Thursday, November 26, 2015

Artist Spotlight - Kelsey Cain Photography

For several years now when I have visited the State Fair of Texas, one of the vendors I have enjoyed stopping by and visiting with and looking at his wonderful photography has been Kelsey Cain. He travels extensively to capture amazing images of nature, predominantly from the western U.S. Wolves, cougars and mustangs are just some of his subjects. Kelsey is very personable and has been gracious to share some insights into the flow of his year, from his travels to the production of new prints.

While many of his subjects are large and dangerous, one small critter that is fun to see in his images is the pika. Tiny furballs that live at very high elevations, pikas don't hibernate so they make the most of the summer growing season and gather bundles of grasses, flowers and other vegetation that they stash away as hay for the winter. I learned to appreciate Kelsey's pika images even more when I was lucky enough to spot at least one that came and went from a rocky outcrop on Grand Mesa in western Colorado. The little critters are shy and very quick. We saw one bring back a bundle of greens twice but neither shot was what I was hoping for to add to my photographic art offerings. I am sharing one of them in this post however so you can get a feel for their habitat. I could have hung out there for hours in hopes of getting some better shots but I didn't think that would be fair to ask of the rest of the group that had driven up to the top of the mesa to explore it. I also might have missed the marmots that I did get some shots of that have been added to my body of work.

So this year when I visited Kelsey's booth, I appreciated his pika photos even more than before. Kelsey offers framed larger prints as well as smaller matted ones. He had a matted print of my favorite, a pika perched on a rock with a bundle of ferns in its mouth that I had to take home with me. I have finally found a frame that complements the image and my room as you can see in the second image in this post. Stop by Kelsey's booth next time you are at the TX State Fair.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Gardening Conventional Wisdom That Is Not Really Wise

Put rocks in the bottom of your pots to give your plants better drainage. Dig a bigger hole and back fill with amended soil when you are planting a tree. These are two bits of gardening advice that are not uncommon to hear but have been shown to be the wrong thing to do to help your potted plants stay healthy or to have newly planted trees thrive. I saw them again in the context of being debunked in a great article that I tripped across earlier today. I was familiar with the mythical nature of most of the advice being debunked but was actually quite happy to read one about using wood mulch that I had often wondered about.

I use a lot of wood mulch. I recommend that people use wood mulch to help their gardens thrive and make taking care of them less of a chore. However I do live in an area where it is not uncommon to find termites. What do termites like to eat? Wood of course! According to the article, wood chips are way down on the list of wood related things termites consider appealing because of its lack of nitrogen and phosphate.

Check out the other debunked garden myths. They will help you invest your time and money wisely in your garden. Happy gardening. And remember if you are in North Texas or similar areas, if you haven't already tucked in some winter annuals so they can start getting established before the first frost takes out your warm season color, get to it ASAP.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Thanks for the Treasuries - October 2015

Three Etsy shop owners let me know they had featured one of my items in a treasury during October. Three October Etsy treasuries, that treasury makers let me know about, included one of my creations. You can see a collage below of my items from EDCCollective and EclecticSkeptic that were featured during October. (Click on the collage to see a larger view.)

I really appreciate being featured by the treasury makers. To thank them, I have listed below a link to the Etsy sellers that let me know they had featured one or more of my items, as well as an item from their shop that I like.

Enjoy window shopping and please click on the links of anything that catches your eye.

If you have a wine connoisseur who happens to appreciate hand made items, this shop is a great destination.

This shop offers one of a kind, beautifully handcrafted jewelry from bling to vintage.

This shop stocks vintage treasures that make treasure hunting fun.