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 →
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. The sap we collect comes out of the wood, and it has sugar in it.... Continue Reading →
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!
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 →
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 →
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.
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 is poison oak. Its buds open to crimson or red leaves that uncrinkle and spread. They stop at a... Continue Reading →
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? 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 →