first pics 001

This is O’Neill on what used to be his favorite perch: the cable box. It gave out a gentle heat that felt good on chilly days. However, I noticed over the last few months not only was he not using it, pretty much no one else was ever even watching tv anymore. So today it went back to the cable provider, cutting one more monthly bill from the pack. I am culling the herd, picking off the weak dik-diks, and the cable was an easy one. (The VCR beneath it is gone too.) We have apple tv for Netflix, PBS and youtube, and computers for local news, plus radio. It won’t be a huge savings since we didn’t get the basic expanded package with all the HGTV, TLC and Food Network channels anyhow, but it is money not going out. Of course it will still go out, just on something else, rising food prices, college fees etc, there is always something. But at least it won’t be for something that mainly was just giving the time and warming the cat. (Don’t think he is going without though, now his favorite spot in underneath the comforters, all snuggled up nice and warm.)


Catching pieces of spring

rocks by wildflower loop trail

Snow is still clinging to much of the ground here, but occasionally I come upon a spot that has caught a piece of the spring sky and is holding it tight. It give the ground a bit of color that is otherwise delayed by the cold temperatures we have had this past month. But wait! There is a sap-sicle on the tree! It must mean the sap is rising, though probably not the way maple syrup producers would have liked. They need cold night and warm days starting weeks ago for a good syrup season. This sap-sicle is from squirrels scraping through the bark to access the sweet sap just below.

3-28-2014_003The squirrels may feel the advent of spring, but old man chiminea just seems weary of the long, cold winter.

He is sunk in dreams of warmer days.

old man chiminea


Trying to guess

rev of geo

Wondering about what is going to happen next  in Ukraine? Or wherever else in the world events will seem to suddenly burst into the news with startling upheaval? Kaplan’s book can give you a good foundation for explaining how geography can play a major role in how countries act and react. In days past nations had natural geographic features that acted as their boundaries, but even though we can now obliterate each other from outer space geographical features still matter. We all want buffers, hence locking doors our doors at night, so do nations. Some just have better ones than others, and those who don’t feel insecure. This is a good book to explain some aspects of various nations behavior towards their neighbors, though it is always more complex than just one thing. Which brings me to:

anyway you slice itWonder why some countries seem to be constantly veering between one crisis to another? It can be easily explained in this book about rationing. The important thing to know is that there will always be those who end up living on little and others who take more than they need. Recently on the news a reporter was interviewing someone in California about the drought and what it would mean for our supermarket shelves. His reply was that it wouldn’t have much of an impact because we would just import more food from “abroad”. Ahhh, the famous elsewhere of “abroad”, where the flash of cash will end up resulting in scarcity for those who live there. Food production is a matter of national security worldwide, and it is good to keep in mind that Ukraine was once called the breadbasket of the USSR. Maybe it is a land grab based on geographical insecurity or maybe food production down the line, or even a smoke screen for something else entirely. But if you are curious, and can’t set aside the days to read one of the many voluminous “History of Russia” books, these can give you a little glimpse and some thought-provoking insights. And not just for Russia, but for other countries too, as the topics relate to the world at large. (And they aren’t depressing to read.)

Gnoking creativity

(This is a ; & a ) post, enjoy!)


I wonder what was said when the painter of the art in Lascaux showed his tribe what he had been doing all that time in the cave. Do you suppose he heard;

“Gnok! Is this what you spend your days on while the rest of us are hard at work mastodon chasing?”,


“Those beasts are the wrong shape!”.

Not to mention, what strange looks the first human received when they tapped out a beat around the campfire, or told the very first joke. Was there an awkward silence? Did the tribe get it, or shun them?

I shudder to think about what befell the first mime!

(A little levity to start your week off with a chuckle!)




Spring training

spring trainingIt is that time of year, the mud squelches under my feet, the wind has a softer touch, small flowers start to appear. The long-awaited season of spring arrives, that brief interlude between cold and black fly season when working outdoors is possible.All in all though I like spring, much as I like the other seasons, each has a special flavor that is unto itself and can’t be replicated. Sure occasionally there will be a spring like winter day, or a touch of fall in the summer, but generally they are anomalies that serve to highlight how quickly the seasons slide by. This year I am anxious to get out and hit the trails or sidewalks, to see what freshness the season has on show. I will limber myself up to be ready. Even mud will be no barrier, though I might need a pair of wellies to keep my feet dry. Just the anticipation of spring causes a sort of giddiness not generally seen outside of the teenage years. Yesterday was spring’s official opening day, and it was picture perfect.  I am not put off by the forecast of snow or cold at this point, the snowbanks have receded to crusty piles and the sap is starting to run. I know in my heart spring is near.


Taking off

cold swimThe cold morning I was out and about in Portland felt like the only block of time I have been able to focus on something other than the labyrinthian  process of college selection and the financial aid process. It has been consuming so much time with seemingly little in the way of results, which makes it feels like even more drudgery. As the first bird prepares to leave the nest, maybe all the necessary paperwork is designed to make the final departure feel like nothing in comparison! As I stood along the edge of the breakwater and watched the birds coming and going it allowed me the chance to just look and take in the scene. Nothing else was calling for my attention, it was just the dawn, the birds and lowly me. It was too cold to linger, so I savored it while I could.