Sunday, October 30, 2011

Hay Day

We had a great day today, the weather was sunny and warm and windless. A perfect day.

I've been doing some art journaling lately.... it's just a way to exercise the creative muscles. I did these pages a while ago... they are collages of images on which I've painted (the clouds beside the Gainsborough). The Chariot is a wine label, though I liked it because it reminds me of the Chariot in the major arcana of the tarot.

Tip: The easy way to remove wine labels from bottles is to empty the bottle of wine, then fill it with boiling water and cork it. Let it sit for a few minutes, then start peeling the top corner, and pretty soon the label will pull off. They are usually glued with an adhesive like rubber cement, and heat will make it pliable again and easy to remove.

and on the one below, I took a painting from a cover of a magazine (on the right) and finished it by painting the other side. That's a fun exercise, finishing or embellishing someone's else's art. I will try to get better photos in daylight, these are a bit yellowed.

It's dark when I go to work now. The sun was just rising when I took this photo of straw bales in the field. See how long the shadows are.

Today was Hay Day. Our shipment of hay arrived this afternoon, to feed the forty or so llamas and the horse Daytona.
This is half of our stash, we got 64 bales altogether.

 Here's the tractor that brought it. A lot of horsepower there.

Molly was going to try out the skidsteer.

Kylie checks the tires (mastiff included for scale).

Chewy and Molly both find something to sniff, they ran around and under the load while it sat in the yard waiting for the hayman to come back with the second semitrailer.

I liked this sign.

Have a Happy Hallowe'en.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Things are not as they seem

Yesterday we took a walk out back to enjoy the day. Things were not as they seemed. We found a few mysteries along the way as you shall see. We walked along the large natural slough at the back where all was quiet, a few resting ducks and geese swam there. We were careful not to disturb them since my place is one of the safe stopovers on their flights. We stood and watched flock after flock fly over, their wings drumming the air, and their voices humming softly to one another.
I mentioned that we have had a lot of treefall lately, perhaps a result of the recent seven years of dry weather. This year's rainfall was not enough to restore damaged roots. We found this looking like an abandoned totem.
Inside was a cache of... mushrooms!  We don't have squirrels or chipmunks here, too many owls, hawks, and coyotes, so what is storing mushrooms?  It must be a bird, maybe a magpie. Every hole was filled with mushrooms.

Chewy heard something in the trees and listened carefully, then went chasing, caught a scent, but it vanished.

 We found several hawks' nests. This is the biggest. Some of the others were destroyed by falling trees. We have a healthy population of red-tailed hawks and they come every year to nest in these trees.

To me, this looks a bit like a porcupine. But it's an anthill, about 2 feet high and 3 feet long.

And this is a kind of fungus, quite a long span, about 8 feet.

Now here is a mystery. Look at the anomaly in these three photographs. I don't know what it is. I took a hundred pictures that day, some into the sun like this, but these three were the only ones with the little green light. It moves with me in the pictures. I thought maybe we had caught a ghost, wouldn't that be nice to know that Miranda or Cricket was with us on the walk.

And these are not blue feathers on the path, they are willow leaves.

As we headed home, someone started shooting in the next pond over. I hate hunting season, it seems to last for months, it's like living in a war zone some days. I never know if we're completely safe from men with guns out here -- I've had people pull up along the front yard and point rifles out the window toward something (gophers usually) in my front pasture! When I appear on the porch like a crazy old lady, they take off. Imagine that happening to you in the city! I've been missed by bullets three times out here so far -- from people not knowing how to shoot. Twice bullets hit the fence behind me (once between my dad and me), and once someone shot right across my front yard. What is it with men and guns? I wish they would learn to knit instead.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Glory Days

This was the sunrise over what will be my studio in the front pasture, on September 30.

We have had overcast weather lately, which means of course that the frost is in abeyance. Today was foggy in the hills in the morning (we are at a high elevation and sometimes live in the clouds), real Hound of the Baskervilles weather. It was misty all day, which means it is a good day for photographing the greens, reds and yellows. The hounds and I went for a good walk through the hayfields and pastures. Here is Chewy setting out.

And Kylie in the foreground, with Chewy off in the distance.

Chewy, the gamekeeper's dog, blending in with the grasses. Fall is their element.

Chewy among the dogwood.

I saw many of these webs in the hay. I'm not sure, but they may be funnel spiders. They were dewy from the fog and so visible with the camera.

Kylie loves a good splosh. Here she is in a little hollow where there is long pond grass. It's one of the places we see owls.
Now you see her.

Now you don't.

These are the reds. Maple, rose hips, hawthorn, dogwood.

And the big girl says good bye until next time.