Saturday, January 2, 2010


We have...

new snow.

Lots of it.

Thursday, December 31, 2009


The Weaver of Grass mentioned the effects of bird feeders in her latest post and asked for comments and opinions.  The following is my own story:

Not far from our house is a small park with a pond. The place is an ideal habitat for water birds since it is fed by clean warm runoff from the sewage treatment plant. Even in the coldest weather there is open water. Migrating ducks often stop by to feed and rest.

Several domestic ducks took up residence at the pond a few years ago.

The cross breeding with the wild ducks resulted in some unusual combinations.

We often join the people who take bags of crumbs and crackers to feed the birds. It makes us feel all benevolent and compassionate and the ducks get fat and have more babies. Over time the population living off handouts at the pond has increased dramatically. In addition more farm bird immigrants have arrived.

A few weeks ago we gave three of our grandkids bags of dry cereal and leftover chunks of bread and went to the park to feed the ducks. Big Mistake. Cold weather has cut back on the amount of visitors to the pond.

We were not prepared for a horde of starving ducks and geese.

It was a cross between a rock concert mosh pit and a scene from Hitchcock’s The Birds.

The fowls so overwhelmed the children...

that they screamed and ran for cover.

The trauma will probably give them nightmares for the rest of their lives.

I’m thinking some university students could make a study of the situation and write quite a thesis on the effects of well intentioned handouts and the resulting welfare state.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Even when I want to, I can’t do the same thing the same way repeatedly. So I knew when I picked up my Sumi brushes again that what came out of them would never be consistent. Still, I worked myself into a dither trying to reproduce the beautiful, clean designs in my lesson book. The more I tried to relax and focus the less I focused and relaxed.

Then my granddaughters caught me in the middle of my ink and paper mess, elbowed me out of their way and took over.

Splish, splash the brushes and ink flew over the paper.

Page after page of wondrous, free works of art appeared.

When the student is ready the teachers appear.

After a stack of demonstrations on the art of enjoying art, I reclaimed my desk and brushes.

More birdies from my fancy brush.

They came out smiling.

Then I tried bamboo again…

and threw in a couple of butterflies.

The author said she had been painting Sumi-e for over twenty years. I only have nineteen years and ten months to go!