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Wednesday, April 28, 2021

rainbows from sunshine and rain

 By Rain Trueax

Originally, I thought Diane was going to post here to explain why she told me a few days ago that she will no longer be at this blog. When she didn't, I felt I should as I know some of you probably would wonder. She had thought she'd start a new blog of her own but that didn't work out-- yet anyway. If you have her on Facebook, you can maybe get more information on where to find her next and her reasons she wanted this change. She will be missed here but everybody has to do what works for them. 

So, no regular blogs on Wednesday unless I post something now and again. My future posting will be a little uncertain as in May (sometime), we head back to the farm with our new (to us) trailer to help with fertilizing, fencing, sorting cattle (I use the term we very loosely as it'll be our son (future Ranch Boss in training) and Ranch Boss who do the work while I herd cats and try to figure out how to make living in a trailer work with no cell coverage). You did know that not everywhere in the US has cell or internet coverage-- if you didn't, we are one of those places at the farm. A lot of this is a plan in progress... using the term plan very loosely.

Because Saturday is Beltane, I won't be writing then about the new trailer and what we are doing to make it a work in progress. Maybe the next  Saturday. Life should be flexible, right? *s*

Anyway, Diane is fine but just going her own direction.


We got a lovely rain on Tuesday, much needed, which also gave us a rainbow.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

what lies ahead

 by Rain Trueax


My life is about to get more chaotic, which might last through the summer (or even into fall) and makes it hard, among other things, for me to know where I will have internet. We are hoping to work something out... I can't say I really want what is happening next, but it's not bad and it's necessary for assorted reasons. I might write more about that later or maybe not. At any rate, it doesn't involve health as such and hopefully it will all straighten out with time... 

Given my own uncertain future, I thought I'd mention a couple of cultural issues, with which our country (and the world) is wrestling:

(1) Having changed things in our country has been a pandemic that nobody invited-- that we know of. What do we do about it to protect ourselves? Masks? Isolation? Vaccinations? It totally is not what people agree upon with half the United States against having the vaccine and some not wanting to wear masks.

(2) we also have a time of cultural violence-- which most of us have no idea from where that came, but when people shoot others for no apparent reason, or they come to a restaurant and demand those there leave, that's violence whether someone dies or just gets scared badly leading to other problems. How about a police force that doesn't know how to keep order as things stand-- or does anyone want order from the police? Are the police at fault or are they facing what the rest of us will eventually-- just, they are first.

(3) Not of lesser importance is worldwide desire for expansion from some nations (Russia and China come to mind). For those of you who thought kumbaya was in store, read a little bit more about what's happening around the world. Well, those trying to take over (Crimea, Ukraine, Hong Kong, Taiwan, etc.) do want one world government-- but under their control. Pay a little attention to what that would mean and it's not kumbaya.

(4) How can we not add in global warming, which some believe is behind the violence in our communities but whether it is or not, it definitely could impact our weather and food supply? What will it do regarding migration?

Recently, I discussed our decision regarding getting the vaccine. Personally, we don't have to rethink, the deed is done, I have though seen pros and cons on whether we should have gotten the vaccine. I still am glad of the choice we made. As for the rest... I literally don't know. Can we change any of it by what we personally do? Some think we can, but I am not so sure.

On a more personal level, we may not have internet through the summer, which would mean no blogs for a few months. It's unknown as the farm does not have cell phone coverage. Then, there is how do we take care of our cats with a changing environment? A lot to consider. I am working through it and will share more when I have a better handle on it.

The desert wildflowers didn't happen this year due to drought. The cactus have had less blooms. If this extends longer, I don't know what it will do to the habitat. We have given up on planting fruit trees down here and are saving any extra water for the plants on our little acreage. We can only do what we can do and we really hope this summer has a real monsoon even though we will miss it by being in Oregon (which is also drier than usual as it seems the East Coast is getting all the rainfall).

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

by Diane: Unforgettable Birthday


Yesterday  contemplating my soon to be birthday, I felt sad for awhile.   I would not enjoy going to Fred Myers with Fisherman Hubby to buy Geranium and snapdragon starts.

Fortune shines on me today.  Twice the zinc impulse sprinkler doused me in the face as I attempted to blindly without directions adjust it to water my birthday gift to myself - a newly replenished lawn in an attempt to get rid of the uneven gullies sunk between shoulders and a low spot left by the removal of a tree stump two years ago.

I enjoyed the company of my youngest Granddaughter and Honorary Grandson.  They painted tiles and took them to Surefire Design so they can be fired and be ready Thursday. Two days sooner than expected. I can't wait to see how they all turn out for my kitchen.

Also enjoyed a phone call with an old family friend that never fails to inform me of stories of my great Grand Uncle.

Well I am feeling so much better than yesterday.


Saturday, April 17, 2021

Changing Times Also--

 by Rain Trueax


Growing up, westerns were my favorite series TV and movies. The good guys used guns and they always won in the end over the bad guys. There was no problem figuring out who was who. As I have mentioned, right now I am watching no TV; but even before, I didn't go to the channels with the old westerns. Maybe someday I will, but right now they don't draw me to them.

There were a lot of television westerns that I loved back in the day. One of them was called Gunsmoke, about the marshal of Dodge City, Kansas and the woman he loved. Oh, I know the woman he loved never came to fruition while in the shows, but it was there in the expressions and the looks Matt and Kitty gave each other. If it had been in a different time, maybe it would have, but in those days the hero either had to marry the heroine or it needed to stay suggested. The emphasis was always on the marshal and his job.

What I came across on YouTube is, how many people had created the love story we all craved to have seen, the one we imagined. There are a lot of these videos. They go back ten years or even more where the music is put to clips from the shows. Here's one--

Behind Closed Doors

Gunsmoke ran from 1955 to 1975, following an earlier radio show. In the last year, Kitty had left the show. Maybe the star got tired of never getting her marshal.  

This question is whether the heroine and hero never connecting (many in those days) led many western writers to want to create romances where happily ever after was required. If I had begun publishing my own books back in the 50s, would it have influenced not allowing a marshal to have as a lover, a saloon owner (or bordello madam). Could they kiss? Not a chance. 

My first books were written in the 60s but I didn't have the sex in them either-- the rough drafts that is, as in those years I wrote but didn't publish. By the mid 1970s, the word for romance novels changed and steamy was part of the plots. Personally, I think it was good for women to read such books where healthy sexuality was a part of a serious romance (well, some weren't probably so healthy back then). 

My first historical western where the hero was a marshal was Book 2 in the Arizona series. The marshal had been in book 1 as had the future heroine. How to make their story challenging led to a lot of research as to what being a US Marshal meant back in those days. Many towns, like Tucson, had a marshal and a sheriff. The marshal's job was more federally political while the sheriff was run more by local partisan politics. But, both were political.

The Marshal's Lady (original titled Tucson Moon) dealt with a man and woman with very opposite ideas on guns for instance. He used one as part of his responsibilities. She despised them. What really brought them together, to work past this, was the arrival of his estranged nine year-old daughter when he had no idea how to be a father. The heroine stepped in with her sympathy for the girl and from there romance grew.

Unlike Gunsmoke, I had no compunction against bringing these two together sexually, but it had to make sense that it could happen and it had to take into account the nature of the times politically and culturally. Because it was set in Southern Arizona, I enjoyed writing it as it moved outside of Tucson and involved characters from my first Arizona book.

If you are interested in such a story, politics was very much part of it, as it  is of our world today, it's at Amazon and other eBook sites. 

One other thing: I got a notice from Blogger that they will no longer be notifying those, who signed up for RSS, as of July 21st this year. I don't know how most of you find your blogs but if you counted on an email or phone announcement, you might want to reconsider and do what I do (I never signed up for this service). When I have blogs I want to read I bookmark them and check when I know a new one is likely. In the case of Rainy Day Thought, that would be Wednesdays for Diane as she weaves her way through widowhood and her career as a painter and Saturdays when I write about whatever has struck my mind that week. Always new entries on Wednesdays and Saturdays.


Oh, and don't forget The Marshal's Lady for a taste of what life was like back in the 1880s and a book where a happily ever after is going to happen-- even after many struggles (of course). Although the link is just for Amazon, the book is at Barnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo, etc.

The Marshal's Lady

Friday, April 16, 2021

by Diane: Joyful distractions from painting mount;

 My nails show I have been working the earth in my yard. The yard waste is almost filled ready for the yard waste truck today.  I am not used to the heat we are having so will not do more trimming and weeding today.  The hard for me yard work these past couple days has me concerned that without help, I will not be able to keep my place free of ragweed or is it pig weed that make my allergies worse than need be.

 My 8 inch tiles for the  kitchen sink back splash is here. I have invited my youngest granddaughter and her other best friend to come and paint one each. Started taking pictures of  cross sections of my radish and watermelon. This will be the most fun distraction of all.

Not so fun will be calculating how much canvas I need to stretch over about 16 stretcher bar frames.

So stay tuned maybe by next Wednesday, I will have 2 patches of wild flowers and a new lawn planted. Meaning more time to paint. Painting is my priority.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

by Diane: Viewing my entire stash of painting supplies but I am joyfully distracted

 I never dreamed of spreading out all my stretcher bars to visualize a new oil painting series in a big room devoted to oil painting. What a luxury I have. I am so thankful. I never dreamed I would have a large supply of boards just for painting. I did not realize I have old timber stretcher bars that are less apt to bend into warped canvases. Seeing the empty stretcher bars on my painting wall is a glimpse of my future.

Tuesday, April 13

I am going to a friend's filbert farm. Such a generous invitation. Even though it is windy, I am prepared to sit low to the ground and do small watercolors in preparation for oil paintings from memory. May take some photos to jog my memory. Since I am used to looking and seeing differently than what my iPhone camera will record, I do not give the photos much authority. best to sit with the subject and  soak in the atmosphere and naturally struggle with the wind.

Then Susan took me for a ride around near by farms where there were a variety of barns and sites for future painting. At home I prepared ground for the beautiful geraniums. The poppies and vegetable starts wait for tomorrow. As I needed to mow and water the geraniums and lupin seeds that I planted yesterday.

It was a big day and I am tired. 

The large yard is going to be in competition with painting tomorrow. Some lupin and wildflowers have sprouted and both plantings of snap peas are growing. The thistles are going to seed and I have not finished weeding out the ragweed. now it looks good in the spring but change is coming. The clay earth has cracks over an inch wide. Tomorrow I will continue to thread the hoses back on the faucets. Too tired tonight to try and figure out how to turn on the sprinklers.

Tomorrow April 14

Stay tuned, I will calculate the amount of canvas I will need and how to make the best use of it. Will order gesso.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Changing Times

 by Rain Trueax

After a year of not much changing, the vaccine has now gone to about half of all Americans. I've read that there are those (1/3 of Christians and 1/2 of GOP men) who won't get the shots for assorted reasons. I know of those who fear the side effects, and for some there have been unpleasant side effects or worse for a very few. Some see it as some kind of spiritual test. I wish those who refuse the best of luck as the virus has side effects too. At any rate, the fact that a vaccine exists is a positive thing for life getting back to normal-- whatever that will be.

It's spring when everything will be changing. Now that we have had the booster to the Moderna vaccine and it's been three weeks, we have supposed immunity-- as best they know it. That's the one thing with this virus-- they are learning as we are going. Still, I believe, it's better that more of us have had it and we appear to be heading toward herd immunity. Onward and upward as a friend of mine used to say.

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

by Diane: Painting Out There with the West Coast Kona, Hawaii Plein Air Group


On the Kona coast of Hawaii every Friday year round a fantastic hard core group of talented artists meet on location to paint mostly the coast ocean beaches. These artists are Aloha welcoming and will generously give any asked for assistance. After painting for about three hours the group gathers to share their work. Some eat lunch. Some continue to paint.

It has been about 8 years since my first painting time with the Plein Air Group. Richard the organizer greets me by welcoming me back home. And it does feel like home. I watch the artistic development of the artists on Face Book usually posting the Friday's paintings by Monday with updates on small changes they make in their paintings. On line and in person the experience informs my painting.

Maybe influenced by Hawaii but I did this 11"x14" canvas board treated with lightly tinted Plaster of Paris in gesso to make it absorbent to watercolor. Also used acrylic white ink and some Heavy body cadmium  substitute Yellow Deep.

I am feeling defensive of the comment that this is a technique, when a good painting friend who works in a traditional process of drawing her subject on the surface, making a value sketch and then painting in area by area her subject. Yes every process involves a technique of one sort or another to get the paint from pallet to painting surface. My process is a journey with only a rough idea of where I am headed and open to change to have a conversation with what the paint is doing. 


Saturday, April 03, 2021

when morning comes

 by Rain Trueax

For the month of March, with no plan to do so, I watched absolutely no television, movies, nor listened to any radio talk shows. It started because of my bout of nightshade intolerance, but it went beyond that as I could not stand the idea of watching the television screen. After a week or so, I began to consider what television had been doing to my daily life. What I learned is it was filling in time. Although I had already reduced (not none until March began) watching political news, I still had cable for HGTV, documentaries, and a Hallmark movie once or twice a week. We also had Curiosity Stream for nature and historic films, but they seemed too simplified and more aimed at kids than adults. Pretty and all but nothing much to learn.

As I recovered from being sick, things changed for what I wanted my days to look like. I cut back on the Internet-- for a while none, and then very little, but gradually found a reasonable amount of time to check on friends at Facebook, and of course, read newspapers and online magazines with news stories. Still, it was nothing like it had been.

The cable, political news that I had been watching had had some events covered, but a lot of it had been by pundits to tell me what I should think about what I'd seen. If I had been a right winger, I'd have been watching shows like Newsmax or if I was a left winger, it'd be MSNBC. Neither one was going to give both sides of anything. That's not what their audience expected from their pundits.

So, what did I replace that time with-- what am I still replacing it with? Well, watching the clouds in the sky as they changed outside my bedroom window. I got some info on the names of cloud types (cumulus, cirrus, stratus, and nimbus). The problem quickly became that clouds mixed together and finding pure cloud shapes wasn't happening often. Clouds have many varieties. Maybe just enjoying them was the ticket.

I enjoyed watching the trees move with the wind, the birds fly past the window, and the mountain about three miles or so away. In some ways, it was all nothing. In other ways, it was my real world.

Reading aloud continued, but we left behind the non-fiction to try a book I'd never read, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. I didn't expect to like it but got into these characters. We ended up buying more books in the series of five. Currently, we are working on the fourth in the series-- with the third waiting on the dresser. They weren't in order but the fourth didn't need to be. I do not plan to read the fifth given reviews I'd read of it. Ranch Boss has been doing all the aloud reading, which has been enjoyable for us both as the dialogue in those books is fun. 

The three cats got used to the idea that I was not in the living room but rather our bedroom. They adjusted to that and I enjoyed watching them as they worked out their own relationships-- not always in good moods.

March also got me my second Moderna and finally I am, at two weeks after that, which theoretically means fully protected, only the more you read, the more you know it doesn't always work that way. Still, I am glad I did it and hope that those who can will do so. What we need to know about viruses is a long way off, I suspect.

From not watching television, I got used to not trying to think and just be. I didn't need to fill the space as just being was satisfying. I thought of many things for issues politically, some I might share here someday, but for now, this is it. 

My own conclusion is that television may not be doing our brains or emotions a favor. Like so many things, everyone needs to evaluate that for themselves.

These photos are all from April 2nd as the sun rose with clouds providing a show.