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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 →
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 →
Long ago, alchemists concerned themselves with refining base materials like lead into substances with higher spiritual value, like gold. I argue that alchemists still lurk among us and that the alchemists are the plants.1 Plants take air and water, combine them using energy from the sun, and make a substance holding energy that powers life... Continue Reading →
Tikal, Guatemala According to an epic poem written more than 3000 years ago*, Gilgamesh, who was the ruler of Uruk, and his opponent-turned-best-friend, Enkidu, decided to destroy the Cedar Forest where humans were forbidden to enter. Gilgamesh and Enkidu, both of whom had super-human strength, traveled across seven mountains before they came to the forest.... 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 →
Last week I attended a symposium on Environmental Arts and Humanities. I listened with creeping discomfort as three speakers talked about “truth” as if it were subjective. One speaker talked about her research on photos, not what is in them, but what observers of the photos take away. These takeaways were the big feelings like... 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 →
ludic (adjective): (Of play) spontaneous and without purpose; (of behavior) undirected and spontaneously playful. I need the occasional ludic break to get through the day. Ludic is running through the park with a young son. Ludic is playing tug-of-war with the dog. Ludic is arranging blueberries on the rim of my plate; it’s humming or... Continue Reading →
Our weekend cabin is about a mile off the paved road. It has sunlight and wind, the music of two creeks, and a wood-fired hot-tub. It has indoor water and electric wiring. But it’s off-grid. Off-grid means complications for keeping a refrigerator cold (and I have sagas about our propane fridge.) Off-grid means a diesel... Continue Reading →
I slide open the window, the adrenaline shoots through my spine, and I reach out to put the first clip on my dripping shirt. I’m squeezing it so hard it will wrinkle. I put on a clip, and another, and another--six clips on one light shirt. With every new clip, I still grip the fabric... Continue Reading →
We arrived in the morning. We usually arrive the night before. We started the woodstove, and then put together beans and corn and olives and tomatoes and chili powder so they’d meld by dinnertime on the stove. My husband made us each a cup of coffee. It was still morning, after all, and there was... Continue Reading →
So many things were astonishing this past week, including a brilliant rainbow on our drive home from the cabin that was so close it was in front of the trees, but the Most Astonishing Award goes to a bushy-tailed woodrat. Bushy-taileds are incredibly cute. They have soft-looking fur that folds and parts like a chinchilla’s.... Continue Reading →
We got a hollow potato from the garden this afternoon. We’re pretty continuously reminded that we’re the guests out at our cabin. Bushy-tailed woodrats defy our live traps, but skitter in parts of the roof that shouldn’t exist (if we understand the construction). Mice leave droppings like the frost fairies left ice trails in Fantasia--and... Continue Reading →