the wonderful entry way into the Antique store's bathroom.
 Don't  you  love this DOOR?  It has a REAL crackled and distressed finish, so interesting!
Wouldn't this be a great finish on my little broom closet?

My birthday lunch may not excite you, but it did me... PIZZA! I don't often eat it, so to have a thin crust, extra extra cheese and pepperoni all to myself is quite an indulgence. And a piece of the best carrot cake I ever ET. Okay, so it's not a 4 star restaurant meal, but those places are difficult to find along the highway and besides, I'd rather eat Pizza.
 Last week, in a Madison, Indiana antiques shop, I found this stout basket, it needed some TLC but is perfect for carrying the needlework projects that I bring along when we travel.
 By inserting a nice padded lid, I can sew a few pockets for my scissors, punch needles, threads, a pincushion, notions and such. Brought along bits of fabric so as to work on this project after the show hours. Simply cannot abide it when I am not being productive. 

The basket holds all these traveling projects.  Punch needle, Cross stitch and embroidery. I use the stamped cross-stitch patterns now, because my eyes just aren't what they used to be and it is difficult to see those teeny spaces in the Aida cloth.
 I'd planned on hand sewing  all the elements on the basket lid, until we found
 the  best birthday gift of the day. We stopped in a fabric store near our hotel to pick up some items and discovered this darling little mini Singer sewing machine, perfect for traveling! It's fortuitous, because just last night I was on EBAY looking at vintage children's sewing machine with the intent of purchasing one for that very purpose.

 It so small and lightweight. This little thing will be humming along every night! Most Art Events run 2 or 3 days and are over each evening by 6; then you have lots of time to kill. I hate television in a boring hotel room. so I'll just stitch away!
If I get tired of sewing, I'll work on these drawings in the travel bag.

This series is coming along nicely, and I expect to have several painted in time for my November shows.
 Traveling to shows is a lot of work, and it's tiresome being away from home every weekend for weeks at a time. Carrying artwork and sewing projects keeps me content and connected to my beloved Hopalong Hollow and my sweet critters.
I just bring them along on paper... here is Cecily Rose and Beatrix.
Speaking of which, we have found a very good home for one  peababy pair, and they will be going to their new home next week. I will do a post and you will be surprised at who the proud new owner is!

I had a nice birthday, thank you James.
 Happy Birthday to my other blogging friends who turned 61 this year.... YOU know who you are!
 Also, a special thanks to my friend Blogless Sandy... you are too sweet, thank you!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Peabody boy and girls, up for adoption

Its the time for our dear little peababies to "fly the coop" I hate to loose them, But I simply cannot have 8 peafowl here. I have limited myself to our original 4.
It seems like just a minute ago, they were wee pea-chicks! 
 Now, our 2 little peaboys and 2 little peagirls are looking for a good home, with lots of space to roam around in, a garden to be beautiful in and  a mistress or master who will love them.
 At this age, it is difficult to tell the males apart from the females, save for a copper colored wing feather adorning only the males. We have 2 males, 2 females.
 I will soon be putting an ad, online, for their adoption, but wanted to give my readers first chance to adopt. If you live near enough our farm to pick them up ,( I am in East Tennessee) consider the joy of having peafowl in your life.
  Let me tell you all that you need to know about this wonderful bird.
 It goes without saying that they are gorgeous creatures, even the females, who don't have the spectacular feathers and color as the boys, but are graceful and elegant with lovely shades of turquoise, blues, aquas and greens adorning their long necks.

The males? No words necessary, just look at this handsome fellow below.

  This is a daddy, Hans... or Moses.. I still can't tell them apart. 
It takes at least a year for the males to get their true colors. In late summer, all the tail-feathers fall out one by one, and once they are gone, the feathers begin to grow back over the winter. Each  new tail grows  longer  than the one before.
This male has lost his tail feathers for the year. 
 The males start to grow that beautiful tail at around 2 years old and females of 2 years will begin to lay eggs.

  These are very intelligent birds, much more so than any of my other bird flock. They can be quite tame and will come when you summon them with treats. My youngsters  are eating from my hand. 

 What DO they eat? Ours free-range on BUGS, grass, and weeds. I supplement their diet with corn and they have a particular love of dry cat food, bread, chicken bones and just about anything you toss to them.  I have only seen them eating flowers once.  Here is a great plus for the gardener: peacocks, unlike chickens, do not cultivate in your garden and destroy everything in sight. They will, however, pick off the Japanese beetles and the other noxious pests, one by one.They stroll through the cottage garden  with great dignity and elegance, looking quite at home. You will love it! Oh the photos you will get!

  They do like to traipse through your vegetable garden and grab a tomato occasionally, but they won't devastate your crops.

You should have 2 birds, they need a companion and will become best friends.. I will only sell mine as pairs.
 They do get along with all other birds, but will definitely be the dominate, head honcho on your farm. ALL birds are beneath the Peacock ( at least they think so), as they are the ELITE of the bird world. No one messes with a peacock, even my dogs steer clear.

Peacocks, both male and female, perform a comical little dance when trying to show off or intimidate. I can't even describe it to you, it's a bit like the hokey-pokey.  They will shimmy, shake their back feathers and turn round and round. They are specifically trying to get the attention of another peafowl, but if one is not available, they will dance for any old rooster, hen or duck.
  Peafowl need protection from bad weather, they hate the rain. They need a barn or a shed to take shelter. But in the summer, they will happily roost in your trees at night.  Which brings me to this; Of course they fly, and until they are accustomed to their new home, they may sit on your roof for a few days. It is best to keep them in a confined space, like inside a barn, for about a week before letting them out. But they need room to roam, birds need freedom and should not be confined permanently.
 Peacocks have many many different voices,  a honk, cluck, ,  a chirp, a whistle, a quiet pleasant,click, click, click, and the males have, what would best be described as a "SCREECH" The first time you hear it, you are shocked! But you get used to it and come to enjoy the  absurd sound.  Your neighbors may disapprove, OR, they may like it too.. This is not a sound they make often, only during mating season, or to warn of a predator. The Peacock screech has been compared to the sound of cats fighting, a baby crying or a woman screaming... but I don't hear the similarity at all!
 Am I forgetting anything?  You may add to this list,if you wish.

I love these birds! I really do. I wholeheartedly recommend you add a pair to your farm family. I will be asking a very fair price for a pair. If you have any questions or  are interested in adopting our Peabody adolescents, born and bred in Hopalong Hollow, please email me at jeri@hopalonggreetings.com.
 Thanks for visiting today!  Jeri