Wednesday, July 31, 2013

About That Fawn ...

Can you find the fawn?

The Shih Tzus and I headed out into the garden, me with my Kindle, and they with excited expectations of exploration and new pine cones to chew. But when I had caught up to them they were excited about a deer on the other side of our deer fence. Thank goodness for the sturdiness of the black plastic webbing, because our two doggies are endowed with the bravery bred only of naivete, while the doe was hell bent on destroying them. Fearful for Joey and Buddy, I started heaving stones at the doe. Not my usual greeting to the creatures that share our garden. Surprisingly she barely moved. Puzzled, and fearful for the little dogs, I aimed to hit her, fortunately and comically missing wildly thanks to an arm sprained several weeks ago. Eventually she took off across the meadow to the rear of our house.

We have been in this house with its little half acre of oak-strewn Sierra Nevada foothills for about 30 years. In the beginning there was not much on the slope up behind our home but the native oaks and a patch of vinca or periwinkle perhaps 40 feet in diameter beneath a pair of fig trees. Deer would frequently enjoy resting in the relative coolness there during our hot summer afternoons. Does would bring their fawns there to enjoy the shade and the water available from our little pond. Probably a few generations of deer got to know the place before their numbers increased to the point that their hunger for the developing garden, simple as it was, exceeded their welcome. So the deer fence was installed, nearly encircling the garden, but leaving an opening at the top of the driveway for a little RV to pass through.

Despite its incompleteness, the deer fence is about 80 percent successful - most deer just take the easier route around the outside of the fence to munch on the neighbor's plants. But there are those few who remember the cool afternoons spent with their mother in that delightful oasis, and manage to find the secret entrance. And so it probably was that that doe had come in with her tiny spotted fawn, and then somehow become separated. I realized this when, as I was hustling our doggies into the house, I spied the incredibly tiny fawn, likely no more than hours old, on our little brick patio. My wife actually had to point it out to me, hiding under the fern, completely still, just like its DNA told it too. And just like we have been told, we left it strictly alone, knowing that the mother would come back and find it. And so she did. After a long afternoon of our fretting Hilda happened to look out through the drawn drapes at dusk just as the fawn emerged from the ferns and shrubs to get nuzzled by mom. 

We hope to see them again. The loss of a couple of hydrangea blossoms is nothing compared to the pleasure of seeing deer comfortably bedded down, nearly invisible except for the flicking of their ears above the periwinkle, and with access to water on our hot afternoons. When I look out to see some creature enjoying the coolness of the garden we have grown, or drinking or bathing in our little waterfall we built, I feel that my life is worthwhile, having provided a bit of comfort to at least one of its creatures.

I'll be gettin' to that SM9 ...


Sunday, September 1, 2013, 2 pm Art on the Divide Gallery, Georgetown, California

The above would be the opening for my show at our cozy coop art gallery. I've been a member for about a year and a half now, and have grown to love all of the varied personalities in our little group. A group that is dwindling to the point that we fear our ability to keep the doors open. But for now you can still find the "Open" sign on the big door right on Main Street between the firehouse and the American River Inn Thursdays from 11 am until 3 pm, and Fridays through Sundays 10 am until 6 pm.

The cool thing about our group is that it is completely un-stuffy. I have experienced nothing but a willingness to share techniques and encourage other's work. So encouraging that I am planning that my little show as September's Featured Artist will be made up largely, if not completely, of watercolor paintings.

I have a few paintings, childish splashings completed a few decades ago when a daughter and I took a few classes. I'm hoping to fill out the show with some fresh splashings, but keeping to the same childish style, since that is what is comfortable and fun for me. I don't consider them "real" watercolors, in the sense of those painters that seem to get the paints to flow and blend almost magically. Mine are rigid, almost cartoonish, the colors mostly imprisoned behind carefully inked limits.

Today I was able to focus almost 100 percent on completing another painting. Except for the 30 percent of the day spent attending to my day job and fooling my employer once more into thinking that I actually know what I'm doing, the 20 percent of the day spent hacking back the jungle of household entropy, 5 percent feeding and toileting, 10 percent napping, and 5 percent typing a letter to my son on the subject of comparative science fiction literature on a lovely, newly-arrived, Olympia SM9. and 25 percent of the day fretting about a tiny spotted fawn in our garden who temporarilly had lost its mother.
Did I mention the 25 percent of the day spent on Facebook and typospherical web sites? So you see, finding time for art takes perseverance. In the end, I found constraining the virtuosity of my watercolor endeavor to the level of childish splashing to be no challenge at all.

More on that SM9 next time.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Royal Delight

Oops -  the grommets are 3/16", not the 3/8" mentioned in the typecast.
I bought the kit (pliers and grommets) through Amazon (US). It should show up if you do a search for 3/16 grommet pliers. Got the set made by ProTool - the pliers include a punch to make the hole the grommet is inserted into.

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Dog (Almost) Ate It

Eric and Jean 1968

Typecast with my stodgy and wonderful gray 
Olympia SM3, purchased new in 1957

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Move Along

Typecast from my rescue typewriter
a 1924 Royal l0
found in a neighbor's garbage can in 1967
no kidding

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Acquisition vs. Divestiture

About the time I was planning a thin-out of my relatively modest typewriter collection, along comes Michael Clemens' (clickthing) appeal for help with his divestiture. The depth of my own commitment was quickly revealed by my knee jerk reaction to his offer of a 1937 Underwood Champion. My modest collection did not yet include an Underwood, one of which I recalled from my grandfather's office. Of course I would give it a good home, and he wouldn't even need to pack it for shipment, as his home in the San Francisco Bay Area was a mere two hour drive from my location up in the golden, rollin' hills of California. Arrangements were made for a drive-by typewriter snatch from his front porch yesterday.

1937 Underwood Champion
Of course I had had the road trip planned as a great adventure. I would take the Triumph TR6 (after a quick tune-up), leaving by 5 am to catch the morning light for some artful photography in the Delta Region. I would follow my old route across Ryer Island that would involve slough crossings on two ferries - The Real McCoy and the J.T. Mack. The whole thing would be videoed, of course, including the perilous ferry crossings and myself sitting on the bench on Michael's porch typing him a thank you note using the typewriter I had just picked up. All would be artfully edited and posted, thus assuring my immortalization within the Typosphere.

In the end sloth, sanity, hot weather, and my everlasting project to-do list prevailed, and I drove our lowly AC-equipped Ford Explorer following the freeways, subsisting on fast food. The one time I did get the camera out, for a photo of the typing scene on Michael's front porch, I discovered there was no card in the thing.

No matter, the typewriter is the thing, and the Champion now rests among my stable of daily letter-writers in all of its glossy blackness. I love the keys on this generation of machines - the chrome-ringed concave plastic is one step advanced from the paper-under-glass keys, and my finger tips seem to like them. The font has a vintage look - all the better for adding interest to letters to my kids and grandkids, who ordinarily receive communication from the realm of texting and Facebook. 
Waiting for the J-Mack in 1969