Local Lichens

Thought I would resurrect the blog, as it’s been a while since I added anything. I guess life has a way of getting in the way of activities we think can be sustained at the time of their inception.

I recently picked up a small inexpensive camera to put in my pocket while fishing. The Nikon CoolPix S3200 is not quite up to delivering the quality I’d like, but I can still use it to capture moments not otherwise likely. I’ve been exploring its macro capabilities by focusing on a few of the lichens in the yard. These lichens were found on a Crepe Myrtle.
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Carved Crow Call of Red Cedar and Heart Pine

My wife reminded me that I’ve made several calls for friends and other members of the extended family who hunt, but had not for her son, Jason, who also likes to hunt. I did not have a previously made call to give, so I decided to make him one for Christmas. I’ve had the sketched design completed for this type of call for more than a year. It is definitely influenced by the early Tongue Pincher duck calls of Elam Fisher. A picture of this type of call can be found in James Bennett‘s collection online.

This call design is also heavily influenced by the Acadian traditional cigar style duck call typified by Louisiana call maker Loylley Allemond. Jason now lives in the New Orleans area so the Lousiana influence seemed appropriate. This call has a body of Aromatic Red Cedar wood saved from a tree that grew on Jason’s Great Grandfather’s homestead. The nibs are from heart pine salvaged from window sashes of the old homestead house. The call is reinforced with a hidden CPVC insert for strength.

Blue Princess – Japanese Morning Glory

I am also making selections toward a line of blue Princess Japanese Morning Glories. One of my thoughts in developing the various Princess lines is to lean more toward creating initial building blocks for future more pleasing selections for the garden than creating immediate end results. Think of it as a wide base, with different plants, all sharing the princess characteristic, but having other isolated characteristics which may be later combined in different ways to produce stunning results. The idea here is to create a palette of qualities from which to choose. This effort towards the blue princess is along these lines. I’ve selected candidates that have leaves with yellow and green coloring, heart shape or normal shape, as well as dragonfly (dg) influence. This year should be telling if my initial selections are along the right path.

The picture above is of my first choice for this line. It has the diminutive growth of the princess, clear blue colored flowers of small size, and a rather unique shaped yellow leaf. I have other selections which I’ll show on a separate page.

Japanese Morning Glory – 2011 season

Pink Retracted Princess
While 2010 was a bust in my efforts to accomplish anything with JMGs, I’m planing to pick up the pieces and advance a few of my projects this year. I’m making several selections from the 2009 grow out and also plan to grow the F1 results of several crosses accomplished that year. Primary advancement will be in the Princess Project.

The above picture is of my current selection in the first of the large flowered Princess line under development. This plant has a nice compact stature, variegated green leaves and beautiful relatively large (104mm – 4 in.) pink ruffled flowers with an evenly blended white center. As a reference, flowers in the standard Princess lines are 60-65mm or 2.5 inches in size.

Chinese Tallow Crow Call

I’ve been working on a refined shape for my enclosed reed crow calls. Today one emerged that I am quite pleased with. It definitely is influenced by traditional duck calls, which suits me just fine, as I have always enjoyed the evolution and heritage of these game calls.
Chinese Tallow Closed Reed Crow Call
This prototype call is 3 1/2 inches long and very loud, but still is not quite the sound I seek. I’ve solved the locking problem and now am working to fine tune the tonal qualities.

Chinese Tallow, also known as Popcorn tree, grows locally and is quite abundant. The wood is a beautiful creamy white when turned green, before it is dry, but the wood interior turns this darker color when dried in thicker blank form. It is a nice wood to turn, is very fine grained and finishes well.

I’ve created a page for additional pictures of this call here.

The November Yard – Winding Down

This morning broke with beautiful clear skies and a cool 40 degrees. As I was walking to feed the chickens, (guess I’ll need to show them sometime!) I spotted the volunteer Morning Glory that bloomed yesterday. I hadn’t taken any pictures in the yard for quite a while, so when I returned to the house, I got the camera and took a quick tour of the yard.

Dried Jalapeño Peppers

I have a garden…. I had a garden…. If a garden is partially defined as a growing area that is devoid of weeds and other volunteer plants, then I may have what was once a garden! This time of the year is tough in the south, because it is finally cool enough to visit the garden again, only to be greeted by the reality of our own neglect. I say “our” because I share a garden space with my neighbor, and my wife’s cousin, Jack. This is a great relationship because in the Spring garden, when things need constant attention, Jack can keep ahead of things during the times I’m traveling on business. By the time the dog days of summer arrive, our commitment to keep all weeds out, tomato plants tied and generally looking good from the road, lose much of the priority they once had and the garden gradually turns into what we face now.

I was able to salvage a few Jalapeño peppers before clean up begins and decided to dry them instead of making more hot sauce or chopping and freezing them. When dried, I was entranced by their beauty and took them outside for a few photos. The sun playing with their translucence was quite nice.