It’s been an uneventful week for us since I last posted, which is a Good Thing. Our four days with no cases (as per my previous post) turned into six days. Then there was one new case a day for two days, bringing the total for Humboldt County to 52. We’ve now gone three more days with no new cases. I think we’ll most likely stay under the shelter in place order through the end of the month. When we went grocery shopping at the Arcata Coop on Thursday almost everyone was wearing masks and being distance-conscious. Despite the ridiculous, ginned-up by right wing donors, protests a few days ago it’s clear that order or no orders most Americans get that social distancing is working and that doing so and otherwise being mindful is the fastest way to beat Covid-19. Someone posted a photo on Facebook this morning of a beach in Jacksonville, Florida that had been reopened and there was almost no one there.
In art news, I finally got around to experimenting with a new, very cool drawing pencil, a Koh-i-Noor Versatil 5340 “Magic”, which is what I used to do the drawing of the mooose above, plus the ones below.
What makes it special is that, as you can see, the leads themselves are multicolor. You can see in the moose’s head how the color changes as one moves the pencil. Below is the first drawing I did of a skunk who visited our backyard a few years ago. I simply scribbled to see what the pencil would do. This was fun but I think I like the effect of the more simple use in the moose.
In other news, the weather has now warmed up so the 2020 gardening season officially began late last week. I got four varieties of beans started in six-packs and planted a few things that I’d started last year. It will be late May/ June before the ground is warm enough for the beans to be happy in the ground. Ditto the squash. I weeded the pea beds, which are a row on either side of a salvaged cyclone fence gate, and found a gopher tunnel running the length of one side. So we will be lining each row with gopher wire before planting.
I also potted up six packs of sweet peas yesterday, all heritage varieties: ‘Painted Lady’ ‘Lady Grisel Hamilton’ ‘Miss Wilmot’ ‘Chatsworth’ ‘King Edward VII’ ‘Black Knight’ ‘Spanish Dancer’ ‘Beaujolais’ ‘Prince of Orange’ ‘Winston Churchill’ ‘Spencer Supreme’
Sweet peas, like most plants, go in and out of fashion. For awhile it seemed that mail order nurseries either had none or just a few varieties. Last year there was a sudden splurge of choices, so I stocked up. I plan to let some of each go to seed so I’ll always have some on hand. One of my favorite seed suppliers in particular, Select Seeds, had a great selection and most of the ones listed above came from them. Also worth checking out for interesting seeds in general is an English firm, Plants of Distinction, which will happily ship to the US and at a reasonable price. Both are potentially dangerous to one’s pocketbook so consider yourself warned. :0)
Finally, here are two more of my “magic” multicolor drawings. I’m also back at the easel doing repaints of some older African wildlife paintings. Hope to post a few of those by the end of the week!
Last night my husband and I were sitting in our spa at dusk and what should we see ambling along the edge of one of the flower borders but a mom skunk with one baby. Niki the collie, who got thoroughly skunked a month or so ago, immediately went to the other side of the spa and gazed with great interest toward the pond. Good dog.
The skunks went right onto the patio and then under the engawa (Japanese style veranda), at which point we called it a night.
BACKYARD BIRD LIST
Same as last week, except one of the first hummingbirds, an Allen’s I think, found the verbascum and lavender, which are starting to bloom. There was an article in the news today here about the songbird die-off. Pretty depressing. The only local bird named that we have seen here is the Rufous Hummingbird. Time to plant more hummingbird friendly plants.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE
You think you know your pets, but sometimes………..
Niki and Eowyn, en flagrante something or other. Got another one that I’m going to upload to www.icanhascheezburger.com. If you haven’t been there and you have a sense of the ridiculous, highly recommended.
ART THOUGHT(S) FOR THE DAY
Two Views on Art:
Artists can color the sky red because they know it’s blue. Those of us who aren’t artists must color things the way they really are or people might think we’re stupid.
Jules Pfeiffer, famous artist
Anyone who sees and paints the sky green and pastures blue ought to be sterilized.
Finally got a chance to sift through my images from my trip to Missoula and Denver. Here’s what it was like at Denver International Airport on May 1, which was my outbound leg. The airport was closed down for almost an hour due to heavy, blowing snow. Then we were number six in line for de-icing at twenty minutes per plane. Had never seen de-icing before, won’t mind if I never do again- Happy May Day?
My camera luck ran out in Missoula. Digital SLRs and lenses don’t go well with pavement, so one of the Nikon D70s and the 28-300mm go in for repairs today. In the meantime, I couldn’t stand the thought of going to the Denver Zoo sans camera, so I went to a nifty camera store in Missoula and bought a Nikon Coolpix S10. Same file size as the D70, 6mg, 10x super zoom, decent “shutter” speed, supposedly. Well, we’d see about that. Fifty bucks for a 2gb card and I was set, I hoped.
I really put it through its paces and I’m very impressed. It wouldn’t do the job out in the field, too slow, but for anything that isn’t moving too fast, it did great! Here’s two images that will show what it can do. The first was through plate glass with no polarizing filter. And yes, those are piranha. The second is a snow leopard who was pacing back and forth waiting for mealtime. I couldn’t get quite what I wanted in terms of variety of leg position, but the focus was decently sharp. The image is more than good enough to use for reference.
And finally, A RECENT VISITOR, at 7:30 in the morning a couple of weeks ago out by the pond. Niki and two of the cats came out with me to see what was going on. We all went our various ways without incident or excitement.