Fancy Bats.

From Joseph: I’ve begun a series I call Fancy Bats.  This one is the first in the series.  It’s pen and ink on Bristol board.  

I focus on bats because, well, bats are awesome.  They’re such fascinating marvels of evolution, and they don’t get enough love in mainstream U.S. culture.  Whether it’s the puppy-dog cuteness of large fruit bats or the otherworldly intricacy on the faces of echolocating microbats, I’m always drawn to the magnificent aesthetics of these creatures.

As for the style, it’s largely based on my idle doodling.  When I’m bored and not focusing on any particular image or idea, I draw repeating patterns of curves and points, so this is an extension of my instinctual habits.  Also, I’ve been intrigued with the stylized depictions of animals in ancient Mesopotamian and Persian sculpture, from bulls and lions to fantastic beasts like lamassus and manticores.  It’s been a source of inspiration for years.

This is just the beginning, and I don’t know exactly which direction this series will go.  I just know that this ties together several ideas that mean a lot to me, and I hope you all enjoy the results.

I’m with Joseph, I love bats and find them fascinating. Our local bats are Myotis lucifugus, and I love watching them. I also love Joseph’s beautiful drawing, be sure to click for full size!

© Joseph Zowghi, all rights reserved.

© Joseph Zowghi, all rights reserved.

H Is For Hose and Horta.

Hose. Horta, Portuguese for a vegetable garden or a small farm.

This photo shows onions being watered with the help of a large hose, simulating rain. It was late in the afternoon and I couldn’t resist the way the light illuminating the young and wet onion leaves from behind was giving them a lovely translucent green appearance. This is an old photo, from 2013, back then my grandmother was still alive (this is on her yard) and my mother was still healthy (she was the one holding the hose here). I miss those times.

Click for full size!

© Nightjar, all rights reserved.

Hackamore Miniature.

An astonishing work, from Kestrel: There is a group that issues a fun challenge to model horse tack makers: push your skill set and see if you can make a nice piece of tack in one month. For the project I chose to make a hackamore in 1:32 scale (normally I work at 1:9) and the goal is to make it look as much like a piece of tack for a living horse while being in scale and as detailed as possible. This was hard… it really was a challenge for me to go this small.

Click for full size!

It all started with a single white horsehair. I braided 8 strands of very fine silk over the hair, to create the base of the noseband (bosal) for the hackamore. I have to check to see if it will look in scale:

Then I tie a series of braided knots in the silk, to create the finished bosal, a very complicated little device:

We need some buckles for the headstall to hold the bosal on the horse’s head:

Next I have to make the headstall of leather, and why not tie a few more braided knots on it to make it decorative. Also I need to braid a long rope with a tassel at one end and a leather popper on the other (mecate) which is the traditional way of rigging reins and a lead rope:

The finished piece, which hopefully looks like it could be full-sized on a live horse:

Jack’s Walk

©voyager, all rights reserved

Yesterday I noticed a lot of dead or dying trees in the forested area up by the lake so today Jack and I went back to do a bit more exploring. I know that some of the damage was caused by the emerald ash borer beetle which decimated a nearby park, but there are also a lot of dry, brittle fir trees and I don’t know what’s causing that. I’m also curious to see how healthy the underbrush is, but we need a few weeks of growing time before I’ll really be able to tell. In the meantime, the trails are easy(ish) and Jack is having fun.



The Daily Bird #694.

This year I finally managed to make a picture of a singing male black redstart. They are always nesting somewhere close, but I never found out where exactly. Possibly in my neighbour’s garden.

They are cheeky and swift builders – one day I forgot to close the barn door for the afternoon and they have built a nest in there, that I found out a few days later (abandoned, of course, since the barn was closed in the meantime). I am trying to provide them with suitable nesting places but they insist on building nests in the most insane places possible, where I only find them when I destroy them by accident at the same time – like in the concrete mixer, or under the cover on the wood chopping block. I have to be careful to close doors and windows in the spring, and to cover any holes where I do not wish to be surprised by a bird’s nest.

I do not mind them nesting here, what I do mind is me accidentaly destroing said nests.

Male Black Redstart

©Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Youtube Video: FightCamp 2015 Federschwert longsword tournament – HEMA

I normally do not like to watch sports, but I liked this very much. Somehow these fencing matches look interesting and much more real than modern fencing or over-choreographed Star Wars jumping matches.

In the very first minute is a moment of two opponents sizing each other up, both deciding to wait for the other to strike. The tension in there is very intense, palpable even through the screen.

Very interesting is also the match that starts at 12:47 between a very diminutive woman and a huge bulky man. Lesson to be learned here is unfortunately that in these competitions size does matter – to my amateurish eyes she does not seem any less skilled than he does, but she just does not get within striking distance before he does. Longer hands mean longer reach and longer reach means huge advantage. So everything else being equal, the bigger guy wins. I certainly hope she did not feel discouraged. I am not fan of competitions for this very reason – it is not only a test of skill, there is always a lot of variables outside of anyone’s control that can affect the outcome.

And the most memorable point is that in the last match a sword breaks (32:39). What is interesting about this is that it does not break at the striking point, but just near the handle, at the strongest part. Given that this sword was made from modern steel with modern technology one has to wonder how often did swords break in the past?


Back home from chemo. I’ve done surprisingly well today, good energy, and constantly stuffing my mouth, which makes for a grand change. We had a leisurely time after chemo was done, around 3 pm. We stopped at the bookstore, and I brought home a stack of books, as usual. And then we had an exploratory trip through the new Co-op market, they have some very impressive produce at reasonable prices, so we’ll definitely be back. Then we did our regular market shopping and headed home. I’m hoping tonight won’t have any nasty surprises. Anyroad, I’m going to go cuddle up with a book and my giant glass of Nesquik/Malted Milk/Ovaltine. I am not setting my clock, so when I show up tomorrow, who knows, might be rather late in the morning.

As for the stack of books, none of these authors are known to me, so an adventure. I started Midnight At The Bright Ideas Bookstore on the way home because I am a complete sucker for any book which takes place in a library or bookstore setting. I’m not far in, but I already love many of the characters, and there’s a delicious horror-type mystery unfolding in this wonderfully odd bookstore.

I’ll see you all tomorrow sometime.

Jack’s Walk

It’s another beautiful day so my boy and I went wandering around the woods up by the lake. I don’t walk those trails very often because there’s usually a lot of bugs, but it’s early in the season so I thought we’d give it a try. Jack loves new places so he had a great time and I found a few interesting trees to photograph. The first two trees are alive, but the last tree has been dead for a while. It left behind an interesting carcass, though, and was full of little sparrows as we approached it.

©voyager, all rights reserved