The frogs have been incredible this spring. Here’s something recorded with three mics (for best listening, try putting on headphones — you will be engulfed in the tri-stereophonic bliss of creatures singing in the woods! Trust me, computer speakers won’t provide the embodied sense of being in the midst of it all!) Minimalist guitars included, but the frogs are worth it!
“The concept of smellscapes suggests that, like visual impressions, smells may be spatially ordered or place-related. It is clear, however, that any conceptualization of smellscape must recognize that the perceived smellscape will be non-continuous, fragmentary in space and episodic in time, and limited by the height of our noses from the ground, where smells tend to linger.”
—Douglas Porteous, “Smellscape,”
The Smell Culture Reader, edited by Jim Drobnick
My neighbor’s yard is a source of olfactory joy for a short time each summer, and a source of olfactory misery for most of the rest of the year.
In early summer, when lilacs explode in this Lake Superior latitude, for a few weeks the bush just across the property boundary serves as the star of the local smellscape. I sit on the small patio I built and bathe in the glory of the perfumery. Then, all too soon, the flowers give way to small, hard green seeds, and the smell goes where all smells go, into memory.
Local food is where it’s at! This video profiles Fairhaven Farm, an organic farm featuring an outdoor pizza oven located near Duluth. Information about how to sign up for community-supported agriculture shares is at fairhaven.farm.
A celebration of the weasel family (mustelids) inspired by an encounter I had with a least weasel in the deep woods portions of Chester Park Ravine, which led to a re-reading of Annie Dillard’s essay, “Living Like Weasels.”
My grandmother, an immigrant from Belgium, gave me a thick, crocheted afghan in my senior year of high school. I’m fifty years old now. I still have it. This black, white and gray acrylic afghan—one among hundreds she gifted family members—holds in its hooked stitches the last breaths of the life that she wove into mine. I don’t keep it on my bed today, but my kids will have to figure out what to do with it when I die; I won’t let it go during my lifetime.
Families are big and complex. They can gift us things we don’t understand until many years after they are given. I had the great fortune of living in Omaha, Nebraska, with my grandmother during my junior and senior years. She was in her seventies, alone, and no longer able to drive because of deteriorating vision. I was a grandson who desperately needed refuge from an abusive dad. I’d lived with an aunt and uncle for the second half of my sophomore year. They had already raised three children from another aunt (a story for another time) and had three of their own kids at home. They both worked—he was a cop, she was a secretary. Even then, in the early 1980s these were not high-paying jobs.
Here’s a quick glimpse of the film the UMD Ethnobots (anthropology students in last fall’s Ethnobotany course) will be premiering at the Zinema next Wednesday, at 7 p.m. Thanks to Charlie Parr for the use of his song, “Jubilee.”
Hannah and Curren, two musicians who have benefited from the Music Resource Center, were on The PlayList last week — young people doing their thing and being articulate and cool — what more can we ask for?
After you watch them talk about what they do, go here and donate to the Indiegogo campaign to make more of their and other young musicians’ work happen here in Duluth and Superior. The campaign ends in a little over a week — help them now if you can.
Well, I don’t really follow football, and now here’s another reason to despise the world 0f big, corporate sports. Message sent and received–athletics is a place where freedom of speech will kick your football on down the field. Boo team Vikings!
Today is the last day to vote for the UMD community orchard in the Edy’s Fruit Bar’s contest described in this post. We are in the top 5 in the nation and on course to win a 50-tree planting paid for by Edy’s. The fruit from these trees will become a community asset and distributed free to appropriate venues. The orchard is part of the UMD Sustainable Agriculture Project, which serves as an education venue and civic resource.