Big bucks

Big bucks

Big bucks

No, not that kind.  The deery kind.  I was looking out the front garden window at the kitchen sink and saw some does go past the driveway in the upper field.  I hadn’t taken any wildlife photos to post recently, so I thought, what the heck and headed down to the studio to get the camera and put on the telephoto lens.  When I glanced out the rear windows, I saw SIX bucks down by the lake, at least three of which had very large antler racks.

Plans changed in a hurry as I decided to photograph them instead.  I haven’t seen any large bucks at all over the last few years and here was a large herd right before my eyes.  This is the best of the 15 photos I took.  Late afternoon light, a telephoto lens and a bunch of moving animals conspired against me, but this one is not too bad.  I think you can see how big these guys are and how huge their racks look.  I sure would like to find some of those antlers when they are shed in the spring.  Wouldn’t you?

Mr. Turtle is back

Mr. Turtle

Mr. Turtle

With all of the warm weather lately, I have been spending some of my mornings in the flowerbeds.  The nice temperatures and intermittent rains have started the morning weeding chores.  I had just finished one of the lower beds to the side of my studio and when I got up, there was Mr. Turtle almost beside me in the grass.  He was trucking right along (for a turtle, anyway) to the beds next to the gazebo.  I had been concerned about him after the sticky paper incident last fall because I hadn’t seen him after we cleaned and then freed him, so this was so wonderful for me to see.

I raced back into the house to get my camera.  By the time I got back he had moved under the edge of the evergreen shrubs where I had been weeding.  Much to his dismay, I plucked him up and set him down a few feet away so I could take his picture.  Shortly thereafter he continued on his journey.  I hope to see him often over the summer.  We’re kind of like pals after all of these years.

Oh, deer!

New fawn

New fawn

I went to my kitchen sink this evening with supper dishes in hand and in a sweet surprise, I saw a very young fawn walking through the front flower beds. It was dwarfed by the cone flowers, black eyed Susan’s, and even the bird bath as it meandered through the flowers, checking everything carefully before skittering out.

Mom and baby

Mom and baby

Fortunately, I had heard this morning that a doe was wandering around with a new baby and I had brought up my camera with the telephoto lens already attached. I ran to the living room to get it and when I got back, the fawn had rejoined its mother.  It skipped about the yard, more I think from the gnats and flies circling it than from playfulness or fear.  I could see quite the swarm flying around both of them.  Mom finally edged her baby back into the woods and I went back to the dishes.

An arctic fox

Little arctic fox

Little arctic fox

I felt like doing some sort of animal work this week so I looked through my photos and found this one.  I took it years and years ago, but I still like his restful pose.  He fits right in  with this chilly winter weather. That pose sure would keep him warm.

I penciled him up and then used the ink pen to sketch him in.  I had some suitable colors on the watercolor pallet from the last painting, so I went ahead and used them.   I used a burnt umber with some added brown, lamp black and a maroonish highlights, especially to the rocks.

A mixed bag post – the primitive horse painting and more coyote puppies

Redone background

Redone background

I worked some on the background of the primitive horse this week.  It just was floating too much so I added a complementary lilac to the background.  It still didn’t seem quite enough.  I decided to add more of the mossy green I had originally placed around the base. Then more and more.  When it finally felt like I was on the verge of overdoing it I stopped.  I think I like it better now.

I caught something!

I caught something!

I thought I’d add an update on the puppies today, too. We have seen them several more times in the last few days – once for almost an hour as they wandered about the back yard, hunting and playing.

On top of the wood pile

On top of the wood pile

It turns out that there are actually 5 of them.  Once when they were out and wandered farther away from the woods, a doe ran top speed across the lawn past them.  Soon afterwards mom and dad came out from just where we thought they might be watching and moved them back closer to the woods.  That’s when we saw the fifth one.  It must not be quite so bold as the others.  I was glad to see the parents.  As we suspected, the pups are not unsupervised and the parents are keeping a close watch from just inside the woods where we can’t see them.

OOOHHHHH Coyote pups !!!

I had planned to show what further work I had done on the primitive horse painting today, but circumstances dictate a different direction. I think you’ll agree.

4 coyote pups!

4 coyote pups!

Last Thursday as we were shutting the shades for the evening we saw 4 coyote pups playing and hunting in the backyard.  John had just cut the grass in the afternoon and often after that there are a lot of insects moving around, displaced by the mowing.  They had a grand time finding and eating all kinds of bugs.  They wandered back and forth for about 15 minutes stirring up the insects and then munching down what they found. Two eventually disappeared back into the woods on the left and two went over the dirt ledge at the lakeside.  We never saw mom and dad but I am sure they were not far away – probably just inside the woods where we could not see them.  I’ll be looking out there often now that we know that they are around. A little bit later, two returned.  I think it was probably the pair from the lake’s edge.  I noticed one of them had a very distinctive white tipped tail.  I should be able to identify him in the future.

A pup

A pup close-up

It wasn’t as intimate an encounter as when pups came up onto the porch, but I’ll take it any day.  Here is a link to a description of that encounter that I posted in March 2011.  I believe that these pups are about the same age.  If I recall correctly that happened in June 2009.  They seem to be about the same size and another month would make quite a difference in size.

https://ruthsartwork.wordpress.com/2011/03/02/a-coyote-on-frozen-pond/

Another pup

Another pup

And to top it off, Mr. Turtle showed up earlier the same day. I was glancing out the window to the lake and saw him walking through the cut grass.  I snapped a few new photos of him.  Who knows – he might make a nice small drawing with his brown shell and yellow markings.  I was sure glad to see him for myself.

Say hello to my little friend

The dastardly Mr. Squirrel

The dastardly Mr. Squirrel

OR NOT! I was working on the dragon print from the last post and heard a scratching on my studio window. When I looked up, I saw this dastardly squirrel. He was actually stretching himself up, belly pressed against the glass peering in, but before I could get the camera to take a picture, he had settled down to rest on the sill.  He didn’t move as I neared to take the photo from inside, but allowed me to take two shots before he dropped back down to the patio.

One destroyed truck

One destroyed truck

This is pretty nervy of him, I think, given the species bad reputation around here.  It may be all out war again.  And lest you think I am exaggerating or over-reacting, just take a look at this.  I am not kidding.  This was John’s truck a couple of years ago after the attention of an overzealous red squirrel. Evidently the soy based insulation around the gas line tasted pretty good.  Need I say more on the situation?

Waiting for spring

Crane statue

Crane statue

It has been cold, cold, cold here the last few days. And more of the same plus the possibility of sticking snow on Tuesday. March – in like a lion……   I am so ready for spring this year. My daffodils are coming up – no surprise there – but nothing else is budding out yet. Last year with the very mild winter everything came out way too early and when a not so late frost hit, a lot of the new growth died, never to be fully replaced. Add that to the last three years of moderate to severe drought, and I am hoping for some normal spring and summer weather for a change.  Maybe the colder temperatures have killed off the tree scale, too. Aside from the damage to the trees, I really didn’t like walking under a shower of sticky insect poo to get down to the lake.  It was that bad.

Yesterday Tom and Jerry, the male turkeys. made their way cautiously across the back yard at a somewhat leisurely pace.  I haven’t seen much of them or the hens this winter.  Ditto for the bucks.  We have seen quite a few of the does and last year’s babies, but the bucks have been hiding out.  Don’t know why.

The Canada geese have been moving about lately, but what I enjoy seeing are the transient ducks.  We keep hoping some will stay for the summer, but no luck yet.  Maybe we will put up some duck boxes on the other side of the lake.  We have seen quite a few ring-necked ducks as well as the usual mallards this year.

I still feel like painting a bit so I have taken a small sculpture of herons I received as a gift many years ago and penciled it up.  I will look at it tomorrow and see if I still like it the way it is.  Sometimes the hardest thing for me is to start the inking. I get attached to the drawing and am “afraid” of ruining it.

Tile coaster trials and tribulations

Coaster mess

Coaster mess

I decided to go ahead this week with the making of the tile coasters from my artwork.  I had spent some time researching various techniques on line and decided to just go ahead and try it.  I bought ink jet transfer paper and the travertine tile, everything required except the sealant.  And the process did not go as planned.  What a mess.  You know, I am fairly good at following directions, but evidently something was missing in the translation.  I am working with a method that uses ink jet transfer paper made for t-shirts.  It seemed a straight forward process when I read about it.  But……

The crinkled up one was heat treated with my hair drier to set the colors and then soaked in water to remove the backing as per instructions.  I then placed it on a tile soaked with rubbing alcohol and left it to dry.  And voila, the next morning – not what I planned.  Dried, crinkled, non-adhered, non ink transferred image on tile.  Since I had followed the directions and it didn’t work – at all – I went on to the the next method.

Evidently it is harder to iron on a transfer sheet than I thought.  Some said to gently move the iron over the surface, but when I did that, it seriously smeared.  Even when I held it firm, it moved some.  In case you can’t tell I used the cheetah and the polar bear.

Another suggested prewarming the tile with the iron so it wouldn’t have to be heated so long.  Maybe that is next to try.  I am seriously disappointed.  And I’d seriously welcome suggestions.

Backyard buck

The pen and ink is not quite ready to show yet. As with the pencil up, the going is slower than I expected and presents its own difficulties. So instead, I will share with you the 7 pointed buck that strolled though the back yard last week. I managed to take quite a few pictures of him in an effort to be able to count his points and I think I see seven.

Seven point buck

I saw him come up from the shallow end of the lake and he nicely stayed around long enough for me to get the camera lens switched out to the telephoto.  I tried to get a lot of head shots and grazing shots so perhaps at some point I can use one to draw.  The unfortunate thing is that he was limping on his right foreleg.  I couldn’t see anything wrong with the leg – no apparent blood or injury, but he was obviously in pain and unable to do anything except walk.  He headed off into the woods next to the house and we haven’t seen him since.  I think I will be able to identify him from the downward tine on the right antler.  Here’s to hoping it wasn’t a serious injury and he recovers soon.

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