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Archive for the ‘Mallard Ducks’ Category

Well, I sure hope so! I can tell you one thing for certain though, I know that I’ve missed blogging and now, I’ve got so much to catch up with that I don’t really know where to begin! And, I’ve never really been far away either, just incredibly busy.

For one thing, I finished another decoy head painting, a Mallard this time. (Hey Bill, looks like I’ve got a series going now too. However, with your third painting,

This is from a Charles Hart Mallard drake decoy in the collection of the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA.

This is from a Charles Hart Mallard drake decoy in the collection of the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA.

you’re still one ahead of me.) I’ve been using these decoy paintings to experiment with different media or methods for the details and such. For example, on the Canvasback painting, I used watercolor with airbrush and traditional brush and on the Mallard, it’s watercolor with airbrush, traditional brush and colored pencils with “stumps,” specifically on the bill (and no, that’s not Bill) and the neck. I’ve also been laying down the background color first which worked well on the Canvasback but not so well on the Mallard.

I’ve now started working on a decorative Green Wing Teal carving that was done by a friend named Francis X. McHugh. He passed away in late 2000 from lung cancer and, to my knowledge at least, he never smoked a day in his life! But he did carve decoys, which creates a very fine sawdust that’s more like baking flour and he used acrylics in an airbrush without wearing a mask or using some other means of ventilation. There’s a lesson in there folks! But, enough of that, now back to the painting. This time, I won’t lay down the background until I’m finished with painting the head, we’ll see how that works. In addition, I thought I might take photos of the work in progress then post them on this blog (or maybe another blog I’ve been putting together [on WordPress, of course]).

Another project that has been keeping me busy is my latest “e-commerce” venture. I’m now on CafePress! (Have patience, though, it’s brand new! A work in progress. I’m still learnin’ how the site works, how to promote it, and so on.) You see, I noticed a number of my images from this blog that many of my visitors seemed especially drawn to, so, I decided to open a CafePress shop where I submit my images, select products that I want my images to be printed on such as post cards, note cards, mousepads, mugs, sweatshirts, etc. and CafePress does the rest. Earlier, I had started putting my images on Etsy (note my Etsy page), however, that site took on a life of its own and became more of an outlet for my sewing or handmade items. CafePress will remain for photos and art from this blog as well as some new stuff.

So, what do you think? I’ve got so much more to write about but I’m still busy with other things too. I promise, though, I’ll be back with blog entries a bit more often ’cause I just can’t stay away from it! It’s addictive! πŸ˜€

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We’ve had what seems like an endless winter this year. So, I think it goes without saying that I have been a bit anxious for spring. Perhaps then, because temperatures have been in the upper sixties and lower seventies, at least for a few days now, and many flower bulbs have been blooming for several weeks, I’ve begun to think that maybe, just maybe, spring is here to stay.

Well, this week temperatures are expected to cool off just a bit but still stay in the fifties and lower sixties so, “weather wise” at least, I still feel that spring is here to stay. But when it comes to many local plants blooming periods, I seem to have “jumped the gun” so to speak.

You see, while my rhododendron is and has always been a late bloomer, I have noticed a number of other folks rhododendrons and azaleas that are just beginning to show their colors. So, I guess I just naturally assumed that the rhododendrons at Bradley Palmer State Park (a small park that, among other features, is noted for its carriage roads lined with rhododendrons) would also be starting to bloom. But, alas, not so fast!

As it turned out, spring green is the color of note there! Such as in these skunk cabbages …

Okay, it’s not exactly a flattering name but, you’ve got to admit that the spring green color is especially bright and beautiful! Just as it is in these grasses …

And, yes, let’s not forget that it isn’t just the plant life showing off its spring green color. Check out this greenhead (Mallard) duck.

Okay, while I was unable to show off the rhododendrons at Bradley Palmer, I promise not to let you down. I will keep track of their progress and take many photos to post when the time is right. Still, I think many of you will agree that spring is showing its signs in new growth, even if in all green nestled sweetly among the browns of last year’s debris.

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Note: For an update to this entry, please visit Past Entries Revisited

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To call the kind of weather that we experienced this past Friday “just” March WINDS is like calling a hurricane “just” a slight breeze! Sure, the winds weren’t steady, but when they blew (at 45 mph gusts), well!!! Mother Nature had a field day knocking down trees, power lines, cable and telephone service. In fact, one could seriously believe that Mother Nature was “royally ticked off” about something!

Take these first photos, for instance. They were taken just down the road from my home where there’s a “depression” that fills with water in late winter and early spring and forms a small, temporary pond. If you know anything about ducks then you know that “where there’s a pond, Mallards will find it” and, true to habit, every spring, a pair of Mallards come and spend a week or two, just “floating around,” feeding and, generally enjoying the good life. Well, on about Tuesday or Wednesday, I tried to get some photos of them for this blog but I never did manage simply because they just wouldn’t pose for me! They paddled furiously to the opposite side and, with my zoom lens fully extended, … well, … let’s just say their movements were also magnified making it impossible to get a sharp photo. Now, though, I sincerely hope that they had found another puddle to “hang out” in and that they are not under this tree!

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The real drama, though, at least for me, happened right out in front of my home!

You see, I was on the computer, making a few changes to my blog’s sidebar, when all of a sudden “blip,” the computer went blank, the lights went out and I heard the hot water heater shut off. With the wind gusts that we were having, a power outage seemed inevitable. I did assume, though, that it was a local area outage. I had no idea that it was going to be so personal. However, at about the same time as my home went dark, I also heard a loud “thud!” But again, I just figured a tree had come down somewhere. My home is, after all, surrounded by trees! And, thus far, (knock wood three times), my home has been spared every time. Even this time!

The tree in question turned out to be in my neighbor’s yard. Fortunately, it did not fall on their home but it did fall across their driveway and across the electric wires leading from the road up to their home. And, let me tell ya, it was one good size tree!!! (Please note that the images of the tree were taken the day after for reasons I will explain in a moment.)

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I’m making a point as to the size of this tree for one reason, take a look (in this next image) at the telephone pole that’s in my neighbors yard right next to the tree that came down.

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Sure, the wires were pulled down but they NEVER broke and the telephone pole didn’t even get scratched! However, the same CANNOT be said for the telephone pole in front of my home.

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(I promised myself that I wasn’t going to add this BUT, I have to! Doesn’t this photo [and the next] just “scream” for one of those signs that reads “MEN AT WORK?” πŸ™„ Sorry guys!)

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On the one hand, it was fortunate that the pole and wires were pulled toward the road. However, the wires to my home just pulled everything off the side of my home. (And not a word from anyone about my home needing a paint job!)

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Believe it or not, my home was the ONLY one without power! It’s not all that clear in the images but not a single wire broke along the road, the wires were still live. That is why I did not take photos of the tree damage until the next morning. I was told that those two wires at the top of the telephone pole carry 13,000 volts of electricity! No one, not even the linemen, would walk under those wires!

But, in all fairness to the crews, they did respond quickly … and I mean RESPOND!

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Would you believe that there’s a fourth truck in the opposite direction? πŸ˜€

And, in this next photo, I was just a tad too late! Moments earlier, three crewmen were on their hands and knees, all three looking into the same hole. It reminded me of dogs looking down a chippy hole. I wanted to tell them that the chipmunk was long gone! πŸ˜†

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Okay! While I have been poking fun at these guys, I sincerely hope that it goes without saying how much I appreciate the work they do. They replaced the pole, reattached the wires to the pole and, even though they aren’t supposed to reattach the wires to my home without a licensed electrician present, they did so! (At least one of them had been a licensed electrician and got permission from his supervisor to reinstall the wires.)

It took about ten hours to finish the job. My phone and online service took until the next morning. But, my hat’s off to all crews involved. Way to go guys!

One more thing, in spite of those strong gusts of wind, not one single bird feeder was blown off the pole that I set up last summer. And, yes, I know I’ve gotten lots of mileage from these little wrens but, … just take a look!

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