Stinging nettles—yowch! See those glassy hairs on the stems? They break off if you touch them, pushing histamine, serotonin, acetylcholine, and several types of acids into your skin, and giving you—“nettles.” At first it stings, then you might get welts where they went in, and then they begin to itch, an insistence that may come... Continue Reading →
Nudge Me Back to Center
During COVID, I shied away from people. I knew what to do, but just didn't get that nudge.
Tell Me About Your Rescue Dog
Tell me about your rescue dog. Tell me about your pandemic experience. I’ll tell you about my fridge. Tell me about the fort you made from pillows and sheets as a kid. Tell me about the time you made an entire meal from new recipes, trying to make it special. Tell me about your favorite... Continue Reading →
Dancing Forks and Cheese Fondue on Valentine’s Day
Our Valentine's Day tradition started on a whim, but took on meaning of its own--I think.
Sometimes a Girl Wants . . . An Infrared Thermometer
My IR thermometer: it's like I purchased a new sense, something beyond color, smell, and feel.
Coming Up Flowers
My esoteric ticks that take me into the woods in winter.
Waiting for Coho
There’s a truly absurd play in which two people sit on chairs waiting for Godot to show up. We wonder why they are waiting or if he will show. Spoiler alert, he doesn’t. Sometimes that’s what it feels like to wait for the salmon--the chinook and the coho--to appear. I walk along the bank to... Continue Reading →
A Memorial Party for My Brother Charlie
These stories went from somewhere to somewhere else. And now released, they spin into the lives of those who brought them back and those who sat and listened.
The Raggedy Months of the Year–and Joy beyond Grief
Last weekend at the cabin, everything was raggedy: trees were down, nothing was blooming, appliances were acting up, and roads, boots, ditches, and even our faces were running with cold rain. But, or, as Butt the Hoopoe says in Salman Rushdie’s playful Haroun and the Sea of Stories, “but but but.” But but but for... Continue Reading →
Why Do Maples put Sugar in the Sap in Winter?
[Note--here is a webinar I made on this topic, plus how to make maple syrup.] You may know I’m a tree physiologist and that my research has been in how a plant gets water to go up the tree, but it wasn’t until I started making maple syrup that I started thinking about maple sap.... Continue Reading →
Make Maple Syrup–or Your Equivalent
How we make maple syrup from bigleaf maples in Oregon and why we even consider it, when it's a lot of work for the syrup we get!
Weeds Happen, Part 2
I like our little tractor, a lot, although I like what it does more than I like operating it. All the bits about pre-warming the coils and managing controls in the right order unnerve me. There are clutches, hand-levers, and foot pedals for going forward or backward, going fast or slow, lifting (or dropping) the... Continue Reading →
Weeds Happen, Part 1
I have to grease our little tractor. That means I have to skootch on my back, grease gun in one hand and manual in the other. I will concentrate on my three hopes: That the tractor won’t roll. I know it won’t because it can’t: it’s parked on the level and has both of its... Continue Reading →
The Flowers That Bloom in July, Tra La—and Why We Monitor Them
With our monitoring of first flowering date, we have a feeling of belonging to the world, rather than resistance to it; of concordance, rather than shock.
Back Then, We Had Stubbed Toes
Letter to my boyfriend after my junior year of college. I had just returned to California for the summer from Pennsylvania by Greyhound bus, May 29, 1977. My kids don’t know what a stubbed toe, a stubbed heel, or a scraped knee is, really. They understand the concept, but they aren’t even sure how you’d... Continue Reading →
Springs, Harmonic Motion, and the Zen of Recording First Flowering Date
Some time last year, the plants around our cabin started grabbing atoms from the air and soil. They jammed them together, then used solar energy to stick them into molecules that were no longer gas or liquid, but were solid. For the rest of the growing season, the plants doled out those molecules to whatever... Continue Reading →
Poison Oak: In It Up to My Elbows
When I chose to study the ecology of western poison oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum, also known as Rhus diversiloba), I knew I would have to learn how to minimize the risk of “getting poison oak” and of causing other people to get it (11, 12, 13, 14). Here I describe the nature and seriousness of the... Continue Reading →
Poison Oak: A Beautiful Plant “of Noe Very Ill Nature”
[Please also see my blog on how I worked with poison oak and my webinar--starts at 51:00--on poison oak.] Chorus frogs are peeping, the trillium blooms have turned from white to purple, and leaves of all the deciduous plants are bursting forth in an orchestrated unfolding, filling, and spreading. And among the most beautiful displays... Continue Reading →
Adventures in Hack-and-Squirt: True Confessions of an Occasional Herbicider
I am writing about herbicide here, and I am aware that my discussion may alienate some people, and yet I believe that in some circumstances when managing lands, herbicides are the best alternative. Note, however, that I’m not an expert on this. My brief statement of support for the sparing use of for herbicides in... Continue Reading →
Who Goes There? Reflections on What We Don’t Know and Therefore Miss
Who goes there? I am usually too ignorant to even know someone is passing by. And when I do pay attention, I am astonished to learn the extent of transit, variety of travelers, and breadth of cargo that moves in my neighborhood. I live near a residential home for women in rehabilitation, and I see... Continue Reading →