My youngest sister had a brainchild for her husband Erik’s Loteria card. Shortly after she suggested that I make both of my brothers-in-law cards for our annual Christmas gift exchange, I got this message:
Now, the wolverine is a story. Dwindling in numbers, they are rarely spotted anywhere near human populations, and it was a matter of great excitement when Erik—who works with a number of wildlife biologists, fish and wildlife and land agencies and land stewardship collectives—spotted a wolverine on their ranch in 2011, at what is considered a low elevation for the high-mountain species (5000 ft). You can read more about its significance and how it reflects their work here (go to the last section for the wolverine bit).
In recent years, the Kalsta Ranch has been turning its focus towards raising Rambouilett sheep for wool, so everyone was agreed that Erik needed to be a Rambouilett ram—or carnero, in Spanish.
As I started researching his piece, it seemed that it would be a shame not to make a pair of portraits—so everyone in the family would be in this Christmas’ Loterias. So I wrote my niece and nephew:
So my niece had given me the time period, and it turns out it was an Ameraucana hen who had recently died (and they are indeed very beautiful) so I made my sister a Lavender Ameraucana. I decided to skip the iPhone—nice character touch though it was, I was caught up in the Victorian theme. I used a photo of the tree-lined drive to my sister’s house at the ranch—which is a recent re-planting project of Erik’s—and “Victorian-ed” it, and placed it in the background of my sister’s portrait.
Then I placed her portrait in the background of my brother-in-law’s portrait, along with the requested wolverine.
I vetted various wolverine images with my sister and nephew—there are a surprising number of innocuous, friendly-looking images of wolverines online…cute, even…which is strange, as they are a species widely noted for their viciousness—and they chose the huggy one.
The rest is history. May these portraits, in the form of Loteria cards, grace the walls of the Kalsta Ranch for generations to come.
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