Monday, June 27, 2011

Hanging Baskets and Caution Tape

Our numerous hanging baskets are really looking fine these days.

I know from experience that the deer will soon think so too.

A couple of days ago , I caught several juveniles, probably yearlings, eyeing them up from the driveway. We worked too hard and spent too much money for them to become deer food in the night.

I've been putting up various barriers (brooms, chairs, trash cans) at night to discourage investigation, but I knew it was time to take more aggressive measures!

Jerry had some caution tape, so we made our barrier more formidable last night. I will take it down during the day and change the way I hang it a little each night, so they don't get too used to it. I think that's the key with deer. Change things often, because it usually takes them a day or two to relax around something new. Of course, they are pretty comfortable just about everywhere here in SandyLand. They are just not welcome to eat my flowers, thank you very much!

Jerry's got another giant tomato plant growing this year. I think it's even bigger than last year's. It has taken over the deck table so that our woodchuck can't get to it.

Three males showing off for each other this morning.

Rembrandt is begging for watermelon.

And Princess just takes it all in from her throne.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Portrait Of A Princess

"A dog, I have always said, is prose; a cat is a poem." ~ Jean Burden

On Sketching Everyday I post a photo each week as a sketching challenge. This past week it was to draw my cat, Princess. This morning, I decided to do a watercolor portrait of her from my drawings. I used to do a lot of pet portraits and I really enjoyed doing this one. Go to my summer drawing blog to see the photo and sketches of her. Also see several other artist's interpretations of my little Princess here.

"As every cat owner knows, nobody owns a cat."  ~ Ellen Perry Berkeley

"I had been told that the training procedure with cats was difficult.  It's not.  Mine had me trained in two days."  ~ Bill Dana

Saturday, June 18, 2011

More Paintings From Hummerland!

Ok, I repainted this hummingbird for the third time! Although I'm STILL not 100% satisfied, I guess it's close enough to what I wanted that I can move on now though. In addition, I decided that doing it over four times was getting just a wee bit too obsessive. :-D

This little resting hummingbird painting is from another one of the sketches I posted this summer on You can see another perched hummer painting posted there today with the sketch I did it from.

I now have ten feeders out and we are going through more than a gallon of nectar everyday. I have never had this many birds this early in the season before. I think it's going to be a banner year!  Be sure to check out my 5 Steps To Happy Hummingbirds for in-depth information and tips on attracting your own birds.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Princess And The Herd

Princess wanted to go on walk-about real bad this morning. It's basically our girl time, where we walk around the property and interact with each other. It just has to be me! She won't go with Jerry. I was busy doing a favor for a friend, so she just had to wait. She kept crying to go out when I got home. Once she was out, she was crying to come in. I tried food, I tried water, I tried treats and brushing. Nothing worked. So finally I said; "Ok, I know what you want, lets go." She sprang to her feet and ran all the way out to the pasture. 

A few members of the herd were out there grazing. It was obvious that she wanted me to be aware of their presence. She kept turning around to make sure I was coming. I recognized Little Guy and Fuzzy Tail, life time regulars here.

She had a plan.

She was going to show off for me and strut her stuff. I guess she's sorta got a big head from the recent turkey incident.

She headed right towards Little Guy in a definite stalking mode.

When Fuzzy Tail came to investigate, I guess Princess sent out her meanest predator vibes because both deer took off in a fast trot. I really didn't see her do any distinct posturing or anything from the back. It looks almost like mind control. She is an unusual little cat with a really big ego and a huge presence when she sets her mind to it. It's fun for me to witness the relationships and the coexistence that our various critters have here with each other. It's not unusual to see our two feral cats playing tag with Chuckie the groundhog. And it's commonplace to see a few deer, turkeys and a raccoon eating sunflower seeds together under the bird feeders. It's just another day in my life here in SandyLand.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hummingbird Painting - Persistence

"Have you ever observed a hummingbird moving about in an aerial dance among the flowers - a living prismatic gem.... it is a creature of such fairy-like loveliness as to mock all description."  ~ W.H. Hudson,Green Mansions

License this image here.

I'm still not 100% satisfied with this watercolor, but I am getting closer to what I want with this one. See more today about Drawing and Painting hummingbird wings in flight on SketchingEveryday .

"It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer." ~ Albert Einstein

"If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking."  ~ Buddhist Saying

Monday, June 13, 2011

SandyLand Is Now HummerLand!!

Another day of hummingbird happiness here in HummerLand! We had a discussion on facebook yesterday about the name and one friend suggested I could call it HummerLand in the summer and SandyLand the rest of the year. I like that. Welcome to Sandy's world. Here the critters rule!!

Today I sketched a hummingbird in flight (with feet). I've been noticing their feet a lot lately. (So tiny and yet powerful! :-D) Here's a little watercolor I did from my sketch of the day

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Greetings From Hummerland!

The Mountain Laurel is just about done here in the pines. The local hummers love the stuff, so we don't get an accurate idea of their numbers until the flowers are done blooming. Here's a picture I took this week on one of my morning rides. This is my new bike next to one of the bushes so you can see the scale. The forest is just loaded with this North American kalmia. Many bushes are even bigger.

The past few days we have had a population explosion in our yard! I went from four small feeders to eight. The four I just added are the large 16oz.capacity. Even still, two of the feeders needed filling twice today! I'll tell you, this is exhilarating and just wonderful craziness.  I took this snapshot yesterday with my pocket camera next to the Butterfly Bushes where the birds love to play hide and seek, king of the bush and tag. We are all very eagerly waiting for the buds to open up! Many of the little sweeties can be seen constantly checking on the bud's progress. I spotted six hummers hiding in this little section of the plant, however there may be more. The yard and bushes have just been loaded with them! Anyone wanting to see them for yourself, give me a holler! Come spend the day with me here in HUMMERLAND!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Devon Horse Show 25 Year Reunion

 I have not attended the yearly Devon Horse Show and Country Fair in over twenty years. I stopped going when I switched from Hunters to Dressage. After that, I attended Dressage At Devon every year for over a decade. I had to stop going when I started doing a lot of art shows which always fell at the same time in the fall. Yesterday was a beautiful day and I decided to venture out to the fair. I left at the wrong time of the day and an hour and fifteen minute trip took me nearly two and a half. When I got there, the first thing I spotted as I neared the grounds was the ferriswheel.

 They were on dinner break, so I walked around the fairgrounds and watched some of the riders warm up for the $20,000 Gambler's Choice Jumper Class.

This lovely grey warmblood really caught my eye. I was fascinated by this unusual dee-ring snaffle bit and hackamore combination.

The setting at Devon is one of traditional elegance.

Here this gorgeous horse shows perfect form over the jump. I got so caught up in things I forgot to get a program, so I am clueless as to the identity of this pair. If anyone out there knows, please give me a shout. I did recognize some names from the past like Chapot and Ward, but this time it was the kids of these famous equestrians that were in the spotlight.

In the Gambler's Choice Class, each jump has different points and the rider picks the course. Anything goes and the horse with the most points and fastest time wins the cash. I had a perfect view of the Devon jump, but but only one rider jumped it because it was only 30 points. I only stayed for two classes, after which I was Devoned-out. I've got more photos to share next time. See more shots of Devon 2011 on Jennifer MacNeill-Traylor's blog.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Making Art Is Good For The Soul

And a lot of other things too - like hand-eye coordination, sense of accomplishment, growth, really seeing things and going into "the zone".  Woo, I am psyched! I've got some new and exciting ideas for this year's summer sketching series which started today. I hope a few of you will join me on my 3 month journey. Step up, speak out and share your input with me and our readers. Remember that in every aspect of our lives, what we get back, is in direct proportion to what we give out. This quick little watercolor painting was done today using the "2011 Horse Portrait Demo" as a starting point.