NATURE 130% in June / Portland, OR.

Bloged in birding,Hummingbirds,Nature,Oregon,Pacific Northwest,Passerines by mark Monday June 4, 2012

I can’t imagine how brilliant writers have the day I had today and not make a complete NOVEL out of what tiny little nature things that walked/flew around this house.

1) Squirrels. Have born young, the young are no longer nursing, and are out in the “community of squirrels” (Eastern Fox, Eastern Gray Fox, Douglas **native)… They only localize off our rear deck because of the 8 bird feeding stations where seeds drop to the ground.

But ONCE in June when the young are no longer allowed to nurse, and are brought TO this feeding station, to learn the science of what their diet IS, they are so soon spurned and turned away, and chased away by vocalizing parents (and others)………that it’s a bit sad, but they learn they must go off and find their own “territory”….not uncommon in nature. **At least I’m happy they’re eating most of the dropped seed….to keep any mice/rats at bay.

2) DEER. ONCE A YEAR, Doe give birth to fawns…and just AS they do, they give their yearlings eviction notices. Only Once a year, the deer seem to disappear, then while Mom and baby are quietly hiding/nursing, the yearlings appear alone, seemingly a bit lost, and HUNGRY. Today! That happened a yearling buck walked right by our windows to the seed/log we just got……and relished in that find for about 5 minutes…when MAC realized there was an alien who he KNEW was going to destroy our civilization. The barking spooked the dear, but he was back soon SO hungry. It was a fabulous watch for 5 minutes….then he ambled up the side of the house toward the vegetable garden. WOOPS! I have NOT put that deer fence that goes up EVERY year June 1………….. I finally had to let him know I WAS in this “pasture”….and opened the window….he pranced quickly away.

***and of course NO photos……when I simply turned my shoulder, this askeered little deer immediately looked my direction……quiet and NO movement allowed this to happen. I had a great time.

BUT……..TONIGHT, JUST NOW, I spent 30 minutes watching him return to the SEED BLOCK 20 ft from the window…..dine to his hearts content….then amble to the front of the house for salad, aka, apple tree leaves….and I think he ate too much for MY comfort, and then graze in the pasture. THIS was a NATURE MOMENT of a lifetime……..beautiful young sleek native DEER!. Ah, Yes.

3) FLYING SQUIRRELS: After not seeing them for a couple weeks, was SO happy to see -4- of them at once last night in the feeder….seems like THEIR young are ALSO not nursed to completion, and, NO, we hadn’t love them, they’re back! HURRAY. AND it was FUN to see them comfortable 15′ from my chair dining at length.

4) OWLS. Yes, it’s their time too. JUST Thursday, on the dog hike, I was a bit ahead of the group, and SAW a barred owl, very close, FLY in front of me, turn and land on a branch not 100′ away……she watched us…until the group got close and flew further……. End of story? NO! On the weekend, group member Arnie ran into the scientist doing the wildlife count this month for Forest Park, fabulous John Deshler (google him)….. and John not only showed him that very NEST that I was SO close to) but sent him photos of the chicks his nature photog Scott Carpenter had taken.

I am SO thrilled to NOW be able to not just walk the dog, but go check on the progress of the 4 little owlets………….

5) Oregon Juncos. These poor little bottom of the food chain birds NEST IN THE LAWN or on the ground…..SO defenseless…..almost EVERY year we get ONE….we found one, she had five eggs. NOW, 2 are hatched doing well (today), one egg/young disappeared, and should be 2 more tomorrow or……. AND yes, we protect them by putting a tomato cage around that lawn spot…..that is not touched or mowed until the young are fledged:

6) RAIN. Yep, it’s becoming the Junuary I hate……….I HAD to put sluggo on the borders of the garden near the lettuce…..who knows…….and snow levels will get down to 3500′ tonight…… We will know Wednesday……..

What an exciting 2012 THIS is starting out to be…………I had a nature day I’ll never forget.

Fall Ends. Winter Begins…. Bye Fall.

Bloged in Fall,Nature,Oregon,Pacific Northwest,Portland by mark Tuesday November 22, 2011

Fall went on a respectfully long time it seems across much of the country. We kept snapping pics because fall colors have never been so brilliant so long.

But with the first REAL winter RAINS in the forecast, and most leaves exiting the trees, I grabbed the android a couple days ago to snap a few “bye” pics around the place or on the trail to say “bye” to our unusual fall. **pic quality suffered a bit** it was foggy in places.

**I can COUNT the last Gravenstein apples left (4). All that fell have fed deer & coyotes. These last four are feeding birds….I love it:

I am quite sure it’s birds….. squirrels would have pulled too hard and they’d have fallen. This is delicate eating:

But, at least the Granny Smith tree is now about ripe. A pie in December?

Once again, as in the spring post, at the top of the trail, we start down Dave’s little road….the leaves WERE SO THICK I took the mower / bagger to them twice in the last 2 weeks. This is what was left 2 days ago….the leaves are almost ALL gone off the tree today:

Then on to Arnie’s stretch of the trail where several perfectly healthy Vine Maples seem to enjoy their warm quilt of MOSS:

At the bottom, I’ve mentioned the mammothly tall cedar…here’s looking up from the bottom…to PROVE it IS alive. What’s interesting, the top 40 feet of this tree sits ABOVE those branches as dead as can be…and serves as a feeding/calling post for EVERY woodpecker in the area:

MOSS! IT WAS a rather cool summer, not too dry . . .so the MOSS has hung on….can you imagine what this will look like in the spring?

MORE MOSS….it’s beautiful right now:

And some of it’s LONG:

And as you walk BY the MOSSY branches, the leaves on the trail make a lovely carpet:

If you’re in the right place, thin branches look good under moss:

The Newton Fire Lane ……

One of the first markers one reaches from OUR starting point is this old growth tree with MilePost 25 1/4 on it. This means you are 25 miles from the Wildwood trail start in MacCleay Park downtown:

Just this week, as some wind began prior to this incoming BIG storm, three week thin trees came down…. IN a park like THIS, they don’t leave much of a mark:

One Ravine view is a natural pic place….taken by one of the few OLD growth Fir trees left after the 1940′s logging:

A Fall Trail view;

Trail view 2:

And on to beginning a few things for the weekend dining……………..

Sauteed Sprouts….stir-fried w/onion/garlic/brown sugar / touch of peppers & soy, YUM:

Roasted Asparagus:

Tomorrow…..Winter Garden Salad, Rodger’s Pies, and more and more.

Tis the season for family and friends.

Nancy’s Beautiful Pic of the Owyhee Mtn Range Malheur County, Oregon !! MY HOME!

Bloged in Oregon,Vale, OR by mark Saturday December 25, 2010

Fabulous cousin Nancy Purvine & Bruce have been with us for Christmas. WHEN I GET TIME, I intend to post some her Oregon pics that were taken exactly where we grew up….SE Oregon Desert and Ranch country.

Here’s ONE example of DESERT BEAUTY………place like this are gems we spent many days as kids exploring, having a fabulous time:

***EMBIGGEN to feel the grandeur of high desert beauty.

ONE THING I DO MISS here in the rain forest is that BIG SKY FEEL a desert easily provides……. I truly HAD forgotten how grand the place was that I grew up in. AT the very bottom of the deepest canyons in this pic, the Owyhee River flows……..

When we return from the to do list ahead, I’ll try to post some more.

Thanks, Nancy!

ANOTHER RAIN wave inbound! NO no no

Bloged in Oregon,Pacific Northwest by mark Tuesday June 8, 2010

Another wet rain front stretching across the pacific is due in tonight and is to last THROUGH the day tomorrow. It APPEARS I’ll be covering tomato plants once again, and hope all those new starts I planted Saturday, and survived Sunday’s flood, CAN make it through one more storm.

Just in case I’ve been wrong all these years, I’m invoking all magic potions I used to have. I’ve put on my magic Mormon underwear, grabbed a daisy, and have been praying here for two days:

IT WAS SO beautiful yesterday and will be most of today, I’m hoping things will dry enough and get enough sunshine radiation they’ll simply BELIEVE life will get better. At LEAST I didn’t plant the corn yet….those starts are all still sitting in the little mini grn house.

IF this next one only lasts one day, I have promised to come out from seclusion, return to normal garb and begin behaving properly.

On a positive note, DRY WARM seasonal weather is forecast for SEVERAL days in a row beginning FRIDAY…..I cannot WAIT! Hope springs eternal. I’m just a cockeyed optimist……or so it seems, despite the repeated rain that’s now in the record books. We’ve had nearly 8 inches in the last week….normal would be less than 2. Streams on the hillside are running FULL.

On another positive note: I checked Momma Junco in the Smiths’ lawn…….they are now proud grandparents to 4 baby juncos. Lovely momma would not even FLY off the nest when I checked now that they’ve hatched. Very cute.

OKAY…..now to get the pre-storm stuff done once again: mow two lawns, cover water walls, slug bait, housework, exercise dog (walk and maybe a swim?), and today?………

**Caulking in our kitchen sink has failed, but hero neighbor plumber friend Eran is coming over this pm to really repair everything the way it should have been installed in the first place. HE is a GREAT guy, we’re just learning how lucky we are to have him as neighbor. He’s lived there over a year, but we’re just now getting acquainted. He’s the guy gave us the whole fresh salmon last winter……

So, here we go….as I watch momma woodpecker feeding yet ANOTHER NEW baby….I have NEVER seen so many woodpeckers since we moved here. YEA!

Woops…planted too soon AGAIN!

Bloged in Oregon,Pacific Northwest,Scuff Boys by mark Monday June 7, 2010

As of last friday, forecasts said:
1) Fabulous Saturday!
2) Sunday….some rain, maybe 1/3 inch.
3) Good Monday – Tuesday.

We got up after a week of rain and Rodger having to set up, manage a science conference and in our sun-blinded world, took off for Tillamook, OR. on the pretense to buy Tillamook Cheese Curds at the famous creamery:

That drive also means a climb over the coastal summits and down through the beautiful Tillamook Nat’l Forest along the deep, blue, mighty Wilson River….FULL of rapids for this dog Mac’s thrilling adventures. One of the many beautiful Oregon drives. We did NOT take a current spring high-water pic, but here’s one place we always stop…if you look at this pic, look at the big rocks to the left….NOW the water is 2/3 up those rocks, MUCH higher with all this rain:

Another spot is much wider, with deep channels and always gorgeous (another old pic…..last fall, not so green):

IN any river that flows fast and deep like this, Mac sometimes gets SO happy he simply swims in circles barking as loud as he can the whole time…it’s just a joy to watch. At one point near here, he got caught in fast rapids and almost disappeared way downstream before we got his attention back long enough for him to “wake” up from his trance.

On to Tillamook Creamery where we immediately were in line to get our free samples of EVERY kind of cheese they make. We are NOT salesmen for Tillamook cheese OTHER THAN their cheddars. Their Aged White Extra-Sharp Cheddar can’t be beat. Once we’d bagged all out curds, salami, sausages, etc., we got in line for the Ice Cream Cones:

Finally! We were done, and on our way back up into the coastal mountains and a stop at Alice’s Restaurant:

This classic old American diner is consistently very good for Burgers, Fries etc. IF one wants a bit more up-scale American Diner Wonderful food, stop at COLEMAN’s 9N near Gales Creek. That’s unforgettable.

WHAT A GREAT DAY!

Oh well. We got home to a fabulous sunny afternoon. Mark was so moved, he dug everything out of the mini greenhouse, planted it in the garden, put out Sluggo, fed all the birds, refilled hummer feeders, and was pretty proud of himself.

We were awakened about 0400 Sunday morning by heavy rain that continued non-stop until 1400…………10 hours! I’m afraid to go out and look at the garden this morning. I know ONE THING……if the big plants die this time, most of it becomes a flower garden for this year. Please, oh dear, Rain God, (Whoever you are), go back to sleep!

portlands quirky

Bloged in Oregon,Political,Portland by mark Thursday November 19, 2009

From our local independent paper, the Willamette Week, this letter was printed. It is an unromanticized, rather honest tiny description of the economic vacuum that exists here. IF you lived here, you’d be laughing seriously, if that’s possible:

A Great Place To Live (And Die)

That was a fine article on Portland and WW in the last 3 1/2 decades. It looks like you’ll soon be replacing The Oregonian as Portland’s primary daily. I think Bud Clark and Sam Adams typify Portland’s quirky image—not dirty like Chicago, or wealthy like Manhattan, but funny like Disneyland. It occasionally wants to be taken seriously as a fashion-forward environmentalist’s utopia, or a place where real industry would come, but in the end, its Willamette is no better than Kucinich’s burning Cuyahoga, its infrastructure is crumbling, and its leaders are too busy chasing (underage) tail to care.

Portland is now, a great weekend trip for a family from Seattle or San Francisco, a hip town for slackers looking to score meth and beg for money on the street corners, and probably the quintessential locale for upscale California retirees to move to, buy a dog and a condo, live for a few years, and then die. The truth is we have no real industries except for health care and hospice. When it’s time to pull the plug on Grannie, you want to do it here.

Mark Kraschel,
Portland

Fall Nature changes

Bloged in birding,Fall,Nature,Oregon,Pacific Northwest by mark Thursday October 29, 2009

Just yesterday, MID-DAY, I was out getting ready to run the mower with the leaf bagger attached……yep, it’s THAT time, and it WAS a dry afternoon. (I was able to completely finish covering the veggie garden under 6-8 inches of mulched dead leaves:
1veggrdnrest2008

But other things have been seen this week…..as FALL season really takes hold.

1) The BARRED OWL who took up residence here last year was calling loudly and regularly yesterday…..followed by some doggie barks. It went on and on for at least 10-15 minutes. I could look at the direction it all came from, but it was hidden in the forest/mist. The call of this bird, is pretty fun, and the bird is gorgeous. Here’s a little u-tube video from Canada …… It is much like the bird we watched last fall from our deck:

**all those other callers are here always: jays, crows, etc. It was a nice nature day, yesterday.

2) For the first time in 13 years, I watched a Momma Eastern Fox Squirrel………
1easternfoxSciurus_niger_(on_fence)

…….take a much smaller juvenile around the yard teaching him what to eat. They would stop, she’d fuss over a cone, drop it, and look at him. He was SO VERY cute…half the body size she was, with a tail as big as an adult. He kept throwing it up over his body, and it would cover him. It was SO cool to watch.

3) I began a dog walk a couple days ago, and right along Skyline where the vista was sky-wide, a gathering of at least several hundred geese were flying in one ragged formation….. by the time they had all flown by, they had nearly covered the part of the sky visible to me. As I gloated about how fabulous it was to live in a place so close to a bird refuge that you could SEE things like this, the thunderous sound of shotguns rang out from 4-8 miles away down on the island. DAMN! I had forgotten the bird hunting begins Oct thru April….JUST when the migrations happen. I wasn’t so happy after that.

4) the Home-made suet post is back, and is an immediate success. The beautiful Northern Flickers……………..
1northern-flicker-red-shafted-form-at-nest-_H2D0367-Kamloops,-British-Columbia
……………that we put that post up for, seem to have been waiting for it all summer. There were TWO out there fighting for position just today. Within this one week, all favorites have returned to feeding there: First, America’s smallest woodpecker the so little Downy Woodpecker:
1px-Downy_Woodpecker-Male
…..the Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, and surprise: The Ruby Crowned Kinglet showed up yesterday:
1Ruby-crowned_Kinglet
**Actually not the one above, this pic is a male….poor females can’t show off that much color when trying to nest….we had a female visitor yesterday.

I DO wonder if all these fun birds show up and love the suet because of our secret ingredient they never find in nature: some peanut butter!

note: NO, the bird pictures were web borrowed ….. I have none that show the detail these would show……… How can you NOT love getting to know the Avian Animals that live near you?

the clock ticks to arthroscopy

Bloged in General Home Life,Nature,Oregon,Pacific Northwest,Portland by mark Monday September 14, 2009

I’ve tried to be as productive as I can counting down to surgery hour on Thursday. The garden’s getting thinned and cleaned up, with many tomatoes STILL awaiting the tummy……… the border is sure beautiful with sunflowers, and my favorite is always the Teddy Bear Sunflower:
1tedbearflr

The last TWO weekends, we spent in Parkdale at the fabulous Double-Wide Ranch with hosts John & Toni….and the first w/e included Linda & Gary. Just being with these friends is reward enough, but there WAS a purpose… 2-3 cords of Pear Wood were needing to be cleared off the property, and WE were the buyers. We borrowed Nancy M’s trailer, and we’re off for Columbia Gorge on a rather damp Saturday morning:
1gorgefog

Parkdale is such a gorgeous place. Sitting on the North/East side of Oregon’s most famous volcanic mountain, Mt Hood. It’s part of the Mt Hood Forest Region. It’s beauty catches your gaze from any direction you can see it. This one’s from the front window of Toni & John’s living room:
1mthoodsep
THIS day, the rain was barely clearing, showing some of the first snow on the lower slopes.

We weren’t there long before the group wanted to do some hiking. We had Mr. Mac with us and gimpy Mark, so chose an easier trail that led to Tamanawas Falls…..

That’s another fabulous part of the forested Oregon regions, they’re full of trails……. Within 15 minutes, we would begin the hike by crossing Cold Creek, a cold stream hosting migrations of Coho & Steelhead:
1bridgecoldcreek
And in the two mile climb/hike, MAC found PLENTY of deeper watering holes to find his life’s most exotic pleasures, swimming in fast currents:
1swimmac
ALWAYS exciting to watch (and anyone on the trail who passed would stop and watch), THIS dog gets SO excited in rapids, he howls, spins, jumps, swims….without stopping. Occasionally he lets himself drift to the side so he can jump excitedly BACk into the fray… these moments, are unarguably pure ecstasy for him:
1swimmac2

With Mac, our climb was slower and that’s okay with Mark…we were surprised to find our group catch up with us on the trail:
1kids
They’d changed their minds about which trail to go on, so joined us for awhile before they took a fork to the right which stretched the hike for another 3-4 miles.

Almost every turn seemed to be a rich beautiful wondrous photo op:
1
It was a lovely trail following along this beautiful small river.

We all soon arrived at the destination falls, just one of hundreds in the Oregon rain forests:
1tfalls

After the hike back, we met back at the cabin where wood was loaded, we prepared a “family” meal, settled into an evening of puzzle mysteries:
1puzzle
Followed by “movie of the night”……….

What a memorable weekend………………… repeated again THIS weekend where we moved another small load of wood to our front driveway…..it’s “dumped” there and will await spare moments for Rodger to move into a woodshed and stack, and after 3-4 weeks, Mark will be stacking his share.

So Thursday begins at a surgeon’s office 0630 for prep, surgery at 0800, and out by 0930. Then 4-6 weeks recovery, therapy, and hopefully, “indian summer” so we get everything winterized early.

Ah, what memories that hiking day was.

Jan 2. Sunrise after a night of rain, ice then snow.

Bloged in General Home Life,Oregon,Pacific Northwest,Portland,Scuff Boys by mark Tuesday January 6, 2009

Jan 1 at 10:30 pm it was 45 out and raining. It had been raining ALL day. Flood warning were posted for many rivers from East Portland to the Coast.

By 11:30, things began freezing up and sleet began pouring down. It became freezing rain.

By 12:00 pm, it was a snowstorm.

We awoke to a solid blue sky sunrise. It was spectacular on the crusted snow.
yard

Every look was like a painting;
firstcied
The Big tall fir out front is in questionable shape even now. The weight of the ice and snow have forced the limbs downward:
frontfirice
**TODAY I dragged two big broken branches from underneath that tree to the edge of the yard for pruning. SO. They haven’t recovered yet.

The house looks buried (what IS this, Alaska?)
housewno2

The previous night, there was enough rain to make a little lake at the corner of the berm…that morning, it was quite exotic:
iceepond

We made the best of it. A warm fire at nights, cooked Lasagna is here, Chili Verde, etc etc. Yum………………………………….

By now, Tuesday, all of that has washed out since that morning. NOW? We begin a round of flooding rain. The forecast calls for a 55 degree day tomorrow……… Interesting winter so far. With flooding rains coming, we’re hoping to avoid a landslide off the back side of the property.

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