Natures Perfection

We had some terrible flooding here in Western Massachusetts from Hurricane Irene (see earlier blog post for photo’s).  My backyard is the Green River, a place I walk nearly every day.  It has changed so much since the storm… some places hardly recognizable.  Once the river went down enough and places were not so muddy that I could actually walk and not sink, I discovered some amazing beauty. There is an area were the earth is caked with clay and silt… large cracks nearly a foot deep everywhere the clay is drying.  I came upon this one area where the leaves remained on top of the clay as the area around the leaves settled down with more rain a week later.  I don’t know if the photo’s can capture the perfection of this magnificence of nature.

 

Bear at the Bird Feeder

It was quite a sight as the kids and I woke at 6:30 this morning.  Our eyes feasted on the sight of this beautiful animal as she feasted, and ruined our feeders!! 

We always take the bird feeders down in April, but this summer we decided to keep them up.  Maybe we are getting old and wanted to sit and watch the birds all year on the back porch… we did think twice about it, knowing how close the woods are, but still took the chance.  I’m bummed… all day long I would see the bright yellow goldfinches, and red cardinals from my studio window… I guess I’ll have to do something else for entertainment!

This first picture (through the kitchen window) is when she came back the second time .  The others are from the back porch after my son Luke got his air soft pellet gun to scare her away.  A lot of help that did… the tiny plastic pellet didn’t even make her flinch!

It’s so funny as I write this at 10pm and just about to hit publish, I hear a rattle of a garbage can…  looking out with a flashlight I see one happy bear. 

The Creative Economy

More on the arts and the economy.

There is so much natural beauty here in Western Massachusetts, and so much happening in the arts.  But the biggest and most exciting happenings are right here in Greenfield!  Between the recent International Brick and Mortar Video Festival, to the huge state grant recieved for a performing arts center!  Greenfield Ma. is in the midst of a downtown revival, thanks in part to the many artists, and musicians that live in the valley.  

I recently read an article in Preview (the valley arts magazine) about Greenfield coming back to life.  In an interview with Ed Wierzbowski, artist and entrepreneur, and major player in the downtown revival, (restoring two central Main St. historic buildings).  Ed talks about the ripple effects of the creative economy.  He was quoted as saying for every dollar spent on the creative side, five more are spent locally.  I see how that happened here with my recent pottery workshop.  Money was spent at the B&B’s, restaurants, local shops, and farms!  

When I think about where I live, I think about the vibrancy of the arts and the beauty of this area known as Western Massachusetts.  I ask myself how do I want to see this place in five years?   Do I want a Wal-mart?  Or do I want to walk downtown and go to a great restaurant, a concert, an art opening, or a  movie?  Do I want to shop at the small locally run businesses,  or get on my bike to go buy apples from the local orchard, or maybe just take a walk and see the scenic views?   I think the answer is pretty clear… when you live in a special place that tourists come to all year round, (especially the Leaf Peepers this time of year), you should keep that a place that people want to see, taste, and feel with all their senses!

 

From the Studio Garden

Fall in Massachusetts.  The leaves are turning their glorious colors, and the flowers are showing off the last of their beauty before the frost comes.

One of the beautiful dahlia’s from the garden entrance to my studio.

Sunday Off… Being a Leaf Peeper

Today was one of those gorgeous Sunday afternoons.  We became tourists in our own county… or Leaf Peepers as we call all the tourists this time of year.   We live in north-western Massachusetts, very close to the Vermont and New Hampshire border. Greenfield is in the valley, with just a five minute car ride the views are beautiful of the surrounding mountains.  These photo’s are taken from the lovely area of Shelburne Ma.  at Apex Orchards looking northeast to Mt. Monadnock, N.H.

View to ManadnocNice Farm

New England Fall Color Begins

As I traveled Rt. 2 (Mohawk Trail)  to the Garlic and Arts Festival this past weekend… (which by the way was a smashing success) I couldn’t help but notice the color beginning.

There is this bridge over the Connecticut river named the French King Bridge.  Tourists always stop to take photo’s there.  At the peak of the season (which should be next week) the side of the bridge is a line of people with their cameras.  It truly is a beautiful sight. 

View from French King Bridge

The Fall Color Begins

Looking towards Northfield, Ma

Entering the Renovated Studio

This is the newly renovated display/glaze area of my studio…  which by the way is a barn which I renovated ten years ago.  When we originally started the barn renovations I imagined it to still have the feel of a barn… but in New England you obviously need to insulate, then sheet rock… hence nice walls, nicer than I imagined.  Now ten years later, after out-growing the space, I added the kiln room addition, and made the already nice display area into a really nice showroom for my work.

… Can you imagine that this exact space was once, (long before we bought the property) a viewing area with a railing around a 6×8′ hole in the floor to watch cock fights.  The house and barn are were built in the 1880′s.  It was a working Chicken Farm and Apple Orchard.  I hope the spirit of the old farmers are pleased with the current use of the barn.  By the way we do have chickens in the lower part of the barn… just no cock fights.

The View Entering the Studio

Ptown and Seals

It’s the first day of Fall… I just had to share these photo’s of our last days of summer at the Cape.  We went to Provincetown, Cape Cod for a couple of days to bike the beautiful dunes of the national seashore.  I really enjoyed the break after the studio renovations, and before the busy season and teaching begins.  What a great get away in September.  Good weather, Gorgeous beaches, and SEALS!

Province LandsThe most incredible dunesSeals at Head of the Meadow Beach, Cape CodLobster claw at Head of the Meadow Beachbiking one of the gorgeous trails