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Palette Full of Potential

Latest posts by Rhonda Beckman (see all)

Last week I waxed poetic about the potential of being artistically creative at the farm. Let me tell you, although I was creative, I did not pick up a brush, marker, or highlighter.

Nope; I packed items I truly didn’t need, but if I hadn’t, I definitely would have needed said items because I am a firm believer in Murphy’s Law. Yet, it would be a lie to say that I was not absorbed in creative moments.

In this unorganized chaos, you cannot help BUT be imaginative as your mind works over time with ever turn of the head and every object that lays in front of you.

Out here at the farm, something always comes out of nothing. Brad and I have the spirit of the raven, which makes us true scavengers. The mud itself has become an implement of discovery and use.

When we turned up the sod to make a drainage system for our outdoor shower, I immediately ‘oohed and aahed’ at the dense clay that lay in front of me. I have already had some success with the clay here so I was excited to see what else I could create from mud. I threw a couple shovels full into a bucket, took advantage of the rain to wedge the clay and make it more malleable, and then let it dry down for a couple of days before pinching, slab building and sculpting some forms that may or may not turn into something interested.

This mud has left me in a state of experimentation and I am filled with childlike wonder as I make mud patties from the land. On a more practical level, the extra clay filled up the many, many potholes that occupy the land here, as we try our best to avoid twisted ankles.

We also took advantage of the trees that surround our property, making a new fence for our escape artist dog, Willow. We plucked out the poplars, leaving room for other saplings to have their day in the sun and plopped 10 foot debranched posts into 4 foot holes for a fence of all fences.

We cut even more trees to run along the bottom of the fence, because we know that Willow is smarter than us and would eventually figure out how to get out from under the chain link. When she was finally contained in the enormous utopia with trees, grass, shade and water, she carefully walked the perimeter, sniffing every nook and cranny as she plans her future escape. I was nervously sweating the whole time.

I am not fooling myself to think we have won this one, but she definitely keeps our mind fresh as we try to outsmart her with our inventive building abilities. In other creative endeavours, we transformed old 2×4’s that had been tossed out (all we had to do was take the screws out of them) into a new deck and outdoor shower area.

The barn board that we have been saving for exactly these occasions was used to create the funkiest outdoor shower walls that still allow for a killer view of our land and a bit of privacy. The sun bleached moose rack will make a fantastic towel rack for the outdoor shower area.

The metal lid that sat on top of an old dog house is going to be repurposed into a new heat shield in the house behind the wood stove. Even our friend and neighbour, Gabe, has gotten in on the action, using old remnants that are laying around the farm to make a deluxe, two level coop for his guinea fowl.

We literally look at every single thing that we have around here and ask ourselves what else it can be before we throw it away. And we know that we have thrown things away that could possibly have been turned into something else, but re ally, you just can’t save everything. Luckily, most is scrap metal, so it isn’t just filling up a landfill, but will eventually be turned into something else.

So that’s it. I am not going to bring my art supplies out here anymore. I will keep a base art kit available with a handful of supplies, because every once in a while I do get a hankering for making a painting or sketch, but ultimately, my mind works in different ways out here.

This land is basically a maker’s space with every single item on it, either natural or manmade, having the potential to be transformed into something delightfully new. I truly understand the saying, “The world is your oyster” when out here at the farm and will continue to use this space as my artistic playground in this way.

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