Monday, February 22, 2016


Community gardener harvesting a bit of greens from his plot.

Last November I decided to join a community garden here in town where I now live. There were a few spots available of both small and large plots. These plots were available for a twenty-five dollar donation no matter the size. I opted for the small size -- figured I could handle it better considering my ancient age.

After I paid my donation I took a stroll through the garden. All the plots had been pretty much bedded down for the winter. But I did spy something of interest to me. A tree stump that was being used as a sitting stool in the corner of one of the gardens spots. Why was the stump of interest to me? It was the sapsucker holes that surrounded the stump forming circular rows up and down the whole piece. I saw it as an example of nature's art in the garden created by a Red-Headed Sapsucker.

Here is a close up of the stump. View this excellent article (lots of fantastic photos) by Bird Note of the Western Red-Headed Sapsucker doing the things that Sapsuckers do. The most interesting part of this article is their relationship with hummingbirds. Enjoy.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


Most mornings, when I wake in the winter season, my apartment complex is surrounded with a gray fog of varying densities. With the fog one notices the outlines of trees with their skeleton branches that seem to be reaching out for one another presenting a mystical look for viewers like me. The dark branches are leafless at this time of year, Most of the trees that I view from my apartment are Big Leaf  Maple -- a very common tree in Norhtwest Oregon. 

By noon usually the fog has cleared but not always. Sometimes it hangs around all day. On those days my favorite thing to do is to curl up inside and read and read and read. Above are the skeleton looking branches, again, of another Big Leaf. Behind is a large Douglas Fir that even though it is a beautiful green seems gray from the fog.  Everything seems enclosed like you are living in a small world. 

As the fog lifts some color can be seen on the trees again. Above are some patches of vivid green moss climbing up one of the Big Leafs. This particular tree is right outside my door. Lately a western red headed woodpecker has been visiting every day in the morning -- checking out the moss. I think it holds insects for him to consume. Just maybe. 


Gathering Moss -- A  Natural and Cultural History of Mosses.  by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Trees and Shrubs of the Pacific Northwest by Mark Turner and Ellen Huhlm

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


Apartment Complex Snail-Mail Boxes

Located at the edge of a medium sized small town in Oregon is a complex of four hundred apartments -- this is where I presently live. Trees are abundant here as well as birds and other critters. All to my liking. 

Culturally it is a laid back complex consisting of a diverse community -- many of them students at the local state university. Here one is allowed to have dogs. Thanks for that as I have Daisy my big black lab. 

The complex has located our snail-mail boxes along the entrance road where one need only walk a small jaunt to pick up mail

Each time I take a stroll to pick up my mail I smile at the industrial looking boxes standing all in a row. They do the job well of keeping our mail safe but I always equate them to one-legged robot distributors. I miss my old mail boxes of Kentucky that always had an air of character about them. 

 Here are some examples of Kentucky mailboxes that I would see as I rode around enjoying the scenery.

Hand painted mailboxes were quite popular. 

One of the mail boxes above is my old Kentucky box which was located along a dirt road. A cow pasture was behind the boxes and I would often say hello to the cows if they were near my box.

A gathering of old Kentucky mailboxes above are  full of character. I often wonder if someday we will no longer see these old boxes along the roads as we travel. Do you think we will ever see the day when everything will be digital mail?

Friday, February 5, 2016


Has come to town 
With a yellow petticoat 
And a pretty green gown

Nature Report from Oregon. 

My first sign of spring -- daffodils -- February 4th -- rather early I would say. 
A true sign of hope that nature will perform her bountiful  pageantry again for us to enjoy. Sometimes winter just seems like it wants to stay forever. Are you always glad when you discover your first signs of spring?