Birds and Boards and…more.


Why did I have to find a skeletonized bird beak on the lawn this morning? Why me? All these little occurences are beginning to feel like consolation prizes for the the inconsolable…(a brilliant phrase, coined prior to me by a writer who lives in Minneapolis, Norah Labiner. Suspecting the phrase to be just too good to not have been used before, I googled it and found the published source. Thank you, Ms. Labiner – I will try to read your work soon.)


Current: It has been raining on and off for three days, though each dawn has been briefly cloudless. The grass seed I thought gone for good, a total loss, has begun to green the brown.

I’ve stayed busy. Felt fairly free in the most terrible way…the sort of free that comes from being a-l-o-n-e


I defiantly spray painted about 70 sq. feet of wood. Then I cut it up all willy-nilly, but mostly triangular – polygon. And then I put it together. Far from done, but in a strong direction. It’s not even about the chickens anymore. For all practical purposes they are living on the porch.

Yard Art, I reckon…

The sculpture has the suggestion of waves now. Spray painted blue just like Florida.

Chrome base plywood leans against the porch railing.
I am amazed at how far spray paint technology has come.
I look forward to seeing how it wears.

This chicken coop is a work in progress until I tear it down one day. Turn it’s pieces into something else. Spring 2010, I need it to be this:

It is more interesting in real life. Really.

show details 3:44 PM (3 hours ago)

All work was done by me. My mom held one board, the day I hit myself in the face with a hammer. (Search that phrase) — the kids screwed a couple of screws, bent a few nails. I like working alone far more.
The structural components are uncut. Meaning that, while I did cut or split wood for decorative purposes, the shape of the coop is how the individual pieces of scrap fit together most effectively. The practice of allowing the foundation to speak for itself was far more freeing than the measure-twice cut -once precision of pure-function building. I don’t eschew the value of function, and I guess that makes me crafty.

Everything is made from scrap re-used. I bought nothing but nails and screws. Okay, and hardware cloth. The silver-sprayed plywood was intended for another purpose at work, un-needed after all and I bought it from the museum.

It is cedar shake, cypress, pine – lots of pine! – hardware cloth and fencing wire, copper sheeting and coil (purchased coil) had sheeting already, long story.

Plexiglass and re-bar are featured, as well. It has been a work in progress since early October 2009. The chickens hate it.


Mar 8 (5 days ago)

In the third grade, pretty Miss West’s class, we were to sing – for a school assembly of some sort – ‘We Are the World’.
I was a quiet girl, with glasses and an unfortunate speech impediment. Still took my bear to school, smash-fastened fluorescent barrettes to his ears, becuase fluorescent was brighter than ever in 1984. I thought that, somehow, the barrettes may make Frazer the Bear into something closer to cool. A concept new and sickening to eight year olds. I was just beginning to grasp how significantly UNcool I was. I couldn’t even pronounce my own last name right, as it begins with fiercest of letters, ‘R’: the one I could not make my mouth growl out.
Rhyne became Wine, Roof became Woof, Bird became Bud and everything was evewything. So, I don’t imagine I spoke much during that year when Michael Jackson was beloved by cool eight year olds, even in rural south Georgia.
We lived in the woods, far out of earshot from, it seemed, nearly the whole world.
I still sometimes ask my mother, ‘Why?’
Did I go to school in the cruel early eighties, unable to speak my own name clearly? Why was not aware that trees had branches high up by the sky, that they were more than just a green blur scraping the sky?

And now that I am a mother, I understand. We get used to things and our children seem dearly our own, sometimes in ways only we can truly love, ways the elementary classroom can tear to pieces and plaster over everything good about a child.

However, on afternoons when the class marched silent and proud down past the library and into the 4th grade hall, into the cafeteria/auditorium…well, I was just another kid in line. I am not sure why I loved the song, “We are the World”

But, I think it had something to do with the safety of walking in line and the security of standing on a stage and being observed by grown-ups. I sang it often, all the time, constantly. Sometimes it would just loop in my head, but other times it would burst forth in fully-enunciated song.

It was during one of these moments, in the girls bathroom across the hall diagonally from Miss West’s class that I was, finally, told to be quiet. I was washing my hands, the water warm even from the cold tap, sun glowing through the high frosted glass windows, the walls cool and cinderblock, painted some greenish hue (or perhaps that is the tone of imperfect memory?) –
and I was singing, hearing my voice echo hard against the block walls and right angles, I was reallyreally singing…

and then a tall girl with the initials R.H. came into the bathroom and she said, with a sneer in her voice, “You can’t sing at all! Be quiet! You can’t sing!”

And so I stopped singing and felt badly for disturbing her, this fellow 3rd grader…the authority on my vocal talent, or as she proclaimed, lack thereof. And it wasn’t that I was angry for being chided or criticized, but that I was ashamed that I had been caught doing something I was no good at and that I had, perhaps, bothered someone.

I didn’t sing for a long time. Now I do. But, only on occasion. It makes me feel melancholy.

3 thoughts on “Birds and Boards and…more.

  1. Consolation prizes for the inconsolable is a nice phrase – a good title for something. When I was a child watching game shows on TV (yes, TV had been invented when I was a child) I thought the phrase was "cancellation prize" – a prize you got after the rest of your TV appearance was cancelled.

  2. jim to me show details 9:10 AM (1 hour ago) jim has left a new comment on your post "Birds and Boards and…more.":Consolation prizes for the inconsolable is a nice phrase – a good title for something. When I was a child watching game shows on TV (yes, TV had been invented when I was a child) I thought the phrase was "cancellation prize" – a prize you got after the rest of your TV appearance was cancelled. (hi jim – thanks for your (always excellent) comment. I had trouble publishing it direct, so copied and pasted it. I am now publishing to a 'custom domain': http://www.consolationprizes.orgThe old address still works, new one is (slightly) shorter though…

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