It’s been a very full day for me. I got up early and went to my first Tai Chi class. It was in the side yard of a house overlooking the water. We were in the shade and surrounded by lush bushes, trees, flowers, grass – all rich and vibrant with color. The air smelled wonderful and we could hear chickens and two roosters on the other side of the property. The sky was Shelley Blue and the humidity had not yet arrived for the day. There were seven students and the instructor. I know the students and it felt like I was there with family. I had never met one of them before. Two others – I’ve met only two weeks ago. Another I met last month. The last two I’ve known since late March. In such a short time I’ve come to know them all and to care deeply for them. They feel like family. Doing something as new as Tai Chi felt safe, comfortable and welcome because I was with dear friends. It didn’t matter that I’m overweight or older. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t keep up on my toes for more than a second.
Following our class we all went into the house to have a drink of water or juice, a bite of Zucchini cake, and to see the eighteen Cockatiels and a Parrot. Afterwards we went out to the garden and chicken yard and were introduced to some lovely and colorful little chickens. I held one in my arms. She was black and very soft – like downy.
My next stop was to follow some of the same people to their homestead farm, where I continued work on the documentary. I arrived just in time to see a Poult (baby turkey) tapping the eggshell and pushing itself out. I got to film the entire process and felt like I was watching a newborn baby come into the world. Well, I guess I was. The Poult lay near the remaining eggs, exhausted from the hardest work it had ever done or ever will do again. It’s down was wet and yellow and its little legs were puffy. It rolled clumsily about in the straw. Christina talked to the baby, telling him what a good day it was to be born. It was 95 degrees – the perfect temperature for newborn turkeys.
Below is a photo of the newborn Poult, though the hatchling is blurry. He was very wobbly. You can see his little pink feet. They’re swollen at first. Within hours the baby will be fluffy yellow and gangly. Tomorrow he’ll be exploring the world and learning all he needs to know.
It was very hot today. It was a good day for Christina to make soap. She uses tallow from the sheep. There are many steps to the process, but today she put frozen chunks of tallow into a black pot, put the lid on it, and set it in the driveway for a couple of hours. While we waited for it to melt down to a liquid, we went swimming, did some more filming, and I sat in an easy chair dozing.
When the two hours had passed, Christina checked the tallow by stirring it with a wooden spoon. It was perfect. She added water and lye (a mixture prepared in precise amounts) and stirred until it was a pink color. She took it into the house where she had some molds laid out on a rug. She poured out all of the tallow and in two days she’ll pop it out and have enough soap to last all year.
Eventually I had to come on home. I felt a little like I’d been at the ocean, swimming in the salt water. I’m burned, salty, and tired. I wanted to take a shower when I got home, but instead snuck into my studio to work on the drawing of Brooke. I told myself I’d just work for a few minutes (five minutes). That was ninety minutes ago. Here’s the way he’s looking.
There’s still much to do, but it’s an enjoyable project and I look forward to working some more tomorrow. I continued using graphite for the light and medium areas and charcoal for the dark areas. I’m using everything from a 2H to a 5B graphite. In charcoal I’m using an HB right now. I’m still adjusting to the feel of charcoal. I have it sharpened to a fine point. I want to use it in some areas as a smooth textured value, but sometimes I move the charcoal pencil in such a way that I get a darker mark than I prefer. When I gently erase it with a kneaded eraser it takes some of the area around it as well. All is well eventually, but I sometimes feel like I take one step forward and two back.
I don’t know which area of the face I’ll work on tomorrow. I’ll let it be a surprise, even to me.