Friday, May 27, 2011


There is a house in our neighborhood where some dear friends used to live.  They were retired farmers and they kept and cared for both vegetable and flower gardens.  Sadly, several years ago their health failed and they moved to an assisted living facility.

Their home has become student housing.  The renters come and go and the gardens are not maintained. 

I walk by there often and I see how the weeds have grown up 
and choked out all but the most persistent flowers.

One evening last spring I took my shovel and a bucket, and quietly dug up a portion of the white windflowers that were struggling to survive among the dandelions and elm tree seedlings.  They were “relocated” to my own flower garden.

My rescued plants came up this spring and are proudly blooming.  I justify my bandit actions by telling myself that even if the flowers in my friends’ garden don’t survive at least there will be a memorial for them in my own yard.


Six or seven years ago our city began decorating for Christmas by stringing lights in the trees along Main Street.  The holiday display is attractive and sparkly.  Some other businesses in the downtown area followed suit and decorated their trees in the same way. 

The strings of lights stay in the trees year-round.  Late in the fall the city checks theirs to make sure they are in working order.  A few years ago all the strands were replaced with bigger lights on new wires.  Not so one of the businesses.  After the first winter the lights were not maintained, but the wires were left in the three trees growing along the street.

Over time those trees have grown and the wires began to slice into the bark.  This was one time I hoped a product would wear out and rot.   But it was not to be. 

One gray morning I took cutters to the wires and removed the strands as far up the trunks as I could reach.  As I continued on my walk I could almost hear the trees sigh in relief as they were released from their bonds.

I hoped the remaining strings of lights would loosen and fall off.
 But still they hang in there.

I’m not real good at confrontation so I won’t be going to the over-worked and under-staffed guy employees of the business to demand they free the trees.  But I get a little satisfaction from my own actions of liberation.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Congratulations Class of 2011

Best wishes for a BRIGHT future

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Saturday morning DH and Beavis got up early, crashed around the house and were gone fishing before I could even roll over and gaze at the clock.  When I finally did get up I looked at the loads of laundry and the sticky floors and wondered why I should blow a sunny day doing housework.  I was soon out the door with my camera and on my way to a local marsh to give my telephoto lens a workout. Heh.

I stopped at a site along the bank of a pond lined with cattails and reeds where all kinds of waterfowl hang out.  I found a good place and settled down to see what would float by.  I wasn’t there more than a few moments before I was spotted by a marsh wren.

He was only the size of my thumb, but he was furious that I would encroach on his turf.

 He screamed out a rush of sputtering and squeaking that didn’t stop even when I moved to a new location.  He changed position with me and kept up the tirade. 

Still I was able to see a lot of waterfowl and get some good photos.  I’ll post some of them later.

While I sat there I got the feeling I was being watched.

Two hawk eyes were giving me the stare down.
 I later learned this guy was probably a Marsh Hawk or Northern Harrier.

He was cruising the place for rodents.

Suddenly he lowered his landing gear and dove into the bulrushes.

He came up with a mouse in his talons, 
but was immediately met by another hawk, this time a female harrier.

She dove at the male, made him drop his prize, 
caught it in the air and flew off with it. 
She probably had a nest of babies to feed.

Because she was soon back to dive for another mouse.

And was away again to feed her brood.

I spent enough time there to get my nose sunburned even though I was wearing a hat. I drove home slowly with the radio off and the windows open, savoring my day of freedom. The guys came back about the same time with a load of fish. 

The day would have been perfect except when I got out of my car I saw that I’d lost a hubcap during my expedition.  I was plenty irritated because those cheap looking plastic circles cost a wad to replace.  I went over the drive in my mind and remembered hearing an odd sound as I rounded a corner off in the farms near the marsh.  I decided to retrace my path just to settle my mind.

The hubcap wasn’t on the road by the marshes, but I saw this instead.

Canadian Geese parents hustled their brood across in front of me and hurried them off to shelter.

I drove on to the curve where I remembered hearing the odd sound and found my hubcap in the grass by the road.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Value sketch from reference photos for design and composition.

Final watercolor --"Did We Bring Rain Gear?"
transparent watercolor 12x16 inches 140 arches cp