Saturday, April 30, 2016

April is the cruelest month?


Today is the last day of April for the year of 2016. As most folks know, it is a month associated with the adage, "April showers bring May flowers." 

Throughout my years as a gardener, I have made the observation that April showers TAKE AWAY May flowers, and I've written about this a number of times, including an entry I made here on Blogger in 2012.

I've also written about another fact regarding April, which is an observation made by T.S. Eliot: "April is the cruelest month . . . Winter kept us warm, Covering earth in forgetful snow, feeding a little life with dried tubers." 

I was initially reminded (in 2011) of Eliot's quote by a resident of a home where I was doing volunteer work. And indeed in this year of 2016, April has been a cruel month for me, for two persons that I've known since the 1980's have died. I referred to this fact in the post I made this past Tuesday here on Blogger.

By having an interest in people, birds and flora, which are all part of creation that passes away, I am bound to experience the pain of loss, when any living entity passes from this life.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Pictures From My Latest Visit With Super



Due to the recent deaths of two individuals* that I've known for a long time, I've been pre-occupied. and unable to post anything on Blogger. I'm getting back to my routine and yesterday I was even able to go to The Wild Bird Fund and visit Super, the Northern Flicker pictured in the images above this entry. If you follow me on Blogger, you might recall that he is a bird I helped rescue earlier this month. I hope to receive more specific information on his progress in the coming days.

*If you'd like to read about this, I posted entries on TLLG's Fb Page and you can refer to them by clicking here as well as here and here.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

A Consequence of Getting Caught Up in #Twitter Trends

This past Friday, one of the things that was trending on Twitter was #WhoisthetrueNewYorker. I think one answer to that question can be found in the following video clip by Bill Cunningham.




I suppose Cunningham's "wisdom" came to my mind because the night before the #WhoisthetrueNewYorker Twitter trend, I had gone for my first tandem bike ride of 2016. Readers of this blog, may recall that in addition to my being a writer, a photo-artist, an advocate for birds, as well as an urban gardener; I am a stoker.

A stoker in the cycling community is one who cycles on the back seat of a tandem (bicycle built for two). I usually cycle with my tandem captain once a week, weather permitting. Because weather has not been too permitting for a few months, my first ride for 2016 did not occur until this past Thursday, April 14th, which was the night before #WhoisthetrueNewYorker was trending on Twitter. In any event, over the years, my captain and I have made a number of long distance rides. However, if we are cycling on a weeknight, we usually only cycle about eighteen miles, ending up at The Little Red Lighthouse, which can be seen in the picture (below) that I took of it this past Thursday.



Most of the times when we are on the grounds near the lighthouse, we are joined by robins and last Thursday was no exception. The following is a picture that a robin allowed me to take of him/her.



There are also a number of robins in Central Park, and as you may recall I featured them in an entry here on Blogger when I wrote about the recent terror attacks in Belgium. I've seen many more robins since that time, including ones that appear to enjoy congregating near the entrance to the IMAGINE Circle (as seen below).





But getting back to my mentioning the #WhoisthetrueNewYorker Twitter trend, I must confess that sometimes when I see what is trending on that platform, I get caught up and lose track of the content I want to share. 

Be that as it may, prior to my getting caught up in what was trending on Twitter this past week, I had intended to post something in honor of Tiny Tim, who would've been eighty four years old this past week! (He was born April 12th 1932.)


However, it was not until I went to meet my cycling captain, and saw tulips blooming in a community garden (as seen below), that I remembered my intent to pay homage to Tiny Tim, by posting a link to a mini-movie that I created in his honor in 2012.



And my seeing the tulips in the community garden also reminded me that I had intended to post something about this flower type. I currently have an array of tulip varities growing in containers that are on my rooftop gardenincluding the Parrot Blumex variety which can be seen in the following pictures.






The Parrot Blumex tulip variety, is one of many tulip types Cam (the cardinal who visited me and let me become her co-author), discusses in her book, "Words In Our Beak Volume One."


But getting to my being in the West Village to meet my bike captain: not only did I see tulips in the community garden that is hear to her home, I saw some tulips in window boxes on the street where she lives.



Seeing these window-box-tulips was yet another reminder that I had intended to post something related to Tiny Tim as well as this flower type. But these flowers also caused me to recall that I had not lost track of my intent of what I hoped to write; rather, my problem may have more to do with my ambivalence in expressing an idea that is not trending. 

E.B. White, an author I've referred to a number of times in my cyber-venues (especially here on Blogger), had the following to say about the type of ambivalence that I am prone to experience. (This insight of White's is something I included in a prior post here on Blogger when I wrote about the lighting scheme in my garden, in September of 2011.)


UNWRITTEN, by E.B. White

"Sometimes we regret our failure to write about things that really interest us. The reason we fail is probably because to write about them would prove embarrassing. The things that interested us during the past week, for example, and that we were unable or unwilling to write about (things that stand out clear as pictures in our head) were: the look in the eye of a man whose overcoat, with velvet collar was held together by a bit of string; the appearance of an officer after the building had shut down for the night; the obvious futility of the litter; . . . a man on a bicycle on Fifth Avenue; a short eulogy of John James Audubon, who spent his life loafing around, painting birds; an entry in Art Young's diary about a sick farmer who didn't know what was the matter with himself but thought it was biliousness; and the sudden impulse that we had (and very nearly gratified) to upend a large desk for the satisfaction of seeing everything on it slide off slowly on to the floor." 

I haven't upended my desk, as it's far too heavy. Besides any satisfaction in seeing everything on it slide to the floor would quickly be replaced by frustration at the task of putting it back together! Therefore to avoid giving into any temptation to upend my desk, I'll try to avoid the temptation of believing what's trending on Twitter is more important than what I have to say.... and give into my muse and write about what really interests my co-author the cardinal Cam and I.

ADENMENDUM: The digital versions of Volume One within the Words In Our Beak book series that are mentioned in this entry may only remain available for a limited time, but a hardcover version of Volume One can be found wherever books are sold.

Moreover, Volume Two of the book series is now available! Both volumes one and two are in hardcover format (as seen below) and can be purchased any place where books are sold.


Here's the purchase info for the hardcover versions of the Words In Our Beak book series:

Volume One: ISBN: 9780996378529:
Book Seller Info: http://bit.ly/2AFZDCz
Barnes & Noble On-Line: http://bit.ly/2AAnB26
book culture On Columbus: http://bit.ly/2FsC1Uf

Volume Two: ISBN: 9780996378536
Book Seller Info: http://bit.ly/2q75g8e
Barnes & Noble On-Line: http://bit.ly/2G65m6H

Friday, April 15, 2016

My Malus 'Prairfire' (Prairfire Crabapple)


Ever since I helped rescue Super, a migratory bird who is a Northern Flicker, all of my postings, except for one, have been about that injured bird. It is my intention to visit Super at least once a week until he is able to be released from the bird rehabilitation facility on NYC's Upper Westside to Central Park. I would gladly see him more often, but the facility where Super is recovering is very busy. I don't want to interfere with their efforts to help Super or the other injured birds they are treating.

Meanwhile, I am doing my best to maintain my urban rooftop garden and  keep it a haven for the urban birds who have visited it over the years. My garden can be seen in the photograph atop today's Blogger entry. I took the image from the vantage point of a nearby penthouse garden. The picture was taken in 2015 during the late summer or early fall; and Cam, a cardinal who visited me during that time, insisted we include it in the ePub (Kindle) version of our book Words In Our Beak Volume One.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Super's Status


Yesterday afternoon, I was able to visit Super, the Northern Flicker pictured atop this Blogger entry. He can be seen here in the cage where he needs to be kept during his recovery time for the healing of his broken wing and a concussion. These are the injuries he was diagnosed as having upon his being evaluated at the bird rehab center. It was my second time visiting Super since his being admitted to the wild bird rehabilitation center in New York City last Tuesday, April 5th. This photo may look familiar to you, dear reader, for I included one very similar to it it in an entry here on Blogger this past week, when I wrote about the diagnosis of this injured bird. In the aforementioned entry, I referred to another Blogger post where I introduced Super and described how a building superintendent and I were able to participate in rescuing him, and how we came to the idea of giving the name Super to this Northern Flicker.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Welcome, Ms. American Goldfinch!


Today I had a new visitor who braved the cold April showers. The bird I'm speaking about is an American Goldfinch and she can be seen in the photo atop this entry. I've never seen this bird type prior to today. And her visit was most welcome for it's has been a very cold and rainy day here in NYC.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Update on SUPER Bird







This past Wednesday, April 6th 2016, I posted information about Super, the name of the Northern Flicker featured in the pictures above.

I have since received word re Super’s prognosis via email and have posted a copy of it below:

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Northern Flicker: A SUPER Bird


Dear reader, please allow me the honor of introducing you to a very special bird; a bird whose type is classified as a Northern Flicker. He/she is a bird I was introduced to yesterday, and can be seen in the first photo accompanying this Blogger entry. In the image you can see the Northern Flicker cowering behind some trash bags. The bags were in the alleyway of a building down the street from where I live (on the Upper Westside of New York City).

The photograph was taken by the superintendent (or super as we say in NYC) of that building. Evidently he happened to discover the bird while he was performing routine chores for the building where he works.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

The Octave of Easter in 2016


Today is the Octave of Easter and this marks the end of the Easter Tide for 2016. However, it is not the end of the Easter season, which continues until Pentecost Sunday, which will occur on May 15, 2016.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Holy Cow!



It has been said that if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. I'm not sure if God — upon hearing my plans — laughs, but I am certain that my muse does!
For there are many times that I have an idea of what I want to write about, and then something happens that changes my intention.
This past Friday, April1st, was one of those days! I was about to sit down and write about a crabapple tree I bought in hopes of attracting Cam's (my dearly departed cardinal) children to my garden.

I edited my images, I had my text in mind, when suddenly I heard on the news that a cow/bull had escaped from a slaughter house in Queens (a borough of NYC).

A Visit From Sparrows




Nearly one week ago, I took these images of house sparrows alighting upon my kiwi vines, vines that were just starting to bloom after their winter nap. Seeing the sparrows enjoying the kiwi vines in my rooftop garden caused me to think of one of my favorite Henry David Thoreau quotes: “I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment, while I was hoeing in a village garden, and I felt that I was more distinguished by that circumstance than I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn.”
Btw, one of my kiwi vines acted as a narrator for my first garden-themed movie: The Kiwi Speaks! Fifteen Minutes of Fame...almost.

Friday, April 1, 2016

SPRING HAS SPRUNG — April Fool!




It’s truly #AprilFools in NYC. Gorgeous blooms today in #CentralPark BUT snow showers predicted in the forecast! Moreover, a high wind advisory is in place for this coming Sunday which could knock off those beautiful blooms!