All of 2019
Static8 Journal Entries


Review and Revise
Tues 1 Jan 2019

Happy New Year!

Well, I haven't done a New Year's post in a few years, but I'd like to spend more time typing here in 2019... so here we go!

In 2018, I changed up my walking habit... instead of walking the bike path down to the community garden, I've started driving to different places. The hiking trails at Hendrick's Park are my favorite: loads of wildlife, and a good variety of paths to take. I've also enjoyed hiking the Ridgeline at Fox Hollow and Spencer's Butte. And there's Owen's Rose Garden, where I can walk the River Bank trail and also hike up Skinner's Butte.

In 2018, I took 11,570 photos, averaging 964 photos a month. I didn't realize my camera was broken, taking slightly blurry photos, at the beginning of the year. My printer had died, in an expensive way, and then my computer had crashed in a permanent way. Using a tablet instead, I wasn't studying my photos closely like I usually do. In May, I bought a new camera. There were some frustrations, but eventually my photography habit was invigorated. Jan thru April, with the broken camera, I averaged 400 photos a month. With the new camera, I was taking about 1250 photos a month!

In 2018, the GoodReads postcard group kind of took over my life. We had between 70 and 110 players each month, and averaged 84. The last 1/2 of the year was simply overwhelming for me, and I was tired of having to spend time every day working on this project. It became more of an obligation, and less of a joyful fun thing.

In 2018, I also hosted 50 swaps at Swap-Bot, and additionally participated in 46 swaps. I enjoy the weekend notecard swap I host. Since I write about my weekend and share the photos I took, it has become a special kind of journal for me!

In 2018, I sent out 1250 postcards and letters, averaging 104 a month. Febuary was my most challenging month: both the computer and printer were dead. But for LetterMo, I managed to send out 30 postcards and letters! I found a good pace thru the summer, sending out about 160 postcards each month. But in the autumn, I started sending less.

My other major project of 2018 was the Community Garden Plot. It was not a great year, and I didn't experiment with any new vegetables. There are never enough Lemon Cucumbers, but we got plenty of zucchini and Sun Gold cherry tomatoes.

* * * * * * * * *

In 2019, I want to get back to sharing my stories.

I want to type here, more often. I want to get back to sending out my monthly postcards to friends and family. I want to get back to art journaling.

I am reminded over and over, that people enjoy reading my letters. Many people like my nature photos, but just as many enjoy my storytelling and the interesting facts I discover and add.

January Rhododendrons

Weekend One: blah
sun 6 jan 2019

I've been sick this weekend.

so my whole stupid life is on hold.

And I had so many plans!

Which will have to wait for next weekend.

Weekend Review
fri 18 jan 2019

Gah, half of January is gone already. And I'm just a little bit slow, getting back into the swing of things...

Last weekend, I got a couple of extra things done. Just little things, but they made me happy. I wrote and sent a letter and I completed an Amnesty International Urgent Action. It has been ages since I've sent out AI mail, and I am looking forward to being active there again.

I have several big projects planned, but I've not really started any of them.

Wait. Let me back up. I've not told you WHY I have several big projects planned.

In 2018, the GoodReads postcard group that I host got overwhelming. I spent all of my free time working on it... and it had been like this for a while. I just finally got to the point where I wanted to do other things!

I grabbed a couple friends from the group and bounced ideas off them. I revamped the format of the postcard group so that it basically runs itself, I just have to get the ball rolling.

The January pc exchange is going great. And I have a lot more time on my hands!! Thus, my plans for big projects.

But maybe I need to ... ease into my crazy plans. :)


Tues 16 July 2019

Well, 2019 has been a crazy year...

∞ Car accident, 22 Jan 2019
It was a pretty bad one, not my fault. I was bed bound with pain from bruised ribs and sternum, and then house bound. I had a broken foot, and I'm still having some trouble associated with my time in the walking boot.

∞ Laid off, March 2019
I had worked at Copic for ten and a half years, and loved it. So that was a major bummer.

∞ Partner in the hospital, May 2019
He had to stay for seven days, with severe pneumonia. And on top of that, he had to drive himself to the ER, because I thought he was being a whiney butt.

And now the year is half gone...

I still don't have a car. (I've used the bus a few times.)

I still don't have a job. (I'm taking some time off.)

But I do still have a partner. (That's nice.)

I have got a lot of time on my hands, and I'm doing things I love: reading like crazy and going out for long walks with my camera every day. But strangely, I have not done anything creative with my time.

I quit sending out my monthly postcards last year, and I've not gotten back to it. And this site has been abandoned for many years. I haven't been drawing, and I haven't been doing much with my photos, either. No crochet, no book making, no bookmark making. I haven't even updated my book reviews.

I don't know why. I've just lost my mojo.

But that's okay. I'm working to get it back.

Stay Tuned! :)

Two Bushtits

Bushtits are pretty cool! They are tiny, and they usually bounce around too quickly for me to get a photo. So this pic is a happy surprise.

I think their pale eyes makes their face look like a hawk! Well, I bet the bugs they eat are scared of them, anyway!

sun 21 july 2019

Working on my mojo, I thought I might begin some repairs here at Static8...

Screenshot of Static8

The website design you see before you is a cobbled together mess! :) laughs. I taught myself HTML about a million years ago, and this site has gone thru several iterations because I used to enjoy playing with design and HTML code.

But the current Sunflower design has been up for way too long. Plus it's done in HTML 4.01 with tables for positioning. And the world has most definitely moved on!

I've taken a HTML5 and CSS Fundamentals class at EdX and now I'm continuing with a CSS Basics class.

My goals for the HTML and CSS class: I wanted a refresher on HTML, along with best practices, and I wanted to learn what was new in HTML5. Check!

I was also hoping to learn how to use CSS to position my designs so they'd translate across devices... to look good on a desktop monitor, on a tablet, and on a phone!

Well, I did learn the names of what I want: Flexbox and Grids. But the brief overview wasn't enough. I think I learned enough to be dangerous with Flexbox, nothing about Grids, and nothing about combining the two.

And, since I'm a random user of CSS, I actually needed to learn about the original CSS positioning techniques like relative position and float.

No big deal, the CSS class that I just signed up for covers layout and positioning. But it sounds like it too, just mentions Grids and Flexbox. So I may have to learn that on my own.

Banana Slug

A beautiful Banana Slug!

Not all Banana Slugs are bright yellow. In fact, I've never seen a yellow banana slug... they have all been this tan colour with dark spots and decorations.

But they are all big! Banana slugs are the 2nd largest slug in the world, maxing out at almost 10 inches (25cm). This one was only about 6 inches. But she+he is seriously lovely with those marking.

(Slugs and Snails are both female and male, thus the she+he!)

wed 31 july 2019

I am part way through the third week of my five week CSS class and I'm working on a new archive page for this site, as I go.

I find I am completely delighted with the simple and clean HTML code!

For instance... You see the grey bar above with the date and the title of this blog post? Currently, on this page, I'm using tables for positioning and a lot of inline styling and the code goes like this:

<table align=center width=550 cellpadding=10 cellspacing=0 border=0>
<tr><td bgcolor= #74828f>
<b><a href="2019/20190731.html" style="color: white;">
wed 31 july 2019... CSS</a></b></td></tr><tr><td><p>

Pretty complicated, huh? Whereas the new code, using HTML5 and CSS separately...

<header id="july31">
wed 31 july 2019... CSS</header>

Of course, all that information that's in the TABLE tags of the top example, still has to be spelled out. It's just spelled out in a completely separate file so you don't have to look at it when you're making a new web page.

Anyway, I just think it's pretty. And I'm glad I'm learning new things!

Love-in-a-Mist flower in front of bolting Cherokee lettuce

I just love how the light catches the veins of the Cherokee lettuce behind this Love-in-a-Mist flower!

The lettuce is going to seed now... and I let it be. Real gardeners would pull the plants out and compost them. But Goldfinches think the seeds are quite tasty! The lettuce plants with the seed heads get pretty tall, a good 4 feet or more. And I really think they are beautiful.

And even more beautiful with Goldfinches on them! :)


Garden Failure
sun 11 aug 2019

Crazy Summer!

The valley that I live in, in the Pacific Northwest, has a Mediterranean Climate... It rains from autumn thru spring and the winter is mild. The summers are hot and dry.

Supposed to be hot and dry! But this summer has been cool with chilly nights. And instead of a week or two of 100° (38°C) days, here and there during the normal 85° (30°C) days -- we've had several weeks of cold cloudy days, even with some rain!

And the summer garden veges hate the cool weather! They haven't been growing properly. The squash plants are tiny and pathetic looking with their ONE blossom. What tomatoes there are, haven't been ripening. And the cucumbers have lost uncounted flowers.

When I look at my photos from last year... the current garden looks a lot like the garden of mid-July. So, the veges are a good three or four weeks behind schedule!

A second crookneck squash is growing

On the other hand, the spring garden veges did well, I only wish I had planted more of them! But then, I always forget how much I love fresh beets.

One of our experiments in the garden this year is Fennel. We've never even eaten fennel before, but I was excited when I googled it. You can eat the fonds, the stalks, the bulb, and the flowers and fruits. It has a mild anise flavor.


I'd been munching on the feathery leaves every time I visit the garden. Definitely refreshing! And this week I pulled up the biggest one. The guinea pigs have been eating the fronds, and love them.

And I chopped up ½ of the bulb and threw it in while cooking pasta. Like this it looks a lot like, and has the same texture, as celery. It had very mild flavor, but I probably over cooked it. For the other ½, I will chop it and just steam it in the microwave for a couple mins.

This is my favorite little corner of the garden:

Leeks, Cauliflower, Purple Basil, Soybeans

Everything is planted too close together, but it looks so happy. On the left is leeks. Then down the center is Part Two cauliflower (because of course Part One died!), Purple Basil and Soybeans.

fri 30 aug 2019

I have had my camera for about a year and a half. It's a Panasonic FZ1000, and I've never really been happy with it.

Screenshot of Static8

I've owned a short line of digital Panasonic cameras and in the past, and have LOVED them. The auto focus is very very intuitive (a stick in front of that bird? who cares?! the camera always focuses on the bird!!) and the photos are fully saturated with great colour.

My current cam has... issues... with light. It can't deal with too much light. If there's not enough light, very often it refuses to focus on anything. Dappled light in the forest? Sheesh, why even bother?!

The thing is, I am very invested in simple point-and-click. I have never been interested in figuring out the manual settings. With wildlife, I don't have time to mess with it! And I take enough photos that I do get a decent one sometimes.

But taking photos of sunflowers, the other day, I got angry. I was looking up at these beautiful flowers, with the sky in the background... Sunflower Yellow and Sky Blue is an amazing colour combination!

But my photos were showing a pale sky and flat colour and I was sick of it.

I consulted google. One of the first websites I found said:

I have found that the auto exposure algorithms used by the FZ1000 quite often lead to a shutter speed or ISO setting which differ from that which I regard as ideal.

And then...

I live in Sydney where bright sunlight and clear skies are common leading to subjects with high brightness range. In these conditions the FZ1000 has a moderate tendency to blow out highlights with JPG capture.

Okay! So I learned how to adjust the exposure on the stupid camera. And, um, well... instantly, there were better photos! The blue, blue sky is back!

Sunflower and blue blue sky

Yay, Saturation!

*laughs* And, I don't know, maybe the focus is a little bit better as well...

Green Heron

I admit, this was probably just a lucky shot of this lovely Green Heron. But I seem to be getting more lucky shots since I've turned the exposure way way down.

So, I'm happy. And not as constantly frustrated with the cam! But I am annoyed that Panasonic has screwed up the auto settings so much.


Creative Stuff
Tues 1 Oct 2019

I have not been very productive with my time, and for October, I'd like to change that. My goal is to post here every day!

Over the summer, I was very active on Swap-Bot. In addition to the weekly notecard swap I host, I was also participating in about three to five other swaps every week. I was pretty much sending out mail every day or every other day.

I enjoyed it... I work well when I have a deadline. But I was in so many swaps, I had to get stuff out right away. Yeah, I had to be organized! And that took a lot of energy, and suddenly, I wasn't having fun any more.

Two drawings, zen tangle square and crochet square

So I dropped all my swaps at the end of Aug... But there was one last one that I was working on. A Daily Doodle exchange. We filled out a calender page, each square was less than 1.5 inches. Some of my drawings were pretty good! And I remembered how much I like drawing!

So I have continued. I'm now drawing ATC size, not quite daily.

ATC: Artist Trading Card, the only rule is the size... 2½ x 3½ usually in portrait orientation. Here are some examples at Illustrated ATCs. I am not nearly as good as any of the artists there, but that's okay!

So anyway, it's very possible that I'll be uploading some of my drawings in the next month, instead of typing away all the time! :)

Wed 2 Oct 2019

I go for a long walk every day, without fail.

I'm pretty bored of the walk in my neighborhood. I have calculated that I've walked the bike path to our Community Garden over a thousand times. So there are a couple of nearby parks that I drive to, once or twice a week.

My favorite is Hendrick's Park. I take a swing through the Rhododendron Garden, and that's where I find most of the wildlife. There's a Native Plant Garden as well, where I learned about Vine Maple and Ocean Spray and Solomon's Seal.

And across the street is a hiking area. It's a relatively small area of forest and hills, surrounded by the city with neighborhoods on all sides. But it's big enough for Mule Deers and Turkeys.

None of that today, tho. There were some birds who stood for their portrait, and I do love that! But it was the mushrooms that were catching my eyes today...

Mushrooms growing on a downed tree

Mushrooms growing on a downed tree

So lovely and interesting!

at the Community Garden
Thurs 3 Oct 2019

Goldfinch on sunflower

Oh my gosh, I love this photo...

The focus is not great, it's a little bit blurry. Which is really a bummer because it makes printing it up as a notecard or postcard very problematic. Heck, I even cringe a bit to blow it up this large for the website!

But I just love the round sunflower heads, and the design of the florets radiating out! And of course, happy goldfinch, who was chowing down on the sunflower seeds. :)

Landscape Photography
Fri 4 Oct 2019

Another one of the swaps that I participated in this summer was an ongoing photo series that had a variety of topics. Of course, I felt like I excelled at the Real Photos Nature and Critters and Floral. Unfortunately, I had to skip the Architecture swap since I don't really take pics of buildings.

But then there was the Scenery photo swap. I am terrible at landscape type photos. I know what good landscape photos look like... Ansel Adams! And I know that when I attempt to take photos of the land, there is just something missing. I can see how beautiful the day is, but I just can't capture that, for whatever reason.

So I signed up for the Scenery swap in order to challenge myself.

heh, and I think the weather didn't cooperate at all. Like there was one non-rainy day, or something like that, before the deadline. *shakes head*

But anyway. I was thinking about Scenery and Landscapes again today because the sky was just so amazing. so I made some attempts. eh... The sky is interesting, but the photos are just bleh!

trees and sky at Delta Ponds

trees and sky at Delta Ponds

But this one, maybe? captures more of the soul of the place?

The Willametter River at the base of Skinner Butte

That's the Willamette River and Skinner Butte, a hill that's in the middle of downtown Eugene.

I love how the morning sun is really putting definition on each of those trees in the mid-ground... You can tell, each one of those trees is a character, an individual. You've got round ones, you've got tall ones, you've got the spiky ones.

And those couple that are almost turning red, it's almost a focal point. Not quite but almost.

That's the thing that bugs me: I have to have a focal point in my photos, and most of my landscape pictures don't have one. And I don't know how to find that focal area when I am out taking pictures.

Something to work on!

Sat 5 Oct

I have been working very hard at the garden this week, getting ready for winter. We are required to cover our plots for winter, and we usually haul in leaves. But this year I want to try a cover crop.

Every other day, this week, I've walked out to the garden. I choose a section, about five feet square. I pull up all the garden plants and the borage. The Borage breaks down quickly so I throw it along the edges of our plot. And the garden plants go to the community compost pile.

Then the work: Loosening up the soil and picking out as many grass roots as I can. This is incredibly hard work.

But then the fun part! Scattering the clover seeds! I rake them in, lightly... they are small and so they're supposed to stay close to the top of the dirt. And then I walk over the section, to kind of push any extra seeds down into the dirt.

I've been working a little over an hour, on the days I go. And dang, I am getting exhausted... because I don't let myself rest on the other days. I still go for my hilly hike or my 4 mile walk! ha.

But I keep going out to the garden, even reluctantly. I really want this cover crop, so the work has got to be done. The garden plot is large, and even working five foot sections it will take a while to get it all done. But, I can see that the seeds are sprouting already, in the first section I did, so that's gratifying.

And I have some happy company while I work...

Two Goldfinches on a sunflower head

The Goldfinches flutter here and there, all around the garden. It's a joy to listen to their voices and watch them when they come close.

Autumn Juvenile Birds
Sun 6 Oct 2019

Oh my goodness, what an adorable little bird...

Juvenile Cedar Waxwing with Hawthorn Berries

This is a juvenile Cedar Waxwing.

I had no idea what this bird was, when I was taking her/his portrait. (But it was pretty obvious, once I zoomed in on my photos!)

A couple weeks ago, I got dive bombed by a couple birds chasing each other. I followed them down the path and discovered a whole flock of them, bouncing around in a cherry tree. And, again, I had no idea what species the birds were, as I was taking their pictures.

Juvenile American Robin eating a wild cherry

Turns out they were juvenile American Robins. (sorry, bad pic to show you! She's holding a wild cherry, but her face is partially hidden behind a leaf.)

What's with all the juveniles, here in autumn?!

Both Cedar Waxwings and Robins can raise more than one batch of nestlings during the summer. And these crazy kids are probably the successful result of those later broods!

And, our Robins don't migrate, they are year round residents. So they don't have a stressful flight that needs to happen right away.

It looks like Cedar Waxwings do migrate, but they might not go very far. So, I'd assume it wouldn't be too hard for the kids to get there.

I do worry, but probably the birds know what they're doing!

Mon 7 Oct 2019

um. It's monday. I don't have anything organized to say.

illustration of a sea horse

nothin' part 2
Tues 8 Oct 2019

illustration of Sun Gold Cherry tomatoes and a Great Blue Heron

What? Again?!


Walk and RSS
Wed 9 Oct 2019

Pretty chilly this morning and I bundled up for my walk! And you never know who you are going to run into when the seasons are changing...

A Mink!

a Mink

Unfortunately a very blurry mink. I didn't get any good photos. What else is new.

And then one of our winter visitors, a Golden Crowned Sparrow...

Golden Crowned Sparrow

I do like sparrows, little brown birds.

And yeah, it suddenly occurred to me that I should probably be marking my photos. Because it's the Internet, you know. :)

Oh, and while I was not posting real stuff on Monday and Tuesday, I was actually doing blog stuff... The RSS feed now works again. Yay!

What's that? You don't care about RSS? Yeah, I don't know why RSS isn't more popular. But if you read blogs that update randomly (*waves hand*) and if you don't like advertising (*waves hand*) you should check out RSS feed readers!

I'm using The Old Reader. It's free, with a paid premium version.

Climate Change
Thurs 10 Oct 2019

Another cold morning, but it just makes me appreciate the hot shower even more!

The hot shower is one of those every day type things that I absolutely treasure. It's going to be the one thing that I'll reeeally miss when civilization crashes. If I survive.

Yep, I'm a Doomer! I believe civilization will crash within my lifetime! And it'll probably be climate change that does the trick.

PostCrossing Blog: October Writing Prompt

In October, write about the impacts of climate change in your region or country.

Eugene is about 60miles (100km) from the Pacific Ocean, so we will not have to deal directly with the sea level rising.

Excessive rain may bring local flooding. Our home is a little ways up a hill, so that's good. But there may be landslides coming down on us from further up the hill.

The trend for our area is less and less rainfall. And hotter summers. Which is a major bummer for our trees.

Our Douglas Firs are slowly dying, from the warmer summers. The same with our lovely Big Leaf Maples.

Our Oak trees are sick as well... in fact, they cut down two from our apartment parking lot today. That was a depressing thing to watch. Now, instead of happy leaf shadows, the sun pounds down.

And then there's the bark beetles, killing our drought stressed pine trees.

Basically, our temperate rain forests are done. And we are just noticing the beginning of the end.

autumn leaves

Happy Autumn Leaves.

Oh, except... you see the brown on the pine tree? Yep. Dying.

Sighs... You know, hot showers aside, I also really like oxygen. I suppose we'll have to get along without it.

Drawing Project
Fri 11 Oct 2019

I've shown you a few of my August Daily Doodles, where I was drawing on a calender page. I took a little break from drawing, but then mid-September I started some ATC sized drawings. It's not been daily, but it's part of my routine now.

The August Doodles were on a sheet of matte photo paper. I chose that because I knew I would be using my Copic markers, and the colours really pop on that paper! Unfortunately, I discovered it is quite impossible to use an eraser on photo paper... it smears and leaves ugly marks. I tried all my different erasers: gum, vinyl, that grey kneaded thing, a black one. All the same crappy result. Bleh!

I had cut up a page of photo paper for my first few ATCs as well. But then I remembered I had a little stash of X-PressIt Blending Card left over from work. So I cut a page of it up for my next batch of ATCs... oh my, it erases beautifully!

But, since I'd been using the Copics on the other paper for so long... the new paper felt and looked odd. So the past week or so I've not been colouring my drawings. But I've been getting good practice with shading and markings with pencil.

ATC Drawing of a Great Blue Heron ATC Drawing of a Goldfinch on a Sunflower

I've been using my own photos for reference... yeah, you might recognize that Goldfinch from the 3 Oct post!

Sat 12 Oct 2019

Oh my gosh, I had such a great hike this morning!

I got there and headed to the Rhododendron Garden... and just across the way there's a deer Running! They quickly disappear behind trees and I'm left wondering what in the world scared the deer so much in this park. a human with a big dog??

haha. nope! The deer comes bouncing back! She sprints this way and that. And, oh, here comes another deer! And another. And... how many are there anyway? The three or four are all bouncing around and acting like it's silly time.

I laughed out loud watching them! They noticed me, but didn't invite me to play. heh. But they did let me walk up to them pretty close. :)

I haven't looked at my photos yet.... I'm nervous that there won't be any good pics.

drawing of a deers face

Mon 14 Oct 2019

I skipped the blog post on Sunday... I had started a good book on Friday, and by Sunday afternoon I was deep into it. I just didn't stop reading until it was done. And then it was bed time! :)

Isn't it awesome when you find a book like that?!

This one was The Book of Flora which is the third book in the series which began with The Book of the Unnamed Midwife.

I wondered when I started reading it, if I needed to re-read books 1 and 2. I should have, but I kept reading #3 anyway! Ha, it's funny how long it took me to remember who the main character was, from book 2!! *laughs*

I'm re-reading book 2 right now, and it's fascinating how well the stories in book 2 and book 3 fit together... the author must have been working on them together. Which delights me and makes me jealous: I can't even figure out what I'm going to do tomorrow, and the author has all these characters' lives laid out in detail.

illustration of an open book

But that's the great thing about reading, huh? All those other lives, other adventures, other worlds. The magic of... differences!

Deer Zoomies
Tues 15 Oct 2019

(Continued from Saturday's post...)

Blurry pic of the deers doing zoomies, but I'm amazed that I got all three in the same frame! They are totally having fun!

three mule deers, two running one standing

haha! Once they calmed down, I did take a couple decent photos. Here's another fun one...

squirrel behind a tree and a deer looking towards him

I have no idea why the squirrel is using the tree to hide from the doe, instead of hiding from me! And the deer is obviously wondering the same thing!!

Wed 16 Oct 2019

I was walking home from the Community Garden this morning, and there were three Vs of Canada Geese flying towards me. The first V was the smallest, and I counted one arm. About 20. The second V was bigger, maybe 30 or 35 on an arm.

The last V wasn't a V anymore because the Geese were changing places and moving around. It was a long line, with little jags coming off it. 80 or 100 Geese?

I'm not sure, but I stopped walking to watch them fly by.

And all of a sudden, I'm almost crying.

Here I am, in awe of a couple hundred birds. When 200 years ago there were so many Passenger Pigeons that they darkened the sky when they flew by. How many gajillions of birds does it take for that to happen?

Martha, the last Passenger Pigeon, died in captivity on 1 Sept 1914.

And North America has lost more than 1 in 4 Birds in the Last 50 Years, a net loss approaching 3 billion birds, or 29% of 1970 abundance. Fifty years.

It's the same with bugs. Plummeting Insect Numbers 'Threaten Collapse of Nature' insect abundance (as measured by biomass) had declined by more than 75 percent within 63 protected areas in Germany—over the course of just 27 years.

Humans are killing everybody.

And I'll cry, watching them cut down our sick trees. And I'll cry for the dead squirrel at the side of the road. And I'll cry for the curled up mouse on the path, killed with poison. And I'll cry for the raccoon mama with her infected hand, and I'll cry for her teenage kids who are wandering around without her a week or so later, looking pathetic and skinny.

I don't tell these stories, because who wants depressing?

But this is what we are doing. And we should face it every once in a while.

Geese flying overhead

Thurs 17 Oct 2019

I got a bird postcard in the mail today.

Eurasian Jay

I had never seen this bird before and I had all kinds of questions! ha! I studied the picture carefully...

Definitely a Jay. That face, that look? Definitely.

I flipped the postcard over and had to search for the info. Almost obscured by some happy bird washi tape :) but I didn't have to peel anything up to read it... Eurasian Jay.

How beautiful! And I'm sure they are just as bold and obnoxious as the Jays in the US!

Blue Jays are well known to the East of the Rockies in the United States. On the Western side, we have Scrub Jays and Stellar Jays, both of which are also blue (and frequently get called blue jays by normal people). (ha!)

Scrub Jay

Jays are beautiful and interesting. They are always yelling about something. And they love peanuts in the shell... people feed them and this time of year all the Scrub Jays are holding one, to be buried in an undisclosed location! :)

Cover Crop
Fri 18 Oct 2019

After three weeks of very hard work at the garden, I've finally got most of the plot Weeded and Seeded!

Actually, it was a bit of a surprise to finish this morning. While I had started out working 5x5foot (1.5 x 1.5 meter) sections, the soil towards the back of the plot was not as easy to work with. The past week or so I've only been able to finish 3x3 sections.

But when I saw how close I was, I just kept going. My back was in spasms and I was getting a blister on my thumb... but I kept going! ha.

And it's only a month late. Yeah. You're supposed to have your cover crop planted a month before the first frost date. So all this should have been done on 15 Sept. eh.

No worries, baby clovers are being born!

Clover Seedlings

heh, along with baby weeds of all types.

Sat 19 Oct 2019

I was going thru my photos today, picking some out for a swap I'm in.

I really need to do this more often... to pick out the better ones. And to see if any are print quality. And to just remember all the cool things I get to see!

House Finch and Tree Sparrow

A House Finch and Tree Sparrow in the rain.

Sun 20 Oct 2019

I love Chickadees! But 99% of the time, I ignore them.

I hear their little chicka dee dee dees every time I go outside. They are named for their alarm call... The more dees they add, the more dangerous the situation. A Human on the bike path might get 2 or 3 dees, but a prowling cat gets a long line of dees.

I listen to their dees. Chickadees say a lot about the environment, after all. But I don't try to find them. And I certainly don't bother to turn on the camera for them.

They are impossible to take pictures of! They bounce around way too quickly and the camera won't focus fast enough. I've tried. Lord, how I've tried. And that's why I ignore them now!

But today... I was actually trying to take portraits of a couple of Downy Woodpeckers. And some Chickadees got in the way.

haha, not really.


Sudoku and word games
Mon 21 Oct 2019

I enjoy doing sudoku. My local newspaper carries it every day except sunday, with monday being easy and the puzzles getting progressively harder thru the week.

Monday is so easy in fact, that I handicap myself by not making any marks. Still, it only takes me 5 minutes. Tuesday I only make outside marks, and it takes a little longer.

Wed and Thurs, I use marks and it takes 15 or 20 minutes to finish. Fri and Sat... ha, sometimes I abandon these because I'll get stuck and it's taking too long to find the one little thing that will tip the puzzle over so it will fall like dominoes! When I do finish these, it can take 30 or 40 minutes.

Occasionally I will screw up. It's mostly about going too fast because I'm timing myself, and not noticing that there are two 5s in the same row! arg. Sometimes I notice relatively quickly and I can back track and finish. Other times I abandon.

I also try my hand at the crossword, but I'm terrible at it. For instance, in today's crossword, I got 4 words. yeah.

I wish I were better with words! But so often when I have to think of a word, my mind just shuts down.

You know that game Scattergories? You get a letter and you have to think up words starting with the letter for like 12 categories. Girl Names. Kitchen Devices. You know?

Scattergories icon

I effing hate that game. I can usually fill out 1 or 2 of the 12 blanks, maybe 3 or 4 if I'm very lucky. And my brother fills out all of them. And he even argues passionately about his questionable answers! It would be funny -- how bad I lose and how brilliant he wins -- except I take it so seriously!

I don't know why. Probably because I always have such high hopes when we start playing. This Time I'll be able to fill in a respectable amount of blanks! But it never happens.

Trees and Fog and Light
Wed 23 Oct 2019

I went for a hike at my favorite place here in town. Hendricks Park was up in the clouds! Not much wildlife was out...

... but the trees are actually quite lovely.

~ Westley to Buttercup at the Fire Swamp

Oak tree branches in fog

trees in fog

sunshine breaking thru the fog and trees

Foggy Birds
Thurs 24 Oct 2019

I've really been hoping to catch a Black and Orange bird to use as my October postcard... I saw both the prime candidates yesterday, but the heavy fog made the ambient too dark for the camera.

A Towhee...

Spotted Towhee

And a Varied Thrush...

Varied Thrush

The Garden Experiment
Fri 25 Oct 2019

I brought home a couple leeks from the garden today.

I hate onions, but I really like leeks. We don't grow leeks at the garden very often. Because I don't remember how much I like leeks!

Leeks are great in soup... I slow cook some barley and lentils and chop up the leeks with some celery and carrots. Yum. But it's good to throw leeks in when you cook up pasta or rice, too!

I should grow more leeks. That's one plant that is easy to grow because the slugs won't munch on them! And then, they don't mind the cold, so they can stay in the ground in the autumn until you're ready to eat them.

Anyway. I try to experiment with something new every year and this past year's experiment was Fennel. I'd never grown or eaten it before.

So, Fennel? thumbs up and thumbs down! haha!

I do like the leaves, they are wonderful just to munch on when wandering thru the garden. Very refreshing! and they're good in salad, but you have to add quite a bit to actually taste it. A happy bonus: the guinea pigs also like to eat the leaves! :)

But Fennel root? meh. You can treat it like celery, but when I nuked it with my pasta there were always tough parts that made it yucky. I didn't cook it enough to figure out how to remove the potiential tough parts.

and I didn't cook it enough because it wasn't tasty enough to bother!

I left 3 fennels to go to seed in the garden... it's supposed to self-seed easily. And we shall see what I do with the results next year. Maybe the piggies will like the root more than I do?

Garden Birds
Sat 26 Oct 2019

I love this time of year at the garden... autumn brings all kinds of birds to munch on stuff that's gone to seed. But there are also interesting new birds that are migrating thru!

A House Finch, in his winter waning red glory...

house finch

And a Junco with... I don't know what this red-violet plant is, but it apparently self-seeds and grows freely across the community garden. The birds love it, and I want it for my own garden plot. If only I knew what it was!

black eyed junco

Sun 27 Oct 2019

I am very interested in all the new, unidentified song birds I come across in my wanderings. I try to take as many pics as I can, even blurry pics are fine when I don't know who I'm looking at. And I try to Look as well as photograph and note any behavior that will help.

And when I'm home, the field guides come out! The blurry photos are studied and maybe I consult All About Birds, Cornell. And the little bird is figured out and my happy knowledge has been increased!

Not so much with ducks, tho. I just don't care as much, for whatever reason.

So every time I visit the Delta Ponds, and I see those somewhat cute little dark grey ducks, with the black heads... They've got a funny looking face, and are instantly recognizable because of their constant diving... And I don't know what species they are!

American Coot

American Coot! All About Birds says Coots aren't actually ducks! They don't have webbed feet and are related to Sandhill Cranes. Very interesting!

And the American Wigeon...

American Wigeon

A winter visitor in our area.

And that's interesting because Hooded Mergansers and Green-Winged Teals are also winter visitors and today was the first time I'd seen them this season!

Health Care for Halloween
Tues 29 Oct 2019

I have not talked about it openly here, yet, but I'm a huge advocate for reproductive justice, Planned Parenthood and independent clinics, birth control and abortion.

So I was absolutely delighted when I saw Mama Doctor Jones put out a YouTube of her Halloween costume... She's going as a uterus with a copper IUD!!

ObGyn makes DIY Feminist IUD

It is so brilliant... and she's got her overies on her wrists!!

It's a 12½ minute video, but she shows flashes of herself in the costume at the beginning, if you don't have time to watch the whole thing.

Anyway, it made me laugh. :)

Happy Halloween
Thurs 31 Oct 2019

two spider webs

Looks a bit like a monster's face, doesn't it?! :D


Fri 1 Nov 2019

The last book I read was a science fiction novel, A Memory Called Empire [it was okay, not great] and poetry was an important part of the culture. The people there memorized long poems in school and poetry contests were part of every day conversation as well as national entertainment.

Today I started re-reading a book. I read and enjoyed A Tale for the Time Being in 2013. [I rated it 5 out of 5 stars.] I've just been thinking about it lately for some reason. It's got a little bit of poetry, but the story is written so well it almost reads like poetry itself.

I'm not really a poetry person. I like things to be straight forward, and sometimes when I encounter a poem in a book I don't want to take the time to figure it out... or even read it. yep, sometimes I just skip it!

ha! Shameful I know.

But reading Empire, I wondered why I was never forced to memorize a poem in school. My partner can recite parts of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. But me? I know a few one-liners: Quoth the Raven Nevermore, and Hope is the thing with feathers, and Oh, the Thinks You can Think! :)

And I wonder. Maybe I'm impoverished. Maybe I should find a poem to memorize.

Sat 2 Nov 2019

I got a pleasant surprise when I opened the back blinds this morning to let in some sunshine... one of my African Violets is blooming!

African Violets

This is a clone of one of my Grandma's plants... she had loads sitting on the dryer in the kitchen.

I don't take care of my houseplants very well. Fortunately, African Violets thrive on neglect! ha.

I've got a few houseplants that have survived my haphazard care... Spider Plant, Chinese Evergreen, two different Pothos, an Umbrella plant, a Peace Lily and a Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia, but I never remember how to pronounce it!). Oh, and a couple of Begonia cuttings.

All of these plants were given to me by family or work buddies!

Sun 3 Nov 2019

Frost on Columbine leaves

Frost on my Columbine in the garden plot. It is really not supposed to be this cold. It's supposed to be well above freezing.

More Ducks
Mon 4 Nov 2019

Still trying to get interested in ducks. And it is nice that they aren't all Mallards! Mallards are fine, but when that's all you've got to look at, they are boring! :)

Wandering thru the Delta Ponds today, I saw the both the ducks I had identified here... Coots! and, shoot, I couldn't remember the Wigeon. I think I need a bit of interesting information to go with the duck to help me recall their species. For instance: Coots aren't real ducks.

For Wigeons, hmm. There is an American Wigeon and a European Wigeon. And sometimes a European is found hanging out with the Americans, and sometimes an American is found hanging out with the Europeans. That has a nice balance to it.

Here are a couple new ones I found today... A Northern Shoveler with a funny looking bill:

Northern Shoveler

And a Pied-billed Grebe, cute little face, but no tail!

Pied-billed Grebe

Song Sparrow
Tues 5 Nov 2019

Song Sparrow

Just a photo that makes me really happy. Song Sparrows always put a smile on my face and in my heart!

I am not sure when I started taking notice of Song Sparrows. But a photo I took in December of 2016 has become a significant one... I am still sending that one out as a postcard to welcome new members at my GoodReads group!

Song Sparrows have a lovely song, of course! And since they live here all year, I usually hear them every time I go for a walk. Madge Madge Madge, put on your tea kettle ettle ettle is how my Audubon field guide has it, which kind of captures the rhythm of it.

But it's their contact call that I pay attention to most of all. Jeep. Jeep. Jeep. And they are probably bouncing around in the under story, so don't look up!

Wed 6 Nov 2019

I was going thru my October photos, looking for some Autumn Leaves for a Swap-Bot swap I'm in. Yeah, I do take some pics of leaves... I love the colours or I love the shapes! And I just love leaves in general.

Here's some fern fronds that really caught my eye...

Fern closeup

Drawing Project
Thurs 7 Nov 2019

I have been making ATC sized sketches almost every day for just over 7 weeks now, and I just started filling my fifth 9-pocket card protector. I began this project on 16 Sept which means (math: 7.5 weeks is 52 days, and with 37 drawings is 70%) I've been drawing about 5 ATCs per week!

*** Sorry about all the numbers there. Here's where we actually begin! :D ***

Of course the surprising thing is... I'm still at it! And you know what else I'm still doing?! The daily blog!

The two projects kind of lend themselves to each other... I've been better about going thru my photos every day, since I usually like to have a pic here. Which means I also check my photos for the printable ones, and I will do test prints of the borderline photos. And when I have extra photos laying around, I can grab one to sketch it!

I like looking at other people's work space, so here is mine today:

my workspace

Yep this is where I write my postcards and notecards, you can see a few stamps in the background.

And yep, I work on the floor. I really like to spread out when I'm working, and a big desk would not fit in our tiny townhouse.

Day of Chipmunks
Fri 8 Nov 2019

Sometimes when I go out in the forest, there is no wildlife to be found. I thought today was going to be one of those days and I started taking photos of the plants. Which is just as good, but not as exciting. :)

But I walked up Oak Knoll, this trail always has somebody cute to photograph! If only a single Song Sparrow. Today there were chipmunks everywhere!

chipmunk on a branch

There are 5 or 6 species of chipmunks who live in our area, and there isn't any way for an amateur to identify them. bummer.

This one is looking pretty round.

Chipmunks do hibernate, tho not in the bear way. Chipmunks wake up every couple days to munch on the nuts they have stored in their hidey hole.

I'm not sure if they hibernate here tho... since we have mild winters, they might stay active thru the season. More direct research, forthcoming!

Forest Restoration
Sat 9 Nov 2019

One of the trail junctions in the middle of the forest at my favorite local hiking spot, has had signs up during the summer. They would be doing forest restoration there. And finally they have.

I recognized a couple of the shrubs they planted in the area. Snow Berry, which is common in large patches all across the hills...

Forest Restoration, Snow Berry

And Oregon Grape, which is also the state flower. :) The leaves look like holly...

Oregon Grape

And then the ones I don't know yet:

unknown Forest Restoration plant

unknown Forest Restoration plant

and then there were several cages which just contained some sticks! I suppose the deers or the bunnies like to munch on whatever is in there! I'll have to wait and see what develops in the spring.

Forest Restoration area

Sun 10 Nov 2019

(Today I read my book all afternoon and all evening!)

(It's great sci fi.)

Semiosis by Sue Burke

Semiosis is any form of activity, conduct, or process that involves signs, including the production of meaning. A sign is anything that communicates a meaning, that is not the sign itself, to the interpreter of the sign. The meaning can be intentional such as a word uttered with a specific meaning, or unintentional, such as a symptom being a sign of a particular medical condition. Signs can communicate through any of the senses, visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, or taste.

~ Wikipedia

Mon 11 Nov 2019

(Today I walked 5 miles for the first time!)

(Exercise is good.)

Write For Rights
Wed 13 Nov 2019

(Sorry about the non entries of the last couple days. Just lost my mojo, temporarily.)

December 2011, I discovered Amnesty International's Write For Rights campaign. I became an Urgent Action writer for AI after that, but the Write For Rights holds a special place in my heart!

Writing for AI is all about sending letters of protest to governments or authorities. The major difference between UA writing and W4R writing is the letters of solidarity! This is the part that I really love!

Sending a card for support to the person who is in trouble -- maybe they are in jail for their human rights activities, or maybe a family is waiting word from someone who has been disappeared -- makes all the difference in the world.

The letters of protest are easy too... if you go to the Write For Rights page and scroll down to the half way point, it says Now, Write a Letter. Just under that is the yellow bar to download a PDF of the ten cases this year.

That PDF includes the address and sample text for each letter of protest. And then has more information and how to send your message of support. Some of these are messages on social media, some are a forwarding address kept by Amnesty International.

I like to send my handmade cards based on my photography... Even better when I can match info from AI with one of my photos! For instance, Marinel Ubaldo loves nature, so I'll be sending her one of my chipmunks! :)

P.S. If you live in the UK, please check out Amnesty International, UK because there are a couple different cases you can write for: Migrant Women and Young Trans People. Both VERY important!!

Adult Colouring Books
Thurs 14 Nov 2019

About a month ago this book showed up in my mailbox. I pre-ordered it in May, and had forgotten. So it was a pleasant surprise.

Johanna Basford's illustrations definitely charm me and I have several of her other books... Not that I've taken the time to colour any! haha. I just like to look at her art!

I have done a couple of my daily drawings, based on her work. I think they've turned out okay, but it does take longer to work on them since I have to decide where to put what.

ATC drawing in the style of Johanna Basford ATC drawing in the style of Johanna Basford

haha, I know: the one looks like horns!

The book also has Garden and Forest sections, but I like organic and abstract of the Ocean drawings.

Fri 15 Nov 2019

Yesterday I showed a sketch that included a starfish. It reminded me of ecological collapse...

A few years ago the starfishes on the Oregon coast were found with arms that looked like they were melting or turning into slime. I don't think the scientist ever figured out what was wrong, whether it was a virus or a prion or what. The disease caused massive die-offs in about 40 species of sea stars.

Sunflower Sea Stars were the only remaining predator of Purple Sea Urchins. Humans had already decimated the sea urchins other predator in the 19th century: Sea Otters, murdered almost to extinction for their fur. And now the Sunflower Sea Stars are gone as well.

Purple Sea Urchins, with nobody keeping their population in check, have in turn decimated the Kelp Forests off the coasts of Oregon and California. The kelp is gone and the sea urchins literally cover the sea floor and are starving because there's nothing left to eat.

Learn more:

The Lost Sea Otters of Oregon and

Otter Watch

Sea Star Wasting Syndrome (graphic images)

Massive Starfish Die-Off is Tied to Global Warming (one graphic image at the top of the page)

A Minefield of Purple Urchins devastated Kelp Forests in CA

Sat 16 Nov 2019

A little bit of rain on Friday morning, after a long dry spell, brought out the mushrooms.

Close up of a mushroom

My partner even brought home a beautiful orange mushroom, saying he was going to cook it up and eat it.

Ha! I put the nix on that. He's such a troll, I never really know when he's joking!! :)

Mon 18 Nov 2019

I walked 5 miles again today! I guess monday is going to be my five mile day. :)

Most other days, I walk 4 miles. Occasionally, I will just walk 2 miles around the neighborhood and then stop at the gym to do some weights and 30 minutes of elliptical.

Yeah, I keep pretty active. And I'm really proud of myself for getting up to 5 miles, too...

I've had a very difficult time recovering from the broken foot of January. I was still in the walking boot when the doctor "released" me in March. She just threw some printouts at me for my therapy exercises.

Your tendons and ligaments tighten up and stop working after being immobilized for a while. Since my doctor abandoned me, I don't know if my tendons were really bad, or what. But the therapy exercises HURT. a lot. But eventually, I was able to walk thru the pain. And eventually, I walked further with the pain. And eventually, I thought I would always have pain when I walked.

In September, I was starting to ignore the pain. And in October... I was better! Just some twinges, every once in a while. And I've been walking further and further and further!

Thus I get excited about 5 miles! :)

Great Blue Heron

Heads Up
Tues 19 Nov 2019

My five mile walk of yesterday was at the Ruth Bascom Riverbank path. I had just crossed Owosso Bridge, to come back on the West Bank side. There's about 3 blocks where the path goes along a street instead of next to the river... I guess the city couldn't get the land for the path. Which is a bummer, but it's an okay neighborhood to walk thru.

A biker is coming towards me. Careful! he says. There are two turkeys!

That makes me laugh with joy. Oh my gosh! Thanks!

I go a bit further, and sure enough, around the corner...

Two wild turkeys in a neighborhood front yard

Awesome! I love turkeys' cute sad faces! (and also great to see recycling happening!)

People notice my camera, and I always appreciate the heads up from my fellow path users about wildlife!

Several years ago, a lady with a happy little black dog, Licorice, told me about a Great Blue Heron perching in the Douglas Fir that she points out. We meet again, not long after, and I tell her I was able to get pics of her Heron. Her name is Joyce and we still occasionally cross paths!

A couple weeks ago, a lady with a Chihuahua, Little Man, told me about two Egrets. We actually went looking for them together, since she had just seen them just a couple minutes ago. But they were gone. We went our separate ways, but on my way home I saw both the Egrets! Yep, we ran into each other again, and her name is Diane.

Got Away
Wed 20 Nov 2019

And then there's the wildlife that gets away, without a portrait taken!

Today was too dark and dreary for photography, but I was having pretty good luck with the birds, never mind the blurry photos. A Robin stayed for a couple pics, and a Junco as well. And then a woodpecker... was it a Downy or a Hairy??

I decided to stop and watch a Heron. But she was watching someone as well. I couldn't tell what she was seeing, but she was staring hard at the opposite bank of the creek, craning her neck every once in a while. And the nearby ducks were interested as well. What the heck?

A flash of movement, and a splash... and it could only have been a mink. And she was gone in an instant, probably panicked by the Heron. Minks are pretty small compared to Herons, after all... especially Herons with that look in their eyes! :)

But I was a bit bummed for missing out on a cute little mink face.

But it reminded me about the otter that I saw last week. Who I did get a portrait of. A bad portrait, unfortunately... it was another dark day, and the otter wasn't giving the camera time to focus.

Otter in the creek

But it was super fun to watch her... she was as interested in me as I was of her. She'd pop her head up to look, then duck down under the water and swim to get a different angle. hehe.

Until she got bored and headed down stream.

Thurs 21 Nov 2019

Walking past the Delta Ponds again today. And you know, it's a lot more fun looking at ducks, now that I know most of them!

Cormorants are not ducks. They are big, aquatic diving birds. And Double-Crested Cormorants spend the winter here.

I don't really pay much attention to them. They are easy to identify, and are usually pretty far away. Here's a typical photo...

Delta Ponds

haha. This was my GR PC Feb, and I love this pic! So artsy!

But the other day, I almost got a decent photo of a closer Cormorant. It's still pretty blurry, but Oh My Gosh! Look at her eyes!!!

Cormorant with aquamarine eyes

Wow! Do they all have eyes that colour? I wish they came closer more often!

More Ducks
Fri 22 Nov 2019

One more, in the cast of characters at the Delta Ponds... Wood Ducks!

Wood Duck

They are year round residents. And -- like cormorants -- also stay just out of camera range. meh.

But check this out!!

Coot Feet are blue and funny looking

Coots don't have webbed feet because they are not ducks, they are related to Sandhill Cranes. But look! Their feet are so funny looking!

Sat 23 Nov 2019

I love to come across our native Western Grey Squirrels out in the forest.

The non-native Eastern Fox Squirrel has most of our urban areas under their own control. A Western wanders through the neighborhood every once in a while, but they are more common in our larger parks.

And I think it's the young Western Greys who have the overwhelming curiosity about the humans on the trails!

Western Grey Squirrel looking down from a fir tree branch

Sun 24 Nov 2019

Someone recently reminded me about the Burroughs Medal, an award for Nature Writing.

I'm not sure when I discovered it, but I had read a couple books from the list, which I mostly enjoyed, and it seemed like a good idea to read more.

But then I read a Burroughs winner that broke my heart. I read this book in 2016, and it still brings tears to my eyes. Here's my review:

It's taken a while, but I've decided to give the list another try. The Lovely and the Wild is the 1969 winner of the Burroughs Medal, and it's available in Kindle form.

I started reading it yesterday. Kind of a slow start, there's a 50page intro. But now we are into the animal stories... and I'm loving it!

She lives in Ontario, Canada, so I'm not familiar with all the eastern birds and critters. But I can definitely relate to how she follows everyone who gathers around her bird feeders.

It's illustrated by Glen Loates, and oh my gosh, I love the style!!

Sketch by Glen Loates, of a chickadee landing on a snowy pine branch

The drawings are obviously based on the text, and they are just beautiful. I wish I could do that!

Geese at Five Mile Monday
Mon 25 Nov 2019

The place where I park for my Five Mile Mondays, is right behind a big soccer field. And today there was a huge gathering of Canada Geese!

I looked around for someone special to take a pic of... and here's a single Domestic Swan Goose...

Greylag Goose hanging out in a flock of Canada Geese

And their son or daughter?

Greylag Hybrid

Patchy face, and lacking the Swan Goose nob at the top of their beak. So, was the other parent a Greylag? possibly Canada Goose, since their neck is darker? Who knows!


And there is a single Canada Goose who hangs out with the Greylag flock.

Just like with humans, we love who we love!

No Snow
Wed 27 Nov 2019

They were all predicting snow. It would have been fun, but I'm fine that we didn't get any!

There was a dusting at the top of the hill to the immediate south of us, tho...

Snow and Frost at the top of the hill

They said the snow level dropped to 1100 feet... I need to figure out what the elevation on the hill is. hmmm...

Looks like our home is around 430feet, our street goes up a steep hill and across the road it hits 500feet. The nearest hill goes just above 1000 feet, and yep, I think that's the hill I'm looking at from the bike path. Interesting!

Happy Thanksgiving
Thurs 28 Nov 2019

Out to my favorite hike, Hendricks Park and I knew it was going to be a good walk because a Song Sparrow was greeting me right at the entrance of the Rhody Garden!

Song Sparrow on dried flowers

After my turn thru the Garden, I headed up the hill to the hiking trails. About half way down the West Trail, I run into one of the regulars. Usually we just grin at each other, but this time he asked me what I did with my photos.

Ha. I wasn't sure I wanted a long conversation, but I told him I turn them into postcards. He said he sends postcards, too. Huh? Yeah, they're cheaper and you don't have to say very much. ha, okay!

I said, well I wish I had a pen and paper, we could exchange addys. But I'm wearing a new winter jacket and I've not filled my pockets properly yet. oh he says, I've got that. He pulls out a pen and a piece of scrap paper and hands it to me!

It feels weird telling someone in real life about my online name, but I write down rift vegan and my PO box... A stranger in the woods is not getting my home address!

Are you vegan? he asks when he sees my name. Yep. Oh, me too. ha, okay!

He gives me his real name and real address, and we continue on together. He chats and asks questions. And I pretend to know how to do small talk.

I point out some wildlife and he points out some plants. In fact, we went past a forest restoration area on the Oak Knoll trail and he mentioned that he helped plant it, a couple weeks ago. Snow Berries, some Ferns, and new to me: Osoberries.

And it turns out, he works on the newsletter for the Friends of Hendricks Park. He encouraged me to think about sending some photos.

ha, maybe! They definitely need a Wildlife of the Park section in their newsletter! :)

Happy Buy Nothing Day!
Fri 29 Nov 2019

(Yep, I celebrated by buying nothing!)

Sat 30 Nov 2019

Eastern Fox Squirrel looking from a tree trunk

This squirrel caught my eye because his tail is SO red!

The Eastern Fox Squirrels do not have a lot of variability here... since they are invasive, they probably don't have the broad genetic base that they have at home.

East of the Rocky Mountains, Fox Squirrels are black, grey and yellow, grey and rust, black and brown with a white stripe on their face! (That last is pretty funny looking to me!)

Our Fox Squirrels are just grey and orange.

Plus one with a red tail. :)


Five Mile Monday
Mon 2 Dec

(oops... I've not been very consistent about the updates here lately.)

Today's 5 mile walk actually turned into 5½ miles because I went out to see Pluto!!

ha! The Riverbank path has a science installation of a scale model of the Solar System. Over the weekend, I walked down to see the Sun and inner planets.

A large yellow ball representing the sun

The Sun is 4foot 6inches (1.39 meters) and Earth is a little speck 492feet away (150 meters) and Pluto is an even smaller little speck 3.7 miles away (5.9km).

Wait! Pluto?! I didn't even know about Pluto! On my regular walk along the RiverBank, I pass Uranus and Neptune. Turns out Pluto is on a side path I'd not been on yet!

And that's where I walked today. The loop turned out to be longer than I thought. Thus the extra 1/2 mile!

Tues 3 Dec 2019

Hooded Mergansers and Green-Winged Teals are regular winter visitors at the little creek that runs down the hill from our home.

I've not kept records, unfortunately. But it seemed like the Mergansers were early this year, and the Teals are late. Today was the first time I'd seen Teals at the creek...

Male Green-Winged Teal

Daily Drawing
Wed 4 Dec 2019

I kind of got side tracked from my projects Thanksgiving week. The blog was irregular and not actually uploaded many days, and I skipped several days in a row of my daily ATC drawings.

I got back to it today, and pulled out a new 9-pocket card holder page. I've filled 6 pages, which means I've got 55 little drawings!

Before drawing today, I glanced over my previous pages. I tend to do my pencil sketch, and then either leave it or do a little shading with pencil. So today I decided to try to do a simple pencil sketch and then colour it.

Golden Crowned Sparrow drawing

I was pleasantly surprised at how it turned out.

I draw a lot of birds, but I hate drawing feathers. I'm trying to figure out how to indicate them with a couple of swoops or dribbles of colour. Yeah. I'm not quite there, obviously.

But I think the overall impression is okay!

Thurs 5 Dec 2019

Just a cute little house sparrow, livin' in the city!

House Sparrow standing on barbed wire

Delta Ponds Duck
Fri 6 Dec 2019

A happy surprise at the Delta Ponds this morning... it was so dark and dreary, I wondered why I bothered to bring the camera: far away wildlife will just look like the fog!

But there's a new white Mallard at the Ponds, and he's paddling right for me! And climbs up on the bank and walks right up to me!

White Mallard

What a sweet heart! And beautiful blue eyes. But he lost interest quickly when I didn't produce any treats. :)

Mallards have all kinds of natural colour combinations! Nearby, on the river, I've seen a pair of almost black mallards. The white ones are the result of domestication. This one is probably an escapee! Yay!

And the tail curl indicates that he's a male...

White Mallard

Delta Ponds Again
Sun 8 Dec 2019

And another dark and dreary day... Not expecting any wildlife, I started taking moody landscape photos.

fog over the Delta Ponds

But I come around the corner, and there's a ripple in the pond. I stop to look... And it's a Mink! And she's close enough, I might get a decent photo?

Mink hiding in the brush

Well, no, not a decent photo... but way better than any other photo I've gotten of a mink! So it's awesome! ;)

Thurs 12 Dec 2019

I'm in a whole different world... can you tell?

The face of a llama

Friday the 13th December 2019

I'm on the front range in Colorado (east side of the Rocky Mountains) and it's fun to look at the local wildlife!

Several male and female elks in a field

And every time I go outside, I see a raptor of some kind... Far away or standing in a tree off in the distance. Eagles or hawks or falcons.

No photos of them yet, but it makes me happy to know there's a good population of predators!