Saturday, November 27, 2021

Happy (Belated) Thanksgiving Out There!


"View from Brian's Overlook, Sunrise No.1"
photograph - © Bruce A. Morrison
4 months!  Good grief, what has happened to me?!  Well..."Life" I guess.  It's been a late summer and fall full of work, family and those other things that crop up I suppose. 
One thing I decided to finally take up, while working with creating a web site for a local private non-profit organization, is to update and upgrade my own business web site...this has been so involved, with my own site, that its taken most of my "free" time since September.  There is more involved in replacing an existing site these days than to just build a new one!  I have just finished this upgrade but will not be able to launch until I finish backing up the more important e-mails from the past 20 years on my older business web mail.  Once I launch - everything from the old "legacy" web mail will be gone - period.  So much of it can be gone as far as I'm concerned but as I work through it, I'm finding so many important things I don't want to lose track of!  Hopefully these will be backed up in the next couple weeks or sooner.
Below Bluffy, Upper Falls on the Wenesaga River
oil painting - © Bruce A. Morrison
One thing I snuck in during the summer months was some personal painting time...I wanted to take a break from the requests I've had, the commissioned work and just the neighborhood artwork and do some painting just for myself.  I hadn't really done that for a long, long time and there were images of the northwoods Georgie and I had loved so many years ago that I wanted on canvas.  A person has to shake out those cobwebs and get them worked out, or they'll stay stuck in those far corners of the mind - besides I really wanted to paint them and not allow those memories to be lost.  
These are personal but I'll show one memory that I was very pleased with in recreating something precious.  The "Upper Falls" as we always referred to it, is on the Wenesaga River of the Red Lake District in NW Ontario, Canada.  My wife's family spent decades of summers up there and when I became part of their family, I spent several years visiting with Georgie.  
This scene was several miles up stream from the family cabin but was a favorite wild in character and a great fishing hole to boot!  There was a trail on the east side I loved walking and photographing along.  The left side of the painting has a darkened space in the shoreline that represents an old Chippewa Indian's "Line Cabin".  The Indian that trapped this system of river and lakes, had several small cabins along the trapline that he would take refuge in should he be caught out in bad weather, or need to make a stop for shelter for the night.  The forest has since claimed these small one room cabins and the spruce bough bed frames he constructed for a day or night's respite.

Now back to work on other things here in the studio and back on the acreage.

"Back Water Autumn"
photograph - © Bruce A. Morrison
The Fall here in the valley was surprisingly nice, despite the second severely dry year in a row.  But we had some surprising little gifts of rainfall this Fall...too late for the gardens or the orchard...or the neighbor's crops but very appreciated!  The small ox-bow back water nearby (seen above) actually raised an inch or so, staving off a complete dry down.  It's going to freeze to the bottom this winter I'm afraid though...its barely 2-3 inches deep all the way across now.
We've spent quite a bit of time this Fall picking seed on the part of our north pasture that has done well despite the drought.  This went on for about 6 weeks - waiting for many late fall forbs and grasses to finish.  And we've both spent a good deal of time mapping out a remaining section in the northwest corner to seed this winter.  We haven't done a winter seeding in some time...its not always easy getting a good burn in the fall; the brome can be a nuisance when it refuses to dry down enough for a burn.  And then it snows before you're able to get anything done!  Seeding must find some good ground contact and burning is the only way to do this on sloped and uneven ground.  We tried seeding the South pasture a few years back, in the Spring after a burn, but the success was not what we needed.  Every Fall burn I've ever been involved in were the most successful in germination.  That long period blanketed in snow...the freezing and thawing, is the natural way things happen anyway - why not embrace it!  Now we just hope most of the seed is viable.  We had so many plants that didn't even break dormancy this past summer because of the absence of rain.
Now its a waiting game...we want to broadcast seed just prior to a good snow event and cold front to set the proper stage of conditions.  In the meantime its back to the studio and working on more ideas in my head than I have time left on this Earth to possibly execute.  
But hey, that's a lot to be grateful for. Hope you had a good Thanksgiving - and a grateful Winter ahead!