Monday, November 30, 2009

Easy Rider Rides Again!

During all the Thanksgiving festivities, I managed a little bit of time on this drawing. It’s been quite a while since I worked on it, and I finally figured out how to correct the reference photo which shows a horse doing passage incorrectly. I was bummed when this was pointed out to me, but knew all along that it had to be changed.

Over time I looked for photos in magazines of horses at the same angle but never found exactly what I needed. Then I found the Breyer model dressage horse Keltec Salinero doing passage and knew I’d found my solution. I set him up next to my drawing table and angled him to match my reference photo and redrew the legs on a piece of tracing paper. After tracing the changes back onto the drawing, I began shading again.

It may not look like much progress since the last time I posted, but it is a huge step forward to finishing this drawing called “Easy Rider”.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Rainy Day Splendor

Fall is always a very busy time, and this year has been no exception. However, I did work on this little oil painting study again, and it’s pretty much finished. I’m calling it “Rainy Day Splendor”. By the time I got back to it, more leaves had fallen and the colors had changed, so I had to go partly by memory. But, it was still overcast and rainy, so the light was pretty much the same. And now, all the leaves are down and there’s nothing to be seen except bare branches.

We’ve had beautiful sunny and unusually warm weather for the past week, so I’ve been busy washing windows and other such things and dealing with a health issue which really threw me for a loop for a couple of weeks. But, the situation has turned around, and I’m back to being much more productive and much more relaxed.

Last night I finished revising the line drawing for “Easy Rider” and traced the new set of legs on the drawing. I plan to get back to work on it in the next few days and will post my progress as I go.

That’s all for now.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

New Oil Painting Autumn Brilliance

Yes, it’s true. I worked on a painting this week; a “studio aire” painting to be exact.

It’s been raining and/or cloudy all week long, and fall colors are pretty much at their peak around here. Even on a cloudy, rainy day, the leaves are still brilliant enough to inspire one to paint them. I wanted to convey that in this little 8x10 inch oil on canvas board which depicts the scene outside my studio window. Hence, it was painted en studio aire.

Any season of the year, I never tire of this scene overlooking the lake and the far shore. It constantly changes, and on this day the rain varied from gently falling to coming down in sheets of gray. At times the lake was still with the brilliant trees reflected in the dark water, and then the wind would come up and kiss the water which partially hid the yellows, oranges and reds of the trees.

The image above represents about two and a half hours of work; a small accomplishment in itself for someone who is not used to painting alla prima or painting quickly. After mixing and laying on a first layer of gray, I next drew the composition and laid on an initial layer of local colors, intending that they would blend somewhat with the gray which would tone them down a little. After that, I painted the water and began detailing the trees and shore starting on the left, toning down the colors even more. I only got as far as the middle before time ran out, and haven’t had a chance to get back to finish it yet.

Admittedly, it looks pretty crude and amateurish right now. The shoreline goes uphill, and the rippled area doesn’t look natural. Maybe another painting session will improve it, but if not, that’s okay too. The important thing is that I painted. And, it’s been a while since I did that.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Remembering Willie - oil on canvas board

Twenty years ago tomorrow, September 21, 1989, I bought my horse, Scottie. This date represents not only my return to horse ownership, but also to the world of horses in general and to horse art in particular.

I bought my first horse when I was 12 but had a bad riding accident a few months later which completely destroyed what little confidence I’d managed to build up. The following summer I sold Willie when it became clear that she was just too much horse for me, and I didn’t ride much after that. That decision haunted me for decades to come until the summer of 1989 when I decided that it was time to face my fear of riding and find out once and for all if I could overcome it.

I found a sympathetic riding instructor and began riding lessons on a wonderful sorrel horse named Scottie. The first day at that barn I had an overwhelming feeling of coming home to something that I had lost many years ago, and I vowed never to give it up again. Six weeks later I bought Scottie, and we began our journey together. He was only four years old at the time and was still very green, but he was very laid back and safe for anyone to ride. Even so, the first two years were difficult ones as Scottie tested me constantly to see how much he could get away with. I learned that if I persisted with him, he quickly gave up and did as I asked. That alone helped to build my confidence, even after a few inevitable spills. Eventually, he quit testing me and Scottie turned out to be the perfect horse for me.

Through my new horse ownership status, I met other horse people, and it wasn’t long before I began to do horse portraits and attend horse shows and events. My childhood dream of becoming an equine artist was realized, and I haven’t looked back since, no matter how bumpy the road.

I confess, however, that the past two years were a bit of a bumpy road, and I found it difficult to get myself to the barn. This summer my enthusiasm for riding has returned, and I’m once again going on trail rides and having a ball.

Yesterday was our first annual group birthday celebration at the barn. It began with a beautiful fall trail ride through the woods and fields and ended with a delicious potluck lunch back at the barn. I think it’s safe to say that all of us “mature” ladies enjoy each other’s company and look forward to our next outing together when the fall colors will be at their peak. There is no better trail riding than at this time of year when the woods are ablaze with color, the temperatures are comfortable and the bugs are few.

On this ride I took along a small digital camera and share a few of those shots with you below. This camera has definite limits, but you can get an idea of what our rides are like here, minus the uphill and downhill parts. It’s really hard to get shots going downhill when your horse is pitching back and forth or going uphill at a full gallop.

Here we are leaving the barn on a beautiful Fall day.

Here we stopped to let the horses pick apples right off the tree.

The driveway looks mighty long and steep at the end of a ride.

Our group photo. Scottie and I are on the far right.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The First Annual Michigan Schooner Festival

I’ve always had an interest in sailing ships going back to when I was a little girl. One of my father’s colleagues once gave me an American Heritage magazine that had an article on clipper ships with lots of beautiful paintings in it. I treasured it for years and even copied one of the paintings, but it turned out pretty crudely.

So many of us humans are fascinated by the sea and great bodies of water. After all, what is more romantic and adventurous than setting sail into the unkown on a beautiful sailing ship? Since Michigan is surrounded on six sides by waters of the Great Lakes, sailing ships are very much a part of our heritage, whether they were helmed by explorers, armed navies or merchantmen. Even today there are replicas which sail from port to port to educate the public about sailing these beautiful ships in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and even into the early days of the twentieth century.

Many years ago I did a series of drawings for an older gentleman who loved Great Lakes ships. Not all of them were sailing ships, but doing that series rekindled my interest in the subject. I did a small watercolor and ink version of one of the ships for my own benefit; the well known Christmas Tree ship, the Rouse Simmons, which used to deliver Christmas trees to the citizens of Chicago from the northern Michigan woods. I sold prints of it for a while along with the story of the ship and how it was lost in a storm in 1912. But, my version paled in comparison with the two paintings that Charles Vickery has done of the Rouse Simmons so eventually I stopped showing it.

Frankly, I know next to nothing about the subject of sailing ships, which is one reason I’ve hesitated to do a ship painting since. I know that people who collect marine art are sticklers for accurate details in rigging and so forth; just as many horse art collectors are fussy about accurate portrayals of horses and their tack. I did, however, buy some books on rigging and Great Lakes ships and shipwrecks to educate myself but haven’t had much opportunity to observe these beautiful ships in person on the water.

So, when I read in the paper on Saturday that the first annual Michigan Schooner Festival was being held in Traverse City this weekend, I jumped at the opportunity. We headed for TC good and early Sunday morning, and took in the activities on the waterfront. Several ships were moored along the breakwall, and crew members were giving tours, some of them complete in period pirate costumes which thrilled the little kids. There was even a marine artist who had some very nice paintings of sailing ships.

After some time, one of the ships, the Appledore, a two masted schooner, headed out into Grand Traverse Bay. To my disappointment, she was pretty far out before she unfurled her sails and continued sailing away from us into the hazy dawn. Before long she was out of site.

Meanwhile, we watched two crew members climb the masts of another schooner, the Denis Sullivan of Milwaukee Wisconsin. I presume they were unfastening things so that the sails could be unfurled. It wasn’t long before the Denis Sullivan also set sail. Instead of heading straight up the bay as the Appledore had done, she went out a ways, turned and sailed past the breakwater as she unfurled her sails. Everyone got excellent photo opportunities and thrilled to the sight of this beautiful ship.

The Inland Seas was also scheduled to sail, but my very patient husband was getting bored and didn’t want to wait. Here she is moored to the breakwater.

Two other ships present were the nineteenth century replica schooner the Madeline and the sloop Welcome, a replica of an eighteenth century ship that sailed the Straits area.

There were many dogs which also visited the festival, and I was particularly taken by this beautiful pair of standard poodles and the wonderful backlight in this shot.

It was truly thrilling to look out onto Grand Traverse Bay to see tall ships sailing its waters; something that was a common sight a century and more ago. I will definitely be back for the second annual Michigan Schooner Festival next September. I am now inspired to paint these beautiful ships, even if it’s just for my own pleasure.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

"GOOD Happens"

On the way home from Traverse City yesterday, I saw this bumper sticker on a car ahead of me. It read, “GOOD Happens”. Now, we’re all familiar with the other version, and I thought, “What a refreshing turn around on this well known saying!” It got me to thinking about how our point of view can color our lives and that we can find good that “happens” if we just look for it.

In the past couple of days, some small good things have happened for me. On Thursday I finally made it out on another trail ride with my riding partners from the barn, and I had a fabulous time! The weather was perfect, there were no bugs, and no monsters jumped out at us. You could hear the tree frogs as we rode along, going in and out of the woods on trails so familiar. We walked, trotted and cantered for over an hour and arrived back at the barn just as dark was falling. It is such a cool feeling to ride up the driveway to the welcoming lights in the barn and then to look out at the twilight sky from atop the farm hill. That night it was a spectacular red.

This afternoon I ran up to Central Lake to take in an art fair (a rather sad little affair with very few vendors and only one painter), but I did have the opportunity to chat with one of the arts council members who invited me to display one of my paintings in a local bank. I also voiced my regret that there weren’t more opportunities for art shows for the artist members and a desire to have a meet and greet event for artists to get to know one another. She agreed and said she would bring both matters up at a future board meeting.

Both coming and going from the art fair, I took some side roads I’ve never been on and did a photo shoot. I was particularly looking for cows; dairy cows; and did find one herd although they turned out to be steers. Oh, well; with some artistic license, they can easily be morphed into cows.

Here are just a few of the photos I took today.

There was a long row of these sunflowers on both sides of the road at one spot where there is a very neat and prosperous looking farm.

Here are my Holstein "cows". I had the iso speed way too high so the photo is washed out, but I corrected that later.

At the very top of a hill on this road, I spotted this spectacular view. The nearest blue patch is Torch Lake, and beyond it is East Grand Traverse Bay and beyond it is Old Mission Peninsula (for those of you who are familiar with this area).

This horse lives on a farm on my way to Bellaire. I've long wanted to stop and shoot some photos of him. He looks to be an aged Thoroughbred, but I'm not sure.

Around the corner from this horse, on a new road, I found this wonderful stone house. I'm sure it's being lived in because it is so well kept.

These two horses live around the corner and up the road from me. They are two older Arabs.

When I stopped to take a photo of the bull below, I noticed how much color is in this maple tree. It won't be long before there's a lot more showing in all the trees.

This bull lives on my road. As I went by him, he reminded me of Ferdinand, the bull who preferred to smell the flowers in the field rather than fight in the bull ring. He looks so peaceful and content with a wave of his tail every now and then. Take it from me, this bull is HUGE though! One of these days I'll capture him when he's standing up.

Well, not literally of course!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Kentucky Dreamer Comes Home

It had been quite a while since I took anything new up to the gallery shop which sells my art in Central Lake. Adams Madams is a fabulous shop with an outstanding mix of home decorating merchandise, crafts and artwork. It is light and airy, and everything is temptingly displayed. Unfortunately, the past two years my sales have been very low, and I’ve been wondering whether it is my art that just isn’t appealing to people now or if it’s been the economy. I got my answers.

After speaking with the owner and her assistant who handles the art selection and the merchandise displays, the answer seems to be the economy. They both raved about the quality of my work and the reasonable prices, but people are now coming into the shop with a set budget to spend there; between $25-$50. That’s not much in a shop with so many temptations. The interest in horsey products has also dropped off I was told which impacts my sales even more. But they both made some suggestions, and I came home with some hope that sales will turn around. Clearly, diversifying my offerings is in order.

I also brought home the original drawing, “Kentucky Dreamer” because it’s been there for quite some time now, and I’m thinking of entering it in some local shows. Either the mats have changed color slightly or my eye is better now because it needs to be rematted with better color mats. That should improve its appearance considerably.

"Kentucky Dreamer" is 11x14 inches and is a delicate pencil drawing of a young Thoroughbred foal. It's available for sale if you're interested. I named it before I even heard about the horse movie, "Dreamer", in case anyone wonders about that coincidence.

My drive to and from the shop and later to the barn has me thinking about doing some plein air painting in the beautiful Fall light. Our weather just couldn’t be more gorgeous on this last holiday weekend of summer. I didn’t even mind too much the hordes of bicyclists who descend on us every Labor Day weekend for their tours on our scenic winding back roads. You really have to slow down and watch out for them because a lot of these roads don’t have paved shoulders, and you can be on top of them before you see them.

Already some of the trees are beginning to turn, and the light has that soft diffused look that is so characteristic of Fall in northern Michigan. Yup, it’s time to paint outside.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

"Easy Rider" Rides Again!

Yes, I did manage to fit in some artwork yesterday, and here’s the proof!

Because I goofed off on the computer on Monday, I had to spend some time clearing away papers in the studio before I could begin, but still managed a respectable 45 minutes of drawing time before heading for the barn. It was a tough choice whether to work on the pony and dog painting which is still in the drawing stage or “Easy Rider” which needed some revision. I chose Easy Rider because it’s a pencil drawing, and once I get those legs fixed, I can quickly continue with the shading.

It’s had a bit of an unfortunate history. I took the photo at a dressage show several years ago and just really liked the relaxed look of both the horse and rider; hence the name. After experimenting with different background thumb nails, I settled on one and began the drawing. I showed it in the Equine Art Guild forum as a work in progress, and one of our members, who is an upper level dressage rider, immediately commented that the horse wasn’t going well and his legs weren’t in a balanced position. I admit that these comments really took the wind out of my sails, and my enthusiasm for the drawing plummeted. She was right, of course, but it took a while (like a year!) for me to regain interest in the drawing and to start work on it again. Then it had a mishap with the vacuum cleaner, and the paper was bent a little. I got busy and put it away again. Meanwhile, I kept looking for just the right reference photo that would help me put those legs in the proper position for a nice passage.

When I saw a picture of the Breyer model of Keltec Salinero, I knew I’d found my reference. It was perfect and I quickly ordered it, along with a few other Breyers for “models” you know. wink wink. And above you see him, all set up on a shelf by the studio window in just the angle I needed. The drawing board was set up by the window as well, a piece of tracing paper was put over the the drawing, and I proceeded to revise the legs.

Here’s the revised drawing with the original reference photo beside it so that you can see the difference in the legs. Once I get those legs revised and refined, I’ll just trace them onto the drawing and proceed to work on the shading. My next scheduled art day is Saturday. But, I wonder if I can hold off that long...

On another note, our local art supply store is closing for good, done in by catalogs and the new Michaels. It’s unfortunate that these local businesses just aren’t able to compete in today’s world, and I will miss this one even though they have downsized twice in the past and no longer carried much of what I use. Last week I made one last trip to the store, hoping to get a few of my favorite fake mongoose brushes, but it was already pretty well picked clean. I came home with two brushes and several large scraps of suede matboard which were a real steal at $3.50 each! They are all nice colors for horse paintings, too. That’s inspired me to think about doing some pastels again which can be quite stunning on suede matboard.

And, finally, here’s a bonus for you. Every year about this time, the deer visit our yard almost daily to check on the apple crop. This fawn wandered into our yard over the weekend one rainy day and was trying to figure out a way out. Across the street were two does, another fawn and a small fawn that was jumping and playing just like we see foals doing. Unfortunately, by the time I grabbed the camera, the deer were already moving on so I wasn’t able to get any photos of the playing fawn. He was pretty cute. I just wish they didn’t eat my plants when they get older.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Conquering the Hummingbird Syndrome

I’ve given up being frustrated about not doing any artwork and have given in to the notion of just concentrating on catching up with five, ten or more years of a backlog of record keeping and unfinished projects. Along with reorganizing my art files, I’ve sorted through over ten years of time cards and thrown away a good portion of them. After spending days looking for lost art sales records and reconstructing sales records that were lost when my hard drive died three years ago, I’ve sorted through piles of insurance policies and yearly updates to keep only the most current.

And, the list goes on.

We’re also getting our finances in order for my husband’s impending retirement, and the main burden of that falls on my shoulders. In this economy and financial market, worry about whether or not we will have to live like paupers in retirement has been upper most on my mind for the past several years. Thankfully, we’ve found a new financial advisor who is steering us in the right direction now and helping us to make the difficult decisions. Things are beginning to look up.

I can’t help but comment on the emotional toll my mother’s lingering decline had on me over the past three to four years. Being so far away was frustrating and guilt inducing since I didn’t visit her as often as I THOUGHT I should and wasn’t able to be there on a daily or weekly basis to make sure she had adequate care. Fortunately, she was in a very good facility, but like all of them, they were understaffed. Now that she’s gone, I feel great sadness at her loss but also great relief that I can now get on with my life without holding my breath for the next crisis phone call.

This morning as I was doing my usual Monday morning ritual of filling in the planner schedule for the day and my task list for the week, I decided to try something different. There are so many things to be done around here that I tend to flit from one to another from day to day as each calls out to me. An acquaintance of mine calls this the Hummingbird Syndrome, a common malady for women.

So, this morning I made out a rough schedule for each day of the week and pencilled in to do some art on Tuesday and Saturday. My hope is that by scheduling certain tasks on certain days, I’ll avoid flitting from one thing to another like a hummingbird, never making much progress with anything. And, I’ll finally get back to some artwork!

Last week I hung this painting on the wall in my daughter’s room. I painted it for my mother a few years ago. It was done from a sixty year old black and white photograph of me when I was five and a flower girl in my uncle’s wedding. The medium is oil and the size is 18x14 inches. I’m quite proud of this painting since it was a departure from my usual equine subjects and because I managed to design the background from very little reference materials. It is not for sale.

Well, by tomorrow night or Wednesday I promise to show you what I’ve accomplished in the studio even if it’s just a drawing update. It’s very exciting to feel that I’ve finally made enough progress with everything else that I can set aside some time for art, however small.

Talk to you soon!

PS. I would love to have more followers to my blog. It really helps to know that people actually read this blog and enjoy seeing my art. You can sign up in the column to the right.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Off With Their Heads!

Yesterday I looked at my Polo By The Bay photos again and found far too many that looked like this one above. They reminded me of the Queen from Alice In Wonderland who sentenced everyone to the same fate. “Off with their heads!” she declared imperiously. Only for me these decapitations weren’t deliberate. I have no idea why the camera was aimed more at the dirt than the riders, but there you have it.

This photo shows another of my problems when shooting; I tend to tilt my head so that the arenas look as if they’re built on hillsides. Oops! Never the less, it’s fun to go through the photos again and this time take note of my shortcomings as a photographer as well as to relive the joy of being there. I must remember next year the things I did wrong this year and try to correct them before they occur again.

This was only the second polo match that I’ve ever seen live. My very first exposure to polo happened when I was eleven years old. At that time, my father supplemented his meager University salary by working for newspapers in Detroit in the summer. But that year he took a job at The Milwaukee Journal which meant that we had to move to Milwaukee for three months, and I had to give up my friends and riding lessons for the summer. We lived in an apartment in a big city which was a culture shock in itself for me. I was not a happy camper and let everyone know it.

Probably to relieve my moody, unsocial behavior, my parents took me to see a polo match one Saturday. I was totally enthralled! I remember spending a lot of time around the ponies who were waiting for their turn in the next chukker and studying their unusual tack. The following summer, I made this polo drawing when I was twelve. My horses were a lot better than my people back then as you can see.

My summer in Milwaukee wasn’t all bad. We went to the zoo several times where there was a new baby giraffe and some zebras. And one of my father’s colleagues at the Journal had a daughter my age who was also horse crazy. Our two families got together frequently, and we even went horseback riding a couple of times. I wonder what ever became of my summer friend, Carolyn Sonneborn? We lost touch long ago.

Even though I’ve been busy doing everything but art this summer and making substantial progress in clearing away a lot of clutter and updating records, I picked out this photo to turn into my first polo painting. The rider was warming up his pony before the next chukker, and this photo shows a quiet moment before the non stop action began on the field again.

The question is, what medium shall I use? Oil or pastel? Stay tuned for updates.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Polo By The Bay

It couldn’t have been a more perfect day, which almost made up for missing the dressage musical freestyles the day before. You see, Mother Nature had thrown me a curve ball by remaining overcast and rainy until shortly before the freestyles were going to begin. By that time, it was too late to clean up and drive the half hour to the show grounds.

But the day of the polo match was beautiful, and I headed to the horse park in the morning with plans to catch the last few dressage halter classes and then wait for the polo match. As luck would have it, the last class was ending as I headed down the wooded horse path to the lower rings. Three fiesty Friesians came up the path at me, so I respectfully stepped off the trail and grabbed a few shots as they approached and went by.

That meant that I now had over two hours time to kill before the polo match was scheduled to start. I looked around for the polo ponies and spotted the trailers arriving and unloading on the other side of the upper rings in an area that was accessible. So, off I went to take photos of the ponies lined up beside the trailers.

Then off I went to the Grand Prix ring where I found some shade beside a VIP tent and sat down to wait. While there, I surveyed the best spot from which to photograph the action, and when the crowd began to arrive and fill up the bleachers, I moved down to “my” spot for the rest of the wait. I had the good fortune to sit next to a very friendly young couple from the Detroit area, and we struck up a conversation. That helped to pass the time until events in the arena began.

First up was a dressage demonstration by local rider Betsy Van Dyke riding Cantana. She explained what dressage is and demonstrated the various movements and then did a bit of musical freestyle - which almost made up for yesterday. Above you see Cantana doing two tempe changes, and below he is doing an extended trot.

Once the dressage was over, the polo match began. While the ponies were warming up, the basics of polo were explained to us, and we learned that we would be watching arena polo which is played on a much smaller dirt field and consists of four chukkers (or periods of play) versus the seven chukkers that are played on a much larger grass field. After each chukker, the riders switch to fresh ponies because the action is non stop, and ponies get worn out fast.

In this contest, Team Elmers (a local asphalt and excavation company) was pitted against Turtle Creek Casino and Resort. The ponies and riders were provided by Meadowview Polo Club of Grand Rapids, but most of the riders were either members of the Michigan State University or University of Michigan polo teams. It may not have been high goal polo, but it was definitely fun to watch and challenging to photograph.

Below are some of the many shots I took during the match.

The action was over much too fast with Turtle Creek Casino winning by two goals, and we spectators reluctantly packed up our stuff and began the long trek through the ring area to our vehicles. The horse park seemed desolate compared to the hustle and bustle of earlier weeks. The viewing tents had been taken down, the potted flowers removed, the rings groomed and even the fencing around the rings was gone. Staff was in the process of taking down all the tents in the barn area as well. It was a little sad to realize that eleven months will go by before Horse Shows By The Bay returns. I wonder what improvements will be made in the intervening months? What new shows or horse events will be added to the yearly schedule at this horse park?

I can’t wait to find out!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Paths of Destruction

Last weekend was quite an exciting one at our house! Shortly before 3:00am Sunday morning the phone rang. It was an Antrim County Sheriff’s deputy in our driveway asking us to come outside because there was a car in our yard and “a lot of destruction to the property”. Hastily throwing on clothes and turning on lights, we headed outside to see what was going on. To our shock, we found a strange car wedged between our dog pen and the side fence; a space just wide enough for a car! Just as puzzling was the fact that the driver was nowhere to be found! Further examination with flash lights revealed that the driver had gone through our fence in not one but three places!

In due time a wrecker arrived and hauled off the car, but we were naturally too wired up to go back to bed. When daylight arrived, we headed outside with our cameras to record the path of destruction and figure out just what happened. Here’s the scenario as near as we can figure out. A neighbor’s daughter (or some other driver of her car) came around the corner too fast, hit our neighbor’s mailbox on the right and then oversteered, crossed the road and went through our chain link fence.

From there she proceeded across our lawn, plowed into the large lilac bush and the fence along the side of the yard and ended up against two pine trees in the other neighbor’s yard.

She then, apparently, threw the car into reverse and turned it to the left, intending to head back onto the road. Instead, she went through our fence on the other side of the lilac and somehow managed to end up between the dog pen and the fence, hitting the corner post of the pen and getting hung up on my compost pile. (evil grin) She was stuck. Since there wasn’t room to open the doors, she climbed out the driver’s window and disappeared. We figure she called a friend to come get her and didn’t want to face her father or the police. It’s highly probable that she’d been drinking.

Apparently, she wasn’t hurt too badly, fortunately, and the deputy told me a few days ago that she has so far not returned calls from the Sheriff’s department. Without knowing for sure who was driving, the police can’t do much more. I will refrain from any comments on people taking responsibility for their actions although I have plenty in this case.

As soon as our homeowners insurance adjuster had documented the destruction first hand, I was able to clean up the lawn mess and assess the flower beds better. The casualty list includes a honeysuckle bush, a small lilac bush that I’d been nursing along, the large old-fashioned lilac bush, the sweet peas which were torn out of the ground, and my cone flowers whose tops were shredded. I trimmed back the cone flowers as I mourned the fact that they were about to bloom. It remains to be seen if they will recover. With brute force, I was able to wrangle the top rail of the fence back up onto the remaining posts along the road which looks much better and allows the lawn to be mowed while we wait for the fence to be fixed.

All in all, it could have been much worse, for the plants and the girl/driver. Did you notice that large maple tree next to the dog pen? If the car had hit that, the driver would have been in a world of hurt. I’m thankful that the accident wasn’t worse. As a parent, I wouldn’t want to be the one to get that 3:00 am phone call from the police letting me know that my child had been in an accident. I’m thankful that this girl and her parents were lucky - THIS time! I hope she learned a lesson that will stay with her for a very long time.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to call my children and let them know how much we love them.