Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Local COOP

It was a nice day. OK, maybe 38F and windy, but still I felt the urge to get out and sketch. The local COOP was here when I was a kid fifty years ago and it looked old then. It's seen a long life and is still kicking. However, times have changed it. The scales are accessed via satellite and the office isn't manned, at least in the off-season like right now. But the buildings are all as I remember them as a kid. They needed to be sketched.

The mood was different now. This was a happening place, especially at harvest time. The scale building also had a small retail sales space to sell rabbit food, dog food and other miscellaneous items that don't need to be bulk loaded into a pickup or grain truck. The smell of grain was everywhere, and you needed to watch out for huge trucks driving to the scales and then driving to unload. It was exciting!

The elevator is still in use, and maybe it is still hopping at harvest time, but I doubt it. The scale building appears empty of all furnishings. I think all the weighing is done remotely through the satellite antenna. Times have changed. I suppose they need to keep up with the economics of the grain markets and cut costs. However, today's youth won't have the same experiences that I did at harvest time.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Old Dog New Tricks

My dad taught me how to shave with both an electric razor and a blade. I settled on an electric razor process and have been using it for over 40 years.You'd think I'd be content. However, recently I've been intrigued by the shaving soap/brush method. It's more work, but it's a more earth-friendly method. The foam doesn't come from a pressurized can made of metal and using many chemicals. Just a simple round puck of soap and a brush made of natural bristle. Those are all points wasted on me until this generation of environmental consciousness. Plus it has a touch of nostalgia. I remember being a small kid looking up at my dad lather up and shave with this method.

The last straw was when I passed a soap/brush/stand shaving kit at the local grocery store marked off 30% as a clearance item. I had to have it!

Now how do you use it? My dad's gone so I can't ask him. Answer - YouTube. So there I was, a grandpa myself now, watching YouTube videos to learn how to shave. How did we learn anything without YouTube in the past?

After a week of use I can say I really like this method. The shave is close and the fragrances are not as strong as other products. One sensation I did NOT expect, though, is that when applying the lather, it feels somewhat like when your dog just jumped in the pond for a swim and then comes out and shares some love with you and his wet tail smacks your face a few times. That SHOULD be a turn-off, but I love dogs.

My next step, someday, will be to try the double-edge razor with the soap and brush. That's also what my dad used. The replacement blade cassettes hadn't been invented yet. If money was the sole driver I'd be using the double-edge now, but how much shaving gear does a guy really need? This is enough change for now.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

August '16 Alaska Cruise, Part II

That's it for the trip. We could sure do that more often. Just need to find that money tree.

August '16 Alaska Cruise, Part I

This is our first cruise. Took 35 years of marriage to pass before we made it happen. I didn't know if I'd have time to sketch or not, but I took my gear, anyway. As it turned out I was able to get plenty done and saved enough spaces to finish at home. The journal doesn't capture everything we did, but works with our photo album that, together, helps us remember the trip. Glad I did. I'll let the sketches speak for themselves. We sure enjoyed the trip.

Just one clarification: I don't post these to brag about what we did. I post them because I really enjoy seeing the travel journals of other sketchers and figure maybe somebody might have an interest in how I do it. That's all. I'm not impressed by people that brag about all their worldly travels and won't become one of them.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Retiring A Favorite

I've been keeping these old sandals around so I could sketch them before I threw them away. They served me well or many trips to the great outdoors. They carried me in some tough country and some pedestrian activities like sketch crawls. Before them, I didn't think real men wore sandals. Now I do.  Finally a couple straps pulled out of the foot bed and they can't be fixed. When I bought sandals to replace them I almost felt like I was being unfaithful to them.

On the brighter side, I bought my first real trappers hat! I've worn cheap ones over the years when it really gets cold out. Got my first one when I was in fourth grade. Over the holiday break in Hays I ran across this real wool hand woven tweed cap with rabbit fur lining, and just had to have it. Made in Scotland. We've had three times when temperatures were well below freezing and I've worn it to bring in more firewood or drive to work. It keeps me warm and feels luxurious. The trappers hat doesn't get high points for style, but function is what matters to me.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Hello New Year

Time to start the new year by dusting off the sketch gear and spending some time in my journal. I've been meaning to and just never quite get to it. I like a process that Roz Stendahl has done in the past ( She'd spend time around New Years doing some activity in each of the various art forms and activities she likes to do throughout the year. She does it in 24 hours. I select a few and spend the three-day weekend catching time to do them. It gives me a chance to see how much (or little) they mean to me. My sketch shows some of them.

My problem is that I collect interests. It's hard to get rid of any, too. They're all rewarding in their own way. I know others have this issue, too.

I wanted to start the year sketching again, too.  Don't know if it will continue on a solid basis or not. My sketch journaling is too rewarding to drop. I'm still processing what I learned from Roz's on-line class on sketching live subjects and need to spend some follow-up time on the skills. Just need more time sketching. Then I need to figure what my goals should be to continue on this sketching journey. There's plenty to learn.

I have done more sketching that I've posted. Wilma and I took our first cruise, and it was to Alaska. We've always wanted to, and kept putting it off. For our 35th anniversary we did. I managed to keep a travel journal, too. From experience I've found that you can't depend on having time to sketch when you travel with someone else. However, I brought my sketch gear just in case. I did my layout and probably half of my sketching on the trip, and finished it at home. I'm thinking of posting it just to show others the type of travel journaling that works for me.

More later.