Saturday, May 31, 2008

Not Duck Number One

Thursday evening, Ediz Hook.

Gulls, sparrows, on the harbor side a seal. Lots of ship action. The pilot boat darted out and visited two ships; left a pilot on a big container freighter, the MOL Proficiency, who proceeded on into Puget Sound; and then a second stop at a tanker, the Alaskan Frontier. Other small boats came out (I couldn't read their names) and escorted Frontier slowly slowly around the end of the Hook and into the harbor past several other anchored ships. She parked companionably near her sister ship, the Alaskan Navigator.

Oooh. Cool resource. Perhaps I should submit my photo of MOL Proficiency.


MOL Proficiency, a container freighter, off Ediz Hook

Thursday, May 29, 2008

It's Not True That Nobody Is Reading (But Things Are Changing)

According to Publishers Weekly, "The production of traditional books rose 1% in 2007, to 276,649 new titles and editions, but the output of on-demand, short run and unclassified titles soared from 21,936 in 2006 to 134,773 last year, according to preliminary figures released Wednesday by R.R. Bowker. The combination of the two categories results in a 39% increase in output to 411,422."

Monday, May 26, 2008


Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter sees Phoenix parachute past

PS I'm in Tucson, visiting Mom. We watched the landing on CNN.
P.P.S. Image from NASA press release.
P.P.P.S. Thanks to C. for pointing this out. TV news doesn't have it, though it's all over the web...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

eeeeeeee hummingbird!!!!!!! finally!!!!!!!!!!

Finally. Took the little guy two whole weeks to find the feeder.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Blue Out There For A While

A stiff breeze was raising whitecaps on the Strait, little white flecks against the dark blue water. I just lo-o-o-o-ve it when we can see the whitecaps from way back here. (I had hopes it would just clear off all the way to Mount Baker, but no, later it got gray again.)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

As For Example Now

It's hot and murky out there. It's 11:20AM. If the ferry left dock in Victoria at 10:30 AM, mightn't it be visible just now? Yes, dimly, to the right of the brick chimney, to the left of those two tall conifers; and it must be dealing with a tide because it appears to be heading west of south, away from the harbor... Oooh look, a military ship of some sort (I think)(big flag, lots of communication antennae, nothing that appears to be container freight), to the left of the light pole with the transformer on it and to the right of those other two conifers. Ah, there's the Coho again, way west of the brick chimney but pointing southeast again. Oh, view now blocked by taller houses in the way. Aha, it's 11:40 AM and Coho is beyond the house with the blue roof.

I need a camera that zooms better; want pictures at least as clear as my binoculars.

Distant murky view.

PS 12:02 PM The horn sounds, Coho pulling into harbor, well offscreen to the right...


The ferry schedule changed this week. It now goes back and forth three times a day. (In the winter only twice; at midsummer four times a day.) I get to learn a whole new pattern for when to watch for it, or listen. Especially with the weather so warm and the windows open, I hear the ferry blast its horn at the beginning and end of its runs. One blatt when it is leaving the dock and heading to the next country north. A long blatt and two short ones as it rounds Ediz Hook and into the harbor. "Ho-o-o-o-me, I'm home," it sings out, basso profundo.

I can see it out there on the water between here and Victoria, if I am looking when it sails across my view. I had the winter schedule internalized. Would glance at the clock and then wildly scan my bit of horizon. Or spot it way way out there and then look at the clock only to confirm, yes of course it's the Coho, yes of course I recognize it no matter how small and far away. As soon as I learn the shifted times, I have more opportunities each day for this pleasure.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

First Beach and James Island

Sat a while on the beach listening to waves and watching for blows. Weather became more murky. Moved over to the spot near the harbor where the ocean and Quilleute Needles are to your left, James Island ahead, harbor to your right. Watched small boats move in and out under the face of James Island, and a tiny skiff tend nets just short of the river mouth.

Pictures next time; after the First Beach photo below I was too sleepy to figure out what I needed.

First Beach and James Island, mid-May, no whales

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mahonia Dodecatheon Cerastium Ribes Fragaria and All

Little hike into Rica Canyon along the Elwha River. You begin at the Whiskey Bend Trailhead, above Lake Mills.
Detour to Elk Overlook. No elk.
Everywhere there are trillium.

In the drier parts of the forest, many plants I remember from the woods in Oregon and California are blooming. Oregon grape, shooting stars, trillium, violets, chocolate lily, paintbrush. Strawberry, a geranium, a chickweed, a couple of different currants. The bigleaf maples are blooming. In addition to the rainforest-y mosses on the trees (club moss?), there was also goatsbeard lichen.

Maple flowers

Down in the canyon, the Elwha gathers, then squeezes into Goblin's Gate.

Hiking back out I kept hearing grouse thumping somewhere off in the forest. I saw a slug. Later some other hikers pointed out that there was now a really big bear in the elk meadow. He was very far away, just a bear-shaped speck from way up there on the trail until you looked with binoculars; and plainly enormous.

Found a river-runner's blog with grand pictures of coming down the Elhwa. Goblin's Gate is only the tail of the ferocious canyon!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Window Open, Listening for Hummingbirds

The feeder has been up for three days, but no visitors yet. I thought perhaps they don't come to this neighborhood, but N. says her mother-in-law lives four blocks from here and they come to her feeders. Maybe I should hang up the second feeder, too, so it looks like a hummingbird cafeteria.

The madrone are blooming in the empty lot across the street, and what looks like a crabapple disguised as a sprawling shrub. Rhodendrons here and there around town. Landlady hasn't finished the landscaping yet; perhaps I'll ask her for some hummingbird plants. (Searching the web. Searching, searching...) I wonder if cardinal flowers grow here, or red beebalm.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Living Here

Stuff to do post-journey. Laundry, shopping and all that.

But the salt water is calling. Driving along Marine Drive yesterday afternoon a couple of ducks flew low across the road and I nearly splatted them. Shall I go out on Ediz Hook and look for ducks this afternoon after work?

But the ocean is calling. Saturday there's a minus tide around 11 AM. Perfect for walking Rialto Beach north to Hole-in-the-Wall. Shall I? Or to First Beach to look for gray whales?

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Always the Same Place

On Monday (last day in Santa Fe), went up the Pecos River with P.H. I have been there so many times, taken so many photographs along the river; in every season, the same pictures over and over; with friends, by myself, walking, reading; summer fall winter spring.

There was lots of water in the river, it was flowing right up to the tree root where I used to usually sit except when it was hot and I'd sit on a chair right in the river, right there); the river made me take off my shoes and sit there for a while with my feet in the water, though it was way too cold still for wet feet. Then put my shoes back on, and we wandered down to where Rio Mora flows in. Listened to the river. Admired how much water was heaping by.

Pecos River, above the confluence with Rio Mora

Then we came back to town. There were more people to see, and final goodbyes to make. In the morning I flew home.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Lilac Season in Santa Fe

It's lilac season in Santa Fe's old neighborhoods. Wysteria, fruit trees. Some leafing out, most yet to come.

Yesterday afternoon went with M. & R. to hear Santa Fe Symphony perform Carmina Burana. Can a piece of music that's that much fun be Serious?? Another day of seeing people today, then head home tomorrow.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Not Spring Yet in Valles Caldera National Preserve

A traveler on the trail with good friends. Good friends let you set the itinerary when you come from far away. So we drove up into the Jemez Mountains and had a small picnic (just the dessert) out in the Valle Grande. And then back to the car and down the highway to the trailhead on the East Fork of the Jemez River, and walked along the glittering river to a suitable spot to eat the rest of our lunch. Exactly what I wanted.
Trail into Valle Grande. Still snow in the woods. Elevation about 8700'.
Grass not green. No elk.

P. and I kept scanning for elk in the Valle. No elk. R. reminded us regularly that since there was nothing to graze on out here except last year's grass, the elk wouldn't be here yet. I suppose that's right. But they have to be somewhere nearby eating something, late-winter-early-spring or no.

Near the Las Conchas Trailhead, elevation about 8,400'

Beautiful sunny day. There were flocks of rock climbers out. I could sit and watch the river flicker by, and light beams dance on the undersides of the rock faces, forever.

East Fork of the Jemez River.

Back in Santa Fe: long conversations, supper out with M. and I., more long conversations. Perfect day.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Message from the Desert

Geez. The drive up from the airport was pretty astonishingly, uh, bleak and dry. I can't believe I lived here all that time.

Today heading up into the Jemez Mountains with R. & P. for a hike. Immediate return to the coping mechanism I used for 20 years: head for the high country. Where today at least the caldera might be green, and the Jemez River flowing amid forest and grass.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Reading and Travel News

Heading to Santa Fe for the weekend. It's such a short visit I will see only a few people, an error of planning. Assembling my suitcase, but more than usually baffled by what books to bring. Last week I read Mary Doria Russell's The Sparrow. Books that take place in parallel narrative threads, before and after some turning event that they spend hundreds of pages not telling you about, confuse and irritate me. But I have thought of very little else since I finished it, and momentarily only want to read really good books, and not just whatever's at hand. Luckily now I have Children of God, The Sparrow's sequel, to bring on the plane. And The Emerald Planet. And four somewhat randomly acquired (mostly Goodwill) paperback mysteries. That ought to do it, especially as Elizabeth George's new title should be out this weekend, and I'm allowing myself to buy it if I see it in the airport bookstores.

Now this is the strange part* about this trip. Santa Fe is so far behind me in my consciousness that I have the clear sensation I will be visiting instead my distant past in San Francisco, and keep imagining I am going to see the old old friends from my communal days in the City forty years ago, rather than the friends of those 22 years in the desert that I walked away from last August.