Category Archives: animals

Baby wrens

Baby wrens in nest.

I love house wrens.  Every year we have a nest on the front porch, either in a fern or in the wren house.  This year there are five baby wrens.  I counted the other day but you can only see four beaks in this photo. I love to watch the busy parents feeding this brood.  I can’t imagine how many bugs, grubs and worms they bring but it’s constant this time of year.  I was watching through the window  earlier today while working at my computer.  Although I’m sure the birds saw me, my presence didn’t seem to affect them at all.  They have a very bright chirrup, chirrup, especially if they’re alarmed as when the dog decides to nap on the porch, too.  We’ve even found them nesting in the pocket of a shirt my husband had hanging in the shed.  (Apologies for the bird poop, but that’s country life!)

UPDATE:  The babies fledged the day after I took this photo.  I saw a wren already looking at one of my hanging flowerpots which is another favorite nesting site.  Might get another family this summer.

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Is it or isn’t it?

Female bobcat early morning.

Female bobcat early morning.

We moved the deer cam up into the woods. In addition to deer, squirrels, etc., we caught this photo. I think it’s a female bobcat which typically weigh between 15 and 22 pounds. Unfortunately, the photo was taken at dawn, around 7:45 on Sunday so it’s in a grey light, not either day or night. It’s about twice as big as a house cat (which don’t last too long in these woods with so many coyotes around). If you zoom in on the photo, you’ll see that the legs have bands and that the back legs are longer than the front giving the bobcat its characteristic cheetah-like walk. Anyway, stay tuned. There may be more pix to come.

Night visitors

Living out in the near wilderness, we are often beset with furry critters set on eating our produce. Our 90 acres is more like a big park than a real farm. We don’t mind sharing but…there’s plenty for the animals to eat without invading the garden and orchards.

Recently we noticed that something was munching on the fallen apples. So we set up the deer cam in the orchard. My goodness, but there is a LOT of activity out there. Plenty of deer, lots of raccoons (and babies), and one slinky coyote. This isn’t counting all the rabbits and squirrels that set off the camera.

And for those of you who think raccoons are cute little masked bandits, think again. They are vicious creatures who just enjoy the pleasure of killing a whole flock of chickens in a single night.

Anyway, we’re really trying to capture a photo of a bobcat or mountain lion rumored to be living in these parts. We’ll move the deer cam into the woods soon and see what we will see.

Day visitors - a whole herd of deer munching on peaches  8:45 a.m.

Day visitors – a whole herd of deer munching on peaches 8:45 a.m.

Big buck 10:15 p.m.

Big buck 10:15 p.m.

Raccoon stealing bait from trap 5:08 a.m.

Raccoon stealing bait from trap 5:08 a.m.

Wylie Coyote 1:43 a.m.

Wylie Coyote 1:43 p.m.

Evening muncher 6:45 p.m.

Evening muncher 6:45 p.m.

Choosing a painting subject

A simple spring subject.  Oil on canvas, 11x14

A simple spring subject. Oil on canvas, 11×14

I’ve often been asked how I decide what to paint.  To me, the answer is obvious.  Just as writers are advised to “paint what you know,” so, too, should painters.  What interests you?  Do you have a passion or special message?  For me, just walking out the door will often suggest a subject.  In fact, I once had an exhibit which was solely painted from “my 90 acres,” i.e., everything and everyone was from the home place.  That was a little challenging as I do get out and about, but it was a good exhibit.

This painting that I completed yesterday is a scene just out my studio door.  The dog and some spring bushes.  Pretty simple.  However, if you look back at some of the famous painters of the past century, regional artists or French Impressionists, some of their best work was of ordinary daily scenes.  I don’t live near the ocean or the Rocky Mountains, so my usual subjects are the soft hills here in southern Indiana, small villages, flower gardens, vegetables, my favorite people and places.  Try taking a look around your own home town with new eyes.  You’ll be surprised at subjects which suggest themselves.  Good luck!