Web Reads: Free wild birds & Creative processes
Being a full-time internet nature artist is great, weird, and lonely. This bird project felt more like being together than making art and I, who have never been up to the task of any sort of self-imposed daily practice, took dozens of pictures every day, sharing them with my internet friends. My friends became his friends, and I think caring about him became a way for them to care about me.
I came upon this heartfelt and entertaining essay about a city-dwelling human's friendship with Frank the scrub-jay through Robin Sloan's newsletter. Elisabeth does a fantastic job interweaving the emotion and humor of befriending free wild birds, and inspires me to want to write about my friendship with Patience—the only crow that I ever named, and who the stamp which serves as my bird-avatar here is based upon. Maybe at some point I'll post the results on this blog...
A funny coincidence: I was starting to put together a post about two sleepy juvenile ravens (stay tuned!) when I got side-tracked reading an interview on The Creative Independent (“a growing resource of emotional and practical guidance for creative people” that I check occasionally). Its title (above) caught my eye, 'cause I've been pondering my own creative practice around playing piano. It ended up being an interview with composer and keyboardist Roger O’Donnell (of The Cure), who happens to have just released a beautiful piano album, called—get this—2 Ravens. Full circle! I love stuff like that.
A bit from the interview:
It’s that abstract part of creativity that really interests me. When things are just flying around in your head and coming out. That’s what I find most interesting.
It’s when you have to make it palatable or understandable to other people that it becomes mundane. We all have these visions and sounds in our heads that are absolutely fantastic and amazing, but you then have to make them understandable to other people.
— Roger O'Donnell
Secret of the ghost swing
Known in some Salishan languages as the 'swing of the ghost' (or of the owl: q’ít’əәʔəәtsəәspəәlqwít’thəәʔ), this beautiful western trumpet honeysuckle provides food and shelter for at least 20 bird species in our area, and is also frequented by swallowtail butterflies. Likewise, amongst hominids, its nectar has served as a natural treat for children, its leaves and bark used for medicine, and its stems for building bridges.
A robin alerts its kin of danger from a lichen-laden perch
This is the first in a series of Bandcamp Friday posts – you can view the rest here.
In light of Bandcamp's wonderful, now-monthly tradition of waiving revenue fees—which resulted in $4.3 million worth of sales directly supporting musicians the first time they did it, and $7.1 million the second time—we thought it would be nice to share some purchasable songs that have been vibrating through our heads lately.
Given that it has become 'normal' for musicians to be paid $0.00331 per Spotify stream, it's extremely heartening to see a platform which aspires to convince people to actually buy music to support the livelihoods of lovely, talented artists.
Bandcamp's next revenue-fee-free day is on August 6th, so mark your calendars!
Weed-of-the-Week: Stinky Bob
Although weeding is a daily duty here, we've started a weekly tradition called Weeding Wednesday during which we each spend a focused chunk of 水曜日 crawling around the Hill pulling Undesirable Plants to make room for greater biodiversity. In light of this new custom, I thought I'd take some time to research one of the weeds that I've been focusing on today:
In Bloom: Nootka rose (Rosa nutkana)
An early morning stroll during May to July (according to the altitude) may discover the year's first Nootka Rose. Who has not then savoured the pleasure of the moment, the visual delight of the elegant buds, and the dewey freshness of the blossoms, the memorable fragrance—both of flower and foliage.
— Lewis J. Clark, Wild Flowers of British Columbia
Named after Nootka Sound here on Vancouver Island (“Nootka” itself being derived from a Nuu-Chah-Nulth term) Nootka rose's thorny thickets make great habitat for birds and other small animals, and its flowers are loved by bees, wanna-bees, and butterflies. This qel'qulhp (Halkomelm for 'wild rose bush') has been traditionally used by many First Nations groups for a number of medicinal and culinary purposes.
Morning pearls of dew are beaded onto threads of moss
A sparkling chalice awaits a thirsty faery
A lupine contact juggler balances its ball with care
Hum Hill Recipe Corner: Simple Banana Oat Pancakes
On a typical day here, we're usually munching down bowls of granola for breakfast (partially because we wake up at very different times). But when we want to have a fancy breakfast together, we whip up this nice simple pancake recipe which Seán's mom introduced us to (and accentuate it with granola, of course):
Seán's glorious stack for Mother's Day