Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Blooming Tuesday In The Back Half of the Garden

Here we are in the back part of the garden on Blooming Tuesday. Not to fret we will se plenty of blooms in the back half of the garden.We can play a game of croquet if you want to. If you want to sit down we have to chase the cat off the bench. He will probably chase after the balls we might as well walk on.
We have lots of blooms and birds in our garden. Friends bring their doggies over for play days.
There are often feathers found in the garden. There are a few seed pods too.
There is plenty of color in the garden. This time of year it is nice to have a garden in our dreams to get us through the early part of spring when not so much is blooming in our northern gardens. Don't be alarmed by the preying mantis. He is only looking for lunch and you aren't on the menu.
I hope you enjoyed the garden tour. Happy Blooming Tuesday. Blooming Tuesday is brought to you by Teri's Painted Daisies.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Welcome To My Garden

Well gang let me take you into my garden made with the snippets from garden magazines that I have collected over the years. As you can see there are various rooms in the garden.
This is the front gate. You will be welcomed by the master lizard. He is a friendly soul. He watches for any unwanted guests, I mean pests...We wander down the path toward the rustic gazebo. You can watch for feathers, butterflies and other garden denziens.After a rest in the gazebo we can stroll through another gate to a different part of the garden. What garden is complete without a cat? Hereyou can see our garden kitty watching over the chickens.
As we stroll around the garden we come to the water feature. There are many intresting objects around the water garden. Shells from my travels etc. There is a comfortable seat here so you can watch the dragonflies, frogs and the occasional cat that comes by for a drink.
If you have enjoyed your garden stroll today you can return tomorrow for a walk about the back half of the garden. I want to thank Soulbrush for inspireing me to use my clippings. It has been fun.
And... Happy Cactus Monday to all the Cacuteers. See if you can find the cactus in the garden.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Daily drawing

I have been working on a project with a lot of the clippings I have taken from garden magazines. Over the years I have cut out so many pictures. It is great fun revisiting them and finally finding a way to use them. I had an idea after Soulbrush invited all to join her on a journey. You can read about it here. I don't know if I am exactly on line with the journey but I am enjoying what got me started. Having sticky fingers inspireda haiku. Don't ask me what the correlation is but here is the haiku...

sticky fingers
planting a garden
with scissors

I hope you are all enjoying the weekend. Basketball games are resounding through our house.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Face Carving On A Tree

I saw this face carved on a dead tree in a magazine. It spoke to me. I had to draw it. My drawing isn't as peaceful looking as the carving but I hope to be able to stop thinking about it now that I have drawn it. Have a good weekend. I hope your weekend is peaceful.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


A very dear friend of mine passed away this past week. I can't seem to get her out of my mind. I tried to draw her from memory. Ikeep seeing her sweet face in my mind. We had such good times together.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Animal Wednesday - Raibow Darter

I never knew that there was such a colorful fish inland. I always learn something when I read Jim McCormack's blog Ohio Birds and biodiversity. He is quite the outdoorsman and biologist. A good read if you are into that sort of thing. Happy Animal Wednesday.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Blooming Tuesday - Daffodil

My darling Daughter gave me a set of small colorful vases. This one was just perfect for holding a minature daffodil from our garden. I did this with colored pencils. I might have to get the watercolors out to do the vase the way I see it, or at least closer to the way I see it. Happy Blooming Tuesday everyone.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Cactus Monday - Bowl of cactus

I saw this bowl of cactus and succulents in a magazine and I had to draw it. It is so colorful and so many different textures here. I want to recreate it for the garden this summer. Happy Cactus Monday to all of you Cacuteers.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Many Thanks

When I found this hand made envelope on the kitchen table my heart did a little happy dance. It is so beautiful I won't be able to discard it. When I got the envelope open...
I found this beautiful card and Bookmark. The Cacti are beautiful. I can't thank you enough Lolo for including me in your Cacuteer giveaway. I really appreciate it. I have always wanted an original "Lolo" but figured I would never be able to afford it. Thank you for your most generous spirit Lolo.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Eye of The Tiger

Naw, not really a tiger but I am sure it was feeling like one as it strared out the window. I sketched this cat's eye from a photo on Mon@rch's blog. He is a great photographer and his nature blog is one I always read. Happy Animal Wednesday.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Blooming Tuesday - Crocus

Here is a sampling of all the crocus that are in bloom in my garden now. I just love these little harbingers of spring. They just don't last long enough. I wish they would last much longer into the gardening season. Happy Blooming Tuesday - Happy St Patricks Day

Monday, March 16, 2009

Cactus Monday - Saguaro & Plane

I kept thinking about Teri's photo of the airplane, cactus and flag that she had on her blog. The photo kept popping up in my mind so I decided that I would paint it as an ATC. However I didn't look back at her blog to see how it was all arranged. Sorry about that Teri. I just drew it then painted as I remembered it. Happy Cactus Monday all.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Yellow-crowned Night Heron

This Yellow-Crowned Night Heron was sitting on a stick-up in the resaca early in the morning. It let us approach it quite close. I guess it knew we humans wouldn't wade out into the cold water to try to have it for breakfast. We must have looked well fed.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Texas Trip Day Nine

This is the end. We drove through Vicksburg on the way home so we stopped at the National Military park and did some of the driving tour after watching a short film about the siege that took place here. It was all interesting and quite sobering. It was a somewhat overcast day and the lack of light reflected the way this place made me feel. There were so many monuments to the different companies of military. The old cannons were still in place in a few places. It was all intersting but sad to me. I was glad to get home safe and sound. I hope you all have a great weekend.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Texas Trip Day Eight

I bet you are wondering when I will be finished with this trip. Well, we are on our way home in the journal now. We stopped at a Indian Creek Rec Area in Lousiana for a rest. We were lucky to find that they are encouraging/ studying Red-cockaded Woodpeckers here. It made it easy for us to see one. These little woodpeckers are having a rough time surviving. There are just a few populations in a few states and Lousiana is one of those lucky states. Their prefered habitat is mature pine or pine- oak woodlands. They bore their nest holes only in large living pine that have heart wood disease. Then they drill small holes around the nest opening and the sap oozes out of the holes down the tree under the opening. They think this might repel predators. It also makes it easy for humans to find the nest holes. The researchers then paint a wide white stripe on treees that have occupied nest holes. This makes it easy for birdwatchers like us to find the nests too. We have learned that if you wait at the near the nest holes right before they come in to roost for the night you can see these illusive little woodpeckers. We learned this the only other time that we saw one when a person studying these birds in KY told us that we could wait near some nest holes and told us to be still and keep our eyes open for them coming in. This bird announced his displeasure to us as he came in to roost that evening. It called and poundedon one of the trees near its nest. A fun respite for road weary travelers. We also had Brown-headed Nuthatches here. This is another bird we don't get to see often.
I hope you all have a nice weekend planned.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Doggie Thursday

Awww Mom, must you come at me with that camera. You know I don't like my picture to be taken. I am not like Snuffles I don't like to have my picture taken. How many times must I say it? Yes, I am more like Apollo. I like to take lots of naps. Especially on warm spring days.I just can't keep my eyes open. I must have my beauty sleep before the weekend.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Texas Trip Day Seven and Animal Wednesday

This is one of our days that I would like to have extended on our trip and it was all because of the stay at the Inn at Chachalaca Bend. This Bed and Breakfast is not far from South Padre Island and several National Wildlife Refuges. If you are ever in the area I would recommend staying here. It has the most beautiful grounds as well as great food and luxurious rooms.

We have stayed here before and have never had a bad moment. It is family owned and ran. They tried having a manager at one time it didn't work out. So they are back to managing it themselves. You just can't beat the personalized service and that good ole southern hospitality.
This visit we were entertained by all the black-bellied whistling ducks that have invaded their property. I mean wildlife knows a good place when they experience it too. However these ducks have made a nusiance of themselves by staying around too long. If you have ever experienced too many Canada Geese or too many pigeons on a property you know the problems. We however found them amusing and they are quite beautiful. In the early morning we found them as silouettes just loafing on the roof of the building. Happy Animal Wednesday everyone.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Blessings from Cathy and Pat

I have to tell you that I have been given the most wonderful gift. This picture painted by Cathy Johnson, the lady that I took some painting classes from. She isn't the Cathy Johnson of the internet. As a matter of fact I dont' think she gets on the computer to surf the net or anything like that. Anyway, it totally blew me away when I received it. She took it to the place where I work and left it for me. WOW... I couldn't believe my eyes.

I am always wearing hats. A friend of mine is a milliner and she occasionally makes a hat for me. So you see I am doubly blessed. Anyway Cathy just loved this particular hat and she said she wanted to paint it. She did a great job. Plus she was very kind to me. tee hee... I look so young. Thank you Cathy.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Texas Trip Day 6

Day six's highlight was another life bird for me. The Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl. This precious little bird is a hard to get species since it has a very specific habitat, is so small and is difficult to find. However some of the ranches in the area are blessed with having this little owl on their property so they give short tours of their ranch for you to see the owl.

We made arrangements with Leticia Tijerina, owner of the San Miguelito Ranch to see this small wonder. This was my first experience on a large ranch. I was not disappointed. The sweet little FPowl wasn't the only owl we saw. There was a Great Horned Owl sitting on a nest not far from where the FP Owls were to be found.

Other birds and wildlife were seen. One of the most interesting was not a native. It was a herd of Nilgai that came to the pond. This is an introduced deer/elk type herd animal from India. How did it get here you ask? The neighboring ranch introduced it several years ago and of course as with most exotics it wasn't contained on the ranch that wanted to hunt them. This animal is now found in many areas in Texas. It is eating the resident wildlife and cattle out of pasture. So this was not a good experiment however it was fun to see them.

We spent the rest of our day at the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. We missed the rare birds that have been seen there recently but we were happy to see the many resident birds and wildlife. Someone had seen an Ocelot the morning before we arrived. There is always something to draw us to this big beautiful NWR.
On our way out an Aplamado Falcon came whizzing past in front of the car. I slammed on the breaks hoping to see where it would land. In doing so I frightened the bird from its intended perch on a fence post right next to us. It wasn't too alarmed as it flew to the next fence row not too far from us. We could easily soak in its beauty with our binoculars.
Both of these birds are on my list to paint after the dust settles from our trip. It seems that I am having difficulty getting time for much painting right now.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Texas Trip Day 5

A great way to start a day is to see a life bird. What I mean is that I saw a bird I had never before seen. This one is the most rare bird I saw on the trip. It is a Crimson-collared Grosbeak. It is a native of Mexico and rarely comes to the US and only has been seen in extreme South Texas to my knowlege.

While it was a female and usually females don't impress you as especially beautiful I found this one to be a beautiful bird. She blended in with her environment so well. She was eating the fruit from the Potato Trees. This is also a life plant. I have never noticed a Potato Tree before. It is a small shrub like tree. Very pretty growing in the understory of the trees.After getting my eyes full of this beauty we went on to a newly established State Park, Estero Llano Grande. It is a park that is really dedicated to wildlife. I know they all are but it seems like this park was created just for wildlife. No campers etc. There is a nice gift shop. They conduct guided walks several times per day. We don't often take these guided walks but when the gentleman mentioned he would show us a Pauraque I told my DB "Let's Go". The Common Pauraque is one of my favorite birds. THey are night-hunters so like owls they aren't seen very often unless you know where they are located. It always amazes me that they little darlings will choose a sleeping spot so close to a trail. You could walk right past them if you don't know where they are because they blend in to the forest floor. I want to do a picture of one when I have time.

Now I must get on with the day. I am a little frustrated because I have come to that brick wall in Blogger, full quota of pictures. Hmmmm I will have to figure out what to do. See you sometime soon.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Texas Trip Day 4 Continued

I debated wheter or not to post this page from my journal. It is all writing. We had such a fun time at Bensten State Park. It is a marvelous park that used to be wide open for all that wanted to go to and from. Now it is still open but in a more "managed" way. You have to park outside the park, then either walk or take a tram into the area. There aren't as many birds reported here since they have done this. People used to park their trailers there all winter and put feeders out etc. You had lots of chances to find rarities. I didn't mind the park being like this but it is limiting if you wanted to see the entire park. I imagine that the wildlife loves it this way. The most fun was to see the Great Kiskadees displaying their golden crowns. Not only were they doing that the were becoming territorial. Fighting for certain perches and positions at feeders. I was wanting to draw and paint this scene but I couldn't quite get the fight scene to land on the paper. Instead I settled for one showing its crown.
A good day for sure.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Texas Trip Day 4

Day four of our trip we began at Roma Bluffs. It has an overlook of the Rio Grande where you can look up and down river near some islands that birds frequent. I got a life bird here, Red-billed Pigeon. Yes, it wasn't an exotic looking bird but one I had never seen none the less.

In the gift shop at the visitor center they had some finger puppets that I love to collect. I first started collecting them for my Grands. However they didn't take to them as I had hoped so now I have had to fess-up about liking them myself. I got this cute little Gambles Quail. He was our mascot for the trip. The little Mexican town right across the river was just awakening when we arrived on the bluffs. We could hear what seemed to be a rooster for every house arousing at the same time. What a cacophony of sound with all the roosters announcing morning light. It made it feel like we were in another world since we never hear this where we live.

It was also a little unsettling to see the Border Patrol with their tower right beside the observation deck keeping an eye out for illegal crossings. Heck, there was a bridge not a half mile from where we stood. I don't know why they wouldn't just walk across if they wanted to. I don't know if there is a check point but we saw people going from one side to the other. Strange.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Animal Wednesday - Chachalaca

This is another of my 70mph ATC's. This is a Chachalaca, a bird that is not the most glamorous thing to look at but I like them. You won't see them anyplace in the US except in South Texas. As big as they are (22") they can be difficult to see. They are so noisy so you can usually seek them out. They eat leaves and flowers. It is fun to see them "sneak-up" on a flower and gobble it down. They act like the flower might get away. Happy Animal Wednesday.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Booming Tuesday

This Booming Tuesday ATC is one of several that I am calling 70mph series. I did these as we were hurtling down the highwy at 70 mph. Relax, at least I wasn't driving.

I didn't have any water colors to use at this time but I had my trusty markers. I couldn't get the look I wanted so I used one of those travel paint brushes that have a small water reserve. So I put the washable marker colors on the paper then manipulated the colors to my liking. At least as best I could. I rather like the results. I will probably diddle with them some more like this in the future.I tried looking up this little flower. It looked similar to our spring beauties but if it was it was on steroids. It was larger and had more color. The leaves were heart shaped. Happy Blooming Tuesday to you all. I hope your week is stress free.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Cactus Monday -Pencil Cactus

While on vacation in Texas we saw many of the same cactus. When we arrived at a viewing blind in Falcon Dam State Park they had a huge pencil cactus growing right by the feeding station. We saw Long-billed Thrasher and aMockingbirds eating the red fruits on this cactus. I was too tired to paint much of the cactus. I have added the photo of this huge cactus so you could see it. If I am not right in thinking that it is a pencil cactus please tell me what it is. I have only seen pencil cactus that at the largest probably 12" high. I didn't know it would get as big as this one. Which I estimated at being almost 6 foot tall since it was taller than I and about that wide too. I am 5'6" tall, I had to look up to see the top of it. Happy Cactus Monday.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Texas Trip - Day Three

We drove over to Choke Canyon State Park, Calliham Unit. This is a nice place if you like to fish. I didn't see much else to occupy a person here other than camping, walking some easy trails, birding and fishing. We came here because there was a US first bird being seen here a couple of weeks before we arrived. Of course we missed the bird but we enjoyed our birding visit here. There are plenty of trails to walk and our bird list grew here. To me the best birds here were Roseate Spoonbill, Vermillion Flycatcher, Sora, White-faced Ibis, White Ibis, and our first Green Jay of the trip.
One of my favorite birds of Texas is the Crested Caracara. It is a large hawk-like bird that is easy to spot. It has a 50 wingspan so if it is soaring about you notice. These pictures my DB took of one that sat quietly if briefly. Long enough I got an eye full of his head. I couldn't wait to paint it.
We saw the most Caracaras we have ever seen in one trip today. We saw 15 in all. We aren't usually in this section of the state so this must be the reason why. Maybe it has been so dry in different areas of the State that they congregated here for the winter. I don't know really, but it was fun seeing so many.This is a juvenile that we saw later in the day. This is the fist juvenile I have ever seen. You can see that the coloring is different. It's facial skin is red instead of orangy yellow and over all it is browns. This one looked much thinner than the adults even though it was still with an adult. He must be expected to find his own food.
If you would like to read more about Choke Canyon State Park you can go here. If you would like to know more about the Crested Caracara you can go here.