Over the seasons, friends oozed, hopped, flew, crawled, or slithered by for tea. We had enchanted tea parties in this magical yard. Their manners were charming, except for Ms. Toad, who peed on my hand as I was helping her be seated. She had a pre-existing bladder disorder so I didn't take it personally. The woodland guests came to my home. The ocean-dwelling friends invited me to theirs on the stony shores of the Salish Sea. Each one sat for a portrait.
As a tea snob, I like black, loose-leaf, organic, fair-trade, free-range, non-gluten, shade-grown, CFC free, no MSG, non-GMO, vegan, dolphin-friendly, Earl Grey tea. Some guests preferred we share a pot of freshly picked mint tisane. Two chose an earwig infusion. It was slightly bitter.
My gratitude to Mother Nature, who nurtures these delicate little wonders. Long may she reign.
Jay Rainey. British Columbia, Canada. Click here for part one.
More info: raineyroost.com
I love to take whimsical pictures and share the wonders of these delicate creatures. These small animals can be overlooked, and I want us to zero in and appreciate them and protect them. This is their world, too.
I am a watcher. My home with its big windows is a wildlife blind, and from this cushy chair, I see a yard teeming with life. I have learned my purpose is to make people laugh. I do this through my writing and photography. Also, I enjoy sculptural felting. I make animals with wool, then pose them for scenes that also become calendars.
I found the little tea set at a thrift store. I didn’t know what I’d use it for yet, but I like to set up miniature pictures. One day a toad hopped by and was just the right size for me to offer tea and a visit. I waited for the next toad, and by then I was ready with a background, and a better idea of what I wanted from the photo. Other magical creatures wandered by, and I invited them for tea, as well.
The most difficult part of taking these photos is the backgrounds! To find a beautiful scene that has no distractions and is interesting and pretty is not easy. Luckily, I live in paradise.
The rabbit lives with me in the house. All the other creatures are wild. All but the two sea creatures visited my yard. I would not have hauled them home from afar and disturbed them too much. Each one I handled gently, then returned them to exactly where I found them as soon as possible.
It's easy to get them to sit still because these are mostly slow animals. I put them in the location with the tea, and they’d be curious. It took a lot of patience to get a good pose, but with such charming guests, it was a wonderful way to spend time with nature.
In my opinion, what makes a good photo is something different that grabs my attention. I like to feel a communication with the subject.
I don’t consider myself a photographer. I take some good photos, but I am not a professional. I am a shutterbug and an artist, with much still to learn.
Several years ago I started the series and made a calendar for my little off-grid community. We all live in the woods and have an appreciation for nature. I was lucky to have spent some quality time with them.
Creativity is hard to contain. There are always ideas perking. I share my quirky world by making calendars to share with my community. People tell me what joy my work brings them, and that’s why I do it. There is no money in it, but if my efforts bring a moment's pleasure it is worth it.
Years ago I turned away from the news. It made me sad and terrified and angry and hopeless. There was little I could do about the troubles in the world of humans. I can be creative, or I can stare at the news, but I can’t do both. This other world, the world of nature, I can nurture and watch and share with those who live different lives. Someone once called me uninformed because I am not absorbed in media. I consider myself well-informed, but not about the world of humans. Sometimes I help orphaned and injured wildlife. Recently I raised Chipikins the swallow, whose nest was inaccessible to return him, and his nest-mates died in the heat. He fledged successfully and rejoined his parents. It is an honor to be allowed to share the lives of the non-humans all around me. They are my teachers. It’s their world, too.