Wednesday, June 30, 2010

brown pelican eggs

I don't know if the oil can get directly INTO their nests (except in the case of a hurricane - in which case, they're doomed anyway) but if Mom and Dad Pelican are hanging out in oil all day long, you know they bring it home with them.
It reminds me of the workers at Chernobyl somehow.

(the finished bird page from the last few days)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

it's not really "sun tea"

I love to make sun tea 
on my front porch
but today it's more like "cloud tea"

the sun is trying hard to break through the marine layer
and my tea is just taking a little bit longer to brew

some things take a little while to "brew" don't they?
I've been obsessing over the "oil spill animals"
and in the back of my mind wondering 
"where am I going with this?"
so far, it's just a sketchbook at home:
for my kids,
my family,
my friends who know me.
I have one more page to do and it's full
- but is it?
one of my blogger friends (Freebird) turned me onto a special blog:
it's someplace to go with this obsession
it's just atc's
but they're special atc's
each one raises $10
maybe it's something you'd like to do?
I know you guys and how creative you are
it's just a thought
a thought to let brew for a bit

please visit the lovely tea blogs in my sidebar ....
and Meadowlark Days is joining us again :)

Monday, June 28, 2010

red knot bird

The red knot is a shore bird and makes one of the longest migrations of any other animal on the planet.
Over 9,000 miles from it's Arctic breeding grounds to Tierra del Fuego in southern South America.
Like many other migratory birds, the Gulf of Mexico is an important stop along the way.
Click HERE and you can hear it's birdsong.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

go see this:

my blogger friend Dianne made a beautiful oil pastel of the salt marshes the seaside sparrow calls home.
go see it HERE.

Friday, June 25, 2010

seaside sparrow

This is literally a seaside bird; few other sparrows have so restricted a habitat. Favoring the wetter sections of salt marshes, it feeds much less on seeds than other sparrows do, but eats tiny young crabs, snails, and other small marine animals along the tidal creeks of salt meadows. Like all birds living near the ground in grass, the Seaside Sparrow is difficult to detect until it is almost underfoot, whereupon it flushes, flies for a short distance, drops down into the thick grass, and runs along like a mouse. The best opportunity to view one is when it is singing atop a grass stem or small shrub.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

brown pelican

The poster child of this disaster
here he is ...
 not floating in oil
... it's just his shadow in the rippled water.

Read this story about 62 rehabilitated Brown Pelicans released into the wild on the Texas coast.
It's a hopeful tale in the midst of what IS a WCS (worst case scenario).

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

tea and roses

Today's tea is a Siberian Rose tea from the Vital Tea Leaf in Seattle
I had the pleasure of wandering into their shop last week where I enjoyed an informal tea tasting.
This rose tea was my favorite .... they had a wonderful ginger tea too.
It was really fun - if you're ever in Seattle it's in the south end of the Public Market on Pike Place.


Below, is a picture of rose petals I've laid out to dry.
I wish you could smell them!
The roses were:
Jude the Obscure
Abraham Darby 
and Evelyn.

I think of Evelyn as "the other woman."
Sometimes The Sweet Husband comes in from the garden saying,
"Oh, Evelyn, she smells so good today!"

Please also visit the tea blogs listed in the sidebar to see what they are up to "tea-wise"

Monday, June 21, 2010

Roseate Spoonbill

Audubon Article about this beautiful bird

I wouldn't be surprised.
Isn't this oil spill a worst case scenario yet?
Is it an Exxon Valdez every 2 days?

Friday, June 18, 2010

bottlenose dolphin

2 interesting stories about the dolphins in the gulf:

  • an AP story about how they're swimming closer to shore to escape the oil
  • a BBC video interview with a woman in Alabama who normally takes people out to see the dolphins in her boat .... her perceptions about their change in behavior
... are you sick of this?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

deepwater corals

"Deep, cool water coral reefs were discovered not too long ago in the Gulf of Mexico.  While coral reefs are generally known to be in warm water locations, like off the coast of Australia, cool water reefs thrive in near freezing temperatures! .......... The Gulf of Mexico cool water coral reef hosts a virtual underwater world of corals, fish, crustaceans and anemones – all of which call the fragile reef home.  It lies only 20 miles northeast of the Deepwater Horizon, blown-out BP oil rig."

(read more of this article at

(completed shells page)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

eastern oyster

state shell of the state of Louisiana
... it makes sense to me that it is a working man/woman's shell ...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

black tea today

ELK asked me if doing the "oil spill animals series" was helping me.
It might not be really - but I also think ignoring it and pretending it's not my problem would really not help. I tend towards melancholy and my melancholy is really strong over this mess, but I'm going with it instead of trying to shut it down. I've learned through some bouts with depression that (for me) art and writing helps the most. Add vitamin D, B complex and guilt free naps to that too :)

My thoughts over the oil spill, so far, are these:

"I felt a great disturbance in the Force, 
as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. 
I fear something terrible has happened."
―Obi-Wan Kenobi, referring to the destruction of Alderaan

we need to care about our waterways on a local and state level.
do you have a river or creek with storm water run-off?
if you do, you have a mini oil spill with every rain storm.

does your state economy depend on oil?
get creative and reject that lie.
there are many other industries.
big oil is just easy money.

if oil exploration is venturing into deeper and deeper water -
let the billions of profits be spent on making it safe.
in my opinion it will never be safe, 
no matter how much money is thrown at it.

this particular spill is potentially an Exxon Valdez every 2 days.
every 2 days for 175 days.
BP's environmental permit estimated a worst case spill flow at 162,000 barrels/day.
BP is moving 4 tankers into place with the capacity of siphoning off 80,000 barrels/day.
supposedly it is spilling at up to 40,000 barrels/day.
I think it must be at least double that much (given their new recovery plan).

if container ships drop an occasional container of sneakers or rubber ducks into the ocean and those eventually make their way to every single coast in the world, this oil spill will stain your beach - no matter where you live. 

on a hopeful note I will leave you with this thought from my friend Emily Dickinson:

"to make a prairie it takes one clover and one bee,
one clover, and a bee,
and reverie.
the reverie alone will do
if bees are few."

be sure to take tea with my friends listed in the sidebar today
I'm sure their tea is not as black as mine is today

Monday, June 14, 2010

another shell

the lightning whelk is the state shell of Texas:

"The carcasses of more than 35,000 birds and 1,000 sea otters were found at the 1989 Exxon Valdez site, according to its Trustee Council website, which estimated that the actual toll was "250,000 seabirds, 2,800 sea otters, 300 harbor seals, 250 bald eagles, up to 22 killer whales, and billions of salmon and herring eggs."

to date (56 days) this spill is roughly 7 times greater
and we're looking at another 3 months until the relief wells are done
... we're only 1/3 of the way through this thing.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


this one was the hardest to do so far
not because it was technically hard
- it was emotionally hard -
I felt like crying most of the time
and when I was done 
I watched some lady on food network make chicken pot pies
I just hope the manatees survive this
more reading here:

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

T and morning sun

how unusual to have the sun streaming in so early in the morning!
where I live is subject to the whims of marine air ...
... which is usually quite wet!
June gloom
but not today!!!

as you know I've been working on a series:

page 1 is completed
my plans for the next page are devoted to one animal only
a magnificent and gentle animal
an animal that in all it's softness and slowness and simple need for habitat
relies on humans to be mindful and careful and generous of spirit

thank you to everyone for your kind comments through these oil spill posts
it is a lovely thing to share an awe and appreciation of nature

(please also visit the other tea bloggers listed in my sidebar)

Monday, June 7, 2010

sea star

A healthy sea star (aka starfish).
Are they the canary in the coal mine?
Thousands washed ashore on Chandeleur Islands Louisiana,
home of the Breton National Wildlife Refuge,
Tuesday April 27th, 2010.
Only 5 days after the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

snowy plover

"The Snowy Plover is a ground nesting bird found primarily on unvegetated to sparsely vegetated coastal beaches and shores of inland alkaline lakes. An estimated 18,000 Snowy Plovers breed in North America, where U.S. Pacific and Gulf coasts populations are imperiled by degradation of their habitat from development, human recreation and invasive species. The Pacific coast population is listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as threatened and the Gulf coast population is state-listed as endangered in Mississippi and threatened in Florida."

Friday, June 4, 2010

loggerhead sea turtle

worldwide status:

They grow to be more than 84 inches (7 feet)
and live to about 67 years old.

Per Wikipedia: In the Atlantic Ocean, the greatest concentration of loggerheads is along the southeastern coast of North America and in the Gulf of Mexico. Very few loggerheads are found along the European and African coastlines. Florida is the most popular nesting site with over 67,000 nests built per year. (Read more HERE)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

one way to cope

I am sad beyond words about The Oil Spill.
Today I painted this little guy.
The Ornate Chorus Frog.
His home is in the marshes of the Southeastern United States
He is very small (about 1 inch) and lives in burrows he makes in the mud.
Mud that is not meant to be inundated with oil and Corexit.

I'm sorry I missed tea with everyone this week ....
just not feeling much like a party I guess.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

t is for .....

t is for time off
I'm taking a little mental health break today
I'll check back on all of my tea friends tomorrow 
(see the blog list in my sidebar)