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



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.



Catching my Breath…What a Ride!

Wow! I’m stunned. When I catch my breath I’ll have more to say. Check out Tim’s post on the auction art competition for forestry education…

The Sierra Cascade Logging Conference is all over, but for the clean up. The Forestry Education Fund Auction was last night and it was a booming success. The final result of the entire fund-raiser was north of $100,000. Now if you’ve been following our blogs, you know that Mary (Sneaking Bliss) and I provide original art, […]

via Auction Results … HOLY CRAP! — THE FORESTER ARTIST

Off-Highway Hauler

Here’s my entry for the Head to Head/His and Hers Auction. Tim (The Forester Artist) and I will be competing at the Lumberjack Banquet & Education Auction on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017. This auction fundraiser supports the Sierra-Cascade Environmental and Resource Fund. This non-profit educates the public, students, and teachers about the wise management of our forests.They provide scholarships for local students interested in careers in the industry. Many of the programs supported are aimed at educating the urban regions of California, about practices that assure the health of our forests.

They also sponsor:

  • Logging Conference Education Day
  • In-Woods Demonstration
  • FFA Forestry Competition

Hey, Tim, where’s yours?

Feather River Pine Mills butane-burning off-highway log truck. Feather Falls, CA. Truck number eleven driven by Hank Mitzel. Circa 1950.

Feather River Pine Mills butane-burning off-highway log truck. Feather Falls, CA. Truck number eleven driven by Hank Mitzel. Circa 1950.

Home Stretch


Sierra Cascade Logging Conference WIP

Sierra Cascade Logging Conference WIP – Home stretch as Tim (The Forester Artist) and I wrap up our pieces for the head to head auction competition. 

And the Winner Is

Recap: Tim and I each donated an original framed piece of art for the Forestry Education Auction held at the Lumberjack Dinner, 2016 Sierra Cascade Logging Conference.

Going head to head. What married couple doesn't thrive on a little friendly competition?

Going head to head. What married couple doesn’t thrive on a little friendly competition?

The auctioneer explained that bidders would bid, not knowing which piece other bidders were bidding on. The winner would have the option of buying both, each at the high bid price. If both weren’t taken, the second place bidder had the option of the “left-over” piece. If not taken then, the “left-over” would go back out on live auction.

The auctioneer brought us both to the front of the audience with our pieces and asked me to say something about my piece, but before I could answer, Tim said his piece was “…for the children.”

How do I top that? “For the children.” Really, Tim?

With that introduction, the bidding started and rapidly climbed over $2,000. This was pretty exciting. Since Tim began donating art to this auction, his pieces typically sell for $700 to $960. Clearly we were in new territory.

Soon the bidding narrowed down to two competitors, head to head.



back again


The auctioneer sat Tim at one bidder table, me at the other. I knew the guy bidding at my table and taunted him to bid more, for the children of course.

Up the price went



SOLD for $2,700!

Then the moment of truth was revealed.

"Uncle Sam" mixed media by Tim Livingston rocked the competition, scoring $2,700 for Forestry Education.

“Uncle Sam” mixed media by Tim Livingston rocked the competition, scoring $2,700 for Forestry Education.

Tim’s “Uncle Sam” was the winning art. Both top bidders wanted Tim’s piece so, my “left-over” went back on the block for bidding.






"Food Chain" watercolor by Mary A Livingston sold for $1,200 to support Forestry Education. Not bad for "left-overs."

“Food Chain” watercolor by Mary A Livingston sold for $1,200 to support Forestry Education. Not bad for “left-overs.”

Hmph. Apparently, I need to step up my game.

Tim soundly kicked my behind.

All in all, we’re pretty stoked that between both pieces of art at the live auction, and the autographed books at the silent auction our contributions brought in over $4,000 to Forestry Education.

Competitive success!







Ready to Rumble Bliss

All delivered and ready for the Education Auction on Friday!

Here are the finished pieces that Tim and I donated to Sierra Cascade Logging Conference Lumberjack Dinner and Education Auction supporting forestry education. We hope this head to head, friendly “Hers vs. His” competition raises the stakes and funds brought in. There’s a lot of talking smack taking place in our house! We’ll keep you posted.

Going head to head. What married couple doesn't thrive on a little friendly competition?

Going head to head. What married couple doesn’t thrive on a little friendly competition?

"Uncle Sam" mixed media by Tim Livingston

“Uncle Sam” mixed media by Tim Livingston

"Food Chain" watercolor by Mary A Livingston

“Food Chain” watercolor by Mary A Livingston

Head to Head Bliss

For the past several years, Tim has created a piece of art for the Education Auction at the Sierra Cascade Logging Conference Education Lumberjack Dinner.

This year we’re doing something different. We’re both creating art for the auction to go head to head raising funds for forestry education.

Here are a few images of “Food Chain” as a work in progress.

I’ll save the final piece for when it’s framed.

WIP - 1 "Food Chain"

WIP – 1
“Food Chain”

Food Chain - WIP Getting some paint on paper.

Food Chain – WIP
Getting some paint on paper.

Food Chain WIP

Food Chain WIP

Food Chain WIP

Food Chain WIP

Food Chain WIP

Food Chain WIP

Food Chain WIP

Food Chain WIP

Saving Bliss

Life happens quickly and life-changing moments happen even faster.


Click Tim’s painting to see his post…

If you just came from Tim’s blog, The Forester Artist, then you saw this image of our pup, Bliss. What follows here is the rest of this life-changing story…

At 12 weeks old, an alert and healthy Bliss weighed 19.8 lb. at her well puppy check up. Two days later we left for vacation in the foothills of the western slope of the Sierra Nevada, also known as gold country. Of course, our golden retrievers joined us.

Sunday afternoon we settled in and were ready for another great stay at Roaring Camp. We decided not to hike upriver, as rattlesnakes are a natural occurrence along the rocky shores of rivers and streams. Sailor isn’t reliably snake-proof, and Bliss, well she’s a puppy and puppies can get into trouble in the blink of an eye. We decided to keep our activities closer to camp.

Monday morning we took the dogs to a familiar fenced meadow area. After cleaning up their morning business, we let them run a bit off lead. We didn’t verify the area was clear of dangers. Then in a blink of an eye it happened…puppy Bliss snatched organic matter from the edge of the field, from under a live oak tree, and ran with her prize to the middle of the field.

“She has mushrooms,” Tim alerted. He called Bliss and ran from her. A good move, true to puppy nature, she chased Tim while chewing on her prize. He checked her mouth and throat he found no particles. Maybe she didn’t swallow any.

Later in the afternoon, Bliss was pretty tired. We chalked it up to a busy day for a young puppy. At bedtime she was lethargic enough in behavior that I checked her gums. Moist. Healthy. Dark pink. Her behavior nagged at me, but I didn’t clue in.

Puppies are little and go downhill very fast. In wee hours of the morning, symptoms set in. Bliss was vomiting, very thirsty, and had the onset of watery diarrhea. She was still playful and appeared in good spirits, but clearly very ill. When the guides gathered for morning activities, we advised them we needed to take Bliss to the vet. We thought perhaps she picked up coccidiosis or giardia while in the woods with Tim the week before. With all the wildlife that visits our home, she could have picked up something intestinal there as well. Mike, Ricky, and Tammy all suggested we take her to Jackson Creek Veterinary. Jack guided us out of camp and through the locked gates.

Bliss in the early stages of liver failure...

Puppy Bliss in the early stages…

Upon arriving at the vet clinic, we gave a complete history all the way through her mushroom snatch the previous day. Bliss’ temp was 104.4F, 40.2C (normal for a pup 101 to 102.5F, 38 to 39C). Parvo, salmon poisoning, coccidiosis, leptospirosis, and giardia were ruled out. Bliss’ blood work was normal, except her ALT (liver) didn’t register. The young vet kept Bliss, started her on IV fluids along with medications for nausea and diarrhea. She checked with Dr. Bob since he was more experienced and would be taking over Bliss’ case the next day.

After receiving the call on Bliss, Dr. Bob didn’t wait and started on the case that evening. He was immediately alarmed about the mushroom exposure. All mushrooms are toxic to dogs, especially their liver. He explained the next morning that the ALT didn’t read on the blood work because it was too high. He worked up Bliss’ blood for a more accurate measure of her ALT; 3670 is completely off the charts. As a rule out measure, we evaluated her food history for a recalled product. No food recalls issued. No exposure to gum (xylitol). Her fecal was negative. At this point, the top candidate in Bliss’ illness was mushroom poisoning. Bliss remained on IV fluids and
S-Adenosylmethionine (milk thistle), anti nausea and anti diarrhea medication.

She was not well enough for a visit from us.

Tim and I looked for mushrooms in the field. Hidden amongst the grass, we found dozens of little brown buttons at the edges of fairy rings. How did we not see them? Tim got a good look at what Bliss had in her mouth, and this mushroom wasn’t it. We gathered some regardless and continued searching along the edge of the field. Under the live oak tree were some white mushrooms. They still didn’t look exactly the same until we found some in their over-mature state, beginning to decay. That’s it! We dug some up and put them in a doggy potty bag. They would have preserved better in a paper bag. Due to a lack of an Internet connection, we didn’t key out the mushroom until later.

Dr. Bob reported the next morning that Bliss’ kidneys were having trouble. Her blood work showed a very sick puppy and in the early stages of renal failure. He didn’t know if she would survive and suggested we visit her sooner than later. Again, Jack lead us out of camp so we could visit our sick puppy.

The silence in the car was eerie. Much the way it was when we rushed to see Blaze, Bliss’ great grand-dam, when she died from aflatoxin poisoning. In the back of our minds the memory stuck of not making it in time.

Bliss responds to Tim's touch. The vet prepared us for the worst.

Bliss responds to Tim’s touch. The vet prepared us for the worst.

Typical mushroom poisoning impacts the liver. Bliss’ kidney issue was a bit of a curveball. Bliss lay subdued with a haunt of death hovering over her tiny body. She managed to lick our hands and wag her tail a bit. Her response gave the veterinary folks hope. We left a shirt with our scent. Her outlook was bleak at best. Her lab values were upside-down and incompatible with life. The veterinarians were doing all they could to support her organs. We called upon dog loving friends for prayers.

Bliss responded positively to the therapy for her liver and kidney function. The next day, she was happy to see us and over the moon to see Sailor.

A much needed moment of hope.

A much needed moment of hope.

Bliss shows Sailor how much better she is feeling.

Bliss shows Sailor how much better she is feeling.

We were happy to see improvement. It was a stark contrast to her condition earlier. We swapped out the scent shirt and continued praying.

By that weekend, Bliss had normal kidney values and could go home (back to camp). She was in better shape, but still not full speed for a retriever pup. Dr. Bob insisted that she have follow-up two days later when we returned to our hometown.

Finally, all together at camp.

Finally, all together at camp.

While we were packing for our trip home, I came across the bag of mushroom samples. They were in pretty bad shape since we stored them in plastic and not paper. We snapped a few pictures and made some notes before tossing them in the trash.

White, fruiting in the spring, a California native. The stem had a ring and a bulbous cuplike base known as a volva. Found under a live oak tree. We only had notes, but it would be enough for identification. Those who know mushrooms have already cringed while reading this.

Amanita ocreata. © Kevin Lentz. Used with permission. Original image from mushroom

Amanita ocreata. © Kevin Lentz. Used with permission.

The range of Amanita ocreata.

The range of Amanita ocreata.

Amanita ocreata, aka North America's Western Destroying Angel

Aging Amanita ocreata, aka  America’s Western Destroying Angel ©Dimitar Bojantchev

On the drive home,
I researched mushrooms on my tablet and keyed out the mushroom Bliss chewed on. We read the symptoms of poisoning, her case matched exactly. Gastric intestinal onset, liver and kidney failure are hallmarks of the amatoxin poisioning of the Amanita ocreata. But it seemed unlikely that a puppy would survive such a mushroom when half a cap could kill an adult human. We continued our research at home until we found images of the aging mushroom.
There was no denying that Bliss chewed on an Amanita ocreata, America’s Western Destroying Angel.

Back on IV fluids.

Back on IV fluids.

Setbacks and downturns. After consulting with several quality local vets we wound up seeing Dr. Haynes in Redding. Within the period of 48 hours, Bliss’ renal and hepatic values were again in the abnormal range. She needed 24 hour hospital care. The hepatic specialists at UC Davis were ready to admit Bliss for emergency ICU treatment. Bliss would not have us nearby. We believe puppy attitude is important and also felt our local vets were already in contact with specialists at UC Davis. We decided to hospitalize her closer to home and reevaluate her condition daily.
Truth be told, they didn’t expect her to survive. Survival rate for amatoxin poisoning is slim at best. Bliss had withered to 17 pounds.


Bliss spent her days hospitalized on life saving fluids, flushing the poison from her body in an effort to save her life.


Tim often made his visit in the morning on his way to the woods.

I often took afternoon visits.

I often took the afternoon off of work for a later visits.

In the days that followed, Tim and I split visits with Bliss, one in the morning and one in the late afternoon. We swapped her scent shirt daily and provided her something to chew for teething. With daily updates, our dog lover prayer chain continued.

It was a happy visit when her numbers started trending in a better direction. On our 32nd Anniversary, we visited Bliss together.

It was a happy visit when her numbers started trending in a better direction. On our 32nd Anniversary, we visited Bliss together.

As Bliss began her third week post  amatoxin poisoning, she was ready to come home. She needed subcutaneous fluids twice a day at home. I made regular treks to Redding for daily renal function blood work. Slowly, her renal values improved.

On the first attempt to wean her from subq fluids, her renal function ticked out of range. We slowed the process down.

In week four, as her numbers stabilized, the local suppliers ran out of her commercial renal diet. After hours of research, I prepared a homemade renal diet. That week, Bliss saw her first smack dab in the middle normal renal numbers.

At one month post amatoxin poisoning, I consulted Dr. Betsy Adamson, a veterinary specialist in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Studies of Rehmannia Six have shown promising results for kidney support. We added in herbal support for renal healing.

When the food shipment arrived, Bliss returned to the commercial renal diet.

With normal renal values at two months out, we slowly weaned her from subq fluids. When renal values held, we began mixing in large breed puppy nutrition in an attempt to support her growing needs. All the while we monitored her renal function with regular blood work.

Two and a half months post amatoxin poisoning, just as Bliss was on 75% large breed puppy nutrition, 25% renal, she was big enough to climb up to the stored bag of normal puppy kibble and eat more than her fill. Not surprising, her BUN ticked out of range and her CREA followed as indicators her kidneys were working overtime to clear the puppy binge. We placed her back on subq fluids and 100% renal diet. Then once in the clear, eased back to normal nutrition.


The liver has remarkable regenerative capability, so we expect full liver recovery. We continue pampering her kidneys to give them every chance for healing. Time will tell the future for this strong little pup. For us it’s been somewhat of a whirlwind. Several hours a day have been spent traveling to vet appointments, subq fluids, and supervising an ambitious, eat everything, puppy that doesn’t know she nearly died. Her growth curve at 3 months targeted an adult weight of 55 lb. She has finally returned to the pre-poisoning growth curve.


She has no idea that she almost died.

You’d never know by looking at her what she’s been through. She has no idea that she almost died.

It’s been three months since Bliss chewed up an Amanita ocreata, a California native mushroom known as America’s Western Destroying Angel.  We count our blessings that she’s still with us. We don’t know how full her recovery will be, how well she has done thus far is somewhat remarkable. She’s known locally as “The Miracle Puppy.” 

You would never know what she’s been through by meeting her. Every day we give thanks for all the vets who’ve had a hand in her care and for our dog loving friends who’ve answered the request for prayers.

Mostly, we are thankful that Bliss is sticking around.

“Sticking Around”

Here’s a gallery:

Sneak-a-Peek Bliss

Something special is on its way!

Something special is on its way!