Thursday, January 26, 2012

Stormy Weather

Two nights ago Austin was hit by a huge thunderstorm. The storm arrived sometime in the middle of the night.  It was a very noisy, wild storm with bright flashes of lightening and banging thunder.  The rain itself was noisy too, coming down in buckets.   My dogs were whining, and Jacob and I didn't get much sleep.  The next morning Jacob woke me up to show me a 3 inch deep river running through the porch, and out the driveway.  There were several toads floating in the water apparently the rain filled up all the little holes in our yard.  It was too cold to make them sing, but it was strange to see toads in January.

The storm got me thinking about how powerful weather is frighting and wonderful.  Nature can be so destructive, but continues to be beautiful and alluring.  I remember as a kid during an AZ summer monsoon storm turning off the lights and opening all the curtains to watch the lightening show.  We would count the seconds between the flash and crash waiting to see if the thunder would be loud, soft, or rolling.  In middle school, some friends and I believed there was an electric or static energy that you could feel coming with the storm front.  It seemed to energize us as we ran around in the cool wind.  In Michigan, I almost experienced a tornado.  I don't know if it was actually a tornado.  But tornadoes were reported in the area and the weather was very strange and violent.  I remember looking up and seeing leaves swirling 50ft up in the air.

  • It is interesting how there is such a build up, and climax as a storm grows just like a good story.
  • It is interesting how animals and plants respond to storms.
  • It is interesting how small amounts of water, ice, fire, and snow are so beautiful, but large amounts are deadly.
  • Do you have fond or bad memories of storms, and weather?
  • Do you find weather alluring?

Luckily, I have not experienced truly destructive weather, and I wish you all good fortune as well.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My Favorite Field Guides

My Favorite Field Guides 

Sibley's North American Birds  The best illustrations of important id marks.
Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America  Photos of the bugs or at least representatives of most bugs you'll find around the yard and in the woods. Text is well written with facts and interesting comments.
Smithsonian Handbooks Rocks and Minerals  Has good photos and a nice rock identification key in the front.  It is for less advanced geologist.
Golden Guide Seashells of North America  Has interesting information about the snails and clams so you can get an idea about the animal who lived in the shell.
Cloud spotter's Guide  A really fun read, and an introduction to a new hobby, cloud spotting!
Peterson's Reptiles and Amphibians- Side by side comparisons of animals, with detailed info in back and range maps.


I have started Inspiredbynaturelife blog to express my thoughts on nature, work with kids in nature, art, science, and other things that interest me.  I hope this blog becomes a place of conversations with you.  I am a non-tech person and am more at home digging in the dirt than playing with the latest gadgets, but I feel the need to not be left behind completely. Of course, blogs aren't exactly a new thing, but I think it will be fun.  
The name of this blog is Inspiredbynaturelife.  It's a bit corny, I guess, but I am inspired by nature and most of the subjects in my art are based on what I see in nature.  I find that time in nature calms me, helps me think clearly, makes me happy, and helps me be creative.  I always find something amazing on walks.  Last Sunday, I was struck by how beautiful grass can be.  The green carpet of lush grass and winter veg was so bright that it almost hurt the eyes.   Jacob and I walk at Hornsby Bend almost every Sunday morning, but this Sunday was when grass made me want to turn into a deer or cow and grab a bite.  Have you ever heard the sound of ducks dabbling?  It is a cross between rice crispies, rain drops hitting a sidewalk, and someone walking in soggy shoes.   I love to hear the sound of ducks snacking.  I can't help but smile when I hear it, and it has given me an idea for a duck painting.  Of course, I can not paint the sound of ducks, but I will think of the sound while painting.  Does nature inspire you?  Does it turn you into a cow, or give you involuntary smiles?  How do you express your inspiration? Please share things that inspire you.