Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Check it out...take a side trip

A project I've worked on since last summer has finally come to completion...well not entirely, but at least it is now ready for public use. The project isn't about art per say, but has a lot of photography relating to my favorite subject (natural heritage). I was very fortunate to be asked to create this web site for watchable wildlife in NW Iowa, it got Georgie and I out into the field quite a bit during late summer and early fall and also got me back into video work, which I enjoy doing very much.

The site has 3 takes each category and discusses it enough to help get your feet wet, then gives you a trail loop to follow to each of the "sites" along that category's loop. The 3 categories are: a "Glacial Trail" loop, a "Prairie Pothole Birding" loop and a "Prairie History" loop.

If you like, you can download a county map of each loop, or you can continue on to the pages giving all the specific sites in each loop and using an embedded Google Map to show you where each site is. Keywords are embedded on the pages that give you photos of certain flora or fauna when you select them. Videos are also embedded on the pages so you can actually visit a particular site for a short stay, or you can download these videos to your mobile device on the trip itself.

Want to take a short trip to Steele Prairie in Cherokee County for example? Here's a glimpse at what you will see and hear -

There are 34 sites included in 9 NW Iowa counties so far, and the web site is designed to show you all the great places to go and things to experience - get you and the family out for an adventure this summer "or" this weekend!

There is a photo gallery page with the intent to include site participant's images in the future. There is a page with helpful wildlife viewing tips, and a link page leading to more videos as well as great sources of information and a little humor if you like.

No it's not about "art" per say, but it did give this artist some material and ideas to work with for some time to come.

Take a trip with Watchable Wildlife in NW Iowa, and enjoy the surprises along the way!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Back to the Workout

I'm spoiled...Georgie's spoiled too because I've been in the studio working and out of her hair the past several weeks. But the frost is out of the ground and the "workout" has to begin once more.

We're putting a deck entry in front of the building. The ground slopes away pretty fast and it's not an easy walk up into the studio without a better entry.

Right now we're just forming the main platform, then we'll put in the steps, and then work on the ramp.

We just got the ledger, Girder and rafters up and are just beginning the deck boards.

It was a little cold starting this morning, had a slight skiff of snow on the ground and the temps were below freezing...but was out of the wind and pleasant enough in the sun.

Need a new body though. Too creaky and stiff after only a day of carpentry work again!

We promise to at least have the place accessible this week, so feel free to drop by!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Little Friends

It finally warmed and dried enough for Georgie to get into the garden yesterday. She always plants the cool season crops early but was behind schedule this year because we still had frost in the ground a week or so earlier.

Georgie likes to get spinach and lettuce planted first and while preparing the ground, came up with a couple toads. This wasn't surprising - it happens every year. In fact she said to me as she headed for the garden, "I'll tell you when the toads show up".

I have a long tie to toads, raised many from tadpoles when I was a kid. My mother let me raise them in the basement and tolerated my little friends hopping all around the basement floor. I always told Mom they'd "eat the bugs"...and I think she latched on to that promise in order to not discourage me. My first "remembered" wild critter when I was around 2-3 years old was a big fat toad staring back at me from it's hole in the grass in the backyard.

I like to draw and photograph the things that mean something to me; that are close to my heart...that covers an awful lot of "things" but these things aren't always embraced by the art loving public. But no-matter...I do it because I enjoy it!

Watch your step outside this spring and summer - you might make new friends if you do!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Prairie Spring

It is officially spring on the Tallgrass Prairie now. It is never official until the Pasque Flower blooms, and our first official sighting was Monday evening (the 7th)!

This is also when my itch begins to photograph or paint and follow the native forbs (wildflowers) through the season. I must try harder this year to make the most of what time I can come up with! Sort of a delayed new year's resolution I guess.

Pasque Flowers are like the "Robin" of prairie flowers. All through the winter, when the short daylight and gray cold days get to you, something to look forward to keeps one hopeful and sane. We've been looking forward to the first Pasque Flowers! Now I have to wait for the next snowfall (tomorrow) to come and melt before I can go back and embrace their return with my lens.

Its worth the wait.