Look who came to visit today! Last fall Dad nailed venison suet to this tall tree stump outside the house, & it has been a hit with all manner of wood peckers, blue jays, crows, & now this red tail (& later on today a black vulture who was far less welcome). I got TONS of pics of this pretty enjoying his meal, & somehow managed to be lucky enough to catch this shot as he flew off! #redtailedhawk
I don't know how, but I managed to forgot this very important part of the last installment of my BF recount! At the campground, the office had a mighty special supervisor! Meet Graven!
Graven is a baby Crow who had fallen out of his nest when he was so little, he was featherless! The Campground owners found him & took him in. With the helpful input of a vet, they raised him to the handsome little guy he is here!
He was a cute, noisy, & hungry little fella. I got to hold him too. :) He will be a part of their family now, as Rachelle said that he will have imprinted on people too much to ever be accepted by wild crows. They plan to let him have free rein once he can fly, but he will always be able to call the office home.
NOW I think I am done with my recount!
First post of the new year & last post in my BF series (finally, right?). Amazingly there are no horses involved in this last one. ...You didn't think I'd let all these posts go without adding some nature did you?
In 2016 I went down to BF with my friends Alayna & Laura. We tented at a little camp ground Alayna had stayed at before called Three Springs up in Corinth KY, about 30 min. North of the KHP. It was such a pretty place, nothing fancy & certainly nothing to satisfy the priss & prim, but that's why I liked it so much! They certainly care about their little valley & the nature it holds, so it is not manicured much more than mowing the camping areas. It also holds a good deal of history as well, which I had not learned of until after I had gotten home.
When I knew I would be able to go back down last year I reeeaaally wanted to stay at this campground again. Tenting would have been fine as well, but Dad did not care for that idea. His original thought was to just go down & then find a hotel ...until I pointed out that about 10 to 15,000 people come to BF every year. He then decided that booking a hotel might be a good idea! But, surprise surprise, there was not a room to be had that was not an exorbitant price (remember, this was a mere six days before BF opened). He asked me if the campground had cabins; yup! They sure do!
This is one of the examples where God's hand showed: Dad called to see about reserving a cabin; come to find that they had JUST had a cancelation a few minutes earlier which freed up exactly ONE cabin! *yes*! Good compromise! I got to see my campground & Dad didn't have to sleep in a tent!
This is (a crappy cell phone pic) of our cabin. Nothing real fancy, it had electricity, bunk beds, a little kitchenette (we only used the mini fridge)... It was big though! It was meant to sleep something like 18 people, so Dad & I had plenty of room! There was a second floor, but we didn't use it; neither of us felt like climbing that attic ladder! It also had a nice little balcony with a pretty view of the valley. Even with the space, the thing only cost $50 a day! (My cheapskate heart rejoices!)
I should have gotten more & better pictures, but I didn't. Oh well!
I was smooshed into the far corner to get this pic & still didn't get everything. The kitchenette was to the right along the wall, the bunks where I slept were to the left, I am standing over the table, which was right next to the door, & the door you see part of led out to the balcony.
Here's a pic I found from 2016. It was from where we tented. To the left is the hill where the cabin is (if you went far enough), down that drive is the office/bathhouse/pool. The pond you see in the middle left there is where the froggy choir sings!
This valley is really neat! During the War Of Northern Aggression (aka Civil War), it was a camp for both Confederate & Union troops. Rachelle, one of the owners, said that occasionally they still find relics in the creek that runs through the grounds.
One of the interesting things still remaining is an old stone wall built by slave labor. Now before you go 'politically correct' crazy on me (which, honestly, if you are one of those kind, you probably shouldn't be reading my blog anyway!), he was a kind man who basically just came up with the idea of this wall just so that it would look like he was making his slaves do something. But anyway, it's a very pretty structure & I took many pictures of it.
Ok, probably more pictures than you wanted to see of an old pile of rocks.
Across the little valley from our cabin, up the other side you could follow a trail past a handful of old graves,
Past an old well,
& just beyond the well, the path ended at a little quiet space with benches & a cross.
...Dad put up with me very well, wanting to tramp all over the place.
A few random interesting individuals crossed our paths: this moth (which I have no clue what it is since it's not an Ohio moth!),
& a few bright red mushrooms were a couple.
There was also a very pretty butterfly, but he was having none of the paparazzi, thank you very much. ...Darn him.
One of the things I REALLY wanted to capture while I was there were the frogs singing. According to the owners of the camp ground, they are Chameleon Grey Tree Frogs, & they are only found in two places because of their specific chosen environment. I forget where she said the other place is, but apparently they were 'seeded' at both by a university study in the, 50s? I think? Here is a picture of one of the little guys from last year. Again, taken with cheap crap phone camera, so they are HORRIBLE pictures.
Little froggies, BIG voices!!
Saturday night, I spent a bit of time stalking the little wretches: I wanted to get audio of their very unique song. They must have radar though, because even with my hiding behind a dumpster, & waiting for minutes on end, they would all shut up as soon as I would carefully hit record!! I finally got them though!! Here they are, singing away!
I spent a year trying to describe how they sound kind of like wooden beads being rattled around in a plastic drinking cup. Really cool sound!
Let me say! They make an awesome lullaby if you are tenting right next to them! Plus all those hungry little skeeter eaters keep the vampire bugs controlled!
With it being so late at night I didn't bother actually taking video of the pond. But during daylight I did take a couple pictures of it.
& with that, this ends my BF recount series! Thank you all for reading!
Happy New Year & a Happy Ninth Day Of Christmas all!!
Exciting doings here! All revolving around BF!
On Friday I ventured out to craft stores in search of a clear display cube for Honey during the Best CM Contest. I got the green light from Breyer to use one if I provided it, which I certainly will to at least slow down any unscrupulous visitors to the AG from palming her & walking off. I finally found the perfect one at Hobby Lobby (my all time favorite craft store!). It is for displaying a signed soft ball, but works perfectly for displaying a small pony too! Add a little mirror to the base & it winds up looking quite professional I think!
I also picked up a craft wood trinket box for her to travel in style. I stained it & lined it with foam; wrap her in some fleece & she now literally can withstand being dropped. ...No really, thanks to a friend we have proven that! :P
On Sunday Honey & her accessories were packed into a cardboard box & handed off to my friends Chesna & Chunk to ride down to Lexington on Wednesday. So her journey has technically begun! Once down in Lex, she will be handed off to my friend Kati who will be the one to put her on the table.
I'm so wired about this! I have never picked at or fretted over any entry of any kind as much as this little pony!
& now for some really exciting news: as it turns out, I WILL be able to go down to BF! Not for the whole weekend, but just in time to watch the awards! My Dad actually offered to go down with me, so we are heading for KY on Friday, spending Saturday, & heading home sometime Sunday. I am so excited to be there to watch Honey compete & to meet Francesca Kelly, ambassador of the Marwari breed!
If you see a nutcase wandering around in a well decorated floppy hat &, at the CHIN, most likely carrying around a handful of horses & a for sale sign, that will probably be me! Feel free to stop me & say hey! :)
I will sign off here & leave you with a baby Wood Frog. These little guys have popped up within the past few days & they are adorable! The young'uns are so tiny!
Today I want to let you all in on what I think is a far too well hidden trick in our hobby: Foam! Expanding foam insulation to be exact, also known as space invading foam. This stuff is fabulous for filling holes (read "CMers dream")!
I learned of this trick from Bluebird Studios blog & had to try it myself. That was several months ago & it has definitely been added to my 'toolbox' of techniques. The foam I found right off the bat was Touch 'n Foam No Warp Window & Door Sealant which is awesome because it is reusable; most foams are once you open it, use it or loose it because you can't store it. Albeit this one doesn't last forever; you do have to use it up in about three weeks, but that's a heck of a lot better than all in one day!
I'd just gotten a new can for some projects, so I can show you a, pretty, brand new can. It has a trigger gadget that you screw onto the top & a straw that fits over that, & your ready to roll. You WILL need to wear gloves (I always go powderless since I use them for finishing too & you don't want dusty hands when finishing your perfect paintjob!). This stuff is like the best glue on the planet & you will not be getting it off your hands! You also must have a respirator since the stuff smells horrid (I think the can said something about c02. Don't be doing this around any flames regardless!), & eye protection since I don't even want to know what this stuff could do to eyes if is managed to splatter or something.
This is my Darth Vader get up! I highly suggest you invest in a pair of goggles & a respirator, not merely a dust mask; they have a tendency to just trap dust & fumes under them. A respirator & goggles really do come in handy for everything. I use mine when Demeling, heat-&-moving (since the plastic has a tendency to smoke a bit), foaming, & sometimes (probably should be on a regular basis actually) sanding & spraying primer & finish. In my defence, I do do both of those in good outdoor ventilation, but I still probably should wear them.
You'll also need some sort of a 'drop cloth', news print or something. I used a torn open paper grocery sack. Trust me, you don't want to have to try to get this foam off of any flooring you may care about.
The primary victim of the day was a Cantrell 'Rastus' that is here for a hair do. He will be a mold master, so I was given the less than perfect cast since all he has to do in life is be molded. But he had a thinner-than-I-was-comfortable-with head so I wanted to fill it with foam before I was handling him for sculpting hair. Since you do have to use the foam up in a few weeks I grabbed a couple others that have been hanging around; A Baby Flo who's getting a moved head/neck, the other is a Smart Chic Oleana who is getting a whole new neck. So nothing all too major today (actually this was a few days ago). I have used this foam for some really drastic stuff that I'll get to in a mo. }:]
Position the straw where you'd like to foam & pull the trigger. It will come out fast & immediately start to expand. Let the trigger go before you have as much as you want, the foam will continue to come out for a few seconds after you let go. Do make an effort to not get it anywhere you don't want it. It is far easier to get it off of a model than your skin, but why make more work for yourself?
When you're finished with the foam for the day, gently bend the straw back over itself & pop it over the knob on top. Voila! Saved for a later date!
Back to the horses, after an hour or two you can touch the foam, but don't do anything to it yet, the inside is still not cured; wait 'til the next day. Once it's sure to be cured you can rip it off, cut it off, or push it in. (TIP: I've been saving the excess & using them as packing peanuts!!) You can trim it down & leave enough to be part of your armature, or you can take it all off. With the CMs I will trim most of it down, attach the supportive wire into the foam, & once the glue & epoxy is set I will sculpt over it as usual. For Rastus I just need to fill in the hole I made to add the foam.
Now, you can go pretty crazy CMing with this stuff on your side. These were the first victims I ever tried using the foam on (below). They are a couple of Merrylegs, heat-&-moved to be pulling ponies (like the drafties but in pony size; look it up!). All these cuts make the model very unstable since some places only have a small bit of plastic yet connecting it to the model.
Add foam & this is the evil looking creation I got!
But it worked very well! It held everything together & supported the more fragile parts. I was able to sculpt right over the foam & move on with my CMs lickety split.
With the success of these guys, I have been using it for filling anything that needs it such as tail wire holes & the gaps left from cutting out manes & tails. But I was curious; how crazy COULD you get??
Yes my friends, that is an Imperador das Aguas JM from BF. I adore Marchadors, I have been a fan of them since I learned of the breed in 2011. But this sculpt fell short of my expectations. I really do love Mink's sculpts, but this guy is not on my top favorite list. To me, he looks far too short in the back & barrel, way too long in the neck, a smidge too short in the leg, WAAAAAAAY too skinny, & that funky head gets me. So, I decided to make it better!
I cut him down his mold seam, took off his tail & head, then put his body back together widening it with bits of popsicle sticks to prop it up (removing them once the foam cured) & packing-taping it together long enough to foam away! Once that cured I cut his barrel in two to lengthen his back & barrel, braced it together with a dowel rod inside, taped the halves together & foamed that too. I heated his head to straighten the odd dip in his jaws, then foamed it together with the popsicle sticks & tape to widen it as well, then wired it back onto his neck. I heated & straightened his fetlocks to lengthen his legs, wired on his tail at a lower set, Dremeled off here, & epoxy added there. He is not finished, but her looks MUCH better to me now!
SO! Yes! The possibilities are endless for expanding foam! I hardly hear of anyone using it, so I wanted to share it with you all!
The particular foam that I use is fire retardant. I wanted to put that to the test to know what I could get away with if I needed/wanted to heat-&-move anything after having foamed a horse. Back in December of 2016 I took a chunk of cured foam outside to a safe concrete patch, bucket of water at hand, & took the heat gun to it. I used the heat gun much closer, for much longer, at a much higher temp than I ever EVER would on a model horse. It burnt up, as in toasted brown & black & shriveled up to a nasty looking wad, smoked like heck (I certainly would not suggest heating it indoors), but it never actually caught fire. I did not try an actual flame on it since that would never be something that I would need to do.
I won't be held accountable if you burn your house down or asphyxiate yourself on fumes, but my conclusion has led me to be able to do a little heat-&-moving afterwards on some models.
BE SURE to wear a respirator (which I do regardless because of the smoky fumes that can come off of the plastic): it is not a pleasant odor that the foam emits when heated & it's probably seven different kinds of terrible for you too.
Also be aware that the fumes from the foam can are very flammable too. I tested this on a cured piece of foam, not anything fresh from the can.
PLEASE NOTE: Some expanding foam absolutely IS flammable!! My experiment was only on 'Touch n' Foam No Warp Window & Door Sealant' & NO OTHERS. Heat it & any others at your own risk.
...Isn't it lovely how many different ways our hobby can kill you? ;)
Had to mention that my CM Copperfox Cob, SWF To Boldly Go, is in the spotlight on the CF blog. :) Go 'Foxy'! http://www.copperfoxmodelhorses.com/our-blog/copperfox-in-the-show-ring-swf-to-boldly-go
Thank you Becky for a lovely write up!
Spring Is In The Air
Can't leave you without a dose of nature!
These happy little flowers are Spring Beauties, blooming off the corner of my house. I couldn't resist photographing them with my new camera. This picture is deceiving; these guys are actually a smidge smaller than my fingerprint!
& THIS is a Polyphemus moth cocoon! Mom found it on Monday in a bunch of daylilies she was moving, it's been living in my workroom ever since. S/he's been rat'lin' 'round in there!! I can't believe it hasn't come out yet! But sometime soon, I'm sure, I'll have a moth picture for you guys!
Ramblings & tutorials of a model horse artist.
Just a 'public service notice' to any of my blog readers; Since there's not really any way to 'follow' a weebly blog, if you shoot me an email (sprucewoodfarmsstudio at gmail dot com) I will add you to my blog announcement list & will send you an email when a new post is added. :)