Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I'm countin' again...!!! and Warm Weather Hap'nins

Here's Garfy... He's sacked out on one of his favorite things: a paper (what else?) sack. Garfy's rescue story was recently featured on The Animal Rescue Site. At least three of my (online) buds recognized either him or my name and I contacted me. How cool is that? Every morning I take my first cup of coffee and click over from my reminder email to help feed shelter animals. Reading the rescue stories always gives me a lift and a good start to my day. It reassures me that there really are lots of responsible animal people out there. Some folks listen do the morning news. I read the rescues.

Then I click over to to check out the bow-wow and meow trivia questions and again, to donate kibble to shelters.

And what am I counting? YOU. All the "yous" who didn't mail back their census forms can expect a visit. Training started yesterday and I was over the top to learn I had several weeks of paid work for the Department of Commerce once again. This will be quite different from the canvassing and map spotting of last year, but it should be interesting to say the least. I'm hoping for friendly dogs and friendlier people as I have to ask all sorts of personal and repetitive questions. Though it's in the best interest of everyone to participate, there's a lot of paranoia out there - especially around here. So look for the 2010 Census Blogs to begin!!

And here is a sure sign that we went from cold to very, very warm really fast. Bogo is my dear elderly lady who grew an amazingly thick coat this past year in the coldest winter I've experienced in my 20 years in GA. Even with all that horsehair, a blanket on the coldest nights and lots of extra food, she lost a lot of condition. All my other horse are fat. Poor Bogo is very thin and looks rather motheaten.

I'm trying a few different diets to help fatten her up. She's 23 this year - not that old for a horse, though my Roman only lived to be 24, and I don't know what sort of care she had before she came to me two years ago. Isn't it amazing how different her summer and winter coats are?

She seems to feel fine - and all the routine medical work show her healthy, but she's not digesting hay and grain well enough. I'm open to any suggestions from the horsey folks out there. Right now she's on pasture that is adequate but not yet very lush or long, along with Strategy, a pelleted feed with a cup of corn oil added for extra fat and calories. When the Burmuda grass comes in, the pasture will be at its best.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The last of Winter... a photo journey

Peeking out from one of my canvas carryalls is Dinah. Tiny Dinah as she is known here, doesn't get much respect. She's very small, difficult to photograph being a black cat - and she tends to be very busy except when she's hogging Freda's dog bed. Poor Freda is completely intimidated by this tiny dynamo - and will come and stare at me to do something about Dinah being in her bed.

Dinah was one of two kittens found on a highway dehydrated and near death from upper respiratory disease. She and her sister Winkle (the Blue Siamese) spent six weeks in quarantine. My vet said that even though they were tiny as eight week old kittens, in reality they were five or six months old. They finally got well and grew a little - but both maxed out at about five pounds. Five pounds of Dinah-mite!! Dinah is of course named after Alice's cat in Alice in Wonderland.
What do you do when you are iced in and out of birdseed? My poor birdies couldn't believe that the feeders were empty what with the freezing temps and the wind blowing snow. I felt so guilty that I rummaged about to come up with something to get them by. I had whole corn that I mix into the horses' feed and actual horse feed - which is pelleted grain and alfalfa along with cracked oats.

The bits were way too big for the small songbirds, so into the Oster for a grind. Then I added Kasha and barley and bread crumbs to the mix, and got out the Jif Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter to slather onto the suet feeder and some pine cones that I wired to the old pear tree. What a feast!! This buffet drew cardinals, bluejays, doves, nuthatches, woodpeckers, chickadees, red-winged blackbirds, several different sparrows, phoebes, tufted titmice, juncos and of course, starlings. I'm pretty sure they like the Jif better than the generic stuff I usually give them!! (But then, so do I)

When I ventured outside with my camera, I found this imprint of wingtips and little bird feet and got this photo right before Elvis obliterated it in an attempt to ambush Madeline...
If you look closely for click for enlarging, you can see the imprint here ... and then...
I think he's trying to lick the snow or just make a face at Maddy

And finally - Here's Claire. She may not look it, but I know she was thrilled to finally get some Pyrenees-suitable weather. These dogs begin to pant when it is over 50 degrees. That's why I have them shaved every spring.

Today it is nearing 70 degrees and it's my turn to be thrilled!!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Oh yeah, Spring is ... confused!

Things can really change in a few days. Just ask the daffodils... In twenty years, this is the most and the prettiest snowfall I've ever seen here in Northeast Georgia. The horses were running around sniffing the ground and tossing their heads - and Freda was (blush) afraid of the snow...

A blanket of snow for Easter Lilies. In this case, they are Valentine lilies!! Or President's lilies...?

I was working on the cabinet on the right at a client's home - making a couple of changes/additions when Brodie came over to sulk a bit. He's not the one pictured - he's the new dog; a rescue - and I think he wants to be painted! Cool dog - a Blue Weimeraner. I had a wonderful time painting for this animal and art loving couple. Just being in a home filled with original art gives me a huge lift! Everywhere you look, there is something to make you smile.
A funky bear they bought at a silent auction - coincidentally, I had done much of the painting! This was for a fundraiser and I'd no idea who had "won" it. Small world.
The kitties on one side of the canine cabinet, done in a folksy style.
A cool and spooky figure. Very enigmatic.

These were just a few of the interesting art items in this wonderful mountain lake home. Oh - and I'll be doing a portrait of Brodie in the near future.

Meanwhile, Happy Snow Day!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Dreaming of Spring...

Winkle contemplates Spring of 2010...

It's the end of January and I am restless. Years ago when I dwelt in the land of lake effect snow there were five seasons: summer, fall, winter, mud season - and finally - spring. The end of January usually meant that the worst of winter was yet to come, followed by weeks of inevitable mud. Now, after nearly twenty years in the Deep South, I have come to expect the stirring of Spring in February - and tomorrow is day one.
These little daffs appear to be huddling together, having shed their leafy blanket a bit early...

Though we here in Northeast GA have just suffered our second major winter storm with snow and ice and power outages, - my senses are drawn to the first rather bold tidings of things to come. Believe it or not, these photos were taken just a few days ago as the temperatures reached the 50's - and the sun paid a rare (these days) visit.
I can't help but wonder if a bloom will appear from within the pot ...

Yesterday and today I was scheduled to run the galleries at Sautee (Sat.) and Tallulah Falls (today). I received calls from each to let me know they would not be opening due to weather conditions. As a transplant from the North, I was prepared to brave the cold and ice, but quite content to be told to stay home with the kitties and a good book. Luckily my power did not go out!

Not only are there daffodils blooming, the Spring Peepers have begun to sing in the woods. One would think they'd retreat with this return to cold nights, but thus far the little peeps are peeping still.

No - not my photo - I hear them, but likely won't see any until they begin to lay eggs in the pond.

A wonderful cocoon found amongst the blackberry canes.

Elvis came along for a walk before the sleet and snow began, but he just wouldn't hold still for a photo. Perhaps he was eager to get back home or spooked as we revisited the Fallen Dolly of the Dell.

Or perhaps he was pointing to this small "leafy treehouse"? Could it be the abode of a mousie ? It was only about 6 inches in diameter, so I can't imagine anything larger than a field mouse living here. Maybe it's used as a camp in summer ?We also found this unusual set of burls attached to a small sapling stem. I've no idea whether this is the product of a fungus, insect - or the plant itself, but it is certainly unusual .

Sunday, January 17, 2010

And finally, Happy New Year!

I know, I know, my New Year's wishes are not exactly timely, but you must understand, that until a couple of days ago, I had no welcoming words for the new year. The best I could do was kick old 2009 to be sure it was dead - not exactly a pleasant image or state of mind! But on Tuesday, as I wrote to a friend:
You'll never believe it, but my van is finally running. It turned out there was a short under the motor mount, nearly impossible to find, and my mechanic finally sussed it out while driving it up and down hills. When the motor reved, or rocked in its mount due to gravity, braking or even quick acceleration, the short caused either low voltage, or a surge, which then ruined the switches and electronic bits and such... Ricky (my mechanic) called me at 10 pm Tuesday night and said " I found it, it's fixed, and I'm dropping it off tonight. I just can't wait to see it in my rear view mirror."

I know this is small stuff to most people, but it's really big news to me.!! So even though it is pouring rain and my bank balance is $4.71, I am happy! Thus: "Happy New Year." Here are a few shots from the last flooding rain. The first one shows that amazing richness one sees when everything is washed and aglow, still glistening wet, with all the colors imaginable shining in the fresh air. How can anyone be happy in a beige house when there are hues like this?

Below and above are scenes from the forest floor - nothing unusual - just the beautiful cacophony of nature.
This one shows an area between my workshop and a storage trailer where the waters run rapid off the roof and down toward the woods. This little torrent creates a cascade of leaves and twigs and acorns which then are trapped in a "leaf jam" to lie in amazingly complex patterns just like a logjam in a large river.

And finally, here's my pond at flood stage. The winter had been so mild up until a couple of weeks ago, that there were still green lily pads. But now the pond has been quite frozen, and these reminders of warmer times have turned black and disappeared beneath the surface. Another "leaf jam" is visible in the lower right where the overflow pipe protrudes. I suppose I should get a rake and clear it, but I think the deeper water can only be good for the pond life in general, so I'll likely let it stay till it clears on its own.
I planned to post some photos from my opening reception, but when I looked for my camera this morning, it's nowhere to be found. That means I left it sitting on a pedestal at the gallery ( I hope) and I have to wait until one o'clock to call. Keeping fingers crossed, I'm off to make some brunch.