Thursday, February 20, 2014

Waiting on Spring...

"February Evening, Mammatus Clouds"
photograph - © Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view) 
This is a duplication of my Prairie Hill Farm (Studio) blog...even though the pasture was put to bed back many weeks ago, the prairie is ever on my mind.  I hope to delve into some very pressing things in the near future, as soon as (or "if") I get ahead of studio work. 
I'm no different than the next person...I'm being tricked by the nice little breaks in the winter weather here and getting somewhat of a case of spring fever.  Not that I want to give up my studio time yet; I still have too much to do!  
But late in the afternoon yesterday, Georgie came over to the studio to tell me that I'd better get my face peeled off of the monitor and look outside!  It was pretty cool and a real surprise - mammatus clouds in mid February (see image above)!  That's weird...ya cool too, but not something you'd expect to see!  She caught me just in time too because I only had a couple minutes to get some photographs of the scene before the light was lost to the early evening. The view is right outside the kitchen looking east.
Today is a nice day as well, but the snow, ice and wind is supposed to pick up tonight making tomorrow (Thursday) somewhat unpleasant again; the birthing process for spring can be agonizingly long!
"False Gromwell and Prairie Phlox"
(Onosmodium molle and Phlox pilosa)
color pencil drawing - © Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view)
I have been forestalling the inevitable onslaught of spring fever by working on spring subject matter here; the spring landscape finished about a week and a half ago (last blog) and the small color pencil piece seen above.  
Over the past couple years or more I've been working on artwork of various prairie forbs (wildflowers) found in our native pasture here.  The "False Gromwell and Prairie Phlox" is the latest color pencil drawing, just finished this week.  These are both fun plants - the False Gromwell is less showy from a distance but quite a "looker" up close...the Bumble Bees love this plant; I'd say an early summer favorite of theirs!  It has some "nicknames" like most wildflowers, one that fits it real well is "marble seed".  It has a small roundish seed that is creamy white when matured, and is as hard as a marble.  A weird charachteristic is - after a rain, the plant can smell like a wet dog or mule!  (All's normal again once it dries out thank goodness!)  You can't tell much from this drawing, but this plant's "structure" is quite beautiful, pretty even when not in bloom.
The Prairie Phlox (some call it "Downy Phlox") is another native plant here I've been doing my best to help proliferate.  It is quite showy from a distance and up close...the issue around here seems to be that the deer and the rabbits love to eat it as soon as it starts blooming...ugh!  I do my best to dissuade them, but its not easy.  Skippers seem to like the phlox about as much as the Bumble Bees do.  These are both early summer bloomers, out before the prairie really goes crazy with color, but once they are out - its like the gate has been swung open for the race to begin, a fun time on the tallgrass prairie!
Think Spring, but don't be too impatient!

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