Thursday, June 3, 2010

Cypress Hills (oil on canvas 5 x 7 in.) SOLD!

30 May finds us in the Cypress Hills on the Saskatchewan side, admiring the handsome Black Angus cattle that seem to be sprinkled like pepper over some of the hillsides - finding them gracing this view of the high hills just south of the provincial park entrance.  Spruces grow on only the highest hills.  It is colder up here, with a few patches of snow in the ditches, and also gleaming in little pockets near the tops of distant hills.

I think that the cattle who range here may be helping to maintain a natural ecology for these hills, replacing the Bison whose grazing, in addition to prairie fires, maintained the native grasslands, which without fire and grazing would be taken over by forest.

Chorus frogs are "grikking" from every wet place all through the area, and as afternoon becomes evening, the ghostly aerial whinnies of Snipe sound from above in many quarters.  I watched one dive, its feathers uluating as the tiny silhouette of the bird, high above me, swung down and then bottomed out.  It repeated this several times, while others more distant winnow unseen over each of their territories.

Walking to investigate an Aspen grove growing around a small pond a few kilometres north of the park entrance, I was sitting on the grassy slope of the roadside to write in my journal, when I was surprised by a Snipe landing right in front of me just a few metres away.  Rusty head, grey-brown back, long black bill and big dark eyes - it was calling raucously as it flew down to the short trapled grass by the grove, and then proceeded to call peevishly like someone punching the rubber bulb of a toy horn.  A honk when its punched, and a smaller honk as it is released.  Blinking its eyes at me, it turned and flew away soundlessly.

1 comment:

  1. I love this! It reminds me of the very hilly area of Baie de Ha Ha near Port Alfred and Bagotteville, Quebec. I lived there as a child and spent many hours hiking those beautiful hills with my dog. As in this painting, the lower parts of the hills consisted of meadows and pasture land grazed by cattle, then gave way to forest and rock as they climbed. This painting took me right back.


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