Nest Building Underway

As Spring is approaching, our local birds are busy building nests. This house sparrow and his mate are readying a natural cavity in this blue oak. Something else is in this image that you can’t unsee. Let me know in the comments without giving it away.


Final Reveal, Almost

My art is back from the framer. I’d say that Image West did a fabulous job. Worth every penny. We are happy with the results.

For the uninitiated, Tim and I have our own personal art competition each year at the annual Lumberjack Auction Dinner hosted by Sierra Cascade Logging Conference. This auction benefits the education programs of Sierra-Cascade Environmental and Resource Fund, a charity near and dear to our hearts. The originals will be on display at the Red Tail Publishing booth during the conference.

I have to tell you, not doing a final reveal today is killing me. I promised to keep the inspiration for this piece confidential until the auction on Friday night. So here is all you get today. Last year Tim trounced me. I’m hoping for a bit of redemption. I sure hope that keeping this close to the vest doesn’t give him an edge in our competition.

“_____ _____ Heritage”
By Mary A Livingston
Original Watercolor.

______ Heritage
Original Watercolor by Mary A Livingston



Autumn in the Garden


Rattlesnake Attacks Puppy

When we first found the puppy bitten by the rattlesnake, we assumed it happened in the tall grass by the bird pen while on a walk with puppy owners.(See It just made sense that the puppy surprised the snake and in defense the snake bit. Yesterday, I reviewed footage of the puppy cam to see if I could observe any odd behavior after the puppies returned to the playpen following the walk. What I saw was unsettling to say the least. As the video plays, keep an eye on the right side of the ball pit.



Rattlesnake Strike

Friday night, we had an evening woods walk with few puppy families. Saturday was go home day for Bliss and Sailor’s 8-week-old puppies. The rattlesnake didn’t alert with a rattle. The puppy didn’t cry. No one knew anything had happened until symptoms set in. Edited to add: I found out the next week where and when the strike happened.

On the way to the vet.

On the way to the vet.

Our first thought upon discovering a pup with a swollen face was that the puppy bit a bee or was stung perhaps multiple times. Yellow jackets have been plentiful this year. We gave him Benadryl, but it didn’t help, the swelling continued. He was agitated and in a LOT of pain. Rattlesnake bite was also on our radar. One of our vets met us at the hospital in Redding, so we didn’t have to use the ER with a puppy during the at-risk period for parvovirus.

The puppy resting in Tim’s arms after pain meds.

The vet also leaned toward rattlesnake bite due to the intense pain the puppy was suffering. But without the conclusive bite marks, we would be treating symptoms with powerful drugs. We shaved part of his head but couldn’t find fang marks, only a single scrape on the head with a dry scab. It’s hot and dry this time of year, a wound will scab over quickly. This puppy wasn’t presenting like a classic bee sting so we wondered if that spot could be the envenomation point since it was very tender to the touch. We started meds and blood work. If the blood work showed nothing, it would be of no help. But if the red blood cells were changing, we’d have our proof.

The envenomation site outlined by ink dots.

While we waited on blood work, the pain didn’t ease, even on pain med. As Tim and I decided we would go ahead and treat for snake bite, the vet came in with the results of the blood work. That with microscopy analysis confirmed the telltale signs of rattlesnake envenomation.

The puppy was hospitalized and started on antivenin, more pain meds, and supportive care. We returned home and went rattlesnake hunting.

Tim with the culprit.

By 11:00 pm that night, round two of antivenin was started and we had the culprit skinned and ready for the freezer.

By 8:00 am the next morning, the puppy was feeling better. He came home last night.
Of course, the puppy had been paired with a family. We candidly discussed their options and they chose to pass on this puppy and wait for a pup from another litter.
Fast forward to this morning, the puppy now known as Fang looks much better. He feels and acts like a normal puppy. It will take a few more days for the swelling to subside. He will stay with us until healed and then be paired with a new family. He’s one tough puppy.

Kelly, one of the techs shared this image with us.

The Northern Pacific rattlesnake delivered a glancing blow with a single fang. Had it succeeded in a full-on strike, I don’t know if the 8-week-old puppy would’ve survived.

Counting our blessings.


For those who are touting the highly advertised rattlesnake vaccine, take note. That vaccine is specifically designed around the western diamondback and isn’t supported by peer-reviewed research. Our rattlesnakes are the Northern Pacific rattlesnake. Different snake, different venom. A dog still requires veterinary attention even if “vaccinated”. Antivenin treatment is necessary if heavily envenomated, period. There is no conclusive research to support those vaccines for the rattlesnakes in our area. UC Davis Veterinary Hospital doesn’t stock the vaccine.  In an NIH study of the Western Diamondback rattlesnake vaccine, within 48 hours 60% of the vaccinated subjects injected with Western diamondback venom died, 80% death rate for Northern Pacific and 100% death rate for Southern Pacific. Furthermore, an 8-week-old puppy isn’t old enough for this non-core vaccine.

His first night back home. 24 hours after the snakebite.

36 hours after the rattlesnake bite, the puppy is on the mend.

Win, Win…Auction Results

By now, most folks are used to the competition Tim (The Forester Artist) and I have with our original art donation to the Sierra-Cascade Environmental and Resource Fund annual education auction hosted by the Sierra Cascade Logging Conference. Up until last year, Tim kept coming out on top, but then I smoked him when my piece, Off-Highway Hauler, brought in double what his piece, The Fellers, did for environmental education in 2017. I had bragging rights for the year.

This year, we both received a special request for pieces.

Back in the fall, Tim was presented with an old photo of Buzz Eades. Buzz, a local legend in the timber industry, had contributed much to the forest products industry. Since Tim first met Buzz while working at LaTour Demonstration State Forest in 1984, it only made sense that he would do the painting.

Buzz Eades 1976

Buzz Eades 1976

It was looking like no requests would come in for my piece, until shortly after Christmas. One of the local foresters provided a shot of a heel-boom loader. The story was that John Miller, another local legend, of John Wheeler Logging, Inc. was the operator back in the day. The images were taken in 1975.

Screen Shot 2018-02-11 at 2.53.14 PMThe race was on. I needed to paint the machine from the opposite side in order to show the operator. The Northwest Model 41 wasn’t a symmetrical beast, so I need more references. I reached out on social media and Eric Cole of The Rusty Grapple came to the rescue. I managed to track down a copy of “The Story of Northwest Engineering Company” it also helped for authenticity.

Tim was on his own mission trying to locate references for the saw Buzz used back in the day. Also using social media, Neil Gould, the son of logger Del Gould who used to cut with Buzz confirmed the model of saw used. The final detail was in place.

Finally, our finished pieces were ready. They were on display at the Red Tail Publishing booth across from conference registration up until they were whisked away for the auction. I could tell which painting was generating more buzz by the reactions of the people coming to see the art. It was going to be close.


Dueling_competitors.jpgBuzzin’ the Pumpkin and Timbermaster side by side on auction night.


Tim snapped this shot of the dueling art pieces just before the auctioneer took the stage. Our items were numbers 24 and 25. They would auction off together. The high bidder could buy one or both pieces at the high bid number. If they only chose one, the loser would go back out to auction again.

The bidding took off and quickly surpassed $5000. It was a nonstop climb to over $10,000. A table in the back of the room pushed through to over $12,000. People were craning their necks to see who the bidder was with such deep pockets. It wasn’t the usual suspects for stratosphere bidding. The gavel dropped at $12,500. A group of names was read off of a conglomerate of folks pulling resources to purchase their chosen art. The litany of names ended with the buyer’s consortium finalizing their purchase by rounding it off to $15,000 for Buzzin’ the Pumpkin in honor of environmental education.

Buzzin’ the Pumpkin was carried through the hall to the table where Muriel Eades, Buzz’s widow was seated. As they presented her with the piece honoring her beloved Buzz, warm memories permeated the banquet. Muriel thanked everyone who contributed profusely and asked for the artist. “Where’s the artist, is he here, I want to thank him.” She needed to search no farther, Tim was there to greet her.


Left to Right: Zane Peterson, Neil Gould, Muriel Eades, and Tim Livingston with the winning art, Buzzin’ the Pumpkin.

In the afterglow of the winning art, the losing piece was put back on the auction block.

Timbermaster opened bidding at the midrange and quickly hit $8,000, bounced around and climbed to $9,500, then $10,000. I motioned upward, hoping against all odds that we could get the crowd rolling again for a higher number, the stall held.

Timbermaster sold for $10,000 in support of environmental resource education. Not too bad for the loser’s bracket. I’d call this a double win for environmental education.

Environmental and resource education is near and dear to our hearts. Tim and I find ourselves in good company. Timber people are good folk who look out for the future of environmental resources. All in all, the night brought in over $150,000 that will be used for scholarships and other educational opportunities through the Sierra Cascade Environmental Resource Fund.

Kudo’s to Tim for an exceptional piece. Hopefully, next year, you’ll get the loser’s report from Tim.


Bidders stepped up with $10,000 for Timbermaster and $15,000 for Buzzin’ the Pumpkin.       This makes a 2018 total of $25,000 for our art in support of environmental resource education. We couldn’t be happier.



Winter Sunset Bliss


Winter sunset in my backyard. Spectacular.


Puppy Play Bliss

The puppies enjoyed the playroom on this rainy day.

Happy Thanksgiving – Turkey Dinner Old School

Happy Thanksgiving!

Turkey dinner prep circa 1946 (American Standard ad). Now for a real throwback, turkey dinner prep 2014.