Tuesday, February 06, 2007

An Art Idea

Crop art, not to be confused with crop circles, caught my attention today.

I was looking around for bird pictures -- by the way, we saw many cardinals, blue jays, magpies and woodpeckers today -- and I came upon a bird blog. I noticed immediately the host was from the same state in which I live: not confusion, but rather Minnesota. So I looked through her blog and found a crop art photo. I clicked on the link and was awed.

Crop art is big in Minnesota. Apparently it has its own special category at the Minnesota State Fair and is a big deal. Some of the work is absolutely mind boggling how realistic it looks.

As a child, I remember seed roosters and owls in almost everyone's kitchen. Making things out of seeds was very popular back in the 60s and 70s. I hadn't thought of it for years until it sprang up in one of our scouting books. We actually did a seed and bean project with scouts, but the boys weren't too impressed with it. Thomas, however, really enjoyed it and he came home and made a cute little box that sits in my living room in a place of honor on my great-grandma's Hoosier cabinet.

I showed Thomas this website. All the pictures are copyrighted, so I won't share them here. Wow, we had a lot of fun looking at them. And to think, they were made from seed. Our favorites were Vincent Price and Where the Wild Things Are.

I think we're going to do some of this art. I think I am going to talk Thomas into making a Thomas the Tank Engine rice picture. (For me, not for him.) We can dye the rice and see how it works. If he enjoys the project, I might spring for some beans and seeds and go beyond.

I'm not a crafty person. I am a perfectionist and that doesn't work well when you make something for the first time and it turns out like you-know-what. This, however, looks like fun for me.

It's a good thing I just bought a huge bag of rice!

I'll share photos after we've made some progress.

Monday, February 05, 2007

A Room With a View

There is one bird in this photo (can you find it?) and the photo didn't do it justice. It was a woodpecker, had a bright-red head and beautiful black and white back and wing feathers. If the google images are correct, it was a red-bellied woodpecker. I found it amazing that the photo looked nothing like real life!

Our schoolroom has a great view of our back yard, specifically our big ash tree. Since we moved our desks to actually face the window, we have been able to look out and dream a little. Sometimes we even see birds.

Today, even with the arctic temperatures, we had quite a show. The woodpeckers were out, with a vengeance. I'm not a bird watcher so I don't know many birds. I think this was the first time I have ever seen a woodpecker. Thomas had never seen one. I shouldn't say "a" woodpecker. We saw so many today that we lost count. We'd watch for awhile, run to the computer and hit google images and try and figure out what we were seeing, then run back. We got the binoculars out and saw them up close and personal.

We saw lots of birds today, some I knew, most I didn't. It's time to buy a field guide. We laughed at how fat they looked, knowing their feathers were just puffed up to keep them warm.

We had so much fun, in fact, that tonight while I was running errands I stopped and bought a block of suet and a suet holder. My sweet husband went outside (without his coat, even!) and hung it in the tree. Thomas is asking to make a bird feeder. I think that would be a wonderful project for him...when it warms up a bit.