Wild Hyacinths

From Nightjar,

After last week’s wild daffodils I bring you more spring bulbs… wild hyacinths! Well, kind of, I think these are actually squills (Scilla sp.) but they belong to the same family and I’ve always called them that. They’re everywhere right now. Two of these photos have a bonus little spider.

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

The rest of the pictures are below the fold in case any of you don’t want to see the spider. I happen to think the spider is adorable, and the rest of the photos are gorgeous. The light in the second to last photo is breathtaking.

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Corona Crisis Crafting I

Ok, this is cheating a bit, because I made the pieces over the last two weeks or so, but it’s still something pretty that you can make indoors.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

The necklace turned out very elegant and beautiful and I’m wondering what to wear it to, once we can go out again and support our local restaurants. It’s ten individual resin pieces with Bohemian glass beads to separate them. here are some of my favourite ones:

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved


The Art of Book Design: The Rabbit Witch

Katherine Pyle. The Rabbit Witch and Other Stories. Illustrated by the author. New York, E.P. Dutton and Company, 1895.

I found this book while I was looking for something else, and it charmed me, so I decided to feature it on a Fairy Tale Saturday. It’s a small book of children’s rhymes, each with its own title page plus a separate page with a simple drawing related to the story. The verses are told in panels, two to a page, and I think the layout almost has a comic book feel to it. The drawings are in simple black and red, and they include a kitten, a dog, a stork and a rabbit in a polka-dotted kerchief. I’ve included my favourite illustrations below the fold, but if you’d like to see more, the entire book is available at The Library of Congress. [Read more…]

Tree Tuesday

David Milarch with clones of 3,000-year-old redwoods. Courtesy Archangel Ancient Tree Archive

David Milarch is a man on a mission, and his goals are ambitious. He is trying to save the Ancient Giant Redwoods and, in the process, save the planet.

Years of droughts and shifting temperatures have already driven these evergreen giants out of some coastal zones they once inhabited. The trees can live for as long as 2,000 to 3,000 years, but some scientists think, the way things are going, that they could disappear from California in a fraction of that time.

Milarch spends his days tracking down the heartiest coast redwood specimens he can find, cloning them in his own lab, and then planting them in carefully chosen plots where they can thrive, hopefully for millennia. One site is a new experimental bed in San Francisco’s Presidio, part of the U.S. National Park system. Milarch’s goal is both to strengthen the coast redwood gene pool with clones of the strongest individuals, and to store loads of climate-change-causing carbon—more than 1,000 tons per acre of redwoods, more than any other kind of forest in the world. It’s a complicated mission with a simple philosophy: Save the big trees, and they’ll save us.

Milarch is well qualified for the mission as are his two sons, both of whom assist him with the project and the foundation.

If you strike up a conversation with Milarch, you’ll get his life story inside of 10 minutes—from his motorcycle gang days in Detroit to the revelation that set him on his current path, involving a near-death experience, angels, and a disembodied voice that dictated a plan he wrote down in the wee hours of the morning. When he woke up fully the next day, he says, “There was an eight-page outline on that legal pad. It was the outline for this project.”
The angel who tapped Milarch for this mission seems to have picked the right person—not only is he an able tree-vangelist, but he is a third-generation shade-tree grower. His sons Jake and Jared, both of whom work for Archangel, make up the fourth. So he knows all the secrets of getting balky arborial species to reach their potential by locating the healthiest specimens, clipping and propagating them, and then nurturing delicate new trees.

Jake Milarch of the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive packs up saplings that were sent to Oregon for planting. Courtesy Archangel Ancient Tree Archive

It’s a long, complicated process that involves cloning and Milarch manages it all with an eye to the future. The saplings are nurtured with compost and drip-fed water when dry, and in time, Milarch plans to plant underbrush species that will not dominate the young trees. He also plans to selectively thin the trees as they grow, allowing the most dominant to take over.

It isn’t a cure-all for climate change, but it is an important part of the answer.

As University College London earth scientists Mark Maslin and Simon Lewis point out in The Conversation, reforestation is hardly a magic bullet against climate change. It can take centuries, even millennia, to have its effect, and that’s time the climate problem does not have. Some of the land areas earmarked for reforestation in the Science study may end up too hot for forests by the time people get around to planting them. “Reforestation,” Maslin and Lewis write, “should be thought of as one solution to climate change among many.”
Even if champion trees aren’t an answer by themselves, Milarch is determined to see them at least become part of the answer. If there’s anything worth being downright messianic about, he figures, it’s creating eternal groves of thousand-year-old, self-replicating giants that could benefit all humankind. “We have a list of the 100 most important trees to clone. We have our marching orders. We know where we need to go,” Milarch says. “I raise my hand every morning and I say, ‘Use me.’”

I don’t believe in angels, but whatever it was that sent Milarch on his quest, I’m thankful for it. If you’d like to know more about this vital project please visit The Archangel Ancient Tree Archive Website.


Story via: Atlas Obscura


Learning Bob in Lace

Since I could not work too much in the workshop and the garden, I have decided to learn how to make bobbin lace from my mother. It is a bit frustrating because as much as I love my mom, she is terrible at explaining things. But I have learned how to make lace as a kid, and once forgotten things are easier to learn again, so I have succeeded somewhat and I have learned two basic lace-making techniques.

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

These are bookmarks. The green leaves are meant to stick out of the book. I have decided to learn by making these because they are a bit useful whilst being enough boring to learn the necessary muscle-memory. And the eleven curves were excellent exercise – that part took three times as long as the straight part.

The red and blue ones are made with technique “plátno” (canvas). I started with the red ones, that s why those have three different colors in them, so I can easier keep tracks of the various threads. On the blue ones, I was more confident so the body is made entirely of blue with just the outer line white. The yellow ones are made with technique “polohod” (half-throw) and are the last ones I have made. I already knew sort-of what to expect and the colors were chosen for the looks.

In order to keep my hands functioning, I will have to interrupt knife-making and gardening with easier tasks, and bobbin lace seems to be a good fit. It can be interrupted at almost any time, it is easier than drawing or painting, it can be done whilst watching a movie and once prepared it can be done either just a few minutes a day or a few hours a day, whatever one can fit into the schedule. And it does not strain fingers, which is why my mother could continue doing it even after having metacarpal bones in both thumbs destroyed by arthritis to the point they had to be replaced by plastic ones.

Only now I have nine bookmarks without actually needing more than one. Well, I have more knives than I need too…

Wild Daffodils

Spring bulbs are blooming in Portugal and Nightjar is sharing.

I have a few daffodils blooming in my garden right now, but it turns out that hunting wildflowers is more fun. It is the season for wild daffodils and, in my case, it’s also the right place to look for them. The Mediterranean region is the natural range of the genus Narcissus and the Iberian Peninsula is considered to be its center of diversity, meaning this is where the genus first developed its distinctive characteristics. The petticoat daffodil, Narcissus bulbocodium, is the species I’m most familiar with as I know exactly where to find it every year. The flowers are very delicate and tiny (wikipedia says its floral diameter is 12 mm, which makes it the smallest among Narcissus) but the way it glows in the sun is magnificent. Photos are from late February. I hope you enjoy them!

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

©Nightjar, all rights reserved