I’m a creative, experienced, multi-purpose artist and art director
who can take projects start to finish in a variety of styles.

Good designs sell –
my designs sell out!

Saturday, April 25, 2020

#inktober52, "Yellow"

I had to stop working on my ditch because I wrecked the upper right quadrant of my body with too enthusiastic ditch digging.  Apparently, going from winter sloth to sustained hard labor is a bad idea?  Even worse, I spent my convalescence watching too much news and making face masks.  I'd rather dig ditches than sew.  I'm pretty sure the mask shortage is a Republican plot to domesticate me.  Okay, I'll do it, but that doesn't mean I have to do it with grace -- though I got better at it and was happy to give the masks to some friends.

I finally felt better enough to attack the ditch again and started stalking out to the back 80 when I was stopped in my tracks by a varmint who hissed at me with all 50 of his needle sharp teeth exposed.  A mole?  A shrew?  Hit it with the hoe!  Except I never actually kill varmints.  I just vociferously complain about them.  I looked closer.  'Possum baby.  Aw, he went from kind of ugly varmint to absolutely adorable in a second.  Don't question the logic of this.  It just is.

The grass gives you an idea of size but I actually measured for the vet.
This guy's body (not counting tail) is about 4" long.
When you find wild babies, the first rule is to leave them alone so they can reunite with their mothers.  I went to my ditch and tried to use some restraint in my digging.  I stopped myself from overdoing it and checked on the baby.  Still in the same place.  No longer snarling or hissing.  I made calls to find an animal rescue that's still open during our Covid lockdown.  Finally, someone reluctantly answered.  She ordered me to leave the baby alone.  I went back to my ditch.  I took a break and googled opossum orphans.  I tried to get the baby to lap water from an eye dropper.  He was not happy.  I reassured him that one way or another he just had to stick it out for the day.  I'd bring him inside that evening if all else failed, etc.  He seemed content enough.

The temperature dropped and it started to sprinkle.  My reluctant advisor called and told me to check on my baby.  It was gone.  I looked around and exclaimed, "It's a murder scene!"  Mama opossum and 3 of her babies were dead in the midst of trampling deer tracks, but mama's belly was wiggling with baby feet sticking out.  You see, Australia isn't the only place with marsupials.  Opossums are America's kangaroos.  Sort of.  They have a pouch like kangaroos at any rate and the babies crawled in there to suck at the soured milk and warm each other up.  Reluctant Advisor advised me to pull them out and put them in a box.  Ew.  I got latex gloves and did my duty, but the babies held on with their clever little hands with opposable thumbs.  I found a couple more babies hanging onto Mama by her neck.  They looked pretty cold and weak, but still living.

My advisor told me how to care for my babies and my heart fell when I learned I had to feed them every 2 hours.  I went through that with a puppy once.  It's miserable, but I resigned myself to the task when at the last moment a rehabbing vet agreed to foster my babies.  Halleluiah!  She even seemed happy when I asked her to give them back once they're big enough to survive in the wild.  You can see her Facebook page with cute baby animals here.  So, I'm hoping my babies survive and am looking forward to a summer with opossums.  They're nocturnal though so I'm not sure I'll ever see them again once they're back in the wild.

4 babies really glad to be in a warm box.
My apologies for infrequent, inconsistent posts.  The state of the world has me turned upside down and inside out.  I'm hoping everyone is well and finding creative things to do while the plague blows over us.  I made the art above for Inktober's "red" with the best intentions of posting.  It's my take on the corona virus.  I liked it better in red but decided to make it yellow and pretend I'm in sync with everyone else.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Ditch Digging

This is just a small part of a willow tree.
Illustrationfriday seems to have been hijacked for someone's personal self promotion so I don't have weekly words anymore.  The Covid 19 pandemic has upset me beyond the forced imprisonment at home.  I had decided to get a dog.  All the shelters are closed.  World events and political idiocy gets me down.  Sympathy for all the people who are or will be suffering is a bigger issue than I can fix. With all this going on I just haven't had the heart for blogging lately.  I've attacked my yard instead.  And my neighbors' yards.

The main duck pond with the tributary ditches I've dug.
I call this the upper duck pond.  If left alone,
I'm pretty sure it would join the other pond.
You see, several years ago Mr. Next Door Neighbor (NDN1) had a dead willow tree on his property.  The city made him cut it down.  Mr. NDN1 had a bad attitude about this and dropped the giant tree into the drainage ditch.  Water has been backing up in all the yards as a result, and the pond of stagnant water that formed in his yard invited ducks and swarms of malarial mosquitoes.  I can't even scream at this jerk because he died.  As I've complained previously, Mrs. NDN1 never does yard work.  The neighbor 2 doors down (2DD) and I have been cutting her grass for years without a thank you or a contribution for gas.  She's certainly not motivated to fix the ditch.

2DD and I discussed burning the willow tree but we agreed the city would probably have an issue with our plan.  I also suggested dynamite.  2DD is aging and can't do ditch digging.  The neighbor on my other side (NDN2) is old and housebound.  He can't do ditch digging either.  I decided to take my housebound frustrations out on hydro-engineering and manual labor.  I've been at this for weeks, ever since Ohio decided I need to shelter in place.

I've been whittling away at this tree root with a hatchet and hammer. 
It may be a life-long project.
The willow tree is no longer the problem.  The current issue is all the other trees and their roots which have grown in the ditch since the jerk started this mess.  I got water to run in the ditch again and dirt and debris blocked it up again.  I dug it out again.  It got clogged again.  3 weeks of this and the ditch is still getting clogged up.  As the water level drops, more roots are exposed which block the water.  Water from uphill poured down.   It rained.  It rained again.  It kept F-ing raining.  I found it hard to offer sympathy to a friend who is living through a drought.

This is how I've been managing my sequestration.  Part of me moans about my sore muscles and many minor injuries and the other part of me is thankful I have a yard unlike people stuck in city apartments.  I look at my birds, threaten my groundhog with my hoe, and toss things in the deer's nest.  I'm determined to have a mosquito-free summer if I'm going to be stuck at home this year. 

Here's some photos of my efforts.  This doesn't even show the whole length of the ditches!

Looking North
Looking South
Looking East -- and yes, that is a lot of directions!
What have you been doing?  Stay well!