Sunday, July 15, 2018

My Eightieth Birthday....Wow!

June 13, 2018...I have entered another decade.

The first day was amazing.  I expected that Tom and I would go to The Rusty Bucket where our grandson is chef and have a pleasant meal.

I was ready to go when Tom said, "There's someone at the door.  Will you get it?"

My two sisters from Florida were at the door.  One of them said she thought I was having a heart attack when I opened the door.  I could not have been more surprised.  They drove all the way up from Florida to spend my birthday with me.

Tom told us to go ahead and go to the Rusty Bucket.  He had things to do at home.  The four of us could talk when we returned.

With my grandson on the patio of the Rusty Bucket.

A few hours later my daughter, Sonja, arrived with supper.   So much supper, I told her, it looked like she had brought enough food for twenty people.

Good thing, too.  Other people, none of whom I expected, showed up.

What I have told you are only a few of the highlights of the day.  Tom and  and my sister took at least a hundred pictures so I have all of them to jog my memories.  And yesterday, a book made with help from the Shutterfly website , arrived so I have still another way of remembering.

This decade is off to a wonderful start.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Black-throated Green Warbler...A Painting from Tom's Photo

I have been doing a lot of pencil drawings lately...our grandson, John...

from this photo...

and our granddaughter, Samantha...

from this photo...

The sketch of John turned out looking the age he was when the photo was taken but the sketch of Samantha came out looking older than she is in the photo.  The proportions of faces change as we age.  In this case, her eyes should have been drawn lower on her face. Changing the position of her eyes would then affect the positioning of all her other facial features. I decided it would be best to leave this drawing as it is. It will remind me to measure more carefully next time. 

The trick is to think in terms of comparative relationships.

I painted the Black-throated Green Warbler from a photo Tom took at Magee Marsh on May 15.

I did not draw the bird before I painted it.  Instead, I measured with my eyes as I painted it, noting the proportion of the width of the green back to the width of the wing to the width of the breast.  Length proportions are measured against one another in the same way. The following progression from the second session to the final are below.

At this point I sent a copy of the painting to an artist friend who often critiques my work for me.  She reminded me that the eye needed a spot of life.  A dot of white carefully placed adds life.  She also suggested that I define the leaves a bit more.  I didn't want them to become as important as the bird but they should be more important than what I had them at this point.

Here I have made the leaves more important but I still wasn't satisfied with them.

This is the original photo again.  I didn't like the arrangement of the leaves so I am using my imagination, my "artistic license" and that takes a bit of thinking.

This is the final painting.  I played around with the faint hint of leaves in the upper left portion.  I also made some tiny touch up on the foreground leaves.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Friday, June 1, 2018 at Cedar Bog

Tom, our friend, Pat, and I wanted to see the Showy Lady's Slippers. (Cypripedium reginae)  Since Tom and I have come to the bog,( which is really a fen,) quite a few times, we knew where they would be.

Tom headed off ahead of Pat and me.  We took time to look at other things along the way.
The large plant to the left of the boardwalk is a Great Angelica.(Angelica atropurpurea)

There is a closer look.

Pat liked these masses of tiny white flowers.  We meant to ask what they were when we returned to the Education Center but we forgot. I think someone told me a long time ago that they were Flowering Spurge.  Sometimes I remember correctly. 😀

Here is a closer look at them.

Pat and I both like to look at all kinds of wild things.  We saw quite a few of these dragonflies.  This morning I checked in my copy of Dragonflies through Binoculars and learned that this is a Common Whitetail female.  (Libellula lydia)  We saw the males, too but I didn't get a photo of one.

The white line is the boardwalk.  When we came to the fork we went right because I knew we were close to the Lady Slippers.  Tom was out of sight.  I really wanted to find him because I was beginning to be bothered by insects.  The  insect repellent was in the back pocket of his power chair.  I didn't find him but I found the Lady Slippers.

Pat loved them.  I knew she would.

About then Tom found us.  He came up behind us.  He had taken the fork to the left and turned back when we didn't catch up with him.

We all used the insect repellent, then headed back to the van.  thunderstorms were predicted.

This is how the sky looked above the parking lot.  There were a few drops of rain by the time we were settled in the van.

Surprisingly, those raindrops were the end of the rain until hours later.  But how were we to know?

Friday, May 11, 2018

A Walk with Pat at Garbry Big Woods Sanctuary...May 7, 2018...Part 2

Pat has sharp eyes, sharper than mine.  She was the reason we saw most of the following things during the walk.

"Doesn't that Trillium have four petals?"  she asked.  It did.  It had curiously different arrangement of sepals and leaves, also.

We walked on.

She found several small Crayfish Chimneys.  These chimneys are much daintier than the ones we find in the swamp at Brukner Nature Center.

She likes bright-colored fungi.  You will have to click on the photo and enlarge it to see the fungi she spotted.

Two more Fungi, a little easier to see.  They were beside the boardwalk.

A pollinator, a tiny Ladybug.  Below is a cropped photo.

Ta Da....

This is what Pat found that excited me the most.  As we walked, I told Pat about the few times Tom and I have seen adult male Five-lined skinks displaying their red throat patches for females on the boardwalk.  No, she didn't find a displaying adult.  Even I would have noticed him.  But  she found something neither Tom or I had ever seen....

This little fellow was about the size of a Red-backed Salamander which are common at Brukner.

He moved really fast.  This was the most in focus photo I got as he scurried off to find cover elsewhere.

When I got home, I searched on the Internet for Five-lined Skinks, wondering if this was a young one.  I knew as the adult males had red on their heads and this little fellow had a tinge of red around his face.  On the Internet I learned that Five-lined Skinks live from two to six years so an immature might be the size of a Red-backed Salamander.

I also learned that one way that Skinks vary from salamanders is that they have claws.  And because the critter was so slow and wary of leaving the crack in the log, the hind foot on it was in focus.

Looks to me like he has claws.  I'm going to say he is an immature Five-lined Skink.  So, so pleased with myself.  Hope no one pops my balloon!

A Walk with Pat at Garbry Big Woods Sanctuary, May 7, 2018...A Great Walk...Part One

Pat and I met for lunch at Cracker Barrel and then drove to Garbry Big Woods Sanctuary to look at the wildflowers.  I picked the day, a beautiful one.  The Temperature was in the sixties.  

This is why we went...Large-flowered Trillium throughout the entire park with Wild Blue Phlox mingled in.

The Drooping Trillium were blooming, too.

And so were the Sessile Trillium.  

Pat and I spent three hours walking the boardwalk loop.  There was so much to see.  (This loop can be walked at a steady pass in about twenty minutes.)  We stopped and sat at the convenient benches to savor the day...the soft breeze, the comfortable temperatures, the beautiful sights (and to rest our knees and legs.)

Here are some of the flowers we saw.  (More than just these were blooming.) 

The Spring Beauties were scattered throughout the entire woods but because they are tiny, they are not as showy as the trillium.

Blue violets...(and yellow ones, too.)



The last of the Large-flowered Bellwort for the season

Rue Anemone....

Solomon's Seal...

Buds on the Solomon's Plume (also called False Solomon's Seal)...

Sweet Cicely...Most of the flowers were not quite open but we especially liked this one which was growing up between the boards of the boardwalk.

A few Blue Cohosh flowers remained...

Though many Wild Ginger buds were not open yet, we found this flower.

The Wild Geraniums were scattered here and there.  We had to keep our eyes open. 

Pat even found a Dandelion.  Fortunately the area is too wet for dandelions to thrive.

I've decided to leave our other discoveries for the next post.  This post is getting too long.  Hope you have time to check out Part 2 which I am starting to write as soon as I post this one.