Sunday, June 2, 2024


I snapped this photo of a cicada exoskeleton on a Rose of Sharon leaf, just after a rain. 

This year, 13-year and 17-year cicada broods are emerging in the Midwest and Southeast for the first time since 1803. This includes Brood XIII, which hatched and burrowed into the ground in 2007. Also emerging is Brood XIX, hatched in 2011 and which has been underground for 13 years. These cicadas are "periodical" broods, which means they remain underground until they emerge and shed their exoskeletons. They live for just a few weeks to feed and breed. They also provide food for birds, fish, and mammals. 

Monday, April 29, 2024


31 August 2006  – 8 March 2024

Weema was 17-1/2 years old. Her last few years were tough. She had dementia. She was restless at times, paced and circled. I fed her by hand. She slept in a "side sleeper" (meant for babies) so she wouldn't fall out of bed. But through all of this, she knew who I was, loved her treats, had a good appetite and still played occasionally with Taki, my younger dog. 

She grew up in a trio of dogs – Zabi, Tickle and Weema. Zabi was a babysitter-dog if there ever was one. He raised both Tickle and Weema. He'd lie down to play with Weema when she was a tiny pup, so he wouldn't hurt her. They'd roll around and "nose fence" (bop their noses, baring their teeth in play). Tickle was more standoff-ish at first. Then, one day, Tickle grabbed Weema's back leg in her mouth and growled. Weema froze. Then Tickle released Weema's leg and Weema wiggled in glee as if saying, "do it again!". So Tickle had a different way of playing, but she played with Weema just the same. 

They would all sleep together.

Zabi and Tickle have since passed on. Weema sat in the kitchen and howled her sorrow. And so I brought Taki home for her as a companion. She was never as fond of Taki as Tickle or Zabi, but she did bond, and she did play with him. Taki had to learn to play gently with Weema, who by then was a senior.

Now it's Taki's turn to adjust. He's enough of a narcissist, he may just do fine as an only dog. He can be a little fussy about eating, and he clearly misses Weema. But I'll give it some time.

I will miss her every day.

Friday, February 23, 2024

Miss Mouse

photo of deer mouse

I found this tiny mouse on the bottom step to my basement. She couldn't get into the basement (the door was closed) and she couldn't climb back up the stairs. She looked to be cold and hungry. So I scooped her up in a paper cup and plopped her into a small aquarium I happened to have. She chowed down on a piece of cucumber as soon as it was offered.

She is now living in a 10-gallon aquarium and has a wheel, water bottle, and things to climb in and around. She has bird seed, rodent blocks, and gets treats like apple, carrots, cucumber and blueberries. 

She sits in the corner near me when I visit with her. She seems to enjoy being talked to. She is very sensitive to sound - her ears twitch at the slightest sound. I've had her just a few weeks now and she is looking well fed and her coat is sleek and shiny.

Monday, February 5, 2024

Student & Instructor Exhibition at the Art Barn

Student and Instructor Exhibition
Art Barn, Valpariaso, Indiana
Reception: Feb 2, 2024 | 5-7 PM
Jan 26 - Feb 29, 2024

From the Art Barn website:

Instructors who taught, and students who participated in, 2023 classes were invited to showcase their art to the Art Barn community. The purpose of this exhibition is three-fold: It provides an opportunity for instructors to share their work with students and the greater community; to provide a platform for students to share their projects and creative efforts; and for Art Barn to shine a light on classes and workshops, while inspiring others to explore our educational offerings.

Workshop: Antique Technique Sampler

Learn three different historical art-making techniques in this unique workshop with Karen Ackoff. On day 1, students will learn moist brush technique with watercolor, a method that allows for layering of watercolor, developing both subtle gradations of tone and rich, saturated color. On day 2, students will learn the historical technique of silverpoint drawing, a drawing method used before modern day pencils were available. Drawing with silver creates a delicate image that develops warm tones as the silver tarnishes over time. Contemporary egg tempera will also be covered. Ackoff's method takes the effort out of traditional egg tempera, using watercolor with an egg yolk binder to create translucent layers, resulting in a luminous painting that is an excellent way to empahsize light and shadow. Coffee, tea, and lunch will be provided for participants each day, as well as some art supplies. A suggested list for purchase will be provided to students. Deadline to register is Friday, March 1.

For more info: Art Barn website