February 2014 Volume 1, Issue 2

Seed Ball News

Introducing Seed Pucks! They are more likely to stay put where they land.
We've had an exciting month at Seed-Balls.com.

Our shop welcomes 10 new native US species to our selection, including the crocus-like pasque flower, which is our featured free seed ball for newsletter subscribers!

Also this month, we present one of the most advanced innovations in seed ball distribution technology (perhaps this sounds more impressive than it really is):

Check out Roadside Seed Balls The Seed Puck -- a puck-shaped seed ball that doesn't roll down inclines so readily, allowing the upland species to stay out of the ditches. We combine the pucks with classic seed balls in our Roadside Mix, to make drive-by/cycle-by seed bombing even more effective.

Landscape Artist
Virginia Belser

Natural landscapes can be striking, beautiful, ferocious and serene. It is no wonder so many people are drawn to their moods and beauty.  Here's what plein air artist, Virgina C. Belser, has to say about the landscapes where she finds inspiration:


How did you begin painting natural landscapes?

Virginia: While my first introduction to the landscape was in high school, I began focusing on the landscape  in college... at that point I was using the medium of watercolors and became intrigued with the idea of trying to portray great amounts of space while using the least amount of color/line/paint/detail. The effect, ultimately,  was to convey atmosphere... a sense of place and space without the detail which a photograph might provide.

Your paintings definitely have emotional content. How can the vegetation that you see affect the feelings expressed in your work?

Virginia: The vegetation is unique to each location... and its energy can be smooth and lustrous or short and spiky or large and grand... whatever the vegetation, I find that it is a vital component of the landscape... and that my portrayal of it tends to reflect its characteristics... its energy... so if the vegetations is a recently cut down cornfield, my paint strokes are likely to convey the short stocky spikiness of what I am seeing.

Wheat Field, by Virginia Belser

What has been the most challenging landscape to paint?

Virginia: In 2011, when I first moved to Wilmington, NC (which is on the coast), I found myself challenged by the landscape... I had come from  the rolling hills of central Pennsylvania and suddenly was looking at a very flat horizon, punctuated by swaths of wetland marsh and some tall gangly pine trees. After sitting and looking, and looking some more, I began to embrace the marshes in all their glory. In fact, I did an entire series  (50+ paintings) which I called "Marsh Meditations."  What I learned about the marsh is that it is such a complex and lush environment which is constantly changing- it changes colors  with the seasons, it changes several times daily with the tides, it carries sounds- sounds of the birds, of the oysters opening and closing, sounds of fish being chased and jumping, sounds of water rushing in one direction or another.

West Beach Pink Sands, by Virginia Belser

Is there a place where you would love to paint someday?

Virginia: Yes, a few... I have never painted in the south of France... the rolling hills, the arid landscape punctuated by olive trees is quite appealing to me. I would also love to paint in the flatlands of the Mid-West- Indiana for instance. Since there are no mountains to punctuate the landscape I imagine that the sky would play a much larger role in those paintings.

You can find more of Virginia Belser's fine landscape paintings at: http://virginiabelser.com.

Plant of the Month
Pasque Flower

Pulsatilla Patens

North American Pasque Flower, photo by Jerry Friedman
The Pasque Flower is one of the earliest bloomers on the in the northern prairies and western mountain states. It is also known as the Prairie Crocus and Meadow Anemone. It is also native to northern Eurasia, although this subspecies is native exclusively to North America.

The Pasque Flower can range from white to blue and purple, is low to the ground, and is covered with thick felty hairs. The North American Pasque Flower is pale blue.

This lovely harbinger of spring has a darker side. It is very poisonous, slowing the heart rate. It was used to induce both childbirth and abortions among the Blackfoot Indians. Extracts of this plant are used in modern medicine as a sedative and cough suppressant.

Pasque Flower Seed Balls The plant is on the protected list for Washington State and is in decline throughout its range; soil disturbance and plowing kills this perennial.

Animal of the Month
The Burrowing Owl

Athene cunicularia

The amazing photograph of burrowing owls was a finalist in the Wikipedia Photo of the Year for 2012.
Burrowing owls are one of the few subterranean birds. They are small for owls, usually between 7 and 11 inches long  (about the size of a Blue Jay) and weigh about 5 ounces. The males and females look quite similar, but the males, spending more time above ground, can have sun-blanched feathers. As other owls, they are adept at flying.

Like other owls, they hunt small prey like mice, amphibians, and insects. Unlike other owls, they eat nuts and fruit, hunt during the day, and with longer legs, they can also hunt by running. Interestingly, it has been observed that the burrowing owl will collect bits of manure around its burrow. This attracts dung beetles, which are a plump easy meal.

They are native to the western US, Mexico, and parts of Eastern South America. They live in both grasslands and in forest settings. It is nice to report that at present, the burrowing owl is not at risk of extinction, however local populations are threatened due to urban expansion and other anthropogenic forces.

Photo Credit: http://www.travelwayoflife.comWikipedia Photo

Secret Passcode

Code available in the e-mail edition.
Please subscribe, it's free!

This passcode entitles you this month's exclusive promotion: Three Pasque Flower seed balls FREE with purchase.
Add Three Pasque Flower seed balls to your cart, and type the code at checkout to access your discount.

Forward this to a friend, and they can get the freebie, too!