Pot of Gold

We spent the week cutting thick bramble runners and digging out bramble roots with a pickaxe, raking and digging and smoothing the ground, enduring the amusement of neighbors who came by offering their supplies of Round-up herbicide. Like any simple problem left unattended for too long, the bramble roots ran deep and the thorny vines…

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Seeing Through Tortoiseshell Glasses

Trade in tortoiseshell – or more properly, sea turtle shell – was banned in 1977 under the conservation treaty known as CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Beloved for thousands of years as a natural thermoplastic for everything from hair combs to furniture inlay, turtle shell in…

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Weaving a New Mantle

Moving at a glacial pace is how we’ve always described something so sluggish as to be practically immobile. Geological time is what we sometimes say when we talk about things that take forever to occur, at least when using the yardstick of human life spans. The Earth’s mantle, that layer between the outer core of…

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Some Favorite Meadows

Well, it’s one of those days. I had a lovely post all completed and ready to go, something about a cool gadget, and it’s been swallowed whole by the ethers (the post, not the gadget). It’s a mystery. I can recreate it, but it will take more time than I have available right now. So…

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Memory and Reunion

A few days ago, the Colorado River flowed into the Gulf of California for the first time in twenty years. The pulse flow, a one-time release of water into a stretch of the Colorado River that has been dry for decades, began on World Water Day on March 23. It was estimated by project coordinators…

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Variations on a Theme

It’s the season of peonies, one of my favorite flowers. We have several peony bushes out in the garden, but a good friend brought over a bouquet yesterday that included a couple of spectacular blossoms. I tried to capture the color explosion once without a flash, and once with a flash, using my phone camera.…

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Toxic Addictions

A study published this week adds further evidence that there is a direct correlation between the decline of honeybee populations and the ongoing use of certain pesticides, namely, neonicotinoids. Neonicotinoids share some chemical similarity with nicotine. Like nicotine, they are both toxic and addictive. They also have a similar trajectory in the media. Fifty years…

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Tangled Web

Like weeds, when we talk about invasive species, we usually know which ones we mean. They’re the ones we don’t like. So, when we talk about non-native species of plants and animals, we don’t usually mean horses or sheep, or wheat or barley or rice or potatoes – none of which are native to many of…

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Reading the World

By nature, humans generally like to share what they know – at least, they like to share parts of what they know. The very form and manner we choose to visualize what we know in a way that can be shared with others says a lot about how we see the world. For example, one of my…

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