Sunday, February 23, 2014

Copper trees, Stink Bugs, The Bay Bridge and The Holy Grail--Is that Random Enough?

The weather has been teasing us, it has been warm, even sunny.  I drove with my windows open a little yesterday, but winter will win again.  Maybe a bit of snow tonight and a some more on Tuesday into Wednesday.   Spring is peeking through the blinds, but hasn't come in yet.

Despite the glorious weather, I had an indoor activity planned for yesterday.  I took an art class with a local wire sculptor, Devin Mack. The first time I met him a year ago,  I watched him create part of a large, detailed sculpture of a female trapeze artist while hardly even glancing at his hands.  He stood staring at some place in his brain and bent each piece into place. The spine and ribcage emerged as I watched, completely recognizable as human.

I just took a moment to look to see what he has on-line, and I found a time lapse video of him making The Aerialist at AnnMarie Sculpture Garden. I wasn't aware he was being photographed, and lo and behold thirty seconds into the video I appear for two  seconds, wearing the same polar fleece I am wearing right now.  At Devin Mack's Website you can watch him create the trapeze artist without him having to consult any reference or drawing.

Winter Tree, 20 gauge copper wire sculpture
Anyway, my point in all this is that I took the class and somehow ended up seated between two others who also volunteer at the sculpture garden, whom I had seen, but never really met.  They both like to write, they are both into gardening  and art and when a classmate referred to her progress creating a wire tree she referred to it as a shrubbery and the three of us giggled and started talking about Roger the Shrubberer, and how we were "getting better" and "going for a walk" (Monty Python  and the Holy Grail references, for the uninitiated).  I thought I had been transported back to high school for a moment or two.

My tree sculpture from the class isn't quite finished, it needs a bit more crimping on the ends and balancing of the branches, but here it is.

Bug Hunters in Repose
Speaking of trees, later this week I will be taking a  class on growing fruit  in the Chesapeake Bay area. The class not going to be much like the art class, more of a series of lectures with me scribbling notes furiously.  There is one section on beach plums which will come in handy when my trees/bushes arrive in a few weeks. After listening to so many people moan about how hard it is to grow stone fruit here, the section on variety selection for the area will either tell us that we have selected well or rather badly. The segment on brown marmorated stinkbugs (Maryland's imported version of cockroaches and Japanese beetles combined, as far as I'm concerned) may also prove to be useful.  The nasty little things suck on fruit and mess it up and invade my kitchen as insectoid kamikazes sometimes diving at the lights, sometimes our heads. They do provide the a bit of entertainment as the cats bobble and hop about to chase and eat them. They don't seem to mind the taste. The big, tough, hunting dog barks at the  bugs then pounces and eats them, which is on par with the rest of her hunting skills.  

They are predicting snow the day of the class, which won't be fun since to get to there I will have to cross the Bay Bridge, which is on the list of the scariest bridges in the US.  It is like being on a road suspended  high in the air by nothing, you see nothing off the sides, just a jersey barrier and then nothing (for five miles), add wind, heavy traffic, and crazy, aggressive drivers trying to make the experience as short as possible by driving as fast as possible, and it makes for an all too memorable experience.  I'd rather drive the George Washington Bridge in NYC on a Friday night, in the rain/sleet (like I did last December) than take this one on a sunny day.

The chickens are blissfully ignorant of the coming snow, they are scratching in the flower bed, exposing the just beginning to sprout daffodils.  They have become much more productive now that the weather has improved. I was able to take a frittata to a potluck yesterday that contained fifteen eggs with  a few eggs left over and then found three more this morning, one still warm.  Time to to check behind the hedges to see if there are any that I have missed...

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