Barcelona … small pics of a big city

My wife and I went to Barcelona last week. We did a lot of walking and looked around. The sunnier and warmer than home weather was nice. And the coffee … I miss that already.

Check out what I saw.

In my next blog post I’m going to try and capture my new found like for that famously tasty and just a bit addicting Spanish ‘jamon’. You may have heard about it 😉

When it Rained

this summer, it filled silver metal buckets and drenched the ground.

Random Saturday

these images are a few of the things that grabbed my attention yesterday

Natural Cat Toys or Feline Fun

Are you also owned by a cat? Do you let it outside? We are and we do. They … two of those irresistible feline creatures own us. We’re all in.  And they on occasion, either one or the other or arguably in concert commit heinous acts that are more acceptable if referred to simply as hunting. We are helpless or is that hapless?

If you also allow for their oft somewhat irritating mewling wishes to be let out into the great outdoors your feline overlord probably also exhibits similar borderline criminal habits and/or commits similar violent crimes.

Feline Hunter 1

Feline Hunter 1

Perhaps your pet felines’ victims are more typical, like slow birds, the odd butterfly or deaf&blind mice. Not ours, no. Although from the speed with which they race up into the  tree in the corner of our small back yard, you’d believe that they believe that this time they could really actually fuckin’ do it, catch one of them birds that is. But the birds always have the lats laugh/chirp. And fly away unscathed if a bit ruffled.

And lets not forget the one time not too long ago… I was enjoying my first of two Sunday morning coffees on the patio when I heard what my brain encyclopedia construed to be pathetic bird screeching noises, which in turn led me to turned towards the noise and to look and to believe for a brief moment in the very possible fact that ‘they’ had finally snagged one of their feathered and unsuspecting tormentors.

My brain had been wrong that early morning, very wrong. That while it was true that one of the feline hunters had indeed snagged some prey, it was not a wee bird, nope. It was a mouse. And that mouse was reacting rather violently to being disturbed by a cat. Loudly too may I add. The funny thing was that said cat became a bit clumsy and more to it, even surprised I think judging by her reactions to/by the reactions of said mouse. So surprised in fact that  any skill connected to such a speedy catch simply disappeared and cat appeared to fumble about even more clumsily while the vociferous mouse employed every trick in its power and rapidly extricated itself from clumsy cat and raced for the safety ofsome hole in the ground, leaving a slightly bewildered feline scratching her chin. A good laugh, that. For me and the mouse, not the cat.

No dear reader, our two lethally clawed, sharp fanged murdering pets appear to be specializing in the slithering kind of prey, something one could at a glance think of as a snake. But it is not a real snake.

As the weather is warming up nicely, it seems that these snake like lizards litter the cats’ territory. I say litter because it is becoming a daily event, one or both of show up in the yard or sometimes inside with a long writhing surprise. A prize they play with, puncture, toss about but never devour or visible disfigure. They don’t even appear to nibble on the poor things, not even a bit, but they certainly perforate the smooth skin with their super sharp finger tips.

Copyright © wildlife-media.at/bilddetails/26995/blindschleiche

Copyright © wildlife-media.at/bilddetails/26995/blindschleiche

The given name is Blindschleiche aka Anguis Fragilis, although it is not blind. It is found all over Europe and loves to hang out in damp areas such as gardens, among foliage, compost heaps, soil or among sheltering rocks or stones. They loose their tails just like lizards, don’t have legs nor do they sport the distinctive arrowhead shape snake head. They eat slugs and worms and on average are 35045cm in length with some even stretching to 52cm long.

Ideal cat toys according to the enthusiasm our feline hunters exhibit when showing off their latest catch. And don’t fool yourselves. Cat’s don’t care about fragile when they hunt or play, they simply don’t give a shit.

Feline Hunter #2

Feline Hunter #2

We save as many as we possibly can by distracting the felines and then perform a simple yet magic trick that always leaves the cats guessing…  with a WTF look on their focused fury faces … “hey man, it was right here just a second ago” 😉

The Wood is the Journey

Wood. It’s everywhere. It’s all around us. I’m looking at some right now. My feet are firmly planted on some too. I like it. I’ve always liked wood. That’s an ingrained thing. Wood makes me feel good.

I’ve always done things with wood, carving walking sticks or carving other things. But many years ago I put the more serious carving aside. You just know.

Perhaps you dear reader have experienced something similar with your toolbox of human talents and creative skills. You sense it and you can’t really ignore when something within you refuses to be abandoned, when the pilot light of creativity remains alight. Time goes by but the thoughts, ideas and dreams keep coming. And so it was. And so it is. And so I returned to the tools, the feel and the wood.

A dear friend was instrumental in this return and I am thankful for that. I simply joined the wood sculpting course he was in an the rest took and is taking care if itself. The feeling of relief a sure sign that I was doing the right thing. That I was doing what I should be doing. That it was good to touch the wood and to reconnect with the familiar. I began with a warmup piece, creating in a larger scale the same spiral lines I usually use on walking sticks, this time on a birch log. I still need to finish that one, it is roughed out and ready for finishing work it was a warmup piece and remains a work in progress.

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When the wood feeling firmed up, I bought tools and will buy more tools

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A second piece began to take shape and is leading me along an unfamiliar path which is intriguing and a bit frustrating at the same time because it is drawing me out of my comfort zone.

And then I found olive, or it found me. Actually a largish chunk of olive trunk wood. Wow. What a find. The possibilities …

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top view with wet core

The piece was wet wood, freshly cut when I put it in storage for observation and to let it dry out. Over the next few weeks I peeled off the rough bark, giddy with impatience to expose the fantasy shapes, twists, hollows and bulges that are this piece of wood. Ok, so olive wood is fairly rare in these southern parts of Germany. Finding a piece like that not an everyday occurrence and no, I didn’t find it digitally although a few of my carving colleagues in the course found and bought olive wood pieces online. I am fully aware of the coolness of this score. The trunk is approx. 45cm in diameter and 65cm tall and I guess that the tree must have been close to 60 years old when it succumbed to the worms that were working their way through the centre core.

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peeled with mirror

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rough start

It is one thing to begin a piece. It is another to finish it. And yet another to turn a project into firewood. THAT is not an option and so I bridled my excitement and only then laid tool to the wood when the moment felt right. But once I began the project grabbed my by the neck with such intensity and urgency that the first 60 hours few by.

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roughed out

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smoother

chiseled and riffled

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roughing out

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roughing out

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opening at bottom

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impression

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exposed and finishing

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hollow

So far I’ve whacked away at the piece with carving tools letting the mouthwatering olive smelling chips fly. I’ve spent days in an intensely focused meditative state with long thin riflers in nearly cramped gloved hands creating shapes, rasping lines and following as best I can the dictating flow of the myriad emerging flowing grains and contrasting dark/light patterns that make this wood so unique. And to satisfy my most irritating perfectionist urges, countless pieces of paper parted from sand in varying grades, shimmied to and fro, back and forth, across and with the grain to render by hand a nearly baby bottom smooth finish.

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riffling

 

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shapes

 

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lines & grain

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interior view

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smoothed surface

At this stage of the project I can see at least 60 hours into the future and perhaps beyond but there is not real rush and I have no deadline other than to create something interesting, something that takes the eye on a visual journey … into the olive wood and I have the finished piece also firmly in mind, yet open to changes as fluid as its grain. The openings into the core of the piece drawing the eye inward, the colorful grain triggering day dreams. All that said, a photo of the finished piece will be added as an update.  Das Holz ist der Weg