'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Life Styles

Today I was flicking through one of the kids' books at lunchtime (I am still progressing on my big clean out, but I won't throw this one away) and reading the page on animal lifestyles.
After careful consideration, I have decided that my lifestyle has a definite cycle. Winter is a time of hibernation. I emerge periodically, blinking in the cold wind, at least down to 12 or even 10 degrees centigrade at times, chop another wheelbarrowload of firewood, make a quick sortie to the supermarket for supplies of chocolate from Belgium, snowpeas from Africa, and bananas from Tonga, and disappear inside again. Summer is hot and dry, and I stay inside much of the time then too. (No air conditioner but the house is very well designed and sited to be delightfully cool in the back rooms). This is apparently called 'aestivation'. Between the two, in spring, and, as now in autumn, I am active, cleaning out my burrow, scratching around and marking the corners of my surrounding territory, and preparing for the next season. It's all here. Quite simple, really.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Window Seats Rule!

Above, coming into Melbourne last Friday.

This morning: Waiting for takeoff back over the ditch to Auckland.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

A B Day.

Today I had a lovely day in Melbourne city. 
I went back to the National Gallery of Victoria, where I have visited before. The rest could pretty much be a Sesame Street clip about the letter B.
I discovered the work of Joseph Brown, Ralph Balson and John Brack. I bought a Book entitled 'Bestiary', and had my hair cut like a Boy. 

The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), Melbourne,
 looking towards Flinders Railway Station

The Cave. Joseph Brown.

Painting. Ralph Balson.

Two Typists. John Brack.

Bestiary, from the Bodleian Library Oxford.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

More Bioblitz Images

A couple more images of my panorama taken on the day of the Katikati Bioblitz 2015.  Posted here for archive's sake.

Total for 24 Hours - the Katikati Bioblitz outcome.

2311- the total number of species. There were also more than 150 more species sent by email that weren't picked up until after the 24 hours were past.
This is for a catchment of one smallish river.  However there were low numbers of some species, and some species expected were not found. The data collected is valuable. 

Monday, 16 March 2015

Making Grape Juice

I hope I'm doing it right. Washing (lots of little spiders of the same variety - dear little things with a wee round body shaped like a tiny unripe grape), plucking off the grapes, mash 'em, cook 'em up, strain through a cloth, and bottling with honey to sweeten. Last year the resultant thick cordial was elixir from heaven when added to carbonated water. 

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Swing of Change

I love this.  Lots in it.
I wonder how many people have accepted something or someone new because of the power of art…  A force for good in the world.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Bioblitz Panels

Further to my previous post:  I painted on A2 sheets of paper, then scanned, enhanced, added to them a little, and 'tidied' them up, then they were printed out twice as wide, laminated, and formed a seven metre long panorama background representative of the Uretara River catchment, for the Katikati Bioblitz 2015.  
The speckly-grey and brown on the bottom represents the soil organisms, and although I would have liked to do lots more ecosystem vignettes, had to make do with just five in the time I had.  
I would love to record the data gathered at this bioblitz in the form of something more permanent.  Perhaps, after I've talked to the appropriate people, a series of murals of each of the ten (? twelve?) main ecosystems, accompanied by a list of the species of flora and fauna found there.
Katikati is, after all, known as the 'Mural Town'.  

High Kaimai range forest.

lower Kaimais

Rolling sheep and beef farms, pine plantations, quarry.

Avocado, citrus and kiwifruit orchards,  market gardens.

Orchards, market gardens, urban settlement, home gardens and parks.

Urban, estuarine tidal mudflats, farmlands

Estuarine tidal mudflats, farmlands.

Sandy beaches, tidal estuary, sea bed and sea out to the centre of the channel.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Panorama for the Katikati Bioblitz

A while back I blogged about the Miranda Bioblitz.
Rather than repeat myself, please feel free to visit the two Miranda posts (if you don't know what a bioblitz is) here.
As I am on duty in the gallery during the bioblitz day, I am contributing a backdrop to the undertaking.  It's taken me about three weeks to paint the 8 panels (A2 each) in watercolour. This morning it was scanned and printed and laminated and when the panels are put side-by-side in the Katikati Hall tomorrow morning, it will be about 7 metres (yards) long.
Nothing like a bit of pressure to get me producing!

From the top of the Kaimai Range, down to the sea, with five vignettes.
My panorama backdrop for the Katikati Bioblitz 2015
Next day, in the hall:

Monday, 2 March 2015

My Secret Valley

I was pleased as anything when I got this canvas print back from the local copy shop.  And even more so when it came back, the cotton canvas beautifully stretched by a local famers.
All I did was give it a light spray with a matt fixative, to prevent dust or grime from attaching itself so much, and a careful paint of acrylic on the sides.
I can only tell it apart from the original (which was painted with very thinned down oils, so is hardly textured at all)  by looking very closely. (I did enlarge it a little, and lightened it slightly too).