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Baby Birds

June 16, 2020

My Space!

Grumpy parent Black-Capped Chickadees have it out on the suet feeder

Rainy Afternoon Woodpecker watching

Juvenile male Downy Woodpecker and his mom

woodpecker messy mom_geverettstudio

Ready for more suet from mom

Feeding Time

Open wide!

The world around our home is filled with bird calls from first to last light. Parent birds are scrambling between their multiple offspring, feeding gaping mouths on nests to whining babies following around behind them. The above photos are of one patient mother Downy Woodpecker feeding her little boy. They do have a little girl as well who happened to be off feeding with the adult male.  Baby boy flew into the big glass door this morning. I didn’t hear the bump, but the dogs alerted about the downed bird. I went out and picked him up, did a quick check and set him up high on a pot of spent daffodils.  It took about 20 min for him to recover and fly off to mom. The photos were from after his crash. Doesn’t look too bad. Well, everyone is super frumpy looking due to the major rains.

Thanks for checking in.

Photos taken with a Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80

Dogs vs Opossum

June 15, 2020

Opossum_geverettstudio

Last week we had an incident in the backyard. They happen on pretty regular occasion: the dogs scent some creature, there’s a big chase around the giant juniper bushes with the dogs climbing in as deep as they can. Barking, massive thundering pounding footsteps as they race around the bushes. It often occurs late, and I mean LATE, like 2 or 3am. Last Thursday it happened earlier at 10:30pm. Sometimes I have to go out and try to grab the dogs which often isn’t possible. Their focus is on the hunt, not me. A few times I’ve had to pull out the hose and spray them to break their crazy focus. Thursday night Dave actually had the chance to participate in the frackus. I went out and shone a headlamp down into the place the creature was cornered and I thought I saw a possum tail. It wasn’t the easiest to figure out since Moby had the sizable creature in his mouth and was attempting to shake the daylights out of it. I was really concerned the creature was a neighborhood cat. (no, we’ve never had the dogs kill a cat but I wouldn’t put it past their capability) Moby eventually thought the creature was dead and extracted himself from the snug location. The creature was motionless. Was it dead? I couldn’t tell and wasn’t about to dive into cutting back the bushes. We gathered up the dogs and took them inside for a serious wound cleaning. Moby proceeded to vomit all over the bathroom floor and Dave kindly cleaned it up. I worked Hazel over and found a few nicks on her face. We eventually made it to bed around 2am.

The cats proceeded to wake me up at 6am for their morning feeding and I was already contemplating the chore of going out to extract the dead animal. Around 10am, I pulled on some shoes and the headlamp to check the situation. The “dead” animal was gone. Whew!!!

The possum actually played possum to get Moby to drop the body. I’m always in awe of these strange creatures and enjoy seeing them running around the far backyard triggering the game cameras. We were thrilled it managed to survive. Moby felt that he did his job and killed the intruder.

It will happen again…

Graphite sketch/drawing on BFK Rives paper.

Remembering someone we never met

June 14, 2020

June 14 is flag day here in the US. Not a day that really brings much focus in the average person’s life. Growing up, our mother would always say “It’s Flag Day. Happy Birthday to Miss Reeves!” This wasn’t a reference to a family member nor anyone we knew, but to a primary school teacher that taught my mother in Iowa back in the 1930’s. I assume Ms. Reeves never had children of her own, but one of her students passed along the memory of her birthday every year to her children. Kinda crazy! Her name continues to be mentioned between my sister and I on the day as a way to keep our mother’s memory alive. We will probably continue to keep this little tradition going until our deaths.

In Mexican culture, Day of the Dead -dia de los muertos, they say that death has three phases. First death is when you physically die. Second death is when your body is buried. Third death is when no one remains to remember you and you vanish from history. We’re keeping Ms Reeves from slipping into the third death realm. We’ll never know what became of her or if she had family, but she made an impression on our mother and that’s what counts.

Happy Birthday Ms Reeves!

Digging, Harvesting, Rats, and Wool

June 12, 2020

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This has been a busy week and my body is complaining about everything tackled.

Digging:  We’ve been having a touch of cooler weather and rain which makes for perfect gardening sessions. I’ve finally gathered up enough energy to get out and start tackling both boxes this season. The herbs (rosemary, sage, cat mint, and chives) all survived the mild winter. The cat mint went insane this year! More on that in just a bit. Anyway, the front box received a topping and mixing of more compost plus combining some of the straw mulch from last fall. The far box (which wasn’t used last year) required work to stabilize the bottom board with metal rod supports. Now it’s getting turned and waiting for additional soil to be delivered. Tomatoes and squash will occupy the far box. Peppers, cukes, carrots, kale, and peas will be added  to the front box. Runner beans are waiting for a new location.

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Persimmon tree flowering

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Oxalis blooming

The mini orchard has survived the deer so far. I still have yet to fence them in. The only tree I’m allowing to set fruit is the persimmon. Maybe I’ll thin it out in a few weeks. The trees were planted back in March of this year.

The Harvest:  The cat mint received its very first trimming today!

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I took off the top 2 feet of growth.

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I hadn’t expected such a strong growth on this one plant, but I’ll take it! Years ago I had wanted to start growing/harvesting my own nip to sell via some outlet. Maybe this is finally coming true? Time will tell. I can say that all 3 of my cats sure enjoy this particular plant! We have several nip plants around the property but this is the one that is most loved.

Rats:  Last year I had mentioned that rats had shown up in our backyard. Not too surprising once I looked at our situation: dense juniper shrubs + feeding seed to wild birds. Yes, a perfect combination for a rat hotel and buffet! The dogs have been trying to catch the vermin, but no luck yet. Today, I witnessed a momma rat and numerous babies out grazing under the seed station! ARGH! This really disturbed me and now I realize we need big snap traps to work on the problem. I don’t need them in my house, getting into the walls, creating more havoc. The dogs do spend a bunch of time hunting something in the junipers (often at 3am). I wish they would hunt them a bit harder. Maybe I need to gather my friends who do Barn Hunts? Get the professional terriers on the job? We shall see…

Wool:  Yes, I went out this morning to the misty foothills of the Oregon coast range and picked up MORE WOOL! I must be insane! fleece pen_geverettstudio

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I took about 6 fleece, which was half the pile. At least I think I took half the pile? The above photo is what’s left. The heavy duty construction grade bags I took were stuffed full.

3bagsfull

And that’s been my week. Productive to a certain degree. We did just get word that Dave will be working from home until a viable vaccine is created to treat COVID-19. Maybe it’s time for an external studio to be created!

 

 

Always learning

June 8, 2020

The past several weeks have been filled with a tumultuous upheaval of our society. Black Lives Matter! I can’t fathom what it’s like to grow up black in America. All I can say is I’m listening and trying to learn more. I’m still shocked at the lack of movement forward in the past 100+ years. If you’re able, please watch John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight that aired on June 7, 2020. He touches on one fragment of the police and what’s currently happening.Please click John Oliver

So, as I continue to watch news stories reel in from the protests, I off-set it by watching YouTube videos on improving my art. I started looking into how to use colored pencils to achieve a more realistic look. There’s plenty out there to comb through and one thing I found was solvents for blending colors.

Time for a little Testing!

Materials used: paper- Aquarelle Arches (don’t know the weight since it was in the scrap paper pile), Prismacolor pencils, Isopropyl Alcohol, Odorless Mineral Spirits, paint brush.

I laid down a few rows of Prismacolor pencils in light to a bit heavier concentration. Then I found odorless Mineral Spirits stashed in the garage and 70% Isopropyl Alcohol to test as solvents. The isopropyl was used on the far left stripe. The mineral spirits was used on the next vertical stripe and for the remainder of the tests. The top band has two doodle eyes that used the mineral spirits to blend colors. No additional colors were added to those bits. The bottom bird head/eye used a stronger concentration of color.

color pencil test1-1

Below is the blended mix of colors that resembles a bird head with eye.  Looks awful but smoother! This is just a doodle bird. I have no idea what it was trying to become.

color pencil test2-1

The solvent does pass through the paper but seems to evaporate after time.

solvent leakage-1

Below: after waiting 15 to 20 min I added more colored pencils. It’s true that light colors can be added over dark and they stand out! I think I’ll keep messing around with this technique and try an actual bird drawing for round #2.

color pencil test3-1

The search has started for a subject to be rendered as a drawing/print. Two different organizations are requesting something from my studio and I’m more than happy to help them both out. So far revisiting Africa photos seem to be the smart choice. Maybe this technique will jump into the mix of ideas. Time will tell more.

Back to practicing!

Dragged into Instagram

May 30, 2020

I adore my world wide art friends! During the first virtual meeting with the art book group, it was strongly recommended that I finally get on Instagram. So, I’m happy to report that an account has started!

You can find me at: gale.everett.studio

Another learning process to commence….

Thank you dear friends for insisting that I get my act together! I love you all!

#annawarrenportfolio

#cathejacobi

#karenbaileystudio

#rebeccacaryandersonart

Felting a small dog

May 28, 2020

Felted Harry1Felted Harry2Felted Harry3Felted Harry 4

Harry was a funny Pomeranian cross that belonged to my nieces mom-in-law. He just passed away after 18 wonderful years with Patty and Dave. The block he’s sitting on is 5″x 5″ (12.7cm x12.7cm). I’m still very much a beginner with trying to figure out the whole armature  to dog type ratio works. Harry had an extremely challenging shortened face, frame/legs, plus a super furry coat. This was my second round of armature attempts. The legs remained way too long so I put him into a down position. Rather than calling it a true replica, I call it an “essence of Harry”. Last summer I took numerous photos of him , knowing that an attempt to create him in wool would happen soon. After he was put down, Patty posted numerous photos that I added to my mix to try and decipher the little guy. At this point I’ll call it finished.

Artwork has been super scattered of late. I’ve been trying to adjust to round #2 of meds but it hasn’t worked. Family genetics seem to be creeping in and I’m seeing similarities between my mom and I in regards to medication reactions. It feels like a giant waste of time invested after weeks of expensive meds. I just want to be free from everything for a bit before considering the next round of torture. Just say no to TNF blockers.

Maybe it’s time to get the taxes finally finished!

Onwards!

 

 

 

Bright Days of Spring

April 29, 2020

garden spring 2020_geverettstudio

I’ve finally been able to step outside to commence work on the vegetable garden. Our weather is warming with nights no longer dipping into the freezing zone. The grass growing season is well upon us (and the riding mower is broken)! Picture about 2-3ft of grass height surrounding the veg boxes. Thank goodness for string trimmers! The plants that overwintered in place were lavender, chives, cat nip, sage, and rosemary.

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I keep picking off the end growth on the catnip to bring inside for the girls. They all enjoy chewing on the fresh leaves.

Two weeks ago I started my first batch of fermented wool. This process uses natural bacteria to decompose out all the bad bits stuck in the fleece with minimal amount of effort or water. One of my friends has been using this method with all her fleece and swears by it. She did mention that you can leave the wool in for too long and other creatures will lay eggs and hatch! Yuck! I can’t imagine how anything could survive the caustic sulfur created in the fermenting.

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wool drying after removal from the stinky tub and rinsed.

fermenting setup_geverettstudio

The process goes as such: Fill a large tub with water (preferably rainwater for a neutral pH). Add a dirty fleece. Cover and wait 2 weeks. Uncover and pull out the rotten egg smelling fleece and plop onto a wire rack (use gloves!!!). Rinse with water. Take to the garage sink for a hot wash with detergent. Rinse and lay out to dry.

Don’t dump out the dirty water in the tub! Just add your next fleece into the muck and let nature work out the bad stuff.

I’m still waiting for the fleece to dry. The detergent wash didn’t remove much of the stink, but my friend swears the scent goes away once fully dry. We shall see…

On a totally different note: The vultures are loving the electrical tower out back

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Straight through his nares

Turkey vultures migrate into our area in February and head south in October. During winter months, the tower is visible from our main living space because of the bare trees. In February, when the vultures rejoin our bird community, the leaves haven’t even started sprouting yet. The open visibility of large birds perching close to our house creates Cockatoo screaming mayhem indoors! I probably have hearing loss from that bird! I’m just grateful that the leaves are back and he can’t see the vultures soaring in quite as easily.

Vulture watching hasn’t been a big part of daily life until this year. I typically note their migration time north and south. It’s only been in the past couple of years that they started using the electrical tower as a resting zone multiple times a day (especially in the late afternoon).

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Next posting will be about the latest room remodel that absorbed all my energy for the past several weeks. Nothing like doing a small remodel during “stay at home pandemic time”! It made me super grumpy because everything was stashed in the studio zone and other places while the remodel happened. I’m still not quite through my grumpiness, but it’s getting better.

 

Pickles and Sheep

April 2, 2020

Gail Order_geverettstudio

The final order of Sheep Laundry Balls!! This batch is going to my neighbor Gail to gift to her amazing sisters in Portland. One wash/dry and out the door by Saturday! Ready in time for Easter.

Nothing super crazy on the food end of life right now. I refreshed my pickle solution with some new veg: Carrots, radishes, cabbage and a red chili.  Should be good tomorrow for lunch.

picklespickles2

Yesterday I started feeling back to normal after my bi-weekly injection of new medications. I need to have a chat with my doctor to see if the exhaustion tied to the meds is going to go away or if I need to stop. Oh, the joys of new medications that zap one’s immune system during a pandemic. Hopefully will find out more tomorrow.

Bunny armatures are finally started and waiting for their first round of core wool! Super excited to be doing another fun project!!

Have a great day tomorrow and stay safe out there!

Gale

Making it work

March 31, 2020

 

 

yellow wool2_geverettstudioyellow wool_geverettstudio

When shops are closed due to the pandemic, how do you create a specific project without the supplies? If you have the right base materials, you make it! Today I spent it using the drum carder to blend up some pretty yummy yellows. I think I’m happy for now!

I know at some point soon my friends will be shearing their sheep. Will I jump on the wool? How expensive will it be? Is this really the side line I want to take?  Probably shouldn’t be worried about this right now, but it’s on the brain.

Enjoy the cheery yellow!