I continue on with my gouache odyssey with this latest painting. The reference image is a photo I took of the field from my Grandparents’ place back to the woods, taken when Mom and Kirsten and I were last up north. I am pleased with how it turned out. I wish I had more time to paint.
I have also been spending some time with bird photography. Above is the female oriole, and below is a cheeky robin. We had our first hummingbird on May 21, quite late this year. Next update should be the garden expansion. We are putting in a monarch butterfly way station.
The weather has been odd this May. The past few days have been incredibly cold, 20 degrees below average with freeze warnings. I have yet to plant anything at all. They are predicting a week from now it will be 84 degrees. So much for spring, right? In happier news, the orioles have returned. We have at least two couples and the males seem a bit territorial. The hummingbird feeder has been up the same amount of time, but no hummingbirds spotted yet. Everything is still shut down until the end of the month due to COVID-19.
This latest painting is a very small study in casein. A friend on Instagram had posted the photo of her cat and suggested it was worthy of a painting. It seemed to me to be a good opportunity to try out a new medium.
I painted this gouache from a photo I took last year of our garden for Mom for Mother’s Day.
The spring birds are here, doing their thing. Above is a yellow-rumped warbler at the suet feeder in our backyard. I’ve not seen one of these before.
The bluebirds are already nesting at the shelter, with eggs in the nestbox.
So are the tree swallows. They are really pretty birds, and they are lovely in their flight patterns. They’re not shy of dive-bombing you if you get too close to the box, though.
Temperatures have been consistently colder than normal last week and this week, and predicted into next week as well. Today’s high should be 62, and we will top out around 42 instead. It looks like we will be tracking closer to normal the beginning of May. Things are still in lockdown for COVID-19, but we’re unsure when that will end. There is pressure on Governor Whitmer to open things back up here in Michigan. Not sure what will happen with the greenhouses at this point. Everything feels rather up in the air.
It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a sewing project. This one is very quick and easy – dog training squeaks! At the shelter where I work, we do all positive-based training. Getting the attention of a dog and having it follow a specific behavior you’d like is easy if you have a bait bag (see project here), training squeaks and some patience. You can buy fancy squeaks or clickers at a pet store, but it’s so easy and cheap to make them yourself. First, you’ll need the squeak bit:
I had some leftover (cat-themed) fleece from another project (bench covers for a large cat play pen. really.). I cut the fabric to fit, folded it on the half and sewed a curved line with a zigzag stitch. I finished off the edge with pinking shears as the fleece won’t fray. Some dogs really like chewing on a squeak, so it’s always good to have extras. And squeaks are FANTASTIC to get a pet’s attention when you want to take their photo. I keep a squeak in my purse and in each coat pocket. Also, think you don’t have a need for these if you have a cat? Think again! You can totally train your cat. Here are a few of my favorite cat training videos:
If you’ve trained your pet to do cute things via positive training techniques, post the link in the comments!
Today is Maxy’s 13th birthday. He was found with his mother-cat, wandering the streets of Potterville, Michigan. He wound up at the Eaton County Humane Society. I saw his photo on petfinder.com, and we adopted him. If you have extra room in your heart, I encourage you to adopt a shelter pet. Maxy brings us so much joy.
Dewey is absolutely feelin’ Friday (Feline Friday) today.
Monday’s predicted high is 64, then we’re back in the 40s but it still feels like spring is on the way. In fact, I reported the first robin of spring today (check this site out…love them!). He was bobbing along Watkins Road as I drove to work this morning.
Lowe’s Kitty Litter vintage ad from the September 1957 Home and Garden magazine.
Edward ‘Ed’ Lowe (July 10, 1920 – October 4, 1995) was the inventor of kitty litter. From Wikipedia:
“Before Lowe’s invention, people kept their cats outside, using ashes, dirt or sand as cat litter when it was necessary to keep them inside. One day in January 1947, Mrs. Draper, Edward Lowe’s neighbor in Cassopolis, Michigan, came to him asking for some sand to use as cat litter. Her sand pile was frozen so she had been using ashes but they tracked all over her house. Instead of sand, Lowe gave her some clay called Fuller’s Earth, a set of clay minerals capable of absorbing their weight in water. She found it worked far better than sand or ashes.“
The product eventually became Tidy Cat, which is currently owned by Purina.
It’s super-cold outside, friends. Better put on another sweater. Here’s Maxy, wearing his.
Just finished my latest crochet project, a cat sweater, using free pattern Phoebe’s Favorite Cat Sweater found here. It’s a little small, even for some of the smaller cats. I’d make a few adjustments to the pattern next time I make it, but it really is cute and again it’s free. It also leaves the front arms open, which some cats prefer.
They are still predicting the second week of March will be a little warmer, with temperatures finally above the freezing point, but I’m not holding my breath.