Viewing the Zen garden at HCP. See more photos from this trip on ノート.
After over six weeks of exploring 日本, we're officially back in Metchosin to reorient ourselves toward the holidays and a rapidly approaching new year (正月). That being said, as we hinted in our last post, our virtual 旅 has been so rewarding and inspiring that we've decided to continue making periodic trips back across the submarine cable bridge which connects islands & digital lives through the 'thick' 太平洋.
This week marks the 36th anniversary of Hummingbird Hill, and soon we'll officially be back in Metchosin to reflect, reorient, and prepare for the future. We have exciting plans for the new year, and will be busily laying the groundwork for the next chapter of Hummingcrow & Co. through the winter. We'll have a bit more to share on that front in our next post, but before we take a break? from our exploration of 日本, we thought we'd share a field report from our digital studies of two species which have delighted us over the past several weeks.
While researching different 鳥 (birds) in Japan, we wondered if there was anything similar to a ハチドリ (hummingbird) there. Well, we discovered that they don’t have hummingbirds, but they do have amazing hummingmoths, known as 蜂雀 (literally “bee sparrow”) or hummingbird hawk-moth in English. The two of them are a case of convergent evolution— unrelated species in different places evolving similar traits to adapt to similar conditions—sharing the same hovering method and sipping nectar from flowers, pollinating along the way.
In addition to being Bandcamp Friday (you can peruse our Hummingtunes 五 list here), today marks the end of the traditional Japanese 'microseason' (kō) of 楓蔦黄 (when frost descends, and maple & ivy leaves turn yellow). Soon we'll have an update about our trip, but first we thought we'd squeeze in a few irregular updates from October (十月) about various goings on both around the Hill and beyond.
Over the past few weeks, we've been busily preparing for the next phase of our collaborative endeavours as Hummingcrow & Co. We'll have an announcement to make in November with more details. But first...
We're headed to Japan, and we're taking Humm Hill with us!
~ Wait... wha?
That's right, Quinton – hold on to your head plume, because today we'll be traveling 7,000 km across the Pacific Ocean at near-lightspeed for a virtual stay in Japan.
Before overseas travel was put on pause this year, our grand plan for October was to visit Japan together for the first time. We had been practicing Japanese (日本語), trying out washoku (和食) recipes, discussing friends (友達) living there who we'd like to visit, planning our budget, and mapping possible routes & destinations. As things stand, there's no telling when this trip will actually be possible in the future – at least, physically... So that got us thinking: why not adapt to these circumstances and make the journey (旅) a different way?
Now that two weeks of dense smoke have given way to both rain and blue sky in our region, an immense sigh of relief has swept across the land and through our bodies here atop the hill just in time for the autumnal equinox. We've also been treated to a flurry of bird activity over the past few days, as flocks of many species hop happily amongst the oaks and grasses, foraging and chittering after so many stressful stuffy days. The return of our Steller's jays, towhees, and robins signifies a much-awaited shifting of the seasons.
To be sure, summer brought energizing light and splashes of delight to hazy times, but the parting curtains of golden-brown leaves offer an opportunity for rejuvenation, deceleration, and transition. We'll have some big announcements to make about our autumn plans soon...
But before we wave goodbye to the last beams of the summer sun, we thought we'd take a bit of time to step back and reflect upon various happenings around the Hill during this year's dry months.
Hum Hill Recipe Corner: Banana Walnut Muffins (GF/DF)
As we prepare for the shifting seasons next week, we've been baking big batches of granola, cooking up veggies, meats, & pots of soup to freeze for future meals, and—most importantly of all—stocking up on wholesome, soothing snacks. Lately, we’ve been enjoying this versatile muffin recipe that Kate spliced together (based on a few different ones that she almost liked). Last week, we successfully adapted it into loaf form, and this week we added a surprise blob of peanut butter in the center of each muffin. So, we thought we'd take a moment to share Kate's illustrated notes with those of you who may also yearn for a little digestion-friendly snack therapy every now and then.
If you missed the previous editions of Hummingtunes, you can find them here: I, II, III.
Bandcamp Friday is upon us once again (Sept 4)! For today's edition, we've decided to keep things short and sweet by sharing a list of songs related to one of our favourite subjects—which may shock you—birds! Feathered friends have always served as a natural source of inspiration for composers and songwriters, so there was, unsurprisingly, no shortage of avian-influenced tracks for us to choose from on Bandcamp. We hope you'll enjoy these selections—instrumental and otherwise—from fellow bird-noticing artists we admire. We also invite you to join us in picking up some wholesome tunes this time 'round & supporting some talented music-makers in the process!