30 April 2006

They’re baaaa-aack!

I went out for a long walk around the shoreline with my brother-in-love. The blackflies have definately hatched. There were none out yesterday.

It takes a female blackfly about a week to develop eggs after a blood meal. A clutch is anywhere from about 50–700 eggs. It takes between 4–30 days for egg development, depending on temperature. A single blackfly may live as long as a year. On average a female lives 4 weeks, a male, less.

Predators of blackflies are bats, small birds (such as phoebes, flycatchers and swallows) midges, dragonflies and damselflies. Blackflies breed in clean running water (such as the Stream of Consciousness that runs the boundry line of most of my land). The blackfly season in Maine is from about May through July.

Where have you been!?

Countries I’ve been in.

Such a tiny bit of the planet, isn’t it?

US states I’ve been in.

I may have missed one or two but they are not calling out to me at this moment...

23 April 2006

Cool, Clear Water

I have a water problem. My water is filled with iron. And it tastes awful. I have had it tested and all is well (no pun intended) but it tastes horrible. And everything gets clogged and gunked up. Shower heads, tap screens, water heater fins. Pots and pans get mineral build up. If I fill the tub to prepare for a power outage, when I drain it a few days later, the tub is covered in rust particle film.

Because of this I had a whole house filter installed years ago. It should be changed every few months.

I am not a squeamish woman. Spiders do not scare me. Rotting carcasses do not gross me out (too much). Yet, I have total heebie-jeebies about going into the crawl-space under the house to do this task. I don’t know why. Subsequently, it rarely gets done and so, all the problems I just described persist in spite of having installed a solution.

A dear neighbor, PS came over today just to be with me as I did the dastardly deed. But, I crawled in and crawled out immediately saying “I have to steel myself” or some such thing. Neighbor heaved his 75 year old, stiff, creaking body down into the crawl space hatch and dragged it along the muddy , animal poop and (remember the earlier post about a rotting carcass under my house?) dried-up-carcass-littered crawl-space floor, over septic drain pipes, and water lines and did the friggin’ job for me.

It is nice to have a friend.

As he drove off on his 4x4 he stopped, turned and smiled saying, “You owe me!”

Indeed, I do.

Next time he mows my lawn on a hot, blackfly and mosquito riddled day, I will offer him a nice, cool, clear drink of water.

[iTunes was playing Leo Kottke’s “Cool Water” by Bob Nolan while I was writing this.]

17 April 2006

Day off

Grey, raining. Slept really late, for me. 8:30! I feel like the day is slipping through my fingers like sand.

Last night and today I have been working on a matchbox reliquary.

I think I may have passed into a new phase of playing/working with tangible media. I seem able to wait out each part of the process. New for me. I more typically rush it and often have wrecked stuff doing so.

The dimensionality of the reliquary is not well conveyed by scanning. I will take photos later. May post them.

I took a drive in the fall of 2005 and stopped by the Fisheries & Wildlife Office in Jonesboro. They gave me a hefty pile of paper goods. I especially liked the 3" x 5.5" cards they gave me of Maine Fish. I knew I wanted to do something with them.

The collage I posted yesterday and this shrine were made with those cards.

16 April 2006

Fishes and Hares and Eggs, oh my!

According to superstition: If it rains on Easter Sunday, it will rain the following seven Sundays. I will keep track...

Easter: Centuries before Jesus, pagan tribes of Europe worshipped a spring goddess named Eostre.

Hares and Eggs. Think about it. Fertility and Birth.

I’ve been making art today.

5x7 collage, acrylic and ink on canvas

13 April 2006

Night sounds


I have been outside for awhile. Part of my evening ritual. I like to go outside, take a long slow draught of the evening, and pee.

It is a gorgeous, soft spring night. No biting insects out yet! Totally engulfed in fog. I can hear
Spring Peepers (Pseudacris crucifer), Wood frogs (Rana sylvatica), several American Woodcock (Scolopax minor) and a lone Barred owl (Strix varia) calling.

What a night. If I didn’t have work I would consider sleeping outside or at least going off to the ponds and vernal pools that the froggies are calling from and have a looksee.

Good night, all.


I am listening to “Forgiveness” by Ferron. It is a guitar piece from a 1992 album: Resting with the Question. Tonight, it is moving me deeply. I am not aware of the need to forgive but perhaps there is something there...

In 1992, in my computer journal I made three notes:
  1. June 29: Saw a coyote @ Paino’s
  2. May 17: Barb & Robin’s wedding
  3. November 11: Toe weighs 9lbs 12 oz.
The Painos live in Concord, Massachusetts. I was visiting and was one among a group of many. I got up and was standing in their kitchen. I gazed out the window and saw a large coyote trotting along the edge of the field out back.

Barb is a dear friend, who I have not seen in far too many years. No one is more deserving than her to have found a loving mate. Thank you Robin, for loving my friend.

Toe was my beloved pussy cat.

8:52 pm: It has just begun to rain. I suspect that the spring peepers will respond to that with their lively peeping and barking.

06 April 2006

(4 / 6) / 1 954 = 0.000341180484

And so I begin my 53rd orbit around the sun.

The Sun is dated at 4.5 billion years old.

April 6, 1954: U.S. performs atmospheric nuclear test at Bikini Island

April 6, 1954: TV Dinner was 1st put on sale by Swanson and Sons

April 6, 1938: Teflon invented by Roy J Plunkett

April 6, 1930: Hostess Twinkies invented by bakery executive James Dewar

04 April 2006

Seen around town

Tuesday, March 28, 2006 6:25 pm: Barred owl (Strix varia) calling

Friday, March 31, 2006: 2 Fox sparrow (Passerella iliaca) scratching in the ground below the feeders. Dark-eyed juncos (Junco hyemalis) galore.

Saturday, April 1, 2006, 5:48 am: Eastern phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) singing from on of my apple trees!

3:50 pm: Adult male, Pine warbler (Dendroica pinus) feeding on my peanut feeder. I (of course) just missed gettting a photo.

Monday, April 3, 2006: Saw three vultures soaring. I was driving and they were up quite high so I was unable to determine if they were Black or Turkey. American goldfinch (Carduelis tristis) changing plumage. Mourning dove (Zenaida macroura) feathers in a pile in the back yard. Most likely a hawk kill.

Moose tracks were spotted around my neighbor P.S. house earlier this week.

We are all anticipating the arrival of Ursus

03 April 2006

Holy smoke...

...Something is rotten in Denmark. Or I should say, under my house. I wish ’tweren’t true. But, I fear ’tis. True, I mean.

I have red squirrels nesting under my house. Well, they go under and then up. Up into the walls, along the edge of my bathtub.

Taking a bath some evenings is often quite interesting. I occassionally imagine what would happen if, as I soaked, a squirrel suddenly developed the ability to move through walls. Both of us freaking out the instant it materialized on my side of the wall. Naked wet squirrel and naked wet me. Picture: the cartoon drawing of a big messy ball with arms and legs sticking out off and on as it spins. Water flying everywhere.

So. There is a smell in this house that is at once, sweet and at twice, sickly. And the odor is everywhere. No escape. Oy.

I am reminded of the smell that hung in my hospital room 30 years ago. ’twas me ’twas rottin’. My arm. Gas gangrene. I would link a picture but gangrene is really gross. If you must see, Google it. I warned you. You’re on your own.

Like the squirrel.

02 April 2006

The point is...

I went to the local feed store yesterday to buy birdseed. I use large 25 pound bags of it to assist in the indulgence one of my favorite activities: watching the wildlife in the field in which my house was built.

I also needed a small quantity of wood shavings. I use that to line the bottom of the 6 birdhouses I have scattered throughout the field. Shavings are safer than straw or sawdust as they allow air circulation and therefore stay drier. Don’t want wet birdies. In fact, it could kill the nestlings. Hypothermia. Bad.

So. I asked the fellow at the counter if he had any. He replied laconically “Yep, by the bale.” I knew that was far too much for me, as I needed less than 1/2 a grocery bagful. I asked if he had any sweepings in the back. He chuckled and moved on to the next customer.

That fellow promptly ordered 2 bales of shavings. I turned around, smiled and exclaimed “Wow!” I then asked if I could buy a small bagful from him. He had plainly heard my request of the salesman. His response was a brusque “No.”

Period. Harumpf. No laughter, no smile, no sorry, no friendly explanation of what he was going to be using it for. Nothing. No.

Out in the parking lot amid the Saturday morning throng of pickup trucks and SUVs we caught each other’s eye. He walked directly over to me and said “You want wood shavings? All you need is a pine board, a knife and some time.” What I wanted to say about the lovely, sharp and pointy stick I might whittle, remained sealed in my brain. What I said was “Yes, or a nice guy.”

It was lost on him.

I got in my car and drove to a nearby pet store. I used to buy food for my dog there. I suspect the owner didn’t remember me as my hair has grown a lot since Willow died and I now wear it back. I asked if they carried wood shavings. He asked “like for hamsters and guinea pigs?”

I said, “Well, yeah, sort of like that.”

He asked me to follow him. I did. We got to a row of shelves upon which were, among many other things, two different sized bags of wood shavings. He lifted the smallest bag, about the length and width of my whole arm, and said “It’s compressed. This one will fill the whole bottom of that (huge) aquarium.”

I replied that it really was a bit more than I needed as I was only going to pad the bottom of 6 birdhouses in my backyard. In the short moment I stood silent about to ask the price, he smiled and said “Well, then, let me give you some.” We strolled off to where they keep the live animals.

I noted cages of blue and yellow parakeets, sweet pink-hued doves cooing, a gorgeous, brightly diamonded brown snake, and a white ferret who was very excited to see us. I inquired about the snake asking if it was a milk snake. I knew the head was the wrong shape for a milk snake but, I admit, I was trying to impress the young man that I knew something about snakes. He relied simply “No, a boa.”

Not wanting to get sidetracked, or impose further on his generosity, I fought the urge to ask if I could hold it.

He filled a small, elongated plastic bag, the type one might use to carry home several new fish to pour into an aquarium. I thanked him and noted to myself how the entire time I was with him, it never once crossed my mind to whittle a sharp and pointy stick and offer to put it where the sun don’t shine.

Schematic of Pointy vs. Sharp stick courtesy of Charlie B.

Secret gluebook entries

It has been awhile since I've “blogged” and since I’ve done any play/work in my gluebook. And I have been wanting to do both. The weather and my mood and my energy level finally all came together.

I stole two magazines on Friday from the gym. People drop off old magazines for folks to read while treading on the mill or pedaling on the bikes. I say “stole” but they are really there for the taking. So I took.

The magazine subscriptions I have are to National Wildlife [a lifetime subscription], New England Journey [a publication of AAA] and Natural New England [the subscription to which a friend has given me for several years]. They are all great magazines but don't tend to have showy blocks of print or full page photo spreads that lend themselves to background mood or other images I have been seeking.

Here, then are two entries. The first was done last night.

Click on (any) image in this blog to enlarge the image.

Both entries were done using the magazine W. I had never heard of this magazine before. Where, oh where have I been? I suspect “W” stands for “W”oman rather than “W”alker.

The spread was made using 5 separate pieces. The right page is from three separate torn magazine pages. The white pieces are from different pages and are slightly different colors. The left page is a whole block of heavy, shiny silver-grey. And of course the text “Evening.”

I bet most folks rarely think of what that means when we say it in the context of time of day. I try to. Think of what it means, I mean.

Here is the next page in my gluebook...

There are certain life-altering secret links to the past.”

This one was more complicated to do. I wondered as I made it if others who do this get as messy and glue-y as I do. I haven't figured out a graceful solution to gluing. I make a mess!

The idea of the page relates to something that has cycled up again in my emotional world.

[I was listening to "Love’s Secret" by Michael Whalen while I was writing this.]
Click the link to listen to an excerpt or buy this tune...