|"Frosty Morning Light - Hay Rake" - oil painting - ©Bruce A. Morrison|| |
Is it Spring yet?!!! One below zero Fahrenheit this a.m., but above freezing this afternoon...a good southwest wind bringing up the warm air - welcome! This is the beginning of several warm days in the 40's to 60's, so looking forward to it!
I've been cranking out winter themed work the past month...had to get them out of my system before work outside on the acreage presents itself. I don't do loads of winter artwork, but had these in my memory file; if I don't get them down I can lose them. I just have so much memory available in this old hard drive (my brain)...if something new or memorable comes by - something has to go. I find my brain deleting memories a lot these days...hey, it happens to all of us eventually.
The oil painting above is of my favorite acreage "prop"...I wish I had one or two more different types of old farm machinery that I could place here or there on the pastures, but this one is just perfect. The old John Deere hay rake came from an artist friend's family farm - he even remembers using it each summer, then bailing afterwards. It was his Grandfather's, then his Father's...his Dad just passed away about a month ago. Although it wasn't the purpose of the painting, I suppose you could think of it as a tribute to his Father and Grandfather, representing their farming heritage and years now finished.
"Litka's Winter Bales" - color pencil drawing - ©Bruce A. Morrison
The next artwork is a color pencil drawing that about finished off a couple pencils...especially the blue one...lots of shades of blue in there! This was a winter scene about 4 miles down the road from us...on a piece of property that the owner has let me walk for years.
We have not had much snow this winter...what we did get was fairly fleeting. So both works were done from older photo files I had to dig up from my system folders. Winter images aren't the best sellers for me but I'll admit that I'm not all about supporting this habit anymore. Life is too short and doing what makes me happy has become more pleasing and important for my well being. And if something "does" strike someone and goes to a new home - that's a double good thing!
As I mentioned, the winter has been a dry one...we did a pasture inventory yesterday afternoon and it is obvious we cannot burn this spring unless things turn around and the rain comes. We keep mowed paths between the paddocks, and along property boundaries for fire breaks...these are usually very green once the snow melts and the spring comes. Any burning we do is helpfully controlled by the green/short mowed barriers. These "barriers" are toast brown and tinder dry this Spring. Even with "all hands on deck" (my wife and I) there is no safe and secure way to burn right now. If the rain comes, maybe a late spring burn will be possible?
We did do a couple limited fall burns last November though...I did an Elm sapling/volunteer killing campaign for some weeks in September and October. There were too many for me to keep up with so I went back to a woody herbicide I used many years ago for poison ivy...Garlon 4. I'm not fond of herbicides but I found myself completely at the mercy of the Elms - they multiplied exponentially over the past several years, and just plain got past me. The Elms on the neighbor's grounds are still supplying seed - even though they're all in stages of decline.
The Garlon 4 is sprayed on, so quiet mornings with no breeze is perfect as long as the volunteers have green foliage to take it in (although I believe epidermal absorption still factors in). Several trips of spot spraying over a few weeks was necessary because there are always those plants that eluded me and some volunteers that needed multiple hits. Once the pasture was speckled with dead reddish brown leaves and no green, then I set about with seeding plans for the late fall.
It was a busy fall in 2021 for seed gathering...mostly from our own ditches and the north pasture. It wasn't as much as I needed but seed purchases are off the radar here in these times of limited income. I was able to seed maybe 60% of the northwest pasture with what I had - I seeded on December 15th as there was a winter snowstorm coming in the next day. Well...the next day we got snow...horizontal snow...our first ever recorded "Winter Derecho" - very high straight line winds. I'm sarcastically guessing that ALL of my seeding was stripped from the NW pasture, as NO snow stuck to that pasture - it was as clean as a whistle after the storm...oh well - I tried.
We had a lot of limbs down after that storm but thankfully nothing serious. We lost part of our sheep barn's roof but nothing we can't fix this spring. In that effect we were very fortunate here!
We'll see down the road if any pleasant surprises still come about from the seeding I did. I'm not holding my breath though.
But Spring is coming! And we're looking forward to it!
Have a Blessed Spring out there...so many will not, especially in the Ukraine and possibly the Baltics...praying for peace in this world with all my heart.
Please be good to one another.