Friday, August 29, 2008

Birds ignoring each other

Birds ignoring each other
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
Nor do they listen to political advertisements on TV. The first TV I ever saw (I was in high school) was in June Frankland's house. Her father had made it, as I remember. The screen was very small and he had built a wooden cabinet. Because we lived near Schenectady, there was actually some television broadcasting then. But at night there was just a "test pattern" on the screen. My parents said we could get a TV when we kids could pay for it. We had a big jar for savings. What we called "found money" --money on the floor or ground or whose ownership was in dispute--went into this jar, along with any contributions we cared to make. I don't remember that I made any. The TV was not earned until after I had left home for college; thesummer I finished high school, however, my parents went on a business trip and left us with another family who did have a TV. They brought it to our house and lived with us until the folks got back. So then we watched Your Show of Shows. It was better than what's on now and there were many fewer commercials. And now you see why I believe in the memory thread.
You should know that in the photo album my mother made of my early childhood, there is a card testifying that I was televised at the World's Fair in 1939. But I don't remember anything about that.

I made some progress on the postcards for the swap today. AND, I got a lot of other things finished while I was avoiding them. Wrote letters and postcards, went to the post office to mail a gift, and took the cardboard and newspaper to the recycling center. We had someone over to inspect the roof and he said we don't need a new one yet. A relief! So, today was not a total loss, just not heavy on the production of art.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Velvet antlers in the morning sun

PICT3734 crp
Originally uploaded by jhhymas

Woke up early and saw this from the window. There were four of them and I took 130 pictures before they left. This guy was the most splendid. I know I said I'd let up on the deer, but can't do it just yet. An artist who saw the pictures on Flickr said that the buck will become more elusive when the rutting season begins in a couple of months. So, I treasure this chance.

As I write this Obama is speaking. I loved the short speeches that came earlier in the program when people told about what had happened to them. I especially loved the converted former Republicans. Barack is making a great, great speech; it just gets better and better; it makes me hope (and fear) again. He is covering all the issues that I have been so terrified about in an intelligent manner. Can America work as hard and make the sacrifices that will be needed? This is a hopeful night. I fear it might prove too hard, and we have grown too soft, and too self-centered and too brainwashed by media foolishness. I pray I am just too discouraged; I pray I am wrong.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Corn Tassel Maiden

Corn Tassel Maiden
Originally uploaded by jhhymas

She hides in the cornstalk under the tassel. Of course, he is chasing her. I don't remember the rest of the story. These tassels are in my daughter's garden. Corn is a very striking plant, I think. I should try to draw one, just one. Singly, the leaves can look like arms expressing emotion.

We are having ears of corn for dinner every night in this best time garden of year, except for this year's strange failure of the tomatoes. Cassie (dachshund) caught a whiff of the bunny or the chipmunk and tried to spend all day in the northeast corner of the fence, willing the prey to appear. She seizes the chainlink in her teeth and yanks. We spent extra to get the vinyl-covered chainlink, and the result is that she can get a better tooth-grip. She's bent the fence quite severely. We can't let her play long in the yard. I know this is a dumb post, but I guess that's part of the process. Good night.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Late Summer Dance

Late Summer Dance
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
There is so much rainfall here that natural garden spots are all along the country roads. Just stop and shoot. And no longer have to worry that it cost me 50cents every time I click the shutter. All the expenses are up front (in my case WAY up front) for the gadgetry that keeps improving and singing to me another verse of its siren song. And then, every so often, I'll need a terabyte of storage and then a terabyte of backup storage. I'm getting a better system to file things, but there are lots of issues to be solved as I go. I should be able to figure this out; I am, after all, a librarian. But, do you keep modified files in the same folder with the originals? Should you rename every batch of photos? (Experts say you should. But it's a pain.) So far, I have been using the numbers the camera gives each photo. That works now, but my first camera started again at zero every time I changed the batteries. Which doesn't work. Lately everyone advises (I subscribe to all known photography magazines.) that you rank all the photos after each "shoot." The software supports this now, but didn't use to. It's a good idea, but take a huge amount of time. But not more than I am spending now trying to straighten out my 450 gigs of stuff. I hope I haven't made myself too upset to sleep now . . .

Monday, August 25, 2008

I hear dogs barking . . .

I hear dogs barking . . .
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
It looks like this week it is all about deer! Took this through my front window with my beloved 100-300mm lens which reaches even farther now that it is mounted on a digital camera. (Don't ask me to explain this to you; I've just accepted it!) Until the dog barked in the back yard, she was grazing. This is a much prettier pose (I love the ears!) but soon she bounded away.
Now it is late at night, the dishwasher is making that slow, rhythmic sloshing. Tonight, the Internet has been off for two hours, but I thought I'd give it one more try. Sleep tight, although you will probably be reading this in the morning.

yellowing bracken--
the deer lifts her ears
to listen

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Spike Buck in the Meadow

Originally uploaded by jhhymas
I took this from the car window on the same gorgeous, still slightly overcast day, but after the water exercise. For quite a while the young whitetail and I just looked at each other. He had a couple of four-footed companions, but they were moving on. S and I hope to put a conservation easement on these woods. The other night I woke at 2:30 and heard the barred owl again: Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you-ou? as the bird voice guy says on the tape. It really makes this call easy to remember.
I have spent the last two days reading about ship disasters. It really does make this open woodsy spot seem quite safe, not for deer, but for me and my kind, the reading kind . . .
Librarything has been getting multiple review copies from publishers--readers apply for the ones we want and LT applies an "algorithm" to see who gets a free copy. It is hoped that we will write a review. Magically, the algorithm selected for me the book I wanted most, (because I have always loved A High Wind in Jamaica) a republication of In Hazard by Richard Hughes, which came out originally in 1938 (check date.) I am working on the review now; it's a very unusual book. Hughes has combined the incredible factual details (from the case of a ship that was trashed when dragged many miles by hurricanes out of season) with people created out of whole cloth. I think he wanted to imagine the operation of extreme conditions and of fear on different sorts of people, older and younger, British seamen and Chinese stokers. Hughes visited this ship and travelled on a similar one with the captain. He worked for four years on this short book, which is really no longer than many novellas. And, in an afterward, he has some very interesting things to say about how the spirit of the times and other deeply unknown motives can work upon a writer, so that he expresses what he may not clearly understand at the time of the writing. I'll try to post the review when it is finished. So today, instead of finishing the review, I read anothe book: In Harm's Way, the story of the sinking of the cruiser Indianapolis in the Pacific. It was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine late in the war, and through a series of snafus the men had to float for days, mostly without rafts, using only life-preservers which became waterlogged and useless. Many died from injuries, or were attacked by sharks or went mad from hypothermia and/or drinking salt water.
Reading these books together made me think again about how pitiful man is on the open sea without supplies, and most especially without water. Most of the attempted provisioning systems didn't work, (water containers in the lifejackets imploded on impact with the water) and since the Indy was rushed to sea to carry west the secret bomb that fell on Hiroshima, and the Navy felt that the seas where it went after Little Boy was delivered were safe, even the lifeboats were not properly stocked. Most of them were lost anyway. I hope planners have figured out better systems and equipment now. A great deal can have been learned by studying this disaster.
On this cheerful note I say good night 'til it be morrow.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Under the eye of the elk at The Brown Trout

Well, tonight we have to go indoors. This fellow was brought indoors (it wasn't his idea!) and brought a lot of his majesty and dignity with him. He watched me devour a plate of excellent chicken fajitas. S. had battered fish and a Greek salad, That blogging book says nobody care what you had for lunch, but of course, this was dinner.
Short, but very intense rainstorm this afternoon. The sandy soil soaked it up; it was very much needed. S. came home from town with gallon plants (Russian Sage, rust daylily) from the "hurt plant" sale rack at Lowe's.
I am relieved that the Obama campaign is at last putting up some ads, even though I am already tired of the election campaign that has hardly begun yet.
Still no progress on the postcards, but I have gotten a lot of other things done while I avoid. The senior water exercise leader has next week off, so that excuse will be gone . . .

Friday, August 22, 2008

Two Cranes

Originally uploaded by jhhymas

Same field, same time of day, but soft overcast light and I am there with my 300mm lens! Yes! Aren't they beauties?? The feathers look watercolored in grays and burnt sienna. And that glorious red, red crown . . .
After an overcast morning, a downpour and a crack of lightning so near the house that I jumped from my chair. Around noon, I drove to the south end of our woods and spent quite a nice time in eye contact with a deer behind a scrim of trees. And photographed enough goldenrod and Joe Pye weed and green leaves and grasses and forest light to start a flower show!

This is my favorite short sandhill crane video and the way to memorize the call, so you can always recognize it
Ah, late summer as it moves into autumn. Sort of a downer, but a very rich one. Expect more of these photos in the days to come.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

At the edge of Crooked River

PICT3289 xxxx pik
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
In the most wild and messy places, plants know how to arrange themselves by reaching for the sun, forming the most beautiful clusters of foliage. Even the dead log is beautiful. I took a lot of pictures from the bridge on HWY 68 on Saturday of the Riverfest. I'll be working with them for a long time, making them black and white like this, or doing many other things to them. I've done a lot of birding in places like this; the birds like it, too.

Today has been a spectacular day at the feeder--all the regulars came--Blue Jay, Mourning Dove, the Six Chickadees, the Goldfinch family, Mrs. Cardinal, The Swamp Sparrow, Mrs. Hairy Woodpecker (she almost didn't marry him because of his horrible name!) and the White-Breasted Nuthatch. I didn't see the Downies, but day before yesterday I saw Mrs. Rose-Breasted Grosbeak for the first time this season.
The kigo, or season word for how I feel tonight is:
summer is ending. But I don't have the rest of the haiku. Good night.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

After the rye harvest

After the rye harvest
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
This morning on the way to water exercises at the pool at Crooked River Lodge. I was glad I had left early because it gave me time to take more than 100 shots of this assemblage of nine sandhill cranes and about 50 Canada Geese. (This is only half the field.) The backlighting was intense and I only had the purse camera which only goes out to 3x. Still, I cranked off about 140 photos, including some nice ones of them flying away. This is the largest group of cranes I have seen all summer; there is a family of four that have been here and there in grain fields and cut hayfields for the last month. They are the ones that breed in the Waldron Fen, I think. The crane migration must have begun with the more northerly cranes because I have been seeing groups of them in the sky for almost two weeks, calling to each other and flying south.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

In Honor of Daylily Season

Originally uploaded by jhhymas
Which is almost over, alas. We've been adding some plants every summer for the past several years, and they are doing well. Some people say deer eat them, but these are along the front of the house and haven't been eaten yet.
I love the colors in this photo. Today I discovered another time-sink on the Internet, the Color Palette tool available at (Be sure to type the s on labs, or you might get a nasty surprise.) One selects a photo, particularly one with striking, limited colors like this one, and one gets about 15 squares of isolated colors from that photo with color numbers and wonderful color names. Results from different photos are strikingly different.
I have been dragging my feet on the Postcard Exchange. . . I keep thinking that the ones I make aren't good enough. Or I am at a loss as to how to finish something without wrecking it, and making it look overworked. I have gotten four of the seven cards from the others but have only sent out two, which leaves me in deficit mode. But there's always, or at least often, tomorrow.

Monday, August 18, 2008

George ponders the State of Affairs

I love Flea Markets! But they are a temptation . . .

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Gasoline Mermaids

Gasoline Mermaids
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
These mermaids (at the Riverfest, priced a little higher than they might have been) are quite tranquil compared to Olympic swimmers. If I never hear the formulation "41-year-old" again, I'll be pleased. And if the questions the microphone holders ask get any stupider, I won't be able to believe it. "Did you ever think . . ." "How did you feel . . ."
Michael just got his medal and I think Speedo WILL have to pay him that million now. Then, he went over to kiss his mom and turned around to find himself surrounded by and practically MOBBED by photographers. It's enough to make me swear of taking photographs, which I love to do. And naturally, along with everyone else, I am watching this.
"You can really believe that this man was DESTINED to be in this position." direct quote from a commentator just now. Ah, destiny.
Well, it is bedtime; I guess I won't stay up for scantily-clad beach volleyball. I keep remembering times I got sand in my bathing suit!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Name this white berry

Of course, we are watching the Olympics. A nasty side effect of that is that Presidential election advertisements already begin to run. John McCain should have been ashamed to say he approved his message that Democrats would pick on seniors, small business and the middle class with taxes, taxes, taxes. I don't want to get started, so I remember this day about one year ago, when I went out on the boat with my grandsons and these white berries were near the boat launch. I've been meaning to look up the berries ever since, but had forgotten until now.
There have just been two false starts in qualifying races, but now they are running strong. It is amazing to watch these athletes move, really beautiful. My daughter's having a garage sale in the morning, so I've got to go to bed, so I can get up to help. Good night, athletes and spectators.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Late Summer

PICT3373 simp 3
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
The beautiful grasses and weeds, and the Queen Anne's Lace (classified by the USDA as a "noxious weed") which was my son-in-law's favorite wildflower are major features of our meadow now. Every year when the Lace blooms, I am reminded of him. He died in 1990, leaving my daughter with two toddlers. I am glad to be reminded of him this way every year.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Overlooking Crooked River

Originally uploaded by jhhymas
The fellow who leads the senior citizens water exercise in town was going to participate in a homemade raft race Saturday morning at Riverfest. I was in position with three cameras and my long lens to capture him hitting the finish line. We waited on the bridge for almost an hour, even after the parents of another person in the race had gone home. I haven't had a chance to ask him what happened, but since I was there with cameras, I shot a lot of views of the marsh and the river. I have been wanting some more photos to modify and combine with other things. This is the first of them, modified with the buZZ simplify filter. There will be more. I am bery pleased to have these photos and am wondering if I could do some small marsh watercolors based on these compositions. And a happy good night to you all!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

I met her at the Riverfest in Alanson, Michigan

Originally uploaded by jhhymas
This weekend we had a flea market, bands, a "beer tent", boat parades and a boat show, crafts, etc. A little down the table from this beauty, I bought a clear round glass paperweight with bubbles in it. It is very heavy and satisfying to hold. These paperweights are not really a collection, but are getting close. I bought the first one at a glass craft store in Hannibal, Missiouri, across from Mark Twain's old house. They made glass marbles, too, and when I was there they were teaching glasscraft classes. There by the river, I was surprised by the nineteenth century, and all the books I had read about that time.
This weekend, I had Thai food from a booth, and did not have fried potato slices (from another booth) although they looked divine. We met a woodcarver, who finds the animals hidden in burls and logs and carves them out with his klnife. My daughter bought a carved brown trout, like the one her husband caught when they were first married.
This used to be a railroad town, and had a lumber mill. Also, tourists came for river and lake cruises on the Inland Waterway. (The summers here are divine, with a touch of mosquito.) They have a museum about the Waterway (all the way to Lake Huron!) in the hundred-year-old former town hall. Drop on by.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Greens palette

Greens palette
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
Doing small marsh paintings based on my recent boat rides, I wanted a great variety of greens; my downstairs palette doesn't have much mixing room, and only one green in an inferior paint someone gave me. I have taken a series of watercolor classes from five different people, three of whom required a specific palette of colors, one suggested one, and one didn't care! Also for a few years I bought all of the Daniel Smith free-shipping triads, as I got the offers in my email. I would unplack them and put the tubes away in a drawer, or maybe test them first. Last summer, I sorted them into color groups. Last night, I picked six of the greens and put them into a porcelain palette that came with a christmas present set in 1993. Then I painted this. I am hoping to learn some of the majot pigment designations. I have four different ochres, for instance, and all of them list only PY43, so it is the first one I have memorized.
The two cobalts. as expected, were more granular; the two permanent greens and especially the WN Winsor Green (yellow shade) gave a beautiful even wash of very attractive color.
But the delightful surprise--and what made the whole effort seem worth it--was the DS Cascade Green! The pigments here are old classics: Phthalo Green and Raw Sienna. If you look closely at the wash, you will see how they separate out into blue and yellow components. So then I did three more underpaintings before I went to bed.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Cant Hook

Cant Hook
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
You use it to handle logs. The hook swings. This was late in the auction, so the silhouette effect was produced by the low sun. One of my favorite things about the auction was the fact that the auctioneer knew what almost everything was, and what it was worth, when it was held up. He added little comments about condition and usefulness also. It was educational; a year or two of attending these events would add a lot to my store of information. It was one of the last things I did with my 19 year old grandson before he went away to do religious work. Knowing he would leave mingled with my pleasure in this country auction in a strange way.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Overlooking Thira, Santorini, Cyclades, Greece

Overlooking Thira lvl
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
I'm finally working with the Inktense pencils (I like them) that I bought more than a year ago. This drawing is based on a photo I took on Santorini; it is postcard size and I have sent it off for a swap with the ArtSwappers Yahoo Group. I had never done anything like this before. Signing up for this has made me, at least briefly, a little more productive. I have made 25 postcards from a sheet of Fabriano Uno, for instance, and cleaned off a workspace that had gotten cluttered. And I have already sent two of the seven postcards I have promised to make.

I am more of a Preparer to Do Things than a Person who Actually Does Them; it is probably too late to change, but perhaps I can modify a bit. Hope for drastic change always reminds me of something a young woman who used to work with me said one time as we were riding in a car together to attend a meeting. Apropos of nothing, really, she suddenly said, "I need a face transplant."
There were two other women in the car, and all of us fell silent. We couldn't think of anything to say. It was true the young woman was unmarried and determinedly plain with uninteresting hair and a large nose. Yet, she was very smart, often funny, and petite and well-formed. We arrived at the meeting still silent, and with the miasma of terrifying self-hatred still in the car.

It's a funny thing, life. There was a long obituary in the New York Times for Solzhenitsyn. A lot of this I already knew, but it was also a sort of a trip down Memory Lane because I read the books as they became available, and it brought back all the Cold War incidents that I lived through on the periphery of my family and library life.
One shocking thing that I had not known. A. S. smuggled a "microfilm" (remember microfilm?) of The Gulag Archipelago and they were trying to publish it in New York, but he was still hoping for first publication in Russia (he remained a determined, not to say hard-nosed, Slavophile all his life and finally was able to go back to live in Russia for his last few years.). [My husband has explained to me whether to put the period inside or outside the parentheses, but the rule shifts and I haven't mastered it yet.]
Anyway, Solzhenitsyn changed his mind after the KGB found a "buried" copy of his manuscript and questioned his typist, Elizaveta Voronyanskaya. Shortly thereafter, she hanged herself. So it was published, in English first, to great acclaim in 1973. It made the most money of any of his books and he donated it ALL to a foundation to help refugees.
Sleep well, Elizaveta Voronyanskaya. I cannot imagine your life and your death, but it fills me with great sadness.

Christmas cards

MaggieART - Margaret Hunt: post 999 - Christmas cards
I clicked a button to do this, because I wanted to find it at Christmas time. I didn't know it wold make a post, but I decided to leave it, because you might like it, too. Make your own winter watercolor cards, fast!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Just Clouds

Originally uploaded by jhhymas
This morning I finished the book about Thomas Wolfe, that great ecstatic child. He didn't even live to be 38, and was finished off by an illness that released tuberculosis pathogens from a healed over lesion. They invaded his brain. His new publishers carved up his manuscript into three separate books, which were published after his death.
The biography, which is by Elizabeth Nowell, who was his agent when he died and knew him the last few years of his life, is balanced, clear and very nicely done. Many books of this vintage are no longer such a pleasure to read.
One of the most touching things about the way this is done is the very careful source attribution she makes in the text and in footnotes of quoted phrases, sentences and narratives. This information is right on the same page, the way it often used to be, simply and clearly expressed. The effect was to give the reader more faith in the accuracy of the work.
Thomas Wolfe was a very important author to me when I was eighteen. My freshman year in college was also the year when I was unable to continue my practice of finishing a book every day. I had to cut back to three or four a week, or when reading Wolfe. even less, so I could go to college. I wish I could tell you I got really good grades that year, but it wouldn't be true.

Friday, August 01, 2008

HI! My name is M and I'll be your waiter tonight

For some reason the round red fellow seems like a guy to me. And the oval yellow cutie seems like a woman or girl. I found them also, like yesterday's dollies, at the flea market section of the Flywheelers Club event in late July.

I copied the information below from the Boyne Area Chamber of Commerce site, because they will soon take if off since the event is over. I couldn't find a flywheeler's website to link to, but I think they need one.

"Northern Michigan Antique-Flywheelers Show
See Life in the Past Lane....Northern Michigan Antique-Flywheelers Show. July 24,25,26 & 27. Steam engines, tractors, vintage museum, farm museum, saw mill, old basket making factory, veneer mill, flea market, craft barn, petting farm. Lots of demostrations. Plenty of food and music. Music all day and evening. Square and round dancing."

I think it only costs $15 to join the Club and it would surely be worth it if you have any interest in this sort of thing. They have their own grounds here in Northern Michigan with facilities for people to camp the whole weekend for a very reasonable fee. I couldn't stay for the dancing.

Anyway, there were a lot of toys in the booths, and their cheerful smiles took my mind off of current events, if only briefly. I love these toys; they have a sort of innocent materiality. Not worried about the afterlife or sin. I think I will soon get back in the swing of blogging. I fell off the dailiness of it all a while back, but Joann's interest saved me. Thank you Flywheelers! Thank you Joann!
I had been anticipating reaching 400 posts and sailed right passed and missed the 400th one. I also wanted to reach 1000 on profile views, and passed it, too, in the night . . .
Good night, old friends and new!