Sunday, June 29, 2014

From the Tallgrass at the Neal Smith NWR

A familiar theme for a place with a "like-mind" - that's about as accurate of a description as I can give.  

I can't live enough years to outgrow or become bored with the tallgrass prairie, it is a subject I will probe and celebrate till I draw my last breath.  The Neal Smith NWR is dedicated to the tallgrass prairie as well.

Just 22 miles east of Des Moines, near Prairie City, Iowa, you'll find a truly unique refuge.  The Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1990, within the National Wildlife Refuge System, to "actively protect, restore, reconstruct and manage the diverse native ecosystems of tallgrass prairie, oak savanna, and sedge meadow. These were the native habitats existing on the Refuge’s 5600 acres prior to Euro-American settlement."

The refuge approached me in 2012 to do an exhibit of artwork and photography depicting the tallgrass, and I accepted.  This solo exhibit, at their J.N. "Ding" Darling Art Gallery, will feature work on the prairie theme and genre.

The exhibit will open on July 1st in the afternoon, and will run through August 20th.  More information about the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, its hours and other contact information can be found online at -

Its a great place to visit and I'm looking forward to it!  If you're passing by the area this summer, take a little time and stop for a visit, you will be glad you did!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Summer at Last

"Pre-solstice Evening Sky"
photograph - © Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view) 

The drought of the past 11-12 months has temporarily hit the wall and we are, of course, getting way more than we need all at once!  But I think the old adage "When it rains - it pours!" is about as aptly put as it could possibly be.  We've received 12 inches of rain for June so far here at Prairie Hill Farm, plus a little more wind than we care to ever have.

4 days back we got stuck in the rotating SW edge of a system and around 2-3 a.m. trees started breaking up and dropping in the yard.  So cleaning up is about all we've done for the past 4 days, but today is being "taken off" to recuperate some.  Not only did the trees get busted up, we did too...Georgie broke her wrist and I a torn ligament.  I'm doing much better while Georgie gets used to her cast...glad spring is past us now - hopefully summer will be kinder!!!
 "Bizarre Mammatus Formations and Barn"
photograph - © Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view)

Weather does create some visual opportunities though, I just don't care much for the messy ones!

Hope you have avoided the flooding and/or the severe storms the region has been experiencing!  Our hearts go out to those whom have lost their homes the past few days - especially in Nebraska, and certainly to those who were injured or lost loved ones.

It is summer at last and perhaps a change for the better!? We can certainly look forward to that - wishing you a very happy summer solstice!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Circus

"Grumpy Hummer"
photograph © Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view)

Its been a regular circus around here lately....a circus because of how busy and preoccupied we've been.  But also because of the critters.

Love this male Ruby-throated Hummingbird from a couple days back - just a great expression!

And yesterday I was working in the studio and noticed out the window that I was being robbed in broad daylight!  Good grief, what's this world coming to?!!

"Masked Bandit"
photograph © Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view) 

OK, so it was just a Raccoon, but geeze...I'd been putting all the hanging bird feeders away at night so I guess they decided to hit us during daylight when we'd least expect it!

Later in the evening yesterday I heard a familiar sound and hoped I was wrong but ya...we had a lost baby looking for momma.

"Where's Momma?!"
photograph © Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view) 

The noise I was hearing was a bleating White-tailed Deer fawn.  This has happened before and I was holding my breath that this little guy's mother would find it again.  Some mowing had been taking place in a field just to our northwest and I'm thinking this fawn was in there and ran out from the disturbance...also there was a lot of field spraying going on just down the road from us, and a lot of vehicle noise and traffic on this normally quiet road.

But so far so good, we haven't been paid another visit yet nor have we been hearing any commotion, so maybe things are all good once again.

The rest of the circus for the month has been the process of putting together 56 pieces of work for the Neal Smith NWR down by Prairie City, east of Des Moines for July and August!  Man it takes a lot of time getting work put together, framed, printed, labeled, and you name it!  This solo exhibit is "prairie themed" and owns the same title as my last solo exibit in 2012 - "From the Tallgrass" is not a repeat of that same show however, so more work to get it ready!

Also I am in a new exhibit down in Storm Lake, Iowa right now - the 2014 Artisans Road Trip is having an exhibit at the Witter Gallery in Storm Lake.  This show began last week on June 5th and runs through June 27th.  Be sure and stop in to see the show (either one!) if you have time!

Back to the circus!