Wild Ravings

Yeah, I'll put up something witty...

Yeah, I'll put up something witty...


  • Cabin Fever, seed catalogs and purging

    I sit here on the couch, having homemade beef vegetable soup with barley, for breakfast, crawling out of my skin. Since we have moved to Western PA, we have not had enough snow to use our sow shoes. I am very, very itchy to get my bike out, or to go for walks but the temps have been bitter. That is when my cabin fever gets a little high. It’s also when my gardening catalogs start coming in…and so I am dreaming of this years garden. I will be adding beds this year as well as designating a black raspberry patch. I also hope to add some fruiting shrubs to the yard. Right now I know where I can put an Elderberry bush, but other than that, I need to do some more planning. I don’t want to buy anything unless I know exactly where it is going. In the spring, I need to dig and move two Rose of Sharon trees and a Smoke tree. There is nothing like the autumn color of a Smoke tree. I would also like to get a couple Holly trees, two or three Tulip Poplar trees, maybe a Pecan, some Blueberry bushes and some fruiting bushes for the birds. Those may not happen until next year though. It’s very easy to let yourself get taken away with all the pretty pictures in the catalogs. I just want to add a few things each year. Rhubarb! That I definitely want to add this year. I’m just looking for the right type. I roughly have its location picked out. I am hoping that the garden is successful enough that I can fill a freezer and canning jar cupboard.

    Garden layout - so far, pending changes

    Last year, I started gardening again, after about 6 years of not having anywhere to grow anything, and we had fresh veggies from May until December. I hope to extend that this year with preserving, good planning and some indoor winter veggies in pots. Last year I grew a Butterhead lettuce that was outstanding, the best ever!! A friend is growing ‘gutter lettuce’, that is lettuce planted in rain gutters, in his dining room. As soon as I get my seeds, I am growing lettuce indoors. I also want to start sprouting this year, something I have never done. Something else new to me…organizing. Mark is trying to help me organize my seed schedule. I do want to do this because the garden, without organizing, fed us and our friends pretty darn well!! I think I can do better. I also didn’t preserve anything last year, and if I do this right, I should be able to can and freeze enough to never have to buy veggies again. Being self sufficient on ANY level is such a great feeling.

    I am trying to encourage more people to garden, here in the city of Johnstown PA. I think it would be amazing if we could share or swap veggies, fertilizer or even meat, eggs, honey…..whatever you have in abundance, for that foodstuff that you don’t have. I think it would build a stronger sense of community and maybe even help others feel more self sufficient. And wouldn’t it be the greatest thing, that if at the end of the season, or maybe even a couple times through the growing season, each garden could donate, as a group, some of their harvest to a food bank? What’s your thought? In the meantime, I look out at my yard and dream of seeds.

    For awhile now…months, years, I have been feeling very restless and without direction. I have been feeling scattered, overwhelmed, and so I, in the fall, decided to go through my ‘stuff’, to take an ‘inventory’ of my life, spiritually and mundanely. So I had to do some inner searching and to re-look at what I want out of my life. I realized I was off track and making excuses, or filling my days with things that were not pushing me forward. So I am now going through my life and removing those things that keep me stuck  or distracted. I still get distracted, and need to pay attention, but I am thinning things out, giving away or selling those things that distract me. This will be a long process, I hope not  longer than a year, but it will have to be as long as it needs to be. I just need to remember to be present, diligent and honest with myself, as well as kind and without judgement. Easier said than done, but its a process, and it changes as I go through it. For any of you out there going through this, I wish you a smooth process, and would love to chat with you about your experiences….

  • Sweetie Pies

    "Sweetie Pies" 2013 Valentine's day card

    "Sweetie Pies" 2013 Valentine's day card

    This year we are offering a Valentine’s day card from my original watercolor painting, ‘Sweetie Pies’. This card was inspired by Mark.  He always calls me sweetie pie, and I love magpies, so I thought it would be fun to have one magpie giving the other a candy heart with the words “sweetie pie’ on it. I also wanted to do some intense coloring as well. It was very fun and different from my usual strong realistic style. I hope you enjoy the image and my experiments with other techniques.

    Sweetie Pies

    Sweetie Pies

  • The Russian Concubine

    I am reading an amazing book right now, The Russian Concubine by Kate Furnivall. Have you ever read a book, and somewhere into it, you knew it was going to break your heart? I have everything I can do NOT to go and read the end. Seriously. It is set in 1920′s China and its a love story of sorts…not my typical read. And I can’t put it down. I will finish it today, I am sure, despite the things I really need to be doing. Today, as I read, there was a quote I found that touched me very deeply….

    If you want to know your future,

    then look at yourself in the present,

    for that is the cause of the future.


    I will roll that one around in my head today.


  • Sunday afternoon

    Welcome to Wild Ravings, a blog about us, Mark and Terry Smith, our life as artists, and our business…Wild Ravens. We love to cook, create, garden, re-purpose, hike, travel, read and play really fun games. We will share our adventures with you, and would love to hear about what makes your lives fun!

    Mark and I just got back from seeing “Female of the Species’, a play directed and performed by (un)apologetic productions. What a great play. For anyone local, I highly recommend it. Though as self proclaimed ‘number one fan’ of (un)apologetic, I highly recommend ANYTHING that they produce! This play is a comedy, and everyone was wonderful!

    Now I am back home doing some reading before we put some more thought into the business. I have been feeling very restless about our garment business. For quite awhile, I have been trying to figure out what I really wanted to do. Oddly I have also been feeling unsettled in my life, and I had decided to organize on every level, emotional, spiritual…you name it. So my answer? To go through my ‘stuff’, again, on all levels. I thought….what isn’t working? what’s dead weight or taking up air or head space? So I have been going through the closets and paperwork first.  We have filled four boxes of paperwork that we didn’t need (our filing cabinet breathed a heavy sigh). I have decided to do the same with our business w eare now discontinuing any designs that have been stagnant, and more will be added to that list soon.

    Meanwhile, though, I am thinking of what I DO want to do……..and my ‘dream’ plan is multiple color designs, and some fun original clothing styles. I am just unsure of where to go next, what my action step should be. The first things, I guess, would be planning some designs, but more importantly, getting our conveyor dryer and press fixed up. A few years ago, we salvaged a conveyor dryer and the body of a multiple color screen printing press from a junk yard. I am a big fan of re-purposing whenever possible and I hope to make these two pieces of equipment work. They both need parts and to be cleaned up, but the price was right. Hopefully we can have them up and running by this spring. After that I need to find a seamstress (or seamster) interested in working out the ideas in my head. I would love to create a line of garments that can be worn alone or layered into something that’s totally boho fun!! I’ll try and get some pics of  these things up soon.

    Another project for this year is to complete everything I have started: paintings, construction projects….all this chaff laying around, taking up space as currently unusable items. I also want to book more dance festival shows. I really enjoy them. The patrons are such an amazing family of people. I’ll keep you posted!