Monday, November 2, 2015

Blog of the Week ~ Gail at the Farm

This week, my friends , we are visiting with Gail Williams, who writes at GAIL AT THE FARM. We visited Gail in early 2014, at her wonderful heritage farm in Arkansas. I so enjoyed the visit, I thought we'd stop back, and hear some more about the hard work and simple joys of living closely with and on the land. Come join me - we're arriving to a flurry of greetings from several dogs, and I could not be happier.

  




Sherry: Gail, in our last interview, we talked about how you and your husband live on your 147-acre heritage farm in Arkansas, that has been in your family for generations.  I know you have reduced your workload by re-homing your livestock, as you and your husband are now retired. For our newer members, might you give us a snapshot of your life on the farm these days?

The old house that was Grandma's 
and Grandpa's, then Dad's

Gail: I don't know what to say. It is a great honor to be here again. History is clear and trim. We plant patches of winter food for the wildlife. Take rides on the Gator, fish, work and play. Two daughters, three grandsons, Sister next door and another lives in town.

Now we don’t have big animals to feed but there is always work. We love the outdoors. We stay very busy here even without livestock. 


What's left of the 200 year old barn

There are buildings to repair and fences to mend.  We grow food plots each year for the wild game. We trim trees and cut down dead ones.  We have pecans and Black Walnuts ready to pick up now for our own use.  Pawpaws and persimmons are ripe, and our garden still is producing peppers and tomatoes.  I fear our winter greens will feed only the wild life. We grow food plots each year for the wild game. A good rain would help the growth of them tremendously.

Sherry: I love that you grow food for the wildlife! I wish more people thought of the hungry winter critters.  When we last spoke, your pack consisted of many dogs. (You are so lucky!) How many  are still with you? There were nine, I believe, when we last chatted.






Gail: Maggie Mae, the Other Woman and TP, Dad’s dog, have passed. We currently have Bonnie, an American Pit Bull Terrier, Diamond Lil, a short-haired Border Collie, Squiggie, Ki-Anne, Junior and Lizzy...the last four are rescues.




Sherry: I know your dogs are working dogs, that teach each other, and guard the farm. It is great you have rescues, Gail. They must be so happy on your land. Dog heaven.

Let’s take a look at a couple of your poems, my friend.




The place
where water runs through rocks
called me
a quest for truth and life
i answered alone
the flute
drew me
deeper
inside the canyon
inside myself
where Holy People walked
after the last flood
in the time of First Man
and First Woman
the singers echoed
i tried to follow
but the rock
belied location
in that walk
i became the music
the air
the rock
a true Earth Surface soul
and i was healed


I connected to a native American healing song here. I visited the southwest two summers ago and felt I had entered a magical world. Somehow the lack of visible life made me feel closer to the land....if that makes any sense.

Sherry: It makes complete sense. I have seen photos of Antelope Canyon, and can well imagine the feeling of being in such an ancient, sacred place.

Gail: This next poem was written for a prompt at Poets United.




a rock that shines in the shadows
a tree that bends with no wind
a water plant in drought
stardust in your hair
water droplets after a rain

"good" poetry comes
writing itself
leaving me surprised
and breathless
with its truth.

good poetry
spews and bubbles
like a science student volcano
and grows and flows
i transcribe the dictation

and when its finished
i step back and read
filled with joy
and say, Wow!
who wrote that?


Sherry: That is exactly how it is! I love it! Are you still painting, Gail? Any new paintings you might wish to share?





Gail: Here are two paintings I last did. I guess you could call this my dark period! I am also working with dimensional art.

Barbed wire was my last medium. My husband and I have made some wreaths for The Shop. 




This is a barbed wire art piece I will not sell. It is a lawn piece with rusted pliers for pretend birds.

I’m working to improve my found dragon, (a large cedar tree), as  yard art.



Sherry: Oh, tell us about it! It does look like a dragon!

GailI was walking the dry creek and saw a wonderful old weathered tree almost like driftwood.  Time worn cedar with amazing roots.  Here is a post about how we had to move it and get it home. The photo is how she sits.  I am waiting for her to tell me what she wants.

Sherry: I know she is grateful to have had her wings unearthed and liberated. From burial to yard art - we should all be so lucky, LOL.

Gail: Of course I’m always playing in my water gardens. Sometimes that feels like art to me.




Mostly we have been trying to get all the buildings back into shape with organization and repairs. This has been a far bigger job than I anticipated.

Sherry: I know there is a lot of hard work, but your farm looks like heaven to me!

This is a sign my sister brought home


Gail: We were put on hold last November when my youngest daughter was in a car wreck. The motorist was uninsured so that added insult to injury. Maria and Zander were with us seven months during her recovery. There was not much extra time to do things.

Sherry: I'm so sorry about the accident, and am happy she made a good recovery. I imagine you are readying the farm for winter, now.

Gail: This fall, the weather has been so beautiful, I have been taking advantage of that by doing outside projects for a while now. I know, soon, it may be too cold to do all these things. Come winter, I will paint, sew, crochet, and read.

Sherry: And write poems!



She walks
In the clear
To avoid
The muddy
Turbulence
That is
Her life

Never looking up
She strolls
Splashing
In tall boots
Pretending
This is real
Not the murky water

In this moment
She walks on rocks
Never disturbing
Silt nor mud
Nor secrets
And thinks
This is how it should be


Sherry: Sigh. The rightness of living on the land. Gail, this has been wonderful. You are living my dream.  In closing, is there anything you’d like to say to Poets United?

Gail: I have grown, with your support and help. I really appreciate having a place to go when I think I have no words. With your creative prompts, I probably write too much now. Thank you to each and every one of you for the moral support in my attempt to write well.

Sherry: It is a pleasure to have you among us, Gail. Thank you for this visit to your wonderful homestead. It has been so enjoyable, having this glimpse into your very fulfilling life.


Did this not feel like a visit home, kids? Sigh. I love these weekly trips to our fellow poets. Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!

49 comments:

  1. One word.. WOW! Thank you so much Sherry and Gail for taking out time and sharing this wonderful interview with us all :D I must admit this was a great read.. i m simply awed by your spirit and energy Gail.. you are certainly a gifted Poet.

    Your poems always reflect the person you are inside and continues to inspire me.. love both your poems "Good Poetry is" and "She walks".. sigh.. there is so much of emotion here.. indeed a good poem is like "a rock that shines in the shadows" for we can see it from miles away :D

    When I read "She walks" I was instantly drawn to the woman in your poem! We should always take pride in being who we really are and quit hiding from others; in fear of being rejected. No matter how troubled our life seems we always find such peace when surrounded by Mother Nature.

    I was delighted to learn that you paint as well :D will have to look more into what dimensional art is.. it looks so intriguing! Wishing you loads of happiness and success for the future :D

    Lots of love,
    Sanaa

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    1. Sanaa, thank you. You see the truth in me because there is much truth in your work and it shines.

      I am "right where I need to be" which is something my Granny always said so I just settle in and make myself at home. I have a active imagination so I am never bored.

      I write. I paint. I encourage people to see the things I see. I am almost sixty-one and still will not call myself a poet or an artist. If anyone leaves with one thing from this interview I hope it is...Believe in yourself and know you are "right where you need to be".

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  2. Wonderful update! Though I have to tell you, Sherry, we would not all be so lucky to have our remains used for dimensional art. Bad idea. Though I love me a driftwood tree that teaches patience while it decides what it wants to be. In the short story by Irving "The Devil and Tom Walker" the trees that fell were the rotten souls of evil doers, remember? Not so this tree, nor the barbed wire nests with pliers for birds! Very cool to see and bring out that art like a sculptor in stone, Gail. No wonder your poetry is so alive and full of movement both physical and spiritual. Letting a poem or a tree or a piece of land use you well is a blessed way to live and create. It's not easy, but it's worth it.

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    1. I humbly thank you, Susan.

      I had forgotten the fallen trees were rotten souls perhaps because I didn't want them to be. (In my world Old Yeller never dies).

      I was fortunate to have family that encouraged imagination and creativity. They could see the diamonds in the rain and the animals in a pine knot.

      I learned the hard way...all people do not see the world that way. In this community that is Poets United I have discovered people who do and it is an indescribable delight.

      I visit my cedar dragon daily...and yes, she is teaching me patience...I believe I see a Dryad there and hope to give them life again.

      I think we see through similar eyes. Doesn't it make every day in this world a wonder and a blessing?

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  3. Sherry and Gail this was a wonderful interview....I loved getting to know Gail more...an artist and a poet! Such a creative soul Gail.

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    1. Thank you, Donna. I am still surprised that someone likes what I say or what I do.

      I guess we are all our own worst critic.

      Reading and writing here, with this group, has been an amazing adventure. There is always someone to lift you up and encourage you, something we all need now and then.

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    3. I didn't write any bad things...I just posted it twice!

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  4. Really enjoyed this update, Sherry and Gail! Thank you both for a very interesting read!

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    1. Thank you, Mary.

      Poets United and all those who are a part of this great blog have truly
      encouraged me. With that I have grown, spiritually, artistically, and emotionally.

      You have given me courage to speak in my own voice.

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    2. And we so appreciate and enjoy that voice, Gail. I so admire your lifestyle, and really enjoyed my "visit" to your farm. Thanks so much for allowing us a return visit. In my world, Old Yeller never dies, either, LOL.

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  5. Sherry, thank you! I am honored and humbled by your gracious and encouraging words.

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  6. Gail, I love your barbed wire nests with pliers for birds. You are very talented in the arts. Glad to get read more about you.

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    1. Thank you, Debi.

      I love creating in words, in paint, in nature and with about anything that comes along.

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  7. Nice to read about the wonderful life on a farm like that....good to meet you here Gail.

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  8. Thanks, thotpurge.

    I've enjoyed your writing.

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  9. Good poetry indeed - how wonderful to know more about you Gail - thank you both - and 'History is clear and trim' has to be part of one of those good poems ;)

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  10. Thank you, Jae Rose. I enjoy your writing too.

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  11. With that kind of acreage, there'll be so much to occupy one's time. Planting for the wildlife is something so noble and certainly most satisfying. These privileges are very much reflected in your write and with so much to share. Thank you, Gail!

    Hank

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    1. Thank you, Hank. Here in nature, I truly believe I can make a difference.

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  12. Gail, you always make me appreciate earth more and more. I already do as an earth sign, but your words and way of life-make me smile~ Thank you, Sherry and Gail for energizing us to see the magic beneath and above us~ A lovely interview, ladies!!

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  13. Thank you, Ella. I do feel very connected and quite responsible for the land and its animals. I also am never bored surrounded by such beauty.

    My two sisters and I are Earth signs all different months. Makes you realize there is a greater plan than ours.

    Have a blessed week.

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  14. Gail what a telented woman you are. I so much enjoy your sensitive poetry. Your life sounds like it's full of much work, family and art. You seem to me like one of those people who squeeze more than 24 hours out of a day and have learned how to live fully.
    Sherry, you've done it again. Another great interview. Thank you.

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    1. Thank you, Myrna.

      I do love to stay busy and productive.

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  15. I regularly visit and enjoy Gail's blog, but I somehow missed "Good Poetry." What a fantastic piece, Gail!

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    1. Thanks, Mama Zen!

      Your poetry wows me every day.

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  16. I count Gail as a dear friend in blogland and love her and her life and her poems. thanks for sharing this with us. i know her even better now.

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    1. Thanks, Sandra. You are very special to me, too.

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  17. Still waiting to see what you do with that dragon!
    I hadn't seen those paintings. Very nice.
    You guys picked a great person to honor!

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    1. The dragon is waiting patiently. I believe I see a Dryad too so this should be an interesting project.

      Thanks, Alex, you have encouraged me to be myself.

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  18. Love the update on most sensitive, bright, surprising poet we have here, at PU. The "Antelope Canyon" - deep and feels like motto to your personality, Gail. We follow you "deeper
    inside the canyon
    inside myself " to discover all these creative verges and keys to make life the fulfilling one. ' became the music
    the air
    the rock
    a true Earth Surface soul'
    and to be healed. ~ Thank you, Sherry and Gail for sharing the wisdom. It's a joy to read your poems, ponder in your art and craft.

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    1. Humbird, thank you for such high praise. You honor me with your words and your visit. I love the act of creating in any medium. When I become "lost" in that act, I know I am doing what I'm meant to do.

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  19. Reading this interview has been so lovely, Sherry. A breath of fresh air for me today. Thank you for offering up so much good stuff to read, Gail!! Your farm sounds so rich and lively. How wonderful of you to rescue the pups and to plant food for the wild ones :) It's so heart warming to hear when others care for the lives of animals. I love it :)

    Antelope Canyon sounds magnificent. I love the connection we can get from being out in nature. Our true home. It's amazing how healing it can be.

    Thank you again for another great interview, Sherry :) And thank you Gail, for inviting us in for a little peek at your life. Such a joy!

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    1. Torie, thank you.

      I just am a die hard lover of nature and all its wonders. The best thing about that is I am never bored. I almost welcome our few days of no power through the year,

      For many years we had a "working" farm with cattle, horses and even a goat. We no longer have those but can't seem to lose the "working" part of it. Not sure I want to...I love the land. Nature is a patient loving teacher.
      .

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  20. I am happy you enjoyed this week's featured poet as much as I did, kids. It was such a pleasure putting it together - an interesting poet, great poems, lots of dogs.......it was a shoo-in! LOL. Thanks again, Gail.

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    1. Sherry, you have made the magic here. I'm reading this again and think, Who is she talking about? It is difficult for me to step outside myself for an unbiased picture...you have given me that gift. Thank you.

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  21. I loved this. A snapshot of one of my favourite people. Well done and so well deserved. ♡

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    1. Thank you so much, Annie. Your friendship means a lot to me.

      I'm proud Sherry made me sound so good!

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  22. I loved this. A snapshot of one of my favourite people. Well done and so well deserved. ♡

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  23. there is nothing like a visit to the farm to revive the muse! thanks for taking us to visit Gail.

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    1. My muse may hide sometimes but I find her outside enjoying herself.

      Thanks for visiting and allowing me to share the great honor of being chosen.

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  24. I have visited Gail at her farm, she is every bit as warm and wonderful as you might imagine and the farm is amazing! I felt like I was experiencing a small piece of Heaven, and really didn't want to leave!

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    1. Thank you! We enjoyed your visit very much and loved sharing a piece of our slice of heaven with you. You are welcome back any time. Hopefully the equipment won't break down this time!

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  25. One of the treats each week is to read of other poet's lives and to know them better. Thank you both Gail and Sherry for this fabulous interview.

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  26. Thank you. I think we bare our souls many times in our writing but a visit and a look into our daily lives makes it more personal.

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  27. Sherry so nice to see Gail in the spotlight. I have visited Gail's blog and enjoy her creative energy and I am waiting to see what she does with her new found dragon.

    Thank you both for sharing...

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    1. The dragon was singing today.

      She has shown me how she wants to fly...now to accomplish that. The more I observe her I believe the woman we see is her Dryad from legend, when the tree/dragon dies so does the Dryad. I believe I know how to bring them both back. May my ideas be magical enough to accomplish that with beauty, grace and respect.

      Thanks for believing I can do this. It has become a very exciting project or should I say, a reawakening?

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  28. I always love visiting Gail's blog because it seems I visit the farm too. What with being away and then having internet access interrupted, I am very late to this but so glad to have seen it at last. And I LOVE the wood dragon.

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