The Upcoming Chaos

My family unit and I have been somewhat preoccupied lately, due to the fact that we soon will be adding another member. In the top photo, she is the spotty one front and center, with her mouth open, howling along with her brother behind her. The pups had only recently been weaned when the breeder took these shots. If you look closely, you can see mama dog on the far right. I think the pups are voicing an alternative opinion about this weaning thing.

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I have always been a dog person, having lived with, by my count, a total of 10 dogs so far over the course of my lifetime. But over the past decade, I have also become a Catahoula person. These are Catahoula pups in the photos. Originally used to herd cattle and hunt wild hogs, this breed can be used for tracking or trained to accomplish a wide variety of tasks, including safely babysitting children or other livestock. I have come to believe that the Catahoula just might be the smartest and most versatile dog in the canine world.

These sometimes-spotted and sometimes blue-eyed canines can be traced to semi-domesticated red wolves that became companions of Native Americans in parts of Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas, before Europeans arrived on the scene. Then came the explorer Hernando DeSoto, who introduced so-called “war dogs” from Spain, greyhounds and a now-extinct mastiff called the Alano, in the mid 1500s. Shortly thereafter, so it is written, the indigenous tribes whipped up on DeSoto’s men and took possession of some of his dogs, which interbred with the wolf-dogs. By the 1700s, 175 years or so later, the French began to settle into what’s now Louisiana, and brought their dogs with them – notably the Beauceron – which also did what dogs do and added their genes to the mix.

If you care for more details, a pretty fascinating historical account can be found here. In the end, the Catahoula is a uniquely American dog. They are intelligent but can at times be somewhat stubborn, and tend to want to be the boss of the pack, so early training requires firm patience. I’ll let you know how it goes with this one.

Posted in Country Life, Critters, Farm, Uncategorized

Tweak

So it didn’t take me long before I grew weary of those full-screen slideshows on my homepage. Lets do it this way for awhile, OK? I do think many photos look best displayed as large as possible, though. To that end, I’ll probably add another page just to house a full-page gallery…

Posted in Communications, Writing

In Between

I enjoy manipulating digital images almost as much as taking the photos in the first place. For one thing, even some of my photo mistakes still can provide raw material for a sound piece of digital art.

Lately I’ve become somewhat obsessed with reaching what I consider the perfect balance between photo and painting. Which is it? If the viewer asks that question, then the perfect balance has been reached. However, I also enjoy pushing the photo past the point where it looks, um, photographic.

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Lately I’ve been cobbling together a series of filters and editing tricks that I think allows me to turn some photos into something resembling impressionist painting.

I’ve inserted a couple of them here; soon I’ll gather up more and put them into a gallery.

Update: Now I have, right here.

Posted in Art, Photography

Them Changes

OK, this is kind of like when you buy or rent a new house but not all the furniture has arrived yet.

Patience, my friends, I’m still trying to figure out how much cupboard and closet space I have, and where to put everything…

Posted in Art, Communications, Writing

Shoot-out at the Space-Time Continuum

The low, bright winter sun shines upon us now after nearly two weeks of cold, wet greyness. It’s January, and I’m out picking pecans off the ground under the one native tree that produces nuts big and tasty enough to make up for the laborious job of both cracking and shelling each one of them.

These pecans shouldn’t really be any good; by this late in the season they’re usually not, at least around here. Yet these are wonderful.

As I bend and pick, I’m thinking of an unusually vivid dream I had two weeks ago or so, involving my dog, Bosco.

Bosco has caught and fought, and killed, a fair range of critters in his days, but he’s never managed to dispatch a squirrel despite the large population on our property. Yet in the dream, Bosco carried a squirrel body in his mouth, tossed it in the air and tore out chunks of its fur. He was making a mess, and in the dream I tried to take the body away from him, but he was having none of it. Then the dream ended. That’s all there was to it.

About three days later, I drove up the driveway with my daughter, whom I’d brought back from music lessons, when the two of us saw Bosco dive into the bushes along our fence. I parked the car and got out, heard a squeaking, and saw that the dog was trying to get a good grip on a squirrel, while the squirrel was biting the dog in the nose. Unable to shake it by the neck, Bosco chewed up the rest of the squirrel body and spit it out briefly after suffering another nose bite. I quickly put the thing out of its misery as it otherwise was going to die a slower and more painful death.

The dog grabbed the lifeless body and started trotting around with it as if it were a trophy, tossing it in the air, picking it back up and generally keeping it out of my reach. I finally was able to separate him and his catch, and put it into a garbage bag for disposal. Later, we dabbed some disinfectant onto his nose wounds.

So it is that I apparently dreamed a little chunk of the future, which later came to pass. What, I wonder as I carry my pecans back to the house, is up with that?

“Things always happen for a reason,” I will hear someone say occasionally. But I beg to differ.

Posted in Metaphysics, Uncategorized, Writing

Reboot

Change in the ocean, change in the deep blue sea
Come back baby, you’ll find some change in me
Everybody – they ought to change sometime

– Sleepy John Estes

Thanks to a great new digital camera I got recently, my creative energy mostly has been directed into photography and digital image manipulation, not so much into the written word. I think it’s time to change this blog to reflect that direction, so I can display my artwork to my micro-audience.

One of these days you’re going to open up this page and everything will be different. I’m just telling you so you won’t be scared!

Posted in Art, Work, Writing

Taking It Out For Another Spin

The world keeps on turning, and me along with it, apparently. It’s great; I’ve just finished up my 63rd orbit around the sun, and I find I am thankful to the Powers That Be for every day of the ride.

Funny how it’s worked out so far. I recall that at about the half-way point between now and my beginning, I began to know a lot, and for several years I just kept packing the knowledge in, until eventually I knew pretty much Everything.

But what strikes me now is that I don’t seem to know much anymore.

In fact, my greatest feats of knowledge accumulation over the past several years could be summed up thusly: I am able to discern, with annually increasing clarity, just how much I don’t know. At the end of last year, for instance, I felt I really was beginning to zoom in on the precise depth of the great pool of knowledge that I did not possess. At this particular point in linear time, however, I find that the depth of my ignorance clearly is far greater than I had previously believed.

No matter how quickly I gain new wisdoms, the acceleration of the Universe of That Which I Do Not Know far outpaces those gains.

At this rate, by the time the ride is over I won’t know a damn thing.

Posted in Metaphysics