January 2020

Review and Revise
Wed 1 Jan 2020

Happy New Year!

Well, this is going to be a pretty unusual year in review. I didn't work for much of the year -- I was laid off from my awesome job of 10+ years in March and I decided to take a temporary retirement! So I got to do a lot more of all of my favorite activities!!

Walking in 2019
A serious car accident at the end of January sidelined me at the beginning of the year. I was bed-bound and then house-bound with pain for a month, and a broken foot kept me down for a while after that and then tight tendons made walking painful for many months.

The places I've walked are pretty limited (because of mild problems with driving): my neighborhood and out to the community garden, the Ruth Bascom Riverbank trail, and the Ridgeline at Hendrick's Park. But I really upped my game. I walk 4 miles most every day and walk 5+ miles once a week!

Photography 2019
in 2018... 11,570 pics, avg 964/month
in 2019... 15,124 pics, avg 1,260/month

Walking is Photography! Since I walk every day now, I take a lot more photos! Going thru all those photos has been a problem, tho. It takes time to pull up each photo and pick out the best for printing, and the interesting for the blog.

Mailing and Postcards
I sent 915 bits of mail in 2019, averaging 76 per month... a significant step down from the 104 per month I sent out in 2018.

The GoodReads group I host had gotten overwhelming in 2018, and I redesigned the way we exchanged postcards there. I lost a lot of regular members, which makes me sad. But it made my life so much easier, and I rediscovered joy in sending out my postcards!

I've been sending more cards and letters. I took on a new postcard project. and I revived my poor lonely PostCrossing account and sent 44 postcards there.

I hosted 62 swaps at Swap-Bot and participated in 131 swaps all together!

My good but temperamental and expensive printer finally gave up the ghost in April. I bought an Epson SuperTank to replace it. It was spendy, but I hope it won't be an ongoing expense like the Canon was (buying new printheads all the time). The new Epson prints fine, but has recently developed major issues with ink smearing. Probably because it doesn't like the heavier photo paper I use for my postcards. damn thing.

Community Garden 2019
The garden was a major disappointment this past year, ironic since I had extra time to spend working there! A cold spring and a cool summer messed things up, and no plants were productive. but probably I'm just a terrible gardener! ha. Experimented with Fennel, me and the Guinea Pigs like the leaves as salad, but I don't like the bulb part at all. Also planted a cover crop for the winter for the first time. That's going well, at least!

Writing and Drawing
I took a couple HTML and CSS classes over the summer, and started typing here on a mostly daily basis in October. I am really happy about that and want to continue. There's some major back-end stuff that I need to work on, and I hope to get to that soon.

I'm also thrilled that I started drawing most every day in August, and then re-starting mid-Sept.

Intentions for the New Year will be a separate post, since this one got so long!

The Pause
Fri 10 Jan 2020

A bit of a pause here on the blog... I've been sick. Down with a cold. I'm feeling better, but I'm having trouble re-building my momentum and enthusiasm for my projects.

I have been reading, tho. And one of my New Years Resolutions is to keep up with my GoodReads reviews. And hopefully even catch up with the couple of years that I haven't written reviews. (I quit reviewing on a regular basis in 2017.)

And I was happy to update my GoodReads Shelves! I've finished two books, so far, and will be adding a 3rd soon: RiftVegan 2020 book shelf

I would also like to spend more time organizing my mail log. I think I have a good system, I just ignore it sometimes. :)

I also started a couple of almost daily practices last year that I would like to continue.

Blogging Many of my blog posts center around a photo, and I enjoy sharing my thoughts about nature and conversations with wild animals!

Drawing I just need to get back into the habit of doing tiny drawings every day. Since I don't draw very often, every stupid little sketch feels precious. yeah, like Gollum precious. My goal is to get away from that feeling and to let go of my drawings.

Make and Send Mail Every Day Of course, this isn't a new thing. But I want to mention it anyway, since I've been struggling to write postcards, here lately.

sleeping heron on a tree branch, head tucked

A napping Great Blue Heron. and how I've felt while I've been sick, just wanting to hide my face from the world.

Another Pause
Mon 20 Jan 2020

Sheesh, another ten day pause here, when I want to be blogging every day. I'm in a rut, and the political situation in the US is getting me down.

So here's a funny story for you...

I was walking down my street towards the bike path and I hear a crow yelling. I look up and see a turkey vulture up in a tree, who is being mobbed by this one crow.

I am interested because Turkey Vultures migrate, and mid-January seems way too early for them to return. And Crows do mob hawks, because hawks will invade nests and eat eggs or babies. It's not nesting season, of course, but it's also silly to mob a Vulture. And, sure enough, the Crow flies away after a couple swoops.

I snap a few pics and go on with my walk along the creek.

But when I get back home and look at my photos...

Bald Eagle sitting at the top of a pine tree

Um. Yeah.

Even the non-birdy-est person on the planet could tell that is not a Turkey Vulture!

haha! Out on the street, looking almost straight up into the sky, that bird was just a silhouette. And, really, there's no reason a Bald Eagle should be sitting on a tree on my street! No Reason! :)

Happy Things
Wed 22 Jan 2020

To combat the rut I'm in, I've been walking in a different direction. When I walk from home, I always head towards the bike path...

To the east, is the Community Garden and along the way there's lots of green space for wildlife to pop up from. But this is the path I've walked a thousand times.

To the west, it's nice to walk thru the neighborhood occasionally, but few photos happen there.

To the north, are shops and businesses. I go that way when I need to, but the road to cross is pretty dangerous.

And to the south are some very nice neighborhoods. The road to cross is much easier, and I haven't been potentially squished by a stupid car on that street yet.

It's nice to walk someplace new, but there aren't many photo opportunities. A couple people have bird feeders in their front yard, but the birds aren't interested in me. Even the squirrels are running away from me.

Oh well. I did see a couple things today that made me happy.

A lady walking a super cute little white dog who had black spots shading down to brown. Little dog was so friendly and happy, she made me happy too!

A couple of ladies, drinking coffee on the porch, having a jolly laugh about something!

A woman walking with her phone, and singing along with the song that was playing. We grinned big at each other!

Eastern Fox Squirrel sitting on a road sign

The Hidden Trail
Fri 24 Jan 2020

I've been exploring the neighborhoods to the south of my home. I like to make a loop, rather than turning around and going back the same way... so I've been studying the map before I leave the house.

*laughs* There are so many dead ends, curves, circles, and unnamed streets, I still get lost! I'm thinking about just printing up a map to take with me!

But if I had done that, I might not have noticed this little thing. I was just at the end of my loop, and was headed towards the ½ mile circle street before heading home.

I looked the other way... up the dead end street, just wondering if I should check it out. And I heard water. I walked a few meters up the street and found a little creek, being directed under the street.

And there was a little paved path, going up the hill next to the creek, going right between the houses.

Trail next to a waterfall

oh my gosh! This narrow strip of nature is Amazing!

I didn't go up very far, I had already walked a couple miles and had over a mile to go to get home. But I couldn't wait to explore it another day!

And when I got home, I tried to google it. Nothing. There is nothing about it. So weird. It's hidden... And it's a secret!

And I think that's why I got stuck, working on this blog post. I think the Hidden Trail has a blessing on it to keep it hidden! Not a curse! A Blessing! ha!

Deers on Hidden Trail
Tues 28 Jan 2020

I love this photo. It's not a great photo. I love it because it taught me something!

I had always assumed that we had Mule Deers here. White Tail Deers are an eastern species, Mule Deers are a western species. Right? ha! When I first looked at this photo, I decided to research Mule Deers.

And I discovered I was wrong!

Three Black Tail Deers

Okay, Mule Deer ears!

Um. White-Tail Deer rump.

And a few other interesting anomalies!

Mule Deers are greyish brown, White Tails are reddish brown.

photo deers are greyish: Mule Deers.

Mule Deers have white or light colored face. White Tails face is the same colour as their body, with white points.

photo deers have a brown face, but the white points are not prominent at all: White Tail Deers?

*Laughs* Finally, I looked up what kind of deers live in Oregon.

oh. Black Tail Deers!

Bahaha! of course! I just didn't know! :)

It's good to learn new things!!

February 2020

Fri 14 Feb 2020

Moss on a tree stump in the shape of a happy face

(Natural formation? of moss on a tree stump at the edge of the Ribbon Trail.)

Happy Leap Day!
Sat 29 Feb 2020

February was a pretty quiet month around here, despite my intentions to blog more often. humph! I've decided to challenge myself to daily posting in March... I need to stir up some trouble and I may as well type about it too!

LetterMo 2020

In February, I participated in LetterMo. Well. I send mail every day, anyway, so I tried to bump up my efforts a little bit. I sent out at least three postcards or letters every day!

I had enthusiasm, but the printer was having trouble. What a surprise, huh? And then I thought I fixed it, but it didn't stay fixed. Still not surprised. and *rolls eyes* (expensive piece of junk!)

I am also drawing on an ATC scale most every day. I started this project mid-Sept last year, and tho I did skip most of December and ½ of January, I am back at it in a serious manner. I am approaching 100 drawings and feel proud of that.

So! Blog posts for March will include these subjects and more. Stay Tuned! :)

March 2020

Sun 1 Mar 2020

I met a very interesting person yesterday! An American Robin with leucism...

Robin with leucism, lots of white feathers

Leucism is a genetic condition in which some or all of a birds feathers are white or pale. Here are some other birds, I guess any bird species can have the condition... Why Is That Bird Part White? Leucism!

As usual, this is not a good pic but on a side note... I LOVE the textures in this pic! The splaying pine needles in just the right direction. And the thorny things on the branches behind. oh my!

laughs. I am silly, I know! :)

Mon 2 March 2020

White Cherry Blossoms

I am such a sucker for cherry blossoms! I will stand in front of a blooming tree and take hundreds of photos. Trying to get just the right clump of flowers, just the right colours and blurs in the background, just the right angle, just the right... etc! ha!

But I'm coming to realize, it's not just cherry blossoms... The very earliest photo postcards that I have saved on my computer (from 2008!) are flowers. There are a couple drawings and birds from those early days, but there's also flowers, trees, leaves, vegetables from the garden, rain drops on a house plant leaf, and a bit of tree moss!

I love all things botanical!

Why did it take me so long to acknowledge this? I don't know, but I've been taking photos of plants for a very long time... and not really talking about it. But not really thinking about it either!

I mostly send out animal and bird photo postcards these days. I get the idea -- and maybe it's my own prejudice -- that people enjoy seeing pics of animals more than flowers or leaves or trees?

Huh. But I do know I'm going to go thru my photos with a different eye, from now on. Pick out and highlight the plants!

Be more bold about plants with my postcards? hm, we'll see.

Another Leucistic
Tues 3 March 2020

Leucistic Mallard

This girl has been hanging out at a bridge across the bike path a ways from my home. She's been there a couple weeks now, and this photo is from today.

I am certain that she's a Mallard. But she's significantly bigger than the wild mallards she's hanging out with. Which makes me wonder!

Current Events: COVID-19
Wed 4 Mar 2020

Okay. I may have mentioned I'm a Doomer. I believe that civilization will crash within my lifetime.

I don't think that COVID-19 will end civilization. I do think it will be one of those events that people will point to and say, That was the beginning of the end.

That Monster in the White House has really crippled our ability to respond quickly or well to a pandemic. by defunding CDC and other global epidemic programs. Some major mistakes have already been made in the US, and those little red dots in North America keep getting bigger:
John Hopkins COVID-19 Global Tracking

Yeah. I don't think the United States has the ability to contain COVID-19... I think that local efforts will be awesome, but because the federal government can't get it's act together, things will fall apart pretty quickly.

Sighs. And don't even get me started on the whole test kit thing!

Red Flowering Currant

Thurs 5 Mar 2020

Sometimes I toss and turn at night instead of sleeping. And last night I was thinking about a clip I saw the other day that kind of upset me. It was a clip about how stupid Americans are, altho they were actually focusing on a certain political group...

Jimmy Kimmel, Can You Name a Country?

good lord. People [living in the United States] can't even identify the United States on the map! This is not good! I get that it's been a while since you've been in school. But you should know your own country! (not to mention all the US states, if you live here!)

So, I'm lying there in bed, tossing and turning, and worrying about the state of education. I can place a couple dozen countries off the top of my head. And I could probably name a few more if I were looking at a map.

But I only know a couple countries in South America and Africa. I blame my college education for that! haha...

I have always been interested in maps, and I was looking forward to taking Geography in college. ugh. Terrible! As in, BORING! You had to memorize a bunch of facts for the class, and does anyone care what the Number One export for a country is? No one cares. I'm sure of this.

Anyway. That college class really killed my curiosity. But my love of maps has been creeping back in recent years, fueled, of course, by my postcard obsession.

I own an atlas! And I pull it out when a book I'm reading mentions a country... in much the same way that I use the dictionary to look up a definition! And like the dictionary, sometimes I just page thru the atlas. Looking at stuff!

So. Last night, I got up and looked at my atlas. I decided I would start memorizing some countries!

I'm starting with Central America. Just seven countries...

G-B. El-H. NCP.

Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama.

I am trying not to be a stupid American.

Leucistic Turkey
Fri 6 Mar 2020

Leucistic Turkey

Yep, another bird with leucism!

Signs of Spring
Sat 7 Mar 2020

American Robin

Robins aren't really signs of spring... Altho they do migrate down from Canada in the winter, American Robins live in the United States all year 'round.

But look at the buds on the trees! Spring is on the way!

Sun 8 Mar 2020

I walked to pay a visit my friend Miss Leucistic Mallard, out on the bike path. And look at who else I found...

Cooper Hawk

A beautiful Cooper Hawk!

And yes, I have done my research on Cooper Hawks and Sharp-Shinned Hawks! They look exactly the same, except Sharp-Shinned are a little bit smaller than Coopers.

Fortunately, there are other subtle differences... The easiest one to judge is the tail, so make sure you get photos of the ventral (underneath) side of the tail feathers!

Sharp-Shinned Hawks tail feathers are all the same length. So when they have them splayed out when they are flying, it looks squared off.

Cooper Hawks have shorter tail feathers on the outside edges. So when they are splayed out when flying, their tail has a rounded look.

Thing is, when either hawk is sitting in a tree, they've got all their tail feathers folded up, on top of each other. So you've got to look closely to see if there are some shorter feathers in there, or not.

Hawks are really hard to identify. So I'm glad this Cooper Hawk has come around often enough for me to get a handle on her species!

Mon 9 Mar 2020

Lenten Roses

Daily Drawings
Tues 10 Mar 2020

In mid-September last year, I started a mostly daily practice of drawing. I am keeping it small, ATC sized, and I am filling 9-pocket pages slowly but surely!

I did skip drawing in December and half of January. But I got back at it and have been pretty consistent... and am currently filling my 12th 9-pocket page!

I mostly draw with my favorite mechanical pencil. But occasionally I draw with various pens, or I pull out my Copics.

At first I was drawing from my own photos. But when I traded out my wall calendars at the beginning of the year, I saw some serious drawing fodder! I am happy I get a good variety of freebie calendars!

Cat series of drawings

And sometimes I get on a roll! :)

Current Events: COVID-19
Wed 11 Mar 2020

Yeah, so I'm pretty sure everyone has figured out that the USA hasn't contained anything. And tho the confirmed cases hit 1,000 some time last night... that number is artificially small because we've not been able to test like we should.

(Yeah. And Do Not get me started about the effing test kits.)

And the CDC is reporting even smaller numbers because they can't be bothered to update their stupid web site but once a day, with yesterdays numbers. (Currently showing tues night's cases: 938. The real total right now is 1,289.) I guess their web site people have better things to do.

But, we don't have to worry about any ambiguity or uncertainty any more... Everyone in the U.S. is going to be exposed to COVID before too long. Everyone.

Oh. You're still going to worry? hm.

And Do Not get me started on our For-Profit health care system, either.

huh. I just realized that I don't have anything unique or important to add to this discussion. I'm just here to complain about the incompetence.

And this is what you get when I challenge myself to daily blogging. This is what is on my mind, if a little too persistently, so this is what I'm typing about.

Oh, the things you will find!
Thurs 12 Mar 2020

Fun at the DMV. I am getting a new driver's license and the first thing they ask as I walk up to the info desk, Do you have your birth certificate?

No. I admit, I was confused about what documents I needed to bring... My specific situation was not listed. So I assumed that my old driver's license would count as a Government Issued Document. ha.

But I got 90% on my written test, so I'm happy about that. Of course, I panicked on a couple of how many feet away questions and those were the ones I got wrong. Exactly how I knew it would go down, even tho I studied so hard! arg!

I walked the long way home, and wondered where I could have put my birth certificate. I am not an organized person (tho I pretend to be, occasionally!) and my filing system is piles (and a couple boxes, with piles in them!) in my closet.

I went thru the first pile of important stuff. I know it's important because there are some calendars that other people have made for me, and I treasure these! There was also some old lawyer stuff. Some cash, including a 50$ bill! and some government bonds! ha! awesome! This little adventure is paying for itself!!

No birth certificate, of course. Okay. Next pile. I am absolutely certain the birth certificate is not in this pile. Absolutely. But I pull it out anyway.

And discover another pile right behind it. hm, this pile looks more promising! I start going thru it. How many years of tax stuff are you supposed to keep?! Oh, hey, the title to my car! I could have used that last year when I sold my crashed car to Geico! oh well.

And, at the bottom of the pile, a nice envelope from the State of Indiana! Yay! Birth Certificate.

Anna Hummingbird
Friday the 13th of March 2020

I started working at the garden plot this week, and look who came to sing to me today...

Male Annas Hummingbird sitting on an old sunflower head

:) It was cloudy, but every once in a while I could see the red-violet flashing off his face.

I asked him if he had any babies... it's well into nesting season here. But he said, Who Cares! haha, Hummingbird males are the worst fathers. They don't do anything to help, lazy bums!

Skinner Butte Spring Time
Sat 14 Mar 2020

Oh my goodness, I had the best hike today. Funny thing is, going up Skinner Butte is def not my favorite. Far from! The trail is too short, there's very little wild life, and the top viewing areas have too many humans (sitting in their cars).

But today! The Trillium was blooming! The entire understory of the forest was greening up. New leaves on the Snow Berries, False Solomon Seal coming up. Other plants that I need to look up and learn about!

And the Robins were singing. and the Flickers were Que!ing. And a family of Stellar Jays were goofing off near the trail. Yay Spring!

Stellar Jay in the forest

Sun 15 Mar 2020

*** I deleted today's Gloom and Doom post. I decided to limit myself to one day a week for that kind of content.

Northern Flicker on a moss covered branch

A List
Mon 16 Mar 2020

Soothing and Happy Things...

Reading a good book

Going out for a walk

Drawing or Colouring

Making soup

Watching a kids movie

YouTube meditation music and nature sounds

Taking photos of flowers and listening to the birds sing

Playing and Interacting with pets (Guinea Pig cuddles!)

Tues 17 Mar 2020


Working in the garden again today... I'm hoeing the winter cover crop. And it feels a little bit sacrilegious to be killing clover on Saint Patrick's Day! :)

I had been at it for a bit when I realized I was being watched...

Anna Hummingbird

haha! Yep, same same as last Friday!

I think I'm going to call him my garden supervisor!

just a note on the Gloom and Doom
Wed 18 Mar 2020

Forget Me Not flower blooms

I had a dream last night that I was watching yet another YouTube video about washing your hands. As I watched, this person was doing something very different and I realized I had not been cleaning my hands properly at all!

Haha! And now that's the thing I think about as I wash my hands for 20 seconds. I am doing it properly! I am covering all with suds! :)

Leaning Tree
Thurs 19 Mar 2020

My leaning tree

This tree is, oh, about 1.75miles from my home. a good walk. I think it's a White Oak.

And that dip in the branch? Right where the shadow is? It comes to about standing desk height!

Today I stood there with my little book and wrote a journal entry.

Happy Song Sparrow
Fri 20 Mar 2020

Song Sparrow in song

Plant Identification
Sat 21 Mar 2020

Last week, when I visited Skinner Butte, I was excited about the blooming Trillium. But the forest floor was also covered with this...

Pacific Waterleaf

Very interesting looking leaves!

Fortunately, I hike in a couple places that put markers on plants. And I found this one at the Rhododendron Garden! Except the common name was mis-printed. Waterleaf looks nothing like this!

They had the scientific name as well, and I discovered Pacific Waterleaf! Yay!

But there is not much information about it. Wikipedia literally has seven sentences. ha!

This page had the most information about it...
Pacific Waterleaf at Native Foods Nursery
and mentions it's edible... hum, with just a single website saying that, I'm not sure I'm going to munch on it! *laughs*

More Plants
Sun 22 Mar 2020

My Hidden Trail also has a native plant area which labels many plants. A good thing too, because this thing was blooming all over the place...

Fawn Lily

Fawn Lily! And check out these leaves!

Fawn Lily

The white and purplish painted on them, very striking!

Mon 23 Mar 2020

I started planting some seeds at the garden yesterday because after weeks and weeks of no rain, there was a 100% chance today!

uh huh. It did sprinkle a couple times. Barely got the side walk wet, tho. Well, it's a start. There's more days of rain in the forecast.

Beets, Leeks, Lettuce and Snap Peas. All those that can stand a bit of cold yet. I don't really pay attention to last frost dates... I just plant stuff when I feel like it. It mostly works out.

Except this is the first time in 10 years that I have been serious about planting seeds. Usually I buy vege starts at the Saturday Market Farmer's Market. I have tried to plant Snap Pea seeds... the slugs munch them as they come up. That's what's been deterring me from planting seeds! We'll see how it goes.

We've had about ½ the rain we're due this season. The severe lack of rain has made the dirt hard and there are crispy cracks splitting the earth open. There's still wet soil underneath, but the top is looking like mid-summer. And I could tell that the dirt I disturbed to plant the seeds was going to dry out immediately.

Poor little seeds. I hope we get enough rain this week to fix all that.

Another Native Plant
Tues 24 Mar 2020


Fringecup... Tellima grandiflora.

Just some cute little leaves on the forest floor, right now. But they will have 2foot tall flower spikes in a few weeks.

covid Ramblings
Wed 25 Mar 2020

Somebody needs to shut up that monster in the White House... America will again and soon be open for business - very soon GAH! Shut up!

Right now, a couple hundred people are dying every day in the US. Why don't we understand that this is just the beginning?? It's going to get so much worse. GAH!

I'm down to my last bag of soy curls. I'm bummed that I didn't notice I was getting low until it was too late. dang it. I love soy curls. Apparently, a bunch of other people do too.

Green Gardening with Ann Lovejoy
AL writes beautifully, and somehow even the posts about covid leave me less agitated and more at peace.

Why soap is still our best weapon against the coronavirus
This is an interesting and informative YouTube video! Soap is soap! Length of video is 13:54 and includes a great hand washing demo with fake germs that glow under black light.

This week our local newspaper removed the Sports section. And replaced it with a Nation's Health section.

I saw my first portable hand washing station today. Our city started putting these out a couple weeks ago. The one I saw was in a great location... at a bus stop outside a grocery store!

Veganic Gardening
Thurs 26 Mar 2020

My garden is Veganic! Vegan + Organic...

The Organic side means no synthetic pesticides or fertilizers.

But the Vegan side means no animal products and not killing pests at all...

Animal products are in a lot of fertilizers. Cow manure is a major ingredient in many fertilizers. Blood Meal, Bone Meal, Feather Meal, Urea Fertilizer, Fish Meal, Bat Guano. These are all commonly used non-vegan fertilizers. In fact, pretty much, unless the bag of fertilizer says -Vegan-, it probably has a dead animal or animal product in it. ugh.

And then there are organic pesticides. But as a vegan, I'm not out to kill anyone! And the thing is, when you use poison (even organic poison) to kill one annoying kind of bug, you are also killing a bunch of other bugs. And the more bugs you kill, the more birds you kill.

Not only are birds killed directly by pesticides, and not only are birds killed by eating poisoned bugs, but also... birds need bugs to live. And we are killing bugs by the zillions with our pesticides.

Something like 90% of song birds feed bugs to their babies. Without bugs, baby birds starve to death. Dead baby birds makes parent birds depressed.

Ecosystems are crashing. We will be left with nobody but the cockroaches and some invasive plants.

So please, please, stop using pesticides.

To be continued...

Veganic Gardening part 2
fri 27 mar 2020

Humans need to support wild ecosystems in any and every way possible. And that basically means, whenever you do landscaping or flower gardening, you plant 100% native plants.

Most of our thousands of species of native bees, here in the US, co-evolved with specific flowers and plants. It is super important they have enough of their partner plants... and humans have been paving everything over and bringing in exotics which become invasive.

I've read two books now, that have me utterly convinced.

A New Garden Ethic: Cultivating Defiant Compassion for an Uncertain Future

The Humane Gardener: Nurturing a Backyard Habitat for Wildlife (And incidentally, this is a gorgeous book. It's printed on heavy, good quality paper and there are beautiful colour photos on almost every spread. Wow!)

I don't own a yard, but I can make some changes at my community garden plot. I just need to get some education.

oh, the education is kind of painful.

I let the Borage self seed because it's easy to recognize and get rid of as seedlings, it's easy to pull out as an established plant and it breaks down quickly to return to the soil. And, what I thought was the best? It attracted bees! Not just (invasive European) honey bees, but I'd see bumble bees and other bees out there too! It's a pretty plant and it covers unused areas in the garden very well.

Unfortunately, it's native to the eastern Mediterranean. Wai!

And the pretty Love-In-A-Mist that also re-seeds itself happily? Native to southern Europe and northern Africa. Gah!

The fennel I planted as an experiment last year? Native to southern Europe and Asia Minor and considered invasive in the US. I guess I shouldn't have let that go to seed. I did that on purpose, even! Dang it!

There are a couple of flowers in the garden that are Almost native. I'm not sure if that counts for much.

Oregon Sunshine is native to eastern Oregon and up to British Columbia. (I'm in the Pacific Northwest, so just a couple hundred miles - and a mountain range - away from the native area.)

Sunflowers are native to North America! And plenty of birds and squirrels make use of the seeds. So this is a good one to keep!

There are several species of Columbine native across the US, and I'm not sure what mine is. oh. It looks like I may have gotten the one from Europe. sheesh.

I can do better! And every new native plant I bring in, will help the bugs and will help the ecosystems.

The last batch of vege seeds that I ordered included a real native flower. Showy Milkweed is native on the western side of the Mississippi in the US and Canada. And in the Pacific Northwest, Western Monarchs are going extinct. So, I'm looking forward to planting all of those seeds to help the butterflies!

That's a beginning. I will keep on the look-out for more natives to plant!

Volunteer Lettuce

Some volunteer Cherokee Lettuce growing in the garden plot right now. I let the lettuce go to seed last year. The Gold Finches loved eating the seeds, maybe others as well. But they missed a couple! :)

Letting your veges go to seed is a good way to support wildlife, even when the vegetables aren't native to the area.

Sat 28 Mar 2020

Remember my little geography project from the beginning of the month? (Thurs 5 March if you'd like to scroll down.)

I started by memorizing the seven countries in Central America. And now I've got the countries in South America. The big islands in the Caribbean. And I've got a good start on Africa.

Africa is a little intimidating. There are a lot of countries! So I'm dividing them up into rows and sections.

And then I don't know how to pronounce some of them! Eritrea? It's Air-uh-Tree-uh!

Anyway. It's actually a fun little project.

Blank Map of the World from 2000, wikipedia

How many countries can you name? :)

Sun 29 Mar 2020

Spotted Towhee standing on a branch full of lichen

This is not the most flattering angle for this Spotted Towhee. *laughs*

But check out the lichen on the branch! Dang that is cool. And that big green thing that kind of looks like a leaf? That's some kind of lichen as well! (Right Click and View Image then hit the back button to come back.)

You know what? I think I'm going to start calling myself a naturalist. I don't know what the qualifications are to give yourself that title, but...

I love all the animals, down to the snakes and toads.

I love all the birds, of course... even starlings.

Bugs! I love bugs! Spiders, creepy-crawlers, Ants! um, Silverfish kind of freak me out for some reason, and oh, Cockroaches are a little icky... But I still think they are all interesting!

All kinds of plants. Interesting leaves, beautiful blooms.

Moss and Lichen! Yes!

Okay, maybe not slime and mold. But that's probably just because I don't know anything about slime and mold! It's just a matter of time before I find some cool slime!!


Walkin' In The Rain
Mon 30 Mar 2020

Every once in a while, it's pouring down rain when I want to go for a walk.

No problem! I put on my rain jacket, leave my camera at home, and I walk in the rain!

And because no one else is around... yeah I might sing or whistle a little. I'm terrible, you don't want to hear me!

A favorite raining song from my childhood... released Nov 1980... I was 8yo :) They must have played the heck out of that song, because I have the lyrics memorized!

Eddie Rabbitt, I Love a Rainy Night

Showers wash all my cares away
I wake up to a sunny day
Puts a song in this heart of mine
puts a smile on my face ev'ry time

Just a pic
Tues 31 Mar 2020

Fawn Lilies and ferns

Fawn Lilies with some ferns.

These are such lovely little flowers. I just can't get enough of them!! I'm such a sucker for star shapes! :)

April 2020

Wednesday Doom and Gloom
Wed 1 April 2020

*** Rant Mode ***

You know, I kind of worry that people are thinking that the social distancing and sheltering in place is the cure. I know that monster said We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself. But!

People! It's not a cure! Everybody is going to get sick. Everybody! We just don't want everyone sick at the same time. 20% of people sick with covid have to spend time at the hospital. See New York City... This morning 15,904 people with covid are hospitalized there.

And with more people in the hospital, the death rate goes up.

okay. Oh, and one other little thing. When is that monster going to do the Defense Production Act to get us some damn masks and ventilators??! WHEN?

okay. also...
ER doctor who criticized lack of protective gear says he was fired
What are we... China, now? *cursing*

yeah. And you know how the US has more confirmed cases of covid than China? A lot more. We passed China days ago. New York, alone, is set to overtake China in the next few hours.

Okay. That's enough!

And, yeah, I am ranting. But also, these are the thoughts I am thinking. And I think our journaling in these historic times is important. If only, when we ourselves, look back.

Spring Blossoms
Thurs 2 Apr 2020

Tree Blossoms

Tree blossoms on a rainy day.

Health Care
Fri 3 April 2020

huh. So Texas wants us to go back to the dark ages. It has classified abortions as non-essential and has banned them. A federal court upheld the governor's decision.

ugh. Let me tell you something. Abortions happen. They have always happened, throughout human history. And they will always happen, whether or not they are legal.

We will always need abortions! Why? Because people are not perfect. Accidents happen. Not only that... all birth control has a failure rate.

When abortion is illegal, rich women will be able to get abortions. They are able to travel elsewhere to get a safe abortion. It's the poor people who suffer. In the back alleys, or attempting to self-induce.

People die when abortions are made illegal. Which is beyond tragic, because abortion is one of the safest medical procedures there is. And it's safer than bringing the pregnancy to term because maternal mortality in the US is terrible.

A little side note. This is the first time I have blogged about this subject, but I am actually very passionate about reproductive health care. I just wasn't sure if I wanted to be public about birth control on my website, because I kind of want this to be a happy place.

But times change! And like I said... this is what I am thinking about, and I feel it's important to journal our truths!

Spring Heart
Sat 4 April 2020

Fallen camellia blossoms arranged in a heart shape on a lawn

Aw! This Camellia blossom heart on someone's lawn near the Community Garden certainly brought a grin to my face and a spark to my imagination!!!

New Bird, blurry pic
Sun 5 Apr 2020

I was walking on the RiverBank path this morning. I had decided to walk the most beautiful part of the path... It's lovely, but the wildlife doesn't happen much in this area. Too many humans, I suppose. That's okay. Sometimes it's good just to walk next to the river!

On my walk back, I saw a flash of yellow off to the side of the path. Oh, it's a goldfinch, I thought and kept walking. But his behaviour made me pause. I looked back and he was still standing near the ground on a dandelion stalk.

That's weird. We do have a couple other birds here with some yellow. I wondered if my initial assumption was correct.

I came back to him and took a few pics. He flew over and stood on the ground and picked at something for a while. huh.

Lesser Goldfinch and a dandelion head

When I got home, my first glance at the photos, oh, that's a goldfinch. But I had to look more carefully! Paging thru my field guide...

Lesser Goldfinch. and they eat dandelion seeds!

ha! Dandelions! Look at that!

So exciting to learn about nature. :)

Spring Migrations
Mon 6 April 2020

Not only are the Turkey Vultures back in town... the Tree Swallows are as well!

Yesterday at the river, the Swallows were zipping and zooming above the water and up in the sky. Swooping for bugs! It was a glorious thing to see!

I wish I could show you photos. I just pointed the camera at the water and clicked. Yep, there are a couple of blurry blobs in the frame! But it's not enough even for an identification. They could be Violet-Green Swallows, for all I know!! Def not Barn Swallows, no flash of red.

But, regardless of who they were, I enjoyed watching them for a while!

Tues 7 April 2020

Fawn Lilies in Pink!

Pink Fawn Lily

Doom and Gloom
Wed 8 April 2020

I just can't get over this brief in today's newspaper...

Feds: US death toll will be less than projected

The coronavirus death toll in the U.S. likely will be less than the projections of 100,000 to 240,000 issued by the White House task force a week ago, the nation's surgeon general and head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say.

That is absolutely my expectation, and I feel a lot more optimistic because I'm seeing mitigation work, said Surgeon General Jerome Adams, who on Sunday warned that this week would be the outbreak's Pearl Harbor moment. He lauded public health officials in California and Washington state, where the confirmed cases curves have flattened, with providing a blueprint for the rest of the nation.

CDC chief Robert Redfield told KVOI radio in Tucson, Arizona, that social distancing of the type ordered by nearly all state governors will tamp down the outbreak: I think you're going to see the numbers are, in fact, going to be much less than what would have been predicted by the models.

um yeah. I don't know what world they're living in. But my world has over 1,000 people dying every day in the U.S. for a week now. (Current total is 12,936 dead in the US.) And we are on track for 2,000 people to die today.

I hate to tell you, but those numbers -- that are slowly creeping up? They add up.

And, yes, social distancing seems to be flattening the curve in some places. But then there's Florida. And certain other southern states. and they already have a couple thousand hospitalized with covid. And remember, when hospitals get overwhelmed, the death rate goes up.

So, sure, it's very nice to have these studies with super conservative death totals.


But then, ha, is my Doomer brain just dismissing science? *laughs* maybe!

But do we have a lot of trust in the CDC? When they have already failed us so spectacularly??


But, Science!!


*** Added Information ***

Is the most-used model of the covid-19 pandemic in the US absolutely worthless?

Pink Rhododendrons and a blue sky

Thurs 9 April 2020

Yesterday I was at the Community Garden Plot, digging up the last of the winter cover crop. Between my back muscles getting a good work out, and hearing my Hummingbird Supervisor singing at me, I also noticed several dandelions blooming in the plot.

I attended a presentation at the end of January about edible plants. And dandelions are good for you.

So I nipped off all the blossoms and tucked them into my back pack. I figured I could add them to my pasta and I thought the guinea pigs might enjoy them as well!

Holding picked Dandelion blossoms in my hand

The piggies greeted me as I came home and I washed my hands and got the blossoms out for them. haha... Daughter Dawn took one sniff and ran away. Piper didn't think that stuff was food, so she just looked at me. ha.

I dropped the two blossoms in their food dish and did other things. But in a few minutes, Dawn comes up for more sniffs. And she decides the blossoms are food! She chows down on her serving, and eats her moms serving as well! What a Pig! ;)

And later, I'm fixing pasta for my lunch. And I toss in a handful of dandelion blossoms at the end.

Yuck! The presentation guy said that protein would cancel out the bitterness of dandelion sap. I had added extra peanut butter to my regular pasta, thinking this would help. nope. Still a little bitter, and the texture was weird.

Of course, the texture of a full blossom is something to get used to. And I don't think I would mind that... if it actually tasted okay. which it doesn't!

*laughs* It's good to try new things!

Good Hike
Fri 10 April 2020

Yesterday I had such a great hike... the birds were bouncing around, the blooms were beautiful, yay Nature!

The Wonderful Wild Turkeys, A stunning Red-breasted Sapsucker, a Robin standing in the spotlight, a Steller Jay being stellar, and of course Song Sparrows in full song!

And then I got home and looked at the photos. oh lordy. It was a bright, sunny day. And in the dappled light of the forest, the camera just says, NOPE! No way, No how, Not gonna do this.

ha. Oh well. I can let it go, this time. Because, look! I found a bug!

a bug sitting on some Forget-me-nots

She was so fuzzy, I assumed she was a bee. But bees have two sets of wings... so I think she's a fly...

And check out that long proboscis and those big ol' eyes. I think she's a happy Bee Fly! How exciting!!

Bee Fly resting on a leaf

And see the little dots of pollen? Doing her job as a pollinator!

But, oh nature, red in tooth and claw, little Bee Fly babies eat Solitary Bee babies for dessert. sighs...

Bee Flies, A Pollinator with a Bad Reputation

The circle of life, huh.

Wow, Eagles
Sat 11 April 2020

Today I was walking out at the river. There's a wildlife area at the beginning of my loop after you cross the river on the walking bridge... but strangely, there were only Canada Geese at the ponds.

Where are my coots? Where are the Wood Ducks? Not even a Mallard to be found!

Maybe I just went at the wrong time. Maybe all the ducks are nesting? Probably the winter visitors are flying back to Canada to begin their own nests. But where is everybody else?

Well. I did find some flowers to take a photo of... non-native Spanish Bluebells underneath the native Snow Berries.

And that's when I realized the camera battery was close to dead. Not even a bar left, it was flashing red. ack.

And so the walk became more about the exercise! I did stop to listen to the river and the birds singing. I always do that, but it's good to hear happy birds.

On my way back... oh no! Several people on the path, pointing and looking up at a tree. Bald Eagles!! TWO Bald Eagles!!

oh my gosh! I said a little prayer to the Battery Gods as I evaluated the shot and the light and the background and everything that could go wrong with the focus (branches!). Deep Breath! Turn on camera and hit the zoom at the same time...

I got five photos before the camera died. and Hot Damn, they are all almost decent pics!

I wonder what kind of offerings the Battery Gods accept. Because I owe them big time!!

Bald Eagle

Eagles, part 2
Sun 12 April 2020

So the actual interesting thing about the two bald eagles I saw yesterday... One of them was an immature adult.

Immature Bald Eagle

Yeah, okay. There's a stupid stick right in front of her face! bummer, but that's okay. Because you can tell it's definitely a Bald Eagle because her face has the same shape as the adult. So much white on her body tho... oh, okay... She's probably a three year old. Check out this link:

How to Identify Bald Eagles (you can scroll to the first illustration to see Plumage in Four Parts)

Eagles are dark their first year. Get lots of white their second year, and then their head gets whiter in their third year. The top of her head is definitely lighter!

Then, of course, Bald Eagles get their white head when they're four years old.

So. Why is a full grown Bald Eagle hanging out with an immature 3 year old? Did they just happen to run into each other and decide to converse for a while? :)

Drawing Currants
Mon 13 April 2020

Three drawings of Red Currant flowers

I keep trying. I think I've done about six or seven ATC drawings of these stupid Red-Flowering Currants...

I really want to just go swish, swish with my markers, and have my drawings come out magically perfect! *laughs*

I used Copics for the colours. The third attempt def benefits from the coloured background, and white gel pen to define the center cylinder part.

Tues 14 April 2020

The first batch of baby Mallards at the creek. So tiny, they must have been born this morning! There's 8 in this pic but 11 altogether!!

Female Mallard with 8 of her 11 ducklings

Go for it, baby! ...

Three ducklings


Less and More Doom and Gloom
Wed 15 April 2020

The world hit the 2million mark of confirmed covid cases today. But it kinda looked like the USA was getting better...

I'm happy to report that I was wrong about the USA hitting 2,000 deaths in a day last Thursday... it actually didn't happen until Saturday, and then it started going down dramatically!

Well. Until today that is. Sighs.

(known) Deaths per day in USA, due to covid

I was actually starting to get hopeful that we had gotten over the first wave. Oh well, maybe next week.

And why are we still listening to that monster, Mr. Absolute Authority?! Why are we still letting him talk?

And I hate to harp, but TESTS, TESTS, TESTS! More, faster, more. How long does it take?!

Oh the joyful apple blossoms
Thurs 16 April 2020

Apple Blossoms and blue sky

Crossword wiz?
Fri 17 April 2020

I get the local newspaper every day. I like to read the comics and I read the first section of news to keep informed.

And I love to do the Sudoku! And for about the last year or so, I've also been attempting the crossword.

I am really not very good at it. I judge my progress by how many words I can get every day. Monday is the hardest for me, I usually only get about 4 or 5 words. Thursday is the easiest and I might get 20 or 25 words.

But last week, I started getting almost 30 words most every day. And this week, I've gotten 40 words a couple times!

I'm not sure that I will ever finish a crossword puzzle... But 40 words is a lot closer to that than 5! :)

Farmers Market and Garden
Sat 18 April 2020

So. There's nothing growing at the garden plot, even tho I planted seeds galore. Maybe I'm just impatient, maybe it's just too early. Or maybe I'm just a terrible gardener.

So when my partner mentioned that the Farmers Market was still happening without the Saturday Market... I was thrilled! I could get my vege starts, like I usually do. And I would plant them and they would mostly live, like they usually do! And I could continue to pretend I'm a real gardener, after all!


The market was interesting. The stalls were all spread out, taking over some of the usual Saturday Market space. All the vendors were wearing masks. About ½ the customers were.

I was def wearing a mask. But I don't have one that works for me, yet. I wear eye glasses, so a bad fit means fogged up glasses. It's scary when you can't see!

So anyway. I tried not to browse. My regular farmer wasn't there, which makes me worried. And the selection at the couple other vendors who had vege starts was lacking. I picked out a good looking Sun Gold Cherry Tomato plant and got out of there. I'll get more plants later.

Winter Visitors
Sun 19 April 2020

(not a great pic)

male and female Hooded Mergansers on the water

I am still seeing a couple birds around who are traditionally winter visitors. These Hooded Mergansers at the creek near my home, and some very vocal White Crowned Sparrows at the Community Garden.

Technically, we are probably right on the line dividing their non-breeding range and their year-round range. But I've never seen either bird hanging out here in the summer... I wonder if they are experimenting with a new home!

Winter Visitors part 2
Mon 20 April 2020

White Crowned Sparrow

Tues 21 April 2020

A chair and a music stand in the forest

I saw this in a nearby neighborhood and it made me incredibly happy.

I wonder what instrument they play! I wonder what music they play! Do they play out here every day? I wish I could participate!!

Wednesday Testing Rant
Wed 22 April 2020

An article in the newspaper says that Oregon has one of the worst testing rates of all states in the US. We are in the bottom five.

Of course. Even tho Washington state, to the north, had the first covid case (maybe) and even tho California, to the south, has some major hot spots.

But Oregon can't get tests because??? why? Because we are poor? Because our governor isn't doing anything? why?

Apparently my constant rants about TESTING, TESTING, TESTING! aren't working. gah. Can't we get some stupid covid TESTS here already?!

ah. And Part 2 here...

I have been watching the numbers on a couple different websites. They have been pretty comparable until this week when they split in a major way and without any commentary...

* this is deaths per day in the USA... my own counts every day rather than the official counts on either website. (which -- I've noticed -- have changed!)

  1pt3a tracker
wed apr 15 2367 ??
thu apr 16 2546 ??
fri apr 17 6217 1779
sat apr 18 2390 2045
sun apr 19 2023 1779
mon apr 20 1928 1684
tue apr 21 1809 1719

1pt3a = Coronavirus at 1point 3acres

tracker = CovidTracking.com from The Atlantic

Yeah. So that 6,000 deaths reported by 1pt3a on the 17th (officially recorded on the 14th, by that site)...

I really thought the other website would slowly catch up with that number. But that's not happening! The two websites are now reporting a major difference in total deaths in the US...

Total dead today in the US == 45,606 (1pt3a)
Total dead today in the US == 40,147 (tracker)


But in better news, the number of people currently hospitalized in New York has fallen under 10,000. Everybody has been working so, so hard, and they will continue for a long time... but I'm sure that seeing the hospitalized numbers come down is a relief.

Book Reviews
Thurs 23 April 2020

Another one of my projects that I'm really bad about keeping up with, is reviewing the books I read. This is vaguely important to me, but I've not been doing it consistently for years... Whatever non-system I had, fell apart in 2017 when I only reviewed 10 books. I usually read around 35 books a year.

But this project is always at the back of my mind, and last night I wrote a few reviews for books I've read this year. [and later today, I wrote a few more!]

My 2020 Bookshelf at GR

It's good to do this! I should do it more often! :)

Happy Hike
Fri 24 April 2020

I had a great hike at my favorite hilly forest yesterday. So many things to delight me!

The Wood Sorrel is blooming, and the Rhodies are getting a good start as well. Crapppy pics of a Sapsucker and a Turkey. Some awesome botanicals: Starry False Solomons Seal, Camas Lilies, and Osoberries!

But maybe my favorite... A chipmunk was up from hibernation!

chipmunk on a snag

Wood Sorrel
Sat 25 April 2020

Wood Sorrel with pink blossoms

Wood Sorrel making happy pink blooms on the forest floor!

Oregon has a native wood sorrel, Oxalis oregana, called Redwood Sorrel or Oregon Wood Sorrel. I assume that's what this is, but I'm not sure what the difference is with the eastern US version, Oxalis montana.

False Solomons Seal x2 types
Sun 26 April 2020

From my happy hike...

Starry False Solomons Seal, leaves and flowers

This is Starry False Solomons Seal, Maianthemum stellatum. I just adore the shape and layout of the leaves and the beautiful tiny flowers just make this plant so amazing!

And from my hike today...

False Solomons Seal, leaves and flowers

This is the ordinary False Solomons Seal, Maianthemum racemosum.

The Starry version is sometimes called Little and this is the full size version, altho you can't tell the difference in the pics. You just have to take my word for it... The Starry is little and cute, and the regular False Solomons Seal is bigger and beautiful. :)

The flowers of the False Solomons Seal are usually in a tighter clump, but this one is more spread out. The blue dots in the background are Forget Me Nots.

Both versions of the False Solomons Seal are native across North America. Forget Me Nots are invasive here... this version probably comes from Eurasia, but there are many species from New Zealand!

Just a happy bird
Mon 27 April 2020

Song Sparrow

(Song Sparrows are my favorite!)

(Because they like to pose for me!)


Everyone Loves Someone...
Tues 28 April 2020

Everyone Loves Someone Who Had an Abortion

Oh my gosh, the art work in this video is AMAZING!

Please go watch it!!

It's 5mins long and the message is important, too...

The National Network of Abortion Funds believes that compassion is a radical act and that love and acceptance are part of activism.


Covid Complainings
Wed 29 April 2020

The world hit 3 million covid cases on monday and the US hit 1 million last night. How is it even possible that the US has such a significant proportion of covid cases in the world? Oh. Yeah. That impeached monster in the White House.

The two different numbers on the deaths haven't resolved yet, so who knows about that.

59,233 US dead reported at 1pt3a
52,525 US dead reported at The Atlantic tracker

Deaths per day in the USA

  1pt3a tracker
wed apr 22 2568 2471
thu apr 23 2539 2241
fri apr 24 2265 1744
sat apr 25 2223 2072
sun apr 26 1699 1776
mon apr 27 1219 1184
tue apr 28 1390 1163

And I am actually scared to cough when I'm outside! Even when I'm walking and no one is around, I try not to cough!

And ordering meat processing plants to stay open... um, how are they going to stay open when everyone is sick??! so stupid! (and not vegan, but that is beyond the point.)

So what is the correct rate of testing? Someone said 50% of the population, every week!

Sounds about right to me!

But. I haven't seen Day One of any testing. Have you?!

Garden Failure
Thurs 30 April 2020

Okay, I need to face facts. I planted seeds in the garden plot in March and thru April. I watered the dirt when it was dry, and then I watered the weeds.

A few snap peas are coming up, but nothing else. Nothing.

If I want beets, I am going to have to put seeds in a pot at home and hope for the best. Leeks, too. Chives, lettuce, carrots, yellow squash, zucchini, cucumbers. Cauliflowers? Arg, I put all the Cauliflower seeds in the ground!

Why? Why did I waste time and energy... and hope... on planting seeds? So stupid, it's never worked before, why oh why did I think it was going to magically going to work this year?! I could have potted the seeds in mid-March and planted those and been on my second round by now!

Arg. I wish I were a real gardener!

But I'm still going to pretend. This week, I spent major time forking out a patch of grass and some invasive Creeping Buttercup.

And today, at home, I put a bunch of seeds in pots!

Hope Springs Eternal!

Crimson Clover

I had a cover crop over the winter of Crimson Clover, and I left a patch to see what the mature plants look like.

Kinda pretty, with that hot pink shading down to red. :)

May 2020

Daily Drawing
Fri 1 May 2020

I started a daily drawing practice with ATC sized paper last year. I did take a break in Dec and Jan, but I'm drawing 5 or 6 days a week since then. (I try not to get obsessive about the every day part!)

In the beginning, I was serious about drawing from my own photos. Then came drawings from calendar pages. Then I changed things up with some human faces! The occasional botanical attempt, again from my own pics, because I love the shape of leaves and flowers.

And now, again, I have tried something new. Some botanical illustrated design...

I'm very terrible at it, but this example is kind of along the lines of what I want to make for myself...

flower design

This is the design on a seed packet for pollinators.

When I try to (free hand) copy other people's illustrations... oh man, my drawing is disgraceful!

*laughs* I don't know why. Probably something to do with me not really knowing what I'm doing!

So, instead, I am looking at my own photos. Looking at the shapes and curves and colours. And attempting to draw my own thing, not trying to copy, but trying to ... set elements into a pleasing configuration. :)

And I am actually super proud of these two drawings that I've created.

Two botanical illustrations

pretty, but...
Sat 2 May 2020

English Hawthorn blooms

This is a variety of English Hawthorn, very pretty but also very non-native. Which is a bummer, because this tree is growing along the creek near my home in a city maintained park.

The Pacific Northwest does have a native Hawthorn, the Black Hawthorn. The leaves are very different from the English version, and I'm not familiar with them.

Not yet, at least! :)

A New Bug!
Sun 3 May 2020

Ceanothus Silkmoth

oh dang it, this is a terrible photo... I wish she was closer to the ground. And I wish I wasn't looking straight up at her. And I wish I could fix the colour. Because these are apparently beautiful moths.

So, she's high up in a tree and hanging down from a leaf. Here's the same photo, but I've turned it upside down so it looks like she's standing upright and it's a little easier to understand what you're looking at.

Ceanothus Silkmoth

Check out those amazing antennae!

Anyway! This is a Ceanothus Silk Moth... (pronounced Sea-uh-No-thus) native to the western US and up to Canada. And she is huge! Their wingspan can be up to 5inches across (9 to 13 cm)!

Some much better photos, here, and oh my goodness!! look at these awesome caterpillars... *swoon*

Ceanothus Silk Moth: A Beautiful Moth From A Color Changing Caterpillar (what a great page!)

Mon 4 May 2020

The latest batch of newborn ducklings.

11 Mallard ducklings with Mom and Dad

I just love the word ducklings. And I think we should apply the -ling part to other species.

So we could call babies humanlings. Foals are Horselings. Kittens are Catlings.

See?! It works! Buglings, Sharklings, Kangaroolings, Robinlings, Sea Turtlelings! *laughs*

The Roly Poly
Tues 5 May 2020

Last spring, I kept coming across Lady Bugs. I took their portraits whenever I saw them. And one of my all time favorite photos was a pic I took in mid-April of a Lady Bug in a Camas Lily. (hm. You can request a postcard. :)

This spring, I keep coming across Roly Poly Bugs!

Roly Poly Bug

I gotta say, it's difficult to get their portrait because they are always walking. And as soon as they see me and the camera, they start walking Away! *laugh* But I also gotta say, when I do get a decent photo, I am amazed at the little colour variations on their shell.

Roly Poly Bugs are invasive in the US. They are from Europe. But I'm not sure if they are causing any problems in the ecosystem here.

They eat decaying plant matter! So if you see them in your garden, it's a good thing! They aren't eating your plants, they are making food for your plants! :)

They are not bugs! ha! They are crustaceans!

Their shell has seven plates. Seven pairs of legs. A pair of antennae and a pair of simple eyes. Simple eyes just means they have one lens (rather than compound eyes)... similar to our eyes!

They breath with gills so they must have a humid environment.

They live 2 to 5 years!

Male Roly Polies have longer antennae... but I've not taken enough photos to tell the difference.

Roly Poly Bug

Testing, Testing, Testing
Wed 6 May 2020

Average number of tests done daily in Oregon (the last week of april)
== 1439 tests per day

Average number of tests done daily in Oregon (for this past week)
== 2032 tests per day

Yeah, I'm sooo glad our testing rate is going up. </sarcasm>

To compare... Washington state is to the north of Oregon. They supposedly had the first covid case in the US, but they got on top of things right away.

Average number of tests done daily in Washington state (in the past week)
== 5234 tests per day

And to compare again, California to the south of Oregon has had some major hot spots, has lots of money, and is doing okay testing...

Average number of tests done daily in California (in the past week)
== 24,310 tests per day

yeah. An order of magnitude more than Oregon.

I have been trying to avoid the news about the anti-lockdown protesters. Mostly because it makes me want to shout What is Wrong with you people?! GAH.

Forget Me Nots

Thurs 7 May 2020

Silvery Blue Butterfly

I didn't get a very good angle on this amazing blue butterfly, but what a fun, furry body with striped antennae!

I think this is a Silvery Blue Butterfly.

Blues are a whole set of completely unrelated butterflies that all look basically the same! You've got the Dotted Blue, the Northern Blue, the Greenish Blue, the Boisduvals Blue, and the Acmon Blue. Not to mention the Spring Azure, and the Eastern- and Western- Tailed Blues!

Ha, it just cracks me up that the people who are naming butterflies can't be more creative!!

Just A Pretty
Fri 8 May 2020

Pale Purple and Yellow Irises

I just think this is a lovely colour combination!

Native Flower
Sat 9 May 2020

Red Columbines blooming in front of ferns

It surprises me to see a non-Purple Columbine! But this Red Columbine is native to the western US and Canada.

Another Pretty
Sun 10 May 2020

A gathering of pretty plants

oh my. The textures! and the dots of colourful rhododendrons!

Mon 11 May 2020

I have been sleeping with my window open, and the singing birds wake me up every morning!

Usually it's a Robin. He's a bit far away, so this is a gentle wake up. Robins song goes Cheery, Cheerily over and over. I've heard other robins change it up with some trills and other cool sounds. But my Morning Robin is a traditional fellow, just Cheery! Cheerily! :)

The past week or so, a family of Crows has been waking me up. They are right out the window, and so they are pretty loud and I get an abrupt wake up.

There are 2 Crows who say the usual Caw, Caw and the third crow says other stuff in kind of a rough, deep voice. I really wonder what's up with him! What's his story?!

This morning, I happened to wake up at 4:30, still very dark, and I could hear some other bird just quietly talking to herself. Not the regular song, just chirps and twitters. Kind of sweet and I fell back asleep to that.

Every once in a while, I hear a bird singing in the middle of the night. It makes me wonder if they have nightmares and then they comfort themselves with a song, or maybe their branch buddy helps by singing...

Little birds do have scary things in their every day lives sometimes, so I'm sure they get nightmares sometimes, just like we do. But, they must have good dreams, as well. After all, they get to fly every day! How much better, their dreams must be! :)

Female Bluebird

*** Update ***

laughs! My friend sent me this YouTube link to a kid's song! It is hilarious. And, ya know? There are some mornings, where this is my sentiment as well!

Billy Kelly - Repetitive Bird

Tues 12 May 2020

There are a couple places to watch the Swallows swooping up bugs along the bike path. It is so fun to watch them, especially when they swoop close and make a circle around you!! It's surprising and joy-full to see a little bird zing right past!

We have three different species of Swallows... Tree Swallows, Violet-Green Swallows and Barn Swallows.

The Tree Swallows and the Violet-Green Swallows are hard to tell apart when they are flying... they both have white on the bottom, and, even tho Tree Swallows are blue on top, you can't tell the colour difference when you are looking up at the sky at them!

But, if you catch them at the right angle, Violet-Greens have some white on their lower back. When they're flying, it looks like there is a band of white, altho I don't think the white sides actually connect across their back.

Barn Swallows on the other hand are easy to pick out from the group! They are rusty / buffy red underneath, and that flash of red always gives them away. In addition, they have a deeply forked tail that you can glimpse sometimes when they are flying past you!

For the past several years, the Barn Swallows have been missing from the bug gathering along the bike path. But this year, in many places, I've seen Barn Swallows. Sometimes even more Barn Swallows than the other Swallows!

Anyway, I love to watch them all. But I don't bother pulling out the camera, there's no point! I'm sure Swallows do sit sometimes, but they are usually too busy for down time!!

Here's a Tree Swallow. :)

Drawing on black of a Tree Swallow

Wed 13 May 2020

Today there are 4,291,081 Confirmed cases of covid in the world and 293,241 people dead from it. (according to current Johns Hopkins COVID-19 dashboard)

In the United States, there are 1,404,683 confirmed cases and 83,314 dead people. (according to current 1pt3acr Global COVID-19 Charts)

Yep. The USA has 32.7% of all the covid cases in the world. By the way, the USA has only 4.25% of the total population in the world.

Also. 1,593 people in the US died every day, on average this week. Every day.

Yeah, not so much of a rant today. More just reporting the numbers with a sigh of resignation.

The pic is blurry, but how sweet...

Two Black Tail Deers

Just a Pretty Pic
Thurs 14 May 2020

House Finch on the lawn with purple flowers

Happy House Finch... but I don't know what those little purple flowers are!

Goose Families
Friday 15 May 2020

I've been trying to get to a walk along the Riverbank for weeks. The last two weekends, when I've been able to actually get out there, it was pouring down rain! Now, I don't mind walking in the rain. You may have heard, even, that I love it!

:) But it's tough to take pics when it's pouring, and the wildlife is usually hiding, anyway.

So I was happy for a sunny day, when I didn't have to go out to water the Community Garden plot!

I got out to the Wildlife Refuge and ... Oh the Goslings! The Canada Geese have babies all over the place!

Adorably, the families are all separated by the ages of their children! The littlest goslings have the third run-off pond to the right of the path. The older ones are hanging out on the lawn of the big apartment complex, just beyond the Refuge. And there was just one family with almost full grown kids, they were by themselves on a hill I love to stand on to catch a glimpse of song birds. ha!

Three Canada Goose goslings

When Mallard ducks have babies, there's the Mom and there's the babies... and there may be one male nearby or there may be three males nearby! Or none! I don't think male ducks really care about being a dad.

But all the Canaada Geese families clearly consisted of two parents along with all the babies.

Canada Geese, Mom, Dad, two babies

Goose Families Cont
Sat 16 May 2020

And then you've got those odd ball families! ... who I love the best! :)

The photo is terrible, since I had to shoot into the sun and didn't get a chance for a different angle...

Mixed species goose family

Right-Click and View Image and then hit the back button!

Two Canada Geese, it looked like the first one may have had angel wings. One hybrid something or other. One Swan Goose. And two children, you can't see the other in this pic.

Ha! So curious! Who are the biological parents? Are they all related? Or just helping out the angel wing Canada Goose? So many questions!

Rose Garden
Sun 17 May 2020

The Rose Garden here in town was closed yesterday. They are replacing the gravel pathway with a more accessible paved path, which is awesome.

But it's a crime to close the Rose Garden at the very beginning of the season!! Yep, I jumped the construction fence and took a few pics.

I'm such a sucker for roses!

Sunsprite Roses

Easy Does it, Florabunda Roses

Mon 18 May 2020

More wildlife from the RiverBank trail... a turtle!!!

Red Eared Slider

Her shell is beautiful!

Unfortunately, she's an invasive Red Eared Slider. They are native to the South in the US and Northern Mexico. They are popular pets which means they get released into the wild when their caretakers get overwhelmed.

In our area, they displace our native Western Pond Turtles. And I haven't seen any of these, lately. sighs.

Tues 19 May 2020

Beautiful clouds behind a flying vulture

We have had some of the best clouds this year!

And that is a vulture. heh, being mistakenly mobbed by a couple of crows.

Vultures are neither predator nor prey. They are kind of outside the food web, but such an incredibly important part of ecosystems!

Covid Doom and Gloom
Wed 20 May 2020

So, Monday morning, we hit 90,000 people dead from covid in the US, and it looks like we are on track to hit 100,000 before the end of the month.


1,330 people in the US died every day, on average, this week. (a little bit less than last week.)

It may not be obvious from my weekly rantings, but I am utterly ashamed of how the US has handled the pandemic. We had programs and people in place that would have kept people alive. We could have come out in a much better position, and then we would have been helping other countries in the world.

Instead, we have that idiot impeached monster. Who dismantled the programs and fired the important people. Who ignored science and refused to do anything.

And, Dear World, I am so so sorry that it happened like this.

Thurs 21 May 2020

Oh, Wow!

Crane Fly on a Camas Lily

I always called these interesting creatures Skeeter Eaters, but that's wrong! They are Crane Flies...

Mosquito Hawk? Skeeter Eater? Giant Mosquito? No, No, and No

From the above link, apparently, scientists think Crane Flies are interesting creatures, too, but there's so many species of them, they haven't all been studied! There are over 15,000 species and hundreds of subspecies! There's interesting behavior, there's interesting larvae, pretty much interesting everything!

Ha! Bugs are so cool!

(but I think Skeeter Eater is a much better name than Crane Fly, even if they don't eat anybody!!) :)

Another Bug!
Fri 22 May 2020

huh, I've not seen a Lady Bug like this one before...

Convergent Lady Bug on a leaf

oh, haha... the Convergent Lady Beetle is among the most common lady beetle species throughout North America. Not around here, obviously!

The Convergent is native to North America... while the most common lady bug around here, the Seven-Spot Ladybird, is native to Europe and Northern Africa. how crazy is that.

Seven Spot Ladybird, invasive in North America

Here's a not great pic of a Seven Spot...

One Year Old: Epson ET-7750 EcoTank
Sat 23 May 2020

I have been having ongoing problems with the printer, and I finally decided to do something about it today!

Epson ET-7750 EcoTank printer

I bought this Epson SuperTank printer May 2019. It was $650, pretty spendy, but I really wanted to continue printing 11x17 papers like I did on my old decrepit Canon printer.

The Epson has worked great and I'm thrilled that I don't have to give it new ink cartridges every month! It comes with bottles of ink, which you use to refill the reservoirs. A bottle of ink is supposed to last about a year with normal business use. Mine have lasted around um, 8 months, I think? Yeah, I am definitely not normal!! :D

I went on holiday during December, and I didn't print anything for about a month. When I came back, the printer had multiple issues.

The print heads would clog up randomly. Mostly it was the magenta, occasionally the cyan or yellow. Somehow, the printer knew about the clogging and would substitute with black.

It wasn't a huge deal at first because it only happened once or twice a week and it would fix itself after one or two prints. Or I would run the print head cleaning routine. Occasionally the deep cleaning, but I know this is a terrible waste of ink.

Over the last few months it's gotten progressively worse, and now I am running a large unclogging printout every single day before I print the things I actually want to print.

Printing is not fun anymore! Wai!

The other problem is that once I do get going with good printouts, occasionally there would be a huge blob of black ink streaking across one area of the printouts. It was so much ink, it was 3 dimensional. Now that I have worked on it, I know this was ink from the print head cleanings I was doing...

So, yeah, I worked on it today. I'd been procrastinating this for a long time. The printer is barely a year old and I was sure I would break something.

But I got in there and cleaned out a LOT of ink. Lordy, there was ink everywhere. So that's where the blobs were coming from.

Cleaning the print head is tricky. It's permanently attached, you can't just pull it out and run it under the faucet like a normal printer.

That's what I want to do, and I study hard to see if I can unscrew something to pull it out. I unscrew a lot of things, and yank hard on some other things. nope.

(and somehow none of the plastic bits broke, and I got it all back together!) (and yes, this is my nature and this is exactly why I was worried that I would break the thing, once I got into it!!) :)

You have to gently run a paper towel under the print head and then just rub it back and forth to get as much ink off as possible. repeat, repeat, repeat!

And that seems to have done the trick. I am back to printing whenever I feel like it! And the prints come out with all the colours needed and none of the black blobs!

And I love to print things again! Yay!

Sun 24 May 2020

Four Black Tail Deers on a hill...

Four Black Tail Deers

Right-Click and View Image to see the 4th. :)

Garden Birds
Mon 25 May 2020

I've been so happy to see Bluebirds using one of the nesting boxes provided at the Community Garden this year!

Male Western Bluebird

Funny thing is... they were not using this box. But because it was so close to the nesting box they were using, the male thought it his duty to keep anyone else from getting into this box! The Violet Green Swallows were very interested in looking at this box... and oh the screeching battles!

The Bluebird won... nobody got to nest in this box.

(Well. Okay. Screeching is a bit of an exaggeration. and yeah, battles is def an exaggeration! heh.) (But still... the Bluebird won!)

But on the other side of the Garden, arguably closer to the active Bluebird box...

Violet Green Swallow

*laughs* a pair of Violet Green Swallows were quietly using another nesting box! Apparently in peace, without the screeching. :)

June 2020

Tues 2 June 2020

Oh I am so pleased with the garden right now!

The Tomato plants are growing! There are loads of Squash plants, so chances are I'll get something out of that! And the first Lemon Cucumber plants are so happy and cute!

Not to mention I ate my very first Sugar Snap Pea today!

I've had several salads made from the volunteer Cherokee Lettuce that showed up this spring. It's just a single plant but I can pull 3 or 4 leaves every few days and keep them in the fridge until I have a whole salad's worth! *laughs*

And I have a freebie Leaf Lettuce that is starting to grow up, so I'll have some green lettuce to add to the purple lettuce in my salads now!

Cherokee Lettuce

Local covid
Wed 3 June 2020

The shut down and social distancing has worked wonders in my state and in my town. We've had a few dozen cases, and a few people hospitalized. As of last Saturday, in Eugene, the last person got out of the hospital, and we had three others who were self quarantining at home.

Oregon started Phase One of opening back up on 15 May. Not too many businesses were really gung ho about it here in town. But more and more places are opening.

We've had some protests here, of course. So I don't know how that will affect our numbers. And we will also be opening up for Phase Two on Friday...

But our city numbers are troubling. On Monday, all of a sudden, a person died of covid (bringing our total in the county to 3). And there's 10 active cases: 1 hospitalized and 9 self quarantining.

Thurs 4 June 2020

Northern Flicker standing on the ground

I love Flickers! They are so beautiful with all their spots and dots and chevrons. Males have that red mustache, whereas females lack the mustache.

This is a Northern Red-Shafted Flicker, They are found west of the Rocky Mountains. The Flickers on the eastern side of North America are called Yellow-Shafted and the males have a black mustache.

Flickers are woodpeckers. But they love to eat ants, so it's pretty common to find them on the ground like this!

Old Postal Stamps!
Sat 6 June 2020

I was getting some mail ready this afternoon and decided I wanted something different for the postal stamp.

Yeah, yeah, I love The Year of the Rat stamp. And I love the Frog stamps. And I still have those awesome Dragon stamps. The Wild Orchids are okay, but they just don't excite me.

USPS stamp, 2020 Lunar Year of the Rat USPS stamp, 2019 Frogs

So I pulled out my stamp drawer.

It's full. I don't know how many hundreds of dollars worth of stamps I have in there. But it's a lot! :)

I started going thru it... and, oh hey! A single sheet of this stamp!!

USPS stamp, 2013 March on Washington

The 2013 March on Washington stamp! Perfect for these times when we may actually be trying to do something about racism!!

Sun 7 June 2020

I've memorized the countries in Central and South America. The bigger islands in the Caribbean. And I've got all 54 countries in Africa, down!

And then I paused. I wanted to really make sure I had all of Africa permanently in my head. :)

Last night I woke up in the middle of the night and decided to start on Europe.

Once I got to looking at the map, and trying to figure out how to divide up the continent into learning sections, I was surprised at how vague I was about where all the countries of western Europe are.

I mean, I went to grade school for several years in England, you'd think I would know where Belgium is. It's Right There! But, nope. If you had asked me where Belgium is before last night, I would have guessed wrong!

*laughs* I'm glad I'm fixing this!

Map of the world

Map of Europe

Thurs 25 June 2020

Juvenile Western Bluebird

Awww! It's a juvenile Bluebird! How cute can you get!

The whole family was at the Community Garden: both adults and um several children who I couldn't keep up with. :)

Fri 26 June 2020

Small green tomatoes, growing on the plant

Sungolds... the most wonderful of all cherry tomatoes!

I am impatient for these to ripen!

River Walk Surprises!
Sat 27 June 2020

California Ground Squirrel

Wow! This is a California Ground Squirrel!

They do live here, but I've only seen them up on Spencer Butte... which is a far clip from the middle of the city where I'm walking today!

So cute. I love me some squirrels, and it's always nice to see a different species!

And then, another surprise!

the face of a Gopher Snake, black tongue sticking out!

A Gopher Snake, going across the bike path! And taking their sweet time about it as well... I blocked the way of two bikers, who might have run over this beauty.

Strike It Rich roses

Nutria standing on the bank surrounded with wildflowers

and, wow. Check out this very odd goose family...

several Canada Geese along with domestic Greylags and mixed geese

There are some Canada Geese. and at least four children who are mixed... a couple look like faded Canada Geese, and a couple who look more like the domestic Greylags!

What an awesome family. The mixed children might not fit in with the big flock of Canada Geese... but there's always a little alt group of Greylags and the Canada Geese who prefer the Greylag's company!

July 2020

Blacktail Deer
Monday 6 July 2020

Oh my gosh, isn't she precious!

Blacktail Deer standing on a hill

Tuesday 7 July 2020

I dug up some of the elephant garlics today. Some are pretty skimpy, but some are so beautiful.

a green bowl with cleaned garlic cloves, several garlic heads in the background

Sunday 12 July 2020

Eight Spot Skimmer dragonfly standing on a stalk

Monday 13 July 2020

Jewel Wing damselfly standing on a leaf

Tuesday 14 July 2020

Western Tiger Swallowtail butterfly standing on a leaf

Thursday 16 July 2020

Hoverfly hovering in front of an Echinacea bloom

Thursday 31 July 2020

Eight Spot Skimmer Dragonfly standing on a stick

Passion Flower bloom

so close...
Fri 31 July 2020

This Goldfinch in the Cosmo flowers is so close to being a good photo. This is the kind of thing that makes me really really wish I could draw and paint!!

Gold Finch in the Cosmo flowers

So close. *shakes head*