Hummingcrow & Co.

summer

Seán   Artistic Inspiration: Kristyna Baczynski  Kate

Over the past several months, we've been greatly inspired and delighted by the work of UK-based artist Kristyna Baczynski — whose Patreon we both subscribe to, where we're rewarded with in-depth explanations of her creative / business process which has been masterfully honed over many years of making beautiful comics, zines, prints, and more. She's also been incredibly generous in offering advice as we've been developing our own creative practice together as Hummingcrow & Co.

The Wild Year zine set by Kristyna Baczynski

A few weeks ago, we were overjoyed to receive her gorgeous Wild Year zine set highlighting wild plants growing in her region of Europe each season – and thought this would be a great opportunity to highlight her work! One of our biggest hopes and dreams is to eventually create our own zine series about the various goings-on around Hummingbird Hill over the seasons, and if we're able to manifest something half as magical as Kristyna's creations, we'll be very happy indeed.

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Seán   Mystery of the Swiss Cheese Leaves

Lilac leaves with holes

In recent weeks, we've been noticing more and more leaves around the garden which look as though someone's been going around hole-punching them. And while seeing punctured foliage usually elicits a sense of concern about pests and disease, something about the smooth, skillfully-crafted shape of these holes makes them seem benign to me... artful even!

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Kate  Catching Some Rays

On a particularly hot, sunny day earlier this summer, I was out identifying plants in the garden when, rounding a bend, I was met with this sight on a mossy mound of rock near the bird bath:

robins sunning

They were absolutely still, frozen in their respective poses:

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Seán   #Meanwhile

A potter wasp mama puts the final touches on her vessel-like clay nest, and lays an egg inside. These beneficial insect ceramicists are not aggressive and can help protect nearby plants from caterpillar damage. So if you see a tiny pot appear unexpectedly in your garden, you might want to leave it be!

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Seán   Who Needs a TV When You Have a Bird Bath?  Kate

As the beaming rays of the summer sun begin to broil our hilltop habitat, rarely a minute of the day ticks by without some feathered visitor or other seeking a sip or a swim at our weather-worn stone basin. But a bird bath is far more than just a small pool of water providing relief for panting beaks – it's a crossroads of avian activity which sets the stage for all sorts of stories to unfold, featuring familiar characters, surprise guests, and thrilling plot twists.

Here's a sampling of the many fine programs on offer through BB-TV in case you're considering subscribing:

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Seán   #Meanwhile

A robber fly celebrates a successful heist by slurping out the liquefied innards of its ambushed prey.

July 13, '10: female hummingbird repeats running bill against door glass,
up + down looking in at me. many visits

Kate  Quinton the Quail... & Co!  Seán

One sunny afternoon in early July, we took a peek down our slope to find Quinton staring warily at us, seemingly on guard:

quinton watch

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Kate  Mystery of the Alien-Pod

A couple weeks ago, Seán found a mysterious, silvery pod on the ground beside the house, about the size of a lime. It appeared to have been there for a while, as it was very light and seemed dried out. We took our guesses: was it a plant-pod? Some kind of egg sac? I thought it might be an owl-pellet, due to it's hairy outside texture, shape and size. We decided to lovingly refer to it as the “alien pod”:

alien pod

There was only one thing to do in order to solve the mystery – cut it open:

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Seán   Springy Summer Visitors

Kate's new friend

This spur-throated grasshopper nymph may be a major agricultural pest, but it sure is cute and fascinating to behold up close in person at this instar. Not all species in this subfamily are considered problematic, but this particular individual seems to be a two-striped grasshopper (Melanoplus bivittatus), which are highly problematic crop eaters. That being said, it's also a tasty meal for birds... and perhaps for humans as well?

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Seán   Hummingtunes III: Calming Music Edition  Kate

If you missed the other editions of Hummingtunes, you can find them here.

Next month, Bandcamp Friday returns once more to support the livelihoods of musicians around the world who bring much-needed light and relief to challenging circumstances. For this edition of Hummingtunes, we thought we'd take this opportunity to highlight and reflect upon some of the calming albums which have brought a great deal of relief to our heavy brains and anxious bodies during difficult times. We hope they do the same for yours as well:

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