Tummy Thursday: a Sweet Surprise

Well, do you remember this?

©voyager, all rights reserved

Which got turned into this:

©Giliell, all rights reserved.

And sent off to Germany, where it got turned into this:

©Giliell, all rights reserved.

Again, thank you very much, voyager. It is most delicious and no comparison with what you can buy here as maple syrup, no matter how often they say “Canadian grade A”.

And I swear that one day you WILL have the opportunity to share it with me in person.

Wednesday Wings: The Birds of Spring III

An old German children’s song is about the joys of spring, when “all the birds are here already”.

From the list of “blackbird, thrush, finch and starling” you can assume that those birds used to be more migratory or simply tried their luck in the woods back in those days.

There are different thrushes living here, but they are rare visitors to the garden, but can be found in the woods.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

 

The Woman with Lapislazuli in her Teeth

I’ve had this tab open for ages because I really wanted to share this story with you, which is cool and sad atb the same time, as it shows how modern notions of society have clouded the vision on the past.

What Anita Radini noticed under the microscope was the blue—a brilliant blue that seemed so unnatural, so out of place in the 1,000-year-old dental tartar she was gently dissolving in weak acid.

It was ultramarine, she would later learn, a pigment that a millennium ago could only have come from lapis lazuli originating in a single region of Afghanistan. This blue was once worth its weight in gold. It was used, most notably, to give the Virgin Mary’s robes their striking color in centuries of artwork. And the teeth that were embedded with this blue likely belonged to a scribe or painter of medieval manuscripts.

Who was that person? A woman, first of all. According to radiocarbon dating, she lived around 997 to 1162, and she was buried at a women’s monastery in Dalheim, Germany. And so these embedded blue particles in her teeth illuminate a forgotten history of medieval manuscripts: Not just monks made them. In the medieval ages, nuns also produced the famously laborious and beautiful books. And some of these women must have been very good, if they were using pigment as precious and rare as ultramarine.

Read the whole story here.

Monday Mercurial: Bee happy!

Apparently, one side of our garden has been overtaken by common sand bees/ mining bees, andrena flavipes.

I noticed a lot of activity last week and right now it’s all buzz and swarming. I was at first confused since wild bees are usually solitary and it took me all of my google -fu to find out that the most likely explanation is that it’s a nesting aggregation and the huge traffic we’re seeing right now is the drones hanging around to have a lot of sex before they die, so in a few days the whole thing will be over.

This is a relief because in about two weeks the workpeople will start rebuilding our garden stairs and stuff and I was worried that the bees would get in their way or would have their home destroyed. As far as I’m concerned, having those bees here is like a knighting for my garden as an insect friendly space.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

At work!

©Giliell, all rights reserved

A different kind of wild bee.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

That fruit tree is currently BUZZING.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

New Drawer

It all started with a reasonably small box arriving from the USA. It grew into chaos.

I must say, we are not tidy people. There are folks who are tidy by nature, or who work hard on being tidy, but we are neither. Our time is scarce and we both agree that it can be spent on much better things than cleaning, so we usually put things into the big plastic boxes we use for shopping and every other week I empty them cussing like a sailor. Every once in a while I try out a new system to make being tidier easier, to various degrees of success.

With the resin supplies, I tried different ideas. The last one was putting the stuff into those decorative cardboard boxes you get at Ikea and storing those in an old book chest, but it was too much and also came with lots of searching, so I made another attempt with an Ikea Malm drawer:

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Everything nice and clean, at least for now.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Resin, tools, cups. The small scrollsaw that I use for cutting resin is right next to the drawer. Yes, it is full. Much has happened since that first small box.

Friday Feathers: The Birds of Spring

First, a solemn fellow or two. Or proof that life is fucking disappointing, because whenever in  a fantasy novel a crow or raven lands in front of you they have a message from some overlord or lady that sends you off on an interesting quest. All I got was being croaked at.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

What the storm did

You may remember that I talked about a storm about two weeks ago, and when I went for a walk last week, I could see the devastation in parts of the forest. In one spot, the gnarly pines paid a high tribute and their trunks are lying there, ready to be removed (that part is not part of the nature reserve), with the branches being left to the wilderness.

A look at the trees shows you the power of the storm.

©Giliell, all rights reserved
This fellow was already hollowed out by rot.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Well, I got some loot to take home, but I would have preferred the trees alive.

In which Marcus enters uncanny territory

It’s no secret that Marcus sends parcels of wonder across the globe, but by now I think he’s a mind reader. You all know that wood and resin is about my favourite combination ever, as in my latest necklace and earrings:

©Giliell, all rights reserved

But nothing surpasses the beauty of burl in resin projects, which I have been looking for for ages without much luck. You can imagine the look on my face when yesterday a parcel arrived and instead of being my husband’s new phone battery, it was these gorgeous pieces of burl:

©Giliell, all rights reserved

How did Marcus know? I have no clue, but I’m glad he did.

Thank you very much again, Marcus.

Teacher’s Corner: All You Need is Love (and other bullshit)

I’m home today, with the Little One having caught a stomach bug and me not being sure if I caught it as well, or was simply feeling sick from having to do the cleaning up and not sleeping all night, so I called in sick.

So I’ve got some time for a post that has been stewing in my mind for a while, on some pretty toxic notions of parenting and raising kids who fail.

One of the ingredients was a tweet on German Twitter where a woman posted that “kids don’t need boundaries, all they need is that you love them enough and they will always behave”. In the further discussion she doubled and trippled down, linking all unwanted behaviours to lack of love. Your kids eats chocolate cake instead of dinner? You don’t love them enough? (Also, healthy eating is overrated, we’ll come back to this) You disagree with this person? It’s because mummy (!) didn’t love you enough. Whatever goes wrong, it’s ultimately the fault of the parents, especially the mothers, who didn’t love their children enough.

Do I have to explain why such an idea is toxic and destroys all healthy parent-child relationships? If the blame for inappropriate behaviour ultimately resides with your lack of love, then you must at all cost prevent that behaviour. This usually means removing al sources of possible conflict, often by fulfilling your child’s every wish and desire. If a temper tantrum  over no ice cream means you don’t love your child, you give them ice cream. Here we come back to what I wrote above, because the person literally said that i should just let the child eat the cake, nutrition is overrated anyway. This is the second coping mechanism of this philosophy: move the goalposts. Everybody who ever parented knows that your kid will still show behaviours that are inappropriate. Even if you obey their every command, they will have temper tantrums because the world does not indeed revolve around them and most of them will still eat sweets, no matter how much you love them. Therefore, the behaviour that was a sign of lack of love a minute ago is redefined as benign.

And as an aside, some people are just damn lucky and have children who hardly need any parenting at all. I know this because I have one. I also have one who needs a lot of parenting. And I don’t love the former more than  the latter. If anything, the latter had 2 years of my love all to herself before her sister was born.

This “philosophy” gets even worse when seen in the context of disabilities like AD(H)S or also kids on the spectrum. Those children will show lots of “inappropriate” behaviour because they often cannot deal with the world, or with themselves, and if parenting of neurotypical and able children is already hard, then  those parents’ lives are in expert mode fro  the start. If their behaviour is no longer a result of their disability but an indictment of your lack of love, then seeking the help you need is twice as hard, especially if an ADHD kid is raised on “no limits or boundaries”.

Linked to this, and therefore my second “ingredient” is the idea of “snowplow parenting”, which is apparently the kind of parents even helicopter parents curl back from in disgust. In the wake of the US college admission scandal, where the only surprising thing was that some people were surprised, the NYT published an article about parents who baby their kids well into adulthood. The results are devastating for the young adults, who are dropping out of college because they cannot cope with the presence of sauce in the cafeteria. But least you think that this is a phenomenon of the American upper class, I know similar complaints from doctors, who have parents accompany their mildly ill adult kids to a doctor’s appointment or even to a job interview. I see it on a smaller scale when parents try to protect their kids from the consequences of their actions (where every consequence we throw at them is ridiculous compared to what the world is going to do. Missing out on some fun because you got detention for being late is nothing compared to losing your job), or parents fretting over their big bulky 12 years old son waiting for 45 minutes after school before some activity starts. Because a meteor could hit him or something.

Now, I don’t doubt that all those parents mean well, that they truly love their children. But they don’t do them good. Especially when the boys, but not only them, grow up, the parents lose all their chances of turning the wheel around. I have parents who are obviously afraid of their sons, who keep doing their bidding so they can avoid the dreaded conflict or the consequences.

Nothing here says “don’t love your children”. Love them, a lot. Tell them often. But don’t mistake helicopter or snowplow parenting for love, consumer goods for love. Give them what they need, and occasionally also what they want.