Surferbird News-Links, 56th Edition


Stories featured in today's Surferbird News-Links: treescrapers, attracting backyard birds (my relatives!), tequila rain, two politically opposite cities shifting to renewable energy, stargazing in spring, an earworm from the 70s and more.

Greetings! Today's Surferbird News-Links isn't serious at all. In fact, I didn't even write about climate change. Are you shocked? I must have had a heavy heart the day I started writing this edition because the stories now seem frivolous. But sometimes you need to go with the flow, to shake things up. So if you're game for a lighthearted Surferbird, climb on board!

News from my wood

No doubt about it—I'm in over my head. Although I've missed writing Surferbirds, juggling writing proposals with my job as head cook, chief dishwasher, food gatherer, bill payer, clothes washer, inept housekeeper and chauffeur to a 13-year-old homeschooler is more than the owl can skillfully juggle. Not to mention that my spouse works 10-hour days with a one-hour commute each way. So I'll have to sort this one out myself. Wish me luck.

In addition to all that, I might restart my textile business. I've been saving my family's old clothes as scraps to use for projects. For example, I could transform torn jeans and frayed work shirts into patchwork pillows. But because I have a weakness for sustainable, new fabrics, too, I think it would be fun to sew with both the old and the new!

Meanwhile, I enjoyed writing a spring haiku last week, the first poem I've written since junior high. Did you get a chance to read it? At first, I was going to write an essay about spring arriving early in the East Bay region of California, where I live. But because it was all sensory thought with no particular point, I decided, instead, to write a haiku. Technically, a haiku is three lines. My haiku, however, is 24 lines. I didn't know any better when I started writing it, so I just kept going. It's a haiku with stanzas. Imagine that! Is writing poetry the beginning of a new pastime? If so, I might first want to consult the playbook.

One last project I'd like to share is a book that I've been reading, On Writing Well by William Zinsser—what a pleasure. But I hope you won't grade my progress just yet. Writing is one those activities that requires practice, and lots of it. So, on with the news-links!


Stargazing in April (

April is almost over, but there's still plenty of stargazing to enjoy throughout spring. And by reading the article, above, I learned that the visibility of some constellations changes with the seasons. I guess I didn't know that much about stargazing. But wait, is that a black hole in Orion's sword? As Orion and Taurus slip from view, you'll have to catch them while you can.

Stockholm brings art  to its metro stations. (

To get the full effect, take a look at the slide show. Art certainly changes the mood of a space, doesn't it? I wish the world had more spaces like these. Perhaps they could influence people's behavior.



Bringing more birds to your backyard (

Would you like to attract birds and beneficial insects to your backyard by providing them with native plants? The article, above, provides the resources you'll need for this rewarding project. Just go to the database link in the article and type in your zip code. I would love to do this—someday when I stop moving from wood to wood. Years ago, I had a lovely patio garden that included a butterfly bush, herbs, a dwarf mandarin tree, roses and even two camellia bushes. So don't let not having a backyard keep you from playing host to birds and butterflies.

Green technology/building

Take a look at "treescrapers." (

The best way to appreciate these houses is to watch the video, below. Alternately, you can watch it on the inhabitat website in the link above. But one thing is certain: treescrapers are magical.

Renewable energy

Two cities with opposing political views will transition to renewable energy. (

Madison, Wisconsin, voted for Hillary Clinton. Abita Springs, Louisiana, voted for Trump. But both cities are committing to 100 percent renewable energy. Dare I say that hope springs eternal?


Chemical-free clothing for the outdoor apparel industry (

A German outdoor apparel company plans to stop using harmful chemicals by 2020. This is ambitious, especially considering the type of clothing the outdoor apparel industry markets. Would you believe they even have a line of toxic-free rain gear? Watch the video and be inspired.


A newly-discovered website (

I discovered Ellen's Food and Soul while searching for a sourdough biscuit recipe. And I'm in love. Her website is simple, yet elegant. And her writing has a lyrical quality that hypnotizes the reader into reading more. But in addition to the sourdough biscuit recipe, she also has a post that summarizes the effects different sourdough biscuit recipes have on blood glucose levels. It was unexpected, yet refreshing, to find this information on a cooking website. Needless to say, I'll be visiting Ellen's Food and Soul often.

Science and technology

Oh my, it's raining tequila! (

I don't know what I was thinking when I decided to share this link. I don't even drink tequila, so I must have been more than upset by the news. Yet, most everyone enjoys occasional silliness. And the owl enjoys silliness much more than she lets on. 


This is my favorite Carly Simon and James Taylor video, filmed and recorded at their home on Martha's Vineyard, 1977. My, how time passes. The song lingers like a lullaby, soothing nerves and calming scattered minds—like the owl's.