2019 is a Wrap

2019 came and went, quickly! I am not even sure where October, November, and December went. I am sure there was not a whole lot of nature study going on. There was a lot of baking, there may have even been some canning in there. Even as I sit here and look at my calendar and my daily notes for work, I am not sure I can tell you what I did, There are only 2 sketches in my sketchbook – 1 from the Octoberfest in Salem (Pumpkins lined up on the porch rail) and the other is the start of the fall leaves falling outside my window (I got as far as the window).

As I begin to look through the photos that I took with my phone, I begin to see what I did.

October was greeted with fog and the final push in the garden before a frost or freeze. It was apple harvest time and apple pie filling time. I tried my hand at sugar beets to make sugar – this is a lesson learned. Did not work out so well. Going to try again in 2020 for sure. Ah yes, jelly and jam making also.

November was cats, snow, and Thanksgiving Dinner (Homemade apple pie anyone?) Ah yes, and there was a finished piece of art completed.

My Nature study goals for 2019 were not reached. However, that being said, I did learn not to be so overreaching. Maybe step down to the reality of life and what is really obtainable.

December came and went without much ado at all. The weather was mild and very little snow. I was busy with work, finishing Andy Christmas Present (Quilt), visiting grandma at the nursing home and resting in preparation for the new year on the horizon.

Keep watching… There is an update coming by the end of March!!!

3rd Quarter Check In – July, August, and September 2019

This sums up July, August, and September! Kitters in the basket!!!

In my defense, I started handwriting this post in October.

Summer in 4 lines:

Hot! Hot! Hot!

Weed, Weed, Weed!

Harvest, Harvest, Harvest!

Can, Can, Can!

After being under water through May and June, it quit raining and there were deep and wide cracks in our apple field. But the weeds kept growing…

Review of Goals:

Read Books: Does still reading the paper and maybe a catalog count? Still working my way through Thoreau’s Walden. I still have 17 days left in the year J

Long Term Photo Project: Farming through the seasons. As I scanned back through my photos, I did stop and take a few while on my way from one point to the next. I pulled in the farming lane between two fields and took a few.

Long Term Sketch Project: sketch property corner to corner… I have a few more sketches but not many, I have some photos? Does that count?

Visit 1 new state park, visit one new National Park, Ohio History Project (2 places) and take 2 hikes from field guide: Let me please refer you to my summer in 4 lines above. However, having said that, we did visit Zoar Village (this is part of the “Journey” Project with my mother. Andy and I went to see the “Tall Ships” in Cleveland (on like the hottest day of the year, my phone said we walked over 3 miles that day). I believe this goal will be carried over into 2020 with a more comprehensive plan to make it happen.

52 Journal Entries: written or sketched. I added 5 sketches more during the 3rd Quarter. This brings the total to 45. I also keep track of the weather usually 5 days a week and take some other notes throughout my notebooks and journals.

One plant in garden from seed to plate: Hmm. This leaves me a little boggled on whether or not this was accomplished. I have many plants I followed all the way through from the garden (or orchard) to the counter where they were canned. I believe that counts as completed. I will add a post for this goal before the year is over and let ya’ll decide.

Keeping a Nature Journal A Book Review

Keeping a Nature Journal by Claire Walker Leslie and Charles E Roth is both inspiring and invigorating. As an artist of many years, this book gives me the courage to go out and keep doing what I do, only now with a better feel for Keeping a Nature Journal.

There are 4 Parts and 11 Chapters.

Part 1: Getting Started

  1. Discovering Nature Journaling
  2. Beginning Your Journal
  3. A Sampling of Journaling Styles

Part 2: Journaling Through the Seasons

  1. The Ongoing Journal
  2. The Autumn Journal
  3. The Winter Journal
  4. The Spring Journal
  5. The Summer Journal

Part 3: A Seasonal Celebration – A New Selection of Pages from Clare’s Journals

Part 4: Learning and Teaching Nature Journaling

  1. Getting Started with Drawing
  2. Teaching Journaling to Groups of All Ages
  3. Journaling with School Groups

I will be completely honest, I had begun to read this book many a year ago and even flipped through the pages and used some of the pages when I would teach Nature Journaling. That being said, to read it from front cover to back cover, opened my eyes to a myriad of thoughts and ideas I had never thought before. Their idea of Nature Journaling is not simply confined to “Nature” in the most common sense, but nature is tied to each of us, and each of us is tied to nature. Everything is part of nature.

On page 7, they distinguish a diary from a journal; “It is important to note here that whereas a diary or personal journal records your feelings toward yourself or others, a nature journal primarily records your responses to and reflections about the world of nature around you.”

Charles E. Roth states in the Preface, “I wish I had kept a journal that recorded my childhood discoveries of nature, and people’s reactions to them.” It was not until college that he began to take detailed field notes of his natural history observation. I, too, often recall my many discoveries growing up, not just nature, but in life in general. I have often sketched something here or there along the way, but if they are not in a “book” they have been lost among the many moves I have made over the years.

Last year, I began to sketch a few more things here and a few more things there. I take my sketchbook, aka, Nature Journal, with me, everywhere I go. There are many times, like at the airport or in the hotel, I wish now I had sketched or painted instead of using the camera. The camera just doesn’t really begin to capture what my eyes truly see.

This book does not start off with a lot of you should do this and you should do that, or you need this item and you need that item, it begins with an introduction to recording nature. “Nature journaling is the regular recording of observations, perceptions, and feelings about the natural world around you.  The recording can be done in a wide variety of ways, depending on the individual journalist’s interest, background, and training.” (p. 5). It goes on to talk about the medium and the format and their point is, you can record anything and everything in any form using any medium, drawing, writing lists of what you see, the weather, a poem, notes to look something up later. YOUR nature journal is ALL yours. There is no right and there is no wrong way to use it. The key is TO USE IT!

The benefits of nature journaling are far and wide and to list them all, would be tedious and cumbersome. The two most important benefits I take from nature journaling are the time to slow down and really see what I am seeing – is that a Northern Cardinal or is that a Tangier? Is that a Grackle or is that another type of black bird? Are those barn swallows or house swallows? Are my cherry trees really beginning to bloom already? By recording these observations in written and in sketch form, I now have a recording of who is visiting my property and when. I can then look back year after year to see if the populations are increasing or have I lost some of my bird friends? I can tell you after a few years if the cherry trees beginning to bud in February was a fluke or if it is a regular occurrence.

The key information to record in your nature journal when observing: (written or drawn)

  • Your name àunless it is written inside the cover of your journal
  • The date
  • The place
  • The time (does not have to be the exact time)
  • Weather
  • First impressions
  • Wind direction
  • Cloud patters and cloud cover

Begin Drawing:

  • Ground observations
  • Eye-level observations
  • Overhead observations
  • Whole-landscape observations

The wealth of information covered in this book is too much to include in this one blog. I may come back at a later time and cover some of the other parts of the book that I found very useful and helped me find my way. But at this time, I would recommend this book to ANY beginner or novice nature journaler. It will give you the confidence you need to go out there and put the pencil to paper, so to speak.

Journaling Through The Seasons

If you have read this far. Thank you. I do not receive any financial income from any person for discussing their work. I do not have any affiliations with any book store or any company. In all honesty, if you can go out and buy the book used or have your local Independent Book Seller bring it in for you, that is a much more feasible way to purchase the book.

So, for now, have a great day and I look forward to seeing ya’ll real soon. Feel free to leave a comment or a link to your posts.

What I’ve learned about American culture….

  • American’s are vain! They are so concerned about their looks (want to keep up with American’s idea of “beauty”) they will spend any amount of money on Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, and even a “magic bike” one only needs to spend 14 minutes a day.
  • They are lazy, they will order food to be delivered instead of shopping themselves or have complete meals shipped.
  • American’s are so busy (trying to keep up with everyone else) they do not even have time for each other.
  • Electronics are god! There is such a dependence on electronics (smartphones, computers, smart vehicles, game systems, etc…) People have lost touch with each other, nature, and things that were important 10 years ago.
  • Social media is good and bad. Mostly bad, some good. American’s no longer communicate in person, they put their whole life out there for all to see. It is about getting the next like, the next follower, the next this or that – it is like a drug!!!
  • It isn’t about who you are but more about what you do or don’t do…

There are more to come… If you have one to add, send me an email lucky7studios2015@gmail.com I will add to the list and be sure to give you credit.

Welcome to a day in my life….

Ah yes, #lifeblog2017 … Keep an eye as there is plenty to come. Farm life. The final leg of my MPA candidacy as I finish my thesis and my last semester. The final stages of my teenager as she gets close to graduation next June. The creative and humorous side of my life in general. Commentary on current topics and research too. Small town USA life. volunteer life. And finally, my “trip” toward applying for my PhD. 

Life throws another punch…

So here we are 2 years since the last post and man has life thrown more punches.  Now… They say my dad has cancer.. tomorrow is the ENT follow up to his biopsies last week… Friday is the Oncologist visit… so I will keep you all abreast of what is happening and how I am feeling and well.. just a day in the life…. #lifeblog2014

Welcome

Ah yes, a day in the life of….. a mother, an artist, a daughter and a friend..   Life at my house can be challenging especially with my 16 year old daughter. Today was not unlike so many others.

I was using http://www.flylady.net to help me get my house cleaned, organized and uncluttered. I was working through 2 of the baby steps – shining my sink and getting dressed to shoes. Going to bed every night with an empty shiny sink and waking up to no mess in the kitchen is fantabulous. And who ever thought that getting dressed to shoes could make you feel so much better about yourself. Totally love Flylady. I am also working on myself in so many ways.

But enough for now, I wanted to just say welcome to a day in the life of….. The story will continue in the future.