Carlton’s Dream: Painting with Natural Pigments

What a happy moment it was yesterday when my friend Sean Wall bought me a painting I’d commissioned from him. What makes this painting extra special is that the painting was done with natural pigments he gathered in the wild (other than the white; I think that’s acrylic).

The painting is called “Carlton’s Dream,” because hard as he would try, he could not climb the barbed wire fence. He sure looks happy.

I’ve written about Sean before, so check this link to learn about the book he recently published. It has lots of his art, which is what I call hippie folk art, but I bet he has another name for it. I have a poster of one of the trees he painted, which will go in my office in Cameron, once it’s redecorated.

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Book Report: The Inner Life of Animals

Back to my old habits of reading nonfiction about nature, I just finished this book: The Inner Life of Animals: Love, Grief, and Compassion―Surprising Observations of a Hidden World, by Peter Wohlleben. The author is a caretaker for a forest in Germany, which gives him lots of time to observe the habits of the animals and plants he encounters there. He’s also the author of The HIdden Life of Trees, which has amazing information about how trees feel, communicate, and more. There’s a third volume in the series coming out soon, too.

The author and his goats

You’ll either love Wohlleben’s approach to observing the feelings, morals, and behaviors of animals or be a little uncomfortable with it. He uses a lot of scientific evidence to back up his claims (the footnotes are a book unto themselves), but there’s plenty of gut feelings and assertions that an animal felt this way or that way, because it just looked like it to him.

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Book Report: Where the Crawdads Sing

Spoiler: Master Naturalists will LOVE it.

Suna Kendall

Here’s one of those quirky facts about me that I’m not sure where it came from: I strongly resist jumping on the bandwagon of the latest “popular item,” whether it’s music, types of cars, clothing fads (no one has ever seen my bare midriff in public) decorating styles (“a nice, bright white”), and most assuredly, books.

Oh no, everyone’s reading it. It has to be smarmy.

So, when I was first encouraged to read Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens, I resisted. I kept thinking it would be one of those motivational books like The Secret or Chicken Soup for the Soul or that book about the shed…oh, The Shack. I figured, if everyone was reading it, snobby intellectual elitest Suna had probably read all the original source material.

That’s a bit harsh. I admit to not being fond of most books with mass appeal. But, the person who recommended Where the Crawdads Sing to me is also an intellectual elitist, and it’s a novel, so how could I have already read the source material? Oh, I know, it’s probably all formulaic and full of poor attempts at regional accents, with too many big words where small ones will do. Yeah. And it’s in Reese Witherspoon’s book club. Ew…

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A Hugely Successful Earth Day Celebration

Here’s Suna’s Earth Day Celebration Report.

Nature Along the El Camino Real

by Sue Ann Kendall

I’m interested in nature, too.

The 2019 Earth Day Celebration is in the books! It was a great success, too! At least 100 people and two dogs visited the Community Room on Main Street in Rockdale to see the El Camino Real Master Naturalists and their exhibits. We were joined by local Girl Scouts of Central Texas troops and the Little River Basin Master Gardeners, too. (It helps that many of our members are also Master Gardeners.)

Rosie Johnson did a great job decorating the outside of the Community Room in Rockdale.

Many thanks go out to Donna Lewis and the rest of the Earth Day Committee, who put in a lot of effort and planning to make this event successful. There were so many details, but they were all handled very well!

Donna Lewis takes a break to talk to Catherine Johnson during setup.

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Projects and More Projects

There’s not much to share today, because I’ve been mainly preparing for things.

Last night I spent most of the night at a neighbor’s house participating in the HOA landscaping committee, which I and the other member not on the board were repeatedly reminded has NO power and makes NO decisions. I’m pretty sure the other woman and I were put on the committee to placate us after running for the board and losing or something.

This is the view of Cat Creek from the landscaping committee chair’s house.

It’s okay, though, because these folks had great wine and really nice Italian furniture. We actually did come up with a list of plants to humbly suggest that the board adopt as options for landscaping. They need to be drought tolerant and things deer don’t love.

One of the plants the chair of the committee just loved was one I wasn’t familiar with, though I’d heard of it. When I saw this lovely flowering tree at work, I thought it might be that, but no, it’s an orchid tree native to just this area. Very pretty, and it’s leaves are cool.

I like these leaves.

Another Project

Next Saturday is the Master Naturalist chapter’s big event of the year, our Earth Day event. They said they wanted exhibits, so I volunteered to do one on the dangers of balloons and plastic bags to livestock and wild animals.

I’ve ended up doing a lot of research and learning interesting things, so I also developed a presentation on the topic, with a pretty good slideshow, I think. I used it as the basis for my poster display.

I’d say it’s at least up to middle school standards.

Making the display was fun, because I got to use my collage supplies. Yay.

I’d hoped to present my information to a chapter meeting, but though I thought they said they were looking for speakers, when I wrote to volunteer, I was told they’re all full. Oh well. Maybe someone else would enjoy it.

Or maybe I’ll write it up here. That will wait until I have more energy.

History Lesson, Walker’s Creek Edition

Today my friend Melanie Reed, who’s a native to these parts, went with me over to the Milam County Museum to do some research on projects we are working on. She’s looking into the history of two parks in town, while I was looking to learn more about the old church and home we own in Cameron.

Postcard mailed in 1912 showing the building that once stood where our church is now.

I did find a postcard that was a picture of the First Christian Church building as it looked in the early twentieth century. That one burned down.

We met with Charles King, the director of the museum, who brought us some books with old photographs of the county. I was surprised to see so many large churches and schools in what are now tiny hamlets, like Maysfield and Milano. Charles and Melanie told me Milano (where our Master Naturalist Meetings are held) once had a population of 10,000! Wow! It’s between 200-300 now, though it seems like I keep meeting people who live there.

Charles was kind enough to dig up a book and newspaper article about the people who built our house on Gillis St., the Pope family. I’ll use that for my writing about that house on the Hermit Haus blog.

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We’re a YEAR Old!

This is the first post I accidentally posted as a page, not a blog post.

Hooray! Our little blog is a year old! I’m happy to have over a hundred followers, since so much of what I write is so I’ll remember stuff that happened. It’s been great sharing my nature observations, rants, and thoughts with all of you. Share us with your friends!

What else happened a year ago?

I guess I should not complain about last weekend’s big rain. I was remembering that we always seem to have some flooding in early April, and then, lo and behold, my Facebook memories reminded me that it was a lot worse this time last year.

April 11, 2018. No wonder I started a blog; I couldn’t go anywhere.

The 8 inches we got last year all came at once, which pushed the water over the bridge at Walker’s Creek, and worse, breached our dam. That flooding is what inspired Lee to add a second culvert for water overflow, which may be why we didn’t have a dam breach last week. Hooray for Lee.

The big tractor is just waiting to start digging that new culvert that will prevent us from losing more of our driveway.

PS: My blog interface decided to no longer let me add tags and categories. I’ll fix it eventually.

PPS: The reason it didn’t work because I added this as a PAGE and not a BLOG POST.