Visiting the Shiawassee River State Game Area

June 9, 2013: Last weekend, Ted, Elaine and I went for a walk around the Shiawassee River State Game Area. It was Memorial Day weekend and with the sun returning to us after some rainy days, we felt the call to the outdoors.

The camera charged and our feet ready for the business of hiking we began a walk down a trail. Our first journey was cut short by a change in the river. The river had eroded away the dike, leaving no place to put our feet without getting thoroughly wet. We smiled remembering we are not in charge of what rivers do and made our way back for the car. I wondered what it would be like for all of the fish and crayfish to find themselves new homes along the new river’s way.

Certain of our second stop we unloaded out of the car. Right away we were greeted by a pair of Baltimore orioles. Bold in color, timid by nature we observed them at a distance. Pairs of blue herons occasionally made their way across the sky. The low wet lands were calm. The water was smooth like a paved path with the only break in the plane from lily pads poking the surface not yet unrolled. My daughter thought that she should be able to walk on the surface. The slight movement of air currents moved the tops of the tall grasses. It was a peaceful day. Yet the birds were all in commotion.

Shiawassee Black Bird

Loudly calling were the blackbirds. The males would take their perch and sound off, raising and lowering their tails, announcing their territories and attracting mates; making a beautiful display. There were tree swallows dancing over our heads and geese honking while making their trip in v-shaped patterns while traveling north. We spotted a snowy egret in the distance and some coyote tracks. There were some early butterflies out for the sunshine. The dragon flies were also around. My daughter took to shaking the grasses to spook them up.

After returning home, I did a quick sketch of a picture that I had taken with a red winged blackbird in the foreground. I highlighted it with some watercolor. Then trying out my new sketch pad, I sketched out a red winged blackbird, putting a dab of oil pastel where the red patch belongs.

Red Winged Blackbird


Back to fun!

Nov. 6, 2012: I went out with my daughter today. We simply needed a day out. She has been recovering from a recent procedure and everything in our lives has been put on pause while we were taking care of her health. It felt like the fun had been put on pause too, so we took an evening out. She and I went to the Antic Warehouse where they have many fun furnishings, and antic wares that can consume hours and entertain our imaginations for days. Together we made a few selections, old hand pieced quilt blocks, a child’s mini muffin tin, and an American gold finch wall sconce, a treasure that we found at the end of our looksee.  Upon careful examination it had a couple of chips, but for the last chance clearance pile, it was a treasure to behold. Not asking a premium, we have brought it home and will think on warmer days when the gold finches will return.

While watching the election unfold I was filled with the excitement that I think many Americans feel as the democratic process is put into action. Beer in hand, I watched the states on the television light up blue and red. After a couple of hours and feeling spent from the drama that was unfolding, I turned my attention to sketching. I call it, bird and a bee.


bird and a bee, one chickadee, Mary Champagne