Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Scene of the Crime

Took a walk around the property this morning, clipping the grapevines off at the ground before they can begin their climb up the oaks and elms, and I came across this terrible scene.

Barred Owl feathers covered the ground.

So many feathers could only mean one thing.

I looked around for coyote or bobcat tracks but didn't see any.  Then I looked up into the tree above me.

On closer inspection with binoculars and my zoom len, I discovered why I couldn't find any predator tracks.

All those feathers caught in the branch above surely meant our sweet calling Barred Owl was the victim of another owl; probably a Great Horned Owl (I looked up Barred Owl predators on the internet).  Sadly, I will miss his distinct call in the evenings.  Click below to hear a short few seconds clip of a Barred Owl.  I am sure you have heard one before.

Barred Owl Hoot

To see a photo of a Barred Owl you can search google images, or click here.

On a lighter note, it's Easter and my son and grandoggie were in town for a visit.  Always love getting to see them.  Pockets had an especially good time playing in the mud.  Boys will be boys.

 He did let me see his sweet side, too.

That only lasted until he started chasing butterflies.

And checking on my at-one-time-presumed-dead trumpet vine I find it is doing amazing.

I can see these blooms from my kitchen window.  Such a nice splash of color that makes me smile.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

What's Black and White With a Hint of Brown?

I am lucky and have two mother-in-laws, Marcia and Jeanne.  Jeanne inspired me in my photography and was on my mind when I chose to invest in my big girl camera.  I value her opinion and gratefully accept her hints, tips, and suggestions.  That said, I have revisited a few of the photos in consideration for the owl bathroom and done a little tweaking.  The ones on the left are the original black and whites.

She warned me not to be too heavy handed with the brown tint, and I may have gone too far.  You really can tell a difference, though, from the original black and white.

The contrast gives them more depth, and the details stand out more.  I am sure those are the technical terms.

They also have an aged appearance that I like.

I have not picked the photos I plan to print yet, but I will be playing with them more in PicMonkey to get the right amount of tint before I do.  (Note to self:  put Photoshop on my Christmas list)   I see a light at the end of the tunnel with this project!  Though I love the outdoor shots, I have so many in other galleries around the house.  I think I will stick with an old Texas theme here.  I have not been out on a Vanishing Texas  trip in a long time (click on the Texas Towns label on the right sidebar to see other trips I've made) and this may just inspire me to get back on the road.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Picking out Prints for Frames

Since the owl bathroom is mostly complete and I really don't want to leave it unfinished (even though my Dear Jane is calling my name), I need to get my frames filled.  I need a small 2 x 3 inch picture, another 5 x 5 and one 8 x 10.  Here are a few of the pictures I have taken that I am considering.  Please keep in mind that I don't have any experience with black and white so I am winging this.

For the 2 x 3 inch photo:

Yaupon Leaves with dew
Mushroom in the woods
Wood siding on an old passenger train car
For the square 5 x 5:

Spiderweb on old lock and knob
Train Track Rusk, Texas
Same mushroom as above cropped square
And lastly, the 8 x 10:

Texas Longhorn
Pine Cones
Abandoned Gas Station North Zulch, Texas
Sweetgum Seed Pods
I may get out and take some more black and whites instead of going with what I already have.  Anyone have an opinion?  Ideas for Black and white pictures?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Owl Inspired Bathroom Update 2

I know, I know.  It's been awhile since I have posted any progress on my owl bathroom.  It's not that I haven't been doing anything, I have.  The owls took 4 coats of paint and a tiny brush to give them clean edges.  At long last, though, I am ready to show you my progress; starting with my little white shelf above the toilet.

I decided to go with black and white photography in here, so the white frames and shelf made sense.  I only have one print in there now, but others will come.

And do you like the lantern filled with color coordinating potpourri?  Nice find, I think, at Pier One.  The blue is a perfect match for the stripe on the wall.

The owls were very time consuming, but now that they are finished I really love them.  The frames are hung for future prints, but for now they are empty.

I love the eyes looking in all directions.

The hand towel is new as well, and also matches the blue stripe.  Kracken, of course, needs to be part of the action.  This was his favorite spot night after night as I painted the owls.

I love my Inhibitors.

I may need your help picking which black and whites of mine to print for the frames.  Let me get some choices together and I'll show you what I'm thinking.

So how do you like it?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Texas Wildflowers, We Got 'Em

I truly have a wildflower meadow in my front yard.  It's early, but already you can tell it's going to be a great year for our Texas wildflowers.  Enough talk.

And do you remember the trellis Breck and I built waaay back on July 17th, 2011 (No Screws, No Nails)?

 Probably not, it was 2 years ago.  Well, we built it out of sticks from the property and grapevine that we pulled from the trees.  When it was finished, Breck planted a Trumpet Vine for me (Let My Trumpet Vine Bloom), but with the drought we did not expect much.  This year for the first time we are getting flowers. 

And judging from the number of blossoms on the vine, we are going to get lots of them.

Honestly, I thought the vine was dead.   It's gonna be a great spring.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Something New

I really try and make posts that I know you guys will like.  This may not be that post.  Not everybody LIKES birds.  Several of you may have a Hitchcock phobia about birds (or The Birds).  But here I am again making a bird post.  I had to.  Observing all the comings and goings of birds at my feeder I have still never seen this guy before.

I used binoculars to get a better look since he was a good ways from my window.  After seeing he was something new I grabbed my camera and shot him through the window from 60 feet away (that is a quality disclaimer, by the way.).

That red patch on the back of his neck is what attracted my attention.  That and those fabulous spots.

I couldn't find him in my bird book, so I consulted the experts at the Bird Identification Help group on flickr. Turns out he is a Yellow-Shafted Northern Flicker.  Okay, so that is not earth shattering news, but the fact that up to 45% of his diet is ants is!  We could all use 45% less ants, right?  And I had two of them in my yard.  How lucky am I?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Hall Bath: Owl Update

This is a really quick update to my small hallway half bathroom.  Stripes are done and dry with just some small touch ups to do.  Now the owls are making their appearance.  Cute little guys.

Thanks to a Hubby Date, I didn't get finished with the large owl, but you can see the progress.  One more afternoon of time on a ladder and this one will be done.

You know that I rarely buy anything that is not on sale.  I saw this cutie last week at Hobby Lobby at full price.  Their new sale ad went out yesterday and he was now 50% off.  Perfect for an accent in this room.  I don't want to overdo the owls so this will be my only addition to the 3 painted ones on the wall.

I think I will put him on a shelf over the toilet and start a black and white gallery with white mats and frames painted the light blue that makes up the top small stripe.  Can you see it?

Some colored hand towels are a must as well.  Waiting for another good sale or coupon.  Bed Bath and Beyond, maybe?