Category Archives: Projects

Moooooooo!

For years, Steve (aka Oscar) had cows with his dad. When Steve’s dad sold all of his cows, Steve kept his small herd on the family land. After retiring, Steve began working to rebuild the herd, fix fences, get the pastures back in optimum condition, and cut hay for the winter.

We began to realize that our small herd was not really earning its keep. In order to keep the farm from becoming a money pit, we needed for the herd to grow more quickly than nature was going to allow. In July 2015, we bought ten bred heifers from a farm in south Georgia. The cows were due to calve in October and November. When it was time to pick up the heifers, the weather was hot and dry. In order to transport the cows from south Georgia to home, Steve was going to have to make two trips. A very kind neighbor offered his longer cattle trailer and truck so only one trip was needed. The day that he transported the cows, it ended up being cool and rainy! What a blessing–the help from our neighbor and the rain! During calving season, we had nine new calves–six bulls and three heifers. 

New cows join the herd.
New cows join the herd.
A new calf
A new calf

Of our original herd, we kept nine cows who had five calves. We sold four of the five and kept one bull calf. Our hope is that the bull calf will eventually become the bull for our herd; his father was from the last bull bought by Steve’s father. We rented a bull to service our nine cows, who are due to begin calving in late March!

Moving from one field to another
Moving from one field to another

To keep up with all of the logistics of the farm, we have found that using spreadsheets on Google Drive has helped a lot. We are keeping information on when vaccinations were given, when fertilizer was applied to the fields, when fields were planted, which cows have calves and when, etc. We hope that by doing a better job of record keeping, we will eventually see black in the accounting column!

Enjoying the grazing!
Enjoying the grazing!

More cow updates will be coming soon; I’ve just got to get through the pictures!

It’s Been A While!

We’ve been so busy with projects that I have not made myself sit down, go through pictures, and post to our blog in months. I am going to try to do better, but no promises!

I have always loved watercolor; I love the clean colors and the transparency. I have just completed my third watercolor class! There is so much to learn, so many different techniques and ways to approach painting. My first class was with Erin McIntosh at the Lyndon House Art Center in Athens, GA. Erin was a wonderful teacher for a first-time watercolor student. She demonstrated many techniques and was very encouraging when we made attempts. When I asked about what to do when my attempts don’t seem good enough, she didn’t seem to understand the question. She said that she sometimes has pieces that she doesn’t immediately like, but sometimes goes back to them and finds that she does like them. If she doesn’t, she cuts up the work and uses it in collages! She was the perfect teacher for a beginning student.

My second class was with Thomas Needham at the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art in Augusta, GA. (It’s nice living halfway between Athens and Augusta–the best of both worlds!) Thomas’ workshop took place over a weekend. He is a very meticulous and talented artist and a great teacher. He helped us understand how to draw and paint a landscape, demonstrating, then letting us paint our version. I learned so much and had fun on that cold, rainy November weekend.

Painting completed in class with Thomas Needham, November 2015.
Painting completed in class with Thomas Needham, November 2015.

YouTube has also provided lots of instruction! I have found instructors who demonstrate techniques that I am trying to learn, then I paint along with them, starting and stopping, stopping and starting! I am thankful to each artist brave enough to allow me into their studio through video. It has helped me make progress! I am also taking some online courses that I’ve purchased. I am particularly enjoying Sketchbook Skool! The online community is very supportive and very creative.

Painting completed after watching a tutorial by Barry Toshio Shiraishi on YouTube!
Painting completed after watching a tutorial by Barry Toshio Shiraishi on YouTube!
I did this painting of our home after watching a tutorial by Belinda Del Pesco on YouTube.
I did this painting of our home after watching a tutorial by Belinda Del Pesco on YouTube.

I have just finished taking another watercolor class at the Lyndon House Center in Athens. The focus of this class has been still life painting. I have found that I need more time and have often been frustrated by having to hurry. I like painting in layers (washes or glazing), so to do that, I need time. Even though I have been frustrated at times, I have loved meeting the other artists-in-training and seeing their work.

I am trying to become less of a perfectionist and more accepting of my attempts to paint and sketch. Even when I am not in love with what I’ve painted or drawn, I am trying to focus on the one or two things that I like or improvements from earlier attempts. When I do that, I have found that I am less timid about my work. So, I am sharing some of my work here. Hopefully, in the future, you’ll notice improvement!