Thursday, April 4, 2019

The Process

American Robin
photograph - © Bruce A. Morrison

Two days ago it was a blanket of snow....yesterday it was 3/4" of rain...its a process, this season called Spring.

The Herons are back in the rookery across the valley...we're not sure how many more are to arrive, or how many here now will move on.  It depends on the season called Spring.  Some Springs can be brutal and some storybook pleasant.  I like a good story, maybe this will be a nice one.

Dark-eyed junco - male
photograph - © Bruce A. Morrison

 Many birds have returned to the acreage, like the Robins and the Red-winged blackbirds and Grackles.  Some are gathering to leave for north destinations, like the Dark-eyed juncos and Tree sparrows. 

Black-capped Chickadee
photograph - © Bruce A. Morrison

Our Chickadees are still with us...most Springs they gravitate back to the woodlands down the valley. But many more "visitors" stop by for a few short weeks to visit and we expect them soon!  

Its all a part of Spring...its a process you know! 


Monday, March 25, 2019

Easel TIme (A Couple Seasons Behind)

"Autumn Along the Mouth of Dog Creek"
oil painting - © Bruce A. Morrison

"It is finished"....those words mean a lot to any artist.  In this case it is both of relief and satisfaction.  Most people don't truly understand the struggle artists can go through trying to make something in their minds slowly (and sometimes painfully) actually materialize on the easel.  

This can be a very long effort...this one began several years ago.  I was south of our place about 10-12 miles as the crow flies, and came upon this spot along the small creek that has some history in the county.  One of our first settlers lived near this creek's mouth and is buried upstream about a mile.  A little further to the west this creek was dammed creating a small "hillside surrounded" lake which was named after it. 

This is Dog Creek, a very unassuming little stream, which runs into the Little Sioux River, only a few yards from where this painting is depicted.  Behind this stream are rolling prairie hills and to it's south a "hanging valley"...a really curious and fairly small yet dramatic geological feature showing where the LIttle Sioux Sioux River once flowed before the end of the last glacial episode here.

I started the painting idea for this a couple years back with a small  "preliminary study"...a 5X7" oil painting done to "test the ground" so-to-speak, before committing a larger effort in a more finished painting.

 "Autumn Near Dog Creek's Mouth - preliminary study"
oil painting - © Bruce A. Morrison

Now that spring is breaking out all over around the studio I can get out and hopefully enjoy it!  Studio time is great but its been a long winter...I need some fresh air!

Hope you get some time to enjoy being outside again soon!

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Glaciers still in the yard but its Spring!

Great Blue Herons in the valley
 (photograph - © Bruce A. Morrison)
Spring has finally arrived the the valley here and we have been most fortunate as far as our flooding here.  A week and a half ago we were taking on water pretty fast and the valley in front was threatening lake front property once again, but fortunately all the culverts broke open in time to spare the road and its been dropping back to the channel since.  
We are so, so lucky and count our blessings as we watch the dire situation in extreme western Iowa and the eastern half of Nebraska...a perfect storm did happen after a heavy snowfall and rains exacerbated the completely saturated soils from last year's record rains - it was all downhill from there for anyone in the flood plains of the Missouri River and its tributaries.   Our hearts and prayers go out to everyone affected by the flooding going on right now.
Things are starting to look "normal" here for a change...we still have 4 foot drifts covering most of Georgie's barn garden but she was able to get into the yard garden and peek under the snow flattened hoops and see that the spinach did survive the winter this year - YAY!!!  Last year the mice had set up shop under her row covers and dined on spinach all winter...we have strong mice out here!
Juvenile Bald Eagle
 (photograph - © Bruce A. Morrison)
We have been seeing a few Great Blue Herons returning to the Waterman Creek rookery the past few days, but in low numbers so far.  Yesterday we had 8 herons riding a thermal high above the rookery.  The last time we witnessed this there was "Eagle trouble" brewing.  Well, sure enough, a couple juvenile Bald Eagles were harassing the herons - one flying around the hovering flock and another sitting smack in the middle of the rookery!
Eventually the two trouble makers tired of the game and headed off right over the studio deck where Georgie and I were watching - giving us great neck bending looks as they passed.  In the next hour 8 more Bald Eagles flew past the acreage - bee lining straight north on the wind.  On top of that uncounted flocks of Canada and Snow Geese streamed past heading north as well - spring is definitely in play now!

Grateful that Spring has arrived - prayers to all those being faced with loss to flooding.  
Take care and be good to one another!

Sunday, February 10, 2019

How Many Days???

Raccoon napping in the crotch of a tree 
photograph - © Bruce A. Morrison

It's February and I guess that's a good thing right?  Closer to Spring!!!  I don't mind February so much...its the shortest month of the winter and still looks like winter.  Now March looks like a mixed up month!  Sometimes like winter...sometimes like spring - usually all goofed up and a sloppy mess!

Had a Big old Raccoon in the gate tree this a.m. When Georgie first spotted it, it was rolled up in a ball on a fork in the tree but with the snow turning to a freezing mist it decided to try a nearby hole. The hole it tried hiding in was apparently too small as it kept coming back out to reposition itself...kept hiding when I'd take the camera outside but later showed up napping in another crotch outside.

I know it knows I'm there trying to take its picture, but I just settle for a nap shot and head back inside...hoping it'll stir for the camera yet...

Red-tailed Hawk pair hunting in tandem
photograph - © Bruce A. Morrison

February is a time when many birds of prey begin getting serious...seems early but the Great Horned Owls already have eggs they're sitting on and the Bald Eagles are setting up shop too.  Another local favorite of ours - the Red-tailed Hawks, have been known to set up nesting late in the winter...we had a pair here hunting together behind the barn.  Sometimes one bird would sit and watch while the other dipped around in the pasture trying to stir something up and other times they'd fly together and swoop into the grasses...don't know what they had going there?   Maybe a rabbit sitting tight or a mouse...who knows?

Red-tailed Hawk - close fly-by
photograph - © Bruce A. Morrison

Its fun watching things begin to stir since the frigid air has left its mark everywhere...kind of has me stirring myself!

How many days till spring??!!!!!

Monday, January 28, 2019

Mid Winter at the Studio

"Late Morning Sun Dogs"
photograph - © Bruce A. Morrison 

A little winter action here at the studio this morning - I would have missed this brilliant late morning display if I hadn't walked over to the house to check on something.  On my walk back I was faced with a nearly full circle light display!  I ran inside and grabbed the camera and this was the first image I took - the right side was dropping out and after the first shot it was gone!  Things can be fleeting! 

Most of us wish winter were fleeting too but I feel less like being outside during this frigid weather and that can mean I get something done inside!  Or something like that?!

Stay warm!!!