Archive for April, 2012
I’m back in Canada now. Sage, Sabrina and I arrived back here a week ago tonight. As always, it was a long journey. This year, we made a scenic detour through Utah which extended the trip by an extra ten days or so. As mentioned in a previous post, we visited wonderful places and spent many a night at a peaceful campsite. Often, we played music – on our fiddles, mandolins and guitars. In addition to his many other skills and talents, my friend Larry Ayers is also a luthier and made the fiddle, guitar and cittern which he played during our travels.
I would like to share a few photos which I took of his guitar and cittern. The guitar in the first and second photos is a copy of a 1935 Selmer Jazz Guitar. If you would like to read more about the making of Larry’s guitar, you can access a now non-existent webpage that has been archived in the Wayback Machine. Unfortunately, most of the photos are absent, but the text describing the guitar remains. As much as possible, Larry prefers to use native North American woods rather than what have often become rare tropical woods. For many years, Larry owned and operated his own sawmill in Knox County, Missouri. The woods used in this guitar were acquired either locally, or from other parts of the country, and then sawn in his own mill and assembled in his workshop. The front of the guitar is made of Sitka Spruce, the neck is of local Black Walnut, and the back and sides are of Osage Orange (Maclura pomifera).
The third and fourth photos in this post are of a cittern – a ten-stringed instrument also called an octave mandolin – which Larry built in 2003. The front is of Sitka Spruce, the neck of Black Walnut, while the back is of a Pau ferro (a non-native wood). To read more about the construction of the cittern, visit thisarchived page which did preserve all of the original photos from Larry’s old website.
The final photo in this post is of Larry playing the cittern which he built. The picnic table in the background is a little more cluttered than normal as we were splitting up our supplies in readiness for going our separate ways. All in all, we had an excellent adventure accompanied by much good music!
Each year when I arrive at my home here in Canada, there is always a stack of mail “too large to forward” to the southwest. Among the junk and other mail, there are generally a few large parcels containing books and magazines. These are usually publications that have made use of one or more of my photos. This spring, there were two very nice books in the mail stack. One is Dennis Paulson’s Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East (Princeton University Press, 2011). My photo of a female Eastern Least Clubtail (Stylogomphus albistylus) appears on page 311. The other is a copy of Carolyn Mallory’s Common Insects of Nunavut, and includes my photo of a Thanatus formicinus crab spider on page 143. The neat thing about this book is that the text is published in both Inuktitut and English. One cover and half of the book is in Inuktitut, and the other in English. Below, I’ve included a photo of the Inuktitut cover. If you would like to read more about the creation of this publication, check out this web page. In any case, these two new books make nice additions to my natural history library of field guides.