Blogging the Infinite Static

Currently... Tue, 18 Jan 2022 5:45pm

I sent out a postcard with a Northern Flicker! If you are looking for that set of photos, they are here...

8 October, Flicker

Otherwise, there are a bunch of new posts, going up from the New Year, 1 Jan. :)

As usual, never mind the few incomplete posts.

Tuesday 11 January 2022... Hooded Mergansers

There's a handful of Hooded Mergansers who stay at the creek during the winter every year. I always have trouble getting their pics, tho.

They are shy. And as soon as they see me, they power paddle to get behind the shrubbery!

So most of my photos are pretty blurry. But these two females were pretty calm and I was able to get slightly better than usual pics.

Female Hooded Merganser

Two Female Hooded Mergansers


Monday 10 January 2022... pics

A Golden Crowned Sparrow.

Golden Crowned Sparrow

Oh, hey! I really love the colours in this pic of Lenten Roses. Also, can you believe the Lenten Roses are blooming already!

Lenten Roses

There was an article in the local newspaper today about the tree canopy cover in Eugene. (Sorry, I can't link it. The newspaper website has a paywall.)

It's kinda shocking and annoying to learn that Eugene only has 22% tree canopy in the city, when the national average is 27%. What the heck??

If there's one thing that western Oregon has, it's trees! So why don't we have trees in the city? WHY?

It's nice to know that the city is aiming towards 30% tree canopy.

But it's a little bit late in the Climate Change game... happy baby trees should have been planted years ago! Now, baby trees have to fight for life thru drought and heat domes.



Sunday 9 January 2022... New Graffiti Artist

A foggy and chilly morning, still just 34° when I left for my walk at 10:30am.

foggy, with trees in the distance

dew on a spider web, creek in the background

Introducing new graffiti artist E.t., with an elephant with butterfly ears!

Graffiti by ET, elephant with butterfly ears

And on the other side of the bridge, a dragon.

Graffiti by ET, blue, fire-breating dragon

I think E.t. needs a bit of practice -- and to slow down and look -- and it won't be long before they are making really good art. For instance, just some simple changes to the heavy black outline around that elephant, would make it look a lot better.

Just... here. Just give me the can of black, and I'll fix it!

*laughs* just kidding!

Suspish mostly just leaves her cute modified angler fish. But sometimes she does her name all fancy.

Graffiti, Suspish name and fish

And then even fancier.

Graffiti, Suspish name with mountains

*laughs* Isn't it lovely!

(well, except the upside-down moon. But that always drives me crazy, so never mind! :)


Saturday 8 January 2022... not much

I went out walking today, but didn't take many photos. eh, sometimes it happens that way.

But here's a Pansy at the Community Garden.


I never remember what the difference is between Pansies and Violets...

Differences Between Pansies & Violets Pansies have four petals that point upward and one that points downward; violets have three petals that point upward and two that point downward.


Friday 7 January 2022... pics

Just some pretty colours...

Some kind of oak leaves, some kind of red berries in the background

Not Canada Geese...

Cackling Geese

Those are Cackling Geese. They are a bit north of their usual winter stop. Our Cackling Geese are the smallest and darkest of the subspecies, minima.

And a sweet crow, giving me a look...

American Crow



Thursday 6 January 2022... Insurrection

The Squirrels are watching us...

Eastern Fox Squirrel

And they are very disappointed in what they see.

Our democracy is coming apart at the seams...

How the U.S. became a 'backsliding democracy,' according to a European think tank

In First, US Labeled 'Backsliding' Democracy as Global Authoritarianism Grows

It's not just the Insurrection at the Capitol last year, or Trump's stupid Big Lie when that was the safest election ever.

It's not just that Trump packed the Supreme Court and the lower courts with hateful judges who are taking our rights away and making illogical decisions.

It's not just that Congress can't get anything done... and could only half impeach a rotten president. Twice!

It's not just the voter restrictions and the gerrymandering.

It's not just the racism, and the rampant white supremacy.

It's all of this and more.

And I'll be fighting it.

And the Squirrels are with me!

It's so nice to see the clouds break up after so much rain...


clouds breaking up with some blue sky


Wednesday 5 January 2022... Covid and squirrel

blah, blah, blah.

Well, that's kind of a disdainful look...

Eastern Fox Squirrel

Oh, wait! What's wrong with your face, Little One??

It's more clear in this pic:

Eastern Fox Squirrel missing fur on his nose and face

Do squirrels get mange? ugh! Poor baby!


Tuesday 4 January 2022... Bird Watcher's Digest

oh no.

Bird Watcher's Digest is closing its doors effective immediately.

This is so depressing, I cry.

This was such a great little magazine, I really loved it. I can't believe it's suddenly gone.

Julie Zickefoose's eulogy for the mag...

To Bird Watcher's Digest: 1978-2021, the Best Little Bird Magazine Ever

I first discovered Julie Zickefoose through her book, The Bluebird Effect: Uncommon Bonds with Common Birds. I read that at the end of 2016...

My Book Review of The Bluebird Effect on GR

It's a beautiful book and I was thrilled to find out she wrote regularly for Bird Watcher's Digest, and their subsidiary publication Watching Backyard Birds. I subscribed to both, and found Julie Zick's blog as well.

My subscriptions have lapsed in the past year or so. I wasn't too worried about it... once I got some money together, I'd just buy up the editions I missed or get them online.

Sighs. So crying sad.

African Violet blooming

The African Violet is blooming!

At the top of the pic is the back of a Polka Dot Begonia leaf. and in the background, which you can't see very well, is a Chinese Evergreen.

I love my house plants! It gives me comfort to sit with them.

Our Little Free Pantry has seen better days!

Little Free Pantry, full of food, missing a roof.

That white thing on the ground is the roof of the Pantry! We had a wind advisory on Sunday night, maybe the wind ripped it off.

Well. At least it's still full of food! But still with the 100% rain... I hope it doesn't leak too much without it's roof!


Monday 3 January 2022... And Then it Rained

And rained and rained.

The bike path under all the bridges is flooded.

flooded bike path

That hand railing is about 5 foot tall...

close up of flooded bike path

La Nina has brought the extra rain this winter. We are smack dab in the middle of that green "wetter" area...

Map of North America with La Nina wintertime jet stream indicated in blue


Sunday 2 January 2022... Some Sunshine

Eastern Fox Squirrel

a bit of blue sky over the bike path

The Red Shoulder Hawk from yesterday seems to like sitting in this area. This tree is a bit farther from the path, so our new friend is blurry. I think it works as a decent landscape pic tho with those beautiful layers of Douglas Firs in the background!

Red Shoulder Hawk

The trees are coming alive already...

Unknown tree catkins

And that darned Kingfisher continues to mess with me. One or the other of the pair fly up and down the creek every winter, I suppose they are checking out nesting sites. But as soon as they see me, they play a game of cat and mouse by hiding or flying a circle around me or generally being jerks about letting me take their portrait.


But this time I got proof of her existence!

a very blurry Belted Kingfisher

They usually settle down behind a thick layer of bushes and shrubbery, so all I can see is their bright white neck band. This time she was just too far away, and flew off before I could get the camera better situated.

Her partner was still laughing at me, in the distance!


Sat 1 Jan 2021... Review and Revise

Happy New Year!

Well. Another year of world-wide Covid. And Another year of being a jobless bum!

Lots of photos taken, lots of postcards sent. A crappy gardening year. An awesome road trip to Utah. But I seem to have lost some of my other hobbies.

Walking in 2021
At the end of 2020, I had dusted off my bicycle and was going out to several parks in west Eugene. One day in January, I got caught in a rain shower, and when I stopped under a bridge, I slid in the mud and fell and broke my hand.

That put a damper on a lot of things at the beginning of the year.

But other than that, I walked most every day, rain or shine or whatever!

I walk mostly for the photo opportunities. But I'm happy to get good exercise as well!

Photography in 2021
There was a lot of photography in 2021. I'm unable to get a count right now, like I usually do. But once I move into my new computer I'll get on that.

So, for future reference...

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 2021... xxx pics, avg xxx/month

Mailing and Postcards in 2021
in 2018... averaged 104 bits of mail every month
in 2019... averaged 76 bits of mail every month
in 2020... averaged 126 bits of mail every month.
in 2021... 1390 total, averaging 116 mailings every month

I did not exchange much mail for LetterMo last February, I'm just so disappointed with that useless website. I wish they would do something about it!

I was not able to keep up with the monthly postcard exchange that I host on Goodreads. I didn't send out postcards in August and October. Just a little burned out.

I sent 36 postcards at PostCrossing in 2021, bringing my total there to 449. I hosted 51 swaps at Swap-Bot and participated in a total of 101 swaps!

I only sent 10 Urgent Action cases in 2021 for Amnesty International. But I did send protest letters to all ten of the Write For Rights cases, Plus one card of encouragement.

I also sent happy postcards of encouragement to independent Abortion Providers. There are just over 100 clinics in the United States (not including Planned Parenthood), and this is the 2nd year I've done this!

I've really fallen in love with the Epson SuperTank printer that I bought in 2019. I only have to buy inks a couple times a year! When I was buying cartridges, I'd be buying a pack of colours every month. It is SO much nicer to not have to think about ink all the time!! And SO much nicer to not have all that plastic trash!!

Community Garden 2021
Worst year yet... had trouble growing zucs, toms, and well, pretty much everything. I didn't eat any Spaghetti Squash even tho I planted 8 plants. The Cauliflowers were small but at least I got to eat a couple. Beets are small, as well.

I suck as a gardener, obviously. But hope springs eternal and we'll be keeping the garden plot for another year.

Writing and Drawing
There's lots of blog posts here. I'm not going to count them because I'm actually still adding photos to random posts!

The daily drawing practice ended in August, unfortunately. I'd like to get back to it!

Great Blue Heron

The New Year... 2022
Some stuff needs to happen this year. Unfortunately, if I start listing it -- I need a new job, gotta get a car, be nice to lose some weight, set up the new desktop computer, etc, etc -- I get overwhelmed, want to slam the door shut, lock it, crawl under the covers, and sleep for 26 hours straight!


So. Let's focus on some stuff that I actually Want to make happen...

Get back to daily posts here at S8.
      Also, catch up with old posts, and do some archiving!

Get back to writing book reviews at GR.

Ugh: Space Clearing, decluttering, cleaning.

Let's move forward!

Red Shoulder Hawk standing on a branch with blue sky


Friday 17 December 2021... Happy Friday

pic of me in the car with bandaid on my arm!

Oh yeah! Covid Booster Vax!

The drive-thru mass vax clinic had opened at 10 and I had a 10:15 appointment... and since there were just a couple cars, way up at the front, I needed help maneuvering thru all the cones! haha, fortunately there were a couple volunteers to tell me where to go!

I got to the first station where they hand you paperwork (and uh, remind you to put on your stupid mask! oops!) and then a guy directed me to the tents and I got to go to the head of the line! (Again! I got to do that for my 2nd shot as well!!)

I filled out the paperwork and got my covid card updated. And then chatted with the doctor for a minute. He asked how the first two shots had gone for me. I said the first one, I only had a sore arm and the second one I felt a bit achy the next day for a couple hours.

He replied, "To help with that this time, you gotta hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. And then you gotta drink..." he paused here, and I smiled up at him wondering if he was going to say something funny. heh, yep. "And then you gotta drink some water!"


As I waited out in the parking lot to make sure I didn't have a bad reaction, I saw the coned lanes that I had sped thru alone, start to fill up. They only had 3 tents, vax'ing two cars at a time in each. The line seemed to be moving pretty quickly tho.

I was back home, and the whole trip was only half an hour!

And then I decided to go for a walk. And then I was like, what if I have


Wednesday 15 December 2021... covid numbers

Well. The United states hit 800,000 dead sometime yesterday afternoon, according to the Johns Hopkins website. (The 1pt3acrs site hit 800,000 on Monday 6 December, and is now at 810,665 people dead from covid.) :(

And the local newspaper reports that omicron is in Oregon. They found a couple cases up in Portland. So it's not in Eugene yet... but omicron is so contagious I think it will be here in just a few minutes.

I've got my booster set up for Friday morning... I am mixing and matching my shots. I can't wait!

Okay, so on to the numbers...


Monday 13 December 2021... Abortion Care

I have been freaking out about Abortion Care in Texas and all over the US since September 1, when SB8 banned almost all abortions in Texas.

The courts tried to fix things, but were bashed down by the 5th Circuit.

The Justice Department was no help at all.

The Supreme Court has turned evil, and so they made things worse.

Postcard sent to President Biden

Translation: Dear President Biden. The current Supreme Court terrifies me! Since when does the court take away rights? Since Sept 1st women in Texas have not been able to access full health care. It's just a matter of time before more states take away reproductive rights. Please! Do Something!

But, here, FINALLY, is someone who is going to do something! Yay California!

California Future of Abortion Council Report
(this is a direct link to a PDF.)

I LIKE the recommendations of this council! In fact, I like them so much, I think my state of Oregon should join California in this!

Postcard to Oregon Gov Brown about Abortion Care

Translation: Dear Governor Brown, I am terrified at what Texas has done with SB8, and I'm terrified that the Supreme Court has let it stand. I think California has the right idea with it's Proclamation on Reproductive Freedom and aiming to be a sanctuary for abortion access. I think Oregon should follow in Calif's footsteps! We need to fund and strengthen Abortion Services here in Oregon -- Including for people out of state!!


Sunday 10 October 2021... Happy Pics

I think my new thing is going to be taking photos of the interesting skies...

clouds in the sky

I live in western Oregon... so the sky is either gray, possibly raining, because it's winter. Or it's blue, sun beaming down and way too hot, because it's summer. :)

So, yeah. Anything in between these two extremes is cause for note!


Botanical: I just love the contrasts on this beautiful Red Osier Dogwood ... the white blooms, the autumn purple leaves and the still green leaves in the background.

white Blooms on a Red Osier Dogwood, red and green leaves

And some cuteness... an Eastern Fox Squirrel. (yes, invasive but cute!)

And some more cuteness... a Bewick Wren, way up in the tree.


Saturday 9 October 2021... Pics at the River

A male Gadwell... and a crawdad? huh.

Male Gadwell and a Crawdad

Is the crawdad alive? I think so. But why is he right at the surface? And why is he hanging out with a duck? So many questions!

Today I moved a bunch of Woolly Bears off the bike path! I quickly realized if I Gently scared them, they would curl up into a ball and then it was super easy to scoop them up.

Scared Woolly Bear in a ball in the grass

And I finally got a pic of someones face! So Shiny!

Shiny face of a Woolly Bear caterpillar

And Dang, look at that sky!

bands of cirrus clouds in a blue sky over the Willamette River

I saved the best for last... A Great Egret!

Great Egret

These birds are shy and are usually too far away for the camera. And then there's the whole light thing with the camera and the whole exposure thing with the camera and usually the Egrets just end up as an elegant white blob in my photos! haha!

So this is the first time I've gotten a decent portrait of a Great Egret, and I'm super excited!!


Friday 8 Oct 2021... part 1... Flicker

Oh! I love it when I have a series of photos with the same bird!

Northern Flicker eating a white berry

Northern Flicker flying to eat a berry

Northern Flicker perching


Friday 8 Oct 2021... part 2... and Flowers

Yellow Nasturtium close up

Goldfinch on spent sunflower blossoms

Little Sunflowers

So pretty. And so obsessed over the Sunchokes! :)

Sunchoke or Jerusalem Artichoke blossoms


Friday 8 October 2021... Part 3

So! Many! Photos! to share in a single day!


Just lucky, I guess! :)

Eastern Fox Squirrel sitting on a pine tree branch

blurry Eastern Fox Squirrel running away

Leaves and fruit, unknown


Thursday 7 October 2021... Birds and Oak and Ash

A glance up at me, as we walk by each other...

Great Blue Heron in the water

Brown acorn surrounded by green oak leaves

I don't know why, but I like looking at the turning Ash Tree leaves.

yellow and green Ash Tree leaves

And I really, really don't know why I keep trying to bother trying to take portraits of the Cedar Waxwings!

blurry Cedar Waxwing


Wednesday 6 October 2021... covid numbers

Yes! Less than a million new cases of covid in the US, and still coming down! 719,974 new cases, averaging 102,854 new cases every day.

The US is at 705,383 dead, and averaged 1,803 people dying every day of covid, this past week.

In my town there are 620 active covid cases, a significant drop from where we've been swirling around 750! Still 57 hospitalized and 13 people died in the past week.

Raindrops and dew catching the sunlight...

Trees along the bike path

A female Northern Flicker...

female Northern Flicker standing on the side walk


Tuesday 5 October 2021... part 2: birds and fun stuff

Hardly any spots on this Spotted Towhee!

Spotted Towhee


Blurry Scrub Jay, just took off from perch

Scrub Jay looking at the camera!

A pair of Mallard ducks in the water

Green leaves on the tree with some autumn colours

Hey cool! Three fire trucks behind the Events Center. Testing and re-rolling their hoses.

Long fire truck

And having fun with the ladder...

Fire truck ladder up and spraying water!


Tuesday 5 October 2021... Blazey the bike path ambassador

Finally, finally got a good pic of my friend Blazey...

Blazey, black and white tux cat

When cats squint their eyes, that's their version of a smile or happy greeting. Go ahead and try it! Squint your eyes at the next cat you see... they will probably smile right back at you!

Blazey is so happy to see friendly humans, most of the time he squints his eyes so hard, they are completely shut! *laughs* I have so many pics of him with his eyes closed!


Monday 4 October 2021... graffiti

Awesome Raccoon Art...

Graffiti under a bridge, tags and raccoons!

Suspish is my favorite local graffiti artist, she regularly tags under this bridge that's on the bike path on the way to the Community Garden.

Suspish graffiti tag

The Raccoon art showed up yesterday, so it was rather ironic that when the Eugene Parks Newsletter showed up in my inbox today, the lead story was about removing graffiti. And not only that, but the top photo is of Parks Employee Amanda, painting over graffiti at the other side of that exact bridge! ha!

Eugene Newsletter: Wiping Out Graffiti in Parks

I have walked by Amanda painting over graffiti many times. and I always want to ask her why she bothers! *laughs* She provides a blank slate for more graffiti.

Granted, there's a few "1312" and the odd f word sprayed, but none of this is approaching art and ... maybe those "should" be painted out? I don't know.

But the beautiful art? Why roll over that? I don't understand why you would paint over a butterfly. But she did.

(um, foo... I can't find my photo of the butterfly. bummer!)

But I did learn of a very cool thing that Amanda did... the stencil mural at the Ruth Bascom Riverbank path, under the Owosso Walking Bridge! It's beautiful...

Eugene Parks, stencil design... Eagles, leaves and herons

Eugene Parks, stencil design... dragonflies


Sunday 3 October 2021... Nice walk to the Garden

Great Blue Heron

Trees in the fog

Green zucchini on the plant

Leaves of a small Columbine plant


Saturday 2 October 2021... garden

Happy Favas...

Baby fava plants

Sunflowers are starting to wind down.

Small sunflower bloom with brown dying blooms behind it

Oh wow, so bright and lovely...

Pink flowers

And a Song Sparrow in the beans.

Song sparrow sitting at the top of a bean trellis


Friday 1 October 2021... Squirrel Assessment

Eastern Fox Squirrel running along a fence with an acorn!

Okay... It's actually the end of October as I type this, and I just uploaded all of my September blog posts. And I haven't actually made ANY October blog posts because I was focusing on September.

But now I need to think about filling in the October posts while also working on the "current" posts in November... because wouldn't it be nice to get caught up some day?!

:) (haha. yeah, funny!)

Well anyway. Going back to October First:

We've gotten two decent rain showers in the past two weeks ... and all of a sudden I noticed how Green it is out there! (The dark green of my White Oak leaning tree on the right.)

green lawn with trees in the background

Some leaves are changing...

Yellow fall leaves

Sun Choke blossoms. (aka Jerusalem Artichoke.)

Sun Choke blossoms

Yeah... I def need to plant some of those next year!


I've archived the September posts. You can see them all right here:

September 2021

Monday 30 August 2021... A Car

We rented a car from Enterprise for our Utah roadtrip. I was expecting a four-door sedan with a big trunk, but the rental car they gave me was a small SUV, a Kia Soul.

Kia Soul, the rental car, at Bear Lake

The extra space behind the back seats, was just barely big enough for our luggage and fun stuff. The cooler and Dawn the Guinea Pig's travel box took up the entire back seats. (Granted, the travel box was pretty spacious!)

That all worked out, but the seats weren't very comfortable. The drivers seat didn't have lumbar support, it may have been broken. It wasn't terrible, but it kept my back kinked up a little, as I drove.

There were five of us in Utah, including three men, and I felt bad for my Mom... being the smallest, she had to sit in the middle of the back seat. The seat belt latches on either side couldn't be moved and they were too close together. So you had to scoot your butt way forward to avoid sitting on them, and that was uncomfortable and probably unsafe.

Other than that, the car was fine, and it got us to where we were going, including up and down steep and curvy hills. But not a car I would buy.

I returned the car on Saturday... And I was immediately bereft.

It's been a couple years since I've owned a car. and I miss it!


Sunday 29 August 2021... New Goals!

Okay! Starting to come alive!

I think a holiday is a good disruption of established routines. My regular schedule was great, but as I mentioned during my Porch Room Project, there is no set time for tidying or cleaning. Which really should be happening! And, there was no set time for blogging. Which I really want to be happening!

I had gotten a couple books over the summer, which I started reading but didn't finish.

Unf*ck Your Habitat: You're Better Than Your Mess by Rachel Hoffman

Decluttering at the Speed of Life: Winning Your Never-Ending Battle with Stuff by Dana K. White

Both books resonated with me and the first one actually got me to clean a surface. Yeah, it was a single surface, but still! :)

oh, I should mention that Marie Kondo is just not my thing... it's just too much. I have done Stephanie Bennett Vogt's Space Clearing in the past, including one of her year-long classes. And I'm more of a "slow drip" and "pick up one thing... even if it's just a paper clip" type person!! I will def be applying that philosophy in my new efforts!

So anyway. My goals are to do at least 20mins of chores every day. And One and a Half blog posts every day, and maybe do some back-end work with the Utah trip.


Saturday 28 August 2021... Day of Exhaustion

Yeah, ugh. Yesterday's drive home from Utah just wiped me out. I slept hard last night, but I just can't get my brain to turn on today. And my patience is completely used up.

I did manage to get the rental car returned with partner's help. And then I crashed back into my bed!

The house plants survived a week on their own. I usually water the Peace Lily more than once a week, and so I had it on a dripper... And it was so happy with the constant water it made a flower while we were gone!

Polka Dot Begonia, planted with Golden Pothos

African Violet baby plant

The recently potted Polka Dot Begonia had started making leaves a couple weeks ago, and that's looking really good now!

And one of the African Violet leaves that I'm trying to clone, started growing!! This makes me happy!


Thursday 12 August 2021... The latest heat wave

My new favorite pastimes are standing in front of the fan and drinking ice water.

Today's high temperature is 102° (39°C) but because it didn't cool down last night, the apartment is miserable... 90° upstairs, and poor Dawn the guinea pig has to deal with 82° in the downstairs.

And, yeah. I think this is the third heat wave... but really. when you only have one day of relief in between heat waves? Maybe it's just all one heat wave. And I hate it.

Just get an air conditioner (and quit complaining!) you say? But I say, this is just going to make climate change worse!! I refuse! I opt out!


Wed 11 August 2021... covid numbers

Yeah, so I was wondering if my state or city was going to DO anything about these numbers... or just let the medical people and unvaccinated suffer. Hello? how bad does it need to get before we take action?

There's action today, according to the newspaper... We are going back to masking mandates on Friday.


Wed 4 August 2021... covid numbers

Well. delta variant is really making a mess of things. Cases are up, hospitalizations are up, deaths are up. And break thru infections for people who've been vaccinated.
Thanks for all that, anti-vax Republicans.

I read today that if you have the alpha variant, you will probably infect two other unvaccinated people. But if you have the delta variant, you will infect 5 other people.

There were 606,806 new covid cases in the US this week, a huge jump from the 255,000 last week, which was a jump from the 134,000 the week before, and the 85,000 and the 68,000 at the end of June.

sighs. 86,687 new cases on average every day. (ha, an every day total that's so similar to the Entire WEEK total, just a few weeks ago!) 365 people died every day on avg.

In my town, active cases have shot up to 572 and 30 people hospitalized. Before vaccinations started in earnest, the worse we had was 526 active cases on 17 Dec 2020, and on that day we had 47 people hospitalized.

The local hospitals are restricting visitors, again.

And I'm taking a good look at the local numbers for active covid cases. Throughout this mess, we've had awesome, daily reports for cases, hospitalizations, ongoing active cases and deaths!

But mid-May, they started not reporting the sunday numbers. And then the entire Memorial Day weekend. hey. fair enough! But the next weekend, they also took three days off. And the next. After that it was random days of not reporting during the week, and still not reporting the three days of the weekends.

This is shoddy. and shitty. I really want better.

NYC Becomes Largest US City To Require Proof Of Vaccination For Indoor Activities
*thumbs up!*


Sunday 1 August 2021... Raccoon, dinner and dessert

I saw a single Raccoon at the creek today... s/he was eating a crawdad. Which kind of amazed me, I didn't realize crawdads lived in our little creek!

When I glanced at one of the photos, pretty blurry, I was all, "oh, funny Raccoon! You've got a bit of grass on your face!"

But when I saw better photos, I realized that was not grass... that was a Dragonfly Nymph!!!

raccon crunching on a crawdad in the creek

raccoon with a half eaten crawdad

Poor, poor baby dragonfly is fixin' to be a light dessert after the meal of that poor, poor crawdad. :|


Sat 31 July 2021... Happy Herons

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


Friday 30 July 2021... Bug Excitement!

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!! :)


Thurs 29 July 2021... xxx


Wed 28 July 2021... covid numbers

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!!


Wed 21 July 2021... covid numbers

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).


Friday 16 July 2021... ARG! + cuteness!

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.


Wed 14 July 2021... covid numbers

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.


Wed 7 July 2021... covid numbers

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.


Wed 30 June 2021... Covid and Porch Project 3

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.


Tues 29 June 2021... Porch Room Project Cont

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!


Mon 28 June 2021... Porch Room Project

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!!


Mon 24 May 2021... random

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?!


Sun 23 May 2021... Western Bluebirds

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 butterfies are fluttering all over the place, I saw the first one back at the beginning of March!


Sat 22 May 2021... Countries and Creatures

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


Fri 21 May 2021... Happy Garden Time

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 spicey 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!


Thurs 20 May 2021... River Walk

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


Wed 19 May 2021... covid numbers

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


Tues 18 May 2021... pic

Starling fledgling and adult standing on twigs

Starling fledgling and parent.


Mon 17 May 2021... just a pretty

Benjamin Button bloom with California Poppies in the background

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


Sunday 16 May 2021... Vax Reaction

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!! :)


Sat 15 May 2021... Vax Time!!

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


Wed 12 May 2021... covid numbers

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!


Wed 5 May 2021... Covid numbers

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%.


Wed 28 April 2021... covid complaintings

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%!


Sat 24 April 2021... Awesome Awesome Day

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!


Wed 21 April 2021... covid numbers

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 catagory, back up to High Risk on friday. Indoor dining and recreation is going from 75% back down to 25% capacity. Blah, blah, blah.


Wed 14 April 2021... Covid Numbers

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%


Mon 12 April 2021... Community Garden Score!

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

Vege 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!


Wed 7 April 2021... covid complainings

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.


Sun 4 April 2021... Wow, a nest!

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*


Sat 3 April 2021... Planting at the Garden

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


Fri 2 April 2021... umm... a chicken!

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


Thurs 1 April 2021... New Park to Walk

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!)


Wed 31 March 2021... covid numbers

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.


Wed 24 March 2021... covid numbers

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.


Tues 23 March 2021... Bird Bounce

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



Sun 21 March 2021... Just Ducky!

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!


Sat 20 March 2021... Mixed Up Manky Mallards

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

A different breed? or something else entirely? 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!


Fri 19 March 2021... Birds

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!


Thurs 18 March 2021... First Garden Treats!

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



Wed 17 March 2021... covid numbers

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.


Tues 16 March 2021... lovely colours

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



Mon 15 March 2021... I obsess


cherry blossoms

And Today....

cherry blossoms

The ephemeral Cherry Blossoms.


Sun 14 Mar 2021... More pics from the River

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 (link doesn't work!) 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!


Sat 13 March 2021... Invasive Turtles

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.


Fri 12 March 2021... birds

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


Thurs 11 March 2021... Botanicals!

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


Wed 10 March 2021... Covid

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


Tues 9 March 2021... bath time

*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! :)


Mon 8 March 2021... pic

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.


Sun 7 March 2021... Stupid People

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!"


Sat 6 March 2021... Nuthatch

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.


Fri 5 March 2021... Cherry Blossoms

pink Cherry Blossoms

Yay Spring!


Thurs 4 March 2021... Hawk, Again

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.


Wed 3 March 2021... Covid

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??!


Tues 2 March 2021... Spring

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!


Mon 1 March 2021... Migrating Birds

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!



Sun 28 Feb 2021... Botanical

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.


Sat 27 Feb 2021... River Meeting

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! :)

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 Towhee friend.


Friday 26 February 2021... Floating along in my Rut

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!


Wed 24 Feb 2021... covid

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.


Wed 17 Feb 2021... covid

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.


Wed 10 Feb 2021... covid

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.


Sun 7 Feb 2021... Wow! Eagles!

(place holder for a cool post)


Sat 6 Feb 2021... Too Quick

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?



Fri 5 Feb 2021... Day of Squirrels

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


Thurs 4 Feb 2021... Red in Tooth and Claw

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.


Wed 3 Feb 2021... rant

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.


Tues 2 Feb 2021... unconsolable

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.



Sat 30 Jan 2021... Bluebird

Western Bluebird

Western Bluebirds in January?

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


Fri 29 Jan 2021... sky

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!


Thurs 28 Jan 2021... Feb LetterMo?

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.


Wed 27 Jan 2021... Covid

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.


Tues 26 Jan 2021... just a pic

a pair of Canada Geese

All dignified, looking off into the distance.

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


Mon 25 Jan 2021... Thank You Notes

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!


Sun 24 Jan 2021... Rosalie Edge

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!!


Sat 23 Jan 2021... January Blooms

Pink and Purple Lenten Roses blooming


Fri 22 Jan 2021... My Other Neighbor

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

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


Thurs 21 Jan 2021... My Neighbor

Easter Fox Squirrel

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


Wed 20 Jan 2021... Covid Rant

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 MisÚrables parody I am such a sucker for anything Les Mis.... but this is really, actually beautiful! :)


Fri 1 Jan 2021... Review and Revise

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!


Thurs 31 Dec 2020... End of the Year!

Today's forecast said it was going to be warm enough for a bike ride, and just a tiny chance of rain. So I was thinking a ride out to Tsan to see the birds there would be a wonderful close to the year.

haha! It started misting right before I got out the door! And it continued misting or sprinkling for most of my ride. Not exactly fun, not being able to see because the eye glasses are beaded up with wet.

*laughs* oh well. I tried to get good exercise, but it's been a while since I've been out on the bike. hard going! and I finally decided to bump it down a gear to make it a little easier. I know: such a wimp! :)

But I did stop at the Tsanchiifin Walk... oh weird, someone had dumped a little pile of bird food at the viewing area path. Golden Crowned Sparrows and a pair of Towhees were chowing down!

Golden Crowned Sparrow


Wed 30 Dec 2020... covid rant

The US racked up 1.2 million cases of covid in the last week, averaging 183,449 new cases every day. (Not as much testing during the holidays means cases are under-reported.) 2,215 people died every day.

Florida hit 6,000 people currently hospitalized today, and still climbing. 95 people die in Florida every day.

Texas has 11,775 people hospitalize and 165 people die there every day.

Of course California takes the cake with 21,240 current hospitalizations. 229 people die every day. They don't have enough nurses, and are beginning to ration care.

And still nothing from the federal government... that impeached monster is moping on the golf course. (haha, remember the stupid old days when monster was annoyed that Obama golfed ... Trump Golf Count. jerk.)

But in better news, the active case count might finally be coming down in my town!! This wave of covid hit 200 active cases after the 2nd week of Nov, peaked on 25 Nov with 473 and peaked again on 17 Dec with 526. We're now down to 250 active cases... but I'll assume it's a temporary lull before it gets really bad from Christmas travel and parties. sighs.

Toxic Individualism: Pandemic Politics Driving Health Care Workers From Small Towns
Yeah, good job people. Let's harass and threaten our health care workers and then be surprised when they quit and you've got no one to take care of the entire community. GAH!

Which reminds me... our local newspaper had an article about pandemic fatigue and our amazing health care workers... And it included addresses to our local hospitals where your can send happy cards of support and encouragement! How cool is that?! Beginning the postcard proliferation! :D

Two female Hooded Mergansers


Mon 28 Dec 2020... Just a pic

Golden Crowned Sparrow


Thurs 24 Dec 2020... Merry Christmas Eve!

An American Robin, perched amongst some berries

Been a while since I've had a wildlife photo to show... I tried another walk today, even tho I've still got a tendonitis ache in my heel. I'm still pretty slow, I can't take a full stride yet.


Wed 23 Dec 2020... covid rant

The USA added over 1.6 million cases of covid this week, with an average of 239,711 new cases every day.
2,905 people died every day.

And still the federal government does nothing... because that impeached monster is still -- Still! -- trying to overturn the election that he lost. Seditious is a good word, and hopefully someone will follow up with that.

Texas hit 10,000 hospitalizations yesterday. 209 people are dying there every day.

New York hald the record for most hospitalizations... 18,825 on 13 April. Bad times. but now California has broken that record, beginning yesterday, and continuing to add 100s more people to the hospital every day.

Active cases in my town hit a new high of 526 on 17 Dec. It's come down since then, but still hovering in the 400s.

Oh, and this...

Travel From U.K. Shut Down As Nations Assess Threat Of New Coronavirus Strain
U.K. officials warn the new variant of the virus could be as high as 70% more contagious than the various strains already circulating. However, there's no evidence so far suggesting the new variant is more deadly.

Um. Yeah. There's this thing called Math. Here's how it works. 70% more people getting covid, means more people are going to die of covid.


Tues 22 Dec 2020... Little Free Pantry update

The tendonitis is letting up a little bit... instead of the shooting pain, there's just an ache. So I decided to experiment with a walk today.

contents of the local Little Free Pantry

Our Little Free Pantry is about a block away and I check on it every time I walk that way. There's usually some kind of bread, a couple cans of stuff, potatoes, fruit like oranges and apples (grapes and dried fruit today!), pasta, dried beans. (not sure what's in today's tupperware!)

The things in there that warm my heart... Dog food that has been packaged in zip locks. And wrapped servings of homemade cookies, or made up sandwiches. ♥!

So far, I've not met anyone else who fills the Pantry.

I dropped off another package of menstrual pads, today.

I'm never sure if I should open the package, to make the individual pads available, or keep it sealed. Either way, they are gone in 24 hours, so I know someone is appreciative!

And by the way, Scotland is awesome!

Scotland first in world to make period products free

<sing song> Awe-Some!!!


fri 18 dec 2020... Tendonitis, arg

Yep, Wednesday night I started feeling tendonitis pain in my left heel. fah.

I've never had tendonitis in my heel before, but even with that first little twinge, I recognized it and knew I would not be able to walk. So I knew I'd need a plan to help me get thru the usual 2hours I spend walking every day for the next... few days? week? more? who knows.

That's kind of the thing. Tendonitis is one of those things where medical science has little to say.

You can take drugs, or you can avoid drugs.

You can do physical therapy, or not.

You can ice it, heat pad it, both, or neither.

And the tendonitis either goes away or it doesn't. There is no real treatment, except rest. And, let's get real here. You want to avoid those spikes of pain at ALL costs! No doctor type has to tell you that.

So anyway. No walking means I've got an extra 2 hours every day. And without the exercise, it's really important to do something ... meaningful and happy.

I decided to dust off my CSS skills and work on some back-end stuff here at the web site.

Last year I had taken a couple HTML and CSS classes, with the goal of cleaning up my web site and upgrading from HTML Transitional to HTML 5. I learned good stuff, and I finished my classes. But then I didn't actually work on the web site.

Yesterday, I re-familiarized myself with the codes. And put the finishing touches on an archive template that I had started last year, with my class.

I had trouble figuring out how to place images, those darn floats. But it turned out I was screwing up the requirements for the Width attribute! ha, a simple thing I was ignorant of! Being sloppy was okay in HTML Transitional, not so much in HTML 5!

And today, I started clearing out some of the entries on this main page. It took a while, for a relatively small chunk I tackled... There's the physical cut and paste, and then all those random Transitional codes to repair!

And again, I am learning good stuff! This project def keeps me occupied for a couple hours at a time. And there's plenty to do...

Once I get all the super old journal entries moved to the archives, in theory I'll be able to clean up this front page: Moving to HTML 5 and giving it a new design!

I don't know how many millions of years I've had this sunflower thing. But it would be nice to move on!

A new design is, of course, a lot more involved than just archiving stuff. So, we'll see what happens...

(and if you scroll to the bottom of this page, you can see the changes!!)


Wed 16 Dec 2020... Wednesday Rant

The US added almost 1.5 million new covid cases this week and averaged 210,374 new cases every day. 2,402 people died every day. And we hit 300,000 total deaths yesterday, according to the Johns Hopkins web site.

Florida hit 4,000 hospitalizations at the end of Nov, has now hit 5,000 hospitalizations. And just over 100 people die in Florida every day.

Iowa Is What Happens When Government Does Nothing

oh poor, stupid Iowa. The hospitalizations there have been coming down... but case count and deaths are starting to look more like Colorado, a state with almost twice the population of Iowa.

And the covid in my town has just been hovering around 450 active cases, altho we did hit a high of 500 last Thursday. We have 55 people hospitalized, which is a current record high.

Okay, this is kind of funny. My order has been on a Merry Go Round for a week, coming and going from the Kansas City Distribution Center! making me laugh!

Except... I kinda need my stuff!


tues 15 dec 2020... Mink!


Very blurry photo of a mink

Walking along the creek, I saw this mink swim across to my side! She or he was nosing around so quickly, I knew the camera didn't have a chance. ha, I just pointed down and clicked as fast as I could, hoping for the best.

Of course the best obviously did not happen, laughs, but that's okay!


Mon 14 Dec 2020... GRRR!

<Not a link> Is There a Doctor in the White House? Not if You Need an M.D. Jill Biden should think about dropping the honorific, which feels fraudulent, even comic. by Joseph Epstein (nope, not dignifying this with a link)

I am fuming over this. Dr Biden has two masters and a doctorate in education, EdD.

Sexist jerk, JE has a Bachelor of Arts. Because he's a white man in a position of authority, he occasionally gets called Dr Epstein. And he apparently can't be bothered to correct the mistake, instead he revels in it.

But Dr Biden shouldn't claim the Dr title for the doctorate that she actually earned ... because it sounds and feels fraudulent?


Just a comparison... A Bachelor of Arts takes 4 years of collage. After that, it takes 1.5 to 2 years to get a Masters. (A Masters. as in, ONE Masters Degree.) and then it takes another 3 years to get a Doctorate in Education.

And yes. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Bigots can have an opinion. Racists can have an opinion. Sexist jerks can have an opinion.

But bigots should not have a platform to spew their opinions. This should never have been published! And it def should not have been defended by the responsible editor. (Yeah, another article I will not dignify with a URL.) (But Wall Street Journal? You Suck!)

The editor says: Northwestern University, where Mr. Epstein taught for many years, did its part by denouncing him in a statement and appearing to purge his emeritus listing from its website. This is how cancel culture works.

Um. Yeah. Do I have to tell you? Misogyny is NOT a culture. It's a blight on civilization.


Sun 6 Dec 2020... Heron Yoga

Okay. This is pretty awesome. I was walking at the river today, and on the way back to the car, I realized I hadn't taken pics of any herons, for whatever reason.

So, here's a heron, in the last side pond. And I decide to take a moment to breathe.

Great Blue Heron

And the Heron decides to breathe with me and do some stretching exercises! We start with the left wing and leg...

Great Blue Heron... stretching wing

and then our neck...

Great Blue Heron... stretching neck

and then the other wing and leg...

Great Blue Heron... stretching wing and leg

Wow! I am so pleased to be invited to the Heron Yoga session!!


Sat 5 Dec 2020... Another Misidentification

So. funny story. (um?)

Remember how I mis-identified the hawk to the mail man the other day? Yeah. Well, I did it again!

Pine Siskin on a Teasel flower head

I saw the flash of yellow, and made my assumptions.

And a person walking on the bike path behind me, asks what's up. And I'm all, "Oh, I'm just looking at some Goldfinches!"

And, again, at home, I'm looking at the photos on the computer. And again, "What the Heck is This??!"


Nobody I know has stripes like that! So I def have to go searching.

Pine Siskin!

Pine Siskin

And the flower head that they apparently love to snack on is Teasle, invasive from Europe and Asia. But very pretty and useful when it's not taking over everything!


Fri 4 Dec 2020... Foggy Day

Foggy trees


Thurs 3 Dec 2020... Heron Hunter

Walking along the creek today, and found a heron. For some reason, I pulled out the camera, even tho it was a terrible angle, looking almost straight down.

And just as I was getting a couple pics... the hunter strikes!

Great Blue Heron with a minnow

They caught a minnow! how cool is that?!


Wed 2 Dec 2020... Wednesday Rant

Again, well over 1 million new covid cases added this week, at 168,808 new cases every day on average. and 1,476 people died every day.

Oregon has been in a "freeze" shut down for the past two weeks, and today we are transitioning to a county by county shut down based on risk levels.

My town, Eugene is still in the midst of a covid breakout that started at the end of Sept, so we will continue in the Extreme risk level... Outdoor entertainment will open up a little bit, but stores go from 75% occupancy down to 50%. Socializing remains capped at 6 people from 2 households. It goes without saying: Masks are mandated everywhere. Several businesses have been fined for not following the rules!

The outbreak in Eugene, which topped on 8 Oct with 288 active cases, and then again on 25 Nov with 473 active cases. Today our active cases have come down to 217... however we have a record number of hospitalizations, 39. I wonder if they've expanded the covid wing at the hospital.

And I'm shocked to see the testing positivity rate in Oregon is 40%. What the heck? This is terrible. What will it take to get some extra testing in here?!

Texas hit 9,000 hospitalized today. The daily deaths there are extremely variable -- in the past week it's gone from 22 on one day to 170 the next -- so it's difficult to see what's going on, except the big numbers are def getting bigger. And obviously it'll be easier to die with the hospitals full.

Florida looks ready to hit a million cases here, very soon. They've got over 4,200 hospitalized and that number has been steadily rising for a long time.

And back to Oregon... this is utterly shameful:

An Oregon nurse bragged on TikTok about not wearing a mask outside of work. Shes now on administrative leave.
Oncology nurse... Salem Health has the highest employee-related [covid] count of any hospital in the state. And this lady was contributing.

painted rocks!

Found this next to the trail, yesterday! *happy!*


Tues 1 Dec 2020... A dreary day

Hiking up the trail on a foggy day


Mon 30 Nov 2020... Hawks are Hard

So I was staring up at this beautiful hawk... and trying to figure out what was up with the tail, because from my angle, it seemed to be missing...

Everything's perfectly fine! There was just a stick behind her/him, and they were resting their tail feathers up on that!

Red Shouldered Hawk

The mail man was walking on the bike path behind me. Well! he says. What do we have here?

A Cooper Hawk! I replied.

Wow. That's cool. Yes, it is!

Except, no. No, it's not!


At home, I was going thru the photos, and I zoomed in and saw the colour of the head... oh shoot. That is def not a Cooper Hawk!

Cooper Hawks have a dark grey hood over their head. And this one has a stripy brown and red head.

Ah ha. Red Shouldered Hawk, just beyond the very northern edge of their accepted range!

But dang it! Hawks are so difficult to figure out, even when you think you know what you're doing!!


Sunday 29 Nov 2020... one more

Golden Crowned Sparrow

Golden Crowned Sparrows are another winter visitor in our area.

Every single year, I am surprised at how human friendly these sparrows are. I can get within 4 or 5 feet, and they give me one "over the shoulder" glance like this... and then they pay me no mind! :D


Sat 28 Nov 2020... Happy Migrations

A trip out to the river today, and I was glad to see some of our winter visitors. There are lots of birds who migrate down from Canada and Alaska, to spend the winter in our ponds...

Today I saw Cormorants, Hooded Mergansers, Green Wing Teals...

Northern Shovelers:

Northern Shoveler

And some American Wigeons:

American Wigeon

I just love the squiggles that the feathers make... so artsy! :)

My favorite bit of the river

I tried to stand in the approximate same place to get this pic of my favorite spot on the river. I should collect these pics into a single post so you can see the seasons and the weather! :)


Friday 27 Nov 2020... Show Off!

These two Northern Flickers were on the other side of the creek, so I wasn't really sure what was going on at the time. But they were talking to each other, and dancing around...

Two male Norther Flickers

Looking at the photos, I realized they were two males (they both have a red mustache, which females lack) ... They are showing off to each other! It's just practice, at this time of year. But..

May the fittest for survival, win! :)


Thurs 26 Nov 2020... Thanksgiving

Some happy Turkeys who didn't get murdered for a crappy holiday.

Wild Turkeys!


Wed 25 Nov 2020... Wednesday Rant

Sighs. The US added more than 1.2 million cases in the past week... 177,541 new cases on average every day, here in the US. and 1,646 people dying every day.

Oregon has been in freeze for a week now, but today we have over 500 people hospitalized for the first time, and a record 21 people died yesterday.

Eugene has broken records for active covid cases on last wed (307), thurs (375), friday (420), saturday (450), sunday (456), monday (469), and we skipped tuesday because it was the same, and today with 473 active cases.

The forest floor, ferns and fallen oak leaves


Wed 18 Nov 2020... It's Wednesday and we're doomed

Well, the US hit 11 million covid cases this past weekend. And it seems like just a couple days ago we hit 10 million. oh. yeah. That's 'cause it was...

US Hits 11 Million Coronavirus Cases, Adding 1 Million In A Week

And Texas hit 1 million cases on the 13th. That's Friday the 13th. And California followed suit on the 14th.

New York has the most deaths of all the states, with 26,189. A lot of people died in the first wave this spring because the hospitals were full -- 18,825 people hospitalized in New York on 13 April 2020 -- and they didn't have treatment options yet. But it looks like Texas wants to challenge all this... 7,841 currently hospitalized and 19,696 people dead.

Poor, stupid Iowa has a 51% positivity rate and they hit 1,000 people currently hospitalized a week ago, on the 10th. And 1,500 currently hospitalized today. And they are Finally doing something about it...

Iowa Governor Reverses Course, Issues Mask Mandate As COVID-19 Cases Rise

Oregon ranked No. 45 among the states where coronavirus was spreading the fastest. But the state has 13.7% positivity rate and increasing hospitalizations: 445 currently hospitalized, 100 more than last week.

And we are doing something about it! You know, something a bit more serious than a mask madate, which we've had in place for a while now. We've gone back to a partial shut down starting today! A Freeze...

Social gatherings are capped at 6 and limited to two households. Restaurants are take-out only. Indoor and outdoor entertainment and recreational facilities (gyms and more) must close. Etc, Etc. There's a good list, and there's a fine or arrest for those who aren't on board!

And the little outbreak in my own town continues on it's merry way. Active cases broke the old record of 288 on Sunday the 15th with 306 active cases. And again today with 307 active cases.

We'll see how long it takes for the shut down to have an effect.

The 7-day average for the US... 159,691 new cases every day and 1,291 people died every day last week.

The current record stands at 187,957 new cases on 13 Nov, according to WoM. Or on the Covid Tracking site, it was 171,376 new cases.

A few states are returning to partial shut downs, but there's no reason why we won't be breaking all the records a few more times!


Sat 14 Nov 2020... Autumn Baby

After the rain and wind of Thursday night, I woke up and the trees outside my window were denuded. Poor naked trees. All the leaves were down in the parking lot.

You know, autumn is my favorite season... But I'm missing the summer already. The tomatoes from the garden are long gone and the house is all closed up and it's too chilly for an early morning walk.

But then I came home from my late-morning walk... and found a baby squirrel lookin' at me!

Young Eastern Fox Squirrel

*laughs* okay, Not a baby... a Youngster, and out on her own. But how cute can you be?


Fri 13 Nov 2020... Steller Jay

Nothing scary today for Friday the 13th! oh well. :)

Steller Jays are our other blue-coloured jay, here in western Oregon. Scrub Jays: blue and white... are a common theme on my postcards, tho I don't post pics here very often for some reason.

But the Stellers? They are so beautiful with their black fading down to blue, with a few decorated bits on their wings.

And they are shy and bouncy. So the few times I do get to see them... they jump too fast for the camera to focus.

But today...

Steller Jay, with a cheeky glance!

*laughs* What a cheeky look! Ima gettin the side eye!

of course, that look could only come from a teenager! :) You can tell this is a young one because they've still got a little bit of gape left at the corner of their mouth.

I fell in love immediately. And then they flew away.


Thurs 12 Nov 2020... Garden

There's a 100% chance of rain, starting tonight and going thru tomorrow! So I wanted to get another patch of the garden forked and weeded and seeded with cover crop.

Yes, I'm still working on that. (Started 20 Sept!) Did I mention our garden plot is 600sqft? Maybe next year I'll rent a tiller or something!!

Anyway. There's little baby clovers coming up in patches here and there. There was also a patch of Nasturtium seedlings, but they died off on the first cold night. It's not quite cold enough to kill off the Borage seedlings, yet. There's also some Love-in-a-Mist seedlings coming up, I think. Not sure what they will do in the cold.

There's another plant coming up in droves that I feel like I should recognize...

a small Dead Nettle plant

I just couldn't place the leaves at all. But today I touched it.

oh, haha! There's no mistaking that wonderfully velvet softness! Dead Nettle!

Purple Dead Nettle is an invasive from Europe, but they are easily chopped down and I don't think they present much of a problem in gardens. And, since it can survive cool temperatures, it can act as a cover crop! Yay!

It's quite pretty, I think, with it's greens and purples and it's little purplish-pink flowers. And if you ever get a chance to run your hand thru a patch of Dead Nettle... Oh, it's totally luxurious! :)


Wed 11 Nov 2020... It's Wednesday

Hospitals are filling up across the country and WoM reports records set for new cases of covid on...

Thursday 5 Nov with 123,952

Friday 6 Nov with 132,836

Tues 10 Nov with 144,807


We are adding 123,371 new cases every day on average. 1,018 people died every day.

The covid outbreak in my town is getting worse again. After dropping to 126 active cases last Thursday, we've been climing again. Today there are 251 active cases.

Our record is 288 active cases, I suppose that will be broken soon.


My brain is producing some serious snark when I am out and see people without masks. It's starting to affect my well-being, so I need to think nicer thoughts. After all, if you're too stupid to believe in science (or apply that science)... well, that's karma that'll catch up with you eventually.

And that's sad. So my brain shouldn't be so harsh. There should be some pity. And that's it.

From Obscure To Sold Out: The Story Of Four Seasons Total Landscaping In Just 4 Days
Apparently Four Seasons has an amazing marketing team!! *laughs*

3 Ways To Get Your Point Across While Wearing a Mask
Good Stuff!

Veterans And Gold Star Families Granted Lifetime Passes To National Parks
What?! This is awesome! Great idea!


Sun 8 Nov 2020... Political Mail

My anxiety about the election kept me from forming coherent thoughts. (laughs) But, now I'm back at it.

I couldn't find an office address for Joe Biden, and I couldn't get his exact home address. So I put down what I knew and I'll trust that the US Postal Service will get my note to where it needs to go.

Because USPS is AWESOME!

postcard to Joe Biden: do NOT pardon trump

Text reads:

Dear Mr Biden,
I know you're going to be busy once you get to the White House ;) But here's something you don't need to do... Please do NOT pardon Donald Trump. I'm sure he'll try to pardon himself - Don't let that happen either. That guy needs to face the music for all the evil he's done.
Thanks and Happy Day,
rift :)


Wed 4 Nov 2020... Rant and something cool

So, as predicted a new record was set for new daily cases. Saturday 31 Oct we had 101,461 new cases in the US, according to WOM. and the next record day... coming soon.

87,492 new cases added every day on average in the US. 874 people died every day on average. New cases exploding, hospitals filling up, and the death toll will continue to rise again.

Still coming down from our covid outbreak here in town, but it's a very slow process... 8 Oct was our highest count, with 288 active cases. Right now, we've got 142 active cases with 18 hospitalized.

And the results of the election are still pending, but it looks like Biden will probably win. But why is it so close? Why are people so loyal to that impeached monster? I just cannot understand.

Cooper Hawk with two non-mobbing Crows

Haha, this Cooper Hawk has a close audience!

(11.30 oops! I think this is a Red Shouldered Hawk! ha. see my 30 Nov, Hawks are Hard entry!)

Crows mob hawks, but the crows aren't so worried about it right now since they don't have nestlings to protect. But they are keeping an eye on the situation.

Funny how close they are. But great for size comparison!!


Tues 3 Nov 2020... vote.

Today is the day. And I've got some major anxiety about this evening. AND the next couple of months, because that lame duck is dangerous.

So I went out to the river for a good walk. :)



Sat 31 Oct 2020... Thank You

Please DONT Say Youre Welcome! Better responses to THANK YOU

The other month, I happened to run into the generous human who was re-filling their sidewalk food pantry. I gave them a very enthusiastic Thank you for doing this!

And they replied, Of Course!

I'd not heard that response to thank you before, and I really liked it. It acknowledged that they weren't doing this for me, even tho I was the one thanking them. And it implied that their action was inevitable!


Fri 30 Oct 2020... Garden

I've been going to the garden every day this week to water. We've not had any rain, and I'm trying to give my little clover seeds the best start on life... I think they turn the water off on 1 nov.

The lack of rain is distressing because our rainy season starts in October. And we've had nothing but dew and high humidity. Which is something, but not really... the dry cracks in the dirt that I don't water are about 2inches wide!

That damn cat is still hanging out at the Garden, scaring the birds away, and I am very annoyed at his human family for letting him out. I like to listen to the Goldfinches twitter while I fork, and it makes me sad when they aren't around.


Wednesday 28 Oct 2020... Its Wednesday

Looks like TX and CA are competing to get the first 1 million covid cases. sighs.

So, yep. Covid cases still rising, rising in the US. And, yes, WorldOMeter says we got a new record of 81,422 new cases in a day last friday, 23 Oct. (The old high of 79,024 happened 24 July.) All the websites have different numbers, of course, but I think they all hit a high within a day or so. For instance, NPR just says more than 83,000 new cases, they got their numbers from the Johns Hopkins site.

And these numbers aren't leveling off, they continue to rise. So will be hitting new records for the next, what? few weeks?

So anyway. There are 74,299 new cases added every day, on average, in the US. 844 people died on average every day in the US.

My town is slowly coming down from its outbreak... we had almost 300 active cases on 8 Oct, and now we're down to 175.


Tues 27 Oct 2020... All the Countries in the World

Last night, I pulled out my atlas to do some reviewing. You remember I've made it my quest to memorize all the countries in the world.

I'm almost done... I'm currently committing the South Pacific Islands to memory. Several of those I had to look up pronunciation, so I'm taking my time to learn them correctly! But, not all of the islands are actual countries, so it's a little bit easier than it looks, at first glance.

And then I need to go back and catch all the island countries in the Caribbean. And then I'm done!

Anyway, back to my atlas review. I thought I was mixing up Sierra Leone, in West Africa and Sri Lanka off the coast of India. But I had that right.

I was def mixing up a couple countries in Eastern Europe, tho... Belarus is in the north, and Bulgaria is in the south.

Yeah, one of my memory tricks is to think about groups of countries by their first letter. GINS is a good one: Greenland (okay not a country!), Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and then Finland and Russia are easy to tack on to the end!

So you can see how I might confuse the SLs of Sierra Leone and Sri Lanka. And the B countries in eastern Europe!

But I think I got it, now! :)

WorldOMeter, 195 countries in the world

Very close to having all those in my head!

Map of the world


Friday 23 Oct 2020... Garden

This one has been stalking in the Community Garden, this past week...

Kitty in the Community Garden

He is very beautiful, and there's def some mice to catch in the Garden. But the birds have been avoiding the place because of him.

We had our first below freezing night on Wednesday, and the Nasturtium and remaining summer squashes promptly died. Hopefully the Nasturtium didn't crowd out my baby clovers too bad... I need those clovers to live!

The tomato plants are mostly dead now, as well. But look how lovely these last few Brandywines look!

Green Bramdywine Tomatoes on the vine

I had 4 different tomato plants this year... two that I always love: Sungolds and Brandywines. And two new ones: Garden Peach and Santiam.

The Garden Peach was... okay. but the "delicate" flavor bored me quickly and I stopped eating it after the first couple batches. Insipid is a word to use with this one.

The Santiam, on the other hand... set a ton of fruits when it was still chilly in the spring! That was exciting to see and I looked forward to them ripening. And I loved, loved them at the beginning. But, I did get tired of eating them, at some point.

There was a break before the Brandywine tomatoes started ripening. The Brandywines are my favorite, and I wondered if I would get sick of them like the others.

But I did not get tired of eating those Brandywines, once they started happening. In fact, I could eat more, and I miss them even tho I've got a couple ripening in the kitchen!


Wed 21 Oct 2020... usual covid rant

736 people died every day this past week, in the US.
And we are adding 60,016 new cases every day... that number is still jumping up from last week's 51,761 new cases.

The covid outbreak in my town has plateaued, and is not getting better. We currently have 209 active cases and a couple more people have died, bringing our total to 26. On monday we had a high of 19 people hospitalized.

I am watching the numbers for several states, and they've all been going up... more cases, more hospitalizations. And what are we doing about it? As far as I can tell: nothing.

Even in my town, after hitting a high of almost 300 infectuous people on 8 October, then hovering around 220 active cases for a couple weeks since then... nothing. We've been put on a "Watch List" by the governor, and they tell us to wear our stupid masks. But no actual action has taken place to do anything about the problem!

Ridiculous! Worldometers says the US hit a high on 24 July, with 78,971 new cases. It looks like we are trying to break that record.

Propublica published an article about how the CDC has become corrupt...

Inside the Fall of the CDC

It's long and it's depressing. and it just makes me cry for the USA. It is despicable that this happened!

Of course, that impeached monster has corrupted every agency of government... from Betsy DeVos destroying public schools as Secretary of Education to Louis DeJoy destroying the Postal Service. And soon the Supreme Court will be added to the list.

Oregon Junco

Oregon Junco at the community garden.


Mon 19 Oct 2020... Urban Wildlife

Walking home from the garden today...

Momma Black Tail Deer with three offspring on the bike path

A Mom with three children. Not the most flattering pic... Mom's got her tongue out, and poor human is messing up my shot. ha. But it's the only pic I got with all four of them together!

I immediately wondered if Mom had adopted one of the kids. Because 3 seems like a lot to carry to term with crappy urban nutrition.


Sun 18 Oct 2020... River

Walking out by the river today...

Looking across the Willamette River

This is one of my favorite places to stop and listen to the river. The water is tripping over some rocks, and it just sounds so lovely.

I took a pic here, last month as well. The little oak tree in the front was a bit more green back then. :) Thurs 24 Sept, River

American Wigeon

American Wigeons are winter visitors in our area, and this was my first sighting of the season.


Sat 17 Oct 2020... cute little mushrooms

three little mushrooms amongst the clover and green grass


Fri 16 Oct 2020... pic

Ha... This one has been greeting me as I walk out the front door, this week. Not every day, but it's so surprising when she's there! We are about three feet apart in this pic.

Female Squirrel in my front door entry way!

I've encountered her so often, I decided to name her. Grace... courteous goodwill or as the verb do honor or credit to (someone or something) by one's presence I am def honored by her presence! :)


Thurs 15 Oct 2020... just a pic

Great Blue Heron with bridge in the background

I just kinda like this pic... it's a bit more Landscape-y than my usual! The bridge in the background is for train tracks.


Wed 14 Oct 2020... the usual

51,761 new cases of covid added every day in the US this past week.
and 738 people died of covid every day

The new daily cases have sky rocketted this week...

9 Sept36,808 new cases every day
16 Sept   39,309 new
23 Sept42,923 new
30 Sept43,845 new
7 Oct44,822 new
14 Oct51,761 new

And maybe this time the covid breakout in my town has leveled off? We had a high last Thurs 8 Oct with 288 active cases and 15 people hospitalized.

Today we're at 210 infectious people, and it's been steadily dropping. But there are 14 people hospitalized. Our testing postitivity is down from last weeks 8.6%... now at 7.6%. Still higher than the state of Oregon at 5.9%.

Two Lesser Goldfinches at the Community Garden

a pair of sweet Lesser Goldfinches! awww!

(yep, that guy on the left might be familiar if you're on my postcard list!!)


Sun 11 Oct 2020... Spelling

It is not generally known that I am a bad speller, but I don't try to hide it. Since I'm a reader, I know when I've mis-spelled something. Between the spell-check and the dictionary I keep next to my bed, I can usually get things right.

Spelling has always been a problem for me. Some of my not-so-fondest memories from childhood are of me struggling with this problem... I must have been 7 or 8 years old? Studying for spelling tests with my Mom, and then getting so many words wrong, despite all the studying.

I am frustrated with myself, even now, 40 years later!

There are words that I consistently mis-spell... Like consistently!! *laughs* I spell it with an ANT instead of an ENT. Also label usually comes out first as lable, I have to look it up every. single. god. damned. time. (yep, even this time!)

Another good one is accidentally. I pronounce it without the Tally, it's accidently and that's not a word and it's never going to be a word, despite all the stupid people spelling it that way on the internets.

But, yeah, I still think it should be a word!

Accidently or Accidentally
Oh, wow! this looks like an awesome website... just look at all those Confusing Words in the right sidebar! Nice! A good rabbit hole to fall down!


Wed 7 Oct 2020... the rant

Schadenfreude is the word of the day when it comes to that impeached monster getting covid. He spent three days in hospital, where the doctors apparently threw every experimental treatment at him...

And then that piece of shit says Don't be afraid of Covid. Don't let it dominate your life.

(I am angry beyond words about this.)

44,822 new cases of covid added every day this past week... still steadily going up, up, up.
698 people have died every day of covid this past week.

And the covid problem in my town hasn't gotten any better... We currently have 262 active cases, a new high. But we hit a new high every couple of days. And our Test Positivity rate is up to 8.6%, horrible!

I Can See Clearly Now, Singer Johnny Nash Has Died At 80

Aww. :( this is another Rain song that I love and know most of the words to. There's a video embedded on the NPR page, if you care to listen. RIP Mr. Nash.


Thurs 1 oct 2020... Draw!

How to Start Drawing

This Pocket Worthy article caught my attention, the other day! But I don't really follow any of the tips, except the "Start Small" one.

I have been drawing ATC or baseball card size, for about a year. I'm keeping the drawings in 9-pocket pages. My first three-ring binder is mostly full, with 30 pages!

a page of ATC sketches

Yep, I draw humans sometimes. I'm not very good, obviously. But I think I'm getting better. or at least most of the drawings aren't hideous. heh.

And the Grosbeak was giving me trouble... I just can't get that big beak right!

Anyway. I usually draw from photos, sometimes my own, sometimes pics out of calendars, magazines, newspaper. I probably should branch out and Draw from life every once in a while, like the article says.


Wed 30 Sept 2020... the usual rant

The Johns Hopkins website shows that the world hit 1 million deaths from covid yesterday. sighs.

Here in the US, we've been adding 43,845 cases every day, and 775 people are dying every day.

And it looks as tho our little problem with covid here in town has topped off. Monday we had 202 active cases and it's fallen to 179 today.

Unfortunately, the test positivity rate has jumped from 1 and 2% that we had thru the end of August, to 7.1%... this is bad! and This is the first time that our percent positivity has been greater than the state [Oregon], which is at 6.3%

And we've had steady containment on the Holiday Farm Fire... they've got it 65% contained, and report only 6 minor injuries!

I can't remember if I've mentioned, but they did find all of the 250 people who were unaccounted for. Just one person died in the fire. Which amazes me, since the fire blew up so incredibly quickly the first night, which was Monday 7 Sept 8:20pm.

As far as I know, they don't know the cause of this fire yet. But I would assume that it was downed power lines, from the terrible wind storm that happened at the time. It is standing at 173,094 Acres and has destroyed over 700 buildings, including around 430 homes.


Mon 28 Sept 2020... Shoes, ha.

Let me just say, I hate buying new shoes. I like my old shoes. I don't want to get used to new shoes. I don't want to spend 60$ on new shoes. I don't want to lace up new shoes.

Unfortunately, with the amount of walking I do... well, the comfortable old shoes eventually fall apart. sighs.

Comfortable old garden shoes

These were sooo comfortable! Yeah, they had holes in the bottoms. Walk thru a puddle and my socks were wet. I didn't even care! Yeah, dirt got in thru the holes in the sides. Still didn't even care!

But last monday, the right heel lost it's attachment. It dragged all the way home. Okay. That's one insult too far. It's time to retire these.

I pulled out another old pair of shoes while I looked to order a new pair. These were not so comfortable. A bit tight, and they gave me a blister on my toe.

And I didn't realize how close to falling apart...

Crappy old shoes

Yesterday, as I was leaving the garden, the tread fell off the left shoe.

*laughs* Well, this is ridiculous! I had to walk on my tippy toes in order to keep the inner lining in place!


Thurs 24 Sept 2020... Out!

After working very hard at the Community Garden plot for three days, trying to break up the concrete which is the dirt... there was actual sweat involved and a pulled muscle and everything! After all that, it rained on the tiny section of cover crop seeds and I rewarded myself with a trip out to the river.

I was actually giddy that I was walking in a beautiful setting, and not forking myself to frustration!!

Unfortunately I didn't really get any good photos. Sometimes it happens like that, just gotta go out again another day! No problem, that! :)

Red Wing Blackbird Nice place to listen to the river

There were Red Wing Blackbirds bouncing around all over the place.

and a favorite place to stop and listen to the river!


Wed 23 Sept 2020... the rant

Deaths in the US have gone down, but cases have gone up... 731 people died every day, and we've been adding 42,923 new cases every day.

And the Johns Hopkins Covid Dashboard reports 200,000 dead in the US, as of this morning.

Serious issues in my town... our active case count is 125, we've been bouncing up steadily with no end in sight. Newspaper says small gatherings are to blame and there are now three assisted living facilities involved. We hit 1,000 total cases yesterday.

White Crowned Sparrow

White Crowned Sparrows are winter visitors in our area... and this is the first sighting of one this season!


Mon 21 Sept 2020... Garden Work

The food coming from the garden is def starting to slow down. The Cucumbers gave up the ghost ages ago. A couple of tomato plants died in the cool and smoky weather. Still some Brandywines ripening, tho. And a couple of Crooknecks are still on the vine, and some tiny Patty Pans, too.

I've got my cover crop seeds, and a promise of rain on wednesday night... Let's see how much of the garden I can clear, till and seed!

I started in the back corner, where I know the dirt needs some serious help. Letting the cover crop grow the longest there, will do it good!

I cleared the weeds with no trouble. Grass goes to the community compost, as does the bind weed and the other creeping vine that makes a bajillion seeds that I've not identified yet. And borage stays since it will break down quickly and return nutrients to the dirt.

But when I tried to fork the soil... haha, it was like concrete! Even tho we had gotten good rain before the weekend, the dirt was hard as a brick. sighs. But this is exactly what I meant: this dirt needs Help!

Well, I finished and seeded a tiny 2 square feet and then had to call it quits for the day! *laughs*

It's a start. I don't remember how long it took me to complete the cover crop last year... 3weeks? a month? I'll have to look it up!

Blue sky Cosmos


Sat 19 Sept 2020... rip RBG

I was shocked and devastated to hear of the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, last night.

Our world has lost an amazing woman. And the US has lost a significant power for good.

I am terrified about her replacement in the court.


Fri 18 Sept 2020... Rain!


Thurs 17 Sept 2020... Maybe...

There's a 100% chance of rain tonight. So this might be the last of the wildfire smog photography.

When I headed out this morning, the visibility was so much better and the air quality was at 260. Still "Very Unhealthy" but not "Hazardous"!

I was happy to see a little group of Bushtits. They are too bouncy for my camera... I can't focus before they are several branches away!

Raggety looking Bushtit in the smog

But then a little breeze kicked up. And suddenly the air is smoky and yucky again. Probably up in the 400 range again...

Wildfire Smog at my leaning tree

The smoggy tree near the center of the photo is my Leaning Tree. A White Oak, almost 2 miles from home, at the end of the bike path, going east. One of it's branches swoops down and is horizontal right at a good writing desk level. :) Yep, I've been known to pull out my little "Idea Journal" that I carry in my jacket, to write there for a few!


Wed 16 Sept 2020... the usual wednesday rant

6,735,588 USA cases of covid, adding 39,309 new cases every day.

199,561 people have died, 913 every day this past week.

(Numbers are from the 1pt3acr site, and are slightly higher than the numbers from the Johns Hopkins site, which were 6,609,770 USA cases and 195,962 USA dead.)

And my town has a bit of a problem... we've got 65 active cases right now. And 14 people have died, half of whom have died in the last couple of weeks! Yikes! What the heck is going on??!

And my state hit 500 dead on Saturday. :(

HHS Official Michael Caputo Admits Warning Of 'Sedition' At CDC, Riots If Trump Wins

So, this guy is obviously not right in the head. Like, maybe we need some Mental Health time. And maybe we need to not be in charge of millions of dollars of advertising money for an agency that needs to be saturated with science!

Okay, this got my goat...

Trump administration has not paid USPS for COVID-19 postcards featuring Trump's name

uh huh. I remember that postcard. In fact, I scanned it in at the time. The file name I gave it...

20200327_AreYouFuckingKiddingMe.jpg *laughs*

Looks like I might need to subscribe to a new magazine...

Scientific American Endorses Joe Biden


Back to local news, the Holiday Farm fire, just east of town is now 6% contained. It covers 166,503 Acres and we now have a whopping 767 fire fighters!

Female Anna Hummingbird

Aww! Sweet girl at the Community Garden! :) Plus you don't hardly notice the wildfire smog in this photo. The air quality was at 320 when I took this pic!


Tues 15 Sept 2020... Update

Web site update

It occurred to me that having separate current pages for the newest blog posts was stupid. *laughs* It was fine when I was actually catching up with the older posts. But I quit doing that. And it's dumb to maintain all those separate pages.

So! This is the place! if I bother with filling in some older posts, I'll be sure to let you know! :)

The Knee

I am starting to walk more... further and more often. Did I tell you? I walked 4.5 miles on Saturday!! Yay!

Since I've gotten used to riding my bike down the bike path, I really enjoy going out to the Tsanchiifin Walk. I'm still finding different birds there!

And then I ride the bike a bit further out! The bike path ends about 5.5 miles away from home... I've not quite gotten to the end, yet, but got to around 5 miles today!

There's more prairie, and not as many trees. But I can hear Red Wing Blackbirds singing, so that's something new and different. :)

Smog Photography

Well, let's see... today the air quality is at 330. Still in the Hazardous category. But still looks better than it has been.

Smog at the creek


Mon 14 Sept 2020... still smoggy, but...

Okay, this is just a fun photo...

Goldfinches in the Basil

I count 12 Goldfinches! I've made this pic a bit bigger than usual so you can see them all. (Right-Click for "View Image". Then hit the back button to return.)

And I think they are eating the seeds of Basil! I had no idea it was such a popular meal!! I'm not a huge fan, but apparently I need to have a good patch of basil next year!! :)

Smoggy sun

This morning's Air Quality is 475 (Hazardous is 300 to 500), but it actually looks a lot better than it's been.


Sun 13 sept 2020... the air

sad sunflower in very bad air quality

Yep, this is the air I'm going out into. Air Quality is 423 this morning.
Hazardous is 300 to 500.


Thurs 10 Sept 2020... Smog Photography

Okay, this Smog Sun didn't turn out as well as the one the other day with the tree leaves... But this is a new endeavor, so you have to cut me some slack!

bean vines and blossoms with a wildfire sun

Here's a cute smog squirrel for ya...

invasive Eastern Fox Squirrel in the wildfire smog


Wed 9 Sept 2020... Covid Rant and Local Wildfire

752 people died every day this week in the US and we're adding 36,808 new cases of covid daily.

My town has 57 active cases, bringing our total count to 803. Three people died recently, unprecedented, bringing a total of 10 people who have died.

And the wind storm of Monday night has kicked up a horrific wildfire, east of town. It's huge and completely uncontained, so they're evacuating the eastern edge of town. They don't have enough fire fighters, since they're spread all across the state, and helping California.

Scary stuff. I live on the western side of town, so I can't imagine that I'd be in danger. But so many hundreds of people escaping the fire... :~(

Crow in the wildfire smog


Tues 8 Sept 2020... Update

There was a good wind storm last night. That was exciting. And this morning we woke up to a dark red sky and ash covering everything.

The responsible wildfires aren't new, but the wind direction is. Up until now, we've been very lucky about avoiding the wildfire smog. But now we've got it in droves.

Yucky wildfire sky

I walked 3½ miles today!

I blew out my knee at the beginning of August. After two weeks of trying to take it easy, it felt better and I started walking again.

But after a 4 mile hike up the hill, the knee was inflamed again. Back to square one.

So when the knee started feeling better again last week, I didn't take the bait! I continued biking and only walking short distances.

I started walking a bit over the weekend. Oh, it's nice to walk without having to think about pain! But I'll try not to push it. Tomorrow I'll bike, instead of walk, and hopefully I'll keep the knee in one piece.


Wed 2 Sept 2020... Covid Rant

The USA hit 6 million covid cases yesterday, according to the Johns Hopkins website. Some of those people have gotten well, of course... but how many have to deal with serious complications? How many Long Haulers will there be?

And in my hometown, cases are peaking again, with 46 active right now. There is an outbreak at an assisted living center.

And in personal news, my partner just got his first covid test today. So exciting. He's negative.

What the hell?

U.S. says it won't join WHO-linked effort to develop, distribute coronavirus vaccine


Mon 31 Aug 2020... Continuing Tsan


sun 30 aug 2020... Garden and RND


Sat 29 Aug 2020... Listening at the Tsan...

Yep, I biked out to Tsanchiifin Walk yet again today... hoping to meet some new birds.

Yes! There were some! Strange new song, strange new bouncing around in the tree. And suddenly flying away, before the camera can focus. heh. oh well. maybe next time.

Far away I hear another new bird: "La La La, Chew Chew Chew". huh, that's interesting! I hope I get to meet them soon!

A Spotted Towhee was calling their rusty door, "creeeeaak". Several Goldfinches twittering, along with some Chickadees "dee dee dee"ing.

And this scruffy one...

Juvenile Song Sparrow

I knew the species when I was taking the pics, but I'd forgotten when I was going thru my photos. Separate from my experience, I couldn't figure out what this bird was!

Female House Finch? hum, doesn't really match up. So, not female... is juvenile! Ahhh! The stripes on the face are so faint, that's what tricked me!

A juvenile Song Sparrow. And then I remembered what this one was saying as I took her/his portrait, "jeep. jeep."

Birds say so much! Sure, it's fun to learn their spring time songs. But knowing their communication words is much more important!


Fri 28 Aug 2020... A Frog!!

Yay! Wildlife success at my new Tsanchiifin Walk, on the 2nd day I've been...

Pacific Chorus Frog

Oh my gosh, so tiny! This Pacific Chorus Frog was teeny tiny!! Around ½ inch! (Adults are normally almost 2 inches.) I can't say she was a baby because of course baby frogs are actually tadpoles! *laughs* But dang. So cute.

Plus she let me walk around so I could have the sun behind me. So patient and kind! :D

So, she's a girl... you can't see it in this pic, but males have a dark vocal sac on their throat. My other photos show that her throat is entirely creamy white.

And it looks like she's starting to change into her autumn brown colours! Summer frogs are bright green, Winter frogs are grey and brown.


Thurs 27 Aug 2020... the knee and the bike

At the beginning of the month, I blew out my knee. I took it easy and after two weeks, it was cured.

Getting back to my usual walking, I started out slow: I walked less than a mile, for a couple days. I walked 2 miles, no problem. A couple of 3 mile days.

And then I walked up to the Hidden Trail. It's a four mile walk and the trail is short but steep. And it killed the knee.

So, I'm back where I was. Except now I don't have any hope: as soon as the knee gets better, I will still have to take it easy. And for how long should that be? *shrugs*

At some point in this saga, my partner fixed up my bike. I've been biking to the garden every other day... to water and bring home veges.

the bike

Biking doesn't bother the knee at all! There's no pain, other than the usual ache, when I'm riding. And I don't think there's any extra pain in the afternoon, either.

So I've decided to experiment with a longer bike trip... Yesterday, I headed out with the bike to a park on the bike path about 3 miles away.

oh it was good to see different things!

But the park itself, Tsanchiifin Walk, was rather boring. *laughs* This is to be expected...

The park is a wet prairie, which means it's a shallow pond in the winter and a grassy prairie in the summer. I much prefer to walk in forest or along water. And since I am familiar with those ecosystems, I also know what kind of wildlife I'll encounter, and their behavior!

I am not familiar with the prairie. I don't know who I will come across, and I don't know what signals to look for if someone is nearby!

This is fine. And good. I can learn.

the view at Tsanchiifin


Wed 26 Aug 2020... Covid Rant

USA has had 5,907,397 covid cases as of this morning, we've been adding 43,095 new cases every day this week.

181,468 people have died so far, our current rate is 1,000 people every day.

My town has dropped down to 14 active cases, after hovering at 35 to 40 for several weeks!

That impeached monster is touting his latest miracle treatment, and has forced the FDA to push blood plasma.

*rolls eyes*

97,000 People Got Convalescent Plasma. Who Knows if It Works? treating 98,000 people with plasma and not having conclusive data if it worked is problematic, and we should have a more robust data set before we give 98,000 people a product Yeah, no studies, no science. :/

Oh, and the CDC and HHS have also become compromised and corrupt...

Officials change virus testing advice, bewildering experts
Good idea! Let's NOT test people who have been exposed to covid! Yeah!

??? um. GAH!


Fri 21 Aug 2020... New Dragonfly!


Thurs 20 Aug 2020... Little Free Pantry

The park behind our apartment complex got a Little Free Pantry installed recently!!

At the beginning of July, I learned that we were getting a Little Free Pantry. And at first I was excited because the boxes had some amazing art on them.

But then I discovered that the group who is working to get these food boxes set up... is Vegan!!

Burrito Brigade
providing nutritious vegan meals to hungry individuals in Eugene and Springfield, and has since expanded to Portland.

Yay! This is just all kinds of awesome, all the way around!

Little Free Pantry #23 in Eugene Oregon

Our Little Free Pantry is #23 in Eugene. And our artist is Wendi Kai...

Moon Maiden Tattoo: Wendi Kai's paintings
Aww! she's arted a vulture!! All her art is beautiful!

Anyway. When I first learned about the Little Free Pantries back in July, I had just finished re-reading Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men.

There is a ton of info in that book, including the hardship of not including menstruation products in any services for the homeless, refugees, people in jail, and kids in school! You'd be hard pressed to find free products even in specifically womens' spaces like domestic violence shelters or Planned Parenthood.

It's crazy! Like crazy-crazy, not just plain crazy!

And when I learned about the Little Free Pantry, I knew exactly what I wanted to contribute to it! :D


Mon 17 Aug 2020... Political Postcards

I have been sending weekly postcards to Moscow Mitch ever since Representative John Lewis died. I've been requesting that he get the Voting Rights Advancement Act passed in John Lewis' name.

He's not responded, or done anything. so I keep sending postcards to him.

I try... I try my best. To be respectful in my writing. I do not call him Moscow Mitch. I use cheerful language. I say please.

But, I must admit, some snark has wiggled into my writing.

After I wrote this week's postcard to MM...

postcard written to Mitch McConnell about the Voting Act and the USPS

(heh.) I decided to have some words with the Postmaster General...

postcard written to Louis DeJoy the Postmaster General about mail

Begone, DeJoy!

Update (Tue, 18 Aug 2020)...

Post Office Chief Suspends Controversial Changes Until After Election

I assume this is a good thing. But I also assume that guy is a lying sack of shit... so who knows.

Oh, was that out loud? I'm sorry. but...
(Updated Thu, 20 Aug 2020)...

There have been several reports of mail sorting machines being broken down and tossed. Wai! How much money is he just throwing away? How much efficency is lost without those machines? why, why, why?!


Thurs 13 Aug 2020... Knee

So it's been a week and a half since my knee started hurting.

I've TRIED to rest it by staying home and not walking... but it kills my soul. So I've been walking a little, not every day, and less than a mile.

It is getting better. I'm still taking aspirin and ibuprofen constantly, but it's easier to get around the house. And the walking pain is no longer "oh no I'm going to die." It's more like "well this sucks." heh.

And you'd think, oh, not walking 3 or 4 miles in a day means I get an extra two hours to do stuff! So what have I been up to?


Yeah, like I said, my soul is dying here!

But, my little walk around the neighborhood today lifted my spirits...



Wed 12 Aug 2020... Covid and rnd

The USA has 5,262,241 covid cases as of this morning and we've been adding about 54,692 new cases every day.

167,028 people have died of covid, at a rate of 1,064 every day.

And my town is still hovering at 35 active cases, a level we've been at for a couple weeks now.


Florida Sheriff Orders Deputies And Staff Not To Wear Face Masks any individual walking in to any one of our lobbies ... that is wearing a mask will be asked to remove it.

Because? ...

We can debate and argue all day of why and why not, Woods added. The fact is, the amount of professionals that give the reason why we should, I can find the exact same amount of professionals that say why we shouldn't.

Oh, Florida. There's this thing called Science.

And from the other end of the emotional spectrum...

oh thank goodness. That impeached monster had rolled back the protections of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act back in Dec 2017...

Yesterday a judge upheld the intent of the MBTA... a law which protects more than 1000 species of birds and has been on the books since 1918!!

Victory! Federal Judge Rules Administration's Bird-Killing Policy is Illegal

The process of suing to get the government to follow the laws -- or not change laws randomly -- is tedious and time consuming. And why should we need to?? But the monster has a scorched earth policy... so I'm sure this scenario will play out again.

And, finally...

Yay, Kamala Harris!

We need more than a victory on Nov. 3; we need a mandate that proves the past few years do not represent who we are or who we aspire to be


Tues 11 Aug 2020... ABCs of the geography project

A project that I started this year is memorizing all of the countries of the world and knowing where they are on a map! I started with Central and South America, then got Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and now I'm into the rest of Asia.

It's kinda funny to say, but I love doing this! Sure, it makes me feel smart. And also, when something happens in the news, in some random country most Americans have never heard of, I'm all, Oh! I know exactly where that is!

*laughs* okay, that might just be me being smug! But, seriously, having this knowlege really does make me feel good that my brain is still working!

Another game that I play, now that I've got over half the world memorized, is naming countries alphabetically! The distribution across the alphabet is a little bit surprising to me.

For instance, there are a bunch of countries that start with the letter E -- Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, there are 8 altogether. I is another surprising letter, also with 8 countries.

There are 3 F countries -- Finland, France, Fiji.

And 3 J countries -- Japan, Jamaica, Jordon.

And 3 R countries -- Rawanda, Romania, Russia. This one seems odd to me, you'd think there'd be more Rs!

There's one Q -- Qatar. And one O -- Oman. A couple Ys, and a couple Zs.

And there are zero Ws!!

Technically, there's Western Sahara, which is disputed territory mostly controlled by Morocco. And there's Wales, but that is part of the UK. (And of course, there are probably other places like this that I don't know about!)

Map of the world

And, yeah. Since I'm well into Asia, I realize it won't be long until I run out of countries!! ack!

But there's a bunch of islands in Southeast Asia.

And it turns out I was pretty sloppy when I only memorized the bigger islands in the Caribbean.

So there's still stuff to keep me busy with this for a bit longer!!


Friday 7 Aug 2020... Sunchoke

Our left side neighbor, at the Community Garden, has been a no-show this year. But she did plant a winter cover crop which has done well. The Fava got nice and tall, went to seed and is now dying back.

In the back of her plot, I am interested to see some Jerusalem Artichokes or Sunchoke. I've never grown or eaten them... so I was excited when I saw one of the tall plants had fallen over into our plot!

Yep, I took it. There were a couple, small tubers that I nabbed, and asked google what to do with them.

You can eat them raw or treat them like potatoes with roasting, steaming or boiling. Many people love them and after the first frost they will have a sweet nutty flavor.

Also thrilled to learn that this plant, a species of sunflower, is native to North America and was cultivated by the Native Americans.

I cooked up the smallest ones with my pasta. Literally, three bites... I have learned my lesson about trying new veges! ie Fennel Root, meh. Dandelion Blooms, yuck. *laughs*

I liked the texture of the Sunchoke, but they didn't have much of a taste. I guess you have to wait for the frost. And they don't store well, so I'll have to eat the other one soon!

They do store perfectly in the ground tho... so I'm really interested in growing them in my own plot, next year. Stealing from my neighbor, wasn't very nice of me, after all!!



Wed 5 Aug 2020... Doom and Gloom

The USA has 4,879,399 reported cases of covid, and we've been adding 60,088 every day. (Yay, We're Number One!)

159,582 people have died of Covid in the US, 1105 every day.

My town has 40 active cases today, we've kind of leveled here for a week or so.

This opinion article kind of struck a chord with me...

The Cult of Selfishness Is Killing America By Paul Krugman

What they call freedom is actually absence of responsibility.

With great freedom, comes great responsibility.

Wear your mask!


Tues 4 Aug 2020... Knee

I have somehow managed to blow out my right knee.


I don't think I specifically injured it. But when I walked to the garden, yesterday, it was a bit annoying at the beginning, tho I was able to ignore it after a half mile or so.

And today, every single step was painful.

Contemplating a life without walking in nature, terrified me. But even taking a few days off, frustrates me to no end!

I guess I'll do it... I'm taking aspirin and I'm set up with cold packs... but, gah!


2019... BLOG POSTS

(Posted 22 Dec 2020...)

The new archive is HTML5, and completely validated!

2019 journal entries


2018... BLOG POSTS

(Posted 18 Dec 2020...)

I have managed to move all of the 2018 journal entries into an archive page. I did not write very much in 2018, so I decided not to divide them up into months, like I usually do.

The new archive is HTML5, and completely validated!

2018 journal entries


2017... BLOG POSTS

(Posted 19 Dec 2020...)

I have managed to move all of the 2017 journal entries into an archive page. And again, I didn't write very much, so the posts for the entire year are on one page.

The new archive is HTML5, and completely validated!

2017 journal entries


rifts avatar
I am rift vegan!
I live in the Pacific Northwest of the USA, with my Significant Other (SO) and Dawn the Guinea Pig. 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 :)

Static8 Journal RSS 2.0 feed

Yep, you can email me. and you can write to me.

rift vegan
PO Box 23724
Eugene OR 97402



Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional Valid RSS feed HTML Coded by Hand! handcoded on NoteTab Pro

Site Map