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Phoebe can be hard to photograph as she will look away just as I snap. The key is to keep talking to her and distracting her from the fact I’m taking a picture. Then we get to see her sweet face.

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Tucker walks himself. If I know we’re alone at the park, I don’t bother leashing him for the walk down to the beach. This time he was down chasing the gulls (who are back on the sandbar – they had been gone during most of winter) before I ever reached the sand.

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They leave gifts.

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This is one of the nutria that live in the slough. I glanced out and saw a brown blob (nearsighted, you know?) and binoculars showed me this guy sitting in the low tide area munching away on the water grasses. When I went to get my big camera, he moved to our jetty, so I’ll have to get to see pictures off the camera. He has a fabulous set of whiskers, strange orange teeth and a stance that reminds me of capybaras, which were for some unknown reason, my favorite animals when I was in first and second grades.

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They’re just huge water rats. We are wary of them undermining our property, but I’m pretty sure the den is up-slough a bit.

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I love this place we have landed so very much.

This post is a little different in that I just downloaded my 971 pictures from my big camera and want to share some of my favorites.  I have a new painting (see it in the Instagram sidebar?  Isn’t she fabulous?) and needed a photo of it – a good photo of it – to make prints with.  That’s what led to my downloading, which is when I realized it had been too long since I did that.

I get a lot of bird pictures here.  They’re close on the water, and relatively unconcerned about me.  This is a Common Merganser female.  I love their red heads.

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I consider this “MY” Great Blue Heron.  We live in its territory.  I didn’t see it much the past 4 or 5 weeks, but in the past few days it finally showed up again.  I was concerned something had happened to it.  They are such striking birds.

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From our snow day, early January, Scaup in the snow.

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From New Year’s Day, during the very Golden Hour, at the aptly named Sunset Beach.

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I think I need to paint it.  If nothing else, I need to print it and display it at my home.

We have otters here.  Recently I got a couple shots as they left the water.

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This Scaup was sitting at the end of our jetty.  I didn’t realize he was looking at me until I pulled in closer on the picture.  Those eyes!

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I watched this deer walking along the road across the slough from us, waiting for it to frame between these trees.  It most obligingly stopped there and remained there for a full minute at least.

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On New Year’s Day, Kimberly and I drove down that road birdwatching.  This guy watched us for a bit.

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When I first started bird watching, Northern Flickers were divided into two species, the Red-Shafted Flicker and the Yellow-Shafted Flicker.  The shaft part of the name refers to the shafts of their feathers.  When they fly, especially when hit with bright sun, the undersides of their wings glow with the color of the feather shafts.  It’s quite striking.  I once found a yellow-shafted feather in Michigan.  We weren’t able to tell what color this one was.

I went birding last weekend for the Great Backyard Bird Count, spending a full hour and a half to drive the three or so miles of Brooks Slough Road (the one across the slough).  The Red-Wing Blackbirds are back around here.  They were quite unconcerned by my car, so I was able to get some close pictures.

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Lately, a flock of 18 or so Canada Geese has been hanging out in my “backyard” (the part of the slough in back of the house).  They like low tide, and they wade around eating the river grass that grows underwater.

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I caught this picture of one landing.  After he landed, he started hissing and chasing other geese, probably males.  He had quite an attitude.

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Last week I decided a beach trip was in order, for science, you know? and took these pictures around Cannon Beach.

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The lighting was just fabulous.

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This is part of the flock of approximately 2,000 Dunlin I saw.  It was pretty amazing.

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I’ve been busy this past week painting a lot.  It seems I can suddenly paint the way I’ve always wanted to, and that is very exciting to me.  Today I didn’t really feel like painting.  I tried avoiding it, but finally took myself out to the studio and just started, telling myself to just block in some color.  Before I knew it, a few hours had slipped by and I was nearly done with the next in my series of Guadalupe animals.  Tomorrow I will finish detailing her.  David gave me an idea for another, bringing my series to six.  I have three painted, five sketched up.  It’s a lot of fun.

 

Today was a very fine day. The kind of day that feels all sparkly in your heart and your face hurts from grinning so much.  My favorite kind of day.

Started off a little strange with a letter in the mail saying there was a problem with our flood insurance and it wouldn’t be renewed.  I tried to pawn calling the insurance person off on David because I still have the occasional phone anxiety. Nothing like it used to be, but it rears its ugly head from time to time. He said no, so I called. David chose her because she’s local and he figured someone local would have a better idea of what we needed. She figured out what was going on and came to the house within 2 hours of me calling. Yep, she made a house call.  And I made a new friend.  (Insurance needed a signature and a couple pictures of the house, so it’s all good.)

I was in the studio when she arrived, decked out in my nifty art apron that Gen made me.  The apron started the conversation,  as she wanted to know what I was up to.  I invited her into the studio, as I have seating and this way we didn’t have to worry about dogs.  She liked my art and is buying a print of my Virgin of Guadavulpe painting (!) and we ended up talking for an hour and a half and discovered many things we have in common.  She said she would’ve liked to stay longer, but work called. 

Just after she left I had a great conversation with Dawn.  Then Tucker reminded me it was low tide and we needed to go to the park.

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A big auto hauling ship came by. I thought I would video the “ship surge” and as I began it, I realized Phoebe was in the water still, so you can hear me  having a panicky mom moment. The video is here.  (David wanted to see it and suggested YouTube. I watched all my other videos while I was there, and was glad they were there. Chickens, geese, my sweet Sadie dog and bebe Tucker…just more goodness in the day). 

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The waves are from the ship. 

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Tucker in mid-shake. He spent a lot of time in the water today, running back and forth on the sandbar. 
I’m so glad to have a mudroom entrance in the house.

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These little sparrows (pretty sure they’re Golden-crowned Sparrows) posed so nicely and let me get quite close to take this picture. Tucker chased them into the bush.  He tries to catch all the birds. Today that included a flying crow, flying gulls and a raft of swimming Scaup. The Scaup were quite close to shore when we got there but there really is no chance. It never stops him from running all over trying.

I also had a lot of fun painting watercolor fish and got the ideas sketched for my next four paintings. 

Good day indeed.

Valentines was a long rainy day. I knit and watched Grimm on Netflix and that was pretty much the day.

Monday was better. Seriously good studio time. Finished a small painting, found direction on a larger one, then switched over to watercolors. I love watercolor and really want to get the hang of them. Yesterday I felt I was getting there.

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I did this for a local friend. I had started the idea in color pencil, but wasn’t feeling it there. Traced my original drawing onto watercolor paper and boom, hit the flow and ran with it. Very satisfying.

After studio time, I came in and the dogs were all “it’s low tide and it’s not raining!  We must go to the park!!!”  So we did.

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Tucker’s “I know there are other dogs down there” look. Used to be the instant he saw another dog he was running to see it. Freaked a number of people out. Now he stops when I tell him to and watches. If I tell him to “leave it”, and call him, he turns away and comes with me. He continues to become such a great dog.

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We walked all the way to the end of the park. Cliffs begin here and there is a creek.

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While there, a very large ship passed by. Tucker acted like he was going to chase it. I had to keep him away from the water because the displacement of such a large ship does strange things with the water. The cliffs made it even stranger, as when the waves hit, they turned around in a weird backwash surge.  Ducks were unconcerned,  but something like that could’ve caught even a wading dog. Since Tucker’s only got three good legs,  I didn’t want to chance anything.

Walking an hour or so through squishy sand is serious exercise. My glutes and hip flexors are talking to me about my choices.

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Found an early Valentine on the beach during the morning walkies. 

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This whole beach is covered at high tide. At low tide it’s perfect for walkies. That’s Skamokawa across the slough.  This is the point where Brooks Slough and Steamboat Slough meet at the Columbia River.

After our walk I had some solid studio time. Finished the large version of the happy otter and got past a sticky place on a larger canvas to discover what it wants to be (sometimes I start with a subject, other times I paint intuitively and lay down color and pattern then see what comes out).  After lunch I sat down for some Netflix and knitting and listening to the rain.  It’s been a lovely day.

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Phoebe just loves to wade.

Yesterday I wasn’t feeling real well, so nothing of note happened.

Today, though, I had some adventure time. This weekend is the Great Backyard Bird Count, and I decided I needed to participate. I have such great places for birds. 

I started from my deck and had breakfast while I watched.  Added birds 43 and 44 to my house list, a Scrub Jay and Golden-crowned Kinglet. Saw a total of 8 species and heard one.

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Next, I drove Brooks Slough Road, which is the road into the deer refuge across the slough from us. It’s 3 miles long, maybe, and I spent 1 1/4 hours slowly cruising it.  Our car makes a great bird blind. Saw 20 species of birds, Roosevelt Elk and beavers. Just as I was finishing up the road, something scared the very large flock (400+) of Canada Geese in a nearby field, and they flew by me.  All the black spots are geese!  What a racket they made!

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I had to run to Astoria for dog fud. Sadly, my phone ran out of juice, so no pictures of the flock of 2000+ Dunlins I saw on Sunset Beach. Nor any of the very cheeky crows at Cannon Beach. I went there hoping to see Puffins only to discover they return to nest without fail the 1st of April. I will be there then! 

After birding I still had to get groceries and such. Pretty done in now, so good night. 

One of the things we liked about our house from the start is the outbuildings. It has a large shop for David and a small house for me.

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That’s my studio.  Inside is one large 20′ x 20′ room.

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This is from the door. I have everything I wanted in here.  A seating area, gallery wall, big work table, ample storage, color galore, glitter floor and music. 

David built my work table from sheets of sturdy plywood and 4 Ikea cubby shelves. It’s on casters, so it can be moved aside if needed. 

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I spend more time seated here than I expected. The chairs are comfy and swivel and rock. I got them for $10 each at Goodwill. The storage ottoman was also a Goodwill score ($4) as were the drapes.  The fun rug is from Ikea, as are the pillows.

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View from the seating area.

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My wall of tiny things.

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The cupboards were our kitchen cabinets in Michigan. David bought a new top that runs all the way across and also leaves a parking area for my paint cart. I painted the cabinet door fronts with chalkboard paint.  That big white desk was already in the room, built in, and it works really well as another work area.  The floor slopes the tiniest bit over there, so moving around in the wheeled chair is an adventure.

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This also came from the Michigan house. I’m going to set my sewing machine up here.  The twinkle lights are on a remote so I don’t have to dig for the outlet. I love remotes!

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Bookcases from Ikea. The grey panel is a metal piece from Ikea that invites the use of magnetic poetry. I have a number of sets to play with.

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My main workspace. I like having things out where I can see them and grab them easily. I didn’t realize how much more creative I feel with my supplies visible.  Dawn told me to get all the things out of their tins and boxes and she was right.  Having the colors visible and handy to grab is inspiring in itself. 

Here’s a few more pictures:
Cupboards with chalk paint fronts. Inspiration board.

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Built-in desk

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Gallery wall

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I found this amazing hand-hooked rug at Goodwill.  It needs some repairs, but even as it is, it is a beautiful piece of art.

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Visitor work station, across the table from me.  If I move things around, there’s also room at either end of the table.

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Happy happy glitter floor. I smile at this every time I’m out there. I’m so happy I did the glitter floor.

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Happy little otter painting I did yesterday. I am, as usual, working in miniature. I don’t know why I like miniature so much, but i do.  This painting is on a 3″x3″ stretched canvas.

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Another lovely day. Low tide has been first thing in the morning so I get some lovely light for pictures.

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I love catching shots like this. Some of the fun is not even realizing I have such things until I get home to look. 

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I spent some time in the studio. I’m learning that even pencil benefits from layers.  I found my good task light and that helps a lot. Eventually we are going to put in another window and tube lights over my work table. I look forward to that.

Perhaps tomorrow I’ll have a studio tour. It’s such an amazing space I have!

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Watched the sunrise this morning at Vista Park. Tucker needed to burn off some energy before an hour-long car ride to the vet. He’s been hurting a lot more this year, so I took him in for x-rays. Turns out the lower part of his hip socket (the acetabulum) didn’t calcify as hoped.  Well, most of it did, but there’s a chunk of bone that has begun moving into the socket, rubbing against the femoral head. No wonder he doesn’t want to use that leg.  Bone is rubbing on bone. The only fixes are surgery, either a Femoral Head Osteotomy  (FHO) or a total hip replacement. The socket may be too damaged for the replacement,  so if the doctor’s ortho guy agrees, it would be the FHO. This procedure was brought up when Tucker was first injured. It involves removing the femoral head. The ligaments and muscles then form a false joint. It’s a pretty common surgery in dogs with hip dysplasia, and it removes the pain. With proper rehab, and knowing Tucker, he could be running and painfree in a matter of months. The surgery would, in effect, pay for itself because we wouldn’t have to keep buying pain meds at $85 a month. It would be nice to know he’s not hurting.  Finally.  He’s a brave strong-hearted dog, but I know sometimes it’s hard. Like today, after the x-rays.

Once again, I’m grateful for pet insurance, which will cover about half the cost.

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Of course, even hurting, he’s a joyful dog. We used the chase the stick game to run off some of the energy.  All those lines in the sand are his, chasing different sticks.

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Today was an amazingly lovely day. When I took the dogs to the park (they are beginning to expect it now) it was a little cloudy, but off to the west were blue skies.

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This is Tucker’s recall. He runs back to me when called. I love that.

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Strange lighting (the others are very dark so I think the camera over compensated a bit) but I love it just the same. I like Phoebe peeking through. 

Went to town on a friend errand,  got to sit and watch the seals in the river. Mount St Helens was visible from my seal watching perch, and I got to go barefoot. I heard my first Robin (still 2 months away in Michigan).  My hair was lovely. It was a very good day.

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Mount St Helens from County Line Park, overlooking the Columbia River.

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