Background Switcher (Hidden)

More Filmmakers Visit!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

To "Jack," who keeps leaving strange comments on recent posts along with a handy link for home security systems (or whatever): OK. You're at least looking at the pictures and trying to leave a semi-relevant comment. Please stop with the ads. It's tacky to pimp your stuff on my blog, and you're ticking me off. My readers aren't interested in a home security system. They're here for the birds and bugs and dog, not your links. So cut it out.

Think that'll work? Me neither.

Not long after Michael Male left, Lang Elliott and Wil Hershberger arrived, intending to make high-definition films of insects. I assured them that this is a very buggy place, and they found gold in these thar hills. It's amazing what comes around when you manage for diversity in vegetation, and plant gardens like a schizo monkey.

Lang and Wil had been here before, when they were doing the field work for their incredible book The Songs of Insects (Houghton Mifflin, 2007). The book comes with a CD in back, and it finally let me identify the myriad whirrs, chirps, cheeps and clicks coming out of our meadows. The photography, some of which was done right in our basement guest room of our very own crickets, trigs, cicadas and katydids, is stunning. Why, we just used their book today. The kids found a dead cicada in the yard, and we identified it as a Robinson's cicada, green morph (Tibicen robinsonii). What a pleasure to be able to do that, and know its call, too. A good book is a beautiful thing.

Now Lang and Wil are filming for a soon-to-be-unveiled online project. They found our gardens and meadow a wonderland of color and insect song. Here's a long-spurred meadow katydid singing on my Perovskia, or Russian sage.


Here are the spurs in question--actually cercae. They look like a bull's horns, turned inward.


Lots of bug ID is done at the naughty end. Wil is forever talking about how one bug's genitalia differ from another's. OK. I'm down with that.

Wil is in back, Lang in front as they flood the bug with light and film him singing his dry prolonged shirring rattle.


We all must spend time at our laptops, and Chet Baker makes sure that time is extra enjoyable.
Any guest who visits Indigo Hill sooner or later winds up in the Seat of Honor at our kitchen table, with a lap full of Boston.


I am glad to have our 80-acre sanctuary used for such purposes, for its abundant diversity of life to be recorded and catalogued, photographed and appreciated. If I have to trek to the grocery store a few more times than usual, wash a few towels and maybe some grotty field clothes, it's worth it. When those photos and recordings and films go out to the world at large, a circle is completed. We like to share.

Up to a point. Hear that, "Jack?"


Ahhhh Nothing better than a Sunday afternoon when the weekly two-day Zickefoose blog hiatus ends. It's the little things in life.

You mean there's more than one kind of cicada!! I'm getting me that book stat.

What fun guests to have!
I was just out watering the perovskia here, it is full of bumble-type bees.

What wonderful guests you and BotB have! And what a great seat of honor, filled with the Hospitality Boston himself. I'll have to add 'The Songs of Insects' to my Christmas wish list (which is almost ALWAYS more than a little book-heavy).

Not Jack,

Friends dropped in this afternoon, she's an artist and he's an extraordinary outdoorsman/naturalist/ survivalist/ nuclear engineer...(two really smart lovely people). I talked about you a bit Julie and the Digest, and we all talked about the things missing in the Ottawa Valley this summer...Monarchs, bumblebees, leopard frogs, male hummingbirds...its all very disturbing up here at the edge of the boreal forest...sorry to be a downer, but nature's sending a message we need to hear.

Just stopping by to see if Jack has been here first.
OK--I would LOVE to have a lapful of Chet Baker.

That book is incredible and beautiful. Can't wait to see their online project. Wanna buy a security system?

We have a couple of Lang Elliott books/CDs (tapes too).
It has provided a great way to learn more about both birds & bugs.
How fun to learn that he's your friend & house guest.
I think he's got some id help on a website too.

Julie, I saw your title and rushed over here thinking someone was doing a film about you and your life. I suppose the bugs ARE interesting, but I think a film about you would be even MORE interesting. Anyone out there ready to second that motion?

LOL... wonder if Jack got that message? How neat that your buggy friends will soon be famous!

Julie, you solved the "E-E-bug" mystery for me; I never thought of katydids. I'm a Leo too and have always loved the late summer gift of their song. They mark the bittersweet passing of the season.

[Back to Top]