by Erica Hauser

This morning I awoke feeling chirpy after my first night sleeping in the birdhouse. I'd slept in the main house the first few nights as it was unexpectedly chilly, but I snuggled under a comforter and fell asleep while looking at the stars through the round window. Shortly after the sun rose I lay in bed listening to the birds singing all around me. Coming up on the longest day of the year, the light stretches leisurely from dawn to dusk like an ear-to-ear grin.

After a few hours of painting, I weeded a couple rows in the garden and planted some brussels sprouts. I decided this'd be my dinner-making day, so I am preparing a baked-bean-&-corn dish, brown rice with red pepper and just-picked chives, and the kale harvested from the garden today. I'm often more of a side-dish-&-dessert-maker, so that's how it goes. Afterwards it will still be light enough to work in the barn a bit longer. I haven't posted photos because I've been working on a few things at once, taking advantage of being able to spread all my stuff out and get messy, it's what I've always wanted to do, and makes me long to rent a separate studio for myself upon my return. That likely won't be possible for a while, though I will have to find some place to use for Beacon Open Studios in late September.

While writing this paragraph I've shooed the big snake away twice already, it seems to like my canvases, but maybe I'm projecting. I guess we'll just have to share the space.

Photos: The license plate is an installation piece I just did. Below that is the lovely Better bus, part of the history of the farm, not currently operational but perhaps soon. Then we have my snake pal and the birdhouse. 

For more information about the betterArts residency program, click here.

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.