Archive for the ‘Palouse Pathways’ Category

Second Warm Period on the Palouse

21 May 2017

The plants are popping out very strongly on our warmer days.

They seem proud this year. The weather was rough, and the warmth came late. They suffered this Spring, but came through it OK.

I hope we can do the same!

flowering apple tree

“I’m the best apple tree on the Palouse.”

quail on pullman trail

Quail like sunny days, too.

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A Miracle!

3 May 2017

First warm day of the new year!

pullman weather for Wednesday 3 May 2017

With a “scorcher” scheduled for tomorrow!

On Saturday, back to what it’s been like most of Spring, then a steady (I hope) climb towards Summer.

Christmas Eve

24 December 2016

winter scene bird in bush
Nature wears the snow well.
The trees seem happy to be shrouded in it.

snow-covered fruit tree

Tree still full of fruit wears the new snow.


The birds fly above it…
birds in flight - winter
…and otherwise seem willing to deal with it.
birds share a tree
While the mammals sleep beneath it.
rabbit run in snow

Rabbit run leads under a boulder.


Nature has to deal with it, or die. And – as part of Nature – so do we. We, however, don’t wear it so well.
looking up Larry Street

The view up my street.


As with other obstacles, we push it out of our way, do our best to get rid of it, or get around it.

We created Nature

After all, we are more than just a part of Nature. We (or beings very much like us) created Nature. Though most of us have forgotten how or why we are now stuck in our own creation, winter is a perfect example of how we do our best to assert our lost and former greatness.

I went out today to take some photos near my building, and deliberately tried to keep man-made items out of my shots, so that they would appear to be totally natural settings. The weeds look pretty with their snowy coverings, but they are dead. That wouldn’t do for us. We’re not about to spend a season hibernating just because it’s a bit chilly.

snow shrouded scene

A field shrouded in snow.

winter - weed wearing some snow

winter - tree over a creek

winter - frosty cow parsnip

Our creation is beautiful, isn’t it?

But, I keep hearing about how fragile it is. We could lose all this, and then what? Are we prepared to create it all over again somewhere else? We could do that, though most of us don’t think we could. For most of us, this biosphere is scarce in this universe, and thus precious. And so we count our blessings on the eve before the day we celebrate as the birthday of a great spiritual teacher of the West. And though there have been many great spiritual teachers, this one gets singled out as our special one. Perhaps he really stands for all of them. Back when Christianity was getting started, most people touched by it didn’t even know what had come before it. They weren’t aware of the benefits they derived from the teachings of the one called “the Buddha” roughly 500 years earlier. Jesus was aware, or so I am told.

Yes, our memories seem so poor! And the lessons we can’t remember we are doomed to repeat. But let us take a few hours out of our somewhat hectic lives to celebrate the lives of all our great teachers, to give thanks for the lengthening of the days, and to ponder what we should do next; how we want all this to turn out. That question is now before us.

Goose Poop

6 October 2016

geese in park Omaha

Geese feed on a lawn in Omaha downtown park.


We’ve all seen Canada Geese stop over at some local lawn on their way North or South. But these weren’t Canada Geese, and they acted like they’d been living in this park for a while. These geese, in fact, look more like domestic geese.

I don’t remember geese of any description living in parks. But when I visited the favorite park of my boyhood, Nicholl Park in Richmond California, Canada Geese were obviously living there.

geese in Richmond park

“Wild” geese living in Richmond.

What’s going on here?

Google “urban geese” or “goose poop” and you will find plenty of reading materials on this subject. But they most all say the same things.

What certain sites (such as Cornell’s) will tell you is that the U.S. government started a program in the 1930s to re-establish the Canada Goose population which had dwindled considerably due to hunting. They did this with captive birds. These birds did not know to migrate, and they didn’t migrate; they stayed put. These are the birds filling our city parks and causing most of the problems we are having with goose poop, noise, and aircraft interference.

They are safe in cities because no one can hunt (with guns anyway) in cities.

I wondered after getting back home if no one was using the Nicholl Park lawn because of all the goose poop in it. And that probably is a factor. There was a lot of it, and per all the materials I’ve read, it’s not very healthy to be in contact with it.

As it turns out, the real key here is lawns. These birds love lawns, and will seldom settle anywhere other than a grassy field.

Odd coincidence

Oddly, last night I attended an event titled “12th Annual Palouse Basin Water Summit.” We listened to the usual local speakers on the subject of the Palouse water supply, plus we had one international speaker, Maude Barlow, a Canadian water activist.

Right now, the Palouse gets most of its fresh water from underground sources (aquifers). Agriculture and industry are not significant users of aquifer water in the Palouse. Even so, the aquifer water levels have dropped over 100 feet since we have been pumping out water for human uses.

The most attractive and realistic way that most residents can reduce water use is to switch to gardens around their houses that require little or no irrigation. This is no panacea, but it got a lot of attention at this meeting because it is a fun and interesting way to reduce domestic water consumption.

Most residents are already aware of low-flow toilets and shower heads, waiting for full loads before washing clothes or dishes, and generally being stingy with water. These are all part of “going green” and have gotten a lot of attention in many urban areas because many urban areas have had water shortages.

Lawns

Lawns have reached a kind of iconic status in the American and European psyche. Anybody’s dream house has a lawn in front of it, possibly quite a large one. All those photos of our little kids playing on the lawn at home or in a park…it seems an essential part of life.

Yet lawns are atrocious water hogs. They require tremendous amounts of water to keep them green, but will tend to drain off excess water, rather than pull it into the soil. They are like many of our crops that must be irrigated to survive. And so, though grass can be very green, lawns are not very “green.”

What’s odd about me going to this conference then wondering about goose poop is that lawns are related to both issues. Lawns. Odd.

There are still some municipalities (Orlando, Florida is cited by Wikipedia) that mandate front lawns. In more hip communities, the problem is more likely to be front no-plants-at-all. But people in general are gradually coming to realize that the more soil that is covered with plants that will help it soak up, rather than reject, any precipitation that comes its way, the more pro-survival that soil will become for all involved.

So, the answer to both goose poop and water over-use is getting rid of lawns and replacing them with more natural gardens or vegetable gardens.

I have recently posted a lot of photos of urban parks. They all have lawns. You might say, “What would a park be without a lawn?” To which I would reply, “A lawnless park.” I have absolutely no sympathy for golfers, either. None.

I have not begun to even scratch the surface! After we de-lawn, we are going to have to confront re-forestation. And that involves our current methods of agriculture, both mass crops and grazing animals. I’m not sure how far we can take this, but I know that the ideal scene would be to phase out our impact on the surface ecology almost entirely.

I wanted to show you a picture of Bird Hills, but couldn’t find one, so here’s Discovery Park in Seattle.

discover park seattle trail to beach

My ideal park.

Fawn leaps out

25 June 2016
view east early morning

Nature area with industrial park above it – 5AM.

After working most of a Saturday first shift, I went out for my usual shopping trip, returning around 3:30.

There is an open area that serves as a wildlife passage between the small nature area in the bottom lands leading north out of Pullman and a wild area to the west, “behind the high school.”

I have seen a couple deer in the nature area this year. Last Saturday one trotted out onto the street in front of me. But I NEVER have my camera handy for such sightings.

This afternoon as I was returning from shopping, a saw a doe and her fawn poking their way down through the open area towards a low clump of trees. I hurried home, got my camera, and walked up behind my apartment building (there are two more buildings up there – I never go up there; great view though) to see if I could spot the deer.

Sure enough, they were in a the clump of trees trying to be discrete. I squatted down and waited to see if anything would develop. Sure enough, the fawn ran out into the clearing (as fawns are wont to do) and walked about a bit in the grass before returning to its mom under the trees.

fawn leaps out into grass

A portion of my too-big photo, featuring the little deer.

I think I should have been able to get a better shot than this. Obviously I have a way to go to become a decent wildlife photographer.

I still catch some pretty nice photos of flowers, though, such as this lupine which grows luxuriantly in a small watered public garden on my way to work.

lupine flower closeup

Lupine, a member of the pea family.

Spring!

17 April 2016
dandelions

Dandelions: The yellow harbingers of Spring.

This year we had a mild, wet winter, followed by a late cool-down, then a sudden warm-up. The result: Everything seemed to bloom at once!

This made available many non-showy tree flowers, which don’t get photographed very often.

All these photos were taken last weekend.

Nature area trees

Ash flowers

Ash flowers.

Maple flowers

Maple flowers.

Willow flowers

Willow flowers.

Fruit trees

flowering fruit trees

Flowering fruit trees.

In this area, most fruit trees are introduced. I haven’t tried to figure out here exactly which types of tree these are. All the showy-flowered fruit trees are in the Rose Family (Rosaceae) along with familiar fruits like raspberries and strawberries.

meadow by the bike path

Meadow by the bike path.

fruit tree flowers

Fruit tree flowers.

Bees (present but not pictured) pollinate all Rose Family plants. In contrast, most of the non-showy tree flowers are wind-pollinated, and their seeds wind-scattered.

urban fruit tree

Fruit tree in an urban setting.

Daffodils

Pullman daffodils

Pullman daffodils.

Somebody planted a lot of daffodils! I have never noticed them as much as I did this Spring. They are all over the place in the more recently developed areas. And I mean , really all over.

daffodils in runoff management area

Daffodils front runoff management area, Bishop Boulevard.

redwing blackbird

Redwing blackbird guarding his domain.

Walmart embankment

The “Walmart Embankment” and more daffodils.

daffodils

Daffodils up close.

Introduced urban trees

Aspen flowers

Aspen flowers.

I found this white-barked aspen near the top of the “south hill” in the hospital’s garden. It is not native to this area, nor is the birch pictured below. Birch, besides being somewhat delicate trees and preferring the protection of a forest, don’t seem to do that well in this area, but that doesn’t prevent this specimen in the middle of downtown from doing the best it can to reproduce.

birch flowers

Birch flowers

Frosted Thanksgiving

28 November 2015

frosted thaksgiving missouri flats

“Missouri Flats” nature area – view from the hill I live on.


My theory for how this frost forms is that the clouds actually come down to ground level at night, and everything that’s the right temperature picks up the ice crystals. The longer the weather conditions remain favorable, the longer and more elaborate the crystals become.

This weather is not that uncommon during the Pullman winter (see
my post “Freezing Fog”) but I’ve never seen it happen this early.

Thanksgiving

SEL does a long Thanksgiving weekend instead of Christmas. Sometimes I go visit family, but this year I stayed home. I was invited over for Thanksgiving dinner by a young technician I work with and his wife. They’re Mormons from Idaho. She had prepared LOTS of food. She said it was the first time she’d cooked such a dinner herself. I enjoyed a few hours at their apartment with them and their two little girls.

I spent that evening and the next day getting a signal generator up and running, as part of my electronic art (eArt) project. If you set it just right, the signals look like floating needles (Scientology technical term) on my meters.

Time to organize – continued

The effort to throw out junk, consolidate the rest, organize everything and fit more into less space continues. The signal generator was made using my new “flat form factor” design. It’s rack mount equipment but only about 6 inches deep. More of that’s in the works.

Deeper equipment cabinets and enclosures are more and more being used for storage. The flat equipment fits in sideways, and my older “long” enclosures can go into a bigger rack enclosure when not being used.

Following the news

It’s been cold but peaceful on the Palouse. I wish everyone across the planet who wanted it peaceful could have it that way.

In Syria Russia has been showing NATO how to fight terrorists. NATO, and especially Turkey, seem offended by this. The alternative media claims this is because NATO was secretly helping the terrorists overthrow Assad. (He has a lovely wife, by the way – have you seen photos of her?) NATO is the lesser military arm of the bad guys in the West; the U.S. military being their greater arm. This seems to actually be the case – a very unfortunate state of affairs.

Meanwhile, Corey Goode continues to release transcripts of his video interviews with David Wilcock (the TV shows cost money to watch). These interviews are about the formation of a “breakaway civilization” on earth. This was started in earnest by the Germans in the 1930s. Some call them “Nazis” but these particular Germans don’t seem so interested in all that any more. They have found ways to move about quickly in space, and started colonies on the Moon and Mars. After the war, they got the U.S. “military-industrial complex” (see Eisenhower’s speech) involved in their plan, and they have more and more been letting this planet go to hell as they shift their attention to their off-planet operations.

Seems all quite fanciful, but would explain a lot. Catherine Austin Fitts (a former HUD Assistant Secretary), who insists a “black budget” exists on this planet that is draining trillions of dollars annually out of earth’s economy, has been working to find more solid evidence for “black projects.” But so far there are only bits here and there.

Courtney Brown, the remote viewing guy, has been laying low since the release of the first part of his latest project – the JFK assassination. Hopefully he is finishing the second part, but is behind schedule on this. The first part – predictably – found several professional snipers involved, and not the “lone nut” Oswald, as maintained by the Warren Commission. The second part promises to go more deeply into the plot.

So here in the freezing cold of a Frosted Thanksgiving, I learn more about the “unofficial” history of our planet, while making art out of old electronic equipment…

frosted wild rose

Frosted twig (wild rose).

Mushrooms

7 June 2015

U of I path and building

See the mushroom in this scene?


Yesterday I biked to Moscow (Idaho) to visit Radio Shack, Tri-State (Ace) and the Farmers Market. I returned via the University of Idaho bike path, an extension of the Chipman Trail between Moscow and Pullman. There, under a row of spruce bedded in wood chips, I spied a series of mushrooms. As I was coming in from the “back,” thus seeing them in “reverse order,” I’ll show them to you in “forward order” as if you had come in from the other direction.
large white mushrooms in the grass

Line of large white mushrooms in the grass.


First you would have seen this line of fungi that look a little like baseballs or something. I would guess they have benefited from the irrigation of the lawn/soccer field nearby. These mushrooms were big, with smooth, round caps.
big white mushrooms closeup

Cluster of three.


Next you would have come under the shade of a line of trees at the edge of the field/lawn and perhaps spotted this little guy. He’s really not very little, just has a cap that hasn’t spread out yet.
new mushroom under pines

New mushroom under line of spruce trees.


I think my trusty little Panasonic digital camera captured the details quite well…
new mushroom closeup

New mushroom close up.


Then this guy might have caught your eye, one or two trees down. Same variety as one before? Maybe not.
open mushroom flat cap

Open mushroom – different variety?


And last, you would have come across this one nearest the buildings – the first one I spotted. This is a fully developed version of the #2 mushroom we came across earlier.
fully developed mushroom

Fully developed mushroom with conical cap – looks like a little hobbit house roof or something.


And here’s the underside. The gills are still very fresh. In this hot weather it probably won’t stay this way very long.
fully developed mushroom closeup

“Under the hood.”


I would consider it a bit unusual to come across this many large mushrooms in a non-wild setting so close together. So here the event is, captured in photographs.

To Moscow…Idaho

18 May 2014
anemone

Anemone flowers at north end of trail.

I took this trip on the third of May (2014).
I went for the express purpose of checking out the Goodwill store and the Palouse Mall.
The day threatened rain and was a little colder than I would have liked, but it didn’t rain much.
I started at the north end of the trail, which is near where I live.

rabbits

Rabbits living in protected wetlands.

The Pullman-Moscow bike-jogging-walking trail follows the streams that drain the area. The land immediately adjacent to these streams has been designated as protected wetlands. There is a little watershed conservation district here that is quite active – probably due to the biologists at the two universities.

steam locomotive

Little steam engine on display downtown Pullman.

An attempt was evidently made to preserve some of Pullman’s historic artifacts from the railroad days. However, this little locomotive and the cars behind it are in disrepair and seem to be used by a real estate company.

With the help of a west wind, I arrive at the outskirts of Moscow about 1-1/2 hours after leaving. This is where several stores and the Mall have been built. It is right next to the Washington-Idaho border.

goodwill sign

Goodwill parking lot.

palouse mall

View of the Mall.

The Mall is just east of a big Walmart, which is just east of the older Staples-Goodwill-hotel-restaurant complex. It is a real suburban-style mall with clean, bright indoor-facing stores covered by a roof. In this area, this arrangement makes a lot more sense than the parking-lot-facing “strip” mall that was so popular everywhere in the ’60s.

bicycle

My vehicle.

I ate lunch at the Qdoba and found the usual assortment of corporate sales outlets at the mall. There is also a Chinese “buffet” restaurant. All-you-can-eat lunch for 8 or 9 dollars. I also shopped at the Big 5 Sporting Goods store which has a “satellite” building at the mall. I needed something to cover my Goodwill purchases in case it rained.

The local model plane flying club also had a neat display set up inside the mall. I didn’t try to take any photos inside, though.

the trail back

The trail back.

Time to head back to Pullman. The going was a bit rough, as even though the grade is slightly downhill, I had a headwind. I walked the bike much of the way.

duck

Duck in little pond near halfway mark.

Near the halfway mark is a little tunnel under a crossing road. On the east side was a bench that was out of the wind, so I rested there a while. There was a duck in a nearby pond, but it wandered off when I tried to get closer to take more photos.

jorstad's fence

The Jorstad’s fence.

One of the features of the Chipman (Pullman-Moscow) Trail is the Jorstad’s house. I don’t know anything about the family, but these photos tell you something about them by themselves.

the jorstad's

The Jorstad’s

Blackout! and other news

15 April 2014

Monday (the 7th of April) was one of the warmest days of the year so far in Pullman. Having neglecting my weekend grocery shopping, I accomplished it that Monday afternoon and returned home at 4:30 or so. By the evening I was busy with one of my electronics projects. At about 6:30 or so the lights flickered, went out entirely, pulsed back on once again, and again died in what seemed a kind of spasm.

It was pitch black in my basement apartment, though not nearly sunset time yet. I fumbled around on my work table until I found my flashlight. I use it to inspect my soldering work. Then I searched around the place for a better source of light. I found a head lamp I had purchased from All Electronics and a shake-light I had acquired I don’t recall where. The head lamp was great for getting around inside. I found my jacket, put on my shoes, and went out to see what was going on.

As I went out “front” (the side facing east onto Grand) a car from the fire station up the street drove by with siren on. Other than that, all seemed normal. A couple were above me, leaning on the balcony railing, speaking quietly about the loss of our electric power. So I went back in.

I put my head lamp back on, sat down at my work table, and tried to continue on the design I had started, hoping the power would soon come back. But, it didn’t. It was basically too dark to do anything. Inside it was completely quiet, as the fridge – the only source of noise – was off. I resolved not to open it until the power came back up, in hopes that my just-purchased food would stay reasonably cold. There was nothing else to do. Without electric power I was totally without the usual devices that I use day-to-day. My only battery-powered devices are flashlights (I plan to change that some day). I don’t have any “mobile devices” (I don’t plan to change that any time soon).

So, I went to bed.

I didn’t rest well, as I kept anticipating the power returning. It finally did at about 12:30. I was needing now to get my rest, so I stayed in bed a while. But all the lights were on. So I finally got up and turned everything off and went back to bed for real.

At work, only a few others had experienced the blackout, as it was fairly localized. I heard stories of what had happened, but didn’t look them up myself until today.

Distraught being

As it turns out, a distraught person – drunk – had been hurtling south on Grand in her 1999 Chevy van, sending several cars to the shoulder or otherwise off the road. One of these cars swerved off the road and rolled down a hill into a power pole. The impact broke the insulators holding up the high-voltage wires, and they fell to the ground. The driver was trapped in his overturned vehicle by these high voltage wires until the utility company was able to de-energize them about an hour later. He was – amazingly – unharmed.

The police caught up with the “crazy” lady a little while later. They had to take her to a hospital to get treated for minor injuries before arresting her.

distraught being One of the news sources published a Sheriff’s Office photo of the lady – from some earlier incident. I edited it down to just the face for this post: This is the face of a very distraught being.

True source of accidents

This lady will most likely be found guilty of some crime and put in jail or into some sort of “care.” This, of course, will not remedy her distraught state in any way shape or form. To turn her back into someone safe to be around (assuming she was at one point) would be to solve the terror she obviously suffers from.

LRH has this to say:

People making mistakes or doing stupid things is evidence that an SP [Suppressive Person – known to some as the “psychopath”]exists in that vicinity.
(From HCO Bulletin of 12 March 1968: Mistakes, Anatomy Of.)

This is the basic datum on which all Scientology ethics and management technology is based. True SPs comprise less than 5% of the general population. However, 25% or more are unduly influenced by them, thus becoming “accident prone,” or worse.

Because our justice system – more than likely under the influence of SPs – does not go looking for the SP “in the vicinity” of the person who “caused” the accident or committed the crime, our situation regarding crime and accidents never seems to improve. We have the wrong why.

Other News

That same weekend I received a portion of an instrument panel from a DC-8 aircraft. This was one of the first jet airliners to be mass-produced during the 1960s. I bought it for the aluminum panel and to see how it was constructed. It arrived a bit the worse for wear, but I took all the parts off it and cleaned it up, and it looks promising. I think I will make a battery charger with it.

DC-8 panel detail

DC-8 panel detail, showing the registration number of the aircraft it is from and its most recent “SELCAL” radio message code.

The deer return

This afternoon walking home, I saw a family of deer grazing in the field below the “industrial park” where I work. It looked like a buck and three doe. Probably the same deer that were here last year. They somehow managed to live down in the wetlands that the bike/jogging trail goes through, just the other side of Grand. That’s where the electric poles are, too; like the one that guy ran into.

I wasn’t sure they would return. Last year they were here earlier. I remember seeing them in the same place when it was still snowy. They lost one of their young to road kill that year. I know: I saw the dead deer myself. It was at the “vacant lot” where I took many of my wildflower pictures. So I thought they might go somewhere else this year. But there probably aren’t too many other places to choose from for these deer. They do have to be watchful, and not only for cars. I’ve seen coyotes in this area, too; though its the rabbits who usually suffer when the coyotes come through.