Thursday 30 January 2014

Bird Feeder

    During the winter a lot of birds congregate around the bird feeders to take advantage of the sunflower seeds, suet, and peanut butter.  With all these birds clustered together in one area it is not surprising that hawks have noticed the gathering and periodically stop in to pick up a few of these birds for their lunch.  I spotted what I think is a sharp-shinned hawk out in the yard yesterday.
    A few days ago, I saw a group of chickadees flying around and landing in various bushes.  I noticed what I thought was a larger one on a branch close to me, and when I looked closer,  discovered it was a pigmy owl.  The coloration was similar, but It had a thicker body and had a broad round head with big eyes.  I grabbed my camera, but it was off before I got a shot.

I paint every morning.  You can see my paintings at:

Wednesday 29 January 2014

Sparkling Icicles

    Today we are back to gray overcast and snow, after a couple of beautiful clear days of sun and deep blue skies.  Joan, Skye, and I were just returning from an early afternoon walk on the trail, and when we approached the house, it was just at the right angle to see the sun refract of of the icicles hanging from our roof.  I was taken by the spectrum of color that was radiating off of the icicles, and was surprised when I saw that my camera was able to capture it.

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Tuesday 28 January 2014

Pete Seeger

    In the middle of the night, I woke up and then had trouble getting back to sleep, so as I often do, I turned on my clock radio so that it could lull me back into slumber.  At the top of the hour, when the news came on, I heard the report that Pete Seeger had died.  I had a lot of respect for Pete Seeger, and he had a big influence on my life.
    In the early 1960’s I became enamored with folk music.  There was a show on television I watched every Saturday night, called “Hootenanny” that featured a variety of folk singers from university performances.  I loved the songs, their melodies, instruments, history, and sentiments.  I ordered myself a banjo from the Sears catalogue, and formed a folk singing group at my high school.  I bought folk albums and folk magazines.
    In them, articles often referred to Pete Seeger, I knew some of his songs, “Blowin in the Wind”, and “Turn, Turn, Turn”, but I never got to see him or hear him play at the time--he was banned and blacklisted and as a result, could not appear on radio or TV.
    Later, as the Vietnam War began to devour American youth, I began to hear mention of Pete Seeger again, this time for his protests against the slaughter.  It wasn’t until 1968, when he appeared on the Smothers Brothers TV show (and got censored for singing an anti-Vietnam war song), did I actually get to see and hear him sing.
    Pete Seeger spent his life fighting against racial injustice, political injustice, and environmental injustice.   While he was blacklisted in the 1950’s, and found it very difficult to make a living, he did folk music workshops at summer camps for kids.  When these kids grew up and went to university, they took the songs and their guitars with them and that is what started the whole folk revival in the 1960‘s.
    That in turn, led to a whole explosion of singer songwriters in the folk vein (Bob Dylan, John Prine, and later, folk rock groups like, The Byrds, and the Eagles), and songs that had lyrics that meant something--the music that I love.  (Pete Seeger was so upset when Dylan started playing electric guitar at a folk concert that it is said he used an ax to cut the power.)
    A few years ago, PBS did a show on Pete Seeger in their American Masters series.  I was touched to learn that early in his life, Pete Seeger left the city and bought some land and built himself a house out in the woods, and thought of the forest as his religion--a man after my own heart.
    Tonight at our jam session I will suggest “Goodnight, Irene,” a song Pete Seeger made famous, as a tribute to a musical giant and a admirable man.

You can view my paintings at:

Monday 27 January 2014

Dore River Sunset

    Our house looks out at the Cariboo Range of Mountains.  We see a fairly continuous ridge across from us, broken only by the cleft made by the Dore River Valley that cuts through the Cariboos, allowing the river to drain into the Fraser.  
    This time of year a good part of our focus is upon the slow daily march toward Spring.  One of the markers of that progression for us is when we see the sun begin to set in and west of the Dore River Valley.  It has now done that.
    At the Winter Solstice, the sun sets behind the mountains, way to the east of the Dore, after the Solstice the sunsets slowly begin to inch their way westward.  Now that it is setting at the Dore, sunlight begins to stream into the picture windows we have in the living room, before it sets behind the mountains, something it hasn’t done since way before December.  By the summer, it will be setting so far to the northwest that we are not able to see it from our house.
    In the photo above, the jagged peaks are located back in the Dore River Valley.  The actual cleft in the valley that we mark is the low area obscured by the clouds on the right side of the photo.

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Sunday 26 January 2014

Now What Do I Do?

    This was the situation I was faced with the other day.  A year ago I bought an amplifier for my electric guitar.  One of the things I liked about the amp was the ability to adjust the sounds that the amp makes by using a computer.  You could set all kind of unique amp sounds by attaching the amp to the computer and using some software to tweak the sound.
    Shortly after getting the amp I tried it, but found that the software wasn’t working properly and I finally gave up in frustration.  After a year, I had forgotten all that frustration and decided to try again--I shouldn’t have.  Full of optimism, I downloaded the latest version of the software, plugged in my amp into the computer and started the process.  I got to the window above and then the software stopped dead in its tracks. 
    Nothing was happening, the software was frozen, and because of the warning on the screen, I was afraid to unplug the amp or shut down the software.  I was full of frustration and apprehension.
    I thought, well maybe the software is still working, but just isn’t showing any activity on the screen.  I decided to just wait a few hours to see if anything changed--it didn’t.
    What to do, what to do?  I didn’t want to make my amp “non-operational” but I couldn’t keep the amp plugged into the computer for the rest of my life.  I took a deep breath and unplugged the amp.
    Now the only thing my amp can do its blink a red light.  None of the controls work, it cannot make a sound.  I have spent a couple of days trying to get it going, but it remains technically dead.  The whole experience put me in a pretty black mood.
    I called Fender, the maker of the amp and software and they informed me that they were aware of the problem and were just a few days away from a solution (it is always a bit gratifying to learn you are not the only one in the universe to have a particular problem).  They assured that a solution should be available in a couple of days. 
    I sure hope so, an electric guitar amplifier than can do nothing but blink a red light is not much use to me.

You can view my paintings at:

Saturday 25 January 2014

Tracks in the Snow

    There is always a lot going on outside at night that we are totally unaware of.  Having snow on the ground gives us evidence of some of those happenings.  The above freezing temperatures during the daylight hours and freezing temperatures at night has created a lot of very slippery icy surfaces on our driveway and sidewalk.
    Above you can see the tracks that a deer left on our icy driveway.  Obviously, the usually sure-footed deer was having trouble with traction and was doing a lot of sliding as it walked up our drive.
    The photo below shows the tracks of a moose that stepped off of our well packed path and and as a result sank  12 inches (30 cm) into the deep snow.  As we walk our trail we also see tracks of snowshoe hare, and mice who all ventured out to frolic about at night in the snow.

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Friday 24 January 2014


    I got an email today from Charles Wiley, a friend that  I went to school with.  He sent me this cartoon that was drawn back in our high school days, and he wondered who drew it and asked if I did. 
    Yep, it was me.
    Back in elementary school I spent a lot of time reading Mad Magazine, and I especially admired one of their cartoonists--Don Martin.  I spent lots of hours copying the way that he drew his characters.  The “Don Martin” influence (particularly the face and shoes) are pretty obvious on the cartoon above.  Now that I think about it, maybe the flies are his too, but I don’t remember.  Little did I know that that my youthful copying of his cartoon characters would have any impact on my later life.
    Whenever I am introduced to anyone in our town, I am usually introduced as, “the person who draws the cartoons in the newspaper.”  Actually a few months ago, my cartooning workload doubled when I began to do cartoons for both of our local papers.  I have been doing the cartoons in the weekly paper regularly since the early 1980’s,  That is a lot of cartoons!  I also make a calendar every year that features my cartoons.
    Because I have been drawing cartoons for 45 years, the actual drawing doesn’t take me very long, its the coming up with ideas, that is the hard part.  I mostly do cartoons about things that local people can relate to--mosquitoes, weather, mice, etc., but every so often I get so mad at what is going on politically that I do a political cartoon.  
    I now draw the cartoon using a thin line marker, I scan the drawing into the computer where I put a box around it, write out the caption, and shade it.  I used have to submit the cartoon on paper, then later on a floppy disk, now I just send it as an attachment on an email.  Technology had made it all a lot simpler.
    It was nice to be reminded of my early attempts at cartooning.  Now it is a nice way to earn a bit of extra money.  Below is one of my present day cartoons.

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Thursday 23 January 2014

Apology to Lucifer

    I have to make an apology to our cat, Lucifer, for jumping to conclusions.   The other day Joan was watching the news, and they showed the clip of the “Devil Baby.”  I’m sure most of you have seen the viral video by now, but if you haven’t here is what it shows:  Some movie technicians created this little robot, the size and appearance of an infant.  They gave it a horrible scary evil looking face. 
    They put it in a baby stroller out on a busy sidewalk, tucked it in and partially covered its face with a blanket, then walked a way and filmed.  They made the robot cry like a baby, when concerned passersby came over to help the baby, it quickly shot up into a sitting position with its evil little head in view and made a blood curdling scream, which of course terrified the unsuspecting victim.  It was very funny, of course, to watch the reaction of the people as the horrible looking Devil Baby shot up and screamed.
    While Joan was enjoying this video on TV, I was outside shoveling snow.  When I came in, Joan asked me, “Have you seen the “Devil Baby?”  I naturally assumed that she was asking about Lucifer our cat, and replied, “No, I thought she was in the house.”
    I felt sorry that I made this assumption about Lucifer, and I hope she will accept this apology.

You can see my paintings at:

Wednesday 22 January 2014

Edge Lit Lucille

    Lucille Mountain is the most prominent peak that can be seen from McBride.  A few mornings ago, when we were having clear weather (we are presently back to gray skies), the rising sun was just hitting the edge of the mountain as we stepped out of the woods into a clearing, and so naturally, I grabbed my camera.

You can see my paintings at:

Tuesday 21 January 2014

Critter Sighting

    Although we walk our trail daily, usually nothing unusual is seen.  Fortunately every once in a while we are happy to spot something out of the ordinary.  This morning as Skye and I were tramping through the snow, my eye caught a glimpse of a color that seemed out of place.  It was an elk or more properly a wapiti.  
    As I looked more carefully, I saw that there was a small herd of five laying in the snow, who had spotted me and were starting to stand up in case they needed to vamoose.  As I stopped to grab my camera, they decided to make their move, but fortunately I did get one photo.
    While deer are quite common, we rarely see elk in our neighborhood.  I have only seen them on our trail walks a few times over many years.  When we first moved to the Robson Valley there were no elk around McBride, then maybe 25 years ago they began to establish themselves.  They became the bane of farmers as the herds became larger and began to damage crops and destroy bales of hay stored out in the open during the winter.  
    They, so far, have caused me no problems, and I enjoyed the rare opportunity of seeing them this morning.

You can view my paintings at:

Monday 20 January 2014

Painting Secrets

    I started working on a new painting yesterday, and so I thought today I would give some insights about the way I paint.  Most of the people that have seen my paintings know that I divide the canvas up into squares and each morning I paint a square.  
    I have the image that I am trying to paint on my computer.  That image is also divided into squares.  Each day before I begin to actually paint, I zoom into the particular square I am going to paint that day.  The photo on the top is the zoomed in square that I painted today.  You will notice that I have a series of lines across the picture.  They are guide lines.  I draw the same lines across the square on my canvas that I am about to paint.  They help me sketch out the areas on the square on the canvas, so that I can draw everything in the right place.
    Then when I have finished the rough sketch on the canvas, I begin to paint, concentrating on what colors I see and trying to mix that color for the painting.  The lower photo shows the square as it ended up on my canvas.   Each square usually takes between 45 minutes and an hour to complete.  I like to listen to CBC’s “The Current” (a news and current event show) on the radio as I paint the square.
    Although I try to paint realistically, and many people comment that my paintings look so real, as you can see from the two squares, while similar, they do look a lot different from each other.  After the image has been passed through my eye, to my brain, and hands, it changes a bit.  Another thing I think is interesting, is that when I am zoomed in on a square and painting it, I don’t always know what it is I am painting, I am just trying to match what I see.  It isn’t until I finish painting the squares that surround it that it becomes clear.  
    The painting I am working on is an image of a “Hen and Chicks” plant in the fall when it is very colorful.  The square you see is a blurry part of the image, so it makes it even more difficult to recognize.  You can follow along with my daily progress on this painting by clicking on the “Current Work” tab on my website.  
    Now that you know my painting secrets, you can begin your painting career.

Sunday 19 January 2014

Tongue of Deer

    This is sort of strange and troubling.  I saw this deer just outside of the house at the peanut butter log that hangs from our birch tree.  The deer come around and eat the peanut butter.  When I saw this particular deer, its head was turned the other way around and I noticed something pink hanging down below the profile of its face, but I couldn’t tell what it was.  I thought maybe that the deer had part of its mouth ripped or something.
    Then when it turned around I could see that it was its tongue just hanging lifelessly out of its mouth, otherwise the deer seemed healthy.  I have no idea what has caused this to happen, but it didn’t seem that the deer could move it.  All this happened about a week ago, and I haven’t seen the deer around since.

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Saturday 18 January 2014

She Barks

    I have been worried about our dog Skye, because it seemed like she couldn’t bark, at least she hadn’t during the almost 2 months that we had her.  I felt for sure she would bark at the squirrels, but she would silently run across the ground chasing and watching them as they leaped from branch to branch above her.
    The photo above, shows Skye sitting free on the porch, curiously watching a deer, who was checking out the peanut butter I provide for the birds.  Skye just sat there and watched while the deer was only about 7 meters away.  It was bizarre.
    Then a few seconds later, the deer, who was nervous about the dog being there, suddenly bolted and bounded across the yard.  This unexpected action probably startled Skye, because finally, at long last, she stood up, used her voice, and created a low sounding couple of barks.
    Certainly I don’t want a dog that barks all of the time, and fortunately, her barking was brief.  Now I am relieved to know that she can bark but she uses this ability extremely sparingly.

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Friday 17 January 2014

Rhubarb Painting Finished

    Yesterday I finished my painting of rhubarb leaves.  The 24 x 18 inch (61 x 46 cm) acrylic painting took me 96 hours to complete.  I am very pleased with how it turned out.  I was really attracted to the translucent quality of the light shining through the funnel shaped leaf and that was what I was trying to recreate.  I also liked the dynamic way the edges of the leaves dance across the canvas.  I seem to also be attracted to the organic vein-like structures of the stems spreading through leaves.  I strive to give my paintings a three dimensional feel.  It is the third painting I have done of rhubarb.

You can see all of my paintings at:

Thursday 16 January 2014

Tidying Up After Skye

    I wrote the other day about how our outside activities are pretty much limited to paths, since the snow everywhere else is so deep.  So when we walk the dog we do it on a path, and when Skye wants to pee, she does that on the path.  As a result whenever we walk down any of our paths we periodically see some small spots of yellow snow.
    Lucifer, our cat also accompanies us on some of our walks and we’ve noticed something interesting;  when she comes upon one of Skye’s yellow pee spots, she becomes all indignant, she stops and starts to paw the area, in an effort to cover the offending spot over with snow.  That is what she is doing in the photo.

You can see my paintings at:

Wednesday 15 January 2014

Snow Fold

    After a big dump of snow the other day, the temperatures climbed to above freezing and the snow buildup on the tin roof of my shop started to slowly move downward.  When it reached the snow on the lower slope of the carport, which wasn’t moving as fast, it had nowhere to go so it started folding over on itself.  I have never seen the snow on the roof look like this before.

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Tuesday 14 January 2014

Trapped on Paths

    Every winter as the snow begins to build up deeper and deeper on the ground, our movements outside become more and more restrictive.  Eventually, it gets to the point where we just have to stay on the paths.  There is a path to the barn, where I keep the sunflower seeds for the birds (and squirrels, and deer).  Another path leads to the compost pile, and there is a third path to the firewood.  
    Whenever we take the dog out for a walk, we stay on the path that is part of our trail.   A section of it goes along the edge of the pond.  When we take Skye out for a walk, Lucifer, our cat always wants to go along, and so she follows behind us.  After Skye does her business, we turn around and retrace our steps.
    This means that suddenly the cat, who was at the back of the parade is suddenly leading it.  Usually, when she sees us walking toward us, she does the little arching back display shown in the photo.  I always thought that this arching back thing in cats was some kind of defensive tactic to look bigger and to scare off threats, but I have read that it is more a friendly greeting thing, and it seems like that is the case with Lucifer.
    Skye, however is not convinced, and clings to the belief that it is something Lucifer does before all hell breaks loose and she attacks.  Because we are all pretty much trapped on the path and can’t really walk around the cat, Skye hangs back until Lucifer decides to turn around and lead the parade back to the house.

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Sunday 12 January 2014

Snowshoe Morning

    We didn’t walk the trail at all yesterday, because of more than a foot (30cm) of fresh snow.  Instead we had to shovel the driveway.  Today, I decided that I would walk the trail, but that I needed to wear the snowshoes to do it, because the snow was so deep, plus the trail needed packing and widening so we could later just walk it with just our boots.
    The idea behind snowshoes is to create a larger surface area when you walk, so that you don’t sink  into the snow too much.  The fresh snow we had was very light and fluffy, so despite the snowshoes, I was still sinking about a foot in places.  Skye, who started out following me, finally gave up and turned around because even with my snowshoe path, the spaces between my footprints were still too deep for her.  I ended up snowshoeing the path twice just so it was all packed down.
    Once when I was working for the BC Forest Service, I had to do a check on an area high on the slope of a mountain.  There were no roads into the area, so we had to fly in and be dropped off by helicopter, then snowshoe through the area and be picked up later in the day at the other end. 
    There was a lot of snow on the ground and because of the slope, the helicopter couldn’t set down, so he was just going to hover close to the ground and we would have to just make the short jump to the snow.  We of course, couldn’t wear snowshoes in the helicopter, so I had to jump into the snow with just my boots on. 
    I opened the helicopter door, stepped our on the metal runner, and then jumped down to the snow.  I sunk up to my hips in the white fluffy powder, which was a big surprise to me.  My co-worker handed me my snowshoes and his, then he jumped down beside me.  Once the helicopter was away, we struggled in the deep snow to get our snowshoes on.  When that was finally accomplished, we were able to snowshoe on top of the snow without sinking up to our hips.
    Below is a shot of my snowshoe tracks on the trail.

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Saturday 11 January 2014

Another Day of Shoveling

    I have spent the last two mornings shoveling my driveway after two minor snowfalls (2.5 inches or 6.5 cm) each day, as I said before I like to keep on top of it so that it doesn’t get to be an overwhelming job.  Overnight we had a lot of blowing snow come down and when I got up there was between 5 to 9 inches (12-22 cm) of fresh snow on the ground depending on the drift.
    I did spend some time shoveling a short bit of the driveway before painting and blogging, and in the meantime another 2 inches (5 cm) has covered my earlier work on the driveway.  It appears that a good chunk of this day will be spent moving snow, and the piles along my drive are getting higher and higher.

You might want to compare this photo with my painting "Fenceline" which is the same scene but in the spring.

Friday 10 January 2014

Northern Lights

    If you expecting to see a colorful display of the aurora borealis, you are out of luck.  Instead, I offer this night photo of the “lights” of our little “northern” town of McBride, BC. 
    Yesterday on news broadcasts I did hear about the expectation of an aurora during the night, and I had my camera ready, but we had partial cloud, followed later by full cloud.  As a result, I didn’t see any ghost-like greenish curtains moving in the sky, but since I had my camera with me when we went to square dancing, I took this night shot of Main Street McBride at 7:00 PM.  It may not be that obvious from the photo, but the Christmas decorations and lights are still up.
    Since I did sort of mislead you with the “Northern Lights” title I will tell you my favorite aurora story:   
    One cold winter’s night there was a slight greenish aurora, so I thought I would try to record it with my new video camera.  I bundled up, went outside, and set my camcorder to “Night Vision” then put my eye to the viewfinder and aimed at the sky.  
    I was surprised when through the viewfinder, I suddenly saw these, greenish cloud-like objects streaking against the dark sky.  
    “Wow,” I thought, “this is going to be much better than I imagined.”
      As I watched, the green transparent objects twisted and changed shape as they moved across in the view finder.  I was so impressed at what I was capturing on video.
    After some time of filming, I lowered the camera and gazed at the night sky with my eyes--Nothing!  Where did all the streaking greenish shapes go?  Then it hit me what was happening.
    As I was filming and watching through the viewfinder, my breath was blowing in front of the camera and was being illuminated by the greenish “Night Vision”.  So instead of a dynamically changing aurora, the whole  time I was filming my breath.

You can see my paintings at:

Thursday 9 January 2014

A Great Place to Lay Down

    Joan has been doing a lot of knitting lately.  She just finished this red scarf, and In order to shape it, she moistened it, then pinned it down to a towel which she had laid out on the living room floor.  Even though Lucifer, our cat has the whole house to lay down in, she fancied the towel and scarf as the right spot  for a nap and decided to lay down there.  We had to chase her off of the towel several times yesterday.
    This morning when Joan walked into the living room, Skye, our dog, was curled up on the scarf and towel.  Obviously, Joan’s shaping set up presents some hidden attraction to animals who want to lay down.

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Wednesday 8 January 2014

Wow, Food

    Sometimes last year, I wrote about our finicky cat, Lucifer and how she often refused to eat the canned food we gave her.  She would sniff at it ,then forcefully paw the floor like she was trying to cover it over with dirt to order to spare the world of its awfulness.   When she refused her food, we didn’t want to totally waste it, so we would put it outside, and the chickens we had at the time would come running to eat it.
    Now we are having a similar problem with our dog, Skye.  Lately it seems that she eagerly goes to her bowl of canned food, but  after sniffing at it, sadly turns and walks away.  Something about it she finds objectionable.  Unfortunately, we no longer have chickens, so it created a problem of what to do with the day old food.  We didn’t want to just put it in the trash and waste it, so in hopes that some wild animal would find it and appreciate it, we decided to dump it out on the snow beneath the bird feeder.
    Sure enough, some animal did find it and scarfed it down, it wasn’t a wild animal though, it was Skye.  She sniffed out the old food, thought it was a found treasure and quickly ate it--I guess food just tastes better when you eat outside.

I paint every day, see my paintings at:

Tuesday 7 January 2014

A Bright Light in the Sky

    Yesterday afternoon as we did our round on the trail, it felt strange to actually have the sun shining.  We have had so much cloudy weather lately, that just the sight of it, hovering just above the mountains  and about to slip below them, was a treat.  I thought I would put these photos on the blog so I could remember the sight of it; it looks like we are back to clouds for the rest of the week.

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Monday 6 January 2014

Triangular Buns

    I have started making my sandwiches for lunch using triangular buns from Costco.  I like them well enough, but we didn’t buy them for me to eat, we bought them for a friend who has made them a mainstay of his diet.
    This all started nine days ago when we were up at the Costco store in Prince George.  Like I said, a friend always wants them, and he lives in a rather isolated area off of the grid and doesn’t make regular trips to Prince George.  Since we go about once a month, we usually buy the big bag of buns for him, then he just picks them up at our place.   So when we were at Costco, we just bought him some like we generally do.
    When we got home I sent him an email to let him know that we had them, and he wrote back that he wouldn’t be able to pick them up for a couple of days, and told us we should just put them in our freezer or in our car to freeze.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough room in our freezer for the big bag of buns, so I put them in the cab of my truck.  More unfortunately, the temperature warmed up so it was above freezing, but we didn’t really have any other really cold place to keep them, so they stayed in the truck.
    In the week that followed, I periodically had to use the truck, so I transferred the buns to the car.  Of course that got used periodically too, and when we used the car, we couldn’t very well leave them in there with our constantly hungry dog, Skye.  As a result the buns have been moving around quite a bit.  The temperature did finally drop below freezing after about a week, but by then we were already worried about the quality of the buns.
    Our friend has not yet been by to pick them up, so we thought we would just start eating them, since the temperature is once again going to rise above the freezing point, so I guess now the triangular buns are mine.  I hope I can eat them all before they go bad.

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Sunday 5 January 2014

Slim Pickings

    This time of year my eyes get so hungry for color.  It seems we have had nothing but grey skies and snow for weeks.  This morning along the trail I saw these red berries sticking out beneath a snow covered branch.  The fact that these tiny red things caught my eye shows just how starved for color I am.
    Thinking about starvation, in the fall there were red berries aplenty, and now these are the only ones I could see that were left.  It started me wondering what all those berry eating birds and animals were eating, because there certainly didn’t seem to be any berries left.  What are they eating now?
    It was then that I remembered all the sunflower seeds and peanut butter I was buying and putting out every morning.  I guess I am probably contributing a good bit to their winter diet.

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Saturday 4 January 2014

Into the Shower, Skye

    If the temperature is just around the freezing point and there is snow on the ground, when Skye is walking or playing around in it, snowballs form around her feet and legs.  This used to happen a lot with Mac, so we know how to deal with it.  When Mac came back into the house, we would direct him to the shower, he would walk in, and I would take the hand shower and run warm water over his legs  which quickly melted the snowballs.
    So when Skye first came into the house with snowball feet, I directed her toward the shower, but she right away became suspicious that something sinister was afoot, and timidly walked in the opposite direction.  As my voice became firmer, her resistance hardened and she flattened herself on the floor, which meant I had to pick her up, carry her to the shower to wash her feet.
    Fortunately, this only happened about 5 times, before she realized that the shower treatment didn’t hurt, and actually made her more comfortable by getting rid of the ice on her feet and legs.  Now, when she comes into the house after a romp in the snow, and I direct her to the shower, she stoically walks right into the stall and waits for me to begin.  

You can take a look at my paintings at:

Friday 3 January 2014


    Our weather has been switching back and forth between rain and snow.  This morning I was happy to see that we were again in the snow mode.  All the twigs and branches where covered with fluffy white snow. 
    As Skye and I started out on the first 50 meters of our walk along the trail, in front of us a deer who was walking toward us on the trail, suddenly saw us, turned, and bounded away.  Skye got really excited and started after the deer (silently, she still hasn’t barked).  Amazingly, when I shouted to Skye to stop, she halted and came back (Mac would have closed his ears and would have been long gone by this point). 
    I watched the deer, who stopped further down the trail when it saw it was no longer being pursued.  It turned and bounded off of the trail and into the bush on the right, disappearing into the snow covered brush.  Skye and I continued on with our walk.
    Just a bit further down the trail, I happened to see the deer, standing there watching us.  I slowly grabbed the camera and luckily it was patient enough to remain in the same position until I got the photo, this being done, we left him and continued on our walk.

You  can view my paintings at:

Thursday 2 January 2014

Run, Skye, Run

    One of the characteristics that we were looking for in a dog was a love of play.  Our old dog, Mac, was always eager to have some fun.  We were happy to discover that Skye too, is full of energy and can’t wait to explode into some playful activity. If we are outside and I start waving my arms around, she recognized this as a signal to run.
    She charges toward me in a burst of speed, flies past me, then turns on a dime and charges me again.  It is great fun to watch her exuberance.  I have a short video of the action on my website
Unfortunately I can't put it on this blog, so you will have to go there.

Wednesday 1 January 2014

New Year's Eve

    We spent our New Years Eve as we traditionally do by enjoying a good meal and conversations with friends over at Milnes.  The photo above shows Dave presenting his guests with a flaming Christmas pudding, that he and Lyuba made.
    Yesterday I blogged about how 2013 had been a good year for me, and the year ended on a really positive note as well.  For last night’s entertainment, we got to see the film, “Searching for Sugar Man”.  It was a film I have been wanting to see ever since I first heard it’s remarkable story a year ago.
    The film was one of the most memorable I have ever seen.  I’m not going to spoil the story here because I think that you should seek it out and experience it from the film.  It would have been an amazing story if it were fiction, but it actually happened.  The film won the Oscar for Best Documentary in 2013. 
    “Searching for Sliver Man,”  watch it, you won’t be disappointed.

I paint every morning, see what I painted today: