Monday, June 30, 2008


And the living is easy...

The beautiful summer morning sun was shining in the dining room this morning, lighting up the sunflowers I bought over the weekend--they are one of Nancy's favorites and who doesn't like them? Saturday was like an August day in Oregon--100 F and dry as a bone. Laundry on the line dried in 15 minutes.

Sunday was supposed to be the same, but it clouded up early and afternoon and evening thunderstorms cooled things off--very unusual for us. Today was warm, sunny, and in the afternoon, smokey. Must be a forest fire, or more likely valley grass field burning.

Finally, after a long and very cool spring, I think summer is here. This is why we live in Oregon! Maybe it's why people stayed--that, or it was too much to turn around and go back, so make the most of what is here.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Sheryl's Voice

No wonder the Crow family is distraught. Listen to Sheryl. You won't be able to see her, but her caw is the one that sounds a bit like a duck that's crying. Of course, it is Oregon...

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sheryl Crow the Survivor

Pictured left, Sheryl in the grass strip by the road, feeding on some sort of bug.

Well, I have no idea how she pulled it off, but there was Sheryl on our roof, then our neighbor's tree, then in his yard eating bugs, then across the street in the tree, etc., etc. I walked across the street to take Sheryl's picture while she was eating.

As I approached I thought I saw a faint glimmer of recognition in her eye, but, along came Russell and Mom, cawing and dive-bombing me, so Sheryl flapped up to a roof. Then she managed to fly all the way across the street--a good 35 feet and back into our neighbor's tree. It's easy to follow her now--she has a very distinctive sort of warbling and tentative caw...

Nancy thinks Sheryl is not exactly the brightest beak on the block if you get my drift.

Pictured to the left: Sheryl takes refuge on our neighbor's roof before flapping to a nearby tree. Ma and Russell Crow, watching over Sheryl's attempts to fly.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Survival of the Fit, or, What's a Mother to Do?

Pictured to the left, Sheryl just before she left our charge on Monday
A seemingly quiet Saturday afternoon until a sudden outburst of raucous cawing. Nancy looked out the window and there was Sheryl Crow in a branch of our neighbor's Douglas-fir. She flew down to the ground amid much cawing. Nancy figured, fine, she's learned to fly and everything is OK. Hmmm, she figured too soon. Sheryl, with parents cawing like crazy, took to the air and managed to get as far as the next neighbor's house where she landed in a clay flower pot...right in front of a cat! The parents went ballistic, zooming around and buzzing Nancy, who was on the sidewalk, and the cat, Wilbur/Too, whichever. I scared the cat away and scared Sheryl into a shrub. I think it's time for Darwin to take over...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Caring for the Land and Serving People II

It's been a good 10 days with 3 different field trips. Wednesday found me at the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest, just east of Blue River, Oregon on the McKenzie-Blue River Ranger District of the Willamette National Forest. The Andrews is a flagship forest of the Experimental Forest and Range System and I'm lucky enough to administer it from my program at work.

The other day was the annual open house--this year about 140 people showed up for a day of field tours and talks about the research and land management that goes on in and around the Andrews. Still lots of people talking at people, but in a spectacular old-growth setting.

I've experimented a lot with photos of hardhats in focus and out. Lots of people don't like them, but I think they are colorful and fun and they are a part of our safety program--PPE we call them. Can't do without acronyms or abbreviations, this time Personal Protective Equipment...

Monday, June 16, 2008

All's Well That Ends Well...

Sheryl survived the night, as we found out at about 4:45 this morning when she croaked (verbally) and her parents started cawing and urging her on. With much encouragement from her parents over the course of the day, Sheryl went from bush to the roof of our house where she spent, according to Nancy (reporter on the scene) most of the day wandering up and down trying to figure out what to do. Finally she flapped her way over to the garage roof and sat there for a while. Parents came and went, cawing and demonstrating how to move up in the tree over the garage. Finally, she flapped to the tree, moved up and then...Well, we don't know for sure. I went into the alley to check our garden, the parents went nuts, diving and cawing, and then Sheryl was gone. She isn't in the yard so we assume that she made it into a big Douglas-fir that we believe hosts the nest. The cawing has stopped. All is well. That's one lucky fledgling.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Help Me! Help Me!

Sheryl Crow came to visit today after deciding to please her father, Russell, by showing him, on Fathers' Day, how well she could fly. Unfortunately, Sheryl can't really fly yet so she spent the day in our bushes with her family circling overhead, calling instructions and encouragement. Crow families are pretty cool.

Nancy and I joined in on the encouragement side, hoping to convince her that she could fly so she would stop relieving herself on our steps. She spent part of the day on the window ledge, not a great place to be as our cats love to sit in the window. I helped her go back to the shrubs with the aid of a broom--she hopped on it when I thrust it at her--and with a little Outward Bound sort of encouragement.

At one point, Wilbur/Too, the cat from down the street (we don't know whether he is Wilbur or Too) came to visit and the Crow family rallied with Russell dive-bombing Wilbur/Too and driving him away. That Russell, always reprising his roles.

Sheryl is bedded down for the night in our camellia, but the family is still overhead. We will see what tomorrow brings--Sheryl reunited with her family, or ...

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Caring for the Land and Serving People...

...the motto of the Forest Service. I spent two days outside this week instead of Caring for the Land and Serving People from Windowless Conference Rooms.

Wednesday was a field trip about Wild and Scenic rivers. We spent some time looking at the Outstanding Remarkable Values (ORV, that's what makes a Wild and Scenic River protected by law) of the White Salmon and Klickitat rivers. Condit dam, not one of the ORVs, is slated for removal next year. An osprey circled overhead at the reservoir behind the dam.

Then a day on the Wallowa Whitman National Forest, north of Enterprise, Oregon. The ponderosa pine stands make a great foreground for the Eagle Cap Wilderness and Wallowa Mountains in the distance. The wildflowers were out in all their glory.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

They Don't Call Us the Rose City for Nothing...

This weekend started the Rose Festival in Portland. Lots of goings-on including parades, races, dispays, and port visits by the US and Canadian Navies and the US Coast Guard. Floats decorated with lots of beautiful flowers, however, a lot of roses in the parade came from growers in South America. Harumph!

We met up with our friend Anne and toured the waterfront, although we didn't wait in line to see the US or Canadian Navy--actually, the Canadian Navy wasn't accepting visitors. The US Navy was, if you submitted to a search. Lots of security around our Navy--none around the Canadians or the Coast Guard. Big displays from the Army trying to enlist people--$40,000 cash to enlist and $70,000 in college benefits. The price of a life, I guess.

We did see the only remaining functional PT boat, although, as you can see in the picture, it's not actually in the water, but on a barge. That's OK by me as the only functional PT sailors are about 85-90 years old and it's pretty amazing that their props are still spinning...

We also saw a T Rex on a float. It doesn't make it into Ronna's BIG Things class, in my opinion, and it had only a half-hearted effort at being anatomically correct...

And we saw Limey's --a British food booth at the Saturday/Sunday Market--the only food booth with no line. The Banger Rolls were, well, hot.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Looking Up Trees

Not on Google, but actually looking up the boles can lead to some pretty neat images I think. First I had to get used to not looking through the viewfinder. Just put the camera on the trunk and fire away.

Focus does cool things too, like catching lichens on the trunk and making the tops look like they have ornaments hanging in them.

Monday, June 2, 2008

More on Lassie and Wind River...

Lassie: Bark Bark! Bark Bark!
Corey: What? Timmy's in the Well?
Lassie: No Timmy's not in the well, in fact, Timmy's not even on the show Mr. Ranger Man, Bambi's eating the damned Douglas-fir seedlings! Those seedlings belong to the taxpayers! Get your rifle Corey, it's venison tonite!

I couldn't find a video of Fury at Wind River, but here's our girl running across a field with an intact Mt. St. Helens in the background (although there aren't any Douglas-fir in the picture). I also found this picture, obviously off-camera, with Lassie showing her true colors: I'll do anything for a dog bone!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Fury at Wind River!

I was at a meeting at the Hemlock Training Center on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest the other day. It's a beautiful building, built in 1937 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, a tremendous FDR program in the depression--see the picture to the left.

During the 1960's, the TV series Lassie--or at least the intro and a few scenes--was filmed at the Gifford Pinchot. One particularly exciting episode, Fury at Wind River, is described in the series synopsis as follows:"Fury at Wind River" (12/03/67):Deer are eating seedling trees that will be used for watershed, so the rangers plan to move them across the river to a nature preserve. But when Lassie tries to help one deer family, they meet with unexpected dangers, including an almost drowned fawn.

Now there is some excitement, eh? Deer eating tree seedlings. Lassie helping a deer family. Why would anyone prefer Sex in the City or The Sopranos to a deer family eating Douglas-fir?

Here's a shot of the "Lassie House" as it's known on the Gifford Pinchot. I didn't see any collies near by, but I did see some deer. Probably the great-great-great-great-great-great grand fawn of the one saved by Lassie.