And a Partridge in a Pear Tree

I was going through some old photos recently when I came across some of my earliest original artwork.

I was that kid who loved to draw. I even had some kids ask me for drawings that I later learned that they signed and turned in as their own work. Even as a youngster I should have been more cognizant of my rights under copyright law.

I loved to make drawings for my Grandmother. She would actually frame some of my doodles for display in the living room of her home. Forget the fridge and a magnet, she believed my work belonged on walls presented properly. Grandma always got my sense of humor so I had the idea to draw her a pretty complex, over-the-top Christmas Card.

The actual card is long gone, but what I found was my original sketch. I did this when I was about 8-9 years old. It’s not very detailed, and it has part of my math homework off on one side. The whole thing started when I asked Grandma what all of those things in that crazy song looked like – she said she didn’t know, so I decided to make something up.

The 12 Days of Christmas through my 4th grade eyes…

Days 12 through 7. Hand illustrated on the finest college ruled velum.

Days 12 through 7. Hand illustrated on the finest college ruled velum. The extended cow is my favorite part of this section.

A card so grand it took two whole sides of a sheet of paper to plan out…

Days 6-1 - I believe "4 Calling Birds" is some of my best work

Days 6-1 – I believe “Four Calling Birds” is some of my best work – I think the one on the lower right speaks “Woodstock”

Over the years I have reproduced this concept in pen and ink with lots of flourishes and details – but the concept itself is unchanged. The Maids-a-milking would all be in French maid uniforms, the Lords would be jumping hurdles, the Swans would wear swimming goggles – all style with the substance unchanged. The last time I drew it was the Christmas after I graduated from college.

When I showed this drawing to one of my co-workers, she remarked that the Calling Birds and the Turtle Doves would make fun T-shirts – pretty cool since I make up T-shirt slogans for a living. I guess I’m kinda doing what I was made to do.

I hope your Holiday Season is bright and wonderful and just a little bit silly.

These are a Few of My Favorite Things

You know the song.

Since Thanksgiving you’ve heard it a hundred times. Listening to the lyrics it’s not explicitly about Christmas, but it is from a movie we watch during the holidays. The list in the song is not my list. I’m not big on whiskers – I prefer the rest of the kitten. I don’t think I need mittens when using a kettle – it’s all a bit disjointed. Lyrically it’s genius – in practical use it’s not my cup of tea.

So what would my list be? I decided for my 100th post to share the list of things that inspire me behind the lens.

Raindrops on…

Anything.

Naked Lady in the rain

Naked Lady in the rain.

You can see my house inverted in this raindrop

You can see my house inverted in this raindrop.

A newly opened dogwood drenched in the rain

A newly opened dogwood drenched in the rain.

Lilac buds shining after a shower

Lilac buds shining after a shower.

I love redbuds - the first color of spring

I love redbuds – the first color of spring.

I’m not so much into bright copper kettles, but I am fascinated with…

Rust.

This is the rust and patina on my copper fire pit.

This is the rust and patina on my copper fire pit.

This hay rake was in my woods when I bought the house - every surface is beautifully rusted.

This hay rake was in my woods when I bought the house – every surface is beautifully rusted.

This padlock was on the jail in Midas Nevada. The lock spoke to me more than the shack it was attached to.

This padlock was on the jail in Midas Nevada. The lock spoke to me more than the shack it was attached to.

I don’t even know what schnitzel is – it sounds odd to me. I know it’s odd to love…

Dandelions.

I like the delicate structure and I like to find a way to look at them in new ways

I like the delicate structure and I like to find a way to look at them in new ways.

The structure of the actual flower is pretty amazing even before it goes to seed.

The structure of the actual flower is pretty amazing even before it goes to seed.

The substructure is so intricate. I shot this with a manual macro lens from the 70s.

The substructure is so intricate. I shot this with a manual macro lens from the 70s.

I grew up in the desert so the idea of sleigh bells is foreign to me, but door bells make me think of home. I have a strong bent towards…

Sentiment and Kitsch.

I love kitsch and I love it unusual places. I have had lawn flamingoes in the front lawn of every home I have ever owned.

I love kitsch and I love it unusual places. I have had lawn flamingoes in the front lawn of every home I have ever owned.

Keys

These are my Grandpa’s keys. I love shooting things that belonged to someone special.

Purple Glass

My Grandma taught me about purple glass, I love to shoot things that are transparent and have color.

Apricot Pit

My great-grandfather carved this out of a peach pit. I love the surfaces of handmade things like this.

Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes. I like snow, but not so much for its photographic opportunities. I prefer…

Spring Flowers

First color on the ground often before the grass starts to green up.

Crocus – the first color on the ground, often before the grass starts to green up.

Cherry Blossoms open skyward

Cherry Blossoms opening skyward captivate me.

Daffodils have amazing color before we even notice them

Daffodils have amazing color before we even notice them.

Lilacs open as the sun hits them - here for too brief a time.

Lilacs open as the sun hits them – here for too brief a time.

My garden fairy planted a few of these a couple of years ago in a spot were there was once a cistern. I love them.

Hyacinths – My garden fairy planted a few of these a couple of years ago in a spot were there was once a cistern. I love them.

Cream colored ponies and dogs biting. I’m not too far off here.  I love the company of…

Dogs.

Sunshine is my Goldendoodle. He’s a lovely goofball and is a bit camera-shy, I like to catch him when he is unaware of me.

These are my brother’s pointers – I shot this one Christmas when Vegas had a rare snow. I loved the sheer joy the pups exuded as they ran in the frosted desert.

These are my two female terriers. They hate each other’s guts unless they are sleeping – they are precious when they sleep.

This is a pup I met on a trip – I love that he was interested in my camera. Curiosity is a favorite thing to capture in an animal.

Zipper was my first Kayak dog – he was so relaxed on the water.

Brown paper packages, blue satin sashes, silver white winters – there’s a lot of color in this song. I love color and am drawn to vivid colors. One color draws me more than all the others.

I shoot anything that is…

Orange.

The color of this car drew me to it - hundreds of cars and this was my favorite.

The color of this car drew me to it – hundreds of cars and this was my favorite.

I'm pretty sure I chose this hard drive for that orange bumper.

I’m pretty sure I chose this hard drive for that orange bumper.

In the shop where I work I see lots of color, but this set of mixers caused me to go get my camera.

In the shop where I work I see lots of color, but this set of mixers caused me to go get my camera.

These Tiger Lilies grow wild around the Ozarks. I have them pretty thick in the springs right at the edge of the woods

These Tiger Lilies grow wild around the Ozarks. I have them pretty thick in the spring – right at the edge of the woods.

This sunset was so vivid that I missed an appointment when I stopped to shoot it.

This sunset was so vivid that I missed an appointment when I stopped to shoot it.

Now that winter is here and it’s a grey day, I simply remember my favorite things and then I don’t feel so … bad.

Here’s a story of an ancient Isabelle Avenue tradition dating clear back to the 70’s.

The King of Isabelle Avenue

Our backyard was not an urban oasis. It was not a landscaped sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of life. It was a crazy obstacle course surrounded by a 6 foot cinderblock wall.

You entered through a 12 foot wide sliding glass door off of our living room – the three panel wide door was partially obscured by the worlds largest fake mediterranean couch. The slider opened onto a large concrete patio. It had an awning cover salvaged from Grandpa’s house. In addition to the standard issue BBQ grill there were a number of other items on the patio, under the awning protected from the desert sun. Dog food bowls, a giant sewing machine cabinet, a home-made metal forge, mini bike parts, and huge assortment of tools – actually anything that you might need to tinker with at a moment’s notice.

There were always a variety of dogs and other…

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My brother Max has been on the hunt for a culprit for months now. Who’s been stealing eggs? Mystery solved!

The Fruity Chicken

All summer long I was on the hunt for which of my chickens was eatin eggs. In fact I got just a tad obsessive about it here on my blog, first in July with my pie in the sky hopes of “Caught the Bastard” continued with “Update Schmupdate” culminating in a little self examination in “Focus” . Well I’m off my meds and back on the trail of them damn Alien Inspired Evil Egg Eatin Bastards! This time I decided to go high tech and called up my BFF Hoss for advice.

Good ole Hoss knew just what was needed, a Moutrie MFH-DGS-D55IRxt is just the ticket he says. For a small consideration he hooked me up and man-o-man what a story that sweet little machine painted! It was a snap to set up and was I ever amazed when I uploaded those pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Misters and the Missuses

It was a glorious sunny 70+ degree day – perfect for Sunday Brunch at the Bird Feeder Buffet. this weeks special – suet served up to shy woodpeckers.

Woodpeckers are cautious and flighty. But, like most of my guests at the buffet, their appetite urges them onward in spite of their concerns. Interestingly, it seems that the females of the species are the trail blazers in this regard. If you want to know more about these feeders check out my post on feeding woodpeckers here.

The red-bellied woodpecker is a pretty good size bird, a little less than twice the size of a cardinal. It has the saddest call, but the sweetest expression. As new ones stop by the buffet, they always send a scout in first…

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She decides that I’m no threat and digs in.

These feeders are perfect for woodpeckers. Very few birds have the ability to scale tree trunks, so with the exception of the nuthatches they have these feeders all to themselves.

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She’s followed a few minutes later by her mister. He’s been here before, but is skittish and shy, so shy that he tries to sneak around the log instead of just scaling it like his mate. A lot more work for him, but it allows him a better field of vision.

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On the other end of the buffer the downies are feeding. This female is a regular visitor and has almost no fear of me. I shot this from a rocker 6 feet from her.

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Her mate was spotted at the buffet for the very first time yesterday at Sunday Brunch.

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He very carefully checked things out…

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And decided to go for the suet feeder instead.

We do our best to make our guests comfortable at the buffet, but sometimes a fella has to be prepared to eat and run.