pumpkinmotherhood
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A Mural for Karla’s Room

I grew up with a fold-out frieze of Noah’s Ark running around the top of the walls of the room I shared with my sister. Gazing from my pillow on the top bunk, I studied every detail of those animals. I’m sure that must have influenced my choice of subjects to this day.

Last summer I painted a fantasy mural of a clearing with a pond, horses and some little houses for my grand niece Julie Anna. Her family had a new baby on the way and this summer,  7-month-old Karla got her own fantasy mural.

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To prepare, we set up lamps and a worktable, and draped the room with sheets.  

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I began with an spongey oval to echo Julie Anna’s  Pastoral scene, but I decided to go underwater this time.

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I added a sandcastle in the background and built up turrets and windows and seaweed until I was happy.

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Now it was time to introduce the star–a fat, little mermaid with long dark hair.
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Of course she needed an entourage of sea creatures,

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including a whale for Julie Anna, a dolphin for Karen, and an octopus for me.

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My other favorite bits now are the pearl in the oyster and the eel in the cave.

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Karla seems pleased. No smiling for the camera this time–she only wanted to pat, pat, pat her little mermaid.

 

If you enjoyed this post, please like Ashley Wolff Art on Facebook, visit my webpage here, my Etsy shop, or follow the blog by hitting the “follow blog” button at the top of the sidebar. 

Life with Dogs-Part 8: We Love Lucy

Every kid needs a pet.

I knew I was lucky to grow up with dogs and wanted the same for my boys. Lucy made our family complete.

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Even though I insisted we get a female dog so there’d be another b**** in our House of Boyz, Lucy had all the skills they admired.

She was good at messing around in boats,

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She had the patience to fish,fishingweb

She loved to snorkel,
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and most important, she had game.

She never tired of the game of catch-of trying to catch the baseball, and of chasing it down when it got away.

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Lucy was becoming an excellent new muse.

If you enjoyed this post, please like Ashley Wolff Art on Facebook, visit my webpage here, my Etsy shop, or follow the blog by hitting the “follow blog” button at the top of the sidebar. 

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Life with Dogs-Part 7: We meet A New Puppy

Our long, dog-less drought finally ended with a puppy.

I knew it was time.

B&R were independent and ready to help care for another creature. I tried to find another Vermont farm dog like Pumpkin, but when that didn’t work, I followed a lead to a breeder in Maine.

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We 1st met Lucy in southern Quebec. Her mother was appearing in a Sheep Dog trial and we drove up to see a tiny, 8 week old pup. Then we waited and waited for a month until she was 12 weeks old.

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I wanted my boys to have the experience of raising a baby; chewed shoes, baseballs, flowerpots and all.

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It’ll be fun to watch as Lucy grows up and become a book character in her own right.

If you enjoyed this post, please like Ashley Wolff Art on Facebook, visit my webpage here, my Etsy shop, or follow the blog by hitting the “follow blog” button at the top of the sidebar. 

Life With Dogs-Part 6: Creatures Between the Dog Years

In 1992, Pumpkin died from old age at my mom’s house in Vermont.

I entered the longest dog-less period of my life.

 

When my boys were little I didn’t want

one       more       single      solitary      thing

to care for. Not even a house plant.

 

Cut flowers were too much trouble.

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It was lucky that Pumpkin, as my alter ego, was far more energetic and willing to entertain.

In her world we were visited by frogs,

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Lobsters,

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sheep,
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chickens, and

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Beavers!

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Life with Dogs-Part 5: Two Children, no Dog

It was amazing how easy it was for Pumpkin to love babies when she didn’t have to live with one.babyRoweb

A few months after the visit to Mesa Verde, Rowan was born. Pumpkin was happily living at Camp Stoneledge with my mom and never knew she needed to be jealous all over again. ash&roinfant

Suddenly my canine alter ego enjoyed having two little boys around as much as I did.

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But more peace at home didn’t mean all was right with the world. The adventure continues…

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If you enjoyed this post, please like Ashley Wolff Art on Facebook, visit my webpage here, my Etsy shop, or follow the blog by hitting the “follow blog” button at the top of the sidebar. 

 

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Life with Dogs (Short Side Trip to the southwest)


I am traveling in Colorado and Utah this week, hiking in some of the great western National Parks.

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Today I climbed down to the Cliff Palace, a cluster of dwellings of at least 150 rooms built below the rim of the mesa in a rock alcove. These structures were built of hand-shaped sandstone blocks, cemented together with mud. They were built between 1200 and 1270 AD in Mesa Verde, CO. The last time I was here was 24 years ago, in the spring of 1990. I was 5 months pregnant with my 2nd child.
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As usual,  Pumpkin acted as my alter ego, grinding corn with a stone on a Metate with her baby strapped to a cradleboard nearby.
The scenery and architecture of the south west bowled me over and when I got home I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I revised the setting for the book I was working on: A Garden Alphabet by Isabel Wilner. The gardener, who looks an awful lot like Pumpkin lives in an adobe house with a kitchen hung with strings of drying chilis called ristras.
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And after a hard day in their desert garden, the gardener and her friend the frog relax in the shade.

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