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Showing posts from 2020

What's New - March 28

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Dear Henry,

Spring has been springing in the forest and there are little wildflowers everywhere. 

I am in love with the rue anemones and I am grateful that (so far) my landscaping plans will not disturb their natural growth.

I found this triune next to a fallen oak and loved how their portrait turned out.  You can purchase prints here.



Speaking of artistic endeavors,  it was the perfect weather for cyanotypes.

We had the temperatures climbing above 70 and a couple of stunningly sunny days, and I took full advantage of the weather to expose several sheets.

This one is of catchweed. I love the shapes it makes in cyanotypes. Catchweed grows in abundance in the yard and gardens and in places that it really shouldn't and I am always pulling it up. 

That it looks great in cyanotype works out well, because I have plenty of it.

Prints are available for purchase here.

Have you ever seen fuschia?

I discovered this cool little plant the other day (or rather Charles Plumier discovered it and…

What's New - Mar 21

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Dear Henry,

This week has been particularly crazy. There is a respiratory virus going around, COVID 19, that is particularly malignant, especially to those who are very old, very young, or have compromised immune systems.

While most of us will feel like we have a bad cold, there are enough people at risk, that if everyone caught this thing at one time, the hospitals wouldn't be able to handle it, so everyone has been asked to stay home and try not to get each other sick.  The theory makes sense and I have been trying to oblige.

What hasn't made sense to me at all is the mass panic/chaos/hoarding that has occurred. We live in an era with superior home delivery options and huge warehouses nationwide and so this need to desiccate the stores has astounded me. It isn't necessary and I wish people would stop.

I also wish people would stop panicking.  The other day, a woman recounted her experience shopping, in a full face mask and gloves.  She insisted she was calling child pro…

What's New - Mar 14

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Dear Henry,

The days getting longer and the sunlight is getting stronger and I am excited to re-start cyanotypes. So excited, in fact, I wrote a short essay about the art form called A Good Case For the Blues.

In this week's All My Flowers, I relate how difficult it has been to garden and maintain landscaping on a steep hill. Run-off and soil erosion have been a challenge.

This week was also warm enough to sit on the porch and read, one of my most favorite things to do. I was able to get in quite a bit of reading.

The protagonists in the first two books of the week, Winter Loon by Susan Bernhard and The Book of Ruth by Jane Hamilton suffered from tragic childhoods and selfish parents.  Both books reminded me of how many children there are in the world who are at-risk.

I moved on to a more pleasant subject with the book A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters.  This book is a murder mystery involving a band of monks. It is the first of a series and one I could get into.

Finally, …

A Good Case for the Blues

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Dear Henry,

Whenever anyone asks about what type of art I create, my standard answer is photography, cyanotype, and pen and ink doodles.

The next question is almost always "What is cyanotype"

Cyanotype is a photography process that uses an iron-based solution, rather than the silver-based of standard photography.

The process was developed in 1842 by Sir John Herschel, although it would be the naturalist Anna Atkins and her hand-sewn books of cyanotype prints of algae and ferns that made the art form shine.  For a time, it was quite popular in Victorian England, at least until standard photography became cheaper and more readily available.

The cyanotypes I have been producing are called photograms. Rather than reflecting the image off of a mirror, I lay objects (or negatives) directly on the paper and expose them to the sun.

It is a slow and unpredictable process and one that I have grown to love.

The downside of the art form is that it is "solar-powered" which mea…

What's New - Mar 7

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Dear Henry,

Spring has sprung here and we are finally getting to finish the clean up from last year's storms. 

Due to some of the size of the trees uprooted, our path layout and patio area will need to be changed, fortunately, this is a labor of love.

I will keep you updated on our progress through "All My Flowers"

I've also been doing a lot of research on ground burning.  It's an important part of forestry management and it is so much fun to do. 

I have been burning all week.  I will still be burning next week.  Actually, with the number of leaves on the property right now, I may be burning for eternity (bwahaha).

I have also gotten to "try something again" and realized that it pays to give things a second shot (unless it is swiss chard), I wrote about my rediscovery in "Finding Flannery".

Despite the fair weather outside, I did get two books reviewed, The Giver, a dystopian look at a world with no real emotions and Winter Cottage, a tale of…

Little Fires in the Forest

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Dear Henry,

This week I have been following the words of Albert Camus "It is better to burn than to disappear." Because if I didn't burn, we would disappear.

I grew up in Northern Utah, where ground burning was verboten and so I didn't understand its value until I moved to Colorado and saw the devastation the pine beetle caused.

Still, I had no idea how important it was until I moved to NW Arkansas.

There are so many fallen leaves and so much other forest dander here that it will choke the life out of the forest floor.

A while ago I read in Guns, Germs, and Steel about how the Native American tribes actively managing the forests of North America with yearly ground burning to aid in food production. I have also read that many of the native plant and mushroom species require fire as a catalyst for growth and productivity.

More recently, I've read that the Aboriginal people of Australia used to do so as well, as did the indigenous tribes of the Amazon.

It appears t…

What's New - Feb 29

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Dear Henry,

It is amazing how much more productive I get when the temperatures rise above freezing.

The newly developed "time blocking" system seems to have helped as well.

This week, I discovered the story of King Neptune - and the man behind his success - Chief Petty Officer Don C. Lingle.  Are there any stories better than pig stories?
How about War Pig stories?

And yes, I was humming the Black Sabbath tune in my head then entire time I wrote the post.

There has been a great deal of yard work going on too. After writing the essay "I Resent", I have decided to add an additional hour of daily "tasks about the house and property" until I cure what ails me.

This week I also finished the biography on Captain Gene Roddenberry.  I love his vision of the future.

The books reviews for the week are "The Second Greatest Story Ever Told", a religion-themed book about the saints of WWII, "North and South", a book often referred to as "the …

I Resent

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Dear Henry,

Due to a change in health insurance, I have spent the last couple of weeks establishing care with a new doctor.

This isn't a fun process for me and involves carting around a stack of medical records and going through a period of "rediagnosis" and "consultations" (doctors, bless their hearts, don't like to leave any stone unturned. Unfortunately, none of these things are free).

I have also been struggling with my dental work and I am now looking at (another) expensive and painful procedure.

It surprises me, that even now, 22 years after the accident, I can find myself staggered by anger, sadness, and medical bills, all because of something I didn't do and had no way to prevent.

I resent it.

And I resent carrying around the weight of my resentments.

I've read the way to remove a vice is to practice the opposing virtue, so, in this case, practice gratitude and I do have so many things to be grateful for.

Another thing I've read is the …

This Little Piggy Went to Market

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Dear Henry,

Have you ever wondered how many times you can auction a pig?

A lot, if the pig is King Neptune.

King Neptune was a Hereford swine born May 16, 1942, on the farm of Sherman Boner, in West Frankfort Illinois.  Patty Boner, Sherman Boner's daughter, raised the pig as a 4H project.

In December 1942, at the end of the project, King Neptune was donated as the main course of a pig roast.

Chief Petty Officer Don C. Lingle had a better idea.

The US Navy was raising funds for the battleship USS Illinois and Chief Petty Officer Lingle, sensing a fundraising opportunity, took King Neptune on the road, dressed up in a crown and royal cape and began auctioning parts of the pig off at various Elks clubs throughout Illinois.

The whole adventure sounds like something that would take place in Blandings Castle (from P.G. Wodehouse "Pig's Have Wings").

It should be mentioned that the pieces of the pig being auctioned were never separated from the pig and were always donated …

What's New - Feb 22

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Dear Henry,

Have you ever gone through the week feeling enormously busy and then realize on Friday that you have accomplished nothing at all?

That was last week.

Last night, it became apparent to me that running around without focus doesn't help with productivity, it only makes me feel stressed.

I (once again) read a couple of articles about productivity and decided to pay attention, rather than scoff  "I don't do that.", because clearly, I do.

When I looked back over the course of the week, I realized my two biggest problems are a lack of organization and a lack of an appropriate schedule, with the lack of an appropriate schedule being my biggest issue. 

I have read about this technique before and I am beginning to agree that I would benefit significantly from "Time Blocking" or setting up a schedule where I block out time for specific tasks and only those tasks.

My workflow flaws tend to follow specific patterns - I tend to work on multiple projects at t…

What's New - Feb 15

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Dear Henry,

Yesterday was St. Valentine's day and I got to spend the evening with my favorite valentine of 24 years - Fish!  We didn't go out though, there were too many crowds.

It has been another week of cold, wet weather and I didn't get out much and didn't get any new images created for the shop.

In spite of the weather, the week wasn't a complete loss, I did think of a new topic to research:  Why the cold affects old injuries so much and steps you can take to minimize the discomfort.

Stay tuned for the details.

I also didn't get too far into US military history this week, but I did discover Colonel Orin D. Haugen, one of the first paratroopers in the US Army. He was also an avid horseman.

While I didn't get much research done, I did redo the www.everydaypatriot.com site to what I think is a much cleaner look, you must tell me what you think.

I was also able to wrap up the reviews of three books, the first, The Storyteller's Secretis an intergenera…

What's New - Feb 8

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Dear Henry,

It's been a week of Winter weather and I am trying to figure out what went wrong with the groundhog's prediction.

Still, despite the storms, I did get some work done this week.  Three new prints, all of the sunset over Loch Lomond in Bella Vista Arkansas, have been created and are now available: Jan Sunset Loch Lomond, Loch Lomond at Sunset 2020, and Loch Lomond at Dusk.

While researching veterans for the EverydayPatriot.com blog I came across Major General Smedley Butler, and I must say, the old-timey (think Spanish American War era) Marines were a great bunch of characters. Major General Butler had a great tattoo.

My book selections this week were pure fun - Daughters of the Lake by Wendy Webb was a murder mystery with a ghostly twist and The Rescue by Steven Konkoly, which was about a secret ops mission gone wrong.  No Pulitzer winners this week but sometimes you just need a bit of an entertaining read, especially on a snowy day.

I have been keeping a close eye…

What's New - Feb 1

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Dear Henry,

Did you say "rabbit rabbit" this morning?

After writing about the legend surrounding the good luck charm "rabbit rabbit" in the post "What the Hare With All the Rabbits" I don't think it matters much, as it has changed quite a bit from its original form and purpose.

There are two book reviews this week.  The Book of Tea by Kakuzo Okakura which explains the philosophy behind tea and the rituals surrounding them and The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell by Robert Dugoni which is a fictional account of a boy growing up with ocular albinism.

I began working on a biography for John Jacobs for the www.everydaypatriot.com blog but became overwhelmed by the sheer number of men named John Jacobs that had their lives uprooted during WWII.  I wrote about it in the post "In Memory of John Jacobs".

Unfortunately, I still have the backlog of prints to be created and because the weather is promising to be beautiful for the next couple of days, th…

What the Hare With All the Rabbits?

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Dear Henry,

As January comes to a close (and in preparation for February 1st), someone asked if I knew the story behind saying "Rabbit Rabbit" at the beginning of every month.  I only had the vaguest idea of the tradition but I love a good rabbit hole (bwahaha, I couldn't help it) and decided that this was a bit of folklore worth investigating.

Like many good stories, it has to do with witches and saying "Rabbit Rabbit" is only a small part of it.

Back in the day (around the Middle Ages, near as I can tell) to ward off witches, the people of England would greet each other at the first of the month with a pinch and a punch, while shouting "pinch, punch, first of the month", to drive the witches out of everyone you encountered that morning. Technically, the pinch is supposed to be a pinch of salt but because people are people, we all know that this became a painful way to start each month.

The response to "pinch, punch, first of the month" wa…

In Memory of John Jacobs

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Dear Henry,

The other day I read about the WWII Japanese prisoner transport ship the Enoura Maru.

On January 9, 1945, the Enoura Maru was docked at Takao in Formosa and was overfilled with Allied prisoners. The ship was attacked by a raid of mostly American aircraft.  As many as 400 prisoners died during the attack and the days that followed. The survivors were transferred to the ship Brazil Maru and sent to Moji Japan.  Over 500 additional Allied prisoners died on that leg of the journey.

The account I read had an eyewitness testimony of the experience from USAF servicemember John Jacobs.

While John Jacobs is a fairly common name, I can generally puzzle together enough information to piece together enough for an entry in the www.everydaypatriot.com blog.  Such would not be the case here.

It wasn't that there wasn't any information about John Jacobs, it was that there was so much and the sheer number of John Jacobs became overwhelming.

For example, there was *this* John Jacob…

What's New - Jan 25

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Dear Henry,

This past week was cold and frosty and the temperatures stayed below freezing most of the time.

The grey sky, its pronounced lack of sun, and continual drizzle caused me to spend most of the indoors.  I regret not grabbing some bouquets this week, the house could have used the color.

This type of weather is also really uncomfortable for me and it is weeks like this that I feel the repercussions from the accident the most. So, I spent most of the week wrapped in an electric blanket, indulging in a lot of grilled cheese and tomato soup and increasing the backlog (now at 52) of books to be reviewed at www.riteoffancy.com.

But then I suppose, I will always find another book to read, even if I catch up on the backlog, so my reading and reviewing list will always be full, I think.

The weather pattern is supposed to change for the warmer this week and, really, I find it hard to complain. Arkansas winters are pretty mild most of the time. I have decided to plant some of the winte…

What's New - Jan 18

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Dear Henry,

This week has been a week of white flowers, all with the barest hint of yellow.

If I were to look deeply into the symbolism of this (and who wants to do that?), I would guess it means I miss the sun and I do.

This part of the winter is my least favorite part.

I did take advantage of the lack of sun this week to photograph Pinon Creek and Tanyard Creek Falls, the two of the more popular falls in the Bella Vista area - I have been revealing the images over the last week and still have more to come.

Stay tuned for prints.

After researching Rear Admiral Bowman McCalla, I stayed with the era and learned about Surgeon Mary Edwards Walker, a Civil War surgeon and a prisoner of war, she is also the only woman to receive the Medal of Honor.  I also read about General Henry Cochrane, a protocol loving marine who managed to find his way into the thick of many fights.

In honor of the weather/lack of sun, my reading choices were a little dark too - beginning with The Hangman's Dau…

What's New - January 11

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Dear Henry,

This week I had to say good-bye to my beloved Subaru, which, after 10 years and 199,997 miles, had its transmission fail. I'm rather sad about it.  Fish and I will be car shopping today.

The carless situation has allowed me to focus on one of my New Year's goals - Spend More Time Editing - and so, I was able to get several new 16 X 20 canvas wrapped prints, including "The Forgotten Fall", up at the shop

I think the "Gerbera Back 2019" turned out especially well.

I also got a little personal this week, revealing the details of an auto-pedestrian accident I experienced so many years ago.

There was some interesting military research this week, beginning with Warrant Officer John K. "Jack" Morgan, a helicopter pilot who was killed during Desert Storm.

Out of the WWII military roles, I discovered Staff Sergeant Frank Rosynek, who was stationed in the Pacific during the War as well as Major Katherine Tolen Harris, a flight nurse who evacu…

The Beauty in the Broken

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Dear Henry,

I found this cute, little mushed flower and decided it would be a work of art.

Ever since the accident, I have a soft spot in my heart for the bruised and the broken and when I realized this little flower was overlooked because it was rumpled, it broke my heart (yes, yes, I got entirely too emotional about a flower).

Because of this soft spot, I am quite drawn to the Japanese Kintsugi pottery repair method, where the pieces of broken pottery are reassembled and repaired with gold (or other precious metals) to enhance damage and to reveal the piece's history and resilience.

Kintsugi is also a philosophy, one which recognizes the history of breakage and repair is a history to be celebrated and acknowledged, not hidden.

It is difficult to do in practice though. The easiest way to wear damage is with the titles "victim" or "survivor", titles that I have never liked because those bring the focus exclusively to the damage and I will, forever, be so much …

What's New - with Purple Dahlia

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Dear Henry,

I always seem to be a little quieter and more contemplative during the holidays - using the forced manual labor of Christmas decorating to recharge and regroup.

It doesn't mean I haven't been busy though. I have been sifting through different publications, looking for additional facts - it's a never-ending search and a labor of love - and reminds me of a quote from the book 600 Hours of Edward by Craig Lancaster "I prefer facts but sometimes sense is all you have to go on".

With the glut of historical articles, I ended up discovering an Antarctic Exploration Tale, one of the many scientific expeditions that occurred right before the onset of WWII.

My recent research brought me Colonel Hans Christian Adamson, who with Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, spent 24 days adrift in the Pacific Ocean following a plane crash. I also discovered Colonel Rosemary Hogan, a career Army nurse, who was held as a prisoner of war at the Santo Thomas Internment Camp with 77 o…

The Executive's Mountains

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Dear Henry,

I read about an odd mountain range called "The Executive Committee Range", and I have to admit, the name had me intrigued.

It sounds like where the secret organization who rules the world hangs out, right?

Even more ominous-sounding, this mountain range is completely isolated and currently doesn't belong to a single country. 

Does this sound like an even more promising for the location of a hidden lair?

Maybe, if the average yearly temperature didn't hover around -50. The Executive Committee Range is in Antarctica.  And not just any part of Antarctica - This mountain range is in an obscure and difficult to reach corner in the most difficult to reach continents on earth.

In 1939, the United States Antarctic Service Expedition was created using resources and personnel from the US Navy, State Department, Department of the Interior, and the US Treasury.  The expedition was also funded with private donations. The objective, per order from President Franklin …