Chrome Bumblebee

Published on 29 October 2009 by in Blog, Peter


Frogs scream terribly at night.

The fern uncoils its slimmy fingers.

The chrome bumblebee follows with elegants.

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ptarmigan in berlin!

Published on 21 October 2009 by in Blog, Ptarmigan, Ted


Thanks to Wald Uplight for the support!

LOVE this illustration.

read his full post here:  Heart & Lung(s?)

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song of the forest

Published on 19 October 2009 by in Blog, Peter, Ptarmigan


This is my song for the giant firefly.

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We, The Forest

Published on 09 October 2009 by in Blog, Peter, Ptarmigan



forest light

I have been wondering this strange land, lost, for almost 2 months now.  It is most definitely not getting any less strange.  Even more so if anything.

Every morning I wake up before the sun to a chorus of avian courtships.  I play my harmonica, roll out of my damp sleeping bag, put on my damp clothes, and exit my damp tent.  Breakfast sandwich time: fried egg, fried rice, (sometimes fried beans), butter, strawberry jam, all crispy on 2 peaces of moldy bread.  God, I love breakfast.   I set out into the jungle, down the trail for 20 minutes then strait into the dripping, pristine wonderland.

The sun is out at this point, but the only evidence I have for its existence is thin visible rays diagonal through the mist.  The leafcutter ants have a very powerful work ethic.  The early cutting crew is already returning with the day’s first fresh harvest, running against the hundreds of empty handed workers eager to sink their mandibles in after a hot cup of coffee.  The Forest rains even when the sky above is not.  Staring straight up, standing underneath the ceiling of tiny leaves high, high above, water droplets boldly make their base jump hundreds of feet.  They zip past my face, some just in front of me, some behind, some splatter right on my forehead.  Among these living monuments, there are so many tiny details to appreciate.  The diversity of fungus, insects, and moss is far more than overwhelming, too much to describe here so I will have to be selective.  The variety of caterpillar attire ranges from elegant to hostel to bizarre.  One particular fellow is short but stately and dignified, wearing a woolly fur coat with large, flashy scarlet feather structures rising around its head, reminiscent of Queen Elizabeth’s collar.  Two rows of smaller white feathers lead down the back to another collar of large scarlet feathers mimicking the first, but on the opposite ends.

The brilliant colors and magnificent structures and forms of the fungus inspire gasps of awe and mystery.  The role of fungus is to break down the nutrients of the dead back to the soil so it can be shared by we who are alive.  However, many fungi break this rule to feast on the living, who are then doomed to join the dead that cover the forest floor.  Cordyceps spores enter insects’ brains, whispering orders to climb the nearest structure before putting an end to their misery. Colorful fruiting bodies twist and creep upwards out of the fresh carcass, providing a perfect poem of life from death.

Moss covered vines are draped everywhere, ranging from hair-thin to thicker than me, lazily dropping from the heavens like great mastodon trunks plunging for the rich, damp earth. With an eerie, thundering collapse, the skeleton of an ancient friend towering 40 meters above makes his grand finale back to the earth and echoes through the forest.  Unexplored creeks, waterfalls, clearings, swamps, hills, and caves call to my curiosity each day, from sunrise to sunset.   The forest gives me its beauty, its secrets, and its strength, teaching me strange lessons and specialized techniques.  I feel lifted, elevated, skyward, but at the same time humbled, grounded, deep, firm.  Much like a tree . . . hmmm.  I am certainly becoming part of the forest.

However, the jungle doesn’t offer its wisdom and beauty for free.  Certainly not.  We have a very healthy give and take relationship.  In return for my lessons, I offer parts of my body and mind.  The relentless clouds of mosquitoes find me anywhere in the forest and take my blood, through my clothes if the must.  They help me stay in motion through this wonderland.  Every night at camp, I participate in the blood drive hosted by the myriads of huge tabanid flies, some equipped with 2 cm needles to pierce deep and easily draw my blood.  Hundreds of tiny biting flies swarm around my headlamp, cackling like witches on the black Sabbath and feasting on any exposed flesh.  Despite their size, they deliver the most painful bite.  The razor sharp bamboo spires that rise from the earth and are covered in short, hair-like needles are the weapon of choice for the giant forest trolls.  As the spears develop and discard their needle skin, they reveal hard, complex spikes at every segment that grow 8 inches long.  They ask for the skin off my shoulders and the plastic from my rain gear.  I happily share all my meals with a nematode named giardia that lives in my stomach.   He expresses his gratitude by implementing constant diarrhea, nausea, stomach pains, and weakness.  I provide proper nourishment and care for the lump developing in my right foot that is a beautiful moth larvae.  He returns the favor by stabbing me with extreme fiery pain that only last 30 seconds, four or five times a day.  These are only a few examples of my generosity.  This is a very small price to pay for the emotions that this land inspires everyday.

I have written 2 new songs and plenty of ideas and pictures, but am unable to upload them here today.  Soon brothers, soon.

I will potentially have internet on the following dates, so be concerned:

Oct 19, 29; Nov 8, 18, 28; Dec 8.



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the jungle at night

Published on 03 September 2009 by in Blog, Peter


moon canopy

The moonlight peaks through the canopy, spurts and drips down upon the many layers of vegetation.  What little light is left for the forest floor shifts slowly with the sway of the rainforest giants.   The soft glow from the mycelium of the luminescent fungus is speckled among the fallen leaves as far as the eye allows for detection.  The dark is alive with the song of the insect, both mechanical and organic, operating at all frequencies, hundreds of different voices simultaneously.  Hoots, bellows, and moans occasionally erupt and echo from the deep.  Unseen pitters and patters, cracks and creaks allow the imagination to work wonders.  Soothing thunder rolls in the distance.  A bright yellow light zips from the tree tops, swerving recklessly down a few feet from the floor and all the way back up, like headlights from a futuristic skycar.  More of these spirits light up and maneuver through the forest much faster than I can run and disappear again. We are surrounded by a silent, whirling radiance.  The source of light comes from the shoulders of a friendly insect three inches in length.  I am writing a song for him.  Hopefully it will be on my next post.  As for now, I love you all.

By the way, I count 10 large horseflies on my computer screen right now, among dozens of other diptera.

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greetings from the cloud forest

Published on 21 August 2009 by in Blog, Peter


deep in the heart of peru

Imagine entering the thick, dark tunnel trail that is the cloud forest for the first time.  You descend down into this enclosed world of moss, fungus, and treeferns with roots and vines draping from all branches.  The mysty atmosphere is loud with unfamiliar hoots, cackles, and indescribable ambience.  You have been studying the animals and plants of this land for years, but once you see it, you have no idea what lies within.  Limitless uncertainty, danger, and mystery.  You are with a guide.  However, you come to a fork in the trail.  In very broken english, your guide points and tells you to leave the trail and head in that general direction and he will meet you back here in three hours.  My heart is on fire.

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get ready for ptarmigans barnyard cousin

Published on 12 August 2009 by in Blog, Evan


coming soon to a dive-bar or cornfield near you is the ptarmigan incarnation aptly named “pharm again” starring ted, evan, and friends.

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nest searching out of the nest

Published on 09 August 2009 by in Blog, Peter


tomorrow i get into a series of planes that will put me down in cusco, peru.  the following day i will get on a truck that will travel down hours-worth of switchbacks on a tiny mountain road and drop me off inside the hidden manu national park.  i will then hike an uncertain number of kilometers into the raw untouched cloud rainforest.  i will set up my tent, and stay there for 4 months.  i am armed with my small guitar, a harmonica, and a sound recorder.   be concerned.

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the doctor

Published on 16 October 2008 by in Blog, One A Day


stank is a john

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Published on 16 October 2008 by in Blog, Peter, Ptarmigan



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