🎵 MeadowMakers' Anthem 🌱
Hi friends, happy spring!! 🌱 🌼 🍀 🌦
Last year I took part in a really great native plant growing workshop series program called MeadowMakers, hosted by Satinflower Nurseries and Pollinator Partnership Canada.
For this year's welcome event they invited any alumni to present something about their experience in some creative way to the current participants. I had been mulling it over here and there but had so much going on last month that I didn't have much time to spend on it... However, during a power outage one day I got a jolt of inspiration and managed to scrape together a little song, kind of anthem-like, which you can hear below:
Bewick's Bird Card + Farewell-to-Spring
Wren by Seán, environment by Kate
We're so happy and honoured to have had the opportunity to join a community of artists and naturalists from around our region once again in highlighting 36 of our avian neighbors for the latest set of Art Bird Cards. This was a great opportunity for us to continue honing our digital art skills and we learned a lot in the process of collaborating on this illustration of a Bewick's wren (Thryomanes bewickii)—a year-round resident here atop Humm Hill.
Artistic Inspiration: Drift Body
My friend Scott recently started publishing a beautiful quarterly zine series called Drift Body filled with wholesome, enchanting original poetry & prose alongside inscriptions from ancient Orphic tablets. I recently received the first issue and carried it with me down to the water below one of my favourite nearby wandering spots, Fort Rodd Hill, to read alongside a couple of old birthday cards & writings that my grandfather sent me two decades ago.
#Meanwhile: The ants go marching... with larvae
Millions of female worker ants carry the queen's larvae through a vast, treacherous landscape (known to us as 'the garden'). Watch them go...
Last week, as we were working in the garden, we suddenly heard a loud, spooky & exasperated-sounding voice ask, “Who, who, who, WHO COOKS FOR YOOOOUUU?!”*
“We cook for each other, actually...” we replied, timidly. “Who, who, who's asking?”
The answer to this question was perched upon the branch of a nearby Douglas-fir:
A Morning Surprise
Early one morning, while making my way back up the Hill after weeding and watering, I realized that I hadn't quite completely emptied my watering can—so I began sprinkling the remnants on a few thirsty-looking shrubs.
As I shook the last clinging drops from the container, I was startled to notice a curious pair of eyes peering up at me from a few feet away behind a rock:
Encounter with Sleepy Young Ravens
The other day, while taking a stretch break from the anti-ergonomic act of photographing tiny lichens on a rocky slope, I looked up to find I was being silently watched:
I could tell it was a juvenile raven because of the fleshy pink “gape flange” at the base of its beak.
I watched as it rested there: quietly preening, yawning and occasionally blinking its spooky nictitating membrane at me.
Path to Enlichenment | Part I: Sweet Pixie Cups
Meet the mealy pixie cup lichen:
As described in this well-written broadcast, these fairy-dust-coated miniature goblets do indeed look as though they were set on a table of bright green moss, waiting to have single raindrops fill the cups so they may be gulped down by tiny wood sprites.
Each Cladonia chlorophaea (Flörke ex Sommerf.) Sprengel is created from a symbiotic relationship between fungi and algae. Put simply, the fungi creates the structure, and the algae provides food through photosynthesis. Each granule of fairy dust, or soredia is made up of a few cells from each of the two organisms. The lichen are reproduced when the granules are spread, which can happen in a variety of ways: perhaps a strong wind, or a drop of water plunking into the cup & splashing onto the surrounding earth, or a passing deer trampling a patch of them.
More luscious pictures & thoughts:
Web Reads: Free wild birds & Creative processes
~ Have You Seen This Bird
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.
— Elisabeth Nicula
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...
(On a side note: As I was reading Elisabeth's story, I realized that I've encountered parts of it before through her great dioramas.space project.)
See also: Frank's Corpus
~ On the pleasures of a creative practice that is uniquely your own
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