In preparation for my upcoming season of programs, which are centered around designing gardens to support pollinators, one of my jobs is to refresh and update the photos that are an integral part of the presentation. This past month I have been immersed in colorful images and tomorrow I am giving my new monarch butterfly presentation at (the other) Cape. Here are some of the outtakes from my pollinator habitat programs for our winter weary eyes.
Rockin steady in Rockport with Mavis Staples and her fabulously talented backup trio, the Rick Holmstrom Band.
This was a show not to be missed and according to several of the stage hands, was one of the best they’ve ever produced at the Shalin Liu. I couldn’t agree more! Rick Holmstrom on guitar, Jeff Turmes, on bass, and Stephen Hodges on drums. Bring back Mavis and the Rick Holmstrom Band-an extraordinary group of talented musicians.
You can see Mavis, along with her father Pop Staples and siblings, the Staple Singers, come in at around one minute. The song was included in the film The Last Waltz (directed by Martin Scorsese), a documentary about The Band’s last concert.
I think I’m in love with Dwight and Nicole, the opening duo for Mavis Staples. Their music is exquisite, and wonderfully fun, too. Here’s a link to their website: Dwight and Nicole.
My favorite of the favorites is “Wish I only Knew,” which i just downloaded from iTunes. Take a behind the scenes look at their new album, Shine On, in an interview with Steve Morse.
About Dwight and Nicole, from their website:
Dwight & Nicole, an American roots band formed by recording artists Dwight Ritcher and Nicole Nelson are set to release their sophomore LP, the aptly titled Shine On, on April 22, 2014. An inspiring mashup of folk, blues, pop, jazz, gospel and reggae, the album can’t be categorized easily, but that’s fine. “I don’t like to be categorized…because I’m changing all the time. And in every moment, I’m a little bit different. And as I am feeling things, what I want to express becomes different. And I think our fans appreciate that honesty,” says Nelson.
Recorded at Milt Reder’s Rear Window Studio in Boston, Shine On was heavily funded by Dwight & Nicole’s devoted fans via music-centric crowd-sourcing site, PledgeMusic.com. The album is a culmination of an exciting couple of years that saw Nelson appear on NBC’s hit talent show, The Voice; chart a stirring rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” at #24 on iTunes; and win a Boston Music Award for “Female Vocalist of The Year.” The duo’s recent momentum also landed them on Boston Globe’s “25 Most Stylish of the Year” list, found them playing major festivals and performing at storied Fenway Park. Read More Here
For the past several years a pair of the sweetest Carolina Wrens have made our garden their home. The wrens are at the very edge of their northern range and because of that, they are much more at risk than many of the species of birds that we see at our feeders. Knowing this is one of the reasons why we are so vigilant in keeping the bird feeders well-stocked. The Carolina Wrens are easy to please; safflower seeds and suet are amongst their favorites. The following I wrote awhile back but because they are so vulnerable in this snowiest of winters, I think the information is worthwhile to repost.
Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus)
Come-to-me, come-to-me, come-to-me, repeated from sun up to sundown. Mellow and sweet—though loud enough to attract my attention—what was this new-to-my-ears birdsong coming from the thicket of shrubs? Occasionally we would catch a quicksilver glimpse of a petite sparrow-sized songbird singing energetically atop the fence wall or rapidly pecking at the chinks of bark on our aged pear tree. But this was definitely not a sparrow. His is a rounded little body with tail held upward. He has pale orangey-buff underparts and rich russet plumage, with white and black barred accents on the wings, and long white eye-stripes. Because his coloring is so similar to, my husband took to calling it “that chipmunk bird.”
After much running to the window and out the back door at his first few notes I was able to identify our resident Carolina Wren. All summer long and through the fall we were treated to his beautiful and sundry melodies. Here it is late winter and he is again calling me to the window. We can have a longer look through bare trees and shrubs. Much to our joy there is not one wren, but a pair!
The Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) is common throughout the southeast; so populous it is the state bird of South Carolina. When found on Cape Ann it is at its most northern edge of its territory. Gradually, as the climate has warmed over the past century, its range has expanded. They are sensitive to cold and will perish during severe weather. The Carolina Wren is a highly adaptable creature, dwelling in swamps, forests, farms, and tree-filled urban and suburban communities. They hop around leaf litter and dense brush, using their elongated bills to forage for food close to the ground. A pair may bond any time of the year and will stay together for life. It is the ardent male who sings the loud song and he is apt to anytime and anywhere. Carolina Wrens work together to construct their nests and feed their young. Their nesting sites are varied, built in both man-made and natural nooks and crannies; tree holes and stumps, and just as frequently, windowsills, mailboxes, tin cans, garage shelves, and holes found in porches, fence posts, and barns.