Sheltering In Place, Part 1

My favorite primrose

Yesterday was “officially” Day 1 of sheltering in place, but first we needed to stock up on some groceries. We drove the fifteen minutes to our local food coop first thing in the morning. One thing we didn’t need was TP since we have an unopened pack of it from Costco on a shelf in the garage, about 40 rolls worth. We’d also just gotten an order of our favorite almond butter. But we were low on vegies. I thought it would make sense to buy decent quantities of our favorites, cut them up, bag them and store them in the extra freezer and that will be Task 1 this weekend. I used a food guide from the CNN website for reminders and ideas. You can find it here. We bought broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, green beans and asparagus (very good price on the latter). Also some more canned mackerel to go with the canned sardines. And lasagna ingredients, something I haven’t made in years. Their stock was low for some things and the rice bins were empty, but that was only because the distributor had been delayed. The national food distribution chain is apparently working just fine at this point.

We have five 5gal. ziploc bags of our own blueberries in the freezer and plenty of meat since we bought half a local lamb last fall and keep two whole chickens in the freezer. Our earthquake prep is paying off for the current situation. Speaking of which we got shaken a bit a couple of times in the last few days, a 5.2 and a 5.6.

What was interesting at the coop is some new policies. One sign in a window said that the store, which opens at 6am seven days a week, will be open to seniors only from 7-8am every day, which is very good. Also, no personal paper, plastic or cloth bags allowed in the store. We had to use their paper bags or boxes. I had no idea why they were doing this. I posed the question on a *rational* Facebook thread and someone suggested that the virus could survive on fabric for five days. I’ve just researched it and, in a case of no news is good news, no one seems to be even testing for soft surfaces at this point. Here’s an article from Mirror in England which addresses that. The closest comparison is cardboard, on which it may last up to 24 hours. But it’s an airborne contagion so infection from simply touching a surface is somewhat limited. Still, handwashing is critical and also keeping surfaces wiped down and clean (current info. as per what I know today, subject to change).

Our pond in winter

In other news concerning our neighborhood…we’re near the end of a dead end private road in a rural residential area. There is a road association that everyone contributes $100 a year to, as per the official notification on a buyer’s title report. This goes for, well, road upkeep. When we moved into our place in 2005, communication was awkward for announcing the yearly meeting, much less anything else that might come up, so my husband, an IT professional, set up a private email list with all the road association members on it. It’s been used for all kinds of things like planning multi-family yard sales to party invitations, queries about people who haven’t been seen on the street before, when one neighbor’s chickens are laying again and, in the last three days, two neighbors offering to make store runs for everyone in the higher age/risk category, which includes us. Which is wonderful! There are still no confirmed cases in the county but to know that if necessary we have back up for groceries really brings peace of mind.

Last fall we planted six varieties of garlic

I find that I’m rejiggering my work plan for the year. There are juried shows that I planned to enter in which the accepted work is shipped to the venue, sometimes a museum. Well, all the museums are closing and the whole situation is unsettled, so I may enter a few online shows and otherwise catch up on tasks like a half dozen videos I’ve been meaning to make from some of my Mongolia trips. I’ve also got a number of sketching and drawing tutorials in progress which I’ll be selling through my Etsy shop. New coloring pages coming around the first of next month, also dip pen nib sets for pen and ink drawing. Stay tuned!

Happy New Year! And A New Painting Debut!

Hailey icy pond

Thank you to everyone who reads my blog for your support and kind words. I wish you all the best in 2016! That’s Hailey, our tricolor rough collie girl, posing in front of our pond which froze over last night here in sunny California.

Lots coming up this year, including the next WildArt Mongolia Expedition in May/June, a major group exhibition, “Wildlife Art: Field to Studio” , featuring myself and six of my animal art friends and colleagues, at the Flinn Gallery in Greenwich, Connecticut, March/May; attending the Explorers Club Annual Dinner in New York, with maybe a short trip to Florida for some warm weather fieldwork in March; and plans to attend the Susan K. Black Foundation art conference and workshop this September in Wyoming.

Here’s one of the new paintings that will be in the Flinn Gallery exhibition. The subject is a young saiga antelope who I saw on this past year’s WildArt Mongolia Expedition when we were at Khar Us Nuur National Park in western Mongolia. That’s Jargalant Hairkhan Uul in the background, where I got to camp in two different locations. I’ll be posting work-in-progress for a number of the paintings I’m doing for the show over the next couple of months.

Watchful (Saiga Antelope) oil 24x36"
Watchful (Saiga Antelope) oil 24×36″


Happy New Year!

Back in the saddle again for 2008. Lots to look forward to.

All the kittens I fostered have found new homes. I thought that I would start to introduce that permanent animal members of the household. First up- Niki, our four year old tricolor rough collie, self-appointed guardian of all creatures large and small. Here’s picture of him with Tucker and Katie. Niki had laid down by the crate and the two kittens came over and got as close as they could. All of them quickly became fearless of my 75 lb. dog.


We finally had our first ducky visitors to our pond, three hooded mergansers. One male, two females. I thought, uh oh, there go the goldfish, since mergansers are diving ducks and, sure enough, while we watched, they caught and ate two big ones. But we have since seen at least eight or nine in their usual hangout, so we didn’t do too badly. Michiko spotted them and instantly became a fan. More about her in the next week or so.


In art news, the latest issue of the newsletter of the Society of Animal Artists features drawings that I have done of Mongolian wildlife. Here’s three of them, an argali ram, an ibex billy and a takhi mare and foal (Przewalski’s Horse). They were done on 2 ply bristol with a Wolff’s carbon pencil.




Pond Pictures

Got these pics just in time. A real winter storm is heading in, so bye-bye sunshine for awhile. The pond is still literally rough around the edges and the plantings are new, but great afternoon light covers a multitude of sins. Photo 1 is looking east, with the house in the background. Photo 2 is looking north and includes the greenhouse.

Pond and house 400

Pond and greenhouse

On the art front, here’s my latest giclee from an original oil painting. It’s called “Don’t Badger Me”. Go to my website at for more information and how to order.

Don’t Badger Me

Pond Visitors

It’s been interesting over the last year seeing who shows up at our pond. Photos will be forthcoming as soon as I get over a particularly persistent cold which is going around our area. Today we spotted a red-shouldered hawk for about the fourth time, so we may have our first winter raptor regular. The west end of the property (1 acre total) is being allowed to revert to native forest, but right now it’s shrubby grass. He’s perching up in a big Douglas fir next door, then flying over to some dead cascara buckthorn trunks and carefully inspecting the ground. Not sure what he’ll find. Mice, voles and shrews most likely. Maybe a frog or two.

Other avian garden visitors these days are juncos, robins, goldfinches and Steller’s jays.

The pond has also drawn a great blue heron (apparently a neighborhood regular named “Bill”), a great egret,  male and female belted kingfishers and, to our surprise, a double-crested cormorant. In the spring, to our utter amazement and delight, a movement caught our eye and we looked out from the living room just in time to see a juvenile osprey lifting off! No ducks yet, which I find kind of ironic, since that is was I thought we would get this fall. A friend gave us some teal decoys for a joke, but even they haven’t worked yet.

Turkey vultures occasionally circle over and there are resident ravens and crows.

I keep my camera handy so I can shoot reference as the opportunity presents itself. Missed the osprey and cormorant, but have gotten the hawk, heron and egret.

Just finished Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver. Highly recommended to anyone with an interest in nature! She is an amazing writer.

On the animal welfare front, I highly recommend Nathan Winograd’s new book Redemption, which presents a whole new way of looking at animal sheltering in this country.