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Archive for October, 2009

Pumpkins In PA, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, October 2009, all photos © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

 
 
 

Back in Minnesota and it’s Halloween. I’m home from the 2400 roundtrip air miles, Minneapolis to Pennsylvania. The road trip with Mom from Pennsylvania to Georgia clocked around 1200 driving miles. Fall is beautiful on the East Coast and we had a lot of fun stopping in Fancy Gap, Virginia on the way down and the Pink Cadillac Diner in Natural Bridge, Virginia on the way back to Pennsylvania.

One thing that sticks out for me on this trip is the difference in temperature and light from East to Midwest. When I was snapping sunset photos in Virginia for Twitter, Liz noticed that it was already dark in Minnesota. And this morning when I awoke, the temperatures in Harrisburg and Augusta were surprisingly similar, topping out in the 50’s. Yet in Minneapolis, it was only 32 degrees.

Cold and dark. It’s going to be a crisp evening for the trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood. My sister told me last week that in Pennsylvania, they trick-or-treat on the Thursday before Halloween, something I had not heard of here. As far as I know, there is only one Halloween evening in our neck of the woods. And that is tonight.

The night before I left Pennsylvania, my sister brought home pumpkins for my niece and nephew to carve. She grabbed a few extra for my mother and I and we went to town. I had not worked that hard on a pumpkin in years. I’m not fond of cleaning out the guts. But my sister and niece were masters at expunging the stringy goo from the hollowed out orange shell. I learned a thing or two about pumpkin carving that night:

 
 

 
 

place a big plastic table cloth down on the carving surface to catch all the guts and gore that fly through the air

 
 

 
 

use ice cream scoops and scrapers to remove extra pumpkin goo

 
 
 
 

 
 

draw your design out on in pencil on a white sheet of paper before carving

 
 
 

 
 

tape the paper to the outside of the pumpkin

 
 
 

 use an ice pick to punch holes along the lines of the design (when you remove the paper drawing, you have a dotted line pattern of holes to follow)

 
 
 

 
 

when carving in groups, you’ll need plenty of sharp knives and serrated pumpkin carving tools

 
 
 

 
 

X-Acto knives work well for the more intricate designs

 
 
 

 
 

toothpicks can help repair a misaligned cut from a knife that slipped

 
 
 

 
 

you’ll need stamina in the wrists, for punching the design with the ice pick and to complete the carving

 
 
 

 
 

for those whose wrists can’t take it or who don’t want to carve, painting pumpkins works great

 

When we finished carving, we placed votive candles and tea lights inside each pumpkin and arranged them on the front porch for photographs. Mom’s is the painted one over by the scarecrow Paul won a few weeks ago (he’s always been lucky like that). The scarecrow lights up in multicolored LED’s, adding another dimension to the overall decor.

It occurred to me that this was the same porch where we celebrated Halloween in the 60’s and 70’s growing up. Ghosts of all the ghouls and goblin costumes Mom created for my five siblings and I in the house where we were raised danced in and out of the breezeway.


3’s Not A Crowd In Pumpkin World (Dark), 3’s Not A Crowd In Pumpkin World (Light), Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, October 2009, all photos © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


Happy Halloween 2009. We’re preparing to watch a scary movie and chuckling at the inventive costumes (check out ybonesy’s daughter’s costume this year) of the little Midwest trick-or-treaters that drop by our door. In two days, it will be the full November Frost Moon (will bats be hibernating?). It’s blustery and chilly in Minnesota. Part of my heart is still in Pennsylvania.


-posted on red Ravine, Halloween Night, Saturday, October 31st, 2009

-related to posts: Halloween Short List: (#2) Build Your Own Casket, halloween haiku, Taking Jack To The Cemetery, The Great Pumpkin Catapult

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Start with a box, then paint a sign…
 
 
porta potty (two)
 
 
 
 
 
            …add a handle on the door and a stovepipe vent…
 
 
                    porta potty (three)
 
 
 
 

…throw in a few flies (because flies like stink)…


porta potty (four)





                    …and ya got the best Halloween costume ever!


                    pizza and potty (bleh!)





What are you going to be for Halloween??





_______________________________________________________________________________________

Postscript: The incredibly creative and talented Eric and Margherita, parents of one of my daughter’s best friends, made this costume. The kids all pitched in to help. Their daughter is a Plumber for Halloween.

At the school carnival, reactions to the Porta Potty costume were varied. Many people pointed and laughed. A few plugged their noses. Some looked baffled and offended, apparently by the idea that we’d dress our daughter as an outhouse. But hands down, this was the most surprising, most original costume of the day.

Many thanks to Eric and Margherita for making it happen!! You guys are Halloween geniuses (and next time you ever make it to southern California, I have just the person you have to meet).

Seriously, folks, check out Heather from Anuvue’s Alien Invasion – The Queen of Halloween has just been promoted to Halloween Leader of the Free World and Dictator for Life! _______________________________________________________________________________________



-Related to posts Halloween Short List: (#2) Build Your Own Casket and halloween haiku

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patrick dougherty masks (one)

Here’s Looking at You, Patrick Dougherty installation at Bosque School,
Albuquerque, October 2009, photo © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

 
 
 
 
One evening last week I went to see North Carolina artist Patrick Dougherty give a talk to an audience of parents, students, faculty and staff of Bosque School, plus a few members of the broader Albuquerque community. The turnout was solid. All seats were filled, yet I couldn’t help but lament how tucked away this globally recognized, soft-spoken artist was—how very hidden his presence in our city was to the public at large. And just how much they were missing by not being here.
 
Dougherty was guest artist at the independent Bosque School (grades 6-12) from October 5-23. According to the multi-arts organization collaborative LAND/ART, which sponsored the sculptor, Dougherty was here to create “a site-specific work on the grounds of the school adjoining the Rio Grande Valley State Park, using willow saplings harvested from the site and involving the students and teachers in the process.” (Bosque School is known for the way it incorporates study of the adjacent cottonwood forest—also known as “the bosque“—and river into its Science curriculum.)
 
This was Dougherty’s first time working with students this age. He’s done installations at museums, university and college campuses, and on sites of all types, from Ireland to France, Connecticut to California—over 200 works in the US, Asia, and Europe over the past two-plus decades.

He wasn’t in New Mexico to create art in a highly visible public space. His primary job was to work with students and teachers. The installation was open to the public most days and weekends during his stay, and many people took advantage of visiting hours. But still, hearing him speak on a late afternoon in October was like stumbling upon the city’s best kept art secret.
 
 
 
 
 

patrick dougherty (the man)        patrick dougherty land art 3

Patrick Dougherty poses for a shot after his talk (left), building the installation
required scaffolding (right), which visitors were sometimes allowed to climb,
October 2009, photos © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

 
 
 
 
Drawing with sticks
 
Dougherty began his talk by walking the audience through a slideshow, starting with images of the log cabin home he built by hand, then moving to samples of his installations. He was funny and charming and deep in an unassuming way. He told us that he thinks about sticks as drawing material. “Consider the stick as a line,” he suggested, talking to us as if we were fellow artists.

His favorite piece, which he said he liked precisely because of its good lines, was “Tension Zones,” installed in Sheboygan, Wisconsin in 1995 at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center. (Unfortunately, the only image I found was in a hard-to-read archived article from the Milwaukee Sentinel.)
 
He went on to talk about his work in three ways, showing examples of each:

  1. Architecture: Many of his installations have an interplay with buildings. Stick sculptures climb walls, cap towers, or lean into buildings.
  2. Trees: Dougherty often uses trees as “a matrix.” He might make use of the limbs, trunks, or the canopy of the tree, building his installation in relation to one or all of those parts. He showed us pieces that seemed to sprout leaves in spring and shed them in winter.
  3. No thing: Many of his installations, he said, were built in “just space,” indoors or outdoors. 
     

After the talk, members of the audience had many questions. “How did the students catch on?” someone asked. “Great,” Dougherty said, “we know all about sticks; it’s the Hunter-Gatherer in our blood.” He reminded us that the stick is a universal play thing for all children. They use sticks to draw in the dirt, as instruments, building material, weapons, and utensils.
 
 
 
 
 

drawing with sticks (two)    drawing with sticks (one)

Drawing-with-sticks details from the Bosque School installation,
October 2009, photos © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

 
 
 
 
Two Years and Three Weeks
 
Dougherty’s pieces generally have the same lifespan as that of a stick, which is about two years. After two years, most installations come down.

In an interview (date unknown) on Don’t Panic Online, Dougherty talked about the temporary nature of his work:
 
 

I think that part of my work’s allure is its impermanence, the life cycle that is built into the growth and decay of saplings. My focus has always been the process of building a work and allowing those who pass to enjoy the daily changes or drama of building a sculpture as well as the final product. However, the line between trash and treasure is thin, and the sculptures, like the sticks they are made from, begin to fade after two years.  Often the public imagines that a work of art should be made to last, but I believe that a sculpture, like a good flower bed, has its season.

 
Other highlights from Dougherty’s talk include (italics direct quotes; the rest paraphrased):
 

  • On Art and Being an Artist: The art world is not a wall; it’s a loose-knit group of people. Artists are just normal people who are looking for their place in the world.
  •  

  • On finding that Place in the world: Hysteria rides on the shoulder of every creative person.
  •  

  • On building his own house, a log cabin: He wanted to build a house that was functional, with no maintenance once it was done. That way he could live and work there when the money wasn’t rolling in.
  •  

  • On living in North Carolina: Lots of maples in North Carolina, and the stones there have color. Some places have a lot of stones, but they’re not different colors like they are in North Carolina.
  •  

  • On using willows to build art: Every time you cut the base of the willow, you get twice as many sticks that grow back. (Which was good to hear, given that my daughter was worried that nature was being sacrified for art. It wasn’t.)
  •  

  • On how long it takes: Dougherty stays for about three weeks in each locale, which, he joked, is about the maximum amount of time before his hosts get sick of him.
  •  

  • On climbing the pieces: Please don’t. Even though the structures are solid due to the layers and layers of sticks, as well as the stick foundations that gird them, climbing tends to destroy the surface over time. However, people (drunk adults, especially!) love to climb the sculptures.
  • On whether the students liked it: They loved it, although they felt at times constrained by doing things the way Dougherty wanted. In order to give the kids some freedom, there were three experimental installations where the students could do whatever they wanted.


 
 
 
 

patrick dougherty land art 4   experimentation with patrick dougherty

Long view of the installation (left), and looking out from inside an experimental
sculpture, October 2009, photos © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.





Brown meets Green

After the talk we were invited to go outside to see the installation and walk around and inside of it. The piece is made up of three two-sided heads, like masks with eyes and noses, which, according to Dougherty, are a combination kachina and Green Man, who often can be seen adorning ancient cathedrals.

The masks were much larger than I had expected. I’d seen them just a few days before during an admissions open house at the school, but my viewing was brief plus I was distracted by the other goings-on. In my mind’s eye, the sculptures were about twice as large as a person. Wrong! They are many times taller than the average person, as you can see by the photo below, which shows someone standing in the doorway/mouth of one of the masks.

The best part of the event was watching people of all ages marvel at the creations. Inside, outside, peeking around corners. A father dressed in a suit and tie (he must have come straight from work) played a sort of hide-and-seek tag with his two daughters, running in and out of each structure. I walked slowly into the giant heads, looking at elegant lines of the willows and taking in the most wondrous fragrance of sage and willow. One woman turned to me and exclaimed, “If only we could bottle that smell!”

The sun was sinking as the visitors scattered. I went over to the experimental installations. The sticks were not nearly as tightly layered as in the giant masks, but they had shape and structure. What an opportunity to learn with a master. Art in the Schools like it’s never been done before.




patrick dougherty masks (three)







More information on Patrick Dougherty


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Pink Cadillac, Hindsight, outside the Pink Cadillac Diner, Natural Bridge, Virginia, October 2009, all photos © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


Back in Pennsylvania. I always think I’m going to post more than I do from the road. But at the end of the day, I find myself exhausted. Out as soon as the head hits the pillow. Perhaps it’s the introvert in me. I love traveling West to East, North to South, all the people I see only once a year. I wish there were a dozen of me. Maybe a baker’s dozen.

Yesterday I drove 13 hours back from Georgia with Mom. I spent this October day with my family in Pennsylvania. It’s almost 4am and I find myself wide awake, wanting to write. It’s the best I can do to post a haiku, a note, a few photographs from the Pink Cadillac Diner in Natural Bridge, Virginia. It’s a little off the beaten trail. Mom was finishing up her ice cream cone while I walked out to photograph the Caddy. A young woman strode proudly up behind me with her two daughters, camera in tow.

“My dad took a photo of me in front of this very spot,” she said, “and now I get to take a photo of you.” Snap. I watched her daughters gleaming next to the rusty chrome. “Would you like me to take a photo of all of you together?” I asked. “I’d love that,” she smiled, rushing over to hand me her pocket camera.

Lineage. Family legacies. The things we pass down.

The day was perfect for driving. The light illuminated by Fall. I hung my head out the window and snapped photos of a sunset front over Virginia. There is so much to tell. For the time being, will you settle for the highlights?


  • visiting the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art in Augusta, Georgia with my mother
  • walking with my dad through the Brick Pond Ecological Park in North Augusta, South Carolina
  • dining on my uncle’s chili he’s been making since he was 12
  • riding on the back of my brother’s Harley Softtail
  • driving through Virginia with the mountains framed in gold
  • visiting my paternal grandparents’ graves for the first time with my aunt
  • photographing a historic Sand Oak at Westover Memorial Park Cemetery
  • standing by the Savannah River on the down side of Clarks Hill Dam
  • spending the day on the Georgia side of Clarks Hill Lake working on family history with Mom
  • watching the Vikings/Steelers game with my family
  • grits, sweet tea, barbecue hash, boiled peanuts
  • seeing the faces of my brother and mom at the airport when I land
  • talking to Liz on the new BlackBerry from Sconyer’s Bar-B-Que (she asked for hushpuppies)
  • Twittering across the Mason-Dixon line (and the rest of the 1200 mile round trip to Georgia) with the same said BlackBerry
  • photographing the October Blood Moon rising over Pennsylvania, setting over Georgia and South Carolina
  • writing haiku in the air, Minnesota to Maryland and Pennsylvania
  • watching my sister-in-law tap dance across her living room floor (and later my niece and brother’s fiancee danced across the same floor)
  • The Beatles Rock Band with my niece, nephew, and brother in his living room
  • attending a huge Halloween bash with my aunt at the Julian Smith Casino building where in the 1950’s my mother used to go to dances and work barbecues to raise money to build a local church
  • laughing with my family, North and South
  • stopping at the Pink Cadillac Diner in Virginia with Mom on the way home from Georgia





season to season
hindsight is 20/20
reflecting the past;
future remains uncertain,
jumps hoops through the looking glass




-posted on red Ravine, Sunday, October 25th, 2009

-related to posts: haiku 2 (one-a-day), WRITING TOPIC — MEMORIES OF CARS, WRITING TOPIC– ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS, you can’t go back — 15 haiku, Cassie’s Porch — Then & Now, Excavating Memories

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sony ♥ grass (four)
sony ♥ grass (four), Sony frolicking in the pasture on apple-picking day two weekends ago, October 2009, photos © 2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.




Summer ended with a splash Tuesday afternoon in this part of the Rio Grande Valley. A clap of thunder, and then boom, pouring down rain. For 24 hours the clouds socked us in. We went from thin sock (or no sock) season to thick socks, and for a day we yearned for the amber glow of a fire in the fireplace.

Of course, summer officially ended a month ago, but just this weekend we sat in bleachers with the bright sun on our faces. I have a tan from three hours watching a tennis tournament, and for the past week I’ve worn short sleeves and sweated through 80-degree afternoons.

Yesterday I felt moody, an emotional achiness. I wanted to drink hot tea all day and curl up on a couch with a good book or a movie, a stew bubbling on the stove. It’s hard to believe that just a few days ago we were frolicking in what we thought was fall, not knowing all along they were the dogs days of summer.




sony ♥ grass (one) sony ♥ grass (three) sony ♥ grass (two)






By evening the rain had thinned to the point where I only need the intermittent wipers on the windshield. The sun tried burning through the clouds. Last night the temperature dipped to the high 30s. This morning is cold.

Time to bring in the geraniums.

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Bat photo provided by Michelle McCaulley, Rio Grande Basin Bat Project, all rights reserved

Bat photos provided by Michelle McCaulley, Rio Grande
Basin Bat Project, all rights reserved.

 
 
 
There is a cycle in our community that has to do with the seasons at dusk. It begins when our Rio Grande Valley evenings start to warm in spring, pulling us out onto the patio. We look into the purple-orange sky and notice a black flicker here, another there, appearing in herky-jerky fashion. By fall, the air becomes dewy and cool at sunset, and the dancing black flashes are few until finally, they’re gone. This is the coming and going of bats.

Yes, bats. Mice with wings. Strange little critters that frighten some but delight many, including us. They live—or, perhaps the proper term is hang out—on our (ybonesy’s) property in two bat houses that sit on long poles out on the grounds, a sort of summer residence for bats.

Maybe it’s the season, or perhaps fueled by a desire to not take our bat companions for granted, we decided to learn more about these amazing flying mammals. We sent our questions to bat guru Michelle McCaulley, director of the bat program that set up our bat houses and many more like them. Michelle shed light on these nocturnal creatures.
 
 
 
 
 

Bat photo provided by Michelle McCaulley, Rio Grande Basin Bat Project, all rights reserved   Bat photo provided by Michelle McCaulley, Rio Grande Basin Bat Project, all rights reserved   Bat photo provided by Michelle McCaulley, Rio Grande Basin Bat Project, all rights reserved

 



Fifteen Questions with Michelle McCaulley



Q. You have a pretty unconventional job; can you describe your role as it pertains to bats in the community?

A. I see myself as a biologist—that is actually what my degree is in—and an educator and conservationist, not only when it comes to bats in my community but other animals as well.


Q. How did you get involved in this program?

A. My father, Jim McCaulley, had started the Corrales Bat Habitat Program, installing 30 houses with a small grant from US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) Partners Program in 2002. When he passed away in 2005, I was thrilled and honored to continue with this mission. It was also a chance to do what I love, which is to study animals—in this case, bats.


Q. How long has the program been in existence, and how has it been received in the community?

A. The Corrales Bat Habitat Program began in 2002 with 30 houses. In 2006, the name was changed to Rio Grande Basin Bat Project, and it became a non-profit 501 (3)(c) tax-exempt organization. To date there are over 60 sponsored bat houses, primarily in the Village of Corrales but also around the rest of New Mexico. The Village of Corrales passed a resolution about eight years ago in support of the program. Residents have been enthusiastic and very supportive ever since. I usually have a waiting list of willing sponsors who would like to enroll in the Rio Grande Basin Bat Habitat Expansion Program.




Bat photo provided by Michelle McCaulley, Rio Grande Basin Bat Project, all rights reserved






Q. Bats are extremely beneficial, which is, I assume, large part of why this program exists. Can you expand on the benefits of bats in a community?

A. Not only do bats consume half of their body weight a night eating insects, they are primary pollinators of some plants. If you like tequila, thank a bat. Bats pollinate the agave from which tequila is derived. Bats are also a good biological indicator for healthy communities. Spraying of insecticides and pesticides is very harmful to bats because the chemicals are stored in a bat’s fat reserves, which could affect how well that bat survives the winter to live another year. The bats that live in NM are insectivorous bats meaning they only eat insects.


Q. We understand that bat season is winding down. What exactly do bats do as the weather gets cooler?

A. There is not a lot known about exactly when and where bats go for winter. We know migrating birds follow the same route each winter and back each summer, but this is not clear for bats. Many species of bats take up winter residence in caves, some in trees and rock crevices. For our bats in Corrales, they could be wintering as close as the Sandia Mountains. They hibernate like many other mammal species, and the weight they have gained in the summer sustains them through the winter. If disturbed during hibernation, bats use more energy and may not have enough reserves to make it through this time. In the end the disturbance could cost the bat its life.


Q. What is the general state of bats in the area? Are they thriving?

A. It is difficult to tell just by the data I have collected from bats using our artificial bat habitat. There would be other ongoing factors to consider, as well more information about bat behavior in our area. I have not compiled the information gathered from this year, but in the past three years, the use of the houses has increased from ~50% to 74% by 2008. The increase could indicate a temperature preference for the artificial habitat or a loss of preferred nature habitat, for example.


Q. We understand there are some pretty major threats to bats in other parts of the world, and that large populations of bats are dying out as a result. Is there a risk that New Mexico bats will be affected?

A. In the past, the pet trade, loss of habitat, and indiscriminate killing of bats have all been threats. However, an even larger threat to cave bats has emerged, especially in the Northeast. Bats are dying from White Nose Syndrome (WNS). WNS was named such because of the white fungus around the noses of bats found emaciated, flying (not hibernating) and dying during winter months. The fungus was also on their wings and other body parts. It is unclear how the fungus is affecting the bats or whether it is the cause of the deaths or a symptom of some larger ailment. At this time WNS has not been documented in NM.




Bat photo provided by Michelle McCaulley, Rio Grande Basin Bat Project, all rights reserved






Q. As we head toward Halloween, we’re reminded about the way bats are always associated with this holiday. Is that a plus or minus, in your opinion?

A. I think it’s a plus. The Halloween season is an opportune time to educate people about bats and help dispel some the myths in the process.


Q. What time of year will we see the bats active again?

A. They will return sometime in May. They typically follow the hummingbirds, so when you have a hummer you mostly likely will see bats.


Q. Tell us a little bit about the mating and communal habits of bats?

A. Typically bats mate in the fall but delay ovulation and fertilization. The egg does not release from the female’s ovary to unite with the sperm for fertilization until the following spring. Both sexes congregate for hibernation. In the spring most females bear and raise the young together until the young are furred and ready to fly. Females usually bear one offspring.


Q. Can you talk about bats and disease? I think there’s a fear that bats carry disease, such as Rabies, and that bats can be dangerous. Do bats carry many diseases or is this a myth?

A. Bats, like any other mammal can contract rabies from another infected animal. Only ½ of one percent of bats contract rabies. The best protection from being bitten by any wild animal is to not handle the animal and call a professional for help. Always vaccinate your pets as well. Bats are good combatants again West Nile Virus (WNV) as some of their diet is made up of mosquitoes when this prey is available. Bats will not become infected by WNV by eating an infected mosquito but may be if bitten by a mosquito. Bats are considered a dead end host for WNV because the infected bat will not transmit the disease to humans or any other animal. I am a certified bat rehabilitator in NM, by the way, and so I can be called in when bats are found sick and/or hurt.




Bat photo provided by Michelle McCaulley, Rio Grande Basin Bat Project, all rights reserved






Q. Are there similar bat programs in other communities that you know of?

A. To the best of my knowledge, the Rio Grande Basin Bat Project is not only the largest community bat project; according to Bat Conservation International (BCI) we are the only program of our kind. The complied data from each bat year is submitted to BCI and to the USFWS Partners Program. Corrales should be very proud, this is a great honor and a testament to village motto for being animal friendly.


Q. Any resources you’d like to highlight for anyone interested in more information on bats?

A. Yes, please visit my website for more information about bats, bat houses, and our mission. We also offer several gifts that are sure to please the bat lover in your life!

In addition, I work with and am Secretary for Bat World Sanctuary, located in Mineral Wells, Texas. They are largest bat sanctuary, as well as a teaching facility for rehabilitators of insectivorous bats. They care for hundreds of insectivorous and fruit bats rescued each year from inhumane conditions or sometimes from the pet trade.


Q. What is your favorite bat fact or bat story that you can share with our readers?

A. I can’t pick a favorite because everything about bats is remarkable to me. After you get to know a bat, you’ll see that they, too, have their own personalities and are very kind creatures.


Q. Anything else you’d like to share about bats?

A. This is only a tidbit of bat information. I encourage everyone to learn more, not only bats, but all of the other wonderful animals that share your community, state, and planet. Each one is incredible in its own way, worth appreciating and certainly worth protecting. If everyone would play a small part, even in their own community, our planet would certainly be a better place.





Bat photo provided by Michelle McCaulley, Rio Grande Basin Bat Project, all rights reserved   Bat photo provided by Michelle McCaulley, Rio Grande Basin Bat Project, all rights reserved   Bat photo provided by Michelle McCaulley, Rio Grande Basin Bat Project, all rights reserved







Michelle McCaulley runs the Rio Grande Basin Bat Project, which was created by her late father, Jim McCaulley. Michelle planted the idea for the project when, as she recounts on her website, In 1999, I built my parents a nursery style bat house. They installed the house beside the 1/4 acre pond on their property. Their house was occupied the very first spring with over 150 insect munching bats. The house is a successful nursery. The prosperity of this house sparked an unusual idea.

So in January of 2001, my father Jim McCaulley, drafted a preliminary plan for a pilot project to build about 30 bat houses to be installed within the Village of Corrales. The goal was to provide an natural alternative to insect control rather than spraying insecticides, while also providing additional habitat. The plan was reviewed, approved and funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS) under the auspices of the Partners for Wildlife program.

Michelle continues the program today, a bat evangelist spreading the truth about the benefits of bats and other wildlife. Thank you, Michelle, for your dedication, energy, and passion to and for these wonderful creatures. We love them!

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Yellow, somewhere over Minneapolis / St. Paul, Minnesota, October 2009, all photos © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



gassing up the plane
yellow sun on horizon
I’m running on fumes

restless night owl
wings clipped over the Midwest
sleeping in mid-air

voicemail remains full
apologies to callers
delayed housekeeping



wings bobbing in sun
to avoid motion sickness
touch wrist pressure points

Northwest bites the dust
D-E-L-T-A imprint on cookie
“Skymiles with Biscoff”

ankles and joints swell
somewhere over Ohio
depressurizing

smoldering remnants
of the way it used to be
cause a lot of pain



nothing can contain
my rattling restless spirit
banging in the night

Liz rises at 5
and defrags my Toshiba
gift from the heavens

BWI
destination Baltimore
home of Ace of Cakes

high altitude yawns
saturate before using
low oxygen lungs



overweight luggage
travels with Baggage Angels
checks and balances

strange things worry me
laundry, shoes, and broken glass
where is my Space pen?

clouds dance on wing tips
full of milk and sky cookies –
I’m hungry to write


opening the door
family collectibles
hide in my closet

in for a landing
sun shines over Baltimore
gloomy clouds below


______________________

Note: All is well on my travels. Wrote these haiku on the plane yesterday morning. So much has happened since I arrived in Pennsylvania. Feels like I’ve been gone a week. My sister made sliced pork with peach glaze, mashed potatoes, green beans, and Southern banana pudding. My mother made chili, grits, and took me shopping for Fall outfits. My brother and Liz helped me out with a small glitch in the BlackBerry modem. All fixed now.

Tomorrow morning we start the 10-12 hour drive down to Georgia. Will try to check in as we roll over the Mason-Dixon line. We will travel through quite a few states before hitting the Savannah River. Will try to keep in touch. Writing and photography seem like the right things to be doing. Grateful for the opportunity. More as I know it. Time, time, time, time, time.

And the New Moon. New beginnings. Some call October’s Full Moon the Blood Moon. Prepare for the cold dark months ahead. Honor your ancestors. Let go of what is unnecessary. The veil between the worlds is thin.


-posted on red Ravine, Sunday, October 18th, 2009

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