sun 3 may 2015... Urban Wildlife part 2|
As I was leaving the house yesterday, I noticed this:
The cat is someone I didn't recognize; not one of our
usual "strays". He was well
above my second story window and acting rather
consternated about being so far off the ground.
The locals were very upset...
There were two starlings and one squirrel yelling at him.
In just a few minutes, two crows joined the
very vocal protest.
The cat walked back and forth along the limbs, studying and
judging the 12feet / 3.5meter
jump to the car port next to the tree.
Despite his obvious nervousness, I believed he was capable,
and I left home with confidence that he would get down
on his own!
My trust was not misplaced. He was not in the tree when I
came back. :)
And our Killdeer couple have not abandoned their nest in
the middle of our community garden plot...
The nest in the beet patch now contains 4 eggs.
The mom was still very annoyed with our gardening presence.
But I stayed farther from her nest than I did last weekend
(when I was accidently practically stepping on it). And
she mostly traded her broken wing act for yelling at us
instead... Her shy partner on the other hand was doing his
act 50 feet away. I didn't even notice him half the time!
We've got 3 weeks before the babies are hatched.
And we'll work around the nest as best we can and hope for
sat 25 apr 2015... Garden Nest, Urban Wildlife|
We went to our community garden plot today, loaded with
baby plants from Saturday Market. But I was immediately
distracted by a bird who I couldn't identify. I was
excited and took a few photos, and intended to get out
my bird field guide the moment we got home.
We listened to the bird calling, as we tooled around the
garden. Weeds to kill, you know, and lemon cucumbers to
plant. We were on the downhill side of working and I
decided to replant the cauliflower and beet seeds, since
nothing was showing up from my first planting.
I was kneeling down, making a line in the dirt, and the
bird, who was still hanging around, started coming at me!
I recognized her antics... she was pretending that she was
hurt, to lead me away from her nest. But she was getting
so incredibly close, I could almost touch her she was so
close. She was obviously upset...
But I didn't understand. Our garden plot is towards the
middle of the community garden, there aren't any trees
nearby at all. I looked all around at the other plots,
thinking someone had hung a bird house, but I didn't
see a thing. And the bird was very focused on me, even
tho my partner was standing and digging nearby, and there
were some other gardeners a couple plots over.
And then I finally looked down. And saw the eggs. I was
literally right above them. I apologized profusely
to the bird! She was yelling at me for a reason, and
I felt like such a stupid human.
And I felt bad for the bird as well. She's obviously a
first time mother. I mean, who puts their eggs right in
the middle of a community garden plot? There's going to
be people there all the time. Poor girl.
When I got home, I got my bird book out. She's a Killdeer,
a bird common across North America. They nest on the
ground (yeah, obvious now, huh?!) and are suppose to have
four to six eggs.
oh boy: the incubation period for the eggs is 22 to 28 days!
We shall see what happens. Will she abandon her eggs and
go try again someplace else? Or will she stay?
We will definitely work around her if she decides to stay.
Sat, 25 Apr 2015 08:33:38 PDT|
sun 29 mar 2015... um.|
I got seriously off track with my goals for March.
The 2nd Week of March,
I had a week's worth of overtime at the day job, and that
damaged my LetterMo momentum for sending out mail. I did
get back to my journal class homework, but I'm completely
unorganized with sending reply mail and discombobulated
with all my other random projects.
But I have managed to work on a couple little things in the
last couple of weekends.
I have lots of practice turning my photography into
postcards. But I am working on some other things as well.
Specifically envelopes and bookmarks.
For the envelopes, I am taking photos of "background"
type things that I find in nature. Leaves of trees and
blossoms of trees... basically photos without a focal point
or "center of attention".
Because the focal point on an envelope is actually the
I print up the photos on large typing paper. And then
use a template to make my envelope...
I bought these a while ago, and they work great:
(I use the A6 size, which fits
comfortably on 11x17inch paper, and makes an envelope
With the bookmarks... ha, I don't really have a
photographic strategy yet. I've chosen a 2x7 inch format
for my bookmarks. And I'm mostly just trying to jam
regular photos into this size. It doesn't really work!
And when I'm out walking... I don't have any problem
considering "background" type photos for the envelopes.
But I don't think about "2x7" type photos at all! That's
a crazy size and it doesn't even occur to me when I have
the camera in hand.
Journal Class Progress|
Fri, 06 Mar
Read discussions and
Homework for Day 3 & 4 (of 28)
thurs 5 mar 2015... Refuse to Choose|
I still hadn't decided what project I'm going to work
on this month... and last night I sat down to think some
thoughts about that. Very important to do -- to think
some thoughts -- every once in a while! ;)
My dilemma was choosing between a project that I want to
do (study WordPress) and a project that I should be doing
(finishing my Journal class). I was procrastinating
because I can't choose, but in
the process of *not choosing*, nothing is getting done!
Not the "should" project, not the "want to" project, and
certainly not anything else!
But then I realized, from my reading of one of my favorite
Refuse to Choose: it's a false dilemma! I don't have
to choose between the two projects... I can do them both.
I can go every other day, or I can do one during the week
and the other during the weekend, or I can spend an hour
here and an hour there getting them both done.
I don't know why I get stuck "trying to decide", but it
happens every once in a while. Which is why it's nice
to re-read the book and remind myself that I can
Yay Everything! haha.
But now I need a bit of motivation to get me through the
"should do" project of my journal class since I seem to
have lost my enthusiasm for it. I think I'm going to
whip up a little calender, and put circles around the
days that I do my homework and stuff... and then post
it here... Kinda like...
Journal Class Progress|
Thu, 05 Mar
Last night, I wrote my homework for Day 2 (of 28)
sat 28 feb 2015... Next!|
This is the last day of the
Month of Letters
challenge of sending daily mail. I have sent mail every
day and I have met my personal goal of sending more than
150 bits of mail.
Trouble is, I haven't sent all the mail I planned on! I
just ran out of time for the Dec PCs, the packages, a
couple of long letters, the BH Monthly Greeting Card
exchange which I'm about 6 months behind on! Oh, and not
to mention all the replies I want to make... I met some
great new pen pals this year.
So the spirit of LetterMo will continue for at least another
month or two. :)
But, with a new month, I want to start a new project! I
have so many things I want to do and I must make room
What I REALLY want to do is start studying
WordPress. This is a project that I've had in the back
of my mind for a while. The book I bought is over there,
staring at me, "read me, read me." ha.
What I Should be doing is completing the Journal
class I took in january. I got about half-way thru before
I ran out of steam, and time. It's not a forever class,
meaning the lessons will disappear mid-April, so I really
need to go back and do my homework.
But I kinda want to do some art projects... Get
out the calligraphy pen and the inks, or start a new
notebook with some coloured pencil drawings.
There are a couple organizational projects to do...
like printing and binding my paper journals, and setting up
some photo albums of my postcards, and going thru some of
the boxes in my closet. My inbox is up over 100 again.
Plus a 100 other projects that interest me.
We've already started working in our community garden
I need to work out a plan of action for the veganic
gardening club I'm a member of.
And there's a vegan mailing group I have plans for.
I've been slacking off, I need to get some exercise.
And when it's not raining, I'd like to go get some photos
at Fern Ridge.
And I'd like to start practicing American Sign Language.
Plus all the other books I want to read.
Significant Other is learning to juggle, I want to, too!
And, well, do you really want me to type out all
100 things?! I don't actually have time for that! ;)
Sun, 22 Feb 2015 17:54:24 PDT|
sun 8 feb 2015... Book Piles|
This month I'm working on mail,
and my reading time has
been significantly reduced. And my Book Piles are staring
me in the face.
Yes. I have piles of books that I've bought but haven't
read yet. I had to start a new pile when I came home from
xmas. I am doing my part... the new pile has been reduced
by 3 books already.
It's been a while since I've done a count of my unread
books. And I thought it would be interesting to list
This is my new 2015 pile. Not too bad, huh? Except
a couple of the books are some heavy reading.
The wordpress book, yeah, is a tech book... I've been
interested in learning WP for a while now and it's been
ages since I've learned any new computer stuff. So,
that's one of my goals this year!
2015 Pile = 4 Books
This is my 2014 Overflow Pile. Some odds and ends here...
A couple movies on the left, including Doctor Who dvds!
and the wrapped bundles are back issues of a magazine
that I love: GreenPrints.
And there's an issue of another mag I subscribe to:
the magazine of
Fantasy & Science Fiction.
There are also a few books in this pile that I started
reading and then abandoned for whatever reason. When I
come back to them, I'll have to start over at the beginning.
(Not counting magazines and zines)
2014 Overflow = 13 Books
And this is my Ancient Pile. I don't even know how long
I've had some of these books! And this is the pile
I'm referring to when I say "I can't die until I've read
all my books!" haha.
Ancient Pile = 13 Books
Total = 30 Books
Huh, well it's not as bad as I thought. Though, there
are a couple more books laying around randomly...
Plus a couple more on my kindle...
But probably the actual total is less than the 50 books
that I thought it was! So that's good!
And, since I read about 30 to 35 books in a year, I could
conceivably get through my piles in a year or so. But
how can anyone get through a whole year without buying
any new books? Impossible!
ha. So many books, so little time!
Thu, 05 Feb 2015 19:00:13 PDT|
Sun, 01 Feb 2015 17:43:31 PDT|
From the Letter Writers Alliance website...
Post for the Parks
Painting 59 National Parks, and then mailing each painting
to the head ranger of the appropriate park.
Oh My Gosh! LOVE!
Sun, 01 Feb 2015 12:00:00 PDT|
Sat, 31 Jan 2015 10:02:17 PDT|
Thu, 29 Jan 2015 18:13:31 PDT|
I have a little GREEN Internet Cat from Free Press:
Sat, 17 Jan 2015 09:40:29 PDT|
This amused me greatly...
On Thursday, the FreePress Action Fund set up hundreds
of Internet cats outside the FCC headquarters in a
symbolic rally to support Chairman Tom Wheeler's hints
that the agency will pass strong Net Neutrality rules
It was fun, a little absurd and definitely got the
attention of FCC employees heading into work.
Adopted an Internet Cat! haha!
thurs 1 Jan 2015... Review and Revise|
Happy New Year!
In 2014, I read 34 books.
The average book I read was
323 pages and I read about 211 pages per week.
(Which is quite a bit less than 221 pages per week I read in 2013...
Guess I need to work on that!)
In 2014, I sent 1177 postcards and notecards,
which is an average of 98 mailings per month.
(More than last year's 78 per month!)
In 2014, I wrote for 14 Amnesty International Urgent Action cases,
and all 10 Write for Rights cases.
(I had written for 37 total cases in 2013...)
There were a few issues with the Urgent Action Network this year,
and I lost my dedication along the way. Everything's fixed now, and
better than ever, and for 2015 I'd like to work on a case
In 2014, I also wrote letters for 7 Animal Causes.
And in 2014, my GoodReads mailing group averaged
39.5 participants every month.
In 2014, I took 4730 photos, averaging 394 per month.
(strangely, way less than my 555 average in 2013?!)
In 2014, I averaged 2 blog posts a month, other than
November during which I typed every day. I think it would
be nice to type here more often, but with all my other
projects going on, it's hard to make the time!
In 2014, I worked on a year-long Space Clearing class,
which had daily lessons. I kept up admirably, but had
to take a break from it in December. I got some good
stuff organized through the year, because of the class...
but there's much
I didn't tackle. It's a forever class, meaning I'll always
have access to the lessons, and I'm thinking about
re-taking the class for 2015.
In 2015, I would like to take on some vegan projects.
Potientially, I will be heading up a veganic gardening
group. And there is a vegan group at Swap-Bot that
needs some attention.
And in 2015, I would like to do some drawing.
And through all of my crazy projects,
I want to enjoy my life!
sun 30 nov 2014... Write for Rights|
As one project ends, another one begins!
I've been typing here every day for a month, and I've
accomplished my goal of writing about my family
So, the project for December:
Write for Rights!
Here's today's work area...
The Write for Rights campaign was what brought me to
Amnesty International. I first
joined the W4R program in 2011... I sent 5 letters that
december, for 2 cases. And yep: I decorated my first
envelopes as well!
After that, I joined the Urgent Action Network. My goal
has always been to write letters for one case every
weekend. Of course, it doesn't actually happen that way,
but I do pretty good.
This year the support group for the US Network kind of
fell apart. And I did not write as often as I should
But the new support group, is amazing and awesome! I
think that 2015 will be a record letter writing year!
Will you join me? It only takes a few minutes to
print out a letter and write the address on an envelope.
Decorating the envelope is only for crazy people like me!
sat 29 nov 2014... long weekend accomplishments|
Yay, getting stuff done!
Mail I finished up the October postcards. I sent
replies to everyone who mailed me in November. I've
printed ½ the November postcards, and gotten a
decent chunk written.
Inbox yeah, the 250 emails were starting to wear
me down. I read, deleted, sorted and replied to all of them!
xmas and I have started organizing for the chaotic
calamity that others call christmas.
I am so happy that I'm getting so much stuff done this
weekend... and I still have another whole day!
A beautiful scrub jay, from a walk I took a couple weekends
I try to go out for a walk, every day that I don't have
to go to my day job. And I always take my camera.
The winter scenery doesn't always inspire me. Or, like
today, I miss my photo opportunity. The cutest thing:
There are FOUR cats, all fat and well groomed, waiting
patiently at the front door of a house. And the sign
on the door says "Beware of Dog". hahaha! I didn't even
have time to turn my camera on: a human is opening the
front door right when I'm thinking about taking the pic.
fri 28 nov 2014... Day 5: Moon Falls|
We drove a couple miles to the trail head of the next
waterfall. This trail was a bit longer, and mostly
followed an old logging road. There were sections where
the trees were young and planted in rows (ugh).
I discovered a dragon that the loggers didn't want to
The area and trees around the creek are protected from
loggers because it's a watershed, and it was a relief
to climb down into this undisturbed sanctuary.
And, again, since there had been no rain, the creek was
pretty empty... but such a beautiful spot...
And the waterfall looked like it would have been amazing...
Moon Falls is 125feet/38meters,
with many layers for the water to pour off.
If only it would rain.
This is just the lower part of the falls:
The next waterfall was Pinard Falls, and we got in the
car to drive to it's trail head.
Sadly, the loggers were active on the road that lead to
Pinard... There were clear cut areas, huge piles of
debris covered with plastic tarps,
machinery parked at the side of the road, and
finally we had to turn around because the road was
rutted with huge pot holes and littered with branches.
The loggers had devastated the area and I was disgusted.
Yep, this is what we do with our public lands in Oregon.
We willingly hand over our beautiful forests to corporations
who destroy them and make a tidy profit and then some.
oh, and a couple
dollars go into our education fund. Despicable.
So, we came home.
October Family Vacaion
thurs 27 nov 2014... thanksgiving|
Thanksgiving dinner's sad and thankless
Christmas dinner's dark and blue
When you stop and try to see it
From the turkey's point of view.
~ Shel Silverstein
For the past several years, I have been doing a personal
protest on thanksgiving by fasting.
To me, it seems like a day of gluttony, rather than a
day dedicated to true thankfulness. And I choose to
acknowledge this by not eating for a day.
Wild and Free.
wed 26 nov 2014... Day 5: Spirit Falls|
On the fifth day of my family vacation, with my Parents
and Brother visiting me in Oregon, we decided to do a
hike to the south. Another 55mile (88km) road trip, and
another stunningly beautiful day...
Down in the valley it was almost 80°, but
we were up in the
hills... much cooler and more pleasant
under the trees and near the water;
it was a great day for a walk. And soon the trail
brought us down to Spirit Falls:
This is a 40 foot waterfall (just over 12 meters), but
again, due to the lack of rain, not as spectacular as
it could have been. Then again, walking in the sunshine
is much nicer than walking in the rain!
For a little bit of perspective, here's my Dad... around
6foot tall, looking up at the 40foot waterfall!
October Family Vacaion
mon 24 nov 2014... Day 4: McDowell Creek|
This is the fourth day of a family vacation: My Parents
and Brother were visiting me in Oregon.
We decided to do some easy hikes and look at waterfalls!
McDowell Creek has several waterfalls along a short
stretch, and was about 55miles (88km) north. We road tripped
up there on a saturday morning.
As you can see, it was another beautiful, blue sky day!
Entirely unusual for western oregon in autumn... It should
have been raining the entire week my family was here.
I'm glad we lucked out with our climate change/ global
Then, again... the lack of rain also created a lack of
water falling out of the waterfalls!
This is Royal Falls:
Pretty wimpy, right? But that's okay. It was a beautiful
day, and we are walking out in nature.
We walked down the path a little bit further. We were
heading towards a picnic area, shown on the map.
We were slightly surprised at the state of the picnic
tables when we got there...
haha! Covered in moss and not just damp, soaking wet
We ate our picnic lunch straight out of the trunk of the
October Family Vacaion
sun 23 nov 2014... Currently...|
I used to do these prompts on my blog every once
in a while, but it's been years. (and yes: my blog is
a teenager, 16 years old. I started in summer 1998!)
I had to go through some of my old posts, to re-discover
some of my old topics. It looks like
the first one I did was in
2003, I was living in Phoenix at the time, and wrote
the post shortly after our ceiling fell in from too
much rain! ha! the previous
entry describes that mess.
I picked a few old topics that interested me and
added a couple new topics...
Currently Reading: I just finished
Station Eleven (I haven't reviewed it yet, tho). And
I've been reading Maya Angelou's autobiography,
I'm currently on book 5 of 7,
God's Children Need Traveling Shoes.
At my day job, I'm reading the current issue of
The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.
Currently in the garden: The tomato plants have
died enough that I was finally able to rip them out of
the tomato cages. Hopefully next weekend, we'll be
able to do some work out there. I want to lay down some
leaf litter in the back to help keep the evil grass at bay.
And see if there are any sweet potatoes. I totally
forgot about them, and now the vines are dead, so I have
no idea if they are just rotting underground or if they'll
survive for a little while!
Current Critter Stories: I have been letting
Lucy and Ethel out for floor time, a few days a week,
for about 30 minutes.
They run around, all cute-like, and have tried exploring
parts of the kitchen and half bath. At first
they were ready to go
back into their house, after the 30 minutes. Now...
they run up to me for their treats, but they try to run
away when I go to scoop them up!
Currently Listening To: I listen to Pandora, my
favorite stations are Nine Inch Nails, Pink, Lindsey
Sterling, Moby and the World Beat genre station.
But I'm not really listening to anyone new.
Currently Journaling: For the past several years,
I have been very interested in digital journaling. I
usually make digital pages on the weekends, print them
up later, and then bind them up with the hand-written
pages that I write during the week. It's a process that
agrees with me, and I usually enjoy the gathering that
occurs before the binding. (Altho there are many months
that haven't been bound, the papers are filed in a flat
But my current process does not encourage any drawing
or doodling, since I add hand-written pages infrequently.
And this is something I'd like to change. Drawing and art
are an important part of my life, and this should be
reflected in my journal!
Currently Mailing: Unfortunately, I had too much
homework this weekend, so I wasn't able to get all the
october postcards out the door. I also haven't sent
any Amnesty International letters this week, or last week.
arg! And with the holidays coming, my busy-ness will
only increase, and my mail time will decrease. A sad
state of affairs!
Current Photography: late fall: I love the autumn
season, but you have to look closely to find inspiring
photos. Here's a pic from the community garden plot,
the seed heads on my aster plant...
sat 22 nov 2014... another working weekend|
Yep, got another load of homework from the day job.
sighs. But I'm making an effort to get some other stuff
done as well...
I started the morning right, with some postcard writing!
I got a little handful written and in the mail before
the postman got here in the morning.
The state of my postcard projects is currently
a little chaotic.
I usually send a monthly postcard to everyone on my list.
I've gotten behind, tho, and decided to skip the september
postcard for now. The rest of the october postcards
are going out this weekend. And now I'll begin the november
I love making and writing my postcards!
I actually wish I could send out postcards more than
just once a month to people!
The next most important thing to do on a weekend day:
go for a walk!
Late morning I went for a short walk, between rain showers.
I always take my camera, but I didn't see anything
interesting until I got back home...
I noticed movement on the concrete in our entryway...
The tiniest snail I've ever met! Her-His shell was less
than half the size of a dime... maybe like 7 or 8 millimeters!
Tiny, and oh so cute!
And I'm going to say "she-he" and "her-his"
for snails because they are hermaphrodites!
I'm an animal lover, and I love all animals. But
snails are especially cool. I highly recommend
The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey.
fri 21 nov 2014... Day 3: Great Horned Owl|
When we were exploring the front part of Cascades Raptor
Center, we met Lorax, a Great Horned Owl.
Lorax has a bum right wing. She had fallen out of her
nest as a baby, and broken her poor arm all to pieces.
Because of her injuries, there was no hope of returning
her to the wild, so they socialized her to human contact.
She now helps teach at the raptor center.
She doesn't like being in the cage while it's being cleaned.
So someone brings her out, and visitors get to walk by
and tell her how beautiful she is!
When we were done at the raptor center we went across the
street to one of the trail heads for our Ridgeline Trail.
Ridgeline trail is about 14 miles long, wandering through
forests and to the top of our highest peak at the southern
edge of the city. Yep, it's all within the city limits!
I came to western Oregon for the rain and the trees...
but the moss and ferns certainly intrigue me as well.
We did a quick 1.5 mile jaunt on a mountain bike trail and
a pedestrian only trail. The trails are not well marked.
But wandering around in a forest is definitely my family's
idea of fun! haha! For Real!
October Family Vacaion
thurs 20 nov 2014... Day 3: Raptors|
Here's Darwin, a Pygmy Owl...
He had been hit by a car, which broke his arm near the
shoulder. The bones healed with imperfect alignment.
Darwin can fly, but not well enough to hunt. He's been
at the raptor center since Dec 2007.
Here's Nike, his good side...
He's a Gyrfalcon with just one eye. A raptor researcher
found him in Washington state, with a very infected eye.
They had to remove his eye, and he wouldn't be able to
hunt well enough with just one eye. He's been at the
center since March 2005.
And this is Newton, a Northern Goshawk.
Newton came as a baby to help teach people about raptors...
he did his first program before he could fly.
It's rare for a wild Northern Goshawk to be at a raptor
center... in the wild they stay in the wildernes, far
away from people. If a Northern Goshawk does get
brought in with an injury, they don't adapt well
to captivity or being around humans.
But if they imprint on humans as a baby, as Newton was,
they can live in our world without trouble.
October Family Vacaion
wed 19 nov 2014... Day 3: White-Tailed Kites|
After the handler talk, my Parents, brother, partner and
I got to walk through the raptor center.
All of the injured and healing raptors are kept separate
and safe. Humans are stressful to wild birds, and injuries
don't heal as fast when you're stressed. And, of course,
they don't want any recovering birds to become
acclimatized to humans, either.
But there are some raptors who have healed, but can't
go back to the wild because they would not survive.
Either they can't see well enough to hunt, or they can't
fly well enough. These guys have a permanent home at
the raptor center.
They live in large outdoor cages. It is so interesting
to walk around, see these beautiful birds so close, and
to read their stories.
We walked to the back part of the center first... and
a White-Tailed Kite was out, practicing her flying with
The handler would stand 10 or 15 feet from the stand,
and ask the bird to fly to the stand. As soon as she did,
the handler hurried over to give her a treat. Then the
handler walked back to the starting point, then asked the
bird to fly back to her for another treat.
There are two White-Tailed Kites at the raptor center.
Anu and Dakini, I'm not sure who is who, but here is her
sister, sitting in their shared cage.
October Family Vacaion
tues 18 nov 2014... Day 3: Taka|
Taka, a Swainson's Hawk, was found by a road in California,
but he hadn't been hit by a car... he had been shot.
They fixed him up as best they could, but when he was
healed he could not return to the wild.
His wing doesn't extend fully, so he would not be able
to survive the 3000 mile migration down to Argentina.
Taka not only adapted well to captivity, he also doesn't
mind being in front of a crowd. So he helps teach at
the raptor center, and sometimes they take him to teach
kids about raptors at special events. His handler
emphasized how incredible Taka is for being able to do
this... there aren't very many wild-born raptors who can!
Taka was found as an adult in 2001, which means he is
at least 14 years old and may be quite a bit older since
they can't tell how old adults are. The oldest Swainson's
Hawk recorded is a 24 year old banded bird in the wild.
Altho Swainson's Hawks are currently a species of "Least
Concern", in the past they have been threatened by
pesticides. They migrate south in the winter, and in
Argentina they are known as Grasshopper Hawks.
When farmers sprayed DDT and monocrotophos, the grasshoppers
and the Grasshopper Hawks died in droves. The US and
Canada worked with Argentina to prevent these deaths.
But DDT and monocrotophos are still being produced and
used in many parts of the world. :(
And it's not just bugs and birds who are killed by
monocrotophos and pesticides... humans are killed as well.
If you've not read Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, I
highly recommend it. It was written in the early
1960's but it
is still relevant since DDT is still being used, and
hundreds of new pesticides are being developed every year.
October Family Vacaion
mon 17 nov 2014... Day 3: Raptor Center!|
I was really excited about this day! I had been introduced
to our local raptor center last year when my day job
participated in United Way's Day of Caring. We had decided
to volunteer at Cascade Raptor Center, and 11 of us
worked there for a couple hours one morning last September.
The raptor center has quite a few permanent residents...
birds who have been hurt and have healed, but can't
return to the wild because they would not survive.
It seemed like the biggest issues were either vision
problems, or wing problems where they couldn't fly well
enough to hunt or make their migration.
The residents were in big cages outside, and guests can
wander through and see everyone, and read their story.
It was just amazing to be so close to these very special
When we were there, last year, we had been invited to see
the "handler's talk"... One bird comes out and his or her
handler talks about raptors and what happens at the center.
Unfortunately, no one else was interested, since we were
on company time, they wanted to get back to work. humph.
And also unfortunately, the handler's talks only happen
at noon during the week. Not on the weekends. So this
was a perfect family activity when my parents and brother
We got to meet Taka, a dark morph Swainson's hawk...
October Family Vacaion
sun 16 nov 2014... sunday evening|
Well, I'm not feeling very articulate today, so I will
leave you with this photo.
My African Violets are blooming! I have some dark
magenta ones in the background, and my favorite, white
with light purple rims. They are both from my Grandma, who
had them on her dryer in the kitchen, catching the morning
The weekend has been too short, as usual. But I suppose
hell will freeze over, if I ever actually get caught up
with all my projects!
sat 15 nov 2014... weekend!|
It's been a peaceful and relaxing saturday... I'm thrilled
that I don't have any homework from the day job this
I got up early. Spent some time working with my GoodReads
group. Surfed the Internet. Made mail. Made art.
Went for a walk. Read my book.
Doesn't that sound nice?
fri 14 nov 2014... Day 2: at the Ocean, end|
We drove up the coast a little further and stopped at
The Devil's Churn. An old sea cave, but the roof caved
in, now it's a narrow channel where waves crash in on
each other all the way to the end!
Photo of the mouth of the Churn, taken from midway down
the trail (you can see the lower part of the switch back
on the left side of the pic).
We walked from the end of the path, down to the end of
the Churn. The Internets say it's about 100feet long, and at
the end you can see the ocean is making a new sea cave.
My brother was quite fascinated by the powerful waves.
After we left the Devil's Churn,
we drove a little bit further, up to Waldport, and decided
to head home. Dad found a tiny, one-lane back-road,
which wasn't even on his GPS... a
more direct route, but we were only going about 25 mph
through all the turns. It only seemed like it took forever!
Back in Eugene, we picked up my partner who had stayed
at home for the day, and went out to eat.
is 100% vegan and everything on their menu is yummy and
wonderful! I only wish we could have eaten more than
one meal there!
A fabulous vegan dinner for all was a wonderful way to
end a spectacular day!
October Family Vacaion
thurs 13 nov 2014... Day 2 at the Ocean cont again|
We drove a little further north and stopped at
Spouting Horn. This is a place on the Oregon coast where
the beach is just rocks. There is a little sea cave
which has a hole in the ceiling... so when the tide comes
in, water explodes up through the hole in a "geyser-like" spray.
I guess the sprays can be so big they hit the highway!
But, here's a little puff that I caught (you can see the
road isn't exactly close!):
My Brother and Dad watching the waves at Thor's Well.
I had warned my family: Never turn your back on the ocean!
A few people die every year, getting swept out with a
The tide was just coming in as we arrived at the coast.
And Bother and Mom were a bit too close
and a big wave came in and splashed them! They both
kept their footing, but got a little wet.
As they walked back in their soaked clothes, strangers
asked, "Did you turn your back on the Ocean?"
Mom answered, "No! We saw the wave coming!"
haha! but seriously... when you see a wave coming, and you
know it's big; Make like a Sea Star and lay down on the
rocks and grip with everything you've got!
And speaking of Sea Stars... the tide pools here were
sadly empty. The Sea Stars have been devastated by a
"largest mortality event for marine diseases we've seen",
I did find one tide pool with a lonely dark red anemone:
(on the left side of the pool.) Most puddles had
some kind of little shrimp-like creature swimming in it.
No Sea Stars to be seen, tho. Very Sad.
October Family Vacaion
wed 12 nov 2014... Day 2 at the Ocean cont|
Next on our drive up the coast was
Heceta Head Lighthouse. (pronounced huh-SEE-ta)
We walked up the trail to the lighthouse and got
a tour, going inside the lighthouse, all the way up to
the lenses at the top!
the stairs on the inside can only take so much weight, so
they only let one small group in at a time. And then they
rush you out so the next group can come up. ha! )
Above pic: looking up at the light in the lighthouse,
seen through a break in the lenses, which were turning.
And the light is obviously on as well... I wonder why they
keep it running during the day? Maybe it's too much
trouble to turn it on and off all the time.
It was interesting to learn that every lighthouse has a
unique pattern of flashes. This timed pattern, along
with the colour of the light, makes the lighthouse
easily identified by lost ships.
Heceta has one white flash every 10 seconds.
(to be continued again!)
October Family Vacaion
tue 11 nov 2014... Day 2: At The Ocean|
This is the continuing series of my October Family
Vacation: my parents and brother, from Colorado,
were visiting me in Oregon.
I think this was my favorite day of my family's visit!
I live about
60miles/100km from the Pacific Coast, but I never drive
out there. It's been several years since I've been to the
ocean, so I was looking forward to it!
And we had the most amazing weather! October is supposed
to be cool and rainy... but we had a warm sunny day, not
even all that windy! It was so lovely!
We went straight west and our first stop was the
Sea Lion Caves. Bit of a disappointment... there were no
sea lions in the cave. haha, it never occured to me
that the sea lions only hang out in the cave seasonally!
We drove to the beach just to the north and had a
fabulous vegan picnic lunch.
The crows and one gull were all interested in the food
I rolled up my jeans and tried to wade. But once a wave
went over my ankles, the coldness of the ocean made me
run away! ha.
(to be continued... I got distracted with some back-end
website stuff this evening!)
October Family Vacaion
mon 10 nov 2014... birds at the garden|
oh, I get so excited when I find a new bird at the
community garden! And this one was super easy to
identify! Nice little yellow spot on his head...
Golden Crowned Sparrow
They only live on the western coast of North America, so
that's kind of cool that I got to see such a "local" bird!
This year, I've taken pics of these birds at the
- scrub jay
- a red winged black bird
- a house finch
- about a million gold finches
- Anna's Hummingbird
- Rufous Hummingbird
- and now the Golden Crowned Sparrow
sun 9 nov 2014... Mail|
My mailing projects have kind of been on hold for the last
At the beginning of October, I took a couple weeks off
so that I could get organized for my parents and brother
to come visit me.
Shortly after their visit, my mailbox lock died. It's
taken 2 weeks to get the lock replaced. I've been unable
to go to the post office to collect the mail that's piling
up, but Significant Other went a couple times.
But without my usual daily mail, I just haven't been
inspired to do anything about my usual mailing projects.
So, I've got a big pile of un-acknowledged mail that I
would normally message "thanks" for.
And my sent mail has taken a serious nose dive. I normally
send over 100 postcards every month. September, I sent 90.
October, I sent 60. This month, I've sent 5.
um. yeah. It's the second weekend of the month, I should
have 40 postcards out the door. And I have 5. nice, huh?
It's not about the numbers. Sending out mail gives me joy.
And when I am not doing something that makes me happy?
What kind of person will I turn into?
I need to change this situation!
I've printed out a bunch of postcards. I need to cut them
up. I'll start writing on them in the coming week.
Meanwhile, I've also written for the Amnesty International's
I wish my workspace were as lovely as this one,
Snail Mail: Letter writing al fresco. But we
must work with what we have:
I live in a tiny townhouse and there is no room for a
proper desk. I do most of my work on a lap desk, either
on the floor or on my bed. It works and it fits my
The photo displays my usual set up for my Urgent Action
letters. I type them and print them on coloured paper,
I usually switch between light green and today's light
I also love to decorate the envelopes! My favorite
way to color envelopes is with Copic Wides... these
markers have a 3/4 inch nib, which is the ultimate fun
in quick colouring! Today's envelopes have a simple
plaid design on the left side
using G21 Lime Green, B24 Sky Blue, and
V22 Ash Lavender.
sat 8 nov 2014... working weekend|
I have tons of stuff that needs to be done this weekend,
not the least of which is some homework that I brought
from the day job.
Worrying about how long the homework was going to take,
I decided to start the day right, with some art. I had
a little doodling project that was stuck in my head.
I got it out of my head and into the mail box. And then
I felt ready to take on my chores for the day.
I had really debated about what I should be doing
every day in november. I actually thought about doing
Novel Writing Month and instead of typing a novel,
I could type up 50,000 words of journal entries.
And then I thought I should do
Every Day Month. I always love love love all the art
that I make.
And then I decided on
Blog Posting Month, mostly because I wanted to type
about the family visit and I was lacking the motivation
to just do it!
But I guess that goes for the other things as well...
I lack the motivation to just journal or to just draw.
Which is kind of a funny thing to say, because I do
journal on a regular basis,
and draw occasionally, and I even type up a
blog post on a blue moon.
I just want to go deeper into all these things!
We did finally get out to the garden today!
We dug up the last of the beets and planted garlic in
its place. We also found one more butternut squash,
hiding under some leaves... The squash vine is still
very much alive in some places and there are a few
butternuts that are green but might still be growing! ha!
We've still got the three sweet potato plants to dig up.
I hope it keeps for a little while, since we've got loads
of butternuts to eat first!
fri 7 nov 2014... Day 1: Oct Fam vacation|
My Dad, Mom and Brother arrived on tuesday night, and
as I talked about in Part 0, I had an early morning
drop-off at the veterinarian for Lucy the guinea pig.
Everyone was awake, and
had coffee and/or breakfast in them by the time the vet
called back, so we started planning the rest of the day.
We all drove out to my day job. I was proud and happy
to show my family the warehouse I work in and introduce
them to the wonderful people I work with.
On the way home, we picked up little Lucy and her eye
medicine. After lunch we had an outing to our community
Our community garden plot is such an important part of my
life, I was so happy and excited to share it totally with
my parents and brother.
Significant Other and I have had our Community Garden Plot
since 2009. I pretend to garden there: make plans, plant
things, weed stuff, and then harvest and eat
zucchinis and cherry
tomatoes. But this was the first year that I felt happy
and comfortable about the Wild Flowers (aka "weeds")
that I didn't kill:
the borage had a large section of our plot and the honey
bees and a few native bees were happy.
The Community Garden is 1 mile from our home, and I usually
walk there on the weekends. About 90% of the photos I
use for my postcards are taken on this walk (or at our
garden). My photography and my postcards are a huge part
of my life, and I wanted to share this with my family!
That wednesday afternoon, we all walked to the garden on
the path I always take. I was desperately hoping to see
some urban wildlife, or something interesting, so that I
could show them how awesome my neighborhood is!
And sure enough! There was a Great Blue Heron waiting for
us in the creek next to the path!
I was not so happy with the sprinkle of rain that came
down on us. Then again, it's autumn in western Oregon,
the rain should be expected!
At the garden,
we ate the Sun Gold cherry tomatoes and marveled at their
sweetness. I pointed out the zucchini and the butternut
squash, the beets and the snow peas and the sweet potatoes
that still need to be dug up.
We walked around the community garden and looked at other
people's garden plots. Sunflowers and zinnias and black
cherry tomatoes and artichokes!
Back at home, we talked and laughed and got out my
dominoes for a few games of Mule Train.
October Family Vacaion
thurs 6 nov 2014... simple pleasures|
Simple Pleasures in Autumn
Driving around in your car with the heat on and the
Sitting next to the window at home,
wrapped in a blanket and
watching the rain. Hopefully with a good book and a
nice mug of something warm and sweet.
Butternut squash. (and Pumpkin, I suppose... but we didn't
grow pumpkins in the garden this year!)
And soon, sweet potatoes.
Leaves crunching under your feet as you walk in a
blue-sky-crisp morning or afternoon.
Soup warming in the slow cooker.
Collecting all the leaves that make you happy.
wed 5 nov 2014... speaking of guinea pigs|
Significant Other was out buying timothy hay for the
piggies the other day. As he was checking out, the lady
asked him what kind of critters he had. He told her
guinea pigs and then she asked if we ever let them out.
My first piggy, Adric, spent most of his life on the floor
of my little studio apartment. He'd only spend a couple
hours a day in his house. It was so wonderful having him
running around all the time. And he went to the bathroom,
in the bathroom, which had real tile and so was easy to
The next guinea pigs were Tegan and Tess. They also got
tons of floor time. But since I had moved into an
apartment with SO, they couldn't have the run of the whole
house! I piggy-proofed my bedroom, blocked the door with
something I could step over and then made them a
big house with a door so they could come and go (and they
went to the bathroom in their house).
After that, I started rescuing guinea pigs, instead of
getting them as younglings. The major problem there...
it was difficult to teach them "Don't Pee on the Carpet!"
Ha. So, floor time became limited.
The current pair, Lucy and Ethel, live in the same
big house that I made way back when. It's around 8 square
feet, I think, and they've got plenty of
room to run around in. We tried bringing them out a few
times last year when we first brought them home from the
humane society... they would run around the coffee table
twice and then huddle underneath the couch. It was not
fun bringing them out. And so, Lucy and Ethel have not
had much floor time.
But we gave it another go this evening. Lucy explored,
while Ethel headed directly for the couch. After a few
minutes, SO tempted them out with cucumber. And they both
came out without much trouble!
We may try that again some time.
tues 4 nov 2014... part 0: October Family Vacation|
My Dad, Mom and Brother visited me in October. They
arrived on tuesday evening and... hmm. Actually. There
needs to be a little bit of back story here!
I live in Eugene Oregon, in a tiny townhouse with my
Significant Other and two guinea pigs. My immediate family
lives in Colorado. Both my parents have visited in the
past, both together and separately, but my brother has
never been to Oregon.
I was super nervous about their visit... I've never given
our town house a serious, deep clean in the 9 years that
we've lived here. And even tho I've been doing cleaning
and tidying chores all year through my Space Clearing
class, I knew our home would not be perfectly clean by
the time they got here.
And then also, I was nervous because I wanted them to
stay in our townhouse, rather than in a hotel. And,
honestly, the tiny townhouse is sometimes not big enough
for just the two of us humans, let alone five humans for
Ha. So anyway, in the weeks and days leading up to the
family's visit, little random things were going wrong.
Little annoyances, but then something big. Significant
Other's van had an accident. SO had minor injuries and
his van was totalled. He had two weeks to mend before
the visit, but he was still carless.
The night before the visit, we were playing with
Lucy and Ethel, the guinea pigs, and giving them treats.
And Lucy is squinting
her eye, painfully. What the heck, Lucy?!
Of course, I couldn't
get an appointment right away, I was to drop her off at
the vet clinic on wednesday morning, family to arrive
Fortunately, we didn't have any set-in-stone plans, and
it all worked out in the end.
Family arrived tues night, and Significant Other served
up a great dinner of homemade Yumm! bowls.
(altho my brother didn't like the Yumm! sauce. foo.)
We all chatted
and laughed, and didn't stay up too late because they
were tired of all their traveling.
Wed morning I got up early and loaded Lucy up in the
carrier. Dad got up and came with us to the vet to drop
her off. Everybody was still in bed when we got back!
In a couple hours, everyone was up and the vet called.
Lucy had a scratch on her eye and needed eye drops, three
times a day for the next 2 weeks. No big deal, I could
pick her up any time.
Lucy above, Ethel below.
October Family Vacaion
mon 3 nov 2014... huh|
I don't have anything to write about.
it's only day 3 and I don't have anything to write about!
I should have made a plan!
Why don't I have a plan?!
sun 2 nov 2014... Begin Again|
Ha... After my first
National Blog Posting Month post -- in which I mostly
just complained about stupid little things -- I feel I
should start over and maybe offer an introduction.
I've been blogging since 1998... but reintroductions
are important every once in a while.
So, Hi! I'm rift vegan.
Yes, I'm vegan!
Vegan is not just a diet, it's a lifestyle that
includes every decision that you make every day.
I love being vegan and it's the best part of me!
∞ I am a reader!
The only reason I have a day job is to pay the rent
and to buy books. I enjoy lots of non-fiction, science
fiction and randomness.
∞ I am a photographer!
I carry my camera everywhere. But please don't ask
me about the settings, I'm all about point and shoot.
∞ I love sending postcards!
I print up my photos and mail them as postcards. This is
how I share my love of nature. I'm an active member on
several mailing web sites and I usually send around 100
postcards every month!
∞ I pretend to garden!
My partner and I have a plot in a community garden. Many
of my photos are taken at the garden or on the one mile
walk to or from the garden. As for actual gardening...
well, I do plant a few things, and I might weed a little.
And somehow I end up with some zucchinis and cherry tomatoes!
sat 1 nov 2014... halloween complainings|
I was terribly disappointed yesterday evening because we
only got one little family of trick-or-treaters for
I am also not happy with my day job... I have tons of
homework that I need to work on this weekend. ick!
And I haven't been able to get out to the garden in weeks.
Do we have any butternut squashes left or are they all
rotting? We need to dig up the sweet potatoes! And we
needed to plant the garlic weeks ago! arg.
And the most devastating of all... we have a problem with
our lock on our mailbox, and I've not gotten any mail
since last saturday! ARG! I haven't had time to pick
the mail up at the post office this week, so it's just
piling up. It might get fixed next week, but I'm not
very optimistic about it anymore.
Then I went for a walk and now I feel much better!
So, here are some of the things that I'm going to type
about this month...
My family visited me in October. I've got six days worth
of area hikes and waterfalls and the Pacific coast and
the local raptor center!!
A couple of vegan adventures.
And other randomness, of course.
thurs 30 oct 2014... tap, tap. Is this thing still on?|
Just making sure I remember how to do this blog
thing! ha. I think I've been averaging about 2 posts
a month here this year. I've been busy, but that should
be an excuse to post more often, to tell you what all I'm
I'm going to blog daily in November.
Yeah. We'll see how that goes...
I am rift vegan!|
(Also known as cheri.)
I live in the Pacific Northwest of the USA,
with my Significant Other (SO), and guinea pigs
Lucy and Ethel.
I am vegan for ethical and environmental reasons,
my love for animals and nature is
a very important part of my life.
This blog is occasionally about...
∞ Vegan Life
∞ Handmade Postcards
∞ Books, Reading & eBooks
∞ the Paper Journal
∞ Drawing & Art Projects
∞ Randomness :)