Archive for July, 2009

Barn Owl in Forest

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

barn-owl-in-forest-smallMy apologies!  I haven’t been posting much lately – we are in the grip of a prolonged triple-digit heatwave – really unusual for the Pacific Northwest – and it’s slowed me down to a near halt.  Brain slows as these “dog days of summer” turn me into a dog that just wants to sleep!  We reached 109F today and that reminded me too well of the terrible heat I experienced, living in Yuma, Arizona when I was a child.

I haven’t been totally idle.  Finished this painting recently and have sketched a few others – painting is scheduled for this weekend.

Meantime, I watch the poor fawns outside panting and sprawling themselves in the shade.  It’s still in the 90s F outside and it’s nearly 10 pm!

Well, we have at least another week of this brain-numbing heat before we get back to normal temperatures.

Stay tuned, but don’t hold your breath!


Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

heatwaveIt’s been in the 100s F for the last week, and we have more of the same weather ahead of us.

This buck apparently found the shade of my back yard a slight respite from the heat.  His growing rack of antlers must weigh quite a bit.  I guess the weight, the heat, and a general lassitude overcame him.  Poor guy!

Poor us too…

Wildlife in Summer

Sunday, July 19th, 2009


The grasses are fast drying out, so the does are beginning to look a bit thin after the energy they’ve expended producing and feeding their fawns.  So I throw an apple their way now and then, which is much appreciated.  The fawns don’t “get” the apple business yet, but they will.


The turkeys are also foraging closer to homes for food for their chicks.  If you look closely, you will see four chicks following the mother turkey.


If you look closely inside the dark circle below the plant stem you will see a spider lying in wait for his next meal.  He seems to be doing quite well as this is probably high season for unwary crawling insects.


Well, these Mullein (Verbascum thapsis) plants have found a dirthold on top of one of the town buildings here.  I can’t believe how much they’ve grown – to full flowering – with so little root space for growing!  But,  after all, everybody and everything has to find a spot for themselves in the universe!

Elements of Cockatiel Fun

Friday, July 17th, 2009

I mentioned in a recent post that Charlie likes to explore textures and shapes in the toy box on the table next to my living room chair.  Every cockatiel has different tastes and interests.  Before Charlie learned play behaviors from Chipper, he never knew what a toy was and what could be done with it.  Chipper was a handfed baby; Charlie was raised wild in an aviary and never bonded with people.

Chipper prefers his play to be shredding and chewing on cardboard books and boxes, and willow baskets and wood discs.

Charlie likes these items too (learned behavior), but without the influence of Chipper, he seems most drawn to discovering the taste and feel of textures of various objects.  The items are extremely simpld and cheap to buy.  For pennies, you can make a cockatiel extremely happy and stimulated.  You might have to shell out $20-30 at one go to get these toy ingredients, but they last a long time.  Here are some of those objects:


These are wood and plastic beads of a small size which are too large for a cockatiel to swallow but inappropriate for larger parrots.  On the right is a piece of leather.  All can be strung on seagrass or hemp rope, or stainless steel “kabob” made for safe bird use.  In Charlie’s case, he has an extra large food cup inside his cage where these, and similar objects, are placed.  When he’s in the mood, he’ll spend a good half hour picking up each item, mouthing it, chewing a bit, dropping onto his cage floor, etc.  I place the cage “toy box” in a place where he’s most likely not to poop into it.


On the bottom is a toy strung together with seagrass, which I bought from Parrot Asylum in a large coil.  The birds LOVE to chew on this.  Above the toy is a medium thick roll of untreated hemp string I bought from my local food co-op.  They also LOVE this stuff.  They’ll mouth and chew on it till it gets soft.  (Caution:  Be sure to watch daily for possible foot traps and remove anything that could be dangerous.)


This is a popular toy of my invention using lollypop sticks, beads, and safe fruit branch bits.  The branch parts (convenient with hole drilled in the middle) I bought from the rabbit/ferret section of a pet store.


Here’s the hard stuff!  Good beak workout material here.  The willow wreaths I get also from Parrot Asylum.  These are universally loved by cockatiels (at least my universe of cockatiels).  The pine rounds are very tempting too.  The left one is new; the right has had the outer bark chewed off.  Finally, the bottom wood wafers fun to string onto toys.  Chipper loves these, Charlie sometimes chews on these; and Sam the Jardine’s Parrot finds these irresistible.  I get these by the bagful from Birdsafe Store.  You can get them normal thickness (for Sam) and thinner (for cockatiels – though Chipper has no problem with the thicker stuff if he’s determined.)

So go ahead, make your cockatiel happy!

Chipper Gets a New Book

Sunday, July 12th, 2009

As I’ve described in a previous post, Chipper loves books.  His copy of Sarah Boynton’s Going to Bed Book got really ratty and chewed up, so I bought Chipper a new Boynton book for a change:  Horns to Toes and In Between. As you can see, it was a hit:

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Sam’s Shenanigans

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

sam1tubeThis is Sam from the rear, inside a sturdy vegetable parchment tube called a “Chube.”  I found it at a pet store and it looked like my boy birds would enjoy chewing it.  So far as I can tell, it seems made of safe materials, no apparent glues to cause harm as are found in toilet paper tubes.  Sam loves hiding in it and chewing the insides.

And here he is from the front view, after feeling quite happy about his progress…


Charlie’s Playtime

Friday, July 10th, 2009

Charlie and Chipper, as I’ve mentioned, are inseparable – even though they have their competitive moments.  After all, they are both male, both feeling a bit hormonal, and both like to play in Chipper’s box.  They usually take turns and play well together.

Right now, Charlie is molting very heavily, so he’s definitely low energy and looks rather tatty around the edges.  But nevertheless, he has his playful spurts.  Tonight Charlie decided to be adventurous and try out all the toy parts and pieces that Sam had left on the play stand next to my recliner.   I thought he was darn cute, so I snapped a bunch of photos of him trying out different toys.  Enjoy!





And after all that hard play time, a guy works up an appetite.  Here is Charlie on his favorite foraging spot, eating some leftover large pellets that Sam didn’t eat:


Life is Good

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

for these little fawns.  I took this shot from my front window early one morning this past weekend.  The fawns are growing and getting very lively.  They are also grazing like their mamma, with an occasional pull at the spigot…

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The Creator’s Gallery

Sunday, July 5th, 2009

gallery1There is a new art gallery in Jacksonville, Oregon called the “The Creator’s Gallery.”  It is a small but very fun gallery.  It’s in an old historic Gold Rush building with brick wall interiors.

And I love the art inside too – all from fantastic artists local to the town and the greater Rogue Valley area.

I was lucky to be able to hang three of my paintings there:  Spirit Wolf at Play, Lizard at 11:10, and Big Horse Free.  In time, I’ll be able to hang more.

If you are in the area for a Britt Concert (note the blue Britt flags, which are all over town), look us up.  We are on the main street of Jacksonville between the two pubs.  Just ask any shopkeeper where the two pubs are if you don’t know.

Hours:  Every day from 10 am – 7:30 pm in the summer.

A Fruitful Weekend

Sunday, July 5th, 2009

doe-at-dawn1We had a spate of terribly hot weather  (over 100 F),  which didn’t make for great sleeping at night.  So, waking up early, I thought I’d get my walk in before the sun got too hot.  One morning this weekend, I left the house at 7 am; another morning at 6:30.  Whoo!!!  I am not used to vigorous climbing or walking that early.

But the rewards were certainly worth it.  Here is a doe who wondered (as I did) what I was doing out so early?

I thought I saw a coyote whiz by too, but after a second look,  I discovered that it was a feral cat streaking away from me.  Funny how seeing things out of the corner of the eye can make them seem bigger than they are.

Since the 4th of July dawned hot and became 103 quickly, I just stayed home to keep cooler.  I made good progress on a new painting (actually finished it just awhile ago, but don’t have a decent scan of it yet, so this is an idea of where I was headed.  That’s Sam in the background, looking out the window.


And of course I watched a lot of deer traipse through the yard over the weekend.  This shot is of the ancient matriarch doe who, although looks a bit ragged at the edges and may even not see very well, continues to surprise me with her vitality and staying power.  Here she is about to navigate the concrete steps from my car park to my little yard.  She’s one of the very few deer who find stairs not at all a problem.  Looks like she’s ready to take a ride in my little Honda Fit and wondering why I haven’t gotten the keys yet!


Hope you had a great weekend and are ready for the new week!