I always know Spring has come in this part of the country, in its sporadic way, when I hear the Dusky-capped Flycatchers singing for mates and start nest building. The Western Bluebirds live in the woods all winter, and start checking out the houses I put out by February (brrr!!!), but these guys usually come right at the end of March or beginning of April. It's a cheery sound.
Ah, what a nice week—watching all my favorite British mystery shows on Netflix. Mercury went direct on the 17th, but I wanted to give it enough time for the influence to clear. (Great excuse!!) So back to marketing this week.
I've been reading a good book called The Republic of Shade, which is about the American Elm. It gives some really useful history that I'll be able to use in this next book. People of my age just barely remember all the elm-lined streets. By the time I was in college, they were all gone, devastated by Dutch Elm Disease. It was estimated that 77 million elms were killed. The worst hit areas were Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Istand, and the rest of the Northeast, but there was also a very high concentration of elms in St. Joseph and Kansas City, Missouri, where I was raised. It was a big deal.
But now, it's happening all over again, with the ash trees that were planted to replace the elms. This disease is less picky about what species it hits, attacking all the species of ash. There are 7.5 billion ash trees in North America, and this disease could kill virtually all of them.
When will we learn that monocultures of any plant, whether it be urban trees or strawberries and potatoes, are prime targets for some hungry insect, and all that those insecticides do, in the end, is poison US? Here is an article in Wikipedia that tells about this most recent holocaust: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emerald_ash_borer
Cartoon reprinted from Benson/The Arizona Republic
Whenever communication things slow down or feel blocked, I start to wonder ... and, sure enough, till the 16th, and for about 3 days afterwards, I should give marketing a rest and just do some of the artwork—or nothing at all, while NOT feeling guilty about it!
Image by: mamataxi.blogspot.com
It snowed last night, and is still grey today. Nice to have a little moisture in the Southwest, tho I know everyone else is being inundated. The sad thing is that a lot of the existing forests of the US are in the West, and because of drought and warming climate, the bark beetles are killing millions of trees, which then creates a tinderbox. So many dreadful fires have happened in the last few years - we are all paying for this in countless ways, and it will only get worse.
So says Ms. Cassandra.
Anyway, this week I contacted some Botanical Gardens and Arboretums, primarily in California, in my continuing quest to find avenues to sell my first book. Not a big response so far, but I'll keep at it.
Maybe I'll get back to work tomorrow.
Another National Park requested a book for review, and I'll be represented at the New Mexico Library Assn. Annual Conference and the Southwest Book Fiesta this spring. I'll also get to work on locating Botanical Gardens and Arboretums to contact.
Then of course I need to start working on the first of the 12 tree portraits for this second book. This time its the American Elm.
A friend came to visit over the last couple of days. It forced me to do some house cleaning, which doesn't get done often. It's a good thing, but does wear me out, what with the arthritis. Other than that, life is fairly tranquil, for me, at least.
Seems clear to me - if we don't learn to love our home, we're going to lose it—or at least access to it, as IT will most likely survive us, if not entirely intact. So the primary goal of this website is to engender curiosity about something in nature—anything, whether it's an amoeba or the oceans. Whatever does it for you —get active, if you can, or get interested and support, if you're like me and are not able or inclined to tromp around in the woods.
I am an artist and writer, living off grid, in a strawbale house on the high mesa near Taos, New Mexico. I have four cats, and live amongst a variety of wildlife including, but not limited to: coyote, pronghorn antelope, elk, endless bunnies and jackrabbits (and myriad other rodents), ravens, mountain bluebirds, rattlesnakes, and tarantula.
The cats stay in, everything else stays out.