Sounds of springtime

March 28, 2007 at 3:09 pm | Posted in charity knitting, country living, dating, dogs, faith, family, food, free knitting patterns, knitting, love, marriage, pets, photography, recipes, relationships, romance, yarn | 44 Comments

A Golden Spring Evening on Fireflys Farm

His name is Blu … our five-month-old puppy. He came to live with us one week ago, and of course, he owned us completely before his first twenty-four hours concluded. Someone in Florida rescued Blu because he began his life living in a crate in someone’s apartment. He was only allowed out of the crate to eat and do his business.

He made his way up to western New York after being rescued, and found his way into our home and hearts through our friends Andy and Mabel from church.

Oh, such love. Such adoration circulating amongst us.

[I made a recording of the peepers and the geese and other wildlife as we walked around the farm with Blu last evening. I do not yet know how to imbed it in my text so that it plays automatically. I will learn. For now, if you want to hear it, all I can do is offer you a file to download. You could do that and then play it while you read, if you wish. It is a little over two minutes long. When I downloaded it to my computer, I then had to right click on it and choose “Play with Media Player” in order to get it to play properly.]

When he first arrived his tail did not wag, but now it wags quite freely. He climbs up into my lap over and over and over again as I attempt to work at my computer. Sometimes he actually wraps his paws around my neck and holds on as if he were a small child or a monkey.

There is a chair in the living room at the farm designated as “the dog’s chair”. Other dogs have owned that chair before him. Our intention has been that when we were graced with a dog in our lives, he or she would have that dear chair for their own and we would not allow said dog to get on the other, “good” furniture.

His Name is BlueThat lasted about 23 seconds after my husband came home from work the first day Blu was here. I left the two of them alone in the living room for only a moment it seemed, and when I returned there was Blu in the good recliner with my husband, all snuggled up and exchanging love.

Oh well. Who could say no to this precious taupe colored bundle of gentle, devoted love. Neither of us can.

He was given to someone as a Christmas gift, but that someone did not want a dog. Fool, absolute fool. That is why he was condemned to a life of confinement. This creature with such an abundance of love–ready, willing, and able. Wasted on someone who had to have been spiritually deaf, blind, and dumb.

The first morning he was here, I took him out on a walk all around our farm and I said to him, “This is yours, Blu. All of this space, all of this freedom, this farm … it is yours boy.” He knows, and it shows in the appreciation he flows to us through his deep pool blue eyes and affectionate little ear and face snuggles.

Last evening, during golden hour, we walked around with him listening to the peepers, the geese, and many other creatures. The willow glowed, bathed in the evening’s golden rose-colored sunshine. Our impromptu pond reflected the blue sky and still bare , early spring vegetation.

Everything is coming back to life. Each morning and evening the din of voices rings out louder and louder … nature is out there whooping it up all around our property, in the trees, and down along the river.

My year in this place has come near full circle now–I first came to meet my husband and see the farm on March 30 last year. Now here we are all married and dogged up, and enjoying our first full-on springtime together.

Much of the time, you have been here with me, my dear reader. I enjoy your company and appreciate your kinship. So many of you have taken the time to express your thoughts about inspiration, aesthetics, gratitude, and friendship related to my humble contributions to the universe of blogs. It is all so encouraging; I feel truly blessed in so many ways including the knowing of you.

I would like to make one note about an issue that may have troubled some of my readers. A comment was made the other day by someone that my blog is somewhat less than genuine now because I am attempting to sell various things (paintings, yarn, one of my critters, advertising at my I Live on a Farm dot com website).

I do realize others may feel the same way.

At first, I was perturbed about the comment. It hurt, in actuality. I thought about it quite a bit and wondered if I should bring the subject up or leave it alone. I have decided to bring it up, because I think that attitude can affect others than just me adversely–so I speak.

Two Pear an Oil Painting by FireflyCreative people, artists, earn their living (hopefully) by selling some part of their creativity and talent … exchanging something valuable for some money and then they have money to use to pay their bills, buy food, clothing, etc.

In my case I spend sometimes thirty hours or more in a given week writing the blog, shooting the photography, editing the photos, uploading everything, answering emails, planning new patterns, testing new designs, writing up patterns, testing recipes, writing them up, working on various elements of Gracious Parcels. Sometimes it has required more than thirty hours a week.

People seem to appreciate the effort.

When I am working on the blog and all of the related things listed above, I am not working for paying clients in my freelance writing business. This blog has taken over so much of my life, I have neglected to continue to create my freelance business. Something has to give, that is just the way life works.

At the first of the year, I faced the reality that I would need to extremely reduce what I was doing with the blog, or work out a way to make it bring in some income to replace the clients I am not serving now.

It seemed worthwhile to try to keep the blog going, because so much good seems to be coming from it for others. Several people have started their own Gracious Parcels projects, people have used my free patterns to make gifts for people they love, something about the things I have written inspire some people to make positive changes in their own lives, my words have soothed some number of aching hearts, given hope to others who are lonely, given some a nice little break from an otherwise tedious day.

If I have offended you in any way by attempting to find a way or ways to generate income from this work I do, the very cool thing is that you can withhold yourself from reading my blog. I will, and do, respect your choice in the matter.

Remember please: I am a professional artist and writer. This is my trade, and I am proud to be able to earn my living with my creative talents. It is a good, positive way to live.

We need more art, more creativity, and more inspiration in this aching tumultuous world. Artists make that happen. Their creativity soothes and makes sense of a troubled world.

Artists should not be led to feel bad or dirty or morally corrupt for seeking monetary exchange for what they flow out into the world.

I will continue to do all I can to generate income via my blog and my other websites. I hope that others will be inspired by my ability to do so, to give it a try themselves. In this way we might all flourish and prosper.

Most of my readers have been tremendously supportive and given nothing but encouragement, and for that, I offer my sincere gratitude.

On that note, I wanted to show you a photo of the painting I mentioned in my blog entry this past Monday (a larger photo can be seen at my One Painting a Day blog). This painting, along with my critter named “Little Nana”, is up for auction at eBay. There are beautiful yarns over in the Yarn Shop at I Live on a Farm dot com. You are invited to browse, enjoy, and spend money if you see something you want, but only if you wish. You are also invited to continue to merely enjoy my blog and my free patterns and recipes without spending anything at all. I made it all for you, for free, because you are my friend.

This is 100% Pure, Genuine Firefly.

Have a beautiful day, my good friends.



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  1. I would like to say that I really like the way you have chosen to go on the money issue. You are upfront and honest about it. You aren’t just writing posts for money about someone else’s product. Your little critters and yarn are part of who you are. When I first saw your critters I thought she should sell those they are so wonderful. And why should your paintings stack up in your basement? That would be a waste. So go for it. I think that people also may underestimate what it costs to live in the country on a farm, it isn’t a cheap endeavor often things cost more due to transportation issues etc. If you can do what you love and be payed for it why not? I love to read your posts, you are a fabulous writer and photographer. I am always showing my husband your photos which he also really enjoys. I especially liked your winter photos. Snow is a photography challenge. Your photos looked like postcards…Hey there’s an idea for your budding enterprise, postcards. Anyway that’s my 2 cents.

  2. You are obviously a person of high integrity. It is hurtful to think of someone questioning that! I have made your basketweave scarf, your gingersnaps and am so inspired by your loving way of looking at the world and people around you.

    I look forward to your blog and the beauty of your photographs, and descriptions. I am continually amazed at how gifted you are (your paintings are breath taking) Please know that there are people out there who appreciate and respect you in every aspect of how you live your life!

  3. You go girl! Who would not be envious of your ability to do what you love and make a living at it. Isn’t that we all strive for in life?

    And thanks for clearing up the yarn forward thing for me. I’ll try again!

  4. I am truly distressed that anyone could take what you do on your blog and make it into something negative. I appreciate that you put your whole self into everything that you do. You do make a difference to me.
    I agree with the post card idea. I have seen post card booklets in the bookstores and such. I have even paid as much as $15 for a pack of pig postcards. I would be interested in purchasing some of your photo postcards.
    Keep doing what your doing.
    “You can please some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, But you cannot please all of the people all of the time!”
    – paraphrasing Abe Lincoln I believe.

  5. I think it’s wonderful that you can promote yourself on a blog! Your work is wonderful! It’s great to share it, and you are exposing your work to a much wider audience. (There are also lots of blogs out there where people say that they have things on EBay or Etsy…) It seems to me that it’s understood that we’re sharing our art but also letting people know we are out there.

    It’s hard making a living off of art (I know as a writer…) but I hope the effort you put into your blogs helps you out — you deserve it!

  6. Hear, hear!! I love what you’re doing. Be encouraged, and continue to do what you need to or want to with this. I love it!

  7. Although I have read your blog often, and enjoy it to the fullest. I was compelled to write my very first post. I discovered “I live on a farm” from a free pattern source. I must admit, I did not knit the pattern, but found something even more remarkable… I cannot begin to tell you just how much I have enjoyed reading your writings. From how you met your husband, hard lessons in life, and my favorite… Your discovery of Gratitude… “Finding God in the toilet”. Gratitude is a wonderful thing, and practicing it has too changed my life. Keep up the good work, and by the way, I love the yarns…. Enjoy your new life on the farm…


  8. Wah wah wah, it’s just envy on the part of person/s who don’t have the time and/or talent to do what you are doing. I, on the other hand, am totally envious, but happy for you also, that you DO have the talent (is the varnish dry yet?) not to mention the support of your husband (which is not a small thing to be sure).

  9. Blu is handsome and endearing. What a fortunate family!
    By the way, your art, your work, your endeavors… all of it are good and reflect good intentions. Please: Carry on.

  10. Well, it’s impossible to please everybody all the time, so there are certain to be a few nay-sayers around. You’re right: they don’t have to read if they are offended in any way. Lots of people have shops attached to their blogs selling all kind of things.

    Blu is a great name for your pup.

    We have peepers too! I just love them, they are so restfully noisy. πŸ™‚

    Take care!
    P.S. more squares coming soon, I promise!

  11. As a fellow jack of all arts – potential writer, knitter, sewer, singer, lover of nature, I commend you for your honesty and integrity, your loving and humble spirit. You give a suburban empty nester/divorcee hope for the future. Thank YOU, friend.

  12. I have been struggling with finances for a good while now and since I am also a writer and artist, I have brainstormed over ways to make money from my blog which I put much effort into every day. I think what you are doing is preferable to google adsense and adbrite, which is what I have added thus far to generate income. If I didn’t have four children to raise, I would sell my paintings as well but I have no time at this point in my life to do so. Hurray for you for being able to get back some of what you put into it.

    Now a question, how does one become a freelance writer? That I could do at night after the children are sleeping. (I cannot paint then; the lighting is no good.) I’d appreciate any advice you can give me.

  13. I applaud you for selling your beautiful art and other creative things you do! I truly enjoy your blog and it is so nice to meet Blu! What a lucky dog and what lucky people to have him in their home – you could say that Blu just fell into Doggie Heaven!
    Please know that I love your blog and will continue to visit.

  14. Hi Firefly – me again. I just listened to the peepers – thank you so much. Unfortunately it has built up so much around us that I do not hear them anymore, but I can always go to your blog and have a little listen! I did hear them on the weekend when I was away at the knitters’ retreat, as it was out in the country!

  15. Hello, Dear Gentle Firefly. Thank you for yet another beautifully written and thoughtful post. And for the nat sounds file. I felt like I was in a serene, lively place when I listened to it. Isn’t it amazing what we can hear when we stop and listen? Paintings for the ears.

    Happy one-year anniversary of your big life move! Blu seems to have entered your lives at a very auspicious time.

  16. Hello Firefly,
    I’m so sorry that there are those who don’t appreciate your time and talent. I know that it must have been very hurtful and I am sorry that you had to endure that. But just let me say that I love what you are doing. It has given me inspiration when I felt I needed to be inspired. It has given me hope during a time when I have felt hopeless. It has given me projects to enjoy and so much more! So, I want to say thank you, Firefly for given to me all of these things. We should never stop doing the things that make us happy. Thank you as always for sharing a part of your life with us. I hope you know that it doesn’t go unnoticed!
    Have a blessed evening!
    Your friend, Ann

  17. Don’t buy into the negative. I enjoy reading your blog and compliment your artistic efforts. I have thought about blogging but it seems as if it would require too much time. I applaud your willingness to create and continue writing quality prose accented with wonderful photography. As for your Weimy, let’s just say you are in for a real treat. We have rescued 3 Weimys over the years and I can’t tell you the joy they have given us. The chair is just the beginning. Weims tend to love being close to their owners…how big is your bed? Keep doing what you do best, being an honest, thoughtful and caring person!

  18. You just keep on being yourself… the rest will fall into place where it is meant to be.

  19. Amen to all of the above. I agree completely. I’m glad you are utilizing the talent God gave you and sharing it with others. I think offering your products enhanced your blog..we have a chance to obtain some awesome goods. I LOVE it! Carry on my dear friend!

  20. I don’t remember how I first stumbled across your blog, but I have enjoyed each and every post. Sometimes my feelings are intense, meaningful, heartfelt in response to you and your amazing, loving, full of life perspective on your life. You are a breath of fresh air in a world bent on hurry and success at whatever cost. God bless you and keep on being the wonderful, unique person He made you.

  21. God has really given you many talents and he has put you on this earth to apply yourself. I am sure more people are happy that you have your own blog than not. You are wonderful at what you do and you should stand up for yourself. Whoever this person was who disagrees with you must evidently not appreciate the talents you have. Jealousy?. I don’t know. But I have taught myself everything I know; cutting patterns from wood and painting them, crocheting, knitting and cross stitch. I can truly appreciate EVERYTHING you do. I have made things for other people and some do not appreciate it like you wish they would. You know all the hours you put into the craft and they just seem to take it for granted–just because “you know how to do it”. I really enjoy your blog. You make me feel as if I am right next to you, being your best friend, sipping a cup of coffee. You just keep up the good job you are doing because you are blessed with a talent some people to not have. You should hold your head high and not worry too much about the people who do not want to enjoy your gratitude.
    P.S. How about some knit dishcloth patterns. I am hung up on these things. Help me out.
    Goodbye for now.

  22. I think you are such a special spirit. My life is better for having read your blog, for knowing you. I am grateful for you. And I am sorry that someone has hurt you with their words. Words are powerful. Your words are alway kind. You bring beauty to the world. I wish I could buy your paintings, maybe someday…….
    Frankly I’m grateful you offer to sell your talents for people to own and touch and have in their lives. You are a remarkable woman, and what you’re doing is right, and good.

  23. The day I came across your blog by chance was a lucky day for me! You inspire me and give me such a great sense of peace! I certainly will continue to follow your endeavors. God bless you!

  24. Ms. Firefly,

    May God Bless you and yours. I know Blu found a wonderful home, and as far as your work goes, if I could purchase some of it, I would. I showed your painting a day blog to my husband, and he thinks your work is beautiful! Hopefully later we can splurge a little bit!

    I may not comment each and every time you make a post, but I am a very loyal reader.

    Take care!


  25. MOF, I would love to add about the remarks you have received on making money via your blog:

    What is the difference between offering your paintings, etc. up for auction and/or sale in comparison to other bloggers who choose to place ads on their blogs to try and generate some coin? There isn’t.


  26. Please keep up the good work!. HELP! Am trying to knit the adorable baby bag with the washcloths, soap & duckie. Am stumped in the body of the bag when you say “yarn forward twice” which i do by wrapping the yarn twice on the right hand needle and knitting 2 together next. However, on the next row in the pattern stitch i have a lot of trouble (after slipping the 2 yarn forwards to the right needle) lifting the first yarn forward over the second one. Is that normal? I’ve done this before on other patterns by yarn over once and knitting next stitch and it seems to work. . .but 2 yarn overs/forwards & then trying to slip one over the other is giving me a lot of trouble. There doesn’t seem to be any “give” to fit the needle under the first yarn forward to pull it up and over the 2nd stitch. Do you know what I mean? Pls answer asap because I’ve ripped my work out three times already and am getting frustrated because I know I’m doing something wrong but i can’t quite figue out what! Thank you so much! Kathy S.

  27. Firefly,

    Thank you for your beautiful post this morning. As I was reading through it, my youngest came and climbed up in my lap and pointed at the screen “Goggy! Goggy!” she said.

    You make me long for a puppy again.


  28. Welcome to your home, Blu!

    The negative comment you received is so indicative of the sense of entitlement the internet has given some people. I get many, many emails every day from people requesting free help and information, and I do try to answer as many as I can. Sometimes it takes me a day or two, and I’ve actually gotten angry emails from people chastizing me for taking so long to answer their question.

    Most people are not like that, and a few of them even bother to write back and say “thank you for your help.” Others think I am now a never-ending source of free help. But there are only so many hours in a day and unfortunately some of those hours have to de designated to earning a living!

  29. Kathy, you say, “However, on the next row in the pattern stitch i have a lot of trouble (after slipping the 2 yarn forwards to the right needle) lifting the first yarn forward over the second one.”

    The pattern stitch consists of two rows. The first row has five steps to it, and those five steps are repeated for one complete round. The second row is straight knitting.

    In the body of the bag you repeat these two rows, or rounds, fifteen times total. [I did notice when I just went and looked again that the wording there is a bit off. I’ll change it in case it is confusing people. Changes/corrections will be in bold italics.]

    There isn’t a point where you would slip one of the yarn forwards over the other.

    Please let me know if you have any other questions or issues.


  30. Blu is gorgeous. I personally love reading your blog, it gives me a whole new outlook for the day. I appreciate everything around me more. Keep on doing what you are doing, posting, painting, selling. It is sad that people can be so negative, we are all free to choose if we want to read, or buy. I do not find it offensive at all that you choose to show your work, and where it can be bought. Keep on doing what you do, you are an inspiration and a reading must to many of your visitors.

  31. Thank you again for saying things so eloquently. I look everyday to see if you have written anything. It is always a joy to read and see things from “firefly’s prespective.” I also admire your wonderful work and hope to be in a position to some day purchase. Please continue it is the highlight of my day to read and see your lovely work.

  32. Who cares what some anger filled person thinks about your blog? I like it. it doesn’t bother me in the slightest that you sell things on the blog or elsewhwere. Why should it? It’s not like it’s a particularly hard-sell. You mention that you have something for sale. If I want it, I can buy it. If I don’t want it, I don’t. Where’s the problem?
    Moving on. It’s amazing how hard it is to say no to unconditional love isn’t it? I rescued a cat years ago and once she started to trust us, the affection was unbounded. I have had rescued and not rescued cats over the years, and the rescued ones seem to appreciate it more. I guess the contrast to the previous conditions is so remarkable to them.

  33. I really like reading your blog.

    Blu, what a sweety! His picture just made my heart melt! He’s lucky to have found you and your husband. Your farm looks like the ideal place for any dog to grow up!!!!

    Someday, maybe I’ll be blogging and inspiring others just like you.

    By the way, you live somewhere in my neck of the woods….. at least I think so? You’ve mentioned Rochester NY from time to time.


  34. I continue to enjoy your beautiful websites, your writing, and your art. I would hope that you use this opportunity to sell your art — how perfect! Otherwise, I suppose we could all go back to writing with pen and paper in a journal, right? And that is so lonely at this point.

  35. Goodness, to learn that comments like that are made always surprise me. To me, a blog can and should be whatever its creator wants it to be….anyone who doesn’t enjoy the blog can simply click elsewhere. Not to mention, how can a creative person separate one part of their creativity (their blog) from another (their painting, or sewing, or whatnot)? I read many blogs where people show things they’ve created and then mention that they are for sale in their etsy shop – it’s never occurred to me that there’s something less than genuine about that.

    Thank goodness your sweet dog has found a loving home. I’m sure he really does appreciate it.

  36. Firstly, congratulations on the anniversary, and on acquiring such a sweet dog. Others have commented far more eloquently than I on the monetary issue, so I’ll just say that the things you make are so lovely that I’m glad you give your readers the opportunity to share in that. Your blog linked to your web-page is no different to blogs that host an etsy store – which I know you can’t do using a wordpress blog.

  37. Unfortnately there is always the bad that comes along with the good. But oh, there is so much good! This knitting universe is a wonderfully productive, encouraging, “clinic” of body and soul. May sound extreme, but I am always awed by the compassion, kindness, and genuine wholesomeness of those that share the love of the sticks. Your blog is a wonderful place to visit, and as you said we can’t always please everyone and we all have a right “to read …. or not to read”. I choose to read… πŸ™‚ PS- Is there any possibility that you be listing any more theselonians?

  38. Wow…I have tears in my eyes as I write this for two reasons.

    1. That anyone could read your blog and not know that the author is not only genuine, but a very sweet and gentle soul with nothing but the best in her heart. I have to add my name to the long roster of those before me who have said to ignore such blather and keep going. You are who you are, and you can’t please everyone. You have done so much simply by writing the blog and sharing your life with us. Why not share your talents and offer encouragement to those who may be trepidatious about doing the same?

    2. One word…Blu. Personally, I have a soft spot for four-footed children anyway, but even more for “Weimies”. Pets are so often misunderstood and mistreated in ways that seem so harmless to some. I am so happy that Blu has found you, for I know he’ll be in heaven on earth at your farm. Its no surprise that the tail hasn’t stopped and your lap is constantly full with such wagging happiness! Hooray…Blu has a wonderful home!!!

    Thanks for a wonderful post!! πŸ™‚

  39. Into each one’s blog, a little snarkiness must fall. It’s your site and you can curse everyone out if you wanted to. I personally am very happy for your success at being able to do the very thing you love for a living. That’s why I happily oblige with the squares. It’s my little way of saying thank you for being such an awesome woman and the gifts you give through your site. I’ll always love my Firefly.

  40. I hope you keep your blog and your art just as it is. It is very soothing to me to read your blog. It helps me remember how I always,always wanted to live on a farm. But I have been trapped by circumstances beyond my control in the suburbs for all my life. Your blog is a wonderful, refreshing breath of clean air. Thanks, and keep up the good work. Blu is adorable. People don’t understand that animals are a gift from God to give us delight and love in a sometimes (actually most of the time) dark world. You are blessed to have him. There are no accidents or coincidences in this world, only divine appointments.

  41. What a precious gift your Blu is. I’m so glad he found his home with you and your husband. And as far as selling stuff through your blog? I say, if you can, do it. Why would anyone be against it? There’s negativity to spare in this world…sometimes you just have to ignore it and don’t let it bring you down.

    I’m so glad I found your blog today and will be a regular reader from now on. (Kiss for Blu!)

  42. What a lot of treasured TRUE friends you have!
    Isn’t it amazing that technology can bring together so many kindred spirits who may never meet face to face in this life, but for whom YOU are the gentle voice we each have in common?
    And not only do you share with us your inspiration for the beauty in your world, but you call us friends as well. We love you.

  43. Hmmmm, on the one hand, momentary annoyance at a couple of ads, on the other hand — insightful writing, great photos, beautiful art, provided by a kind, loving and generous spirit. Gee, think I’ll go with the blog, if you don’t mind!

    Keep on keeping on, just the way you are — we love you out here in electron-land!


  44. Blu is darling! How anyone could’ve turned him away, I don’t know. Spring is definitely making herself known where you are. πŸ™‚ Isn’t it funny how one negative comment affects us? I wouldn’ve done the same as you-contemplate whether or not I should respond to it or ignore it. You need to make a living -we all do and you are entitled to decide how you are going to go about making that living! I think that it’s wonderful that you’ve expanded!

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