Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Fir Cone Dinner

A chickaree, a close relative of the red squirrel, dines on a fir cone.
And here are closeups of the type of cone he is eating.  Fir cones grow straight up on their branches.  At this time of year their seeds are ready to harvest.  Each 'petal' of the cone holds two seeds and each seed has a little sail so it will float away from the mother tree.  The squirrels harvest the cones when they are a little green.  Some they eat right away, often devoting the seeds in a favorite spot such as the top of this old stump.  Other cones they will store, hidden away until needed during the long winter months.  

I sketched the squirrel and cones while I waited for him to return and harvest more. After my initial opportunity to sketch him, he choose to harvest from a different tree, farther away.  Even without the squirrel's return, it was fun sitting in the fall sunshine and sketching his dinner.  

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

more Texas wildflowers

In the spring I began filling this wee sketchbook (under 3" square) with Texas wildflowers found near our new home. Then throughout the hot, humid summer, I sort of ignored it . . . . There weren't as many wildflowers seen then anyway.

But now lots of new ones have filled the local pastures, mostly yellow. So I added them this past week.


The other day while walking in the woods I picked up this pure white egg and identified it as a Wood pigeon.  The birds must have been encouraged by the lovely autumn weather to have another brood of chicks. I copied the bird picture from my field guide as they are rather elusive, always hiding in the treetops!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Great Egret

I sketched this last week at Wildlife Safari, the wild animal park where we volunteer.  I wanted to capture how egrets sparkle in the sunshine.  Such elegant birds!

Friday, October 10, 2014


We had one of those unexpected encouters today that make our life here in France so much fun.  We took our lunch in the local creperie and while chatting to the proprietor we discovered a common love of gardening.  He insisted we inspected the datura plant growing in their garden behind the restaurant and what a specimen.  Absolutely covered in these foot long golden trumpets of which I begged a couples of examples to draw.  We've already made a promise to swop cuttings later in the year, now I've got to find some space in my garden!

Thursday, October 9, 2014


When I came to live in France 12 years ago my daughter gave me a collection of cuttings and seeds from her own garden to plant over here.  I can honestly say that most of the perennials and self seeded annuals that populate my garden now came from her.  This Fuschia is opposite my dining room window and very popular with the bluetits that feed on the insects that crawl on it, allowed to flourish because I don't do any pest control except for the slugs and snails that eat my dahlias.

Yellow Rumped Warbler

My husband found this poor Yellow Rumped Warbler in the yard.  He said it must have happened not too long before as it was still pliable.  So, being aware of my desire to sketch nature, he brought it in, and I sketched it.
I feel bad when something in nature dies but it was a great opportunity to study and sketch it.