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 →
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 →
Logging our Land: My Mental Journey
I had to own it. We were cutting down 60- and 70-year-old alder, Douglas-fir, bigleaf maple and a few hemlocks and western redcedars, and as we did that, we’d be killing a lot of whatever else lived there in the forest--ferns, lilies, meadow rue, baneberry, and non-green things that couldn’t fly or crawl away. Who... Continue Reading →
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!