Greetings, everyone, and thanks for visiting! You better hold onto your hats and grab a tasty beverage, because you're in for a treat today! This extra-long blog will cover two of my favorite subjects: jewelry and wildlife! First things, first, though. I got into another show: Redbud Artisan Market in Dripping Springs, TX. This one will be a Christmas market on the first weekend of December, so if you're in the area, please come out and shop. My jewelry line is developing rapidly, so expect anything. I'll have more details in the fall.
Speaking of developing, I promised you all that I'd let you in on the production process of the latest addition to my Ritornello line. As I mentioned in a previous blog, my goal is to get into more high-end shows. To do that, my mentor suggested that instead of using actual musical instrument keys, I build everything from silver and use the sculptural elements in the keys that speak to me and develop them as a composer might develop a theme in music. So I sat down and drew. A lot. My task was to take the things that interested me most about a particular part of a musical instrument and develop it.
I came up with some cool ideas, so the next step was to figure out how to produce them. The two elements I went with were the G# key cup on a Loree oboe, and the right hand pinky keys (the C, D flat, and E flat, to be precise). After due consideration of the engineering involved in making these designs, I decided to stick with the G# key ones for the time being. The pinky key shapes are going to require more finagling, and probably learning some chasing and repousse. (I'll leave a link at the bottom so you can see what that is. It is an ancient technique, and a bit involved, but I'll get around to learning it someday.) I could also use my die making skills, but since I am an impatient human, I'm going to stick with key cups for right now.
I made these out of solid silver. They would actually function on a real live oboe if I made the key cups shallow enough. The stones I chose are Bamboo Mountain turquoise from China for the reversible pendant, and Compass turquoise from Nevada for the larger pendant. Check out the progression!
I'm proud of how these turned out, and I'm excited to make more. I think what I will do is incorporate more of the natural stones that haven't been backed, so I can make more reversible pendants. I like how those showcase the stones. Of course, the natural unbacked stones are more expensive, but, as my friend says, the heart wants what it wants. I have more beautiful Bamboo Mountain turquoise, and some really gorgeous Treasure Mountain turquoise, so we'll see how this series develops!
Meanwhile, here in Suburbia, we had visitors in our backyard that caused QUITE the stir. I woke up last Saturday to a frantic text message from my neighbor that there was a ginormous bobcat in my yard. I jumped out of bed and ran to the window and, sure enough, there was an absolutely beautiful female bobcat in our side yard, trying to rest and keep cool in the wet grass from where our sprinklers had run during the night. She was big kitty, and she had absolutely no interest in the humans peeking at her through their kitchen window. I did manage to get some good pictures of her, though, and my husband was able to shoot some video of her prowling around. I can't figure out how to post video, so I guess you'll just have to take my word for it. It's just as well. You'd be too distracted by how filthy my kitchen window is. The things you don't notice until you take a picture!!! Ugh. Anyway, my neighbors were losing their collective minds about the RAMPANT DANGER that had taken up residence in our yard.
Word started to spread, and my neighbor informed me that he spoke to another neighbor who had seen her with four cubs. FOUR!!! So, I peeked out the back and sure enough, I spotted a few baby bobkittens. So cute!!!!!! Since I am a crazy cat lady, I really wanted to go outside and pick them up and love on them, but since I am not as dumb as I look, I did not do that. I took pictures instead. Don't worry, the pictures are forthcoming! As it turns out, there were not four but FIVE bobcat cubs for Ma Bobcat to take care of. That is a large litter of kitties, and my husband and I wondered if perhaps the rabbits who lived under our deck were on the menu. When we took a closer look under our patio table, we got our answer in the form of a severed rabbit leg. Poor bunnies!
Some of the bobcat cubs had burrowed their way under our deck, which probably flushed the rabbits out into the open, and, well, Ma Bobcat did the rest. At least she was decent enough to clean up most of the mess. My husband got some video of her munching on the rabbit leg. She had absolutely no concerns whatsoever about us staring at her through the window while she ate. I guess she figured we weren't a threat. I mean, she wasn't bothering US, so I didn't feel the need to go harass her. The neighbors were not feeling as charitable, mostly because they have small dogs that they don't want to keep on a leash. So, after numerous texts and calls, I finally convinced my husband that we should at least make a showing that we were trying to "do something" about the massive code red next-level threat to peace and the American way in the neighborhood. (If you can't hear me rolling my eyes as I write this, turn up the volume on your device. That may help.) Meanwhile, my neighbor was spraying a water hose over our back fence in an attempt to show this vicious predator who was boss. Ma Bobcat obliged him in the watering of our bushes by moving out of range and taking a nap. Bobcat - 1; Agitated Suburban Primate - 0.
Now, before you dog lovers go off the deep end, yes I did consider what a pain in the ass it is not to be able to let your tiny dog into the backyard while you watch Maury Povich or RuPaul's Drag Race and not worry about it getting eaten by a bobcat (never mind the fact that our resident redtail hawks could carry off a small dog without too much trouble, and the fact that developers have trashed every scrap of green space from here to the Red River and there's nowhere else for any of the local critters to go but our backyards, but hey, what do I know?). I did convince Mr Karlsson that we should do our civic duty and deal with this egregious encroachment on hearth and home. So, the plan was to convince the kittens to move out from under the patio table, and to convince Ma Bobcat to take the kids and move on. I personally had no hopes of any of this working, but I did have hopes of getting the texting and the knocking on the front door to stop. Mr Karlsson went out into the backyard, and I went looking for Ma Bobcat.
BE IT KNOWN, DEAR READERS, that here is where it becomes abundantly clear that Mrs Karlsson has been out of her natural habitat for too long, and has become far too domesticated for her own good. I had been informed by my neighbor that Ma Bobcat was napping in my side yard again, so I decided to go politely demand for her to leave. Bear in mind that my side yard is fenced in. Do you see where this is headed? Good. Because I didn't. So I come around the corner of the house WHILE MY HUSBAND IS MAKING A RACKET IN THE BACKYARD. Ma Bobcat is already alert and waiting. I saw her and started walking toward her, saying something along the lines of "Alright, now, ma'am, I'm going to have to ask you to leave." Ma Bobcat was unamused, stood up, and delivered a low, throaty growl.
It was at this point that two things became obvious to me in my infinite wisdom: 1) I was approaching a full-grown bobcat who happened to be protecting her babies and was cornered, and 2) I was doing it unarmed. I stopped, said "thank you, ma'am, sorry to bother you," and backed away slowly. I went over to my neighbors, informed them I had done all I could, got wrapped up in about a half-hour discussion about how the city should come out and do something (ha ha ha!!!), and meanwhile my avocado was turning black and my dinner salad was wilting on the kitchen counter. First world problems. During all of this, Ma Bobcat was still in my side yard, and she had laid back down for a nap in the bushes. She was probably thinking that the city SHOULD do something, but not about HER. Bobcat - 2; Agitated Suburban Primates - 0.
She kept up her reign of terror for another day or two, leaving behind another rabbit carcass in the process (only this time it was in my other neighbor's driveway), and then disappeared with her children into parts unknown sometime during Friday night. I have no idea where she was headed, but I hope she can get a bit more peace than what she was able to get while she was in our backyard. At least the texts have stopped. Mr Karlsson went out this afternoon to wash away what was left of Ma Bobcat's dinner: a rabbit stomach containing undigested grass, and a front foot. I don't know if the bunnies will come back to live under our deck, but I'm thinking we should probably fill in the bobcat den at some point. Oh, well. That's life in the great suburban outback of Dallas for you.
In all seriousness, though, having a bobcat in your backyard is no real reason to panic. They are not going to bother you unless you bother them, and most of the time they will either run or let you know under no uncertain terms that they want to be left alone. Do NOT be stupid like me and approach a cornered mother bobcat. Or any other mother with babies, for that matter. You will get what you deserve. Bobcats move through their territory pretty quickly, especially when they have five little mouths to feed. One tends to run out of rabbits when feeding five babies. If you have a bobcat in your backyard, they will not be there for very long. They will NOT approach you (unless they are rabid, and then you have bigger problems). The city will NOT remove them unless they are rabid. You will know a bobcat is rabid by their behavior. Okay, I'm not going to lecture y'all about this any more. If you want more information, I will leave a link at the bottom. But, really, y'all. You can't expect to live in a place where all the open land and green spaces and wooded areas are being ripped out in favor of apartment complexes and In-N-Out Burgers and car dealerships and NOT see critters. It's unreasonable. Learn about their behavior. Learn who they are. Be respectful of your animal neighbors, and they will leave you alone. End of sermon. Here are some bobcat pictures:
Well, that's all the news that's fit to print! Once again, thanks for stopping by, and I hope you learned something new!