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Celebrating the Summer Solstice

Griffins and Mandelbrot for the Header Image

Apollo pulls the sun across the heavens with a chariot drawn by griffins.
The griffin is a composite of an eagle and a lion.
It represents the unity of strength and wisdom
Both are needed in this time of change.

I must be the last person to have seen Fractals the Colors of Infinity narrated by Arthur C. Clark in 1994 but it came around again via Brasscheck TV and I got a chance to watch it online on the eve of the Solstice. Yes this is what I have been creating for years, little/big, worlds within worlds. I have been sewing that idea a stitch at a time. The Mandelbrot coat is coming. Look for it around the time of the winter solstice.

hand stitched coat

Mandelbrot coat for Santa. Project in development.

The sister website: psikeep.com is up and running

Check out the link for information on the San Clemente goats at PsiKeep Ranch and more detailed information on the PsiKeep Center for the Arts.

The Raven Family

The raven pair has raised a single raven. It is enormous. The three are everywhere calling to each other. The forest is filled with the sound of raven.

raven

Raven calling to its young

The Mushroom Wedding Arch

Work is beginning on the upright sections of the Mushroom Wedding Arch. The left and right inner and outer panels have been carved and now need to be integrated with the front and backsides of the uprights.

Mushroom Wedding Arch under construction

Mushroom Wedding Arch under construction

 

upright carved in Styrofoam

Portion of the back side of the right upright

 

A Fox has moved on to PsiKeep

For last two evenings a gray fox has been spotted in the orchard. For several months something has been slowly decimating the chicken population at PsiKeep. Eight new black Australorp chicks were purchased and are being raised in the chicken coop.

young chicks

A new batch of chicks

This morning a fresh fox scat was found on top of the lid of the trash can near the coop, as if signaling that the fox has staked out his territory. Aside from the obvious insult I did not notice any hair or feathers in it.

One good outcome of the presence of the fox is that it seems to have chased off whatever creature has been raiding the apricots at night. Each morning numerous half-ripe apricots have been found lying on the ground beneath the trees. The fruit is chewed open with the pits are missing. Whatever has been knocking the fruit down from the trees is more interested in the seeds! Huh? But the last two nights the apricots have been undisturbed. The fox is on the prowl.

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Year End Review and Vision of Things to Come in 2014

It has been slightly more than a year since the logo for PsiKeep Venture and the blog was launched. It is time to clarify the mission statement  and to update several of the categories.

Mission Statement

The mission of this blog is to find people who are interested in both following and participating in the adventure of constructing the PsiKeep Center for the Arts with all the trials and tribulations of building an art center in the wilderness from brush clearance to sculpture garden; from art classes to gift shop.

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Art Center

Currently classes are taught in the main studio. Plans for the buildings to house the workshops and classrooms will be online. Also look for the site plan for the general layout of the future buildings and gardens on the property. Both of these documents should be online sometime this year.

Also the sister website psikeep.com will be online shortly. 

Sculpture Projects

Last year the top section of the Mushroom Wedding Arch was installed. The completion of the Mushroom Wedding Arch will hopefully happen by this summer. 

The next sculpture project is the revision of the Dragon Head Entrance.

The Dragon Head was constructed in 2010.

Image of Dragon Head sculpture under construction in the snow

Dragon Head sculpture under construction in the snow

The dragon was  in the 2010 Lake County Eco-Arts Sculpture show.

Image of the Dragon Head sculpture at the EcoArts 2010 Sculpture Walk

The Dragon Head was displayed as the Tree Dragon in the 2010 Eco Arts Sculpture walk in Middletown, California.

Today the Dragon Head sits in the driveway looking very mush like a tarped motorboat.

Image of tarpped Dragon Head sculpture

Dragon Head stored under a tarp

The sculpture had been skinned with paper mache. The paper mache needs to be stripped away. The wiring for the lights in the eyes and the walk-thru needs to be installed and the sculpture needs to be prepped in order to be permanently coated with cement and ceramic tiles. This summer volunteers are welcome to help with the construction and installation. Contact lorenwolf@gmail.com

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San Clemente Island Goats

The Center is located on a nine-acre goat ranch in Lake County California. PsiKeep ranch breeds and raises San Clemente Island goats. Last year this bog was launched with the lines “This morning I buried to kids”. This year’s kidding season went a lot easier. As of this posting all the kids that were born have survived and are healthy.

Image of mother doe and kids

Time for a snack and a yawn

San Clemente Island goats are a rare breed of feral goat. They once inhabited the Channel Islands off the coast of California. They were probably introduced to the Islands by Spanish ranchers who eventually abandoned them. The goats survived on their own for about three hundred years until the Navy began using them as target practice in the 1970’s. A rescue mission was set up to save the goats and the goats on PsiKeep ranch are from a long line of descendants of the goats taken from that rescue mission.  Today there are approximately 650 San Clemente goats in the world. Twenty-two of them are on PsiKeep ranch.

This year’s kidding season began in December.  Twelve kids are currently available for sale. People who are interested in owning and raising heritage goats should contact lorenwolf@gmail.com  at PsiKeep Ranch.

Image of a San Clemente adult buck close up

Jonas, one of the two breeding bucks at PsiKeep

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Wildlife at PsiKeep

Image of the ravens pair at PsiKeepThe pair of ravens who have claimed PsiKeep as part of their territory are busy refurbishing their nest in the Ponderosa pine tree next to the main house. The pair is working most of the day flying in with twigs and pieces of material to line the nest. There is a lot of commotion, re-establishing the boundaries of their territory and driving off last year’s offspring. Every few minutes a shadow passes overhead as one of the ravens fly past.

Image of the shadow of a raven  flying overhead

As I stepped outside for a break in writing this post they were high in the sky dive bombing a red-tailed hawk.

You might enjoy reviewing the raven diaries from last year and look for more on the ravens in the weeks ahead.

I have not seen any sign of Scruff, the orphan deer with the mange. If he survived he is probably much larger by now. Most of the deer come by at night. Right now this is plenty of water for them and the grasses and bushes are leaving out providing them with fresh vegetation.  

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Care-taking the Land

The first sign of spring at PsiKeep comes with the blooming of the Red Bud and the unveiling of the Euphorbias, which have been draped in nursery cloth to protect them during the winter.

Image of euphorbia draped in nursery cloth

Euphorbia wrapped in nursery cloth to protect from frost.

Last year a number of trees came down. Several trees had to be cut down due to beetle-bark damage or just plain old age.  Since PsiKeep is nestled in the forest, falling trees are a big issue. Luckily the property sits in a bowl against the hillside where the ground water tends to converge. But dry days lie ahead with the prolonged drought in California. Hopefully the spring at the bottom of the hill can be dug out and reconnected to the water tanks. 

Looks like lots of work ahead for this year. Hope to hear from you all. Comments are always welcome.

Best regards.

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Updates at PsiKeep

A day at PsiKeep begins with a bloat and ends with a bang.

Treating Bloat in San Clemente Island Goats

This morning I found myself dealing with a case of bloat in one of my does. As I was setting out the feed I saw that she was a balloon! She was as wide as she was long and standing listlessly under the trees by the feeder. By the time I got the olive oil and a turkey baster prepared she was lying down and looking pretty miserable. It was easy for me to catch her and put her up on the stanchion. I administered 2 turkey basters full or about 120 cc of olive oil slowly against the inside cheek of her mouth. Two hours later she was back down to a normal size and eating. Lucky I caught this one in time.

Singing Plants in the Garden

It is the time of the shower of the Pleiades and summer is dwindling into autumn with the promise of one or two furnace days ahead. I was walking back up from the goat pens through the Garden of Earthly Delights, the euphorbia and cactus collection at PsiKeep.

Image of path through the euphorbia and cactus collection at PsiKeep

The path through the Garden of Earthly Delights, the euphorbia and cactus collection at PsiKeep.

Image of cactus and euphorbias

Several cactus and euphorbia growing at PsiKeep

The ordeal of treating the bloating goat  made me sit down on one of the ledges of the terraces and rest for moment. This is not something I normally do. I am always racing to the next project as soon as I complete the current one. I have a hard time relaxing. I am the one who orders the relaxation tapes back in the days when we were using cassettes and never broke the cellophane seal on the package. A long time in the grave for resting.

But this particular morning I forced myself to sit down and take a look around at what I am trying to do with this place. 

As I sat there watching the San Pedro cactus and several of the other euphorbia, which I had planted a month ago, I noticed that they were glowing. I stepped closer to investigate. I could see that it was the position of the late morning sun above and behind the cactus and that the light was bouncing off of the fluid in the plant.

Image of glowing euphorbia

Example of euphorbia, which appear to be glowing

But there was something else. I could almost hear the sound of the capillary action as the inside the plant thrust upward, step laddering cell-by-cell toward the sky.

Image of the growth center of a euphorbia

The growth center of a euphorbia

 Out at the edge of the nub where new tissue was unfolding into the geometric five and six faces of the plant, there was a singing but there was no audible sound. It was an empathy of the same fluid within me unfolding, becoming, rising toward the light. And for a moment I felt at one with all that was around me. Blood, sap water, all the intricate fluids of life thrusting from the great wellspring of the earth  into the infinite facets of being. 

Of course I had to run into the house and get my camera and take the photos of the plants and then I had to write down what I saw and put it into the computer all the while leaving that small miracle trailing behind me while I walked into the day with my shopping list of things to do.

Sculpting the Mushroom Wedding Arch

Image of second coat of cement with detailing of the mushroom gills on the top section of the Mushroom Wedding Arch

Second coat of cement with detailing of the mushroom gills on the top section of the Mushroom Wedding Arch

Construction has stumbled to a standstill. Three out of the four sacks of cement I opened were setting up like a fast-set mixture. Something in the  dry ingredients is wrong and as soon as I add the liquid to the cement it begins to set. It is crystallizing in the bucket before I can even trowel it out to spread on the surface of the sculpture.

I had called the company several days before leaving messages regarding the cement but no one had returned my calls.  When I could no longer sculpt the gills of the mushrooms I stamped up the stairs to the phone and prepared for battle. After a number of phone calls and email messages I got the right number and that person referred me to the area rep.

I started out by representing myself as a contractor loosing money on a job because of the faulty cement. I figured I would get a better response than if I represented myself as a sculptor but this guy recognized me right away. “Oh your that instructor who is using our product in the way it is not supposed to be used.”

I could not believe it! I must have  talked briefly to this guy back in 2009 when I had another problem with the chemistry of their product. I told him that I had been using it “in the way that it was not supposed to be used” but that it was working for me for a number of years and that maybe they ought to rethink how their product could be used. It might even open up a bigger market for them. But that was not the issue. The cement was setting up in the bucket before I could apply it “in the way it was not supposed to be used.”

After some haggling he said he would see about exchanging the fifteen sacks and would call me back on Monday.

Ravens

This year’s raven offspring have flown away. I occasionally see them. When they arrive they are like gang busters, squabbling and squawking with each other. The littlest one I call “Little” is still alive. I did not have much hope for that one since he was so far behind the others in growth and size. But he is still hanging in there and seems more aggressive and forward than the other two.

The parents remain guarding their territory. 

Author feeding a raven

Image of the author feeding a raven

They spend most of the day in the blue pines or prowling in the goat pens.  I feed them once a day and they have plenty of water so I imagine they have found paradise.  The only time they disappear is at dusk when they fly off somewhere to a roost for the night. I have no idea where their roost is located. 

Brush Fire

This is not the image you want to see at the end of the day. Ten miles away it holds a warning of things to come.

Image of a wild fire that started at the end of the day

Wild fire that started at the end of the day.

SPECIAL NOTE:

While the saga of PsiKeep  continues you might like to visit my new and second blog at http://tenabraecafe.wordpress.com/.  Sign up at the Tenabrae Cafe for a notice of new postings. Looking forward to also meeting with you there.

The Raven Diaries: An end and a beginning

June and July simmered  into the first week of August 2012.   The summer cooked on as I watched how the ravens were dealing with the heat. Ravens have that all black plumage which is definitely a heat sink and they were constantly moving in the sun. I saw that their bills were always open. This must be their cooling mechanism. Throughout the month, the ravens ranged farther away from the nesting sight. Often I heard them in the woods across the road that ran above PsiKeep.

raven-shadow

Unfortunately the story of Sammy does not end well.
One early August morning I noticed that Sammy and another fledgling were missing. A few days later the last fledgling was gone from the group. This was highly unusual. In the weeks before the disappearance there were no signs that the parents were driving off the young. The raven family moved as a small unit constantly calling and signaling to each other and feeding together. I also observed some sharing of food with each other, especially with the food that I set out.

At the same time that the offspring disappeared, I received an email from a neighbor regarding another neighbor who lived across the valley.  That neighbor had found two dogs in her goat pen slaughtering her goats.  She had shot one dog and had caught the other and had it picked up by Animal Control.  Were the ravens attracted to the slaughter and the scent fresh meat? Had they been shot by the over zealous neighbor?

I will never know. But I observed a change in the behavior of the parent ravens. At first they looked as if they were languishing in the trees. For days they sat silently  up in the blue pines only coming down to feed in the orchard in the late afternoon and early morning.

Several weeks later they returned to the nest. I could see them  climbing around the nest and quietly calling to each other. It looked as if they were making futile attempts to repair the nest but nothing came of it.

The mated pair stayed  through the winter feeding on the last of the persimmons  all the way through December.

This spring the mated pair hatched out the four raven chicks. As I type this I can hear, even from inside the house, the new fledglings squabbling in the nest above my study.

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The Raven Diaries XI

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I knew Sammy was slowly slipping away from me as he was being accepted back into the raven family. As days past he became more shy and he would no longer eat out of my hand. Another voice was calling to him with the power and the wilding of raven survival. My voice was being blown aside like the last leaves of winter and it was as it should be. 

2-parents

If Sammy was to survive he must follow the ravens. But there was still the feeling of loss and emptiness inside.

When I looked closely into Sammy’s eye it was like staring into the mystery of the abyss, an unfathomable and unknowable depth, a different consciousness both alien and profound.

raven_eye

How the eye of the raven reflects another nation staring back at us defiant. “Hey we eat your dead. Don’t mess with us!.” Trickster. Stealer of the Sun. Goddess Touched, magical and just plain scavenger. The eye of the raven challenges our reckless sense of entitlement. He is the player waiting on the sidelines for us to step off the stage.

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The Raven Diaries X

The raven chicks have hatched and over the weeks of approaching summer I can hear at least two chicks squabbling in the nest up high in the ponderosa tree outside the door of my house. It was about this time last year when I found Sammy on the ground below the tree…

…Back to the story of Sammy and the ravens.

over_shoulder

It was last summer at the end of the day and I was out feeding the goats. Sammy had followed me down to the goat pen. I was setting out the orchard grass for the goats when I saw him crash land inside the pen.  One of the does suddenly rushed at him battering him up against the fence at the lower end of the enclosure. I ran down the slope to intervene but by the time I got there Sammy had squeezed through the field fencing and disappeared into the forest.

After I fed the livestock I went out into the forest to see if I could find him. It was not difficult. The father bird was in the trees giving the alarm call. I followed him to where Sammy was perched on a low branch. I watched for few minutes as he climbed higher up onto the branches of the tree; I figured he was safe enough for the evening. In any case he did not respond to my calls.
ironpyrite
Equinox Eve. Sammy was back on the porch the next morning. Tough little bird. He seemed okay after his bout with the angry goat. I watched as he ate the food I had set out for him. He filled his throat pouch with food, regurgitated it and stuffed it in a crack under the iron pyrite sitting on the porch railing. Suddenly he leaped off the porch sailing across the property to the limbs of blue pine where the parent birds were calling. If I worked at it I could almost follow him through his eyes as he flew across the tops of the trees. I could almost see from that perspective what is was like to fly above looking down on PsiKeep.

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The Raven Diaries VI

raven imageIt was a warm day and I decided let Sammy get acquainted with the outside world. As I walked under a tree with Sammy perched on my arm, the parent ravens immediately began circling and screaming. They landed on the tree directly above where I was standing and began furiously breaking off small twigs and branches and throwing them down at us while screeching and yelling. Sammy leaped off my arm and tried to hide under a bucket. I had to make a hasty retreat and carry him back inside.
raven_look
My intention was to slowly introduce and return Sammy to the raven family but it looked like it was going to take a lot more work than I initially thought.

The Raven Diaries V

image of ravenA month later the weather began to clear. The parent ravens were busy feeding the remaining two chicks in the nest. Ravens like many wild things will eat what they can. I have watched them carry the fledglings of other birds up to their nest to feed their young. Ravens are known to even eat the fledglings of other ravens which may be why they guarded the nest so aggressively.

The Raven Diaries Part IV

raven_open-mouth-_f

I named the raven fetchling Sammy. I don’t know, maybe it was the influence of watching too much Supernatural: the Series, or that it was just an easy sound for a raven to learn. I began saying his name every time I fed him. Of course I did not know if this bird was a male or female. My thinking was that if I have to call him when he starts flying he may be able to recognize the call.

Now that I think about it, most of my view of Sammy was looking down his throat. A peek in to the raven abyss

 

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The Raven Diaries Part II

The first night I sat with the raven in my lap wondering how it could have survived that fifty foot fall. The bird seemed a little too passive and I began to wonder about internal injuries, West Nile or Bird Flue. The next day I spent most of my lunch time at work researching West Nile symptoms and treatment for birds on the computer. There was not much information except that ravens are highly susceptible to West Nile with a 90% mortality rate.

raven_fetchling

But when I got home most of my fears and apprehensions were relieved. The little raven was pretty active and hungry. Acting like a normal displaced bird, it took one day to bond to me for food. I fed it a mixture of bread soaked in it raw eggs, chicken, and fruit. I gave it an eye dropper of water since its poop is so watery. I knew it needed a lot of fluid. Watching the parents outside at the watering hole preparing the food they took up to their nest I figured I couldn’t be that wrong. I lay the eyedropper full of water on the floor of the raven’s mouth and let it suck down the fluid drop at a time.

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