We’re starting another bird mosaic. We’ve already done a huge owl, a scarlet tanager, a goldfinch and a Baltimore Oriole. This one will be a blue jay and it’s a commission. I cut out the basic shape today.
The veggie garden is coming along fine. We’ll be eating spinach and mesclun and scallions soon. We haven’t made any progress yet on the mosaic on the veggie bed but hopefully we’ll get to it soon.
I created a new garden – to the right in the photo – for tomatoes and herbs. A few days ago I decided there would be no more frost in Long Branch for the season, meaning it was safe to plant tomatoes. My friend Spicecat gave me some “seedlings” that were threatening to take over the house they were getting so big. Now they’re in the ground. The area to the left used to have two trees – you can see the stumps where a spruce and a cedar once grew. This area is going to become a shrubbery, and I’ve planted two dogwoods, a verbenum, an elderberry and a Japanese Kerria. Eventually, these plants will grow up and create a large shrub anchor for the north side of the garden. By the way, Mr. and Mrs Sparrow have moved into the birdhouse you can see at the top right of the photo. We’ve had this birdhouse for years, first on Blackthorn and now on Twenty-Seventh, and this is the first year birds have moved in.
A large hawk was flying around Long Branch today. I watched it way up there as I took the dogs out for their run. It was too far away for me to tell what exactly it was. Let’s just say it was a heaping big bird of prey. When I rounded the corner by the water filtration plant, I looked up again and it was gone.
The last time I saw a hawk around here was a few months ago. I saw that one fairly close up. It had landed on the edge of the roof of the filtration plant. I’m fairly certain that one was a Cooper’s Hawk.
The hawk I saw today was making some big circles. Maybe it was hunting around for something tasty for dinner.
Tuffy P and I have been work on this owl mosaic for months. We finally finished it up last night and hung it out front this morning. All the tesserae have been cut from various tiles, broken dishes, bowls and vases using a little tile nipper which enables us to cut them to more or less custom shapes. The ground is 3/4 inch plywood and the cement is an acrylic compound which we’ve tested over a period of several years. The stuff seems to be indestructable. We don’t use any grout; we just sink the tesserae into plenty of compound.
Upping the scale on this, our third bird, gave us the chance to stretch out a little and mess around with different size bits, as well as different textures and introduce greater complexity to the whole piece.
One of the delightful experiences living here in Long Branch is the rich bird life. When spring arrives, one of the first things I notice around here is the abundance of bird songs and cries. This morning I took the dogs out for their first walk of the day over to the water filtration plant and Sam Smith Park. There were several distinct layers of sound – birds out over the lake, on the spit, in the trees, on the ground. Nobody was about, just me and the dogs and the birds. It was a magical moment.
We arrived back home to the sobering discovery that one of our cats failed to keep his breakfast down. The was without a doubt Shadow. If he eats too fast or too much, the result is the same every time. I keep a spiral bound book of tunes I’m playing or learning or want to learn on the button accordion, and this was sitting on the desk beside the computer. Of all the places Shadow could choose, he vomited on The Broken Reed Polka. After yesterday’s heart-breaking accordion accident, this simply added insult to injury. Maybe this is some kind of omen?
Both my GCF diatonic boxes are out of the house right now. The Guerrini is in the shop for repair and my Corona II is out on loan to my student. I’ve started to learn the chromatic accordion, but I haven’t been putting as much time in with it as I should, mostly because I’ve been learning some new tunes on the GCF, as I’m thinking about doing some busking again soon. I guess now is a good time to bear down and really start getting used to the fingering for the C-system.
For the bird enthusiasts in the crowd, see the post over at Friends of Sam Smith Park. Last year we went on a bird walk and it was great fun. The leader of our walk knew a fantastic variety of birds, both by their looks and by their sounds. I’m hoping to learn more about birds this year.
On a related note, I thought it might be a fun idea to do a photo series, not of birds, but of birders. Look, there’s a rare one with a really long lens….