Friday, April 30, 2010
If the most entertaining part of your day is watching chickens in the yard, you must be a redneck.....thanks, Jeff Foxworthy!
The chicken house is 95% done (still need a better latch and a system of hanging tools inside) and we turned the birds loose for the first time yesterday. Mike and Carl pulled up their chairs, grabbed a cool one and watched the birds investigate their new space. They wouldn't come out at first, so I "helped" them. And then when it was time to go in, we had to catch them.
Today they came out on their own and sunbathed and chased bugs and generally did chicken things. I am still trying not to get attached to most of them, but there are a couple who are friendlier than the rest and unique in other ways as well. As unique as a chicken can be, anyway. I'll show you them later, and maybe you can help identify them. One has feathers over her feet and the other has NO FEATHERS on its neck and a haircut like Moe from the Three Stooges!
Keep your eye on me; hide me under your cool wing feathers From the wicked who are out to get me, from mortal enemies closing in.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
And I got some great pictures!
See that man shoveling day after day, digging, then concealing, his man-trap down that lonely stretch of road? Go back and look again—you'll see him in it headfirst, legs waving in the breeze. That's what happens: mischief backfires; violence boomerangs.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Yesterday Mike and I stapled all the wire up around the run. Today we construct the door and lay the wire on top. Carl will cut a door into the laying area and we'll be done. And just in time - the birds are getting quite large. The run is 4 times the size of the coop's interior. And once they get bigger and start laying, I intend to release them into the garden occasionally. Those plans are for Fall, though.
I also have to tell you that 1/4 of these birds are supposed to be roosters - the eating variety. I am doing my best NOT to get attached to any of them and not give 'em names for this reason! Several of them are Barred Rocks. The roosters enjoy a deserved reputation for aggressiveness. Years ago we had a barred rock rooster that attacked us every time we entered "his" back yard. When he spurred 5 year old Benjamin, it was the final straw. He was stewed that evening!
One of the chicks has developed into a really attractive bird with feathered feet. I am hoping it is a hen because not only is she pretty, but she's also very attracted to Georgia.
- John 13:38
Then Jesus answered, "Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
After misty, coldness all day Monday and part of Tuesday, today has dawned bright and sunny with the bees taking off as soon as the sun hit the hive. We have situated them at the back end of the garden facing East where the sun hits the hive as soon as it's up. I have left the collard greens even though they are way past harvest, because they are covered with yellow flowers that the local wild bees love.
They still have nothing to eat in the hive yet, so per Pete's instruction, I attached a quart jar feeder on the front filled with a 50% sugar water solution. They have consumed half of it already.
While watching them yesterday, I observed them defending the hive from an enemy (not me!). I have read that other bees and insects and even mammals will try and steal honey which is one reason to keep the opening into the hive small - easier for them to defend.
While observing them coming and going yesterday afternoon, I saw a sudden "commotion" just inside the opening and suddenly a group of 6 or 8 bees squeezed out with a insect that looked like a bee but darker and slightly bigger clenched in the middle. Several bees quickly stung the intruder and dumped him over the landing edge. Bees can only sting once and they die because they leave their stinger in their victim, so those bees died defending their home. Such heroics! I could make an analogy with our military folks, but I think that's unnecessary - I tell every person I see in uniform that they are my hero...
Isaiah 5:21-23 (New International Version)
21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes
and clever in their own sight.
22 Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine
and champions at mixing drinks,
23 who acquit the guilty for a bribe,
but deny justice to the innocent.
Monday, April 19, 2010
When I got up Sunday morning to check on the bees in the box in the garage, I discovered several had escaped and were buzzing around the garage light. They weren't angry, though, just confused. The bulk of the swarm were still in the carton - silent and waiting.
After church, Mike and I tackled the assembly of the hive and were immensely grateful that Pete Glasser had so generously shared his wisdom with us the day before. It made most of the pieces make sense, and within 2 hours we had the whole thing together and painted.
An appropriate level site was determined in the yard - back end of the vegetable garden, facing East with the North/West side protected by trees and the ridge.
Meridith and Garret showed up with Tina in tow, and we waited for the paint to dry and the rain to let up. At about 6:00 we had a break, and I mixed the sugar water, donned my "spacesuit" canvas overalls (Mike's, actually), and handed Merideth my camera. The guys grabbed their beers - this could be entertaining! Tina was in charge of the sugar water. We all trooped to the garden and I added the veil and gloves to my costume.
I almost wish the end of this tale was more interesting, but it isn't. As Pete instructed, when I removed the swarm from the box I sprayed it with the sugar water and carefully tapped the bees off the branch they were clinging to into the hive body. A few flew around me and even landed on me, but none acted angry. As they spread out on the bottom of the hive, I reassembled it, put on the top, and walked away. By the end of the operation, the onlookers had retreated to 100 feet away, but it really wasn't necessary. The bees weren't angry. A few flew around outside, but quickly found the hive opening and went in.
Today I am hoping for sunshine, but if there is none, the hive DID come with a feeder that attaches to the front of it. I guess a another call to Pete will be needed....
Click HERE to view a quick slideshow of the process.
They swarmed around me like bees, but they died out as quickly as burning thorns; in the name of the LORD I cut them off.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Mike and I attended a reception in Arlington yesterday hosted by Dan Vanderburg, the novel writer whose book cover art I am painting. While there we met a neighbor who happens to be a beekeeper. Mike overheard him talking about bees and remarking that he had just retrieved a swarm.
Three years ago I had noticed a total absence of bees from my garden, and I was concerned about issues of pollination. And although honey bees are NOT native to North America, and there are other insects that can fill in the void and perform pollination duties, I was concerned and determined to learn about beekeeping and hopefully acquire a hive. It has taken 3 years, but the unassembled hive arrived in the mail Friday. I was warned that I would probably need an experienced bee keeper to help us assemble it, and the warning was accurate. "Some assembly required" was a gross understatement, and the instructions assumed we were way more informed than we are.
Assembling the hive was the first concern - getting bees into it was the next. My "online" help suggested that I make contact with a local beekeeping club and solicit their expertise. I was assured that SOMEONE would acquire a swarm that I could probably purchase. In addition they would help me with hive assembly - which obviously needs to come first.
Pete did all of this for us and more. He invited us to his home and showed us the basics of hive construction, told us optimum placement of the hive, hints on how to harvest the honey, reassured us of the benefits and fun of beekeeping AND generously gave us the swarm he had rescued (about 12,000 bees, he estimated). They quietly rode the 95 mile drive home in a box on the back seat of the car.
Today we assemble their home and "hive the bees" this afternoon. Yes, I DO have a face net and gloves. And I was told to gently spray the swarm with sugar water before "tapping" them into the hive. Merideth has demanded photo documentation of the entire process.
PS: In the Bible Deborah was a leader of Isreal: both militarily and diplomatically. AND "deborah", in Hebrew, means "the bee".
Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time.
Friday, April 16, 2010
I have had a number of requests for bluebonnet paintings and I have quite a few planned - but it may be Christmas before I get them all painted. Keep watching for more - different styles, different palettes.
Photo is Dandy and PJ along our driveway. There are a few bluebonnets in their pasture and they do avoid eating them, so I hope the flowers will spread.
1 Samuel 10:6
The Spirit of the LORD will come upon you in power, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Of course, the horse will be a paint. I also think I need to add some interest in the rise in the lower front right, even though much of it will be covered with words. It still needs to look good on the Dan's wall, as well as accommodate the book title, etc.
Mike and I will be attending a Tea Party rally at the Stephenville Courthouse Square this afternoon. As much as I distrust our president, I intend to carry a sign focusing strictly on the need to change the tax laws. And needless to say, we will be respectful, and no litter will be left behind...unlike some Democratic rallies I have witnessed....
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. nodp
Sunday, April 11, 2010
I started the cover for Dan's latest book today - "Finding Rosie". I've settled on this composition and thought you might enjoy the process of construction.
The rider's name is "Andy" and this scene depicts his escape from the Indians who have held him and his sister captive for a number of years.
The background will be misty, snowy, indistinct with the horse and rider being in fairly tight focus. Andy has red hair and is wrapped in a buffalo robe. The horse will be a paint (and his fur will be shaggy). A few remaining leaves will still be clinging to the tree branches with some fluttering to the ground in the wind.
The background is mostly made up, but the rider is from a photo shoot using a young lady friend. I borrowed the buffalo robe, but have since purchased it, hopefully to use again in another painting. The horse is my sorrel mare, PJ. A lot of artistic license will be used in this painting: Miss Tallen will become a boy, PJ will become a shaggy paint, and the background will become the dead of winter! Simple!
I am off to Dallas today for an Art Show at the Dutch Art Gallery. I have 2 new paintings there. Join me this afternoon if you are in town!
The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Frederic Remington was born in 1861, but died prematurely in 1909 from complications of an appendectomy. The body of work he produced is amazing - who knows what direction he would have gone had he lived longer. He romanticized the West, to be sure, but the images remain a colorful chronicle of the settlement and people who populated the territory. His horses were often exaggerated and his people charactures, but he captured the spirit and vibrancy of the West so well.
Joshua told the people, "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you."
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Friday, April 9, 2010
Bucking bulls don't get tested with real people. Too dangerous. First a weighted "dummy" that releases remotely is used. This fellow is getting pretty good at his job - not long before a cowboy rides him. If he'll kick up high in back, he may even end up at a PRCA rodeo.
The LORD hears the needy and does not despise his captive people.
Size: 8 in X 6 in (20.3 cm X 15.2 cm)
Price: $115 USD
How to Purchase:
Thursday, April 8, 2010
I have been told that bull riders are "adrenaline junkies" and I believe it. Neighbors Toby Floyd and Brad Boyd are partners in the bucking bull business. Together they raise insanely athletic and ill-tempered bulls for rodeos. And during good weather they graciously allow other bull raisers to test the bucking skills of their animals at Toby's facility down the road from us. They also encourage crazy individuals to see how quickly they can land in the hospital with multiple fractures riding these animals.
Fortunately no one got hurt Tuesday, but to me it was a miracle. And I got some great reference photos. My daughter, Merideth, wants me to paint something suitable to go on the front of the Parker County Sheriff's Posse Rodeo Program. I think I got just the image.
Another fun thing happening to me: I was contacted by a lady in Hollywood who is designing a set for an ABC pilot starring Don Johnson called "Southern Discomfort", and she wants several of my paintings for the set. Filming begins in a couple weeks, so this is a rush rush. Fortunately I located 7 of the 9 paintings she is interested in. This REALLY sounds like fun, doesn't it?
Jesus said to them, "I did one miracle, and you are all astonished.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
5 X 6 Color study oil on linen $100
I have been commissioned to paint the cover of the novel and this is a tiny preliminary color study that I have settled upon. The actual painting will measure 16 X 20, and the background will be frozen and indistinct, with the figure very detailed. I hope you'll feel a shiver when you view it!
Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
Size: 5 in X 6 in (12.7 cm X 15.2 cm)
Price: $100 USD
How to Purchase:
Saturday, April 3, 2010
This is not the exact image I will use, but something similar. You can see the elements I had to get together - youthful individual, horse with a low head (I will have to "thin" her up and make her shaggier, as well as a paint) and wrapped in a buffalo hide. Tallen's hair will be red, also, and the wind will be blowing harder. All easy things to change, but the basic image will be the same
I LOVE the buffalo hide - it's HUGE. And Cecil Miskin assures me that it is not even from a large bison, so I can only marvel at the size these animals can get to. I am contemplating purchasing it, but I will need to plan to use it in future paintings to justify the expense...
I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red.
Friday, April 2, 2010
Nothing cuter than a foal rolling in the grass - unless the pasture is full of bluebonnets, too. I have used this image before but not with the flowers, which, by the way, are just beginning to show their blossoms today. It should be a spectacular display, too - we have had a well-watered winter.
The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
How to Purchase:
Thursday, April 1, 2010
"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."