My webpage (inc. awards, upcoming events, etc.)

Saturday, May 31, 2008

And the Winners Are...

The winners of my recent contest are;
Travis Erwin


Please e-mail your addresses to & I'll get your prizes out in the mail ASAP. Congratulations & use them in good health!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Today's Hike (Updated)

Today Charles & I went down to Fontainebleau State Park to attend a nature hike we saw advertised in a local magazine. Unfortunately the time listed in the mag was wrong, so we went for an unguided hike, instead. As temps were in the 90s today (with high humidity,) we didn't stay long.
2 Eastern pondhawk dragonflies. The females are green & the males are blue. There were dozens of them all along the path.

An orange dragonfly I'm trying to ID.

Leucauge venusta, an orchard spider. There are tons of these spiders all around here. Thanks to Hannah Nendick-Mason at Bug Guide for the ID!

Once again, the eagle-eyed Charles pointed out a new delight; purple passionflowers!

(Updates: This photo was featured on the front page of the St. Tammany News Apr. 24, 2009 and on the cover of Alternatives magazine for Apr./May 2009.)

Sunset on Lake Pontchartrain. This picture was actually taken at the park a couple of weeks ago, but I hadn't had an opportunity to upload it until now. (Update, Jul. 23, 2008; This photo was published on the front page of the St. Tammany News & was a finalist in an online art contest at the same time.)

Hair & Feathers (or Lack Thereof)

Here's a picture of my hair (taken today,) & the rainbow dress I mentioned in a previous post. The dress is very comfy. The hair, at this point, is not. It's hot, it's heavy & I'm sitting on it all the time. The other day it got caught in the car door. In short, it's about time to go for that cut. After some further research, I may have trouble with my donation. Locks of Love seems to want my ENTIRE pony tail, which I'm not willing to give up. I had short hair ONCE. I'll NEVER do that to myself again. With waves like this, when I cut it short, it's just horrible; it sticks out all over & is completely unruly unless I gel it all down, which is even worse. I even lost a job because of it. NEVER again. I'm completely willing to lose the bottom half, but the top half's gotta stay. I'll have to talk to the hairdresser & see what can be done. In a similar yet opposite vein, I felt so sorry for this female cardinal, spotted in the yard this afternoon. At least a haircut doesn't hurt, but this poor girl's had ALL of her head feathers pulled out! I can't imagine what happened to her. Talk about a bad hair day!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Latest on Our Local Critters

I managed to get a picture of our local brown rat today. A handful of doves were eating in his vacinity, although they wouldn't get too close.
Lately I've been seeing more Carolina chickadees than the normal one or two. Sitting out on the deck with binoculars yesterday, I was able to verify that some of them are chicks. Still no sign of the cardinal, blue jay or woodpecker chicks, but I figure it's just a matter of time.
While watching the chickadees, however, I noticed our Carolina wrens going back & forth from our shed to the brush along the edge of our property. On closer inspection, it's clear that they're building another nest in there. Fortunately it's too hot these days for camping, so they're free to use our tent again, if they need it.
In other news, the plethora of blackberry bushes on & around our property are starting to ripen. Although I prefer to leave them for the critters, there are SO many this year I think we'll be able to claim some in the name of blackberry cobblers.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

A Recent Dream

I had an intriguing & fun dream on May 20th; I was holding a kitten up to my face, nuzzling it. It was nuzzling back, purring. Later I was on a major trip for a group I was a member of. We got to see Louisiana from the air (almost the whole state.) Later we looked at an informal, aerial drawing of the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain. Also something about different crystals & taking it easy not to combine much with moonstone. My back hurt very badly. I rode some kind of personal hovercraft out into the Otherworlds. At one point blue mountains rose in the distance above a field of pink crystals. I wanted to take a picture but hadn’t brought my camera, so I went back for it. My partner was a black man. He couldn’t go out until I came back. He reminded me about being careful not to drink milk after having certain crystals. I remembered that was about the moonstone. Later I was wearing my rainbow dress, walking in a building with another woman.

Seeing Louisiana from the air here is typical of my "flying" dreams. I have no control & quite often little or no personal involvement. I'm more of an observer, looking at things from a great height. I don't get to move around & there's no sense of joy (as others have reported as part of their experience.) My (non-)flying is rather bland. The hovercraft in this dream was fun, though, as was exploring strange, new, jeweled worlds.
My "black man" partner is likely my Jungian shadow & animus all wrapped up in one. It's significant that he can't "go out" (manifest consciously,) until I come back.
I actually have an ultra-comfy, rainbow-colored, tie-dye style dress in "real" life.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

This Contest is for the Birds

I recently won a "pay it forward" contest & haven't had time to pay anything forward until now. Unfortunately I suck at devising contests & I'm currently pretty tapped out, financially. However, I DO have some used (very good condition,) hardcover books on birding.* 'Splain (in the comments on this post,) why you would like one & the top 3 entries will each win a book. Contest ends May 31st at noon. Winners will be posted that evening.

*Note that "books on birding" are not necessarily field guides.

Monday, May 19, 2008

6 Unremarkable Things Meme

Sidney Williams, Avery DeBow & Lisa all tagged me for the "Six Unremarkable Quirks" meme. The rules:

1. Link the person who tagged you.
2. Mention the rules in your blog.
3. Tell about six unspectacular quirks of yours.
4. Tag six bloggers by linking them.
5. Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger's blogs letting them know they've been tagged.

I'm breaking the last 2 rules, as I'm still very far behind on most of my life right now. If you want to do the meme, feel free. Now, my quirks...

1. I can make a sound exactly like a crying baby.
2. I can sniffle my nostrils in (with minimal effort.)
3. I still know the alphabet backwards (from my childhood.)
4. Soon I'll be donating some hair to Locks of Love. I'm starting to sit on it lately & the hot, HOT, HOT days are coming, so I guess it's about time.
5. I'm much sappier than I used to be. Sad movies used to make me sniffle a bit & tear up. These days I bawl like a baby, sometimes even an hour later.
6. I suffer from performance anxiety.

New Painting & Animals

I like painting little, stress-free pieces between larger, more detailed pieces as a bit of a break. I like to tell myself that it doesn't matter if the little pieces don't come out well, but myself doesn't believe it & I stress just as much. I painted this one today. Originally the idea was to have an abstract-like crow on that background, but I changed my mind at the last minute. It's called "Among Them," which is a bit of an inside joke between Charles & I. It's a 6x8" acrylic on canvasboard. I used some irridescent white for the fog at the bottom of the painting, but it's always virtually impossible to photograph well, the way it plays with light. This is a decent enough representation of the painting, at any rate.
In other news, I believe I saw a baby cardinal in our front yard today. It's about time for the chick explosion, so we'll see what the upcoming days bring. The wrens seem to have fledged & moved on. We've seen one or two of the brown headed nuthatches on occassion since they left the nest along our driveway (click the wrens link for more info on that, too.) I was delighted yesterday to spot this baby bluebird on my car.
It's been like Snow White's forest here over the last couple of weeks, which has been delightful. After the heavy rains the other night our backyard was completely flooded (at least for a day.) Charles (who sometimes mentions his poor eyesight, although he seems pretty eagle-eyed to me,) spotted something moving through the water. It turned out to be a broad-headed skink, about 8" long. We've also had a brown rat coming around for scraps & bird seed, but he moves so fast he's impossible to photograph (so far, anyway.) The other day I managed to get this picture of a raccoon, a cottontail rabbit, a cardinal & a blue jay all in one;

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Recent Art News

Today I participated in an art market held by "Art for Madisonville." It was located on the banks of the Tchefuncte River (extra points to non-Louisianans who can pronounce that correctly.) We're still setting up in this picture (thanks so much to Charles for his support throughout the process.) The weather was absolutely perfect (which was a relief, considering the storm that blew through the area just the other day.) I sold 3 pieces, 2 to very nice kids (around 9-12 yrs old,) & one to a woman as we were tearing down at 4pm (shortly afterward, the kids came back & gave me a neat, hand-painted butterfly fridge magnet.)
Tomorrow I'm helping at an Art Show (that I'm also participating in,) that's being held by "Bayou Lacombe Art Center." I couldn't make the awards presentation this evening, unfortunately.
In other news, the "Dreams of Glastonbury" study is sold.

Now to get back to the painting side of things...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Day in New Orleans

St. Louis Cemetary No. 1;

A shrine to Marie Laveau (although she's buried elsewhere.)

In the city of the dead, it's lonely at the top.

The French Quarter;

A crow on a spire at St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square.

Bourbon St.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Swamp Tour (Updated)

This morning we got up bright & early to take Dr. Wagner's Honey Island Swamp Tour. Here are some pix (I highly recommend clicking to see the enlarged versions.)

(Updates: Jun. 22, 2008; This photo was featured on the front page of the St. Tammany News. 2nd place winner, St. Tammany Fair, 2008.)

I learned today that the inches from a gator's nose to it's eyes is roughly it's body length in feet. (Update, Jul. 2009; Published in Anthology of Friends; An Original Collection, Vol. 3.)

Great Blue Heron

Prothonotary Warbler (pacing our boat at 35mph.)

The female on the log is about 9' long. The male in the water's about 12'.

Pearl River, Louisiana

Afterwards my friend & I went lazy river tubing at Bogue Chitto (which was relaxing & amusing at the same time.) It was a well-enjoyed day.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Quick Pix

From today's hike at the Flatwoods;
Barred owl (due to the distance & a lack of any kind of scoping lens, this was the best I could get.) Kudos to Charles for pointing it out to us. He rocks.
2 pictures of an orchard oriole. Thanks to Birdfreak & an anonymous commenter for the ID!

Parrot pitcher plant flowers. We also saw some sundews today.
Charles finally got a better picture of the rose-breasted grosbeak that's been coming around. His wife has arrived, too, but we don't have a picture of her yet;
From Insta-Gator Ranch;
My friend & I holding one pissed off alligator.
A caiman face, up close & personal.
A young Nile crocodile (left) & a baby American alligator.
My friend & I are having a great time. We've scheduled a swamp tour (for all 3 of us,) this coming Saturday.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Upcoming Art Events I've Scheduled


10a-4p; I will be selling my art at the "Art for Madisonville" market, located in the greenspace between Water St. & the Tchefunte River, north of the Hwy 22 bridge in Madisonville, LA. Here's a map of the general area. E-mail Pat Ward for more information.

6-10p; Reception & Awards Ceremony for the Bayou Lacombe Art Show in the lobby of the Louisiana Heart Hospital in Lacombe, LA. Works will also be available for viewing Sun., May 18th from noon until 4p.

Please let me know if either map doesn't work.

Frogs/Toad & a Pause

Due to bad thunderstorms that passed through the area overnight, this morning I found a couple of American green tree frogs taking refuge inside our storm door (they get in through a tiny slit at the bottom of the door.)
Last night an as-yet-unidentified frog or toad took refuge from the storms on our deck. If anyone knows what kind of frog or toad this is (below,) I'd appreciate a comment. I checked the 2 field guides I have & can't adequately identify it through the information/images in either. He's about 2" long.
In other news, I have company coming down from Canada for the next couple of weeks, so I'll probably vanish from the blogging scene for a while. This is the first time I've had 2 weeks off work since Hurricane Katrina & the first time I'll have seen my friend in 4 years (or so.) I'm greatly looking forward to it!

Friday, May 2, 2008

New Bird Sighting!

Today this male rose-breasted grosbeak visited our feeders (click for larger view.) This is my first sighting of this bird in my lifetime & I'm delighted that it was in my own backyard. Hopefully it will return, in which case I'll try to get a better/closer picture.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Some Recent Visitors

Macro; Long legged fly. An accidental shot--I was focused on something else & only noticed him once I'd downloaded the picture to the computer.

It appears that the indigo buntings we had have moved on (although we still see one on occasion,) so it was nice to spot this male blue grosbeak the other day. The next day, Charles saw the female.

One of at least a few cottontail rabbits in the area. Not only do they come for clover, but also for bird seed. Some of them are surprisingly tolerant. I got within 10' of this one.

American green tree frog. They hang out on the windows to eat bugs attracted to the lights. It offers us a great vantage point to watch the process.

A female red bellied woodpecker and a red headed woodpecker.

Macro; Ants on some of our freshly bloomed ligustrum flowers.
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