Saturday, February 27, 2010

The artist in you

Has anyone ever asked you if  you are an artist? do you paint? or sculpt? or watercolor?  Your answer should be yes.  For in all of us is an artist; some better than others.  If you put on make-up, you are an artist. If you can cook , you are an artist.  If you paint a room, or design a child's play space, you are an artist.  so you see, you do not have to have canvas to prove that you have creative genes.
One of my teachers, Bill Jameson led a class one time where I learned to see the colors beyond the obvious.  This class has stuck with me in that I look beyond the obvious in a lot of things.  I think one of the greatest lessons we can learn is to see beyond the obvious in those around us.  There is such depth, you just have to be aware.  Be responsive to the needs and feelings of others as my my dear one says all the time..
Some see two dimensionally, others see way into futuristic images like that machine on "Bones" that will give you a virtual image if you have the given "markers".  My friend, Jane, took a scuplting class at our art center.  She was hooked.  She has now gone to many classes in forensic sculpting.  I am probably not using the right terms, but I am a novice, forgive.  Jane now has a studio at her home that her husband built for her.  She goes to forensic courses in order that her clay might give the public an image that someone might recognize. She diligently goes to scuplting classes every week in Atlanta.  I think she just likes nude bodies!
Anyhow, they uncovered a skull of a lady several years ago, not too far from here and it was in the sheriff's office forensic files.  Jane asked about it and they let her get the markers of the bones and she rebuilt that lady's head.  I was shocked at what the bones will tell you. Unfortunately after running the clay figure in the paper, no one claimed that they knew her.  She had a huge gash across her forehead.  Do not think she laid down by the tracks without someone's bad act.  Last PM Jane was talking with us and got into a discussion about how to tell  race,  age, and/or gender just looking at the palate.  My husband, being a dentist, perked up his ears at the mention of dental anatomy.
Now, we may have a hobby brewing outside of his camellia expertise.  He said he had been carving on teeth, flesh and bone for years and he was ready to work with something that did not bleed!
Let me assure you, I will probably have to learn get involved in this new venture for if there is any looking at nude bodies, count me in!

My teacher, Bill also illustrated the cover and insert pages of the cookbook "Charleston Receipts", my second all time favorite cookbook. The photo above is the one he did for us of the woodside, our favorite mountain place, in Highlands,NC.

Let me share a cool recipe that I learned from Derek last PM. So easy, I could not believe.

Beer Batter Bread
2 1/2 C flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
16 oz of a dark beer, or light whichever you like
1 Cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (optional)

Mix all the ingredients together and put into a pan prepared with pan-release.
Bake 350 degree for 30 minutes.
This was served with Chili and Rice with a spinach salad that had strawberries, blu cheese and a light vinaigrette dressing.  Perfect evening supper for a cold night in Georgia enjoyed by friends and girl-friends!

Pray that Derek gets the perfect teaching job.  Mary, his wife is Rector at a precious church in Toccoa, GA. Two baby girls and life is good.

The sculpture above is from an artist from Venezuela.  The oldest daughter, Laura, used to live there and we found this magnificant piece at his studio.  Wrapped it up and brought it home.  It sits in various places around our home.  Have to move it sometimes when little people come, they want to touch it.  The form is a goal we all should have for the perfect proportioned torso.

Greetings to my friend, Mary Bell, hope the healingis perfect.....
Tomorrow is the date I think they will memorialize our alpaca whisperer, Jack. Remember Jean and the family left behind.
John Hanson is covered by the ever loving wings of faith.....his race is not over.
Til next time ......................

Friday, February 26, 2010

Reality Check

Have you ever had a sobering moment? One in which you wake up and realize that you need to assess current status?  Is it LOW BATT, smell the roses, Oh s----, or OMG moments? I think that the nearing of due dates do that to women.
We are having those checks coming in daily around here. 
The one most prevalent is that we cannot believe we are within 5 weeks of having a new member added to our family! Baby showers, classes to learn every aspect of self and baby care, and sleepless nights.  Well, it is hitting home.  Mothers-to-be get no one told us that when we chose to be female! Mothers get no sleep.  We learn to sleep with one eye open.  We manage our lives with one eye open.  It is a phenomenon that is granted only to this side of the species.  Have to learn to stir the pot on the stove and keep the new cargo safe. Stay tuned as we progress to the grand entrance of something blue!
The mama-2 B has done exceptionally well, very proud of her....

Last evening we were preparing to go to a friend's house to advance their daughter, who is a Rev., and her husband to the next level in the Hospitaller Order of St. John.  If this is not familair to you then does the Knights Templar ring any bells? Same genre of time. Anyhow, they have a two week old little girl.  Do you have any idea how precious life is? My friend is having the time of her life with her "girl-friends" as she calls her three granddaughters.  That tiny little morsel was more sobering to me that I had my reality check!

There is nothing better for your mental health that have live plants around you. I want to share my "gently ignored" orchid with you.  This lovely plant, along with three others, just keeps on blooming long after I have given then little care.  Maybe we "over-focus" on things when they do better with less fussing over.  Now violets, that is a different story.

Well, here he is, the magnificent one.  His name is CDF Cul-de-Sac of Candeaux.  If you follow the Southeastern Alpaca Association, there is a show the first weekend in March and he is offered up as a breeding sire, for charity, to some lucky lady alpaca.  You cannot imagine how glistening his fiber is down in there which is 5 inches off his body.  The architecture of his fiber, his body and his attitude are what the alpaca breeders in the USA are working towards.  Plus, he lives right here with us.  What a macho!

BTW: the photo up top is not the shroud of Turin, it is my new grandson-to-be, can you see his little face?

To continue with my thought vein of southern-ness, the greatest icon is Cornbread.  There are as many recipes as there are cooks!  Main difference: southerners do not put sugar in their cornbread, if you do, then you have jumped loyalties! Might as well have cake! The more coarse the cornmeal, the better, the greasier the bacon drippings, the more authentic it becomes.  The utensil of course is the well-seasoned black cast iron skillet. (Never wash it!).  A seasoned skillet is the best wedding gift ever. The best way to eat cornbread is:   1) in a glass of buttermilk with salt and pepper, 2) collards and pot licker poured over a wedge, 3) along with vegetable soup/or beans.

Meet Montana. This is a really cool cat.  She literally hops and dances as she walks.  I love her soft coat and her secret snuggles that she gives when she chooses.  Only a cat person would know what I am saying!
I know these cats that live here were there when the sphynx was commissioned!


Til next time......

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Keep searching

If you can grasp the content of this photo, you will see a cria, baby alpaca, entering under her mama to get her lunch! Not exactly the right entry point but she is searching.  When these babies first stand and look for the milk bar, they weave in and out under the mama and made connection usually within the first hours of life. This is so critical. It is like a dance. The cria has the job of finding it. The mama nudges and hums and clicks to position but normally just stands steady and the baby finds.

So it is with humans.  You have to go get it yourself.  Most things of great reward take seraching, ascertaining, evaluating, following the path, and recognizing when you are there.
In choosing a partner , the search must be diligent, gentle nudging here and there but you have to recognize what is going to work for you.
 In choosing a career path, or a business decision look at all the options and corners and assess what will be the best match up for you.  If you are in between, look behind you, the  best choice of door may be behind you
rather  than the one you have eyed in front of you. (Airplane amusement here)
Success story is great matching of this young couple.......look closely, there are three in this photo!

Had another success this AM, Cynergy got his cast off his rear leg!!
Both the tibia and fibula were snapped in a freak accident.  He has had a bummer of a fall and winter.  He has had to stay in a pasture by himself, next to his buddies,but could not take a chance on another macho rough housing, as they do!  Come see us, we have some really neat machos both suri and huacaya for your breeding choices.....alpacas, of course.
Love his fiber
That is Sergio holding him...

This is Ollie, resting in his glorious colors.  We are so lucky to have him and his offpsring.  Mating season right around the corner and yes they scream at night whne the female is on the nest!  Love it....

Til next time.....................................................

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

NO SERVICE.....hummmm

This past weekend we traveled to a very popular area of the USA, but in this one spot, my much touted cell phone service had a message....NO SERVICE...Could not believe it, I had connectivity in South Africa,but not here? However, I had a wake-up call from my husband when he said "I am glad". 
For you see, this i-whatever has become like an umbilical cord to me.  I panic if I leave the driveway and it is not in its place.  I get real antsy if I am out of touch with my family for a baby is near due. I feel very responsbile for my farm and my helper many times has to get in touch with me.  The vet is always calling with a report. My mother is getting very aged.  My brothers travel and I fear I may not be available to help. We have in-laws, outlaws, grands, Aunt C's collectibles of neices and nephews to consider.
Then again, .........I like checking the email, Facebook et al, so maybe this little handheld is a pacifier?
At this point in my life it is also a part of my management team to handle the advertising, follow up on leads, be aware of market changes, be available for appointing visitors to look at breeding stock.
What I learned was my priority of being entertained was interferring with actual communicating verbally to meet the needs of the most important part of my life!  Got to set the priorities; set aside the time for "tending to the knittin'" as Miss Veda used to say.  At least for a getaway date, the NO SERVICE was welcomed and the peace was overwhelming! Enjoyed my hubby too!

I have a lot of acquaintances who are not orignally from the South.  These people seemed to always enjoy the company of southerners for they say we are gentile, have a soothing voice, seems to be always upbeat and have a passion for family. They always seem to learn to love our foods and the symbols of hospitality as they traverse our part of the world.  I have been thinking of the many icons that we cherish and thought I would offer them up to you for your remembrances of childhood and what might have had a play in your up-bringing.
The first I want to share this date is Fig Preserves.  Mostly grown in the real southern USA, we have five varieties on this farm, one of them being yanked up out of my Daddy's yard right after his funeral; transplanted here and producing like a fool!
It is the Brown Turkey variety.  My husband wanted to make room in the freezer for his quail and brought me several bags I had frozen.  I cooked them off on Sunday evening with thin slices of lemon and sugar, of course, and they are scrumptious.  When you come to visit, you will get a jar! The art of canning and preserving is ancient.  It is something anyone can do, with just a few pointers and some utensils. Come on over and I will teach you!
I think Fig Preserves are superb with Asian food.  Remember that red dye-laden duck sauce that they put by that screaming hot Chinese mustard? Yep, subsitute the figs and you are good to go.  I like to take the figs, mix with soy sauce and Italian dressing for a marinade for duck, quail, dove and fajita beef slices. Slap on the grill for a few minutes, and you have a Martha Stewart moment right before you!

Go is my favorite color  today!!

Pray for John Hanson; cancer therapy is stealing him from us......

Til next time............

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Dental Fear

My husband and daughter , Heather, are dentists.  They are periodontists. They are high up the chain of practitioners and you really do not want to have the need to be referred to them! Their work is serious stuff. Both of these folks know it and they have to keep their positive wits and know that they are needed, necessary and ultimately appreciated.They are comforting and consoling to many folks who confess that they have a fear of them.
Wow! How would you like that? Someone you have never met is afraid of you? Actually, these patients do not want to ever be in your office! Some have resigned themselves that they are not going to like the message or the messenger.
That is pressure.  That is a tough job to face everyday you go to work where no one in their right mind wants to come see you, hear the diagnosis, and pay you for something they dread.
(This is a daily reality unless you are coming to see Stevie and get your teeth cleaned, dental floss and all sorts of dental samples in a goody bag to take home.) meet these two doctors.  Their patients love them, so it all works out once the fear is gone! Some fears are deep rooted in a bad past experience. They tell me that the bottom line is that you take care of the teeth you want to save! Hummmm.
That leads me to our own lives and interactions with people, after all that is what life is about!
Let's get back to the life around yourself.  Are you in a similar situation where there are those who do not want to be a part of your life or want what you have to offer?  This can be a bummer and lead to depression.
I have come to realize that you cannot worry about other people's opinions.  Their opinions are theirs and you have yours.  You have to be yourself and offer up the best in conviviality, resourcefulness, empathy, and strength in facing the day's offering. (thanks, TW!)  Celebrate you! You are unique and awesome, just accept that, for it is true.
You have to realize that you have to live your life and let others live theirs. Public opinion is necessary only when they are paying you big bucks to act a certain way.  Then you are allowed to be in a charade; if that is the way you want to operate.
Leaders however, will take these negatives and turn them around so that those who have an issue will become a follower. 
Have you seen this ad?  Hope you can read it, but it speaks volumes.

It is human nature to want to be appreciated.  When I was in my other career, i followed a  study that was done on the heirarchy of needs.  Next to human basics being taken care of, having appreciation from the employer was the top desire of an employee.

I do not relish the thought that someone prefers not to be in my presence. However, it may truly be their loss, not mine.  I think you may have a similar thought. 

(Want to thank Nicholas and Emma Peeples for their creative thank you notes.  These two sweet kiddos are our new grands!
Look forward to your visit; let's have a swim party!)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


"It is amazing how facing death sorts out the debris of life and shows you what is really important ."

This statement to me is profound. It is grounding and literally stops you in your steps. Deborah is my sister-in-law for almost 40 years. This is what she wrote to me today when trying to grasp health issues of their friend. This woman of God has left tracks on the lives of people that would dwarf a giant. She and my brother have faced grief that is beyond the pale of understanding to me. They are now facing the life changing reality of cancer of a dear friend. She said," this guy is keeping her on her knees".
I wonder so many times why certain ones are singled out that God wants them home sooner than others. I know that you are not supposed to question the Almighty and His plan, but my human-ness always leaves me a bit short sometimes in the faith category. I cannot imagine my world without any of you.
It is hard for me to fathom that He has a Divine plan for me.  And you ......

I am making a new pact with myself these days. I am sorting out the debris of life. I have started with the surroundings of my home. I began to sort through clothes long left in the closet, maybe someone else can enjoy them. It includes the simplifying of my daily schedule of time management. This also impacts the order of my morning routine, my meal planning and re-connecting with people, even including more quiet time.

You will find being a farmer and caring for living things tends to make you a recluse. I think having gone overboard in this department, and not having balance, threw a lot of mental energy in the wrong direction and debris, like placque on teeth. occurred.
Take a look around and see if you might enjoy this life lesson and feel liberated as I do.....

On an olympic note, my husband quoted a phrase he read last PM:
                   "do not particpate in any sport where there are ambulances at the bottom of the hill."

Til next time ................

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Yesterday when I was cleaning on the outside of  the barn, I heard a very loud noise on the tin roof.  I was quite startled for I had never heard that sound before.  I went inside to try to sort out the sound.  It took a few seconds to let this course through my brain that it was a massive load of snow leaving the roof and headed straight for me. 
Caught in an avalanche!
That could have been a most interesting outcome if the barrage of snow had not hesitated , giving me a few seconds to react.  My husband said later that he would have come looking for me at some point.  He reminded me that I needed to add a drinking straw to my overall's pocket inventory in case I was trapped under the snow.  Hummm what a nice thought. The barn in the side photo is the one where I was working.
I have started thinking about avalanches in our lives? Do we have a warning and just not hear the oncoming?
Sometimes avalanches may be in the form of a circumstance that we have no authorship, a maturation of a situation, an evolution of a relationship, the persona of a situation or global warming! Whatever it is, I wonder if there were sounds that were not recognized? We all have come to realize that there are some areas that are prone for avalanches.  If you expose yourself to these area, then when it happens, be prepared to have a good escape plan; we know that works for us, don't we?

Visited my mother on Monday and she showed me her two loving cups that she won on Valentine's Day for being 2nd in the beauty contest and 1st in the Most Photogenic!
Even at her age of 87, she is still wowing the crowds. 
Miss Georgia needs to watch out, competition on the horizon!
Mothers are neat creatures, agree?

If you can, make a trip to the Hallmark store, get a coozie.  It is a heart shaped pillow you can heat or cool for your head, neck or chest. 
Lavender sachet, too

On a tender note, our friend John Hansen is undergoing chemo for the big "C" in Montgomery, AL.  He is a young man and dear to my heart. Pray as earnestly as you know how for him. No one can make you laugh like this guy; I would miss that.

Til next time........

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Red is a heart connection

I have been thinking about the color red.  As  I viewed the rack of valentine cards this year, they were in a vast array of shades of red.  I saw pinks , rose, tomato red, all the way to port wine red.  I saw younger genre of cards in the brightest colors and the serious deep message cards were in intense hues of red.
Does that tell you something? The more you want to be light about a message, the pigment is not so intense.  When you have a deeper message you put more pigment to the cause.
There was a lady in our town who was an oilist and she ground her own pigment and made her own oil paints.  The deep reds had real gold dust in them and it took a long time to get the pigments ground in a mortar with a  pestle to have a perfect product to add the oil to. She even taught tempera, which had egg in it. She taught in the school of the old masters.
Glassmakers use gold to make ruby colored glass.

Another red, of course there ,is the ruby stone.  Having great connection to the heart , men would give the ruby for wedding ring stones before diamonds were the hot item.

There is a thread of understanding here for us all.  What needs intensity and deep thought process requires time and lots of pigment to get a deeper message across.

When you are up against a challenging situation, stop and think and throw all your resources of your mind at the solution.  This requires a lot of massaging of the solution and lots of your mentalness to come across with a true lasting product of resolve.

If you go will nilly; only to  throw a little thought at something, it is going to be a renegade thought and disappear as does paint that has no true pigment to it.

My thought here is that anything that must be lasting has to be thought out and attention to the details so that it will last the test of time.
Just a thought for your message to your Valentine, even if it is to yourself!

Til next time......

This is my Valentine!!

On a sad note: Prayers to Jean and family; Jack is at peace.  May he be surrounded by our little ones from the herd that are romping in heaven's pastures.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Was listening to Martha Stewart radio  and the guest spoke of the "power of pause".
Have been thinking about this and realize that many times we feel like the air has to be full of words and noise.
Quiet does have its place.  As does gentility.


This is very uncomfortable for those who are in "sales mode", or in full court press to get their point across or be elevated.  Clients are entertained, cajoled, tongue lashed, and kept spinning to ad nauseum that they just might lock you out. Or give you the sale to just shut you up!

"Speak softly  and carry a big stick."
 (Whose quote is this?  Bar of Bobbie Carol's goat milk soap to those who know the right answer, ping me back).

I, for one, like to show the product (the alpaca) and let the buyer discern for themselves.

 I need to give the client  credit that they can see the quality before them.  what is genetically locked up inside? Well, only God knows that and I cannot guarantee a thing in that department

One should strive to be like a lingering fragrance.........
I think trust has a nice fragrance..

Til next time....

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Enthusiasm; how rare a sighting

On Sunday, I was blessed to be in the presence of two enthusiatic women. Two separate occasions. two separate reasons but nonetheless, remarkable.

This has nothing directly to do with alpacas, but has a lot to do with perceived happiness and satisfaction.
The first was Kristy, our professional caterer friend.  Saw her last time in June at daughter's (Heather)wedding.  She came to our house to plan the menu for the baby shower! I opened the door and to my amazment and tearful hello was a woman who had dropped nearly half of her self, some 135# in 8 months!
No stomach stapling, no banding, no drugs, no hypnotist, just solid nutrition principles applied to her life.  She is writing all this down for I am her first coaching client! So well founded and not crazy obsessed with her new body.  This is the freaky thing that happens when women loose a lot of weight, they become obsessed with the new them, to ad nauseum, and do not just flow with it.  I have seen the path of changes weight loss can bring. They leave their husbands, they venture off into waters that would have been taboo before, but sometimes that is not all bad! She was in a size M sweater dress, all the 2 X stuff was gone, and most balanced and gracious.  She says she has 18# more to go, but she is not stopping, she is just doing the right thing. However, her enthusiasm just bubbled out of her, She was glad she was healthier, she was glad she could do things that were nigh to impossible before. That was joyful to see someone who could not stop smiling at a successful attempt at a difficult task.
The second bubbly person was a mom of three at the McDonald's playground.  I could see how she managed her 9 and 7 year old (20 months apart) and a 5 month old as she was unloading her SUV.  She took this piece of fabric that she called a Maya Wrap and put that baby in there and in they came to order their Sunday treat. (Daddy had just left on the airplane "to go to work"). Now the reason I know all this is that I went into the playground and introduced my self and asked if I could see how that baby sling was put together.  (The instructions to make one can be found on the web site of Maya Wrap.) But what I want to share with you is her enthusiasm that someone noticed how good she was at being a mom.  She went into demonstration mode as to how to wrap it, what its versatile attributes were and how it has lasted through three babies!  You know, if she had one of every color, I would have bought them right there.  She was so positive and convincing of her belief in this product.   I wanted one just to carry my dog around in! but I guess I will really wait for Baby McGee!
I was so encouraged for I had a full bait of CNN and all the world stuff that I wondered where is our "happy self"?  I found it; in two unsual meetings...
Your clients are wanting to see that enthusiasm for your progeny or product, even if it is just you!! Actually is that not what we are selling?
Til next time......

Monday, February 1, 2010

Speaking with Authority, how dangerous is this?

There is a passage in the Bible referencing  that we may be in the presence of an angel and not be aware.  This is an  analogy to remember when you are in discourse with others when you are speaking with authority, expertise, all-knowing, or blessed with all the answers situation. 
Be aware of those in your midst. (Not that these are angels, but you are getting my drift.)
Beware of who may have slipped in the back door and taken a seat to hear your presentation and they are far more adept at the delivery than you.  This happens.  You never know who might be in your audience or conversation group that just might know a bit more than you.  There may be someone in earshot who has a greater knowledge or experience in what you topic of conversation might be. I think this is why the 3rd pereson context is safe!

Let me share an experience that happened last week.  There was an occasion that a visitor to our farm spoke with great authority about how "fragrant" many of the camellias are. Oooh, that lady had no clue that in her midst was the camellia expert of north Georgia, my husband. The camellia is a winter blooming colorful collection of cultivars that have no fragrance.  Is such a shame for you are immediately prone to put your nose to their petals not to be rewarded with a great signature smell.  As far as we know there are only three cultivars that have any fragrance at all out of thousands of cultivars.
He and I  just looked at one another and said nothing.  Did not correct her.  Did not embaress her, but she will probably never know that she was speaking on a topic that an expert was listening and could smack it down like a fly on the sleeve, but chose to not go there.

This is a suggestion :  be aware of your audience and really how much of an expert are you?

Your audience deserves your best, they deserve the truth; as you know it!
I was teaching a class to some sophomore nursing students several years ago and was addressing the cascade of events that leads to blood clotting.  It is very complex and happens rather quickly, given all elements are present.  In the back of the room I did not see the Chairman of the Biochemistry department slip in to hear my lecture.  I like to have passed out when I saw him at the end of the lecture. Do you realize how slippery that slope could have been? My degrees are in Human Nutrition, not biochemistry, but was part of the lesson that date.  After the class  he said was that he was appreciative of the primer on the value of copper in that cascade. Whew!
I think many times that we alpaca breeders go off on a medical topic with our clients that is a topic really best left for the vet to expound upon.  Best to quote a vet rather than be the author of the subject matter.  As you have many births and days with these creatures you can become very familiar with their nuances.  Can lead to a false confidence.
My thoughts this date are to be careful with your expounding on topics of which vulnerable people might be influenced.  Make sure it is as well founded in truth and good motive.
As they say in medicine:  First, do no harm...........
Til next time.....