Review and Revise
Friday 1 January 2021

Happy New Year!

Oh where to begin.

Through 2020, I extended my temporary retirement and I'm still a jobless bum from being laid off in 2019. There was covid in the world and more covid in the US. But with all the time I had, I accomplished a few things.

Walking in 2020
I figure I walked about 1,000 miles! *laughs* that's a guess-timate, but a realistic one... Walking most every day between 2 and 5.5miles, usually more than 2.

I discovered the Hidden Trail last January and added it to my limited walking places. Besides the neighborhood and the nearby bike path, I've walked most of the Ruth Bascom Riverbank trail and all of the Ridgeline at Hendrick's Park.

I blew out my knee in Aug, and I got tendonitis in my heel in Dec. And so the bike got dusted off and I happily headed west to the end of the bike trail. Along the way is a tiny park, Tsanchiifin Walk, with a few new birds!

Photography in 2020
in 2018... 11,570 pics, avg 964/month
in 2019... 15,124 pics, avg 1,260/month
in 2020... xxx pics, avg xxx/month

In the past I've been extremely bad about going thru my photos to pull out the good ones (or the interesting ones!) for the web site and the great ones for printing. But thru much of 2020, I've been sitting down and sifting thru the days photos. It's pretty tedious, and I don't particularly enjoy the process. but it's nice to have pics ready to go for a blog entry.

Mailing and Postcards in 2020
in 2018... averaged 104 bits of mail every month
in 2019... averaged 76 bits of mail every month
in 2020... I sent out xxx total and averaged xx bits of mail every month.

I kept up with the monthly postcard exchange that I host at GoodReads. I sent 43 PostCrossing pcs. I joined 101 swaps at Swap-Bot and hosted 50 TGIF swaps and 2 Photo and a Note swaps. I completed another round of the postcard project I started in 2019... I might chat about that another time.

The Epson SuperTank Printer that I got in 2019 is still printing. And I'm much happier with it, now that I've figured out how to deal with it's issues.

Community Garden 2020
I guess I continue to be a terrible gardener...

Because of covid, I tried planting seeds last spring. That has NEVER worked, but I had such hope! A couple Sugar Snap Peas came up, but nothing else did. sighs.

Also, I couldn't even get the zucchini, or ANY summer squash to do their usual excessive thing. sighs some more.

But I did have lots of Lemon Cucumbers for a while, so that made everything good! :)

Experimented with a couple different types of tomatoes... The Santiam set a ton of fruit, very early, which then ripened all at the same time. It was good, but too much, all at once and eventually I got tired of it. And the Garden Peach Tomato... yuck. heh.

Brandywines are my all time favorite, and I actually grew my own from seeds in pots! They did well in the garden, after a long time under row covers... but I started them too late and not all the fruits ripened before a couple chilly nights. Will need to time that better, this year!

Writing and Drawing in 2020
I wrote at the blog a good deal more than I usually do! Yay! But I quickly get frustrated with writer's block, and I wish I could be more consistent with posting.

I have continued with almost daily ATC sketches and I've filled up a 3 ring binder with 9-pocket sheets! Can't really say that I've improved, tho, *laughs*! But it is nice to look thru my pages.

I accomplished most of my intentions in 2020... I'm better about keeping up with my Mail Log, I blogged more, I kept up with drawing and of course, I made and sent mail most every day!

The one thing I didn't manage: keeping up with my GoodReads book reviews. I only posted 19 of the more than 50 books that I read. Which is better than the 7 books I posted in 2019. But I really need to have all my books listed there!

So... 2021 intentions: GR book reviews! Keep writing at the web site! Keep drawing! Keep up with the Mail Log! And keep going thru the photos!

My one major resolution for 2021 is to get more tidy. I am still thinking about how to implement this, tho, so I will talk about that later!

Covid Rant
Wednesday 20 January 2021

According to the Johns Hopkins dashboard, covid has killed over 400,000 people in the USA. The US can claim 19.5% of the world's deaths by covid, even tho we only have 4.2% of the world population.

The US added 1.46 million cases of covid in the past week, averaging 208,939 new cases every day. 3,114 people died every day.

And it looks like total deaths in Texas (32,394) will be over taking the total deaths in New York (33,224) before too long. (California over took NY on Jan 16th, but I don't have family there, so I'm not watching their numbers as closely.) 311 people die of covid in Texas every day.

And in my town, active covid cases are still swirling around 350 to 400. And there have been some blunders? bungles? with distributing vaccines within Oregon... last week Lane County Public Health got 100 doses, when they were expecting over a thousand, right when they were trying to do a mass vaccination clinic. ha, the local hospitals shared, and so all was not lost: 1,670 medical people were vaccinated in two days!

And then, even worse, so much worse...

After the federal government promised to release a stockpile of vaccine doses to states, [Oregon] Gov. Kate Brown announced early last week that seniors and school employees would start getting vaccines Jan 23.

However, a few days later, Brown and other governors found out that federal stockpile did not actually exist.

Did not actually exist. AND AND AND! Someone PROMISED to send out from the nonexistent stockpile. WTH?

The Biden administration is taking over from that twice impeached monster, today. It will take a while to get things turned around. And they have many many other things to fix.

But I have hopes.

Some happy things...

World Leaders Express Hope As Biden And Harris Are Sworn In From Europe: The United States is back. Yay! And the image from China has been deleted, but I laughed when I saw it. Good Riddance, Donald Trump!

In D.C., A Traditional South Indian Welcome Awaits Joe Biden And Kamala Harris Oh my gosh, this is awesome!

One Day More, of President Trump - Les Mis parody I am such a sucker for anything Les Mis.... but this is really, actually beautiful! :)

My Neighbor
Thursday 21 January 2021

Easter Fox Squirrel

Do you perhaps have a peanut you'd like to share?

My Other Neighbor
Friday 22 January 2021

Scrub Jay on a branch holding an unshelled peanut in their beak

I have a peanut, and I'm not sharing!

January Blooms
Saturday 23 January 2021

Pink and Purple Lenten Roses blooming

Rosalie Edge
Sunday 24 January 2021

Book Cover: Rosalie Edge, Hawk of Mercy

The book I'm currently reading is Rosalie Edge, Hawk of Mercy: The Activist Who Saved Nature from the Conservationists

A very slow beginning, but I'm almost 40% in, now and oh my gosh. There is a bit of a history about an early version of the Audubon Society, then called the National Association of Audubon Societies... and dang, they were seriously corrupt and evil!

I am glad that Rosalie Edge will step in and save the day. In the meantime, I'm so interested, I'm doing a bit of research online about it...

The Nature Lover's Book Club

WHAT?! This is Awesome! How did I miss this? How have I lived without this? I've not paged thru the entire website yet, but along with Rosalie Edge featured in Sept 2020, I've also recently read Buzz, Sting, Bite: Why We Need Insects featured in March 2020.

I recognize only about ½ the titles listed there, and I am so eager to go thru and read many!!

Thank You Notes
Monday 25 January 2021

The least we can do: How you can thank custodial staff who cleaned up after Capitol riot

Okay, this is just brilliant!

Thank You Postcards sent to the Capitol Cleanup Crew!

just a pic
Tuesday 26 January 2021

a pair of Canada Geese

All dignified, looking off into the distance.

oh, except I have to stretch out my leg! *laughs*

Wednesday 27 January 2021

Global Covid cases hit 100 million today... and the USA has 25.34% of those cases, despite only having 4.22% of the world population.

The USA added 1.2 million covid cases during the past week, averaging 171,284 new cases every day. 3,441 people died of covid every day.

I've seen a couple of articles say that we've passed the peak of the current outbreak in the USA. And it does seem to be true, cases and hospitalizations are come down across the country! Yay Masks!

Gum Balls hanging from a tree

Lots of big coronavirus! haha.

I'm not sure what this tree is... these fruits are not like the normal Sweet Gum trees that we have around here.

Feb LetterMo?
Thursday 28 January 2021

LetterMo logo

February's Month of Letters is coming up quickly... and I have zero enthusiasm. :/

A little bit is that the LetterMo web site has almost no functionality. You can't record your outgoing mail anymore and you can't post pictures, except publicly on the forums. You can't DM anyone on the site. And it looks like Friending on the site is even an issue this year. I'm sure that most of the action happens on their private facebook page, but I'm anti-facebook! (Ha!)

And then the other part is my stupid broken hand. Writing is awkward and uncomfortable... And I still have over a week before I can take the wrap off and start gentle exercises. and I'm not sure that the way I write will be classified as gentle. *laughs*

All that being said... I'm still sending out mail every day! And I'll continue to send mail out every day. And I might even send mail to LetterMo friends. I'm just not that keen on actually participating in LetterMo.

Two street-side US mailboxes with broken posts.  One box is on the ground.

Friday 29 January 2021

blue sky with puffy white clouds, and winter trees

Dang, look at that sky!

ha! It's the rainy season here... almost constant grey skies and probably sprinkling. So a bit of blue when we look up is cause for celebration!

Saturday 30 January 2021

Western Bluebird

Western Bluebirds in January?

Yep! There is a tiny area in Oregon where they live year 'round!

February 2021

Tuesday 2 February 2021

We lost a family member. Piper the guinea pig died.

Guinea Pigs Piper and Dawn peeking out from their tent

This is Piper and her daughter Dawn, being cute under their tent.


Wednesday 3 February 2021

Some flowers for Piper.

bloomoing Yellow Crocuses

Less than 1 million people caught covid this past week in the USA! There were an average of 142,066 new cases every day and 3,185 people died every day.

In my town, a person died of covid yesterday, but that was the only death since 22 Jan. Active cases are coming down from 300, randomly swirling around 280.

So it seems like things continue to improve in covid land.

Red in Tooth and Claw
Thursday 4 February 2021

Or rather, Nature: Red in Beak and Talon. oh, circle of life.

I saw a Red Shouldered Hawk in a tree on my walk home... they were giving a hard stare at the ground. Then they gave me a stern glance, telling me to stay put...

Red Shouldered Hawk

And then they swooped to the ground and obviously got somebody! Whoa, maybe 25 feet, right in front of me! They flew back up to the tree, with a mouse-sized somebody in their talons!

But as I was looking, I could see a tail hanging down. And that tail looked a lot longer than a mouse's tail. huh? I had only seen a silhouette as they flew back to the tree, but it didn't seem massive enough to be a rat with that length of a tail. so, what the heck?

When I got home, zooming in on the photos...

the Hawk has caught a snake

Oh my gosh! A snake!

Poor little Garter Snake. And obviously still alive in this pic. ugh.

Yeah, everybody has to eat, even the carnivores. But I do feel bad for the prey when I have to watch them die.

Dear Snakes: Please stay tucked away in February, no matter how bright and warm the sun looks! It's just not going to end well.

Day of Squirrels
Friday 5 February 2021

The invasive but cute, Eastern Fox Squirrel...

Eastern Fox Squirrel standing on a wood fence

And our native and cute, Western Grey Squirrel...

Western Grey Squirrel standing up on a moss covered rock

Too Quick
Saturday 6 February 2021

Jeez, these little birds annoy me...

blurry and bad photo of a Ruby Crowned Kinglet


This is a Ruby Crowned Kinglet. (Their crown is hidden!) They are common here in the winter. They've migrated down from Canada and Alaska, or they've moved down from the mountains.

They annoy me because, just like Chickadees, they bounce around way too quickly. They don't give the camera enough time to focus and most of the time I'm taking a pic of an empty branch! ha!

They are def cute... but sheesh, maybe switch to decaf?


Wow! Eagles!
Sunday 7 February 2021

(place holder for a cool post) XXX

Wednesday 10 February 2021

Less than 775,000 new cases added in the US this week!

We averaged 110,432 new covid cases every day. 3,043 people died every day.

We had over 5,000 people die of covid last friday... According to the COVID Tracking Project 5,212 people died on 4 Feb.

The active cases in my town are wobbling from 350 down to 270 today.

Wednesday 17 February 2021

Over 1.5million new cases added this week in the US, averaging 224,406 every day. 2,800 people died every day of covid.

And, AGAIN, over 5,000 dead in a single day. The COVID Tracking Project says 5,427 people died of covid last friday, the 12th of Feb.

Active cases in my town are around 250 to 230 people sick with covid.

Wednesday 24 February 2021

Less than ½ a million new cases of covid this week, here in the US! But we hit ½ a million dead, on Monday night.

We averaged 67,740 new cases every day. 2,201 people died every day.

Active cases in my town have been swirling around 190 to 160.

Floating along in my Rut
Friday 26 February 2021

UGH. I'm in a rut.

I'm doing all my favorite things... I'm drinking coffee :), I'm going out walking every day, I'm being good about sorting my photos, I'm reading good books, I'm sending out mail every day, and I'm colouring a tiny drawing most days!

But I feel like I've been floating along, avoiding all the small annoyances of life.

A good bit of this is because it is physically difficult for me to do things with my messed up right hand. But I ditched the wrap protecting my broken finger last weekend, since it had been 6weeks. I'm doing exercises, and it is healing tho I still can't curl the fingers to make a fist. But we're getting there.

Another bit of the rut is stupid writer's block. I am actively avoiding all kinds of writing opportunities.

And another bit is the rain. I like to walk in different places. But if it's raining, it's pointless to drive to a walk... There's not much wildlife out to take photos of, and raindrops on the lens isn't really ideal!

So I keep to the neighborhood when it's raining. It's not Always raining. But it's fixin' to rain. Or it just stopped raining but we're not sure it's actually quit. or it's misting. or it's 50% rain after 10am, or 40% or 60%, and it's probably just going to rain anyway!


So I've been walking thru the neighborhoods very often and I'm a little bit bored of it. Even tho I usually find something interesting to take pictures of. And the exercise is good. still. just a little bit bored.

So. What to do?

I think I just need to write!

Well. And maybe do some chores and Space Clearing. Because I've been avoiding tidying up as well, and the piles are interfering with my life!

Saturday 27 February 2021

I met someone at the river today...

male Spotted Towhee missing his tail feathers!

Yikes! Poor, poor fellow! He's got no tail.

What happened?! Did the feathers get ripped out by a predator in a very narrow escape? *cringe* probably was Very painful. or was it disease or malnutrition when the feathers were growing? Something else?

He probably doesn't steer well when flying. And another major problem... He won't be growing the tail feathers back any time soon. Probably not until Autumn, if he makes it that far.

Birds molt and replace their feathers on a strict schedule. It takes a lot of energy to make new feathers, so it happens before or after the breeding and migration seasons.

Fortunately, he doesn't particularly need his tail in order to get food... Towhees eat on the ground, they toss the leaf litter to get at bugs underneath. They also show up at bird feeders. So this guy is good for food!

And he was singing his trilling song as I was taking his portrait... So he apparently has high hopes for himself during the breeding season! :)

Book Cover: Saving Jemima by Julie Zickefoose

side note. My awareness of bird molts comes from Saving Jemima: Life and Love with a Hard-Luck Jay. A beautiful book of art with an amazing story... And relevant here: Jemima lost her primary flight feathers. She survived and lived to tell the tale!!

I only hope for the same for my tailless Towhee friend.

Sunday 28 February 2021

Oregon Grapes are starting to bloom...

yellow blooms and holly-like leaves of Oregon Grape

These flowers will turn into small, waxy-blue berries. They are edible, ie not poisonous, but very tart and mostly pit. I've never had Oregon Grape jelly, but apparently it's pretty good.

March 2021

Migrating Birds
Monday 1 March 2021

Our Turkey Vultures fly south for the winter, and it's always nice to see them return! There were four, flying high, high above the Delta Ponds this past weekend.

Tree Swallows also go south for winter, but I was surprised to see a group zipping above the ponds... it seems terribly early for these little bug eaters.

But I got my local Audubon newsletter, over the weekend. The Quail has a list of all the current bird sightings along with where they've been seen. and it says there have been small numbers of Tree Swallows at the Delta Ponds since January!

Maybe just our super mild winter. Or maybe they are starting to move their winter range to the north. It's not too far... they are seen year round probably less than 100 miles south of the Oregon border.

But the field notes also mentioned that Barn Swallows have also been seen. And they usually spend the winter in south Mexico and down into South America... way, far away!


Tuesday 2 March 2021

The focus is bad on this pic, but I still love it. Little bird standing next to a budding Willow branch... Yay Spring!

White Crowned Sparrow with a budding willow branch

White Crowned Sparrows are winter visitors here. But where the Golden Crowned Sparrows are wonderfully human-friendly, the White Crowns are a lot more shy. I'm glad I got a half decent pic before they fly home!

Wednesday 3 March 2021

Less than ½ a million new cases of covid Again this week, here in the USA. Yay masks!

The US averaged 65,666 new cases every day. and 1,980 people died every day.

Active cases in my town are swirling around 180 to 160 people sick with covid... A far cry from when we were swirling around 400 active cases in November and December. and had our high of 526 on 17 Dec.

The local newspaper reports that 5.91% people are fully vaccinated in my county, on sunday. As of yesterday we are at 6.13%. We are a bit under the current national average, which is 7.9% of population with both doses. So that's disappointing! We have been vaccinating since 21 Dec.

Texas and Mississippi To Lift COVID-19 Mask Mandates And Business Capacity Limits
We must now do more to restore livelihoods and normalcy for Texans by opening Texas 100 percent. Make no mistake, COVID-19 has not disappeared, but it is clear from the recoveries, vaccinations, reduced hospitalizations, and safe practices that Texans are using that state mandates are no longer needed.
Huh. No longer needed. I guess the 1,625 people who died of covid in Texas in the past week... don't matter? That's 232 people every day.

I just cannot understand. What is wrong with people??!

Hawk, Again
Thursday 4 March 2021

I was on the last leg of my walk home, the other day, when a hawk flew by me! I noted where she landed in the Lookout Tree. And then I had to walk fast, to get past a bunch of trees in the creek that were blocking my view.

When I finally saw her, it was obvious she was eating somebody. No messing around or playing with her food this time! I took pics from several different angles and was eager to zoom in on the computer to see if I could tell what she was eating.

Red Shouldered Hawk in a tree, eating a garter snake

She's eating a Garter Snake!


What the heck?

Is Snake the only thing on the menu when the sun is shining?? Or is this the favorite meal for this particular Red Shouldered Hawk?

Either way, it's crazy that I've witnessed two separate hawk dinners and they are both snake.

Cherry Blossoms
Friday 5 March 2021

pink Cherry Blossoms

Yay Spring!

Saturday 6 March 2021

Hiking at hilly Hendrick's the other day!

White Breasted Nuthatch

This is a White Breasted Nuthatch, in the classic Nuthatch pose. :) They go up and down the tree trunk upside-down! This is a female... the males have black on their heads, and are more blue, rather than grey.

This species is common across most of the US. In addition to finding bugs in tree bark, they also visit bird feeders for suet and seeds.

Stupid People
Sunday 7 March 2021

And today I took a walk down by the river. But instead of going to the wildlife area, I decided to hike up Skinner Butte. First, I go past the Rose Garden... where the only thing blooming is the Rhododendron bushes around the border of the park...

a row of pink blooming rhododendron bushes

Then across the street and up the hill! Oh sheesh, there's a lot of people! It's sunday and the weather is nice, so it's to be expected, even on the less popular trails.

And this trail is narrow. Very narrow. Every time I see a human coming the other way, I mask up. And so do they! It's 100% masking and I'm so proud of everyone!

For all the humans, there were still a few birds bouncing around...

Little bird mostly hidden behind Osoberry blooms

GAH! Yep, this is the evil Ruby Crowned Kinglet, again. *laughs*

And those little white flowers were on shrubs all over the place...

Osoberry Blooms

They are Osoberry blooms! An important native in our area, the small plums are food for many birds and animals. Not to mention the very early nectar... I saw an Anna Hummingbird visiting the flowers!!

And the first Trilliums...

two Trillium blooms in the forest

So I went to the top of the hill and then I came back down and I was happy with all the birds and botanicals! I skipped the trail head that I came in on, and kept walking at the base of the butte and the edge of the forest. Which meant I could walk along the river for a bit further, on the way back, too.

There was a couple with a cute dog at the trail head where I was going to get off and go across the street to the river. A black Cocker Spaniel, I love cockers!!

I put my mask on ... but they did not. I wasn't worried about it, they were obviously just starting out, and maybe hadn't noticed me in time.

With my mask on, the lady probably didn't see me grinning big at her dog, but I did give her a nod and a Good Morning. The guy had paused a few paces behind, and he was looking down at his phone, so I didn't bother him. I walked a few more strides, and then...

The lady started cussing me out about me wearing a mask. F word like there's no tomorrow. Something about she has to breathe my f-ing air over here where I hadn't masked up yet. ??? Yeah, completely contradictory, since she wasn't wearing a mask, at all!!

And, as I mentioned, loads of people around. She was making a big scene, and apparently had no idea of how ridiculous she sounded!

Lordy. I didn't feel threatened, since stupid lady was well behind me and I was way more fit than she was! And I didn't respond... I looked back once and then I kept walking. I didn't know what to say, and it's probably best I said nothing! I wondered if she was going to shout at everyone she encountered on the trail.

And the walk back was ruined because I had to think about the stupid people in the world. The anti-maskers. The anti-vaxxers. The trump worshipers and their golden idol.

I stopped and took in the Willamette River, but all that water flowing past couldn't heal me.

I need to know how we can bring these people back to the light!

Song Sparrow says Huh?

Song Sparrow says, I don't know, either!

Monday 8 March 2021

This is a terrible photo of a Lesser Goldfinch...

Lesser Goldfinch in a blooming Red Maple tree

But the overall picture makes me happy. Just look at all those wonderful colours!! I think this is a blooming Red Maple.

Bath Time!
Tuesday 9 March 2021

*Laughs* I seem to have a surfeit of crappy pictures, but I do love sharing them anyway!

Pine Siskin at a muddy puddle

A group of Pine Siskins was happily using this tiny rill for bath time!

Oh my gosh, they are cute...

Two fluffy Pine Siskins wading in the puddle

And then they wondered how many Pine Siskins can fit into one frame...

Six Pine Siskins bathing plus a blurred bird

Six Pine Siskins and a blur! :)

Wednesday 10 March 2021

The US added less than ½ a million covid cases again this past week! We averaged 58,271 new cases every day. 1,633 people died of covid every day.

And Texas, which opened up completely and dropped all mask mandates last week, is killing about 270 people with covid every day.

Unfortunately, The COVID Tracking Project has come to an end. That was where I was gathering my state data from: covid cases, deaths, and current hospitalizations for certain states.

I am bummed that they had to quit. It was nice to have all the information organized on one page!

I'm now using the NPR Map but they don't have numbers for current hospitalizations. And I am not sure how long this page will last.

And unfortunately, I found a huge discrepancy in the numbers between the old Tracking Project and the NPR map... The number dead in New York was 39,029 on the last day of Tracking, and it was 48,401 on NPR.

There are minor variations in the numbers for other states that I've been tracking, but nothing else like the New York number.

Active covid cases in my town have been under 100 for the past two days! And we will be coming down from High Risk -- down from Extreme Risk just a couple weeks ago -- and will be going to Moderate on Friday. Masks and social distancing will continue, of course. But, indoor eating is allowed at 50% capacity.

We have 9.46% of the county fully vaccinated, which is right at the national average of 9.4%!

How the White House Got 2 Pharma Rivals To Work Together On COVID-19 Vaccine
This gives me so much hope, you don't even know!! Companies working together? Speeding up the vaccination schedule in the US??! Every adult by end of May -- bumped up from end of July! Awesome!
Kudos to Johnson & Johnson and Merck and the Defense Production Act, finally invoked by President Biden (pres#45: F* You for doing nothing!)

What a sweet face! I just love my wild turkey neighbors!

close up of a wild turkeys face

Thursday 11 March 2021

A hike up Hidden Trail yesterday revealed some lovely plants! The Red Flowering Currant is um flowering! :)

Red Flowering Currant blooms against a green background

This is an important native in our area, which provides food for all kinds of wildlife! Birds, Bugs, and the Furry Ones.

And the Fawn Lilies have come up... not long and they'll be blooming!

Fawn Lily leaves

Friday 12 March 2021

Singing Song Sparrow and some Willow Tree catkins...

song sparrow singing around willow tree catkins

And, oh! I don't get to take portraits of Juncos very often...

Oregon Junco standing among budding yellow twigs

And then there's my friend, the Red Shouldered Hawk. I've been seeing them so regularly, I start to worry if I don't see them for a few days! :)

Red Shouldered Hawk in a tree

Invasive Turtles
Saturday 13 March 2021

Invasive is bad, but turtles are so awesome!

six turtles on a log partially submerged in the water

A warm day at the Delta Ponds and most of the available logs are covered with turtles!

Unfortunately most of them are the very invasive Red Eared Sliders...

Red Eared Slider

These are pet store turtles who have been abandoned in the wild. It doesn't take long and they will over populate the pond... First pushing out our native species -- Western Pond Turtles and Western Painted Turtles -- and then becoming so numerous that there's not enough food to go around for anybody.

It's sad. Sad for the wild places and sad because people don't take care of their pets.

But, the turtles on the log in the top photo? The turtle on the right is obviously a Pond Turtle -- no markings on the head or tail. But I looked a little bit more carefully. hm! I think the turtle on the left AND the third turtle with her hands on the big one -- I think they are both Western Pond Turtles as well.

Unfortunately, three Western Pond Turtles, does not a population make.

More pics from the River
Sunday 14 March 2021

Some pretty Red Flowering Current, by the Willamette River.

Red Flowering Current blooms with river and blue sky in the background

And the usual spot where I love to listen to the water...

Willamette River

I met a California Ground Squirrel at the river last year. An intrepid explorer into the city. And apparently s/he decided to stay...

Ground Squirrel up in a tree

*laughs* A Ground Squirrel up in a tree? yep!

I Obsess
Monday 15 March 2021


cherry blossoms

And Today....

cherry blossoms

The ephemeral Cherry Blossoms.

Lovely Colours
Tuesday 16 March 2021

Fawn Lily leaves

Clouds and a blue sky

oh little bird! If you could just sit there for a couple seconds, this could be an amazing photo! Please?

... *Laughs* Are you kidding me??! ...

a Bushtits butt, up in the cherry blossoms

Okay... That's more like it... Thank You!!

Bushtit in the cherry blossoms


covid numbers
Wednesday 17 March 2021

The US added 386,053 new cases of covid in the past week, averaging 55,150 every day. 1,283 people died of covid every day.

Glad to see both those numbers continue to come down!

Active cases in my town have steadily come down from the 90 of last wednesday, to 53 active cases today!

Squirrel, partially obscured by sticks, eating a corn chip

*laugh* Yep. That's a squirrel. Up in a tree. Eating a corn chip.

First Garden Treats!
Thursday 18 March 2021

At the end of the season, last year, I was forking up the weeds in the garden plot. Technically, I was also putting down some clover seeds for a cover crop... but they never grew. yep, my prowess as a gardener is making sure stuff doesn't live! haha!

Anyway. As I was forking, I found some of the crocus bulbs in the front of the plot. I put them in a ziplock, thinking I'd replant them once I got the area done.

But the rain started! And there was an 8foot section at the front where I keep my flowers -- Columbine and Oregon Sunshine along with the Crocuses -- that I never finished.

And I forgot about the bag of bulbs!

But then I found them... and there had been enough moisture in the zipped up bag that they were growing. And a couple even made flowers in there!!

So, yesterday, I took the bag to the garden and I put those poor, neglected Crocuses back in the ground. I hope they live!

And while I was there, I picked a couple dandelion blooms for a certain white furry person...

You got something for me??!

Dawn the guinea pig

Gimme that!

Dawn the guinea pig, taking a dandelion bloom from my hand


Friday 19 March 2021

Aww! Poor baby. Their foot is messed up...

Golden Crowned Sparrow with deformed toes

Why do I keep running into creatures who are hurt? I wish I could wave a magic wand and make them better! sighs.

Red Shouldered Hawk

I keep wondering if this will be my last sighting of a Red Shouldered Hawk, for the year. I just assumed that they would migrate out of here. But it turns out the Pacific Coast Red Shoulders do not migrate at all!

But, they have expanded their range... the range map on AllAboutBirds shows Red Shoulders in southern Oregon. But Eugene is in the middle of the state. And since I've been seeing Red Shoulders on a regular basis since this past winter, they have def moved in.

You know, climate change is bad. And shifting populations aren't always a good thing, either. I've not seen a single Cooper Hawk in the time I've been seeing the Red Shoulders, even tho Coopers are here year round. Maybe just a coincidence... but I want to see diversity!

Daffodil next to the path

Not a bird. Just pretty colours!

Mixed Up Manky Mallards
Saturday 20 March 2021

Wild Mallard drake with Duclair bib, female behind him

Just like dogs and horses, Mallards have been domesticated and have several interesting colour breeds. This one, with a white bib, is called Duclair.

Because there's such a wide variety of breeds, and they tend to escape into the wild on a regular basis, people refer to them collectively as Manky. Manky is a British word which means filthy and worthless...

Yeah, nice, huh? Humans create them and then disparage and insult them. sighs. What is wrong with people??

So, I'm going to say Manky actually means something more along the lines of Mixed Up.

Here's the website where I got some of my info. It's a great page with lots of pics, and the blog there looks to be interesting as well...
Domestic or Manky Mallards at 10,000 birds

Now, this one...

Mixed up Mallard in the water

With a black head and the reddish along the body, but with the signature Mallard feather curl on his tail... ??? Who Knows!! Only the duck knows his parents! haha!

Just Ducky!
Sunday 21 March 2021

A pair of Green Winged Teals...

Male and female Green Winged Teals

They are just here for the winter. I wonder when they'll be moving on.

Now here's somebody new!!

Ring Neck Duck in the rain

This is a Ring Necked Duck. And what a stupid name... you can barely see that chestnut collar. Why not name them for that pretty outlined bill?!

Here's the female.

Ring Neck Duck in the rain

The range map at AllAboutBirds says Ring Necks are winter visitors here... but we are very close to a little bubble where they are Year-round (Scarce). So it'll be interesting to see if this pair sticks around!

Bird Bounce!
Tuesday 23 March 2021

I often complain that the little birds bounce around too quickly, and the focus on the camera can't keep up. That is just the nature of some birds.

and I am absolutely sure that some birds are just messing with me.

Like this Spotted Towhee. He sees me... and it's GAME ON!

Spotted Towhee on a branch


blurry Towhee bouncing away from the branch


blurry Towhee bouncing again


covid numbers
Wednesday 24 March 2021

Just 379,501 new cases of covid in the US this past week... an average of 54,214 every day. 1,020 people died every day.

Yes, the numbers are coming down. And vaccinations are going up. My town is right with the national average of 13.7% of population fully vaccinated. The next question is, will we be able to avoid one last surge?

In my town, active covid cases have been creeping up... last wednesday we had 53 and now we have 73.

But, yesterday in the newspaper New COVID-19 cases plummet in Oregon. And today they announced our county would be expanding re-opening and moving from Moderate Risk down to Lower Risk. Restaurants and indoor entertainment will be 50% capacity.

Well and good? or are we just setting up that last surge? Or will the happy maskers continue avoiding risky situations? I guess we'll find out soon enough.

Wow, the colour...

Pink Saucer Magnolia blooms in front of a blue sky

Saucer Magnolia.

covid numbers
Wednesday 31 March 2021

Another tragic milestone... Yesterday the United States hit 550,000 dead, according to the Johns Hopkins site. (The 1point3acres site hit that number ten days ago on 21 March.)

There were 458,587 new cases of covid in the US this past week... averaging 65,512 every day. 996 people died every day.

Numbers coming down, and having less than a thousand people die every day is ... better? But still! A Thousand people are dying every day!

Active covid cases in my town have been swirling around 100. Yep, it didn't take long to ruin our numbers... we had fallen to 58 active cases two weeks ago, and then we opened most everything up, and look what happened: active cases shot right back up. sighs.

And while we do have 16.47% of our local population fully vaccinated (slightly better than the national average, which is 15.5% of the population)... The actual daily vaccinations have plateaued for the past month or so.

April 2021

New Park to Walk
Thursday 1 April 2021

I had gone by this grassy area a few times when I was riding my bike earlier this year. There was a wet prairie pond and a few ducks and even some kind of sand piper-type, and I wondered if there was a park there.

Eventually I looked it up, and sure enough, beyond the ponds, there was a city park, Stewart Pond, with a Frisbee Golf course and some paths thru a tiny forest. That's where I was headed today!

Just minor trouble... the head of the trail is over 2 miles away. Just getting there is a walk in itself!!

The first part of the trail lead thru the prairie, a good place for hawks! Sure enough, a hawk flew by and I had to back track because they landed in a tree and I needed to know what species. ha!

A couple of bad pics is all I really needed...

Red Tail Hawk in a fir tree

Oh cool! I think it's a Red Tailed Hawk, light morph. After all those Red Shouldered Hawks, it's good to see someone new!

I walked down to the forest and was delighted with all the bird songs here! And is this Stewart Pond?

a puddle of water in the forest

Laughs! More like a Wet Prairie puddle! Will probably disappear in a couple days unless we get rain. How funny to name a park as a pond which is only there half the year!

(oh. Actually I had walked by the pond named Stewart, on the way in... it had already dried up into it's dry prairie phase!)

umm... a chicken!
Friday 2 April 2021

On the way back home yesterday, aw, I caught sight of this one.

a Chicken!

An escapee! And definitely nervous and wondering, oh great. Now what do I do?

And just something pretty that caught my eye...

Tulips and a Calendula in lovely green leaves

Saturday 3 April 2021

The year's first Saturday Market! And I'm heading to the Farmers Market for some veggie starts...

The beets are tiny, but I get three trays of them anyway. The lettuce looks good! And, even tho I've started some Sugar Snap Peas at home, I buy one more.

two different kinds of leaf lettuce

Yeah, I don't even know what kind of lettuces I got. I'll just call them Leaf Lettuce. Green Leaf Lettuce. Pink Leaf Lettuce.

Yay Gardening!

Wow, a nest!
Sunday 4 April 2021

Walking out to the garden today, I found a pair of Bushtits building a nest just a few feet from the bike path! Wow!

and dang! this is a terrible spot for a nest! It's too close to the bike path, there's a road right there, and the bush it's buried in is completely bare. The exposure to humans is not ideal.

I watched them come and go for a while. They didn't seem concerned about the situation at all! *laughs* first time parents, probably! :)

male Bushtit on a branch with a few budding leaves

This is the male. They look exactly alike except the male has dark eyes and the female has pale eyes. Except for nesting, Bushtits travel in flocks, so I usually find a small bunch of them, flitting and bouncing quickly thru the bushes.

Female bushtit, behind branches, looking at the entrance at the back of the hanging nest

And here's the female. She's looking at the entrance into the nest, on the other side.

The nest is maybe 8 inches tall, including that top bit and 3ish inches diameter. It is really cool when they go down into it because you can see them squirming around down at the bottom. Trying to get the interior decorating just right!

For most birds, only one sits on the nest at a time. But both Bushtits will spend the night in the nest! Also, they sometimes have a helper, usually an adult male. With crows, sometimes last year's child will help bring up their siblings... I couldn't find any info if the Bushtit help is related or just some random guy they commandeered!! *laughs*

covid complainings
Wednesday 7 April 2021

There were 451,661 new cases of covid in the US this past week, 64,523 on average every day. 796 people died of covid, on average, every day.

Local covid cases are now swirling around 200 (up from last week's 100). I'm really wondering when we will shut stuff down again. What does it take?

On top of that, I am very ashamed to report that Oregon ranked 36th among the states where coronavirus was spreading the fastest on a per-person basis. ALL last year we were between 49th and 46th of the fastest spreading. And look how we've ruined that, just at the last minute.

Incredibly frustrating!

Oregon has 19.2% of our population fully vaccinated, which is right at the national rate of 19%.

My county vax website has been down for a week now... I'm not sure what to think of that.

Community Garden Score!
Monday 12 April 2021

There were freebie veggie starts on the picnic table at the front of the Community Garden today!

Veggie Starts! Yay, exciting! Good size and healthy looking. Let's see... Cabbage? um, no thanks. Collards? yuck! Cauliflower? Oh my gosh, how many can I have??!

*laughs* I took two trays with 6 plants each. Which did put a dent in the freebie stock. But it was monday, and I wasn't sure that very many people would see them since the weekend had passed.

So, we have 12 wonderful Cauliflowers happily growing in our plot!!

Baby Cauliflowers planted in the garden

I love cauliflower... but to buy this many plants from Saturday Market would cost a pretty penny!

Last year I had tried planting cauliflower seeds directly into the garden.

Um. Why did I do that? Seeds don't grow in our garden plot. I wasted an entire packet of seeds. Nothing even tried to come up and grow!

bah. Also in the past, I've bought a started cauliflower or two at Saturday Market. But when there's only one cauliflower in the whole garden... it's hard to cut it down for eating!

I have not tried starting cauliflower on my own, at home. The tiny townhouse means there is not much room for such things. Peas do okay. And this year I am experimenting with wax beans. But anything that comes up tiny... like beets or tomatoes... has trouble. There's just not enough light for the little guys, and they just start leaning towards the sun and then they don't really grow anymore.

So, yeah, I'm a terrible gardener. That's okay... I'm mostly just there for the photo opportunities! But I do hope, hope, hope to eat some vegetables, as well!

Covid Numbers
Wednesday 14 April 2021

There were 494,198 new covid cases in the US this past week... and 70,600 on average every day. Significantly higher than last week, which was 64,500 daily. sighs. 982 people died every day, also higher than last week, which was 796.

Covid cases in my town continue their slow rise, since we opened most everything up. We are now swirling just under 250 active covid cases.

Our vax website finally came back online, and it was good to see that our county has been keeping pace with the national vaccinations... The USA is at 22.7% fully vaxd and Lane county is at 22.4%

covid numbers
Wednesday 21 April 2021

I'm so, so, so, VERY Excited!! I managed to get a covid vaccine appointment for this weekend!! Yipee!!! It was just a fluke that I happened to be online right as they opened up the appointment schedule. Incredibly lucky! and I can't wait to do my civic duty!! I'm just thrilled to pieces!

Now for this week's covid numbers...

There were 445,788 new covid cases in the US this week, averaging 63,684 every day. 684 people died every day. Both these averages are down from last week: 70,600 and 982!

In fact, it has been long ages since we've seen daily deaths under 700 people per day... According to The Covid Tracking Project that hasn't happened since 16 November 2020, and even then the daily death count was swirling around randomly between 500 and 1,500 people dying every day.

Locally, it's a different story, unfortunately. We are now well over 300 active cases.

And we are falling behind with getting people vaccinated! Arg! The national rate is 26.0% fully vaccinated, and our county is at 24.65%. We aren't that far behind, true. But seeing that, just makes my heart sink.

And because we've had so many cases, our town will be moving from the Low Risk category, back up to High Risk on friday. Indoor dining and recreation is going from 75% back down to 25% capacity. Blah, blah, blah.

Awesome Awesome Day
Saturday 24 April 2021

Haha, I never take photos of myself... but today is such a proud day!! Covid vaccination has begun!!

Me in the car, showing off my vax bandaid

I arrived at the mass vax clinic at 11:07 for my 11:15 appointment. There were two lanes of cars queued up and we moved forward several car lengths every 10 to 20 seconds.

It didn't take long to get to the head of the line. I showed my confirmation email that I had printed out, and they typed the number into a tablet. I got a clipboard and pen and paperwork and then got directed to one of 12 vax stations. There were three cars in front of me, I think. I filled out the front and back of the paperwork, sat for maybe 1 more minute and then got to the first tent.

They checked my paperwork and fixed it (oops! I missed a line!), answered questions and filled out my new vaccination card. And told me do NOT lose this! :)

The next tent had been empty for a minute or so, they were waiting for me. I drove in, turned in my paperwork. They quadruple checked who I was. (Verbally. I never had to show my ID.)

I got my vaccination at 11:29am... 22 minutes after I showed up.

The shot itself was almost nothing. That didn't hurt at all! I said, Did you even do anything??

The lady laughed. Yeah, the needle is really small, she said. And check this out! She showed me the syringe. The needle retracts into the syringe when you're done! huh! Technology! *laughs*

She told me to go wait in the parking lot for 15 minutes to make sure everything was okay. If I had trouble, I was to honk the horn and open the car door, and there were people going thru who would help me. She wrote the time I could leave on the back seat window, 11:44.

And I was driving out at 11:45am. 38 minutes after I'd arrived.

So happy!

covid complainings
Wednesday 28 April 2021

Well, Eugene is moving to Extreme Risk, after being in the High Risk category for just a week! Indoor dining from 25% in the High Risk, down to absolutely prohibited in the Extreme Risk!

And I'm horrified to report that Oregon now ranks first among the 50 states... on a New York Times analysis of where cases are increasing the fastest. Remember when we were 48th or 47th, ALL LAST YEAR??! What the heck just happened, people? People???!

So. There were 408,046 new covid cases last week, averaging 58,292 new every day. Again, still coming down from last weeks average of 63,600 per day!! 814 people died of covid every day, a bit higher than last week's 684.

Eugene hit a high of 373 active cases on Sunday 25 April, and now we are swirling around 325 again. That's something, I guess, if that number continues to come down.

And another point of hope... The county had a couple of incredible vaccination days! Over the weekend, they added 5,326 and 7,294 people fully vaccinated!! An ordinary weekend is around 1,500 people. So, this is an awesome thing and we are currently above the national rate... USA is at 29.1% fully vaxd, and my county is at 31.1%!

May 2021

covid numbers
Wednesday 5 May 2021

The United States added 310,532 new cases of covid in the past week, averaging 44,362 every day. 720 people died every day. Good to see both of those daily averages coming down!

My town is still swirling between 325 and 350 active covid cases. Not coming down yet, even tho we're pretending to do lockdown again. I say pretending, because we're supposedly in Extreme Risk and there's no indoor dining, but there are restaurants that are ignoring the rules and there have been some college parties.

College party

The photo of one of the college parties... is just claustrophobic. And of course, not a mask in sight.


Despite all this mess, Eugene is downgrading from Extreme Risk -- No indoor dining, but we were only there for one week -- back down to High Risk -- indoor dining at 25% capacity and indoor entertainment at 10%.

covid numbers
Wednesday 12 May 2021

There were 264,714 new cases of covid in the past week, averaging 37,816 every day... still coming down, thank goodness. 632 people died every day.

Eugene remains in the High Risk category and we are still swirling between 250 and 300 active cases. Unfortunately, our test positivity rate looks like it's rising... we are now at 5.4% where we had been holding pretty steady at 2-3% since the end of January. sighs.

But a good thing: we are a bit above the national average for getting people vaccinated! The national rate is 35.1% and our county is 38.9% fully vaxd!

Vax Time!!
Saturday 15 May 2021

Yipee! I got my second vaccination shot today and I am on my way to being immunized!!

times written on car window

:) After you get your shot at a drive thru mass vax clinic, you need to wait in the parking lot for 15min to make sure you don't have a bad reaction. They write down the time you can leave on the car's window. The times on the left are mine and the heart time on the right is my partner's first shot... he'll be up for his 2nd next week!

This clinic was similar to my first one, except it seemed like they had more volunteers and they were jamming thru cars faster! I drove in at 10:14am and went straight to the head of the line in my lane. haha, the other lane had six or seven cars in it!

I didn't have an appointment, and they directed me off to the side where some people would help me start the digital paperwork. They then directed me to the tents and I had just enough time to fill out my paper paperwork.

They only had 8 drive-thrus, rather than the 12 they had the last time I was there. But they were doing two cars at a time at each tent, so it was actually going much faster!

The first tent got the medical portion of my paperwork filled out and my vax card updated! And then at the 2nd tent, the doctor got my paperwork and talked to me and gave me the shot.

I had turned away from the shot the first time. But this time I made sure I watched!

I got my time written, but had to wait a couple minutes before driving out to the parking lot... the car in front of me had a couple people being vaccinated. Haha... Car pooling to the vax clinic! How awesome is that?!

Everyone I talked to was Super nice and so happy when they learned I was there for my 2nd shot! *laughs* It just gave me a very good feeling and I was happy too!

purple flowers

Vax Reaction
Sunday 16 May 2021

I woke up this morning feeling fine, and I went for a 3mile walk without trouble.

But a headache snuck up on me in the afternoon, with some major brain fog. Ugh. And then my shoulders and neck got achy and sore. ha, I couldn't turn my head properly for a few hours!

But by the time I went to bed, I felt better! (And Monday morning, I got up feeling fine!)

Male Mallard duck standing on a roof top!

haha... he looks so regal up there on the roof top! But when you think about it, ducks are down in the water, never in the trees... they are in the lowest places. So it must feel very strange to stand on top of a building and look down at the world!! :)

just a pretty
Monday 17 May 2021

Benjamin Button bloom with California Poppies in the background

Bachelor Button. Native in Europe, invasive here in the Americas.

Tuesday 18 May 2021

Starling fledgling and adult standing on twigs

Starling fledgling and parent.

covid numbers
Wednesday 19 May 2021

There were 227,673 new cases of covid in the past week, averaging 32,525 every day... that's over 5,000 less than last week, EVERY DAY!!! 598 people died every day.

The active cases in my town have come down steadily from 251 last wednesday to 189 today. It looks like a good trend!

Also, 40.66% of the people in my county are fully vaccinated! Oregon has 39.3% and the USA has 37.3% fully vaxd.

center of a wild rose

The Wild Roses are blooming and the cherries are ripening!

Cherry hanging from its tree, not quite ripe.

And the sky is being beautiful.

Blue sky with pretty clouds and green trees

River Walk
Thursday 20 May 2021

Getting desperate to walk any place else other than to the Community Garden every day...

Yes, I am happy to transplant new veges every couple of days. But since the rain quit months ago, I've got to go out and water those baby plants every day to keep them alive. The Community Garden is one mile away, so it doesn't really make sense to drive there all the time. So I'm walking.

But I need to look at something else!

Down at the river, I'm seeing a phenomenon with the ducklings and goslings that I also see at the creek near my home. Very small families, not very many older babies.

Last year there were goslings all over the place. Hundreds, of all different ages.

This year? um... I think there's a couple families, waaay over there. And the Mallard families are small at the river, too.

Weird and interesting! Are the families small or nonexistent because of the lack of rain this spring? Or is it because there were so many babies last year, they just need to take a break? A combination? Something else?

A Mama Mallard and her blond baby.

Female Mallard and her baby

Aw, I just love this photo. The duckling, an only child, is not the usual colour and I wonder what they will look like as an adult.

Looking across the Willamette River

Happy Garden Time
Friday 21 May 2021

Columbine blooms

Mowing the grassy pathways at the Community Garden is a volunteer job... and it's a huge job because the Garden is so big. The path goes all the way around the Garden and then there are two main aisles going thru the center, and then a couple of shorter aisles on the west side.

Our Garden plot is on the 2nd aisle, and that one rarely gets mowed. Since it's a volunteer thing, I can't really complain... if I want it done I should do it myself, right?

heh, except the grass is about three feet high, now.

Well. It was three feet high... Some wonderful and awesome person weed wacked the grass in front of our plot!! Oh lovely person, I thank you a million times!!


Calendula. The blossom petals add a spicy taste to salad and are used to add colour to other foods. But it's non-native, coming from southwest Asia and the Mediterranean. But very pretty!

looking down at an Anna Hummingbird.

*Laughs* This fellow was quite trusting, he stood on a tomato cage while I watered right next to him!

Countries and Creatures
Saturday 22 May 2021

From the Postcrossing Blog...

Endangered national wildlife. Oh my gosh, this is a Beautiful collection of art!!! Monaco has a seahorse, tho, and my vote would go there.

Speaking of random tiny countries... Monaco is a micro-state country surrounded by France on the Mediterranean Sea, near Italy!

Last year, I decided to memorize all the countries in the world. Check!

I tend to review the list when I can't sleep at night. There are around 180 countries (hmm... I've never counted!) so it does take a while. But it's not the best activity for sleepy time because it takes a lot of brain power. I really have to be *awake* to do the whole list.

Anyway. I've gotten bored with just the countries of the world! So I've decided to start memorizing all the capitals of the countries of the world!!

*grins* Ottawa and Washington DC and Mexico City! Yep!

But okay! This is a much more difficult project. Because I have never heard of the capital of Honduras, Tegucigalpa... and I def don't know how to pronounce it!!


Western European countries will be easier... because we all know London and Paris and Madrid. But I am really looking forward to more long and complicated capital names!

World Map

Dawn, a white guinea pig, on my lap.

Dawn the guinea pig has been munching on the first crops from the garden since mid-March! There are only a couple Dandelion plants in my plot, so this is a treat she gets once or twice a week.

Tho the sap makes it pretty bitter, all parts of dandelions are quite nutritious! Vitamins A, C, and K along with antioxidants and some minerals.

Now, check out this creature I found on the bike path!

Metallic blue Ground Beetle with bright orange thighs!

Wow! Just nonchalantly cleaning their antenna, in the middle of the bike path. Maybe not the place for that, Little One!

With those orange bits, I thought I'd be able to identify their species without any trouble. But I couldn't find them at all. bummer!

Fri, 11 Jun 2021
Yay! A friend identified this beetle for me! Thank you wombatlady!

He or she is a Flower Longhorn!!

BugGuide: Pseudogaurotina cressoni

Western Bluebirds
Sunday 23 May 2021

Last year, someone set up Bluebird nesting boxes at the Community Garden. A pair set up shop in one of them and I was thrilled to see them coming and going, feeding their babies. I didn't get to see the kids fledge, but the parents did bring their kids back around, and I got pics of the juveniles.

No one is using the nest boxes this year. A pair of Violet Green Swallows had started organizing a nest, but then the humans started showing up to garden. And the Swallows changed their mind and went elsewhere.

But the Bluebirds are still coming and going at the Community Garden! They must have a nest close by and use the garden as a resting point...

Three Bluebirds on a fence

Ha! I believe this is one family. The Mom on the left, Dad in the middle, and the chubby one on the right is the nest helper!

Crows do this... last year's child might help bring up their siblings! Since Bluebirds are sexually dimorphic, we can tell that the nest helper is always a male. Which makes me wonder if the Crow's helper is male, too!

I think the green caterpillar the helper is holding is a Cabbage White. These butterflies are fluttering all over the place, I saw the first one back at the beginning of March!

Monday 24 May 2021

Looking up at a vulture flying, clouds and sky in the background

The camera can't keep up, but I always try to take pics of the Turkey Vultures as they glide past me in the sky!

Someone is offering some more freebies at the Community Garden picnic table!

Tomato starts

These are baby tomato plants, I nabbed one that had a tag that said Orange Plum! Sounds wonderful!! But I def have an excess of tomato plants now... 2 Sun Golds, 6 Brandywines, 1 heirloom Roma, 2 Aubrey Pinks, and this new one. I am very excited about tomatoes this year!

On the walk home... a new bird!!

blurry pic of a Western Wood Pewee

Yep, it's a crappy blurry pic. But I think this bird is a Western Wood Pewee. What a name, huh?!

June 2021

Porch Room Project
Monday 28 June 2021

So. I've been living my best life for a while now. But my best life includes certain things like avoiding chores and any stuff I don't feel like doing. And it's starting to make me feel lazy! ha!

So I gave myself a project this week. What we call our porch room is probably technically called a breakfast nook. It's just the space on the other side of the kitchen, and it also includes the sliding glass door out to the back porch.

I have all of my house plants here. They are neglected and have been slowly dying out. So it's probably time to fix this. Not to mention the glass and floor are a dirty disaster, from water splashing dirt and other day-to-day accidents. And there's cobwebs.

Yes, it's pretty pathetic and if I could afford a maid or a cleaning service, that would definitely be money well spent!

So! Today I started with the Spider Plant. There is just one struggling mama plant, and a bunch of babies hanging off her. oh, hey! They are called spiderettes!

I dumped all the dirt... whoa! the roots!

Spider plant roots

Anyway. Some new dirt, the babies cut away and planted all around. And we've got a nice new pot... of grass-looking stuff!

Spider Plant re-potted with spiderettes

*laughs* Well, the new dirt will rejuvenate everybody and it'll be a pretty hanging plant soon!

Learn about spider plant stolons
This page says it's very unusual for a spider plant to flower and even more unusual for them to produce fruit. That's funny... My Spider Plant used to flower all the time, and it made tons of seeds. The seeds are kind of annoying too, because they would get everywhere!

Well, anyway. Look who I found at the creek today!

two raccoons wading in water

It's been years since I've seen Raccoons at the creek, so happy to welcome them back into the area!!

Porch Room Project Continued
Tuesday 29 June 2021

So! Today I fixed up the African violets.

I dumped the dead pots... ugh, yeah, more than one that I managed to kill. Pretty remarkable, since all you have to do to keep African Violets alive is not over-water them! I don't know what killed them off, but I'm really bummed because one had such lovely flowers... white with purple edges.

I got cuttings from the last remaining living plant, played with rooting gel -- probably not necessary, since African Violets like to clone themselves at the drop of a leaf (haha! you see what I did there?! ;) -- and potted them up.

african violet clone starts

(Yep, you see one more dead one in the middle background there.) (sighs.)

Today's project, like yesterday, took about 40 minutes... so it's not digging too much into my scheduled happy time.


blurry sunflower with a gibbous moon

And, yep, there are sunflowers blooming at the Community Garden!

Covid and Porch Project 3
Wednesday 30 June 2021

There were 68,642 new cases of covid in the US in the past week, averaging 9,806 every day. 242 people died of covid, on average, every day.

Active covid cases in my town have been swirling around 80.

And the governor of Oregon has lifted covid restrictions today! We aren't quite at 70% of the adult & over 16 vaccinated, but we are so extremely close... 69.9%!

So, restaurants and businesses can be at full capacity, and businesses can make their own decisions about masking. I think you still have to mask up in federal buildings... like the Post Office still has their Mask signs up. Also masks on public transportation.

52.6% of the total population of Oregon is fully vaxd, and 46.4% of the USA is.

Polka Dot Begonia and Philodendron in a pot

Today I cut up and re-potted a Golden Pothos, along with a lovely Polka Dot Begonia. I think they have similar water needs, so they should be fine in the same pot.

July 2021

covid numbers
Wednesday 7 July 2021

There were 85,084 new cases of covid in the US in the past week, averaging 12,155 every day.

The Delta variant is now the dominate strain of covid in the US and it's pushing the numbers back up... for new cases and hospitalizations. The Delta variant arrived in the US in March of this year, and was about 20% of new cases on 22 June, and is now well over 50%.

132 people died of covid on average every day in the US... But assume this will be back on the upswing with Delta.


Because of the holiday, the local covid website hasn't been updated. But we were still swirling around about 80 active cases of covid here in town.

Oregon has 54.3% of total population fully vaxd and the USA has 47.5% fully vaxd.

covid numbers
Wednesday 14 July 2021

There were 134,558 new cases of covid in the US in the last week, averaging 19,227 every day. 236 people died every day on average... Yep, Delta variant is starting to kill more people. (The average last week was down to 132 people dead every day.)

And the only people dying of covid anymore, are the unvaccinated.

In my town, Delta variant has officially arrived, there were two cases recently detected.

Which is unfortunate. Because we have gotten all the way down to 43 active cases last Saturday. We are now at 61 active cases. How high will Delta push our active cases, and for how long?

There are 54.8% people fully vaxd in Oregon and 48.1% of the total population fully vaxd in the US.

Arg! + Cuteness!
Friday 16 July 2021

Lately I've just been meh. I seem to have lost my enthusiasm. I'm not really excited about my mailing projects. I've not been doing my daily drawing practice. I've gotten behind on sorting photos and the mail log. and I really, really can't be bothered to do any chores or housework.

And you can see I've not updated this blog at all... a few weeks ago, I thought by having a project, I'd want to type here more often. And the blogging lasted precisely one day: Porch Room Project! And the actual Project didn't last much beyond that. sighs.

Unfortunately, I don't really have a plan besides Get It Together! :)

hm... The same two I saw the other day? No, I don't think so.

Two small raccons wading in the creek

But definitely siblings... Not quite grown up and turns out there were a couple more in the bushes on the bank! There was a wrestling match, and general happy and well adjusted kid raccoon goings-on! So fun to watch!

and then... oh wait!

Five raccoons!

There's a fifth raccoon!! Is it Mum or another sibling? Dang it, I can't tell. And then they're gone, slipped away under the shrubbery.

covid numbers
Wednesday 21 July 2021

There were 255,033 new cases of covid in the US in the last week, averaging 36,433 every day. The delta variant is now over 80% of new cases. 232 people died of covid every day.

Active cases of covid are at 117 today in my town. Which can't really be referred to as creeping up since that's almost double of last weeks active cases (61).

covid numbers
Wednesday 28 July 2021

There were 395,979 new cases of covid in the US in the last week, averaging 56,568 cases every day. 239 people died every day, on average.

Active cases in my town have climbed to 309 today. And three people have died in the past week.

I'm glad that the CDC has updated their Masking Recommendations for the Delta variant... even fully vaxd people should wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of high transmission. Areas of high transmission doesn't include the entire United States... just most of it!

And I'll be thrilled to see more vaccine requirements! heck yeah!

Chicory blooms with Queen Anne Lace and Sweet Pea in the background

A pretty picture of invasive plants! :)

The purplish blue in focus is Chicory, a happy plant from Europe and north Africa. The roots can be roasted and ground and used like coffee (minus the caffeine) or as a food additive.

The white flowers are Queen Anne Lace, another happy invasive, from temperate Europe and southwest Asia. This is a member of the carrot family and the tap root can be eaten like carrots. Careful tho! this one has look-alikes which are toxic and will kill you if you eat them! Queen Anne Lace roots smell like carrots. If it smells like licorice, that's the toxic one!

Never, never eat stuff in the wild if you're not 100% sure what it is!! Seriously, 100% with major research and a naturalist who has helped you! NOT 90% sure! If you even have a single question, wait. is this thing normal? Do not eat that thing! You must be 100% sure! Nothing less! This is my public service announcement!! *laughs*

The pinkish purple is Sweet Pea... a toxic invasive from Sicily and southern Italy. A very pretty scent, that many people love! But toxic for eating, every which way!

two White Crowned Sparrows on a fence

um. Hang on! White Crowned Sparrows at the Community Garden? What in the world???!

White Crowned Sparrows are winter visitors here. In other words, they do nesting season up north, in Canada, then come down for some better winter weather. Since when is the end of July past the nesting season?!

They must have had a major, tragic nest failure to be down in their winter area in July! Or something else? What's going on?!

Hmmm... Studying the map. All About Birds: White Crowned Sparrow, Range Map

Maybe. You see that thin strip of purple Year-Round that hugs the Pacific Coast? Maybe the sparrows are expanding their year-round range further inland. Eugene is about 60miles from the coast. Not that far, for a little bird!

Will have to pay attention to the local sightings for this beautiful little bird!!

Thursday 29 July 2021

Bug Excitement!
Friday 30 July 2021

So I'm on my 4 mile walk and there's this orange dragonfly, flopping about at the edge of the sidewalk.

I look and see the dragonfly has caught a European Honey Bee, who must be fighting back! The dragonfly is much bigger than the bee, tho, so I'm pretty sure about the outcome...

But then suddenly, it's over. The dragonfly sits for a second and then flies away. Wait! What just happened??!

looking down at a red dragonfly on the sidewalk

Did I not notice that the bee got away? Or was the bee eaten up in just a couple bites? oh Nature, why can't you let me see the end of the story! *laughs*

And this is my lunch! That's the third Lemon Cucumber I've gotten from our garden plot!!! LOVE!

Cucumber sandwich, with potato chips and thick sliced lemon cucumber

And yes, I'm having a store-bought cucumber on homemade bread... it's the black olives and the dollop of Yumm! Sauce that really makes this sandwich amazing. (Yumm! Sauce is a form of Goddess Dressing, but of course, yummier.) :)

And this is my front Lemon Cucumber patch, where that beautiful Lemon Cuc came from...

Lemon Cucumber plants with many little yellow blossoms

You can see, it's just getting started! Look at all those little yellow blossoms!!!

This year I have 10 Lemon Cucumber plants. This patch is four plants and it's grown quite a bit bigger than the back patch which has 6 plants. My goal is to have more Lemon Cucumbers than I can eat... which I'm pretty sure is impossible!! :)

Happy Herons
Saturday 31 July 2021

Out at the river today, and excited to see a Green Heron. They are shy, and their camouflage is incredible, so I'm always glad to get their portrait!

Green Heron on a log in the water

So that's a normal position for a Green Heron.

All of a sudden...

Green Heron stretching out their neck!

Holy! Where did all that neck come from??! That's crazy!

And here's a pretty pic of a Great Blue Heron in the flowers...

Great Blue Heron hunting near the shore with tiny blue and yellow flowers